The setting of Hazel Creek Church is just beautiful. It is located about 3 miles west of Greentop, which is about 2 hours north of Columbia, MO. The area has many rolling hills, gorgeous valleys, green grass, and my personal favorite - cows. Growing up in Texas you couldn't drive five miles without seeing cows on either side of the road. Here in Illinois we don't have that same abundance of livestock. The church is located on a hill overlooking a beautiful valley, when I looked out the first time it took my breath away. I know, you want pictures. I took them, but accidentally deleted them! Argh!
I had been forewarned that services would start earlier than normal, at 9:30 to be precise. Breakfast was to be served also, so I arrived about 8:30.
There was already a good crowd gathered when I arrived and I was pleasantly surprised to see several folks I never imagined seeing.
First, Elder Steve Woods from Arkansas, who was ordained last December. I hadn't seen Brother Steve in 4 years and we had a wonderful visit.
Second, Elder Mark Wattenbarger, who was ordained just this past July. Brother Mark and I were exercising in the ministry together back in Texas. I met him for the first time in 1998 at Gorman Primitive Baptist Church in Gorman, TX. We were good friends who rarely saw or spoke to one another, but whenever together our conversations were full and very sweet. The last time I saw Brother Mark was in 2002, so I really rejoiced to see him.
The morning service was a real blessing. To open the service, Elder Clyde Farmer spoke of the heavenly Jerusalem and Christ being the Light there. He then offered a very sweet prayer. Elder Alan Curtis spoke first from Exodus, charging us to follow the pattern God has shown us. I really enjoyed his message. I've only heard him once before this, but Elder Curtis' messages are always very thought provoking and edifying.
Following him, Elder Mark Wattenbarger preached. The last time I heard Brother Mark was in 1999 I believe, and each time I heard him in the past I enjoyed him, but the ease with which he spoke and the confidence he had were very different than the last time I heard him. Of course, 8 years should make a difference for any of us! He preached on the resurrection, the hope it gives us and the encouragement we receive knowing our Lord was raised from the dead. It was a very good message.
Following him, Elder Steve Woods preached. And boy did he ever! I'd not heard Brother Steve before, but I really enjoyed his style. He is not the most "orthodox" in delivery, but entertaining in a positive way. He just really reminds me a lot of home. His message was on the name the "Lord Jesus Christ." He preached a wonderful sermon proving that Jesus is the Son of God, and thus our Lord.
We then broke for lunch and I had several good visits, especially with Elders Jeff Cochran, Jesse Halbgewachs, Brother George & Sister Liz, and Sister Cleone Stidmon.
After lunch we gathered again for services and Brother Stephen Conte from Iowa opened the services charging us to think of the true, honest, just, pure, lovely things, those things of good report and virtuous, the things that give praise. He then offered a very fervent prayer.
I then attempted to preach on Christ our Advocate and had good response from the congregation. I then had to leave, but to follow me were to be Elders John Anderson and Kobee Trueblood.
I then had a wonderful drive to the Corn's home for our monthly church fellowship, I arrived late, but supper was ready and then good visiting and to top it all off, a good bowl of homemade ice cream! Then I went home and hit the bed for rest for Sunday's services at Little Flock.
Below is a picture of some of the ministers present at Hazel Creek.