As we gathered to worship Sunday morning at Mill Creek Baptist Church, Tim and Kathy McCaine were celebrating their anniversary. Special prayers were requested for Janet Chaney, Jimmy Easter, Dell Hawkins, Frankie Garvin, Mike, Shane and Danny. Doug Cory opened our service with prayer.
Janet Chaney shared information about the Annie Armstrong Easter offering that we are still collecting. Even during the pandemic, the missionaries found a way to share God's word. We should pray that times of crisis have opened up new doors to God's word.
Linda Abercrombie share the devotion "Laughter-Good Medicine", a reading written by Erma Bombeck. Instead of wishing that you would have done something instead, seize every moment and live it.
"Sinners?" was the title of the adult Sunday school lesson, a study of Luke 19:1-20. It is the story of Zacchaeus, the tax collector, who wanted to get a glimpse of Jesus and instead received a whole lot more in salvation and a changed way of life. The text reminded us that "Some people are rightly desperate to see Jesus, Jesus is available to all people regardless of their past and salvation, is available to all who come to Jesus in repentance and faith."
Congregational hymns included "Heavenly Sunlight" led by Karen Gardner with Susan Cory at the piano. Karen sang a special hymn of praise about being sheltered in the arms of God. Wayne Holly and Jerry Abercrombie served as ushers and collected the offertory.
Filling in at the pulpit for Brother Mark Hall was Allen Brock, Director of Missions of the Shoal Creek Baptist Association. Allen shared God's message for us from I Peter 3:8-12. He began by saying, "Last Sunday, Easter, we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ. What do we do after the resurrection now? How should that change our lives?"
I Peter includes Peter's writings to the people as the church is being persecuted. Peter is in prison writing letters of encouragement to the Christians in regard to Christian suffering. In the writings, Peter is giving characteristics for a Christian in crisis. Allen told us that we live in a world of chaos, but the command to the church hasn't changed and that is to be disciples of Christ. He talked about the commands and characteristics for Christians to live by. "Christians are to stand firm in crisis. They are to be same minded and live in one accord for Christ. Christians are to be sympathetic and show compassion to those who suffer and hurt. Someone doesn't know how much you care for them until you care for them. Christians are to love as brothers since brotherly love is a characteristic of a believer. Christians are to be tenderhearted. They are to feel and connect with others." Allen continued and said, "Now is the time for us to show the hope of Christ in a world of turmoil. Jesus created everyone and He died for everyone." Allen told us that Christians are to be humble-minded and said, "We should not compare ourselves to one another but to Jesus Christ which puts our lives in perspective. This world is looking for love, acceptance, and forgiveness from us through Christ. Which one of those commands do we need to work on as Christians? As a church? If there is nothing we think we need to work on, maybe we have a need for repentance. The church belongs to Christ and is to obey Jesus Christ. It doesn't belong to us."
Allen read I Peter 3:10-12 which gives us our Christian commands and says, "For he who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away form evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it, for the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil." As Allen talked about each of the Christian commands, he told us that we are to stop evil words. "Avoid verbal retaliation attached with your tongue. Watch your mouth." We are to stop evil living and make better lifestyle decisions. Allen said, "Act opposite of what culture expects, most of which is contrary to the word of God." Another command is that, as Christians, we are to start making peace a goal. Allen told us to make peace with people. "Don't be a source of division. That reveals your relationship with God. Peace speaks unity. God sees and hears His children. There is nothing we see, say or do that God doesn't know. He holds us accountable. You can't live contrary to God's will and be a child of God. You can't live like an unbeliever and yet confess Christ. You can't know Christ and live dishonorably to Christ. Don't display character contrary to God."
Our hymn of invitation was "Just As I Am" and Jerry gave the benediction.
We invite you to worship with us Sunday mornings at Mill Creek Baptist Church. Sunday school begins at 10 a.m. and worship at 11 a.m. Everyone is welcome. We are located 3½ miles east of Noel just off Highway 90.
Opinions expressed are those of the author.