Graceful Living


MESSAGE. It is difficult to understand how the Lord Jesus could pray for His brutal executioners to be forgiven (Luke 23:34). We often try to excuse our unforgiving hearts by arguing that He was God, whereas we are sinful creatures. But Jesus calls us to follow His divine example. As we lift our eyes to the Lord in prayer, we can be Spirit-enabled to put into practice His most difficult directives. Think of someone toward whom you have harbored a bitter spirit. Cleanse your memory if necessary.  Pray: “Lord, flood my heart with grace, and purge away my unforgiving spirit. Help me to ‘live peaceably with all men’” (Romans 12:18).
What a transforming difference it can make in our marriages, our homes, and our churches. Tomorrow is the Communion Sabbath at our church. Pray for grace and forgiveness.


MINISTRY. HOPE Bible Study group meets every Friday night at the Samaritan Center at 6:30. This New Bible study group is being sponsored by our church. Mark Philips is the group leader.

On September 25 our Men’s Ministry group held their monthly meeting. Here is a brief report from Edymar: “For the month of September the monthly men’s breakfast (Haney’s Hungry Hombres) met at the Cracker Barrel. This time, there was no agenda or lessons. It was what I call, GTO (guys time out). Over 12 men got together and bonded over biscuits, eggs and grits. Next month, the breakfast will be back in the fellowship hall and it will be an event you do not want to miss. More to come soon. If you would like to learn more about what the Ooltewah Men are doing at church and in the community, please reach out to me. Thank you, Edymar Penagos ( Cell 813-541-2184)” 

On Wednesday night, I had the honor of being part of the Pathfinder Club Induction program. Here is a message from Cory Goss, the club Director: “The Ooltewah Pathfinders have been very busy.  Last weekend was spent camping at Sloppy Floyd State Park in GA with the whole club.   Although it was hot, it didn’t keep us from enjoying the archery, canoeing, wall climbing, campfire singing, fishing, hiking, and quality time together with each other and our Savior.  It was such a fun time that many of us wanted to stay longer, but it was only a couple days before we were back together for our Induction Ceremony at the church.  25 new members were inducted by candle light ceremony and all of us were reminded by Pastor Peter that you are never too young to do something for God.  With a record number of new members we now are over 55 kids plus our staff. God is blessing the Ooltewah Pathfinder Club and we are so proud of our kids.”





Evangelyn and Donald Keefe, our regular church visitors, welcomed a precious baby Josiah Glaser Keefe (6 lbs, 9.5 oz) into their family last Saturday night. Congratulations!



PRAYERS. Ephesians 6:18 “Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints”

Stovall family. Thank you everyone who joined the Memorial service for Nicki on Monday night.

George Mackel. George has been transferred to The Health Care Center at Standiffer Place.

Larry Collins. Ooltewah church member battling cancer.

ANNOUNCEMENTS. Click here for this Sabbath church bulletin and Announcements.

ONLINE GIVING is available on the church website at


God’s Wall

God’s Wall


Fire flames isolated on white background

MESSAGE. Every Christian is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19), but not every Christian has strong and solid walls. In fact, some Christians are like some of the people in Nehemiah’s day–content to live in the midst of broken down walls. How are your spiritual walls? Spiritual wall-building is not easy. It is hard work. There are obstacles and oppositions to overcome. There are discouragements and doubts along the way. But the great encouraging truth is that God is the One building the wall if we allow Him to bring His brick and mortar (Zachariah 2:5). Our walls will fail. God’s wall will stand forever.

“How to Build a Wall” is my sermon message for tomorrow morning.

55eafc47c49f4MINISTRY. Here is an exerpt from Steve Bremner’s email message: “Please pray for the prison ministry. Last night (Sunday) was the second week in a row Paula Wolfe and I were not allowed in. I was very inspired by Paula last night. We were told it would be awhile before our service could start because of an incident in the unit we are assigned. Then we were led into the prison and told to wait in a hallway. We saw a guard with a rifle and several other guards with weapons. Paula looked concerned and said “I’m not sure if I want to go any further.”

I asked Paula if she wanted to leave? She thought for a moment, and said “I want to be were Jesus wants me to be and Jesus wants me here. I’M STAYING.” ”

Is your faith as strong as Paula’s?


Hope Bible Study Group. Our church is starting a new off premises Bible study group. The group meets tonight at 6:30 at the Samaritan Center. Mark Phillips is leading the Bible study. Bring your friends.


Health Seminar. Attention! This is already tomorrow. Melody Prettyman, a Texas-based vegan chef and author, will give two health seminars on Saturday, September 17 at 5:00 pm, and Sunday, September 18 at 3:00 pm. The vespers program will start at 4:30 pm. Light supper will be provided right before the first seminar. 

Hispanic Evangelism. I am so happy that our church could host the Hispanic church meetings. The baptism will take place tomorrow at 7 pm in our sanctuary. Praise God for their ministry.

Elders. Last Sabbath night our church elders gathered to review the spiritual life of our congregation. There were two main areas of concern discussed by the elders. First, a great number of “inactive members.” We have about a hundred and fifty names on the church books of those who have not attended church for a long time. Pastor David Bissell, the InTouch Ministry coordinator, broke the long list into ten shorter lists. Many of our elders agreed to initiate personal contact with the “inactive members.” We still need help with visitations. If you feel inspired by God to join the InTouch Ministry please talk to pastor David or any other pastor or elder.

The second concern discussed by the elders was the seating problem. With many new members and regular visitors we are way beyond our capacity. I feel aweful seeing people seated in the church lobby. They feel disconnected and can barely hear anything (the same problem with balcony seating). Church elders looked into several options to help resolve this issue: moving the second service into the Fellowship Hall, building a new sanctuary, planting a new church, expanding the existing sanctuary into the backyard area (currently occupied by propane tanks). Please, pray for God’s guidance in this matter.

Connect. That same night the Connect Ministry brought the church together to brainstorm about ways which would help us build a strong community in our congregation. I was personally impressed with the process itself. Round table discussion already served the purpose set for the meeting. It was a fun and beneficial experience. The expressed ideas will be processed by the Connect Ministry and presented to the church leadership in various ways and formats. Thank you Steve Kulik, Edymar, Sarah, Michael Houghee, John Turner, Fred Turner, and everyone else working with this ministry.

Ice cream arrived just at the right time. We were all overheated holding the meeting in the OAKS gym (with no AC) :-). Thank you Greg Wellbourn.

Pastor Aubrey. Here is an update from Aubrey and some cool pictures: “For the last few days I’ve been traveling in Georgia and Florida. I started at our own conference center, Cohutta Springs, for some meetings with fellow interns in the conference. Then, off to Florida to throw my mom a surprise 50th birthday party! I finally ended my journey in Ft. Lauderdale, FL at a NAD Women in Ministry Conference with training and great fellowship. It was a great trip and now it’s good to be home.” Welcome back, Aubrey!

OAKS. OAKS Week of Prayer is starting this coming Monday morning. Steve Darmody accepted the invitation to be the guest speaker for the meetings. Next Sabbath, September 24, Steve will be the speaker/singer for both services.



Please pray for pastor Jerry Lastine. His sister passed away last Monday. Here are a few details: Mrs. Alice Soderblom, wife of Robert Soderblom  MD ,  of 34394 LaRaye Drive,
Yucaipa CA 92399, died September 12, 2016. She is the first of five siblings to die from the Lastine family. She was 78. Funeral plans are for Sunday, September 25, in the Calimesa SDA church.
George Mackel had surgery this week. His recovery is going well. I spoke with him this morning and he is very encouraged. He greatly appreciates your prayers.
Have a blessed Sabbath day,

Young man, Arise!

widow-of-nainMESSAGE. For the last few weeks we have been studying the miracles of Jesus. We learned that He can give sight to the blind.  He can give hearing to the deaf.  He can make the dumb speak, He can walk on water. Tomorrow morning we will talk about His ultimate power over death.  Jesus proved that He can raise the dead.

The earth is covered with graves.  They are everywhere.  Death looms on the horizon of every individual’s life.  How marvelous it is to realize, then, that Jesus came to conquer death.  Just listen to several verses from John 5. Verse 21: “The Son gives life to anyone he chooses. Neither he nor the Father shuts anyone out.” (MSG).  Verse 24: “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life…” (NKJV) In other words, Jesus claimed to have power over death.  He said, “The Father has power over death, and He’s given Me power over death.”  He also said, “Because I live, ye, too, shall live, also.” To know that Christ has conquered death that is the ultimate joy.

MINISTRY. On July 17 the youth group raised funds for a noble cause. They also had a lot of fun in the process. Dressed as our favorite heroes they auctioned community service hours. A total of $520.00 was raised in return for the pledges of service. The donations were used to fill the Erlanger Children’s Hospital storage closet with gifts. God bless all who played a part! We pray that these gifts bring joy to many a child in their moment of need and remind all of Jesus, Friend of little children!

Attention men! A new Sabbath school class is opening tomorrow. This class is planned specifically to help men to be better fathers, husbands, and sons, or simply better servants for the Lord. Whether an “everyman” like Jacob or a man of supernatural strength like Samson, the Bible tells the story of many men used especially by God. The class will meet during regular SS times in the OAKS building.

fullsizerenderA new Bible study group targeting our larger community is being launched next Friday night at 6:30 at the Samaritan Center. You will find the flyers in the church bulletin tomorrow. The best way to use the flyer would be to share it with your friend. Here is this same flyer in digital format. You can print as many copies as you want for your friends and neighbors. Everyone is welcome to be a part of this new Bible study group. hope-poster-copy


Tomorrow the OAKS band is playing for second service. Both services will be in the sanctuary due to an evangelistic seminar presented by the Hispanic SDA church in our church Fellowship Hall. The seminar will continue nighlty through next Friday. Please, pray for our Spanish speaking brothers and sisters.

Tomorrow night church elders will meet at 6 pm in the church sanctuary.

At 7 PM The Connect ministry is inviting all elders, deacons, deaconesses, greeters, church ministries leaders, and every church member to get together for a brainstorming session. We need to find new ways to help bring greater integration into our church family. With lots of visitors and over a hundred new members who joined our church in the last 24 months, we need to seek creative ways of building up community in our wonderful church. THE MEETING WILL TAKE PLACE IN THE OAKS GYM.

The game night, with snacks and ice-cream, will start at 8 PM, ALSO AT THE OAKS GYM. Everyone is welcome. Don’t forget to bring your table games.

For your calendar: September 17 thru September 18, 2016 – Melody Prettyman, a Texas-based vegan chef and author, will give two health seminars on Saturday, September 17 at 5:00 pm,  and  Sunday, September 18 at 3:00 pm, at the Ooltewah Seventh-day Adventist church, 9209 Amos Road, Ooltewah, TN 37363. For more info click here

September 18: Church bowling from 9 to 11 am at 5518 Brainerd Rd, Chattanooga, TN 37411. The cost is $6.99 for unlimited games (shoe rental not included.)

ANNOUNCEMENTS. All church announcements are available on-line on our church website at . Here is a direct link to the church communications page with the online church bulletin for this week: 

GIVING. See God’s promises fulfilled through your generosity and take ownership in what God is doing through the Ooltewah church ministry. Thank you, church, for your support of the local church budget in the month of August. I am so excited to see that we have a broader participation in our local church giving. We are praying about every member contributing at least $15 a week. Many of you accepted this challenge. The impact is absolutely miraculous. Just yesterday I heard a wonderful testimony from one of our church members, how among major financial challenges his family gives faithfully to the Lord. God is among us, friends. His work is amazing!

For those who choose to give ONLINE using their computers, tablets or smart phones, a safe and secure link is in the menu on our church website:

PRAYERS.  We are sad to hear that Kenny, brother of Leone Peden, has passed away. Please keep their family in your thoughts and prayers as they go through this difficult time.

George Mackel (Emilyn’s husband) is at MICU at Erlanger. He needs our prayerful support.

A Memorial Service for Kent Robertson’s father, Willis Robertson, will take place tomorrow at 4 pm at the McDonald SDA church. Visitation starts at 3 pm.

Pastor Aubrey took a few days off and is visiting with her family and friends. She’ll be back next week. Please, keep Aubrey and her family in prayers.

Have a blessed Sabbath day,


*The painting “The Resurrection of the Widow’s Son at Nain” (circa 1894) by James Tissot.

Fill the Waterpots with Water

the-marriage-feast-at-cana.jpg!LargeMESSAGE. Our Lord is able to take the humdrum, commonplace, ordinary events of any life and with his touch make them full of flavor, fragrance, strength, and beauty; to turn them into wine. He will do this with any of us as we faithfully walk with him, follow him, and believe in him. Tomorrow morning is my sixth sermon in the “7 Miracles of Jesus” series. I invite you to study John 2:7-11.


Men’s Ministry update: Ooltewah Men’s Ministry Group met last Sunday for their monthly prayer breakfast. Here is a brief update from Edymar:

  • First and by far the most important thing we discussed, it all starts with a 1-2-1 relationship with our Lord and savior (spending time in the word and walking with God)
  • the need to carry each other’s burdens (iron sharpens iron)
  • the start of a men’s study group (using the series 33 videos), more to come on when and where
  • the importance of out reach and in reach (I am currently getting in touch with a few ladies who need our help, more to come)
  • how we plan to have fun! (hiking, biking, family barn fires, farther daughter/son events)
  • the importance of keeping each other accountable (if we see someone hurting themselves, we need to pray for guidance and act)
  • how we are all leaders and how each one of us are valued
  • the importance in learning how to grow as husbands, fathers, sons, friends, co-workers, bosses, etc.

New Men’s SS Class. Next Sabbath, September 10, Men’s Ministry is launching a new Sabbath school class. Here is a word from Dan Turkenkopf: “New Men’s sabbath school featuring the 33 Series (video based) will starting September 10th in the 5th grade classroom at OAKS (at least for the first couple weeks) with two times to choose from… either 9a.m.-10a.m. or 10:15a.m.-11:10.  This program can change your life!! Please join us to start your journey to Authentic Manhood!”


God’s hand is here and working with all of us to create a loving and caring church.

A couple of days ago our Head Elder, Steve Bremner, sent an email message to our Board members with some fascinating facts. Our church has 42 vibrant ministries!!! Here is Steve’s message:

“Praise the Lord for our very active church and many different ministries. 
Praise the Lord for all the ministry leaders and volunteers. 
Praise the Lord for our two pastors. 
With all the different needs each department/ministry has the Lord keep it all together. Praise the Lord.
Please look at a few of the different ministries we have listed in alphabetical order.   Adventurers, Audio Visual, Benevolence Committee, Bible Studies, Bridge at Ooltewah, Building Committee, Children’s packets, Church Board, Church Clerk, Church Directory, Church Office, Church Safety, Church Supplies, Cleaning Crew, Community Service, Deaconesses, Deacons, Elders, Family Ministry, Feeding the Homeless, Fellowship Meals, Finance Committee, Greeters, Grounds Crew, Health Seminars, Men’s Ministry, Music Ministry, New Member packets, OAKS, Pathfinders, Morning Prayer Group, Prayer Meeting, Prayer Ministries (phone chain), Prison Ministry, Sabbath Schools (11 different classes), Season of Change, Singsperation, Small Groups, Social Committee, Student Assistance, Treasurer, Vespers, Visitation, Visitors Packets, Women’s Ministry, Youth, and this is not a full list.”
Imagine the number of our church members engaged in all of these ministries! This is simply awesome. Do you feel left out? One of these ministries definitely needs you!
(If you don’t see me or pastor Aubrey at one of your functions, please, don’t be upset. We’ll have more hours a day when we all get to heaven. 🙂

CONNECT.  Tomorrow morning we are voting on the church membership transfer for  John and Kathy Sabo who recently retired to Harrison, TN, from Florida, where John pastored for the past 31 years.

saboBefore that they lived and worked for 8 years in the Manitoba-Saskatchewan Conference in Canada. John is from former Yugoslavia and immigrated to Canada with his parents in 1964. He attended Kingsway College, Newbold College, and graduated from Canadian Union College in 1974.

While attending seminary at Andrews University, John met Kathy through Adventist Contact, a computer dating site. One week after he graduated with M.Div. degree, they were married in Auburn, Washington in 1977 where Kathy had been teaching music for 3 years.

Kathy is a pastor’s daughter with a Master degree in Music Education. She has taught in various church and public schools full-time for 20 years in addition to being highly involved in the worship music of the churches where John served.

The Sabos have a daughter who lives in Ft. Worth, TX, and a son and daughter-in-law who also live in Harrison. Of course, they have two adorable grandsons to keep up with, one of which attends OAKS. Welcome, John and Kathy!

THE CONNECT Ministry needs you. Please plan to join THE BIG MEETING on September 10 at 7 PM. Everyone is needed and everyone is welcomed to that meeting. We’ll be brainstorming about better ways of connecting our members and visitors in our service to the Lord and to this community. Following the meeting is GAME night. Bring your table games, bring cookies and snacks. We’ll have a great time together.

YOUNG AT HEART. I had a great time with the YOUNG AT HEART group of our church members on Thursday afternoon. We had lunch at the Acropolis restaurant. I hope you’ll join this group next time after you see some of my photos below:


TESTIMONY.  “In the photo you see my family:
ZALABAKChristine (left), Candice (middle), myself (right), Kaelyn (center), and now the story.

In 1990 Christine had attended VBS program and asked me to take her back to church, where she attended Sabbath School. I fulfilled her desire by taking her to Sabbath school and then we left to go home. For weeks this was our routine, until I was approached for Bible study and then baptism, while pregnant with Candice.

Christine’s desire that God gave her led me, Candice, and my granddaughter Kaelyn to know Jesus and remember the Sabbath Day. Glory to God!” Carleen Zalabak.



Health Seminar in Ooltewah by Vegan Chef

Ooltewah, TN –  September 17 thru September 18, 2016 – Melody Prettyman, a Texas-based vegan chef and author, will present two health seminars on Saturday, September 17 at 5:00 pm,  and  Sunday, September 18 at 3:00 pm, at the Ooltewah Seventh-day Adventist church, 9209 Amos Road, Ooltewah, TN 37363.

Melody Prettyman is a regularly featured cooking expert on Three Angels Broadcasting Network (3ABN) and co-hosts a weekly radio program with Nikki Anderson, “Focus on Healthy Foods” on 3ABN radio.  Chef Melody Prettyman and Chef Mark Anthony together provide cooking programs for Ifoodtv, Loma Linda TV, SmartLifestyle TV, and Good News TV. She has served as chef for numerous events, including Dr. Neil Nedley’s Depression seminars, Heartwise Ministries with Dr. James Marcum, Young Disciple Youth Camp, and religious retreats. She specializes in preparing foods for people with allergies, wheat and gluten-free, dairy-free, and nut-free diets. Melody is the author of Simply Yummy, a plant-based cookbook.  Her upcoming cookbook, Simply Yummy Unprocessed, features recipes for individuals eliminating oil and refined sugar without sacrificing taste.  Simply Yummy Gluten-free, her third cookbook scheduled for release in 2017, will have plant-based, gluten-free recipes.  Since 2010, Melody has been giving seminars on health and simple home remedies.  For more information, check her website at

The seminar on Saturday, September 17, presents Simple Home Remedies.  On Sunday, September 18, Melody tells about her transition to a whole food plant-based lifestyle and the steps to take to prevent illness, reduce stress, and eliminate lifestyle diseases. Samples will be provided at both events.

To pre-register, call (423) 531-6181 or email  The seminars are free but donations are accepted on-site to support this ministry.  These seminars are provided by the Ooltewah Seventh-day Adventist Church to encourage community residents to live healthier lives through exercise, plenty of sunshine, spiritual growth, and a whole food plant-based diet.


See you tomorrow,



*The Marriage Feast at Cana is a painting by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, a Spanish Baroque painter, XVII-th century