Just wanted to let you know that United Christian Ministries will not be having a Feast of Tabernacles in the Lake Area this
year. They did their best to find a suitable and affordable location, but were unsuccessful; therefore, they will have a Feast
site in the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area. MMCG is considering sponsoring a Feast at our location in Eldon. Contact one of
the numbers listed at the bottom of this newsletter if you plan to attend with us and/or if you would like to volunteer your
MARCH GREETINGS: All things work together for the good of those who love God, who
are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
A Publication of the Mid-Missouri Church of God
Volume XII, Issue 3
The Ozark Newsletter
Lake of the Ozarks
Holes by Carol Boyer
(Reprinted with Permission—The following is a manuscript of a speech given at the Christian Women’s Conference in Birming-
ham, Alabama in July of 2003. A copy can be ordered from United Christian Ministries, P.O. Box 608; Roanoke, IN 46783 or
you can call toll free 888-985-9066 to request a copy.)
Is this cool or what? 56 women are meeting here together. We are in the estrozone! Lately I feel like I should wear a sign.
Caution! A 46 year old female is on the loose. Drastic mood swings may occur. Sudden spikes in body temperature and
acute anxiety attacks are possible. Bouts of spontaneous crying should be expected. (Editor’s note: gentlemen, don’t stop
reading, this article can apply to you too.)
Please understand, I am warning you, not apologizing. I have decided to embrace the middle aged me and the process by
which I am moving from one stage of life to the next. It is apparently what God has chosen for us at this time of life so I
choose not to treat as a pathology. I do sometimes wonder, however, why a loving God would bless us with peri-
menopause at the same time we are living with teen aged children.
I am really thankful for this opportunity. I’m not thanking you for being asked to speak, although I am honored. Not be-
cause I am so in touch with God that I can bring something wonderful to this conference, but because being asked to speak
here has forced me to listen closely to His voice and to reach for His presence within me at a time when I have been skim-
ming over His presence far too often.
2008 HOLY DAY CALENDAR
• April 19—Passover (observed the evening before, April 18/Friday, after sundown)
• April 19—Night to Be Much Remembered (Saturday)
• April 20-26—Days of Unleavened Bread (Sunday-Saturday)
• June 8—Pentecost (Sunday)
• Sept. 30—Feast of Trumpets (Tuesday)
• Oct. 9—Day of Atonement (Thursday)
• Oct. 14-20—Feast of Tabernacles (Tuesday-Monday)
• Oct. 21—Last Great Day of Feast (Tuesday) As time drew near, I kept asking myself, “What can I bring to this room full of women? Women who have loved and strug-
gled; who have been loved and even abused; who have endured, given up, failed and triumphed?” How can I lift you up in
your failures, what can I add to your successes? What can I possibly bring to all you, to this conference?
Now, doesn’t that sound humble? It sounds like humility, doesn’t it? But you know what it is, don’t you? It is pride. Only
pride asks “Am I good enough?” Only pride wonders “What will they think if I am not a good speaker?” Humility only
asks “Father, how can I serve, what will you use me for? What do we need today and how are You going to give it to us?”
Pride puts the focus on self; humility puts the focus on others and on God. Of course this way if I bomb, I can always blame
God! (Joke) But I do believe in Romans 8:28. “All things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called
according to His purpose.” So no matter what happens here, God can use it for our good.
But I did struggle with that question, because I struggle with pride! I always thought pride was the sin of thinking highly of
oneself, thinking you are better than you really are. But that is only one side of pride. The other side is being too afraid to
do things (read: serve others) because of worrying about what people will think of you. Consider that. Do you refuse to use
your gifts, which is, I believe, a way of quenching the Holy Spirit, because of fear, pride? That is a hard thing to look at
because we think we are being humble.
When we consider doing something like this I think we all must feel that our gifts are so small that we have no business be-
ing up here. Or perhaps, we have gifts that do not require standing in front of a group of people, so we feel that they are
somehow “less than, smaller than” other gifts. But whether we have gifts for teaching, singing, encouraging, listening, ad-
ministration or hospitality, I hope that we realize to exercise these gifts is NO SMALL thing because it is an exercise of the
Holy Spirit. So thank you to all who have worked to bring this together, for exercising your gifts and for encouraging others
to do the same.
But it doesn’t matter whether or not we have great speakers with great insights because there is one thing we can all bring to
each other and that is our own struggle. Because that is what life is. Our physical lives, our emotional lives, and certainly,
our spiritual lives are a struggle between what we are and what we want to be. What we need and what we have. What we
do and what we should do.
So today, I don’t want to teach you something new and enlightening. I just want to share with you some of the thoughts I
have had lately about that struggle.
Recently, I saw a movie entitled “Holes.” Have you seen it? In this movie there is a woman, played by Sigourney Weaver,
whose life is a desperate search for … something. You don’t know at the beginning for what she is searching or even that
she is searching. Eventually, you find out she is searching for a treasure, lost in what is now a desert, some 100 years in the
past. She has managed to become the warden of a correctional institution for teenaged boys. Under the guise of “improving
their character” she had they boys dig holes in the desert; one hole, per boy, per day, every day. The diameter and depth is
equal to the length of the boys’ shovel handles. The boys have no idea that the holes are part of the warden’s search for the
treasure that she expects to change her life.
Through the course of the movie, we learn that this desert is actually a dry lakebed. At one time, this desert was a beautiful
lake, sparkling, pristine, full of life. Due to the prejudice and hatred of the town, at the lakes edge, a young man is killed and
the lake and town are cursed. No rain crosses the mountain range, the lake dries up. The lovely young school teacher that
the murdered man loved becomes an outlaw. The booty that she takes from those who killed him becomes the lost treasure
that our uncaring warden is so desperate to find.
I love this movie and I love the visual image of those boys, under the sun in the hot desert, working to exhaustion
for…what? They don’t know. They are digging holes, slaves to the hole in the heart of the warden and her need to fill that
Of course, eventually, the treasure is found, but it ends up out of the reach of the warden and the hole in her heart, in her
life, remains empty.
Page 2 The Ozark Newslet ter Volume XI I , Issue 3 The analogy of holes is almost universal. It can apply to so many things; the holes that losses can leave, the holes in our
relationships, the holes that life can tear in the fabric of our faith.
But the big one, the important one I believe is pictured well by the warden in the movie “Holes” and is very well described
by Gwen Shamblin. Gwen is the founder of the “Weigh Down Workshops.” These workshops are based on the idea that
we were created with a cavity (hole) in our abdomens for putting food when we are physiologically hungry – only food can
satisfy that hunger because the hunger is generated by the need our bodies have for fuel and micronutrients which come in
the food. Hunger is a signal we recognize and we know to satisfy it; we must eat.
Likewise, we are created with a cavity – hole – in our hearts for God – and only He can satisfy that emptiness because it is
generated by our spirit’s need to know that we are part of something bigger than ourselves.
Sounds fairly simple, doesn’t it? Stomach for food, heart for God. But somehow, we get confused. We don’t recognize the
hole in our heart for what it is and we don’t recognize that to satisfy our heart hunger we must take in more of the Lord.
That hole is like a docking bay for the Spirit of God. That is where the spirit in man interacts with the Spirit of God. Not in
your mind- the mind is for thinking and reasoning and gathering data. Job 32:8 “But there is a spirit in man, and the breath
of the Almighty giveth them understanding.” The word for breath here is similar to the word used for Spirit.
This issue of heart is important to God. He began early telling His people to seek Him with their hearts. When building the
tabernacle only those with a heart to give were to contribute to the supply of materials.
Deut 4:29, 39, 5:29 and 6:5 all talk about how God wants His people to have a HEART to obey, to love Him with all their
heart, soul and might. “But from thence ye shall seek Jehovah thy God, and thou shalt find him, when thou searchest after
him with all they heart and with all thy soul.” He wants more than for them to learn about Him with their minds.
Why did God place so much importance on seeking Him with our hearts? Because He knew that we would be seeking
something with our hearts. Why? Because that is the way He created us. He created us with that hole and with a desperate
need for Him to dwell in it. Sadly, after the fall, we lost track of what it is we are so desperate to find. That is why there is
such sorrow in God’s question to Eve “What is this that you have done?”
So we are aware of the call of our hearts- the hole that longs to be filled. But what do we generally do with that hole in our
hearts? That God hole? When you look around, how do you see people trying to satisfy their longings? Do you know that
in the late 80’s early 90’s, 13-15 years ago, there were 14 square feet of retail floor space for every man, woman, and child
in this country? Now think of how your area has changed in the past 15 years. The little farms that have given way to Su-
per Wal-Mart’s and strip malls. The amount of retail space has increased at an amazing rate in the areas we have lived dur-
ing that time. Why? Because we have become desperate consumers, desperately trying to satisfy the emptiness in our
hearts by accumulating things.
I recently heard some statistics about the number of visits to porn sites on the internet that were absolutely astonishing. I
don’t remember all the details, but one fact quoted was that 40% of all website visits were to porn sites. Yuck! Imagine
trying to fill a place meant for the divine with fantasies about perversion. Picture a beautiful jewelry box lined with white
satin- then go to the back yard with a pooper scooper, scoop up a big pile of what the dog has left behind and dump it in the
I was absolutely appalled last week when I heard about the place near Las Vegas where young women are willing to run
naked through the wilderness while some sad, desperate man hunts them down with paint ball guns in order to get some
thrill of satisfaction. How does the hole in their hearts get to be so empty?
But that doesn’t hit very close to home for us, does it? After all, most of us are not “shop-aholics”, even though all of us
have probably dipped our toes in that pool of greed from time to time. And we probably don’t visit porn sites on the inter-
net simply because we are women and not as visually stimulated as men. And I doubt any of us has any desire to shoot na-
ked women with paint balls.
Page 3 The Ozark Newslet ter Volume XI I , Issue 3 Page 4 Newslet ter Ti t le Volume 1, I ssue 1
But maybe there are other things that you have tried to feed your heart. I know I have tried to fill the God hole in my heart
with a number of things. First and most obvious is food. It is amazing how easy it is to medicate yourself against the pain
of longing if you just shove some chocolate brownie in your mouth. Or, for that matter chips, pastry, watermelon or spin-
ach. It doesn’t matter what food you choose, if you are eating it for any reason other than physiological hunger, it isn’t serv-
ing its proper purpose!
Perhaps at different times in our lives we fill that God hole with different things. When I was younger, I tried to fill it with
church. It seemed right on the surface; helping with Passover, teaching Y.E.S. classes, helping with Y.O.U. outings, coach-
ing youth cheerleading and volleyball. I had attended our Bible College and I put on my nice church outfits and a smile and
went and I did the church thing. But on Sabbath morning before I rolled out of bed, before my mind could begin to edit
what my heart was saying, deep inside I cried “Is this all there is? Shouldn’t there be something more?”
When we had children, I was so busy enjoying them that God and my husband took 3rd and 4th
fiddle at best. As my chil-
dren became more self-sufficient, when I wasn’t having fun with them, I filled the void with fiction. Sometimes it was a
steamy romance novel, sometimes a Robert Ludlum spy novel, sometimes Charles Dickens or Thomas Hardy. It didn’t
matter who the author was, if I was reading it to avoid listening to the cry of my heart, I was sinning.
Sinning?! How can reading a Charles Dickens novel be sinning? He raised the social conscience of an entire generation of
Victorian snobs! But what is sin? “It is the transgression of the law.” What is the law? The Law is “To love the Lord with
all your heart, soul and might and to love your neighbor as yourself.” How do I love God if I ignore His call? How do I
walk with Christ if I fill His place in my life with something else?
There are a million things that God has given us to enjoy in this life. In their right place, most pleasures are pure, wonderful
gifts from the Creator. Gooey chocolate brownies, buying a gift for a loved one, a glass of really good Shiraz, the beauty of
the human form, the thrill of a good story, the ecstatic pleasure of making love. All wonderful- and all of which can be sin-
ful if done to excess of in the wrong circumstance to keep at bay the calling of our hearts for a close walk with the lover of
In this age of reason, we tend to place a high value on knowledge and what goes on in the mind. Many of the people I have
attended church with have been really into studying about the Bible and using lots of scholarly works. Maybe they have
tried to fill the void with knowledge. And knowledge can be a good thing. But is it a substitute for a personal relationship
with Christ? Would you agree to marry someone if you had only read about them? What if the book you read was a really
good biography giving you lots of information about them and their lives. Would you marry them without ever meeting
them? Of course not! Because relationships require more than knowledge! Eph 3:16, 17: 6, 17-19 that he would grant you,
according to the riches of his glory, that ye may be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inward man; that
Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; to the end that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be strong to
apprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which pas-
seth knowledge, that ye may be filled unto all the fullness of God.
To know the love of Christ which passes knowledge- this is not something for our minds. It takes place in our hearts. I
Jesus said, “You have not because you ask not.” Maybe, we feel empty because we aren’t asking. But wait a minute – I’m
always begging God for something! But maybe the problem is that we aren’t asking for the ONLY thing that will satisfy
James 4:1-3 “Whence come wars and whence come fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your pleasures
that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and covet, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war; (No matter what
we shove in the hole for temporary satisfaction, it remains a gaping, empty maw) ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask,
and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may spend it in your pleasures.” Here we are striving for satisfaction and all
we have to do is ask for the one thing that will fill us.
Instead of asking for things or for favors or for blessings, I need to be asking God to fill the hole in my heart. Page 5 Newslet ter Ti t le Volume 1, I ssue 1
One of the wonderful things about this word picture of the hole that we have in our hearts that only God can fill through His
Holy Spirit is that it helps us realize that once we have accepted Christ, the Holy Spirit is no longer an external force. God,
through the Holy Spirit becomes an internal force in you.
Think about that. What is the difference in thinking of God as an external helper who can do things for you and an internal
force that can do things through you? Consider the Holy Spirit as water. That is an analogy that is often used in scripture- a
river of living water. Well, what happens when you drink water? It doesn’t just go into your stomach, through your intes-
tines and out again. It is absorbed through your intestine and picked up by the blood stream. Then it is carried to every cell
in your body. It is in your fingers, your toes, your lips, your skin, your brain cells and your heart muscle. Your body is
60% water and it is essential for life. It is part of your every cell. Just as God, when invited through the Holy Spirit dwells
in every part of you making you a “new creature in Christ.”
This is different from what I have heard so many times over the years. Have you ever heard someone say that we should
utilize the Holy Spirit or harness the power of the Holy Spirit? To me, somehow that seems wrong. Because the only way
we can have the power of the Holy Spirit is to let go of ourselves. How can we, weak, puny, humans, harness the power
that has created life? The power that raised Jesus from the dead? Perhaps we should forget about harnessing it and let that
power fill us!
I think that the disconnection from this truth, that God is an internal force within us, is one of the reasons many people have
given up on Christianity. I know a number of people who grew up in the same church that I did, went to the same Bible
College, learned about the same God and now they are either Buddhist or involved in a New Age type of religion. One of
the appeals of the teaching of both paths is the idea that all you need for enlightenment is to find your authentic self, the Be-
ing within. To find the strength or the serenity, you need for life; all you need to do is look deep within yourself. There is
something very appealing about the idea that you have within yourself the power to overcome the obstacles of this life.
And just as with all of Satan’s counterfeits there is truth in this one. The lie is that you don’t need a savior because you
have all you need within you. The truth is that once you receive the Savior, you have all you need within you- why? Be-
cause then Christ dwells within you through the Holy Spirit! God is not far off that you need to call out across the void of
the universe to find Him. Just knock on the door of your own heart, seek His presence there, and ask Him to fill the hole.
That is why in Phil 4:13 Paul said “I can do all things in him that strengthens me.” I….can do all things. Not just I sit back
and wait for God to do all things. I am empowered because God is in me! The battle belongs to the Lord and the Lord
dwells in my heart!
I am excited about this concept. It is a little like the difference between viewing yourself as a rock and a sponge. A rock
can be placed in the water and the water can flow over it for years, making some gradual changes. But for the most part the
rock just displaces the water. But a sponge is only useful when it is wet. And when you put it into water, what happen? It
soaks the water up into every little cell! It may be old news to you, but this word picture has really helped me. If my life
can begin to reflect what I believe and am coming to understand, my husband will be the most happy, content man in the
world, because he will be living with a new me!
I would like to think that in a year, we could get together and you would see how much I have changed because of the things
I have learned. That the things we discuss at this conference will become part of us and the inner woman will bring about
changes in the outer woman of us all. Wouldn’t it be great if this time next year we were all like a bunch of sponges so full
that the Holy Spirit just drips out of us wherever we go?! Will that be the case? I hope so. But even if the effects are not
obvious, take heart. It can take a life time to fill the holes in our lives, but we don’t need to lose heart as long as we let
God handle the shovel!
Page 6 The Ozark Newslet ter Volume XI I , Issue 3
MID-MISSOURI CHURCH OF GOD
PO Box 92, Eldon, MO 65026/mailing address. Street address is: 602 East North Street. Phone: 573-392-1232 or 573-498-3775;
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.mmcg.org The Mid-Missouri Church of God (MMCG) holds Christian
Sabbath services each Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at 602 East North Street, Eldon, MO… A Bible Study and song service is scheduled
at 10:30am before Sabbath services. Potluck meals after services are planned for the fourth Sabbath of each month. A weekly
Bible study is held each Thursday at 6:00pm. It is best to call ahead and confirm times if you are traveling any distance to visit us
(see the phone numbers above). Occasionally we will cancel local services to attend en masse elsewhere. Come and enjoy the fel-
lowship! Also, the first Wednesday of each month the ladies meet for a “get together” and you can contact Martha Roberts at
573-496-3203 or Charleen Gitthens at 573-392-5965 for location and time if you plan to attend.
Light of the World
Matthew 5:13-16 (NIV)
Jesus wanted the people to know that they should live lives
that would please God and bless others. Unscramble
the words below to see what he had to say.
G L I T H O W R D L
You are the __ __ __ __ __ of the __ __ __ __ __.
T C Y I I L L H
A __ __ __ __ on a __ __ __ __ cannot be hidden.
A M L P
Neither do people light a __ __ __ __
L O B W
and put it under a __ __ __ __ . Instead they
S A N T D
put it on a __ __ __ __ __ , and it gives light
V E R E Y N O E
to __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ in the house.
H S N I E
In the same way, let your light __ __ __ __ __
E N M
before __ __ __ , that they may see your
D O O G E D E D S
__ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ and
R I P A E S
__ __ __ __ __ __ your Father in heaven.
Just wanted to let you know that United Christian Ministries will not be having a Feast of Tabernacles in the Lake Area this