Barber Baptist

"Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not" (2 Corinthians 4:1).

Happy birthday and God bless Betty Ford and Letha Johnson.

Ron Philpot brought the morning message about our brokenness, God's forgiveness, and God's restoration.

No one ever sets out to destroy their lives or to put their parents to shame. It's a downhill slide.

Romans 1:21-32 describes the assent into the brokenness of all of us. There are three times the Scripture says that "God gave them over…" God allowed them to have what they wanted and the end was horrible and treacherous.

Verses 21-23 say, "Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts and creeping things."

There are no hidden sins. Vanity, which is dangerous, leads to foolishness. We think we are so wise that we know more than God.

Vanity leads to foolishness which leads to idolatry. Around the time of Israel's captivity the spiritual leaders were taking part in abominations.

Ezekiel 8:7-13: "…So I went in and saw; and behold every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, portrayed upon the wall round about….Then said he unto me, 'Son of man, hast thou seen what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the chambers of his imagery? For they say, the Lord seeth us not; the Lord hath forsaken the earth.' He said also unto me, 'Turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations that they do.'"

From vanity to foolishness to idolatry; then from idolatry to vile affections as it shows in Romans 1:24-25. Morally and spiritually impure and full of dishonor they got to where they did not worship God.

People can get to a point where they feel like they can ignore the Bible and make up their own rules. People become reprobate, according to verses 26-27.

When God is absent from a person's life they try to fill that void with other things: drugs, alcohol, sex, money and so on.

Though we are so blessed, many are turning their backs on God, even whole churches are turning away from God.

God does forgive. Read 1 John 1:9. God also restores. Read Philippians 2:9-11.

Revelation 21:5: "And he that sat upon the throne said, 'Behold, I make all things new.' And he said unto me, 'Write: for these words are true and faithful.'"

Marta Vann

Peggs Community Church

Services for Sept. 15 began in prayer this morning led by Brother John Meigs. The devotional was read from Daniel 6:13-28, and the first song was "Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus." We had 66 present today.

Happy birthday this week to Mary Terry. Several get well messages have been passed on through the prayer chain this past week. Remember to include these folks in your daily prayers.

The senior luncheon is Thursday, Sept. 19, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Brother Rex took his sermon this morning from passages in Luke 10:38-42 and John 12:1-8, reminding us of how easy it is to focus on external things we deem important rather than focusing our thoughts on Christ and how to lift him up.

Using the sisters of Lazarus, Martha and Mary, as examples, Brother Rex pointed out just how easy: Jesus was coming to Martha and Mary's home, dinner needed to be prepared, the house needed to be readied for guests, and Martha was fretting over every little detail.

Mary, however, sat at Jesus' feet, listening to his every word, then anointing his feet with a very expensive oil and her tears, then drying his feet with her hair. Martha pointed out to Jesus that she was really busy and needed her sister's help; would he please tell Mary to come to her aid. Christ told Martha that Mary was doing what was necessary and focusing on his teachings rather than on "doing for show," so to speak.

How many times do we fret about how our house looks inside when we find the pastor is coming over? How often do we re-do the church house so it will look "more inviting" to the passing public? Yes, neatness and cleanliness are good things, but a reputation as a church that "practices what it preaches" means so much more to someone that is hurting and needing to hear about and know Jesus.

Brother Rex urges us all to focus our thoughts and hearts vertically toward heaven rather than just on our horizon. When we rely on God to take care of the tough stuff, our lives get so much better.

Kay Cordray

God's Mountain Church

Rev. Carl Clark opened service with prayer. Congregational singing included the selections "Just a Little Talk Jesus," "Everybody Will Be Happy," "Blessed Assurance," and "Victory in Jesus."

Classes adjourned with Sandra Clark teaching the juniors, and Cindy Rolston in charge of the nursery today.

Our adult Sunday school teacher was not able to attend. We had testimony service with several testaments given.

Classes returned to the sanctuary. The booster band sang "Who Did Swallow Jonah?," "Jesus Loves Me," and "I Just Wanna Be a Sheep."

Sandra Clark and Lula Thompson opened worship service with "I Love to Tell the Story." Pastor Clark delivered the message from 2 Timothy 1:1-7. "For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and of a sound mind."

If we win our battles against the devil, we have to be strong in the Lord and the power of his might. We have to put on the whole armor of God.

We, too, have this power today. If we resist the devil, he will flee from us. Jesus was tempted in all points, yet without sin. Jesus used the word of God against the devil. Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

Service closed with an altar call and prayer for those responding. Praise God, we had two more converts today. They were baptized after service.

Darryl Barnes dismissed the congregation in prayer.

Attendance was 53.

Wednesday evening Bible study is at 6 p.m., and everyone is welcome.

We are having our third annual church building fundraiser. It will be Saturday, 4-7 p.m., in the in the ballroom behind the Restaurant of the Cherokees. There will be a choice of two meats, ribs, bologna and hot links, as well as potato salad and baked beans served with a drink and roll. The cost is $10 per plate. The event will also feature a silent auction, pie supper, and gospel singing. Everyone is welcome.

Lula Thompson

Cookson United Methodist

Rev. Rachel Parrott and the congregation invite all to come to the corner of Highway 82 South and Cookson Bend Road. Sunday morning small group classes meet at 9:45 a.m. and worship services begin at 10. Pastor Rachel continues her messages with the study of the Apostle's Creed line by line. Next Sunday will be the fourth week. The message will be based on the line, "Suffered under Pontius Pilate." The Scripture readings will be Isaiah 53: 1-5, Romans 8, and John 18: 33-38.

Mark the calendar for upcoming Cookson activities. Oct. 4 will be the annual progressive dinner involving the area churches. Saturday, Oct. 5, will be the annual pie/cake/cookie auction and sloppy Joe dinner, with special music by the Jess French band.

The United Methodist Women will have their annual retreat in Welling. The ladies will be doing a painting party. The ladies will also host their annual bazaar, quilt drawing and sloppy Joe dinner on Saturday, Oct. 26. Everyone is invited to shop and eat. All proceeds go to outreach ministries.

Last Sunday, Pastor Rachel message was based on "Conceived by the Holy Spirit, Born of the Virgin Mary." Scripture readings were from Luke 1: 26-45. Think about Mary, the teenager. She agreed to be the servant of the Lord. Mary's "Yes" changed everything. Mary knew God's story. She worshipped the God who is present with people in dire circumstances. God tries to get your attention. There is great joy and great pain. Mary embraced both. She was the first person to accept Jesus no matter what the cost.

Pastor Rachel read the lyrics to "Mary, Did You Know?" She burst into song because God interrupted her life and broke the darkness of the world. The world and her life was changed when Jesus was born.

How can you say "Yes" when God interrupts your life? Are you living your faith, with humility and grace with patience and love? God will choose to do divine work through you. Admit your fears. Fear is honest, real, and dealt with and faced. Mary faced her fears and said "Yes" to the angels. Live a life that finds favor with God. Dare to say "Yes" to God. As Christians, a long line of people have said "Yes" to God. God uses people who say "Yes." It sometimes is painful. Peace and presence goes before and after.

Cindy Ballew

Tahlequah First Baptist

There was a man who skipped church one Sunday morning. He actually had a very good excuse for skipping. He wanted to spend more time with God. That sounds very strange and he wasn't recommending that Christians should start skipping church on Sundays. But, as he was getting ready to leave for church that particular Sunday, he surprisingly couldn't help feeling that God didn't want him to go to church that day.

So, instead, he stayed home and starting reading the Bible. He read eight chapters that morning and had only planned on reading two. After he finished reading, he went outside for a walk. There was a floodwall near his apartment that acted as a jogging trail. As he walked across it, he talked to God.

He started praying and telling God about the things going on in his life. He poured everything out to him as he made his way to the end of the trail. He honestly felt that it was the closest he had been to God in a long time.

He spent three hours with God, meditating, praying and talking with him. An hour and a half longer than his regular church service and the Scripture verse he read that morning was from Luke 2, which tells of Jesus' own experiences with God. (Luke 2:43-52)

He thought of how church can become a ritual. We sing the songs, sit through the sermon, and as soon as we walk out of the church, we forget everything. Sometimes, our Sunday service becomes our faith and we limit our time with God. It is more of a self-help time rather than a time to get closer to God. God wants us, not just our attendance on Sundays. The story in Luke shows us what our time with God should really be like.

The Father's house, for Jesus, was a place of safety, where he could grow and mature, where he could listen, but also be heard. So, the next time you go to church, don't go out of habit. Go to really get close to God. Listen and take in all he is telling you. When you sing, sing for Christ, and apply the lessons you have learned to your life when you step outside the church building.

Sunday services are: early worship, 8:15 a.m.; Sunday school, 9:30 a.m.; and late worship, 10:45 a.m.

Terri Fite

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