The first week of 2021 didn’t give us a break. I was deeply troubled by the events that took place in Washington, DC on Wednesday. I saw this kind of violence in Russia in the early nineties and it is definitely not a path to peace and freedom. On Wednesday night many of our church members gathered on ZOOM and YouTube to pray for our nation. We found comfort in the words of the Holy Scriptures that this world still belongs to the Sovereign God. He promised not to leave us alone until the day He comes back to establish His eternal Kingdom of grace and justice. “Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O Lord, and You exalt Yourself as head over all.” 1 Chronicles 29:11 I invite you to pray daily for our country. We need healing in this New Year.
I encourage you also to seek ways to break the walls of distancing and division in our own spiritual community. If you are a ministry leader or an elder, connect with the members of your group; help them find support; encourage them; engage them. We need one another. I expect this to be the year of togetherness. Be proactive in praying for one another, studying God’s Word together, laughing together and crying together. If you are interested in starting a small group of prayer and study, talk to me and I will help you to launch this ministry.
Praying for one another is a key element of this “togetherness”. This week I invite you to pray especially for Steve Bremner, who is recovering after surgery. In the next few weeks he will need to make some important decisions regarding his future treatments. I solicit your prayers for pastor Matthew’s and Emmalee’s son Malachi. He had a rough week packed with many doctors’ visits and tests. Pray that the Lord touches Malachi with His healing hand.
COVID19 is still agressively spreading in our nation and in our county. If you feel vulnerable or have cold symptoms you don’t need to feel excluded from our Sabbath worship services. You can be with your church online via YouTube streaming. We’ll be praying for you. Tomorrow, during all three services Jaime Jorge will be praising God on his violin. I will continue my three sermon series on the subject of the Holy Spirit. Jan 2: Guided by the Spirit. Jan 9: Filled with the Spirit. Jan 16: Equipped by the Spirit.
I am deeply grateful to all who came to the Samaritan Center last week. The amount of donated items was higher than I have ever seen before. About a fourth our our church volunteers finished the project in less than two hours!!! What a team! What a spirit! Connie Reynolds, thank you for the brownies. They were delicious. Galena, thank you for the hot chocolate. We all loved it.
This morning I received a Men’s Ministry update and photos from Edymar Penagos. Here is Edymar’s message:
“So, what did you learn from 2020? Did it put things into perspective or did it cause you to feel lost? Personally, I feel as if God is working on giving me 2020 vision on what really matters to Him: His children. All of them.
With that said, the Ooltewah Men’s Group is going to be laser focused on two things 1. growing closer to God and 2. growing closer to each other. As Jesus said in Matthew 22:37-40 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Men, I am calling you to join me in action. I am encouraging you to stop looking to worldly leaders and solutions and instead look to God and serve Him. He and only He can direct us to what REALLY matters. We know things are NOT going to get better but we must not lose faith and miss our calling. God gave us one commission and it has nothing to do with judgment, conversion or justice. Those are His and His only to administer. We are to love, that is how the world will know we are his disciples.
I watched a TED talk titled, “Great Leaders Live Like Drug Addicts” (hard to ignore a title like that, am I right?) and from that I took three principles that I believe mirror how we as christians should live. We ought to, Practice Rigorous Authenticity, Surrender the Outcome and Do Uncomfortable Work. As we begin to move forward in 2021, let us be real with each other, trust in God and do His will.
Let’s hit the ground running this month, below are 4 initiatives the men’s ministry at OSDA will be pursuing this year and I pray that God will bind us closer together like we have never before.
- Mens breakfast (socializing and learning together)
- Mens sabbath school class (currently learning how we are to live during last time events)
- Love in Action (serving and blessing others while growing closer together in common mission).
- Mens small groups (we will be starting with Every man a warrior) the plan is to launch this at the men’s breakfast at the end of January.”
The video below will help you see ways of supporting our church school:
Church bulletin. Weekly Church bulletin.
Online Giving. Tithe and Offerings.
See you tomorrow.