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Our sanctuary was decorated for fall as we wait on cooler temperatures, but we are thankful for the rain that some of us got. Jerry Abercrombie was celebrating a birthday and we wish a happy birthday to Mildred Sharp. Special prayers for the Bobby Bryan family, the Headey family, Don Chaney and Tom. Jeanette expressed thanks for the kindness during the passing of Jimmy, and Doug Cory opened our service with prayer.
Sunday evening, Sept. 12, Mill Creek will host a free southern gospel concert at Blankenship Park in Southwest City. "Legacy Five" will begin singing at 6 p.m. Everyone is cordially invited to attend. Please bring a lawn chair.
"Joy in Prayer" was the Sunday school lesson taught by Rick Lett as we studied Philippians 1:1-11. The lesson reminded us that believers find joy in praying for the spiritual growth of others and made three points: "Believers share a common bond with other believers through faith in Christ; believers can thank God for others who partner with them in kingdom work; and our prayers for other believers should include praying for their spiritual growth."
Linda Abercrombie shared the devotional "Inside Your Head." When we become anxious, God's guidance in His time will bring peace. Philippians 4:6 says, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God."
Jerry Abercrombie led the congregational hymns "Blessed Assurance" and "At Calvary," with Susan Cory at the piano. We were blessed with special music from the Cory's grandchildren as they sang a hymn of praise about serving our Father. Tryel Lett and Rick Lett served as ushers and collected the offertory.
Before beginning Sunday's message, Brother Mark told us he had heard a new one this week and humorously told us to "take the cotton out of your ears and put it in your mouth for a while."
The sermon began a two-week message about relationships. Scripture was from Leviticus 19: 17-18: "You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord."
Brother Mark began by telling us that there is nothing more valuable than peace-peace in a Christian family, home, neighborhood and work. "In a relationship, you are responsible for what you carry in that relationship. Feelings get hurt at some point. Don't throw your responsibility down and walk away. Sometimes we have to carry a little more than our part to continue the peace. It is worth it to preserve the peace. We have to make allowances."
Brother Mark referred to the TV show, "Dallas," and said, "Everyone loved to hate J.R. We are turning into a country of people who love to hate. Remember when the news was unbiased? Now it feeds the hatred of those watching it because so many love to hate. It breeds division. Who is behind the hate and division and the country turning on each other?" Brother Mark referred to 2 Timothy 2: 23-26 for the answer. "But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient in humility, correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will."
Brother Mark told us that the devil is the snare and the trap behind the hate and division. "He knows our weaknesses. The number one bait he uses to trap us is emotions. Being led by your emotions almost always leads to disaster. The devil's number one agenda is to cause division and he uses people to do that."
Titus 3:9-11 says: "But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and striving about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless. Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned."
Proverbs 10: 12 says: "Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins."
Brother Mark told us that that is why Jesus is so adamant about us loving one another. The devil will try to divide and control. Controlling people is hard to deal with and critical judgment will cause division. Everything is under attack by the devil. But there is a cure. Jesus is the cure and the answer to all the hate. You have hate for someone if you take pleasure in seeing harm to them.
The book of Psalm talks about level ground. Brother Mark asked, "If you are walking on level ground, you don't have to fight it all the time. Everyday doesn't have to be a hill-climber if you are on level ground with Jesus and do His will. The most important thing is for you to be saved and trust Jesus, walk on level ground with Him and let Him be the boss."
Our hymn of invitation was "Softly and Tenderly." Wayne Holly gave the benediction.
We invite you to worship with us Sunday mornings at 11 a.m. Sunday school begins at 10 a.m. Everyone is welcome. Mill Creek Baptist Church is located 3 1/2 miles east of Noel, just off Highway 90.
Opinions expressed are those of the author.
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