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As we gathered to worship at Mill Creek Baptist Church the last Sunday of 2020, we were greeted by Doug Cory, who opened our morning service with prayer.

Happy birthday to Mitchell and Abby Lett. Special prayers for Jerry and Linda, Barbara Lett, Del Hawkins, the Harvey Amos family, the Kenny Drake family, Ashley and Cleo's great-granddaughter. The church received thanks from Mertie and Ruthie, Janice Moss and Mitchell Lett thanked the church for helping buy shoes for the SWC boys and girls basketball teams this year. Jeanette Easter shared a praise, and Terry thanked Jimmy Easter for building the manger scene used in the Christmas program.

"Anticipated" was the adult Sunday school lesson taught by Rick Lett, a study of Luke 2:25-38. The lesson focused on "God's promises bring purpose in this life, Gentiles and Jews found redemption in Jesus and believers must tell others that redemption is found in Jesus."

The congregation joined voices in singing Christmas carols and hymns of the season led by Susan Cory and Karen Gardner.

Last Sunday, Pastor Mark Hall took a quick look at last year and Sunday's message looked ahead to the future as we begin a new year. The last message of 2020 was "The Stand," with scripture from Ephesians 6:10-20, which tells of the armor of God. Brother Mark told us that we are going to have to take a stand, "not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual principalities. Christians are going to have to take a stand probably sooner rather than later. It is the only hope in a lost world for the gospel to be known. If we don't take a stand, Christianity will go from not politically correct to illegal and being under attack from other beliefs. In the United States, we are under attack from intelligentsia progressive thought and unproven science."

Brother Mark read Acts 4:13-20 about Peter and John taking a stand. "We need to take our stand like them. Being uneducated and untrained is no excuse." He also referred to 2 Timothy 2:15: "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." Brother Mark told us that if you don't know the truth, you can't take a stand. "Speak of the things we have seen and heard. The Bible warns us that we may have to take a stand with friends and family." Brother Mark read Jesus' words in Matthew 10:34-39 about confessing Christ before men and said, "The scripture doesn't mean that Jesus is down on family. Jesus is all for family, but what it does mean is that no earthly relationship is to come before our heavenly relationship with Jesus. Jesus comes first. We are to confess Christ before men and with our own families. If your faith is worth anything, it is worth everything."

Brother Mark read John 9:1-5 about Jesus healing the blind man. "Some figured that since the man was blind that someone messed up. Instead, some people are in circumstances to glorify God. People see the change in you when you have an experience with Jesus just like they noticed the blind man got his sight back. There was a division in the family between the parents and the blind man. They were happy he could see but scared to take a stand. The blind man took a stand. You can't disprove your own testimony. Just as Christians, we should put Jesus first now and later. You will always have the Pharisees who will condemn, criticize and complain."

In closing, Brother Mark repeated the lyrics of "Amazing Grace": "I once was lost, but now I'm found, was blind, but now I see," and then asked "Do you remember the day you got your sight? Now you can see what He's done for you. Don't get lost in thinking you don't know enough. All you need to know is there was a day to take a stand for Jesus and get your sight back. You don't go to heaven on anyone else's testimony, only your own. Do you need to see? You don't know how much time you will have left to make that decision."

Our closing hymn was "Silent Night." Doug gave the benediction.

We wish you God's blessings in the new year and invite you to begin the new year in worship. Everyone is welcome at Mill Creek Baptist Church, located 3 1/2 miles east of Noel just off Highway 90.

Opinions expressed are those of the author.

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