We welcomed several visitors as we gathered to worship Sunday morning at Mill Creek Baptist Church. Doug Cory opened our service with prayer and Ann Parrish and Le'Ann Parish were celebrating birthdays. Special prayers were for Donna, Karen, Skip, Jimmy, Janet, Cleo and travel prayers. Congratulations to our MCHS graduate, Miss Mary McCaine, daughter of Tim and Kathy McCaine. Brother Mark presented her with a new Bible. We wish her much success and God's blessing in all that she does.
The adult Sunday school class studied Luke 23:33-46 in the lesson, "Sacrificed," taught by Rick Lett. The lesson talked about how Jesus' sacrifice on the cross can motivate us in our faith and reminds us that His death on the cross removes the barrier between the holy God and sinful humanity.
Linda Abercrombie shared a devotional, "Taming the Jungle," about how a plant can take over the other vegetation in a garden. Like plants in a garden, we need space, nourishment, prayer, faith, rest and joy. Too many good things in life can choke out life with God. Our life is like a garden. Do we keep up with the weeding? Is there anything new we need to plant?
With Susan Cory at the piano, Jerry Abercrombie led the congregation in singing hymns of praise, including "Blessed Assurance." Tyrel Lett asked God's blessing upon the offering, and Rick Lett served as an usher.
Our pastor, Mark Hall, began Sunday's message by reading the words of Jesus in Acts. 1:8, "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."
Brother Mark reminded us that we are all called to be witnesses as he addressed a congregational question: "How do you witness to an atheist -- those who don't go by the Bible?"
Brother Mark told us that everyone has been given a measure of faith. It is up to us to do what we will with it.
"There are two classes of people: the unbelievers who are lost and the believers who are saved. It is important to know what a believer believes. They believe in God but also that God created heaven and earth, that God has control over all, that He sent His son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins and rise again, to save us from sin, that God comes first and that He is worthy of worship and praise." Brother Mark told us that some people may tell you they are a believer but live like an atheist.
As Brother Mark talked about how to witness to an unbeliever, he referred to Mark 2:13-17 and told us that there are five things we need to remember when witnessing to an unbeliever.
"First, the first time you visit with them, let them talk and you listen. Until they know you care; they don't care what you know. Second, witness to them privately. Beliefs are a personal question. Third, ask them how you can help them."
In Mark 10:45, Jesus said, "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."
Brother Mark shared an experience of helping someone and then having the opportunity to minister to them.
"God sent his Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for us. The least we can do is help someone. It is easy to take credit when we help someone but in Matthew 5:16, Jesus says, 'Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.' If it is in your power to help someone, do it. Your faith is better felt than telt (told)" Brother Mark referred to James 2:14 which says, "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?" Brother Mark told us that when you live those verses, witnessing isn't a problem. "If you let your Jesus show, folks will want to come see it."
Brother Mark told us the fourth thing to remember when witnessing to the unbeliever is to always pray. In Romans 10:1, Paul says the first thing we need to do for the unbeliever is to pray for them to be saved. 1 Timothy 2:3-4 says, "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth."
The fifth thing to do when witnessing is not to argue with an unbeliever. Brother Mark said, "What we know is what the Bible says and what God has done for us. If they don't believe what God says, then they won't believe what we say. They won't believe in the authority of God's word. When two people argue it is because one is too stubborn to forgive and the other is too proud to apologize. Conflicts don't survive without your participation. No one can dispute what God has done for you. That is your testimony. We just want to show unbelievers what Jesus can do for them like He did for us.
What did Jesus do for you? Do you need to make peace with God?"
Our hymn of invitation was "Trust and Obey," and Wayne Holly gave the benediction.
We invite you to worship with us at Mill Creek Baptist Church on Sunday mornings at 11 a.m. Sunday school begins at 10 a.m. Everyone is welcome.
Opinions expressed are those of the author.