Category: OVCF News

Midweek Message 10/20/2021

MIDWEEK MESSAGE 80

 

Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #80.  Thanks ahead of time for letting me “bend your ear” for a few minutes. 

 

Where do I start?  I have so many things running through my mind about Sunday’s 17th so I guess I’ll just start and see where I land:

  • The 17th anniversary celebration was a success. You all adjusted so well to the different conditions.  Some of you came ready for the coolness of the morning but some of you headed for the comfort of the sun. Little did I realize the picnic tables would be much more popular than I thought they would be. I should have known since they were in the direct sunlight. 
  • It was heart-warming to see so many of you visiting and laughing together. That is, perhaps, the #1 complaint about having two services. 
  • In spite of the different conditions, I thought the spirit was good and I heard from one source that you were really singing.  From where I stood, I was only able to hear myself and trust me when I say that it was not very good! 
  • The turnout for the pitch-in was phenomenal. After only having 40-50 people sign up I only set up tables and chairs for about 60. I was wondering when Pastor Ryan and Chris Brown set up a couple more tables if that was going to be necessary. I’d say that and more were needed!  It was exciting to see so many people stay afterwards to eat, laugh, and enjoy being together. 
  • I was really stoked when Pastor Ryan set up a volleyball net and when I went outside there were at least 20-30 people involved in playing. It started out as just hitting the ball, then the young people started feeling their oats and wanted to play the adults.  6 adults vs about 100 kids. The adults won!  ‘Course there is a rumor I may be a bit prejudiced but that would be untrue. 
  • Even though it was difficult to see the possible future building plans while we were outside, many of you had a chance to see them as they scrolled on the screen during our meal.  I hope you were excited to see what the possibilities are. 
  • Your generosity still astounds me. I will include details about offering next week.

 

During my sermon I said that those I have talked to really could not pinpoint the exact first day of OVCF so that explains why we have jumped around to different Sundays in October. While we were eating, Terrie MacMorran informed me that…get this…October 17, 2004 was the exact date for the first meeting of OVCF. Is that cool or what? 

 

Here is the part I look forward to, but could also get me in trouble: the thank you part. I know it is dangerous and I wrote a bunch of names down as things happened. Please forgive me if I leave you out. It is not on purpose, but there are some folks who need a virtual high five. 

  • Zach Hogan for donating the use of his stage and sound equipment.  What a tremendous act of generosity it was! Brad Brinson and Dick Hogan came to help put the stage together on Saturday morning. 
  • Joe Pavich for going above and beyond in making the live stream a possibility. He spent hours here on Saturday, came back early Sunday, left to get his 3 children, and then return to run the live stream for us.  He had help on Saturday: his daughter, Charlotte, was a big help to him.  (And she liked my offer of peanut butter-filled pretzels…which dad okayed). 
  • Daniel Hamlin not only made the two ends for the cable, he made a special trip in from his home near Jordan Village on Saturday to get it to Joe. 
  • Pastor Ryan did a lot of ordering and helping Joe until he was no longer available because of a wedding. 
  • Diana did a lot of extra work getting all the print materials ready, as well as ordering things which were needed. 
  • My wife, Jo, was looking forward to having the Sunday off from Power Point but changed her plans to type up and do the Power Point for the songs. 
  • Wayne Akerson worked on making the presentation for the Building Team. 
  • The Worship Team-Dick and Vicki Hogan, Pastor Ryan, Jim & Diana Markland, Tiffany St. John, Cara King (who showed her multi-tasking ability by not only singing, but helping hold music for Heather so we weren’t singing “The music my friend is blowing in the wind”), and Heather Keith.  Each week a different worship team steps up and leads us. They always garner my thanks. 
  • The nursery, check-in and children’s program volunteers who graciously taught our kids. 
  • To all of you who helped afterwards I cannot say thanks enough. You helped make a long process very short. 
  • And, once again, all of you for making the celebration a special day. 

 

After a celebration of God’s goodness and faithfulness to us as a church, it is important to keep in mind what our mission is and why, I believe, God has blessed us. There are two events coming which are really important. 

  1. Operation Christmas Child is about to launch. As soon as Diana has the material from Samaritan’s Purse she will make it available. This is just a friendly reminder that OCC is fast approaching. 
  2. We will be providing a meal for the community on Thanksgiving Day, November 25th from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Lions Club. Specific details will be coming. 

 

I see my space is up for this week. Before I go, I’d like to ask you to read two passages which I read yesterday morning: Psalm 113:1-4 and 115:1. Our whole purpose is not to garner praise for ourselves. In fact, we make a pretty small package when you get right down to it. We are, instead, supposed to deflect the praise from ourselves to God, the only One worthy of that praise. Someone might say, “Well, Pastor Bill, you did an awful lot of praising others in this MM.” That is true because I do believe people need thanked for doing good things. But ultimately, the praise goes to God for providing for us in such a good way. 

 

Thanks again for everything. I am honored to serve as your pastor. 

 

Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 10/13/2021

MIDWEEK MESSAGE 79

 

Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #79.  Fall Break is over for most schools and “back to the old grind” is the moniker.  Many of you took off for a well-deserved time away. I hope you were able to get some sanity back.

 

Some of you are old enough remember records. Vinyl albums. After being sent into oblivion with the onset of 8-track tapes (well…we can bypass those monstrosities); cassette tapes; CDs; and now digital music, they are making a comeback. There was a saying used during the time of records: “you sound like a broken record.” I know exactly what they meant. I had records that got scratched and the needles would just repeat that word over and over.  I will warn you ahead of time that I will sound like a broken record by the time I am done because I want to talk about the 17th Anniversary of OVCF coming up this Sunday. At the risk of shutting you down as you read this, please let me give the details to you one more time (with some additional information).  Drum roll please:

  • OVCF’s 17th anniversary is this Sunday, October 17th at 10:00 a.m.
  • When you drive onto the property you will see the tent at the east side of the parking lot by the shelter.
  • Some chairs will be set up in shelter. We will have others available for you to use but encourage you to bring your own since it will be more comfortable.
  • Joe Pavich and Pastor Ryan are working hard to have the live stream working that morning. We also hope to have the projector working as well.
  • Following the sermon and communion, Wayne Akerson, one of the elders and a member of the Building Team will give an update on the new building progress.
  • The offering that day will be divided evenly between the Building Fund and Missions (unless designated).
  • The nursery and children’s programs will be happening as usual.
  • Immediately following Wayne’s presentation, we will meet in the church auditorium for a pitch-in. It is not too late to sign up for the pitch-in. Please call the church office and let Diana know if and how many will be coming. We need to let the Chambers’ know how many to cook chicken for.

 

WE STILL NEED YOUR HELP!

 

We do have some “loose ends” to tie up that you can help us with.

  • The tent will be here on Friday so Saturday morning at 9:00 we need your help setting up the stage (Zach Hogan is graciously providing his stage for us).
  • At the same time, we need some folks who will help move the picnic tables out and carry chairs to the shelter (but not set them up).
  • We need others who will help set up tables and chairs in the church auditorium for the pitch-in. We will possibly need help after the worship service to move tables and chairs after they are used for the children’s programs that morning.
  • We will need help at 7:30 Sunday morning to move sound equipment and set up chairs in the shelter.

 

Most of all, bring an open heart to worship and to express gratitude to God for His marvelous work in and through OVCF these past 17 years.  I can’t wait to share this Sunday with you!

 

I’d like to share the following thought with you today. Maybe someone needs it:

Bone-tired. Weary beyond belief. Asleep on his feet. Those are just some of the phrases we might use to describe how we feel. I’ve been there. So tired I can barely think. So weary it is an effort to pick my feet up and put one foot down in front of another.

I’ve been there spiritually as well. The battles have been intense. The days long, the nights short. The arm wielding the sword hanging by my side. The helmet askew; the head bowed in weariness, and yes, even defeat. The armor stripped off because I am just too wiped out to wear it. The shoes too heavy for my feet.

But from out of nowhere comes a second wind. As Petra sang it so many years ago: “I got my second wind/The Spirit is moving again.” Isaiah 40:28-31 has just happened!

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth Does not become weary or tired. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives strength to the weary, And to the one who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.”  (NASB2020)

The end of myself became the beginning of Him.  The end of my strength became the beginning of His.

Physical. Mental. Spiritual. Weariness touches us all.  But so does the energy of the Spirit. I find myself rejuvenated.

Physically- the weariness gives way to intentional movement.

Mentally- a clarity comes that assesses situations and knows how to act.

Spiritually- The “light goes on” and a fresh wind blows through.

God’s Word is once again true: “Those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength.”

Have a great rest of the week. See you Sunday! I love you all.

Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 10/06/2021

MIDWEEK MESSAGE 78

 

Hello and welcome to Midweek Message 78. As I say each week thanks for letting me into your corner of the world. I don’t ever want to take that privilege for granted. So, again, thanks. 

 

I will admit right up front that some of this will sound a lot like last week. Like rinse and repeat. And no, I didn’t just copy and paste. 🙂  I am so excited about OVCF’s 17th anniversary so I thought I would let you know what we know so far. I shared this with the elders this past Monday night so they are up to date on it as well. Ready? Here we go:

  • OVCF will celebrate our 17th anniversary on October 17th
  • We will have one service at 10:00 AM. 
  • It will be outside with a 40×40 tent erected as close to the shelter as they can get it. That will almost effectively double the space available. 
  • Zach Hogan is graciously providing the stage and sound equipment for us. The stage will be set up on the inside, south side of the shelter.  (Read on for more on that). 
  • Joe Pavich and Ryan East are getting their heads together on Monday, the 11th, to work out the live stream end of things. It will take some extra work, but we feel it is necessary to continue the live stream that morning. 
  • Wayne Akerson, one of our elders and a member of the Building Team, will be giving you an update with some tentative scenarios of our proposed addition.  Please trust me when I say it will be exciting! 
  • The offering that morning will be divided equally between the Building Fund and Missions (unless designated otherwise). 
  • The Nursery and Children’s programs will be as usual. 
  • Immediately following Wayne’s presentation, we will be making our way into the building to have our pitch-in dinner. OVCF is providing the chicken from Chambers restaurant. 

 

HOW YOU CAN HELP!

 

There are several different ways you can help, no matter your ability:

  1. We need people who will volunteer to help set the stage up on Saturday and move the picnic tables out of the shelter. If you are able to help, please see Dick Hogan or give him a call (812.585.2524).
  2. We need folks who will help set up tables and chairs inside on Saturday so they are ready to use Sunday afternoon for the pitch-in.  If interested reach out to me and I’ll let you know the time. 
  3. We need folks who will come Sunday morning at 7:30 to help move and set up chairs and unload equipment (remember those days at Abram Farm?). 
  4. Remember to bring your own chair if you prefer to sit in that. You may find them more comfortable since some of the seating will be ground seating under the tent. (The white chairs will sink)
  5. Sign up for the pitch-in so we have an idea of how much chicken to order. 
  6. Most of all: bring an open heart to worship and one filled with joy for God’s goodness, grace and blessings He has shown us.  Oh yeah. You might also pray for good weather. 🙂 

 

Among all the excitement there is also reality. We have many in our community, in our church fellowship, and friends of ours who are hurting. Let’s not forget them. I know it seems unfair that I would mention one over another but I’ve got a burden for some friends. Many of you had a chance to meet Mike, Trisha, and Ryan Laws in August. Ryan received a kidney transplant from his dad. All was going well until the past couple of weeks. I mentioned Sunday that Ryan’s blood count was dangerously low. Monday night I was texting with Mike and received the following: “Tests results revealed that his counts have dropped even lower…to dangerously low levels. Doctor ordered Ryan to stay home all week. No school or soccer to avoid larger crowds and prevent from contracting anything since his body can’t fight it off. Starts shots tomorrow. Will receive for three consecutive days. The shots should help boost the counts to get them in a safer range. Thank you for keeping Ryan in prayer.”  A few texts later Mike said, “We are praying this is just a bump in the road. God has done mighty work these past 20 months, we are trusting that He will continue to provide. I will keep you updated.”  I’m guessing I don’t need to ask you to pray for them. 

 

And while I’m on that subject: I want to remind you that your elders (Wayne Akerson, Jeff Carlson, David Robertson), as well as Ryan and I, pray for you each month. We started doing that during the pandemic and haven’t stopped. We hope you know how much we love you and care about you. 

 

Let me leave you with something “meaty” this week. Tuesday morning (1:00 a.m.) I was unable to sleep because of some discomfort (my encounter with the car which bruised my hand) and as I sat in my recliner with some ice on my hand, a word came to mind: “Blessed.”  I hear that word a lot. A fellow blogger always ends her comments with “Blessings.” Our sheriff always answers, “I’m blessed” if you ask him how he is doing. Diana has a t-shirt which says, “Blessed and highly caffeinated.” 🙂 Jesus used the word 9 times in Matthew 5 (Beatitudes).  The man who hit me said when he left, “God bless you.”  

 

I wish I had had the wherewithal to say, “He has. He does. He will.” I thought of that a few miles down the road. The truth is: in spite of the pain in life; in spite of the stumbles and falls; in spite of the missteps; in spite of the times of loneliness and feeling of hopelessness and abandonment which sometimes invades our space, we are blessed. 

 

I know I am. In many ways. One of which is to serve as your pastor. Thanks for allowing me to do that.  Love you all.

 

Pastor Bill 

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Midweek Message 09/29/2021

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #77

 

Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #77.  I hope you are having a great week and enjoying the absolutely gorgeous weather we have been having. Thanks for taking a few minutes to read this. 

 

17 ON THE 17TH

 

OVCF is celebrating her 17th anniversary on the 17th of October.  Below is probably the most comprehensive gathering of information in one place. 

 

First off…GREAT NEWS! I announced Sunday that we found a tent. Trust me when I say it was no small task. First, let me answer the obvious question: why a tent, especially when we have a perfectly fine building? To be honest, there was a desire of the staff and many others that we find some way, somehow, to be together as one body that morning. Many will be okay with having two services normally, but there was a real strong desire to have just one that morning. It has been so long since that has happened and we wanted it to be this particular Sunday. Some may be asking why we didn’t go to Abram Farm like we have in the past. Two words: weddings and logistics. October is a full month with weddings at all times of the month, so we chose not to even consider that. Plus, the logistics of getting all our equipment there, having someone do sound, setting up and tearing down just seems so daunting. So with those two factors combined, we decided to celebrate here. However, putting everyone in the current space was going to be really uncomfortable in so many ways. That is when we came up with the idea of having a tent and an outside service. What we didn’t know was how hard it would be to find a tent!! Ryan tried for several days and kept waiting for one organization to call him back. When they finally did (it was a No), he had to bow out because of other commitments. So I started calling around. I kid you not that I called all over the state of Indiana. Indy. Greenwood. Clarksville. Evansville. Terre Haute. The answer was a No each time. We were looking for a 40×60 or larger tent. None were available. We ran into Homecomings. Covered Bridge. Weddings. You name it. Finally, I found one who could rent us a 40×40 from Shelbyville! And yes, you read that right. Smaller tent and Shelbyville. But it was an answer to our prayers so I made the arrangements and Diana worked on the details of the contract.  There are several more incidentals to work out on our end-like where to put the tent which would best suit us; where to put the stage which is being provided; recording it for live stream, etc. BUT WE GOT A TENT!  🙂  Praise the Lord for that. 

 

WOW! That was one long paragraph!!

 

Second, feel free to bring a chair. If you have a camp chair or some chair you are comfortable sitting in (no recliners please…LOL) please plan to bring it. If the weather is agreeable, some of you might even choose to sit outside the tent. The least amount of chairs we have to carry out the better. Plus, they might sink into the ground. 

 

Third, prepare for a pitch-in following the service.  It has been a long time since we had a “full-on” pitch-in. Depending on the weather, we will set up tables inside and under the tent. There is a sign-up sheet on the back table for you let us know what you plan to bring. Chicken will be provided by the church. Chamber’s Restaurant will be making the chicken so we need an estimate of how many to expect. This will be a great time to catch up with people. 

 

Fourth, the Building Team, represented by Wayne Akerson, will be making a presentation of a future building. We want to keep you informed as to what we are thinking and our progress.  We also plan to put it on a “continuous loop” in the auditorium so you can get a visual picture of our thoughts for the future. 

 

Fifth, there will be a fully staffed nursery and children’s programs that morning as well.  

 

Sixth, for those who may not know, our practice has been to take our Easter offering and give it to Missions (unless designated) and our Celebration offering toward the Building Fund. Due to the pandemic, we gave the last 3 offerings to Missions (and God has blessed us immeasurably). The elders have decided to split the 17th anniversary offering equally to Missions and the Building Fund.  As I write this, we have close to $152k in the Building Fund. That speaks volumes about how many of you want a building where we can gather together in one service.  But we plan to build debt-free so every bit helps. 

 

Sixth, invite your family, friends and neighbors to join us. Cards are available at the back table for you to use to pass around. 

 

I’m excited about this special day. One sidelight: my sermon will be “Let Me Remind You” from Mark 14:1-31.  I can already anticipate a long but very satisfying day. I am sure you will want to join us!! 

 

Something other than our 17th Anniversary: I am really appreciative of the Worship Team (WT) stepping up this past Sunday and giving Dick & Vicki Hogan the opportunity to be away. (Besides, Dick also had hand surgery). Many thanks to Zach Hogan who stood in as a replacement for his dad. The rest of the WT also did a phenomenal job leading us in worship. As I say that, I want all who are on the Worship Team from week to week to know that I deeply appreciate your hearts and willingness to lead us into worship. Many Sundays I stop singing to just listen, and I get goose bumps sometimes listening to their voices and yours as praise is lifted to God. Thanks to the WT and to you for your singing. 

 

And I better sign off since I have been long-winded this week. I love you.

 

Pastor Bill 

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OVCF Celebrating 17 Years

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Midweek Message 09/22/2021

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #76

 

Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #76!  Today is considered the first day of Fall. I’m not sure how I feel about that. I’m glad life is moving along (at least for me… 🙂 ) and I know there are many who love the Fall weather, but I have a different “take.”  The first day of Fall means one day closer to Winter and I know I am definitely NOT looking forward to that. But it is what it is so I rejoice I have another day to live.

 

I want to give a shout out to the Connection Women’s Ministry this week. Sally Carlson and Hope East have really worked hard to form a ministry where the women of OVCF can “connect.” They were just getting some “legs” when COVID hit and, of course, that put everything on the backburner. Except…the prayer ministry that Adienne Robertson had started. They were meeting and praying via ZOOM. Now that things have started returning to “normal” the Connections Ministry is trying to gain some steam again. They recently had a Bunco Night which Jasmine St. John did a wonderful job organizing (so I have been told). Future plans include a Ladies’ Night Out planned for October23rd; a pitch-in Brunch on November 20th; and after a break for December, a Coffee and Chocolate get together for January 29th. If my memory serves me correctly (and that could be suspect these days), that was one of the last events they had before COVID shut everything down.  If you want to know more, Diana made cards with all the events and they are on the back table (& bulletin board by the offices).  Way to go ladies!!

 

An event which captures the whole church family is “17 on the 17th.”  OVCF celebrates our 17th anniversary on October 17th.  I mentioned Sunday that we are working really hard to make that happen in one service. Our big hang up has been finding a tent to hold 250. It seems like everyone wants a tent this Fall!!  There is no way we can expect our building to hold that many, especially in these times when people need to feel safer health-wise. Plus, we would not want to be rebranded as Sardines. The Church of the Sardines just does not have the same ring as Owen Valley Christian Fellowship. 🙂  (As an aside: did you know there was a church named “Outbreak Church”?  They changed their name when they reopened after COVID restrictions were lifted. I chuckled about that name. But you have probably already figured out I have a weird sense of humor.) Anyway, we are looking all over for a tent to use that will allow us to meet together.  Would you mind praying about that please?

 

Some more information about that day. The nursery and children’s programs will meet that day. The elders made the decision to split the offering that morning between the Building Fund and Missions, unless designated.  I like the idea. They sense an urgency in making more room so we can worship together as one body, but also the urgency in helping others take the Gospel to those who need Jesus. As of this writing we have $151K+ in the Building Fund! The Building Team is hoping to be able to make some type of presentation that morning so you can see what we are working on. So pray and plan for that day.

 

Monday night I finished reading a book by Joe Dallas called Christians in a Cancel Culture. It was very eye-opening and informative. It really got me thinking.

 

  • First, a definition. The Cambridge Dictionary defines Cancel Culture as “A way of behaving in a society or group, especially on social media, in which it is common to completely reject and stop supporting someone because they have said or done something that offends you.” To take it further, to be cancelled really means to be silenced, forcibly shut down, or completely cut off by a friend or loved one. (p.26)

 

Sadly, this not only happens in culture (need I say more?), it also happens in the church. Those who teach an orthodox view of Christianity are often cancelled by those who want to be more progressive. We are cancelled by the culture because we are “out of step” with what is right and wrong (according to them). Many churches or pastors don’t speak up because they are afraid of offending someone. But Elie Wiesel, former Nazi concentration camp survivor once said, “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” I am convinced that we are being “cancelled into silence” for fear of being written off as radicals. To speak up about and against certain sins is a sure way to be cancelled in our culture. But as Mr. Wiesel hints at, “Neutrality is not an option.”  You have probably heard the saying attributed to Edmund Burke: “The only way for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”  IMHO, the church has three options: 1) Join in. 2) Say nothing. Or 3) Stand up and speak the truth. To me, the first two are not options. Too much is at stake these days (as it has always been). To not tell the truth puts us in the category of someone wanting to pander to culture and be “liked.” It makes us dishonest if we withhold the truth, or are evasive to avoid conflict. Not knowing how much time I have left on this earth, nor how much longer God will wait until He sends Jesus to call His followers home and separate the sheep from the goats, I have really been convicted of my need to speak up for The Truth of God’s Word more boldly when given the opportunity. Now and in the future.

 

What I just wrote will also serve as a preview of my 2022 theme: “For Such a Time…” At this point the first two series will be one called Brave from the book of Daniel and the second one called Truth Decay (Uncompromising truth of God’s Word).  More on that later.

 

Thanks again for allowing me to invade your inbox.  Until the next time, I covet your prayers for my days and ask you to pray for boldness for me. I look forward to seeing you Sunday. You are loved.

 

Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 09/15/2021

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #75

 

Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #75!  It’s always good to meet with you on a weekly basis. I hope your week is going well. We sure have had some beautiful September weather haven’t we?  Sort of makes me sad though. That means Fall is almost here and winter is around the corner.  I know. What a downer. So let’s move on to some good stuff!! 🙂 

 

First, I want to thank all of you who were able to come to the 9/11 memorial for Brett Wood and to honor the men and women who lost their lives on that fateful day. I have not heard an official count (probably never will) but I was so thrilled to look out and see so many people. In spite of the current political climate, that all seemed to be forgotten for at least one hour as we paid tribute to heroes and to one of our own.  The high school choir did an absolutely fantastic job with their song (Mr. Latta does a great job with them doesn’t he?). Perhaps it was “required” for them to be there, but it was so good to see their response to an act of terrorism and heroism which took place before they were even born. The two soloists did a wonderful job. The buglers did a moving Taps rendition. The speakers did a great job, especially Colonel Allen. The display of close to 3000 flags was just mind-boggling. (Did you hear Sharon Barger’s grandson, Nolan, who is attending American University in D.C, texted her to tell her that his university was inspired by Spencer’s display and were going to do the same?)  I had the honor of sitting next to Brett’s brother, Nikk, and when he put the yellow ribbon around the tree was asked to hold the flag which had been presented to him. I was most definitely humbled with that task. About the only thing I can’t comment on was the food provided by the Sheriff’s department. A previous commitment took me away too soon to eat. But I’m guessing it was good. 🙂

 

It was an emotional day for me. I wish I could put my finger on it. I got choked up as I tried to say the pledge and as the choir sang “God Bless America.” They asked us to sing along with them and I was unable to.  I think I have possibly figured out why.  I never served in the military. When I was in college and turned 18 the Vietnam War was raging. I was a freshman in Bible college and went to another city in Kentucky to register for the draft. (It was required). Because I was a ministerial student, I didn’t have to go into the military. (My draft number was also high). Every once in a while I wonder where I would be and what I would be like if I had experienced what so many of our vets experienced. Would I have come home scarred? Would I have come home to a “less than stellar welcome as many of them did?” I will never know. Maybe that is why I am so emotional when I have the chance to honor those who served.  Now you know some of my thoughts. Let me finish by saying I am extremely grateful to live in America, the greatest country to live in, even with all its flaws and foibles.  

 

I told you in the last MM that the elders would be meeting Monday, the 13th, and I would share some news concerning OVCF’s upcoming Anniversary. It is being called “17 on the 17th.” There will be more info coming your way but here is some of what we discussed. 

  • First, it will be on October 17th. Genius I know, but I would like to ask you to put that on your calendar right now so you can make every effort to celebrate with us. 
  • We are making every effort to offer one service that morning. Having two services that morning just does not seem right to the staff and listening to some of you, we are not alone. The elders do not like the idea of two services either. So we are investigating several options for that morning. Stay tuned for more info on that. By the way: if we can accomplish it, the one service will be at 10:00 and you will want to get here early
  • We are having a pitch-in following the service. Chicken will be provided by Chambers’ Restaurant. The rest of the feast will depend on you. A sign-up sheet will be provided for Jimmy & Christine to know how much chicken to prepare, but also for you to let us know what you plan to bring.  
  • Every Easter we give our total offering (except what is designated) to Missions. Every celebration in October our total offering (except what is designated) has gone to the Building Fund (BF). Except for the last three occasions when all three special offerings went to Missions. God has blessed OVCF in so many ways and we feel it is our responsibility to be generous and to give away. As of this writing, the elders have decided to transfer a surplus from our accounts to the BF. (Yes, God has blessed us that well!) That will put the BF at $149,546.07 after the transfer is made! The elders have also decided the offering for our celebration will be split in half-50% to Missions and 50% to the BF.  I, personally, like that idea. It gives us the opportunity to get closer to our goal of expanding, while keeping our eyes on our mission: to connect people to Jesus. I keep reminding myself that Jesus was into people, not buildings (when the disciples marveled about the magnificence of the Temple He said there would come a day when not one stone would be left on top of another). That is a very strong motivation for us to not be in debt over a building. Nothing shoots down the ability to help others like a church owing a lot of debt. I praise God for the foresight of the leaders who have not allowed that to happen here. 
  • Diana has been preparing flyers and cards to advertise the anniversary. There will be extra cards for you to share with friends and family if you would like to invite them. 

 

That’s all for now about “17 on the 17th”. More will be coming as it is available. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact the church office and we will try to answer them if we are able to do so. 

 

One more word about the elders: they love you all and continue to pray for you each month. I am honored to work alongside men who truly care about the church they have been called to help lead. 

 

I’m going to call it a wrap for this week’s edition of MM. I feel I have given you a lot of “food” to chew on this week. I love you all and hope you have a great rest of the week. 

 

Pastor Bill 

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Midweek Message 09/08/2021

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #74

Hello and welcome to MM #74.  Thanks for taking the time to read this. With the holiday on Monday, which already gives a shorter week than normal, and my day off on Friday, which makes it even shorter, I had considered not writing a MM this week. In fact, I told Diana this Tuesday morning that I would probably not do one this week. I think she was surprised. Or maybe that was delight in her eyes since she is my editor and corrector of “all things made right” for the MM. 🙂  

But then I sat here in my office and started thinking about it. Since it is late being written and since Wednesday morning will be busy with a staff meeting, and it might not be ready to send until Thursday, maybe I could call it “Late Midweek Message.” But that sounded…well…not too smart so I nixed that. So here I am, late Tuesday afternoon and soon to be heading home for supper. 

Why the change of mind?

Well, you could say it is the way of a somewhat jumbled old man and I might agree with you a bit. At least today. 🙂  You could say I received a sudden burst of inspiration from “on high” but I’m not sure that is exactly correct. 

So…why the change of mind?

I started thinking about what has happened the past couple weeks and what took place Monday, on the lawn of the courthouse here in Spencer. Jo, Tami, and I went to the memorial for the 13 fallen soldiers in Afghanistan where Ryan White led the memorial service. It was moving. I had never been at a roll call before. 

Then, this afternoon, I started thinking about Saturday. The anniversary of 9/11. You know…that incident we said we would “never forget” but so many have? I can tell you exactly what I was doing when it happened. I was living in Sandusky and three of us men were heading to another city a couple hours away for a seminar on church finances. We talked all the way down oblivious to what had happened. Until… Until we arrived for the seminar and they had it on the big screen. They kept it on as the seminar was taught. I have to admit I remember N-O-T-H-I-N-G from the seminar. But I still remember the images of the planes and the buildings. You know what is sad? I had NO clue what the Twin Towers were at the time. I was oblivious to their significance. I learned soon enough. I sat by the TV for hours in the evening the next day or two hoping and praying they would find people alive. I changed my sermon that Sunday morning and spoke from my heart, and then one year later spearheaded a memorial service at one of the local school auditoriums which involved pastors and churches from all over Sandusky. I cried on 9/11. I cried one year later. I still tear up when I see the planes hit the towers and see them crumble. I am not ashamed to admit that. I tried hard not to cry yesterday at the memorial. There are moms and dads, aunts and uncles, sons and daughters, etc. all over our country crying for their loss.  

And here’s the thing: For all its faults and missteps, this is still the greatest country to live in. IMHO if you don’t like it here go elsewhere and see if you can say and do what you are now saying and doing and get away with it. 

  1. MUST. NEVER. FORGET.

We must never forget 9/11 and the ugliness of hate, especially hate in the name of religion. I realize it would be unfair to categorize all Muslims as hate-mongers, just as it is unfair to categorize all Christ-followers as hate-mongers because we oppose false religions or sinful lifestyles. 

To be totally honest, it does bother me that we have tended to forget 9/11. I’m not saying that we mourn and weep and wail, but we should stop and not forget there were nearly 3000 innocent people who died because of hate. I knew none of them. But I also know I will see some of them someday when I get to heaven and they are there. 

This Saturday at the courthouse there is a memorial service to remember 9/11, but to also remember one of our own soldiers who lost his life in Afghanistan.  The 10th anniversary of Brett Wood’s death is Thursday, the 9th, but he will be remembered with a special ceremony on the 11th.  I can remember that Sunday morning when his casket was escorted from Bloomington by police and motorcycle riders. We stood outside of this building on that morning waiting for the motorcade. His brother, Nikk, accompanied him. Nikk will be deployed (again) on Monday for a year. Nikk is one of our own. He attends OVCF with his family. I have been asked to participate in the service on Saturday. But that is not what is important. What IS important is what I am asking you to do: please make every attempt to come to the service. It will be held at the courthouse by the Doughboy statue starting at 11:00. Show your respect for those who lost their lives on 9/11; for Brett; and your support for Nikk and all our service personnel. 

Let’s not be a community or a people who forget.  I look forward to seeing you there. 

I am proud to be part of a community like Spencer that remembers its fallen and a church who wants to be part of that. I love you all.  Thanks for listening this week.

Pastor Bill

P.S. (totally unrelated) We have an elder’s meeting next Monday. My next MM will be giving you some more information about the upcoming OVCF anniversary in October, “17 on the 17th”. Look for it! 

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Ladies Bunco Night

Ladies!  Please sign up at the info table if you plan to attend!

Friday, September 17th from 5-8 PM

Bring an appetizer to share!

Contact Jasmine St. John: 812-821-4655

 

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Midweek Message 09/01/2021

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #73

Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #73. Do you realize I have said that same phrase for 73 times? I’m thinking I might have to come up with something new. But until I do, I’ll just say, “Thanks for letting me ‘enter’ your day.”

First, I want to thank all of you for your kindness this weekend. I saw it on several occasions. A little bit later in this MM I want to share with you a conversation I had with an old friend Monday night. But I want to draw the attention away from me at this point and focus directly on you. You deserve it. This past weekend was a whirlwind of activity and emotions.

  1. The loss of Lynn Arnett brought out lots of hugs for Madi and Diana. The number of people who came through the funeral home Thursday night and the amount of folks at the funeral on Friday showed that a lot of people loved Lynn, but it also showed the love you have for Madi and Diana and her family. I always like it when there are so many people who come through to speak to the family that I feel totally free to leave. Believe me, there have been times I have stayed through all of the visitation because very few people came to pay their respects. I didn’t want the folks to feel alone or defeated. But there was certainly no worry about that this time. And the meal the ladies put together was absolutely wonderful. Was the family tired? You bet. But the love and care put in by our people was refreshing. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. (From Diana: Yes! Thank you all sooooo much! We are overwhelmed by your kindness! J)
  2. Pastor Ryan’s father went to be with Jesus Friday evening around 9:36. I saw many of you reach out and hug him when you found out. I’m thinking that is what family does. I’m speaking for myself, but those hugs are worth gold when someone is hurting.
  3. You made Mike, Trisha and Ryan feel welcome. Given the suppressed immune system Mike and Ryan have (especially Ryan), they had to wear masks around folks. His nephrologist highly suggested that Ryan wear a mask anytime he is around a crowd inside. But I saw many of you still talking to them and listening to their story and testimony. I know many of you had other plans for the weekend, so I know you were unable to be here. (That means I might not talk to you the next time I see you). I jest, of course. It was recorded so you could watch the live stream if you care to. The second service was a tad shorter than the first due to their “practice” in the first service. 🙂  Thank you so much for making them feel welcome.

 

As for me, it was good to reconnect with them the past 6 months or so after not seeing them for 17 years.  Mike and Trisha attended the church in Sandusky, Ohio that I pastored for a very short time, then they left in the Fall of 2004. Brooklyn, their daughter, was one when they left. Mike has now served with the Dublin, Ohio police force for 17 years. I introduced them to Janna and they began attending the same church. I left Sandusky to come here in November of ’05 and rapidly got involved with my heart here. It wasn’t until Janna told me about Ryan that I reconnected with them.  Now you know the history, in case you wondered, “How in the world does Bill know them?”  I guess it is true that you never know whom you might influence and connect with.

Here are a couple of items you can put in your memory bank because we will revisit them:

  • Don’t forget “17th on the 17th!” OVCF will celebrate her 17th anniversary on October 17. Please put that on your calendar and plan to come join us. Unfortunately, due to space we will still have to have two services, BUT we do plan for a pitch-in following the second service. We are brainstorming some ideas for that day so more info is to come. I can tell you my sermon for that day is Let Me Remind You from Mark 14. Please plan to celebrate with us that morning.
  • As much as it pains me to say, we are keeping an eye on the whole COVID thing again. The recent uptick in cases has put OC in the orange. At the beginning of last year’s fiasco, we told you that we wanted to be safe. At this point, we are good to go. The elders will be meeting September 13th for our monthly meeting and that will be a point of discussion. Would you please pray for us as we seek God’s plan for us?

 

My last thought to share comes from a conversation I had with an old friend (as in time not age) on Monday night.  I had texted him about a book I thought he had at one time and wondered if he would consider selling it to me. I was speaking with someone who has a “bucket list” desire of hiking the Appalachian Trail.  This book was about a man named Bill Irwin, who hiked the trail. Oh, did I mention he was blind and did it with his guide dog? Anyway, he decided to call since he was driving home from Indy. We talked for 20 minutes. Our conversation ranged from the book, to COVID, to why I got the vaccine, and to a situation and people we are both familiar with. He said something to me in the course of our conversation about the latter subject which stuck with me. He said this: “Bill, I don’t know the church you pastor but I sure hope they are praying for you. It is an ugly world out there (especially morally) and you need all the prayers you can get. Satan wants to destroy the church and you.” That is not verbatim, except for the italicized part.  He is right. I am asking. No, I am begging you to pray for me. Daily. I am asking you to bombard heaven with prayers for me-my marriage, my family, my health, my shepherding, my leadership, but most of all, that my love for Jesus will burn hot. No one knows how much time they have left on the earth, but I do know that whatever time I do have I want my life to be lived for Him.  I want to stand firmly on the truth of God’s Word. I want to be bold in my proclamation of Him, especially from the pulpit. And I want to be an example to others.

Thanks for reading my ramblings this week. I pray you have a good rest of the week. Love you all much.

 

Pastor Bill

 

 

 

 

 

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