My Aunt Regina, with her three kids and I began faithfully attending Faith Baptist Church in Gulfport, MS. We received Christ as our savior, were baptized, and began obeying the Lord’s word, “Heb 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” I began to watch as after each service (it seemed to me then) We came home and something HAPPENED. I learned by watching my Aunt Regina, that a sermon was not something to listen to as you would a lovely song; it was not to be watched as you would TV. A sermon was a message from God’s Word, sought out by God’s man, to feed to God’s sheep for their growth and edification. When Aunt Regina listened to a sermon at church something happened at home. One Sunday after church she went through her closet and her daughter’s closet “cleaning house” cause “we are Christians now”. On another Sunday, VHS tapes, cassette tapes, and other entertainment was purged, because “we are Christians now”.
That year, when I was 14, my father was killed and I returned to Dothan, AL to live. In process of time, I backslid and went away from the Lord. By my senior year of high school, the chastening of my loving Father had taken affect and brought me to repentance and surrender. The first thing the Holy Spirit did was lead me to a Bible preaching church. It happened thus:
I was on my way to work. I had driven this route hundreds of times, and never noticed this particular church on the way. On this day going to work, my attention seemed to be grabbed and focused on the church sign which read, “18 souls saved, 11 baptized”. As I read the sign, the Holy Spirit brought to my remembrance Faith Baptist Church of Gulfport where Pastor Carr was leading us by example and exhorting us continually to be about the Father’s business of winning souls for Christ. I thought, “well, let me give them a visit.” The Holy Spirit confirmed in so many ways that this was His church for me. And now for over 20 years it has been my church.
God’s purpose is to do His work through His local church. He wants to use the local church to spread the salvation message, His will is to use His people in the local church to make His love known. He uses the preaching and teaching of His Word through the local church to build the lives of His people. To prepare for His Kingdom and Live for His Glory, we must be established, rooted, and actively serving in the local church and responding to the preaching of God’s Word from His servants.