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Thanks from the Pastor

Dear Church,
        I want to thank every person who has prayed for me, called me, sent cards, visited, and brought food.  You are truly a loving and gracious church.  I love you and appreciate all you have done.  I am improving day by day and I can’t wait to be back with you in worship and service to our Lord.
        I have heard how God has been blessing over the past weeks-by those who have joined and rededicated their lives to the Lord.  I want to welcome Joe and Melissa Davis, Sandra Jones, David and Sheena England, and Mechelle Sankey to our church family.  We thank the Lord for you and are praying for God to use you in a mighty way at OBC.
I want to thank Mickey and Pete and others who have stepped up to the plate to help out in my absence.  I thank the Lord for men of God like Bob Bowman and Tim Millwood and other men who will preach in August.
Thank you, church, for your attendance and your service.  God has allowed me to have time with my family and time to pray and seek His face for the future of Oakland.  God has great plans for Oakland.  I believe the greatest days are before us.
Pray much and let’s believe God for great and mighty things.

Serving the Savior, Pastor Mike

Back Surgery

As I write this article, I have a couple of days before my back surgery.  My mind is racing with so many things that have to be done before I have it.  I want to thank each and every person that has and is praying for me, and for all the kind words and support you have shown me.  God is good and it is at times like this that we see Him show Himself strong.
        I am also believing during this time of my absence that you will be faithful to attend.  There will be good men preaching each week.  Don’t miss the opportunity to hear these men of God.  You will be blessed by them.
I try not to question God’s purposes.  He knows what He is doing.  Nothing happens by accident.  The wonderful thing about faith is when we exercise it, we get to experience the mighty hand of God working.  When I get back from my surgery, I will begin a new series on Sunday nights on the Religions of the World.  It is going to be a great study.  There is only one true religion and that is Christianity.  All others are false religions.  How can so many people believe a lie?  Make plans to attend and invite others to come with you.  I will begin this series in September.
God bless you, church, and thank you for loving me and my family.  I will see you on the other side of my surgery.

Serving the Savior, Pastor Mike

Faithful attendance

Growing pains

It’s Monday morning, and I am looking at our Sunday School report as I always do on Mondays.  I am so encouraged by what I see.  For the last twelve weeks, we have had great attendance.  We have the potential of running 150 easily.  Thank you for being faithful to small group Bible study.  When I first came, we did not have very many children or youth, but I can tell you we have them now.  We are looking at adding classes.  That tells me that we have more young couples coming.  God is truly blessing us at Oakland. To God be the glory!
However, with growth comes growing pains. That means we will need new teachers.  Please don’t think someone else will do it. You pray and ask God if you are the one to teach children God’s Word.
Also, with growth comes the need for money to do what we do.  More people means we have to buy more resources.  We have a new building which adds cost.  We have added staff.  We are not meeting our budget needs.  Our budget needs are $27,870.00 per month.  We currently are averaging $19,284.00.  As you can see, we are well short.  I don’t talk a lot about finances, but when we have a need and God is blessing us, you must know.  People who are uninformed can’t help.  Pray about how you can help.  Let’s shake our fist in the devil’s face, because he surely doesn’t want to see us move forward.
Thank God with me for how He is blessing us, and ask Him to meet the needs we have.  With growth every church faces these kinds of issues, so don’t panic.  Believe and be faithful. God bless you, church.

Serving the Savior,
Pastor Mike

Living for Jesus

The Lord impressed upon me to get a book down off the shelf titled “Forty Gospel Hymn Stories”.  I began to read some of the stories when I came across one titled “Living for Jesus”. Here are some of the words:
       “Living for Jesus a life that is true. Striving to please Him in all that I do.  Yielding allegiance, glad hearted and free, this is the pathway of blessing for me.”
       “Living for Jesus who died in my place.  Bearing on Calv’ry my sin and disgrace.  Such love constrains me to answer His call, follow His leading and give Him my all.”
“Living for Jesus wherever I am.  Doing each duty in His Holy name.  Willing to suffer affliction or loss.  Deeming each trial a part of my cross.”
“Living for Jesus thro’ earth’s little while.  My dearest treasure, the light of His smile.  Seeking the lost ones He died to redeem.  Bringing the weary to find rest in Him.”
And the chorus says:
“O Jesus, Lord and Savior, I give myself to Thee; For Thou , in Thine atonement, didst give Thyself for me.  I own no other master, my heart shall be Thy throne.  My life I give, henceforth to live, O Christ, for Thee alone.”
Harold Lowden wrote the music then he asked T. O. Chisholm to write words to the melody.  After much thought and earnest prayer, God gave him these words.  My prayer is that you would read them again and meditate on them.  The only life worth living is the life lived for Christ.

Serving the Savior, Pastor Mike

Grand Opening

Dear Church Family,
       The journey to see our new Family Life Center is about to be complete. It started with much prayer and planning.  Then we all made a commitment to give toward the plan.  Finally, we saw the loads of dirt come in and then the building going up.  God blessed us with a great company in Parrish Construction.  They have been a joy to work with, as well as all the subs that worked on the project.  They are to be completely done by the end of the month.  We have set February 12 as the Grand Opening.  Make plans to be here. Invite as many as you can to here that Sunday.  We will have Sunday School, Worship in the Sanctuary and then we want to have a covered dish meal after the service and dedicate the new Family Life Center to the Lord’s service.
Now, what we have to do is work to fill this place with people.  One step toward doing that is our “GO to GROW” ministry.  Reaching out to people who are lost, un-churched, our friends and neighbors, co-workers, those looking for a place to worship and plant their lives.  I am more committed than ever to go after people.  Come and join us the first and third Tuesday of each month at 6:30pm to do just that - reach people. Pray that God would save the lost and pray that God would help us to reach out into the communities around us.  One thing we know for sure, people need the Lord.
It’s easy to get busy doing many things, but let’s refocus and recommit ourselves to the things that matter most to God...PEOPLE! God loves people and we are to love people too. There is much to be done. Let’s be faithful in these days to obey the Lord and believe Him for a great harvest of souls.

Serving the Savior,
Pastor Mike

Putting 2016 behind us..

Dear Church Family,
        Wow!  Can you believe how fast 2016 seemed to go by?!  It seemed like it just got started when it was coming to an end.  This year had its ups and downs for many families and for our church family.  We saw people saved and baptized, people who joined, but others who left us.  One thing I know, there are no guarantees in life.  Just when you think you have things figured out, you are thrown a curve ball.  I’m glad God is faithful and I can look unto Him for guidance, strength and truth.  It’s His truth that sets us free.  I am also glad the Lord told us to put the past behind us.  I can look forward as the Lord tarries His coming.
What will 2017 hold for each of us or Oakland Baptist Church?  No one on earth knows the answer to these questions, but I know who does.  God already knows every detail to 2017.  Our job is to seek Him, and listen for His instructions.  Then we are to obey Him.  Will you do that with me this coming year?  I plan on digging into His Word more than I ever have.  Join me, won’t you?
On January 8, in the morning service, I will give my “State of the Church” message.  Please make plans to be here.
Remember, each month we include a Bible reading plan with the Newsletters that will help you read the Bible through in a year.  Join those that do it every year.  You won’t be sorry you did.

Serving the Savior,
Pastor Mike

Christmas 2016

Dear Church Family,
        I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I know we did!  It comes and goes so fast, and then we begin to focus on Christmas.  The month will be filled with so many things: the parade, Live Nativity, parties, shopping, traveling, decorating, eating, and eating some more.  All of these things are important, but remember Christ, the reason for this season, to put Him first.  During this month, take the time to sit down with your Bible and read about His birth and reflect on how important that was.  I read it every year to my family as our tradition. 
There was no greater gift ever given than Jesus Christ.  Find ways to share Him with others during this season. One way is by inviting people to the Live Nativity.  Pick up some cards and pass them out to those you know and to those you don’t know.
As this year comes to an end, and we begin 2017, make a commitment to read God’s Word through next year.  Make a commitment to be faithful in your attendance to Sunday School and Worship.  Make a commitment to be involved in some ministry or ministries.
Our building will be completed in January.  Thanks for praying and for giving.  Please continue to do both.
On January 8, 2017,  I will give my “State of the Church” message.  Please make plans to be here that Sunday.
In closing, Jane and I would like to wish each and everyone a “Merry Christmas”!

Serving the Savior,
Pastor Mike

Revival 2016

Dear Church Family,
       Saturday, October 22nd, I met with the Church Council for four hours.  We planned and discussed many things related to Oakland Baptist Church.  It was a great meeting from my perspective.  A lot of great ideas were shared and we planned out the 2017 year.  I am thankful for every person who serves on our Church Council.  Each person has a heart for the Lord and is committed to giving 100%.  I am, and I believe I can say that the whole council, is excited about the 2017 year at OBC.
Before we get to 2017, we still have a couple of very important months left in 2016.  Our Revival begins on November 6 with Bob Pitman, Bob Smith, and Jeff Cleghorn. Please do everything you can to be here and bring someone with you. The WBW Annual Christmas Bazaar is Saturday, November 19 and is always a big hit. Many will be on our property who we will have the opportunity to speak to and invite to church.  November is also the month that has been designated as “Thanksgiving”.  As believers, we are thankful every day for what Jesus has done for us, but on November 20, we will come together to celebrate Thanksgiving with a meal, fellowship and an encouraging word.  Make plans to join us.  On the 27th, we have our annual “Hanging of the Green” Service.  It is a night where we learn of Christmas, we sing, and together, we decorate the church for the Christmas season.
In December, we all work together to present Jesus through the Live Nativity.  Pray much for those who will come, for good weather, for wellness among the cast and crew, and for the performance itself.  All participants, please be where you need to be at the appointed times. May God honor His name through this presentation.

Serving the Savior,
Pastor Mike

Survey says...

Dear Church Family,
        Many of you participated in a recent survey we did through the Sunday School.  First, let me thank you for doing so and for answering honestly.  It will be a tremendous help to us in putting focus on areas of need related to spiritual growth and to enhance areas where most were in agreement. One of the encouraging stats was the number of people who read their Bibles regularly.  72% read their Bibles regularly.  Praying was the most impressive...it was 97%!  A church that seeks the Lord like that has great hope, and a great future.  Thank you, church, for being faithful to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
If that wasn’t encouraging enough, I then had a meeting with those who had participated in our discipleship process, and I was so encouraged to hear the testimonies of how God has and is growing them in the Lord.  Blue Book grads, let’s go after others and keep the growth going.
There is a lot taking place between now and the end of the year: Homecoming, Revival, Fall Festival and the Live Nativity. Let’s be faithful to attend and participate everywhere we can.
Please be thinking about who you can invite to our Revival meetings, November 6-9. Let’s believe God for great things.

Serving the Savior, Pastor Mike
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