It was a great day to be in God's house. Jerry Abercrombie greeted the congregation and opened our morning service with prayer. Special prayers for healing were requested for Rick Lett, Linda Gill, Scarlet and Jerry. The business meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m., and Bible Study is Wednesday evening at 6:30 p.m.
The adult Sunday school class studied John 18:1-11 in the lesson, "I Am He." We are reminded that Jesus is always in control and committed to the redemption of humanity. "Believers can expect enemies of Jesus to use maximum force against Him and can confidently face life knowing that Jesus is in charge."
Linda Abercrombie shared the devotional, "Who's Pushing Your Swing." Sometimes we only let certain people push our swing because we trust them. We live in a stormy world. Remember, we can trust God to push our swing."
Tyrel Lett asked God to bless the offering, and he and Jeff Calley served as ushers. We were blessed with special praise music from Jerry Abercrombie, who sang "Unspoken Request," and Karen Gardner led the congregational hymns.
Brother Roger Gill brought us God's word in the message, "Understanding the Change in Us." Scripture was from Philippians 2:12-15. He began by telling us that sometimes we have false assumptions after we are saved, and he talked about understanding the changes in us after salvation.
"Have you ever wondered why you're in a spiritual rut? You may be learning about Jesus but not applying it by living like Jesus and not getting any closer to God. Being saved is our opportunity to get closer. God works around us and within us to become closer to Him as our Father and God. People have their lives changed because of salvation. We can never lose that salvation. We are recreated on the inside and our souls become secure."
Brother Roger referred to 2 Corinthians 5:17, which says, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." Ephesians 1:13-14 says, "In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory."
Brother Roger continued and told us that sometimes there are false assumptions about life's changes.
"At salvation, our soul is secure, but God is still working on us little by little -- on our character, habits, and attitude changes -- but our flesh gets in the way until we grow and mature in Christ. Faith grows when you hear the words, little by little. The more we try, the more we will grow. In 1999, 70% of Americans attended church. That number has dropped recently to only 47%. Some burn out after salvation. People start attending church when friends invite friends. We need to invite our friends to church next Sunday. There are so many empty pews in churches today."
Brother Roger told us that the correct formula for life's change begins with God and is a gradual process. Philippians 2:13 says. "For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure." Brother Roger told us that when God starts something, He never quits. "He is with us daily. It is a life-changing partnership with God. If you ever try Jesus once, He will always be your best friend. Our eternal destiny is changed at salvation, and our habits, character and attitude begin to change. Does what you are doing please God? It is a step-by-step process after you are saved. You can use it to help someone else, too."
Brother Roger told us that if salvation changes us, we have to live according to the Bible. "The word of God changes us and can make an impact on us." Hebrews 4:12 says, "For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
Brother Roger told us that the Holy Spirit can enable us and change us by providing power, strength and conviction. "The Holy Spirit uses the word of God to make the child of God more like the Son of God. It is God's grace that works in us to have the desire to do God's will. The promise of God sustains us."
Brother Roger read Philippians 2:14-15: "Do all things without complaining and disputing that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation among whom you shine as lights in the world."
Brother Roger told us that griping and grumbling are such a part of our nature and life in general. "Circumstances grow us. God is not as concerned as much about our circumstances as He is about us in our circumstances. He is more interested in us and our hearts than what is going on around us. Life change is about training, not trying."
Philippians 2:12 says, "Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling."
Brother Roger told us, "Sometimes we forget about the meaning of a gift. A pure gift expects nothing in return. God gives us a free gift of grace that brings us to salvation. Paul tells us to work out our salvation to full completion with what God puts inside us for our Christian maturity. Training requires discipline. The Bible has gentle discipline to correct our shortcomings to live a life that practices and activities to model Christ in us. Begin removing those things in our lives that don't fit God's will. We need to work out our salvation, not work for it because we can't earn it. You get it only by faith. Salvation is a free gift. It is a gift of God."
In closing, Brother Roger referred to Romans 10:13, "For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved," and said, "God will come into your heart and life if you allow Him. We are thankful for God's word that disciplines us to live a life according to God's word."
We invite you to worship with us at Mill Creek Baptist Church, located 3 1/2 miles east of Noel, just off Highway 90. Sunday school begins at 10 a.m., followed by worship service at 11 a.m. Everyone is welcome.
The opinions expressed are those of the author.