J.D. McCampbell, a blacksmith and carpenter, built this church building in 115 days for $115. He later served as the congregation's pastor. Of course, there were many more baptists than Methodists in the Cove during the 1800s, but enough Methodists got together in the 1820's to establish the church. They met in log building until 1902, when McCampbell built this new one.
Once I was inside the little church building, I walked up to the pulpit. That's my habit. I find myself drawn to stand in the place where preachers delivered great sermons and stirring exhortations. I go to that place, behind the pulpit, in almost every sanctuary I enter. It moves me to stand there. It inspires me to imagine the lives that have been changed because of the preaching of God's Word from that very spot.
I imagine the men who heard the Gospel and turned from drunken addiction to sobriety and faith. I imagine how many children listened to the messages and decided to follow the Jesus Way. I imagine the marriages that were healed, the desperate souls that found rest and the godless brutes who repented of sin and embraced Jesus as Savior and Lord. I imagine...and give thanks.
The gravestones of these infants remind me of the truth. Then, as now, life is sometimes tragic and our grief is difficult to bear. That's reality. The world is broken; it has been since humanity chose to sin. Sin has tainted everything since Adam and Eve walked away from God in the Garden of Eden.
Imagine the grief the mother of these infants must have known; and imagine the message of resurrection and eternal life her church delivered to her in her hour of desperate need. I think of our Comforter holding that woman, and I'm overwhelmed with gratitude.
In a world of sin-sick sorrow and woe the Church of Jesus Christ stands against hopelessness and raises the banner of victorious life. When all else fails, we can count on Christ. When everything that can be shaken is shaken, HIS Kingdom will remain, forever and ever and ever.
Know this. As GCC begins "Experiencing God," we'll discover the same forgiveness, hope, life and joy those early Methodists must have known ... nearly two centuries ago in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.
Hebrews 12:25-29 - See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”