Pray to Withstand Evil



We are in a daily battle with evil. Some of that evil is an actual enemy, while some is simply a phantom we created. Don’t waste your time and energy on battles with enemies you have imagined. Start wars against the only real evil, “your enemy the devil [who] is always about, prowling like a lion roaring for its prey.” Learn to pray to withstand evil. This Sabbath I continue my “Seven Prayers” sermon series.


Sharon Harrell has been asked by the church board to serve in the position of the Women’s Ministry director. This nomination is being presented to the church body for the final vote of approval. I am glad that Sharon is already actively engaged in this important ministry. She has asked me to include in my blog the following invitation: Join Women’s Ministries for a dynamic online presentation, August 22, from 3:00-5:00 pm. For more details click on the picture below:


Thursday was the first day of school at OAKS. The path to this day has not been easy for the school administration and teachers. I am sincerely grateful to our awesome OAKS team for putting together a great plan for this school year in the new reality of COVID19. School principle, Shelly Caswell sent me lots of great pictures for the blog post. Enjoy the photos below and keep our OAKS teachers and students in your prayers daily. Please.

Here is a message from Shelly: “OAKS started a new school year this week amid many changes and safety procedures. We were blessed with a crowd during the work bee so the building sparkled with many updates. New air purification systems were installed Tuesday, outdoor picnic tables assembled, hand washing stations primed and the front of the building was decorated with cheerful bible verses to greet the returning students. OAKS was granted a set of Nathan Green’s creation paintings. These 7 portraits now hang in the front hallway as a visual reminder of each step God took as He created this wonderful world for us. Our spiritual theme for the year is HOPE, based on Jeremiah 29:11. The students will sport sharp looking new t-shirts with this theme pointing them to plan for Jesus to come again. Thank you for your prayers for the safety of our students and staff as we dive into a new year of learning.”

Men’s Ministry is always on a mission of sharing Christ’s love. Here is an update from Edymar:

Love in Action:
We are getting close to finishing the love in action project and need a little more help to cross the finish line. A big THANK YOU to Edwin, John, Aaron, Rick and Lucas for your help. We will be heading back this coming Monday and Wednesday evening to hopefully wrap up the job, God willing. Please text or email me if you would like to help. No special skills are needed.
The world is hurting right now, the evidence of this can be seen by the violence and hurtful words all around us. As Christ followers, our mission is simple. We must love our brothers, sisters, love our neighbor and love our enemies.
Men’s ministry is not in the business of fixing things, we are in the business of demonstrating love, as our Lord Jesus Christ commanded us, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” John 13:34-35.
THIS is why we do what we do, it’s always been more about the people than the project. To God be the glory!
Mens SS Class tomorrow: 
We’ll continue our SS class discussion based on “33 The Series.” We are in the 2nd volume called “A Man and His Story”, session #4, titled Healing (available to watch beforehand on RightNow media).
We will meet at the school in our old classroom at 10:15 am. If you have never been, it’s the 2nd class room on the left when you walk into the school building.
Join us, we will watch the video in class! Please text or email me with questions.
Edymar 813-541-2184″

Connie Reynolds is now officially serving as our Sabbath School Superintendent. She scheduled the first SS Council meeting for this Sabbath afternoon. The meeting will be in-person with a ZOOM option. Meeting Time: Aug 15, 2020 05:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)  Meeting ID: 878 1060 6990 Passcode: 1pz8b3

We hope for great participation. Meanwhile, many Lower Divisions teachers are going the extra mile to help our kids feel loved and connected with the church. Here is a text message I received on Thursday from Natalia Joshephs: “Hello Pastor.  This is Natalia Josephs a member of Ooltewah Church. I just wanted to say how thankful I am for the wonderful Ministry Ms. Patricia Young has done at church with the kids, and in particular with our son Kaleb Josephs. He has a learning and cognitive disability and they have accommodated for him in Sabbath school class when we were in session. Recently during quarantine and the past months she has sent him weekly letters with notes and stickers, activities. They even left a gift bag at our door step with wonderful trinkets and his lesson. Even though we have not been able to attend church due to health concerns for his safety we have truly been blessed by all the materials we have received . Please pass that message on to her. And once again we are grateful for the time and evidence of Gods love through her work!” 

Thank you, Natalia, for this kind message. Thank you, teacher Pat, for your dedication to the Kindergarten class ministry and for your love to the kids.

Many of our church members would like to attend church, but cannot due to COVID19 health concerns. I want them to know that they are being terribly missed by the pastoral staff. We are glad that they can participate in our virtual services. Here is a copy of an email message I received earlier this week:

“Hi Pastors Peter and Matt,
I have been meaning to write both of you to thank you for the blessings of the streamed Sabbath services.  It means a lot to those of us who are still at home.  Every Friday I pray for the Lord to help me make the Sabbath special.  The Lord answers my prayers through the work of both of you and many others.  I am really missing my church family and hope I can be back soon.  I appreciate the wonderful sermons, the music, etc.  It is so good to see familiar faces on Sabbath even though I can’t see everybody!  I know it has to be difficult for you in your work right now.  I am blessed with a number of sermons on Sabbath, but my church service comes first!  I can’t imagine what it would be like right now not to have streaming.  I am also enjoying Prayer Meeting on YouTube.  It is a blessing I look forward to every week.  Nothing is normal right now, but I believe that it is all a sign that Jesus is coming very soon and I am excited about that. 

I have watched parts of the Sanctuary Sabbath School, but sometimes it is hard to hear the comments of people.  I can’t help but note that a lot of people are not wearing masks, and some are not social distancing.  I just pray that everybody will stay well.  I don’t get sick very often, but when I do I get really sick and it goes to my chest.  For those reasons I feel it is best for me to stay home until the Covid starts letting up a bit.  But I do hope that I can come back soon.

I know it must be hard for both of you not to be able to run your programs as you normally do, but I just want you to know that the work you are able to do is greatly appreciated by those of us who are not back yet.  I don’t have a TV by choice, but every Sabbath I am in front of my computer before 9:00 knowing that I will be receiving a blessing.  And I always do!!!

So a big THANK YOU TO YOU BOTH from me and many others who appreciate what you are doing to hold the church together during these trying times. May God bless and give you the wisdom to know how to handle all the different situations that arise.  I pray for you every day as these are trying times for pastors. Sincerely, Shirley Bennett.

Thank you, Shirley, for your gracious message and your prayers. We hope we’ll see you back soon!

PRAYERS. This Wednesday the Davis family lost Richard Davis, Ricky’s father. The memorial service is planned for August 23 @ 2 pm at our church. Please, remember the family in your prayers. Richard was attending our church for a number of years.

Betty Jones, who lost her son a few weeks ago sent the following card to the church:



Church weekly bulletin: link

Online giving: link

August 8 Sabbath worship: link

August 8 Sanctuary SS class: link

From my heart: For the last several years my mom has been in our house under our care. Galina and I felt your prayers and your gracious support. It meant the world to both of us. Last week this arrangement changed. My oldest sister, Evangelina, moved to Greenville, TN. With this move and with the new housing arrangements she was able to take our mom into her care. We are glad that Mom is not that far from us, and we’ll be visiting her often.

This summer there have been lots of moves in our children’s families. Three weeks ago we helped one family with a move to Oregon. Now, our oldest daughter’s family is moving from Orlando, FL to Flagstaff, AZ. Guess who will be helping them move? 🙂 Yes, it will be me. I am taking several vacation days next week. Our daughter Stacey will fly to Ooltewah on Sunday with our two grandkids, and will stay with grandma Galina, while I fly that same Sunday morning to Orlando. There her husband Javan and I will load a U-haul truck, attach a trailer, load one of their cars onto that trailer, and the two of us will venture into the desert. He’ll be driving the second car, while I’ll drive the U-haul with the trailer. Lots of prayers are needed! Expect lots of road trip photos on Facebook and Instagram 🙂

Happy Sabbath, church. I’ll see you tomorrow.

pastor Peter

Praying for the Mission



“I have but one passion: It is He, it is He alone. The world is the field and the field is the world; and henceforth that country shall be my home where I can be most used in winning souls for Christ.”
― Count Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf

This Sabbath morning I’ll continue my ‘Seven Prayers’ sermon series. We’ll study what ‘Praying for the Mission’ is all about.


Last Sabbath evening about forty volunteers from our church came to help at the Samaritan Center. Many of them were young people. Ice cream was a hot item 🙂 it was all gone in the first 15 minutes. Of course I have no doubts that the majority of those who came were not so much motivated by ice cream as by the willingness to help our community. A heartfelt Thank You to all who participated in this service to the Samaritan Center. We’ll do it again on September 5. I feel bad I did not take any pictures that night.


Great news! Our “Young Disciples” fund has already received $20,300! The goal is to raise $50,000. Every dollar from this fund will go to support students from our church who attend OAKS and other Adventist academies. So, as of today we need to raise $29,700. Let’s all get onboard and support our children. Thank you for your generous participation. The “Young Disciples” fund is added to the online giving site. If you use the paper tithe envelope just enter your contribution to this account in the blank line and mark accordingly.


Almost 600 people from the community visited the voting center at our church on Thursday. They were offered free drinks and cookies. They did not come to worship, but they could feel the love of Jesus in the friendly atmosphere of our church campus. Thank you, everyone who helped with the setup for this election day.


Carleen Zalabak, Pastor Matthew and their team completed the recording of the virtual VBS. As soon as the editing is finished these videos will be available for the children of our church. Thank you, all who worked on this wonderful project!

Teacher Becky regularly posts Sabbath school video lessons for the Cradle Roll class. They are available on the Cradle Roll Facebook page. God bless you, Becky!


This Sabbath we’ll have two Memorial services. One for the family members of Barbara Smith (Apison church @3pm) and the other one for Judson, Donna Jamieson’s husband, at our church at 4 PM. Visitation starts at 3:30 pm. Please, remember these two families in your prayers.


Online weekly bulletin: click here

Online giving: click here

August 1, Sabbath worship service recording: click here

August 1, Sanctuary Sabbath school class: click here

Praying for God’s Power

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I’ve seen communism collapse. I’ve seen thousands baptized in one day. I’ve seen alcoholics become evangelists … All by the power of God. Nothing can stand against that power; no virus, no political chaos, no social divide. Stop fighting with your own weapon. Everything will be different if we start praying for the power of God.

This Sabbath morning I continue the “Seven Prayers” series. Pray with me in person or online.


The last Sabbath of July was packed with wonderful events. Katie Rose got baptized during the first service. Many friends of the Rose family came to celebrate this exciting event in Katie’s life. It was great to have pastor Na’a, pastor Mike Pettingill, and pastor Matthew Shallenberger participate in the service.

That same Sabbath afternoon the Young family came to celebrate Karina Young’s baptism. It was a very special moment in the circle of close friends and family.

Two hours after that there was another baptism at Harrison Bay. Joshua Harrison (Rita Roger’s grandson) celebrated his new beginning with the Lord.

Work Bee Sunday was busy with tons of wonderful workers cleaning windows and painting classrooms and mulching the playground. Thank you to all who sacrificed to help get OAKS off to a grand start!

At the Monday night Church Board meeting we acted on several big items.

First, an unprecedented number of adventist academy students from our church presented a serious financial challenge. We certainly want every student to be supported in their Christian education opportunity. The Board unanimously voted to start a Fundraising campaign with the goal of raising $50,000 asap. If you are passionate about Christian education please contribute to this emergency need. All contributions to this fund need to be marked as “Young Disciples Fund”.

Second, the Board voted on the new Sabbath School Superintendent candidate. Connie Reynolds is being asked to serve in this position. Her nomination will need to be approved by the church vote.

Third, Kevin Hicks was asked to serve as the OAKS Board chairman. This nomination also needs to be approved by the church vote.

This Sabbath night, right after sunset our church will be helping at the Samaritan Center. Last month we had a great number of volunteers who were over 55. I hope this time we’ll have a different group of helpers. I am appealing to the parents of high school age children. Let’s make this a community ministry opportunity for our kids. I’ll personally bring ice cream for all the kids and their parents who will come to help. Ice cream by the Samaritan Center deck will start at 8:45 pm. Our mission is to preach the gospel; often actions can preach louder than words. I pray I see many of our church youth there tomorrow night.



Pastor Matthew is working with Carleen Zalabak and a crew of other families on a virtual VBS program. They are recording a whole series of videos which will soon be available for the children of our church. On the photo are Thomas Turk, Luke Clubb, and Anaya Parker. They’re our cast for the drama scenes. Please pray about this project. We love our kids!


PRAYERS. Last Sabbath night Judson Jamieson rested in the Lord. Praise for his wife Donna Jamieson and the family. The Memorial service is scheduled for August 8 at 4 pm with visitation starting at 3:30 PM

Prayers for Barbara Smith, who lost her brother and sister in law. The service will take place at the Apison SDA church also on August 8 at 3 pm.

Prayers are requested for Betty Jones who unexpectedly lost her son Stacey (51 years old).

Prayers are needed for Bruce Vogt, Cynthia Weitzel’s dad who had a heart attack. Bruce is at Memorial hospital.


I hope you’ll not miss Dinner with the Doctor, an online event happening this Monday. You’ll need to register if you are interested in participating. All details are in the flyer below:


Online giving. Here is the link.

Church weekly bulletin. Here is the link.

Happy Sabbath! See you tomorrow.

pastor Peter

Praying for Healing



This Sabbath I am starting a new sermon series: “Seven Prayers”. The first sermon is about our need to pray for healing. Our nation is wounded and bleeding. Our churches are crippled by the Pandemic. Political and social tension pulls us apart.  It is time for us all to get united in prayers for healing. “Pray for one another, that you may be healed” James 5:16


On July 11 we celebrated a beautiful baptism at Harrison Bay. Kayla Coon joined our church after completing a full course of Bible studies. Cindy Young shared with me the following sweet story: “Back when Kayla was in kindergarten the pastor gave the name of each student to a church member who wanted to be a prayer partner for a student.
Sharon McKee was given Kayla’s name. She began praying for her then, and has never stopped. She has been there for each milestone in Kayla’s life … quietly being involved, and always praying. When Kayla texted her inviting her to come to her baptism, she wrote back that she had tears of joy. The power of unceasing prayer!”

Tomorrow, during the first worship service we’ll celebrate Katie Rose’s baptism. Karina Young will also be baptized tomorrow, but @ 2 pm. Praise God for every decision!

The Conference Pathfinder/Children’s Ministry Dept under the leadership of pastor Fernando Verduzco has been staying busy with their EPIC Summer online honors. These virtual events are being broadcasted from our church. Here are a few photos from the “Pin Trading” honor taught by Cory Goss and Mike Haughee.

We need your help to get OAKS ready to welcome back our students in August! Please plan to join us for the annual OAKS Work Bee on Sunday, July 26 from 8:00-12:00. Socially-distanced jobs are available for anyone who prefers it. Those who are working in close proximity to others should bring a mask.
If you are able to attend, please consider filling out this RSVP form so we know who to expect:


PRAYERS. Please continue to pray for the Pandemic to stop; for those who were diagnosed with COVID19, for those who are in the hospital and for our healthcare workers.

Howard Kennedy is facing health concerns. Currently at Parkridge hospital.

Ellie Penagos is battling cancer. Currently at Erlanger East.

Darlene Turner is recovering after her surgery.

Judson Jamieson is in weak health.

Betty Chastain needs help with pain management.


Online giving: click here

Digital weekly bulletin: click here


Last week Galina and I flew to Oregon to help our daughter Dasha, her husband Kevin and their one-year-old baby Mila with their move from Atlanta to their new home in Eugene. Our week of vacation was full of diverse activities: helping a one-year-old with three flights and two long layovers, unloading and carrying boxes and furniture, replacing faucets, installing safety gates at the bottom and the top of the stairs, driving to the foggy, rocky but breathtakingly beautiful ocean shore, cooking perogies, sleeping on the floor next to an open sliding door and enjoying the cool 50F temperature outside at night (hoping nobody will accidentally roam in from the apartment complex). Overall, it was an absolutely wonderful experience. Here are a few photos from our trip:

Happy Sabbath! See you tomorrow morning.

Pastor Peter

The Aroma of Christ



If our good words are not proved and supported by our actions they discredit the message. Paul reminds us that we are expected to be the sweet aroma of Christ’s spirit. My life and my actions can bring life or death to those around me. Draw people to Life by your sincere Love. (2 Cor 2:15-16)


July 4th Sabbath was not limited to two worship services. At 8 PM about 35 people came back to sing and to play musical instruments. COVID 19 awareness kept the group outside. Chairs were spread apart on the church parking lot. Everyone felt safe and happy. Thank you, Ron, for your passion for Singspirations!

After the Singspiration a large group of our members came to help at the Samaritan Center. We started at 9:30 PM. Fireworks were lighting up the sky as volunteers were carrying heavy furniture items, bags with clothing and  massive fifty-year-old TV sets 😉 inside the warehouse. It was hot and humid but with that many hands the work was finished by 11 PM. Everyone felt tired, but happy that we could help our community. This is how we prove that July 4th is about love for those people who live next to us. I feel bad I did not take any photos. By the end of the project Galina spotted an old chest in the pile designated as “trash”. With the permission of the person-in-charge she pulled it out, loaded it into my tiny Z350 trunk and triumphantly brought it home! It may take a few years to clean it from all the rust and mold, but she believes it is worth it! Meanwhile, every time I open the garage door, the moldy smell of the old chest reminds me of the fun night at the Samaritan Center with our caring and hard working church. Thank you, volunteers!

Early Monday morning our church was not sleeping, but was engaged in making sack-lunches for the homeless in Chattanooga. Praise God for all who came. Here are a couple of photos from that morning. This ministry will continue for the next three months. I encourage you to speak to Lucas Patterson about participating in this wonderful service to our community.

It is hard to keep the Juniors SS class apart. Every week they come to the church parking lot and hang out with their friends. A parking lot is certainly not the ideal place for any socializing when it is 90 F outside. This week, however, they had a better idea. They came to the swimming pool in our neighborhood! With pizza and watermelon the day proved to be great.


Youth SS class will have two options tomorrow morning. Pastor Matthew will teach the class online via ZOOM. I’ll study with those who choose to come in person. The plan is to have as many of our youth participate as possible. Please, pray for our youth! It is hard for them to cope with life being “quarantined” from theor friends and classmates.

Also, Pastor Verduzco is having a live stream program for our young people called “Epic Summer” beginning tomorrow. These programs will be at 3:00 p.m. on the GCC Children/Junior Youth Ministries Facebook page for 3 Sabbaths. I hope our young people can take advantage of this special program designed just for them. However, the page is open for anyone who is young at heart!

Last Sabbath during the children’s story, paper was handed out so that our children could draw what they thought Heaven would be like and bring it back the following Sabbath. There is still plenty of paper left by the fellowship hall’s lobby and we would like to encourage anyone including adults to pick one up and let your imagination lose! We want to display these drawings all over church so we all can enjoy each other’s  creativity and think of God’s wonderful promises.  Jaime & Jaude Barboza

Prayer time for OAKS. On Wednesday July 15 at 6:15 pm please join us at the school for a special prayer time. All are welcome to come and pray for our students, teachers and staff. Masks and social distancing will be observed.

BAPTISM. There will be a baptism on the lake tomorrow at 2 pm. Kayla Coon (a former OAKS graduate) will be baptized at Harrison Bay. I am super glad that Kayla made this important decision after she completed her Bible studies. Many of Kayla’s family members will join this celebration.


Please continue to pray earnestly for the Lord to stop COVID 19 from spreading. We need a miracle! Please pray for one another as we continue to worship in person. We want everyone to feel safe coming to our church. Wearing a mask is a sign of our caring spirit.

Judson Jamieson was taken to Erlanger for heart failure. Prayers for Judson please.

Richard Johnson had to have an emergency surgery late last night. He is recovering well. Prayers for Richard.

Please uplift in your prayers Howard Kennedy.

Prayers for Mike Haughee. He has several medical procedures scheduled in the next few days.

Praying for Darlene Turner. She is scheduled for surgery on Friday morning.

CHURCH BLUEBERRY GARDEN is absolutely beautiful. Connie Jones is doing a superb job in keeping that garden in perfect shape. The proceeds from the picked blueberries go to support the Student Aid Fund. How sweet 🙂 in all senses of this ministry. Our granddaughter Mila loved the blueberries and was happy to support OAKS 🙂



Online weekly bulletin: click here

Online giving: click here

Women’s Sabbath School class is meeting in the Early Teens classroom until the children return back to church.

Online Sabbath school classes: 

Leaders: Mike & Sharon Harrell

To be part of an exciting and energetic 1-hour discussion of the current Quarterly Sabbath School lesson, sign onto Zoom at 10:30 on Sabbath mornings. Mike Harrell facilitates the discussion. Everyone is given the opportunity to participate if you would like, or to listen silently if that is your preference.  Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 863 8150 6419
To Join by Phone: 929 436 2866   
Meeting ID: 863 8150 6419 Wait for prompt, then enter the # key (no password required) *6 to mute or unmute.

Friendship class

Leaders: Mike Haughee, Edwin Reynolds, Barry Tryon, David Hartman

Topic: Friendship class Sabbath School
Time: Jun 13, 2020 10:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Every week on Sat, until Jul 4, 2020, 4 occurrence(s)
Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 764 9985 5133
Password: heidi0824


Living in Victory


It is easy to concentrate on the problems and on the dark side of our daily life. Our eyes see the faults, our ears tuned to harsh words. We lose sight of the blessings. Our hearts sink in despair. Let this weekend be the turning point in the way we live and relate to the reality around us. This is still God’s world. I see His goodness in kind smiles of people who I meet daily at church, at gas stations, or at grocery stores. I see God’s grace in the selfless acts of our young and elderly church members who help the needy, feed the hungry, pray with the discouraged. I see God’s power in providing us with the freedom to pray, to read the Bible and to share the Good News of salvation. This July 4th let’s speak of God’s love, share His grace, celebrate His faithfulness to all of His daughters and sons! Happy 4th of July!


This week the Cradle Roll class kids received a sweet gift from their teacher Becky Denton. Not being able to meet in person is not keeping Becky away from her precious students. She found a way to enter into their homes through recorded videos. These video lessons help the kids to sing, to study and to pray with their teacher. Parents can access these recordings through the church website. Here is the link.

Several of the Primary SS class students met with their teacher Cory Goss last Sabbath morning. Cory is experimenting with a hybrid class where “in-person” and Zoom options are being offered to the members of his class.

It was nice to see the Juniors SS class children working on the church landscaping (Sarah and Katherine). Thank you, young ladies! Later that same day several other kids from that class were playing together and enjoying ice cream 🙂

Samaritan Center needs our help this Sabbath after the sunset. Yes, I am aware of the fact that this will be the 4th of July 🙂 However, if we have good participation we can move everything inside the warehouse in less than an hour. If you plan of helping, please text or email me. We’ll count you in! Thank you in advance!

This Sabbath we’ll have a Special Patriotic feature with Larry Otto leading in singing a few of our favorite hymns. If you join the service online don’t hesitate to sing along :-). We’ll have two services, 9 AM and 11:30 AM. The early service will be streamed live. The recording of the service will be available on the church website and the YouTube channel.

Sabbath school study from the Fellowship Hall will be streamed at 10:20. The link will be updated as soon as the class meets after the first service.


Howard Kennedy is in the hospital after another fall. Prayers please.

Please, continue to pray for our community. The number of new COVID 19 cases in Tennessee is growing significantly. Follow the safety guidelines. Stay healthy; pray for one another.


Online weekly bulletin: click here

Online giving: click here

Women’s Sabbath School class has started meeting in the Early Teens classroom until the children return back to church.

Online Sabbath school classes: 

Leaders: Mike & Sharon Harrell

To be part of an exciting and energetic 1-hour discussion of the current Quarterly Sabbath School lesson, sign onto Zoom at 10:30 on Sabbath mornings. Mike Harrell facilitates the discussion. Everyone is given the opportunity to participate if you would like, or to listen silently if that is your preference.  Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 863 8150 6419
To Join by Phone: 929 436 2866   
Meeting ID: 863 8150 6419 Wait for prompt, then enter the # key (no password required) *6 to mute or unmute.

Friendship class

Leaders: Mike Haughee, Edwin Reynolds, Barry Tryon, David Hartman

Topic: Friendship class Sabbath School
Time: Jun 13, 2020 10:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Every week on Sat, until Jul 4, 2020, 4 occurrence(s)
Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 764 9985 5133
Password: heidi0824

Happy 4th of July! Happy Sabbath!


Led By the Spirit



A broken GPS may easily bring us to the wrong destination. A faulty spiritual compass will keep us going in circles. Christ is offering us the Spirit of Truth, the only safe guide to a whole life. “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” (John 16:13)


On Monday the church board met in a hybrid format. Some joined the meeting in person, while others participated over ZOOM. The finance committee report was accepted with prayers of praise! Our May numbers showed strong support of our local church ministries. This is a clear sign of our unity and commitment to the Gospel proclamation. The board voted to amend the previous policy of the ministries allocations. For the new fiscal year all departments will be receiving a fixed monthly amount which is built into our overall church budget for the new year.

It was noted that the 9 AM worship service attendance reached the recommended capacity. To adhere to social distancing guidelines you may choose to attend the 11:30 AM service. Be advised that the state of Tennessee is reporting increasing numbers of new COVID 19 cases. Please, exercise caution and show your love to others by wearing a face covering.

Board members expressed a strong concern regarding the lower Sabbath school division’s  needs. ZOOM may not always be the best option for the children or youth. It was recommended that Sabbath school leaders of the lower divisions start actively looking for more creative ways of reaching out to the children of our church. I’m glad to report that there have already been some good steps made in that direction.
A “gift packet” has been delivered to all the children of the Kindergarten class. Teacher Pat lovingly organized study guides for all the kids; our summer intern, Jaime Barbosa and his wife Jaude, purchased small gifts and personally delivered them to all the class members. Cradle Roll class leader, Becky Denton, has just now called me from the ABC store. She is gathering her own “gift packets” for the kids in her class. They will be delivered to the homes of the Cradle Roll class early next week. Becky has also started recording bi-weekly videos for her class. They are available on the Cradle Roll Facebook page and on the church website under the Children’s Ministries menu tab. To watch teacher Becky’s latest study click on the video below:

Pastor Matthew and Emmalee started recording Bible Study lessons for the Kindergarten-age children. They did a great job and the first lesson is on the church Facebook page as well as on the church website under the Children’s Ministry tab. Here is the video:

Next week I’ll share more updates with you on the other lower division Sabbath school classes.

Pathfinder Club had the Investiture service on Wednesday night. Thank you, Director David Reynolds, and all the staff, for giving so much of your time and guidance to the youth of our church this year.


Please remember Bill Chilson in your prayers. He needs additional tests as he’s having some lung issues.

Prayers of praise for Nancy Smiley. Her surgery went well and she is back home on the path to full recovery.

Prayers for Julia Easter as she’s undergoing chemotherapy.

Prayers of praise for Amy and Cory Goss’ grand-baby Meilani.



Online weekly bulletin: click here 

Online giving: click here

Women’s Sabbath School class has started meeting in the Early Teens classroom until the children return back to church.

Online Sabbath school classes: 

Leaders: Mike & Sharon Harrell

To be part of an exciting and energetic 1-hour discussion of the current Quarterly Sabbath School lesson, sign onto Zoom at 10:30 on Sabbath mornings. Mike Harrell facilitates the discussion. Everyone is given the opportunity to participate if you would like, or to listen silently if that is your preference.  Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 863 8150 6419
To Join by Phone: 929 436 2866   
Meeting ID: 863 8150 6419 Wait for prompt, then enter the # key (no password required) *6 to mute or unmute.

Friendship class

Leaders: Mike Haughee, Edwin Reynolds, Barry Tryon, David Hartman

Topic: Friendship class Sabbath School
Time: Jun 13, 2020 10:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Every week on Sat, until Jul 4, 2020, 4 occurrence(s)
Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 764 9985 5133
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From my heart:

The last week has been full of exciting events in our family.

A. Our granddaughter Mila Crawford turned one!

B. Our son-in-law Kevin Crawford has successfully completed his residency and fellowship at Emory Hospital in Atlanta.

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C. Our youngest grandson Caspian Arocho made his first steps!

D. Today I thank God for the amazing thirty-six years of my “heaven on earth” marriage with Galina!


Happy Sabbath, my friends! See you tomorrow morning.

The Power of Unity



Christian unity begins with me allowing my brothers and sisters to be different from me and celebrating their uniqueness. Then the world will believe that we are sent by God (John 17:20-21).


The Church Board met virtually last night and unanimously voted on two important items:

A. Effective tomorrow (June 13) we are starting two in-person worship services. At 9 AM in the Sanctuary and at 11:30 AM in the Fellowship Hall. First service will be streamed online. The recording will be available online for the rest of the week.

B. Adult Sabbath school classes are free to start in-person meetings in the church building or at school. Each class will make their own decision about the format, time, and the location of their meetings.

Several SS classes chose to meet at church tomorrow. These are: Fellowship Hall class (Larry Otto), Sanctuary class (Mike Doucames), Men’s class (Edymar Penagos). The Women’s class will make their decision later today. The Fellowship Hall class study will be streamed on ZOOM and on the church YouTube channel @10:20 AM. To join the ZOOM study follow the instructions in the RESOURCES section of my blog below. The YouTube link will be posted on the church website and on Facebook.

Last night I was once again impressed with the spirit of unity among the leaders of our church! Praise God for leading our church family through this difficult time.

Community Services. Special words of appreciation to Lucas Patterson and his boys. Last Sabbath they moved tons and tons of donated items at the Samaritan Center. They were the only ones who showed up. I am sure we’ll do better next month. Can you please email/text or call me if you are available to help on July 4 after sunset? I will add your name to the sign up sheet. The actual sheet is available in the church lobby.


Dale Smith had surgery on Thursday. Prayers for Dale.


Church bulletin – click here.

Online giving – available here.

Virtual Sabbath School classes:

Leaders: Mike & Sharon Harrell

To be part of an exciting and energetic 1-hour discussion of the current Quarterly Sabbath School lesson, sign onto Zoom at 10:30 on Sabbath mornings. Mike Harrell facilitates the discussion. Everyone is given the opportunity to participate if you would like, or to listen silently if that is your preference.  

Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 863 8150 6419
To Join by Phone:
929 436 2866   
Meeting ID: 863 8150 6419 Wait for prompt, then enter the
 # key (no password required) *6 to mute or unmute.

Fellowship Hall Class with Larry Otto:

Topic: Fellowship Hall Sabbath School – We will be singing this Sabbath . Tune in time for Zoom: Jun 13, 2020 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada). Sabbath School actual start time: 10:15/10:20 Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 423 883 2558 Password: 0411

Ken and Bodil Kirkham shared this picture with me last Sabbath. They joined our virtual service 🙂


Let Jesus In



I cannot cure cancer, but a good physician can. I cannot solve the problem of sin in this world, but Christ can. Let Christ into your hearts. Hatred will be dissolved by the power of His grace. Pride will give way to mercy. Love will take the place of selfishness. All other efforts will fail. Only Christ can bring victory.


Last Sabbath about fifty church members gathered on the church lawn for the 9 AM worship service. The weather was absolutely perfect. The spirit of those who came to worship was wonderful. A special Thank You to Pastor Matthew for his hard work on providing the sound system. The highway noise was not bothering anyone. Here are a few photos taken from Sarah Penagos’ Instagram 🙂

On Monday morning about twelve volunteers got up early and came to church to prepare sack lunches for the homeless. With that number of hands the work was done in about 45 minutes. Thank you, Lucas, for your dedication to this ministry. Christ called us to feed the hungry. I am glad that our church can be a part of this service to the community. Here are some photos from that day.

Tiny Timberwolves Adventurers:  while our year ended earlier then planned, we had an outstanding year none the less.   With 28 kids, a dedicated staff and supportive parents, we made the best of our shortened time together.  We learned that Jesus is Our Forever Friend during Investiture and through fun activities including a chilly camp-out, fall fun festivities, Christmas crafts and regular class time.  Check out the pictures on the Fellowship Hall bulletin board.  Thanks to ALL who supported our club through participation and prayer.   –  Laura Standish

Men’s Sabbath School class met “under the tree” last Sabbath. It it always inspiring to see our men study God’s Word. It is my understanding that they will meet outside again this Sabbath.


SABBATH SCHOOL. Several online Sabbath school options are available tomorrow. Please, contact your Sabbath school class leader to find out how you can join their study. Our plan is to open the church and the school buildings for the in-person Sabbath school classes as soon as possible. I’ll keep you posted. There will be no YouTube Sabbath school study from church tomorrow.

Worship Service tomorrow, June 6. Finally we’ll have our first in-person worship service tomorrow. The service will start at 9 AM in the Fellowship Hall. Don’t be surprised to see how the chairs are spaced out. We have to follow the CDC guidelines. As you enter the lobby you’ll need to follow the instructions of our friendly deacons. You are not required to wear a mask. There will be no printed bulletin, but you can print one at home. The online bulletin is available here.

The Worship Service will also be streamed online. Links on Facebook, the church website and Youtube will be updated by 8:55 tomorrow morning.

HEALTH MINISTRY. Shared by Diana Dodd:

So what’s the best way to start the day? Today I managed to start off with quite a positive bang!  I went to bed last night and woke up today with the purposeful intention of FIRST and FORMOST spending time in the Word… In the presence of Jesus Christ… Shutting out the world and its noise. 
As you can see… I ended up with a whole table full of positivity! Just had to share a picture of the beauty around me.  What a difference this time in His presence has made!!!
Yesterday started off quite differently… I inadvertently flipped open Facebook and was slammed in the face with the horrors going on. The almost unbelievable turn of events in our country.  The hatred… the violence… the confusion… the clash of ideals and philosophies.  This nation seems to be unraveling at the seams. 
Snakes. Remember the snakes in the desert that attacked the Israelites as they were fleeing from Egypt?  In his wonderful sermon a couple weeks ago, our Pastor Peter likened the current pandemic, the political differences and all the opposing points of view on how to handle things, as being like snakes that were attacking us and distracting us from what is truly important – Jesus.
There is only one thing that is important. Only One who can lift us up out of this muck and mire.  As He promised in Isaiah 61:1 “The Lord has appointed Me to bring good tidings to the afflicted;  He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.”
So I just want to encourage each and every one of us to take a moment to spend some time in His wonderful healing presence.  Perhaps many moments today and through all the days ahead. 
“Now may the Lord of Peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.”  2Thessalonians 3:16


Prayers of praise for Betty Chastain. She is back home.

Please continue to pray for Howard Kennedy, Sr. He is at Parkridge Hospital.

Here is another sweet prayer request from Orlinda Wilson: “We are so thankful for our new great great nephew’s safe arrival 5/28/20 Kylan Lace Daniel 8lbs 20inches.”



Online giving – click here.

Online bulletin – click here.

Very helpful thoughts on Stewardship shared with me by Steve Bremner. Click here to read.

See you tomorrow at 9 AM!

Happy Sabbath.


Dying to Live



A grain of wheat that is harvested, remains hard and has no growth until buried in the soil. Our natural heart is hard and selfish. When we surrender our mind into Christ’s hands, soft blades of kindness and care begin to sprout. Anger and evil die; gentleness and love break through the concrete layer of egotism. I invite you to pray for our nation. It will not overcome its hardness until we all individually die to selfishness “so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.” (2 Corinthians 4:11)


On Sunday, May 24, a group of our church volunteers went out to Art and Heidi Lopez’ property to help with cleaning after the tornado damage. Thank you, Kevin and Rhonda Hicks, Aaron Brewer, David Reynolds, Kent and Seth Robertson, Laura Herren. I know I am missing one more name… Very sorry 😦 God bless you for your love in action ministry!

SACK LUNCHES FOR HOMELESS. Our church is volunteering on the first and third Mondays of May, June and July to purchase supplies and pack sack lunches for the homeless. We’ll assemble 150 lunches during each shift in our church social hall and deliver them to staff at the Chattanooga Community Kitchen who then pass the lunches out at various homeless encampments around town. This project is directly connected to COVID-19; the homeless would normally come to the Chattanooga Community Kitchen for meals in its dining hall, but the dining hall is closed to encourage social distancing for this highly vulnerable population. Our next packing session is Monday, June 1, at 8 a.m. Volunteers are needed. To sign up, contact Lucas Patterson: 423-582-1678,

On Wednesday, May 27, Ken LuePhang’s family gathered at our church for a small memorial service. Elder Edwin Reynolds officiated the service. Below is a photo shared with me by Connie Reynolds and her comments. Please continue to remember Julia (Ken’s wife) and her children as they are grieving the loss. “Thank you for providing the food. It was the exact number of boxes for everyone there including Kent & Marlene.  Julia was so thankful it worked out to be indoors. There was a nice, cozy environment for the family. They stayed afterwards to visit and eat together. Bradley & Sylvia Hyde had cleaned, set up tables & chairs, and decorated a bit along with Steve. Julia expressed her gratitude several times for what the church had done. We came home after 7:00 feeling happy & blessed for having served a hurting family.

OAKS graduation on Tuesday night was one I will never forget. Due to COVID19 restrictions the ceremony took place on the church lawn. The weather was just perfect. Graduates were beaming with happiness. Thank you, Shelly Turkenkopf, for the excellent school year in spite of the unprecedented challenges. Thank you, OAKS staff and teachers for navigating our students through the rough waters of the distance learning process. You are our heroes. Here are a few photos taken by the OAKS excellent Vice-Principle, Aaron Hall:

Our office staff and the worship team are actively preparing for the first official in-person worship Sabbath on June 6. We would appreciate it if you familiarize yourself with the GUIDELINES approved by the church board.

This Sabbath, May 30, you are invited to join a Sabbath morning service on the church lawn. The service will start at 9AM and will also be streamed online. If you choose to come, bring your lawn chair, your Bible and a bottle of water.  The weather forecast is gorgeous. This is not our formal “church reopening”, but it is planned as an informal step bringing us closer to our dear church and to one another. 


Bettie Chastain is at LifeCare of Ooltewah. She appreciates your prayers.

Prayers for Howard Kennedy Sr, please. 

Kim Patton is on hospice care. 

Eva Scott feels a bit stronger. The family is grateful for the prayers.

Carol Darmody is recovering after a bad fall. Needs our prayers. 


Sabbath School classes:

Men’s sabbath school class this Saturday: Please read the last chapter of James (5) and be ready to share your thoughts. Since we are having an outdoor service at church this sabbath, the plan is to have our class under a tree afterwards. Service will start at 9am and should end at 10am. If you have access to Wright Now Media, Francis Chan has a series on James that I have found to provide some helpful insight.  Sabbath school class will start at 10:15-30 a.m. and run for 60 minutes. The plan is to wrap up James this week and then in June (6/6/2020), we will start the 33 series. (Edymar Penagos) 

Fellowship Hall SS class is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Fellowship Sabbath School May 30, 2020
Time: Tune in time begins at 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada) May 30, 2020

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Meeting ID: 423 883 2558
Password: 0411

Health Ministry info shared by Diana Dodd: Stress is a killer. We’ve all heard that. But did you know studies have actually found stress to be even more damaging to your health than smoking?!  Considering the ongoing concerns regarding the coronavirus, this is a critical time to keep our bodies as strong and healthy as possible. With this in mind, we are all invited to a live meeting this Sabbath on biblical ways to reduce stress!  

Here is the direct link:  

CCMCollegedale Online Camp meeting continues on Friday night and Sabbath night. The program starts at 6:45 PM. Follow this link to access the schedule and the live stream:

Collegedale Online Camp meeting

ONLINE GIVING. Your faithful support of our church local ministries keeps your church and school running. I need to clarify that you are not being charged any fees for using a credit or debit card online. The local church and church ministries are also not paying any fees for these transactions. The fees are paid by the Conference, Union and Division offices. If you are willing to lower their fees you may choose to continue using the ONLINE GIVING but instead of bank cards you may use an electronic check. This will be the last Sabbath of the month. I see that we need a little extra effort to meet our monthly goal. Let us all contribute together as a caring church family. 


Let this be a peaceful and a blessed Sabbath day for all of you. Please accept my virtual hugs.