The Eastern District Association of Primitive Baptists convened in its 154th annual session with Flower Gap Church, Blackwater, VA. This association meeting is the first for Flower Gap Church, and the body is honored to be the host church. The history of Flower Gap Church was originally researched and written by Sister Jennifer N. Horton.
The property on which the church now stands was originally where one of Lee County's many community schools was located until the mid 1940's. At that time, the school was consolidated into another school at a different location within the county. The Lee County School Board had plans to demolish the building and sell the land since it was no longer being used as a school.
Brother Tee and Sister Rosie Johnson, neighbors to the old school property, began to discuss the possibility of obtaining the school property to use as a local church for the community. Brothers Lilburn Fisher, Tee Johnson and Emmett Johnson approached the County School Board to attempt to purchase the old Flower Gap School. They discovered that the property would have to be sold by auction sale on the site. One week later, they were able to purchase the property for $300.00 cash.
Church assemblies and meetings were held in the old school building until a corporate church body could be organized. In September of this year, the church celebrated its 60th year. The proposed new Primitive Baptist Church obtained an arm from Willis Chapel Church and was organized on Monday, September 16, 1946 with three charter members by letter: Brothers Tee H. Johnson, Lilburn Fisher and Sister Rosie Johnson. Since the school was named Flower Gap School, the church adopted the name Flower Gap Primitive Baptist Church.
On that momentous Monday night, Elder Hobart Hall preached the opening sermon from the 8th Chapter of the book of Romans. In order to form a body sufficient to transact business, the church "borrowed" members from two organized churches: Blackwater Lick Church and Willis Chapel Church. Brothers Luther Johnson, James Eldridge, Dewey Sanders and Guy Eldridge came from Blackwater Lick and Brothers Jack Wallen and Piert M. Willis came from Willis Chapel. Brother Piert Willis agreed to serve as the first clerk of the newly organized church until it could stand alone as a body of believers.
Other clerks who have served over the years are: Lilburn Fisher, Rosie Johnson, Virgie Grace Johnson-Hill, Elder Donald Sybert, Eugene Sullivan, Onza Fisher, and the present clerk, Jennifer N. Horton.
Former pastors of the church include: Elders Hobart Hall, Willie Willis, Nelson Jones, Logan Willis, Ben Hill, Walter Willis, Clarence Miller, Billy Johnson, Bobby Williams, Larry Miller, Carl Ray Cope, Donald Sybert, Delmas Harris, Gordon Justice and our present pastor, Greg Hill. Flower Gap Church is honored to have had these men serve over the years. Each one was loved and respected in his divine calling as an elder.
Flower Gap is one of the most gorgeous sites God ever made. Its commanding view of the surrounding valleys is magnificent. It is in this little mountain setting that many, many people have come to know the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is still on His throne, saving those around Flower Gap that will believe on His Son and accept Him as Lord and Master.
Let us pray this church will continue to grow throughout the coming years, just as it has thrived in the past and continue to be the light "of that city on the hill" that cannot be hidden. May it continue to serve as a beacon to guide lost souls to Christ and a ministering comfort and inspiration to feed the children of God.
As the early morning fog lifted, smiling faces were abundant over the grounds as God's children gathered for this grand celebration. Sister Zula McCullough led the congregation in singing several songs in praise to our Lord. Won't it be wonderful when we reach heaven and all is peace and joy and love and the soul of man never dies? We'll have no burdens to bear over there and we can praise our blessed Redeemer forevermore. His grace, which is sufficient for our every need, renders joy unspeakable and full of glory. It won't be very long till Jesus shall descend, so be ready to meet the ransomed throng when Jesus shall appear to gather His children in that happy dwelling home. In this walk of life, we're trusting to the unseen hand, for some sweet day we'll reach that strand where we'll praise Him for His guiding hand. As we gaze over all His beauty and wonder, one song we can sing is that Jesus loves even me. In this world we've tried most everything, but to be an old time Christian is better than anything we know. We watch, wait and long for that beautiful white city with walls of jasper where we have a mansion and a crown waiting for us. By faith we see Beulah land, and in the sweet bye and bye we'll meet on that beautiful shore where our spirit shall sorrow no more as we offer our tribute of praise.
As he welcomed everyone, Elder Terry Sizemore praised God for all He has done for His children. One day we'll all gather on heaven's bright shore, but we can gather in heavenly places here, too. Let us always and forever acknowledge Him as Savior and Lord.
Elder Sizemore mentioned the names of the ministers that had passed from us during the past year which include: Elders Carl Lawson, John F. Robinett, Kermit Hurley and Gerald Hopkins. These men stood for years with this association, and while we mourn their loss, we praise God for them and for their stand over the years. It was also mentioned that Elder John Henry Sybert was unable to attend this year's association, which would have been his 73rd consecutive year. Sister Zula led the congregation in singing the association's song, "Brethren We Have Met Again." All our efforts are vain unless the Holy Spirit comes down.
Prayer requests were made for those that don't know the Lord as their personal Savior, Elders Von Burton, Howard Sybert, John Henry and Stella Sybert, Clarence New's daughter, Rufus Presley, Carl Peterson, Marvin Ketron, Paul Wallen, Jess and Lillie Akens, Elder John and Maude Turner, Gleason Storie, Mary Lambert, Jim Burke, Doris Burke, Glennis Little's brothers, Joe, Tony and Tim; and her sisters, Janice, Brenda, Dolly and Beverly; Elder Odus Caudill, Travis Fields, and many unspoken requests signified with uplifted hands. Elder Richard Seiber blessed us with his wonderful testimony just before taking our petitions to the Lord in a most humble prayer.
We were blessed with testimony and song of Joe Sizemore. Our first glimpse inside those gates of pearl will be worth it all. The time is drawing nigh when we will celebrate our first week for the first ten thousand years.
Before preaching the introductory sermon, Elder Greg Hill, pastor of the host church, welcomed everyone to today's service. May the Spirit of God set each one free. He read from Psalm 89:1-15, and used as his text the 15th verse, Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance. Oh, the joy of knowing God. He is the same today as he was when we were saved. His desire is what makes us what we are. He makes known His faithfulness to all generations. Searching the heavens, only one was found worthy to open the seal, the blessed Lamb of God. Many have spoken down through the years of the One who would come, and just as He came before, He will come again to receive His children that we may be with Him forever. From the beginning until the end, God has shown His power in so many ways, bless His holy name! He is the same today and forevermore. It's because of Jesus of Nazareth that we are redeemed. Elder Rod Raleigh, the alternate, came forward to take the second part of the service. Our help comes from God and only Him, for blessed is the people that know the joyful sound. His voice is as the sound of many waters, no other name under heaven is worthy of such glory. Let us be glad when we can go into the house of the Lord. What used to make us sad now makes us glad. He holds the very breath of our bodies in the palm of His hand. If His children will mind the things of God, we shall have joy unspeakable and full of glory. When we step out in faith, victory will come. Just a few more days and we'll take our flight to a land called heaven. He told us He was going away, but He also told us He would send a comforter. We must get in one mind and one accord before the Lord can truly bless us. If we try the Lord, He opens the portals of heaven. Let us labor for that which is everlasting so we will be filled with power from on high. Shouts of praise rang out all over the tent as these men preached so wonderfully, bless His holy name.
Adjourned for lunch with shouts of praise and tears of joy as we praised Him in song.
After a wonderful lunch served by the host church, the congregation assembled in the tent for the afternoon service as Sister Zula McCullough led us in singing several songs of Zion. What a wonderful God we serve. He bled and died to take away our sins. With shouts of acclamation we proclaim, my God how great Thou art! Whatever our lot may be, we can still say it is well with our soul. Our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness, for all other ground is sinking sand. Let us stand on Jesus Christ, our solid rock.
Elder Sizemore welcomed everyone back to the afternoon service as he thanked God for His righteousness and the many blessings of the Lord.
The moderator appointed the Committee on Religious Exercises, which includes: Bradley Bowen (Chairman), Jim Bowlin and Pleas Lawson.
We were blessed with singing from The Bowlin family, Elder Terry Sizemore and Don Gordon. One day soon we will ride the clouds with the Lord, and with our voices we will shout and join the singing. We're bound for a city, God's holy white city, where we will walk on streets of gold and praise our Lord forevermore. Heaven holds all to His children, for brighter its glory will be in that home where we'll never turn back to this old earth again. We're so glad He found us, for now we belong to Him and Him to us. The joy of knowing we are His is joy unspeakable and full of glory. He came to show us the way, then He got on a cloud and went home. We may be here when He comes to gather us home, then we'll shed this old clay and get on a cloud and go home forever to stay. We are due no honor, for it belongs to God and Him only. We long for the land of joy and peace and skies ever bright, and having been saved by grace divine, we're going that way and Jesus is with us each step.
Prayer requests include: all those who don't know Jesus as their precious Savior, all the requests made in the morning service, Brad Bowlin, the lost in Elder Fred Gilreath's family, Elder John Bowlin, all the revivals starting soon, Joe Sizemore's mother, Gene Greer, Elder Donald and Lola Sybert and her brother and family, Edgar Neeley, Sue Ella Giles, the church at Bellbrook, OH, Elder Hasco Jenkins, our children gathered here, Kevin James' mother, our elder ministers, as well as the younger ones, Nancy Bledsoe and her family, our churches, especially those with no pastor, Elder Von Burton, and many others that the clerk was unable to understand, and those unspoken requests signified with uplifted hands. Elder Scott Tipton humbly led us to the throne of grace.
The moderator made several announcements concerning revivals and benefit for Nancy Bledsoe.
Darrell Sizemore, Chairman of the Committee on Church Letters, came forward to give the report of our state and standing. The letter from Union Hill church was not received and the letter from Little Redeemed was not signed. These letters will be reviewed upon receipt and completion. The committee recommended accepting these 63 churches. 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 Burnice Sybert was nominated. It was motioned, seconded and voted for nominations to cease. 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 nominations 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. It was motioned, seconded and voted for nominations to cease. It was voted for Elder Sizemore 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. It is truly a humbling experience to serve this grand body. With God's blessings, we will overcome any obstacle that may come before us. We pray the Lord will continue to bless this association and that we will always do His will rather than the will of man.
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 financial report was given to the delegation showing where all monies had been spent so far this year.
The clerk prepared a School Absence Authorization Form for use by our young people at their respective schools.
Elder David Smith, chairman of the committee to investigate the possibility of getting a trailer to haul and store the association tent, chairs and associated equipment, came forward to give the committee's findings. They determined several possibilities, but recommended an 8 x 22 foot trailer with a cost of approximately $5,500.00, if we pick it up. This would allow the church hosting the association to transport and store everything together. During the ensuing discussion, several questions were raised including:
It was recommended that a fifth wheel type trailer be considered because of its ease of handling. It was motioned, seconded and voted for the committee to obtain answers to these and any other questions that may arise and report to the association next year.
Elder Burnice Sybert (chairman) and Elder Oscar Irvin and Delmer Wallen Sr., comprising the committee to investigate the wording in our minutes concerning same sex marriage, came forward to give their findings. After much prayer and discussions with appropriate legal representatives, the committee developed two proposals. The first recommendation was to add a new article of faith. The new proposed article of faith was read three times and states: We believe God instituted marriage as the union of one man and one woman as husband and wife and any other such union is an abomination. Scriptural references include: Gen 2:18-25; Lev. 18:22, 20:13; Rom. 1:24-32; Eph. 5:22-33; I Pet. 3:1-7. It was motioned and seconded to add this as a new article of faith to our minutes. After some discussion, the motion was withdrawn until the second proposal was read. The committee recommended adding a proposal to the ordination procedure for our ministers. Before its reading, it was changed to include deacons since they can also marry people. The new proposed addition to the ordination procedure was read three times and states: Resolved, that the ministers and deacons of the Eastern District Association of Primitive Baptists shall not officiate or participate in the marriage between two men or two women; neither will any who engage in a lifestyle contrary to the teaching of the Scriptures as recorded in the King James translation of 1611 be accepted as a minister or deacon in the Association.
After reading the second proposal, the association decided to handle each one separately. The way the courts work today, we need to protect the association, our ministers and churches in every way possible. The committee explained that while most states have seen these issues and added laws, Tennessee has not passed a law in both the House and Senate. After the ensuing discussion, the question was put to the delegation: do we accept the recommendations of the committee? It was motioned, seconded and voted to add the first proposal as a new Article of Faith (#22) in our minutes. It was motioned, seconded and voted to add the second proposal as an addition to our Procedure for Ordination of Minister or Deacon.
Brother Bradley Bowen, chairman of the Committee on Religious Exercises read their report which is as follows:
The business being concluded, the delegation was dismissed until Friday morning, October 6, 2006.
The congregation gathered in the tent just before Sister Zula McCullough led us in songs of praise. The anguish that He bore for you and me is just one more way such matchless love was shown. He suffered all alone just for you and me that we might have eternal life. Our trials on earth will end some happy day. We have a brighter home than this in a world of changeless bliss, where we'll walk with Christ in robes as white as snow. How we'll shout and how we'll sing when the redeemed are gathering in for that great procession on the streets of gold. If Christ is there, anywhere is home sweet home, so let come what may while we labor here till we are called away to our new home. Zula thanked God for the privilege of attending the association for 43 years. While we can't explain it, there's something about knowing Jesus that the redeemed of the Lord want to say so. We should make our wants and wishes known in that sweet hour of prayer. He bids us to seek his face, believe His word and trust His grace. Savior, Savior hear our humble cry to help my unbelief and while on others thou art calling, do not pass me by.
Elder Sizemore welcomed everyone and thanked God for the wonderful service of yesterday and the blessings of today. He welcomed the singers from the host church as we were blessed by their songs. We should swing out on the promises of God, trust His everlasting word and His power to make us whole. No matter how worn or entangled we may become with things of this world, we are never alone, for Jesus walks with us. We hope everyone can firmly promise to meet us by the river. The testimonies of God's children blessed our hearts, for we're all kind of homesick for our eternal home. Press on; we've just a few more days to labor for sweet Beulah Land is just in sight. The Lord just poured a blessing on this place this morning. His amazing grace is sufficient to save the world if they will accept it. Preaching, shouting, testifying and just good old fashioned praising our Savior rang out as the Lord gave us a downpour of blessings. It was beyond compare and beyond words to even attempt to describe how the Lord blessed during the service. When we've been there ten thousand years, we'll just have begun to live. Jesus didn't come here to stay; just to show us the way then He got on a cloud and went home. We must know without a doubt that heaven is our home. We are free because of what Jesus did for us on Calvary.
Elder Neal Drinnon came forward to lead us in prayer, but he had to praise Him first. Continue to pray for the unsaved, all the requests from yesterday, those serving our country in the military; preaching brethren and each other. Praise for our Lord knows no bounds. When we truly praise God and let Him have His way, then many good things will come to pass.
Brother Billy Jack Johnson came forward and with wonderful testimony and praise for the Lord, read the history of Flower Gap Church that is printed at the beginning of Thursday's proceedings.
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 Allen Hensley, having been chosen by the Committee on Religious Exercises to take the first part of today's service, said he had already said what was on his mind, so he gave way to Elder Walter Willis. Elder Willis read Isaiah 63:1-5, and just as Elder Alfred Wallen in the 1904 introductory sermon did, he also read Revelation 19:13 using as a thought, "This man Jesus Christ." He came forth as a root out of dry ground. When we plant, we know that the root must have water to live. It's not the water that cleanses us from our sins, but the blood that flowed from our Savior as He hung on the cross. He died for the ungodly, for all the sins of the world. He never fails to hear our cries. God is God and besides Him there is no other. He is truly King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Let us come boldly to the throne of grace in our time of need. Elder Allen Hensley thanked God for His many blessings. Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. What God showed us this morning is beyond measure and beyond any words that can be written, but rather it is felt in the hearts of God's children.
We were adjourned for lunch.
The congregation came together in the tent with songs of praise after a delicious lunch served by the host church. Life in Christ truly gets better farther on. Jesus will never forsake His children and when we pray in faith believing, holy manna will be showered all around. No more evidence is needed than what we have seen take place today.
Brother Bradley Bowen read the report of Religious Exercises Committee.
The Clear Springs singers blessed us with their testimony and songs. We have a place of sweet peace and rest where we'll go when our work here is done. A promise was given that He would return to claim His own and He will beckon us home to stay in a time not far away.
Prayer requests were made for the lost, requests made in earlier services, Marvin Ketron and Paul Wallen, Dorthy Delph, Billy Jack Johnson's wife's cousin, A. D. Howington and his sister, brother Jarnigan's wife, Nancy Bledsoe's family, John and Brenda Bowlin's daughter and granddaughter, Terrell Smith's son-in law, Roy Jones's sons and nephew, all those serving in the military, Rosie and Tee Johnson, Shane Russell's family, Billy Jack Johnson's grandchildren and pray that when a precious soul comes to the age of accountability, they will see Jesus in someone's life and many unspoken requests. Elder John Bowlin led us to the throne of grace in a most humble prayer.
The delegation was seated in order to transact the business.
Brother David Horton came forward to deliver some special thanks to the community and all those that have helped the host church in some way.
Darrell Sizemore, chairman of the Committee on Religious Exercises, reported that the letters from Union Hill and Little Redeemed had been received. Examination of the letters and the reading of the churches report allowed the committee to recommend 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 moderator appointed the Committee on Church Letters for 2007, which includes Steve Minton (chairman), Billy Jack Johnson, Bill Maggard and Gary Henard (alternate).
The Committee on Finance reported $8,040.00 in receipts for the year.
The Committee on Obituaries reported that 81 have been received at this time.
The Committee on Arrangements and/or Queries reported that one query had been received that was previously answered.
The Committee on Newly Constituted Churches reported that none had been received.
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 $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 moderator reminded those serving on the committees that they were released when their final report is given.
Elders John Arnott and Lewis Baker, members of the Circular Letter Committee came forward. Elder Arnott informed the delegation that Elder Robert Carter, also a member of this committee, was not able to attend today's service. Elder John Arnott read the letter as written by the committee. In this fast paced world, our faith is more important now than ever before. The quickening of the dead spirit is made alive in Christ Jesus. It was motioned, seconded and voted to print it in the minutes as read.
The moderator appointed the Circular Letter Committee for 2007, which includes: Elders Bill VanHoose, Roger Trent and Woodrow Fields.
It was mentioned last year about the possibility of printing the standard things in our minute in a separate book. The clerk informed the delegation of his findings. The cost savings to print each minute would be minimal and each time a change was made such as adding another article of faith, a new book would need to be printed. It was motioned, seconded and voted to continue to print the things which are standard in our minute as we have in the past.
Due to the passing of brothers Morris Giles and Bill Poole, two of our association trustees, the moderator added the following names to the association trustee list: Mark Newkirk and Don Gordon. Our association trustees are as follows:
The congregation sang a song as an offering of $1,243.75 was taken up to help Elder Howard Sybert due to his sickness.
There were 8 churches that asked for the association to meet with them next year. These include: Clear Springs, Fairview OH, House Chapel, Oak Grove, Pilgrim's Rest, Riverside and Roller's Chapel. Before the plea process Clear Springs, Riverside, Oak Grove and House Chapel withdrew. After the plea process, Roller's Chapel withdrew leaving the vote between: Fairview, OH, Liberty Chapel and Pilgrim's Rest. By a clear majority, the delegation voted to send the association to Pilgrim's Rest, where the Lord willing we will convene on Thursday morning (October 4, 2007) before the first Saturday in October, 2007. Introductory - Elder Virgil Lipe; Alternate Elder David Smith.
Adjourned until Saturday morning, October 7, 2006.
The sunlight seemed brighter than ever as everyone gathered for our memorial service. It is truly a special day, not only because we honor the memories of those that have passed from our midst since last year, but because the Lord is here with us. Thank God for His vast storehouse of blessings. God is true and just to deliver eternal life to every believer, so let us resolve to hasten to our Savior each and every day. We will meet one morning just inside the eastern gate; therefore we must keep our lamps trimmed and burning as we watch and wait for the bridegroom to come and get His bride. We have just a taste here, but the joy of that glad meeting is joy unspeakable and full of glory. God's children have found that hope so bright and clear of the story of Jesus, the half of which has never been told. Trusting the unseen hand that leads through ways we cannot see helps us to bid farewell to every fear and wipe the tears from our eyes. The greatest joy of all will be to see our Savior's face. Shouts of praise rang out through the tent as God's children rejoiced in His Holy Spirit. Open your heart and let this stranger, Jesus Christ, in. Never before has such a heavenly guest knocked.
Elder Sizemore welcomed everyone to our memorial service, once again thanking and praising Jesus for His many blessings. Thank God for the privilege of gathering once again on the hillside just this side of glory. In Him is our being, our very life. Thank God for the legacy these dear saints have left each of us. Their work nor their journey was not in vain, and neither will ours if we trust in the Lord.
Brother Phillip Little and Elder Bob and Eileen Brown blessed us with their wonderful testimonies and songs of praise. In the midst of the storm the disciples were so fearful, but Christ calmed the troubled waters. He is not too busy to hear you cry, so reach out and touch the Lord as he walks by. Just as the woman reached out and touched the hem of His garment, so must we. Although we are shackled by a heavy load, if we allow Jesus to touch us, our burdens are lifted and we are made whole. There is coming a day when He'll take us by the hand and lead us through the Promised Land where all is peace and joy. What a day that will be when we see Jesus, our blessed Redeemer. Let us drink of the living water from the well of the Lord.
Prayer requests were made for: the unsaved, Ruby Osborne, Jim Burke, Doris Burke's sister-in-law, Pleas Lawson's brother, nephew and nieces; Elder Howard Sybert and his family, A. D. Howington's sister, Billy Jack Johnson's wife and her cousin, Maxie Marcum, Lona Robinette, Henrietta Adams and her family, Dan Cross and his family, Larry Delph's brother-in-law and grandkids, Rosie and Tee Johnson, and many unspoken requests signified by uplifted hands. We must pray for our children, their school officials and teachers. Many teachers don't know the Lord and do almost anything in their classrooms. Always remember our young people and children that they would see Jesus in someone's life. Elder Bill Winstead humbly led us to the throne of grace.
The delegation was seated in order to transact the business.
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 by the 20th of the preceding month so she has plenty of time.
It was motioned, seconded and voted to adopt the business proceedings of yesterday as read.
The moderator 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.
The moderator read the list of names of those that have left our ranks since we last met. It is true that we miss these dear friends, but we know they are in a better home. Thank God for the time we had them and praise His name for the legacy they left us.
Having been chosen by the Committee on Religious Exercises, Elder Larry Miller came forward to take the first part of the service. Before he began, some presentations were made to Flower Gap Church in memory of L. J. Johnson and Fleeta Mae Miller. Such wonderful testimonies were made by their families, but the true testimony was the one these dear departed saints made. We thank God for them and the fact that their family honored their memory in such a wonderful gesture. Elder Miller read from II Timothy 1:1-14 and used as a thought, "Always be proud of your heritage." Genuine faith comes from God. The legacy left from these fallen saints will never be forgotten, but let us strive to keep it going by serving the Lord, then it will not fade away. Don't be ashamed of what God has done for you. The blood of Jesus will cleanse us from all unrighteousness and sin. Love the Lord, know the Lord and bless the Lord. Elder Terry Sizemore followed with another message from on high. These saints took us under their wing, showed us the way and encouraged us to follow in the right path. Young preachers, never think you don't need the help of our elder pastors, but seize every opportunity to grasp what the Lord sends your way. There is a power that will help us know that our name is written in the Lamb's book of life. We all need help at times, and there are those who are willing to help, but never fail to call on the name of Jesus Christ. This same Jesus that went away will come again in the clouds to receive us unto Him. Without the spirit of God, we will decay and wither away. Remember our heritage and the words spoken by these dear saints. Our memorial still uplifts the name of God that He and only He will receive the honor and glory for it all. We can do things our way, or we can do things right and do it the Lord's way. These men preached Jesus to us and we thank Him for all the many blessings He has bestowed on us during this gathering.
Songs of praise and tears of joy rang out from the children of God as we adjourned for the day.
Our time together has come to an end, but what a wonderful time it has been. The beautiful sunshine shone so brightly as people gathered for the last day of this association. As bright and beautiful as it was, it cannot begin to compare to God's love shining roundabout these grounds. What a wonderful time we've had in Jesus. Thank God for His wonderful love, mercy and grace that He has so richly bestowed on His children during this grand gathering. We are living in a new world since the Lord saved us. Since He opened our blinded eyes, sweet is the song we sing each day because we have been redeemed by love divine. The wonderful testimonies during singing blessed our hearts. The prayer bells of heaven so sweetly ring to bear the message of Jesus our King. Oh, to behold His glorious face and praise His wonderful grace. He will linger near as our way groweth drear, and in the darkest night He will take our hand and lead us on to the light. No matter how tired, weak and worn we may become, He'll lead us on every step of the way. We need to know more about our blessed Savior.
We were further blessed with special singing from Doris Burke, the children from Pilgrim's Rest, Vakisha Henard and Aubra Hill. The best thing we ever did was to lay off the old coat and put on the new coat of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Many times we say, "What was that you said Lord, are you talking to me?" It seems the older we get, the better we see to determine that we're gonna know more than we know now. It is so sweet to trust the Lord, oh for grace to trust Him more. How we've proved Him o'er and o'er. We'll step on a cloud and bid farewell to this world and enter a place so real where people don't die.
Elder Greg Hill welcomed everyone to today's service and thanked everyone for attending. Thank God for meeting here with us for the past few days.
Prayer requests were made for the lost, all those of previous services, Nancy Bledsoe and her family, Travis Fields, Maybelle Osborne and her family, the lost in Pleas Lawson's family, Jim Burke and many unspoken requests signified by uplifted hands. So many wonderful testimonies were made just before Elder Josh Couch took our petitions to the Lord in a most humble prayer.
Elder Richard Seiber, having been selected by the Committee on Religious Exercises, came forward to take the first part of the preaching service. He read from St. John 13: 31-38 and 14:1-6 and used as his thought, "The Way." There are many ways for us to travel in this life, but there is only one way to get to Jesus. Many milestones have been set before us on this way. Jesus said to the disciples, "come follow me and I'll make you fishers of men," so let us drop all our cares and follow Jesus. Why stand you here gazing into the heavens, but this same Jesus that you saw going away will come again and receive you unto Himself. We must finish the course and keep the faith, for Jesus is from everlasting to everlasting. He is coming again; make sure you are ready to go in the way He has prepared. There are two ways we can go, one leads to glory and eternal joy, but the other leads to destruction. Elder Eckel Head followed with another message from Jesus. The Lord set out the straight and narrow way. We need to leave the cares of this life and follow the Lord wherever He may lead us. There is no end to God's way. We should love one another and prefer our brothers and sisters ahead of ourselves. He will protect us from all enemies no matter when they may come. The Lord will help us lay aside all malice and hatred and go hand in hand down this way together. We must eat of His flesh and drink of His blood, or we will have no life in us. We're headed to a better place and this way called straight will get us there. Stand up bravely and say you're on the Lord's side to show everyone that we follow Him for more than the fishes and the loaves. Try harder as preachers and as Christians to show on Monday what we felt on Sunday. If we don't start in Him, we can end in Him. If you knew it was your last stand for Jesus, would you do things differently? As my pastor once asked, "If you were arrested for being a child of God, would there be enough evidence to convict you?" Thank God for all the preaching brethren that were in attendance today. Won't it be wonderful there? After several wonderful testimonies and praise of our Lord, we were dismissed in prayer by Elder Daniel Hurd until we meet again.
Every association must eventually come to an end. In one sense it is a sad time, but in another it is one more victory we have in the Lord. We all have battles we must fight, but we know God is there with us marking the way and removing the stumbling blocks. What a great God we serve! Many times I worry because I cannot find the words to describe what you all mean to me. I must leave it to the Lord to show you how important you are in my life. I have no idea how many words exist in the English language. If I could compile them into one sentence, they could not begin to tell how great our Savior truly is. After all, they are just words and any God that I could tell you all about in a few words wouldn't be much of a God. So I close with the prayer that God will continue to give each of us a blessing that can't be gained, saved nor denied.
Peace, joy and the love of God go with each of you till we meet again.