Dot Harner was celebrating a birthday as we gathered to worship Sunday morning at Mill Creek Baptist Church. Doug Cory greeted the congregation, and special prayers of comfort and healing were requested for Lauri Parker, Dayna Grell, the Ed Lauderdale family, the Vernon Meek family, the Garland King family, Linda Gann, Lexie, Mike Jefferson, Michelle, Skip and Debra, and Danny Johnson.
Linda Abercrombie shared a devotional, "One and Done," and read Psalm 103:12-14. Usain Bolt is the world's fastest runner but he became disqualified from a race when he jumped the start early with a new rule, "one and done," on false starts. He was not allowed a second chance to start the race. In comparison, God gives us second chances. There is no "one and done." He lets us run the race because He loves us. God will forgive us for our sins. Show Him you are sorry, commit to making amends and stay in the race.
Congregational hymns included "At Calvary" led by Susan Cory and Karen Gardner. We were blessed with special music as Jerry sang "Until Today." Tyrel Lett asked God's blessing upon the offering, and he and Wayne Holly served as ushers.
Brother Mark began God's message, "The Father Knows Best," by reading Luke 15:11-32. He began by telling us that the Bible is alive. "God brings a lot of messages out of a few passages. In Luke, Jesus tells the story of the prodigal son who wanted his portion of his father's goods. It is a story of prodigal living and extravagant living and how it affected two sons' lives. Even though the younger son lived extravagantly and lost his portion, we still have compassion for him. Do you still have compassion for those who wrong you?
In the vast majority of churches now, most members drive 10 miles or more to get to church. We drive past several to get to the one we attend." Jokingly, Brother Mark said, "It is a lot easier to love your brother and sister if you see them once a week."
He talked about ministering to people who have problems. "Sometimes it is easier to love someone when you don't know all about their bad habits and problems and what they do. That is why we have compassion for the younger prodigal son. We don't know all about him. We know that the older brother stayed home and helped his father on the farm." Luke 15:31 says, "And he said to him, 'Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.'"
But the older brother had a problem with the younger brother being accepted back by his father. Verse 32 says, "But as soon as the son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him." Brother Mark told us that the fatted calf represents a trap of entitlement that the older brother thought he was also entitled to have.
Brother Mark told us that there were two lies unintentionally told by the older brother. Luke 15:29 says, "So he answered and said to his father, 'Lo, these many years I have been serving you, I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with friends.'" Brother Mark said that was an unintentional lie because all have sinned and fallen short. Only Jesus is perfect.
In verse 29, the older brother also says that his father never gave him anything. Brother Mark said, "That was the second unintentional lie because Luke 15:11-12 tells us that he had already gotten half of everything. Both sons had the same common problem. Neither one of them understood grace. The younger brother thought he didn't deserve grace. Luke 15:18-19 says 'I will arise and go to my father and will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants."' And the older brother thought he deserved the grace as it tells us in Luke 15:29. Grace isn't about deserving. It is a free gift. Praise God for it. Don't argue with grace. We don't do what we do to impress the Father. We do it because we love the Father, which is the first and greatest commandment. Just as in the story of the prodigal son, the father loved both of his sons the same. He welcomed the prodigal son home and pleaded with the older son to come in (Luke 15:31-32). It doesn't matter which son you are or identify with, Our Father in Heaven loves us all the same. He shows us grace. We show forgiveness, we show grace. We show mercy, we show grace. God, our Father, has grace. Do you need to get back in the Father's house?"
Our hymn of invitation was "Wherever He Leads I'll Go," and Wayne Holly gave the benediction. We also observed the Lord's Supper as Wayne and Jerry passed the elements and Brother Mark read from 1 Corinthians 11.
Everyone is welcome to come worship at Mill Creek Baptist Church. Sunday school begins at 10 a.m. and worship service at 11 a.m. Mill Creek Baptist Church is located 3 1/2 miles east of Noel or 8 1/2 miles west of I49, just off Highway 90, on Upper Mill Creek Road.Religion on 08/01/2019
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