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As we gathered to worship Sunday morning at Mill Creek Baptist Church, Leann and Bobby Parish and Doug and Susan Cory were celebrating wedding anniversaries. As we pray for rain, special requests included prayers for several families who had lost loved ones, travel prayers, Jimmy Easter, Janet Chaney, Jimmy Anderson and Gene Hall.

We recognized Brother Mark Hall for being our pastor. His faith inspires us, his wisdom leads us and his caring and compassion are ever-present reminders for us to follow God's will. We are so blessed and grateful to have him at Mill Creek.

The adult Sunday school lesson was a study of Isaiah 31 titled "God Protects." God is able to protect His people from enemies. We ask and pray for His protection every day for us, our family and others. God remains faithful even when we are not, and trusting in God will ultimately lead to victory. Trusting in human strength rather than God's power will ultimately lead to defeat.

Linda Abercrombie shared a couple of devotionals. "Detours," with scripture from Ecclesiastes 3:1, tells us to enjoy the scenery along the detours and seasons in our life. Even trees lose their leaves and still stand tall and wait for better days. The second devotional, "What Would Happen?" tells us that prayer doesn't change God, but it can change us.

Special hymns of praise came from Jerry Abercrombie, who sang "Thanks to Calvary," and Karen Gardner, who sang, "For Those Tears, I Died." Congregational hymns included "What A Friend We Have In Jesus."

Brother Mark brought us God's message titled, "Are You Listening?" with scripture from Ecclesiastes 5:1-7. As he read verse one, he told us that we go to God's house to hear what God has for us to hear.

"If you are going for another reason, it is the wrong one. We are there to hear what God wants us to hear. Even though it is the same message for everyone, there is something different in it for everyone to hear."

After reading verse 2, "Do not be rash with your mouth, and let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; therefore let your words be few." Brother Mark said, "We run our mouths too much and our ears not enough. While in God's house, we need to listen to what He has to say to us."

As Brother Mark read verses 4-5, he told us to be very careful about making promises to God.

"One can experience much grief when you are on fire for God and make promises and then don't keep them. God will remember. In the Christian life, God is the eyes and we are the ears but we have to filter out the noise to listen to God. When we don't, confusion sets in and we make foolish mistakes."

Brother Mark referred to Isaiah 65:12-15 and told us that this is what happens when we fail to listen to God.

"There are two ways God speaks to use in our lives: publicly and personally. Personally is what affects just you. Publicly is how God deals with us as a whole country and how he deals with us as a part of a larger group because we do not hear. When we don't hear God, the product is a sorrowful heart and a grieved spirit. When we look down the highway, we may be able to see for a mile or so, but God can see yesterday, today, tomorrow and forever. It is more important for us to hear God than for Him to hear us. We should spend more time listening to God than Him listening to us. We have to remember to hear God, we have to choose to hear God and we have to seek to hear God."

Brother Mark referred to Mark 8:13 as he talked about Jesus and His disciples and feeding the multitude.

"We should apply the same faith to our life that we try to apply to other people's lives. We forget how easy it is to preach and how hard it is to practice. You can't take matters in your own hands. You have to choose to listen and then to have faith. We have a choice. We can choose to hear from God or just do what we want. We must remember to seek and hear God. When you are in the hot box of life, there is a lot of noise. You have to seek God and listen to Him. We can choose to follow Jesus or choose not to follow Jesus."

As Brother Mark read Jeremiah 7:1-4, he told us that on judgment day, there will be no excuses for not hearing God.

"We must remember to believe in Him, choose to believe in Him and seek to believe in Him. If you do that, you can have everlasting life. Who are you going to listen to? God or everyone else? We have to hear God. Do you listen to Him? I pray that God hears us in a time when a lot of people don't hear God and listen to Him. There are two ways God will speak to you, through His word in the Bible and He will speak to you through your heart. Allow God to speak to you. You will hear Him in your heart. If you haven't been saved, God has one message for you and that is 'come to Me.'"

Our hymn of invitation was "Have Thine Own Way, Lord." Doug gave the benediction.

We invite you to worship with us next Sunday morning at 11 a.m. as Brother Mark will bring us God's message, "Get Over It," as he talks about how we have all been victims whether it be circumstances, financial, grief or illness. Jesus wants to help us get over it. Sunday school begins at 10 a.m.

Mill Creek is located 3 1/2 miles east of Noel just off Highway 90. Everyone is welcome.

Opinions expressed are those of the author.

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