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.