Chad’s Corner and more…

November 27, 2022

The Season of Advent
On the Christian Calendar, today is the first Sunday of the Advent
Season. This season is typically observed in more liturgical churches
(Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans, Methodists, etc.) in various ways.
However, in recent years, other church traditions have begun to have
Advent celebrations as well. The word advent means “arrival” or “an
appearing or coming into place.” The word advent is nowhere found
in our English Bible translations. However, the concept and the
importance of advent is seen throughout the entirety of the Bible. The
Story of Scripture is Someone is coming – Someone has come – and
Someone is coming again. That someone is Jesus! Advent is all about
what has come and what is yet to come.
The Season of Advent lasts four Sundays and ends on Christmas Eve.
The themes of Advent are traditionally, Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love.
I think it is essential for us, as the Church, to commemorate and
celebrate the fact that Jesus came and that He is coming again. So, this
morning, I am kicking off a new Advent Sermon Series that I am
calling: “ADVENT: The Already Here & The Yet to Come.” Throughout
the next four weeks we will look at the Biblical themes of Advent. This
will lead us up to our Christmas Eve Candlelight Service (Saturday
12/24) and our Christmas Day Service (Sunday 12/25). I hope that you
will make plans to celebrate the Season of Advent with your Family of
God here at HLCC.

November 20, 2022

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays – yes for the family and the food
and the football – but also because it is one of the few holidays that hasn’t
been commercialized. It is, or at least should be, simply a time for family and
friends to get together and celebrate God’s goodness.
The First Thanksgiving Observance was issued by George Washington during
his first year as President. It sets aside Thursday, November 26 as “A Day of
Publick Thanksgiving and Prayer.” Signed by Washington on October 3,
1789 and entitled “General Thanksgiving,” the decree appointed the day “to
be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal
favors of Almighty God.”
More than seventy years later; Abraham Lincoln, in 1863 wrote:
“It is the duty of nations as well as of men to owe their independence upon
the overruling power of God; to confess their sins and transgressions in
humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to
mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the
Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations are blessed
whose God is the Lord.”
More than a thousand years before the above proclamations were penned;
the Apostle Paul wrote, “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for
you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18, NASB). Notice here in the
Scriptures that giving thanks to God is more than a proclamation, more than
a once-a-year holiday, it is a command. As Christians we have so much to be
thankful for and we ought always to give thanks to the Lord our God. My
message this morning – “Always Grateful.”

November 13, 2022

Bob’s Blog

God is clear that He wants His people to lead holy and pure lives, but sometimes we
may not understand exactly how to do that. The writer of the book of James gives us a
hint in his first chapter, verse 27:
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans
and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
Today has been set aside by many of God’s people all over the world as Orphan
Sunday. It’s not just a good idea to care for orphans, but through the Scriptures God
reveals His heart for those often neglected. If God cares about them, so should we. The
message today will be about God’s heart for the “fatherless,” and He passes His concern
to His people.
A number in this church family have adopted or have been adopted, some have
fostered children, and some watch out for the rights of those who otherwise have
nobody to plead their cause. The problems of the fatherless are not few. Here are a few
• It is estimated that there are about 153 million orphans worldwide (UNICEF). To
give you an idea of the enormity of the numbers compare it with the population of
the United States, which is just a little over 331 million.
• 60% of orphan girls will become victims of the sex trade. 10-15% or orphan
children will commit suicide before age 18. 70% of orphan boys in Eastern Europe
will become criminals.
• 250,000 children are adopted annually but 14,050,000 orphan children will grow up
and age out of the orphan care system without ever having been part of a loving
There are ways to make a difference in a child’s life. Are you willing to make that
Adoption, becoming a foster parent, providing respite care, monetary donation, and
becoming an advocate for children in the “system” are but a few ways we can “look
after orphans…in their distress…”
Agape Villages, a local foster and adoption agency affiliated with the church, is in
need of foster families. There are many more children in need than are currently
provided for. Please contact them, or see Bob or Lyn Oates for contact information.
Grace to you, and peace!

November 6, 2022

Missions & Orphans Sunday 2022
Sunday November 13th will be our Missions & Orphans Sunday here at
HLCC. Although the Bible never uses the phrase “missions,” God is
certainly missions-minded – “For the Son of Man came to seek and save
the lost” (Luke 19:10), and His love extends to all the world (John 3:16).
The salvation of all nations should be a concern for every Christian. I
and your elders here believe that we, as a church, should be involved in
missions because God desires all people to be saved and to come to the
knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4). We believe the offer of salvation
in Christ alone is made to “whosoever will” (Revelation 22:17). This is
why we preach, teach, and stress the importance of sharing our faith and
supporting those who dedicate their lives to Missions work here and
around the world.
Next Sunday, our elders will give us an update on what we have done,
what we are doing, and what we prayerfully plan to do this new year in
our support of missions both here in the states and throughout out the
world. Sunday November 13th is also National Orphan Sunday. It is
fitting that we would give you an update on the orphanage in Russia that
we support, because that too is truly a mission of sharing the love of
Christ with those children. I want to thank you all for your continued
faithfulness and generosity in giving and I hope you will make plans to
be here next Sunday for our Missions and Orphans Sunday.

October 30,22

Celebrating Halloween
Yesterday we had a great time at our annual Trunk-or-Treat Event (although I
am not sure people over 45 should be victims of the dunk-tank). I love this time
of the year for many reasons, but I have always enjoyed the Halloween Holiday.
Christine and I love to dress up in costume and view it as innocent and harmless
fun. It is my bride’s birthday– so we have that to celebrate too. Now, I have
known some sincere believers who view Halloween as a satanic holiday
established to worship evil spirits and promote darkness and wickedness. Are
they right and am I wrong? Is it possible for Christians to celebrate Halloween
without compromising their faith? Since tomorrow is Halloween, let me share a
few brief thoughts with you on celebrating Halloween.
First, I fully acknowledge that no matter how commercialized, Halloween does
have pagan origins. Although it can (and I would say “should”) be fun and
innocent, I don’t think it’s something to be taken lightly. This is why we do
“Trunk-or-Treat” and have “Fall Festivals.” We have fun with dressing up but
stay away from “dark” or satanic costumes. The Bible doesn’t speak to
Halloween, but there are some obvious principles that should not be ignored. For
example, in the Old Testament, witchcraft and divination were punishable by
death (Exodus 22:18; Leviticus 19:31; 20:6, 27). The New Testament also makes
it clear that the church should have nothing to do with the occult (Read the story
of Simon in Acts 8:9-24).
When it comes to celebrating Halloween, I believe it’s a matter of choice and
conscious. For we who do, we must make a conscious choice that our attitude,
dress, and most importantly behavior reflects a redeemed life (Philippians 1:27).
For those who don’t, be sure not to pass judgment on those who do (see Romans
14). We should never allow our own convictions on disputable matters to cause
division in the body of Christ, nor should we use our freedom to cause others to
stumble in their faith. Let us do all things as to the Lord.

October 23, 2022

Meet Peter’s Brother Andrew
How many of you could name the 12 Apostles that Jesus chose and
called to follow Him in the Gospels without looking them up on your
smartphone? I am sure most would think of Peter, James, and John
since they are mentioned more than the others. Matthew may come to
mind due to the story of his conversion and the fact that along with
John, he wrote his own Gospel. Judas is remembered due his betrayal
of Jesus. But how about Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter? He is
only mentioned 12 times in the entire New Testament – and four of
those times are simply lists of the 12 apostles. Yet, Andrew was the
first apostle Jesus called and the first to claim that Jesus was the
Messiah (the Christ). In fact, if it were not for Andrew, his brother
Simon Peter may have never met Jesus. The Bible says that after
Andrew met Jesus “the first thing Andrew did was to find his brother
Simon and tell him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (that is, the Christ).
And he brought him to Jesus” (John 1:41-42).
This morning, I am preaching the second message in our new fall
sermon series: “A Friend You Should Know.” Jesus is the best friend
you will ever have and He is the friend that we should know. Like
Andrew, after we have met Jesus, we should tell others and bring them
to Jesus. Simon Peter is a very important person in the Bible and
Church History, but if it were not for his brother Andrew, we may have
never heard of Peter. He brought him to Jesus.

October 16, 2022

What a Friend We Have in Jesus
We sometimes sing the old hymn, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” It
was originally a poem by a preacher named Joseph M. Scriven back in
1855 to comfort his mother, who was living in Ireland while he was in
Canada. He first published it anonymously and it wasn’t until the 1880s
that he would receive full credit. Then in 1868, Charles Cozat Converse
composed the tune to the words that we still sing today some 150 years
later. It is well written and has a beautiful harmony and melody. It has
been covered by artists throughout the years from Aretha Franklin to
Alan Jackson. However, the song is much more than just a nice tune to
sing, it teaches a strong Biblical truth – Although Jesus is the Son of God
and the Lord of Lord, He also calls us “friends.” In John 15:15, Jesus says,
“I have called you friends.” Jesus not only saved us, Jesus not only is
worthy to be Lord of our lives, but we have a friend in Jesus.
This morning, I am starting a new fall sermon series that I am calling “A
Friend You Should Know.” Now, spoiler alert… It’s Jesus! Jesus is the
best friend imaginable. The Bible says, “Greater love has no one than
this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). And
that is what Jesus did! He is the best friend we can have and He is a
friend we should know! This is why, although written over 150 years ago,
the song “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” is an appropriate song for us
to sing and celebrate Jesus’ love for us.

October 9, 22

When We Sing on Sunday
We sing all the time and everywhere. We sing in the shower. We
sing in our car. We sing at sporting events. We sing at birthday
parties. We sing at weddings and at funerals. When we attend
concerts, we sing. We sing in the rain and in the sunshine. We sing
during the day and at night. But when we sing together as the
Church on Sunday, our earthly voices join the choirs of heaven and
that singing is like no other. Dwight L. Moody said, “If a man just
stops to think what he has to praise God for, he will find there is
enough to keep him singing praises for a week.” I agree with the
Psalmist who said, “My lips will shout for joy, when I sing praises to
you; my soul also, which you have redeemed” (Psalm 71:23). The
Bible tells us to “Praise God in His Sanctuary” (Psalm 150:1) and to
“Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; sing to his name…(Psalm
135:3). I have lost count of the number of times I’ve been moved as
I added my voice to the beautiful, engaging, powerful,
awe-inspiring, robust singing of the Church on a Sunday.
This morning, I want to share with you a special sermon I wrote on
what the Bible says happens when we sing. I have asked the Praise
Team to share a few extra songs to help emphasize each of the
points I want to share with you. Let us open our hearts and our
mouths as we sing to the Lord and worship Him in Spirit and in
Truth. “Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise
to the rock of our salvation!” (Psalm 95:1)


The Hands & Feet of Jesus
In 1999, a band named Audio Adrenaline released an album with a hit
song entitled, “Hands & Feet.” This song is written as a prayer of a Jesus
follower who wants to make a difference in his world but struggles when
he cannot do what he wants to do. The chorus says, “You give me strength
when I say: I want to be your hands. I want to be your feet. I’ll go where
you send me. I’ll go where you send me.” To be the hands and feet of
Jesus means that we, as Jesus followers, are obedient in our commission
to preach the gospel and to co-labor with Christ to love, serve, and heal
the broken, hurting, and hopeless of this world. Feet go and hands do.
Jesus tells us that “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers
and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40).

Yesterday, our feet went and our hands worked as we raised awareness
and funds for the people around the world who are in desperate need of
clean water in our 4th annual Walk4Water (W4W) event. We partner with
an organization called Healing Hands International (HHI) to meet both
the physical and spiritual needs of people literally all around the world.
This morning, Sean Judge from HHI and I will be sharing the stage with
an update on the results of our walk and a wrap-up message in our
current sermon series, “Hope Overflowing.” This Wednesday, 10/5/22,
Sean will be at our mid-week service at 7PM to make a presentation and
share a little more about the history of HHI and what, in addition to
W4W, they are doing to be the hands and feet of Jesus. You won’t want
to miss it!


Don’t Give Up There’s Hope
A man approached a little league baseball game one afternoon. He
asked a boy in the dugout what the score was. The boy responded,
“Eighteen to nothing–we’re behind.” “Boy,” said the spectator, “I’ll
bet you’re discouraged.” “Why should I be discouraged?” replied
the little boy. “We haven’t even gotten up to bat yet!” That little
leaguer had not given up, he knew there was still hope! This
morning we are in a series of messages called “Hope Overflowing.”
The Bible says God, who is the source of hope, wants to give us
hope and wants to bless us in such a way that our hope overflows
(see Romans 15:13). In this 3rd message, I will share with you
where we can find the hope that we need.

This series has been designed to build us up to our 4th Annual
Walk4Water Event here at Ham Lane Church. The theme this year
is “Hope FULL.” This Saturday (10/1/22) we will host a fundraising
4-mile walk that aims to raise awareness and money for clean
water projects all over the world. Four miles is the average distance
women and children walk each day in developing world countries
to get clean water. We can make a difference in the name of
Jesus and fulfill the command that “if you give even a cup of cold
water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be
rewarded” (Matthew 10:42). See the announcement in this bulletin
to donate and sign-up to walk.


Who Will You Bring

I sincerely believe worshiping Jesus together may be the single most
important thing we do as a church family. I love our small groups. I love
our fellowships. Our Bible studies are essential. But when we gather
together as the family of God and unite our voices in song, engage our
hearts in prayer, hear God speak to us from His Word, remember His
sacrifice as we commune, give back a portion of what God has blessed us
with, and we build up, edify, encourage, and strengthen one another…
that’s what being the church is all about! God created us for community.
Our GOOD Mission to show our love to God and to one another happens
when we worship together. But our mission to love others and to make
disciples can also happen when we worship together. The Bible says that
when we worship God in Spirit and in Truth and an unbeliever is among us,
they “will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, ‘God is really among
you!’” (1 Corinthians 14:25).
A recent survey asked, “What initially brought you to church?” 6-8%
walked in by own initiative. 2-3% liked a program offered. 8-10% liked the
pastor. 3-4% had a need met by the church. 1-2% were evangelized. 3-4%
were attracted by a Bible study / Sunday school. 70-85% were invited by a
friend! That means on average 83% of people are introduced to the
church because a friend invited them! Next Sunday is our Bring A Friend
To Church (BF2C) Sunday. I want to encourage you to pray about who you
will invite. The average Christian can identify 7 unchurched people that
they have a personal relationship with. Then I want you to invite them. You
can use one of the invite cards, or shoot a text, maybe a social media post,
or just ask. Then bring your friend to church. After the services we will
head down to the Lake for a time for food, fun, and fellowship.
Pray – Invite – Bring! Who will you bring?


The Survival Rule of Threes
Have you ever heard of “The Survival Rule of Threes?”

They say,

  • The average person can survive up to 30 days without food;
  • Up to 3 days without water;
  • Up to 3 hours without shelter;
  • And, up to 3 minutes without air.

There are of course some exceptions to these rules. Last year, a 56-year-old free diver in Croatia named Budimir Sobat was added to the Guinness World Record book for holding his breath at a staggering 24 minutes 37.36 seconds.

Well, although you can go almost a month without food, days without water, and several minutes without air, you cannot survive a second without hope. This is why the Bible says the 3 most important virtues are “faith, HOPE, and love” (1 Corinthians 13:13).

The Apostle Paul penned these words to the church in Rome, “May the God of HOPE fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with HOPE by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13). This morning, we are beginning a brand-new sermon series “Hope Overflowing.” For the next four weeks, we will spend some time in God’s Word to learn about the essential need of hope in the life of the believer. These messages will build us up to our Annual Bring a Friend To Church Sunday on 9/25, our 4th Annual Walk4Water on Saturday 10/1 and conclude with our Walk4Water Sunday on 10/2. The Walk’s theme this year is “Hope FULL.” I want to encourage you to be here these next four weeks to hear these much-needed messages, to bring a friend, and join us in our walk.


Celebrating Labor Day
Tomorrow is the first Monday of September and a Federal Holiday called Labor Day. More than just a 3-day weekend, Labor Day is celebrated in honor and reorganization of the American labor movement and the works and contributions of the laborers to the development and achievements of the United States. I read that the average American will spend more than 150,000 hours at work; approximately 40% of our lives.

Work is more than just primarily a source of income. Psychologists are finding that our job can have powerful effects on our psychological well-being. Well, if we spend almost half of our lives working, then of course it can affect our psychological well-being. I would argue that it can affect our spiritual well-being also. We have a GOOD Mission and that mission applies to our work. You can express your love for God while you work, you can express
your love for others while you work, and you can witness while you work and help to fulfill our mission to make disciples.

One of the last commands of Jesus, before He ascended to Heaven, was that we are to be His “witnesses” (Acts 1:8). In my message this morning, I want to share with you some Biblical and practical ways we can witness while we work. God is interested in your work life and your job can be a place where God grows your character. Our work demonstrates what we believe more than words. The Bible says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” (Colossians 3:23). The quality of our work may be our most powerful testimony. We can use our work, skill, and business to further God’s Kingdom.


Christian Acronyms
We all know what acronyms are and most of us have used acronyms at one
time or the other. The dictionary definition of acronym says “an
abbreviation from the initial letters of other words and pronounced as a
word.” Many times, we know the acronym without knowing what it actually
stands for. For example, NASA – most know of NASA but many do not know
that it is an acronym for “National Aeronautic and Space Administration.” Or
how many of you know what SCUBA actually stands for? There are others
that most everyone knows – ASAP = “As Soon As Possible.” In the Army we
used a lot of acronyms. I would hear a command tell his XO (Executive
Officer) that he needs something done by NLT COB (No later than close of

Have you ever heard of any Christian acronyms? The most popular and
probably most well known is WWJD – What Would Jesus Do? Many of you
know that GRACE can be an acronym for “God’s Riches At Christ’s
Expense.” How about BIBLE? “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.”
Maybe a lesser known is PUSH – “Pray Until Something Happens.” My
message this morning can be summed up in the acronym FROG – “Fully Rely
On God.” King Solomon reminds us to “Trust in the LORD with all your
heart, and do not lean on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). The Lord
spoke through the Prophet Isaiah to His people, “Fear not, I am the one who
helps you” (Isaiah 41:13). This morning, I will share with you some Biblical
principles about what it means to truly live out the FROG life.


One Size Does NOT Fit All!
Have you ever purchased something that was marketed as “One Size Fits
All?” Although there are some things that may be “one size fits all” such
as adjustable hats, for the most part it is false advertising to say “one size
fits all” because we know that’s not always true. Now, in an effort to
correct that, I’ve seen things advertised as “One Size Fits Most.” Well,
that might be mostly true… I don’t know. When it comes to churches, we
know that one size does not fit all. Churches come in many different
sizes… Some are large, numbering in the thousands, even tens of
thousands, and others are small with as few as two or more meeting in a
home. Obviously, the size of a church drastically affects the way a church
operates. Some really enjoy a large church and others a smaller church.
The ultimate purpose and mission of the church doesn’t change based on
the size, but the way that mission is accomplished is very different based
on the size and resources of a church. When it comes to churches, one
size doesn’t fit all and I think that’s a good thing. God loves variety and
He uses churches of all sizes for His glory.
However, there are times that some may become discouraged because
they believe their small church is not able to do the things that a large
church is able to do. Although larger churches can obviously do things
that smaller churches cannot do, I believe there are advantages and
benefits to a small church. In my message today, I want to share with you
some of the benefits and the obligations of a small church.


Our Secret Service
They usually wear all black suits, black sunglasses, and an earpiece. They
conduct criminal investigations and protect the nation’s leaders. This group has
grown from a small bureau staffed by a few operatives in 1865, to a law
enforcement organization of nearly 7,000 employees worldwide. You’ve seen
them on TV, numerous books have been written and movies made about them;
yet, with all we think we do know about them there is a lot we do not know
about them because most of what they do is done in secret. Do you know what
group of people I am talking about? The United States Secret Service.
We all know of the US Secret Service, but what about the Christian’s Secret
Service? When we think of being a Christian, it is not something we think of
doing in secret. Especially since we live in a country that allows us the freedom
to worship our God in public. Jesus said that we, as Christians, should allow our
lights to shine (Matthew 5:16) and He warns us that if we are not willing to
confess Him as our Lord before men, He will not confess us before His Father in
Heaven (Matthew 10:32). The concept of a “closet Christian” is foreign to the
Bible. Our faith in Jesus as Lord should be a public confession that is made by
our mouths and shown by our lives.
However, in His famous Sermon on the Mountain, Jesus does share a few things
that His followers should do in secret. This morning we will examine those
things in a message that I am calling, “Our Secret Service.”


Up & Coming at HLCC
Hey Church Family, I will miss you this morning while Christine and I are
back home in Ohio. I am grateful for David’s willingness to bring you a Word
from the Lord today in my absence. I am excited to speak and share with the
Church Family at Stop 9 as they celebrate their 75th anniversary. This Church
was essential in my spiritual formation as a teen and young adult. I still
consider Woody one of my greatest mentors in ministry. Please pray for our
safe travels and for the services we will be celebrating and know that you all
are in my prayers as well.
We have some great things happening here at HLCC. On Sunday 8/28/2022
we will have our annual Pie Baking Contest. Then in September, we will be
ramping up for our annual Bring a Friend to Church (BF2C) Sunday on
9/25/2022. I want you to be praying about who you will invite and bring to
church that Sunday. After the services, we will all head down to Lodi Lake for a
time of food, fun, and fellowship. October will usher in our 4th annual Walk 4
Water (W4W) event. The walk is scheduled for Saturday 10/1/2022 and the
following Sunday will be our W4W Service. Sean Judge from Healing Hands
International will be with us again this year. My prayer is this will be our
biggest yet and that we will raise the funds to bring water to a people who so
desperately and that we do it all in the Love and Name of our Lord Jesus. I ask
that you would join me in those prayers. We will also plan for our annual
Trunk-or-Treat event in October and then before we know it the Thanksgiving
and Christmas season will be upon us.
We have a GOOD Mission! God is Good and He is doing a Good Work here at
HLCC through each of you.


Ambassadors for Christ
The past few weeks, I have been preaching a series of messages from a
passage found in 2 Corinthians 5, where the apostle Paul describes the
ministry of reconciliation and he uses the term “ambassadors” for
Christ. He begins by telling us our identity in Christ is first and
foremost one of newness (vs.17). We discussed this two weeks ago.
Then last week we saw that God has reconciled us to Himself through
Christ and God has committed to us the ministry and the message of
reconciliation (vs.18&19). You can find both of those messages on the
HLCC YouTube page. In my sermon this morning, I want to explore
with you what it means that in Christ, we are ambassadors for Christ.
In Christ, we are God’s Ambassadors in that we have been entrusted
with and authorized to share the Gospel (1 Thessalonians 2:4). Our
task on this side of eternity is to represent God’s Kingdom (John
18:36), and it is our responsibility to reflect the official position of that
Kingdom. The Bible clearly teaches that although we are in this world,
we are not of this world (John 17:16). However, as long as God sees fit
to keep us in this world, we are his representatives, we are
ambassadors for Christ, and we have a GOOD Mission to fulfill. Jesus’
words to us are to be “as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as
doves” (Matthew 10:16). The good news is that we are empowered by
His Holy Spirit as we take the message of our King to the “ends of the
earth” (Acts 1:8), imploring all to be reconciled to God.