Jesus Knows How It Works


MESSAGE. The presence of Christ in our life brings bountiful blessings. Without Christ we get exhausted and frustrated. We lose heart, give up on our dreams, and eventually fail. Jesus has the most fascinated answers to our needs. Just ask Him and follow His instructions.  “During that sad night on the lake, when they were separated from Christ, the disciples were pressed hard by unbelief, and weary with fruitless toil. But His presence kindled their faith, and brought them joy and success. So it is with us; apart from Christ, our work is fruitless, and it is easy to distrust and murmur. But when He is near, and we labor under His direction, we rejoice in the evidence of His power. It is Satan’s work to discourage the soul; it is Christ’s work to inspire with faith and hope.” EGW, DA p. 249

This Sabbath I’ll continue my “Seven Miracles of Jesus” sermon series. Please read Luke 5:1-11.

MINISTRY. Every year we pick a project for our December Special offering. This year the church Board recommended to support our school’s major repairs. Every Sabbath through this month you’ll be seeing special red color envelopes which you could use for this offering. Below is a message from Shelly Turkenkopf, our school principle:

Building Hope Logo Small“Our students at OAKS benefit in many ways from the support of the members of our church. Donations have been made to provide playground equipment, hot lunch kitchen supplies, PE equipment, and even our new musical addition, our hand bells set. OAKS would not exist without the prayers, hard work, and dedication of our local church community.

 In response to our appeal on OAKS Sabbath about leaks in the school roof, a donation was made to temporarily patch the cracks in the roof. Praise the Lord, the work done was successful in stopping all the leaks. Even with this temporary fix, a new roof is still badly needed.  Currently we have more than $86,000 donated for our capital improvement drive named “Building Hope”. This fund will be used to replace the roof and other upgrades needed to make OAKS safe and leak free. Our students are actively fundraising with a Christmas season sales campaign, and we are looking to host a family fun-run in the spring. (Stay tuned for more details on that fun event).

Because $86,000 is only a little more than half of what is needed for the roof, the church board recently chose the “Building Hope” campaign to be the focus of our church’s end-of-year giving.  Special offerings may be made using the provided red envelop printed with the Building Hope logo. The staff and students at OAKS believe that God will bless our efforts to raise the funding needed for such a large project. Thank you for your commitment to pray for OAKS, and for your willingness to support the replacement of the roof on the school.”


Bobby Boles – health concerns. (Bobby is currently at Ooltewah LifeCare Center)

Shirley Schlender’s mother, Mrs. Brown, passed away today. The church is extending sincere condolences to the whole family.

Eileen Lezeau is still at the hospital after a major surgery. She is very grateful for your prayers and cards.

Herb Weise fell and fractured his pelvis. He is at Memorial hospital.

“Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all” 1 Chron. 29:11.

Ask for the Impossible


Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. No shopping. No big crowds. Just family and friends gathered to celebrate God’s blessings. Yesterday was not an exception to that. Close to thirty relatives were at the table for Thanksgiving dinner. This was just a small fraction of our families from both sides, but it was a huge blessing to have our eighty five year old Mom at the table with us. Dinner is over, everyone left late last night, but in my heart I’m still counting many blessings of 2018.

I’m grateful for over seventy new members who joined our church since January 1 of this year. Our church family grew in numbers and in spirit. I’m thankful for many active ministries in our church. This is definitely not a church that slumbers. The love of Jesus inspires us to show care towards the widows, to be better husbands and fathers, to help struggling families with house renovations, to send boxes of cereal to the Samaritan Center, to praise God through choir and band, to teach OAKS students to see God’s creative hand in the wonders of this planet, to feed the homeless downtown Chattanooga, to bring ladies together for  prayer sessions, etc, etc . All these are the blessings of God’s Spirit working in the living and active body of His church. All I can say is Galena and I are blessed to be a part of this wonderful church family.

I’m looking forward to an uplifting worship service experience with all of you tomorrow morning. This Sabbath I will continue the series on the Seven Miracles of Jesus. Please, read John chapter 2. Even when we are hesitant to ask for the impossible, Jesus is eager and capable of turning our ordinary life into a rich and flavorful bubbling wedding wine.

Please, remember to pray for Bobby Boles who has been transferred to Ooltewah LifeCare Center.

Praise God for a healthy and happy baby boy, Martin Doss, born to Heidi and Ed Pino last Sunday. They are supper excited. Below are his photos taken just a few hours after his birth.

Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.

Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
For the Lordis good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.

Psalm 100

Miraculous Provision


MESSAGE. Jesus cares about our daily needs. Everything we have comes from His loving hands. After a long day of teaching a crowd of 5,000 people He did not want them to remain hungry. He performed a miracle of provision! From His loving hands food flowed to every soul, young and old, male and female, criminals and saints. His grace is the same today. Let us learn how to be Thankful for His daily miracles or provisions.

Happy Thanksgiving to ya’ll!


Steve Bremner shared with me a short note with some interesting facts after the Midterm elections last week: ” We had 1243 residents who voted at our church yesterday. That is more people than the last 3 mid-term elections put together. Nancy Smiley has a knack for handing out snacks. Seventeen cases of water and Little Debbies were handed out to the community, and they were very appreciative.  Nancy stayed all day greeting. One voter who is a retired Unitarian Minister and just moved to the area. Nancy will be picking her up and bring her to the Season of Change luncheon Thursday.  Another voter is an Adventist who just moved to the area and had no idea our church existed. She will be here this Sabbath.  Nancy also talked with one of the election commission workers. She told Nancy she was the second person to be baptized here at our church.    Here is a note from the election commission workers. “to members of the Ooltewah Seventh-day Adventist Church: As always your support of the election has been outstanding. We appreciate all you did to make election day so special. The food was wonderful and the facility was great. Thanks so much for everything.”


Ooltewah church shows great concern for the needs of the widows. Here is the latest report from Lupina Haney: “A Season of Change had 56 ladies for our Thanksgiving Luncheon on Thursday, November 8. We enjoyed Dinner Roast, Harvest Nut Stuffing, Gravy, Baked Sweet Potatoes and a very yummy Cranberry Salad made by Barbara Smith and of course dessert. Our Kitchen Angels were praying for a miracle to get all the food baked with one of the stoves our of commission. Prayers were answered but we desperately need another stove. Margo Haughee brought three very talented young ladies from OAKS to play. Thank you Linnea Bissell- violin, Julianne Palmer – piano and Katie Bremner – violin and flute. A very special thank you to the Pathfinders who set up our tables and chairs in our new arrangement.”


Last Tuesday the Ooltewah church choir performed for the East Hamilton Ministerial Association Thanksgiving program. What an honor! How wonderful it is that our choir, under the leadership of Larry Otto, is ministering not only to our congregation, but to the whole community. Thank you, choir members, for your excellent music and your joyful spirit.


Talking about choir and music I’d like to share some wonderful news with you. The new fellowship organ has been paid in full thanks to a loving gift from a church family. Praise God for giving us this blessing!

Many of our church members are trying to help SAU students. Here is a request from Lucas Patterson: “Church member Lucas Patterson is helping a Southern Adventist University student find a room to rent for the semester, beginning in January. Her budget is $250/month. She’s a senior art therapy major and Southern Scholar who is very comfortable with animals, but doesn’t have any of her own. If you’re interested in sharing your space, or know of another good lead, please contact Lucas: 423-582-1678.”

Here are a few bulletin announcements I’d like to highlight in my blog:

FULL CHURCH POTLUCK – Join us for the Full Church “Thanksgiving” Potluck after the second service this Sabbath. Please bring plenty of food for your family and to share with guests. Enjoy the food and fellowship with your church family.

CHURCH AND SCHOOL – The parking lot will be closed tomorrow, November 18, to finish painting.

ASSISTANCE – If you need assistance or special seating during the second service, please ask one of the deacons for assistance.

 STEWARDSHIP  When we surrender every area of our lives- including our finances- to God, then we are free to trust Him to meet our needs. But if we would rather hold on tightly to those things that we possess, then we find ourselves in bondage to those very things ~ Larry Burkett.

DOCU SHRED – If you need any documents to be shredded, the church is providing a free shredding event December 3 from 3:00-5:00 p.m. They will be shredding the documents on site in the church parking lot.


Julie Easter’s son David. More details are here from Sondra’s text message: “David, Julia’s son wound up with an 8 hour surgery. Dr. ‘ nicked his ureter and had to call in an urologist to repair it. The Dr feels he was able to remove the cancer. But won’t know for sure until the biopsy comes back. Our prayers go out to this young man and family.”

Fred Cornell who lost his wife Janice.  Our sincere condolences go to Fred and the whole family.

Bobby Boles, who is undergoing some serious tests at Memorial hospital.

The Heart of Worship

UnknownMESSAGE. What is worship all about? Is it just an hour a week in a local church, or is it our lifestyle? In Revelation we learn about the heavenly beings who worship God “day after day and night after night they keep on saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty — the one who always was, who is, and who is still to come.”

“There are no unique postures and times and limitations that restrict our access to God. My relationship with God is intimate and personal. The Christian does not go to the temple to worship. The Christian takes the temple with him or her. Jesus lifts us beyond the building and pays the human body the highest compliment by making it His dwelling place, the place where He meets with us.” (R.Z.)

I invite you to learn more about the nature of worship this Sabbath morning.



Last weekend many of our church members attended the Father-son Retreat. I heard many good comments about the event. Here is a more detailed report from Lucas Patterson who was the engine of this program. “Our father-son retreat at Booker T. Washington State Park was a lot of fun. Approximately 50 attendees representing families from our church, and beyond, enjoyed a variety of games, outdoor activities, and fellowship. We participated in an awful lot of small activities; here’s a recap showing some highlights:

  • It’s fall time, so we HAD to include pumpkins in our weekend, right? Pumpkin bowling, using smaller pumpkins, was a hit … and the kids got to drink the bowling pins (bottles of orange soda) when we finished. Pumpkin chunkin’ — tossing the larger pumpkins as far as they would go! — showed how manly all the dads and teens were. Even the raccoons enjoyed our games. They got a tasty treat from what was left after we smashed a few.
  • Bubble soccer — to be honest, it was more like bubble anarchy — provided a good indoor activity during a brief Saturday rain and the kids had a lot of fun outside just rolling around inside these giant balls once the weather improved.
  • An ice cube hand-holding contest proved no match at all for our tough guys. Several of them survived the cold, demonstrating that the thrill of competition outweighs common sense nearly every time, regardless of age.
  • The park rangers at Booker T. Washington took us on a nature hike Saturday morning and brought a beautiful hawk and owl by in the afternoon for an informative show-and-tell that reminded all of us about God’s creative handiwork.
  • 15-minute devotions after each meal focused on a central theme of legacy. Different dads who had volunteered ahead of time got up and spoke about leaving a legacy for your family of generosity, spirituality, identity, and security.

We couldn’t have made this special event work without funds from Family Ministries and leadership from Men’s Ministries. Additionally, I want to thank everyone who volunteered in the kitchen, kept the fire going all weekend, and supported other logistics involved in making the weekend happen. Lastly, I want to thank the dads who came. It was such an encouragement to see you there. Keep loving and leading your family!”

Here at Ooltewah SDA Church we believe that are all called to share the Three Angels Message. This is why we agreed to start a Discipleship training seminar. The first session took place last Sabbath afternoon. We did not have a big crowd, but I was encouraged to see a number of those who set aside all other Sabbath afternoon activities and came to the seminar. The next session will take place on November 10 @6 pm. I hope many more will participate in this training event.

The First Ooltewah SDA International Food Festival last Sabbath night was a total blast! It has beat the United Nations session, the General Conference Parade of Nations, National Geographic and the Food Channel programs all combined. More than anything it was the foretaste of heaven. Thank you, Social Committee, for this more than excellent program. We’ll definitely be looking forward to the Second Festival next fall. Below is a ton of fabulous photos taken by Lupina:


Adventurer leaders shared with me that the Adventurer Family Fun Weekend was a lot of fun! The Ooltewah Tiny Timberwolves won first place in the Heaven Bound Wagon contest in all of Georgia Cumberland Conference! Our young kids learned a lot about patience and trusting that Jesus is coming very soon! And a HUGE THANK YOU to the Pathfinders for sharing their trailer with the Adventurers!


Pastor Matthew sent me a few photos from the Youth Gym Night. Those who came that night had a very good time. The star of the show was David Reynolds who managed to eat pizza while playing ping pong 🙂 See the photo below.  Pastor Matthew is hoping to see this as regular event on the Youth activities calendar.

New chairs for the Fellowship Hall have arrived! A special Thank You to OAKS students who helped a lot with unloading and carrying boxes. Pastor Matthew, Emmalee, and their boys spent two afternoons this week assembling the chair racks and setting up chairs. Several deacons came last night to finish the set up and to dispose of the packaging. We have a great church family and I’m grateful for your hard work and active participation.

The new chairs will definitely be appreciated by the church deacons who have to move them around every week. The Fellowship Hall is being used every week for various church and school activities. These lighter chairs are much easier to fold and to move. Our deacons and elders will keep a sufficient number of the old red chairs for the those who prefer them for various health or personal reasons. We are also ordering additional chairs with side handles for elderly members and visitors. If you need a special seating arrangement please do not hesitate to talk to the Head Deacon and Head Deaconess. They will do everything in their power to meet your needs.

PRAYERS. I just got word from Eastern Ukraine that a pastor, an elder, the head deacon, and one other church member were arrested by the authorities of that region. They are being held in the basement of the local government building in Donetsk city. I invite you to pray for each of them. Church leaders in Ukraine are helpless in this situation. Let Jesus come and be there with them.