MESSAGE. “Say to Daughter Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you… ” Matthew 21:5.
Jesus who came the first time as a humble servant is coming again as King of Kings. He is coming to eradicate sin, pain, and death. His is the Kingdom of Light free from the darkness of corruption, abuse and inequality. The seeds of His Kingdom can sprout in our hearts and minds even today if we allow Him to be the King of our lives.
MINISTRY. Last Sabbath night our church elders met to brainstorm about effective ways of reaching out to the community. It was noted that we have many excellent ministries and programs but for the most part they are targeting our own church families or their friends. Even though this is necessary and wonderful the Lord is sending us to go beyond our church campus. I was very encouraged to see that all the elders share this vision and want to see certain tangible changes in our church ministry.
That same night the Sabbath School council met to review our current SS needs. One of the main concerns expressed by those who attended the meeting was the growing attendance in all classes. SS classes are getting too big. The current SS classes are not meeting our needs. The committee reviewed a proposal for a new Sabbath School wing with potentially eight new classrooms. This proposal was discussed by the Building committee on Sunday morning and presented to the Church Board on Monday night. The Board unanimously approved further study of this concept. The Building committee was authorized to find a professional architect to work on the preliminary drawing and an approximate budget for the new Sabbath School Wing. When the Building committee does its homework the concept drawing and estimated budget will need to be presented to the Church Business meeting. Sounds like an exciting new journey. I invite you to pray continuously about this new vision for our Sabbath School.
For the last few months our Sabbath worship service attendance continues to grow. We are blessed with many new members who want to be a part of our church and school ministry. Unfortunately the existing sanctuary cannot accommodate everyone who comes to worship. Many remain in the lobby behind the closed doors of the sanctuary. Every week I hear sad stories of our members and visitors who came, but could not hear or see anything during the service. Last Sabbath I received a record number of cries for help from those who remained behind the closed doors. The Church Board felt responsible to act and to respond to the pleas for help. It was decided to move the second worship service into the Fellowship Hall effective September 29, that is next Sabbath, which happens to be the OAKS Sabbath. Last night I was thinking about the beautiful temple in Jerusalem. Pilgrims traveled from distant counties to worship in that temple. However, Jesus gathered His church on the grassy hill under the open sky. The blessing of the presence of Jesus was not in the temple, but by the lakes and on the slopes of Galilee. I have no doubts that where we gather to worship Jesus there His presence will be among us.
Let me draw your attention to an important community event which will take place on October 7. Here is more from Lucas Patterson: “In Tennessee alone, more than 1,100 people took their own lives in 2017. And on a global scale, suicide claims more lives each year than war, murder, and natural disasters combined. But why is it that we don’t attack this problem the same as we do others? Do we protest loneliness? Prosecute those who push others into the margins by alienating (or ignoring) them? Take up a love offering to help those dealing with the deep wounds of losing a loved one to suicide? Nope. In fact, we hardly talk about it at all … especially in faith circles.
And if you suspect I’m exaggerating, let’s take our own church as an example. Using an incredibly small sample size of results from the online suicide survey included in Pastor Kulakov’s email a few weeks ago, I can tell you that one third of our respondents have either thought about suicide themselves or otherwise directly been affected by it. Equally sobering is the fact that only half the respondents said they would tell a pastor or another church member if they were deeply depressed or having suicidal thoughts. Think about THAT next time you’re making small talk and someone says their week was “fine” but their face and body language testify otherwise.
So what CAN we do? Our church’s Community Services and Health Ministries teams are working together to promote “Out of the Darkness,” a suicide prevention and awareness walk in Chattanooga October 7 (1 p.m., Enterprise South Park). The one-hour walk’s primary goals are twofold: building community among those affected by suicide and raising funds that allow the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to invest in new research, create educational programs, advocate for public policy, and support survivors of suicide loss.
If you want to participate in the walk (either in person or as a virtual supporter) you can sign up online. We’ve set up anOoltewah Seventh-day Adventist Church team that we’d love for you to join. And although you can walk without paying a dime, we encourage you to make a donation and/or fundraise via social media to help us meet our $2,500 team goal. Please consider partnering with us on this important project and call/text if you have any questions: 423-582-1678.”
A Word from Pastor Matthew: “This weekend I’ll be attending the Engage Youth Leadership Training Convention at Cohutta Springs. Two of our youth leaders, Jenny Spicer and Sarah Penagos, will also be attending. We hope to learn a lot and come back to Ooltewah with lots of great ideas for youth ministry!
Also, next week is our OAKS Week of Prayer. We will be introducing our spiritual theme for the year: “I Stand for You.” Each morning I will be encouraging our students to stand for God, even in the little things, even when you are the only one standing. We’ll end the week with an appeal for kids to give their hearts to Jesus, join a Bible study class, and perhaps even make the decision to be baptized. Please pray for our staff, our students, and also parents who may be attending. We want God to pour out His Holy Spirit on our school in a special way during this week.”
- People who suffered from hurricane Florence
- Carolyn Phillips, whose mother passed away on Thursday
- Judy Miller, Barbara Smith’s cousin, currently in the ER.
- Martha Williams, health concerns
- Herb Weise