God’s Vineyard

red grapes Ventana 9.07

I loved this week’s warm weather! Especially for me, who grew up in Russia, it felt like real summer. ūüôā Galena and I spent last Sabbath in Ormond beach Florida, visiting our oldest daughter Stacey and her husband Javan. By the way, Javan’s grandma is a long-time member of our Ooltewah church. Her name is Opal Vega. Isn’t it amazing how we all are related in our wonderful Adventist world. On Sunday Stacey and Javan took us on a 6 mile kayaking trip. That was definitely a great experience. My muscles still feel sore ūüė¶ But the highlight of that adventure was our rendezvous with a huge alligator! He even was patient with our short photo-shoot ūüôā See the photo below:

Alligator

CHURCH LIFE. On Monday we were already back for the Elders’ and Board meetings. I truly appreciate the spirit of unity at our Church Board meetings. What a wonderful group of people to work with. A considerable part of our Board discussions was dedicated to the local evangelism plans and programs. However, let us always keep in mind that Evangelism is not something we tack on to the church (like a program), but it needs to be at the core of everything we do and everything we are as believers gathered in a church. I pray that we all get involved in various activities helping our community to learn about the Three Angels message and to join His remnant church. I encourage you to start Bible studies with some of your neighbors, friends, or colleagues at work. If you feel you need some guidance in starting Bible studies with someone you know, please talk to me. I’ll be glad to sit down with you and help you learn some basic principles for sharing the Gospel.

This Friday night all Chattanooga area churches are invited to join a Prayer Vigil. The Vigil starts at 4 PM and will go on for 24 hours. Here are all the details:

Impact Chattanooga 24 Hour Pre-Rally Prayer Vigil¬† You are invited join in on a 24 hour prayer vigil conference call from Friday, January 23 at 4:00 pm till Saturday, January 24 at 4:00 pm.¬† At the top of each hour there will be ten minute devotional followed by the host for that hour sharing some items to focus on in prayer and then you can share prayer requests, and then all that want to will be invited to pray.¬† To access the conference call simply call (712) 432-0232 and when prompted enter the access code: 942448#.¬† If you prefer to dial a local number call 339-5869 and enter the access code when prompted. ¬†“Seek the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near.¬†Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God,¬†for He will abundantly pardon.¬†~Isaiah 55:6-7

PATHFINDERS SABBATH. Both of our Sabbath morning services will be led by the Ooltewah Pathfinders. This will be a wonderful worship experience. My sermon will be based on the inspired words of Paul from Philippians 4:8-9.

NEWSLETTER. The January church Newsletter has been uploaded to our church website. Click here to access the NEWSLETTER. I hope you remember to check our church website regularly. There you can always find updated church announcements, preaching and program schedules, etc. Here is the site address: http://www.ooltewahchurch.org

MEN’S MINISTRY.¬†¬†Here is a helpful resource for the men of our church:

“You are invited to the work-in-progress “man cave” at my home each Sunday from now through the end of February for breakfast, fellowship, and spiritual growth while we watch the “Stepping Up” video curriculum by Dennis Rainey and explore what being a courageous, Christian man in the 21st Century looks like. No study guides or materials needed. Join me from 8:30-10:30 a.m.¬†at 10079 Sunny Lane in Ooltewah beginning this weekend. Bring a friend!.¬†Lucas”

JACOB’S LADDER. More and more of our church members attend the Wednesday night Prayer Seminar. Church evangelism is the result of our personal spiritual growth. Every Friday night we learn how to climb one step higher in our spiritual journey. Prayer is the lifeline that connects us with the Source of Energy needed for our daily spiritual ascension. ¬†Come and and see if this seminar may benefit you.

CHURCH BUSINESS MEETING. Tomorrow night will be our first 2015 Church business meeting. I have many exciting dreams and ideas to share with you. I hope you’ll be here to dream and plan together. Church life is not just the Sabbath morning worship service, it is our daily ministry for the salvation of the lost. God needs each one of us in building His vineyard.

PRAYERS. Fernando Verduzco just returned from California where he buried his grandmother. This has been a tough year for Fernando and his family, with multiple losses and health challenges. You are in our prayers, Fernando.

Light of Hope Ministry. I am asking you to pray for our churches in Ukraine. Last week was especially tragic for Eastern Ukraine, with new blasts happening even in downtown Odessa, the city of our May 2015 evangelism. Satan will keep trying to stop the Gospel proclamation, but I know that our God is stronger. I need your financial support for this mission. We need to make a deposit for the auditorium rented for the meetings, Bibles need to be purchased for the visitors and the brochures and invitations need to be printed. If the Lord is impressing you to support these meetings you can mark your donation “Light of Hope” on the tithe envelope. Christ has commissioned us “to¬†witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth”… which definitely includes Ukraine and Russia.

SDA IN THE NEWS. You might have read an article in Christianity Today entitled “The Season of Adventists… ” Here is a link. I’ll refrain from any personal comments. This is just FYI. Here is a link¬†http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2015/januaryfebruary/season-of-adventists-can-ben-carson-church-stay-separatist.html

See you tomorrow morning,

Pastor Peter

Growing together…

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My dear church family, we are about to start a new Sabbath day. Let God’s piece enter into your hearts and minds.

This was a cold week. I felt like I was back in Russia but I am glad it is getting warmer :-). Aren’t we happy that winters are short and mild in Tennessee?

I know that many of you were praying about Ray Kelch, who fell during the worship service last week and had to be rushed to the ER at the Memorial hospital. Ray is back home recovering from that unfortunate fall. Lots of stiches on the back on his head, a cervical break which if loosens can paralize him, but with all that Ray continues to smile and to joke. I admire Ray’s spirit. He trusts the Lord and His power to carry him through this time of healing. I invite the church to continue prayers for Ray’s full recovery.

Good news also came from Jannifer Verdusco: ‚ÄúNO chemo! Praise the Lord… will probably need radiation though.‚ÄĚ We’ll be praying for you, Jannifer. God is strong to help.

Christmas break is over at OAKS. It is great to see our children back at school. Let this be a great sememster for the school staff, teachers and the students. Rosa Lee will do the children’s story tomorrow.

I was very encouraged with the Prayer Seminar participation last Wednesday. We ascended on the first step of the Jacob’s Ladder of spiritual ascension. I hope to see even more of you climbing together next week.

Ooltewah church Evangelsim committee met this week to finalize our outreach programs and events. Health Fair in February will be our first big event in reaching out to the community. You’ll hear more from Molly in the next few weeks as the Health Ministry group is finalizing the details. Isn’t this what God’s Church is all about? I hear as Christ is still speaking to us today, saying: ‚ÄúGo… make disciples!‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúGrowing Together‚ÄĚ will be my Sabbath morning message. This is part II of the Mysteries of the Kingdom of God series. The key scripture is taken from Matthew 13:24-30. While working on my sermon I came across a powerful statement by Kenneth Latourette in his seven-volume work¬†on the history of the expansion of Christianity:

“No life ever lived on this planet has been so influential in the affairs of men like the life of Jesus Christ. From that brief life and¬†its apparent frustration has flowed a more powerful force for the¬†triumphant waging of man’s long battle than any other ever known¬†by the human race. By it millions have been lifted from illiteracy¬†and ignorance and have been placed upon the road of growing¬†intellectual freedom and control over the physical environment. It¬†has done more to allay the physical ills of disease and famine than¬†any other impulse known to man. It’s emancipated millions from¬†chattel slavery and millions of others from addiction to vice. It has¬†protected tens of millions in exploitation by their fellows. It’s been¬†the most fruitful source of movement to lessen the horrors of war¬†and to put the relations of men and nations on the basis of justice¬†and of peace…”

How true it is, that Christ and his church have had an enormous influence.¬†And if only we were out and out for Jesus¬†Christ in the fullness of our commitment, then we would have far more influence than we do.¬†What can we do to see it changed? Come tomorrow and we’ll study together.

Happy Sabbath, my friends.

Pastor Peter

AGAPE FEAST

agape-feast

This Friday night (January 2) the Ooltewah SDA church is inviting its members and visitors to participate in the Agape Feast. The service will start at 7 PM in the Fellowship Hall.

Agape is the Koine Greek work for ‚Äúself-giving love‚ÄĚ.¬† In early Christian tradition Agape is also the name for communal meals and times of togetherness and mutual sharing. Our Agape Feast tomorrow night will be eucharistic, it will¬†function as the Lord‚Äôs Supper. In that spirit, we’ll celebrate the¬†first Sabbath of the New Year, bringing together elements of an Early Christian service:¬†meal, prayer, testimonies, and praise.

I invite you to come with humble hearts, seeking forgiveness from God and offering forgiveness to others.

The Agape Feast will include the Ordinance of Humility (footwashing) for anyone willing to participate.¬†¬†Fruit, bread and cheese will be offered after the the Lord’s Supper.

See you tomorrow night,

Pastor Peter