Links Of Interest
If I arrive for Bible classes starting at 9:30 am, for Worship Services beginning at 10:20 am, each Sunday I will be welcomed at the door and directed toward classes to accommodate my family by age (or school grade) or topical study (Bible 101, Young Marrieds, Leadership training, No Debt No Sweat, etc.). In being welcomed I will receive a bulletin for the current day listing activities of interest, people needing prayer and care, and devotional thoughts.
I will be welcomed in my informal or business attire with the only expectation being that it be modest and clean enough that I will not distract others from their worship. I will notice a few in business suits and ties and even several women in dresses. Many more will wear slacks or jeans and sport shirts or blouses. Some will be wearing work clothes either because they have just been working or because it is their best.
Seating is open and, like most churches, back rows fill up quickly. Wheelchairs are accommodated in the aisles. Several people will stop and visit with you briefly as they take their seats. You will feel warmly welcomed and, hopefully, not invaded. Worship is between me and my Lord and a spirit of love for likeminded believers prevails. You will occasionally be asked to stand for a song or prayer if it is convenient for you. Pertinent announcements will be made. PowerPoint will sometimes be used.
The songs sung will praise God, His Son, and His Spirit. They will encourage and admonish me and my fellow worshippers. All will be acapella and it will be beautiful. A man will lead from the front over a speaker system which accommodates hearing impaired through a headset available upon request. Hymnals will be used and are available along with Bibles from the pew back in front of me to facilitate all singing together. My lack of vocal training is invisible as it is overshadowed by the melody coming from our hearts as described in Ephesians 5:19. Several songs will be sung and prayers will be offered to the Lord interspersing the worship. Prayers will be led by men hopefully directing my mind and heart and others in praise and petitions to God through Jesus Christ.
A communion service will be held as prescribed by Jesus Christ himself in Matthew 26:26-28 and Luke 22:17-20 and practiced by the church every Sunday as written in Acts 20:7. The sacraments will be offered to all. Any may partake, however, only members of the Lord's church are directed to do so and only they will attain the full meaning of the memorial. The "bread" will be an unleavened cracker and the "cup" will be a small cup of "fruit of the vine" (grape juice). The memorial will be both somber commemorating the death of our Savior, Jesus Christ and joyous celebrating the forgiveness of our sins through His death.
Following but separate from the communion, sometimes referred to as the Lord's Supper, while men are gathered to serve the church, an opportunity to partake in the blessing of giving will occur. A basket will be passed through the auditorium and I will put what I believe is appropriate for me into it as the early church was directed in 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 and 2 Corinthians 9:6-12. No gift is required. Gifts received are used to offset the expenses of the church and to do works directed by other scriptures. A separate gift will follow as little children are given the opportunity to come forward to give into the "Kids Can" to be donated to the Southern Children's Home in Arkansas. After Kids Can, children up to 2nd grade are invited, but not required, to pass to a separate room for "Bible Hour" where they may be taught at their level.
The church meets in an attractive modern building, easily accessed on the South side of Highway 112 just North of Poteau, Oklahoma, toward Fort Smith, Arkansas, where there is ample parking, classrooms, and auditorium seating for 350. It is wheelchair accessible and includes reserved parking. A kitchen is included for frequent fellowship meals. Children are welcome and a cry room is provided. Nursery attendants will care for toddlers if you wish.
Toddlers will be taught in a nursery environment where they will learn to play together, share, and care as Christians should. Preschoolers will learn basic bible stories through graphic and "puppet" learning techniques. Early school grades work through bible studies led by volunteer men and women many of whom are trained school teachers. From the age of about ten some of the young students are baptized members of the Lord's church and are, therefore, taught by men only, in compliance with 1 Corinthians 14:34-35.
Adults may attend their choice of an "Auditorium Class", which covers in depth study of scriptures, or "Topical Studies" offered at various times. The Topical Studies focus on application of scriptures to hone our Christian walk in life and are offered at the direction of the church leadership when interest or need dictates. All classes are participatory and offer opportunities for individuals to question and express.
The Bible is our guide and many versions are used. We have no creed or doctrinal guide otherwise.
A sermon will be delivered preaching the truth in love, Acts 2:42. Scriptures will be quoted to support Christian principles proclaimed. The delivery will be relatively informal, energetic, and plainspoken. It will be made clear that God so loved the world that He have His Son for it, John 3:16. New Testament doctrine will be proclaimed and Old Testament examples and teachings will be used to guide us into being followers of Christ. Some scriptures taught may be uncomfortable to me as they were when Peter preached as described in Acts 2:22-36 and produced the guilt in their hearts described in verse 37 and the response described in verses 38 through 41. The sermon will end with an invitation for anyone to confess Jesus and be immersed in baptism just as the eunuch of Acts 8:35-39. In doing so, Jesus Himself will add them to His church. Only persons old enough to understand (believe) the basic elements described to the eunuch by Phillip will be considered candidates for baptism. A song and prayer will conclude the Worship Service and after dismissal I will notice many linger and visit long afterward. I will see hugs and handshakes and plans being made to fellowship informally during the week.
Even though the entire service was not about me, but about God and How I can live to glorify Him through Jesus Christ, I will feel good about the time spent and the fellowship. I will be enriched by what I have given away through song, prayer, communion, giving, and learning. CD's will be made available at no cost so that I may study the message delivered and present it to others.