Who is Your God?

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MESSAGE. 

“‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.’” (Jeremiah 7:23). Following God cannot be a hobby or an event in our daily schedules. It is a matter of wholehearted commitment, where His presence and His Spirit fuel our every action and our every thought. All our daily activities should center around our relationships with God. He needs to be the priority and the essence of our whole existence. Without true love that kind of commitment will inevitably fall apart. That is why Yahweh calls Himself a “jealous God” (Ex. 34:14). He will never be happy with a part-time marriage. This Sabbath morning I invite you to continue our study of the key themes of the Book of Jeremiah.

MINISTRY.

OAKS. This morning I had the privilege of speaking for the weekly service at OAKS. It always impresses me how our students fill up the full sanctuary. We are truly blessed to have a great and active school. They are successful not only in the area of spiritual growth, but show high academic achievement. Check out the photo below to see the number of straight A students who received a certificate of achievement. Thank you, teachers, for your excellent job!


Here is another great report with photos from Lupina Haney. “Season of Change celebrated The New Year 2020, All Birthdays for the year and the Chinese New Year. We served sparkling bubbly, Vegetable Fried Rice and Mixed Vegetables with Tofu (catered by our friends at China Kitchen), Asian Coleslaw and for dessert Cupcakes, ice cream and fortune cookies. I thought we might have lots of leftovers since I plan for 60 but we ordered more and it was a good thing-we had 85 in attendance. Thanks to all who made today’s party a wonderful delicious experience.”


Evangelism. November’s evangelistic meetings generated lots of new Bible studies. I’m receiving reports from many of our church members who continue to study with the seminar participants. This is truly encouraging. It shows that our church believes in evangelism. There will be a meeting tomorrow at 4:30 pm for all who give Bible studies. Please make an effort to attend the meeting. Thank you, Mike Doucoumas, for the excellent coordination of this important part of our local evangelism.


Cereal Barrel. The Cereal Barrel looks great. It is actually overflowing with your donations. Thank you, all who Brough your gift. Let us remember that many families in our community need your help daily. Every donated cereal box finds its way to a grateful family thanks to the Samaritan Center distribution system. Please remember that this is the ongoing need.


Church and mission growth needs. Following last year’s business meeting the Building committee has been working with the architect on conceptual drawings for the new sanctuary and lower division Sabbath school classes. Two weeks ago the Building committee met to review the submitted drawings. After a thorough discussion the committee voted unanimously to recommend the expansion concept to the church business meeting. The church finance committee and Board members will be meeting in the next couple weeks to prepare a proposal for the business meeting. These meetings are open to the whole church. I would want as many of you as possible to come to pray with the committees, and to participate in the discussion of the proposal. The dates for these meetings will be finalized early next week. I will share them with you in the church bulletin and in my blog next week. The Spirit of God has been leading our church to this day. He is bringing more and more people to our church every year. I have no doubt that He will help us see how we may broaden our ministry to the local growing community and to the members of our church family.

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Local Budget. I do not remember the last time I made an appeal for the local church budget giving. You all have been supporting our local needs generously every month last year. So far we had a slow start. This is the last Sabbath of January. Let us all pray for a miracle and contribute faithfully and wholeheartedly tomorrow to the local church budget account. I believe that we all can be a part of this miracle!

Happy Sabbath! See you tomorrow,

Peter

All Things New

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MESSAGE. The day is coming when Christ will proclaim “I make all things new.” We will see the new Jerusalem, we will hear a New Song, we will learn our New Names. All that is yet to come, but as we enter into 2020 we can allow Christ to start these “new things” in our hearts and homes. New attitudes, new words of kindness, a new spirit of service, new initiatives in extending forgiveness – all that can start now. We do not need to wait until the New Earth to see what a “New Me” can look like. Let this be a year of new and wonderful things for us all.

MINISTRY.  Sabbath Celebration. The first service of the last Sabbath of the year was beautified by many wonderful moments. Emma Jospehs and Ken Lue Phang joined our church through baptism. Pastor Matthew and Dr. Reynolds officiated the baptisms. Nick and Elena Gorev joined the church through profession of faith. They have been attending our church for the last four years and now they are officially part of our church family! Praise God for our new brothers and sisters! It was truly a morning of spiritual celebration. I had a full six minutes to preach my sermon 🙂 !


It was a special Sabbath for our family. Our eldest daughter Stacey and her husband Javan presented their youngest son, Caspian, for a prayer of dedication. It was quite an emotional day for Galena and I when our whole family came together for this celebration.


Cory Goss had a great children’s story for both services. All the kids were fascinated by the live lizard. Thank you, Cory, for a wonderful spiritual lesson and for your creativity.


Jenny Spicer shared a few photos with me of the Youth vespers/Christmas party. They decorated cookies to donate to a homeless ministry. They clearly had a great time!


PRAYERS. Today is Rick Bank’s birthday. He is the Head Deacon of this church. Let us wish Rick a happy birthday and say a special prayer for him.


Galena and I celebrated the beginning of the New Year by watching the sunset on December 31 right across the road from our house. It was a clear and beautiful night. We want you to know that we love you and are grateful to God for the time when we can serve our dear Ooltewah church family. Happy New year to y’all 🙂


Just a reminder: Join the Agape Feast Tonight @ 7 PM in the Fellowship Hall. Unknown

 

Zealous of Good Works

UnknownMESSAGE. In Titus chapter 2 apostle Paul helps us see our higher calling. He writes: “waiting for the blessed hope and manifestation of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, who did give Himself for us, that He might ransom us from all lawlessness, and might purify to Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Christ “did give Himself” so that we would live to do good to others. This “zealousness” for good works will be the defining trait of Christ’s “peculiar people.” This broken world needs more of our compassionate spirit. I invite you to spend every day of the New Year doing good to those people who the Lord sends your way. They may not be worthy of our goodness; they may be upsetting and annoying; they may differ from us in their religious or political views… Keep doing good to them. This is what being a follower of Christ is all about. 

MINISTRY. The Christmas worship services at our church last Sabbath were exceptionally wonderful. Songs and music lifted our hearts to heaven. After Larry Otto’s testimony we all knew that God Himself was behind every piece of the program planned for that Sabbath. Mary Wilcox shared with the church a miracle of answered prayers about His Orchestra musicians. In spite of all the challenges of the previous weeks both Sabbath services were uplifting, joyful and spirit-filled. I felt grateful to God for our loving church family.


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While I was in Siberia I received a text message and a photo from the Loves family. They were grateful for the singers from our church who stopped by their home to sign Christmas Carols.  Here is what they wrote: “What a wonderful heart warming surprise from our Ooltewah SDA church tonight.  Their voices blended beautifully with the Christmas carols they sang. It touched our hearts.  Thank you, David and Nita Love.”

That night several groups of singers were visiting our church members and sharing the joy of Christmas. Thank you, Lucas Patterson, for putting this program together.


Lupina shared with me the the following report and photos: “We had a very merry and delightful Christmas gathering for Season of Change widows. Barbara Smith did the cranberry salad (for over 60) and it was delicious. We had Shepherd’s Pie with Sister Schubert’s rolls followed by assorted deserts. Of course prizes were awarded to the glittery glitzy ugly sweater winners. The kitchen angels all wore their finest headgear along with their beautiful smiles and spirits.”


Men’s Ministry had a successful year of service. Here is an update from Edymar Penagos: “Another year is almost behind us and as I reflect over the previous 12 months, I am overwhelmed by all of God’s blessings. One such blessing is all of YOU.  THANK YOU, MEN! Because of your time and/or resources, we were able to serve our church and the community around us. Your fellowship, support and dedication to the Ooltewah men’s group has been such a blessing to so many of our brothers and sisters. You all embodied what “church” is all about. You have been men of honor and sacrifice, men of vision and action, men of service and leadership. The two photos attached have a wonderful story behind them. It’s a story that you helped create simply by following God’s vision for our lives and providing love in action.  These two pictures demonstrate so much of what the previous year has been about and I, for one, cannot wait to see what God has in store for us in 2020. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. May you be abundantly blessed as we begin the start of another year in service to our Lord, Father and Friend, Jesus our King. “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth”. 1 John 3:18 “


Special Christmas Offering. Rita Rogers keeps updating me on your loving support of the Student Aid fund. As a church we agreed that this December the Student Aid fund would receive our special attention. Do you know that your faithful contributions to this account help dozens of families send their students to OAKS and Adventist Academies in this conference? This school year the account needs over $120,000. I’m confident that we’ll not let our students down.


PRAYERS. Barbara Kraner fell right before Christmas. She was admitted to Erlanger hospital for tests. She is still there as of this morning. Prayers for Barbara’s recovery is very much appreciated.

Betty Chastain is back at home after the hospital and rehab. Prayers of Praise!


LIGHT OF HOPE MINISTRY.

Oh how I wish I could take you all to Siberia! It was not as cold as it is usually there in December. The power of the Holy Spirit, mild weather and hard work of the local church made these meetings a wonderful experience. Every night of the seminar was well attended by church members and visitors. To help you get the right perspective I’ll say that the territory of the West Siberian Mission is exactly half the size of the continental USA. There are only two thousand Seventh-day Adventists on that vast territory. Challenges for the Gospel proclamation are immense! Religious liberty limitations and active media defamation of the SDAs makes it really hard to bring new people into our churches. In spite of all the hardships a solid group of those visiting during the seminar joined the baptismal class. Ten of them got baptized on December 14. Many more are preparing for baptism in the coming weeks. Praise God for each one of them! Your generous support allowed us to help many needy families with warm clothes and food. I invite you to keep them all in your daily prayers.


FROM MY HEART. This Christmas brought our whole family together. Two tiny angel-babies were added to our family in 2019. Praise God for the blessings of this past year. Tomorrow morning during the first service our oldest daughter Stacey and her husband Javan will seek God’s blessing upon their second son, Caspian. Below are a few family photos from this past week. 🙂

“I Always Thank My God For You”

MESSAGE.

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MINISTRY.

Revelation Today. The prophecy seminar is at the finishing line. Last night a precious girl named Grace, touched our hearts with two special songs. Tonight pastor Douglas will talk about the deep spiritual meaning of baptism. I invite the whole church to pray for our visitors. Let the Spirit of God touch their hearts and lead them to the most important decision of their life.

We have a large number of individuals who are interested in studying the Bible further after the seminar. This is where I need your help. If you’ve ever prayed about giving Bible studies this is your day. Please, contact me right away by phone, text, or email. I’ll introduce you to a Bible student who needs your help. This task will not be possible without your participation. If you are interested and willing to help I invite you to stay tomorrow for a few minutes after the Fellowship Meal. We’ll meet in the sanctuary at 2 pm. If you cannot stay for the 2 pm meeting, contact me tonight or tomorrow after church and I’ll help you get involved. Thank you in advance!

The Seminar video recordings are available on the church YouTube channel. Here is a direct link https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCn7JBKBbM_ulSpseE11zWdw  You can also access the archive by visiting the church website www.ooltewahchurch.org and clicking on the Communications tab in the top menu. That same link can be found on the church Facebook page.


Christmas-caroling-123RF-kakigoriChristmas caroling. On December 7 from 6-8 pm, singers and musicians from our church will visit home-bound members and other friends who need a smile, a song, and a hug. There is no Singspiration that night, so we would love to have the faithful attendees from that monthly event join us for this seasonal opportunity. We will be meeting at the church at 6 pm and loading into multiple 12-passenger vans to spread out and cover as much ground as possible in a 90-minute window before returning to church. If you’re interested in singing or playing an instrument with the group—or if you have the name of someone we should visit—please contact Community Services coordinator Lucas Patterson so we can plan accordingly: (423) 582-1678, lucaspatterson@southern.edu.


5a398cd4c563c.imageMany hugs to those who have already contributed to the Ooltewah Community Services account in support of the Feed My Starving Children program. So far we have already raised a little over $3,000. $5,000 more is needed to reach our goal by the end of December. As we are preparing meals to celebrate Thanksgiving let us remember about those children who will be blessed by your contribution.


Baby shower. There were over 50 guests for the Baby Shower for Barbara Angelin and Spencer Ekleberry. The Social Committee (Avril Williams, Dina Cole and Konika Wright) did a great job decorating and arranging the reception at the Mulberry Park Clubhouse.
Proud soon-to-be Grandmother Mary Wagoner-Angelin and Aunt Rachel Angelin hosted along with Margo Haughee and Connie Reynolds.


Last Sunday Katherine Bremner played for the residents of Greenbriar Assisted Living center. Thank you, Bremner family, for your active ministry to our community.

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PRAYERS. This week we had several of our members taken to hospitals. Donna Jamieson fell on Sabbath night while coming to the seminar. She had surgery and she’s now recovering at home. Prayers for Donna, please.

Maria Easter was diagnosed with leukemia. Yesterday she was transported to Vanderbuilt hospital in Nashville, TN. Prayer for Maria.

Bettie Chastain fell at home last night and was admitted to Memorial hospital. It looks like she may not need surgery on her hip, but instead will be moved to Syskin for physical therapy. I invite you to pray for Bettie.


Light of Hope Ministry. We are exactly two weeks away from the opening night of the evangelistic meetings in Siberia. The pastor of the local church in Krasnoyarsk sent me a photo of the banner they were allowed to post on the church fence. Praise God for that! I am inviting you to pray for those people who will see the banner and come to the meetings.

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See you tomorrow,

Peter

A Powerful Testimony for Christ

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MESSAGE.

“… and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” Ephesians 5:2

“The more closely we resemble our Saviour in character, the greater will be our love toward those for whom He died. Christians who manifest a spirit of unselfish love for one another are bearing a testimony for Christ which unbelievers can neither gainsay nor resist. It is impossible to estimate the power of such an example. Nothing will so successfully defeat the devices of Satan and his emissaries, nothing will so build up the Redeemer’s kingdom, as will the love of Christ manifested by the members of the church.” —Testimonies for the Church 5:167, 168 (1882).

MINISTRY.

The “Revelation Today” Seminar has united our church in study and service. It is truly a blessing to see consistent support from our various church ministries. A special Thank You to our table leaders! I am very encouraged to see that seminar participants continue to attend the meetings. Good relationships are growing at each table. Last night Edwin Reynolds surprised us all with a beautiful piece of music which he played on a carpenter’s saw. Please, continue to pray for pastor Douglas as he presents the Word of God in a very clear way. The seminar continues this Sabbath and Sunday night, and will end next weekend. Please, keep in mind there will be no nightly meetings next Sabbath and Sunday.


It was an early Thankful Thanksgiving for Season of Change. Here is what Lupina Haney shared with me: “Delicious meal of salad, corn, green bean casserole, stuffing, dinner roast, cranberry sauce and magic pumpkin bars for dessert. We had a very talented group of 5th and 6th graders from OAKS sharing their Veterans’ Day Program with us. There were over 70 widows in attendance with 5 kitchen angels helping. God has truly blessed the widows Ministry.”


Edymar is reporting: “The Love in Action crew has been busy this month. They made sure a fire place was in good working order, they installed a exterior light fixture with a motion sensor for one of our widows, they helped a mom of two small children move, and they made easy work of relocating and installing a deck for one of our members (see attached pictures).
THANK YOU to all the folks who took the time to serve our church and community, you embody what “church” is all about. A special THANK YOU to Jason Smith. You saved a lot of backs bringing your skid steer to the job site.
 If you would like to get involved or learn more about the love in action projects, let me know!
Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth”. 1 John 3:18 “

OAKS did an awesome job on Sunday at LifeCare Assisted Living Center in Ooltewah. Thank you, students and teachers!


PRAYERS. Our sincere condolences to Mike Haughee, whose brother died of a heart attack this week. Please remember Mike and his family in your prayers.


MISSION. We are just three weeks away from our international evangelism project. The Light of Hope evangelistic meetings will start in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, on December 7. I invite you to pray for the pastor and the church in that Siberian city. Here is a link to the lates Light of Hope Newsletter with more details on the upcoming trip November 2019 

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ON A PERSONAL NOTE:

For the last few days we had two of our daughters visit us with our grand babies. We had tons of fun! 🙂

 

The Bride of Christ

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MESSAGE.

Revelation 19 describes the day of celebration when Christ will reunite with His followers. That day is called the “marriage supper of the Lamb.” All those joining the celebration are collectively called “His wife.” What other term could describe a more intimate and personal relationship between the Savior and the saved? That scene is not just a grand event in the history of salvation, it is actually “a feast” filled with joy and celebration. Can I be sure that there is a place for me at the “marriage supper?” Tomorrow morning we will find an answer together during our worship services at 8:55 and 11:25 am.

MINISTRY.

The opening weekend of the “Revelation Today” Bible seminar at our church was a “total disaster.” People flooded the Fellowship hall. There was no possible way to provide everyone with a seat at the round tables. I applaud the efforts of our deacons, greeters and registration team at controlling the situation. Thank you, Steve Darmody, for the inspiring music program that night. The second and the third night attendance was more manageable. Last night, (Thursday) we had a stable group of visitors. The table leaders are absolutely wonderful! They faithfully come every night, engage their groups in active discussions, and help them find answers to many questions. I am absolutely impressed with the participation of our church members in these evangelistic meetings. Thank you, church! Please, continue to pray for Pastor Douglas Na’a as he shares the Gospel and his wife who sings almost every night after pastor Na’a makes an appeal.

 

 

 


The Singles ministry is participating, with several local churches, in meeting the needs of Chattanooga’s homeless.  Here is a report/appeal from Cynthia Weitzel, Ministry Leader. “The second Sabbath of every month we go down and distribute personal hygiene supplies, food items, some specific clothing, religious literature and food etc. In partnership with Chattanooga first church, we are purchasing and packing 100 backpacks for Christmas with blankets, pillows, hats, gloves and other helpful items. We already have the backpacks, blankets and pillows. We still need hats and gloves (new) and the toiletries etc.

For those of you wanting to help in this ministry, there are several ways to do so:

1. Pray – For the homeless, those of us serving that we will use God’s means in God’s way, and that the ministry grow according to His will. 2. Come and help us on the second Sabbath of each month at 3:00pm 2. Donate funds to “Singles” ministry (written in as such on your tithe envelope.  4. Donate items listed below. (All new items please)

Hats (for backpacks), Gloves (for backpacks), Chemical hand/foot warmers , Umbrellas, Lip balm, Feminine products, Toothpaste, Tooth brushes, Hand wipes, Simple hair bands, Small sewing kits, Socks, Underwear, Flashlights Etc.”

For more information, feel free to contact Cynthia Weitzel at 903-278-6384.

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Next March our church will join hands with two other churches in the area to provide food packets for hungry children in the poor countries of the world. The name of this effort is “FEED MY STARVING CHILDREN.” Many of us cannot even comprehend the number of children suffering from hunger every day around the globe. We can make a difference in some kid’s life. The goal is to raise $8,000. After the money is raised we’ll pack dry food which will be shipped to the regions with acute hunger problems. All donations for this project should be marked as COMMUNITY SERVICES. Your Sabbath School class, small group, or other ministry within our church can set their own fundraising goal to work toward and measure. For example, $500 would be a great goal for a small group or class with 10 people.

If you run into a problem, please email or call Lucas Patterson, Community Services Director.

Here is a short video with some helpful information about this ministry:


A note from our Stewardship Director: As did Abraham, they are to pay tithe of all they possess and all they receive. A faithful tithe is the Lord’s portion. To withhold it is to rob God. Every man should freely and willingly and gladly bring tithes and offerings into the storehouse of the Lord, because in so doing there is a blessing. There is no safety in withholding from God His own portion.” —Manuscript 159, 1899.


PRAYERS.

Barbara Kraner has been taken to Memorial hospital. Prayers for Barbara, please.

Opal Vega is very weak, her every breath is a struggle. Please, remember Opal in your prayers.

Our hearts go out to Pastor David Bissel whose sister passed away this week. Praying for you and your family, David.


The Light of Hope Ministry has responded to an invitation from Siberia. On December 7, 2019, I will take my vacation days and start a series of evangelistic meetings in Krasnoyarsk, Russia. Due to legislative restrictions on religious activities the church cannot use regular promotional methods. However, pastors and church members are not giving up. With lots of prayers they are actively preparing for the meetings to start in just four weeks. I invite you to pray for our overseas evangelism. Here is a short youtube video from Krasnoyarsk:

Just as a Thank You note, I am sharing a photo I received from Mariupol, where the Light of Hope Ministry held meetings two years ago. We continue to support the local church as well as supply drinking water to the local orphanage. The Light of Hope ministry supplies four tons of drinking water monthly for the cooking and drinking needs of over 100 children in this facility.

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See you tonight at 7 pm at the Revelation Today Bible seminar.

Peter

Christ In You

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“Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life” (John 6:54). Life eternal begins when we accept Christ into our being. Without Christ not only do we lose eternal life, but our earthly walk turns into a miserable existence. Christ offers Himself when He says, “Take, eat it; this is My body …”  In other words He is saying, “Here I am. I have life, power, purpose for you.” Now it is up to us to act on it. The mere mental acknowledgment of it will not do us good. Its only when we internalize Christ, “eat and drink Him,” His Spirit revives and transforms every cell of our being. Allow the Spirit of God to bring Christ into our minds and souls. Let His Word become our daily bread. Let our prayers create a continuous relationship between our heart and the heart of God.

I invite you to join the Communion Worship service tomorrow morning at Ooltewah Seventh Day Adventist Church.

MINISTRY.

Today is the opening night of the Revelation Today Bible seminar. Our church came together last Wednesday night to pray about every part of the program. I was very pleased with the number of people who got actively engaged in this evangelistic effort. Southern Adventist University students have shown great support. In a few hours we’ll open the doors of our church for the seminar participants.

The last few months Donna Caswell has served as the prayer coordinator. She did a wonderful job building a prayerful spirit and structure in our congregation. Thank you, Donna! For the month of November Rita Rodgers and her sister Barbara will carry on the torch of the prayer ministry. This is a crucial time in our ministry. Please contact Rita or Barbara and talk to them about your participation in the prayer group during the evangelistic meetings.

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PRAYERS.

Today I am asking for a special prayer for Opal Vega. She is very weak and has difficulty breathing.

Happy Sabbath!

Peter