The Call to Dicipleship 

MESSAGE. “Those who follow Jesus’ commandment entirely, who let Jesus’ yoke rest on them without resistance, will find the burden they must bear to be light. In the gentle pressure of this yoke they will receive the strength to walk the right path without becoming weary.…Where will the call to discipleship lead those who follow it? What decisions and painful separations will it entail? We must take this question to him who alone knows the answer. Only Jesus Christ, who bids us follow him, knows where the path will lead. But we know that it will be a path full of mercy beyond measure. Discipleship is joy.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

Pastor Aubrey was on the preaching schedule for this Sabbath, but due to a death in the Denton family Aubrey will be attending the viewing and memorial services.

Dr. Greg A. King, School of Religion Dean and Professor of Biblical Studies at Southern Adventist University will be speaking at our church for both Sabbath services. His sermon topic is “Telling the Truth About the Truth.”

MINISTRY. Our church luncheon last Sabbath was an unforgettable experience. Thank you church family for your gracious spirit and your amazing love. Your kind words in the cards and sweet personal hugs will always remain in our hearts and minds. That was an awesome feast and a beautiful celebration of Christian fellowship. I am looking forward to our next party, but ONLY on the day of our retirement :-). Thank you, Michael Haughee for the photos:

NEW SABBATH SCHOOL CLASS. Our Sabbath school program is expanding. Here is a message from Dan Turkenkopf: “The mens group is ready to start a men’s Sabbath school class. We will meet in one of the school classrooms. We plan on starting the 1st Sabbath after labor day…which I think is September 10th. We plan on going through the 33 series.” Thank you Men’s Ministry team. This is an answer to many prayers.

Here is more from Men’s Ministry:  “Gentlemen, 

The much anticipated men’s rally is upon us! It’s this Saturday and the link to register is below. Registration is not required but if you would like to be entered to win a chainsaw (which I for one could use), I would encourage you to do so. In addition to what will undoubtedly be a powerful and energizing rally, we are scheduled to have our monthly men’s breakfast/meeting Sunday morning at the Ooltewah SDA church.

While we break bread and enjoy fellowship, we will be discussing the future direction of the men’s group at Ooltewah. Our church is going through lots of changes, changes that I believe are being lead by the holy spirit. The God train is moving full steam ahead and I for one want all of us to be on that train. Satan, on the other hand, does not and will do everything he can to derail us.

If we have God as our leader and bind together as a band of brothers to do his will. Imagine the joy, honor, and privilege we will have to experience in all that is accomplished. I encourage you to come out this Saturday and Sunday. Each and every one of you are important to God and his agenda. 

Breakfast starts at 830am. If you would like to help prepare the food (which will start at 730am), please let me know. You can either text or reply to this email. God bless and know that I am praying for you all, Edymar Penagos 813-541-2184 Hope to see all 48 of you there.”


MINISTRY OPPORTUNITY. Visitor gift bags have been introduced as a regular part of our welcome to the new faces joining our fellowship. We want to show our visitors how happy we are to have them worship with us! If you are able to help prepare these bags for distribution please contact Sarah Penagos at or 813-892-5135 for details. (The cost is covered by the church.)

CHURCH BOARD. At our Board meeting on Monday night we reviewed our July Financial statements. Rita, the church treasurer, reported that all our church ministries are funded according to the approved budget. The church faithfully supports OAKS and Collegedale Academy students. Thank you, church, for your faithful and consistent support of our local church budget.

The Board approved a new sign right by the Interstate. The sign will be 40 feet tall, illuminated, with great visibility from I-75. What a great way to make thousands of drivers know that there is a Seventh-day Adventist church and School in Ooltewah. Let the name of the Lord be glorified through this sign. It was also reported to the Board that the builders are about to start building two LED signs on our church property.

There was a very passionate discussion about getting more of our ministry and department leaders to attend monthly board meetings. As I was listening to this discussion I was impressed with the gentle spirit of love among our church leaders. They care about policies and ministries, but even more about the souls. God is truly blessing this church with committed and loving stewards. It was unanimously agreed that encouragement and training would be the best way to achieve higher board meetings attendance.

The Board voted to print a new, updated, full-color membership directory. You’ll hear more about this project in the next couple of weeks.

Every month the Board looks into new ways of building community among our church members. The Connect ministry is calling for a big meeting on September 10. All church elders, deacons, deaconesses, greeters and ministry leaders are encouraged to attend. Every church member is welcome to join the meeting. Here is the schedule: 6 pm – elders meeting, 7 pm – The Connect meeting, 8 pm – game night. Everyone is welcome!

OAKS. Enjoy a few recent photos from OAKS:

PRAYERS. Our sincere condolences to the Denton family. David Denton’s grandmother Katherine passed away on Tuesday afternoon. The visitation and funeral is scheduled for this Friday, August 26, from 4 to 7 pm at Valley View Funeral home. Please remember this dear family in your prayers.

Our church member Sarah Jane Reeve passed on August 14. Please uplift Sarah’s family in your prayers. We find comfort in the promise of our Lord’s soon return.

I solicit your prayers as I’ll be driving to Camp Wakonda to speak at a camp meeting for the Russian-speaking community coming from Minnisotta, Illionois, Wisconsin and other parts of the North Eastern USA. I am planning on coming back on Monday.

My prayers are with you,


Where is the Fruit?


MESSAGE. Matthew 21:19 “Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.”

Like the fig tree, Israel looked good on the outside, but despite its appearance it was not producing any fruit. Because it was not providing for his people, Jesus decreed that he would let it fade, and raise up something new in its place: the Church. We are the new creation, the Spiritual Israel, God planted for those hungry to know God; let us make sure we yield a bountiful harvest.

“From the barren fig tree Christ spoke a parable that everyone should heed. Those who walk in the way of God’s commandments will be like a flourishing fig tree, full of fruit. The tree was cursed because it had only pretentious leaves, and no fruit.” (EGW, Manuscript 65, 1912)

Tomorrow morning I invite you to study the miracle of the withered fig tree. Please, read Matthew 21 and Mark 11:12-25.

MINISTRY. I hope you like the “name tags” campaign 🙂 . It is definitely helping me memorize more names of our church members and visitors. I am sure that in a matter of a few months we will stop using “the descriptive narrative” talking about a “bald-tall-middle aged-man-with-a-strong-southern-accent-coming-to-the-second-service” and will start calling him John Smith. 🙂

Sabbath School visitor bags is an awesome initiative. Thank you Sabbath school team.

Talking about our new members gift bags I want to thank Lupina Haney for her creativity and to share a sweet note that came to our office from Jerry Lastine. Here it is:



A huge Thank You to Darren Downey for the long hours spent working on our church bathroom improvements!


BABY BOTTLES. Remember the Baby Bottles campaign? Your donations were received in Romania and here is a sweet note from My Brother’s Keeper office:

FullSizeRender (1)

PRAYERS. Catherine, David Denton’s grandmother, is very weak. She is at her daughter’s house. Please remember her in your prayers.

Sondra Chilson is struggling with crippling nerve pain. She needs our prayerful support.

David and Shirley Stevens are in the process of moving into the Collegedale LifeCare center. Please pray for them.

Have a blessed Sabbath Day!


I never intended for my Friday email message to replace the church bulletin, and I plan to keep it that way, however this one time I am making an exception. With many wonderful activities taking place at our church and school we have gotten into the mode of spending more of our worship service time on announcements than on the sermon. I’d like us to look into some creative and innovative ways of informing our church about the upcoming events without sacrificing the Bread of Life.

Here is a list of the many exciting events planned at our church and other area churches:

PRAISE THE LORD LUNCHEON – Church family, please make plans to attend a special luncheon this Sabbath after the second service to praise the Lord for His wonderful leading in our church ministry in the last fiscal year. This luncheon is in honor of God who brought us all together. If you have a special dish of your nationality, please bring it for Potluck. Bring enough food for your family and enough to share so we can have an enjoyable luncheon.

CHURCH MEMBERS – The church office would like your current contact information. Please stop by the desk in the sanctuary hallway Sabbath, August 20, to review and update your contact information as needed.

ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION – The Bryan, Daniel and Darin Bissell Families cordially invite you to attend the 50th Anniversary Celebration of our parents, David and Jeanette Bissell. WHEN: Sunday, August 21, at 1:00 p.m. WHERE: Ooltewah Adventist Church Fellowship Hall, 9209 Amos Rd. POTLUCK AND PROGRAM:  Please bring a dish or two and celebrate with us. Cake and refreshments will be provided. Questions, well wishes, and RSVP can be sent to or you can call him at 319-826-2608. For further info see No personal gifts please. Donations to OAKS WORTHY STUDENT FUND gladly accepted.


CHURCH FINANCE MEETING – This will be held on Monday, August 22, @ 6:00 p.m. in the Fellowship Center.

CHURCH BOARD MEETING – This will be held on Monday, August 22, @ 7:00 p.m. in the Fellowship Center.

WEDNESDAY PRAYER MEETING – Please join us on Wednesdays in the Sanctuary at 7:00 p.m. as we pray and study God’s Word.

THANK YOU – I really appreciate receiving so many cards, foods, concerns, and most of all your prayers. I love you all ~ Betty Chastain

THANK YOU – To everyone who showered us with blessings and gifts at our wedding shower last Sunday. We appreciate you so much as we begin this new journey of marriage together. ~ Michael Huisman and Christina Williams

SEASON OF CHANGE – For women who have lost a spouse, we will meet on Thursday, August 25, at noon in the Fellowship Center.  Our guest speaker will be Ron Malloch, who has created a beautiful Power Point presentation on DVD called “The Heavens are Telling.” Learn what the stars are really telling us. Lunch and dessert will be provided. Please call Lupina Haney 423-400-9246 (c) or Marlene Keaton 423-591-4037 (h) to let us know if you are coming and if you are bringing a friend. This helps us for food preparation and table set up.

YOUTH VESPERS – Please come and enjoy the youth-led vespers next Sabbath, August  27, at 7:30 p.m. with Open Gym afterwards from 8:15-9:30 p.m.

Bulletin Announcements Continued in bulletin insert

“A LOANER CAR” NEEDED – Vlad Zubkov, a Ukrainian Theology Student, safely arrived to Ooltewah from Ukraine last night and is in need of a horse and buggy :-). He will be studying, learning, helping the pastors, and assisting in the church office for 4 months (till December 7). If you are able to assist with some means of transportation, please contact the church office. Vlad will pay you back in heaven.

SMALL GROUP – The small group meeting in the Reynolds’ home will resume its regular Bible study sessions on Tuesday evenings from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. beginning on August 30.  All are welcome.  We will be studying the book of Revelation. Address: 5638 Barrington Country Circle, Collegedale.  Phone: 396-2348.

COLLEGIATE SS will be starting back up next Sabbath, August 27. It will take place in the School Library with Britney Verduzco as its teacher.

ADVENTURER REGISTRATION – This will be held August 28 @ 4:00 p.m. in the Fellowship Center. Please contact Becky Denton @ 432-3088, if you have any questions.

PATHFINDER REGISTRATION – This will be held August 24 from 6:00–8:30 p.m. in the Fellowship Center. Please contact Dale Smith @ (423) 715-8808, if you have any questions.

FEEDING THE HOMELESS – If you are interested in preparing and serving breakfast at the Chattanooga Community Kitchen on Saturday, September 10, please contact Lucas Patterson at 423-582-1678. Our church’s volunteer team of 8-10 people arrives at 6 a.m. and leaves by 8:15 a.m. Carpooling is available.

CHAINSAWS AND BUTTER KNIVES MEN’S RALLY – All men are invited to attend a free rally on Aug 27, at the Collegedale Community Church. This event is designed to inspire, educate, and connect men as they answer the call of becoming the men God designed us to be. Keynote speaker will be John Cosgrove, along with Marty Miller and Gary Rustad. For more information and to register “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend” (Proverbs 27:17).

S’MORE CAMP (Single Moms’ & Kids Retreat) – The conference is having the 3rd annual S’MORE Camp the weekend of August 26-28. It is a FREE family weekend for single moms and their kids. WHAT IS S’MORE? Single Moms of Real Excellence. The event is where approximately 30 single mothers and their children enjoy a weekend retreat, providing emotional, physical, and spiritual support that is often needed in these busy homes. Each family is given a basket of snacks, and the kids are elated to find a “special gift” with their name on it in their cabin. Activities include family-style-worship, Bible stories, games, crafts, and music. Moms enjoy a seminar just for them and creating a decoration for their home! Please call the conference office at 800-567-1844 ext 342, if you’re interested in attending.

WORSHIP CONCERT – The Highlanders from Portland, TN, SDA Church and Voices in Worship from Ooltewah SDA Church will be singing together at the Chattanooga First SDA Church on August 27. They will perform in the worship service and then present a vespers concert at 6:30 p.m. The mixed choir of 14 singers will sing beautifully-arranged hymns with rich harmonies, accompanied by piano and organ. Come and bring a friend.

REVELATION SYMPOSIUM – A symposium on Last Day Events, which aims to present the Jesus of Revelation as your Savior and Best Friend, will be held in Lynn H. Wood Auditorium (at SAU) September 2 @ 6:30-8:30 p.m. andSeptember 3 @ 9:30-6:30 p.m.

*The Accursed Fig Tree painting used in this message is by Jacques Joseph Tissot (French: [tiso]; 15 October 1836 – 8 August 1902), a French painter and illustrator.

A Clean Leper

leperMESSAGE. Do you ever feel that your sins make you a leper? That you are out of place among your Christian friends? You feel in yourself that you are shut out from the fellowship of your church. You cannot pray their prayer nor sing their hymns. You do not experience their joys. This is actually the fearful part of the leprosy of sin— “for all have have sinned”; we have accepted the sores and the exclusion as part of our normal life. In Mark 1 we read as Jesus performed another miracle. A leper became clean. He could not change his condition. There were no doctors or healers to help him overcome his illness. Christ meets the leper. Christ touches the leper. He becomes clean. The leprosy of sin is a wide-spread plague in this world. Satan wants to keep us in his leprosarium, but if we run to Jesus we will hear His powerful words: “Be cleansed!”

My Sabbath morning message will be taken from Mark 1:40-45.

OAKS. The first day of school went well. I heard that there were no tears. Even our new kindergartners felt safe and happy while away from their moms and dads. 🙂 Tomorrow we will have a prayer of dedication for the school staff and teachers during both services.

CONNECT.  Last week we voted Melody Higgs into our church family. Jason’s membership transfer is in the bulletin for this week. We are thrilled to welcome Jason, Melody, and Annie into our church. Here is a short statement sent to our office by Melody:

“We were married right here at Ooltewah SDA in March 2014. We love to make music, compose art, build puzzles, and spend quality time doing these things together with our sweet daughter, Annie. Annie is starting kindergarten at OAKS this year and we couldn’t be more proud!
We both grew up in the SDA Church and appreciate its important message to our current and future generations. We love Jesus more than anything and try to do our best to walk closer to Him every day!”
Next week I will introduce you to Jerry Lastine, who transferred his membership from Illinois, and the Phillips family that moved here from Florida.
LEARN: Pastor Aubrey asked me to include this info into this week’s church update:
 Single Mom’s and Kids Retreat”
“S’MORE Camp (Single Moms’ & Kids Retreat) is taking place August 26-28. It is a FREE family weekend for single moms and their kids. It will take place at Cohutta Springs and it’s a great time to receive emotional, physical, and spiritual support. Each family is given a basket of snacks, and the kids are elated to find a “special gift” with their name on it in their cabin. Activities include family-style worship, Bible stories, games, crafts, and music. Moms enjoy a seminar just for them and creating a decoration for their home!
Please call the Conference office at 800-567-1844 ext.342 if you’re interested in attending.”
HELP. BUSINESS/SERVICE/HANDYMAN DIRECTORY:  Men’s Ministry has decided to put together a directory of business men and women, services, and handyman abilities in our local Ooltewah Church.  If you own a business, or have skills/business expertise or talents that you think could be helpful to our members, please send your name and business/skill/service that you could provide to Pastor Bissell at  Provide your email address and business phone number.  You can also contact me at 423-284-6945.  Deadline for submissions is August 31.  Thank you.
SHINE. One of the first impressions that a church gives a passerby is its church sign or marquee. I have good news. Builders and brick masons are getting ready to pour concrete and start building a solid structure for our LED church sign on Amos Rd and an OAKS LED sign on the right side of the school.
A separate donation was received by our church for a large (15’x10′), tall (30′), double-sided, illuminated sign to be installed on our property by Interstate 75, where thousands of drivers will see the Seventh-day Adventist name and logo daily. The Building committee will meet on Sunday morning to review the proposed concept for the sign and present it to the Church Board on August 22.
Here is the proposed concept from the local Valley Signs company.

CELEBRATE. The Bryan, Daniel and Darin Bissell families cordially invite you to attend the 50th Anniversary Celebration of our parents, David and Jeanette Bissell. WHEN: Sunday, August 21 at 1 PM.  WHERE: Ooltewah Adventist Church Fellowship Hall, 9209 Amos Rd.  POTLUCK AND PROGRAM:  Please bring a dish or two and celebrate with us!  Cake and refreshments will be provided.  Questions, well wishes, and RSVP can be sent to or you can call him at 319-826-2608.  For further info see No personal gifts please.  Donations to OAKS WORTHY STUDENT FUND gladly accepted.

PRAY. Please pray for Velma Todd. A car hit the corner of her house. She had to move out while the house is being repaired. She needs our loving support.
Peggy Bell had surgery on Wednesday. Here is an excerpt from her Facebook post: “Well my day was different than planned , starting feeling bad Monday afternoon after eating my dinner , was sick all day yesterday , was not able to sleep either night from the severe pain, had not been able to eat since Monday!! Long story short, I got in to see my primary dr this morning around 9:30 am , after some test and exam he sent me to the ER and around 6: pm I was in the OR having my gallbladder removed!! Got in a room around 8 and should be able to go home tomorrow!!”  I talked to Peggy a few minutes ago. She is back home and thankful for all the prayers and phone calls.
“O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Then say, “Save us, O God of our salvation,
And gather us and deliver us from the nations,
To give thanks to Your holy name,
And glory in Your praise.”
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
From everlasting even to everlasting. (1 Chronicles 16:34-36)

Blessed Sabbath day to you,

Freedom From Demon Bondage


MESSAGE. People make two mistakes in considering demons and demonic activity: either they discount it and think nothing of it, or they become too fascinated and too pre-occupied with it. Demonic activity is real, more active in some darker regions than others, but it is something Christians should not live in fear of, for Christ has won the victory over all such evil forces.

“We carefully secure our houses with bolts and locks to protect our property and our lives from evil men; but we seldom think of the evil angels who are constantly seeking access to us, and against whose attacks we have, in our own strength, no method of defense. If permitted, they can distract our minds, disorder and torment our bodies, destroy our possessions and our lives. Their only delight is in misery and destruction. Fearful is the condition of those who resist the divine claims and yield to Satan’s temptations, until God gives them up to the control of evil spirits. But those who follow Christ are ever safe under His watchcare. Angels that excel in strength are sent from heaven to protect them. The wicked one cannot break through the guard which God has stationed about His people.” (GC, 517)

This Sabbath morning my message is derived from Luke 8:26-38.

MINISTRY. The King’s Heralds concert was a great blessing to our church members and visitors. Amens and Hallelujahs accompanied every piece of their music. At a certain point there was no them or us; the audience and the singers were all united in one angelic choir praising the Lord. Thank you Larry Otto for inviting this awesome group to bless us with their inspiring songs and music. 

Thank you church members and leaders for making this an enjoyable night. I know that for some that night was mostly about running around, moving chairs, offering snacks and water, greeting, directing traffic, etc. but by the end of the day we all could say, Praise God! This was an awesome program! 🙏🌟


Sunday through Wednesday pastor Aubrey and I attended the summer Ministers’ meetings in Cohutta Springs. It was good to change pace, reconnect with colleagues in ministry, and to enjoy the beautiful Cohutta nature. We have a great sisterhood of churches in our Conference. 


This week I received a rather unusual email request. I am forwarding it to your attention. See if this may be your calling 🙂  “Hello Pastor Kulakov my name is Roy and I grabbed your email information off of the church website. I currently attend the Collegedale Spanish American SDA Church, which has very few members at the moment.  While taking a hike a week ago I found a bunny rabbit that was obviously not a wild rabbit. As a trained biologist I could not help but take it in and make sure he was safe. I am hoping to find the rabbit a good and loving home as soon as possible and don’t feel comfortable just giving him away to some random people on craiglists. I am willing to give away all the food, hay, feeder, bed, bunny, and cage (and everything else I have bought) for free with just the promise of a good Christian home. Forgive me for such a random and odd request, but I thought I might give this a try in the hopes that he will be kept safe. Thank you so much for your consideration. Have a wonderful week, and God bless you -Roy”
Here is the bunny’s photo. If you are interested, please, contact pastor Aubrey. 🙂


This week I learned that our school principle is not only a good administrator and an expecting mother, but a car mechanic. 😀 Next time If you have any car trouble see Shelly: 


OAKS. A gorgeous painting was donated to OAKS by the McKee family. To be more specific it is “Blessed Hope” by Nathan Greene.  Tomorrow afternoon everyone is invited to join the “unveiling” of the painting. We need your prayers for our teachers, students, families and for this painting to serve as a powerful evangelistic tool in leading our children to Jesus. You’ll find more details in the church bulletin insert. 


Do you remember as last week we were praying for a miracle to reach our July local budget goal? When we pray for God’s command to step out of the boat and to walk on the water miracles do happen! You all came together and met our goal. God bless you! I hear from our treasury team that more and more of our memebers and visitors are giving consistently towards our local budget needs. Amen and Amen to that. 

I pray that you have a wonderful Sabbath day. See you tomorrow,