Jesus, the Good Shepherd


MESSAGE.I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. John 10:14, 15

“Jesus says, “I know my sheep.” … We are known by God before we receive Him. “I know my sheep.” How do souls become Christ’s sheep? By choosing to receive Him. But Christ had first chosen them. He knew every one who would respond to His drawing, and He knew every one who would be inclined to receive Him but who, through popular opposing influences, would turn from Him, John says to all, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Those who heard the voice and did behold Jesus as the Lamb of God believed in Him and became His property from their own choice. But … their choosing of Christ was in response to His drawing. The love of Jesus was expressed to us before we loved Him….” (E. White, TMK, 52)


31-770x425Prison Ministry. Steve Bremner has shared with me the following testimony about the power of God’s love: “Bill came into the classroom yelling and cursing. He talked back to the guards and slammed the door shut. This was the first time I really was concerned for my safety. I started the DVD “All about Jesus” Bible Seminar by Lee Vendon and prayed.

When the video was over, another inmate said, “I am 40 years old. Why did no one ever tell me I could have a personal relationship with Jesus?” He started asking questions, and to my amazement, Bill would answer. “Weren’t you listening to the video? Jesus wants to have a relationship with us. It’s all about knowing Jesus. Our attitudes and behavior changes by knowing Him.” Right before my eyes, I could see God working in these men’s lives. God is awesome.”

IMG_1684We had the honor and privilege to provide dinner from Olive Garden to the Tri-Community Volunteer Fire Department. They were all smiles and very grateful to our church, and we told them how much they are appreciated for all that they do.

After a brief discussion, one of the firefighters mentioned that last year they were dispatched 2,500 times and 1,500 so far this year. Please keep these brave volunteers and their families in your prayers. Thank you, the Bremner family, for delivering the dinner to the fire fighters!

Feeding-The-HungryThe Cereal Barrel is running low. Your help is needed and greatly appreciated. There are many families in our own community in Ooltewah who cannot afford a wholesome breakfast for their family. By bringing a cereal box to church and placing it into the Cereal Box you become the hands of Jesus in feeding the hungry.

Last Sunday morning over 50 men from our church came together to eat, to pray and to learn. Here is a detailed report from Edymar:

“I first want to thank all the guys who showed up early to help prepare the food. We had a lot of new faces and as usual, we had a great time cutting up while we cooked. Let me tell you, the food was amazing! In addition to what we prepared, the widows donated food from their meeting. Thank you, Lupina! There was nothing left.

God knew we were going to need the extra food, we had over 50 hungry men of all ages show up to hear Mike Harrell’s testimony and what a testimony it was (See attached photos). The talk was titled, Jar of Clay. While I sat and listened, one verse that kept running through my mind was, Philippians 4:13. “I can all this through him who give me strength” (NIV). What God has done and is doing through Mike left me choked up. His story is one of faith, valor and persistence. His humble heart is clearly filled with God and the fruits that he is producing is clear evidence of the relationship he has with Jesus.Men, the relationship Mike has with God, does not happen by accident and you can have it too. I encourage you to carve out time in your busy day and walk with our Lord, Friend and Father. He wants nothing more from you than your time and attention. I can guarantee that if you truly seek and trust in Him, He will change your life and use you in ways you never thought possible. I am not the same man I use to be and its all because of Him. I assure you, He will be true to His promises.

It was such a blessing to share Sunday morning with you all and I am grateful to have each one of you in my life. Stay tuned, there are serval service projects in the pipeline, blue print for men is having their annual men’s retreat (see below) and the “Blessing” Father son retreat is just around the corner (Oct 26-28). Mark your calendars!”

For more information on the Blood Brothers Men’s retreat, please use the link below or contact Marty Miller @ 423-322-8491.


Corn Roast Fun Day was absolutely wonderful. Young and not so young all came together to enjoy delicious roasted corn, tons of desserts, other goodies. The water slide was the drawing magnet for the kids. Indoor and outdoor games kept everyone busy. Thank you, Avril Williams and your creative and hard working social committee team, for planning and organizing this Fun Day for our church. You are simply awesome! (I feel bad that I do not have any photos of the individuals who made all this possible 😦 … )


This Sabbath morning we are welcoming two new families into the fellowship of our church. They are:

Sherry and Richard Gerber


Mary Ann Tuazon and Leopoldo Vela


PRAYERS. A good report and photo came from Marichu McCutcheon. The family is very thankful for your support and your prayers. Brent is out of the hospital. His recovery is going well.


Sondra Chilson is asking for prayers for her granddaughter Heather (she starts radiation treatment next week).

Darlene Turner (health concerns).

Psalm 23:1-4,6
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me … Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (NIV)

Jesus, the Lamb of God

imagesMESSAGE. In the first official introduction of Jesus into this world we meet Him as the Lamb of God. John announced to the crowd at Jordan: ““Look, the Lamb of God…” The Almighty God comes in the most vulnerable shape to win the battle over sin. The paradox of the Gospel reveals to us the only weapon that brings the ultimate victory.

In the course of the next few weeks I invite you to meet Jesus, the Lamb; Jesus, the caring Shepherd; Jesus, the loving Redeemer; and Jesus the mighty King.


The Women’s Ministry Potluck Prayer breakfast last week was a great success. All who attended were blessed by the food, fellowship, and especially the prayer time. New friendships were formed and bonds made even stronger. However, those that could not make it were deeply missed. Julie would like to thank all those that came. May God bless each of you greatly.


This Thursday the Fellowship Hall was nicely decorated for the monthly Season of Change ministry. I noticed a beautiful palette of fall colors in everything that was planned for the program. Lupina Haynes sent me the following report with a number of pictures. “Sharon Williams from Jesus for Asia came to report on the Season of Change widows helping the widows in India by providing sewing machines to help them make a living. Her presentation brought us to tears when she shared the hardships and horrors widows in India suffer. Seeing two widows receive their sewing machines was such a blessing. There was a special thank you to the widows in America from Tennessee that are helping them to make a living. We had the pleasure of seeing several arts and crafts projects that our widows brought to share. What a group of talented ladies. Along with a very delicious lunch it was an all around wonderful blessed time together.”

The Men’s Ministry group is getting together this Sunday morning. Here is a message from Edymar: “This Sunday is our monthly breakfast and you don’t want to miss it! Our very own Mike Harrell will be the guest speaker. He’s has a plethora of wonderful stories of what God has done for him and I am excited to hear what he will share with the group. In addition to our guest speaker, we will be discussing current and future service opportunities and the up coming father son retreat that will be at the end of October. If you would like to help prepare the food (which is always a good time), please plan to meet in the fellowship at 730am. Otherwise, the meeting starts at 830am sharp and will end at 10am.”

The weather forecast for Sunday promises us a fabulous day. I hope you all cancel your other plans and join our annual church “Corn Roast.” The Social committee has planned lots of fun activities for young and old. Avril Williams and her awesome team worked hard to plan this event. I have no doubts that everyone who comes will enjoy food and games.


During the second service tomorrow morning we will celebrate Christy Bartlett’s baptism. Praise God for her decision.


Pastor Matthew will be speaking at IMPACT SDA church tomorrow. We will remember him and his family in our prayers.

Last week Galina and I were on a real vacation :-).  We spent a few days in Florida with our daughter Stacey, her husband Javan, and their son Pierce. While we were there Pierce celebrated his first birthday. He enjoyed licking his vegan cake and checking the wheels on his first car. He is only 12 months old, but being around him is quite a task. His unquenchable energy wore out his grandpa Peter… but we are excitedly counting days till his visit in October.

PRAYERS. Prayers for

  • Orlinda Wilson’s sister Susie who had surgery on Monday.
  • Carleen Zalabak’s family member, Glenda, who had surgery on Thursday.
  • Herb Weise who is battling cancer.



You Are The Salt

UnknownMESSAGE. In Matthew 5:13 Christ is compelling us to play our part in impacting the world around us. You may not be able to speak like the apostle Paul or travel the world preaching the gospel, but you can change the world around you one person at a time. If we all play our part in making a positive impact on those we come in contact with, I believe this world will be a better place.

This Sabbath morning we will continue studying the spiritual foundation of authentic church community.

MINISTRY. Last Sunday the Ooltewah church elders gathered our ministry leaders to thank them for their commitment and for their service to our congregation. Not everyone could join the meeting, but those who came enjoyed good food and a wonderful atmosphere. There was time for prayer, words of affirmation, laughs and gifts. Once again I felt honored to be a part of this church. Thank you, elders, for your creative spirit. Thank you for keeping this church united in the spirit of Christ. Below are a few photos from the meeting:


The Bridge Ministry. We are blessed to be able to serve not only to our immediate church community, but to those who are seeking friendship and spiritual support in the Assisted Living Center in Ooltewah.


On Friday we will celebrate our summer Agape Feast. In preparation for the event our head deaconess, Lupina Haney, had to drive to Sam’s Club to buy the necessary supplies. As Lupina is still recovering after a recent surgery she needed helpers. God sent her more than one angel. Thank you, Sarah and Katherine Bremner, and Lily Cunningham.



PRAYERS. I invite you to pray for our church member Herb Weise who’s been in the hospital since Tuesday.

Brent McCutchen was taken to the Emergency room on Thursday with a heart problem. He is currently on vacation in Florida. As I’m writing this blog he is still in the hospital. His spirit is good, but we will keep praying for the right treatment for his condition.

Pastor Matthew and his family are on vacation this week. We miss them and we will be praying for their safety.

Pastor Aubrey was in a car accident this week while in Florida. The car is totaled, but she is doing alright. We will be praying for more angels to surround Aubrey and to keep her safe.

Poor in Spirit


MESSAGE. How do we enjoy the Lord’s favor and experience a taste of His presence now, and then, for all eternity, the fullness of His glory? The answer is found in the very first beatitude. Jesus tells us that only the “poor in Spirit” will receive the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 5:3). Poverty in spirit is an emptying of our self-reliance and any claim we (falsely) believe to have on God. It is a recognition that we are utterly dependent on divine grace and undeserving of His favor. It is repentance for setting ourselves up as “gods” and then a resting in the Lord’s promise of salvation.

For the next few weeks our Sabbath morning emphasis will be on the Sermon on the Mount. “He who feels whole, who thinks that he is reasonably good, and is contented with his condition, does not seek to become a partaker of the grace and righteousness of Christ. Pride feels no need, and so it closes the heart against Christ and the infinite blessings He came to give.” (E.White, TMB, p 7)

MINISTRY. Men’s Ministry Breakfast started early last Sunday. At 6:45 several of our gentlemen were already making pancakes and scrambled eggs. After some hesitation they even allowed me to cut a few apples for the fruit salad. The delicious breakfast was followed by an in-depth spiritual talk. If you missed the meeting this month I encourage you to join the group when they meet again in August. (After I took the photos many more men joined the meeting… sorry guys if you don’t find yourself in the pictures below).


OAKS Work Bee. While the men were enjoying their breakfast a number of women were working on the school playground 😉 … Ok, I need to clarify that the men prepared breakfast for everyone coming for the work bee, but some of the hard workers wanted to start early and finish up before it got too hot. And, of course, right after breakfast everyone worked on several school projects. I was very impressed with the wonderful team spirit. Our school is definitely a priority for our church family. Thank you, everyone who came to make our school ready for the new school year starting in just a few days.

Please, remember that tomorrow we will have a Prayer of Blessing for the OAKS teachers, and everyone is invited to stay for the Fellowship Lunch right after the second service. Please bring a dish for your family and for our church visitors.


Pastor Matthew and I spent Sunday through Wednesday at Cohutta Springs Conference center attending the summer ministers’ meetings. I thoroughly enjoyed the excellent speakers and appreciated the emphasis on the true nature of a Christian family. Cohutta Springs is so picturesque. I cannot stop taking pictures every time I go there. We are truly blessed in this conference.


Wednesday morning started with trouble on Paula Wolfe’s property. A huge tree fell because of all the rain we’ve been getting. However, by the end of the day the problem was resolved by the Men’s Ministry team. Thank you, Edymar for making the arrangements. Thank you, Jason Smith, for finding a way to help Paula on such short notice. God bless you. Here are a couple of picture and a short report from Paula: ”

Progress at Wolfe Retreat continues, as evidenced by this photo. Many thanks to Jason, our dear TreeSmith, who followed through on God’s gift of benches for the Amphitheater. God dropped this tall tree right where it was needed. All who wish to visit as we develop here are welcome. A bulldozer and gravel will be welcome as we clear the perimeters of the pond, where bullfrogs now sing in the evening. I hope to create a baptismal venue there. Stay tuned as progress continues andu Wolfe Retreat  materializes.

On Thursday I was happy to spend a few minutes with our faithful prayer group. Esther is back from Cuba and she was bubbling with stories from her mission trip. We’ll certainly schedule a special vespers where Esther will share a full report.

That same morning I joined the East Hamilton Ministerial Association team for the Drive Through Prayer and Free Lunch event for the teachers of the local public schools. The event took place on the parking lot of the Samaritan Center. I assume you all remember the non stop Thursday rain. After serving lunches and praying with the drive-through teachers I literally learned what Showers of Blessings are all about :-)! Many of the teachers made a statement that they always look forward to this prayer event.

This morning I had a good time at breakfast with pastor Aubrey. She’s in town for a couple of days. She could not stop talking about her appreciation of the Ooltewah church family. Aubrey is very thankful for the support she received from our church for her Cuba mission trip. Here is a short note from pastor Aubrey and a link to a report on her trip to Cuba published by the conference Communique:

“Hello Ooltewah Church Family! I look forward to seeing you at church tomorrow morning! I wanted to take a moment and thank each one of you for your support and prayers when I went to Cuba. Here is a link for the full story, I hope you enjoy it!”


Thursday was also a very busy day at our church because of the local elections. Isn’t it great that hundreds of people from the community come to our church campus and get to see where our church is? Over 600 people visited our church yesterday. They also learned about the hospitality of the Ooltewah church. In a special way I want to thank Steve Bremner for making this a true community event. Here is a short note from the voting precinct administration:

“Your churches involvement in the Ooltewah Collegedale community is exemplary”.


Welcome, new church members! Tomorrow we are welcoming Jenna’s mom, Jodie Mize, into the fellowship of our church. Jenna was baptized just a few months ago. Now both of them will be members of our church. They will be greeted during the second service.

We are also excited to welcome the Lasley family. Brandon, Nicole, and their children will be officially accepted tomorrow during the first service.


PRAYERS. Please pray for Herb and Janet Weise. Herb is battling a very aggresive form of bone cancer. Your prayers are appreciated.

This was a busy week, but I am happy that every day Galena and I find a few minutes to walk outside together… holding hands and talking about God’s blessings in our life. This photo was taken on Wednesday night in our neighborhood.  “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” –  Philippians 4:6-7


See you tomorrow.