Praising God in Difficult Times


I will praise the Lord at all times; his praise is always on my lips.” (Ps. 34:1) When dark clouds cover the sky we pray for help; we cry for safety. Prayers of praise seem to be more appropriate when we get a pay raise, when our children are well and safe, when surgery went well. This was not David’s perspective. He was attacked by his family; surrounded by enemies, betrayed by friends, but he was determined to praise the Lord “at all times”! Praising God through pain and in moments of darkness requires strong faith and an intimate relationship with Christ. Don’t allow your mind to be sucked into the sewers of the media propaganda. Open the Word of God and allow praise to be always on your lips.


Worship Service on August 29 will be held outside @ 9 AM. There will be no 11:30 AM service. The weather forecast is not very supportive of our outdoor service plans, but per the Church Board vote there will be no indoor service on August 29 or September 5. If you are brave enough to join the outdoor 9 AM service tomorrow morning you may want to bring an umbrella. Chairs will be set under the carport by the sanctuary entrance. Possible COVID19 exposure may keep us outside for two weeks, but no weather will keep us from worshiping the Lord this Sabbath morning. Thank you for your understanding. Clouds will pass, Coronavirus will die, but we’ll stay together united by the Blessed Hope! If you haven’t received my email sent on Tuesday here is a link to that communication: Tuesday Letter from pastor Peter

Sabbath school classes are available on ZOOM and YouTube. Please contact your Sabbath school class leader to receive a ZOOM meeting ID and password. YouTube Sabbath school class can be accessed via church website or on the church YouTube channel. Here is the link


No natural disasters or political battles can keep men of our church from serving people in the community. Here is the latest update with pictures from Edymar Penagos:

Love in Action:
Thank you John, Edwin, Rick, Lucas, Aaron, Edwin, Kevin and David for your help. Your love in action made a big difference at the house but more importantly demonstrated God’s love to our brother. With all the growing self interest in the world, your selflessness helped mend a hurting heart. (see attached photos)
Also, if you or anyone you know have been impacted by COVID19, PLEASE let me know what we can do to help. IF one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. 1 Corinthians 12:26
Request for assistance: Our brother Luis Rivera needs ourt help! They are moving out of their friends basement and into their new home in Cleveland! If you would like to help, we are planning to meet this Sunday in the morning. Please call, email or text me for the details.  
Mens SS Class tomorrow: Due to possible COVID exposure, we will not be meeting in our normal class this sabbath or the next. And because of the weather predictions for this Saturday, we will not have class outside. This means that the official mens class is cancelled. With that said, some of the guys from our class are gathering at Kevin Hicks house to watch the video and talk . If you would like to join, please reach out to me, my cell number is below. 
We will be finishing up the 2nd volume of the 33 series called “A Man and His Story”. We are on session #6 titled, Heart. This is the last session of this volume. (available to watch beforehand on RightNow media) Continued prayers for you all, your brother in Christ, Edymar Penagos 813-541-2184″



Betty Chastain fell again this week. She is at Erlanger hospital downtown. Prayers are needed and appreciated.

Prayers for a church family overcoming COVID19.



STEWARDSHIP – “Every good thing of earth was placed here by the bountiful hand of God as an expression of His love to man. The poor are His, and the cause of religion is His. The gold and the silver are the Lord’s; and He could rain them from heaven if He chose. But instead of this He has made man His steward, entrusting him with means, not to be hoarded, but to be used in benefiting others. He thus makes man the medium through which to distribute His blessings on earth. God planned the system of beneficence, in order that man might become like his Creator, benevolent and unselfish in character, and finally be a partaker with Christ of the eternal, glorious reward.” (CS 15.2)

~ Steve Bremner

Weekly church bulletin: bulletin

Online Giving: tithe and offerings


Have a blessed Sabbath day. See you tomorrow.

Pastor Peter

Pray to Withstand Evil



We are in a daily battle with evil. Some of that evil is an actual enemy, while some is simply a phantom we created. Don’t waste your time and energy on battles with enemies you have imagined. Start wars against the only real evil, “your enemy the devil [who] is always about, prowling like a lion roaring for its prey.” Learn to pray to withstand evil. This Sabbath I continue my “Seven Prayers” sermon series.


Sharon Harrell has been asked by the church board to serve in the position of the Women’s Ministry director. This nomination is being presented to the church body for the final vote of approval. I am glad that Sharon is already actively engaged in this important ministry. She has asked me to include in my blog the following invitation: Join Women’s Ministries for a dynamic online presentation, August 22, from 3:00-5:00 pm. For more details click on the picture below:


Thursday was the first day of school at OAKS. The path to this day has not been easy for the school administration and teachers. I am sincerely grateful to our awesome OAKS team for putting together a great plan for this school year in the new reality of COVID19. School principle, Shelly Caswell sent me lots of great pictures for the blog post. Enjoy the photos below and keep our OAKS teachers and students in your prayers daily. Please.

Here is a message from Shelly: “OAKS started a new school year this week amid many changes and safety procedures. We were blessed with a crowd during the work bee so the building sparkled with many updates. New air purification systems were installed Tuesday, outdoor picnic tables assembled, hand washing stations primed and the front of the building was decorated with cheerful bible verses to greet the returning students. OAKS was granted a set of Nathan Green’s creation paintings. These 7 portraits now hang in the front hallway as a visual reminder of each step God took as He created this wonderful world for us. Our spiritual theme for the year is HOPE, based on Jeremiah 29:11. The students will sport sharp looking new t-shirts with this theme pointing them to plan for Jesus to come again. Thank you for your prayers for the safety of our students and staff as we dive into a new year of learning.”

Men’s Ministry is always on a mission of sharing Christ’s love. Here is an update from Edymar:

Love in Action:
We are getting close to finishing the love in action project and need a little more help to cross the finish line. A big THANK YOU to Edwin, John, Aaron, Rick and Lucas for your help. We will be heading back this coming Monday and Wednesday evening to hopefully wrap up the job, God willing. Please text or email me if you would like to help. No special skills are needed.
The world is hurting right now, the evidence of this can be seen by the violence and hurtful words all around us. As Christ followers, our mission is simple. We must love our brothers, sisters, love our neighbor and love our enemies.
Men’s ministry is not in the business of fixing things, we are in the business of demonstrating love, as our Lord Jesus Christ commanded us, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” John 13:34-35.
THIS is why we do what we do, it’s always been more about the people than the project. To God be the glory!
Mens SS Class tomorrow: 
We’ll continue our SS class discussion based on “33 The Series.” We are in the 2nd volume called “A Man and His Story”, session #4, titled Healing (available to watch beforehand on RightNow media).
We will meet at the school in our old classroom at 10:15 am. If you have never been, it’s the 2nd class room on the left when you walk into the school building.
Join us, we will watch the video in class! Please text or email me with questions.
Edymar 813-541-2184″

Connie Reynolds is now officially serving as our Sabbath School Superintendent. She scheduled the first SS Council meeting for this Sabbath afternoon. The meeting will be in-person with a ZOOM option. Meeting Time: Aug 15, 2020 05:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)  Meeting ID: 878 1060 6990 Passcode: 1pz8b3

We hope for great participation. Meanwhile, many Lower Divisions teachers are going the extra mile to help our kids feel loved and connected with the church. Here is a text message I received on Thursday from Natalia Joshephs: “Hello Pastor.  This is Natalia Josephs a member of Ooltewah Church. I just wanted to say how thankful I am for the wonderful Ministry Ms. Patricia Young has done at church with the kids, and in particular with our son Kaleb Josephs. He has a learning and cognitive disability and they have accommodated for him in Sabbath school class when we were in session. Recently during quarantine and the past months she has sent him weekly letters with notes and stickers, activities. They even left a gift bag at our door step with wonderful trinkets and his lesson. Even though we have not been able to attend church due to health concerns for his safety we have truly been blessed by all the materials we have received . Please pass that message on to her. And once again we are grateful for the time and evidence of Gods love through her work!” 

Thank you, Natalia, for this kind message. Thank you, teacher Pat, for your dedication to the Kindergarten class ministry and for your love to the kids.

Many of our church members would like to attend church, but cannot due to COVID19 health concerns. I want them to know that they are being terribly missed by the pastoral staff. We are glad that they can participate in our virtual services. Here is a copy of an email message I received earlier this week:

“Hi Pastors Peter and Matt,
I have been meaning to write both of you to thank you for the blessings of the streamed Sabbath services.  It means a lot to those of us who are still at home.  Every Friday I pray for the Lord to help me make the Sabbath special.  The Lord answers my prayers through the work of both of you and many others.  I am really missing my church family and hope I can be back soon.  I appreciate the wonderful sermons, the music, etc.  It is so good to see familiar faces on Sabbath even though I can’t see everybody!  I know it has to be difficult for you in your work right now.  I am blessed with a number of sermons on Sabbath, but my church service comes first!  I can’t imagine what it would be like right now not to have streaming.  I am also enjoying Prayer Meeting on YouTube.  It is a blessing I look forward to every week.  Nothing is normal right now, but I believe that it is all a sign that Jesus is coming very soon and I am excited about that. 

I have watched parts of the Sanctuary Sabbath School, but sometimes it is hard to hear the comments of people.  I can’t help but note that a lot of people are not wearing masks, and some are not social distancing.  I just pray that everybody will stay well.  I don’t get sick very often, but when I do I get really sick and it goes to my chest.  For those reasons I feel it is best for me to stay home until the Covid starts letting up a bit.  But I do hope that I can come back soon.

I know it must be hard for both of you not to be able to run your programs as you normally do, but I just want you to know that the work you are able to do is greatly appreciated by those of us who are not back yet.  I don’t have a TV by choice, but every Sabbath I am in front of my computer before 9:00 knowing that I will be receiving a blessing.  And I always do!!!

So a big THANK YOU TO YOU BOTH from me and many others who appreciate what you are doing to hold the church together during these trying times. May God bless and give you the wisdom to know how to handle all the different situations that arise.  I pray for you every day as these are trying times for pastors. Sincerely, Shirley Bennett.

Thank you, Shirley, for your gracious message and your prayers. We hope we’ll see you back soon!

PRAYERS. This Wednesday the Davis family lost Richard Davis, Ricky’s father. The memorial service is planned for August 23 @ 2 pm at our church. Please, remember the family in your prayers. Richard was attending our church for a number of years.

Betty Jones, who lost her son a few weeks ago sent the following card to the church:



Church weekly bulletin: link

Online giving: link

August 8 Sabbath worship: link

August 8 Sanctuary SS class: link

From my heart: For the last several years my mom has been in our house under our care. Galina and I felt your prayers and your gracious support. It meant the world to both of us. Last week this arrangement changed. My oldest sister, Evangelina, moved to Greenville, TN. With this move and with the new housing arrangements she was able to take our mom into her care. We are glad that Mom is not that far from us, and we’ll be visiting her often.

This summer there have been lots of moves in our children’s families. Three weeks ago we helped one family with a move to Oregon. Now, our oldest daughter’s family is moving from Orlando, FL to Flagstaff, AZ. Guess who will be helping them move? 🙂 Yes, it will be me. I am taking several vacation days next week. Our daughter Stacey will fly to Ooltewah on Sunday with our two grandkids, and will stay with grandma Galina, while I fly that same Sunday morning to Orlando. There her husband Javan and I will load a U-haul truck, attach a trailer, load one of their cars onto that trailer, and the two of us will venture into the desert. He’ll be driving the second car, while I’ll drive the U-haul with the trailer. Lots of prayers are needed! Expect lots of road trip photos on Facebook and Instagram 🙂

Happy Sabbath, church. I’ll see you tomorrow.

pastor Peter

Praying for the Mission



“I have but one passion: It is He, it is He alone. The world is the field and the field is the world; and henceforth that country shall be my home where I can be most used in winning souls for Christ.”
― Count Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf

This Sabbath morning I’ll continue my ‘Seven Prayers’ sermon series. We’ll study what ‘Praying for the Mission’ is all about.


Last Sabbath evening about forty volunteers from our church came to help at the Samaritan Center. Many of them were young people. Ice cream was a hot item 🙂 it was all gone in the first 15 minutes. Of course I have no doubts that the majority of those who came were not so much motivated by ice cream as by the willingness to help our community. A heartfelt Thank You to all who participated in this service to the Samaritan Center. We’ll do it again on September 5. I feel bad I did not take any pictures that night.


Great news! Our “Young Disciples” fund has already received $20,300! The goal is to raise $50,000. Every dollar from this fund will go to support students from our church who attend OAKS and other Adventist academies. So, as of today we need to raise $29,700. Let’s all get onboard and support our children. Thank you for your generous participation. The “Young Disciples” fund is added to the online giving site. If you use the paper tithe envelope just enter your contribution to this account in the blank line and mark accordingly.


Almost 600 people from the community visited the voting center at our church on Thursday. They were offered free drinks and cookies. They did not come to worship, but they could feel the love of Jesus in the friendly atmosphere of our church campus. Thank you, everyone who helped with the setup for this election day.


Carleen Zalabak, Pastor Matthew and their team completed the recording of the virtual VBS. As soon as the editing is finished these videos will be available for the children of our church. Thank you, all who worked on this wonderful project!

Teacher Becky regularly posts Sabbath school video lessons for the Cradle Roll class. They are available on the Cradle Roll Facebook page. God bless you, Becky!


This Sabbath we’ll have two Memorial services. One for the family members of Barbara Smith (Apison church @3pm) and the other one for Judson, Donna Jamieson’s husband, at our church at 4 PM. Visitation starts at 3:30 pm. Please, remember these two families in your prayers.


Online weekly bulletin: click here

Online giving: click here

August 1, Sabbath worship service recording: click here

August 1, Sanctuary Sabbath school class: click here