God’s Timeless Promises



Studying the Book of Jeremiah I see the whole treasury of God’s promises (ex. 29:12-13). Words of rebuke and calls to repentance are wrapped in dozens of powerful promises. God’s promises are of a special nature. They are not like our promises which may be forgotten or changed. God’s words are powerful and sure. They are to be taken by a believer and applied to his or her life. Knowing these promises, admiring them, memorizing them will do us no good unless we claim them, and receive them as our own possessions.

This Sabbath morning I will continue my sermon series based on the book of prophet Jeremiah.


Last Saturday night we had two meetings. First all those who give Bible studies met to report on their progress, to share stories, and to learn about the available resources. Not all of those who asked for Bible studies in the fall of last year are interested in continuing    the course. We agreed to pray for them, and to be available in case they change their mind. I’m grateful to Mike Doucoumes for his excellent coordination of this ministry.

Later that night church elders came together to set ministry goals for 2020.  The main focus of our discussion was on staying connected with our church members. Everyone coming to worship at our church needs to feel that church leaders care and pray about them. This is the only way to reach the spirit of true community in our growing congregation. Elders agreed to schedule the Spring New Member banquet for March 28. Mike Doucoumes and Bradley Hyde were recommended to the church board for the church elder position.

On Monday night our church leaders came together for the Finance committee meeting and later that night for the church Board meeting. Rita Rogers, our church treasurer, shared the December financial report which showed steady growth in our local giving and tithe. The average monthly local church offerings go over our set goal! What a huge blessing! Thank you, church, for your faithful support of our church ministries’ needs. The Board agreed to work together on the church expansion proposal. For that purpose a new Visioning Committee was established to work along with the Finance committee and the Church Board. On February 6 there will be an open Finance committee meeting with only one item on the agenda: Proposal for the New Expansion Financing. This proposal will be presented to the church Board members on February 22. All these meetings are open to all church members to attend and to participate. The Board recommended to set aside, Sabbath, February 22 as a day of Prayer and Fasting. We need a clear vision of where the Lord is leading our church family. The church Business meeting is scheduled for March 7.

Men’s Ministry. Here is an update from Edymar: ” The first Haney’s Hungry Hombre’s (HHH) men’s breakfast of 2020 is in the books and man was it good! The hardy HHH breakfast consisted of biscuits and gravy, western style scrambled eggs, tater tots, pastries, fruit and breakfast links. A manly breakfast like this would not be possible without the culinary ninjas who show up early to set up and cook. To you, I say THANK YOU!

In addition to the stick to your ribs breakfast, we started the meeting with a devotional on James 2:14-24, “faith without works is dead.” James is VERY clear on this, just read verse 20. At the end of the meeting, the guys all agreed and made a commitment to demonstrate our belief in God with deeds, deeds that we defined by the following verses; John 13:35, 1 Corinthians 12:26, Colossians 3:13, 1 Peter 4:8-11 and John 3:16-18. Guys, all of these verses boil down to one thing, love your God, and demonstrate love in action.
After the devotional, we highlighted some of the wonderful things God did through the Ooltewah men group in 2019 and discussed the ministry’s vision for 2020.  I am excited and eager to get started this year. The Ooltewah men’s ministry will continue it’s focus on, to quote Marty Miller, “building better men.”
We will do so by encouraging spiritual growth (alone time with Jesus), studying resources like 33 Series, Every Man a Warrior and The Quest for Authentic Manhood. We will continue building brotherhood and blessing others with our Love In Action service projects. New to 2020, we will increase our efforts to have fun! We will do this by scheduling events like white water rafting, hiking, biking, etc.
Please keep the Ooltewah men’s group in your prayers. May we live to glorify our God, savior and friend, Jesus Christ by serving our brothers and sisters. Thank you to all who contributed your time, effort and resources to men’s ministry in 2019. Because of you and God’s blessing we are making a difference.
I also want to thank Marty Miller from Blue Print for Men (BP4M) for coming by and sharing the ministry vision and goals for 2020. If you would like to learn more, I encourage you to take a few minutes and check out the BP4M website, www.blueprintformen.org. You will find a ton of events, resources and channels of communication to help you grow into the man God created you to be.” Edymar Penagos.
Thank you, Ooltewah church men, for your spirit of service and Christian love.


Barbara Kraner has been moved to Morning Pointe in Collegedale. Prayers for Barbara.

Carol Darmody – recovering after heart procedures.

THANK YOU! Yes, you all became a part of a wonderful miracle last Sabbath. We prayed for a breakthrough in our January local giving. God did hear your prayers. He did make a miracle through your loving and generous giving.

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Who is Your God?



“‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.’” (Jeremiah 7:23). Following God cannot be a hobby or an event in our daily schedules. It is a matter of wholehearted commitment, where His presence and His Spirit fuel our every action and our every thought. All our daily activities should center around our relationships with God. He needs to be the priority and the essence of our whole existence. Without true love that kind of commitment will inevitably fall apart. That is why Yahweh calls Himself a “jealous God” (Ex. 34:14). He will never be happy with a part-time marriage. This Sabbath morning I invite you to continue our study of the key themes of the Book of Jeremiah.


OAKS. This morning I had the privilege of speaking for the weekly service at OAKS. It always impresses me how our students fill up the full sanctuary. We are truly blessed to have a great and active school. They are successful not only in the area of spiritual growth, but show high academic achievement. Check out the photo below to see the number of straight A students who received a certificate of achievement. Thank you, teachers, for your excellent job!

Here is another great report with photos from Lupina Haney. “Season of Change celebrated The New Year 2020, All Birthdays for the year and the Chinese New Year. We served sparkling bubbly, Vegetable Fried Rice and Mixed Vegetables with Tofu (catered by our friends at China Kitchen), Asian Coleslaw and for dessert Cupcakes, ice cream and fortune cookies. I thought we might have lots of leftovers since I plan for 60 but we ordered more and it was a good thing-we had 85 in attendance. Thanks to all who made today’s party a wonderful delicious experience.”

Evangelism. November’s evangelistic meetings generated lots of new Bible studies. I’m receiving reports from many of our church members who continue to study with the seminar participants. This is truly encouraging. It shows that our church believes in evangelism. There will be a meeting tomorrow at 4:30 pm for all who give Bible studies. Please make an effort to attend the meeting. Thank you, Mike Doucoumas, for the excellent coordination of this important part of our local evangelism.

Cereal Barrel. The Cereal Barrel looks great. It is actually overflowing with your donations. Thank you, all who Brough your gift. Let us remember that many families in our community need your help daily. Every donated cereal box finds its way to a grateful family thanks to the Samaritan Center distribution system. Please remember that this is the ongoing need.

Church and mission growth needs. Following last year’s business meeting the Building committee has been working with the architect on conceptual drawings for the new sanctuary and lower division Sabbath school classes. Two weeks ago the Building committee met to review the submitted drawings. After a thorough discussion the committee voted unanimously to recommend the expansion concept to the church business meeting. The church finance committee and Board members will be meeting in the next couple weeks to prepare a proposal for the business meeting. These meetings are open to the whole church. I would want as many of you as possible to come to pray with the committees, and to participate in the discussion of the proposal. The dates for these meetings will be finalized early next week. I will share them with you in the church bulletin and in my blog next week. The Spirit of God has been leading our church to this day. He is bringing more and more people to our church every year. I have no doubt that He will help us see how we may broaden our ministry to the local growing community and to the members of our church family.


Local Budget. I do not remember the last time I made an appeal for the local church budget giving. You all have been supporting our local needs generously every month last year. So far we had a slow start. This is the last Sabbath of January. Let us all pray for a miracle and contribute faithfully and wholeheartedly tomorrow to the local church budget account. I believe that we all can be a part of this miracle!

Happy Sabbath! See you tomorrow,


All Things New


MESSAGE. The day is coming when Christ will proclaim “I make all things new.” We will see the new Jerusalem, we will hear a New Song, we will learn our New Names. All that is yet to come, but as we enter into 2020 we can allow Christ to start these “new things” in our hearts and homes. New attitudes, new words of kindness, a new spirit of service, new initiatives in extending forgiveness – all that can start now. We do not need to wait until the New Earth to see what a “New Me” can look like. Let this be a year of new and wonderful things for us all.

MINISTRY.  Sabbath Celebration. The first service of the last Sabbath of the year was beautified by many wonderful moments. Emma Jospehs and Ken Lue Phang joined our church through baptism. Pastor Matthew and Dr. Reynolds officiated the baptisms. Nick and Elena Gorev joined the church through profession of faith. They have been attending our church for the last four years and now they are officially part of our church family! Praise God for our new brothers and sisters! It was truly a morning of spiritual celebration. I had a full six minutes to preach my sermon 🙂 !

It was a special Sabbath for our family. Our eldest daughter Stacey and her husband Javan presented their youngest son, Caspian, for a prayer of dedication. It was quite an emotional day for Galena and I when our whole family came together for this celebration.

Cory Goss had a great children’s story for both services. All the kids were fascinated by the live lizard. Thank you, Cory, for a wonderful spiritual lesson and for your creativity.

Jenny Spicer shared a few photos with me of the Youth vespers/Christmas party. They decorated cookies to donate to a homeless ministry. They clearly had a great time!

PRAYERS. Today is Rick Bank’s birthday. He is the Head Deacon of this church. Let us wish Rick a happy birthday and say a special prayer for him.

Galena and I celebrated the beginning of the New Year by watching the sunset on December 31 right across the road from our house. It was a clear and beautiful night. We want you to know that we love you and are grateful to God for the time when we can serve our dear Ooltewah church family. Happy New year to y’all 🙂

Just a reminder: Join the Agape Feast Tonight @ 7 PM in the Fellowship Hall. Unknown