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

If you are not receiving my weekly blog posts you can subscribe at www.pastorkulakov.com or send me your request to this email address: pkulakov@gccsda.com

With prayers for all of you,

pastor Peter

Love Beyond Words

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This weekend we will honor our mothers. I am blessed to have been raised by a caring and hard working mother. Galena lost her mother when she was only thirteen, but she herself became the perfect mother to our four daughters. It gives me great joy to now see our daughters build their motherhood on the strong foundation of their mom’s example. From what I’ve seen and learned so far mothers don’t sleep and don’t rest. They do not seek their own interests. Their children take the first place in their hearts and thoughts. Their love can be compared only to God’s love. No wonder the Lord says through the prophet Isaiah: “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you;” (66:13). 

Take some time this weekend to assure your moms of your love and your appreciation of all they have done for you. There is a good reason one of the Ten Commandments instructs us to “… honor your … Mother.”

This week I used a few of my vacation days and took the mother of our children 🙂 to Savannah, GA. It’s been several years since our visit to that beautiful city. Magnificent trees on the city squares and the charming architecture made us want to go there again and again. If you ever go there ask me about the best waffles in Savannah. Out of the two days we were in Savannah we went to Mirabelle Cafe three times to enjoy their waffles. Delicious! 🙂 

Church bulletin and other helpful resources are available on the church website. www.ooltewahchurch.org

I’ll make this post short … technically I am still on vacation 🙂 Looking forward to worshiping with you tomorrow. Happy Sabbath, my friends.

Peter

PS. I am surrounded by loving moms … What a blessing. 

Living for each other.

shutterstock_590600921The human body is the most complicated mechanism. The way it functions is absolutely fascinating. A strong and healthy body is actually built out of super tiny parts which we know as cells. They keep the body together and make it work like a flawless watch. The body cannot exist without cells and cells lose their meaning and function if separated from the body. This is a perfect illustration of the body of Christ and His church. There is no church without human beings- church members. This is the same way a human being separated from the church loses her/his place and meaning in the body of Christ. This is why the apostle Paul makes a strong emphasis on the importance of individual members and the unity of the spiritual body (1 Corinthians 12, etc). Do we do all it takes to keep our church a healthy and vibrant organism where every individual feels needed and appreciated?

Last Sunday night our church came together for our annual business meeting. It is at that meeting that we voted to embrace the ‘church cells’ concept as a complete makeover for our church. You’ll be hearing more from your pastors and elders about how you can be a part of this new nature of our church. If you are interested in learning and leading please contact one of your pastors and we’ll be helping you along the way. A training seminar will be scheduled in the next 2-3 weeks. Stay tuned. 

The business meeting also approved modified building plans and voted to start a building fundraising campaign called “Cornerstone Building Fund”.  These plans include a 510 seat sanctuary and new Sabbath school classes. I know we all hate to see how building material prices go out of control and we also do not like to pay interest on a construction loan. The more we raise now the less interest we’ll pay, therefore saving hundreds of thousands of dollars. The goal is to raise 2.3 million dollars in the next 12 months! Any contributions to this fund need to be marked “Cornerstone Building Fund.” This line will be added to the online Tithe envelope ASAP. God is leading us forward! We do not want our children and youth to look back and say that we did not have the faith or courage to plan for the future ministry of this church. We are grateful to the pioneers of our church who stepped forward 50 years ago and built this church. Let us show that same faith in our vision for this wonderful Ooltewah SDA church.

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The men of our church were blessed with a great program last Sunday. Here is Edymar and Matt Geraghty reporting: For those who were not able to make the men’s breakfast last weekend, you missed out and were missed. Thank you to EVERYONE who showed up early to prepare the feast we enjoyed together. Below is a recap from Matt Geraghty and attached are some pictures.  “The dictionary defines POWER as the: ability to act or produce an effect! read more So very true, isn’t it?  At the latest edition of Haney’s Hungry Hombres, we had a [click here for the full report]

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Sabbath school council will meet tomorrow, May 1st at 4 PM. If you are a teacher or leader for one of our SS classes your participation is very important and needed. Please plan to attend in person. If you are out of town here is the ZOOM link:
 
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Cooking class for this Sunday, May 2nd is cancelled due to a low number of those who registered for the seminar. We’ll plan it again sometime in the future. Thank you, Nelson Denver and your team, for your hard work in planning this event. 
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Prayers continue for Joan Malloch who fell a few days ago and broke her hip. She was in surgery yesterday. Your prayerful support will be very much appreciated by this dear family.
 
Nancy Smiley is recovering after an unfortunate incident that happened last Sabbath afternoon. She has a few broken ribs and is currently undergoing tests. Please surround Nancy with your love and prayers. 
 
Have a blessed Sabbath day.
 
With Christian love,
 
Peter

The word of God kept on spreading

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This week the Word of God has been spreading from our church “live” to the continents of Europe and Asia. I feel extremely honored to share the Three Angels message in the Russian language through the Hope Channel Russia, Hope Channel Ukraine, 3 ABN Russia and TBN Europe. Every day thousands of listeners across this vast territory learn about hope in Jesus. After the broadcast they stay for the “live” question and answer session, where they also share their prayer requests and ask for Bible studies. Call centers across the Euro-Asia Division receive their requests and connect them with local pastors. We may not have a fancy studio at our church, but we have a church family that believes in sharing the Gospel and leading people to Jesus. Thank you for your support and your prayers. This Sabbath is the final broadcast of this series.  Please pray for those who are just starting Bible studies in Europe and Asia.

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imageHere is an invitation from Edymar, our Men’s Ministry leader: “You do not want to miss out on the blessing we have scheduled this Sunday at men’s breakfast. I had the opportunity of listening to Grant speak at the Rock-Solid men’s retreat back in March and it was powerful, dynamic and full of fervor for our Lord and Savior.  For those who do not know who Grant is, below is a little bio from the Blue Print for Men’s website. I hope you make every effort to attend this Sunday.  If you would like to help cook, we start at 7:30am in the fellowship hall. Otherwise, I hope to see you at 8:30am sharp! Now go and spread the word! Let’s show some support for our brother in Christ.”

GRANT GRAVES is a veteran educator, gifted speaker, and author.  His career path includes teaching from elementary through college and more recently as a corporate sales and marketing trainer.  He loves working out, listening to books and podcasts, and spending time with his wife Riley and their daughter Libby.  Recently he released his first book, “Fearless: Finding Courage in the Character of God”.  His dream is to one day hear Jesus say, “Well done, my good and faithful friend.”

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On Thursday night we continued the Reversing Diabetes seminar. I was impressed with the efficiency and the spirit of hospitality showed by our volunteers. Sylvia Hyde has an excellent team of people willing to help and to serve. Thank you, Sylvia, for your hard work. This seminar has proved to be a blessing. 

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Cereal Barrel ministry needs your support. Thank you for your consistent help in the past. Let us always remember about those in our community who cannot afford a box of cereal for breakfast for their family. Christ teaches us to care and to share. Thank you, Julia Easter, for coordinating this program.

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Over the last couple of weeks the church Building committee, church Board and church elders met a number of times to review our church building plans and financial goals. Finally we are now ready for the Church Business meeting. The meeting will take place this Sunday @ 5 PM in the Fellowship Hall. I have invited two leaders from the Conference office who will bring their input and will be happy to answer our questions. Please, do not miss this important meeting. 

A few days ago I had a good talk with some members of the Hispanic Adventist Church who are building their church on Ooltewah-Ringgold Rd. They shared with me how Satan was trying to discourage their members from moving forward with the project when COVID hit the world. However, they did not allow doubts and fears to prevail. They are so excited that this project is vibrantly moving forward. God’s work needs to expand and to continue till the day we see Him coming in glory. 

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PRAYERS. It is with great sadness and pain I share with you that early this week David Denton’s father and step-mother were involved in a terrible car accident. David’s step mother did not survive the accident. A memorial service was held for her this afternoon. David’s father, Melvin,  needs lots of prayers as he is recovering after the accident. Please uplift David, Becky and their whole family in your prayers as they go through this devastating experience of grief and pain. 

The driver in the other car who also did not survive the accident, is Michael Cylke, a former graduate of OAKS and used to be in our Pathfinder club. Please remember his family in your prayers as well. He was only 31. 

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Let the Lord bless you as we are welcoming the Sabbath day.

See you tomorrow.

Your friend, 

Peter

Living a Pure Life

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“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)   David said in the Psalms, “Create in me a clean heart O God.”  (Ps. 51:10). The more you grow in purity of heart, the more you will see God.  You will begin to see Him in all areas of life.  You will see Him in worship, see Him in his Word, and even when you face trials and temptations you will see God and His presence in your life.  This is easier to say than to do.  Just about the time you might feel you have victory in an area of life, Satan goes on the attack to trip you up.  However, do not lose hope my friends.  God is with you.  He is stronger than anything in this world.  He can give you the power (through the Holy Spirit) to overcome sin and temptation.  It is true that we will never attain perfection until the return of Christ but don’t allow Satan to have victory in your life.  Rely on God and give Him the glory for great things He has done.

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Edwin Reynolds is reporting on the Health Ministry project: “The Reversing Diabetes seminar on Thursday night was a great success. The Wickhams presented on carbohydrates (pro and con), which was very helpful and informative. High-fiber lasagna made with brown rice noodles and black beans was served for everyone to illustrate a good balanced carbohydrate. It was not only healthy but quite tasty. Beside the 31 participants present (3 were absent), there were 8 spousal support people and visitors, and 35 volunteers. There was a lot of discussion at the tables between coaches and participants afterwards. The spirit was very good, and some commented after the seminar that this was the best, most practical seminar they had attended. Others have noted that it is well organized and runs smoothly. Changes are made each night to improve efficiency. We are grateful for the many volunteers who have worked hard to make this seminar a great success. I would add regarding the sack-lunch program that things went well also on Monday morning. We had plenty of help as the fifth-grade classroom came over and helped. We have gotten increasingly efficient, and are usually finished and cleaned up before 9:00. Thanks especially for the regular helpers that we depend on in order to keep things going even when the students are not available to assist us. The next sack-lunch event is on April 19. No need to call ahead. If you would like to help, just show up and we’ll put you to work.”

 

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OAKS board met on Thursday night to make a historic decision. Here is a brief report from Shelly Caswell, our school principle: “In 2 Kings 6, the story is told of a school of the prophets that was too small. The students took the initiative and asked Elisha for his blessing to go and cut down trees to build a larger school. “The disciples of the prophets said to Elisha, “The place where we’re staying is too small for us. Let’s go to the Jordan River. Each of us can get some logs and make a place for us to live there.” When I read this story, I am reminded that having enough room to educate children has been a challenge since the times of Elisha. It’s encouraging that God has always led in providing materials and opportunities for our schools to fit more students.  

OAKS is embarking on an exciting journey of expanding the lower grade program to have each grade in single teacher classrooms. This will open up many more seats for students in our community who want to come and enroll in the unique, God filled program that we offer. Last night, the OAKS operating board voted to open a new classroom next year to accommodate more students in the elementary program. Enrollment for next year is already the highest in the history of OAKS, which is a tremendous blessing considering the pandemic dropped enrollment to 100 this last school year. There are some risks that come with this expansion, but God has clearly opened the doors, and we are continuing on our “faith walk” at OAKS.  Thank you for your continued prayers for OAKS. More information will be provided as details emerge. For now….tell your friends and neighbors….”the school of the prophets is expanding…..come and join us!”

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On Tuesday night the Building committee met to review modified plans for the church building project. We had a thorough discussion. Lots of details were reviewed by the committee members. The modified version of the expansion helped to reduce the construction costs by a considerable amount. The committee voted to recommend these plans to the church Board. A special church Board meeting is scheduled for April 12, @ 7 PM. There will be only one item for discussion: church building plans. All church members are invited to attend. This will be a good time to hear the building committee report and to ask questions. Please keep this big project in your prayers.

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William Dean Hall, is being dedicated tomorrow during the 11:30 AM service. William Dean is the youngest baby in Aaron and Alisa Hall’s family. Aaron’s father, pastor Richard Hall, will officiate the ceremony. Praise God for this sweet family.

Hall Family

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Next Sabbath, April 17 is the opening night of the Light of Hope satellite evangelistic meetings in the Russian language to Eastern Europe and Asia. I feel humbled by this huge responsibility. It Is Written provided assistance with the prerecorded portion of this event. The “live” portion will be uplinked from my office daily at 12 noon, (7 PM local time in Moscow). In the next few days my office will be converted into a broadcasting studio. The program will continue daily from April 17 to April 24. Please pray for the people who will be watching and learning about the hope in Jesus on the other side of this planet.

Here is a promotional video in the Russian language 🙂 https://youtu.be/lWk7Ct8J-v8

Happy Sabbath,

pastor Peter

From Death to Life

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Greetings,

Christ had to die to set me free from the condemnation of sin. He chose this path because of His great love for His children. His resurrection became the guarantee of my victory over the darkness of sin and death. Stop hanging on to your own ways of victory. Our weapons will fail. Our recipes for happiness will prove to be wrong. Jesus is standing at the opening of His grave and offering us the joy of a new life. Give up your pride. Die to your selfish ambitions. Experience the joy of your own resurrection by the power of the same Spirit that brought Jesus back to life. “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.” (Romans 8:11)

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Last night we had the second session of the Reversing Diabetes seminar. Here is an update from Sylvia Hyde: “The program went really well with the content.  People who wanted to just see what it was about decided to come back and buy the materials!  We’re still trying to figure out how many came because some walked in and didn’t sign in and then decided to get materials and come. We had about 65-70 people including the volunteers.  31 participants as I can tell at this point.  The lentil soup was delicious and the people really seemed to enjoy it.” 

I wish I had some photos to share from the seminar. I will definitely try to take some pictures next week.

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Lupina Haney has been supporting the ladies from the Season of Change Ministry in many wonderful ways since they stopped their in-person monthly gatherings. This is the latest update from Lupina: “Tinker Fairies Cottage in Ooltewah created 150 cards for Season of Change. This is our Spring mail out for the widows since we have suspended our in person gatherings.” How thoughtful and sweet! Thank you, Lupina. 

I invite you to pray for OAKS. The enrollment this year is so high that the school board will meet for a special planning session next week. I am glad that our school leadership team is united in the vision of serving to the needs of the kids in our community. Let God’s will be done.

The Building committee will meet on April 6 to review the modified version of the church expansion plans and budgets. The committee’s recommendation will be taken to the Special meeting of the Church Board on April 12. This meeting will be dedicated to just one item: church expansion plans review and recommendations. I invite all church members to attend this meeting at 7 PM. We will have a discussion and time for prayer before the final recommendation is voted for the church business meeting later this month.

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Read an encouraging message shared by Edymar Penagos, the Men’s Ministry leader:

“There were over 65 men who showed up to the Rock-Solid men’s retreat last weekend. The storms did not keep them from seeking fellowship with God and each other. I personally left reinvigorated, focused, and empowered to serve God with all of my being. 
 
Men, God has won the war! Praise Him! But there are still battles to be fought. “For our struggle is not about flesh and blood but against the rules, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” Ephesians 6:12. These battles are about salvation. He is not asking us to take lives, He is asking us to lay down our own lives for others. His justice is about saving lives, not destroying them. That is why God sent His only son to die for sins He did not commit. We must follow His example and do the same for others. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. But rather in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others” Philippians 2:3-4. “
 

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Tomorrow is the Samaritan Center volunteer Sabbath night. I seek your help and support. Unfortunately both of your pastors will not be able to come tomorrow night. We need additional volunteers to step in and take our spots. Thank you in advance. For the last several months we have been having a steady group of those who are willing to help. Please plan to come at 8:30 PM. 

Singspiration with Ron Maloch will take place this Sabbath in the Sanctuary at 7 PM. The Fellowship Hall is reserved by the Southern Adventist University students who attend our church. Their parents are coming to spend this weekend here in Ooltewah. The students are planning to have the afternoon and the evening program together with their parents.

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More info and helpful resources are available on our church website: http://www.ooltewahchurch.org

See you tomorrow! Praise God for the Living Savior!

pastor Peter

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Dying to Self

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

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

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

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

We Shall Grow Stronger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Standing Out for God

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See you tomorrow. 

pastor Peter