God’s Hand Is Stretched Out

When thou passest through the waters… they shall not overflow thee (Isaiah 43:2).

“God does not open paths for us in advance of our coming. He does not promise help before help is needed. He does not remove obstacles out of our way before we reach them. Yet when we are on the edge of our need, God’s hand is stretched out.

Many people forget this, and are forever worrying about difficulties which they foresee in the future. They expect that God is going to make the way plain and open before them, miles and miles ahead; whereas He has promised to do it only step by step as they may need. You must get to the waters and into their floods before you can claim the promise.” (J.R.M.)

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The Ten Days of Prayer meetings will resume tomorrow, Sabbath, @ 5 PM. During the week the meetings take place in the sanctuary at 8:30 AM and 6 PM. There will be no meeting tonight due to the cold weather and potential ice spots on the roads. Stay safe.

The Agape Feast has also been postponed till further notice. I hope that we’ll finalize the new date for the Agape Feast in the next few days. Watch for the announcement in the church bulletin, Facebook, website, my blog …

I am grateful for your prayers as I’ve been dealing with the flu (not COVID) for the last few days. This Sabbath I’ll be with your in my thoughts and prayers. Pastor Matthew will be preaching tomorrow for both services.

Stay warm and healthy 🙂

Hugs,

pastor Peter

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

Learn to see the blessings.

Thanksgiving is behind us. Yesterday I noticed many nice Facebook and Instagram posts where people shared kind words about their friends and family. What about now? Will this same spirit continue for a few more days or weeks? I certainly hope so. It is easy to see the blessings for a day or two, but it takes some serious effort to learn to see the blessings every day. Yes, that requires learning and determination. Learning to see the rays of light through the dark clouds of pain and disappointment. Learning to find the crumbs of kindness in a world of cruelty and hatred. This way of life requires more than physical eyes which may be clouded with tears. No wonder Jesus said, “Having eyes, do you not see?” (Mark 8:18). It is only through our spiritual eyes that we start seeing what Peter stated: “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” (2 Peter 1:3).

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For the last couple of weeks our Pathfinders were actively engaged in helping people in our community. They were collecting canned goods and taking them to the families in need. Here are a few nice photos:

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Last Sabbath Afternoon our church Youth went for a nature hike. Thank you Jenny and pastor Matthew for planning these activities.

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Our Christmas church potluck is planned for December 4 after the 11:30 Worship service. I hope we will have a great time celebrating the spirit of love and friendship in our church.

The Church Christmas social is planned for December 18 @ 7 PM.

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This Sabbath is our big Christmas concert with Steve Darmody!!! Invite your friends and family!

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Happy Sabbath.

pastor Peter

Walking with Jesus.

“The colored sunsets and starry heavens, the beautiful mountains and the shining seas, the fragrant woods and painted flowers, are not half so beautiful as a soul that is serving Jesus out of love, in the wear and tear of common, unpoetic life.”
–Faber

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Last Sunday was a big day for our church. Many of you worked hard to make the Cornerstone Gala a huge success. The venue was spacious . The food was absolutely delicious (a heartfelt Thank You to Rhonda Hicks and her team) . The serving team of our church youth was classy. Music was inspiring. The spirit of unity and excitement was God-given. I felt honored to be a part of such a great church. I have to confess that the level of participation exceeded my usually “extra positive” expectation. It was so good to see many young couples with children. Praise God for the submitted pledges for the church expansion project. We’ll have the total amount of pledges ready by November 27, the Thanksgiving Sabbath. If you didn’t have a chance to attend the event, but are interested in filling out the pledge card you’ll find one in the foyer of the church.

Here are a few photos from the event

The Hall family provided rocks with the Cornerstone fund name artfully written on each one of them. Those who attended the event each took a rock with them as a reminder of their commitment to this project. If you didn’t have a chance to take one of the rocks, please do so after the Sabbath service. These rocks will be later positioned on one of the interior walls of the future building.

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Our own OAKS Band played for the Collegedale Veterans Day celebration. Aaron shared this photo with me:

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Our church website is fully renovated!I am very grateful to Emmalee Shallenberger for making this upgrade happen. I hope you’ll find this new site user friendly, helpful and elegant. Check it out for yourself:

www.ooltewahchurch.org

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The spiritual message this Sabbath morning will shared by Mike Harrell. I am looking forward to that.

See you tomorrow.

pastor Peter

A Time To Move Forward

Growing up in a pastor’s family I hated moving from one city to another. Every move meant losing my friends and starting all over again in a new school. When I started my own family and had my own children I had to take them through the same ordeal every time we moved. Imagine how shocked I was when a few years ago one of my daughters gave me a nice birthday card where she thanked me for moving her from one city to another. She wrote that it helped her to learn and to appreciate people of different cultures and backgrounds. It helped her to learn how to get out of her comfort zone and to move forward. As Christians we also hate the concept of a journey. However, Christian ministry is a journey. Christ did not even have His own home. He was always on the move. We get used to our pew, to our circle of friends and gradually we hate the concept of change even if the Lord is calling us to move forward. The Israelites hated the journey to the promised land. They missed their “meats and pots” in the land of Egypt. Let us ask ourselves if maybe we are too comfortable in our soft church pew? “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 3:13-14

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I was so excited to receive these photos from last Sabbath’s Game night. Youth and Earlieteens came together to enjoy food and fun activities. There are many more events planned for our children including a Youth Vespers on November 13. Enjoy the photos sent to me by Jenny Spicer.

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Matt Geraghty shared the following picture report with me from the recent Men’s Ministry project. I am so glad we have this active group of men in our church. Thank you, Matt, for your leadership.

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Late Wednesday night I received a text message from Ryan Matthews. There was a photo of his wife Heidi and baby Asher. Healthy and happy Asher (5 lbs 14 oz) and his mama are doing great. Congratulation to the Matthews family!

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This Sunday is our Cornerstone Gala. The banquet will be at 5 PM at Howe Farms. Everyone is invited. If you did not RSVP, no problem. It is not required. Just come as your are. This is your church event. We do not want anyone to miss this very important event. The venue address is 7600 Runyan Road, Georgetown, Tennessee 37336. If you prefer a ride call or email me, and I’ll help you with the shuttle van arrangements. More info is available here https://www.ooltewahchurch.org/copy-of-new-page

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Last week Galena and I had a wonderful time in New England. There were eight of us. We spent a few days in Portsmouth, NH and then drove to Woodstock, VT. Here are a few photos from our trip.

See you this Sabbath morning.

pastor Peter

Saved Through His Life.

“For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” (Romans 5:10)

Our reconciliation with the Heavenly Father became possible only because of the death of Christ. By His death He met the requirements of the holy law. Peace with God was pronounced on the cross for every human being who accepted this gift by faith. No more wrath, not more enmity between the Creator and His creation. No need to run from the glory of the Holy God. If this was accomplished by the death of Jesus something even greater is offered to us by His life. It is because He is a living Saviour we can receive the gift of salvation. We are saved by the life of Jesus. This salvation is the present reality. This is a great reason to “boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:11). “God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Gal. 6:14)

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Last Sabbath we celebrated the Lord’s Supper. It was good to see many of you who came to remember Christ’s death and His resurrection. I am especially grateful to the Head Deaconess, Bonnie Hicks, and to the Head Deacon, Rick Banks and his team for making the necessary arrangements for the Communion and for their assistance during both services.

While we had the Communion service at church a good number of church families with younger kids participated in an outdoor church service at Red Clay State park. Cory Goss led the program at the park and shared the following photos with me:

Here is what Cory messaged along with the photos: “Today was a wonderful time. About 16 families came out to worship together. We had a scavenger hunt, leaf rubs, singing,  we made a skit of our lesson and our worship was about letting our lights shine like the five wise virgins. Squirrels, birds, even the trees are getting ready for winter.  Likewise we need to be ready for Jesus to come.”

Thank you, Cory!

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On October 9, the Voices in Worship group presented a wonderful afternoon concert. Thank you, Larry Otto, for planning this event. Here is a photo from that afternoon and under the photo you will find a YouTube link to the the recording of the concert.

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Have you already sent a text message to this number (423-779-4774) to confirm your participation in the Cornerstone Banquet on November 7? Please do not wait till the last day. This is your event. Please, send your RSVP today.

Click on the picture below to learn more about the banquet:

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This Sabbath morning, during the first service, we will celebrate Roy and Yasmin Teal’s baptism. There will be joy in heaven and celebration in our church family. Praise God for their decision.

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Happy Sabbath to y’all!

hugs,

pastor Peter

Faith Against All Odds

“Against all odds, when it looked hopeless, Abraham believed the promise and expected God to fulfill it. He took God at his word, and as a result he became the father of many nations. God’s declaration over him came to pass: “Your descendants will be so many that they will be impossible to count!” ” (Romans 4:18)

Abraham’s faith was so strong that nothing could shake it. He never stopped believing and because of His faith, He glorified God. Not only was perfect righteousness credited to His account, but Abraham received His promise (Rom 4:19-22). I love Romans 4 because this declaration was not just spoken over Abraham, but it was spoken over you and me too! When we believe, we too receive righteousness and the promises we have been waiting for (Rom 4:23-25).

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This Sabbath morning many families with children will worship at Red Clay State Park. The program will start at 10:30 am. Cory Goss will lead the service. Unfortunately, pastor Matthew and Emmalee will not be able to attend the event because their son, Malachi, is struggling with the COVID19 virus. We all hope that Malachi will feel better soon. If you need additional info about the Red Clay Park program please contact Cory or any of your Sabbath school teachers.

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Tomorrow is the Communion Sabbath. I believe in the great spiritual significance of the Communion Worship service. Christ told us to “do this in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19). There is a special blessing for each one of us in attending the service. We are enriched spiritually by the Holy Spirit when we gather at the Lord’s table. We are united with Christ and with each other. We find assurance of our salvation in the death and the resurrection of Jesus. I invite you in the humility of our spirit to forgive those who offended you. Christ forgave us on the cross. How much more should we forgive each other. Set aside your differences; there is so much more that we have in common when we are with Christ. I expect tomorrow to be a high Sabbath. Don’t leave your seat empty at the Lord’s table.

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November 7 Church Banquet plans are finalized! Every church member is invited to participate. As a matter of fact I’d like to encourage you to invite one another. Call your family and friends from church; talk to you Sabbath school class members; message your ministry team. Let us all set this as our priority. This is YOUR banquet. Dinner starts at 5 P.M. at Howe Farms located at 7600 Runyan Rd, Georgetown. This is a beautiful facility where you’ll be offered uplifting music, dinner and fellowship.

If you do not drive after dark that will not be a problem. A van shuttle service is arranged specifically for you. The van will pick you up at either the ABC store or the church parking lot and will bring you back.

You’ll find more information and directions on the church website http://www.ooltewahchurch.org Please send a text message to RSVP to the following number 423-779-4774.

https://www.ooltewahchurch.org/copy-of-new-page

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Happy Sabbath.

See you tomorrow morning.

pastor Peter