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As we gathered to worship Sunday morning at Mill Creek Baptist Church, Kenneth White and Raye Deen Boyle were celebrating birthdays. Doug Cory greeted the congregation and opened our service with prayer. Linda and Steve shared praises, and special prayers were requested for Rhonda, Todd, Jim, Aubrey, Gene, Carlos, Susan's mother, safe travel, rain and the Shaddox family.

Terry Lett taught the adult Sunday school lesson from Proverbs 15:33-16:11: "Pleasing God." God's people should seek to please God in their attitudes and actions and avoid six things God hates: arrogant eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that plots wicked schemes, feet eager to run to evil, a false witness and one who stirs up trouble.

Linda Abercrombie read a couple of letters of thanks to the church and testaments of how God has changed lives. She also read Ephesians 3:20: "Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us."

The congregation joined voices in singing "His Name is Wonderful," and we were blessed with special music from Jerry and Linda who sang "Church in the Wildwood," a reminder of Mill Creek Church, and "Life is Like a Mountain Railroad," about keeping our hand on the throttle and our eye on the rail. Let Christ be your conductor on this train of life.

God's message for us was the study of the signs of the end of the times, "Watching for the Signs." As Brother Mark Hall began the sermon, he read Matthew 24:1-2 about "The Great Tribulation" and asked, "When is the last time you have been really physically lost and had no clue where you were and no GPS? Jesus gives us signs for directions in our life." Brother Mark talked about seven signs in Matthew 24 that tell us to know when Jesus is coming: deception, division, disaster, defamation, desertion, depravity and declaration.

Brother Mark referred to Matthew 24:4-5 and talked about deception. In the scripture, Jesus tells us, "Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, "I am the Christ,' and will deceive many." Brother Mark told us there is more deception in the name of religion now than ever before. "The world is full of wolves in sheep's clothing."

In Matthew 24:6, Jesus tells us, "And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet." As Brother Mark talked about the sign of deception, he said, "There are wars and rumors of wars in the world, in churches, in families and everywhere."

Brother Mark talked about the third sign to know when Jesus is coming, disasters, and referred to Matthew 24:7 where Jesus says, "For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences and earthquakes in various places." Brother Mark told us there is hunger, disease, storms, earthquakes and more hunger in the world now than ever before.

The fifth sign is desertion. Brother Mark told us that before Jesus comes, there will be the falling away from the church which started a long time ago. He referred to Matthew 24:10-11 where Jesus says, "And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many."

Brother Mark talked about depravity, the sixth sign of knowing when Jesus is coming. "When people have fallen away and there is a desertion of the church, and that leaves no more moral anchor to restrain the devil. Violence involves utter disregard for God's law. Lawlessness and violence are all over the world today." In Matthew 24:12, Jesus says "And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold."

Brother Mark also referred to Matthew 24:13 where Jesus tells us, "But he who endures to the end shall be saved." And said, "You are not saved because you endured, you will endure because you are saved."

Lastly, Brother Mark talked about the seventh sign of knowing when Jesus is coming, declaration, and said, "The gospel must be declared. Has it been preached in all the nations yet? What about here?" In Matthew 24:14, Jesus says, "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come."

In closing, Brother Mark said, "If you believe in Jesus, you will not be afraid to publicly profess it. A sincere public confession of faith is the greatest thing you can do for yourself and your family and give them the peace of knowing that one day you will have that eternal life with Jesus."

Our hymn of invitation was "Lord, I'm Coming Home." and Wayne Emanuel gave the benediction.

As Mill Creek Baptist Church reaches its 114th year of worship, we regret to announce that there will be no homecoming celebration this year, the third Sunday in August, due to health and safety concerns of the pandemic. We do invite you to worship with us Sunday mornings at 11 a.m. and join us for Sunday school at 10 a.m. Mill Creek Baptist Church is located 3 1/2 miles east of Noel just off Highway 90. Everyone is always welcome.

Opinions expressed are those of the author.

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