Hi Folks,


I trust this finds you well.  Rather, I guess I should say that I trust this finds you knowing that it is well with your soul.  If that is the case, then we can face whatever the world, flesh and devil throw our way.  Right?


These are certainly unusual times.  The coronavirus has exposed anew the greatest fear of mankind – death.  As followers of Christ, we understand that our lives are in the Lord’s hands, and that our lives are just a vapor, here one second and gone the next, but that our eternal state is sure.  We currently have a great opportunity to share with a lost and dying world the peace that that truth brings.


If you were not here with us for church yesterday, it was announced that we would not have church services for the next two weeks, and that messages will be available on March 22 & 29 on our website.  We will evaluate the situation at that time and will send texts and emails and will post information on the website.


That announcement was stated to be tentative, but all of our Deacons agreed that this is the best course of action at this time, so that is what we are going with.  Let me state that this was not an easy decision, and I truly understand why some would struggle with it.  I think of the mom I hugged after the service yesterday.  She told me, with tears in her eyes, that she had been afraid that this would happen, and that this was going to be really hard because she loves and appreciates coming to church so much.  (By the way, we may all have a greater appreciation for our church family when this thing is over.)


Unfortunately, I need to address the current back-n-forth debate (especially on social media) about churches that are continuing to meet and the churches that have temporarily gone online.  Listen, no one is trying to dishonor Christ here.  Paul said in Romans 14:6 Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.  Sometimes Christians come to different conclusions, but both are seeking to do the right thing.  Paul is not applying this to essential doctrine, and when that is the case, he essentially says to keep your mouth shut and show grace.  Have I made my point clear?


With that said, I will add that a significant part of why we made the decision we did was based on the fact that the coronavirus has this 14-day incubation stage.  That means, in reality, that our service yesterday could have served to expose countless people to this disease.  I read that Georgia had 33 cases last Friday, 66 by Saturday, and 99 by yesterday.  So, in the past few weeks people unknowingly and unintentionally spread the virus.  Obviously, we do not want to be a part of that when a few weeks of caution could prevent it.  I’ll conclude this discussion by saying that there are better ways of spending our time right now than debating this decision, like reaching out in compassion to those that do get sick or are affected adversely in some way by the current state of affairs.


So, since we will be apart for a few weeks, we want to make some things available to you as follows…

–         First, since you very likely will have more time with your kids and/or grandkids in the coming weeks, here are several good sources for a family devotion time.  Consider doing one of these each day as a family.  Here are four good options…

–          https://www.davidservant.com/devotionals/family-devotions/

(David Servant)

–         https://www.josh.org/resources/youth-family/daily-devotions/family/

(Josh McDowell)

–         https://www.insight.org/resources/daily-devotional

(Chuck Swindoll)

–         https://pastorrick.com/devotional/

(Rick Warren)

–         Second, as mentioned before, you can go to www.fbcfriendsville.com the next two Sunday mornings for the sermon.  If you have any trouble accessing that, please let us know.  (By the way, if you missed  a service over the past few weeks, you might want to go back and catch up on a message.)

–         Third, if you have any need whatsoever, please contact any of the staff or the church office, and we will do whatever we can to see that the need is met.  With that said, let’s all be mindful that we are all the church, that we are all ministers, and that we need to all be looking to meet the needs of the body as we have opportunity.


Take care.  May the Lord bless you and yours during this interesting season.


In Him,

Pastor Bill


Bill Gowder

Lead Pastor

First Baptist Church Friendsville



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