Sunday, July 19, 2009

It’s Campmeeting Time!

You Are Invited to the 138TH CAMPMEETING AT SOUTH UNION JULY 24 - 29, 2009. Services are daily at 8:30,11:00 a.m. and 3:00, 7:30 p.m. The preacher is Rev. Ron McDougal and song leaders are Buddy & Carol Smith with special guests "Still Blessed Trio" on Sunday Evening the Wells Brothers Quartet on Wednesday Evening. Rev. Bryan Carrubba is the pastor. Click here for a campmeeting promotional spot running on WFCA Christian radio station.
Campmeeting takes us back to a simpler time; just good old-fashioned worship of God under the open arbor with hymns like, “I’m Dwelling in Beulah Land,” “Revive Us Again” and “Love Lifted Me.” Campmeeting affords us the opportunity to worship and to teach our children to worship in the same place our ancestors did, in the same way. We can go back to a single, uncomplicated time and place and always know that God is with us and He loves us.
Carol and I are very grateful to be invited again to South Union Campmeeting. As children, Carol and I stayed in a (wooden) tent with our grandparents at South Union Campmeeting - established in 1872 and located in Choctaw County, Mississippi, about 3 miles north of Ackerman. We can remember campmeeting days at South Union when we had to haul the water from the spring and the floors under the open Tabernacle and in the tents were sawdust. We also remember the sight of altars covered with people seeking God and lives being changed. No, God does not need tents, tabernacles, sawdust, benches, or campgrounds to meet with us. But when we choose to set aside a special time to get away from the normal routine to seek God and to hear from Him, He will meet with us like at no other time. Our faith will be met with God’s faithfulness to, minister to us, drawing us ever closer to Him. Read the history of South Union. Read the dedication to our grandparents. (photo at left is my great grandmother Beulah at South Union in 1950 - second from left on front row)

My late grandfather Casey T. Smith (Paw Paw to me) was saved at South Union when he was 9 years old. The year was 1905. Paw Paw said that this was his decision (to accept Christ) and that he couldn't eat for a day and half after he accepted Jesus as his Savior. He couldn't describe the feeling but said, "it troubled Momma (the fact that he wouldn't eat anything) to the point that she threatened to whop me." Click here for family photos at South Union and history of the campmeeting movement. (photo at right is my grandfather Casey Smith at South Union School in 1913 - back row with X above him)

Paw Paw explained that Campmeeting at South Union was a very special event because people didn't travel much in those days and it provided a unique opportunity for fellowship. He recalled that before ice was available that they would go together and kill a beef and what was left over would be salted heavily and put into a hole in the ground behind the tent. He said that they had a chicken coup behind the tent and would get a couple out to cook each morning. Paw Paw explained that they had an underground box behind and would buy a 50 pound block of ice. He recalled that a one-horse wagon would deliver 100 pound blocks of ice from Ackerman to South Union at 15 cents a pound. He remembered the special times when they would make home made ice cream. (photo is 4 generations of Smith's at campmeeting: Casey M. Smith, III, Casey M. Smith, Jr., Casey T. Smith, Casey M. Smith, Sr.)

At the South Union Campmeeting this year you won’t pay a steep admission charge, and no one will ask you to buy hundreds of dollars worth of materials. No, you won’t be worshipping at the Ritz-Carlton twenty floors above the city streets, but then you won’t have to pay their price. The food won’t be steak or lobster. But your experience at campmeeting can definitely change your life. (photo is Buddy's parents - Joan & Marion Smith - at campmeeting in Marion's 1923 Model T)

Today many people believe the usefulness of the campmeeting has passed. They consider it an old mode of operation that needs to be put to sleep. We strongly disagree. Instead of allowing the campmeeting to die we should renew our efforts to bring it to new life. Far from being a dried relic of the past, campmeetings still provide the opportunity for many people to hear the message of Salvation and Scriptural Holiness.

Conferences drawing thousands of people are going on almost constantly all over the nation. At these conferences people spend thousands of dollars on admission, food, lodging, and the materials offered by the promoters. At these conferences people sit all day long listening to speaker after speaker, several days at a time. (photo is Carol's first campmeeting in 1953 at 2 months old)

As Carol and I grow in years, we become more convinced that our parents and grandparents gave us life's greatest treasure; a Christian home. Now, our prayer and passion is that we will be found trustworthy of offering that advantage to our children and grandchildren.

We believe that the God of the Scripture, the God who displayed His glory in the great camp meetings of the past, is the same God we worship today. He has not changed. He is no less able to turn the heart of a nation today than He was 100 years ago! All the social and political evils that threaten to be the undoing of our world today, all the false religions that vie for the allegiance of men – these are no match for our God. He is willing – yes, eager – to manifest Himself and His saving grace to this lost, prodigal planet. But first we must have a revived church. And a revived church consists of revived individuals. (photo is Buddy and Stacey in early 1980's blowing the cow horn calling tenters to worship under the Tabernacle)

The psalmist said, “You who seek God, let your hearts revive” (Psalm 69:32). If you will seek Him with all your heart, you can be assured that He will restore, renew, and revive you. That revival will soon affect others. God does not lavish His goodness on us so we can simply enjoy it for ourselves. We have been saved to “proclaim the excellencies of him who called [us] out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). One person, one family, one small group, one church, one campmeeting – no matter how “insignificant” – that is committed to seeking the Lord can become a part of the “awakened giant” that God will use to spread His glory and the fame of His name throughout the world. (photo is great grandfather Dutch Smith who is buried in South Union cemetery))

As we seek Him with all our hearts, our prayer is that God will reveal Himself to us in fresh ways during South Union Campmeeting 2009; that He will revive our hearts, and that He will be magnified in and through our lives.

1 comment: said...

AMEN!!! I am joining with you in prayer for a move of God's Spirit so the "Mourners'" bench will be in use this year. Lord Jesus, do a work in me.
Paul Reed