Sunday, January 8, 2023


My Mom got me a one-year devotional called “Mission Possible” by Tim Tebow. I asked Liam if he knew who Tim Tebow was. I thought everyone knows who Tim Tebow was, and then I realized Tim is a historical figure if you were born in 2012. For those who do not know, here are some pics of Tim. Tim led his Florida college team as a quarterback to two championships in 2007 and 2009. He played professional football and baseball.

His devotional had a one-day study on Passion. He explained we got the word passion from a Latin root word that meant to suffer. In greek, it means to be afflicted or undergo suffering. He states, “passion is not so much about getting hyped or professing our love, but at its core, true passion is our willingness to suffer. When you say you're passionate about something, what you are really saying is you are willing to suffer for it.

When you look at these pictures of Tim, you can see what he is passionate about. He is willing to suffer to make his body strong. He also stands up for his faith. He uses his athletic success as a platform to preach the gospel. 

His eye stickers state Eph 2:8-10: For it is by grace you have been saved. He prayed so much on the field that people would call kneeling to pray Tebowing! That took guts. You can bet he was anxious standing up to do what is right.

Here is someone else who used sports as a way to share his faith. On national and international TV he works through his fear. “Maybe this is not the right thing to do, but I am going to do it right now. We believe you are God.” shared his spiritual heart on TV. Passionate. Dan Orlovsky was an international quarterback. (Prayer for Damar Hamlin)

What if Tim messes up or makes mistakes? Should fear of failure keep him from his mission? 

What is Dan Orlovsky passionate about? Should his fear keep him from his mission?

Should your fear keep you from your mission? How about our church? Should fear keep us from accomplishing our church’s mission? Before Jesus died on the cross, we know he was so stressed that he sweat blood. What if Jesus had allowed fear to keep him from his mission?

Back to the Tim Tebow Devotional. “A mission mindset embraces suffering. I am not saying to be masochistic, but it’s a mentality with which you are willing to make sacrifices, push through pain, and fight for what truly matters because the mission is worth it. Jesus was passionate about dying for us so that we could have spiritual freedom. Is there a spiritual passion that you have but are not pursuing it for fear of messing up? Confess that now. Let’s pray. 

1 Peter 5:10 After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ will perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Need a Sign?

 Christmas trivia based on our communion song: The First Noel

What is noel? Christmas/first birth

Who were two major groups of people who came to visit Jesus when he was a baby?

Shepherds: Jewish and very poor

Wisemen: “Pagan”- Non-Jewish, likely very wealthy and very wise.

What were they looking for?

How did they hear about Jesus?

Shepherds- Angels- The angels were their sign.

Wisemen- Star- The star was their sign.

Have you ever needed a sign? Like the lyrics, “I need a sign to let me know you’re here.”

The shepherds knew a day would come when Jesus would arrive. They waited 400 years!  The Wisemen also were waiting based on prophecy from Daniel. 

Here is the point: Jesus came for the poorest of the poor in finances and spirit and the richest of the rich, not only in finances but spirit. Not only did he come for those people in the extreme places, but for everyone in between.  

I am not sure where this morning finds you. Maybe you are flying high loving the season, or maybe you are facing times of extreme difficulty. I bet we all have something in common with the shepherds and the Wisemen. The shepherds and Wisemen needed a sign. They asked, “where are you, God?”

Maybe, you are like many of the people before Jesus was born. They just needed a sign. They needed a sign to know that God was real and loved them. Jesus coming is your sign. Have you ever wondered what God was like? How can you truly know God? Jesus' birth was a gift. We can know what God is like because he took manly form through Jesus. He is our sign!

This week, I want to challenge you to read through John. When reading, ask yourself, what was God like? I did that to prepare for communion. The first miracle God turned water into wine. Not only did he defy the elements of water by turning them into wine, but did you know he used the water that everyone washed their hands with? He converted the dirty disgusting water into something beautiful that helped people celebrate life’s beautiful moments. 

As we focus on communion this morning, focus on three things:

  1. Jesus died for you and wants a relationship with you no matter where you are: poor or rich in spirit

  2. Jesus is God. We can know God by getting to know Jesus through reading his word.

  3. Jesus can transform us like he transformed the dirty filthy water into something completely new and life-giving.

Sunday, November 6, 2022

A Snowball To The Face

If you are a golfer, you know the feeling of everything being right, expecting to hit a drive perfectly down the fairway, getting up to the tee box, and hitting the worst opposite hit of your life. I had a similar experience in wrestling.

Our team had one the league championship four years in a row, I was a Sophomore with the opportunity to wrestle varsity against Carrollton. I had been working very hard with the team. Weigh-ins took place. I sized up my opponent and immediately had visions of a big and fast win in front of the whole school, my friends, and my family. I get out on the mat and take off confidently, pushing aggressively into my opponent. He tosses me through the air and puts me on my back. There I was, in front of the whole school, all of my friends and family fighting hard off my back. I get pinned. I was crushed. Feelings of being a failure, extreme embarrassment, frustration, and shock all consumed me. I would not talk to anyone. Then, I had to take my best friend home after the match. He did not wrestle. He was trying to cheer me up. It had been snowing, and he took a snowball and hit me in the face. “What are you doing?” “Get over it!” He said. It was painful! Hey, I can move on…reliving my past that happened 30 ish years ago!

Have you ever had a similar experience spiritually? Maybe even lately? You feel like you are growing spiritually. You are reading the word, attending bible studies, having great prayer time, making sacrifices to grow spiritually, and maybe giving a lot. If you are in school or at work, you may be going outside of your comfort zone and witnessing to others, speaking up when people are doing the wrong thing. Then the opportunity comes for the right thing or something good to happen, and you get thrown on your back. You lose your temper, you spend too much, you speak harshly, and you lose control. Or maybe something wrong happens. An unfavorable job situation, a lost relationship, or an unexpected diagnosis. It is easy to get discouraged, embarrassed, shocked, and frustrated. Feelings of failure. We may want to withdraw.

Well, here is your snowball to the face. It’s not about your comfort. Get over it. It’s about your character. It is about who you become. We, as your brothers and sisters in Christ, love you. We are here for you. Jesus died for you because he loves you. As we prepare for communion, I want to share a few of my favorite scriptures I have memorized for when life situations throw me on my back unexpectedly:

James 1: 2-4  Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking 

Romans 5: 3-5 Not only so, but we[a] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. 

Phil 4: 12-13  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

John 15:4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

Let’s pray. Father, it feels amazing to have our debt paid off. Thank you for dying for us. We do not deserve the love you show us. We are sorry, we confess, lead us to serve you. In Jesus name.

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Our Church: A Launchpad for Generations

 As we prepare for communion this morning, we pause to remember the past. Some of my earliest memories in life are at church. I had a big wheel at Beechwood and would ride down a cement sidewalk and hit the blacktop parking lot going at least 80 mph, hit the brake, turn the wheel, and do the most awesome spin-outs ever! I hate to admit this. Confession is therapeutic. I remember sneaking to taste communion. Yes, I repented. I remember trying to jump down the highest number of steps possible. I would go as high as possible without a severe sense of pain in my legs upon landing. I think seven was the magic number.

I remember I didn’t want Ed Smith, the man in charge of starting this church, to leave in 1982. He had been a source of leadership, stability, and security for my family. I remember him talking about being called to start more churches in stark county, but my six-year-old mind struggled with not wanting more churches if that meant he was leaving Beechwood. 

I remember when Ed invited my sister to sing at one of the first church locations, the Louisville Constitution Center. I spoke with Joanne Rossow and told her I remember walking in and seeing all the glass. She said, “we were called the church in the fish bowl because everyone could see in.” I remember my sister singing in the fishbowl. I remember playing sardines, prayer walks, and Wednesday and Sunday night youth group-Sunday Night Live. I remember all the Sunday School and Youth group leaders who poured their hearts and souls into my spiritual growth.  I remember people who have come and gone who didn’t give up on my family, and I remember my baptism. 

Probably most of all, I remember communion. I remember every Sunday taking an inventory of my behaviors. I remember caring about my teenage habits. Every Sunday was a new beginning. It was an opportunity to give one more go, remembering I was forgiven, and that I wanted to show my love for Christ by growing. 

Communion is a time to remember Christ’s sacrifice and to examine our hearts. That includes praying about our habits. As we reflect on our past and the importance of the church to spread the love of Christ, this week, I have found myself asking what habits lead the Dehoffs, the Rossows, and the Browns to remain committed to this church. You can bet they all had their feelings hurt, times of disappointment, and times when expectations weren’t met. However, they all had a God-given vision, a dream, and a commitment to the great commission right here in Louisville. 

When it comes to not giving up on people, I see you all as leaders in the community. I want you to find hope, fuel, and inspiration to pursue your missions here. Our church is a launchpad to do His work in His community.

As you reflect, I want you all to know this church was sown in love w a vision to win thousands and millions to Christ and to be a place where all people can practice life w one another and work toward the joy of realizing our salvation and being transformed in Christ. 

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Louisville Christian Church History

 History of LCC: Rick Brown and Joann Rossow as contributors in addition to my memories.

Good Morning. My name is Andy Beltz. I am one of the elders here at LCC. We are excited for what is going on here at our church. We are so thankful for what is about to happen. As we prepare to pay off our church loan, we want you to know more about our church, what we are doing, where we have been, and where we are going. Last Sunday, you heard from Russ about our great outreach programs. This morning, I get to talk about a topic that is near and dear to my heart, and I will share why. 

I want you to know I am going to talk about our past briefly now and also at communion. As we prepare to worship this morning, listen to our past and ask, what can we learn from our past to guide our present and our future? What story has our Father in Heaven written in our church, and what story will be told years from now? 

In 1982 LCC was planted by an evangelistic organization called Northeastern Association of Helpers (NOAH), based in Hartville. Three area churches provided five total church family members to help make up the core of the newly-founded church: The Indian Run Christian Church in Osnaburg Twp, The Minerva First Christian Church, and The Beechwood Christian Church near Maximo. Two out of the five original families continue to serve today. Thank you, Pat Dehoff and Joann Rossow, for all you have done and continue to do for our church.

This small group eventually grew to a little under 50 people who formed the nucleus of the church. They soon purchased the six acres plot the building is currently located on (according to Joanne, they purchased a plot South of the current plot and then purchased the one we are on now). Ed Smith was the pastor of Beechwood and became the Director of NOAH. I will share more about Ed during communion, but as a six-year-old member of Beechwood, I remember when we helped launch this church. Ed served as this Church’s 1st minister.

Over its first six years, the church had three different ministers, and attendance wavered between 40 and 100. The church met in various rented facilities. One was the Louisville Constitution Center, known by some locals at the time as “The Fish Bowl,” near where the police station is catty-corner from Dairy Queen. By the fall of 1988, attendance had dwindled to 40. They had no minister and some considered closing. Remaining true to the Great Commission, the decision was made to hire another minister to rebuild the church. That fall, Rick and Holly Brown was hired, and Rick began ministry at LCC on Jan 1, 1989. 

The church began a capital-raising program and building on this property in early 1990. That fall, a telemarketing and direct mail campaign was initiated to promote and invite residents to the Grand Opening Service of LCC in its first building on Nov. 11, 1989. 201 people were in attendance.

The attendance after that service settled @ 125, and the church has grown slowly, but steadily ever since. Building programs to add space were conducted in 1994 and 2004. Today attendance runs an average of 275, with over 390 people who attend here regularly.

The church added a Youth Minister to the staff in 1998. Tony Wolfe, our current Youth Minster, is the 3rd we have had in that position. He started ministry here in 2006. A Children's Minister was added to the staff in 2014. That position was split into two positions by Holly Brown, who served as Children's Director for seven years. She recruited and mentored Season Kerr & Jenna Dente

- who currently lead our children's program.

As we worship together this morning, may we praise God for the people who helped bring us to this moment in time and for the lives transformed in Christ through the work here.

My Notes:

Spoke with Joan ROSSOW who did not recall the church ever having a hard time enough to discuss closing. She did not recall getting to the point where they were trying to decide whether to close or hire a new pastor.

Original families from Beechwood

Lynn and Sandy Burrier, Ed and Bonnie Smith, John and Dianne Porter, Mary and Marrianne Dehoff, Pat and Millard Dehoff

Minerva First Christian Church Rick and Joanne Rossow, 

Indian Run, Mel and Gail Long

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Head Vs. Heart

As we prepare for communion, we want to reflect on our relationship with Christ, confess our sins, and make sure we are focused on him.

Last week, Rick preached a sermon and asked, what should lead us when making decisions, our head or our heart? If we are all honest, our rational head does not always win over our passionate heart, which is when we often get in trouble.

I faced a significant challenge between my head and heart a few months ago. I delayed sharing because the feelings were so raw that I needed time to contemplate the event. Here is what happened. As the head coach of a great group of boys on our community tournament baseball team, we played a travel team with a coach who crossed the line one too many times. He pushed us off the field while warming up. He asked me how many tournaments we had won during rules review at home plate and he knew we had won none (at least in the gold bracket). He tried to recruit my players for his team, and he tried to get in the head of my 10 year old pitcher by accusing me of trying to bias the umpire verbally after every pitch. While the game was going on, he accused me of manipulating the umpire again, which was the last straw. Some say we tend to see the world the way we are, and he was clearly the one doing the manipulating. I spoke up with intensity. The whole game stopped, and an intense verbal dual ensued. I wanted my pitcher to know I had his back. That is when “Papa Bear” coach came out. I usually keep my mouth shut when the umpire makes bad calls or other coaches try to pick fights, but this time I did not back down. Yes, it was awkward, but I felt the competitive passion I had as a kid that would often lead to a more intense physical altercation on the football field or wrestling mat. The problem was this was not either. This was baseball. Here is what happened:

Head Heart

You are 45 years old- shut your mouth Get him! Don’t let up. Win for your team!

Be an example to the boys First Take him down. then pound on his…

You could end up in jail No one will say anything. 

It will be for the good of the world!

You have communion thoughts tomorrow! I got nothing

Well, somehow, the yelling stopped, and things calmed down, but as the game went on, my anger continued. My son, who played third base, said he called me an idiot. Visions of running out on the field and taking him down were becoming more intense. What was going on? Fortunately, David Rogers was present and I stepped away from the team knowing I needed help calming down. Now at first he and one of our friends said, “don’t worry we got your back.” Then David calmly encouraged me to keep it together and smiled, laughed, and brought me back to reality.

As we come to the communion table, if we are honest, we all deal with this intense battle between our hearts and our heads. We battle emotions that are often overpowering and often much louder than our rational heads. Regrets are often because our hearts have lead the way.

Paul spoke of this in Romans when he said: 21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Here are a few final thoughts. When it comes to behavior, Appetites/emotions will often eat willpower for breakfast. But don’t trade what you want most for what you want in the moment. 

I am happy to say that my brain was not just holding me back. My heart was also saying, “You love Jesus! You represent Christ! Don’t let Him down. Don’t let your family down. Don’t ruin your future and the future of your family.”

Oh yeah, we did win that game and remember, we will win the game of life.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

How to Lead a Revolution

We now prepare for communion- a time to remember when Jesus sacrificed his life for our sins. 

This was a pivotal moment in history because, until then, the only way to connect with God was to live sinless lives. It wasn’t working. Everyone was still enslaved to sin. Communion represents freedom in Christ. 

Speaking of freedom, my family visited Yorktown, Virginia, where the final battle of the Revolutionary War occurred. The Yorktown battle marked the conclusion of the last major battle of the American Revolution and the start of our new nation's independence. Did you know the colonists won that battle in 1781, and it took two years for the peace treaty to be signed? The treaty officially ended the American Revolution, and that is when the British formally recognized the United States as an independent nation.

Even when the fighting ended, the struggle to agree upon terms for liberty and freedom to officially end the war took two more years. Let’s face it; we continue to struggled to agree upon terms of liberty and freedom ever since. To this day, we do not agree on what people should be free to do or not to do. Here is what I realized after visiting Yorktown. We can’t force people to believe the way we believe through wars, laws, or treaties. Faith based upon love for Jesus Christ is the only thing that will change hearts.

As we prepare for communion, we acknowledge that in our struggle to be transformed and help others to do the same, we fall short. We may come across as pushy, inconsiderate, abrasive, and judgmental.

As you examine your heart, think of something about which you feel strongly. Think of how you are communicating to others and the things you are or are not doing. Are your actions bathed in love? 

  1. To help reflect on that question, consider running your actions through the love scan:

    1. Am I being patient? Am I being kind? Do I have envy? Am I being boastful? Am I being proud? Am I being rude? Am I being self seeking? Am I keeping a record of wrongs? Am I keeping track? Am I kind of enjoying evil? Am I rejoicing in the truth? Am I protecting others? Trust? Hoping? Persevering?

As Christians, I believe we as a nation will be most free when we increase our capacity to accept God’s love in our personal lives and to show Christ’s love to others.

Father, as we reflect on our freedom to live the way we want to live in the United States we are overcome with gratefulness for all who fought for our freedom and for being born here. Then we are even more thankful for freedom from the bondage of sin. Thank you for dying for our sins and for the power of your resurrection. Father, as we examine our hearts, we pray you will help us judge slowly and love quickly. Increase our capacity to be transformed by your love as individuals and as a church. Help us to learn how to show love to others.