Heucks Retreat Newsletter

From Daniel’s Den…

As you are aware, Dr. Shawn Parker is the new Executive Director/Treasurer of the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board. Shawn came to this position after a nearly 20-year pastorate at the First Baptist Church of Columbus, MS. Shawn and I overlapped as doctoral students at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. I have much admiration and respect for Shawn even as I had, and continue to have, much appreciation and admiration for Dr. Jim Futral who served as the Executive Director/Treasurer for over 22 years prior to his recent retirement.

Shawn officially began his new assignment on March 1 of this year just as the Coronavirus was making inroads into the United States. Last week he shared some thoughts with those of us who have offices at the Baptist Building. Referencing the call to holy living presented in 1 Peter 1:14-16, Shawn noted that Christians should be holy (set apart) and reflect holiness in our actions, attitudes, words, and deeds. Even in the midst of the challenges and uncertainties cast upon us with the onset of COVID-19, Christians are to live as holy people. Why? Because,

  1. Our Focus is Faith and not Fear. Shawn indicated that the primary challenge facing us may be the pandemonium rather than the actual pandemic. We should have a healthy fear of the Lord as we trust Him. He is in control of every situation including the Coronavirus. Thus, Christian live in Faith and not in Fear.
  2. Our Practice is Prayer and not Panic. Shawn directed the group’s attention to the words of encouragement presented to the church at Philippi as recorded in Philippians 4:6-7: “Do not be anxious for anything, but in everything, through prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”  
  3. Our Hope is Heaven and not Good Health.  While not diminishing the blessings and benefits of good health and the positive effects of exercise and good eating habits for maintaining physical health, Shawn acknowledged that may folks, including Christians, have made an idol out of good health. According to some statistics, Americans spent over $3.6 trillion on healthcare and the promotion of good health in 2019. Shawn concluded by sharing a story about a 96-year old lady who played the piano for chapel services at the retirement home where she resided. One day when Shawn was leading chapel for the residents, the group was singing “When We All Get to Heaven” when suddenly this dear saint began playing Dixie before moving back to the chorus of the familiar hymn that she had been playing earlier. When recounting this experience to the lady’s son (also a pastor), the son told Shawn that Dixie was the first song that his mom had learned to play on the piano when she was a little girl. Thus, Dixie probably reminded her of home and she simply blended a song that reminded her of home with the familiar hymn about heaven. For her, she knew that heaven was her home.
My prayer is that we will live as holy people whose focus is faith and not fear, who practice prayer and not panic, and whose hope is in heaven rather than simply good health. I pray that you will be a blessing to someone this week and that you, in turn, will receive a blessing. I look forward to worshiping with you on Sunday!
 
Scriptures to read to prepare your heart for Sunday’s sermon, focusing on the Shepherds:
 
-Isaiah 40:10-11
-Micah 5:2 & 5:4-5a
-Luke 2:1-20
-John 1:1-18
-John 1:29-30 & 35-37
-Psalm 95:6-7
-Psalm 100 (see v. 3)
-Psalm 23
-Isaiah 53:1-12
-John 10:1-11 & 14-15
-Mark 15:1-41
 
Bro. Daniel Hall
 
 
Notes From Brett
 
As we seek to navigate these difficult times, something continues to come up in my heart.  Perhaps this is an opportunity for us, as a church body, to reevaluate how we do church and if all our programs and activities truly align with the picture God has given us in Scripture of what the Church is called to be.  As I personally think about all the programs we’ve had to cancel, I’ve thought about if they’re truly achieving the goals we set out for them and, perhaps, if we could retool them to be more effective.  Some are obvious in their success and our approach, but others I’m still dwelling on.  I encourage you to do the same and, when we all can be together again, perhaps we’ll have a reignited passion to reach our community and the world for Jesus.
 
A couple things to make you aware of:
 
1.  The church office is still open at normal hours.  If you need to drop off tithe or Annie Armstrong offering, you’re welcome to do so.  
 
2.  We’re continuing to work to improve the Live Stream for Sunday mornings.  I know some of you had issues with the sound and I believe we all know the video could be improved.  Both of these are in the works and we hope to have a fix in the next couple weeks.
 
3.  I’m looking into options our church can use to still meet via webcam or by other means.  I know many churches have taken the Zoom approach, which I’m currently investigating.  Hopefully, we’ll be able to still do Sunday School, even if it is remote.
 
If you have any questions going forward, don’t hesitate to call the church office.  Thanks!
 
Brett