The family of God

By James Phillips, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 4/16/17

Editor’s note: This is last in a seven-part series on worship in Walker County that has run during Holy Week.

Music fills the air as brothers and sisters greet each other to begin Sunday morning service at First Baptist Church-Corona …

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The family of God

Posted

Editor’s note: This is last in a seven-part series on worship in Walker County that has run during Holy Week.

Music fills the air as brothers and sisters greet each other to begin Sunday morning service at First Baptist Church-Corona Avenue.

The warm welcome to begin the service resembles a weekly family reunion more than a call to worship.

“This church is a family, and that’s what I love about it,” said Sandi Sudduth, an active member of FBC-Corona Avenue. “We love each other and are there for each other. It is our hope that even our visitors can sense that closeness and are welcomed in as family.”

As the members of the congregation find their seats, songs burst out, praising God for His goodness.

“I enjoy everything about our church service, but our singing is one of the things that I really love,” said Deborah Harton, another church member. “It is such a blessing to join in with everyone to sing to the Lord.”

The “Song of the Month” for April has been “He Will Remember Me,” written by E. M. Bartlett, the man who also wrote “Victory in Jesus.” The song talks of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross:

O, what a shame to kill Him there on that rugged cross;

but such a death was needed to rescue all the lost.

His blood made a ransom to set the captives free,

I know that I’m included and He will remember me.

As the service continued at FBC-Corona Avenue, the young people of the church came up to the front for the weekly “Children Challenge.” Bessie Harper, the first lady of the church, spoke to the children about Jesus’ death.

“Jesus loved us so much that he took on all of that stuff for us,” Harper told the children. “That is what love is. Love is action. Love is what love does.”

During the offering time, members of the congregation held their tithes and offering in the air. At that time, blessings were prayed over the money that was about to be given to the church, so that it may be used to impact the lives of people in the community.

“We give, because we want to give,” said Rev. Alonzo Harper, the church’s pastor. “We are called to give, but we want to give freely.”

Immediately following the time of giving, Harper held an altar call where the church family could come to the front to ask for prayer.

Church members joined hands as Harper came to each one, giving them a microphone to let speak their prayer requests.

The sermon, entitled “From a Mess to a Missionary,” followed with Harper speaking from Mark 5: 1-6, 17-19. The biblical text spoke of Jesus healing a demon-possessed man.

“It is worth having Jesus in our lives to ease our troubled minds and fix our brokenness,” Harper said. “Don’t tell me what God can’t do when He gets His hands on you. He can do amazing things in our lives.”

Harper told the congregation that God picks up people from their worst points in life.

“All of us come out of the junk pile,” he said. “I came out of the junk pile, and you came out of the junk pile. God finds us in that junk, and he picks us up, cleans up our mess and makes us whole.”

Harper said Easter is a picture of how Jesus can change lives.

“He died on Friday, paying a debt he did not owe,” he said. “He paid that debt for me and you. He laid His life down on Friday, but then he picked up His life on Easter Sunday and proved what he’d do for us all.

“Easter is the pinnacle of Christian faith,” Harper said. “He rose!”