Late summer has been a time of challenge for many in our congregation. Each week, we learn of members impacted by personal illness, or by sickness of family and friends. We have members (including my family) that are suffering grief as loved ones have recently passed away. Some experience loneliness because of long periods without leaving home due to medical concerns, which has also impacted overall attendance and giving at church these last few weeks.
During times like these, I'm again reminded of the words I've shared with you several times from the Book of Joshua, where the Lord repeatedly told that great Israelite leader to "be strong and be very courageous." Like Joshua, we need to be reminded, continually, to trust in God and be strong and very courageous when we are tempted to fall into traps of complaining or spreading negativity and worries. Our battles may not be against the Old Testament Canaanites, but we are all involved in daily battles against despair, depression, hopelessness, and other emotions which can attempt to take over when looking at the concerns of this corrupt and passing world.
Our church family is also experiencing blessings, praise God! I have reports of a member who just returned home after lengthy stays in the hospital, other members and their relatives who successfully recovered from COVID, and a major new project officially kicked off at our church last Saturday (see below). The new football season has started and our County Fair is underway. Change is in the air, and most of us are very ready for the heat of summer to begin giving way to milder days. Certainly a change of season does not remove all of our struggles, but it does remind us that life and its circumstances will change,
So, be strong. Be courageous. God has saved us through the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus, and He has called us to celebrate Him and reflect His goodness in the midst of this negative world.
Here are some updates from Pine Grove Baptist:
> Pine Grove Trail work began Saturday, Sept. 11 Work on our new Pine Grove Trail started in earnest on Saturday, Sept. 11. Our crew was able to clear a longer stretch of path than any of us anticipated. Work on the Trail will continue through the fall and into early winter. The timber harvesting work of 2018 left behind some fallen trees that must be dealt with, but it also left behind access paths, which we are incorporating into our project. This means there are already stretches of existing path that we can clear somewhat quickly. We were all amazed at how much was accomplished on our first day, and the team meets again soon to evaluate progress and prepare for another Trail workday this month. When complete, Pine Grove Trail will be an integral part of our ministries, attracting more children, youth, young families, and everyone wishing to enjoy God's creation in ways that bring us ever closer to The Creator.
> Homecoming Sunday Sept. 12
We enjoyed a wonderful day of worship with Jim & Melissa Brady this Sunday followed by lunch in our Fellowship Hall. It was good to see some faces we haven't seen in awhile and the morning was filled with praise and honoring Almighty God. Our thanks to everyone who helped make the day such an enjoyable time of worship!
> Beech River Baptist Association Annual Meeting at Pine Grove on Monday, Oct. 25
The largest annual meeting of our Beech River Baptist Association will be at Pine Grove this year! This is an honor for our church, as well as a way we can provide a service to our fellow Baptist churches in Henderson and Decatur counties. We'll have more information about this soon.
> Multi-church Thanksgiving Week evening service, Sunday, November 21 at Sand Ridge Baptist Church Once again, Pine Grove is participating in a multi-church Thanksgiving service, Sunday evening before the holiday. You may recall the service was held at Pine Grove the last time we met because of renovations at Sand Ridge Baptist, and this year they are happy to host us in their new building. > Service Schedule: Let's clear up a rumor! Recently, I've had calls from inside & outside our congregation, asking if we've changed our regular services schedule. The answer is simple: No, we have not. Some of this confusion is probably due to nearby area churches that changed schedules, combined with adjustments needed when I was away for my father's funeral & burial, plus our changes around Homecoming last Sunday. Our regular services schedule is: Sundays: Sunday School at 10:00 a.m., Praise & Worship service at 11:00 a.m. Sunday Evening Service (Fellowship Hall) 6:00 p.m. Wednesdays: Bible Study at 7:00 p.m. Should we make adjustments or changes to our standing schedule, we will notify everyone we can via text, e-mail, and our church Facebook feed at https://www.facebook.com/PineGroveBCTN/ May you continue to be blessed by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the Author and the Finisher of our faith.