MESSAGE. The daily news of the growing coronavirus cases and deaths makes my heart bleed. The new Hamilton county order to shelter in place makes me think of those who lost their income due to closed businesses. Driving by churches with closed doors brings a terrifying feeling of a ‘doomsday scenario.” With this dark reality weighing heavy on my heart, I keep opening God’s Word. It gives me hope that God is still with us. I begin to realize as never before that hope is a lifebelt from the heavenly Father “who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope” (2 Thessalonians 2:16). With all the bad news there is good hope!
MINISTRY. Our church is a living church in spite of the closed doors. Last Sabbath hundreds of fiber optics internet strings connected us together in the joy of Sabbath worship. Thank you all, who sent text messages while you were participating in the online worship service. I hope to hear from y’all again this Sabbath (it does not matter what time you watch the service…just send a short text or a prayer request. My number is 678-571-1743). Below is a photo from the Kulik’s home. Maggie liked the worship service!
On Monday night our Church Board had a virtual meeting. I was impressed to see thirty two members join the ZOOM room. Thank God we have this option in the time of sheltering in place and social distancing. The Board prayed for our community, our nation, and the whole world. After reviewing the February financial statements we praised God for the faithful and generous giving of our church members. The local church budget was met, all the bills were paid, all ministries received their allocations. How wonderful! However, I was even more encouraged today when the church Treasurer, Rita Rogers, shared with me the good news of your giving in March. Once again your contributions to the local budget reached (and even slightly exceeded) the set goal for the month! This church believes in sharing the Gospel no matter what!
With the shelter in place order we cannot proceed with our plans for our own spring evangelistic meetings. This, however, does not mean that we’ll remain silent. The church board voted to join the It Is Written online evangelistic meetings scheduled to start on April 17. In the next few days you’ll receive, by email, and see on Facebook promotional material for the meetings. Please, plan on your own participation as well as sharing these digital flyers with your friends and family. Use your email, repost these flyers on your Facebook page. Stay home, and be creative. Pray for the thousands of people in our community to watch these meetings. More info is coming in the next few days.
OAKS. OAKS is moving forward bravely into the new world of online schooling. There are many neat things that this system can create for students. Please pray for our teachers and students as they navigate this new challenge.
On Sabbath afternoon a couple of our prayer worries walked around the Morning Pointe Assisted Living Center. They prayed for the residents and decorated their windows 🙂 Sue Wiley share this photo with me. Thank you, ladies!
Men’s Ministry remains active in service and prayers for one another. Thank you, Edymar, for providing spiritual guidance to the men of our church. Below is Edymar’s latest update and photos.
“I wanted to share a few things with you and also let you know that each of you, as well as your families, are in my prayers. With all the uncertainty out there, let us not forgot that God who spoke ALL things into existence is with you and you can take that to the bank! “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
Love in Action: We recently completed a screened-in porch for a special lady whose trust was taken advantage of by someone who could use our prayers. Thank you, Geofrey Jenses, Barry Tryon, Chester Caswell, David Denton and our foreman, Darren Downey. You guys embodied and demonstrated Christ’s command to “love our neighbors.” I have found that when I am most stressed about my life, focusing on others really helps! Aren’t Gods directions on how we should live our lives so amazing!?
Men’s Sabbath School class: Guys, I want to encourage you to reach out to others (especially those who might not have the same support and resources as you) and either start a virtual group or join a group during this isolation period. It will help with the psychological impact of the physical separation. One option is our sabbath school class this Saturday at 10:30am which you can join using the Zoom link below. For those that want to participate, please watch “The Echo” by Andy Stanley. This is the finale in his series “Future Family” and can be found on RightNow Media. If you are unable to view the video before Sabbath, don’t let that stop you from joining class. Thank you, Lucas Patterson, for leading this virtual segment of our class. I really enjoyed it last week! (see attached photo, sorry David Denton) Link for the meeting: https://zoom.us/j/444979582
Here is a testimony about the men’s class from Luis Rivera: “I love that we can openly share and not be judged, and I think it’s because most of us either are going through or have gone through or know someone whose gone through a similar experience. I love that we are breaking down the lie that men aren’t supposed to talk about their feelings or aren’t supposed to show emotion. I love the various ages that are in our class and that despite the gaps we can still learn from each other. We have great discussions and am so happy when I hear younger men say they enjoyed the class even though they stayed quiet. I feel it is imperative to have a class like this because men need each other, we were not meant to go through life alone, Jesus didn’t so there is no reason we should. The devil can do a lot of damage when we isolate ourselves and shut down everyone around us and try to be the lone wolf/hero. I pray that the class continues to grow and that us men grow closer together and to God. Thank you to everyone who makes this class happen and to those who continue to share and pray for each other.”
Mountain Bike Ministry: One way that you can get out into nature while still observing current TN recommended guidelines for social distancing is to get on a bike and join our mountain biking group! No need to be close to anyone in order to share some fun on a trail! If you are interested, contact David Denton at 423-505-7878 or email@example.com.
Lastly, I know these are challenging times and we are all doing the best we can. We also know that our loving Father uses challenges to draw us closer to Him. I would love to hear and share how He is accomplishing this in your life. How are you seeing His hand in your life these days? “Now to him who is able to do immeasurable more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21″
You are in my prayers daily. Let the Spirit of God unite us in the Sabbath morning worship service on YouTube.
Hugs from Galena and I.
2 thoughts on “Encouragement during COVID-19”
Pastor, thank you for all this news! Would you please tell me again how to find your site on Utube so I can watch your message tomorrow?
Simply go to http://www.ooltewahchurch.org and click on Sermons and Online Worship box 🙌