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We were greeted by Wayne Johnson as we gathered to worship Sunday morning at Mill Creek Baptist Church. Special prayers were requested for many, including Skip, June Sherman, Jimmy Easter, Avery, Adalyn and Frankie. Jeanette and Linda shared praises.

Linda Abercrombie read the devotional after reading Matthew 18:13-14. Following driving directions can sometimes have you going in circles, just like when we get lost and lose our way in life. Google is not the answer for life's directions. God places us at the exact time where we need to be. When we lose our way, God gets us back on track. We just have to need and want to be found.

Rick Lett and Tyrel Lett served as ushers and collected the offering as Susan Cory and Becky Johnson played "Nothing But the Blood of Jesus." Karen Gardner led the congregational hymns and sang "Fill My Cup, Lord."

Our pastor, Brother Mark Hall, brought us God's message as he concluded the Christian Virtue series on the most important one, love. He reminded us of an old song, "What's Love Got to Do With It," and told us that, "without God's love, all our other Christian virtues are worthless." Brother Mark read John 3:16 as he talked about God's love for us, our love for Him and our love for each other. Text for the message also came from Matthew 22:35-36.

First, Brother Mark talked about God's love for us, true and unconditional. "It is the only thing that fills the void in our life. God doesn't love you because of who you are, but who He is. God's love for us is based on His love alone, nothing else. That makes grace for us possible. If we didn't do anything to earn His love, there is nothing you can do to lose it. Human relationships tend to be conditional. God knows our past, present and future. You don't have to change to know God; because the more you come to know Him, the more you will change. It is not about right living; it is about right believing."

Secondly, Brother Mark talked about our love for God. "If you have a problem with God, your love for Him is the problem, not His love for you. Absence doesn't make the heart grow fonder. The more you know Him, the more you love Him and the closer you get. " 1 John 4:19 says, "We love Him because He first loved us." Brother Mark told us it is like a two-week-old baby already loving its mother because she loves it."

Thirdly, Brother Mark talked about our love for one another. "You are a fraud as a Christian if you don't love one another. But you also have an obligation as a Christian to be easy to love. Some people just aren't easy to love, but we can, should and must love them anyway. If you have a problem with one of God's children, you have a problem with God."

Brother Mark read 1 John 4:7-19 and told us that if we withhold love from someone, we are withholding God's love to that person. "We may know a lot about that person, but we are to love them anyway. People see God through our love. No one has seen God. How do they see His existence? They see it through our love for each other. The world can see God through our love for each other, God's love for us and our love for God. How do we win friends and neighbors to the Lord? Not by telling them how to live, but by showing them. The most important Christian virtue is love. The world sees God through that love. God is love. How is your Christian love life?"

Our hymn of invitation was "Love lifted me," and Wayne Holly gave the benediction. After the service, we met to finalize plans for Vacation Bible School which will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, July 14. The theme is "Gone Fishin'" and it is open to children ages four and up. We invite all children to come for fun, food, games and to learn about Jesus.

We invite you to worship with us at Mill Creek Baptist Church. Sunday school begins at 10 a.m. and the worship service at 11 a.m. Everyone is always welcome at Mill Creek Baptist Church, which is located three and one-half miles east of Noel, just off Highway 90.

The following column is for the Sunday, June 3, service. It arrived too late to be included in the June 7 issue.

Perseverance in God's service

Steve and Janice Mason were celebrating their anniversary and Karen Gardner was celebrating a birthday as we gathered to worship Sunday morning at Mill Creek Baptist Church. Special prayers were requested for Jimmy Easter, Mertie Harmon, the Debbie Taylor family, Eileen Hawkins and the Crosby family.

Janet Chaney read the devotional, "The Carpenter," about building bridges instead of fences. After the bridge was built, the two brothers met in the middle. The carpenter had many bridges to build. Becky Johnson and Karen led the congregational hymns, "He Set Me Free" and "Sunlight." We were blessed with special music from Jerry Abercrombie, who sang "Special Request." Tyrel Lett asked God's blessing upon the offering, and he and Rick Lett served as ushers as Susan Cory and Becky played "Trust and Obey."

Brother Mark Hall continued in the Christian virtue series as he talked about perseverance. Scripture was from Revelation 3:1-5 as the Bible talks about "The Letters to the Churches." Brother Mark talked about driving around the country and seeing all of the little old churches closed up and abandoned. "We come to God's house to worship and give back. Why have they closed?" He told us there is no such thing as just holding on and just keeping the doors open. "Your church is dead if you have that attitude. Church isn't about what's in it for you. It's about what you can put in it to further the kingdom of God. Encouragement is hard to come by, but Christians need to show up to work." Jesus tells us in Revelation 3:10-11, "Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world to test those who dwell on the earth. Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have that no one may take your crown."

Brother Mark shared some statistics for us. The average American farmer's age today is 59. Thirty years ago it was 47. "Some say it is a dying occupation." The average age of the American church member is the youngest at 54 and the oldest at 60. Not too many years ago it was 45. Psalm 2:1 says, "Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing?" Brother Mark told us our world is a mess today. "People can defy God and perish or they can submit to Him and be blessed. We worry about this world because it is upside down. But there is some good news. There are three things that can turn it around and that has to do with perseverance. It is to remember, receive and repent."

In Revelation 3:3, Jesus tells us,"Remember, therefore, how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you." Brother Mark talked about remembering our testimonies. "We forget what Jesus has done for us. God gives us so much and we are so grateful at the time, but as time goes by we forget. It is like a Santa Claus Christmas. When the presents are gone we forget." Brother Mark referred to Joshua 4:1-7 about crossing the Jordan River.

The second in regard to perseverance is receive the Word of God. Brother Mark asked, "How much God do you go to church to get on Sunday mornings? God has all you want, more than you can handle and enough to share. It will change your life." Psalm 34:8 says, "Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good, blessed is the man who trusts in Him!" Brother Mark told us the third thing is repent. "Repent has become a forgotten word in churches today. Repentance isn't hard. It's staying hooked that's hard. Don't fall into the hands of an angry God." In Luke 4, Jesus tells us to repent or perish. Brother Mark reminded us that every good thing comes from God. "God is patient, but there is an end to it."

In closing, Brother Mark asked, "How is your perseverance. Do you need to remember? Was there a time in your life when you were closer to God? Have you been receiving? How much God do you want? As farmers, we work to save the lives of animals. What have you done to save God's church? The church in general? Don't put it off on other people."

Brother Mark gave the benediction and then we enjoyed a luncheon and wedding shower for Mitchell Lett and Abby Jeffries. We love them, wish them God's many blessings, and congratulations on their marriage.

We invite you to worship with us at Mill Creek Baptist Church. Sunday school begins at 10 a.m. and the worship service at 11 a.m. Everyone is always welcome at Mill Creek Baptist Church, which is located three and one-half miles east of Noel, just off Highway 90.

Religion on 06/14/2018

Print Headline: Christian Virtues Are Worthless Without Love Why

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