How a Small Ocoee Flower Shares a Big Story

July 10, 2022 by  
Filed under Featured, News

by Kathryn DONEV

With VBS season upon us, we are always looking for inventive ways of sharing the Gospel with our little ones. We are internally motivated by the Biblical mandate of Proverbs 22:6.  When we start children off on the way they should go, even when they are old they will not turn from it. So this summer let us shift focus from the Corona Virus to the Corona Filaments of a small plant that tells a big story.

When Spanish Christian missionaries arrived in the jungle of Brazil in the 16th century, they discovered a plant with such beauty and distinctiveness unlike any they had seen before. These explores were encouraged feeling it was a good sign for their mission.  After closely observing the structure of the plant’s bloom, they called it the passion flower because to them it symbolized the passion or death of Christ.

This exotic flower (Passiflora Incarnata) grows wild in South America and the southern United States as well. Beginning around June is when you first see the vine emerge from the grown after laying dominate all winter. It is the official state wildflower of Tennessee and is sometimes know as the maypop (term given by the Powhatan Indians), wild apricot, Holy Trinity flower and the ocoee. The Cherokee were the ones to referred to the passion vine as “u-wa-go-hi” or “ocoee”. The root “oco” refers to the plant and “ee” describes location. The word “ocoee” literally means the apricot vine place. The passion flower was considered to be the most beautiful of all flowers among the Cherokee and to this day it is a revered piece of their heritage.

Here’s how a small flower turned to be the center stage of the story of Christ’s ultimate sacrifice.

The passion flower is a strong plant that is resistant to pulling and bending as was Christ who endured the horrific pain of a crucifixion. The radial corona filaments of the flower represent the woven crown of thorns which mocked Christ’s claim of authority.  This corona rests upon a cup-shaped structure that reminds of the cup of suffering and the Last Supper. The spiraled tendons of the plant are symbols of the lashes Christ endured and  the flower’s trailing tendrils are like the whips.  The central flower column receptacle is symbolic of the pillar of Christ’s scourging. The three stigmas are symbols of the nails used in the crucifixion as well as the Holy Trinity. The five anthers remind us of the five piercing wounds Christ suffered.  Together the five petals and five sepals refer to the ten disciples who did not betray or deny Jesus. The palmate leaves depict the hands of His persecutors or the Holy lance that pierced Christ’s side.  The fragrance of the flower helps us recall the spices used in the burial cloth for the body of Christ. The purple color is symbolic of royalty, the white is for purity.  The shape of its fruit is symbolic of the world that Christ saved through his suffering. Finally, because the passion flower is a vine it points to Heaven and will compete with surrounding trees to see the light.  

How many people die in the Great Tribulation?

April 15, 2022 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News

We start with roughly 8 billion population

Revelation 6:8 KJV “And I looked, and behold a pale horse. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.”

8 bil : 4 = 2 billion dead

6 billion left alive after Rev. 6

Rev. 9:15-18 another 1/3 of the world’s population will be dead

6 bil : 3 = 2 billion dead

4 billion left alive after Rev. 9

4 bil out of the original 8 bil is 50%

The odds that anyone would survive the Great Tribulation are 50:50 or even less…

How Can I Tell if My Pastor is Extroverted or Introverted?

December 5, 2021 by  
Filed under Featured, News

INTOEXTRO

At least one in three people are introverted, and believe it or not most pastors are introverted. You would think the opposite is true because of the job requirements which include more extroverted tasks, yet this is not the case. Some introverted pastors have learned to hide their personality traits and disguise themselves very well as an extrovert, but at the end of the day, they feel drained and not energized by all of the socialization. This is the classic definition what it means to be an introvert and extrovert. If group meetings and kicking ideas around with others energizes you, then you are probably an extrovert. And if these tasks leave you exhausted although you love doing them, you are more than likely an introvert.

Here are a few things to look for if you are trying to figure out if your pastor is an introvert of extrovert:

Introverted pastors:

  • will often take more time to respond to your concerns and questions
  • prefer to email or use social media rather than talk on the phone
  • feel more comfortable in an solitary office rather than a joint office with other staff members
  • don’t like having large boards to question their authority
  • give hand outs or use PowerPoint presentations to get point across, these aids decrease performance anxiety
  •  take longer to come to a decision or to form an opinion
  • are more softly spoken when not behind the pulpit
  • don’t like to compete for attention or their voice being hear
  • crying babies would distract them
  • are at times height challenged
  • have speech difficulty of some sort
  • will have facial hair if they have thinning hair
  • bring up past often
  • thrive on scholarly accomplishments and prefer to be address with some formal title
  • have one close advisors that will make hard choices
  • are drained after preaching and may disappear sporadically to recharge
  • listen well without interrupting
  • send out memos rather than telling congregation in person
  • are passive aggressive and avoid conflict
  • are fully aware of others passive aggressiveness
  • have facial expressions that may seem forced or unnatural

Extroverted pastors:

  • probably will shy away from handouts in sermon and are comfortable using or not using PowerPoint’s
  • encourage the opinions of others and love brainstorming
  • like open-plan offices
  • are more commonly tall
  • are good problem solvers and will address conflict head-on
  • speak at a fast loud pass
  • have many advisors
  • make everybody feel like a close friend
  • have all their hair
  • feel full of energy after preaching
  • are not easily distracted while preaching
  • prefer to tell people things in person
  • might not see the value in bulletin boards
  • think often of future plans and church growth
  • feel scholarly accomplishments are no big deal and formal titles are superficial
  • will stay after church and talk to everybody and will see this as a pleasure and not a task
  • love stopping by and talking to people outside of church
  • are energized by community functions and social gathering
  • may not fully understand hidden intent of what is being said
  • are challenged by recognizing passive aggressive behavior
  • are easy to talk to
  • welcome feedback and constructive criticism