A Life of Obedience


MESSAGE. “[To have Faith in Christ] means, of course, trying to do all that He says. There would be no sense in saying you trusted a person if you would not take his advice. Thus if you have really handed yourself over to Him, it must follow that you are trying to obey Him. But trying in a new way, a less worried way. Not doing these things in order to be saved, but because He has begun to save you already. Not hoping to get to Heaven as a reward for your actions, but inevitably wanting to act in a certain way because a first faint gleam of Heaven is already inside you.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

My Sabbath morning message will be drawn from John 14:23, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.”

MINISTRY. Our Pathfinder club spent last weekend at a campout. Here is a brief report from Cory:

“Pathfinders had a very blessed campout this weekend.  God gave us  beautiful weather at Gee Creek State Park.  This is one of our loved camping spots along the Hiwassee River and the Ice cold creek feels wonderful on a hot Sabbath afternoon.  This weekend we spent a lot of time talking about and practicing prayer.  We were reminded that God wants to be our Abba Father and that he longs for us to be his children.  He always hears and always answers our prayers.
We also spent some time learning to listen.  The sound of the wind in the trees and the night creatures reminded us how God speaks to us.  We were so thankful to have this time together as a club to build friendships and just be a family.  Good food, good friends, and as always a God was good.”
Thank you, Cory and all Pathfinder club leaders for your commitment to this incredibly important ministry.

Pathfinder Club Induction Ceremony took place last Wednesday night. I was greatly impressed with the excellent planning and loving spirit which was evident in every detail of the ceremony. I feel so proud of our club!

Season of Change. Lupina reported that yesterday we beat the record of participants at our Season of Change lunch. There were sixty people who enjoyed excellent food, a very helpful presentation on computer/internet safety, and the company of caring people who at some point in their life lost their spouse. Thank you, Lupina and your team of helpers. I can personally testify to the fact that the food was truly superb! I took a box home. 🙂

On Thursday night several area churches sent their representatives to the ground breaking ceremony for a new house for Shan and her family. I’m glad that we had several of our church leaders attend this event and represent the caring spirit of our church. Let me remind you that we still need to meet our goal of raising $5,000 towards a new home for Shane. Donations need to be marked Ooltewah Community Services. Thank you, church!

CONNECT. Tomorrow morning several new families will be voted into the Fellowship of our Ooltewah church. Let me encourage each one of you to make an effort and meet them all personally and extend our Christian love to them. As I’m typing this message I do not have photos of all the new members, but here are at least a few:

Eric and Brittany Collson


Kareem and Natalia Joseph and their kids


Luis and Jacqueline Vela and their kids

Bruno and Christine Martine


Diana, Byron, and Fiona Dodd


PRAYERS. Your prayers are needed for:

  • Sondra Chilson’s granddaughter Heather.
  • Beth Best’s mother Billie
  • Robert Rauen (sick with the flu)
  • Penny Smith (death of her father)

The First Service this Sabbath will take place in the sanctuary. The Second Service will be in the Fellowship hall since the OAKS Band is playing and they need the room.

See you tomorrow. Be blessed.


Peace in Christ


MESSAGE. I love how The Message Bible reminds us of God’s holy promise and instructs us about what to do when we’re at the end of our rope and negative thoughts are consuming us. We find these instructions in Psalm 55:22,  “Pile your troubles on God’s shoulders—he’ll carry your load, he’ll help you out.  He’ll never let good people topple into ruin.” 

Here we see David complaining to God about the heartache and fear resulting from friends who betrayed him and enemies who were after him. His burdens seemed overwhelming, and in utter despair he poured his concerns out to God. Yet what is so amazing in that in the same breath, we also see him choosing to pile those troubles onto God’s shoulders, committing to trust and believe He would bring victory and help him get through.

MINISTRY. Corn Roast social was a total success! If you were not able to attend you missed a lot. Wonderful spirit, lots of delicious treats including of course fire roasted corn, and lots of fun activities for children. Thank you, social committee and Men’s Ministry team for your super hard work. I enjoyed every moment of the auction where our church raised $2,500 towards a new home for a family in our community. I trust that by the end of this month we’ll reach our $5,000 goal. If you are willing to contribute please mark your tithe envelope with “Ooltewah Community services.” Thank you, Mike, for sharing your awesome pictures with with. Here they are:


and here are more pictures from Aaron and Alisa Hall:


OAKS Week of Prayer helped our students allow Jesus to be the King of their lives. Every morning Pastor Matthew presented important biblical truths in a creative and captivating way. This morning pastor Matthew asked the students to fill out the response cards. Here is a text message that came from Matthew this afternoon: “122 students filled out decision cards. Every single one said they gave their heart to Jesus. 49 have asked to be baptized, and 52 have requested Bible studies. Praise God!”

What a blessing! We will certainly need lots of helpers in giving Bible studies to OAKS students. Please, talk to pastor Matthew if you are willing to help.


Men’s Ministry update from Edymar:

Here we are, headed full steam ahead into the end of September and man, do we have a lot going on!

Haney’s Hungry Hombres (this Sunday):

Please plan to join us for breakfast, event planning and fellowship this Sunday. On the agenda: men’s bible study, Habitat for Humanity project and the father-son retreat. Pancakes, eggs and juice will be provided. If you would like to help prepare the food, please plan to be there at 7:30 am. If not, breakfast start at 8:30 am sharp and will be in the Ooltewah SDA church fellowship hall.

THE BLESSING Father-Son Retreat

Is a weekend of challenge, laughter, relaxation, and bonding with your son and in the company of other fathers and sons. The retreat will be held from Sept 29-Oct 1, 2017 at the Booker T. Washington Group Camp which is only a short drive from downtown Chattanooga. The camp features modern cabins, commercial kitchen/dining hall, and meeting room all within a short walk of Chickamauga Lake and miles of hiking/biking trails. You will love the natural setting and the entire experience!

If you have not already done so, please use the link below to register online. The deadline to register will be 9/28 as we need the final head count to purchase the food. We will discuss this event in more detail at the breakfast this Sunday, 9/24. If you have any questions, please reach out to Lucas Patterson 423-582-1678 or myself Edymar 813-541-2184.



Habitat For Humanity:

Ground Breaking will be on 9/28. I hope you and your family are able to attend this special day. Attached is the family’s bio and specific prayer requests. We will also be discussing this in more detail Sunday morning at the breakfast. You don’t want to miss out!

Corn Roast Festival Recap:

Social Committee did such a wonderful job last Sunday! We enjoyed hot dogs, candy apples, ice cream sundaes, games and fellowship. The Men’s Ministry raised almost $2,000 between the pie toss, Fitbit giveaway, bread sale and goodies auction. A special thank you to Pastor Matt and Pastor Peter for loaning your faces to such a wonder cause. Also, thank you Jenny Spicer for baking the fresh bread, Fred Turner for collecting all the goodies that were auctioned off and Steve Kulik and Mike Hughee for being the auctioneers. It was so great seeing everyone enjoying followship while coming together to raise money for this special cause.

PRAYERS. Your prayers are requested for pastor David Bissell who was diagnosed with cancer. We’ll have an anointing service in the next few days. I promised pastor David that the whole church would be praying for him daily. God is strong in his help! We are all with you, David!

Ron Malloch is celebrating his 80-th birthday tomorrow. Praise God for Ron’s wonderful life and his passion for the little ones. He is helping a great number of children with Bible studies and educational tutoring. Happy birthday, Ron!

This Sabbath pastor Matthew is preaching at our church and I’ll be preaching in a Slavic church in Atlanta.

Happy Sabbath, my friends!

Adventurous Faith


MESSAGE. Living a life of faith requires taking risks, at least from our perspective, because we can’t physically see what lies ahead, or hear what He’s saying, or know what He’s thinking, or feel what He’s doing. We just have to trust Him. When we realize that the Kingdom is ultimately what matters in the grand scheme of our lives, God can finally lead us in the way He wants us to go. Our hearts become aligned with His, and our desires begin to reflect His. And through those desires, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” Proverbs 15:20 (NIV)

In my Sabbath morning message we’ll see how true faith pays off. Incredible, daring, adventurous faith in the name of pursuing God’s Kingdom will not fail.

MINISTRY. Early Saturday morning on September 9, a group of our church members headed to Chattanooga Community Kitchen to prepare breakfast for a few hundred needy people. This shows the true Christlike spirit of our congregation. Heartfelt thank you to everyone who participated in this outreach program. Here are a few photos:


SUNDAY SOCIAL. I hope you’ll not miss our Corn-roast Social this Sunday at 1 pm. Come simply to eat and to connect with your church family. I’m definitely planning on attending.

Here is a brief promo from Edymar: “In addition to the fun and games, the Ooltewah Men’s Group will be raising money at the festival for the Habitat for Humanity project that will take place this October. Below are the ways you will be able to donate:

  • Buy a raffle ticket (or tickets) to win a Fitbit
  • There will a verity of delicious goodies for sale
  • Pie auction
  • Pie toss (where you buy a pie and toss into the pastors face), I’m a little too excited about this one  😊

If you are willing to support a construction of a new home for a needy family in our community please mark your tithe envelope “Ooltewah Community Services”.

Tons of thank you’s to everyone who helped in our church office renovation. New carpet, new paint, new (used) furniture, new layout, new happy spirit! This office is here to serve the needs of every member and every ministry of our church.

Baby Dedication for Senath Dawn Lily Bradford will take place tomorrow during the second service. Senath just turned 6 months old 🙂


Happy Birthday to Arthur Peden. This coming Monday he’ll celebrate his 96th birthday!!!

PRAYERS. Prayers are requested for

  • Cindy Mountcastle’s daughter Esther
  • Janet Goss and the whole Goss/Denton family. (Janet lost her mother this week)
  • Betty Chastain (feeling very week)
  • Sondra Chilson (her sister passed away this week)
  • June Kennedy (her brother passed away this early morning)

Happy Sabbath.




A Saving Faith


MESSAGE. “… grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: “ye were bought at a price,” and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.”
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

My sermon topic tomorrow morning is “A Saving Faith”.

MINISTRY. This morning I woke up to 50F but this refreshing temperature was not a hindrance for the OAKS Water Day. At 9 a.m. sharp, students were outside for fun water rides, jump ropes, pavement chalk painting, snow cones and tons of other activities. I noticed that some teachers had warm sweaters on while their kids were sliding into chilly water. I was glad that it was sunny and the kids could warm up on the towels spread on the church parking lot. Everyone seemed to truly enjoy themselves and be happy.  Here are a few photos:

OAKS students are very serious about the Hurricane relief effort. They truly want to help everyone who was affected by the recent hurricane in Texas. Here is a brief report from the Melissa: “Thanks to your support, we were able to collect over 12,000 bottles, with more coming in today as well!  A couple pictures are attached below, one with just the water bottles and one of the whole school with them.  Way to go everyone!”

This Sabbath morning we can all participate in a special Hurracain Relief offering (ACS). Please mark your tithe envelope accordingly and the donated funds will go to the disaster stricken areas through the Adventist Community Services.

Volunteers are welcome to cook and feed the homeless tomorrow morning at the Chattanooga Community Kitchen. Cooking starts at 6 am, food distribution and visiting with the kitchen guests at 7 am.

Men’s Ministry is going full speed with the Habitat for Humanity project. We are joining hands with a number of churches in the area to build a home for a family. The goal is to raise $5,000. Please, watch for the brochures and flyers in the church bulletin tomorrow morning. I invite our church to pray that we raise these funds with no delay. Here is short video about this exciting community project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fkWmwkkzIE

Here is more from Edymar Penagos: “Ooltewah men showed up strong in support. Let me tell you, it was a real heart string tugger and wake up call. There were several powerful testimonies from guys in all four seasons of life. The bottom line: we need each other, we need structure and most of all, we need God. All four of the men that shared had one thing in common, small groups. We do not have to fight this war for our souls alone. God is with us and he has given us brothers to stand by our side. If you would like to join a small group, please reach out to either myself, Dan Turkenkopf (423-503-9768) or Lucas Patterson (423-582-1678). 

After the Men’s Rally there was a flapjack dinner and Lumber Jack contest (see attached photos). It was a blast! We battled hard and the Ooltewah team came really close to winning the log splitting part of the contest. I for one learned that it is not all about muscle, but more about technique, which got me thinking… This life is hard and we will not be able to power ourselves through its many challenges. We need God, and his technique (wisdom). In Mathew 11:30 “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light”. 

PRAYERS. Please pray unceasingly for all the areas and states on the path of Hurricane Irma. Among the millions fleeing Florida, our daughter, Stacey and her husband and their three week old baby made it safely to TN after a 16 hour drive from Ormond beach. I invite you to continue your prayers for many other friends and relatives of our church family who are on the road escaping the rage of the coming hurricane.

God’s Gift of Faith


MESSAGE. There are so many people with issues that seem to overwhelm them. Whether it is a father out of work, sickness in the home, broken down cars, not enough food on the table, or a runaway child looking for their own way in the world, our hearts long for peace.

From experience, I have found that if I try to fix the problem without trusting the Lord to deal with them, I am left feeling frustrated and without hope. Peace comes as I lean on God for the answer and wait on His timing.

This Sabbath morning I invite you to learn about the gift of faith which our Heavenly Father is willing to share with us. Are we ready to receive it?

MINISTRY. Last Sunday morning the Men’s Ministry group had their monthly breakfast. They come together not only to eat, but to pray, to study and to plan their outreach projects. Here are just a few of the activities planned for the next month: a.Organizing service teams to be better equipped to complete projects and serve our community. b. Discussing and organizing our study groups in an effort to better feed those who are hungry for the word. c. Fund raising for Habitat for Humanity. d. Father-Son Retreat on 9/29 to 10/1 e. Fall Hiking trip. Thank you, Edymar for your leadership and a special THANK YOU to the guys who showed up early (earlier that usual that is) to help prepare food for the volunteers at the school work bee on 7/23 (see attached photos).

A freshly printed church Newsletter is available on the church website. Thank you, Alisa, for the creative and informative publication. Here is a link to the online version of the newsletter. A hard copy will also be available tomorrow at church.

Tomorrow night we have Singspiration and an Ice Cream church social. Everyone is welcome. Actually, why don’t you make an extra effort to attend the social in order to get better acquainted with the many wonderful families of our church.


PRAYERS. Prayers are needed for Howard Kennedy, Sr., and Ty Rouen. Ty is doing better and is being discharged from Erlanger East hospital this afternoon.


I trust you are continuing to pray for those who suffered in the areas hit by Hurricane Harvey. The Georgia-Cumberland Conference is providing some valuable updates on the situation in that region as well as helpful information on how we can help. Here is the link http://mailchi.mp/ae280952179e/gcc-hurricane-harvey-update-sept-1-2017?e=ae3209a0d9

Tomorrow during the announcements you will hear more on how we can help. Linda Kulik, the Family Ministries director, will share more details with us.


Church website: www.ooltewahchurch.org

September Newsletter: https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/3ad024_c939232e09f443ed82684f857042c63b.pdf

Online Tithe and Offerings is available on the church website through the ONLINE GIVING link.

PERSONAL. On Thursday we passed our final building  inspection! There is still a lot that needs to be done inside, but we are starting our gradual transition. As the first step we stayed in our new house last night and had a great time sleeping on the floor. There is truly no place like home 🙂

Here is a link to a few photos of our grandson Pierce taken by our daughter Dasha Crawford: http://dashacrawfordphoto.blogspot.com/2017/08/baby-pierce-seven-pounds-seven-ounces.html