Is Your Faith In Christ Go­ing Forward Or Back­ward?

McDonald County Press - - CHURCH - By Kitty Collingsworth Mill Creek Bap­tist Church

It was a beau­ti­ful drive to Mill Creek Bap­tist Church Sun­day morn­ing as the beauty of na­ture abounds in the col­ors of the fall leaves and God’s hand­i­work. For ev­ery­thing, there is a sea­son.

We were greeted by Doug Cory, who opened our ser­vice with prayer. Kalissa Smith was cel­e­brat­ing a birth­day, and spe­cial prayers were re­quested for Don Chaney, Tommy and Aaron.

Linda Aber­crom­bie shared the de­vo­tional, “Thought Process,” and read Ro­mans 12:2: “And do not be con­formed to this world, but be trans­formed by the re­new­ing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and ac­cept­able and per­fect will of God.”

When we try not to think about some­thing, we end up think­ing about it more. Some­times we need to send our thoughts to the time­out chair. Dis­trac­tions keep us from pos­i­tive thoughts and neg­a­tiv­ity robs us of God’s peace. We need time to think good thoughts and let prob­lem-solv­ing over­come our doubts.

Tyrel Lett asked God’s bless­ing upon the of­fer­ing and he and Rick Lett served as ush­ers. With Becky John­son at the piano, Karen Gard­ner led the con­gre­ga­tion in singing hymns of praise, with spe­cial mu­sic from Jerry and Linda, who sang, “Turn Your Eyes Upon Je­sus.” Scrip­ture for the song is Isa­iah 45:22 which says, “Look unto Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth. For I am God, and there is no other.”

Brother Mark Hall be­gan God’s mes­sage for us by read­ing 2 Corinthi­ans: “Ex­am­ine your­selves as to whether you are in the faith, test your­selves. Do you not know your­selves, that Je­sus Christ is in you — un­less in­deed you are dis­qual­i­fied.”

Brother Mark told us the scrip­ture is talk­ing to us and that we are to test and ex­am­ine our­selves. “We are good at test­ing oth­ers, but do we test our­selves. We need to look at our­selves so we know if we are in the faith.”

The ti­tle of Sun­day’s ser­mon was “Test Day.” Brother Mark told us the test is self-given, open-book and no one can take it for us. “It is be­tween you and the Lord. You can’t look at some­one and tell if they are saved. If you know the real Je­sus, you know the real thing. Those who worry about their sal­va­tion usu­ally have the least to worry about. Those who don’t prob­a­bly should. The Spirit con­victs your heart. True con­vic­tion will cause you to love ho­li­ness, pray of­ten, hate sin and walk humbly with God.”

Brother Mark told us to test our­selves. We need to ask if our be­liefs are gov­erned by scrip­ture or our own. “Do we el­e­vate our opin­ion above God’s and then ask our self the most im­por­tant ques­tion — who is Je­sus to me? He lived a sin­less life, died for our sins and rose again. We need to be sub­mis­sive to the teach­ings of the Bible. How do you feel and re­spond when you sin? Do you try to make ex­cuses and try to ra­tio­nal­ize your sin? You need to re­pent and con­fess.” In Luke 13:3, Je­sus tells us, “I tell you, no; but un­less you re­pent you will all like­wise per­ish.”

Brother Mark shared the parts of the Con­ver­sion Test. “First, there is the Char­ac­ter Test. When you are born, you in­herit char­ac­ter­is­tics of your par­ents and rel­a­tives like looks and ac­tions. When you are born again, you in­herit traits of our Heav­enly Fa­ther, and we be­gin to act more like Him to see things and re­spond like Je­sus (scrip­ture ref­er­ence was I Peter 1:22-23). Se­cond, there is the Con­tin­u­a­tion Test. Is your faith in Christ go­ing forward or back­ward? On any given Sun­day, less than half the mem­bers of any church will be in church. Are you a dropout? (Scrip­ture ref­er­ence II Ti­mothy 3:14). Third, there is the Cur­rency Test. Where is your heart? Is it with your check­book or the Good Book? (Scrip­ture ref­er­ence Matthew 6:21). Fifth, there is the Cri­sis Test. How are you in a cri­sis? We should have the same faith in bad times as we do the good times. Good is easy, bad, not so much. Dur­ing a cri­sis is when your faith should show (Scrip­ture ref­er­ence 2 Ti­mothy 1:17). And the last test is the Com­pan­ion Test. Are you in the faith? This is the most im­por­tant test you will ever take. Ex­am­ine your­self first to see if you are in the faith. Do you know for sure where you will spend eter­nity? There is no rea­son to live in doubt.”

Our hymn of in­vi­ta­tion was “The Sav­ior is Waiting,” and Tom Sharp gave the bene­dic­tion. We greeted We­ston Al­li­son on his pro­fes­sion of faith and up­com­ing bap­tism.

We will be set up at South­west City’s Trunk or Treat with God’s “Pumpkin Patch” and ev­ery­one is in­vited to our an­nual Com­mu­nity Thanks­giv­ing Din­ner on Satur­day, Nov. 10, at Mill Creek Bap­tist Church. The free meal will be served from 5 to 6:30 p.m. and con­sists of turkey, ham, dress­ing, pota­toes, gravy, green beans, rolls and lots of sides, sal­ads and desserts.

Ev­ery­one is al­ways in­vited to wor­ship at Mill Creek Bap­tist Church on Sun­day morn­ings at 11 a.m. Sun­day school begins at 10 a.m. Mill Creek Bap­tist Church is lo­cated 3½ miles east of Noel, just off High­way 90.

“Dis­trac­tions keep us from pos­i­tive thoughts and neg­a­tiv­ity robs us of God’s peace. We need time to think good thoughts and let prob­lem-solv­ing over­come our doubts.”

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