Dying to Live



A grain of wheat that is harvested, remains hard and has no growth until buried in the soil. Our natural heart is hard and selfish. When we surrender our mind into Christ’s hands, soft blades of kindness and care begin to sprout. Anger and evil die; gentleness and love break through the concrete layer of egotism. I invite you to pray for our nation. It will not overcome its hardness until we all individually die to selfishness “so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.” (2 Corinthians 4:11)


On Sunday, May 24, a group of our church volunteers went out to Art and Heidi Lopez’ property to help with cleaning after the tornado damage. Thank you, Kevin and Rhonda Hicks, Aaron Brewer, David Reynolds, Kent and Seth Robertson, Laura Herren. I know I am missing one more name… Very sorry 😦 God bless you for your love in action ministry!

SACK LUNCHES FOR HOMELESS. Our church is volunteering on the first and third Mondays of May, June and July to purchase supplies and pack sack lunches for the homeless. We’ll assemble 150 lunches during each shift in our church social hall and deliver them to staff at the Chattanooga Community Kitchen who then pass the lunches out at various homeless encampments around town. This project is directly connected to COVID-19; the homeless would normally come to the Chattanooga Community Kitchen for meals in its dining hall, but the dining hall is closed to encourage social distancing for this highly vulnerable population. Our next packing session is Monday, June 1, at 8 a.m. Volunteers are needed. To sign up, contact Lucas Patterson: 423-582-1678, lucaspatterson@southern.edu.

On Wednesday, May 27, Ken LuePhang’s family gathered at our church for a small memorial service. Elder Edwin Reynolds officiated the service. Below is a photo shared with me by Connie Reynolds and her comments. Please continue to remember Julia (Ken’s wife) and her children as they are grieving the loss. “Thank you for providing the food. It was the exact number of boxes for everyone there including Kent & Marlene.  Julia was so thankful it worked out to be indoors. There was a nice, cozy environment for the family. They stayed afterwards to visit and eat together. Bradley & Sylvia Hyde had cleaned, set up tables & chairs, and decorated a bit along with Steve. Julia expressed her gratitude several times for what the church had done. We came home after 7:00 feeling happy & blessed for having served a hurting family.

OAKS graduation on Tuesday night was one I will never forget. Due to COVID19 restrictions the ceremony took place on the church lawn. The weather was just perfect. Graduates were beaming with happiness. Thank you, Shelly Turkenkopf, for the excellent school year in spite of the unprecedented challenges. Thank you, OAKS staff and teachers for navigating our students through the rough waters of the distance learning process. You are our heroes. Here are a few photos taken by the OAKS excellent Vice-Principle, Aaron Hall:

Our office staff and the worship team are actively preparing for the first official in-person worship Sabbath on June 6. We would appreciate it if you familiarize yourself with the GUIDELINES approved by the church board.

This Sabbath, May 30, you are invited to join a Sabbath morning service on the church lawn. The service will start at 9AM and will also be streamed online. If you choose to come, bring your lawn chair, your Bible and a bottle of water.  The weather forecast is gorgeous. This is not our formal “church reopening”, but it is planned as an informal step bringing us closer to our dear church and to one another. 


Bettie Chastain is at LifeCare of Ooltewah. She appreciates your prayers.

Prayers for Howard Kennedy Sr, please. 

Kim Patton is on hospice care. 

Eva Scott feels a bit stronger. The family is grateful for the prayers.

Carol Darmody is recovering after a bad fall. Needs our prayers. 


Sabbath School classes:

Men’s sabbath school class this Saturday: Please read the last chapter of James (5) and be ready to share your thoughts. Since we are having an outdoor service at church this sabbath, the plan is to have our class under a tree afterwards. Service will start at 9am and should end at 10am. If you have access to Wright Now Media, Francis Chan has a series on James that I have found to provide some helpful insight.  Sabbath school class will start at 10:15-30 a.m. and run for 60 minutes. The plan is to wrap up James this week and then in June (6/6/2020), we will start the 33 series. (Edymar Penagos) 

Fellowship Hall SS class is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Fellowship Sabbath School May 30, 2020
Time: Tune in time begins at 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada) May 30, 2020

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 423 883 2558
Password: 0411

Health Ministry info shared by Diana Dodd: Stress is a killer. We’ve all heard that. But did you know studies have actually found stress to be even more damaging to your health than smoking?!  Considering the ongoing concerns regarding the coronavirus, this is a critical time to keep our bodies as strong and healthy as possible. With this in mind, we are all invited to a live meeting this Sabbath on biblical ways to reduce stress!  

Here is the direct link:  

CCMCollegedale Online Camp meeting continues on Friday night and Sabbath night. The program starts at 6:45 PM. Follow this link to access the schedule and the live stream:

Collegedale Online Camp meeting

ONLINE GIVING. Your faithful support of our church local ministries keeps your church and school running. I need to clarify that you are not being charged any fees for using a credit or debit card online. The local church and church ministries are also not paying any fees for these transactions. The fees are paid by the Conference, Union and Division offices. If you are willing to lower their fees you may choose to continue using the ONLINE GIVING but instead of bank cards you may use an electronic check. This will be the last Sabbath of the month. I see that we need a little extra effort to meet our monthly goal. Let us all contribute together as a caring church family. 


Let this be a peaceful and a blessed Sabbath day for all of you. Please accept my virtual hugs.


We Will Never Forget


During the COVID19 quarantine I’ve heard many people complain about the restrictions imposed by the government. These short-term measures have reminded us of the value of personal freedoms. If we are upset because of a few weeks of recommended limitations, let us remember that many nations live under harsh dictatorship regimes all the time. We are blessed with freedoms which many others can only dream about. These freedoms were not bought by billionaires, were not developed by scientists, but were granted to us by those who bled and died protecting our nation from enemies. As we enjoy these blessings let us remember those who are no longer with us. They died so that we could continue to build a nation of spiritually-sound and morally-just people.

Here is a link to a Memorial Day message from our conference president Gary Rustad: https://vimeo.com/gccsda/2020may21update


Last Monday night our church board met on ZOOM to pray for our church and to agree on a plan of action for the month of June. Close to forty members attended our online meeting. This level participation was very encouraging. We are still together and we care about our church. Financial reports for the month of April showed a strong spirit of giving in tithes and local offerings. Thank you, church family! Community ministries continue to prepare food twice a month for the homeless in Chattanooga. Lucas Patterson would appreciate broader participation of our members in preparing sack lunches. If you are interested in helping please contact Lucas directly. 423-582-1678, lucaspatterson@southern.edu .

The Board expressed heartfelt appreciation of Lupina Haney’s ministry. For the last several years she served as a head deaconess. Lupina could never say no. She was always willing and ready to help at any of our church programs and functions. Planning potlucks, buying supplies, decorations for the church, organizing communion services, planning receptions for funeral and memorial services, preparing gift bags for new members; these are just a few of the many responsibilities in which she showed her commitment and love. Due to personal life circumstances, Lupina asked to step down from this position. No words can express how grateful we are for your ministry, Lupina! We understand that you need a break, and we’ll continue to pray for you.

The Board has asked Dina Cole to serve as a head deaconess. We are thankful to Dina for accepting this position.

The Board had a thorough discussion of the proposed guidelines for “In-person Worship Services”. These guidelines are posted on the church website here: GUIDELINES.

We hope to be ready for a ‘soft opening’ on June 6. With limited seating capacity (only 72 chairs) we do not want to turn anyone away. June 6 will be our “trial” Sabbath service only at 9 am where we’ll get a better understanding of our congregation’s level of participation . You are welcome to attend, however it is important that you read and follow the voted guidelines. Our emphasis will still be on the online worship services. You may choose to continue to participate in our Sabbath services from your homes until you feel safe to join the “in-person” worship.

Would you do me a favor and answer a few questions in this online survey? Your pastoral staff would like to see where you are on the “church re-opening” path. Click here to access the survey.

ONLINE CAMP MEETING. You are invited to participate in the online Camp meeting starting next week. Follow this link to learn more about the speakers and the broadcasts schedule: CALLED TO SERVE .


MEN’S MINISTRY UPDATE shared by Edymar Penagos:

We are now 1 month and 10 days from the Easter evening tornado. There has been a lot of progress but there are still many who need help and we have a long road to recovery ahead. OAC and Men’s Ministry want to make sure that everyone who needs help has access to help. With large volunteer organizations packing up and FEMA funds draining, we want to make sure that no one is left alone and hopeless with their situation. We want to make sure that we are sharing a message of hope and love through our actions so that our beloved community knows God is with us all.

Below are two links; one to sign up as a volunteer and another to request assistance. Please fill them out if you would like to help with relief efforts or if you know of someone who is in need of assistance. Links:

Tornado Response Assistance Link: https://bit.ly/tornado_response

Disaster Relief Volunteer Sign Up Link: https://bit.ly/disaster_voluntee

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.  1 John 3:16-18


Betty Chastain is now at LifeCare of Ooltewah. She appreciates your prayers for a full recovery after her fall earlier this week.

Here is a request sent by Steve Darmody: “Please pray for my mom who suffered a fall on Tuesday and broke 3 ribs.  She’s isolated and sad.  Which is much worse than the pain of the breaks.  I’m in Tulsa and my daughter is allowed to visit her twice a day.  But Prayers go such a long way.  I’m sure her heart and soul WILL feel the prayers.”

Requesting prayers for Tom Coleman who was diagnosed with cancer. He is in surgery today.


Sabbath school classes available on ZOOM:

Youth Sabbath School –https://us04web.zoom.us/j/485227493 . Contact Jenny Spicer for the password.

Primary Sabbath School Class – Please text Cory Goss at 423-497-7396 if you would like join the Primary Sabbath School Class.  Kindergarten class is welcome to participate in Cory’s class.

Friendship Sabbath School Class – Please contact Mike Haughee at 423-488-4848 if you would like to join the Friendship Sabbath School Class Via Zoom. 

Men’s Ministry Class The class will start at 10:30 a.m. and run for 40 minutes. If the class goes long, we will log into the second link. The plan is to study James this week and the next and on the first Sabbath of June (6/6/2020), we intend to start the 33 series.
10:30 am meeting link. Text or call Edymar for the password 813-541-2184

Fellowship Sabbath School May 23
Tune in Time Begins: May 23, 2020 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
We will begin the discussion when the pastor finishes his sermon. Presenter this week – Larry Otto
Join Zoom Meeting – click here

Meeting ID: 423 883 2558 Password: contact Larry Otto or Carl Bartlett


ONLINE GIVING click here

LIVE WORSHIP SERVICE click on this link at 9 am on May 23


Last week our whole family came together for a couple of days. What a blessing to be together.

Happy Sabbath! I’m looking forward to worshiping together at 9 am 🙂

The Peace of Christ



“If we could see the clouds from the other side where they lie in billowy glory, bathed in the light they intercept, like heaped ranges of Alps, we should be amazed at their splendid magnificence.

O child of God! If you could see your sorrows and troubles from the other side; if instead of looking up at them from earth, you would look down on them from the heavenly places where you sit with Christ; if you knew how they are reflecting in prismatic beauty before the gaze of Heaven, the bright light of Christ’s face, you would be content that they should cast their deep shadows over the mountain slopes of existence. Only remember that clouds are always moving and passing before God’s cleansing wind.” from Streams in the Desert Daily Devotional 


I have noticed that lately our society is becoming more and more divided on the issues of face masks, social distancing, opening or staying closed, etc. These have become the highly polarizing subjects of social media posts and news outlets. I feel these discussions are worse than the virus itself. When it all started we were proactive in keeping our spiritual unity. Now we are drifting apart. Let us not allow our personal mindsets and political outlooks lead us into trenches or barricades. Let the Spirit of God teach us to accept one another in our differences. If someone wears a mask, show respect to that person. She/he is trying to keep you safe. If someone refuses to wear a mask, show respect to that person by wearing your own mask. Don’t allow the virus of selfishness or meanness to destroy our unity in Christ.

This coming Monday night the church board will review the current COVID19 situation in our community and will discuss the In-Person Worship Services Guidelines. Our only desire is to make our church a safe place for everyone who is ready and willing to come for the communal services. It may take a few more weeks before we are ready to worship together in-person. Please, pray for God’s guidance in these matters. Continue to participate in our online worship services. Join one of the ZOOM Sabbath school classes; there are several available for you. If you don’t know how to use ZOOM or what class to join, please email or call me or Pastor Matthew, and we’ll be happy to help you.

I was very happy to receive many photos from you showing your participation in the online worship service last Sabbath. Keep sending these photos. We need them for our own encouragement. Your pastors want to know that you see and hear them 🙂

Here are just a few of these photos.

STEWARDSHIP – “Every year, millions upon millions of human souls are passing into eternity unwarned and unsaved. From hour to hour in our varied life opportunities to reach and save souls are opened to us. These opportunities are continually coming and going. God desires us to make the most of them. Days, weeks, and months are passing: we have one day, one week, one month less in which to do our work. A few more years at the longest and the voice which we cannot refuse to answer will be heard saying, “Give an account of thy stewardship.” COL 373.4

Thank you for your faithful and generous support of the local church budget. God bless you for being faithful in giving your tithes and offerings. Let me encourage you to remember the Student Aid account. It is running lower than usual this spring. Were want to be sure every family gets support for the Christian education of their children if they apply for assistance.

PACKING LUNCHES FOR HOMELESS. Our church has committed to purchasing supplies and packing sack lunches for the homeless. We assemble 150 lunches during each shift in our church fellowship hall and deliver them to the staff at the Chattanooga Community Kitchen who pass the lunches out at various homeless encampments around town. This project is directly connected to COVID-19; the homeless would normally come to the Chattanooga Community Kitchen for meals in its dining hall, but the dining hall is closed to encourage social distancing for this highly vulnerable population. Our next packing session is Monday, May 18, at 8 a.m. Volunteer spots are limited. To sign up, contact Lucas Patterson: 423-582-1678,lucaspatterson@southern.edu.

Attention families who are new to our church after September 2019 and families who were not able to participate in the directories photo sessions in September.
If you have a photo (Jpeg) of your family that you would like to share for the online directory, please contact Mike Haughee by email (focusn@gmail.com). We will take your photo and upload it to the online directory with information about your family (names, address, phone and email) that are in the photo. It might take a couple of weeks for the updates to be finished but you will be notified when the updated directory is ready for viewing.
If you have any questions, please contact Michael Haughee (Hoy) 423-488-4848


Your prayers are requested for Eva Scott, Brenda Miller’s mother.

Please remember to pray for our community and our nation.


Online giving: click here

Online church bulletin: click here

Online worship service from May 9: click here

Online Prayer meetings: Wednesdays at 7 pm on ZOOM.


Meeting ID: 871 8429 3156
Password: 5d0Rxy

Love Your Mother



All Mothers are beautiful. I’m grateful for my mother. She is weak. She needs continuous care, but she is still my Mom who dedicated her life to raising her children in love to God and people. I’m thankful for Galina, the mother of our children. She’s been a great inspiration for our daughters. They learn from her how to be always beautiful and caring. I’m blessed to see how our daughters metamorphose into sweet young mothers. Their passionate dedication to motherhood is a powerful reminder of our Creator/Parent love. Call your mother. Visit your mom. With all their earthly imperfections, they are perfect in their love.


During the last few weeks I see again and again that our church is not a building, but a caring family of Christ’s disciples. Here is a brief report from Lucas Patterson on a new wonderful ministry in which our church engaged: “On Monday morning, seven members of our church came together in the fellowship hall and packed 150 sack lunches for the homeless. It took less than 90 minutes to assemble the emergency meals, which consisted of turkey and cheese sandwiches, chips, fruit, and Little Debbies. After finishing, the group prayed over the food before dropping it off at Chattanooga Community Kitchen for distribution. Our church will repeat this community service effort again on May 18, June 1, and June 15. Volunteer spots are limited. To sign up, call 423-582-1678 or email lucaspatterson@southern.edu .”

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CEREAL BARREL MINISTRY. The Samaritan Center is open for business. For our church it means helping them with cereal for the needy families in our community. Throughout the month of May we’ll have the Cereal Barrel outside the main doors on the side of the church office. The barrel will be outside only on weekdays during office hours. Thank you for remembering and helping those who are less fortunate than we are. God bless you for your contributions.

OAKS. This week I personally experienced the new format of the OAKS educational program. I was invited to join a book discussion with the 7th graders over their ZOOM class. It was so good to see how engaged they all were. Thank you, Janel Jensen, for sharing with me this blessing. Our school is doing a wonderful job continuing its ministry in this new reality of a COVID19 world. Please remember to support the Student Assistance fund. Your help is needed and appreciated!

IN-PERSON WORSHIP. Pastor Matthew and I are actively working on the guidelines for the in-person worship services. We are engaging ministry leaders and healthcare experts in the discussion of the draft of this document. After it is approved by the church board we will have it posted on the church website. The exact date of the first in-person worship service will be officially voted on by the church board on May 18. Please continue to pray for God’s guidance in this important matter. We all long to worship together.


We are saddened to share the news that our church member, Ken LeuPhang, passed away this morning. Please keep his wife, Julia, and his family in your prayers.

Please pray for a new precious boy born into the Hall family. “Will”, officially William Dean Hall, born 5/5/2020 at 1:43 a.m., 7 lb. 13 oz and 20.25″ long. (See the featured photo above.)

Let us continue praying for healing in our community after the last devastating tornados. Pray also for the healing to be granted to our nation.

Don’t forget to send your prayer requests to my cell phone number.


Thank you for your generous and faithful giving. I was so encouraged to see that we met our local church budget goal in April. Your support means that you love your church. We’ll be able to fulfill our obligations and support our ministries. The online giving is available at www.ooltewahchurch.org

The digital church bulletin is available right here.

Sabbath morning worship service starts live at 9 am on Sabbath morning. Go to the home page of our church website 5 minutes before 9 am and click on the blue box “SERMONS AND ONLINE WORSHIP SERVICES” at the bottom of the page. Don’t click on it too early 🙂 If you click on that link before 8:55 am you’ll access last week’s service.

FROM MY HEART. Our oldest daughter’s husband is having tests and exams this week and next week. Galina and I made a quick trip to Florida and brought Stacey and her two precious boys to our home to help them during the next two weeks. What a blessing it is to have them with us! See for yourself 🙂


Happy Sabbath! “See” you tomorrow on YouTube 🙂

The Lord is my Protector


PSALM 18:1-2 “How I love you, Lord! You are my defender. The Lord is my protector; he is my strong fortress. My God is my protection, and with him I am safe.”
Let these words of the Psalmist lead us to the assurance that we are safe with the Lord. Pray this Scripture. Grow in faith that God knows you personally. He cares about you and He loves you.


Last Monday night the church Board had a virtual meeting. The emphasis of the meeting was on the church’s response to the tornado devastation. We heard great stories of our church members being willing to help in the very first hours after the storm. The grim picture of this natural disaster is still all around us.

Board members were also very glad to learn more about the new initiative of our Community Services. Lucas Patterson, the leader of this ministry, shared a new plan to help homeless people in Chattanooga. As the Community Kitchen downtown is closed there is another way to help people by providing sack lunches. We agreed that our church volunteers will prepare a hundred and fifty sack lunches twice a month. These lunches will then be distributed among the homeless. The Benevolence committee approved the funds needed for this project. Lucas needs volunteers. Here is what he asked me to share with the church:

SACK LUNCHES FOR HOMELESS. Our church is volunteering on the first and third Mondays of May, June, and July to purchase supplies and pack sack lunches for the homeless. We’ll assemble 150 lunches during each shift in our church social hall and deliver them to staff at the Chattanooga Community Kitchen who then pass the lunches out at various homeless encampments around town. This project is directly connected to COVID-19; the homeless would normally come to the Chattanooga Community Kitchen for meals in its dining hall, but the dining hall is closed to encourage social distancing for this highly vulnerable population. Our first packing session is Monday, May 4, at 8 a.m. Volunteer spots are limited. To sign up, contact Lucas Patterson: 423-582-1678, lucaspatterson@southern.edu.

The Board has also discussed a possible date for reopening our church for worship services. We tentatively agreed to resume in-person services on May 30. In the next week or so the pastoral staff will present the guidelines for the initial stage of our church reopening.

HOPE AWAKENS meetings continue through May 17. Many of you are receiving blessings by watching these messages. Some of you are helping as Bible instructors for the contacts. God bless you for your ministry.

LIGHT OF HOPE. I am grateful for your support and for your prayers for the satellite evangelistic meetings streaming from our church across the ocean to the Russian-speaking countries of Europe and Asia. The response is overwhelming. Click here to read more. Or here is the direct link: https://www.lightofhopetv.com/single-post/2020/05/01/Sharing-the-Gospel-Across-the-Ocean

PRAYERS. Please pray for our church members and our community. Let the Lord lead us out of this valley of the shadow of death.

SABBATH WORSHIP. Dr. David Hartman will be speaking for the worship service this Sabbath morning, Мay 2. You can watch online by either following the link on the church Facebook page (posted at 9 am on Sabbath morning) or by visiting the church website and clicking on the blue color box at the bottom of the page. The box says Sermons and Online Worship Services. Here is the address of the church website: www.ooltewahchurch.org

Sabbath school study will be presented by Greg and Arlene Leavitt. We all appreciate their weekly SS lesson discussion.

CHURCH GIVING. God bless you for your faithful support of the local church budget and your tithes. Rita shared with me the preliminary figures for the month of April. It looks like me met our monthly goal again! Praise God. We’ll be able to pay our bills and to support OAKS 🙂


If you have not yet tried the online giving option click here to access the Adventist Giving page. Also, you can access some very helpful information on Stewardship during the time of crisis if you click here.

Church online bulletin. Click here.

Happy Sabbath.