Some of you may know that we went back to Old Carroll for our spring meeting. If you are ever in the general DC area on Sunday morning you should definitely head out to Point of Rocks. Some of the best people you'll ever meet are there. The Church is an interesting group, since many of them are transplants. Some of us came from Florida, some from Texas, some from the Appalachian mountains, a few are local originally. But even better than who you see there, the Lord is there. He has blessed the Church immeasurable over the last several years, and we've seen alot of growth spiritually, and had new members join as well.
Fourth Sunday in March this year, also happened to be Easter, so we had a great weekend together, followed by communion. Bro. Ronnie Loudermilk and Bro. Chris Crouse were the invited ministers. Gary and I left South Florida about 6 pm Thursday night, and after an all night drive and a short 45 minute nap in a Waffle House parking lot we arrived at Sis. Bonnie's house around noon. Gary got him a couple hour nap in a chair and I got a shower and then for the rest of the weekend we crammed in all the fellowship with all the people that we could. Friday afternoon and evening there were some good scriptural conversations and debates. Saturday afternoon there was lots of catching up and goofing off while the kids all played. And Sunday time to leave came too soon. We had a great time.
Friday night Bro. Ronnie preached first on our "Common Salvation." After traveling all over the Bible to establish that the word common means something that we all share, he used Jude 3 to prove that the common salvation means all who have it get it in the same way, and that is through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, without any effort on our part. He then showed us if we have that common salvation, it should lead us to live a fruitful life. We have to get in the fight by being baptized. We learn what we fight for by reading and studying. We fight against our sinful nature. And we fight using the spiritual weapons we have by putting on the whole armor of God. Bro. Chris followed him by preaching on "Moses: a picture of Christ." Deu 18:18 "I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him." He showed 9 parallels between the two 1) at their births many children died, 2) but their lives were preserved, 3) tried over 40 years and 40 days, 5) endured murmurings, 6) displayed power over the sea, 6) fed many, 7) at times they couldn't be viewed due to the glory of God on them, 8) had 70 helpers, and 9) both reappeared after their deaths. But in all the ways that Moses was a picture of Christ who would come, there was a key difference. Moses fell short and didn't enter into the land, but Christ accomplished his work entirely and he entered into his rest. And that is grounds for great celebration on our part.
Saturday morning Bro. Chris spoke first on the topic of "Communion with Christ." He encouraged us to consider out uplook, and not be only looking in. That when we focus on our selves and our problems and troubles we easily become discouraged. However we should have a common union with Christ, and that is our fellowship with him. He is a faithful high priest and we can have a relationship with God thanks to him. Bro. Ronnie then followed him on the "Suffering of Christ." He laid out three types of suffering that Christ experienced emotional/mental, physical, and spiritual. He experienced emotional and mental pain when he was lonely and again when he was betrayed by a kiss. The physical pain is something that horrifies us all when the Bible describes the crown of thorns, his body beaten, furrows of a whip, driving nails, and hung on a cross so marred that he didn't even look like a man anymore. But the greatest suffering was his spiritual pain on the cross he suffered our hell, he was forsaken of God and for the first and only time, there was a break in communion with God. And all to accomplish salvation for us. Bro. Ronnie told us that we should respond to this with greater obedience, a looser grip on the world, a tighter grip on Jesus, and be constrained not to sin.
Saturday afternoon only Bro. Ronnie preached since he needed to catch a plane. His subject was "Israel and all that He Hath." In a very short time, he preached from Genesis 46, showing Jacob/Israel as a picture of Christ and us. He showed how Israel took all that he had on the journey, none were left behind. Just like one day Christ will take all of his people to heaven, there will not be a single child of God lost or forgotten or left behind on that journey. Just like Joseph and his children were already in the land of Egypt, some of God's people are already in Heaven, but one day we will all be there together. He also showed that Jacob was carried there, being old and unable to carry himself, and we will be carried there, since we are unable to carry ourselves. He also showed how Jacob was satisfied when he arrived and saw Joseph. When we all arrive in Heaven and see our Savior's face we too will be satisfied!
Sunday morning Bro. Chris preached on "God of the Hills and the Valleys" beginning in I Kings 20:20. Over several Sundays now (a few months at least) he has been preaching on the attributes of God at Little Union: God of hope, God of Peace, God of Love, God of All Comfort, etc. I've really enjoyed the sermons, and gone back to listen to many of the ones that I had missed when we visited other places. This sermon just fit right with those. He showed us how God is with us in the valley of tears and cares for us when we are weeping and mourning (Psa 84:5 among other verses), He is also with us in the valley of bravery, when though afraid we go forward in trust (Num 13). He can bless the valley of trouble to bring peace and hope (Joshua 7). He goes with us in the valley of the shadow of death (Psa 23). In the "valley of the mighty oak" He becomes our defender and gives us strength (I Sam 17). He also is in the valley of blessing, where we see through no power or strength of our own he defeats our enemies. It is easy to see God when we are on the mountain when we are in the middle of the best Church sermon we've ever heard, when we have no problems, plenty of money, no stress or illness, but God is with us through all the miserable parts of life as well, and because of that I've found they aren't so miserable as I initially feared.
After services, we inhaled lunch, and got on the road about 2. We caravaned with the Crouses as far as Savannah, GA about midnight. We waved to them as they got off their exit, and we continued south. We pulled in our driveway at 6:15, and Gary had just long enough to clean up before hopping back in the truck to go to work. That evening after work and baseball games, I told him we are getting to old to be doing this. But we both agreed we were VERY glad we went.