A lesson in love
Published: Thursday, January 26, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 25, 2006 at 1:26 p.m.
Keeping children from losing the battle against the devil was the primary theme of Mount Hermon Missionary Baptist Church's youth worship service Sunday.
"I want the church to encourage our children," said the Rev. T. B. Perryman Sr., pastor of the church. "The devil is trying to kill them. Just listen to the music they are bombarded with, and the things they are faced with today that we older folk weren't faced with years ago.
"I was reading the other day that the majority of new AIDS cases are in our children ages 13-21," Perryman continued. "Our churches are not teaching our children how to praise God."
Devotion was conducted by four young members of the congregation, Dalan Howell, Ashley Scott, Tianna Johnson and Tashana Johnson, and Perryman asked the church to sing along with them to give them more confidence.
Perryman's service dealt with the lack of love in the church, and he explained that "being saved is more about what you do than what you say."
"I come to church in love," he told the congregation, recognizing Job Corps students who the church van picked up to bring to the service. "A loveless church is known by the fruit that it bears."
A loveless church is full of gossipers, backstabbers and the like, he continued.
"A truly gifted church goes after love," he said, adding that the definition of love is giving for the benefit of others. "It is not about what we do to one another, but what we do for one another."
Perryman, 40, told the congregation he has seen the church grow and shrink and grow again in his "two years, eight months and two weeks" as the leader of the church.
"I'm going to stay the course," he said, alluding to one of the principles entwined in love - endurance. "Love endures all things."
Perryman said a lot of people claim to be in love with God, but are only "bootleg Christians."
"When you get ready to smoke that weed, ask yourself, 'Do I love Jesus more.' When you get ready to snort cocaine, ask yourself, 'Do I love Jesus more.' When you get ready to take a drink of alcohol, ask yourself, 'Do I love Jesus more,' " Perryman said. "Love is one of the most overused words in the world. When you use the word, be careful how you use it."
After Perryman's sermon, 11 young people went to the altar to give their life over to Jesus Christ.
"I don't want you to join Mount Hermon, I want you to join Jesus," said Perryman. He went on to say, jokingly, "I have enough members who don't come to church now."
Mark Jean, a 21-year-old Orlando native enrolled in Job Corps, said he heard from other students that Perryman, an instructor at the Job Corps center, was a good preacher.
"Everyone told me how good he is," said Jean. "I was saved before, and I feel like I need to get started over again."
Mount Hermon was started in 1953 after the Rev. J. R. Roberts, along with numerous others, separated from Mount Carmel Baptist Church.
The church was built in 1954. Perryman is the church's sixth pastor.
Perryman, born in Archer and raised in Waycross, Ga., said he received his training under the leadership of the Rev. Dr. W.G. Mayberry at St. John Missionary Baptist Church in Melrose and Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church in Gainesville.
Perryman has been pastoring for five years, and said he preached his first sermon when he was 12 years old.
"I ran away from Jesus Christ, not wanting to be a minister," said the former Marine, who said he was assigned White House detail when President Reagan was in office. "Several years ago, the Lord called me back into the church."
Perryman said his personal mission is to teach an "understandable word."
"To fulfill the purpose of Christian worship, glorify God, edify and nurture the body of the church," is Mount Hermon's mission, Perryman said.
He added that the biggest obstacle in the church is that the world is too dominant in the church.
"Longtime church people feel the church should operate like a worldly business," he said, but Mount Hermon "is a kingdom-building church of believers."
Mount Hermon is located at 1510 NE 2nd St. The phone number is (352) 377-0825. Sunday school begins at 9:30 a.m. and morning worship at 11. Prayer meeting and Bible study are held at 7 p.m. on Wednesdays.
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