Step out on the Water


MESSAGE: “When trouble comes upon us, how often we are like Peter! We look upon the waves, instead of keeping our eyes fixed upon the Saviour. Our footsteps slide, and the proud waters go over our souls. Jesus did not bid Peter come to Him that he should perish; He does not call us to follow Him, and then forsake us. “Fear not,” He says; “for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art Mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour.” Isa. 43:1-3.” (DA, 382)

My message tomorrow morning is taken from Matthew 14:28-31. It will be the second sermon in the series “Seven Miracles of Jesus.” Step out on the water, look at Jesus and let the world see your new spiritual adventures.

MINISTRY. The church Board met on Monday night. After reviewing the regular church business we spent some time sharing dreams for the future of our church. I was greatly impressed with the bold vision of our church leaders. There were dreams of a Prayer Garden, a bigger sanctuary, a closer connection between our church members, church camping trips, occasional joint Sabbath worship service in the Fellowship hall… Christ is encouraging us to “launch in the deep.” He will lead His church if we are faithful to Him.

A good report from the church treasury team showed a growing base of those members who give consistently. Tomorrow is the last Sabbath of the month and I pray that once again we will allow God to make a miracle in our local church budget giving. If every church member contributes $15 weekly towards our local budget there would be no need for “offering appeals” on Sabbath mornings. If $15 is too much for your financial situation start with $1.50 weekly. God will always be faithful to His promise of “open windows of heaven” in your financial life.

Season of Change Ministry had a great turnout on Thursday afternoon. There were ladies from several area churches. Lupina and her team planned their get together around the Hawaiian theme. There were lots of Pina Coladas. I had to try one personally to be sure they were all “virgin” 🙂 . What a great ministry this is!


heraldsTomorrow night is a big concert! The King’s Heralds are performing at our own church. Please come early. Light refreshments will be served from 6:30 PM. Invite your friends and family.


Aaron Hall

Mr. Aaron Hall is coming to us from Hot Springs, Arkansas where he was a principal and teacher for grades 5-9 . He has extensive experience with music, technology in the classroom, coaching after school sports, and teaching math for multiple grades. Aaron is married to Alisa and they have an infant son, Jackson. Mr. Hall’s greatest passion is supporting his students as they develop their own relationship with Jesus. “I’ve learned that my students are unlikely to buy into the idea of having a relationship with God if they don’t clearly see that I’ve chosen to have a real relationship with Him myself. It’s essential that I live an authentic, Christian life inside and outside of the classroom. My lifestyle sets a huge example for my students, and hopefully, it can represent the kind of life that God calls us each to live.” We are thankful that Mr. Hall and his family have chosen to accept God’s call to come to OAKS. We are looking forward to getting to know him and his family and introducing them to the family we call OAKS.

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Mrs. Janel Jensen is coming to us from Redding, California where she has been teaching grades 6-8. She also has experience in teaching Spanish and coaching varsity level basketball. Janel and her husband Jeffery have an infant son, Josiah. In her philosophy of teaching, Mrs. Jensen states: “I cannot help my students feel safe and special without making sure they realize how important they are to Christ. His love for them permeates everything I do in the classroom. Every subject and activity should connect in some way to Christ’s model and mission.” We are thankful that Mrs. Jensen and her family have chosen to accept God’s call to come to OAKS. We are looking forward to getting to know her and her family.

BRAVES game tickets reminder. Please see David Denton tomorrow or Sunday. He needs your money for the tickets.

PRAYERS: Kent Robertson’s father, Willis, passed away on Wednesday night. We all are greatly saddened by this news. Kent’s parents used to visit our church regularly. They became like our own church family members. We will miss Willis. Our prayers are with his wife Judy, with Kent and his family. Unfortunately, on Thursday night Kent’s grandmother Alice Voorhees fell and broke her hip. She had surgery yesterday and will be transferred to LifeCare this afternoon. I solicit your prayerful support for this dear family. Visitation for Willis Robertson will take place this Sunday, July 31, at Heritage Funeral Home on East Brainerd from 4 to 8 pm. A private graveside service will be held August 1. A memorial service is scheduled for September 10 at McDonald Rd church, where Willis served as an elder.

Pastor Aubrey’s recovery is going well. She was able to drive to a school meeting on Wednesday night. Praise God. We miss you Aubrey, and we will continue praying for your full recovery.

Dave Denton’s grandmother is feeling better and stronger. Thank you for your prayerful support. She’s been transferred to a rehab facility by Memorial Hospital.

Please remember David and Shirley Stevens. They are both week physically, but strong in spirit.

Kristy (a lady who fell from the balcony) is also doing better. She had a good day yesterday. According to her mother’s report “Kristy sat in a chair for 1 1/2 hours, ate ice, and talked through a special trachea device.” Her parents are sincerely grateful for all your prayers.

Have a blessed Sabbath day,




Launch out into the deep

IMG_1044MESSAGE:When finished teaching, he said to Simon, “Push out into deep water and let your nets out for a catch.”

It seems the real invitation Jesus was giving Peter was to go from a life of shallow meaning and little purpose to a life of much deeper meaning. Jesus wanted to rescue Peter from a shallow and meaningless existence and invite him into the deeper purposes of God.

When you truly encounter Jesus Christ, He will challenge your lifestyle. What are you living for? What is really important? Isn’t it true that we get so easily caught up living in the shallows all of our lives. When the major focus of our life becomes making more money so we can buy more stuff with our money, we are stuck in the shallow water of life. Jesus is challenging us to “push out into the deep.” What is this deep water for you? For some it may be a deeper study of God’s Word; for others a more meaningful relationship with our Heavenly Father or faithfulness in Christian service.

I invite you to join me tomorrow morning as I start a new sermon series entitled “Seven Miracles of Jesus.”

MINISTRY: At Ooltewah SDA church we follow Christ’s calling to fulfill the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of people in crisis.

One of the many projects connecting us with people in need is “CEREAL IN THE BARREL.” Here is a short note from Julia Easter: “The idea behind this ministry is pretty simple: just put cereal in the barrel. The barrel is located in the hallway of our church close to the main entrance. When it’s full the content goes to the Samaritan Center for families to have a good start to their day. Otherwise they may not eat anything until lunch or dinner. If you are interested in helping choose one or more Sabbaths a month and mark it on your personal calendar not to forget about this project. Thank you!”


Lego night was a great success. We all had a great time and we raised $520 for the outreach to children at Erlanger! Thank you church family! Edymar posted a cool video on the Youth Facebook page. If you have a Facebook account you’ll find it here: lego night If you don’t use Facebook … I looked and looked and did not find any answer to that dilemma in the Bible. Sorry.

Wait, Sarah Penagos found the answer. Here is the video:

The King’s Heralds are coming to Ooltewah. They’ll sing at our church on July 30 at 7:30 PM. Light refreshments will be served from 6:30 pm. Invite your friends. You’ll find flyers in the church bulletin. Please repost this announcement from the church Facebook page  to your personal Facebook page.


PRAYERS: Once again I am inviting you to pray for Russia. Here is a link to the article in Christianity Today regarding a new law banning religious freedom in Russia: Russia’s Ban on Evangelism

Prayers needed for

  • Joel Tompkins (June Kennedy’s brother.) Joel was diagnosed with COPD and not doing well.
  • Dr. Stevens and his wife Shirley.
  • Kristy (a young lady who fell from the balcony in my apartment complex)
  • Pastor Aubrey (recovery after surgery)
Psalm 118:14-16 “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!”
Your friend,

Have No Fear

havenofearMESSAGE. This morning the world woke up to another terrorist attack in France which took over eighty innocent lives. Our prayers are with the families of those that lost their dear ones. With everything that is going on in the world today, the spirit of fear seems to be working overtime. We have every reason to fear, but the spirit of fear does not come from God. It can be crippling to anyone who holds on to it.

The devil wants us to be afraid. He wants us to be so overwhelmed that we cannot accomplish the things we need to do. Remember, if God is for us, no one can be against us. We are to hold fast to God and stand strong. He is still in control. God’s Kingdom is the only answer to terrorist attacks, death, and tears. As we continue our journey today be assured that Jesus is coming back. He is our hope.

“Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes. Stop your anger! Turn from your rage!” Psalm 37:5-9

MINISTRY. This was a busy week at our church. Vacation Bible School started on Sunday afternoon with over sixty kids crawling through the narrow cave passage leading into the breathtaking underground opening (hint: Fellowship hall 🙂 ). Each night of the VBS program dozens of our church members were helping with games, food, registration, music, etc. Once again I witnessed the awesome spirit of our church family. Thank you Rhonda Hicks, Summer Bradford, and your wonderful team for the great program that you put together for our church and for the kids from the community.

Sabbath Worship. Both worship services tomorrow will take place in the underground cave (Fellowship Hall). I expect lots of blessings as we’ll be worshiping with our VBS participants and leaders.

Sabbath School. No changes with the Sabbath school program. The “sanctuary class” will meet in the sanctuary as usual and the “Fellowship class” will meet around the piano in the Fellowship Hall.

Fellowship Meal. Tomorrow is also our Fellowship Meal (potluck) Sabbath. Please bring lots of items from our summer menu options (salads, sandwiches, fruit salads, etc). Thank you.

Youth. Sunday night is the Youth Bible Themed Lego Competition. Everyone is invited.lego_photo


Atlanta Braves Family Game Day on August 21. This is a multi-generational event sponsored by the Pathfinder, Youth, and Young Adult departments of the Georgia-Cumberland Conference and intended for any and all of our Seventh-day Adventist family members. Come early and enjoy a Pathfinder processional on the field before the game. Thanks to an agreement between the Atlanta Braves and the Conference, we will again be receiving $5 off every ticket sold, which will go to support the Pathfinders, the Cohutta Springs Campership fund, or the Young Adult ministries. The deadline is this weekend. Please call, email, or text David Denton. He needs your $18 by this Sunday.

PRAYERS. Pastor Aubrey had a successful surgery last Tuesday. She is back home. Aubrey’s mother will stay with her through the weekend. After that we need to become her “parents” and “siblings.” Please pray for her full recovery.

Dr. David Stevens is getting very weak. He fell twice this week and had to be taken to the hospital. He is back home and needs our prayers.

David Denton’s grandmother Katherine is still in the hospital. Please pray that the Lord strengthens her body and encourages her spirit.

See you tomorrow,



Windows of Blessings

: It’s amazing to me that people who trust God for their salvation, their eternity in heaven, won’t trust God with their finances. What’s the logic in that? If we can trust God for our eternal destiny, don’t you think we can trust God with our careers, our finances, and our giving? My message tomorrow morning will be based on Malachi 3. In the end, when we rob from God we are actually robbing ourselves. We are robbing ourselves of spiritual blessings, of God’s provisions, of a church that can meet the needs of others.

MINISTRY. Our Vacation Bible School is starting this Sunday. Your help is still needed. Please, contact Rhonda Hicks, Summer Bradford, or pastor Aubrey if you are interested in helping in this exciting ministry.

Our church is growing not only through membership transfers and baptisms, but with newly born babies. I see this as a blessing of heaven. With more babies and several expecting mothers we felt it was the right time to renovate our church mothers’ room. David Denton and John Turner are the architects of this transformation.  Our apologies to the parents with small babies. The room may not be available tomorrow.

The fire department had another training event at the parsonage this week. It looks like the burning/demolition will take place in the middle of August.


From Pastor Aubrey
: “This week I had the privilege of being the camp pastor at Cool Camp, a summer camp run by the Collegedale Church. We spent each morning looking at God’s power in the life of Elisha and how God can use His power in our lives too. Read 2 Kings 4 and be encouraged, if God has the power to work in all the situations Elisha faced, He has the power to help you no matter the situation.

I also would like to solicit your prayers. This coming week on July 12 I will be having outpatient surgery on my left ankle to repair some ligament damage. It will be a long recovery process and I will be non-weight bearing for about 2 weeks. Please pray for a swift and painless recovery over the next weeks and months. Thank you.” 

A word from Steven Bremner, finance committee chairman: “On Tuesday July 12, the Worthy Student Aid Committee will be meeting and praying for the families on how they can assist them financially so their children can receive a Christian Education. At least $4,000 additional funding is needed to assist the children so they can attend OAKS this school year. Your donations and prayers will be much appreciated. Please fill out a tithe envelope and mark it “Student Aid”. Thank you, and God bless you.”


Church garden. Yesterday I went to our church garden to pray for the needs of our church. What a fabulous garden we have on our church property! You need to see it for yourself. It is absolutely beautiful. In every every plant and flower bush I could see love, hard work, and commitment. Thank you Connie Jones, Jessica Turner, and everyone else who is helping with the garden. It is a great witness of God’s creative power.


Young at Heart lunch. I thoroughly enjoyed lunch with many of our church members on Thursday afternoon. What a great to connect and support one another. If you are interested in going out to eat with this happy bunch of our church members talk to Nancy Smiley and she’ll keep you posted on the future get together dates.


Giving: For those traveling or those who prefer an electronic method of giving, don’t forget that donations can be made online through our church website at www.ooltewah

Prayers. Your prayers are needed for Kristy, who fell from the 4th floor balcony at the same apartment complex where we live. Her condition is getting more stable, but she needs a miracle for a full recovery.

Pray for David Denton’s grandmother, Katherine. She is currently in the hospital and needs God’s healing touch.

Please, pray for our nation. It needs healing and reconciliation. Violence is not an answer to the problems of our society. Hatred will bring more evil. God’s grace and forgiveness is the only path to healing. That same power that broke prison chains, raised Lazarus from the dead, and parted the Red Sea, the same power that healed the blind man and delivered the delirious from demons; that same power is at work still today. He is the same. Yesterday, today, and forever.

May we stand together and pray for God to heal our land and strengthen His people. May we pray for all those in authority, for God’s miraculous intervening, for blinding hatred to be removed, and for many to see the power of our Lord as never before.

Pray for the Protestant believers in Russia. The anti-missionary law was was signed by president Putin and comes into effect on July 20.

See you tomorrow,