MESSAGE. The mass shooting in Las Vegas left us all in shock. Dozens of lost lives, hundreds wounded … We felt even more vulnerable, more insecure, and more driven into fear. Evil is all around us. I have no doubts that God is grieving this week with the family members of those who lost their dear ones. He is not distancing Himself from our pain. He promised to walk with us through the “valley of the shadow of death”. Even “darkness is not dark” (Ps. 139:12) with Him.
How do we arrive at a consciousness of God’s presence in our lives? Thank God for the Holy Spirit in us! He’s the one who makes God’s Word real, who makes it more than just a concept, so that when we say the verse, “I will fear no evil, because you’re with me,” we can know that he is indeed with us! The Psalmist said, “I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears” (Psalm 34:4). It’s as we seek the Lord that we are delivered from our fears! It’s as we go to Him in prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to make his Word real, that His promises get from our minds to our hearts! In other words, it’s in God’s presence that we become aware of His presence!
MINISTRY. We missed a number of our church families last Sabbath while they were on a father-son camping trip. Below is an excellent report shared with me by Lucas Patterson and lots of great photos shared by Michael Haughee.
“Last weekend, Men’s Ministry hosted “The Blessing,” a father-son retreat, at Booker T. Washington State Park. We had nearly 40 people attend our three-day program at the beautiful campground just a short walk from the shores of Chickamauga Lake in Chattanooga.
The weekend was intentionally designed to be low key: lots of recreation mixed in with a few “dad discussions” where the sons left the room as men spoke openly about the challenges of Godly parenthood. A big thank you to Manny Vela and Pastor Matthew for leading out in these sessions.
As far as recreation, several families brought their own bicycles, and the boys always seemed to be playing football on the lawn between cabins. Jason Smith, David Denton, and Edymar Penagos made sure we had plenty of water activities available by bringing jet skis, a motorboat, and canoes/kayaks. Other activities included a stunt drone demonstration and the chance to look through a telescope so powerful we could see Saturn and its rings. Saturdaynight came to a close as about half the guys sat around our campfire while the others made good use of the church’s customized corn hole set.
Park rangers were unexpectedly integral to our weekend. They took attendees on a long nature walk, performed father-son teambuilding exercises, and brought out their birds of prey for an awesome Sabbath activity. The rangers felt like family after spending so much time together, so we asked them to join us for a few meals … and they did!
Speaking of meals, Mike Haughee was a tremendous help in the kitchen, as well as documenting the event with his camera skills.
To end the weekend, a once proud black walnut tree was cut and sanded into plate-sized slices where dads wrote words of affirmation to their sons. Our hope is that these hang on the wall for years to come as both parents and children remember “The Blessing” and God’s design for family.
While most attendees were members of the Ooltewah church, our weekend still provided time to grow closer and learn together. We were thrilled, however, that several fathers we didn’t know – guys who came at the invitation of our church members – joined us. These neighbors and coworkers brought warm smiles and fresh perspectives to the weekend. To a man, they expressed heartfelt gratitude for our church making this program available.” -Lucas Patterson
Faith House. Are you ready to start building a new house for Mrs. Shan? Next Sunday, October 15 we need lots of volunteers to work on site. All volunteers need to register ASAP. Here is the link: http://donorlynk.com/habitatchattanooga/338-2/
All volunteers participating in the build must watch the attached videos and fill out a volunteer waiver (this does not include volunteers who provide lunch, etc.). After submitting the waiver they will be prompted to a new screen from which they choose their volunteer date. They will see “Fall 2017 Faith House [Reserved]” listed. After clicking on that, they will click the blue “sign up” button at the top and sign up for the date associated with your church (October 15).
We are still short on our $5,000 goal towards this new house project. Please, consider donating using a tithe envelope. Mark your donation “Ooltewah Community Services”. Thank you!
OAKS students are eager to study God’s Word. We need volunteers to give them Bible studies and help them prepare for baptism. Please talk to pastor Matthew or me if you are willing to help.
Thank you for your faithful support of our local church budget in September. If you are not yet regularly supporting our church ministries please consider being an active ingredient of this mission-driven church family. We need you!
PRAYERS. Your prayers are requested for
- Howard Kennedy Sr, who is currently at Erlanger hospital. His spirits are high and he’s very grateful for your prayers.
- Emma Banks, who is also at Erlanger.
- Pastor Matthew’s grandfather who has been unresponsive since last weekend.