Bro. Dwight, pastor - March 19, 2020

HABC Family,

 

     Our world has been put in a tail-spin by a virus called Covid-19. Even though our community has no known cases yet, we are authorized by governing powers to distance ourselves from others in an effort to slow the pandemic and assist in bringing aid to the overwhelming impact it poses on our health care system. An executive order was passed down by our governor, prohibiting the gathering of groups, which included faith-based events. The number of Covid-19 cases in Illinois is increasing exponentially, indicating that drastic social distancing measures are needed. Even in communities where confirmed cases have not yet been identified, social distancing is needed to reduce the number of people who become sick at any given time and the possibility of exhausting our health care resources.

 

    Our deacon body and I recently met with Dr. John Rogers who pointed out that it would be hard to be overly cautious at this point.  Social distancing is not a defense against this virus, but is our ONLY defense at this time. This virus is creating a variety of hardships and much suffering, and we are being asked to suffer for others. As the body of Christ, it is an excellent opportunity to be an exemplary citizen, as we comply with governing authorities, and to be servant witnesses of the love of Christ to others.

 

     All of this causes a lot of anxiety and fear for many people. As Christians, we are reminded of the Psalmist David (Ps.13) who asked the Lord, "How long O Lord? Will you forget me forever? But in v5-6 he says, "But I have trusted in your mercy; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord because He has dealt bountifully with me." In the Lord, our problems are temporal but our blessings are eternal.

 

   Remember Psalm 30:5 "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning."

 

     You may be wondering about the church. (Your church.)  I am writing to let you know I am praying for you and care about you. We must stay connected together by phone, email, texting, etc.  Even though we have had to adjust our initial plans for closures, we remain optimistic in regard to what the Lord will do through his church during such times as this. Based on new recommendations and the current spread of the virus, we feel that it is in the best interest of everyone, that we postpone all church gatherings until it is deemed safe. We will be continually monitoring and re-evaluating the situation regularly. In the meantime, we intend to implement new ways of staying connected during this season of social distancing. Our deacon body and I believe this could be a season of spiritual growth and strength for us at HABC.

 

   We have recently made changes to our messaging system and website. If you are not registered to receive church messages for up to date information, please do so.

Here's how:

  . Go to the new website, highlandavebaptist.com (Do not use www)

  . On the left side of the page, look for "Message system signup" and click on it.

  . Then click on the words "Sign up for church wide or AWANA messaging" and follow the directions.  (You may click on church wide or AWANA or both)

  . Enter your cell phone number only. (Do not enter any brackets or dashes.)

  . Contact Tim Frapp for assistance at 618-544-0544.

 

     On our website, we posted a sermon for March 22 and plan on continuing to provide a sermon or worship service for you and your family each Sunday until we are able to gather again. Please set aside time to worship with your family in new ways. We are also exploring other options that allow us to pray together as a church family, meet together, or view S.S. lessons and so forth on line or via Facebook.  

 

   It’s our prayer that you will be encouraged and uplifted as we stay connected and are reminded of our Lord's sovereign control. David Spika of SBC Guidestone said, “We need to pray for courage, wisdom and peace; courage to face the challenge, wisdom to do the right thing, and peace to be comforted in our Lord's perfect plan.”

 

      If you are wondering how the church will survive financially, the Lord will continue to provide through your faithful obedience to his command to give to his work through tithes and offerings. The church’s address for sending donations is given above in the letter head. We also now have an online giving option. (If you need help, just call Tom or Paul Titsworth.)  

 

   Even though the church doors will be closed in an effort to reduce human contact, our offices remain open so that you may call the office with a need at 544-2597 or Bro.Dwight at 562-1397.

 

     Philippians 4:6-7 "Be careful for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God. And the peace of God which passes understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

    

 

 

Stay strong in the Lord! He has not moved or given us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power and love and a sound mind.

 

May the Lord bless you in the midst of trouble and strengthen you,

 

 

 

 

Brother Dwight