New Life in Christ

When I first met Vasiliy he was a gangster in an Eastern European city. His wife and two daughters would hide under their beds when he came home. They prayed for him to become a different person. My visit with Vasiliy was in a restaurant closed to other customers and with two bodyguards standing at the door. Our lunch lasted for over an hour. The conversation was direct and to the point. Vasiliy wanted his life to be changed but he did not believe that there was any hope for him. He asked me to pray for him at the end of that meeting. Several years later I came back to that same city. One of the first families I met in the foyer of that church was Vasiliy, his wife and two teenage daughters. It was the same Vasiliy, but his smile reflected a totally new person inside of him. His two daughters were happily clinging to their dad. That change was clearly the result of God’s transforming power. This is why apostle Paul affirms that, ” if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Cor. 5:17)

This Sabbath morning I’ll share Part 2 of the Spiritual Makeover sermon series with you.

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Last Sunday many parents brought their kids to a pool party in our neighborhood clubhouse. The weather did not look promising, but it turned out to be a fun morning. Thank you, Earl Sigsworth and Pastor Matthew for coordinating this event for the little ones from our church and their friends. Here are a few photos that Earl shared with me:

There will be another pool party for older kids on August 1. Please contact pastor Matthew if you are interested in participating.

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On Sabbath afternoon over twenty “prayer warriors” gathered at the Chilson’s residence. This was the first time they came together after the Pandemic interrupted their gatherings about 18 months ago. Sondra shared with me that they had a wonderful time eating and planning their prayer ministry for our church and the community around us. Below are a few photos from that event:

We are grateful to our “prayer chain” members. They are like blood cells keeping us united in love and care for each other. This large group believes in the power of prayer and they have a place for you in this important ministry.

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VBS is starting this Sunday! Cory and Amy Goss need your help. I am glad that many children have already registered for this program online. If you have not done that yet for your kids or grandchildren here is the link.

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Please remember to pray for the Cornerstone Building Fund. There is nothing impossible for the Lord. There are many who the Lord can and will bring into His church if we are ready and willing to receive them. Don’t forget to reserve November 7 for a special church banquet.

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More resources are available on our church website: www.ooltewahchurch.org

Hugs,

pastor Peter

Spiritual Makeover

Not many of us can give ourselves a good haircut. If you can you are a rare genius. Most of us, including myself, go to a hairstylist with a good reputation. (In my case, I call my wife, Galena 🙂 ) Just as makeovers with hair require that we spend some time with a good hairstylist, makeovers of the heart require that we spend time with our Heavenly Father. My desire to become more like Christ will only be realized as I set aside time to listen to Him and study His word. It is during those times that He will shape my heart and my will to conform to His. “… put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” Ephesians 4:24

This Sabbath I am starting a 3 part sermon series entitled “Spiritual makeover.”

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Pathfinders is vamping up again for the coming year so be thinking about registering and participating. Plans are in the works for a great year of activities and trips. Events are opening up and no virtual activities are planned conference-wide. Watch for more news!
If you are interested in getting involved or have questions about the coming year please don’t hesitate to call Director David Reynolds (423)505-6658 or send an email the following address: David.Reynolds20@gmail.com

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Last Sabbath night was a wonderful social and spiritual experience for those who attended the evening event. Actually, there were several events: fellowship dinner, a concert and Singspiration. The initial setup was planned for a hundred people. A few minutes after 6 PM our deacon team had to bring more tables and chairs for another 100+ people. The ladies serving dinner started to look a bit stressed when the food started disappearing from the serving tables. It was absolutely great to see all of you eat and visit at the long tables set in the Fellowship hall. The concert was an absolute blessing. Below are a few photos I took during the concert. Thank you, all who participated. Many also stayed for Singspiration. I hope we’ll have these gatherings more often as we all hunger for the spiritual and social reconnection after COVID19.

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With many activities taking place on our church campus there are others who go out and visit our elderly members. Last week Nancy Smily invited Sarah and Katherine Bremner to put on a concert for the Lopes at LifeCare of Collegedale. Thank you, ladies, for your ministry to those who cannot attend church due to their health issues.

Here is more about these young ladies. Steve shared a poem with me that Sarah wrote. The America Library of Poetry would like to publish this poem in a special book of student poetry called “Expressions.” Congratulations, Sarah!

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Every time I walk through the church lobby I feel excited about our church’s future. There is a drawing of the new church sanctuary and Sabbath school classes displayed there on a tripod. Our Cornerstone fund is growing because of your faithful support. Don’t forget to put November 7 on your calendar. There will be a big church banquet that night. I am sure you wouldn’t want to miss it. Thank you for showing faith and bold vision as you continue to contribute to this fund.

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We will not be able to continue with the Sabbath school sanctuary class livestream. Discipleship SS class also discontinued their ZOOM option. But Friendship class offers weekly ZOOM study. Here is the info:

Topic: Sabbath School Zoom
Time: Jul 10, 2021 10:20 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
        Every week on Sat, until Jul 17, 2021, 2 occurrence(s)
        Jul 10, 2021 10:20 AM
        Jul 17, 2021 10:20 AM
Please download and import the following iCalendar (.ics) files to your calendar system.
Weekly: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/tZEvdOutpj4rHdEKDaOYzZU7sMwALTO7SyTk/ics?icsToken=98tyKuGtrDgoH9yQsR6CRpwMAIjCa-_xiCVcgqd4tzvkLBlJWDahJc9VE55LP4_j

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85232585175?pwd=YWdWMERYZDZmOC93eElxb0R3R1Rjdz09

Worship service streaming will continue on YouTube as always.

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This Sunday the kids are invited to a pool party. More info is on the church website. Don’t forget to register online www.ooltewachurch.org

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Last Monday I celebrated the 4th of July by visiting my mom in Greeneville, TN. Here is a photo from that day.

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See you this Sabbath.

pastor Peter

In God We Trust

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in Him.
 They will be like a tree planted by the water
    that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
    its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
    and never fails to bear fruit (Jeremiah 17:7-8).”

While in darkness we get confused and disoriented. We readily put our trust in those who offer us their way out. King David experienced his fair share of anxiety, sorrow, and pain. Just because he loved the Lord doesn’t mean his life was easy. David wrote Psalm 56 while fearing for his life, and in Psalm 56:3, he shares the key to overcoming danger and difficulty: “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you [God].”

Fear turns into faith when we place our trust in God. Turning to friends, family, and experts is not a bad thing, but turning to God is the best thing. Our perspective changes as we stop focusing on how big our problem is and start looking at how big our God is. Like David, we’ll find that our faith grows as we remember God is for us, praise God’s goodness, and recall His promises (Psalm 56:3-4, Psalm 56:9-11).

As we prepare to celebrate July 4 let us ask ourselves who we trust. A politician? a preacher? a blogger? or the only One who can keep us safe and free, the Almighty God of the Bible?

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This Sabbath, July 3, I invite you to celebrate God’s goodness to the USA not only during our worship services, but also in the afternoon, at 6 PM in the Fellowship Hall, where dinner will be provided for you. After the meal there will be a concert followed by Singspiration. Everyone is welcome to attend.

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Last Sunday many of you came to help with the work bee at school and a kitchen renovation project at church. Here is a brief report and photos from Shelly Caswell: “OAKS had a strong turn out for our summer workbee Sunday. Many families came to join the fun as we assembled new furniture and cleaned out old closets. Thank you to all the kids who carried chairs and old equipment and to the adults for the grunt work that was required to get the building ready for the new school year. OAKS feels so very blessed to see such strong support from our church community. Only 44 days until school starts!”

At that same time a few tough men were removing old and rotten kitchen cabinets. If any of you had doubts that the kitchen needed renovation you should have to come last Sunday to celebrate this project. Old kitchen furniture and cabinets served their purpose well for many years, but the time has come when they need to be replaced. Thank you, all who came to help!

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The church board had a meeting last Monday night. Among many important items the Board put a strong emphasis on our preparation for the September Evangelistic meetings. The opening night of the meetings is September 10. I invite you to start praying about your part in this ministry to our community. If we are Christ’s disciples we’ll be leading others to Him.

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The Board expressed sincere appreciation to Rita Rogers, who served as church treasurer for about 10 years. Rita was an example of a faithful leader and an administrator. Presently Rita is considering a new role of leadership for our church. I’ll keep you posted.

We are grateful to Aaron Brewer, who served as Finance committee chairman for the last two terms. Aaron will continue serving as Building committee chairperson. We need his full concentration on this immense project.

For many years Nancy Smiley was our Greeters’ coordinator. For many visitors coming to our church she was a symbol of a smiling and hugging church. Nancy loves to serve, and I am happy that she’ll continue to be on the deaconesses team. Thank you, Nancy

Steven Bremner is our beloved church leader who needs time to recover after his surgeries. We’ll continue daily prayers for Steve as he continues weekly treatments. We certainly want Steve on the elder’s team as soon as his health improves.

We’ll all miss Lupina Haney who was leading the Season of Change. This was one of our most active ministries. Covid19 put a pause on their activities last year. Thank you, Lupina, for being an inspiration to many ladies in our church and in our community. We’ll always consider you a part of the Ooltewah church.

Prayers for Lisa Patterson who is taking the Season of Change under the Women’s Ministry wing. She is putting a team together to restart regular meetings and activities.

Please pray for the new leaders who are starting their term this week. These are the servants of the Lord willing to serve God’s church.

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I am excited to share with you that Young at Heart resumed their monthly lunches. We will be having our first event on July 7, 2021 @ 1 p.m. at Thai Chili Asian Bistro located at 9203 Lee Hwy #12, Ooltewah, TN. Please contact Willis Adams at 937-609-3070 for additional details.

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Don’t forget to register your kids for the church Pool Party scheduled for July 11. Learn more here. Register here.

VBS info and registration links are here.

Online Giving and weekly church bulletin links are right here.

Happy Sabbath! Happy 4th of July!

See you tomorrow.

pastor Peter

Leading Others to Christ

Christian discipleship is not just about following Christ and learning from Him. To be a true disciple of Christ one must lead others to Him. It is like a train where the engine pulls the cars, but each car in turn pulls the ones behind it. It is hard work. We all need to become intentional about being a part of this train. One can lead by example, the other by teaching and instructing in the truth. What is your way of leading others to Christ? This Sabbath I invite you to the third part of my short sermon series: What Is Being a Christian All About?

This is turning out to be an active summer for our church. There are many areas where your help and engagement is needed. Kitchen renovation is going full speed. On Sunday morning Aaron Brewer will lead in the kitchen cabinets removal. Please talk to Aaron if you are available to help. OAKS is having a big summer Work Bee this Sunday from 8 am to 2 pm.

The evangelism committee is excited to share with you some great news: Our church will have a series of evangelistic meetings in September. Please mark your calendars. September 10 is the opening night of the “Healing in Jesus” series of meetings. It will be my honor to lead in these meetings. Evangelism committee coordinator, elder Mike Doucoumes, is actively recruiting volunteers for the various important positions needed during the meetings. Please contact Mike if you are willing to help. The dates of the meetings are September 10 through 18. After that I will study twice a week with those who express an interest in any in-depth Bible studies.

VBS is coming to Ooltewah!!! I am sure this will be a great program, because we have awesome leaders planning this event. You can register your children online by going to the church website www.ooltewahchurch.org

Kid’s Pool Party is planned for July 11. There will be food and activities for the children that morning. Please register online www.ooltewahchurch.org It will help us to know how many kids to expect for the party.

Men’s Ministry update:

Love in Action:

  • This Sunday, 9am until the job is complete, we will be taking apart the kitchen at the church in an effort to get it ready for the remodel. Bring your drill and battery to charge it!
  • Lucy Vasques is moving out of her son’s house and into an apartment at 9am on Sunday, 6/27. If you are able to help, please meet at 7255 Lee Hwy apt 615 Villas at Oak Crest. Once everything is loaded up, everyone will head to 5075 Ooltewah Ringgold Rd Apt 201 Spring Green Apartment to unload. I don’t think there is a lot so it should go quickly. Her number is 423-802-2030.

Haney Hungry Hombres:

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  • There is no breakfast for the month of June, but we WILL have it in July. More to follow!!

Are you ready for a church Fellowship meal? I am!!! Our first “together meal” is coming on July 3 at 6 PM. You do not need to bring anything. Food will be provided. Just come to eat, to fellowship, and to celebrate July 4. Another great piece of this event is a concert scheduled right after the dinner. Here is the preliminary outline of the program shared with me by Larry Otto:

1. Martin Young, Vocal 2. Randy Fowler, Guitar, 3. Kathy Sabo & Carol Phillips, Piano Duet, 4. Mary Wilcox & Family, Instrumental, 5. Martin Young, Vocal, 6. Randy Fowler, Guitar, 7. Mary Wilcox & Family, Instrumental, 8. Kathy Sabo & Carol Phillips, Piano Duet

There is more to that night! After the mini concert you can stay and join the Singspiration, led by Ron Maloch. Exciting, right?!

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Church bulletin and other helpful resources are available here www.ooltewahchurch.org

Happy Sabbath. See you tomorrow.

Hugs,

pastor Peter

Like Father

I became a father when I was twenty years old. It was at that time that I realized the joy of having a child, but along with that the I felt the huge responsibility of being a Dad who should lead and teach by example. When we were teaching our daughters to say the Lord’s Prayer I realized that they see the Heavenly Father through the person of me, their earthly father. If I am rude and not caring my children will unconsciously develop the perception of a cold, distant and revengeful God. This is a huge task on all of us fathers. God chose to be known and called “Abba” or Dad. In Deuteronomy 1:31, Moses uses a metaphor in which he portrays God as the father of Israel. He says, “… and in the wilderness. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.” Again in Jeremiah 3:19-20, God says through the prophet, “How gladly would I treat you like my children and give you a pleasant land, the most beautiful inheritance of any nation. I thought you would call me ‘Father’ and not turn away from following me… ” My children are all grown ups, but I still learn daily from my Heavenly Father how to be a Dad who is always full of mercy and love. What a great honor! What a huge responsibility.

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The nominating committee has completed its task and is presenting the report for the first reading this Sabbath morning. It’s been a good committee. It consisted of the individuals who you elected for this not so easy task. There were young people and not so young; new members and those who have been with our church for many years; women and men; leaders and lay members. Every meeting was preceded by devotions and prayers. I was impressed with the spirit of unity. The committee didn’t want to simply rubber-stamp the previous list. It gave detailed and prayerful consideration to every position. This is just the beginning. You’ll see many vacant positions where you may be interested to serve. Please, do not hesitate to talk any member of the nominating committee about your interest in joining one of the ministries. If you have concerns or corrections, please contact the committee chairman, Mike Haughee or committee secretary, Summer Bradford. Click here to access the digital version of the report.

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Vacation Bible school preparation is going full steam! Thank you, Cory Goss and Amy and Laura Standish for leading in this important ministry to our children. “HAPPY VALLEY RANCH” is the theme of the VBS this summer. The dates are July 18-22 | 6 Pm – 8 PM. You can register your child online. The registration form is on our church website under the MINISTRIES menu tab. Or you can access it directly by clicking here.

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Several exciting programs and activities are in the works for the children of our church and our community. There will be several pool parties, movie and popcorn gatherings, a Chattanooga zoo trip, etc. The finalized dates will be posted next week.

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From Edymar Penagos and Matt Gereghty: “

Happy Father’s day! Love in Action Report:
“On Sunday June 13th the men’s ministry got back to work with a beautiful deck project. With the project living entirely in the mind of Aaron Brewer we embarked on the journey towards building the deck as he envisioned it.  With the HOA regulations in hand, a trailer full of wood, charged drill batteries and a few boxes of nails we were ready to work. Under the shade of a pop-up canopy, provided by Kevin Hicks, our group was able to get right to work. Step one was to move a set of concrete steps, luckily, they were hollow and not too difficult to push down to the other end of the patio. After that the frame and posts of the new deck quickly took shape. With the skilled and willing hands of the group the majority of the deck project was completed before lunch, including the roof, which had been put up by Alexander!  But, as anyone who’s build a deck before can attest to, the stairs and railings can be the toughest part of the project, and it was!!!  However, Aaron and Kevin were able to use their experience to help guide both Edymar and myself towards its completion!”  Matt Gereghty.


Guys, all in all, we had a great time building a simple deck for some sweet ladies, but why are these types of jobs so important? In this case, one of the sisters is fighting cancer and this simple deck provides them with place to sit outside in the shade and enjoy God’s nature. And sure, it will help keep the rain out when they answer the front door (the carpet was getting soaked). It will even make it easier when the time comes and they need a handicap ramp. But that is not all. There are many reasons why they needed this deck but the one that was addressed even without saying it was Love In Action. Their church contacted us to help build them a deck because they were loved. These sisters needed to know they were not alone. They now know there’s a community of folks who care for them, who love them, and want to encourage them. So why did a group of guys take a Sunday to build a deck? It’s because this group of guys and a church family wanted nothing more than to be used by God to demonstrate brotherly love to two of His daughters. “We love because he first loved us” 1 John 4:19

Thank you, gentlemen! What a wonderful example of of Christ’s love and service.

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Our first church Fellowship meal is scheduled for Sabbath, July 3 @ 6 PM. If the weather is good we can do it outside on the church lawn. We can eat, visit and sing together. If its raining or too hot we’ll do it in the Fellowship Hall. I am so excited that we’ll finally be eating and mingling together as a church family. Please mark that event in your calendars.

Don’t forget to visit the church website www.ooltewahchurch.org for the weekly bulletin, online giving and other helpful resources.

Happy Sabbath! With hugs and Christian love,

pastor Peter

Following Jesus

To be a Christian one must follow Christ. “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24). To follow Jesus means to be His student, His disciple. He is the One setting the schedule of the classes and the curriculum. You either accept His terms or quit and go some place else. It is only by following Jesus today and every day that you become transformed into His image and reflect His character. Come this Sabbath and we’ll study more about the meaning of Christian discipleship.

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Men’s Ministry had a great start of the summer season. Here is a report from Edymar: “The Father’s Day picnic was such a blessing! It was wonderful to be out with our church family, enjoying food and fun, but more importantly, making connections, fellowshipping and celebrating dads! The rain may have kept some people away, however those that came were truly there to spend quality time with long-time friends and brand-new friends they met that day. Time was spent playing, fishing, chatting, bike riding, trail walking and doing some get-to-know-you activities, completed with a round of everyone’s best dad-jokes! One of the rangers even came by to talk with the kids about local animals, bringing with him animal pelts for kids to feel. It had been so long since we had the opportunity to simply gather as a church family and enjoy spending time in play and conversation. Being able to see everyone engage with one another, laughing and talking and pitching in to make sure all was well in every way was such a blessing! Thank you to all that were able to come!”

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The Nominating committee has been working hard for the last several weeks. It looks like their job is almost complete. The full list will be published next week for the first reading at church. Please, do not get discouraged or upset if you do not find your name in the report. Ministry leaders will be building their teams starting July. They will be contacting many of you with the invitation to join their department or ministry. This is just the beginning of a big ministry journey for the next two years. We definitely want you to be a part of it. There is a place for everyone! Thank you, Mike Haughee, for serving as an excellent chairman of this important committee!

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The Cornerstone Building Fund committee is working diligently on the steps leading to a major event which will take place on November 7, 2021. Please, reserve that date. We don’t want anyone to miss that church banquet.

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More information and helpful resources are available on the church website www.ooltewahchurch.org

See you tomorrow.

Happy Sabbath!

Early this week I had tons of fun playing soccer with a team of my grandkids ( 4 year old Pierce, 20-month old Caspian and 2 year old Mila) against me alone on my team. Of course I lost.

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… in Him all things hold together

Last night Galina and I went for a walk. The air was fresh and delicious after many hours of rain. The birds were happy the clouds went away. The sun was reflected in every drop of rain on the blades of grass and on every needle of the pine trees. Galina was happy to pick and eat ripe wild berries. As she was busy picking these delicious berries I was looking at the gorgeous variety of the filed flowers. They were of different colors and sizes; some were barely visible, others were bright and bold in their beauty, but it was this variety that made that field so breathtaking. They we complementing each other. They were right next to each other. What a great lesson for every Christian! If you want your church to be vibrant and attractive then learn to appreciate each other. Let us learn to sit with those who are different in their theology; eat with those who belong to a different political party and serve with those who may have a lifestyle different from ours. Colossians 1:16-17 – “For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”

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Ooltewah Tiny Timberwolves Adventurers. Laura Standish shared with me the following wonderful story: “Another Adventurer year has come to an end but what a year it was!  We weren’t sure if COVID would keep us apart but thankfully it didn’t.   Our small but mighty team of 4 teachers worked hard to ensure our 9 kids had an awesome year:  

·        We maintained our bi-weekly meetings where a combined total of 50 honors were earned, 

·        We participated in our Conference’s virtual Family Fun Weekend, 

·        We went on a hayride and ran through corn at the Ocoee River Maze,

·        We enjoyed Christmas treats and games, 

·        And we ended the year with a fun party and camping trip right here on church grounds.  A special CONGRATULATIONS to our Helping Hands who were promoted to Pathfinders:   Josh Bee, Thomas Harvey, Conner Standish and Aaron Stark.  This year would not have been possible without the encouraging parents, Pastor Matt for his bi-weekly devotionals, the faithful staff who made our year what it was, and to the kids who learned to be Champions for Jesus.    Can’t wait to see what our next year brings!  Until then, have a wonderful summer! “

Thank you, Laura and your team of leaders, for making this a special year for our children!

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With our kids being out of school we want to plan some exciting events and activities for every age group. I am glad to share with you that Cory Goss agreed to lead the Vacation Bible school this July. Thank you, Cory! We all know how much you love the little ones. Cory is inviting you to start planning this event together with him and your children. “Happy Valley Ranch” is the theme of the VBS. Children will be learning how to be happy in God. The dates are July 18-22.

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Here is an invite from Edymar Penagos: “This Sunday Men’s Ministry is inviting you to celebrate our fathers with some family fun at Booker T. Washington State park. So mark your calendars and corral your family! The weather looks perfect, and we will have a blast. There are playgrounds, basketball courts, and water everywhere. You can also hike, mountain bike or just sit and enjoy some good conversations.”

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It is very exciting to see our church’s wider participation in the Cornerstone Building Fund. We want to be sure we have adequate Sabbath school classes and a sanctuary for the next generation in our church. As of today the church has received $148,305. Every dollar counts. Please pray about the future of our church.

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STEWARDSHIP – “The completeness of Christian character is attained when the impulse to help and bless others springs constantly from within…” (Christ’s Object Lessons pg. 384) 

Additional resources and church weekly bulletin are available online www.ooltewahchurch.org

Happy Sabbath,

pastor Peter

I will not let you go.

Greetings, my friends!

This has been a week packed with many ministry activities, visitations and committee meetings. I am glad I can finally let all worries and stress go away by entering into God’s rest, His Holy Sabbath. As I am posting this blog so late in the day I’ll not be taking your mind away from the spiritual things, but will rather share with you a verse from God’s Word:

Then the man said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.” “I will not let you go,” Jacob replied, “unless you bless me.” Then Jacob asked, “Please tell me your name.” “Why do you ask my name?” the man replied. Then he blessed Jacob there. ” (Gen 32:26,29)

“Jacob got the victory and the blessing not by wrestling, but by clinging. His limb was out of joint and he could struggle no longer, but he would not let go. Unable to wrestle, he wound his arms around the neck of his mysterious antagonist and hung all his helpless weight upon him, until at last he conquered.

We will not get victory in prayer until we too cease our struggling, giving up our own will and throw our arms about our Father’s neck in clinging faith.

What can puny human strength take by force out of the hand of Omnipotence? Can we wrest blessing by force from God? It is never the violence of wilfulness that prevails with God. It is the might of clinging faith, that gets the blessing and the victories. It is not when we press and urge our own will, but when humility and trust unite in saying, “Not my will, but Thine.” We are strong with God only in the degree that self is conquered and is dead. Not by wrestling, but by clinging can we get the blessing.” —J. R. Miller

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Weekly church bulletin is available on the website www.ooltewahchurch.org

This Sabbath morning we’ll honor our graduates during all three services.

Have a wonderful Sabbath day. See you tomorrow.

pastor Peter

Under His Wings

Do you feel like Elijah when he ran from Jezebel? ( “I’ve had enough. Just let me die!” 1 Kings 19) Frustrated? Fearful? Depressed? Be assured you are not alone. This state of mind was well known to the prominent heroes of the Bible. They were friends of the Almighty One, but they were still human. Even when we run from God, He is still there with us. He is with us in the desert and in the whale’s belly. He is with us in the nursing home and in a broken marriage. God is never giving up on us. He knew how to pull Elijah out of the cave (1 Kings 19:9) … He knows how to pull us out of the depths of despair. It is under His wings that we find assurance and strength to get up and keep going.

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Yesterday I experienced a huge blessing attending OAKS graduation. The outdoor setup was just perfect. The teachers and staff did a great job for the graduates to remember this very special day. Pastor Matthew had an engaging message for the students. Thank you, Shelly Caswell and your team for another excellent year. It was one of the toughest years for our school because of the pandemic, but by God’s grace we made it through. (Thank you, Aaron Hall, for the fantastic photos!)

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This Sabbath we’ll have a guest speaker. John T. Anderson, Senior pastor of the Mentone Seventh-day Adventist Church and author of many books, will speak for all three services.

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Donations for the Cornerstone Building Fund, our new sanctuary and Sabbath school classes project, keep coming! We want to be a church looking forward and creating an adequate ministry environment for the future generation until the day Jesus comes back. You can use the website or the paper tithe envelope for your contribution. Be sure you mark your donation as CORNERSTONE BUILDING FUND.

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With the new CDC recommendations in place, our church will be transitioning to one 9 AM service. It may take a few weeks before it actually happens, and you’ll be hearing more from your pastors. Meanwhile, you’ll see that “Reserved” signs will be removed from the left side of the sanctuary pews. Those who prefer larger distancing can continue to use the right side of the sanctuary for a few more weeks. Stay safe.

Church bulletin and additional resources are available on our church website: www.ooltewahchurch.org

Happy Sabbath.

pastor Peter

Be Merciful

If you agree that our world has become more rigid there is something we all can do: show mercy to other people. It should not be all about policies, political statements or theological trends…we may not feel that everyone deserves grace and kindness, but this is where mercy is needed. Give mercy to those who fall short of your expectations; to those who are blinded by pain or suffering; to those who are stuck in their selfishness. What better option do we have? Mercy is like a ray of sunshine which can melt even the coldest piece of ice. “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;” Luke 6:36-37

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The Ooltewah church now has 13 volunteer virtual Bible workers to follow up interests for Bible studies, free literature, etc. A few months ago, the church engaged the services of Sermon View, an evangelistic resource center, to advertise on Facebook for us in order to help us find Bible study interests here in Ooltewah. So far, we have received 19 non-SDA interests who requested studies and our Bible Workers have been faithfully following them up to find out if they want Bible studies, either in person, online, by mail or by e-mail. Soon, we should know the outcome as to how many of them responded to our follow- up efforts and are receiving studies.

Also, at our March Church Board meeting, the church voted to help the Albany, GA SDA Church to follow up their media interests from It is Written, Voice of Prophecy, Amazing Facts, PeaceFinders (Project Steps to Christ), and Bible Research. The Albany Church has 150 interests, but they only have 25-30 members attending church and only a couple members who possess the spiritual gifts to do follow-up work. So, in response to the Georgia-Cumberland Conference’s appeal to larger churches such as ours to help these smaller congregations who have a huge amount of interests, we volunteered as a church to help Albany. We have assigned 65 of the interests already to our Virtual Bible Workers, and the Albany Church is following up some interests as well. We are planning to get results and feedback and assign the remaining interests in June. It is our goal to find several folks in Albany who are interested in receiving Bible studies or more spiritual literature and to pass these interests on to the Albany Church for further follow-up this summer. Please pray regularly for the Lord to be with our Bible workers as they follow-up the interests in Albany and right here in Ooltewah. (Special Thank You, to Mike Doucoumes for coordinating this effort). 

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Last Thursday was the final session of the Reversing Diabetes seminar. Here is a brief report from Edwin Reynolds: “We just completed the 8-week Reversing Diabetes Seminar on Thursday night. It was well attended and highly appreciated. It was also well supported by many volunteers from the church under the capable and well-organized leadership of Sylvia Hyde. The seminar was taught by Stephen and Karen Wickham, representing the Grundy County Health Department that sponsors the Wickhams’ seminars. The information given every Thursday night by Steve Wickham was the best and latest medical information pertaining to what causes Type-2 diabetes and how it can be reversed through good dietary practices, regular exercise, drinking water, proper sleep habits, and other natural means like fresh air and sunshine and trust in God. The most important and effective of these remedial agencies is a good diet, focused on eating whole foods at the proper times and in the right quantities and of the right nutritional content. These lifestyle changes will benefit everyone, not just people with Type-2 diabetes or prediabetes. If consistently practiced, people will arrive at the proper weight, have adequate energy, sleep better, avoid cardiovascular disease, and function more healthfully in many ways. If you missed the seminar, don’t miss it again when it will be offered near you in the future. It was a real blessing and everyone left feeling better and more hopeful for a brighter future.”

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I invite you to continue prayers for the Cornerstone Building Fund project. Our church youth and children will have a great place to worship and to study God’s Word. The church business meeting voted to raise 2.3 million dollars to lessen the burden of the construction loan. We can all be a part of this mission with Christ being the Cornerstone of our church and ministry. When contributing to this project please indicate that your donation goes toward the Cornerstone Building Fund.

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Church bulletin and additional resources are available on the church website: www.ooltewahchurch.org

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With prayers for all of you,

pastor Peter