Growing in Faith


MESSAGE. “Acting on faith isn’t always easy. It calls us to step away from what is comfortable and safe and … look into unknown and unfamiliar circumstances. Maybe it’s a challenge to surrender our finances to God’s control, a career change, a move overseas, or waiting patiently on the Lord for the right spouse. It may be forgiving an offender or risking something for the sake of integrity or purity. Whatever the case, when God nudges our heart beyond what we can manage and manipulate on our own, we have an opportunity to act on the faith that we profess to believe.” (Joe Stowell)

Tomorrow morning I will continue my sermon series entitled “Spiritual Building Blocks.” We will study together the importance of growing in faith. “The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.” Luke 17:5-6

MINISTRY. Here are a few highlights from this week:

I was very pleased to see a great turn out for the January Board meeting last Monday. One of the key votes that night was an approval of our church’s partnership with SALT for 2019. SALT, a partnership between the It Is Written ministry and Southern Adventist University, is a fresh and dynamic evangelism training program. You can learn more about SALT by visiting their website This will be an excellent opportunity for our church to be actively engaged in local evangelism. You will be hearing more about the upcoming programs and events in the next few weeks.


Last Sabbath night the Pathfinder Club had their “lock in” event. I heard from some of our Pathfinders that they were very happy with the activities. Good job, Aaron and your team!

With all the rain on Wednesday night I was not sure if anyone would show up for the prayer meeting. Many of you proved that I had “little faith” that night 🙂 We had a good number of prayer warriors and an excellent study on Evangelism and the Holy Spirit.

That same night pastor Matthew was invited to speak at one of the classes at SAU. Isn’t it great that not only do we benefit from Southern Adventist University resources, but as a church we can also enrich their program.

On Thursday morning I was invited to speak at the Garden Plaza Assisted Living for their  Week of Prayer meeting. It was nice to see how one of our new members, Patricia, was greeting and meeting all those who attended the meetings. She is actually the one who came up with this initiative and is inviting and scheduling the local pastors to speak. We will miss Patricia for the next couple of months as she is heading to Africa for a mission project.

On Thursday afternoon Lupina invited dozens of widows for the first Season of Change event in 2019. Here is a short message from her: “This was Season of Change celebration of birthdays. Walmart created our Fall, Summer, Winter and Spring cupcake cakes. The Christmas tree became a Birthday tree. Seven new ladies and over 60 in attendance. Our speaker, Nicole Daniel, gave us some helpful financial information. We had salad, vegetables and Company Casserole.” Here are a few photos for you to enjoy:


PRAYERS. Leland Zollinger is recovering well after his fall last week. I had a good visit with him last night at Erlanger downtown. He is very appreciative of your prayers.


Sondra Chilson’s heart procedure went well. When I talked to her on the phone she sounded weak, but I could still hear some positive notes. She was kept at Memorial for a night and is expected to be discharged this afternoon.

We will continue our prayers for Mike Haughee and Larry Otto as they are preparing to  start their cancer related treatments.

Happy Sabbath. I hope to see you tomorrow morning.


Triumph in Christ



Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ (2 Corinthians 2:14).

“God gets His greatest victories out of apparent defeats. Very often the enemy seems to triumph for a little, and God lets it be so; but then He comes in and upsets all the work of the enemy, overthrows the apparent victory, and as the Bible says, “turns the way of the wicked upside down.” Thus He gives a great deal larger victory than we would have known if He had not allowed the enemy, seemingly, to triumph in the first place.” -Life of Praise


New Members dinner was the highlight of our last week’s ministry. I was impressed with the spirit of friendship at every table. Thank you, church elders, for the abundance of food, for your hard work in planning the event, and for the spirit of Christ which was clearly seen in your fellowship with our new brothers and sisters. We’ll definitely plan on having these dinners every six months.

On Sunday our church ladies gathered together for “A New Year, A New You” brunch. I was told that they had a good time eating, praying, and exploring new spiritual horizons. Julie shared with me a few photos from the event.

This week Mike Haughee offered to join me in my weekly church member visitations. It was a huge blessing to have Mike with me. This kind of a support is simply invaluable. I’ll be looking forward to many more visitation rounds with our church elders.

OAKS is inviting everyone to attend Child Advocacy Training program on January 27. Here is the invite from Shelly Turkenkopf, our school principle:

Those of you who a few months ago attended a Vespers program by Loretta Mix may be interested in watching her speak at 3ABN. Click on the following link to get the details and the times of the broadcast: life after choice info letter

Tomorrow I’ll support one of the Slavic mission groups in our Conference and Pastor Matthew will be preaching at our church. The choir will sing for both services.

Please remember about the Fellowship meal tomorrow after the second service. Everyone is invited. Nancy Smiley is coordinating this event for tomorrow and she is asking for your help and participation. Please bring an extra dish for our many visitors. 

I’ll miss being with all of you.

PRAYERS. This week I’m inviting you to uplift Mike Haughee and his wife Margo in your daily prayers. Mike is preparing to start his cancer treatment in a less than a couple of weeks.

Danielle Ware is requesting prayers for her son Michael who was admitted to a hospital in a critical condition.

LeLand Zollinger fell this evening and was rushed to ER at Erlanger East. Please pray for Leland.

Happy Sabbath!



Jesus Christ: A Sure Foundation


MESSAGE. Any building project requires a wide spectrum of building materials. Building a spiritual life is no exception. There are many sources offering us their spiritual “building supplies.” How can we be sure that our spiritual building will not fail? The Scripture offers us a sure guide to the whole process. Apostle Paul is pointing to Jesus as the starting point, the  only true foundation. “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor. 3:11)

This week I’m starting a new sermon series entitled: Building Blocks for Spiritual Growth. 


Both worship services last week were beautified with music presented by the Hyde family. I was deeply impressed with the quality and the sweet spirit of their performance. Thank you, Silvia and Hyde, for inviting your family. It was truly inspiring.


The first part of this week Matthew and I spent at Cohutta Springs attending the winter pastors’ meetings. It didn’t feel like winter 🙂 but it certainly does now with temperatures dropping to 25F. The pastors’ meetings always help me to appreciate our Georgia Cumberland Conference. The Lord blessed us with great leaders who care about pastors and their advancement in ministry.

This coming Sabbath evening our church elders are inviting all new members who joined our church in 2018 to attend a special dinner. The dinner will be prepared and served by the elders and their families. The number of those who joined our church in the last twelve months is about fifty. That’s right, 50 not 15! Praise God for our new brothers and sisters. If you are one of the new members and have not received an invitation that means that we do not have your current contact information. Please know that you are cordially invited and we are waiting for you to attend this Sabbath @ 6pm in the Fellowship hall.

Light of Hope Ministry. I’d like to express a heartfelt gratitude to everyone who has been supporting the Light of Hope Ministry in 2018. Our international outreach is a continues and vivid reminder of the Great Commission. In preparation for the spring evangelism in Eastern Ukraine and Western Russia the Light of Hope Ministry is actively involved in humanitarian work in those regions. Last week we helped an orphanage in Severodonetsk with a new washing machine, several space heaters, diapers, food and clothing. See a few photos below. Thank you, church, for your caring spirit and your loving support.


Mike Haughee – cancer treatment.

Ed Pino – degenerative disc treatment.

Richard Gerbert – recovery after surgery.

Sondra Chilson – upcoming heart procedure.

Mario Cruz – knee surgery

Stay warm. See you tomorrow.


Living in Hope



Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope” (1 Peter 1:3). In a letter to the early church apostle Peter reminded his readers that in spite of hardships and challenges, they had a living hope because of Jesus Christ. They had received a new identity through their new birth into Christ’s family. If we make Jesus the number one priority in our life we are promised an inheritance that, unlike the things we have now will “never perish, spoil or fade.”

If you find yourself somewhere in life without much hope, re-read the first chapter of 1st Peter and be assured that because of Jesus Christ you too can have living hope.


Agape. On Friday night, December 28, the Fellowship hall was turned into a nicely decorated Upper room. Our church came together for the year-end Agape feast. Deaconesses offered fruit and bread for a light dinner. We sang a few songs. Pastor Matthew drew our attention to Jesus who gave His life for the forgiveness of our sins. At the end of the service Matthew invited us all to join hands in a big circle of Christian love. We left behind past hurst and hard feelings. We entered into the New Year united by the Spirit of God.

Baby Joseph. Last Sabbath morning the Reynolds family had a special celebration dedicating baby Joseph to the Lord. Grandfather Edwin officiated the service. Here are a couple of pictures:

48428172_10215782005277361_1540054145677918208_nThat same Sabbath afternoon we had a Memorial service for Bobby Boles who passed away on December 22 right at the Sabbath sunset. It was a beautiful service. Many sweet memories were shared by friends and family. Steve Darmody and Jaime Jorge beautified the service with special songs and music. Bobby’s family and friends concluded the service with a special song which deeply touched our hearts. The recording of the whole service is available on the Ooltewah church Youtube channel. Go to and click on the SERMONS tab, select Video Archive. Here is the direct link to the video.

Our sincere condolences to Karen Boles and the members of this dear family.


Richard Gerbert’s back surgery went well. Praise God for the answered prayers. Richard was discharged from the hospital yesterday. He is already walking and his face is radiant with joy.

Mike Haughee needs our prayerful support. It looks like he’ll need to go through a chemo therapy treatment. Here is quote from Mike’s Facebook post: “Went to the doctor on Monday and he did a scope of my throat due to pain and trouble swallowing. Turns out I have cancer and will start kemo and radiation very soon for 6-8 weeks. Your prayers are needed. The doctor expects 100% recovery.” I have no doubts that Mike and Margo will be wrapped in many prayers of our church family. We love you dearly, Mike!

FROM MY HEART. Christmas and New Years have been a happy and busy time at our home. Our daughter Stacey, her husband Javan and their son Pierce celebrated Christmas in Florida, but they came right after to spend a few days with us. Because of that we could not take a full family photo, but here are a few glimpses into our family celebrations. 🙂

Happy New year! Happy Sabbath! See you tomorrow.