March 14, 2020

Dear Hillsdale family and friends,

The attached advisory is the policy Hillsdale Baptist Church will be following this Sunday.

While large public gatherings (i.e. mega-churches, public schools, sporting events) might prove to be beyond the ability of their staff to cleanse and disinfect, we are confident Hillsdale’s vigilance and ongoing sanitation policy and procedures will be ample and sufficient for regular church services (9:15am, 10:30am, and 6:00pm).

For an abundance of caution, we ask you to avoid all unnecessary physical contact this Sunday as we address not only the reality of flu season, but also fears raised by constant media coverage.  We recognize there is always a danger of flu in this season and you are encouraged to exercise wisdom regarding your health. Of course, if you feel ill or your health is compromised, we ask you to avoid public places and exposing yourself or others unnecessarily.

Those unable to attend this Sunday’s services are invited to join the live broadcasts of our regular 10:30am and 6:00pm services at You will also find Hillsdale’s Care Card and the process for signing up for online giving on our webpage.

Should you or a loved one become ill, please do not hesitate to call the church office at 813-884-8250 (please leave your name, phone number, and a message if no one answers). Be confident our church leadership is especially concerned for our elderly and those who live alone.

I close with a personal observation: The present panic fed by hyper-news reporting has been extraordinary in my lifetime and should give us all pause for concern. Empty grocery shelves caused by hoarding everything from food to staple goods has reminded me we no longer live in a nation that is shaped by a common faith and trust in the LORD. We are living in a media-driven, “nanny state.”

I encourage each of you to be wise in your choices, but sane and spiritual-minded in your responses.  Don’t allow the terror of others to drive you from the promises found in God’s Word. Choose to trust and rest in the LORD.

Be assured of our love and prayers.

With the heart of a shepherd,

Travis D. Smith

Senior Pastor

P.S. At the conclusion of this letter you will find an amplification of Psalm 91 that is the fruit of this pastor’s personal study. I invite you to read, meditate, and ponder the promises and assurances you will find in this passage.

Psalm 91:1-16 (KJV)

The State of the Godly

1  He that dwelleth [sits; inhabits; abides; remains] in the secret [covert; hiding place; protection; shelter] place of the most High [Supreme] shall abide [lodge; remain] under the shadow [shade; protection; defense] of the Almighty.

2  I will say [speak; express] of the LORD, He is my refuge [shelter; hope; trust] and my fortress [strong hold; castle]: my God; in him will I trust [be confident; sure; bold; secured].

3  Surely he shall deliver [recover; rescue; save] thee from the snare [net] of the fowler [trapper; i.e. one who sets a trap to capture prey], and from the noisome [calamity; wicked] pestilence [plague; death].

4  He shall cover [defend; protect; hedge; i.e. fence about] thee with his feathers [wings], and under his wings shalt thou trust [find refuge; hope; flee for protection; confide]: his truth [trustworthiness; faithfulness] shall be thy shield [a large shield; i.e. one that covers the whole body] and buckler.

5  Thou shalt not be afraid [fearful; frightened] for the terror [fear; alarm; dread] by night; nor for the arrow [or spear]that flieth by day [i.e. in the day time];

6  Nor for the pestilence [plague] that walketh [goes; comes; i.e. stalks] in darkness [obscurity; gloom]; nor for the destruction that wasteth [devastate; spoil] at noonday [midday].

7  A thousand shall fall [be cast down; fail] at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand [the right hand being the stronger hand]; but it shall not come nigh [near; approach] thee.

8  Only with thine eyes [sight] shalt thou behold [look; consider; regard] and see the reward [recompense; retribution] of the wicked [ungodly].

The Habitation of the Godly

9  Because thou hast made [put; set; appointed] the LORD, which is my refuge [shelter; hope; trust], even the most High [Supreme], thy habitation [dwelling place];

10  There shall no evil [wickedness; mischief; trouble] befall [approach; meet] thee, neither shall any plague [plague; wound; affliction] come nigh thy dwelling [tent; home].

11  For he shall give his angels [messengers] charge [command; appoint] over thee, to keep [guard; watch; observe; preserve] thee in all thy ways [journey].

12  They shall bear thee up [take or carry away; lift] in their hands, lest thou dash [smite; inflict; stumble; strike] thy foot against a stone.

13  Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder [a venomous snake; i.e. cobra]: the young lion and the dragon [i.e. sea serpent; sea monster; perhaps a whale] shalt thou trample under feet.

14  Because he hath set his love [desire] upon me [the LORD], therefore will I deliver [i.e. carry away to safety; save] him: I will set him on high [exalt; defend], because he hath known [perceived; recognized] my name [the name of the LORD and all that it embodies in His character].

15  He shall call [cry out] upon me [the LORD], and I will answer [hear; reply] him: I will be with him in trouble [distress; affliction]; I will deliver [strengthen; equip for battle; rescue] him, and honour [glorify] him.

16  With long life will I satisfy [fill to satisfaction] him, and shew him my salvation [deliverance; prosperity].

Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith