Dying to Self


Pride and selfishness make us concentrate on our own interests. We expect everyone to agree with us and to serve us. If we encounter resistance we tend to hide within the hard shell of our hurting self. Christ came to show us a different way of life. A life where we fall into the dirt to bring forth new life and the fruit of the Spirit. He chose that path for Himself. Today He invites us to follow His example. “I tell you truly that unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains a single grain of wheat; but if it does, it brings a good harvest.” John 12:24

Last Sabbath we did not see one another in person, but our virtual worship service went very well. The music was uplifting and Dr. Hartman’s message was Bible-based, practical and comforting. It was good to see high numbers of your online participation. The 11:30 am service was the shortest ever in my ministry. It was pretty breezy and chilly outside. One prayer in front of empty chairs served as both the opening and closing prayer :-). We go back to our regular worship services and regular Sabbath school schedule this Sabbath, March 20. 

20210314_152031(0)Here is an update from our Men’s Ministry leader: “I must say, these love in action reports are some of my favorites to share. Last Sunday, we started a project for a single mom of a typical curious and rambunctious boy (see attached picture). This was the text she shared with us after we left: “Feeling so very blessed today. So overwhelming. God knows exactly what he is doing and who to put in your life. He has definitely made us realize how awesome a church family we have. Thank you to the men that came today and did so much for my son and I. God bless you all!”

Guys, this is why we take time out of our busy schedules and serve. It is not about fixing things, it’s about fixing and growing relationships. Words do matter, but like the old saying goes, “actions speak louder than words”. 
Praise God for giving us the responsibility of taking care of our brothers and sisters and bless all of you who put love into action. With so many folks hurting and angry around the world, maybe we should say a little less and do a lot more.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9 NIV
We are headed back to this house and Barbra Smith’s house this Sunday. We also have several other projects in the pipeline so if you would like to join the love in action team, please let me know. I can guarantee you will also be blessed.
The Seekers’ Bible study class went well on Wednesday night. It is open for everyone. All together I’ll have 12 studies. We start @ 6PM in the Sanctuary every Wednesday. 
This week I had an intense marathon of videotaping sermons for the Light of Hope evangelistic meetings. The meetings will start on April 17. Thank you to all who supported these recordings through their prayers. I have to acknowledge that it was not an easy endeavor, but the Lord was supplying me with the needed physical energy and spiritual thoughts. I am grateful to the It Is Written team for opening the doors of their professional studio for these recordings. They have very dedicated professionals working in the studio. I’ll keep you posted on the progress of the preparation for these satellite meetings  in many countries of Eastern Europe. Thank you, Lord, for keeping these doors open and for providing the very much needed financial support. 
Last year we voted to start a church expansion project. COVID19 brought its corrections to our perception of reality. The architect and the building committee members are working on revisions to the plans which will help us reduce construction costs. We will call for a formal business meeting as soon as the building committee and the church board review the revised budget. Your prayers are needed. This is a big step and we cannot do it without God’s leading and blessing.  
Reversing Diabetes seminar is just days away. Click here to learn more
Weekly church bulletin and the Online Giving page are available on our church website www.ooltewahchurch.org
With Christian love to all of you,
pastor Peter

We Shall Grow Stronger

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After Moses the Lord’s servant died, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ assistant: “Moses my servant is dead. Get ready! Cross the Jordan River! Lead these people into the land which I am ready to hand over to them. (Josh 1:1-2)

“Sorrow came to you yesterday, and emptied your home. Your first impulse now is to give up, and sit down in despair amid the wrecks of your hopes. But you dare not do it. You are in the line of battle, and the crisis is at hand. To falter a moment would be to imperil some holy interest. Other lives would be harmed by your pausing, holy interests would suffer, should your hands be folded. You must not linger even to indulge your grief. … Sitting down to brood over our sorrows, the darkness deepens about us and creeps into our heart, and our strength changes to weakness. But, if we turn away from the gloom, and take up the tasks and duties to which God calls us, the light will come again, and we shall grow stronger.
(—J. R. Miller, Streams in the Desert). 


For the last couple of weeks our school and church have seen a spike in COVID cases. Several classes were closed for quarantine. There was also an increased number of church members who got infected in the last week or two. For the sake of our church members’ safety this Sabbath, March 13, our 9 am service will be ONLINE ONLY. You are invited to worship from home joining the streamed service. Dr. Hartman is our speaker for this Sabbath. There will be no indoor Sabbath school classes. Please contact your SS teacher about alternative study options.   The 11:30 a.m.  service will take place on the church parking lot where Dr. Hartman will preach again. There will be chairs set for those who choose to come. The plan is to resume our regular church worship and Sabbath school schedule on March 20. Let the Spirit of God keep us all united in our worship wherever we may be. Continue to pray for one another. 

Plan to join the  Reversing Diabetes seminar, March 25 – May 13, eight weekly sessions on Thursdays, 6 – 8 PM in the Fellowship Hall. Presenters:  Steven and Karen Wickham. Invite friends and neighbors to this highly proven and effective program based on the latest scientific research and adopted by the Grundy county Health Department. It is an inspirational and educational program with weekly lectures, food samples, recipes, BP checks, weigh-ins, meal and exercise plans and door prizes. Lab technicians from bwell4ever.org will be available April 1 and May 13 for blood tests such as HgbA1c at at a low cost. Bring copies of your last HgbA1c and fasting Lipid profile (cholesterol, triglycerides) if available.

Who shall attend? Those who have been diagnosed with diabetes, pre-diabetes, at high risk for diabetes, or anyone who wants to help someone with diabetes or improve their own health. Learn how thousands have reversed Type II diabetes in as little as three weeks, reduced or eliminated medications/insulin intake, reversed diabetic complications such as cardiovascular disease or painful neuropathy, lost weight, lowered blood pressure naturally, or improved their health. Cost column $40 for two books and the handbook. Pre-register online at http://www.ooltewahchurch.org/healthministry  or call 423-708-8186. Leave a message. Seating limited to 50. Masks recommended

Volunteers are still needed for the reversing diabetes Seminar as table hosts, greeters, registration, blood pressure station, weight station, food preparation, exercise leaders, and helpers with the room set-up . Please sign up in the foyer or call Sylvia Hyde 423-305-4373

Reversing Diabetes Seminar volunteer training session: Sunday, March 21, 1 to 3 PM by Steven and Caryn Wickham  in the Fellowship Hall. Volunteers should plan to attend this inspiring meeting.
We are starting  a special Seeker’s Bible Class for those desiring a deeper understanding of the basic truths of God’s Word, starting this Wednesday, March 17 from 6:00 – 7:00. I will teach this class  in Pastor Matt’s office, and will continue each Wednesday at 6:00. If you are interested in such a class, please plan to attend this Wednesday. If you know of any friends who could benefit from it, be sure to invite them.
Pathfinders Club was camping on our church property last weekend. I found them early Sabbath morning eating breakfast with almost blue faces because of the freezing wind. It was cold, but they all had a great time. Thank you, David Reynolds, for planning these activities for the church kids. 
A heartfelt Thank You to all who came to help at the Samaritan Center last Sabbath night. Once again we beat the record. With over sixty volunteers the work was finished in about thirty minutes!!! We all were so busy that I didn’t have time to take a picture.  What a wonderful church we have! 
Additional links and helpful resources are available on our church website www.ooltewahchurch.org 
We may not all be together this Sabbath, but we’ll all be united by the Spirit of God. Happy Sabbath, my friends.
pastor Peter

Standing Out for God


Growing up in a communist country as a Christian I was always looked upon as the “odd one”. It was not something I enjoyed. We all want to blend in, to feel that we belong to those who we study or work with is. This was not an option in my case. Attending church, believing in God’s existence, following a Christian lifestyle was putting me in the spotlight. With all the pain of being rejected and ridiculed I was learning to stand for my faith and my identity. This is actually our calling wherever we live.  As the children of God we should “not conform to the pattern of this world” (Rom. 12:2). Let us learn to live according the values of the Kingdom of God. 

This Sabbath morning I am preaching about how to Stand Out For God. 


Health Ministry leaders of our church along with the evangelism committee agreed to start an eight week Reversing Diabetes seminar led by Stephen and Karen Wickham. They plan to start the program on March 25. To make this seminar happen we need lots of volunteers willing to help once a week on Thursday nights. Volunteers will serve as greeters, table hosts, food sample coordinators, etc. The full list of the volunteer positions needed to be filled will be available in the church lobby this Sabbath morning. If we do not get enough help we’ll have to postpone this program. Please sign up! This will be a great way to invite people from the community and to help them find a better quality lifestyle.


This Sabbath night is our church’s turn to help at the Samaritan Center. I am looking forward to a great time with many volunteers who already became our regular team members. 


Here is a great update from Edymar about our church’s Men’s Ministry:

“That’s a wrap! February came and now it’s gone. How would you rate it? Same old, same old? I pray that is not the case. As I continue to marinate on the following three principles: practicing rigorous authenticity, surrendering the outcome and doing uncomfortable work, things that may have seemed uneventful or even meaningless, take on new light. For example, the last men’s breakfast on 2/28 had no agenda, just fellowship and food. Sounds rather uneventful, even meaningless, doesn’t it? I say nay! 

As the morning progressed, I watched and listened to the men interact while cooking and then eating. I could hear new bonds forming and existing ones strengthening. Some men found new purpose while others had theirs reaffirmed or further developed. At first glance, the kitchen and dining hall appeared to be filled with a bunch of hungry men chomping down on some delicious grub but in reality, there was much more going on. The morning was filled with iron sharpening iron. I saw men who were eager to connect to, grow with and support other men. I heard men that decided they were not going to be Ok with the same old, same old, men who made the decision to practice rigorous authenticity, surrender the outcome and do the uncomfortable work. Yes, all that was achieved over some delicious breakfast with “no agenda” all because these guys chose to connect.

Men, as most of you know by now, we are launching small groups specific to men and the challenges they face in the next few weeks. The groups are already forming and I pray that you strongly consider participating. If so much can come from a breakfast with no agenda, imagine what can happen from a focused group of guys looking to grow closer to God and each other? To sign up, click here. I look forward to spending more time with YOU as we pursue a stronger connection to our Lord, Savior and Friend, Jesus Christ.”

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Please be advised that last Sabbath, February 27, we had a person with a positive COVID19 case in church attendance in the sanctuary for the 9 AM service. Those who were in close proximity to the infected individual are aware of this case. They are in self-quarantine and will not be in attendance this Sabbath morning. 


Church bulletin, Adventist Giving and other helpful links are available on our church website www.ooltewahchurch.org 

Unfortunately I cannot send my blog directly to your email address any more. If you are interested in receiving my weekly updates you will need to subscribe to it on the blog home page. Here is the link http://www.pastorkulakov.com . In the right section of the page you’ll see a box where you can enter your email address and subscribe to the future post notifications. The good thing is that you’ll the the option of unsubscribing anytime when you are tired of my messages 🙂 

See you tomorrow. 

pastor Peter