Grace-full Living

design-2

MESSAGE.

In contemporary English “graceful” is used primarily to define elegance. When we hear of graceful living we imagine a life of culture and sophistication. Unfortunately we have lost its original spiritual sense. Its 15th century Latin meaning was “full of (divine) grace.” Grace as a gift of God. Grace is underserved love, unmerited kindness, and unconditional forgiveness. Is my life full of that kind of grace?

MINISTRY.

This has been a very busy week in our church. Starting Sunday there was a steady flow of church families coming to take their pictures for the church directory. I am especially grateful to Mike Haughee for coordinating this massive project. The photographers took all the SS rooms in the church office hallway. Both pastors’ offices were turned into photo studios. Everything was going smoothly and easily with Mike’s supervision. On Monday Kindermusic had their program. Spanish SDA congregation used our sanctuary every night for the Week of Prayer meetings. SALT training was on Tuesday afternoon, choir practice on Tuesday night. Pathefinder and Adventure clubs filled up every corner of the church on Wednesday. I am grateful to those who came to the Prayer meeting on Wednesday and were willing to take the Kindergarten SS room because every other room was taken by some other church ministry. Praise God! This is not a sleeping church. The Power of the Holy Spirit is keeping this church vibrant and active.

fully-engaged


HOPE FOR OOLTEWAH is uniting our church in prayer. This coming week we’ll be praying for the LOVE IN OUR HEARTS. Here is a brief statement from Donna, our Prayer Ministry director: “…But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15 As we pray for our loved ones this next week, let us take courage from the example of Daniel and his friends.  “No power, no influence, could sway them from the principles they had learned in early life by a study of the word and works of God.” (Prophets and Kings p. 482)

Let’s pray, “Thank you God for the children’s Sabbath School and for Adventist Education.”

This Sabbath afternoon everyone is invited to attend the Prayer Conference at our church from 5 pm to 7 pm.

742706237_1280x720


PRAYERS. Let us all pray for our dear Pastor David Bissell. His brother died in a car accident this week. David and his family are traveling today to attend the service in Arkansas.

 

The Sabbath Blessing

02-20-quote

MESSAGE.

The Sabbath is not a burden, but a day filled with blessings. It is a day to be spent with God. A day in which our spirit worships, our mind soars and our body rests.

This Sabbath morning I’ll continue my sermon series on the meaning of worship. We’ll see a spiritual connection between the Sabbath day (Saturday) and worshiping God as our Creator and Savior.

MINISTRY. 

Our church is actively engaged in Hope for Ooltewah Prayer Marathon. Almost two hundred people agreed to be on the prayer schedule. This week we’ve been praying about a Clean Heart. Starting Sunday, September 15, we’ll be praying about A Healthy Heart. Our key verse is found in James 5:15 “And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well.”

I invite every church member to participate in the Prayer Conference scheduled at our church on September 21 from 5 pm to 7 pm. Our speakers will be Dr. Hartman, Dr. Tryon, pastor Mark Piotrowski – GCC Prayer Ministry Director, and pastor Na’a – SALT director. This will be a unique learning opportunity. I pray this event will also unite us as a community in our spiritual ministry to those whom the Lord sends us to serve.

IMG_2740 2


Here is the Men’s Ministry update from Edymar Penagos: “Another breakfast on the book and man was on point. The food was amazing and as usual, we had way too much fun in the kitchen. See attached pictures. Thank you to all the guys who showed up to help set up and cook, you know who you are.
A special thank you to our community service director, Lucas Patterson, for the presentation on the importance of service. One verse that came to mind during the presentation was James 2:24 NIV,  “You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.”
Brothers, James made it very clear we are to serve others. May I be so bold as to say that as Christians our purpose and our purpose alone is to serve? Service can take many forms but at its core, it means to love others. I encourage you to spend some time reading the following verses (James 2:14-26) and ask yourself, am I loving my neighbor as myself? Am I demonstrating my faith and love for God by serving others?
If you are looking for ways to give back to the community and demonstrate your love in action, please do not hesitate to reach out to either Lucas Patterson (423-582-1678) or myself, 813-541-2184.”

 


Tomorrow night, September 14, Dr. Edwin Reynolds will present the Vespers program where him and his wife Connie will share a report on their summer trip to China. They will be showing pictures and telling stories of God’s providence and His leading of the work in China. Sounds absolutely exciting! The program starts at 6 p.m.

chinavillagephoto4


PRAYERS. I invite our church family to remember in our prayers the elderly of our church; this week especially Howard Kennedy.

 

Worship Through Service

43331281_1968237466529989_1266357290315808768_o

MESSAGE.

Jesus glorified the Father by doing His work (John 17:4). He came to serve. If we want to glorify God in our worship we need to learn how to serve. Today God is still asking, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” I pray that my answer will be the same as the prophet’s, “Here am I. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8)

MINISTRY. 

69656381_10157702688876057_2051769013318451200_nThe Ooltewah Seventh Day Adventist Church is part of the sisterhood of over 150 churches of the Georgia Cumberland Conference. For the last fifteen years we were blessed to have pastor Ed Wright as the Conference president. His leadership was creative, his approach was innovative, and his personal life was a great testimony to his genuine spirituality. Effective September 1st Ed started his retirement. The Conference executive committee along with the Nominating committee asked pastor Gary Rustad to accept this immense responsibility. I invite you to pray daily for Gary and his wife Denise.


 

Last Sabbath our church was energized and inspired by an army of young people from Southern Adventist University who agreed to work with us in planning the Fall Evangelistic meetings. Are we ready to stand next to them and get engaged in sharing the Gospel with the community around our church?

On Tuesday afternoon over thirty of these young people came back to our church for a weekly training session. Later that afternoon they all went to the neighborhoods around our church. They knocked on people’s doors with an offer to pray for them.

Resized_20190831_092920


0

New Directory. Our church needs you! If you are a member or call Ooltewah your church family, we need you to make an appointment by the end of this Sabbath to have your portrait in our 50th anniversary directory. Directories will only be available, at no cost, to the families who have their portrait in the directory. You will also receive a complimentary 8×10 of the pose that will be in the directory. Photo dates are September 15 – 23. If you need to make or move your appointment after this Sabbath please contact Member Church Directories Appointment line at 866-724-3907, M-F 9am to 4pm.

If you have any questions please contact Mike Haughee 423-488-4848. If you don’t know who Mike is here is his photo.

unnamed

Hope for Ooltewah.
Have you signed up for your own time slot on the church prayer schedule? If not, we still have some blank spots which you can take. Please email Donna Caswell, or talk to her in person tomorrow before or after the worship service. We want the whole church to join this prayer marathon. Every week there is a new prayer topic. Stay tuned.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10
 This was David’s prayer. This should be our prayer also.
“God’s wonderful purpose of grace, the mystery of redeeming love, is the them into which ‘angels desire to look,’ and to be their study throughout endless ages.”  Desire of Ages p. 19.  What a blessing that we can do that now!

logo
September 7th we will have two new Sabbath School options! A new Women’s class will begin meeting in the Oaks Library and Gospel-Centered Parenting will begin meeting in the Oaks multi-purpose room behind the gym. Please contact Sarah Penagos with questions about either class at slpenagos@yahoo.com or 813-892-5135. Sarah Penagos. 

PRAYERS.

Please pray for the people in the Bahamas who suffered from hurricane Dorian.

Opal Vega lost her son Eric, who battled with cancer. Prayers for Opal and her family, please.

Bill Chilson was admitted to the hospital this week for heart tests and observation. He is back home, but Sondra and Bill still need our daily prayers.

FROM MY HEART.

Hurricane Dorian’s winds brought grandkids to our home; two from Florida and one from Georgia. If you didn’t have a tornado in Ooltewah, we definitely had one on our mountain.  🙂

IMG_2684


LOOKING FORWARD:

September 21 all church elders and ministry leaders are invited to join Hope for Ooltewah Prayer Conference. The Conference will take place in the sanctuary from 5 to 7 pm. Dr Tryon, Dr Hartman, Pastor Na’a and your pastor Peter will be the speakers.

October 12 – Light of Hope Slavic night at Ooltewah featuring a top SDA singer from Ukraine and lots of Slavic food. Everyone if invited.

October 19 – Ooltewah 50th Anniversary Celebration. This will be the all day event with a celebration dinner at 6:30 pm.

 

The Grace of Caring

MESSAGE.

It has been five years since the time Galina and I joined the Ooltewah Seventh-day Adventist Church. Every day we feel blessed and honored to be a part of a vibrant, caring, and growing church. Two messages that came to my attention this morning proved to me that God is at work in this church family.

The first one came from Sarah Penagos. Her mother was in critical condition just a few weeks ago. Many of you agreed to pray for her. Here is her email to our church: ”

“Dear Friends,
Thank you so very much for the lovely flower arrangement and especially for the many prayers lifted to God’s throne for my life. God did indeed save my life! It is wonderful that so many of God’s people lifted my name to God in Nashville, Chattanooga and with our many missionaries all over the world. My husband was mission pastor at our church for over 26 years. What an army of prayer warriors. How great is our God! I am slowly gaining strength. Love to all of you, Diana (and Mick)  Antanaitis, parents of Sarah Penagos”
The second one came by regular mail and was written on a piece of paper. Here it is:
IMG_2320

MINISTRY.

Today is Water Day at OAKS. The weather is just right for joyful outdoor splashing activities. Here are a few photos from this morning.


Lupina Haney shared the following encouraging report from the Season of Change Ministry with me: “Last Thursday we had a wonderful turnout (57) to hear Sharon Williams talk about the ways to help widows in India through “Jesus for Asia.” Our ladies contributed over $2000 last year, and yesterday alone we received $410 in donations. Our project this year is to help build a widows’ school in Odisha, India, where they can come and stay, while they learn a sewing trade to support their families.”

The luncheon theme was Vintage Victorian Lace. On the photo below Sharon Williams discusses the hardships of widowhood in India.


Haney’s hungry hombres are meeting this Sunday! Here is a word from Edymar Penagos: “In addition to a breakfast feast, we will have two guest speakers: our Community Service Director Lucas Patterson and Douglas Na’s with SALT. The focus this month is going to be on the spiritual value of community service. As Pastor Peter put it 3 weeks ago in his sermon, service is worship.

Pastor Matts also made an excellent point in his sermon two weeks ago. He asked the question, how do we, as followers of Christ respond and combated the different types of hate in this world? What is the ammo (if you will) that we as Christians have to “fight” against hate? Well, the answer is simple but difficult at the same time, its love (1 Peter 4:8-9, ).

As you know, the men’s group at Ooltewah has an initiative called Love in Action. This ministry has been a blessing to so many, recipients and volunteers alike. God wanted it this way, each of us serving one another, and the Bible is very clear on how Christians should live. I encourage you to read the following passages and ask God, “Lord, how do you want me to love my neighbor?” Philippians 2: 3-5, Colossians 3: 12-14, John 13:34-35, Ecclesiastes 4:9-12.”

IMG_2314


HOPE FOR OOLTEWAH. Please don’t forget to sign up for a time slot in our Prayer Marathon which is starting in a few days. Donna Caswell will visit your Sabbath School class with a sign up schedule sheet this Sabbath morning. Miracles happen when we start praying.


Be on the alert. Scammers continue to send text messages and emails to our church members impersonating your pastor. They ask for gift cards. Please never reply to these messages. Your pastors will never contact you by email, text or phone with a request for money or gift cards. These are “evil people and impostors who will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived.” (2 Tim 3:13)


FROM MY HEART.  Tuesday night was a night of vigilance and prayer. Javan Arocho, the husband of our oldest daughter Anastasia, took her to the AdventHealth hospital in Orlando late at night. Their second baby was eager to see the world! At 6:47am Caspian Kulakov Arocho’s triumphant cry (which reached us through a video text message) made us celebrate, cry and laugh! What a miracle! What a wonderful blessing!

Worship God in His Sanctuary

psalm-150

MESSAGE.

Traditional weekly church attendance is clearly on the decline. Modern technology brings spiritual music and God’s Word straight into our cars and homes. We find good reasons to spend the Sabbath in a circle of our family or friends. Tithe and offerings can be sent via our mobile devices while we are on a cruise or tanning on a beach. It is true that we can worship God in our homes, on a nature trail, under a starry sky, but it is only in His Sanctuary that we renew our faith and restore our joy. “I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory.” Ps. 63:2

MINISTRY.

Early Sunday morning our Pathfinder Club left for Oshkosh. Based on Facebook posts and text messages they are all safe and enjoying the activities. Thank you, church, for your prayers for our Pathfinders.

Here are a few photos saved from Facebook posts:


Donna Caswell, the Prayer Ministries director, is helping our church start a Prayer Marathon where every church member can “run.” Your participation is needed even if you are weak, bedridden, have heart issues or have never ran a marathon. Your “running” is your prayer. Here is what Donna is engaging us into: “We have a plan where we want everyone to choose an hour between 8am and 8pm in which you are willing to spend some of the time praying. Think of a day and time of day that would work for you. Look at your schedule. When are you doing things that could be prayer time? Examples would be pumping gas, folding laundry, or maybe taking a walk.”

This week, start thinking about it and practicing prayers of thanksgiving and praise to God. Next Sabbath, we will have a sign-up sheet in your SS class for you to choose a day and time for prayer. Our goal is to have every hour from 8am-8pm covered with prayer 7 days a week. For those who do not find SS convenient, we we will provide a texting number or a sign-up sheet in the foyer.”

If you follow this link you can read the full description of this initiative. Click here.

“Pray in your closet; and as you go about your
daily labor, let your heart be often uplifted to
God … Satan cannot overcome him whose heart
is thus stayed upon God. There is no time or
place in which it is inappropriate to offer up a
petition to God … A closet of communion may be
found wherever we are.” SC p. 100

Group of interlocked fingers praying together


Last Thursday was the first day of school at OAKS. We have a solid number of 122 students. Praise God for the miracles happening at our church school. This morning I was asked to speak for the first OAKS chapel this semester. My key verse was taken from 1 John 3:1 “we should be called children of God!” As God’s children we are born of Him.” We find His genes in us. This is why we want to be like Him in our academic achievements and in our daily life. It was great to hear all of the OAKS students say together “I am a Child of God!” We missed 14 students who are currently in Oshkosh with the Pathfinders. They are in our prayers. Thank you, Shelly, for your spiritual and creative leadership. Thank you, teachers and staff for your love and dedication.

IMG_2223


PRAYERS.

Please continue prayers for Sharon Bremner.

Pathfinders’ safe travels back home on Sunday.


FROM MY HEART: Our oldest daughter Stacey and her husband Javan are just a few days (possibly hours) away from welcoming their second baby. Have I shared with you that our youngest daughter, Barby, got engaged to a perfect young man, Jared Pemberton? And our second grandchild Mila is turning a full two months tomorrow! 😉 My father’s/grandfather’s heart is picking up the pace. Prayers please 🙂

 

Lay Down Your Life for Your Brother

MESSAGE.

We live in a harsh world. Mass shooting is no longer news to us… It is a daily reality. However shooting starts not when the trigger is pulled. It starts in our hearts and minds. We shoot one another with unkind words, with aggressive attitude, or the spirit of unforgiveness. We keep crucifying Christ for His love to sinners. Weird, crippled and sick have no room in our revised version of the Gospel. We all can make a difference, but it should start in my heart. “This is how we’ve come to understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed his life for us. This is why we ought to live sacrificially for our fellow believers, and not just be out for ourselves. If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God’s love? It disappears. And you made it disappear.” 1 John 3:16-17

This new life starts when we unite ourselves with Christ. I invite you to celebrate the power of God’s love tonight during the Agape Feast which starts at 7 pm.

jesus-with-sinners


PRAYERS.

This morning Sharon Bremner was admitted to the hospital. Please pray for Sharon.

Carole Darmody has been in the hospital this week with a heart issue. Please pray for Carol.

Beth Best fell and fractured her shoulder. Prayers for Beth!

Jerry Johnson has been in pain this whole week. Praying for Jerry.

Our Pathfinder Club will be traveling to Oshkosh starting early Sunday morning. Prayers for the children and staff please.


Our Church is doing a new pictorial directory! We want everyone to get a new picture made so that our new directory will be complete. IT WON’T BE COMPLETE WITHOUT YOU! You can make your appointment at church on the sign-up sheets, or, you can click on the link below and make your appointment on-line. Please go ahead and do that now.
https://instant-scheduling.com/sch.php?kn=763&typId=61785&step=2

Photo dates are:
September 15-19, 22-26, 2019
Please allow approximately 1 hour for your appointment. You will have a professional photography session, see your proofs immediately on computer and have the opportunity to purchase extra portraits for family and friends.

A Life of Worship

IMG_2135

MESSAGE.

Again and again the Scripture is inviting us to worship God. Psalm 99:5 “Exalt the LORD our God and worship at his footstool; he is holy.” We worship God in His house every Sabbath. We worship Him in hymns and prayers. We add time for worship to our busy daily schedules. Eventually worship turns into an event that happens in a specific segment of time. Is this the “acceptable worship” Paul talks about in Hebrews 12:28? In Romans 12 Paul connects the concept of worship to a living sacrifice. Worship is no longer a spiritual compartment of our human nature. It is life itself in its fullness.

MINISTRY.

Last Sabbath our church celebrated pastor Matthew’s ordination. It was a wonderful service. I felt the presence of God’s Spirit in every part of the service. Let us continue to pray for Pastor Matthew, Emmalee, and their boys. They are a blessing to our congregation.

 


On Sunday, July 28, Men’s Ministry team volunteered to prepare and serve breakfast for the OAKS workbee participants. Delicious food was clearly appreciated by all who came to support OAKS. If you don’t trust me see photos below 🙂 Here is a short note from Edymar: “Mens ministry would like to thank everyone who came out early to help prepare breakfast for the workbee volunteers and then took time to help at the school. A special thank you to Steve Kulik, Aaron Brewer and Jim Easter for making sure the food was ready on time!”


This week both Matthew and I attended the summer pastor’s meetings at Cohutta Springs Conference center. Every one of these retreats is a wonderful learning and bonding experience. I love the serenity of the area … beautiful fields, the smell of hay, and the buzz of the crickets.

 


PRAYERS. 

Sondra Otto had knee replacement surgery. Yesterday she was still at Erlanger East hospital. Prayers for Sondra, please.

Janet Goss had a rough week. After many tests and procedures the doctors determined that she urgently needed a stent placed in one of the arteries in her heart. The procedure went successfully, and Janet is in recovery. The family appreciates your prayers and visits.


From the Stewardship Director:

4 Ways to Make the Most of Your Time

Money is precious, but you can always earn more. Cutting back or picking up a second job can increase your revenue pretty quickly.

The same can’t be said of time, though. Once a minute or an hour has passed, we can’t get it back. It’s the most limited resource we have.

That might lead us to become “time hoarders.”

Now, you’ve probably heard of money hoarders. They get cash in one hand and never let it flow out the other. And you might know about people hoarding stuff from stories on TV.

But hoarding time?

Yep, it happens. People get so wrapped up in their schedules that they can’t pull themselves away from the clock on the wall. They live in bondage to seconds and minutes and hours. And, ironically, they end up wasting the time they’re trying to protect.

Time hoarding is a subtle enemy that creeps into our hearts and minds. But you don’t have to be its victim. Here are four things you can do to become a better steward of the time God gives you.

1. Figure out how you’re using your time.

If you want to be wise with your time, figure out where you stand right now. For the next week or so, take a few minutes at the end of each day to complete a time diary. List what you did and how long you did it. While you’re at it, make a list of things you wish you had done, but couldn’t squeeze in.

Be honest and ruthless in your evaluation. It might be a little uncomfortable, but it’s a step you really need to take.

2. Make sure the main things are the main thing.

In your monthly budget, you set priorities for spending. You figure out what things are most important and cover those big rocks first. Time works the same way.

To effectively use time, you’ve got to know the difference between what’s good and what’s best. You can fill your schedule with a lot of activity, but that doesn’t guarantee you’re focusing on what really matters. The time you invest in identifying (and nurturing) the main things in your life will be time well spent.

3. Intentionally schedule fun.

Let’s be honest: You start with great intentions, but the calendar fills up before you include any downtime with family and friends. That’s why you have to be intentional about scheduling some fun time into your day.

Fun won’t magically happen. You’ve got to make it happen—and you’ve got to eliminate all the distractions that could pull you back toward the tyranny of time.

4. Give yourself grace.

Remember that guilt you feel over every “wasted” moment? Well, the Bible says that God’s grace removes the condemnation we’re tempted to carry around (Romans 8:1). So, here’s the real question: If God offers us incredible amounts of grace, what gives us the right to withhold grace from ourselves?

You’ll never be perfect, so cut yourself some slack. Be intentional with your time, but give yourself grace when you fall short of your goals.

The apostle Paul once challenged his readers to live wisely by making the most of their time (Ephesians 5:15–16). Time is still an important piece of our stewardship puzzle. God wants us to use it His way for His glory.

So, own your time instead of letting your time own you.

www.stewardship.com/articles/4-ways-to-make-the-most-of-your-time


Our Summer Agape Feast is on August 9 at 7 pm. Everyone is invited!

Unknown