The Eastern District Association of Primitive Baptists convened in its 151st annual session with House Chapel Church, Rogersville, Tennessee.
On May 25, 1912, Brother George House opened the doors to a store house he owned in Bear Hollow, TN to a small group of worshippers gathered to organize and begin House Chapel Church. Service began with the song "Amazing Grace" and the scripture lesson was taken from St. Matthew 28. Elder J. S. Johnson stood before his congregation and took his text from St. Luke 12:32. "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." These words of encouragement and blessings from the Lord Jesus Christ began to lay the foundation of which our church was built. In October, 1912, they were received as a newly constituted church in the Eastern District Association and have remained a part of this body since that time. The original members organized a building committee and were given land by Brother H. W. House to build the church. They held services in the new building on the first Sunday in April, 1913.
The church has had a number of pastors through the years, some of whom have been among the most widely known and respected in the association. Those who have served as pastor are Elders: J. S. Johnson, F. M. Long, L. C. Bailey, Pleas Jenkins, C. F. Dale, H. G. Busic, R. E. Cifers, Fred Whittemore, R. E. Russell, T. R. Russell, Clarence C. Johnson, Roy Presley, Clifford Williams, Fred Peters, J. L. Hill, John Purkey, Kenneth Jarnigan, Bob Johnson, Henry Wheeler for 18 years and Neal Drinnon from 1984 to the present.
The church made amazing progress with Elder Wheeler, by increasing membership from 47 to 157 until his resignation in 1984. The church has continued to grow from then, with Elder Neal Drinnon as pastor, by adding an addition on the side of the church. In 2002, the Lord blessed the church with an opportunity to buy additional land for parking. The church now has 235 members on the roll.
Brothers Roger Davenport, Billy Skelton, Jeff Hurley, Wayne Thomason and Mack Manis are serving the church as deacons. Church trustees include Brothers Lee Davenport, Darrell Manis and Roger Davenport.
The church would like to acknowledge Brother Walter (Bud) Davidson, a member since 1969, who has been a faithful member and holds his 30 year pin for not missing a Sunday.
As God's children gathered in the tent, the warm sunshine began to melt the morning fog and reveal God's majesty unfolded on the hills of this beautiful valley. Won't it be wonderful there when the amazing story of love unfolds before us? May we ever cherish the old rugged cross until we can exchange it some day for a crown. Many friends and loved ones have already gone to that land of uncloudy day. We're trusting to that unseen hand to guide us through this weary land so that some sweet day we'll reach that golden strand, where we will praise Him forevermore. As shouts of praise rang throughout the tent, God so wonderfully blessed His children. Some glad morning we shall see Jesus in the air coming after you and me, the joy is ours to share. God's wonderful spirit made everyone welcome to the first day of this great gathering. Elder Terry Sizemore welcomed everyone as he asked them to continue to obey the Holy Spirit.
Elder John Henry Sybert came forth to lead the congregation in singing the association's hymn, "Brethren, We Have Met Again." His wonderful testimony over the past 70 years that the Lord has allowed him to attend this great gathering, has truly been a blessing to countless numbers of God's children. May God continue to richly bless him as His Holy manna is showered all around.
The Committee on Religious Exercises was appointed by Elder Sizemore. It includes: Bill Poole (Chairman), Ralph Moore and Don Gordon.
Prayer requests were made for the unsaved everywhere, Josh Erwin and his mother, Andrea Erwin, Paul Wallen, Pat Disney, Jim Burke, Carl Lambert, Elder A. D. Howington's wife, Ronnie Hawkins, Billy Jack Johnson's family and grandchildren, Paul Persinger, Eck Fansler, Sister Nancy and lost young man from Clear Springs, Elder John Turner's wife, Elder James Lykins' brother and his wife, Elder Donald Sybert and his wife and many other special requests the clerk was not able to understand. Brother Burnice Sybert led us to the throne of grace in a most humble prayer.
Elder Sizemore mentioned that Elders Lucian Lane, Charles Helton and Burley Sloan had gone home to be with the Lord during this past year. May we always remember the stand these laborers for the Lord took in their daily lives.
Elder Neal Drinnon came forward to preach the introductory message as he thanked everyone for coming this way. He used as his text "Let us come together in the unity and love of God." May God continue to come down among His children and shower them with holy manna. He is the way, the truth and the life. As his message took us down through time, it reminded us that God has not changed and we need to let Him have His way in our life so others might see and want Him in theirs. We must show the love of God in our lives so they can see and know the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. How good it is to be saved and know the Lord in the free pardon of sin! Let us look in the mirror and find our faults, for there are none in God's church. If the lost will just call on the Lord, He will save them. God is worthy of all our praise and He will set us free from all our burdens. Hosanna to the King! Besides Him there is no other. Elder Henry Wheeler followed, taking his thoughts from the 8th chapter of Romans. This man called Jesus will lead us and guide us through all things, at all times. Everybody wants peace, but they are not willing to follow the Holy Spirit. No man can preach except God call him, for without Him none can do anything. He paid the price on the cross that we might have eternal life. One day soon we'll leave this old earth to be with Jesus in a land that knows no sickness, no sorrow, nor death. We worry too much about pleasing man when our main goal in this life should be to please God in everything we do. May we ever live for Him and lift up His holy name. Jesus is calling and He said you must be born again or hell will be your home. May each and everyone search their soul and know there is nothing between them and the Lord. He is from everlasting to everlasting, and besides Him there is no other. Songs of praise rang out in praise and honor to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The great I Am is coming after those that are ready to meet Him. Only He can make one ready to enter that heavenly city. I am so glad that Jesus loves us. Bless His holy name!
Adjourned for lunch.
After a wonderful lunch served by the host church, the congregation came together in the tent with songs of praise to our heavenly Father. Showers of blessings were all around as everyone rejoiced from this morning's service. Let come and go what may, for anywhere is home sweet home when Christ the Lord is there. The Father waits just over the way where we shall meet on that beautiful shore to offer our tribute of praise. On Christ the solid rock we stand, for all other ground is sinking sand.
Sister Patsy Hensley blessed us with her testimony and song of praise. God lightens our load no matter how heavy it may be. When we are weary and down, He lightens our load through His tender mercy. Our shouts of praise let the world know we're not afraid to bid this world goodbye. Sister June Kail also blessed us with her testimony and song of praise. Beyond the grave awaits for us a place many call heaven and paradise, but to God's children, it is home. Elder Sizemore welcomed everyone to the afternoon service as he blessed us with his song. God didn't come here to stay but to show us the way, then He got on a cloud and went home. He is coming again to gather His children home, for this same Jesus they saw going away will come again.
The Moderator asked Brother Clifton Horne to help on the Committee on Religious Exercises due to the absence of one of the others that had been appointed to serve on the committee earlier.
Elder Sizemore read the report from the Committee on Religious Exercises.
Stand: Oscar Irvin.
Sloantown: Terry Sizemore, Lewis Baker and Mike Fullington.
Sneedville: Bill VanHoose, Roger VanHoose, Jason Robinette, Joseph Robinette and John Turner.
Stand, Friday morning, October 3, 2003: Allen Hensley and Greg Hill.
Prayer requests were made for: the lost, all those mentioned in the earlier services, Alonzo Collins, Kenneth Robinette, Frank Osborne, Shane Russell's nephew and many unspoken requests signified with uplifted hands. Elder Richard Seiber humbly took our
petitions to the Lord.
Brother Paul Johnson, Chairman of the Committee on Church Letters, came forward to give the report of our state and standing. The committee now reports 65 churches which they recommend accepting. The letter from Caney Creek had not been received, but will be examined when it arrives. It was motioned, seconded and voted to accept the recommendations of the committee and seat those delegates duly elected or appointed by their respective churches as the voting body of the association.
The delegation was seated in order to transact the business of the association.
The moderator asked for nominations to serve as moderator pro-tem during the election of the association officials. Elder Oscar Irvin was nominated. It was motioned, seconded and voted for him to serve during the election. Elder Irvin thanked the delegation for their confidence in him.
Brother Danny Lawson was nominated to serve as clerk and treasurer. No other nominations were made and it was motioned, seconded and voted for him to serve as clerk and treasurer for the ensuing year.
Elder Terry Sizemore was nominated to serve as the moderator of the association. It was motioned, seconded and voted for Elder Sizemore to serve as moderator of the association for the ensuing year.
Elder Sizemore, speaking for himself and the clerk, thanked God for the privilege of serving His people. He also thanked the delegation for their confidence and trust they have put in us. With the show of hands from the delegation that promised to pray for us, Elder Sizemore noted how important it was to have the prayers of the association. Without God's help, we cannot carry on the work of the association.
It was motioned, seconded and voted to allow the moderator to appoint any and all committees. The moderator appointed the following committees:
Committee on Newly Constituted Churches: Ministers A. D. Howington (chairman), David Jerrell and Roger Trent; Deacons Chris Woods and Jess Akens; Laymen Larry Russell and Kellis Smith.
Committee on Finance: Carson Johnson (chairman), Jason Robinette and Bill LaFollette.
Committee on Obituaries: Larry Miller (chairman), Roger VanHoose and Allen Hensley.
Committee on Arrangements and/or Queries: James Jarnigan (chairman), John Arnott, Tommy Meade, Lewis Baker, David Smith, Greg Hill and Fred Gilreath.
The clerk reported on several issues that were started last year which include:
The Hawkins County Genealogical Society has sent our minutes to Nashville, TN to be microfilmed.
A new refrigerator has been purchased for the kitchen, as well as some major repairs and enhancements to the kitchen, including but not limited to: new doors, floor and floor covering, outside paint and guttering, etc. Elder Woodrow Fields built and donated to the association new shelves to store cleaning supplies and a new table with storage room for the large cooking pots and utensils. A tremendous undertaking has been accomplished with God's help. We thank God for all those that labored to make all this possible.
Due to increased costs associated with running the association, the finances of the association are in need of some major help. This will be discussed later.
The moderator asked everyone to review finances they send to the association to include total cost of association. He asked the clerk to include a cost figure associated with running the association based on the number of minutes ordered. The total cost of running the association this year based on the number of minutes ordered was $3.70. Refer to financial statement on page 50 for details.
It was motioned, seconded and voted to have all things which are standard printed in the minutes.
The moderator appointed the Committee on Electrical and PA Systems which includes: Delmer McPherson (chairman), Elders Carl Lawson, Howard Sybert and David Jerrell, Scott Mellons, Bobby Caudill and Danny Lawson.
The business being concluded, the delegation was dismissed until Friday morning, October 3, 2003.
The ground may have been covered with a heavy frost, but that didn't cool down the spirit surrounding these beautiful hills as everyone gathered for the 2nd day of services. God's children were still rejoicing from the wonderful services of yesterday. Thank God for His spirit that meets with us and guides us each day. The congregation gathered in the tent as Sister Zula McCullough led them in singing some wonderful songs of Zion. Oh how sweet it will be to look upon His face and sing forever of His amazing grace. When our work here is done, we'll go to that land where we'll never grow old and we can praise Him the way He so richly deserves. Such matchless love was shown for us when He suffered all alone for our sins. Thanks be to God that He did not pass us by when He heard our humble cry, and reached down His hand for us. We are trusting wholly in His mercy to heal our broken spirit. With shouts of praise and wonderful testimonies, we know our Blessed Redeemer has not passed us by. God is still in the saving business. When we think how God sent His son to die on the old rugged cross for our sins that they should be remembered no more, we can truly proclaim, "My God, how great thou art!"
Elder Terry Sizemore thanked the Lord as he proclaimed what a great God we serve. Bless the name of the only one found worthy to open the book of life. We were blessed by special singing and testimony from Sisters Ramona Caudill and Paula Early and Brother Joe Sizemore. His spirit makes us welcome, for He is in the midst of every storm and every valley we walk through. All our troubles and trials will be over at that grand homecoming in the sky. It'll be worth everything when we reach that home so fair.
The delegation was called to order to transact the business.
It was motioned, seconded and voted to adopt the business proceedings of yesterday as read.
The Committee on Church Letters received the letter from Caney Creek Church. They will review it and report on it during the afternoon service.
Prayer requests were made for the lost, all those made in previous services, Elder Carson Johnson's brother and his wife, the family of Larry Bledsoe, Elders Eckel and Harold Head's brother, Loag Rogers, Leroy Lawson, Ronnie Hensley, the Ben Neeley family, the John Preston family, all the revivals that will begin in the next few weeks, Elder John Bowlin, Elder A.D. Howington's wife and the lost in their family, Elder Fred Gilreath's son, Elder Donald and Lola Mae Sybert, their son-in-law and neighbor, Morris and Sue Giles, Danny Russell, Marvin Ketron and family, Daniel LaFollette and many unspoken requests signified by uplifted hands. Elder Rod Raleigh humbly led us to the throne of grace.
Having been chosen by the Committee on Religious Exercises, Elder Allen Hensley came forward to take the first part of the service. He read from Psalm 27:4-6 and used as a text, "One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; to behold the beauty of the Lord." There are so many things of the Lord to behold and we are all ambassadors of God; therefore, let us behold all His beauty. We can do this in one another as we set in heavenly places here on earth. We must desire the right things from God so our people will be saved. If we humble ourselves, God will use us for His glory and many will come to know Him. May we never look to find fault with one another, but to behold the Word of God in our lives. We are nothing, but we are what we are by the grace of God. He is our life, strength, rock and our salvation. God has not changed, but our sin and iniquity will cause God to hide his face from us. If we desire the Lord, He will show us the truth and bless us beyond compare. Blessed are the peace makers for they are the children of God. Elder Greg Hill followed with another wonderful message from God. As David said he wanted to dwell in the house of the Lord, may we always have that same desire in our lives. It is better for us to be the doorkeeper at God's house than to dwell in a house of evil. If we will humble ourselves and seek His face, He will send the Holy Spirit. The spirit will testify of this man called Jesus Christ, for He had the power to lay His life down and the power to raise it up again as He did on that 3rd and appointed day. We can't save ourselves or anyone else; we can't clean ourselves up, for only God has the power to do such things. His glory shines round about us. These men preached the truth to us. Praise God for them and their willingness to stand and preach the Gospel of Christ.
Adjourned for lunch with shouts of praise and songs of Zion.
The wonderful lunch served by the host church was just a continuation of God's blessings. It won't be very long till Jesus shall appear to take us to our new home where we'll receive our crown. God's holy manna was once again showered all around.
What a privilege it is to hear someone shout, "Glory to Jesus, I'm saved, saved, saved."
We were further blessed with singing and testimonies from Sisters Rene Hurly and Sam Thomason, the Jason Robinette family, Joseph Robinette and Sister Leona Kester. Jesus said He would go down, for none were found worthy. He laid aside His robe and crown and made a way that we might receive a shining crown. There is truly something special about the name of Jesus. He is our shelter when we have no place to go, that's why we just praise His holy name. Our trials are nothing compared to what He suffered at Calvary. We were once blind, but now we see clearly. Our daily trials bring unhappiness, but we've started on a journey to a brand new home to be in the presence of the Lord all the time.
Prayer was requested for the lost, all those made in previous services, Rosie Johnson's sister, Janelle Stewart, Elder Odus Caudill, Della Malone, lost man at Beech Grove, Virgie Grace Hill and her grandson, Dakota Blankenbeckler, Louise Hill, Tee and Maybelle Osborne, Dewey Sanders, Travis Fields, James Perry, Larry Russell's dad and many unspoken requests signified by uplifted hands. Brother Joe Robinette led us to the throne of grace in a most humble prayer.
The delegation was called to order to transact the business.
The moderator read the report from the Committee on Religious Exercises:
Stand: Lewis Baker, John Turner, Delmas Harris and David Jerrell.
Sneedville: Bill LaFollette, David Smith and Jim Emery.
Liberty Chapel: Oscar Irvin, Bill VanHoose and Roger VanHoose.
Flower Gap: Richard Seiber, David VanHoose and Jason Robinette.
Stand, Saturday morning, October 4, 2003: John Henry Sybert, John Arnott and Terry Sizemore.
Poplar Grove: Roger VanHoose and Bill VanHoose.
Liberty Chapel: Harold Head and Virgil Lipe.
New Life: Jim Lykins, Eckel Head and Harmon Willis.
Valley View: Jason Robinette, Joseph Robinette, Shane Russell and Jason Cotter.
Butcher's Valley: Song service.
Sunday morning: October 5, 2003:
New Life: Jason Robinette and Joseph Robinette.
Burke's Union: Jason Cotter.
The moderator mentioned the start of several revivals and asked everyone to pray that many lost souls might be saved.
The Committee on Church Letters gave its final report after reviewing the letter from Caney Creek Church. The committee recommended accepting the church. It was motioned, seconded and voted to accept the recommend-ations of the committee and seat those delegates appointed by the church as part of the voting body. This brings the total number of churches lettering into the association to 66.
The moderator appointed the Committee on Church Letters for 2004, which includes David Horton (chairman), Marvin Ketron, Joe Pitzer and Darrell Sizemore (alternate).
The Committee on Finance reported $5,561.00 in receipts for the year.
The Committee on Obituaries reported that 57 had been received at this time.
It was motioned, seconded and voted that the host church will be responsible for the maintenance of the kitchen, with any needed repairs to be paid for by the clerk of the association.
It was motioned, seconded and voted to allow the clerk $850 in appreciation for his services.
The Committee on Newly Constituted Churches reported that none had been received.
The Committee on Arrangements and/or Queries reported that none had been received.
It was motioned, seconded and voted to allow the clerk to replenish the necessary forms to properly perform his duties.
Brother Billy Jack Johnson came forward to read the circular letter prepared by the committee. Its message reminded each of us to refresh the spirit that it be not quenched so the Lord will continue to bless. Let us study His word and show ourselves approved and be a light like those saints that came this way before us. Just as they taught us, may we always walk in the ways of the Lord. It was motioned, seconded and voted to print it in the minutes as read.
The moderator appointed the Circular Letter Committee for 2004, which includes: Elders Oscar Irvin, John Turner and Jim Emery.
The moderator addressed the association's financial concerns that were brought up during Thursday's business. The actions taken were:
To better describe the financial responsibilities of the association, it was motioned, seconded and voted to rename the Minute Fund to Financial Contribution.
Asked the delegates from each individual church to review their financial contributions and send an additional donation to the association clerk if possible.
An offering was taken to help defray some of the financial obligations of the association from which we received $3,563.85.
There were 10 churches that asked for the association to meet with them next year. These include: Beech Grove, Blackwater Lick, Blue Springs (Hiltons), Burke's Union, Clear Springs, House Chapel, Peterson's Chapel, Riverside, Slate Hill and Swan Creek. Before the plea process began, 7 churches withdrew, leaving Beech Grove, Burke's Union, Clear Springs and House Chapel. During the plea process, House Chapel withdrew, leaving the vote between Beech Grove, Burke's Union and Clear Springs. By a clear majority, the delegation voted to send the association to Beech Grove, where the Lord willing we will convene on Thursday morning (September 30, 2004) before the first Saturday in October, 2004. Introductory Elder Phil Crittenden; Alternate Elder A.D. Howington.
Adjourned until Saturday morning, October 4, 2003.
The cloudy skies covered the area much the same way Jesus covered His children with the Holy Spirit. Sister Zula McCullough led the congregation in singing songs of praise to our Lord and Savior. Today's service seemed to just pick up where they left off Friday afternoon. Throughout this association, the Lord has assured us of His presence each day. Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, oh for grace to trust Him more. When we hear His invitation, the redeemed will gather in to shout and sing, and the angels all will listen for they cannot join that song. I'm so glad that Jesus loves even me, no matter where I may stray.
Special singing from Mt. Mitchell singers, West View singers, and Sister Jo Burke and her mother, Doris, blessed us with songs of Zion. We have truly met to worship and the Lord has showered holy manna all around. All is vain unless the Holy Spirit comes down. Let us love our God supremely and one another too. It is amazing how God saves old sinners, oh what a Savior is mine. The Lord has prepared a beautiful home for the true where we can praise Him the long ages through. That fountain filled with His great love contains a vast supply that never shall run dry. Jesus paid it all, therefore it is all to Him we owe. He washed that crimson stain white as snow.
Elder Terry Sizemore thanked God for His power as he welcomed everyone to our memorial service. Bless His holy name for the many blessings we have received during our gathering here at House Chapel. Let us remember these dear saints that have passed from us during this year.
The delegation was called to order to transact the business.
It was motioned, seconded and voted to adopt the business proceedings of yesterday as read.
Brother Darrell Manis from the host church came forward to give special thanks to all the individuals and area businesses for all their help, guidance and support. He also thanked the members of the host church that have labored so hard.
The moderator informed the congregation to call Elder David Jerrell if you have any problems finding New Life Church. He also mentioned that Sister Eileen Brown still announces revivals if she receives the information in time.
The moderator read the report from the Committee on Religious Exercises:
Stand: All preachers are welcomed in tonight's services.
Roller's Chapel: Lewis Baker and John Arnott.
Third Sunday night:
Sloantown: Burnice Sybert.
The clerk read the resolution of thanks he had prepared. It was motioned, seconded and voted to print it in the minutes as read.
The House Chapel Church choir blessed us with such wonderful songs and testimonies. Because He loved me, He suffered it all and died on the old rugged cross. Just think that someone would love us enough to die in our place that we could have eternal life. We'll never forget the day when Jesus wrote our name in the blessed book of life. If we could live a thousand years, we could never forget that day He saved us from all sin and shame. Bless the Lord, oh bless the Lord, bless His holy name with everything that is within us. Let us lift up our hands to the great I Am. These songs were dedicated to the young people and Sister Nellie Young at the loss of her husband, Brother Raymond Young. No matter what day the Lord touched us, we know it was His hand that prepared us for our eternal home. Shouts of praise were all over the house as God's children rejoiced in honor of our blessed Redeemer.
Prayer requests were made for the unsaved, all those requested in prior services, those serving our country in the military, and many unspoken request signified by uplifted hands. Elder Carl Lawson led us to the throne of grace in a most humble prayer.
The moderator read the list of saints that have departed from us over the past year. May we always remember them and thank God for the time He blessed us to have them here with us. Their memory and the things they taught us will remain with us for the rest of our days. Thank God for these dear saints and the precious memories He blessed us with of them.
Elder John Henry Sybert came forward to take the first part of the service. He read several scriptures pertaining to the departed saints including: St. John 5; I Corinthians 15; II Corinthians 5 and I Corinthians 4. These scriptures are near and dear to our heart and a great comfort to our soul. In Christ we live and move and have our being, without Him we can do nothing. Elder John Arnott followed with another wonderful message from on high. We all fall short in this life, but we have a blessed hope of eternal life. Let us marvel at the things of Jesus and earnestly seek the face of God. Let us glory in the Lord, not in the things of man, for He has power to do all things. What a
friend we have in Jesus, through Him we can accomplish all things. We all want to stay here as long as possible, but when the spirit begins to move in, we wish we could make the journey home; but we must wait until God calls. Thank God for the blood that washes away all sin and makes us a fit subject for the Kingdom of God. Elder Terry Sizemore took the last part of the service. Thank God for the scriptures God left to lead us and guide us. Even if we have lost a loved one, we are not alone for He is always with us. If we listen to God, He will guide us through all things. May we contend for the faith that was delivered unto the saints. This old body will be laid to rest one of these days, but we'll live forevermore with the God of all creation. It takes the Lord to save our people. Only He can cleanse that dirty heart and make it pure to be a fit subject for the Kingdom of God. By the blood that was shed at Calvary, we are the children of God.
These men preached their hearts out this morning. We are thankful that God chose to use them in a mighty way. We appreciate and thank Him for all those men who take their stand for the Lord and preach His gospel.
Songs of praise and shouts of joy filled the tent as we rejoiced from all the blessings of the Lord. The congregation left the tent still rejoicing from all the blessings of God.
The morning sunshine warmed the air as we gathered for the last day of this association. Several of our folks that had not been privileged to attend any of the prior services were able to be there today. What a joy it is to meet with God's children when the Holy Spirit comes down. Several churches dismissed their services so their folks could join us. The Son has set us free from all condemnation and we are dwelling now in Canaan. What a blessing to see all the young people in the service today and throughout these services. When we've gone the last mile of the way, we'll rest in Jesus' arms to proclaim the glad story. What joy awaits the children of God when this life shall end and we rest at the close of the day. When misgivings darken our way, the Lord whispers sweet peace to us. Sometimes our faith is weak, but we trust Him and He speaks in that still small voice to lead us through all the trials and tribulations that befall us here. We're headed for a land where we'll never grow old, for when our work here is done, our life crown will be won and our troubles and trials will be over. When we enter the gates of glory land, the Lord will welcome us and say, "well done my child, well done."
Elder Neal Drinnon, pastor of the host church, welcomed everyone as he pleaded with the lost to accept the Lord as their Savior. When the spirit of God welcomes us, as it has during this association, there is nothing else man can do to make us feel any more welcome. We should not wait until we reach heaven, but we should always enjoy ourselves while here on this earth. Nothing is too big for our God to take care of.
Let us remember the unsaved in our prayers, Adam Lawson and all those in service to our country, Ray Sybert, Brother Butch's sons, Tee Osborne's sons-in-law, Darrell Manis's brother, John Bowlin's family, Brother Rick's family and many unspoken requests signified with uplifted hands. Brother Michael Chandler humbly led us to the throne of grace.
The House Chapel Church singers blessed us with their wonderful testimonies and songs of praise. Sister Julie Thomason and her mother, Sister Sam Thomason, told us of how Jesus will hold to our hand as we cross death's river on our journey home.
Sister Zula McCullough led the congregation in singing "Happy Birthday" to Elder John Henry Sybert and another wonderful song praising God for being an old time Christian. No Christian would take anything for their salvation, for true Christian love will set us free. Sister Kathy Robinson blessed us with her song. In pity and love, Jesus took us under His wing and made us a child of the King.
Brother Burnice Sybert, having recently announced his call to preach, took the first part of the service. He read Acts 2:1-2 and quoted some scriptures from St. Luke 24 and spoke to us about when the Lord opened the disciples' understanding of the scriptures concerning Him. When the spirit came to them on the day of Pentecost, they understood the things of Christ. The gospel has been preached the same since this association was formed. Not all believed, but some did and were brought into the family of God. Down through time, many great men have studied, and in essence learned the wrong things. As Paul was on the road to Damascus, a great light came upon him, and from that point he never persecuted God's children any more. Our prayer is that we'll be in one mind and one accord so many souls might be saved. Let God's people heed the spirit and welcome it. The Holy Spirit must speak to the unbelievers before they can come to know the Lord as Savior. None are good enough to merit salvation, but it is a gift freely given of God. Elder John Bowlin followed with a wonderful song and preaching. Jesus will never forsake His children, for it is truly better farther on. Heaven on earth is possible when we let God have His way in our lives. He had the power to lay His life down, but contrary to what the world may say, He had the power to raise it up again. Elder Carl Lawson took the next part of the service. Man can't preach unless God calls him. God made us, and is certainly able to keep us. The gospel is preached unto us from the power of the Holy Ghost. Let us hide it in our heart that we sin not against the Holy Spirit. We are somebody, a child of the King. Elder Wayne Morgan followed, thanking God for all His blessings and His wonderful spirit that has met with us each day. The joy we receive from coming to God's house is beyond measure, and we look forward to that new home where we'll soon be going. Elder Howard Sybert dismissed us until we meet again.
It has truly been a joy to meet here with God's children one more time. God's blessings have been so numerous throughout this meeting; it would be impossible to list them all. I only wish I had a way to put into words what we have felt. As far as I know, there are no words to describe the God we serve. The preaching has been so wonderful as the Spirit has manifested itself here among us. I thank God for each of you. You will never know what you mean to me. Once again, I wish I had the words to express how I really feel, but if they exist, for now they escape me. All I know to do is to thank God for allowing me to serve this fantastic group of His people for the past few years. I pray that He will show each one of you what you mean to me and that He will continue to bless you beyond compare in the years to come. Until we meet again, may we always do our very best
to uplift the name of Jesus so He will receive all the glory and honor He so richly deserves. Until we meet again, may the blessings of the Lord be upon you all.