Heucks Retreat Newsletter 04/29/20

From Daniel’s Den…

Here Comes the Bride

As you may be aware, I have three adult children, two sons and a daughter. You may not be aware, however, that all three are engaged to be married. I will have the honor and privilege of officiating each wedding.

My daughter (the youngest) will be the first to say “I do.” In addition to the honor of officiating, I will also have the honor and privilege of accompanying Alyssa down the aisle where the bridegroom Caleb will be smiling and waiting patiently in eager anticipation of being wed to my beautiful, amazing, talented, beautiful, witty, intelligent, beautiful, lovely, charming, beautiful (you get the picture) daughter. I am confident that Alyssa will be smiling also and I hope that she doesn’t set too fast a pace for her dear ole dad.

I’m not sure what music will be playing as Alyssa enters and proceeds to meet her groom. Some brides opt for a classic tune while others select a non-traditional, contemporary song. One of the classics is “Bridal Chorus” (a.k.a. “Here Comes the Bride”) written for the opera Lohengrin by Richard Wagner. When written in 1850, the focus of this oft-played musical score was the personal and intimate relationship shared between bride and groom.

The imagery of the bride is employed in the Bible to depict the people of God and the personal and intimate relationship that He desires to experience with His people. The Old Testament prophets present Israel as the bride (Isaiah 61:5, 62:5; Jeremiah 3 & 33:10-11; Ezekiel 16; Hosea 3) while New Testament writers identify the church as Christ’s bride (John 3:29; Revelation 19:7-8; Revelation 21 & 22:17; 2 Corinthians 11:2).

Each biblical writer uses the bride imagery to highlight God’s deep and abiding love for His people. During Alyssa and Caleb’s wedding ceremony, I intend to charge Caleb to love Alyssa “even as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25). 

The Lord truly loves His bride, the church. After all, He died for folks like you and me who make up the local expression of His church known as Heucks Retreat Baptist Church. He will not “leave or forsake” His people. Whether the day is bright and sunny or cloudy and stormy, God “is our refuge and strength.” Whether the evening newscast offers a positive outlook or a negative report, God is “an ever-present help.” Regardless of the myriad of challenges confronting all of us courtesy of COVID-19, God is our “light and (our) salvation, whom shall (we) fear?” When Paul offered the rhetorical question “Who/What shall separate us from the love of Christ?” to the church at Rome, the obvious answer was (and still is) an emphatic “No one!” or “Nothing!” 

While I’m not 100% certain that I am 100% ready to have my daughter leave Joyce and me to be united with her groom, I do believe that Alyssa and Caleb love each other and the Lord and that they are prepared and ready to begin life together. My prayer for them is that they will grow daily in their love relationship with each other and with the Lord. After all, a wedding is simply the beginning of a lifetime of love.

My prayer is that each member of Christ’s bride known as Heucks Retreat Baptist Church will strive daily to grow in their love relationship with Him and that service to others will offer a tangible expression of this relationship. And, as I often tell my children, may the church Start Faithful, Stand Firm, Stay Focused, Steer Forward, and Step Forth (as a bride stepping forth to be united with her groom. Here comes the bride! 

Daniel
 

Notes From Brett

I hope everyone enjoyed the Lord’s Supper this week with your family.  I’ve heard how many of you took advantage of the opportunity and used some…unconventional bread and juice to partake.  Haha!  I’m glad you were able to be a part of such a special time, even if we are separated.  I also want to take this moment to thank Renee Cotton, Jackie Owens, Barbara Moak, and Lisa Jackson for all of their work with the setup of our Lord’s Supper on site and providing the homemade bread.  It was fantastic!
 

A few notes this week for you:

1.  Mother’s Day is coming soon!  While we won’t be together for this, we are still wanting to honor all the moms out there.  We’re working to make the service special, so I hope you’re looking forward to it as much as we are.  And for all the men, this is your notice.  You’ve got a week.  Get that gift!

2.  This coming Sunday was originally planned to be our Senior Recognition service.  While we’ll still honor and celebrate the accomplishments of our Seniors when we return, I do want to give a big shout out to Olivia Lewis and Turner Owens.  They have been so fantastic to have and I’m not sure they know how much I’m going to miss them being in the youth.  My first group to go all the way through high school with me.  Feels like yesterday when I got here.  Where’d the time go!?  But y’all give them a call or text and let them know how much they mean to you.  I know they’d appreciate it.

3.  The U. S. Small Business Administration is providing eligibility for loans to churches as part of the massive financial stimulus bill passed by the U.S. Congress and signed by President Donald Trump.  Expenses like payroll, utilities, health insurance payments,  mortgage payments, interest on other loans, etc.  are eligible covering the period of February 15 through June 30, 2020.  A key feature of these loans is forgiveness of all or a portion of the expenses covered for an eight-week period following the origination of the loan. Tax exempt entities , including churches, have been specifically recognized as eligible to apply for these loans that are guaranteed by the Federal government.

Generally the membership votes on approval for a loan but because of the “shelter in place” directive we are under, no meetings of the congregation are taking place.  Therefore upon recommendation of the Stewardship Committee, the Deacons have unanimously approved our applying for the SBA loan.  More information will follow as we progress through this process.

4.  We are currently collecting email addresses to mail out this newsletter and any other communication we might need.  If you haven’t yet sent us your email address, please text 601-757-4140 with your email address.  If you’d prefer to receive a physical copy, or if you have family members that would need a physical copy, please let us know so we can be sure that everyone in our church family is connected and receives communication.

If there are any prayer concerns that we are unaware of, please call the church office and let us know.  Thank  you for being such a great church.  Continue to love each other and we’ll get through this pandemic together.

Brett