The Lord is our Banner.

I remember reading a story about a sergeant during World War II. He was a part of a small unit surrounded by the surpassing army of the enemy. Any attempts to get out of the circle of fire would result in a storm of bullets and blasts. They were losing hope and courage preparing for the worst. It was at this moment that the sergeant grabbed the flag of their country, raised it high up and ran forward. The other soldiers, shocked and inspired by the sergeant’s bravery, followed him towards the river where there was a path to safety.

The battle with the Amelekites was not an easy one for the Israelites. (Exodus 17). There were casualties and moments of retreat. When the enemy was defeated Moses built an altar and called it The Lord is my Banner.

Banners and flags are important. They represent our allegiance. They remind us of past victories. They inspire us to move forward. They show who our captain is. Are you tired of losing your battles? Look up and see if you are holding God as your Banner.

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Here is a photo from Laura Herren: “Another fabulous night out with the women’s sabbath school class. Storm kept some home. But I still wanted to share. We eat out the 2nd Thursday every month. “

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The Love in Action ministry needs your hands. Here are a few photos from the recent project:

The Love in Action group has been helping around the yard with one of our church members. The deck was rotted as well as the siding around the deck and chimney. The deck is going up this Sunday and the front yard got a lot of love through pruning, mulch and clean up. A heartfelt Thank You to y’all!

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Cornerstone Building Fund is over $800,000! Let us start praying about reaching $1 million by April 1st. There is nothing impossible for the Lord when we are advancing our ministry under His Banner.

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Here are a couple of photos from the recent baptisms:

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Visit the church website www.ooltewahchurch.org to read the latest church bulletin, to learn more about the New Church Pictorial directory, upcoming International Food Festival, Agape Feast, etc

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Please pray about the people in Eastern Europe. Let the Lord keep them safe. I am planing to go there in the month of March for the recording of a new series of sermons for the spring evangelism in the Euro-Asia Division. Both Ukraine and Russia are in that same Division. Let our Heavenly Father grant them wisdom and peace.

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Happy Sabbath. I hope to see you tomorrow morning.

pastor Peter

Bread From Heaven

“The food we eat at one meal does not satisfy us forever. We must daily partake of food. So we must daily eat the Word of God that the life of the soul may be renewed. In those who feed constantly upon the Word, Christ is formed, the hope of glory. A neglect to read and study the Bible brings spiritual starvation…. ” (OHC)

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Last Sabbath morning I received the following text message (unedited version 🙂 ) and photos from Richard Johnson:

“Well praise God we did it although I feel like Gideon because over half of my crew was not there either because of fear or being out of town but with four helpers and myself we broke the record of feeding 171 people. They said that we beat Silverdale Baptist Church for feeding the most people in the last three months.
The leader Prince, who I have made good friends with came in 30 mins early so we could get things done. 
I had prayer with and for him and at the end he wanted to put my number in his phone. 
I was able to hand out literature to those we fed, as I left and they were so happy for it. 
So praise God for it all, why He even provided a quarter when I went to ALDIs and had so much to get, with no quarter to get a cart, but I felt impressed to go and He would provide and He did and always will. “

Richard, I am pretty confident that after this report you will be getting more volunteers willing to help. God bless you!

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Here are a few photos from the Friendship Class after the Christmas party. Thank you, Mike Haughee, for sharing these pictures with us.

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From David Reynolds, the club director: “Our Timberwolves Pathfinder Club is excited to announce that next Sabbath, February 12, is Pathfinder Sabbath. Mark your calendars and plan to worship with us and support our young people and our Pathfinder Ministry.”

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I am sure you will be excited to hear that our Cornerstone Building Fund is almost at the $800,000 mark! Praise God for each donated dollar. Thank you for remembering your pledges and generously donating to the advance of our ministry in this community. The architectural drawings are almost completed. You will be hearing more in the next few weeks.

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Have a blessed Sabbath day. I plan on seeing you tomorrow.

With Christian love,

pastor Peter

Jesus is the Living Water

“Christians fail to communicate to others because we ignore basic principles in a relationship. When we make condescending judgments or proclaim lofty words that don’t translate into action, or simply speak without first listening, we fail to love – and thus deter a thirsty world from Living Water. The good news about God’s grace goes unheard.” (P.Y.)

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Our Adventurer families “camped” in the OAKS gym Saturday night, January 22 for our Lock-in.  Roller-cart derbies, musical chairs, and tag and find my shoe were just a few of the games that brought out the energy in our kids.  After an interesting night’s sleep, we awoke Sunday morning to a pancake breakfast followed by worship and more games. What a perfect location for our Lock-in, and a great time was had making memories!  

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Pathfinders had a camping trip. Here is a photo report sent to me by the club Director, David Reynolds.

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The Women’s Sabbath School class had a great time at the Local Goat Restaurant last week for dinner. Laura Herren reporting: ” We will be having dinner once a month moving forward to build relationships, fellowship, and friendships.”

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I somehow missed an email message from BreeAn Adams about her trip to Kentucky. I am so glad that our church could be a part of this wonderful ministry. Here is a brief report and some pictures.

The week before Christmas, I got the opportunity to go to Mayfield, KY and do disaster relief from the tornadoes that went through. After getting back, I felt impressed to do something more for the community up there. After some thought and prayer, I started a back-to-school drive to collect backpacks and school supplies for the children who were affected by the tornadoes in Mayfield. God blessed the project and exceeded every goal I had. He knew exactly what the need was, and He ensured that we had exactly what was needed. Along the way were many faith growing moments, answers to prayer, and God always showing up right on time. What started as 5 backpacks ended up with 164 backpacks filled with school supplies! My dad (Wendel Adams) and I were able to deliver the backpacks to Mayfield last weekend. We handed out around 40 backpacks to children that we knew of in the community and were able to pass the rest on to the Mayfield Board of Education. They had been creating a list of children who lost school supplies in the tornados long before I ever contacted them. A teacher up there later shared with me that they were having trouble securing enough school supplies because they had bought out everything in that area. This project would not have been possible without God’s leading, prayers, donations, and support from many of you as well as people from across the U.S. This was God’s work all the way around, I was just blessed to be boots on the ground.

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Matt Geraghty shared with me the following update from the Men’s Ministry group:

Last Sunday we were able to complete the demo stage of the deck and yard work for our project at Aubrey’s house. We are in the process of assisting in ordering the needed wood and materials to rebuild the deck and sure up some of the pieces on the house. We are also looking to get a small dumpster to assist in removing the old material.

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A couple of weeks ago we had to postpone the Women’s Ministry event because of the weather. The new date for the Achieving Your Superwoman is February 6.

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Happy Sabbath. I plan to see you this Sabbath morning.

pastor Peter

Our Wilderness Journey

About two years ago we just started learning about the COVID19 virus reaching the United States. There were fears and there was skepticism. I was hopeful. I kept saying that in a two of three months we would forget about this sickness. Today we are still in the wilderness of the Pandemic. Each time we have to cancel a church program I feel frustrated and tired of this painful reality. In the last few days I received more email messages with the word “canceled” in the subject line than ever. My phone keeps ringing with messages from our church members requesting prayers for themselves or their family members struggling with COVID. My heart goes out to those whose lives got disrupted because of this illness. I still feel hopeful. This is our journey to the Promised land through the wilderness of this broken world. The Israelites had to endure hunger, thirst, enemy attacks, snake bites, etc. They had to show faith, obedience, and endurance. Their story is recorded in the Bible for our benefit. Apostle Paul tells us that “These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come” (1 Cor. 10:11). Christ never promised us that our journey to the Heavenly Canaan would be easy or pain free. Keep walking. Grow in faith. God had led His people through the wilderness of the past, I have no doubts that He will lead us to the Promised Land where there will be everything new. “He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”” Revelation 21:5.

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Once again the Agape Feast has been postponed. The new date is set for March 25. Not all of our church members receive or read my blog posts. Please share this message with your circle of friends and family in our church. I do not want anyone to come tonight to our closed church doors.

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Tomorrow morning we will celebrate Matt Lund’s baptism. The baptism will take place during the first service. Congratulations to Matt as he is starting his new life in Christ. We will be praying for you, Matt!

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This week we resumed our regular Wednesday night prayer meetings at church. I hope the participation will continue to grow. If you feel safe and healthy I invite you to come next Wednesday at 7 PM.

Our church website has some helpful links and is being regularly updated. Don’t forget to check it regularly. Here is the address: www.ooltewahchurch.org . You can use the website for giving your tithe and offerings; for downloading our weekly church bulletin, for watching Sabbath worship live stream and past recordings.

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Stay well and healthy. Pray for those who are struggling with COVID or other illnesses. Support those who have lost their friends or family members. Jesus is our hope.

See you this Sabbath.

pastor Peter

God’s Hand Is Stretched Out

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay warm and healthy 🙂

Hugs,

pastor Peter

Happy New Year

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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With hugs and Christian love,

pastor Peter and Galena

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

Your Gift to Jesus.

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

Merry Christmas to you! The Saviour is born.

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

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

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

More resources on the church website www.ooltewahchurch.org

Merry Christmas,

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

Joy to the World

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See you tomorrow.

Hugs and love from me and Galena.

The Greatest Gift

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

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

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

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

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

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I hope to see you tomorrow morning.

pastor Peter

Learn to see the blessings.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Happy Sabbath.

pastor Peter