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Old time religion

Numerous local youth, who filled the front pews at the first service of the 112th encampment of Hartselle Camp Meeting, sing a hymn at the conclusion of a service Friday night. | Clif Knight

Perhaps it’s the 112-year-old handmade wooden pews, the sawdust-covered dirt floor or the cardboard fans and paperback songbooks that make Hartselle’s hallowed old tabernacle a special place to worship. But whatever the case may be, the presence of the Lord is always alive and well.

That was apparent to the 100 or so people of all ages who came Friday night to sing praises to their Savior and hear evangelist Jon Tal Murphree preach the opening sermon at the 112th encampment of Hartselle Camp Meeting Association.

“I got saved here last year,” said teenager Sarah Butler. “I have good memories of this place and I’m glad to be back.”

“I was here when my two best friends got saved,” said Holly Hunter. “I get closer to God every time I come.”

“I knew God was in my heart the first time I came,” added Jessica Scott.

“I’ve been coming since I was a little kid,” said Hudson Cain. “I enjoy hearing the speakers and hanging out with my friends. It has made a big impact on my life.”

In his welcome address, Association President Rob Cain reported that the camp meeting has 30 youth staying in the dormitory, a number that’s larger than all of last year.

“This is the start of a great encampment,” he pointed out. “I ask you to invite your friends. God is in this place and is moving in a great way.

“We have a wonderful children’s program, a great minister of music leading our praise and song services and outstanding speakers.

Murphree preceded his sermon on the topic “The Touchables and Untouchables of Life” by quoting the words of the late Bro. John R. Brasher when he preached his last sermon at the camp at age 99. ‘Remember, your fathers and mothers who prayed and worshiped here are looking down from Heaven to see if you are carrying on.’

“Well, I can tell you they are looking down today and smiling on you. I’m delighted and elated with what you have going on here at the camp,’ Murphree stated.

Murphree based his sermon on 2 Corinthians 4:16.

“Time is always in forward gear and all of life in the flux of change,” he said. “We live in a changing world. “Still God is in control He said in Malachi 3:6 ‘Behold I am the Lord and changeth not.’

”He summed up by pointing out that this is God’s world and people won’t always be able to crowd God out of their lives.

”We’re living on borrowed time in borrowed bodies,” he said “But if Jesus Christ is your Savior nothing can knock you off your foundation, You are part of the God-in crowd.”

The camp meeting will continue through Friday evening with services at 10:30 a.m. and 7 p.m.