Happy New Year

Today is the last day of 2021. I invite you to look forward with confidence. Our Heavenly Father is always in control. This is His world. He will always lead us to victory through any new pandemics, economical or political disasters. Never doubt His power. Never question His love. Spiritual lessons of the past teach us to look up and to trust Him in the days to come.

As we are stepping into the New Year let us be more sensitive to the needs of people around us. Offer forgiveness, share kindness, look for new opportunities to serve and to give. Let the Spirit of Christ fill your whole being and may it show in your words and actions.

I pray that the New Year will bring us closer to each other. I am glad that we are beginning the new year with the 10 Days of Prayer. Starting Wednesday, January 5, prayer sessions will be offered twice a day, at 9 AM and 6:30 PM. I hope you’ll make these prayer sessions your priority. We’ll be praying about spiritual adventures with the Lord, new ministry opportunities, about our place in this community, and of course about each other.

I am grateful for each new member who joined our church in 2021. We witnessed new baptisms and welcomed new souls who moved into this area. I praise God for our school. Ten new students are joining OAKS next week. Personal and public evangelism has been and will remain our priority for the 2022 year. We are to share the Good News of Christ’s soon return.

Happy New Year, my friends, my brothers and sisters in Christ.

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A few days ago Shelly Caswell shared with me the following report. Thank you, Shelly, for your leadership.

“What a Christmas season it was for our OAKS students. Our elementary students performed their Christmas Play “Hey! That’s not what the Bible says” on Dec 10 and then our middle school band and bells groups spent Sabbath celebrating the birth of Jesus with their musical instruments. The band finished up with a concert at the Bradley Square Mall, Tuesday evening Dec 14. We were very blessed with big turns outs and a spirit of giving and support for all our students.
Last week the students came together to provide gifts for our annual “Gifts for Jesus” drive for the Samaritan center, and individual classrooms sponsored gifts for foster children in Tennessee.  On Friday we let out for Christmas break at noon. Students dressed for the season and enjoyed yummy food and gift exchanges with their classmates. 
We thank the Ooltewah Adventist Church for their continued support. Please keep the students and the staff in your prayers. We are adding 10 new students in January with a final enrollment of 138 students. God is good and is blessing through the growing pains. I can’t wait to see what adventures the spring will bring! “

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With hugs and Christian love,

pastor Peter and Galena

Here are a few photos from my personal album. We didn’t have the whole immediate family together for Christmas, but had some in-laws with us. Our oldest daughter’s family had a real Christmas in Flagstaff, AZ with lots of snow 🙂

Your Gift to Jesus.

The wisemen brought their gifts to Jesus. That was their way of worshiping the newborn King and showing their praise and adoration. We are grateful to God for the gift of Jesus. We celebrate His birth by giving presents to our friends and family. This morning I had a special treat watching as our 2.5 year old grand-daughter Mila was unwrapping her present. Her face was glowing with joy as she pulled out from the box a kid’s ironing board and a tiny iron. This was a moment of cuteness and celebration for all of us. What have you planned as your gift to Jesus? I am not talking about a generous check in the tithe envelope. Those are needed for His mission of the Gospel proclamation around the world; not so much for Him personally as He has all the riches of the universe. “The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts. Haggai 2:8. Think about your present for Jesus. Be bold. Be creative. He will definitely be happy to receive it from you, because He loved you with the love everlasting.

Merry Christmas to you! The Saviour is born.

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Both worship services tomorrow will be enriched by the church choir and the Brass for Worship music. Come, let us celebrate together. How often does December 25 fall on the Sabbath day?

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Our church came together last Sabbath night for Game Night. There was lots of food and many delicious desserts. I am very grateful to the team of young people who put together excellent games and activities. The best part was the sweet spirit of love among our church families. Thank you, Avril and your team for planning this event for our church. Here are a few photos.

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Church Agape feast is planned for January 7 @ 6:30 . This will be a great way to start the New Year and to celebrate the first Sabbath of the year.

More resources on the church website www.ooltewahchurch.org

Merry Christmas,

Hugs and love from pastor Peter and Galena. See you tomorrow.

Joy to the World

There is not that much joy in the world, but God is offering His joy to the world. The joys of this world are elusive, but God’s joy is eternal. Angels told the shepherd to go and to find Jesus. Find the real joy for yourself in finding Jesus.

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We have been blessed with wonderful Christmas programs in our church through the month of December. Christmas concerts by Steve Darmody, Church choir, Brass for Worship, OAKS Christmas music … all these were a real blessing to all of us. This Sabbath morning His Orchestra will enrich both of our services with their performance. I am looking forward to a great Sabbath together including the Church Social and Game night at 7 PM.

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Starting January 2022 there will be an important change to the flow of our worship services. You’ll be invited to participate in Morning Prayer. Everyone will have an opportunity to bring Prayer Request Cards to the front where the church elder will pray for the requests and praises submitted on cards, through the website or text messages. The Prayer Cards would need to be filled out in advance. They are available on the back of the church pews.

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Our Cereal Barrel needs your attention. Please help Julia Easter to have it filled up and shared with the struggling families in our community. Thank you for your caring spirit.

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Heartfelt Thank You to all who supported the Cornerstone Building Fund. We are very close to the first half a million dollars. Wouldn’t it be great to have the full $500,000 by December 31? 🙂

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Several of our church families contracted COVID and are staying at home. Among them is Pastor Matthew’s family. Matthew was scheduled to preach this Sabbath, but he’ll stay at home to keep the church from any potential exposure to the virus. I invite you to pray for their full and speedy recovery. Pastor David Bissell was in a head-on collision this week. His sternum is broken. Praise God that his injuries are not as life threatening as they could have been. Our thoughts and prayers are also with Mary Ellen Walter and Marlin. Marlin’s brother passed after battling cancer. Praying for comfort to be granted to this dear family.

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Don’t forget to check the church website for additional resources and helpful links. www.ooltewahchurch.org

See you tomorrow.

Hugs and love from me and Galena.

The Greatest Gift

Finding a perfect present is not easy. It may be too expensive or out of stock. No one likes when their present is returned to the store. As the wrapping paper is being ripped off the box we are anxious to hear a scream of excitement mingled with the genuine expression of surprise on the face of the gift recipient. I hope you’ll find your perfect Christmas gift for the person you love. There is a beautiful story by O. Henry about a young wife selling her hair to buy a chain for her husband’s watch while he is selling his watch to buy her a set of hair combs she had dreamt about. Eventually, the value of the gift is determined by the sacrifice we are willing to make. God gave us the most perfect gift. His sacrifice was unimaginable … He gave us His Son, Jesus Christ. It is truly the only gift that makes everything different because with this Gift we receive life eternal. “… the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23).

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Last Monday we had a church Board meeting. The agenda was packed with many important items. The Finance committee presented the auditors’ report. The report was a good testimony to an excellent financial management of our church funds. The board voted on some minor technical recommendations made by the auditors. We are blessed to have Greg Leavitt, the conference auditing department director, as our board member. New Facility Manager, Ryan Matthews, was introduced to the Board members. We are all happy that Ryan took over this important area of responsibilities. The Board also voted to ask Lisa Patterson to serve as the church clerk and Summer Bradford to take the position of Women’s Ministry director. Shelly Caswell, the OAKS principle, shared the vision for our school growth. Greg Leavitt presented a plan for the “10 Days of Prayer” for our church starting on January 6. The meetings will be held twice a day: at 8:30 am and 6 PM. I hope to see many of our church members attend these meetings. I was very impressed with a wonderful spirit of mission and unity among our church leaders. God is leading His church forward.

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The Christmas concert last Sabbath was a huge blessing for our church and for the community. The Fellowship Hall was full! Steve Darmody helped us all to start the Christmas season with an understanding of the great sacrifice of Jesus. I hope we’ll be sharing this spirit with everyone around us. Thank you, Steve!

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This Sabbath everyone is invited to join our church Christmas potluck. Bring your favorite dish. Bring enough for your friends and for any church visitors.

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The Church Christmas social is also coming up in a couple of weeks. Please add it to your calendar. We’ll have a great time together.

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I hope to see you tomorrow morning.

pastor Peter