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:
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) https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87810606990?pwd=MDlrY2tPbTMzeDdJKzZGamFNTzRpUT09 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.