Category: OVCF News

Midweek Message 11/25/2020

midweek message #36

Hello and welcome to an early edition of the Midweek Message. I had thought about not doing one this week but after last week’s lengthy MM, I thought I would add this one and just get it out early.

I think we are all tired of a lot of things right now.  The virus and all the life changes it is bringing about. The political arena and its mess. The economic upheaval as we “watch” the market fluctuate, unsure of what is to come. The realization that some will truly suffer this Thanksgiving and we feel like our hands are tied. To top it off I suspect many of us don’t feel like being thankful.  Well…my plan for this MM and my hope is that it will give you something to hope in and be grateful for.

Over the past two weeks in my sermon, I have emphasized four reasons why we can be thankful for God’s blessings. I’d like to start out by reiterating them for you:

  1. God’s blessings are numerous and varied. God’s blessings are as different as you and I are. We are not cookie cutters, all alike, and all blessed the same way.
  2. God’s blessings are beyond what we deserve. When someone asks me how I’m doing I will often answer, “Better than I deserve.”  I am continually amazed and astounded at the richness of God’s blessings on my life.
  3. God’s blessings are poured out on the just and the unjust. This is hard for some to understand but it is true. Don’t compare-focus on the way we have been blessed.
  4. God’s blessings have a purpose. No follower of Christ was ever meant to keep God’s blessings to himself. I have a saying: “Blessed to bless.”

 

And keep in mind that sharing your blessings doesn’t mean it has to be money. It can be a smile. A compliment. A kind word.  Go old school and send a note in the mail. The important thing is that we make an effort to share our thanks with someone else by blessing them.

I recently read an article entitled Pastors, Choose Gratitude Over Grumbling.  Obviously it was directed to pastors, especially those who pastor contentious churches. People choose to take sides in the way the church is “run;” the direction it is going; even in politics. He concluded his article by giving eight practical ideas to spur gratitude for the church where God has placed the pastor. I want to modify them some to make them applicable to us all. So here are seven practical ideas which you can use to be grateful for and express that thanks to God:

  1. Recall God’s faithfulness and power throughout OVCF’s history. I know some of you do not know our history but God has been with us since our beginning in 2004. We would not be where we are today if not for His blessings. Through floods. Through the temporary meeting place to making this building available. Through struggles and joys, He has always been there.
  2. Thank God for His salvation. There is no greater gift given to us than this. Jesus dying on the cross for our sins and the salvation it brings is worth our praise alone. What a huge gesture on God’s part!
  3. Observe how God is at work and thank Him for it. Even something like a virus can’t stop God’s work. Take stock of how this time has caused you to grow and mature.
  4. Take time out of your day to pause and thank God for the little things that come your way. The kind word of a friend. The hug of a child. The kiss from a spouse. Your job. It just takes recognizing the little things.
  5. Tell others about God’s goodness to you. Even over the past 9-10 months we still can find something to be thankful for. Share it with a friend. Make sure your family is aware of God’s faithfulness and goodness.
  6. Talk with others about how they are doing. Don’t isolate yourself from others. I have found that when I am “down” sharing with others or spending time with others alleviates that. I come away refreshed. There are ways to do that if not in person.
  7. Redirect your heart away from grumbling and complaining. The enemy (Satan) wants to use any opening to get into your head and heart. Number your blessings. Don’t allow those negative thoughts to find a home.

 

That’s all I have to say for this week. Short. Positive. Encouraging. So I’ll close with this: I am so grateful to be your pastor. Many of you don’t know it but this past week was the anniversary of my first official week in 2004. I have never regretted coming to the small town of Spencer. There have been highs and lows; ups and downs; people coming and people leaving. Some have visited and stayed, while others have visited and never returned. Some have gone to other churches and sadly, some have left and gone nowhere. But that is church life. In reality, that is life…period. I have learned the best thing I can do is to serve the people God has given me, to shepherd them as best I can. So this Thanksgiving, I will be sending up a huge “thank you” to God for you.  Thank you for the privilege of serving you. I love you all.

One more thing: last week I mentioned about looking into a “masked” service.  Response has been positive. If you are interested, please let me know.

Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 11/18/2020

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #35

 

These are crazy times aren’t they? There is one thing we can say for sure. Life sure isn’t boring, is it?  Take this past Sunday, for example. After about 6 weeks of all virtual we finally got back to in person worship. That first Sunday saw 88 people make their way here. It slowly and steadily grew into the 90s but then we were able to open the children’s wing for classes and we found ourselves hitting the 120s. Still below pre-COVID by a lot but at least we were making our way back. Then this past Sunday all virtual again. Thanks for adjusting for that.

If you tuned in Sunday you heard why. Thursday, the 5th, Diana and I met with some ladies outside at the MyPath pavilion. Tuesday we learned that one of them tested positive for COVID, so we decided to be cautious and quarantine. It was decided I would preach on Sunday with only three people here-Ryan, Jo and me.  That new equipment worked well and I hope you were able to tune in and listen.

So what now? The elders met last night (Monday) to figure that out.  We remain committed to upholding the values we established earlier this year:

  • We want to be safe.
  • We want to learn as we go and continually improve.
  • We want to follow the rules.
  • We want to go slow as we ramp up.
  • We will continue live streaming.

 

IMHO we have done fairly well with those. We have maintained that if you are in the high risk or vulnerable group that you either consider watching live stream or wear a mask. At the meeting I presented an article I found which asked what should churches do now that COVID is spiking again?  The main reason I did that is to ask: Do we need to take a step back?   The answer: yes and no. Here is what we decided:

  1. We will have two services in person this Sunday and continuing forward. We believe gathering together is so sacred that we need to keep the in person option open.
  2. We will do our best to honor the capacity limit of 50 people each service/area based on our county metric being ORANGE right now. We will not turn anyone away. If we exceed that limit, we may add additional service times to alleviate our crowding.
  3. We will continue to arrange seating, as we have been, to allow for appropriate social distancing.
  4. Although we will not make it a requirement, we encourage the use of masks, especially for those who are at high risk or have an increased vulnerability. We love to see everyone but if you are in the high risk or vulnerable group or unsure about participating, please consider joining us for the live stream services.

 

None of the leaders is in favor of not having in person service. We will do everything we can to accommodate what will allow us to meet in person.

 

In fact, here is something we tossed around (an idea given to us by someone): We would like to try a “masks required” service (a service where everyone wears a mask) on a different day/time of the week. It may be scaled down some but it will at least give some folks the chance to see others. Are you interested in that? Please let me know:

  • What day or night works for you?
  • How often would you like to meet?
  • Would you be okay with a scaled down service that might not include the Worship Team?

 

And one more thing on that: the youth program WILL meet this Sunday at 10:45. The teachers can’t wait to see their students again.

I have to put a plug in here for Ryan. When we knew we were going online only this past Sunday, Ryan decided to do the same for the Sunday night ROOTS youth group. The attendance was about half but I appreciate Ryan’s heart to not go rogue, but also to creatively have something for the teens.

I was not going to have a MM next week due to Thanksgiving but with the length of this one, I was unable to include some information. Look for a MM message the early part of next week. I guess I could call it the EMM (Early Midweek Message).

Thanks for understanding and “going with the flow” this past Sunday. It has been said that OVCF has always been a church that adapts well. We have had to do that with floods and construction. And now we can say that about COVID. I’m honored to be the pastor of such fantastic people and to serve alongside some good men who truly love Jesus and OVCF.  Love you all!

Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 11/11/2020

MIDWEEK MESSAGE 34

 

Good morning and welcome to MM #34!  I hope you are having a great week so far and that the rest of the week is even better.  Okay…so where to start? Well, I can promise you this: it will not be politics.  Tell you what. Let’s make a deal.  Let’s leave all that junk behind during this MM and talk about some good things.

The past few MMs I have tried to focus on people who are making a difference.  I have told you about the teachers and helpers in our youth department.  I wrote about how some of our young people are taking the initiative and helping our youth program by leading in worship during their group time.  I told you about the two ladies who make sure our youth sign in area is running smoothly. And last week I mentioned to you about the individuals who are helping in the live stream area. This week I want to draw your attention to the other “unsung” heroes on Sunday mornings.

  • Did you know that every week I send an outline of my sermon to Diana, Ryan Spires (who still puts content on our website) and hand-deliver one to Jo? I’m guessing you can probably figure out why I do that. 🙂 Every week Jo sits in front of the computer and types my outline on Power Point slide after Power Point slide. She does the same for all the songs we sing. She proofs it over and over to make it right. Even Tami has helped some. I think she is fantastic! (No bias there). Week after week she does all the typing and except for help occasionally from Kathleen Glaser Armacost and Tami, she is there every week for both services.  Fun fact: I have occasionally said, “Hon, please put up the next slide” and it wasn’t her…it was Kathleen! I sure am glad Gary is a good guy!
  • Every week several people run the sound board. Times have changed and with new technology they may think they are not as important, but I disagree! After all, they control my mic. (Now that is scary!) Thanks Ray, Linda, Macy, Vicki, and Emily (a newbie)!
  • I’m betting I forgot someone so look for an apology next week. LOL

 

Every week there are some forgotten people. They are those who tune in online and watch the live stream. It is easy to forget them as “out of sight out of mind” but that would not be fair. They stay home for various reasons. I know some who have jokingly (least I hope it is) commented they really enjoy watching church from their recliner, in their pajamas, and a bowl of cereal in their lap. I hope it isn’t in their lap but in their bowl. Others are watching because of health reasons. I know some who are watching because they are unable to come so far. My friend, Dave from Arizona, is one of them. I also know there are some who prefer to stay home due to Covid.  All are legitimate reasons (except maybe the recliner one 🙂 ) but truthfully, I am glad to see there are those who watch. That is why live streaming is here to stay. I miss seeing the folks on a personal basis but respect their wishes and it warms my heart to know they still care enough to watch. I long for the day when we can all rejoice together again.

We have been through a lot in 2020. If you don’t mind, I’d like to share some thoughts with you from Dr. Lee Warren, a brain surgeon and a podcaster I listen to. The book of Habakkuk in the OT is a very short but powerful book. Habakkuk asks the same questions we all have asked sometime in the past, in the present, or may in the future: Why? and How long?  Here are six helpful lessons I gleaned from Dr. Warren’s podcast;

  1. God’s ways are different than ours, but we can trust Him.
  2. God is always in control, even in times of great chaos and confusion.
  3. God always wants what’s best for us, but sometimes getting there is really hard.
  4. Our job is not to always understand HOW God works, but to trust that He IS working on our behalf all the time.
  5. We can never find peace or joy in circumstances, only through faith.
  6. We get frustrated when we think God should work on our timeline, but we get peace when we relax and realize His timing is always perfect.

 

If you take the time to read Habakkuk you will notice he wants answers to his questions. I’m going to be honest: being patient and waiting is not a strong suit of mine. I’ve gotten better as I’ve matured but it sure is taking a long time! I think the lesson we can learn is important. We have no control over things in our life-daily routine, spouse, children, world events, you name it- but we know the One who does. I figure it’s time to trust Him with my daily life and the outcome of every day. Any takers with me?

On a more serious note: with the recent outbreak of Covid in our community, we have decided it is wiser to cancel our Thanksgiving meal for the safety of all involved.  Maybe Christmas will be different!  I love you all.

 

Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 11/04/2020

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #33

Good morning and welcome to MM #33!  I appreciate you taking some time from your busy day to cozy up and read this.

It sure is hard to believe Thanksgiving will be here in just a few weeks. Even amidst the year we have had time still seems to fly right on by us.  This came home to me even more as I have been working on sermons. I finished my two sermons involving Thanksgiving and have been working on my Christmas sermons.  Now, that will get you wired!  Christmas already?  Yep, in less than two months.  6 ½ weeks. 51 days. Sorry I don’t know the amount of hours, minutes and seconds. The math taxed my brain to figure out the weeks and days.  🙂  Anyway, time flies by us. I guess that is why one of my philosophies to enjoy life while I can. Make the best of it now. No, I’m not espousing my best life is now. I am saying that we need to live life fully and abundantly as Jesus said we could.  (John 10:10)

One of the “most fun” things I have done over the past couple of years is the Real Men Read program.  It was sponsored by the United Way in Bloomington. They asked for men to read to Kindergarten classes. Ryan was the first of us when he started reading to Cara King’s class at MCES.  He liked it so well I thought I would try it. I have been reading to Mrs. Lee’s class at SES for the past 3 years. The RMR program was suspended this year in Owen County (for some crazy virus thing) so I contacted Mrs. Lee about reading on my own. Tami, our daughter, is a Kindergarten teacher so she has plenty of books I can borrow and Mrs. Lee said that it sounded like a great idea. We have had to make some changes, like I had to read outside the first time. It has been cancelled several times for various reasons (one of them because it was raining) but today (Tuesday) I am scheduled to read. It has to be outside, which I am okay with. That may be sort of tough to do in the winter months though.  🙂  So I will enjoy it while I can.  Maybe I can do “Frosty the Snowman” one of those days!!  Given how cold it might be maybe I could find a book about Frosty and his popsicles. Okay…I can see you rolling your eyes as you read.  But then again, maybe I gave you a chuckle at my lame attempt at humor.

The past few weeks I have tried to focus on the youth area and highlight them some. This week I’d like to begin a couple of weeks focusing on some adults. During the pandemic when we were shut down, we were just one of many churches who were not ready for broadcasting our services. But that first Sunday, Tami took her iPhone and broadcast to our FB group. I heard I was like a bad Japanese movie- the audio and video were not in sync. Each week Tami worked hard at making it better and she succeeded. I was still like a bad Japanese movie. An actor I’m not. 🙂 Then someone donated money to buy some new equipment and the quality changed overnight. First, thanks to the person who made the donation! Second, I owe a big, huge shout out to Ryan for getting the equipment up and running! He was way out of his comfort zone when we started this. I can’t say enough about how Ryan persevered, wanted to give up, then kept going. Until…Joe Pavich stepped up to the plate. Man, Joe was a lifesaver. He saved Ryan’s sanity. And he saved a lot of headaches. Each week it improved. Joe trained Karen Turner to do the live stream and she now does the first service.  Austin, whom Ryan met while doing ministry at the high school, is now involved in helping with the second service. So my shout out this week goes to those involved in the streaming of our weekly services. Thanks Ryan, Joe, Karen and Austin!

One last thought: I mentioned earlier than I have been working on Christmas sermons. My theme is A Grand Production. (Every time I type that my fingers want to do “Grandi” instead of Grand. Why is that?) It hit me this morning how appropriate the Christmas message is. Today, Tuesday, is voting day.  I have no clue how it will turn out. Neither do you.  I would ask two things though: First, we all remain civil to each other even though we may disagree on our choices. Second, we pray for our country no matter the results. Only God can bring the spiritual revival which is needed. But what struck me as I worked on my sermon this morning was how relevant and how the Christmas message of “Peace on earth” is so desperately needed. And just think: we have the story to share.  There is no question our country is in an upheaval.  Hate speech. Mean acts. Vitriolic words. Cities burning. Peoples’ lives taken for granted.  I wrote a blog about what Jesus has done for E.VE.R.Y.O.N.E. because to Him All Lives Matter.  I based it on Romans 10: 9-17 where it uses the word “Everyone” twice and the word “All” once.  The love of Jesus is for all people-no matter their class, color, creed, political persuasion, lifestyle, status, job, or lot in life. He loves each one and offers His peace to all.  My prayer for you, for me, for our world, is to come to Jesus, the only One who can give the meaning to life so many crave.

Well, I’ll step off my soapbox and say thanks for reading.  I hope you have a great rest of the week. I say this seriously: I love you.

Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 10/28/2020

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #32

 

Good morning and welcome to Midweek Message #32. It sure has been an eventful time hasn’t it? Jo and I went to the Owen County Chamber of Commerce Annual “Banquet” that wasn’t a banquet at the Tivoli Monday night. This community sure is blessed with some super people. Aaron LaGrange was pictured as Wolverine (it was super hero night) and honored for his work with Backpack Buddies. In his short speech he mentioned those who are part of his “inner three” and one of them was our own Linda St. John.  Also, while Marce King was giving a very good overview of this past year, she talked about the Back to School Expo that was moved from the Middle School to the Fairgrounds. She recognized OVCF for its donation to the Chamber for the purchase of supplies.  In the past around 400 backpacks with school supplies were given away. This Expo gave away over 600+ packs! I was honored to help on that day but was really proud of the church when we were mentioned.  And to top off the evening I had the chance to meet one of Tami’s high school friends and a friend who represented Duke Energy. When they found out about Backpack Buddies, they presented Aaron a check for $2000 to help. That was a phenomenal gesture to benefit a program for 1 out of 5 kids in Owen County who would go without food on the weekends and school breaks.

 

Speaking of youth, I want to highlight a few.

  • First, I owe an apology to Hannah Pendleton. When I was praising the teachers and helpers in our youth area in last week’s MM, I did not know Hannah had helped the previous Sunday. So I humbly apologize and grovel for forgetting to mention Hannah. Is that good enough Hannah? 🙂 And no, she graciously said nothing. I told her mom ahead of time.
  • Second, did you know that every Sunday some of our teenagers lead the young people in worship? No? Well you should know that Gracie and Mollie Wainscott, Emily Wyatt, Micah Nally and Justin Chandler (runs the Power Point for them) do that. They come early on Sunday afternoons to practice before Roots and then early on Sunday mornings to set up. I love that our teens are involved in such a meaningful way. Thank you teens for leading the way!
  • Third, each week two ladies help at the check in desk. They may not be young people, but the fact they are helping in the youth area classifies them as such. (You can pay me later MJ and Kori). Mom and daughter make sure all the children and parents are taken care of every Sunday by checking them in and giving them their name tags. Some may not think it is important but not this guy! Nor Ryan! Nor any parent who has children entrusted to us on Sunday morning. Thank you MJ and Kori for being consistent and steady in your appearance and ministry.

 

I’d like to let you know of something which is developing. In the past we have offered a Thanksgiving meal at the Lion’s Club from 11-1:00 on Thanksgiving Day. Covid has changed a lot of things and one of those is the meal this year. We have decided to only offer delivery or curbside pick-up at OVCF this year. I will miss the personal interaction that we had with folks who came to eat lunch with us, but this is a good alternative for this crazy year. However, this may not happen at all. Unless someone steps up as a coordinator for the meal by Wednesday, November 3rd, we will have to cancel the meal. Jo, Tami and I will be in Ohio for Thanksgiving (Wednesday through Friday) so we will be unable to be involved on that day. We will be willing to help get you started and I will work with the person who steps up to be in charge of delivery. That really doesn’t leave much time but it can be done!! So if you are reading this and would be willing to oversee the meal, please let me know ASAP. We (Jo & I) plan to coordinate the Christmas breakfast so that meal is covered.

 

Operation Christmas Child is in full mode (more boxes are available). The church is donating money to Tri Kappa for their “Christmas Shopping for Kids” program. Christmas breakfast will happen (unless something alters that plan) and we plan to give bags of food to those who need them.

 

Here is some great news!  Our offering last week (Anniversary Sunday) was over $4800. We divided the money evenly between Operation Heal Our Patriots, Dottie’s Refuge (a local women’s ministry), and a clinic in Liberia, where Frog is working hard to get the clinic open. Thank you so much for being so generous.

 

This Sunday’s sermon is on “What about Searing Loss?”  I’d love to have you check in-either in person or online.  Until then, know you are loved.

 

Pastor Bill

 

 

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OVCF Community Thanksgiving lunch

OVCF Community Thanksgiving lunch has been cancelled for everyone’s safety.

 

 

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Midweek Message 10/21/2020

Midweek message #31

 

Good morning and welcome to a new MM.  I don’t know if you are still liking this or not, but I do want to thank you for allowing me to drop by into your inbox.  Even if I go into Junk Mail I guess that is better than being rejected completely.  I have a very fragile ego, you know. 🙂  Anyway, I do hope your week is going well. The weather sure has changed hasn’t it? Like almost overnight.  We sure needed the rain though and even though it put a crimp in my reading to Mrs. Lee’s Kindergarten class Monday (and my planned ride afterwards),  I was glad to hear that sound on the roof of my house and the church building.

 

Sunday was a big day for OVCF. We have been together as a church family for 16 years. It was a fun day. I was glad to have Wayne give an update on the Facts & Figures side of things, our Building Fund, and our Mission giving.  Hope and Sally talked about the Connections Women’s Ministry.  Dawn introduced the kickoff for Operation Christmas Child {Side note: most of the boxes were taken! That is fantastic so look for more to be available this week}.   Ryan gave us a great report about the youth program from pre-pandemic to now. Then I was excited to share what is happening in the future.  In case some of you are unable to watch the video due to computer issues or were unable to catch all the details, I hope you don’t mind a short recap from me.

  1. There will be no Fall Day of Service due to the safety and hesitation of some people. But we still want to serve our community. So we are offering the Thanksgiving lunch by delivery and curbside pick-up. (We promise we won’t try the Frisbee delivery system) 🙂  I still need a coordinator for that!
  2. We will do the same for the Christmas breakfast. Along with that we will offer bags of groceries to those picking up or accepting delivery.
  3. We will not be doing the Giving Tree this year but will, instead, be giving money to Tri Kappa to help with their “Christmas Shopping for Kids” project this year. They buy for children whose names have been given to them through the school. There are various reasons for our actions this year, but at least for this year we will be partnering with a local organization to make Christmas special for children in need.
  4. The Building Team meet on 10/12, the first time since the pandemic shut things down. We are exploring options for adding space and will be brainstorming some on 11/9. Your prayers would be much appreciated.

 

My comments Sunday were all focused around two intangibles:

  • Our Mission: To Connect People to Jesus
  • Our Vision:
  • Be passionate pursuers of Jesus
  • Be models of truth and love
  • Be involved in our community

 

Then I made this statement and our whole morning showed this to be true:

 

“IF YOU CAN EXPLAIN WHAT’S GOING ON, GOD DIDN’T DO IT”

 

There is no logical explanation for how OVCF has come through and thrived as we have navigated our way through this crisis which has gripped us all and affected each of us in some way. The only explanation I have can be found in Ephesians 3: 20-21:  “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think {My addition: “or imagine”}, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever, Amen.”

 

If you would like to get a better picture of what all was said yesterday by everyone, I’d like to encourage you to check out the church’s FB page or YouTube channel.  Oh, and don’t be overwhelmed by the time stamp on the YouTube video. They combined both services into one video. Yikes! A three hour service!! Double yikes!! I’ve been accused of liking to talk but that is sort of much. Anyway, you can slide the button on YouTube and catch either the first or the second service.

 

I’d like to give a big shout-out to the adults and their helpers who have been teaching the youth during our 10:45 service since we opened that area one month ago.  A huge shout-out to Jasmine St. John and Stacy Wood for teaching the pre-school age. Kaedence Beckwith has also been a helper. JuliAnne Wiegand and Erin Pendleton have been teaching the Elementary class Age 6 through Grade 3. Their helper was Gracie Wainscott.  Terrie MacMorran and Steve Pendleton have taught the Elementary students Grades 4-6. Helpers have been Cooper and Cammie King.  What a tremendous blessing they have been so a great big Yip-yip goes out for them!

 

I’ve come to the end of my page limit for the MM. I have enough room to tell you that I love you all and to have a great rest of the week!

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Midweek Message 10/14/2020

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #30

 

Well, good morning!  Welcome to MM #30!!  You may be wondering how in the world I can find things to say and keep this going.  If you think that then you don’t know me! 🙂 Jo says I have no trouble not saying things or finding things to comment on. And she thinks she knows me. *shoulder shrug*.  Anyway, I have some really important things to share with you this week so I hope you will hang in there with me to the end.

 

I am totally stoked about this Sunday. It is OVCF’s 16th Anniversary as a church family. A lot has happened since 2004. I’m sure those who are still here from its beginning would concur. But this Anniversary will be different than years past. In past years we have tried to view it as a celebration followed by a pitch-in. The latter is a no-go due to current circumstances, but I also have decided to take a different approach for the morning.  In the past it has usually been Ryan and me tag-teaming the morning and talking about our Mission and Vision. But Covid has changed a lot of things, one of which is the church scene.  So with the title of “What about OVCF?” I decided to do more of a State of the Church Address. Where does OVCF stand currently? What are some of our plans? How has God blessed us? What are the plans for the Connections Women’s Ministry program? What about Operation Christmas Child this year? What are the young people doing and how is the youth program going? Obviously, I am not able to answer all those questions so I have enlisted help. So you are actually going to hear from several different people during the morning. (And they have promised me to stay in the 3-5 minute range. J But you can put those stopwatches away).

 

My thoughts will be centered on the phrase I mentioned to you in MM #27: “If you can explain what’s going on, God didn’t do it.” I’m excited for what God has on the horizon for us. Obviously, I have no idea what that is. But I want to be prepared for it as best as possible.  Here’s the kicker: while we can wait and pray and pray and wait for God to do His work, it is also important for us to put forth some effort. So I’m going to use my time to present (in short order) some church growth strategies that cost zero dollars. ZERO dollars!!  Believe it or not there is such an “animal” and I can’t wait to share them with you.

 

There are also some things we will be doing which benefit our community.  B-u-u-u-u-u-t you will have to wait for Sunday to hear what one of those ideas is.  But here is another:  Let me preface it with this. Every week Sarah Hicks, one of the administrative assistants from the Owen County Chamber of Commerce (OCCC), takes this MM and posts it on the Chamber website. I did not ask her to do that; she volunteered from the very beginning. So I’d like to turn it around for a moment.  The OCCC of which I am a board member works hard for the Spencer community and Owen County. Covid has taken a bite out of several ideas but they have worked hard to get around them. For example: the Back to School Expo was always held at the Middle School. This year it was held at the OC Fairgrounds and was a rousing success with over 600 backpacks filled with school supplies given away (and OVCF donated money for supplies). The Chamber is all about Owen County.  Every October an annual banquet is held where the participants have a ton of fun but also honor some local heroes. The banquet also offers a silent auction, but that is not possible this year. In fact, the banquet is at the Tivoli and limited to 150 patrons. So to make up for the lack of a silent auction, they are sponsoring a Super Hero 5K from October 1st -November 20th.  You sign up and then you have the time between those two dates to complete walking, running or biking your 5K.  For more info or to register online go to myowencounty.chamber.com.

 

Monday night, the 12th, the Building Team met. I have some exciting news to share with you at the anniversary. So does Wayne, one of our elders. You WILL NOT want to miss his presentation for sure! I think you will be humbled by God’s goodness to us, just as I have been.

 

Finally, an FYI for you: I will finish my Q & A series on November 22.  I’ll then begin a series focused on the Christmas story. Amazing isn’t it? Christmas is in about 2 months!! Due to the strange year we have had it sure seems like just yesterday we were celebrating Christmas. Then again…maybe you feel like it has been forever.  I will begin 2021 (please hurry up and get here so we can shut the door on 2020) with a series on Ecclesiastes I’m calling Life Matters. Following that I’m preparing to preach a series from the Gospel of Mark.  But as they say in commercials: the Mark series is subject to change. 🙂

 

Thanks for taking the time to read this MM. I seriously appreciate you doing that. I hope it keeps you up-to-date. I’ll look forward to seeing you this week-in person or online.  Never forget: you are loved more than you know.

 

Pastor Bill

 

 

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Midweek Message 10/04/2020

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #29

 

Hi there my friends! Welcome to MM #29. Diana will be out of the office for a few days as she and Jim celebrate their anniversary so I thought I would work to get this to you sooner. She and I had several conversations this past week about our (all three of us) work during the pandemic and how instead of it “ticking down” our work actually “ramped up.” That is not bragging nor meant to be taken as though we are looking for pats on the back, but all three of us continued doing what we always did with a little more added on. We kept our regularly scheduled office hours and then some. Again, that is not so we can be patted on the back. We did what we all felt needed to be done to keep you (the church) updated and informed. It led to the three of us reacting differently to the daily pressure the virus brought. She is taking a well-deserved vacation away from me and Ryan. 🙂

 

The next week, the 12th to the 14th Ryan will be taking a few days for some family time. Ryan gets a break from me and Diana. Hmmm. The common denominator for taking a break from someone is…Me. Do you think they are trying to say something? 🙂

 

Sunday, the 18th, is OVCF’s 16th anniversary. It most certainly will be different from previous anniversaries due to the restrictions still in place but that does not mean we cannot find a silver lining in the day. We will be having two services due to space limitations instead of one service (which we like to do on that day). We will not be having a pitch-in meal. That is a real bummer since I like those!! LOL I’ve titled my sermon “What about OVCF?” and plan to bring you up to date on how we weathered the past 8 months. Diana has done a great job of helping me out with attendance and offering figures so I can share an accurate report.  I also have planned several other items which are still in the works. Keep in mind our offering that day will be given away. More next week. I look forward to seeing you there.

 

I waited until the end to share something with you that is on my heart.  I’d like to share a personal story with you then make an application. When I was at a church as their pastor it came time for me to leave. Jo’s father had died and I knew she wanted to be closer to her mom. I told her I would start looking. Unfortunately, nothing opened up. I was unhappy being “forced” into more of a CEO role in the church. I was and am a pastor-a shepherd-not a CEO.  (Thankfully, that movement has largely died out except for those who are of the megachurch variety). But a movement was underfoot that would eventually terminate my ministry there. I resigned at the suggestion of a very dear friend. I reacted pretty well at first but when the questions started, I didn’t react very well at all. I particularly blamed one man. As time moved on I did not know Tami, my oldest, was affected the way she was until she told me and I helped her write a letter asking forgiveness from this man for the way she felt. His reaction was the opposite of what I thought was good and I left there with some very strong animosity. But living elsewhere afforded me the chance to remove myself from people who fed that and also gave me time to heal. Part of that healing was sending a letter to him apologizing for my actions and thoughts. He never responded back but I was free-from my own prison and free from wishing ill-will on him.

 

The Bible is very clear on what should be our response to our enemies or people we don’t care for. “Pray for them” is what Jesus said and modeled. “Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing,” were His words on the cross. It blows we away the vitriol and hate-speech from those who supposedly are open-minded and “loving people.” When RBG died I did not cheer. When the atheist, Stephen Hawking died, I did not cheer. In the case of the former, I prayed for her family to be comforted, because I knew as a Jew she did not accept Jesus as the Messiah, the One whom she would be standing before. I could not cheer. I could not cheer the death of an atheist who would be standing before the God whom he said did not exist. It really does not matter to me what you think of President Trump, but to cheer his and Melania’s Covid diagnosis is beyond decent. To hope he dies as some have tweeted (even using the “f” word) is simply beyond the pale of common sense and decency. (BTW: where is FB & Twitter when stuff like that is said?) Politics aside, I don’t wish anyone I know or don’t know or disagree with to get this disease. Instead of rejoicing in the news, why not pray for the man and his family? He does have a son you know?  I don’t agree with homosexuality but I certainly don’t hope someone catches AIDS. That is ridiculous! It is high time we stop shooting arrows of hate and start shooting arrows of respect, decency, and love.

 

As followers of Christ we need to be different. We need to follow our Savior’s example. Be an answer; not a problem.  Point people to Jesus, the One who is the solution. I love you all.  Have a great week.

 

Pastor Bill

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Connections Women’s Ministry at OVCF

Ladies:  You will be receiving a letter and survey regarding our Connections Women’s Ministry at OVCF.  Please return surveys to OVCF, by mail or in the basket we’ll have at the info table.  Please see Sally Carlson (812-821-4792) or Hope East (812-585-1693) if you have questions.

 

 

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