Category: OVCF News

Midweek Message 05/05/2021



Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #56. I’m so glad to have this chance to visit with you. I hope your week is going well. If not, then I hope today’s “Hump Day” (don’t cue in that stupid GEICO commercial) will start a change in your week. I have a lot of different “stuff” for you to think about in this edition of the MM. I’m hoping there is something for everyone.

This Sunday is Mother’s Day (MD)!  I’m looking forward to spending the day honoring the woman who has put up with me for almost 48 years (June 16).  Her MD present has already been bought and used several times. So I’m off the hook of trying to figure out what to get her. 🙂 I can tell you though that she is most certainly looking out for you all.  (This is a “tell on Bill confession”).  A couple of weeks ago we were in bed when she asked me what I was going to preach on for MD. Oops! I had developed my “Eyes Wide Open” series and forgot to leave a special one for MD. So I came to the office the next morning and immediately made some changes in my sermon schedule and inserted one on mothers…the one I will preach this Sunday. Whew! She sure saved me from a last minute, “Oh no!” then a frantic pace trying to write a sermon at the last minute. And she saved you from a half-baked prepared sermon.

I am so excited to be working with the elders (Wayne Akerson, Jeff Carlson, and David Robertson) of OVCF.  Some people have the mistaken idea, usually because of previous experience, that the church is “run” by the pastor or pastors. What he/they say goes. They wind up almost like a dictator. OVCF is not “run” that way. We would say Jesus is our Head and the elders and pastors work together. In previous MMs, I would tell you how the elders are praying for you.  Monday night in the elders meeting, I said it had been 6 months since we implemented praying for all of you. For those unaware of what I’m talking about: I divide up the directory (this time into 19 names) and “assign” the names to each one and we commit to praying for you during the month. Monday night I asked if they wanted to continue the prayer and unanimously they said, “Yes!” That got me stoked! These guys care so much about you that they make it a practice to pray for you specifically. You are that important to us!

Look for next week’s MM for an important message and clarification. That’s all I’m going to say about that. 🙂

Did you know we are doing something right?  It’s always nice to hear something like that isn’t it? This past Monday I copied two blog posts (not mine) and shared them with the elders. They were by Karl Vaters, the pastor of a small town church. Both posts were about online church. One was how important it was, but also how inadequate it was. The other was about tracking attendance. We were not the only ones who had to go virtual when the pandemic hit. But I’m happy to say that we are definitely doing some things right! A big tip of the hat goes to our “Sunday Morning Live” crew! No names lest I forget someone, but you know who you are. THANK YOU!! Every Sunday we report in the bulletin how many were in physical attendance and also virtual. Those two numbers (according to the post) are to be counted separately. Check one for us. The only one we can’t track is who watches it later.

But here is where you can help. One of the important items we need to do is to have an online presence. What that means is simply acknowledging someone signing in and then contacting them to see how we might help them or if we can pray for them. That’s it. If needs are expressed then funneling them to the right channel is important. I’m looking for a few folks who might like to do that. Not every week but how often will be dependent on how many offer to help. Would you like to be an online presence for OVCF? Please let me know.

Have you heard about the Nursery and the 5th Sunday?  Sorry. You will have to wait until next week to learn more. 🙂

I want to leave you this week with something special, something that spoke right to the core of my being. I wrote it for my Living in the Shadow blog. (I’d be honored if you would take the time to subscribe to receive it in your email and read my daily devotion blog). Well, here it is:

I was blown away by words from a devotion I read Tuesday morning. Rather than babble on, I thought I’d just print them here. The words are from Day 5 of 40 Days of Love by Paul David Tripp.

“Don’t be discouraged today. No matter how alone you feel, you’ve been blessed with the Father’s love.”

“I love the depiction of God’s tender care in Isaiah 42:3: ‘A bruised reed he will not break, a faintly burning wick he will not quench.’ What a beautiful word picture! Imagine walking through the bush and coming across a young tree with a bent and almost broken limb hanging at a rather grotesque angle. You spontaneously complete the job, ripping the limb completely off. Your heavenly Father would never, ever be that thoughtless. He wouldn’t think of breaking you the rest of the way. He comes to you in grace to comfort, strengthen, encourage, and restore. His love toward you is tender and faithful. He is near you when it seems no one else is. He will care for you when no one else does. He will heal your wounds when no one around you seems to see how wounded you are. He will never mock or take advantage of your weakness. He will not let you go unnoticed or disregarded. If you are his child, it is impossible for you to be alone and unloved because your heavenly Father is with you and reaches out to you in tender, restoring love.”

He ends with these words: “Yes, life can be very hard, people can be very cruel, and at times you are left alone, but you are never completely abandoned because your Father is with you in tender, restorative love.”  (Pages 18-19)  {End of devotion}


I want to leave those beautiful words with you today. I hope they will sustain you through the rest of this week, as well as for the long haul. It has become a cliché the past year but you are not in this alone (and I’m not talking about the pandemic. I’m talking about life). With God’s help you got this. You and He can handle anything.


And I’ll close by saying that I love you all and I look forward to seeing you soon.


Pastor Bill

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High School or College Graduate?

Do you have a high school or college graduate? Please let the church office know ASAP!

We would like to honor your grad on Sunday, June 6th at the beginning of our 10:45 worship service!

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5th Sunday Family Worship

5th Sundays will be Family Worship Sundays!

This means the children’s programs will not meet on those Sundays and children will be joining their families in the auditorium for worship!

The nursery will still be available.


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Midweek Message 04/28/2021



Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #55. It’s always nice to have you take the time to read and (hopefully) feel comfortable to interact if you want to.  I do hope this week has been a good one for you and you have been able to enjoy the sunshine.


I want to give a shout out to the Worship Team from this past Sunday and this coming Sunday.  Dick and Vicki Hogan, our Worship Team leaders, are on a well-earned vacation visiting some of the HGTV haunts and family. One is in Mississippi, and the other is in Waco, TX (Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Farms). Although I’m not very handy I do like watching Fixer Upper. Jo says I remind her of Chip. Hmmmmm. I guess whether that is a good thing would be determined by what you think of him. I think he is witty, funny, engaging, able to take ribbing, and a whole slew of other good qualities. 🙂  Anyway, thanks to the Worship Team for leading our worship. I’ll not mention names because they would want it that way.


I want to give you a giant thanks for your prayers for Mike and Ryan Laws. Mike, Trisha and Brittainy were part of our church fellowship for a very short time after I moved to Sandusky and became the pastor, before Mike took a job with the Dublin police (Ohio not Ireland). Ryan came along after they left (he is 15) and everything was going well when suddenly he just wasn’t feeling well. Long story short, April 21st (last Wednesday) Mike donated his kidney to his son. What a powerful act of love!  Mike is home and doing well. Ryan is to come home today (Wednesday) if all goes well. I read a text Mike sent me this past Sunday during prayer time and have put the text and a picture of them on the bulletin board in the hallway. I hope you will stop by and take a look.


Have you ever had one of those “this could have been a very bad thing but it has turned out to be a good thing” events?  I had one this past Friday that still blows me away when I think about it. Every year I have my bike serviced by Bicycle Garage Indy in Greenwood. That is where I bought the last two and so I tend to be faithful to where I bought something. This past Friday I took my bike to have two new tires put on it and to have a tune-up so that it is safe and ready for the summer riding season. I had an early appointment with the intention of taking Jo to lunch and hanging around Greenwood for a couple of hours so I could take it home with me when it was done. We were sitting at lunch when the store manager called me with bad news. I thought he was going to say it needed more than tires and a tune-up. Nope. I needed a whole new frame. There was a crack on the inside of the frame down by the rear shifters and derailleur. There would have been no way I would have ever seen that until the frame busted and sent me spiraling or worse. The frame is under warranty but my size is a detriment, as has been COVID. Bike makers are so far behind that if I ordered a bike today, it would not be available until the end of 2022. Fortunately, Trek had some frames available for warranty claims and hopefully, will get it to BGI so they can build me a bike soon.


How could that be good given how much I like to ride? If that frame had failed while coming down a hill; if that frame had failed while on 43 and cars coming up from behind me; if that frame had failed when I was all alone…well, I don’t even want to think about it. Jo says I told her after my last wreck (the one that broke my collarbone, three ribs, and split my helmet in three places) that if I had another wreck I was done. I think I was delusional and under the influence of medicine when she says I said that. 🙂  But the truth is I may very well have been done. I still shudder when I think about it. And I am immensely grateful to God for His watchful eye while I was riding and having me get it to the shop as soon as I did. I have always believed that God does not do evil or make His children suffer.  God’s goodness and protection overwhelm me.  {Note: I’m sorry honey. I’m not quite ready to retire the bike just yet. And I still think I was not myself when you said I said that}.


Have a great rest of the week. We have had some visitors recently which always perks people up. Have you taken the time to welcome them?  Love you all.


Pastor Bill



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Mission Focus – Change for Life – New Beginnings Pregnancy Resource Center

Change for Life ~ New Beginnings Pregnancy Resource Center

Bottles will be available to collect change in or you may donate online (recommended). Donations support New Beginnings’ work to assist families & children in our community.

We will post the online giving info as soon as it is available!


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Midweek Message 04/21/2021



Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #54. Being gone this past Sunday makes it seem like forever since I’ve seen you. While it is nice to take a break every once in a while and know that Ryan will do a good job, it is always nice to be back. I look forward to seeing you Sunday.


I heard and saw we had some visitors this past Sunday. I was excited to see that and was disappointed I wasn’t here to greet them. If you are reading this and you were one of the visitors, I’m coming for you! Just kidding. I do look forward to meeting you and welcoming you to OVCF if you come this Sunday. Meanwhile, I hope those of you who are regulars took the time to say Hi and welcomed them.


Yesterday (Monday) Jo and I got our second vaccine.  So far, other than a sore arm where she took the nail and pounded it in, I’m doing okay. So is Jo.  I have mentioned it before, but just in case you haven’t heard or read, I did have COVID around Christmas and then was fighting a battle with my digestive system. Several procedures and eventual surgery took care of that. I chose to have the shot because I want people to feel safe around me. I have never taken a flu shot and had to be “forced” to take the pneumonia shot and booster, so it is a big deal for me to get one. But if it is one more thing I can do to help people feel safe around me, I decided I would do it. Now…you have no excuse to hide from me! 🙂


Sunday morning Jo and I drove to Maryland Community Church in Terre Haute to meet some friends from the church I pastored in Terre Haute, then went out to eat. Lee and Rene were super people whom I loved dearly. They did a marvelous job adopting and raising a son with Asperger’s syndrome. Jeremy graduated Valedictorian of his class at Terre Haute North and then with a 4+ GPA from Kelley School of Business. He is working for a firm in Madison, WI and was also able to come to lunch with us. Lee is a 4 year colon cancer survivor and it was wonderful to see them and visit. While Scot, Maryland’s Senior Pastor did not preach, the Discipleship Pastor, Nick Strobel, did an admirable job speaking about Greed.  Using the story of Elisha, Naaman and Gehazi found in 2 Kings 5, he brought some good thoughts to the table. {Please take a moment and read the Scripture. I won’t have summarize it for you}.  After Naaman went on his way with Elisha’s blessing, Gehazi chased him down and lied about Elisha wanting his money. Here are the three points Nick brought out: (Main thoughts his; commentary mine)

  1. Greed starts small. It warps our purpose. God’s ultimate purpose was that Naaman know and acknowledge God as the only God. But Gehazi’s greed warped that. Man will always pursue what we think will save us. We will not pursue things because we think it’s dumb.
  2. Greed warps our Sin multiplies. Gehazi had to lie to Naaman to get what he wanted. God will never ask us to do something which is against His Word. N.E.V.E.R. When someone says or does something sinful or evil with the caveat of “God told me” you can pretty well guess He didn’t.
  3. Greed warps our understanding of salvation. God gave Gehazi what he wanted. The sin he chased became his death warrant. Greed can’t save. If you read the story, Naaman was healed of leprosy. Gehazi spent the rest of his life as a leper. Sad ending to what had been a promising future as the understudy/servant to Elisha.


Why did this mean so much to me? It never ceases to amaze me how God prepares one for something which is to come. Let me explain: last night (Monday) the Building Team met again to continue discussion about an addition. We know most of what we want and need. Greed says, “Aww, just go ahead and do it.” Wisdom and God’s leading says, “Nope. Follow me. Don’t get greedy and go outside my will and parameters.” The addition we would like to do is not flashy or over the top but we will not compromise our “debt free” approach by moving too fast. We have to find the line of moving by faith and believing by faith. I was pleased the folks present last night are of the same mindset. “Build as we have it.” Conventional thinking (cultural and religious) says, “Build it and people will come.” Wisdom says, “We will wait.” Waiting is hard but it is the way to go. Pray with us about this please.


You will be receiving this Wednesday. Today is the kidney transplant of Michael and Ryan Laws (old friends of ours from Ohio). Mike is giving his kidney to his teenage son. Would you please stop and pray for them? Thanks.


Today is also Administrative Professionals Day. It used to be called Secretary’s Day but that is one of those changes society has made. Ryan and I are honoring Diana by taking her to lunch (Mr. Hibachi). I can’t keep this a secret but have you let her know how much you appreciate her work for OVCF?  It’s never too late!!


Have a great week. I can’t wait to see you Sunday! Love you all.


Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 04/14/2021


Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #53!  I know I made your day showing up in your inbox since you were waiting with bated breath to see if I had decided the MM was done or would continue.  Surprise! And that is the correct word as many of you responded to my short survey last week. Thanks for taking the time to let me know you appreciated the MM. I’m glad you have enjoyed it and found it to be a good way to stay connected. That, after all, was the reason I started writing it to begin with.  A couple of you added that if it is a burden for me or Diana to do it then it would be okay to discontinue sending it.  I enjoy writing (as seen by my blogs and my journals) and like the discipline it takes to sit down and write.

As you get this edition of the MM, Jo and I will be heading toward Ohio (or may have already arrived depending on when you read it). Our grandson, Braden has his first ballgame on Thursday evening, but since Janna has him on Wednesday this week, we wanted to see him and take him out to eat after practice.  On Thursday morning we will be heading up to Sandusky so Jo can see her sister. Vicki has been in a nursing home with dementia for almost two years now and it has been since before COVID started that Jo has had a chance to see her. They were going to allow her 15 minutes for a visit but when Jo told them we would be driving 7 hours and haven’t seen her since February they signed her up for a “compassionate care” visit. 30 minutes. But that is better than nothing and sadly, we are not sure if she will even remember us. We would appreciate your prayers for the extra driving, but also the emotional toll it may take, especially on Jo. Seeing your sister going downhill is not a fun thing. Some of you know how that is. Our plan is to stay until Saturday so we can go out to eat Friday night with Janna and her friend, Mike. Ryan is preaching Sunday so we are planning on being elsewhere.

Some who don’t know our situation may wonder why I leave when Ryan preaches. It certainly isn’t because I don’t respect him. He has my highest respect. It isn’t because he does a terrible job. He doesn’t. He is a good communicator. I leave because it is “his day” not mine. If I am here, then people want to put their focus on why I’m not preaching. I also need some time away to stay fresh. Besides, I want you to miss me!!  🙂

Just a heads up: After next week’s sermon (the 25th) closes out the series on Ecclesiastes. I will be preaching an 8-week series called Eyes Wide Open. I’m going to look at how Jesus treated people: the leper, the centurion, the woman at the well, and others. We are going to see people through the eyes of Jesus, which I believe will be helpful as we come in contact with people from all walks of life. I am enamored by how Jesus related to the outcasts of society, the ones no one wanted to be around. One week we will look at how Jesus dealt with religious people (Pharisees) who thought they were always right. I think it is going to be an exciting series to do (it is one I have never done before) and I am looking to learn a lot.

Hey Ladies! Just a reminder, OVCF Connections Women’s Ministry has planned a Coffee and Chocolate event! Before the pandemic hit, the ladies had a couple of well attended gatherings. They are trying to get back on track and it sounds like this will be a great time to do just that. It is Saturday, April 24th from 2-4:00 in the church auditorium. Sally and Hope have worked hard to make this special. Please join them!

I am currently reading a book called After Doubt by A.J.Swoboda. If you follow any religious news at all, one of the biggest bombshells in recent years has been what are called “deconstructions.” In short, it is people (men and women) who turn their back on faith and all they have known and sometimes deny God exists and sometimes just walk away from faith. Because of people I read about, this has been a hard read, heart-breaking actually, to see how and why people do that. Two quotes stand out from the last page I read:

“People who tell me there is no God are like a six-year old saying there is no such thing as passionate love-they just haven’t experienced it.” (William Alfred-p.56)  Just because we don’t believe doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

And here is one for the ages: “We won’t be judged on whether we liked the Truth. We’ll be judged on whether we followed Him” (Swoboda-p.56) The Apostle Paul wrote “Let God be true, and every human being a liar.” [Rom.3:4] No matter what man may say; no matter how much they may “broker” their thoughts about who God is; they cannot change reality. God is God.  Faith is not based on our feelings, even though our culture wants us to base right and wrong on them. Truth is truth and cannot and will not be changed. He is Truth. Jesus said, “I am the Truth…” Nothing will make that go away.

Have a great week. I love you all.

Pastor Bill

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Midweek Message 04/07/2021


Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #52. I am honored you are taking some of your valuable time to read this MM. I seriously don’t want to waste your time so I have something I’d like to present to you.

I started this to keep in touch with you during the pandemic. Although it is not over yet, it seems like we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. So here is the favor I have to ask. Because I value your time and mine, I’d like to know what you think of the MM. I have included a real short 3 question survey. Please take a moment to read it and answer it. Please return the answers to me at or if you are concerned you might hurt my feelings (you won’t), you may reply to Diana at Here you go:

  1. Do you read or do you not read the MM?
  2. If you were writing it, what improvements would you make?
  3. Do you think I should continue filling your inbox with the MM?


That is it. Three simple questions. We send this to about 100+ email addresses. Diana also posts it to our FB page and it is also posted on the church’s website. That is a lot of extra work for something not read or wanted. So would you please take a moment and send an email to me or Diana and answer the three questions? And trust me: I’m not looking for pats on the back. Just answers. You can do it anonymously if you prefer. Thanks.

No pressure on that survey. It’s just that the earth may go out of orbit and the sky may fall if you don’t respond. 🙂

Well…Resurrection Sunday was all I had dreamed it would be. It was so good to see people face to face I hadn’t been able to see for what seems like an eternity. Our online service is essential but nothing can take the place of a church community being together.  The best part were the visitors who came and the smiles on people’s faces. To see and hear about the activity in the youth area warmed my heart. To see the generosity of so many knowing that unless designated the offering would be going to missions. And boy did you guys come through!!  In fact, you came through in spades. We were able to give 5 missions $1125 each, plus our regular offering was outstanding. I was especially stoked by the missions offering. Some missions have really been hurting due to the pandemic so the gift we were able to give speaks highly of your heart. Thank you so much!

I’m not foolish enough (plus I have been around the block a few times) to think this coming week will be like this past Sunday. But I sure can dream! 🙂 I look forward to seeing the momentum this gives us.

I’ll be resuming my series on Ecclesiastes this Sunday. Ryan will be preaching on the 18th (Eccl. 12:1-8) and then I will finish it on the 25th. My next series will be “Eyes Wide Open,” a look at how Jesus responded to individual people, especially those who were considered outcasts. Then beginning the first week of July I plan to start a 16 week series on Mark-“The Gospel for Busy People.”  That could always change though so please don’t hold me hostage if it does. 🙂

Transparency time. Some will say, “Oh-oh” but rest easy. Whenever people look at the church and judge its “success” or not, it is often judged on numbers and offering. I have to admit being caught up in that in times past. Even with Resurrection Sunday, I had to guard against that thinking. “We were ‘successful’ because our building was full and our offering was good.” But I know that is not the way to judge the church.  Just today (Tuesday) I finished a book called A Church Called Tov.  That is pronounced with a long O and is the Hebrew word for “good” and speaks of the whole idea of a church developing a goodness culture, as opposed to a toxic culture.  It was quite revealing and challenging. I hope to write a study of the book and go through it with the elders first, then if it goes well with anyone who wants to study it.  Here are two conclusive thoughts it brings out at the end of the book:

A tov church is a Christ-bearing church. Its culture embraces the pursuit of “Christoformity,” a life surrendered to Jesus for the sake of others. (Recap of thoughts from pages 217-219)

Growth is good, but the purpose of the church is not numerical growth or filling seats. The purpose of the church is conformity to Christ. (p.219)

Just those two thoughts alone give rise to ideas to ponder. Following Jesus is more than words; it is actions- actions which are good. Hence, a tov (goodness) culture.

That’s it for the week. I hope you have a fantastic week. I love you all.

Pastor Bill

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Volunteers Needed for Grounds Upkeep

If you’d like to volunteer to help with upkeep of the OVCF grounds, please sign up. We supply the mower & fuel.  We have a trimmer & leaf blower as well!  Thank you

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April Mission Focus – Supplies for Hilltop Camp

Please pick up a wish list & return donations to OVCF on Sundays!

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