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RELIGION: How Does God's Garden Grow?

March 25, 2021 at 4:00 a.m.

Beautiful spring flowers decorated our sanctuary as we gathered to worship Sunday morning at Mill Creek Baptist Church. Doug Cory greeted the congregation and special prayers were requested for Donna, Finley, June, Grace, Janet, Jimmy and Mike. Shelley and Debra shared praises. There will be an Easter egg hunt for the kids after the Easter Sunday service and the Bible school that is being planned for July 31.

Rick Lett taught the adult Sunday school lesson, "Worthy," the study of Luke 18:9-17 as Jesus taught about discipleship and the kingdom of God. The lesson covered the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector and made three points: "Believers must safeguard against religious pride, believers must confess their sins to the Father, and God builds His kingdom on childlike trust and honesty."

Jeanette Easter shared testimony and a devotional about not worrying about tomorrow. "The Lord is our rock and will never forsake those who seek Him." Tyrel Lett and Rick served as ushers for the offering.

The congregation joined voices in singing "At the Cross," with Susan Cory at the piano and led by Karen Gardner. We were blessed with special music from the Cory's grandchildren and Karen.

Our Pastor, Brother Mark Hall, brought us God's message, "How Does Your Garden Grow?" with scripture from Mark 4:26-29 about the parable of the mustard seed. He began by telling us that we must plant a seed to harvest. "We must sew a seed to reach our friends and neighbors to grow God's garden. I would like to think that Jesus was a country preacher and used farming to show God's garden and how it grows. You have to plant the seed or nothing grows. There is a certain part of the growth that God is responsible for. We, the people of the church, are responsible for the preparation of the soil and planting the seed. God gives the growth." 1 Corinthians 3:6 says, "I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase."

Brother Mark talked about church growth and those who just open the door of the church and those who not only open the door but plant the seed and encourage the growth. "There are certain things that we are responsible for and that is planting and cultivating the seed. Some just leave it." He talked about growing strawberries when he was growing up and planting a crop versus depending on a volunteer crop of wild strawberries. He compared the wild strawberries that died out because of no cultivation to a church that dies out. "A living church will grow just like a child that is born to grow. You can stunt anything by keeping it small. That's why some plants need to be replanted to a bigger pot. It is just like the roots of a church that grow. A tree grows bigger because it is a living thing."

Brother Mark talked about how churches grow. "They grow by faith, through fellowship, by breaking bread, through roots that grow prayer and by sharing with one another what they have." As he talked about fellowship, he said it is a "friendly association of people who show an interest in and enjoy each other's company." As he talked about growing through prayer, he said, "We should pray to God to show us how He wants us to grow His kingdom and pray for lost souls. How many lost people are on your prayer list?" And as he talked about sharing with one another, he said, "Everyone has something to contribute, whether it is time, talent or treasure."

In closing, Brother Mark told us to think about how to promote church growth, to encourage people to come to church and plant the seed.

Our hymn of invitation was "I Surrender All." David Collingsworth gave the benediction.

We invite you to worship with us at Mill Creek Baptist Church Sunday mornings at 11 a.m. Sunday school begins at 10 a.m. The Easter season is a wonderful time to renew or begin that relationship with Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Mill Creek Baptist Church 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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