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AdditionUpdate

Tuesday, July 17th, 2018

Okay…so we have been working on a building addition for over a year now.  Let me rephrase that: we have been physically working on the building addition for over a year. We have been working (translated: saving) on this addition for probably close to 3 or 4 years. We made a commitment we would not borrow money for it. We saved until we had enough to put it all under roof. We then continued as we had the money. Funny: work never stopped. God was so-o-o-o-o faithful and so were His people.  Three Sunday’s ago the Preschool class meet in their room because of the need to renovate the check in room and what will become Ryan’s office. This past week the Elementary kids made the transition. I thought I’d have a little fun with this post and show you what was and what is now.  My computer crashed several months ago and I lost everything, including pictures. So I painstakingly went back in time (where is Doc Brown’s DeLorean when I need it?) to find the post where I showed some early inside photos. You can see that here:

http://billgrandi.ovcf.org/wordpress/?p=14180

Below are some photos I took today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From top left to right: (1) What the room looks like as you walk down the short entry hall past the bathrooms.  (2) Inside Jo’s classroom from the door. it is the door on the right in the first picture.  (3) Middle left: Another look inside Jo’s classroom.  She chose to have vinyl flooring laid for ease of movement and cleaning. Each classroom has a TV (Wifi accessible) and a white board. (4)  The stage area (which is not quite done yet. (5) Looking across the from Jo’s classroom. Classroom on right. Mechanical/storage on left. (6) Girl’s bathroom.

Pictures don’t tell the whole story but if you take a look at what was and what now is, we have come a long way. God has been so faithful and so good! I honestly believe He honored our “no borrowing money” policy. We were the recipients of some anonymous gifts which greatly blessed us. A lady left some money so we took 10% for missions; paid off the remaining mortgage; and put the rest toward the addition. It allowed us to start construction. The folks at OVCF were so faithful in their giving and even in offering some physical labor but, to be honest, we went with professionals to do most of the work. In the long run, it saved time and money.

I’m going to share some more pictures of renovation we are doing in my next post.  Hope you enjoy rejoicing with us.

Words

Friday, July 13th, 2018

As in Last Words…

Last words are important. The last words I remember my father saying were that “I was a friend of the family.” His dementia had robbed him of knowing who I was because the last time I saw him he did not know who I was at all.

I remember the last words of Dan. After resisting the call to give his life to Christ, he eventually found himself in a tent of oxygen and dying. He finally allowed me to share Christ with him and even though he was unable to talk (or barely open his eyes), he squeezed my hand to let me know he had prayed to accept Christ. Then there was Jim.  He had constantly turned down any invitation to follow Jesus (but did go to church with his wife upon occasion).  He took a “shine” to me, even though they attended another church. While in the hospital he was unable to talk anymore and every time I would go to see him tons of family were around. So I finally wrote it all down, had his wife read it to him, and then he had her sign his name because he was unable to. A day or two later he entered eternity.

Last words can be done is so many ways. Vocally. Squeezing a hand. Signing a name. Blinking eyes. All are last words. I finish my series from Joshua this Sunday with Joshua’s last words to the people of Israel. To sum up his words I would put it this way:

REMEMBER THE PAST. DON’T STAY THERE. FOCUS ON THE FUTURE.

 

 

Think

Sunday, July 8th, 2018

Paul says in Philippians 4:8- “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on these things.”

Over the past week or so I have been reading God of Tomorrow, Caleb Kaltenbach’s new book.  A normal review will give the pros and cons , good points and bad points, and whether it is worth your while to read it.  I’m going to take a different approach in this post. I want to highlight several of his included quotes and thoughts. Then let you decide at the end if it is a book you want to invest your time in.

God of Tomorrow: How to Overcome the Fears of Today and Renew Your Hope for the Future

First, an explanation. Caleb’s book’s premise is focused around hope for tomorrow being the solution to the fears of today. He analyzes the culture pretty well and what should be the Christ-follower’s approach to the people who are the culture. Change is inevitable. It is how we react to that change which gives us our approach to people.  (My comments appear after)

“Combativeness without compassion is always going to be counterproductive.”  We need to have our beliefs but we don’t have to cram them down someone’s throat nor do we need to be militant.

“Our differences with people should drive us to them, not from them.” This is sure opposite of our “hunker down” attitude.

“Our fear is no match for the unlimited power and uncontested reign of God.  When will we learn this? Instead of fearing change, let’s hold to our beliefs but not shy away in fear.

“Hope reminds us that our best days are ahead, not behind us.”  And I might add not right now either. No apologies to Joel for that.

“Out-of-place people always have a place with God.”  I seem to remember someone telling a story about going to the highways and bi-ways to bring people into a meal. Hmmmm.  Maybe this would change our approach toward “unlovely” and “unacceptable, despicable” people we often have.

There are plenty more and I plan to use them during the next week as I post some thoughts. But the coup de grace for me was this one:

When people look at your (my) life, it should be so easy for them to see Jesus in how you (I) treat them, love them, and share truth with them. (p.201)

What do you think of those quotes? Think you might get this book?

 

Rumors

Friday, July 6th, 2018

 

Don’t you just love rumors? Of course that was said tongue in cheek.  That leads me to a question:

Can there by anything more devastating to a church than a rush to judgement and the ensuing rumor mill?

Possibly the only other thing would be doctrinal error, but even those are different animals. Doctrinal error can be counteracted with truth. But rumors? Once they start flying all you-know-what breaks loose. How do you stop it? How do you take back the words? It happens in so many ways.

A misplaced word or action.

An overheard word which is considered to be true and passed along.

An angry person decides to take it out on the other person so lies are spread.

An “assumed” situation is perceived as real.

So we jump to conclusions, make a rash judgement and then decide others need to hear and know. Doesn’t matter if it is true or not. It makes for juicy gossip.

The fledgling nation of Israel was faced with just such a thing when it was “assumed” and perceived that an altar had been erected by the eastern tribes. They were going out rogue. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed and checked out the perceived defection.

Because of misconceptions, there was also a need for cities of refuge. This Sunday I’ll be talking about the cities of refuge and about the false altar rumor.

Life can be cruel enough without misconceptions and misrepresentations and false rumors and lies being spread. Please make sure you do a gut check (as I have had to do) that you are not the one responsible for passing along damaging  information about people-true or false.

 

Giants

Sunday, July 1st, 2018

You cannot read the story of Joshua and Caleb and not be impressed.

They were different.  They saw life differently. They were leaders par excellence.

During my recent study of the book of Joshua, and in particular this past Sunday’s sermon which directly involved Caleb, I saw something I had seen before but could not delineate it. As you probably know, along with 10 other spies, Joshua and Caleb were sent into the land of Canaan to spy out the land.  They all came back with glowing reports of the land.

With one difference. Joshua and Caleb’s ideas of submission were different. The 10 convinced the people they could benefit from the land but it was too dangerous. The people were too big. Joshua and Caleb agreed on all counts EXCEPT it being too dangerous. Here’s why:

The 10 spies measured the giants against their own strength; Joshua and Caleb measured the giants against God’s strength. The 10 trembled; the 2 triumphed. The majority had big giants and a little God; the two had a great God and little giants.

What about you? What are you facing today that seems insurmountable? Are the giants you are facing today huge in your eyes? Remember to follow Caleb’s lead: “follow the Lord wholeheartedly.” I would add “Don’t lose heart.”

Here is a song for you to sing in your head this week. Have a great giant-slaying week.

Unfinished

Friday, June 29th, 2018

Have you ever noticed there hardly seems to be a time when we are totally satisfied?

How many times have you finished a project, maybe one that has taken longer than you thought- and after a “small break” you tell yourself- you are back at it. You see something else which needs done.

When we (OVCF) bought this building in 2010 we knew it was small for us. However,  we made due in various ways. Sometime in 2011 we knew we had to do something. After much prayer and planning, we renovated our current facility in 2012. No need to tell you how we did that. Least not now.  By 2013 we knew we needed more room so we went to two services and started plans for an expansion. But after a late night “dream,” I woke up and asked myself a question: “What about the kids? Where will we put them if we expand?” So we put our expansion for a worship area on hold while we raised funds for our youth addition. After 4 years of raising money and paying cash for everything, that addition is ready to be used.  (Hands are clapping big time)

Just a couple of weeks ago I was asked when we are going to start on the adult worship area.  My answer? “When we raise the money.”

Sometimes there is just some unfinished business. I’ve talked to tons of older folks (which I am fast becoming) and have often heard the phrase “If I had to do things over again.” The second most common would probably be “There is still so much I want to do.”

Sunday’s sermon is about unfinished business in two ways. One, is unfinished business Joshua needed to take care of with the surrounding nations and hie people; and two, a man called Caleb had some unfinished business to take care of. Two old men, Joshua and Caleb, will serve as our inspiration Sunday. Thanks for praying. 🙂

Promises

Friday, June 22nd, 2018

It used to be a handshake was enough.

The old saying was, “Your word is your bond.”

Every once in a while we will hear someone say, “I know you. You’re good for it.”

Or you might hear someone say, “You gave me your word and that is good enough for me.”

How great it would be if we could honestly say, “A promise made is a promise kept.”

In our day and age we are more likely to hear, “I’m getting me a lawyer!” We live in a litigious society and more and more people are breaking their word than keeping it.  Promises are a bedrock of any society. No telling what will become of ours.

The theme of promises weaves its way through the pages of Scripture-both of those who keep them and those who break them. My Scripture for this weekend is a lengthy one: Joshua 10:1-12:24. It is a litany of promises. Promises made to God. Promises made from God. Promises made to others. The obvious application will be how we, as followers of Christ, should keep the promises we make. There will be a couple key thoughts I will share with the folks Sunday. I’ll share them with you this upcoming week. Meanwhile, I always ask for prayers from you. I ask you to pray a little extra for this weekend. Thanks

Commander

Friday, May 18th, 2018

General Norman Schwarzkopf was known as “Stormin’ Norman.”  In preparation for this week’s sermon I read several articles on his military life throughout Vietnam, Operation Desert Shield, and Operation Desert Storm. He definitely has earned the title “great military commander.” In fact, he might pass muster as one of, if not the greatest military mind of his generation. He was very quotable as well:

“It doesn’t take a hero to order men into battle. It takes a hero to be one of those men who goes into battle.”

“True courage is being afraid, and going ahead and doing your job anyhow.”

And one more (and this is off the topic of leadership): “I’ve managed to convince my wife that somewhere in the Bible it says, ‘Man cannot have too many shotguns and fishing poles.’ ”  🙂

While he stands out as a great military mind and hero, we are studying one right now: Joshua. It takes a leader-a good one- to take over from a leader and be successful. Moses had led the people of Israel for 40 years, but he was now dead and had left the leadership reins in Joshua’s capable hands. He was now the Commander-in-Charge. No, that is not a misprint. Joshua knew the Commander-in-Chief was God.

This Sunday I’m going to take a look at Joshua’s track record (where he proved himself) and then ultimately show that his real power came from his willingness to submit to God in a faith-defining moment (Joshua 5:13-17).  Prayers for this weekend would be much appreciated. Thanks ahead of time.

Visibility

Sunday, May 6th, 2018

I shook things up a bit last week with a podcast of me and the guys at The Connection-a local church here in the community. Today is our Day of Service and I plan to post a summary sometime this week. They are calling for rain this afternoon so I am praying for it to hold off until at least 4:00 (our scheduled stopping time).

So I decided to shake things up again. Today is music video day. Now…I could go calm but that might put you and me both to sleep. Not good. I could go country…but that ain’t going to happen! I could go with a worship song but that would be the normal thing to do. Or I could go wild and blow your doors (ears) off. Not today.

One of my favorite arena rock groups was Kansas. Their makeup included two followers of Christ. One, Kerry Livgren, was the writer behind their monster hits Carry on Wayward Son and Dust in the Wind, both written before he came to faith in Christ. Both still had meaningful lyrics. Kerry has since suffered a stroke that has limited his guitar-playing ability, but not his mind and his heart for Jesus. Like many groups, as members age or grow tired of the grind, Kansas has changed much of their personnel. Steve Walsh has retired, his voice breaking down as well as his health. A new lead singer has taken his place. I tend to think he is every bit as good as Steve on some things.  He sounds, at times, like Greg X. Volz, the former lead singer for Petra before John Schlitt.

The song I’m featuring is NOT a religious song, although it certainly has some application to the religious world. It is not meant to be a political statement on my part either, although I am against dictators and madmen. I am also against religious hucksters who promise the world but have no way to deliver. Followers of health/wealth prosperity teachers (I will refrain from naming names at this point) take note. Followers of Bill Johnson, Bethel Redding, and anyone involved in the New Apostolic Reformation take note.  Here is the song by the group now known as Kansas.

Hope you enjoy it but more importantly, catch its message.  And please, don’t shoot me for my choice of music. 🙂 You might incur the wrath of Jo. Then again…

Belonging

Sunday, April 22nd, 2018

Everyone wants to belong to something. To be included. No one wants to be an outcast. Loner. Bullied. Called “different.”

This past weekend Jo attended a Ladies Retreat at the church camp we send our kids. She was telling me about hearing a fantastic workshop speaker.  This woman has had CP all her life and has struggled with fitting in. Bullied for her “difference.” But someone loved her and accepted her and showed her Jesus. During her workshop she asked the ladies to listen to a song. Jo played it for me last night. I like what it says so I am including it here for you to listen to.  It is a new song and a new group to me, but the words spoke volumes. I’ve included two versions here for you:

One of just the video.

One with the lyrics in case you have difficulty understanding the words.

It is important to remember that everyone matters to God.  Keep that in mind as you make your way through the week. Keep an eye out for the wounded one. The one no one wants to be around. The one who people look away from. I know I’m praying I do a better job of that myself.