The Eastern District Association of Primitive Baptists convened in its 153rd annual session with Riverside Church, Kyles Ford, Tennessee.
Riverside Primitive Baptist Church was organized the second weekend of August, 1894. Elder Alfred Wallen was elected pastor; Elder Joseph Wallen, assistant pastor and Brother Nicholas Alder, church clerk.
The Riverside Church lettered in to the Eastern District Association of Primitive Baptists at the Blackwater Church in Hancock County, Tennessee in October, 1894. Many church records were destroyed in a fire, but were restored as much as possible by the members and church clerk at the time. We have record of 24 pastors in the 111 years since the church was established. They are Elders Alfred Wallen, J. B. Wallen, Andrew Johnson, E. A. Robinette, Pleas Jenkins, Clarence Johnson, Milum Johnson, Nicholas Alder, Lloyd Odell, H. V. Hall, Logan Willis, Landon Trent, Ben Hill, T. R. Russell, Milum Kinsler, George L. Goins, John Purkey, Clarence New, Fremon Thacker, Cecil Collins, Eckel Head, Billy Fields, Terry Sizemore and the present pastor, Roger Trent.
The first church building was lost in a flood some time around the turn of the century. A new building was erected on a different site provided by Brother Nicholas Alder. This building served the church until a new building was constructed on the same location in 1993.
Even though many things have changed over the past 111 years since the church was organized, the church body still believes that worship is the main purpose of gathering. The building may have changed over the years, but the spirit and power of God is still the same in the new building as it was in the old.
God blessed us with some much needed showers of rain, as well as showers of blessings. Sister Zula McCullough sang praises to God as she led the congregation in several old hymns. The anguish He bore all alone shows once again what matchless love our Savior has for us. Let us hasten to Him as we steal away to pray. It won't be very long till Jesus shall appear and we will meet on that beautiful shore. If we steal away to pray, we find it always pays to be all alone with Christ our Lord. Let us offer our tribute of praise, for in the sweet bye and bye we'll join the happy angel band to stand with the mighty host. For the saints of God, it will be a wonderful time when this earth shall pass away. Yes, we'll be home, but we should enjoy the journey here. Trust the unseen hand that guides us through this weary land. We long to see the Savior's face and one day soon on that golden strand we'll shake His hand. Sister Zula praised God for allowing her to attend since 1963.
Thanking God for everything, Elder Terry Sizemore welcomed everyone to today's service. Christ is our everything, praise His Holy name! As a member of Riverside, he asked everyone to obey the Holy Spirit so they could feel welcome. Sister Zula led the congregation in singing the association's song, "Brethren We Have Met Again." Let us wait patiently until our loving Savior shall appear. The moderator extended a special welcome to Elder John Henry Sybert in attendance at his 72nd association, and to all our Elders of the association, we thank them for their dedication and service over the years. He brought to the attention of the association the passing of Elders Wayne Morgan and Earl Miles since we last met. Their dedicated service knew no bounds as these men so faithfully served throughout the years. Our prayer is that the Lord will deal with the hearts of those that may not know Him.
Since Brother Marvin Ketron was not able to attend, the moderator made some changes to the Committee on Church Letters. These are: Joe Pitzer (chairman), Darrell Sizemore, Steve Minton, and Billy Jack Johnson (alternate).
The moderator appointed the Committee on Religious Exercises, which includes: Ralph Baker (Chairman), Delmer Wallen, Sr. and Clifford Bledsoe.
Prayer requests were made for: the unsaved, our churches, those in the south devastated by the recent hurricanes, all the men and women serving our country, family of Darrell Parker, Ruf Presley, James Lykins, John Turner and his wife, Gleason Storie, Juanita Proffit, Tonya Little, Glennis Little's brothers and sisters, Pete Marcum, Patty Neeley, VA State Trooper Jim Day who was in bad accident, Fred Robinette, each other, Jim Burke, and many unspoken requests signified by uplifted hands. Elder Hasco Jenkins led us to the throne of grace in a most humble and soul stirring testimony and prayer.
Brother Jim Bowlin blessed us with his testimony and song. Let us give Him our all, for tis so sweet to know we'll be ready when He comes.
Elder Roger Trent, pastor of the host church, welcomed everyone to Riverside as he came forward to take the first part of the service. Let us all be mindful of the Holy Spirit, for He is always the same, only we have changed. He read from 2 Kings 4:1-3, using as a text a portion of the 2nd verse "What shall I do for thee?" We should always be willing to ask, "What can we do?" No other name is given whereby we must be saved. Many of God's children are willing to do the work of the association, so let us continue to show the world we serve a risen Savior. Let us take care of our widows, elderly and especially show the young people our Savior. We must forget the petty things of this life so we can shout from the roof tops that Jesus is mine. Sometimes we get satisfied too quickly when we shouldn't get satisfied at all, but instead fall out with the love of sin. Be sure your sins will find you out. Satan is after our young and old alike and many say we can't do anything about it, but we can take them to Jesus. God hasn't revealed to us all things, but He will reveal all to us in due time. We must distinguish between the carnal side and the spiritual side and bring our lost people to Jesus. Elder Jim Jarnigan followed with a God-sent message from on high. If we'll turn loose and let God have His way in our life, then He'll increase the oil in our vessel. Are we the same folks we used to be? God has not changed, but it is us. What would we have Jesus to do in our lives? We must be careful what we ask for and what we promise, for Jesus will deliver and He expects us to do the same. Let us ring the prayer bell and see what this man Jesus will do. If God sends you, He is always there for you. If we'll get where we should be with the Lord, He'll save our people and bless His children. Ask the Lord to fill you up so you can help someone along this way. What do we want from Jesus? These men preached so wonderfully and the Lord blessed His children as evidenced by tears of joy and shouts of praise. May God bless you and keep you. We are free from this world of sin because we are saved by His wonderful grace.
Adjourned for lunch with shouts of praise and tears of joy as we praised Him in song.
The host church served us a wonderful lunch and afterwards the congre-gation assembled in the tent. Oh, the land of an uncloudy sky! Won't it be wonderful where the soul of man never dies? There will be no sad farewells, no tear dimmed eyes, but all is peace, joy and love forever. I am so glad that Jesus loves even me.
We were so wonderfully blessed by special singing and testimonies from Doris Burke, Elder John Bowlin and the West View singers. Truly the best thing we've ever done is to lay off the old coat and put on the new. Heaven holds all to those who long to see what heaven will be when we shall that city behold. What a Savior is He that loves me and answers my prayers!
The moderator welcomed everyone back after lunch, praising God for the message of God we heard during the morning service. We need to hear what thus sayest the Lord. What a wonderful Lord and Savior we serve!
Prayer requests include: unsaved, our churches, especially those with no pastor, all those made in the previous service, Faye Howington, Morris and Sue Ella Giles, young man with neck injury, and those serving our country. With a wonderful testimony and praise for our Savior, Elder Neal Drinnon took our petitions to the Lord.
The moderator made several announcements concerning revivals, and about the availability of a song written by David Lloyd.
The moderator read the report from the Committee on Religious Exercises.
Elder Joe Pitzer, Chairman of the Committee on Church Letters, came forward to give the report of our state and standing. The letters from several churches were not received. These letters will be reviewed as they are received. A total of 61 churches were recommended to be accepted by the committee. It was motioned, seconded and voted to accept the recommend-ations 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 John Arnott was nominated. It was motioned, seconded and voted for him to serve during the election.
It was motioned and seconded for Brother Danny Lawson to serve as clerk and treasurer. No other motions were forthcoming so it was motioned, seconded and voted for nominations to cease. It was voted that he serve for the ensuing year.
It was motioned and seconded for Elder Terry Sizemore to serve as moderator of the association. Since no other nominations were made, he was elected by unanimous consent to serve as moderator for the ensuing year.
Elder Sizemore, on behalf of himself and the clerk, thanked the delegation for their confidence, support and all their prayers. The blessings of the Lord are what get us through. May we grow as an organization, and we can if we will trust in the Lord. Our hope is that our children will have the opportunity to witness what we did while growing up under the gospel.
It was motioned, seconded and voted to allow the moderator to appoint any and all committees. The moderator appointed the following committees:
It was motioned, seconded and voted to have all things which are standard printed in the minutes.
The clerk reported on several issues to inform the delegation. These include:
Due to the clerk's lack of internet capabilities, the electronic form of the Church Letter was not functioning correctly until recently.
In 2004 it was motioned, seconded and voted to wait until 2005 to print new direction books. The cost to print the books will be the same as it was last year - 1,000 books, $1,225.00.
A financial report was given to the delegation showing where all monies had been spent during the year.
The clerk reported in 2004 that the Hawkins County Genealogical Society was not able to get the minutes microfilmed as was originally planned. Later Elder Howard Sybert offered to let them use his set of minutes for microfilming. This process was completed and our minutes are preserved on microfilm with copies in the State of Tennessee archives, the Hawkins County Genealogical Society and the clerk has a copy.
The clerk prepared a School Absence Authorization Form for use by our young people at their respective schools.
The association's insurance agent recommended that we insert a statement in the minutes showing our beliefs dealing with the marriage of two men or two women as concerning the homosexual movement in our land today. After much discussion from the floor, it was motioned, seconded and voted to include the following statement: Our elders should neither engage in nor marry two men or two women, neither will we accept the homosexual lifestyle of the gay or lesbian as ministers or elders. We believe that God's view of a family consists of a man and a woman and that homosexuality is a sin and an abomination to God according to His word in several accounts such as: Romans 1:24-32, Leviticus 20:13, etc. It was also motioned, seconded and voted for the moderator to appoint a committee to check into the legal wording to make sure we have properly protected our association. The moderator then appointed the following committee: Burnice Sybert (chairman), Delmer Wallen, Sr. and Oscar Irvin.
The business being concluded, the delegation was dismissed until Friday morning, September 30, 2005.
The congregation gathered for the second day of this blessed event. God's wonderful story of love was evident once again as Sister Zula McCullough led this grand old body in song. The showers of blessings we need here won't be needed when the roll is called up yonder. God's amazing grace lets us shout glory to Jesus we're saved, saved, saved. When we've been there ten thousand years, we'll have no less time to sing God's praise.
Elder Sizemore welcomed everyone and thanked God for the wonderful service of yesterday. Evidence of God's blessings surrounds us on every hand and His never ending love for His children warrants our praise in every thing we attempt. Let us offer Him our never ending praise, bless His Holy name! We ought to obey God rather than man.
The moderator thanked Belinda and Virgil Brackett for their donation of six nearly new tires for the association kitchen. Belinda's mother, sister Ruby Hatfield, attends Little Cowan Church and is a sister to Elder Woodrow Fields. The association truly appreciates this very significant donation and we pray the Lord will richly bless them for their generosity.
The singers from Riverside blessed us with their wonderful testimony and songs. We can tell you the time and the place where the Lord saved us, but we can't tell you how; but He'll tell us all about it in the bye and bye. The saved of God will never forget when He spoke to us gently and saved us by His wonderful grace. Through it all we don't regret a mile we've traveled for the Lord, and we have many miles behind us, but there's not many more to go. God will deliver on what He promises just like He said He would send down the fire and He did. Brother Joe Sizemore blessed us with his testimony and wonderful song. Sometimes we have a heavy cross to bear here in this walk, but what a great homecoming time there will be just inside those gates of pearl.
Words don't exist to be able to express what it is to serve our Lord. He is truly a consuming fire, praise His Holy name! May each of us be refreshed in the Lord.
Continue to pray for the unsaved, all the requests from yesterday, those serving our country in the military; our country; preaching brethren; Henry Wheeler, Mattie Neeley family, Joshua and Justin Jones, John & Maude Turner, Fred Robinette, Joe Sizemore's niece, Terry Miller, those that have cancer, Brenda Russell's grandchildren and son, Marvin Ketron and lost in his family, John Henry and Stella Sybert, Dustin Dunsmore, several more the clerk could not understand, and many unspoken requests signified by uplifted hands. Elder Scott Tipton took us to the throne of grace after his stirring testimony.
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.
Elder Roger Trent, pastor of the host church, came forward to give a special thanks to the churches of the association, individuals who brought food and helped in various ways, those who helped in the kitchen, the surrounding community and all those that played a role in helping to make our stay at Riverside more enjoyable. May God bless each and every one that has helped.
Elder Bob Brown, having been chosen by the Committee on Religious Exercises, came forward to take the first part of the service. After thanking God for His Holy Spirit and the many blessings, he read from II Corinthians 3:11-18 and used as a text, "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." The ways of God are spiritually discerned. Once we come to the Lord He will remove the veil from us. We had to realize there is no other way to lift the bondage of sin, except through Christ. Until we come to the place where we cry out to Jesus, "not my will but thine be done," He cannot use us as He would like. The greatest liberty we know is when we were set free by the grace of God. We could not deliver ourselves from our bondage, only the spirit of God can do this. It is not the big things in this life that gives us peace, but rather that still small voice that so many times speaks to us through the wonderful Spirit of God. The precious blood of Jesus signed our pardon that we could go free. The same power that brought Jesus out of the grave will deliver us to our heavenly home. Elder Greg Hill followed with another wonderful message from on high. Until Jesus, no sacrifice was sufficient to deliver us from our sins. He left the splendors of heaven to be tempted in every way that we might be saved. Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin. They did not take His life, but He willingly gave it that we might have eternal life. Most importantly is that He rose on the third and appointed morning. Sitting on the right hand of the Father, Jesus is making intercession for us so there is no reason we would go to the priest. Greater is He that dwells within than he that is in the world. God wonderfully blessed these men to preach the gospel and for this we give Him all the honor, praise and glory. He is a present help in the time of need. Our prayer is that someone would come to know the Lord.
Adjourned for lunch.
The congregation came together in the tent with songs of praise after a delicious lunch served by the host church. Won't it be a wonderful time when the redeemed gather in our new home? When we are in doubt or troubled in soul, He whispers sweet peace. If we have built our hope on Christ, then we are on solid ground; for everything else is sinking sand.
God continued the blessings with testimony, preaching and special singing from June Kail, Terry Sizemore, Clear Springs singers, Jerry Scalf and his wife, and Roger Van Hoose. We're headed to a place that some call heaven, but God's children call it home. Jesus came to show us the way, then He got on a cloud and went home, but He will come again in like manner. What a man that willingly gave His life for me! He is my dearest friend and He's the only one who could heal the sick and make the lame to walk. Jesus is there all the time with comfort and joy and whatever we need. Such a wonderful feeling it is to say Jesus is mine. We belong to a King and in that we know our real home is up there on high. Some day when we've traveled our last mile here, we'll enter that life boat that will carry us over the river. He will hold to our hand if we're ready to go to that golden shore where we can stroll over heaven and praise our Redeemer. God wants to bless His people and He did. He left His home in glory, but no one knows how Jesus suffered to give us eternal life. Let us sing of our Redeemer till the day He calls, where in His likeness we'll be shining.
Prayer requests were made for all those in the previous services and the unsaved as Elder Frank Mullins led us to the throne of grace in a most humble prayer.
The delegation was seated in order to transact the business.
The moderator read the report from the Committee on Religious Exercises:
Elder Joe Pitzer, Chairman of the Committee on Church Letters, reported that the letters from Jenkins Chapel and Mountain View had been received. After examination of the letters and reading the church's report, they recom-mended accepting these churches. It was motioned, seconded and voted to accept the recommendations of the committee and seat their delegates as part of the voting body. The letters from Ayers Chapel, Sloantown and Mt. Zion have not been received. It was motioned, seconded and voted upon receipt and examination by the clerk, the church information should be added to the minutes as deemed appropriate.
The moderator appointed the Committee on Church Letters for 2006, which includes Darrell Sizemore (chairman), Steve Minton, Billy Jack Johnson and Bill Maggard (alternate).
The Committee on Finance reported $8,155.00 in receipts for the year.
The Committee on Obituaries reported that 51 have been received at this time.
The Committee on Newly Constituted Churches reported that none had been received.
The Committee on Arrangements and/or Queries reported that one query had been received. Elder Oscar Irvin, chairman of the committee, presented it to the delegation according to our rules of decorum by reading it three times. The query asked: Is it proper procedure for the ordained deacons and elders of the Eastern District Association to participate in ordination of brethren from other churches or church organizations that have not joined our membership? It was motioned, seconded and voted for the Committee to give their answer/recommendation which states: No, an ordained deacon or minister of the Eastern District Association of Primitive Baptists has no authority to serve on the presbytery for the ordination of someone outside the association. It was motioned, seconded and voted to accept the committee's answer. A question was made as to where it should be included in the minutes. Elder Irvin clarified the committee's intent in that when a deacon or minister sits on an ordination presbytery, they agree to support the individual being ordained, but they cannot do this if they are in another organization. After this clarification, it was motioned, seconded and voted to print this in the Procedures for Ordination Of Minister and Deacon section of the minute.
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.
The moderator reminded those serving on the committees that they were released when their final report is given.
It was motioned to allow the clerk $1,500 in appreciation for his services. At the request of the clerk, this motion was withdrawn. It was motioned, seconded and voted to allow the clerk $1,000 in appreciation for his services.
It was motioned, seconded and voted to allow the clerk to replenish the necessary forms to properly perform his duties.
The members of the Circular Letter Committee came forward and Elder A. D. Howington requested that Elders Silas Porter Carroll and Virgil Lipe stand with him during the reading of the letter. In the absence of Elder Lipe, Elder A. D. proceeded with the reading of the letter. It is intended for your edification and instruction of this great body. Since some are not adhering to the articles of faith and rules of decorum as was intended at their writing, the timeliness of this letter is appropriate indeed. It was motioned, seconded and voted to print it in the minutes as read.
In regards to the previously established committee for ensuring the proper wording of the insurance recommendations so as to protect the association, Elder Burnice Sybert, chairman of the committee, asked if the committee incurs expenses will the association authorize payment of these by the clerk? It was motioned, seconded and voted to allow the committee to seek advice and for the association to pay or reimburse any amounts deemed reasonable and appropriate by the committee.
The moderator appointed the Circular Letter Committee for 2006, which includes: Elders John Arnott, Lewis Baker and Robert Carter.
An offering was taken up to help defer the costs of printing the direction books. A total of $1167.92 was collected.
It was recommended that the things which are standard be printed in a separate book to help reduce the cost of our minutes. The clerk will check on this and report to the association next year.
There were 10 churches that asked for the association to meet with them next year. These are: Beech Grove, Burke's Union, Clear Springs, Fairview OH, Flower Gap, House Chapel, Liberty Chapel, Oak Grove, Riverside and Slate Hill. Before the plea process started, Slate Hill, Clear Springs, Beech Grove, Riverside, House Chapel and Burke's Union withdrew. The plea process left the vote between Fairview OH, Flower Gap, Liberty Chapel and Oak Grove. By a clear majority, the delegation voted to send the association to Flower Gap, where the Lord willing we will convene on Thursday morning, (October 5, 2006) before the first Saturday in October, 2006. Introductory Elder Greg Hill; Alternate Elder Rod Raleigh.
Adjourned until Saturday morning, October 1, 2005.
Our memorial service began much the same way our two previous services did - with God's blessings overflowing His children. As the people gathered in the tent, Sister Zula McCullough led them in singing songs of praise to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We cling to the old rugged cross, but one day we will exchange it for a crown. Jesus is the Lilly of the valley, our bright and morning star; for He is the fairest of ten thousand to our soul. My feet have found a resting place; I'm on the rock at last. We read of a place called heaven and we long to see that fair haven of rest for the weary, oh how beautiful heaven must be! It won't be very long till Jesus shall appear and this short life shall end. Will you be ready then?
Bob and Eileen Brown and a group consisting of Terry Sizemore, Roger, Jeanette and Misty Trent blessed us with their singing and wonderful testimonies. Oh what a city He's gone to prepare, on the hills of Zion we'll stand. For God's children who've all overcome the trials of this life, awaits a city not made with hands. There is no need for the sun there, because its light would be to dim in comparison to the light within that city. In the dark of the midnight when there is no hiding place, let us dwell with the Lord till the storm passes by. Hold fast; let me stand in the hollow of thy hand. There is coming a day when our Jesus we shall see.
Elder Sizemore welcomed everyone to our memorial service, once again thanking Jesus for the many blessings. Praise God for that wonderful peace we have in Jesus. What a feeling it is to know that when this life shall end, we'll be with the Savior. Where the spirit of God is, there is liberty.
The delegation was seated in order to transact the business.
It was motioned, seconded and voted to adopt the business proceedings of yesterday as read.
The moderator appointed a committee to investigate the possibility of getting a trailer to haul and store the association tent, chairs and associated equipment. The committee consists of: David Smith (chairman), Larry Dean and Chris Woods.
The moderator reminded the delegation that Sister Eileen Brown still sends out notices of revivals and special services if they will let her know. Try to let her know at least a couple of weeks in advance.
Elder Sizemore read the report of the Committee on Religious Exercises:
The clerk read the Resolution of Thanks that he had prepared. It was motioned, seconded and voted to print it in the minutes as read.
Bill Winstead and his family blessed us with their wonderful song and testimony. The lights of that city are so bright, we see them as we're nearing the shore. It is joy to know we're nearing that shore where He will welcome His children home.
Prayer requests were made for all those made in previous services; the unsaved; Carl Lawson, young man at Macedonia who lost his mother and stepfather, young people, Carl Peterson, Maggie Lawson, Maxie Marcum, the family of Henrietta Adams, Clarence Belcher family, Pleas Lawson's nephews and nieces, L. E. Hill, L. J. Johnson, Virgia Grace Hill's children, all the revivals beginning soon, we ask God to move among our people in His love, and many unspoken requests signified with uplifted hands. Elder Lewis Baker led us to the throne of grace.
The moderator read the list of names of those that have left our ranks since we last met. Although we mourn their passing, we want to thank God for them and for the privilege of having them with us during their life here. Thank God for the precious memories He gave us.
Having been chosen by the Committee on Religious Exercises, Elder John Arnott came forward to take the first part of the service. He read from John 12:1-8 using as a text, "Remembrance." To prove the power of God, Jesus delayed His going to Lazarus. He has all power in heaven and earth. When He got there, Lazarus had already died. Mary had faith that Jesus could deliver. Just as the odor of the ointment Mary put on Jesus' feet filled the whole house, when we obey God, His spirit will fill our house as well. Don't look to find fault in others, but take care of yourself. Real knowledge and faith in Jesus Christ will see us through it all. Let us offer Jesus the very best we have as Mary did. No greater power is known unto man than Jesus Christ. God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten son are not just words we hear and sometimes repeat, but they are the very essence of our salvation. No man can take the life of Jesus, but He alone had the power to lay it down. Without the death of the testator, there is no testament. Elder Terry Sizemore took the second part of the service, preaching another wonderful message given him by the Lord. Jesus loved Lazarus long before he died and He wanted to use his death to show His great power. This power that brought Lazarus from the dead is the same power that filled the house when we got saved. Thank God we understood and have already been part of that first resurrection. God's grace will deliver us from the troubles and trials, but it is sufficient for everything that may come our way. When the Lord is on hand, His grace will allow us to enjoy the true blessings of our Redeemer. We must understand that we can't do anything, but God can do it all. Our charge is that the world would see Jesus in our life. We must tell our people there is a heaven to gain and a hell to shun. God left us here for this purpose, let us honor Him not with enticing words, but with our hearts, for it is then our action will go forth into the world to give Him the honor, glory and praise for it all. Our lost people are blinded to the truths of God, so we must help them find Him as their Redeemer. Our obligation is to seek after God's will and please Him with our obedience. These men poured their hearts out as they preached the truth today. Let us rejoice in the message sent from Jesus Christ.
Songs of praise and shouts of joy rang out from the children of God as we adjourned for the day.
Our time together has swiftly passed and our last day of the association is now upon us. The smiling faces, the hugs and emotional greetings showed us that God was still in the midst of His people. Thank God for His blessings on this grand body. Several churches dismissed their services to be with the host church on this last day. Those gathered for the last day of this great gathering were rejoicing and thanking Him for all He has done. Brother Darrell Sizemore led several songs. Many steps we've traveled for the Lord and although our steps are getting slow, we press on because we've been waiting Lord to go. Some glad morning we shall see Jesus in the air coming after you and me. What a day of singing and shouting when we meet our blessed Savior yonder in the sky. We'll be singing with the heavenly host praising Christ while ages roll. May we always go on business for the King. We don't have long to stay as we float down the stream of time and before we know it, the lifeboat will come to gather the jewels home. We are pilgrims and strangers here seeking a city to come, so cheer my brother cheer, for our trials are almost done. Let us hold to God's unchanging hand, because even though we don't know about tomorrow, we are assured that whether we go or whether we stay, we are a winner either way.
We were privileged to hear some special singing from the Riverside Trio, Kathy Robinson, Carol Lipe, Riverside Church singers, Virgil Lipe, Roger Trent and Joe Sizemore's niece, Melissa. We'll make it through, praise God because of Him. It's not what we see that makes us a king, but what is on the inside. He is truly all we need. If we've been to Calvary, then we've seen more than this world could ever offer. Just to know Jesus is mine is worth it all. As Elder Roger Trent moved around the church, many wonderful testi-monies were given as God blessed the hearts of His children.
The flame may have flickered, but it has never gone out. How could this be that your loving Son gave his life for me, but He is not dead for He came back from the grave? He's alive, He's alive, and the grave could not hold Him. Lord, open our eyes and let us know when it's our time to let our light shine and give us the words you'd have us to say. When we laid off the old coat and put on the new, it was the best thing we ever did do. The congregation wished Mrs. Sizemore and Fleeta Mae Miller a happy birthday. God sent down the fire to Elijah just like He sends down His blessings to His children.
Many prayers have already been answered. Wonderful testimonies from all over the church blessed our hearts. When folks will stand and tell what the Lord has done, God is honored and He will bless His people.
Prayer requests were made for the lost, all those of previous services, Pleas Lawson's brother, Elders Carl Lawson, John Henry Sybert and Howard Sybert, Adam Lawson, Donald, a lost man in the community, Dustin and Misty Lawson, Ruth Glass and her brothers and many unspoken requests signified by uplifted hands. As everyone gathered around the altar to pray, Elder Howard Sybert led us to the throne of grace.
We thank God for all the visiting ministers that were in attendance at today's services. Woodrow Fields, Daniel Hurd, Howard Sybert and Virgil Lipe.
Elder Daniel Hurd delivered a message from God above. He read from Nehemiah 4:6 and used as a text, "The people had a mind to work." The church is the mother of those that know the Lord. Let us work together in love, helping each other along the way; not just through the association, but throughout the year. When God puts it on our heart, we must obey His spirit. God will show us if we'll listen and hasten to His will. Let us be extremely careful how we treat the things of God. God always gives the increase when we have a mind to work. We are a great people because of what God does through us. We must continually keep a mind to work for the Lord.
Brother James T. Osborne led us in singing songs of Zion in honor of our precious Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Praise His Holy name for all the blessings He bestows on His children. May His amazing grace continually sweep over our spirit with fathomless billows of love. Grace has brought us this far and it will lead us home. Elder Virgil Lipe dismissed us in prayer as we enjoyed another bountiful meal supplied by the host church.
The ending of a gathering like this is always a solemn time, and although we hate to leave, we must go our separate ways. Thank God for this wonderful time we have been given, not only to meet with one another, but for being able to meet with Him once again. Thank God again for all those that have helped in any way. I pray the Lord will bless you and keep you in the days to come.
I wish there were words to express what all of you mean to me. I thank you for your prayers and your kind words and I ask you to remember Terry and myself in your thoughts and prayers in the coming days. We serve a wonderful God and I know He is always there leading the way. If possible, I would create new words that show what you all mean to me, but those that express it best are Jesus Christ. Praise His Holy name! Peace, joy and the love of God go with each of you till we meet again.