Like Father

I became a father when I was twenty years old. It was at that time that I realized the joy of having a child, but along with that the I felt the huge responsibility of being a Dad who should lead and teach by example. When we were teaching our daughters to say the Lord’s Prayer I realized that they see the Heavenly Father through the person of me, their earthly father. If I am rude and not caring my children will unconsciously develop the perception of a cold, distant and revengeful God. This is a huge task on all of us fathers. God chose to be known and called “Abba” or Dad. In Deuteronomy 1:31, Moses uses a metaphor in which he portrays God as the father of Israel. He says, “… and in the wilderness. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.” Again in Jeremiah 3:19-20, God says through the prophet, “How gladly would I treat you like my children and give you a pleasant land, the most beautiful inheritance of any nation. I thought you would call me ‘Father’ and not turn away from following me… ” My children are all grown ups, but I still learn daily from my Heavenly Father how to be a Dad who is always full of mercy and love. What a great honor! What a huge responsibility.

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The nominating committee has completed its task and is presenting the report for the first reading this Sabbath morning. It’s been a good committee. It consisted of the individuals who you elected for this not so easy task. There were young people and not so young; new members and those who have been with our church for many years; women and men; leaders and lay members. Every meeting was preceded by devotions and prayers. I was impressed with the spirit of unity. The committee didn’t want to simply rubber-stamp the previous list. It gave detailed and prayerful consideration to every position. This is just the beginning. You’ll see many vacant positions where you may be interested to serve. Please, do not hesitate to talk any member of the nominating committee about your interest in joining one of the ministries. If you have concerns or corrections, please contact the committee chairman, Mike Haughee or committee secretary, Summer Bradford. Click here to access the digital version of the report.

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Vacation Bible school preparation is going full steam! Thank you, Cory Goss and Amy and Laura Standish for leading in this important ministry to our children. “HAPPY VALLEY RANCH” is the theme of the VBS this summer. The dates are July 18-22 | 6 Pm – 8 PM. You can register your child online. The registration form is on our church website under the MINISTRIES menu tab. Or you can access it directly by clicking here.

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Several exciting programs and activities are in the works for the children of our church and our community. There will be several pool parties, movie and popcorn gatherings, a Chattanooga zoo trip, etc. The finalized dates will be posted next week.

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From Edymar Penagos and Matt Gereghty: “

Happy Father’s day! Love in Action Report:
“On Sunday June 13th the men’s ministry got back to work with a beautiful deck project. With the project living entirely in the mind of Aaron Brewer we embarked on the journey towards building the deck as he envisioned it.  With the HOA regulations in hand, a trailer full of wood, charged drill batteries and a few boxes of nails we were ready to work. Under the shade of a pop-up canopy, provided by Kevin Hicks, our group was able to get right to work. Step one was to move a set of concrete steps, luckily, they were hollow and not too difficult to push down to the other end of the patio. After that the frame and posts of the new deck quickly took shape. With the skilled and willing hands of the group the majority of the deck project was completed before lunch, including the roof, which had been put up by Alexander!  But, as anyone who’s build a deck before can attest to, the stairs and railings can be the toughest part of the project, and it was!!!  However, Aaron and Kevin were able to use their experience to help guide both Edymar and myself towards its completion!”  Matt Gereghty.


Guys, all in all, we had a great time building a simple deck for some sweet ladies, but why are these types of jobs so important? In this case, one of the sisters is fighting cancer and this simple deck provides them with place to sit outside in the shade and enjoy God’s nature. And sure, it will help keep the rain out when they answer the front door (the carpet was getting soaked). It will even make it easier when the time comes and they need a handicap ramp. But that is not all. There are many reasons why they needed this deck but the one that was addressed even without saying it was Love In Action. Their church contacted us to help build them a deck because they were loved. These sisters needed to know they were not alone. They now know there’s a community of folks who care for them, who love them, and want to encourage them. So why did a group of guys take a Sunday to build a deck? It’s because this group of guys and a church family wanted nothing more than to be used by God to demonstrate brotherly love to two of His daughters. “We love because he first loved us” 1 John 4:19

Thank you, gentlemen! What a wonderful example of of Christ’s love and service.

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Our first church Fellowship meal is scheduled for Sabbath, July 3 @ 6 PM. If the weather is good we can do it outside on the church lawn. We can eat, visit and sing together. If its raining or too hot we’ll do it in the Fellowship Hall. I am so excited that we’ll finally be eating and mingling together as a church family. Please mark that event in your calendars.

Don’t forget to visit the church website www.ooltewahchurch.org for the weekly bulletin, online giving and other helpful resources.

Happy Sabbath! With hugs and Christian love,

pastor Peter

Following Jesus

To be a Christian one must follow Christ. “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24). To follow Jesus means to be His student, His disciple. He is the One setting the schedule of the classes and the curriculum. You either accept His terms or quit and go some place else. It is only by following Jesus today and every day that you become transformed into His image and reflect His character. Come this Sabbath and we’ll study more about the meaning of Christian discipleship.

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Men’s Ministry had a great start of the summer season. Here is a report from Edymar: “The Father’s Day picnic was such a blessing! It was wonderful to be out with our church family, enjoying food and fun, but more importantly, making connections, fellowshipping and celebrating dads! The rain may have kept some people away, however those that came were truly there to spend quality time with long-time friends and brand-new friends they met that day. Time was spent playing, fishing, chatting, bike riding, trail walking and doing some get-to-know-you activities, completed with a round of everyone’s best dad-jokes! One of the rangers even came by to talk with the kids about local animals, bringing with him animal pelts for kids to feel. It had been so long since we had the opportunity to simply gather as a church family and enjoy spending time in play and conversation. Being able to see everyone engage with one another, laughing and talking and pitching in to make sure all was well in every way was such a blessing! Thank you to all that were able to come!”

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The Nominating committee has been working hard for the last several weeks. It looks like their job is almost complete. The full list will be published next week for the first reading at church. Please, do not get discouraged or upset if you do not find your name in the report. Ministry leaders will be building their teams starting July. They will be contacting many of you with the invitation to join their department or ministry. This is just the beginning of a big ministry journey for the next two years. We definitely want you to be a part of it. There is a place for everyone! Thank you, Mike Haughee, for serving as an excellent chairman of this important committee!

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The Cornerstone Building Fund committee is working diligently on the steps leading to a major event which will take place on November 7, 2021. Please, reserve that date. We don’t want anyone to miss that church banquet.

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More information and helpful resources are available on the church website www.ooltewahchurch.org

See you tomorrow.

Happy Sabbath!

Early this week I had tons of fun playing soccer with a team of my grandkids ( 4 year old Pierce, 20-month old Caspian and 2 year old Mila) against me alone on my team. Of course I lost.

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… in Him all things hold together

Last night Galina and I went for a walk. The air was fresh and delicious after many hours of rain. The birds were happy the clouds went away. The sun was reflected in every drop of rain on the blades of grass and on every needle of the pine trees. Galina was happy to pick and eat ripe wild berries. As she was busy picking these delicious berries I was looking at the gorgeous variety of the filed flowers. They were of different colors and sizes; some were barely visible, others were bright and bold in their beauty, but it was this variety that made that field so breathtaking. They we complementing each other. They were right next to each other. What a great lesson for every Christian! If you want your church to be vibrant and attractive then learn to appreciate each other. Let us learn to sit with those who are different in their theology; eat with those who belong to a different political party and serve with those who may have a lifestyle different from ours. Colossians 1:16-17 – “For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”

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Ooltewah Tiny Timberwolves Adventurers. Laura Standish shared with me the following wonderful story: “Another Adventurer year has come to an end but what a year it was!  We weren’t sure if COVID would keep us apart but thankfully it didn’t.   Our small but mighty team of 4 teachers worked hard to ensure our 9 kids had an awesome year:  

·        We maintained our bi-weekly meetings where a combined total of 50 honors were earned, 

·        We participated in our Conference’s virtual Family Fun Weekend, 

·        We went on a hayride and ran through corn at the Ocoee River Maze,

·        We enjoyed Christmas treats and games, 

·        And we ended the year with a fun party and camping trip right here on church grounds.  A special CONGRATULATIONS to our Helping Hands who were promoted to Pathfinders:   Josh Bee, Thomas Harvey, Conner Standish and Aaron Stark.  This year would not have been possible without the encouraging parents, Pastor Matt for his bi-weekly devotionals, the faithful staff who made our year what it was, and to the kids who learned to be Champions for Jesus.    Can’t wait to see what our next year brings!  Until then, have a wonderful summer! “

Thank you, Laura and your team of leaders, for making this a special year for our children!

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With our kids being out of school we want to plan some exciting events and activities for every age group. I am glad to share with you that Cory Goss agreed to lead the Vacation Bible school this July. Thank you, Cory! We all know how much you love the little ones. Cory is inviting you to start planning this event together with him and your children. “Happy Valley Ranch” is the theme of the VBS. Children will be learning how to be happy in God. The dates are July 18-22.

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Here is an invite from Edymar Penagos: “This Sunday Men’s Ministry is inviting you to celebrate our fathers with some family fun at Booker T. Washington State park. So mark your calendars and corral your family! The weather looks perfect, and we will have a blast. There are playgrounds, basketball courts, and water everywhere. You can also hike, mountain bike or just sit and enjoy some good conversations.”

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It is very exciting to see our church’s wider participation in the Cornerstone Building Fund. We want to be sure we have adequate Sabbath school classes and a sanctuary for the next generation in our church. As of today the church has received $148,305. Every dollar counts. Please pray about the future of our church.

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STEWARDSHIP – “The completeness of Christian character is attained when the impulse to help and bless others springs constantly from within…” (Christ’s Object Lessons pg. 384) 

Additional resources and church weekly bulletin are available online www.ooltewahchurch.org

Happy Sabbath,

pastor Peter

I will not let you go.

Greetings, my friends!

This has been a week packed with many ministry activities, visitations and committee meetings. I am glad I can finally let all worries and stress go away by entering into God’s rest, His Holy Sabbath. As I am posting this blog so late in the day I’ll not be taking your mind away from the spiritual things, but will rather share with you a verse from God’s Word:

Then the man said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.” “I will not let you go,” Jacob replied, “unless you bless me.” Then Jacob asked, “Please tell me your name.” “Why do you ask my name?” the man replied. Then he blessed Jacob there. ” (Gen 32:26,29)

“Jacob got the victory and the blessing not by wrestling, but by clinging. His limb was out of joint and he could struggle no longer, but he would not let go. Unable to wrestle, he wound his arms around the neck of his mysterious antagonist and hung all his helpless weight upon him, until at last he conquered.

We will not get victory in prayer until we too cease our struggling, giving up our own will and throw our arms about our Father’s neck in clinging faith.

What can puny human strength take by force out of the hand of Omnipotence? Can we wrest blessing by force from God? It is never the violence of wilfulness that prevails with God. It is the might of clinging faith, that gets the blessing and the victories. It is not when we press and urge our own will, but when humility and trust unite in saying, “Not my will, but Thine.” We are strong with God only in the degree that self is conquered and is dead. Not by wrestling, but by clinging can we get the blessing.” —J. R. Miller

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Weekly church bulletin is available on the website www.ooltewahchurch.org

This Sabbath morning we’ll honor our graduates during all three services.

Have a wonderful Sabbath day. See you tomorrow.

pastor Peter

Under His Wings

Do you feel like Elijah when he ran from Jezebel? ( “I’ve had enough. Just let me die!” 1 Kings 19) Frustrated? Fearful? Depressed? Be assured you are not alone. This state of mind was well known to the prominent heroes of the Bible. They were friends of the Almighty One, but they were still human. Even when we run from God, He is still there with us. He is with us in the desert and in the whale’s belly. He is with us in the nursing home and in a broken marriage. God is never giving up on us. He knew how to pull Elijah out of the cave (1 Kings 19:9) … He knows how to pull us out of the depths of despair. It is under His wings that we find assurance and strength to get up and keep going.

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Yesterday I experienced a huge blessing attending OAKS graduation. The outdoor setup was just perfect. The teachers and staff did a great job for the graduates to remember this very special day. Pastor Matthew had an engaging message for the students. Thank you, Shelly Caswell and your team for another excellent year. It was one of the toughest years for our school because of the pandemic, but by God’s grace we made it through. (Thank you, Aaron Hall, for the fantastic photos!)

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This Sabbath we’ll have a guest speaker. John T. Anderson, Senior pastor of the Mentone Seventh-day Adventist Church and author of many books, will speak for all three services.

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Donations for the Cornerstone Building Fund, our new sanctuary and Sabbath school classes project, keep coming! We want to be a church looking forward and creating an adequate ministry environment for the future generation until the day Jesus comes back. You can use the website or the paper tithe envelope for your contribution. Be sure you mark your donation as CORNERSTONE BUILDING FUND.

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With the new CDC recommendations in place, our church will be transitioning to one 9 AM service. It may take a few weeks before it actually happens, and you’ll be hearing more from your pastors. Meanwhile, you’ll see that “Reserved” signs will be removed from the left side of the sanctuary pews. Those who prefer larger distancing can continue to use the right side of the sanctuary for a few more weeks. Stay safe.

Church bulletin and additional resources are available on our church website: www.ooltewahchurch.org

Happy Sabbath.

pastor Peter

Be Merciful

If you agree that our world has become more rigid there is something we all can do: show mercy to other people. It should not be all about policies, political statements or theological trends…we may not feel that everyone deserves grace and kindness, but this is where mercy is needed. Give mercy to those who fall short of your expectations; to those who are blinded by pain or suffering; to those who are stuck in their selfishness. What better option do we have? Mercy is like a ray of sunshine which can melt even the coldest piece of ice. “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;” Luke 6:36-37

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The Ooltewah church now has 13 volunteer virtual Bible workers to follow up interests for Bible studies, free literature, etc. A few months ago, the church engaged the services of Sermon View, an evangelistic resource center, to advertise on Facebook for us in order to help us find Bible study interests here in Ooltewah. So far, we have received 19 non-SDA interests who requested studies and our Bible Workers have been faithfully following them up to find out if they want Bible studies, either in person, online, by mail or by e-mail. Soon, we should know the outcome as to how many of them responded to our follow- up efforts and are receiving studies.

Also, at our March Church Board meeting, the church voted to help the Albany, GA SDA Church to follow up their media interests from It is Written, Voice of Prophecy, Amazing Facts, PeaceFinders (Project Steps to Christ), and Bible Research. The Albany Church has 150 interests, but they only have 25-30 members attending church and only a couple members who possess the spiritual gifts to do follow-up work. So, in response to the Georgia-Cumberland Conference’s appeal to larger churches such as ours to help these smaller congregations who have a huge amount of interests, we volunteered as a church to help Albany. We have assigned 65 of the interests already to our Virtual Bible Workers, and the Albany Church is following up some interests as well. We are planning to get results and feedback and assign the remaining interests in June. It is our goal to find several folks in Albany who are interested in receiving Bible studies or more spiritual literature and to pass these interests on to the Albany Church for further follow-up this summer. Please pray regularly for the Lord to be with our Bible workers as they follow-up the interests in Albany and right here in Ooltewah. (Special Thank You, to Mike Doucoumes for coordinating this effort). 

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Last Thursday was the final session of the Reversing Diabetes seminar. Here is a brief report from Edwin Reynolds: “We just completed the 8-week Reversing Diabetes Seminar on Thursday night. It was well attended and highly appreciated. It was also well supported by many volunteers from the church under the capable and well-organized leadership of Sylvia Hyde. The seminar was taught by Stephen and Karen Wickham, representing the Grundy County Health Department that sponsors the Wickhams’ seminars. The information given every Thursday night by Steve Wickham was the best and latest medical information pertaining to what causes Type-2 diabetes and how it can be reversed through good dietary practices, regular exercise, drinking water, proper sleep habits, and other natural means like fresh air and sunshine and trust in God. The most important and effective of these remedial agencies is a good diet, focused on eating whole foods at the proper times and in the right quantities and of the right nutritional content. These lifestyle changes will benefit everyone, not just people with Type-2 diabetes or prediabetes. If consistently practiced, people will arrive at the proper weight, have adequate energy, sleep better, avoid cardiovascular disease, and function more healthfully in many ways. If you missed the seminar, don’t miss it again when it will be offered near you in the future. It was a real blessing and everyone left feeling better and more hopeful for a brighter future.”

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I invite you to continue prayers for the Cornerstone Building Fund project. Our church youth and children will have a great place to worship and to study God’s Word. The church business meeting voted to raise 2.3 million dollars to lessen the burden of the construction loan. We can all be a part of this mission with Christ being the Cornerstone of our church and ministry. When contributing to this project please indicate that your donation goes toward the Cornerstone Building Fund.

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Church bulletin and additional resources are available on the church website: www.ooltewahchurch.org

If you are not receiving my weekly blog posts you can subscribe at www.pastorkulakov.com or send me your request to this email address: pkulakov@gccsda.com

With prayers for all of you,

pastor Peter

Love Beyond Words

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This weekend we will honor our mothers. I am blessed to have been raised by a caring and hard working mother. Galena lost her mother when she was only thirteen, but she herself became the perfect mother to our four daughters. It gives me great joy to now see our daughters build their motherhood on the strong foundation of their mom’s example. From what I’ve seen and learned so far mothers don’t sleep and don’t rest. They do not seek their own interests. Their children take the first place in their hearts and thoughts. Their love can be compared only to God’s love. No wonder the Lord says through the prophet Isaiah: “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you;” (66:13). 

Take some time this weekend to assure your moms of your love and your appreciation of all they have done for you. There is a good reason one of the Ten Commandments instructs us to “… honor your … Mother.”

This week I used a few of my vacation days and took the mother of our children 🙂 to Savannah, GA. It’s been several years since our visit to that beautiful city. Magnificent trees on the city squares and the charming architecture made us want to go there again and again. If you ever go there ask me about the best waffles in Savannah. Out of the two days we were in Savannah we went to Mirabelle Cafe three times to enjoy their waffles. Delicious! 🙂 

Church bulletin and other helpful resources are available on the church website. www.ooltewahchurch.org

I’ll make this post short … technically I am still on vacation 🙂 Looking forward to worshiping with you tomorrow. Happy Sabbath, my friends.

Peter

PS. I am surrounded by loving moms … What a blessing. 

Living for each other.

shutterstock_590600921The human body is the most complicated mechanism. The way it functions is absolutely fascinating. A strong and healthy body is actually built out of super tiny parts which we know as cells. They keep the body together and make it work like a flawless watch. The body cannot exist without cells and cells lose their meaning and function if separated from the body. This is a perfect illustration of the body of Christ and His church. There is no church without human beings- church members. This is the same way a human being separated from the church loses her/his place and meaning in the body of Christ. This is why the apostle Paul makes a strong emphasis on the importance of individual members and the unity of the spiritual body (1 Corinthians 12, etc). Do we do all it takes to keep our church a healthy and vibrant organism where every individual feels needed and appreciated?

Last Sunday night our church came together for our annual business meeting. It is at that meeting that we voted to embrace the ‘church cells’ concept as a complete makeover for our church. You’ll be hearing more from your pastors and elders about how you can be a part of this new nature of our church. If you are interested in learning and leading please contact one of your pastors and we’ll be helping you along the way. A training seminar will be scheduled in the next 2-3 weeks. Stay tuned. 

The business meeting also approved modified building plans and voted to start a building fundraising campaign called “Cornerstone Building Fund”.  These plans include a 510 seat sanctuary and new Sabbath school classes. I know we all hate to see how building material prices go out of control and we also do not like to pay interest on a construction loan. The more we raise now the less interest we’ll pay, therefore saving hundreds of thousands of dollars. The goal is to raise 2.3 million dollars in the next 12 months! Any contributions to this fund need to be marked “Cornerstone Building Fund.” This line will be added to the online Tithe envelope ASAP. God is leading us forward! We do not want our children and youth to look back and say that we did not have the faith or courage to plan for the future ministry of this church. We are grateful to the pioneers of our church who stepped forward 50 years ago and built this church. Let us show that same faith in our vision for this wonderful Ooltewah SDA church.

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The men of our church were blessed with a great program last Sunday. Here is Edymar and Matt Geraghty reporting: For those who were not able to make the men’s breakfast last weekend, you missed out and were missed. Thank you to EVERYONE who showed up early to prepare the feast we enjoyed together. Below is a recap from Matt Geraghty and attached are some pictures.  “The dictionary defines POWER as the: ability to act or produce an effect! read more So very true, isn’t it?  At the latest edition of Haney’s Hungry Hombres, we had a [click here for the full report]

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Sabbath school council will meet tomorrow, May 1st at 4 PM. If you are a teacher or leader for one of our SS classes your participation is very important and needed. Please plan to attend in person. If you are out of town here is the ZOOM link:
 
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Cooking class for this Sunday, May 2nd is cancelled due to a low number of those who registered for the seminar. We’ll plan it again sometime in the future. Thank you, Nelson Denver and your team, for your hard work in planning this event. 
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Prayers continue for Joan Malloch who fell a few days ago and broke her hip. She was in surgery yesterday. Your prayerful support will be very much appreciated by this dear family.
 
Nancy Smiley is recovering after an unfortunate incident that happened last Sabbath afternoon. She has a few broken ribs and is currently undergoing tests. Please surround Nancy with your love and prayers. 
 
Have a blessed Sabbath day.
 
With Christian love,
 
Peter

The word of God kept on spreading

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This week the Word of God has been spreading from our church “live” to the continents of Europe and Asia. I feel extremely honored to share the Three Angels message in the Russian language through the Hope Channel Russia, Hope Channel Ukraine, 3 ABN Russia and TBN Europe. Every day thousands of listeners across this vast territory learn about hope in Jesus. After the broadcast they stay for the “live” question and answer session, where they also share their prayer requests and ask for Bible studies. Call centers across the Euro-Asia Division receive their requests and connect them with local pastors. We may not have a fancy studio at our church, but we have a church family that believes in sharing the Gospel and leading people to Jesus. Thank you for your support and your prayers. This Sabbath is the final broadcast of this series.  Please pray for those who are just starting Bible studies in Europe and Asia.

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imageHere is an invitation from Edymar, our Men’s Ministry leader: “You do not want to miss out on the blessing we have scheduled this Sunday at men’s breakfast. I had the opportunity of listening to Grant speak at the Rock-Solid men’s retreat back in March and it was powerful, dynamic and full of fervor for our Lord and Savior.  For those who do not know who Grant is, below is a little bio from the Blue Print for Men’s website. I hope you make every effort to attend this Sunday.  If you would like to help cook, we start at 7:30am in the fellowship hall. Otherwise, I hope to see you at 8:30am sharp! Now go and spread the word! Let’s show some support for our brother in Christ.”

GRANT GRAVES is a veteran educator, gifted speaker, and author.  His career path includes teaching from elementary through college and more recently as a corporate sales and marketing trainer.  He loves working out, listening to books and podcasts, and spending time with his wife Riley and their daughter Libby.  Recently he released his first book, “Fearless: Finding Courage in the Character of God”.  His dream is to one day hear Jesus say, “Well done, my good and faithful friend.”

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On Thursday night we continued the Reversing Diabetes seminar. I was impressed with the efficiency and the spirit of hospitality showed by our volunteers. Sylvia Hyde has an excellent team of people willing to help and to serve. Thank you, Sylvia, for your hard work. This seminar has proved to be a blessing. 

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Cereal Barrel ministry needs your support. Thank you for your consistent help in the past. Let us always remember about those in our community who cannot afford a box of cereal for breakfast for their family. Christ teaches us to care and to share. Thank you, Julia Easter, for coordinating this program.

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Over the last couple of weeks the church Building committee, church Board and church elders met a number of times to review our church building plans and financial goals. Finally we are now ready for the Church Business meeting. The meeting will take place this Sunday @ 5 PM in the Fellowship Hall. I have invited two leaders from the Conference office who will bring their input and will be happy to answer our questions. Please, do not miss this important meeting. 

A few days ago I had a good talk with some members of the Hispanic Adventist Church who are building their church on Ooltewah-Ringgold Rd. They shared with me how Satan was trying to discourage their members from moving forward with the project when COVID hit the world. However, they did not allow doubts and fears to prevail. They are so excited that this project is vibrantly moving forward. God’s work needs to expand and to continue till the day we see Him coming in glory. 

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PRAYERS. It is with great sadness and pain I share with you that early this week David Denton’s father and step-mother were involved in a terrible car accident. David’s step mother did not survive the accident. A memorial service was held for her this afternoon. David’s father, Melvin,  needs lots of prayers as he is recovering after the accident. Please uplift David, Becky and their whole family in your prayers as they go through this devastating experience of grief and pain. 

The driver in the other car who also did not survive the accident, is Michael Cylke, a former graduate of OAKS and used to be in our Pathfinder club. Please remember his family in your prayers as well. He was only 31. 

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Let the Lord bless you as we are welcoming the Sabbath day.

See you tomorrow.

Your friend, 

Peter

Living a Pure Life

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“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)   David said in the Psalms, “Create in me a clean heart O God.”  (Ps. 51:10). The more you grow in purity of heart, the more you will see God.  You will begin to see Him in all areas of life.  You will see Him in worship, see Him in his Word, and even when you face trials and temptations you will see God and His presence in your life.  This is easier to say than to do.  Just about the time you might feel you have victory in an area of life, Satan goes on the attack to trip you up.  However, do not lose hope my friends.  God is with you.  He is stronger than anything in this world.  He can give you the power (through the Holy Spirit) to overcome sin and temptation.  It is true that we will never attain perfection until the return of Christ but don’t allow Satan to have victory in your life.  Rely on God and give Him the glory for great things He has done.

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Edwin Reynolds is reporting on the Health Ministry project: “The Reversing Diabetes seminar on Thursday night was a great success. The Wickhams presented on carbohydrates (pro and con), which was very helpful and informative. High-fiber lasagna made with brown rice noodles and black beans was served for everyone to illustrate a good balanced carbohydrate. It was not only healthy but quite tasty. Beside the 31 participants present (3 were absent), there were 8 spousal support people and visitors, and 35 volunteers. There was a lot of discussion at the tables between coaches and participants afterwards. The spirit was very good, and some commented after the seminar that this was the best, most practical seminar they had attended. Others have noted that it is well organized and runs smoothly. Changes are made each night to improve efficiency. We are grateful for the many volunteers who have worked hard to make this seminar a great success. I would add regarding the sack-lunch program that things went well also on Monday morning. We had plenty of help as the fifth-grade classroom came over and helped. We have gotten increasingly efficient, and are usually finished and cleaned up before 9:00. Thanks especially for the regular helpers that we depend on in order to keep things going even when the students are not available to assist us. The next sack-lunch event is on April 19. No need to call ahead. If you would like to help, just show up and we’ll put you to work.”

 

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OAKS board met on Thursday night to make a historic decision. Here is a brief report from Shelly Caswell, our school principle: “In 2 Kings 6, the story is told of a school of the prophets that was too small. The students took the initiative and asked Elisha for his blessing to go and cut down trees to build a larger school. “The disciples of the prophets said to Elisha, “The place where we’re staying is too small for us. Let’s go to the Jordan River. Each of us can get some logs and make a place for us to live there.” When I read this story, I am reminded that having enough room to educate children has been a challenge since the times of Elisha. It’s encouraging that God has always led in providing materials and opportunities for our schools to fit more students.  

OAKS is embarking on an exciting journey of expanding the lower grade program to have each grade in single teacher classrooms. This will open up many more seats for students in our community who want to come and enroll in the unique, God filled program that we offer. Last night, the OAKS operating board voted to open a new classroom next year to accommodate more students in the elementary program. Enrollment for next year is already the highest in the history of OAKS, which is a tremendous blessing considering the pandemic dropped enrollment to 100 this last school year. There are some risks that come with this expansion, but God has clearly opened the doors, and we are continuing on our “faith walk” at OAKS.  Thank you for your continued prayers for OAKS. More information will be provided as details emerge. For now….tell your friends and neighbors….”the school of the prophets is expanding…..come and join us!”

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On Tuesday night the Building committee met to review modified plans for the church building project. We had a thorough discussion. Lots of details were reviewed by the committee members. The modified version of the expansion helped to reduce the construction costs by a considerable amount. The committee voted to recommend these plans to the church Board. A special church Board meeting is scheduled for April 12, @ 7 PM. There will be only one item for discussion: church building plans. All church members are invited to attend. This will be a good time to hear the building committee report and to ask questions. Please keep this big project in your prayers.

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William Dean Hall, is being dedicated tomorrow during the 11:30 AM service. William Dean is the youngest baby in Aaron and Alisa Hall’s family. Aaron’s father, pastor Richard Hall, will officiate the ceremony. Praise God for this sweet family.

Hall Family

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Next Sabbath, April 17 is the opening night of the Light of Hope satellite evangelistic meetings in the Russian language to Eastern Europe and Asia. I feel humbled by this huge responsibility. It Is Written provided assistance with the prerecorded portion of this event. The “live” portion will be uplinked from my office daily at 12 noon, (7 PM local time in Moscow). In the next few days my office will be converted into a broadcasting studio. The program will continue daily from April 17 to April 24. Please pray for the people who will be watching and learning about the hope in Jesus on the other side of this planet.

Here is a promotional video in the Russian language 🙂 https://youtu.be/lWk7Ct8J-v8

Happy Sabbath,

pastor Peter