The Light of Life

image1MESSAGE. Preparing for this Sabbath message my thoughts were concentrated on the words of Jesus: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12 NIV). What is this light of life? How is it different from the other sources of light that we find around us? Here are just a few reasons to search for the divine light:

First, God’s light reveals the truth. It shows flaws as well as perfections. In Psalm 36:9 the Bible teaches: “For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.” We can know the truth about all of creation and ourselves by trusting God’s word. When we trust God, His word and His light, we begin to see that God is faithful and true, steadfast and unchanging, just as He says. If we doubt God’s light, we waver as James says and our faith falters (James 1: 6-7.)

Second, God’s light provides direction. Where do we go in life? How do we navigate through circumstances and trials? On what will we base our goals or happiness? The Bible teaches in Psalm 25:5: “Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” In Psalm 119:105 we read, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path…”

Third, God’s light offers hope. Psalm 37:23-24 says, “If the LORD delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.” We want and need God’s powerful hand to help us through, especially when trouble comes. God wants you to have the light of Jesus today.

The good news of the Gospel is that in the midst of the darkness of sin, God sent a light. And the darkness was not able to overcome it. It wasn’t just a temporary flicker but a true eternal flame.

We need to receive Jesus into our hearts so that he can lead us, guide us, and direct us. This requires an act of surrender, submission, and obedience. In Deuteronomy 29:29 Moses teaches that the secret things belong to God, but the revealed things belong to us. If we humbly ask God to be led by his light, God gives us what we need to go forward. God wants you to have the light of Jesus today.

This weekend I’ll be speaking at the Ministerial Candidate Recognition event for the School of Religion at SAU. The meetings are will take place in Thatcher Hall tonight at 7:30 p.m., and tomorrow morning for Sabbath school and the Worship service. I am looking forward to a wonderful time of fellowship with the future pastors of our SDA church.

Of course, I’ll miss my beloved Ooltewah church family. At our own church pastor David Bissel will be speaking for the first service. Douglas Alan Tilstra, Ph.D., Director of Outdoor Leadership and Education at Southern Adventist University will present the second service message. Dr. Tilstra will speak on Domestic Violence Awareness and how it can impact individuals, families, and the church.

PATHFINDERS. Any idea why it’s raining today and will storm tomorrow? I believe I know the answer. Our Pathfinders are going camping this afternoon! It may not be the best weather for outdoor activities, but I know that it will help our children learn how to deal with challenges and inconveniences of life. They will come back even stronger and ready for new heights in their club journey. We’ll be praying for their safety on the road.

IMG_3100OAKS. This was a week of prayer at OAKS. Pastor Aubrey was the speaker for the school’s daily worship services. God has richly blessed Aubrey in her ministry to the school. With a recent car accident and an illness last weekend Aubrey had a lot to deal with, but the Lord has blessed her messages. Every morning she was teaching our students to trust Jesus and to talk to him in prayer. Many children were encouraged to start bible studies and to be baptized. In the last few days I have also learned that Shelly Turkenkopf is not only a good administrator and capable teacher, but an excellent song service leader. Praise God for OAKS!


IMG_3046MEN’S MINISTRY. Two weeks ago Lucas Patterson motivated a number of our church members (not just men 🙂 ) to feed the homeless downtown Chattanooga. What a wonderful experience it was. This is the kind of service that Christ praised in his followers in Matthew 25, “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ (Matthew 25:34-36 NIV).

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CHURCH BOARD. Last Monday night our church board members reviewed our church ministry plans and activities. It was encouraging to see a strong emphasis on outreach events like the Health fair, Church Yard sale, Belarus Christian choir concert, and the upcoming It Is Written meetings.

A considerable amount of time was dedicated to a discussion of the church’s support of Christian education. Our commitment to provide monthly subsidy to OAKS, to Student Aid and Collegedale Academy tuition assistance amounts to about $180,000 annually. $120,000 of the total amount comes out of our church budget. Everyone who spoke on this subject was motivated by love for our children who need to receive solid Christian education. The essence of the discussion was about the best ways to create greater awareness of these financial commitments. The Finance Committee and the Board will get together in the next few weeks to pray and brainstorm about the most effective ways of keeping our educational needs in the forefront of our church ministry.

COMMUNITY OUTREACH. This Sunday our church is hosting a Health Fair. Invite your family members, friends, and neighbors. The fair will go from 3 to 5 p.m. Click here to read more about this event.

A church wide yard sale is scheduled for next Sunday, October 4, from 9 to 4 p.m. The proceeds will go towards OAKS subsidy. Please, contact Jackie or Juanita Rose if you have any questions about this event. Their phone number is in the church directory.

PRAYERS. Please, remember the Phillips family in your prayers. Please also pray for Nancy Smiley. Nancy’s only granddaughter was found dead in CA early this week. Let the Lord give Nancy and her family comfort and strength to go through the pain of loss. Please also remember Cindy Cole who has returned home from the hospital and is on her way to recovery.

Here is an update from Rebekah Bissel, “Hi Pastor, I just wanted to update that Linnea is starting to look better! It has taken almost 5 days of prayers and antibiotics but there is finally good evidence of improvement and I am so thankful. Please continue praying for her.”

“The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: “The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things! The Lord’s right hand is lifted high; the Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!” (Psalm 118:14-16 NIV)

Pastor Peter

Hear the Cry

 MESSAGE: Church is not just a Sabbath morning hymn and sermon. Church is a body where every member depends on the support and well-being of the other parts. If one member is hurting, the pain reverberates through the whole body. If the pain is not addressed it turns into a chronic problem; other members stop reacting to it. If we learn to hear and respond to people’s cries for help, we can usually prevent their dropping out. Those still crying will respond to our efforts to reach them. But cries don’t last forever. Some cry longer than others, depending on their bond to the congregation, but when the cry goes unanswered, eventually members leave. Then the damage is much greater and more difficult to repair. Let’s act today!

CHURCH. Tomorrow morning Paul Richardson is our guest speaker for both services. Here is more about pastor Richardson:
PAUL RICHARDSON – has been the Reconnecting Ministries Coordinator for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America for more than 21 years. Through his interviews with missing members he has gained insights into ways to reconnect with them and prepare congregations to receive inactives effectively. Paul is also the Network General Manager for Positive Life Radio with 5 stations in the Pacific Northwest, 120,000 listeners, and is a ministry to inactively attending church members from many different denominations. To learn more or to stream the station, go to Paul’s wife Teri is an RN. They live in College Place WA.

Sermon topic for the first service: “Invisible Church”
Sermon topic for the second service: “Indescribable Welcome Home”
Paul is also speaking during the Sabbath school program in the sanctuary and in the afternoon after the church Fellowship meal. I am encouraging our church leaders and church members to stay for the afternoon seminar. Reconnecting with inactive members is our priority for the next twelve months. Christ is sending us to seek the lost. This seminar is intended to help us get new insights into the best methods of reaching out to the inactive members of our congregation.

FELLOWSHIP MEAL. Greg and Rhonda Wellborn will not be available tomorrow to fix food and to set up the church lunch. I count on your wholehearted support. Please, if possible, bring your favorite dish in the amount that would be enough for you and for some of the visitors. Please, don’t leave frozen food on the kitchen table. We’ll not have enough hands tomorrow to take care of the frozen food or dishes requiring heating. Your help is needed and will be sincerely appreciated.

SABBATH SCHOOL. Message from Michelle Garrett, the SS superintendent:
“We have a guest speaker for both services that will also be teaching Sabbath School for adults in the sanctuary. Adult classes are encouraged to bring their members to the sanctuary and learn together. However, this is not a mandatory class, and classes are welcome to meet at their scheduled locations (with the exception of the class in the sanctuary). *We had some young visitors last week and I will be leading the Young Adult class in OAKS library this week to accommodate them in studying the adult quarterly.
This is the first week that we are holding the Mission Spotlight in the sanctuary before we dismiss to classes (children will be dismissed into their regular classes). We will begin the video at 10:15, Pastor Peter will share some information with us, and then we will divide into classes (you are welcome to stay in the sanctuary to listen to our guest speaker teach Sabbath School).”

WOMEN’S MINISTRY. Please join us on September 26 at 11:25 am as Dr. Doug Tilstra speaks on Domestic Violence Awareness and how it can impact individuals, families and the church. We are looking forward to having him as our guest speaker here at the Ooltewah SDA Church! (Summer Bradford)

COMMUNITY. From Lucas: “It the Ooltewah SDA Church’s turn to cook breakfast for 150+ homeless at Community Kitchen (downtown). We do this once every three months (in a cycle with McDonald Road and the campus church) on the second Sabbath of the month. I’m buying the food at SAMS today and would love your help preparing it and (perhaps more importantly) sitting down to talk with our guests while they eat. If you are interested and available please tell me ASAP so I’ll know I’ve got enough cooking crew for a relatively stress-free morning. 

There’s room in my minivan if anyone needs to carpool form Collegedale/Ooltewah (leaving campus at 5:30 a.m.). We arrive there at 6 a.m., serve at 7, and leave around 8:30 a.m.

Free pancakes, turkey bacon, fruit salad, and perspective for your trouble! Lucas Patterson.”

PRAYERS. The Mountcastle family is asking for your prayerful support. Tim’s nephew (Velma’s grandson) was found irresponsive yesterday in Miami, FL. He is in a coma. Some of the family members are on the road today. Let us pray for their safety and for Brian’s condition.

Our regular church visitor Cindy Cole is at Memorial Hospital with serious health concerns. Please, pray for Cindy’s healing. Let the Lord give her a spirit of courage and strength to cope with her health problems.

Shannon Cantrell is reporting on his Mom’s (Jacque Cantrell), condition: “Mom is having a good day! She’s smiling and talking more. She even ate a bowl of granola cereal this morning! She has not been able to eat anything but very soft foods for several months! She is still very tired and weak, though. But, that should change when we start weaning her off the medications in a few days. Keep up the prayers, because God is answering them!!!”

 BELARUS CHOIR. The Belarus National Christian Choir will be performing in concert at our church on Sabbath morning, October 10, at 11:00 a.m. in the sanctuary.
The 33 member choir and instrumental ensemble will perform a half hour program of Slavic Classics along with the Hallelujah Chorus, It is Well, and other American Favorites. Formed in 1986, the choir has performed in Eastern Europe, France, Germany and Russia, and is currently on tour in the United States.

We’ll need help in hosting the choir members in our homes for one night from Oct. 9 to Oct. 10 ( from 7 pm on Friday night to Sabbath morning). Please, contact Lupina or me if you would be willing to take one or two choir members to your home and to help them learn about the loving spirit of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The choir members are not SDA members. What a great way to witness about the love of Christ to those who travel far away from their homes and families.

Click here to get a preview of their inspiring music


MESSAGE. How amazing was God’s patience exercised and manifested toward Israel. He “suffered their manners” for forty years in the wilderness (Acts 13:18). Later, when they had entered Canaan, but followed the evil customs of the nations around them, and turned to idolatry, God disciplined them, but did not destroy them. In their distress, He raised up deliverers for them. When their iniquity reached a height that none but a God of infinite patience could have mercy on them, He spared them for many years before He allowed them to be carried down into Babylon.

How wondrous is God’s patience with the world today. On every side people are sinning with a high hand. The Divine Law is trampled under foot and God Himself is openly despised. It is truly amazing that He does not instantly strike dead those who so defy Him. Only one answer is possible: because God bears with “much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction.”

One of the fruits of the spirit is longsuffering. We cannot grow it on our own. The Spirit of God makes it flourish inside our being. When we acknowledge God’s long-suffering towards each one of us we show that same patient spirit towards other people around us.

Tomorrow morning I’ll continue my “Living for the Glory of God” series.

EVANGELISM. Impact Chattanooga shares this reminder: John Bradshaw will be speaking for the pre-evangelism rally this Sabbath afternoon, Sept. 5, at 4 p.m., promising to be a time of inspiration and commitment. This will take place at the ICCM Center (where the meetings will be held), 6425 Lee Hwy, Chattanooga.

Our church has joined hands with the other area churches in preparing our community for this evangelistic event. As one of the community services projects our church will hold a health fair on September 27. Our Health Ministries leaders assured me that this will be a very informative event with free health screening tests offered to the attendees. Here is a link to the seminar flyer.

Attachment-1MINISTRIES. Deacons and deaconesses received excellent training at the CPR class last week. Thank you, Jennifer and Mike, for providing this training event to our church leaders. Here are some photos from the training day:

Our Adventurer Club needs more help. If you are interested in helping Becky Denton please see her after church tomorrow.

OAKS. I had lots of fun at OAKS this morning. The water day was a blast! Lots of pizza, desserts, drinks, happy faces, smiles, and of course water balloons :-). Here are just a few photos from this awesome event:

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MIRACLES. We prayed for a miracle! God answered our prayers. Thank you dear church members for your faithful support of our local church budget. Total local church giving amount for the month of August is … Are you ready? Here it is: $38,000! Praise be to God!

Happy Sabbath. I’ll see you tomorrow morning.