Special Note: This morning the church called Elder Billy Cook so he could listen in on this service. That afternoon the members of Deerfield PB church in MI called Elder Billy Cook to sing and pray for him. Several members of Old Carroll and family members stoped by that evening after services to visit with him. This was the last service that Brother Billy listened to on the phone. Elder Billy Cook went home to be with the Lord the following evening, November 20th at 10:15 p.m.
Our Pastor, Jonathan Cook, presented a sermon from Acts 14:19-28 with supporting text from 1st Timothy 3:1-10 and 5:22, Luke 1:30-33, 16:16 and 17:20-21, Daniel 2:44-45, Matthew 3:1-5, John 1:25-27, 18:36-38, Proverbs 27:17, and numerous other scriptures. Pastor Jonathan first reflected on how the Apostle Paul, while in Lystra, had been stoned by Jews from Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra and left for dead outside of the city, yet later courageously returned to all three of these cities and continued to boldly preach the gospel as he had done before, and to ordain elders in every church in spite of the obvious and prevalent danger. He also pointed out that the early church did not lay hands on any man without first closely examining him and his fitness for such responsibilities. Elder Cook also emphasized how men often incorrectly attribute scripture which are applicable to the “kingdom of God” or the “kingdom of heaven” as though applicable to eternity. Both of these terms are clearly applicable to a kingdom which Jesus has establish on earth in time. John the Baptist not only proclaimed that the kingdom was at hand shortly before pointing out the king (i.e., Jesus Christ), Jesus himself later proclaimed that “the kingdom of God is within you.” Elder Cook also emphasized that to press into the kingdom requires effort, and that effort requires a desire, and that desire can sincerely come only from a heart that has already been changed by God. It is God that opens the door of faith to see that kingdom by giving the new birth – – once we are made alive we can begin to see, and not the reverse.