Thanksgiving browsing by category



Sunday, November 27th, 2016

Daniel Hamlin and his family are five of the neatest people you will ever meet. They came to OVCF just a tad over a year ago in a search for something different than what he/they had grown up in. They were also concerned for their three children (one a teen and another real close and an adorable young girl). So he actually first heard of OVCF from living in the community about all his life, but when Daniel started searching with earnest his father told him about us. Daniel checked out the church website and then a few podcasts. Something resonated in him and a “chance” encounter with him at a local restaurant (we were supposed to eat somewhere else) led to him coming to OVCF. They have not left (that’s a good thing…a very good thing). He is a fine young man who wants to seek God with all his heart and wants to lead his family that way also. The following is what he posted on FB after helping with the Thanksgiving Dinner the church puts on annually.

Today, our church provided Thanksgiving meals to the community.  At one point my family was tasked with delivering 5 meals to a local low-income motel.  As we stepped out of the car I realized that we were probably not relatable to those who were receiving the food.  I had grabbed my LL Bean jacket, the boys were wearing Nike shoes and shorts (yes, shorts in November), we were a clean cut family.  One lady asked us to come in to her apartment.  After passing through the blanket that draped the door we enter her cluttered, dark apartment.  She had no kitchen table and had an aged container of Ramen noodles sitting on the stove.  We delivered her the prepared meal and she became emotional, expressing thanks for the food.  Amy asked her if she had any Christmas needs and she responded that she would like prayer for her son who suffers from scoliosis.

As I reflect back on this, it brings new appreciation for the Incarnation.  Just as I felt that our appearance would make us not relatable to those we were serving, if Jesus had come to earth in all of his power and glory we would not be able to relate to him.  Instead, he came to earth as a baby, grew up as a man, was tested, tempted, beaten, suffered loss and eventually killed.  I’m thankful that because of God’s grace and his love for us, Christ made himself relatable by becoming human.

And that, my friends, is the reason for the season.

I would say Daniel has it right. Not only that…do you see any doubt he will be able to lead his family well? I don’t.


Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

As I write this it is a rainy Wednesday. The day before the world in general (with a few exceptions) will focus on Thanksgiving. True, some find football a whole lot more fun, but not this boy. My Thanksgiving Day will consist of the following:

The church serving our community a lunch from 11-1:00 at the local Lion’s Club (their building is in town and the church building is not). We will also deliver a whole bunch of meals.

I have two traditions that I have done for years. I watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “The Santa Clause” sometime Thursday. Well, our local theater is going to show “IaWL” on Sunday for free so I will go to that. So Jo and I plan to watch “White Christmas,” one of my other staple movies during the holidays.

I’m guessing a nap might be in there somewhere.

I will take some time to be thankful. My recent car/bicycle accident has me a bit more reminiscent than normal. To be aware that only 2″ separated me from either permanent damage (paralysis) or even death, tends to wake up even the sleepiest soul. I’m not going to rehash the scene. You can read it here and here.  Unfortunately, even though my memory wants to erase the event and forgive the perpetrator, my body keeps reminding me of it. On Monday I go to a general surgeon who will take a look at the giant hematoma on my left hip where he used me for a bumper car. I had to go to Urgent Care last week, and when nothing happened and things got worse with the rest of my leg, I went to my family doctor Tuesday. The surgeon will decide if it is be drained (can you say knock me out?) or let it go. It will be 3 weeks to the day that it happened. Not a day goes by that I don’t remember because my body reminds me.

However, I am also impressed by God’s amazing design and how it heals. The bruising is lessening (it has moved from my hip to my thigh/hamstring, to my knee, to my calf and now to my foot. The painfully sore bruised shoulder muscles (inside) have healed enough to start lifting weights again. I have yet to be back on my bike. Not because I’m afraid but because of the discomfort of this hematoma.

I’m thankful I’m alive. I’m thankful I have a family who was concerned. I’m thankful for a marvelous church family who showed me in spades how much they love me. It has been my pleasure to love them for 11 years. In less than a week they showed me what I meant to them. *Tears on cheeks right now* I am thankful for you, my online family, who have said you would pray for me. I believe you did. I still pray for the one who did it. Not for vengeance but so I can forgive them.

This has gone longer than any post I have written in the past 4 or 5 years so it is time to shut it down. 🙂  Thanks for listening. Thanks for your prayers. Be truly thankful this year.


Tuesday, November 8th, 2016

I had planned on giving you an update of our Day of Service but LIFE has a way of throwing Clayton Kershaw curve balls at you. Yesterday (Monday) I was riding my bike about 2:30 in the afternoon. I had gotten a late start due to thngs at the office. I was a little over 4 miles away from the church building (where I keep my bike) when out of nowhere a speeding early model Ford Escape-like SUV decided to use me as a bumper car. It is so surreal-terrifying; anger for being hit and left; not sure what or if anything is broken; searching for your phone to take a picture then call 911; to watching a hematoma blow up to ungodly proportions on your hip; to spending 6 hours in an ER waiting for X-rays ; to being so sore & knowing tomorrow is going to hurt worse; to gratitude for friends close by & those far away (people you don’t even know) telling your daughters they are praying for their dad; to unlimited thanks to a good, good Father it was not worse-all go through my mind even as I write this.

I am grateful for the outpouring of support I have received. This is one of a cyclist’s worst nightmare (paralysis being the worst) and tears roll down my cheeks as I write this out of gratitude for God’s grace & protection. I do hope they find the perpetrator-not for the purpose of revenge or medical bills help-but so he/she will NEVER do this again. People who leave scenes like this are cowards of the highest order. Did they do it on purpose? Did they hit me then realize it and run? Were they texting or playing with their phone or looking down? Did they realize what they did & run? Are they even aware of what they did? Questions which will probably go unanswered.

I may never know the answers to those questions. It bugs me but I am more concerned now with fellow cyclists who face the same cowardice & recklessness.

In the end, I’d appreciate your prayers for a full & complete recovery. Share the road folks. Cyclists have as much right to be on it as cars do. Stay alert while driving.


Monday, October 17th, 2016

This coming Sunday we will celebrate our 12th anniversary as a church community. I shared the following this past Sunday. I realize many of you who read this are not part of OVCF, but there are some who do, some of whom were not here Sunday to hear this. So I thought I would include it here, especially for them.

“Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts; let them proclaim your power. Everyone will share the story of your wonderful goodness; they will sing with joy about your righteousness.” Psalm 145:4,7

I want to ask you a personal favor. Would you email me at a paragraph or two about a time when God has used the ministry of Owen Valley Christian Fellowship to bless or help you? You might share about an individual who helped you, a conversation you had, a youth group event, mission trip, Bible Study, or a sermon. If you choose, you can ask to keep it anonymous. The best reflection we could have for our 12th Anniversary is our church family sharing stories of God’s wonderful goodness being lived out by His people through OVCF over the last 12 years.

The plan is to share some of your responses this Sunday, but also to share throughout the whole month of November about God’s goodness and our gratitude for His goodness. Your responses will also be an added bonus during our prayer time when we pray for the Educator, college student, etc.  It will be a great way to say thanks.

Perhaps you are reading but are not a part of the OVCF family in Spencer. Why not do this for your church/pastor and let him know of your gratitude? Why not start here and tell me what you are thankful for?


Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

I wasn’t going to write another post this week but felt an overflow of gratitude and wanted to share it with you. First, remember to take some time Thanksgiving Day to do what the day reminds us to do:


Our church family will be serving a FREE meal from 11-1:00 for the community. For those unable to come, we will deliver. It started last year when I heard about some folks who needed a meal. Despite the bitter cold, it went well. Because our homeless population is not a normal population (living under a bridge in a tent village, etc) it is hard to reach them. I heard of one just yesterday (Tuesday) who lives in the woods and unless he wants you to find him you won’t. I’d sure like to find out where he is and take a meal to him. But the person I was talking to does and will deliver it for us. We have another who lives in a camper with no heat or electricity and “watches over” a house which has been condemned because of flooding. So many hurting & broken people. So many different stories.

I am blessed beyond my wildest dreams. I’m not rolling in dough. I have no retirement. No SS. No big 403(b). I don’t live in a mansion. I choose not to wear fancy clothes. I drive a dependable truck. I serve a simple church with a simple building which is too small, but we choose to not rack up debt.  We choose to serve our community as much as possible. We choose to love.  I would not want to be anywhere else for all the money in the world.

I have a wife whom I love and have been married to for 42 1/2 years. I have two fantastic daughters, a son-in-law, and a one-of-a-kind grandson who lights up my world.

I have friends I have made down through the years. Doug, a college classmate. Jim, a cycling buddy and a true friend whom I still get together with. Ron & Joyce, older (than me) friends whom I tolerate since they like the St. Louis Cardinals. And friends I have made in the 10 years here whom I count as the dearest of all. I work with Diana and Ryan, the two best staff people I have known and worked with. I have online friends whom I have never met in person but feel a connection with.

Above all…I have Jesus. My life. My all. My reason.

Yes…I am blessed. “And I thank You, Father, for giving me blessings beyond counting. May my life be one of thanksgiving to You in every way, every day.”


Monday, November 23rd, 2015

Deb asked me to write a post for Thanksgiving for Faith’nFriends. Because my schedule is hectic this week, I am going to use it for this post. I’m also going to be lying low the next few days. I will have a post for this weekend which will go live on Thursday night. This is a lot longer than I normally write but she wants something over 500 words. Enjoy… BTW: this will go live on Wednesday morning at Faith’nFriends at 8:00 (Eastern time).

I asked myself the same question I ask myself every year when it comes to sermons for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. What do I say that hasn’t already been said?

“Hello…Bill (think Biff knocking on McFly’s head in Back to the Future). Who says you have to say something different?”

True that. So a simple post it is.

I’d like to propose a small proposition statement: Forgettable: thanksgiving. Forgettable holiday: Thanksgiving Day. Unforgettable: God’s steadfast love.

Let’s take the first two. One simple question will set up why I say “forgettable.” Here it is: what is the one thing we often fail to do each day? Answer: be grateful. It is so much easier spouting off to God this unending shopping list of ideas/things He can and ought to do for us/things He should do for us/how He can answer our prayers with what we think is best. Thankful heart? Maybe…if we get around to it. So…now you know why I think thanksgiving is forgettable.

Second: forgettable holiday. Seriously (as my daughter says)? Do I really have to go into this?

Halloween hadn’t even passed before Christmas decorations and gift items were already on the shelves of WalMart, Target and all the other big box stores. Our local theater has been advertising for a free showing of “It’s a Wonderful Life” for close to a month (and yes, I will be going). It won’t be long before we see sparklers taking the place of lights; Santa’s sleigh being pulled by 8 tiny rabbits; the wise men & shepherds wearing costumes; and a heart replacing Jesus in the manger. Sarcastic I know. But am I wrong? Think about it: Thanksgiving Day gets a bum rap. We love it because it means school is dismissed; work is shut down (for most professions); we get to eat without feeling guilty (because we will head to the gym the next day); we get to watch football instead of having social interaction. (I, for one, am not a football fan so it doesn’t matter to me who is playing). And wonder of all wonders! Black Friday is the next day kicking off what? The Christmas season (which has already been in full swing).

So…thanksgiving is forgettable. Thanksgiving Day is the forgettable holiday (or often overlooked).

One thing should not be overlooked, forgettable. We dare not forget God’s love never changes. Romans 8 is a feast of truth. There is way too much for me write about here but let me give you some ideas.

Romans 8:1-2. Can there be any greater blessing for which to be thankful than knowing you have been set free from sin and bondage and are no longer under condemnation?

Romans 8: 16-17. So many live with insecurity-with their lives and their salvation. Take a closer look: children and heirs. As I am want to say: Holy mackerel! Can there be anything much better?

Romans 8: 28-29. Everyone focuses on verse 28 but verse 29 says, “He has predestined us to be conformed to the image of Jesus!” That is another “Holy mackerel!” moment.

Romans 8:31-39. The coup de gras. Is there any more powerful set of words and thoughts put together under “one roof” than those? “Who shall separate us…?” “Neither death nor life, nor angels…”

Don’t let Thanksgiving Day pass by without taking some time to read and ponder the powerful truths in Romans 8. I have this sneaking suspicion you won’t forget this Thanksgiving for a long time.


Thursday, November 19th, 2015

One of the things “us older” people will remember from church or (even today) if you come from a more traditional denomination  is a thing called Responsive Reading. The pastor or leader would read something, then the whole congregation would read something in unison in response to what he just said.

Silly me! It is just like what we find in Psalm 136.

“His steadfast love endures forever.” 26 times it appears. They are in response to the 26 affirmations about God.

This coming Thursday is Thanksgiving Day. Thanksgiving should be an every day occurrence. It would be if we could keep in mind the powerful truth: HIS STEADFAST LOVE ENDURES FOREVER.

This Sunday I plan to explore this psalm closer. There are actually 3 things we can be thankful for:

The Wonder of Creation

The Wonder of Salvation

The Wonder of Steadfast Love

What a powerful truth to remember each day. That, and more, is the reason we need to have heart of thanksgiving.

Now you can break out in song.


Monday, November 9th, 2015

I messed up this past weekend. A least here at Cycleguy’s Spin. For some reason I spaced it and blogged over the weekend about my sermon. “Aaaaah wrong week Bill.” The sermon mentioned in this weekend’s blog is not until this coming weekend. We had a guest speaker this past Sunday. Will & Teresa Reed visited with us over a year ago and have since been in South Sudan. Due to the unrest they found themselves home much sooner than expected so we asked Will to speak and bring us up to date. He did a tremendous job. (Teresa was at  another church speaking). I’m going a lot out of memory with this but here some of what he shared:

They were in Mundri, which is a  “city” in the southeast part of Sudan.

Sudan has only known war something like 65 out of the past 80 years. They became the newest country in the world just a few year ago but then started fighting among themselves.

They have found the people of Mundri willing to establish relationships and be friends without expecting handouts.

They had to evacuate Mundri due to the fighting and have found the government forces to be the main culprits of looting and destruction.

The people of Mundri have been living in the bush off leaves, twigs and anything else to sustain life but still say, “God is good.”

They were living in conditions which were not “ideal.” I will spare you the market and bathroom stories.

So much more. But Will & Teresa can’t wait to go back. Their target date is January or February. I have always felt it took a special person to be a missionary. That thought was solidified. I am not ashamed to admit that while I found their story fascinating, even riveting, I have no desire to do that. I will support those who do but do believe being a missionary would fall under spiritual gift.

One other pondering which hits closer to home: I walked away more aware and grateful for what I have. Shame on me when I take God’s blessings for granted. Do you find yourself taking stock from time to time about the blessings you have?


Sunday, July 19th, 2015

RELAX! This is not a rehash of the news on the media wire. It is kinda like why would I want to waste my time regurgitating that anyway. 🙂  I just wanted to share some news with you and also ask you to pray about something.

In a young church like ours, it is seldom you have two couples who reach the same milestone in the same year. In fact, it may be considered unusual given our cultural climate. This past February we had a couple (Lynn & Madi) celebrate their 50th anniversary. Yesterday, Jo & I were privileged to attend another 50th wedding anniversary celebration (Terrie & Frances). Madi, Terrie, and Frances were classmates here in Spencer and have remained friends all these years. Congratulations to both couples!

I spent 13 years as a pastor of a church in Terre Haute, IN from 1987-2000. We moved here in 11/2005. While in TH I had the privilege of being the pastor to a family. Their son, Matt, grew up in the church, and then as normally happens I lost contact. Several years ago the mom was in a horrific accident (T-boned by someone running a light) and survived. I visited the family in the Indy hospital where I saw Matt again for the first time in several years. He went on to start an innovative business venture with 2 others-starting clinics in schools for the employees. One of our ladies works for the one in Spencer. A couple of weeks ago Matt announced he had colon and liver cancer. Advanced far more than he let on. This past Friday, Matt went to be with Jesus. I’ve been asked by his mom & step-father to have his funeral so Monday and Tuesday will be busy and very emotional days for me. My prayer request is for Matt’s family (his parents, a fiance’, 4 children & siblings), his friends, his employees, and for me.

Highs and lows. Part and parcel of life. A celebration of marriage to a reflection on death. The life of a pastor. The life of each one of us. If I don’t respond to comments-other than approving them-you will understand why. It will also affect my blog reading and commenting. Thanks for understanding. More…thanks for praying for me.

One more item: a praise. Tami has been offered a teaching job in Bloomington, IN teaching Kindergarten. They say it is a mere formality from here. We are grateful to God for the open door.



Monday, May 25th, 2015

Washington Monument

Lincoln Memorial

Jefferson Memorial

Mount Rushmore

Vietnam Wall

Pearl Harbor


Crosses on a highway

Lord’s Supper

Braniac question: What do they have in common?

Braniac answer:  They are all memorials.

Some more impactful than others but memorials nonetheless. All meaningful to someone.  “Lest we forget” is very appropriate for celebrating Monday’s meaning. While we all celebrate/celebrated the day differently, I do hope your celebration included thanking or honoring-in some way- the men and women who have served our country…and in many cases paid the ultimate price.