It was a wonderful day of worship as we began the new year in God's house Sunday at Mill Creek Baptist Church. Doug Cory greeted the congregation, and special prayers were requested for Don, Dot, and JoAnn Neal's family.
Rick Lett taught the adult Sunday school class as they studied "Everyone Who Believes" and scripture from John 3:4-18. The lesson reminds us that a new year represents a fresh start, just as being born again in Christ gives us a new start in life and offers us eternal life. The lesson talked about Nicodemus, who believed that "one's righteous works and achievements made a person right with God. Jesus, though, taught something radically different and that it was necessary for a person to be born from above." God lovingly offers salvation to all who will accept Jesus.
Linda Abercrombie read Isaiah 43:2, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you." The one thing you want may be the thing that drags you under. God will be with us in the rivers of difficulty.
Mitchell Lett asked for God's blessing upon the offertory, and he and Tyrel Lett served as ushers.
We were blessed with special praise music from Jerry Abercrombie, who sang "Through It All," and the congregation joined voices in singing hymns of praise led by Karen Gardner, with Susan Cory at the piano.
We were blessed to have Tony Fuller bring us God's word. As he mentioned the Christmas story, he took a deeper look into the life of Joseph and how we can apply his reaction to the birth of Jesus to our lives in the coming year. He told us that "nowhere in the Bible are there any words spoken by Joseph. Actions speak louder than words. And nowhere in the Bible does it give a description of a failure, stumble or fall of Joseph. God had a plan for Joseph's life, and He has a plan for all of us. Joseph was a just man. He was a carpenter and worked with his hands and had a stellar reputation."
Tony read Micah 6:8, which tells us what God wants us to do: "He has shown you, O Man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." He told us that Joseph was determined to show Mary kindness and mercy. "He wanted to hear from God. We are to walk in humility with God. We can hear from God, too, in His word. His instructions to us are in the Bible. A good reputation was important in Joseph's culture, but God told him not to fear taking Mary as his wife. It was a God-sized task, but Joseph had faith to take it on. As God asked Joseph to be Jesus' earthly father, he acted with a faith that we can learn from."
Tony told us that there are three things that Joseph did that we can learn from for 2023. First, he sought God. "God speaks to us. Be in the word. We have to be people of the word with our heads and our hearts. We must know the scripture, but we must do it also. Joseph had more than head knowledge and he showed it."
The second thing that Joseph did that we can learn from is that he rose up and obeyed. "Joseph had foot action. He got up and did it."
And the third thing we can learn from Joseph to apply to the new year is that he constantly persevered. "He remained faithful."
In closing, Tony reminded us that God has a good plan. "God chooses us for things just like He chose Joseph. God is good and has a good plan for us. It might not be what we choose, but it is good for us and others. That is what Joseph did with his God-sized task. He performed his duties with few words but was a man of the word. As we go through this new year, be a partner in God's ministry." Luke 2:52 says, "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men."
We invite you to worship with us Sunday mornings at Mill Creek Baptist Church. Sunday school begins at 10 a.m. and worship service at 11 a.m. Bible study begins at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday evenings. Everyone is welcome. As we begin the new year, we pray for all of God's greatest blessings for you, including peace, good health, safety and happiness.
-- The opinions expressed are those of the author.