Blog Posts

HEINEN HAPPENINGS – August 2020

Friends, in the midst of the trials of COVID, racial division, economic upheaval, and political unrest, may I take a moment to praise our loving Savior who has defeated all our enemies, including death itself. He is worthy to be praised!

Our family, like yours, is trying to adjust to our always changing circumstances. Maria will be living at home for her next year at Arkansas Tech University. With all the restrictions due to COVID, ATU will not offer much in terms of campus life this year. The possibility that the students may have to move off-campus is always looming. It will be cheaper for her to stay home and drive the 15 minutes to class. It will be nice for her mother and myself to have her around. She is an incredible help to us and is our main source of transportation. She celebrated a quiet birthday on August 2nd.

Victoria and Noah are enjoying married life. Victoria began her teaching career last week. She is in the process of meeting her coworkers in the Atkins School System. Somehow she needs to learn how to teach music and choir to students of all ages when the state is recommending that students only sing outside. After work, Noah has been working hard making improvements to their home. I am sure their landlord is very thankful.

Bekah and Tim are doing great adjusting to being newly married. She is praying that the New Jersey social work board will vote to give her a state license at their next meeting. The board has not met since February. When I asked Rebekah to send me a picture, she sent me one of their cat on a leash. I don’t know why they would put a cat on a leash. Tim continues to enjoy his job and recently picked Reggie White to be on one of his Madden teams. There is hope for that Giants fan yet. She celebrated her birthday in July.

Leah and I continue to praise God for His grace and provision. We both battle fatigue but at least we are tired together. I was scheduled to have a disability hearing the end of July, but the judge read my pre-hearing memorandum and ruled in my favor without a hearing. It will still take some time for him to write the brief, but at least we know the outcome. We don’t yet know the amount he decided upon. Please pray for God’s provision until we start receiving assistance. God is good!

We continue to pray for our neighborhood. Our next door neighbors just moved away after only being there 6 months. That is typical on our block. I put together a Facebook page for our neighborhood, but need to get the word out to the neighbors. It seems many desire to stay connected during this time when so many things isolate and divide us.

I continue to receive training, especially in the area of trauma healing. So many are deeply wounded right now. How wonderful it is to introduce brokenhearted people to our Great Physician who can heal even the most damaged souls.

I also am blessed to fill the pulpit for the fine people of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church of Appleton. I couldn’t ask for a kinder, more receptive audience. The main ministry for Leah and myself is one of intercession. How can we pray for you right now? Please contact me with your praises and requests. We love and appreciate you!

Brian Heinen 802 E 23rd St, Russellville, AR 72802 479-886-0765 bheinen.com brheinen1@gmail.com

HEINEN HAPPENINGS – July 2020

Friends, our update this month will be brief. We have no new weddings to report, although our newlywed daughters are both doing well and enjoying their new lives with their wonderful husbands. Maria is terrific as always and Leah remains faithful to her Lord even though she faces constant emotional and physical suffering.

For me, recent days have been overwhelmingly difficult. Physically, I continue to slowly decline. This past month has been a real challenge dealing with decreased use of my hands and exhaustion. I have to use my cane more often. Emotionally, I am consumed with feelings of failure. Today is the one-year anniversary of the last day I was able to work. I have had no earned income other than pulpit supply since. Financially, we are at disaster stage. I have a disability hearing scheduled for the end of this month, but even if I win results may still take time.

Thank you for your loving support and prayers during these past years. I do not have any answers as to why we seem to face constant trials and defeat, but I continue to humbly cry out to our merciful Savior. I constantly repent and ask the Holy Spirit to search my heart. Please forgive me if I have been a burden to you in any way. I still pray. Please let me know how I can pray for you.

Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. Habakkuk 3:17-18

Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. Job 1:21

HEINEN HAPPENINGS – June 2020

Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.

These words of praise from Revelation 7 echo the praise that is in my heart for the good and gracious One who sits on the throne of heaven. On May 31st, Victoria Grace Heinen became Victoria Grace Greenawalt as she and Noah made vows to each other before God and those present. Please pray for these kids to continue to grow in their love for Jesus as they also grow in their love for each other.  I am so proud of them for handling with patience and grace the trials of getting married in the midst of a pandemic.  This meant no bridal shower (and no presents!), few guests, and lots of uncertainty. I will share a few pictures here, but encourage you to look Victoria up on Facebook and ask her for more wonderful pics.

Rebekah and her new husband, Tim, were not able to travel to Arkansas from New Jersey because of COVID. She was heartbroken that she couldn’t come. We weren’t able to stream the service to her because the venue had no internet service, but she is enjoying every photo Sissy shares. Even with the pandemic, she and Tim are enjoying wonderful opportunities to reach people for Jesus. Rebekah has a wonderful online presence (check out her Facebook page, Rebekah Hope Thorpe, for encouragement and her own beautiful wedding shots) and hopes the office that issues social worker licenses reopens soon. Tim is finding opportunities to preach and has been recently hired to work at a drug and alcohol rehab center. We are so thankful for all God is doing in and through them!

Maria was the Master of Ceremonies for the 164th Homecoming of the Appleton Cumberland Presbyterian Church. The COVID-19 version of this anniversary was unique, but those who came enjoyed themselves. I praise God for those who came to know Jesus over the years because of the faithful witness of believers who called this church home. Maria did a terrific job. She continues to do childcare Monday-Friday. This past Sunday she took two cases of water to refresh those attending a local protest. She also held up a sign reminding those present of the words of Jesus, “Love one another, just as I have loved you.” (She refused to give me a picture of her at the event. I guess she is camera shy.)

church fall

Leah really enjoyed participating in the wedding, although in doing so she wore herself out for the next several days. She is praying continually for family and friends in the Twin Cities with the little energy she does have. Rebekah and Victoria both had to copy Leah’s pose at our own wedding just a few years ago.

The incredible joys of these past few weeks have been sandwiched in between the harsh realities of dealing with a global pandemic and national racial unrest and division. My heart truly aches for those struggling with COVID and/or other physical ailments. I am filled with sadness as I see people lose loved ones to death. I am heart-stricken as I hear stories about friends losing jobs and experiencing financial hardship. Like you, I was shocked and then brought to tears viewing the video of an unarmed black man murdered by someone who took an oath to protect and serve. I am horrified as I listen to stories of racism that my friends of different skin tones deal with regularly. I still can’t process what I felt as I watched on television sections of a city I once called home burned to the ground. Time after time I could do nothing but run to my Heavenly Father in prayer. I felt guilty for having to turn off news reports and for taking breaks from social media. Did this mean I didn’t care enough? How can hope and joy fill the same space as heartache and despair?

Reading the text from Revelation quoted earlier gave me insight into that difficult question. The book of Revelation begins with a breathtaking vision of the glorified Jesus Christ as He now is reigning from His heavenly throne. The book ends with Jesus our King defeating even death itself and then bringing heaven and earth together as He rules over all creation. Those redeemed by His shed blood have the hope of joining with Him for all eternity. In between are chapters full of the rebellion of mankind directed toward His loving kingship and the resulting cycles of horrific judgment and wrath that follow. The message of Revelation is intended to be encouragement for followers of the King who see chaos and suffering all around them. The reminder is that Jesus is the victor who is now on His throne and will one day come to make all things right. No wonder this terrifying book is filled with praise to the One who fills our suffering with hope and joy:

“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!”

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”

“Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”

“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”

And no wonder the final cry of those awaiting the fullness of His reign is Come, Lord Jesus!

Please pray that even with my physical limitations I will glorify my King. Pray that with my limited influence I will still make Him known. I am doing some counseling through the internet and am preparing to do some online small group sessions related to reconciliation, healing, and evangelism. I will give you details later. I struggle with overwhelming fatigue in addition to the limitations that severe neuropathy in my feet, legs, and hands bring. I don’t have my disability hearing until the end of July. Please pray for Leah and I to experience God’s provision until then. My heart is incredibly burdened for all that my friends are going through. Please message me as to how I can pray for you during these challenging times.

Enjoy a few more wedding pics!

Rev. Brian Heinen

802 E 23rd Street Russellville, AR 72802

(479) 886-0765 bheinen.com brheinen1@gmail.com

 

 

HEINEN HAPPENINGS – May 2020

The month of May is special in the Heinen household, because we celebrate both Leah’s birthday (May 18th) and Mother’s Day. We love to celebrate Leah! This is what I shared on Facebook:

leah

“Happy Birthday 🎂 to Leah Heinen, my wife who is as lovely now as when we first started to date what seems like just a few years ago. You are the most incredible mother and you are truly my best friend. I love you!”

Happy Birthday, and Happy Mother’s Day, sweetie!

I also wished my mother, Jane LeBreck, and my step-mother, Mary Heinen, a Happy Mother’s Day! They both were hospitalized during this COVID-19 season. They are now home after quite a scare, and are recovering. My dad, Robert, and step-father, Duane, also have been hospitalized in recent months. Please pray for my parents to experience the healing, sustaining grace of Jesus.

Maria is now done with a very successful school year at Arkansas Tech University and is busy doing childcare for the summer. Rebekah is enjoying her newly married life in New Jersey, even in the midst of the pandemic. Victoria lost her adjunct job at the high school because of COVID, but was just hired for the fall semester as the vocal music director for the nearby Atkins school district (K-12). She and Noah get married in a little over one week!

fb_img_1575466947869

Please wish them congratulations and pray for them as they begin their lives as one.

I have faced some challenging days physically, but have also experienced God’s presence in a soul-strengthening way. I greatly enjoyed participating in a support group which was also part of the training required to lead trauma/healing groups. One person has said that due to various COVID-related problems, people suffering from trauma will be the largest mission field around the world in coming months. Only the peace and presence of Jesus Christ can bring healing to such wounded hearts. I look forward to reaching out to many with the mercy of our Lord.

Our church began to meet again in May, with masks and proper social distancing. I am doing some premarital counseling, thanks to the internet. I am making slow progress in my disability case, and am anticipating a hearing the end of July. I am excited about how my personal ministry is developing even with my health challenges and our ever-changing world. Here is part of what I shared from our last newsletter, for those of you who missed it:

After three decades of pastoral ministry, including planting churches, acting as chaplain, serving as a children’s/youth worker, leading as camp director, and shepherding existing congregations, I am now beginning a private ministry that will serve pastors and local church fellowships. Details can be found at bheinen.com. Many pastors, especially those serving in smaller congregations, often need people to come alongside and encourage them and assist them with duties that they don’t have time to fulfill. The foundation of this new ministry is prayerful dependence upon our mighty God, and I will take every opportunity I can to personally pray for my pastor friends. My family remains committed to praying specifically for our neighbors as we reach them with the love and truth of Jesus Christ.

To exalt Jesus, I will focus on three main areas:

  1. Communicator. I hope to give pastors a needed break by providing church pulpit supply. I also am available to speak at camps and conferences. I am a trained FaithSearch Discovery presenter, and encourage your church or group to host this wonderful evangelism/apologetics seminar. Check out what FaithSearch is all about at faithsearch.org.
  2. Counselor. Many pastors just don’t have as much time to invest in biblical counseling as they desire. I will make myself available to help busy pastors out in this area. I am now a SYMBIS premarital assessment facilitator, and would love to do premarital counseling for those whose pastors are too busy to do so. I am also a certified Fresh Hope group facilitator, and hope to lead support groups all around our community for those with a mental health diagnosis (and those who love them).
  3. Coach. The role of a life coach is to help people decide where they want to go in certain areas of their lives and help them get there. The Christian Life Coach helps people discover where Jesus Christ wants them to go, and helps them get there by the power of the Holy Spirit. I would love to help individuals and groups be all that Christ wants them to be. My special areas of interest are Spiritual Formation, and equipping people going through transitions in life. If your church is between pastors right now, I would love to “coach” your entire church family during this transition.

Jesus Christ is my life, my everything. I want everyone to know Him. To borrow words from the apostle Paul, “Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ” (Colossians 1:28 ESV). This is my desire. Would you help me?

I need your prayer! Only the Holy Spirit can change hearts and lives. I simply want to be His instrument. Contact me to be part of our prayer team.

I need your financial partnership. Would you prayerfully consider giving a generous gift to help me get started? How about a monthly gift? I hope to make all my services available for whatever people can afford. This means I will need supporters like you to supplement what clients can give. Right now, until we become a 501c3 organization, donations will just be considered gifts and are not tax deductible. You can give by sending a gift to our home address or by visiting bheinen.com. I realize that during this time of economic upheaval in our nation, this is the worst possible time to ask for funds. Yet, there are so many now who need spiritual encouragement.

I need you to use my services and refer them to others. How can I serve you? Your group? Your church family? Please let your friends know I am available. I can’t wait to share my incredible Savior with you and your friends.

Please contact me if you have any questions or if I can help in any way.

How can I pray for you? Please let me know.

Rev. Brian Heinen

802 E 23rd Street Russellville, AR 72802

(479) 886-0765 bheinen.com brheinen1@gmail.com

HEINEN HAPPENINGS – April 2020

vowpic_1peter1_3

Friends and family, I trust you are experiencing the sustaining grace of Jesus through these challenging times.  While you did not gather on Easter to worship the Risen King with other believers, I pray that the reality of the resurrection still filled you with Christ’s living hope.

I am so burdened for all of you who are suffering physically with the virus or with other scary symptoms.  I am interceding for all of you who are facing job uncertainty and financial insecurity.  I am concerned for all of you dealing with overwhelming isolation and loneliness.  These are terrifying times.  May God’s perfect love be so real to you that all fear is cast out of your hearts!  Please contact me if I can pray for you!

Our family is dealing with seclusion with humor amidst the frustration.  Leah graciously endured (or enjoyed) a three-week separation from me, as I self-quarantined myself because of symptoms.  Maria is doing a great job finishing her college coursework, although she admits she much prefers being on campus.  Rebekah starts a nanny job soon even with the strict stay-at-home order she faces in New Jersey.  She is still waiting for her social work license to be processed, which may take some time since the government offices are closed.  Victoria and Maria are doing childcare for some friends of our family.  Most of Victoria’s music students are postponing their lessons until they can meet face-to-face.  She is hoping that she and Noah do not have to postpone their wedding in May.  Please pray for them!

fb_img_1586964513783

Our church family is missing our times of corporate worship, although we did hold a brief, drive-in service on Easter Sunday (see above).  We met for 20 minutes before a thunderstorm rolled in.  My family and I are continuing to reach out to our neighbors.  I pray for five neighbor families daily, and we passed out 33 copies of the Jesus Film over Easter weekend.  We are writing notes to them to keep in touch during this quarantine period.  This week we launch a neighborhood Facebook page to help our neighbors connect more effectively.  I am praying about and starting to organize a post-covid block party, whenever we are able to gather again.  We love our neighbors!

img_20200415_101356621

For those of you new to our newsletter, let me explain a little of my own recent experience.  (For you faithful readers, please skip over the next paragraph.)  I am diagnosed with severe axonopathic polyneuropathy.  My feet have no feeling left, and my ankles and lower legs are severely numb.  My ability to drive is extremely limited and I walk like I am Frankenstein’s monster.  My hands have constant pain and numbness which impact my fine motor skills.  Writing and computer work are difficult.  The symptoms continue to progress.  My wonderful team of doctors are unable to find a cause and are trying to set up an appointment with a very busy neuromuscular specialist at the medical school in Little Rock.  I took a medical leave of absence last July 1st which turned into my resignation.  I am now unemployed and unemployable.  Although the courts are now greatly limited, I anxiously await a hearing to deal with my disability claim.  For most of the past two years, I have worn a boot on one or the other of my feet to heal wounds (see above).  Yet, through this trial God has proven Himself faithful time and time again.

cgqkqquviaa-s4r-1

I thank God for this past year!  I have experienced God’s presence and peace in overwhelming fashion.  Daily I wake up completely dependent upon His grace and mercy for absolutely everything.  Corrie ten Boom has said, “You may never know that Jesus is all you need, until Jesus is all you have.”  I am privileged to live that truth every moment of every day!

download

One of the Scriptures that God continually brings me back to is the invitation that Jesus gives to us to “come” to Him when we labor and are heavy laden, so He can give us rest.  I daily experience the reality of these words, and yearn for others who are now hurting to experience Jesus, too.  I can’t help but think that God will use my experience to help others meet Him.  People are really traumatized right now, and Jesus wants to heal their hurting hearts.

2-corinthians-1-3-4-1

I am praying that God will spread the comfort He has given me to comfort others.  To accomplish that, I sense God leading me to restart plans I had several years ago.

After three decades of pastoral ministry, including planting churches, acting as chaplain, serving as a children’s/youth worker, leading as camp director, and shepherding existing congregations, I am now beginning a private ministry that will serve pastors and local church fellowships.  Details can be found at bheinen.com.  Many pastors, especially those serving in smaller congregations, often need people to come alongside and encourage them and assist them with duties that they don’t have time to fulfill.  The foundation of this new ministry is prayerful dependence upon our mighty God, and I will take every opportunity I can to personally pray for my pastor friends.  My family remains committed to praying specifically for our neighbors as we reach them with the love and truth of Jesus Christ.

To exalt Jesus, I will focus on three main areas:

  1. Communicator. I hope to give pastors a needed break by providing church pulpit supply.  I also am available to speak at camps and conferences.  I am a trained FaithSearch Discovery presenter, and encourage your church or group to host this wonderful evangelism/apologetics seminar.  Check out what FaithSearch is all about at faithsearch.org.
  2. Counselor. Many pastors just don’t have as much time to invest in biblical counseling as they desire.  I will make myself available to help busy pastors out in this area.  I am now a SYMBIS premarital assessment facilitator, and would love to do premarital counseling for those whose pastors are too busy to do so.  I am also a certified Fresh Hope group facilitator, and hope to lead support groups all around our community for those with a mental health diagnosis (and those who love them).
  3. Coach. The role of a life coach is to help people decide where they want to go in certain areas of their lives and help them get there.  The Christian Life Coach helps people discover where Jesus Christ wants them to go, and helps them get there by the power of the Holy Spirit.  I would love to help individuals and groups be all that Christ wants them to be.  My special areas of interest are Spiritual Formation, and equipping people going through transitions in life.  If your church is between pastors right now, I would love to “coach” your entire church family during this transition.

Jesus Christ is my life, my everything.  I want everyone to know Him.  To borrow words from the apostle Paul, “Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ” (Colossians 1:28 ESV).  This is my desire.  Would you help me?

I need your prayer!  Only the Holy Spirit can change hearts and lives.  I simply want to be His instrument.  Contact me to be part of our prayer team.

I need your financial partnership.  Would you prayerfully consider giving a generous gift to help me get started?  How about a monthly gift?  I hope to make all my services available for whatever people can afford.  This means I will need supporters like you to supplement what clients can give.  Right now, until we become a 501c3 organization, donations will just be considered gifts and are not tax deductible.  You can give by sending a gift to our home address or by visiting bheinen.com.  I realize that during this time of economic upheaval in our nation, this is the worst possible time to ask for funds.  Yet, there are so many now who need spiritual encouragement.

I need you to use my services and refer them to others.  How can I serve you?  Your group?  Your church family?  Please let your friends know I am available.  I can’t wait to share my incredible Savior with you and your friends.

Please contact me if you have any questions or if I can help in any way.

Rev. Brian Heinen

802 E 23rd Street    Russellville, AR 72802

(479) 886-0765    bheinen.com    brheinen1@gmail.com

Turtledoves and Pigeons

If his offering to the LORD is a burnt offering of birds, then he shall bring his offering of turtledoves or pigeons. Leviticus 1:14

As I was meditating on Leviticus chapter one this morning, I was overcome with thanksgiving when I read verse 14. You might think that strange, especially since the next verse instructs the priest to wring the bird’s head off and drain its blood. (Priests had a very bloody job in the Old Testament.)

What makes this verse encouraging is its context. At the end of Exodus, Moses acted as overseer to make sure the tabernacle of God was completed according to the Lord’s precise instructions. Now completed, before God would meet with His people in the tent, God instructed them to establish a system of sacrifices. There was no way for a sinful people to approach a holy God without sacrifice. (Check out this great video to see why this was necessary and why Jesus was that sacrifice for us – https://youtu.be/NN_gw3Q6PkI.) The first sacrifice mentioned was the burnt offering.

Burnt offerings were given by a worshipper to declare total commitment and complete dedication to God. (What a wonderful way to begin worship!) Verses 3-9 describe the proper way to sacrifice a bull, and verses 10-13 show how the same process can take place with the substitution of a sheep or goat. There was one problem with this picture.

Only relatively wealthy people had enough money to purchase a bull or sheep. Even those who raised such animals could scarcely afford to remove one from the herd or flock to simply burn it up. What if a poor person wanted to show his loving dedication to his Creator? Was he left out when his others met to worship God?

God does not just want a relationship with those of high economic standing. In fact, quite often the independent self-reliance of the wealthy keeps them from admitting they even need a God to lean on. God has a special place in His heart for the poor and lowly, so much so that when He decided to enter humanity, He did so by becoming part of a poor shepherd’s family. So God prescribes the remedy if a poor person wanted to worship. They could substitute what they could afford – a turtledove or pigeon. There was hope for all the poor people who were part of the worshipping throng.

In relation to the peoples of the world, my family and I are quite wealthy. We have food, shelter, access to medical care, and transportation. Many around the globe cannot claim those privileges. Yet, compared to our fellow Americans, we would be considered poor. We have endured homelessness and at times been completely dependant upon the generosity of others to survive. I am not complaining at all. We have been humbled and through it been overwhelmed by God’s generous love poured out on us through His people.

My homebound wife has not been able to work since early in our marriage. While the small churches I served always gave us an extremely generous salary, it wasn’t quite enough for a family of five. Adding a mountain of medical debt to this situation often brought my heart to despair. Today, I am in my ninth month being unable to work because of physical issues. That’s nine months without a paycheck.

Just writing those words brings shame to my heart. I often confess to God my inability to provide for the precious family He has given me. I feel like a failure in so many ways. I don’t feel worthy to share Jesus with my neighbors, who may wonder why I am such a loser. I avoid fellow pastors whom I considered friends because of their successful leadership and my own defeat. I am tempted to run from God, who obviously must not want to be seen with someone like me. Right?

Until I remember that God asks for turtledoves and pigeons. He makes a way for people like me to worship Him. In fact, He invites people like me to worship. He delights to be with me and calls me His own. When this truth sinks into my thick skull, instead of running away from Him, I run towards Him as fast as I can to be embraced by His powerful, comforting arms.

Who is like the Lord our God, who is seated on high, who looks far down on the heavens and the earth? He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes, with the princes of his people.
Psalms 113:5‭-‬8 ESV

HEINEN HAPPENINGS -March 2020

ps 29 11

Friends, during this time of constant upheaval and uncertainty, remember the Lord’s great love for you. In your weakness, may His strength be made perfect. In your turmoil, may His peace that transcends understanding guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. We are praying for you! Please contact us if we can pray for you in a specific way.

Remember this description of our loving Father’s character:

The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness…”. (Exodus 34:6). This passage is the most quoted verse throughout the rest of Scripture for a reason.

Like your families, our own clan has experienced a challenging past month. Rebekah and her new husband Tim live in a virus hot-spot in New Jersey and faced a curfew and call to quarantine before the rest of the country. They bought a cat to celebrate.

cat

Victoria and her fiance Noah had to cancel their bridal shower. Their upcoming wedding is still in the works, but they are remaining flexible. Victoria’s adjunct job at the high school is now on hold (along with her income), and she is trying to connect with her music students online for lessons. Maria had to move off campus and will finish the rest of her semester on her computer in her bedroom. Leah, with her compromised immune system, is trying to deal with this by avoiding anyone who may be a carrier. I am listening to my doctor, who told me to self-quarantine since I have several symptoms. Let me tell you, it is difficult trying to avoid others when four people live together in one 800 square foot house. To top it all off, my mother had two heart attacks and several surgical procedures and was not allowed any visitors, including my very caring stepfather. Thankfully, she is now recovering at home. But I am not complaining. We have met with God in some incredible ways that may not have happened otherwise. Maria, Leah, and I are enjoying our study together in the gospel of Mark (with appropriate social distancing). Leah and I continue to pray though the Psalms and Proverbs (with appropriate social distancing). God is faithful and He is good.

I am really concerned for you. How are YOU doing? Many of you are fearful of disease. Some of you have parents who are high risk. Others face job insecurity and economic instability. A few of you are stranded far from home, wondering if you will see your family soon. I am so sorry for what you have to face. But I am thankful that we have Creator who knows you and loves you and is active in your life right now reaching out to you with His mercy and grace. How can I pray for you when I next meet with Him?

Because of the slowdown of our court and medical systems, my anticipated disability hearing and my upcoming appointment at the University of Arkansas Medical School seem to be on hold. This is a challenge considering I haven’t worked since July 1st. Yet, when our family met to talk about some of our virus worries and concerns, not one of us had anxiety over God’s provision. We have complete confidence He will lovingly meet our needs. I am praying about some possible ministry opportunities that I can do from home, but in a time when 50% of nonprofits may close, should I think of starting another one? Please pray for God’s provision for our family and that I will know and obey God’s will.

I don’t get out often, but before I got sick, I was able to tag along with some friends so I could attend a very special meeting in Texas. Part of the Spanish Central District is combining with the Southwestern District of the Christian and Missionary Alliance. There was some concern that people would resist or struggle with this big change, but as we met a wonderful unity filled the place as the Holy Spirit visited. The transition will have some obstacles, but we will face them together for God’s glory. I haven’t been able to see my Alliance family for several years, so I greatly enjoyed the reunion.

district

Our small church continues to pray for each other even as we are unable to meet. We are unable to have any type of service online in the Ozark hills, so we are making use of the old-fashioned telephone. We are sad that a dear exchange student from Poland who was hosted by a church family had to go home early. We will miss her!

Can I ask a favor of you? Here are the email addresses of our family members. Please send a short note to one of them to encourage them. I am sure they could use it trying to live with a guy who has to stay in one corner of one small room. Victoria could really use a kind word as they wedding plan in these uncertain times.

leah.janie.maria@gmail.com, rebekah.hope.heinen@gmail.com, v.heinen012@gmail.com, mariaheinen7301@gmail.com

We love and appreciate you! Please let us know how we can pray for you.

Brian Heinen, 802 East 23rd Street, Russellville, Arkansas, 72802
479-886-0765 brheinen1@gmail.com
Follow my journey on Facebook and Twitter.

HEINEN HAPPENINGS – February 2020

Bible-verses-about-love-1

Friends, in this season of celebrating love, may we not forget the greatest love ever – the love our Heavenly Father has for us.  If you have not fully experienced the everlasting love of God that literally transforms us into brand new people, please message me.  I would love to tell you about it.

Speaking of love – Rebekah and Tim are married!  In all the wedding ceremonies I have been a part of, I never saw a bride glow like Rebekah.  I know Tim dearly loves his new bride.  What a joy to see two people brought together by Jesus!  They are now settling down to live together in New Jersey.  We miss them terribly, but are so thankful for all that Jesus has done in them and for them.

Victoria is working in an adjunct position at Russellville High School while she prepares for her own wedding in May.  Noah is now renting a home that he will share with Victoria after their special day.  Maria is continuing her studies at Arkansas Tech University’s elementary education program, which was recently recognized as one of the best programs in the country for teaching reading to students.  We are so proud of both of our soon-to-be teachers.

In the past few months, Leah and I survived the holidays, two graduations, a wedding, and having our oldest move away.  What joyous, exhausting experiences!  In addition to her mental challenges, her constant pain, her stomach ailments, her kidney disease, her fatigue, and having to put up with her husband, Leah is now possibly facing surgery for her arthritic knees.  Please pray for God’s healing touch and His sustaining grace.

I continue to wait for my appointment at the University of Arkansas Medical School.  My left foot has a deep wound that is slow to heal, so I am once again wearing a boot.  Someone mentioned to me that they feel bad that I can’t walk.  I can walk, but I do look a bit like Frankenstein’s monster when I do.  The boot further complicates matters.  Driving continues to be a challenge.  My hands are experiencing increasing pain.  I also am still waiting for my disability hearing.  Please pray for our Lord’s provision, as Leah cannot work and I have not worked since the beginning of last July.  We are praying for everything to work out for God’s glory!

May I also ask you to pray that God will reveal to me a little bit of what my future looks like?  I pray daily for complete healing so I can return to some type of employment and ministry.  Yet, I also pray for God’s strength and peace if the rest of my life includes the limitations I now face.  If I am not healed in the way I desire, what will my purpose be for the rest of my life?  I enjoy the growing opportunities I now have to spend time alone with God and to intercede for others.  Leah and I have more time to pray together.  Leah prays for hours throughout the night when she can’t sleep.  I am amazed by her intimacy with our Savior.  Now she can share a little of that with me.  Yet, is there something more we can do with our lives?  Please pray that God will give me wisdom for the days ahead.

I began this update focusing on love.  Once again, Leah and I need to express our gratitude for how God has showered His love upon us through His people.  The messages of encouragement keep our hearts strong and trusting in Jesus.  We even had a college friend go out of her way as she traveled cross-country to stop by to visit us.  People we have not had contact with for decades have reached out to us.  We are so blessed to have all of you in our lives!

Let me close with another reminder of God’s love for us.  What makes us understand the enormity of God’s love is when we comprehend the meaning of a little word called sin.  Sin is what keeps us from experiencing God’s love.  It is when we choose our independence instead of living lives submitted to the God of love who created us.  Because of our sin, we are unable to do what God says is right.  The Bible says we all fall short of God’s standard.  And because God is love, He sent His Son to do what we could never do.  Jesus lived a perfect life for us that we could never live.  He died a death we should have died to pay the penalty for our sin so we can live.  The righteous life of Jesus satisfied God’s requirements.  His resurrected life is a guarantee that all who accept His gift of forgiveness and new life will also live forever embraced by His love.  He offers His love to you.  Just receive it by trusting completely in all He has done for you.

If you have any questions about this, go to the “about” page of my website and view the “What is Christianity?” video.  Contact me using the information below.  Remember we pray for our family and friends!  Let us know how we can pray for you.

Brian

Brian Heinen, 802 East 23rd Street, Russellville, Arkansas, 72802
479-886-0765 brheinen1@gmail.com
Follow my journey on Facebook and Twitter.

jn 3 16

 

 

 

HEINEN HAPPENINGS – January 2020

doxology

God is so good!  The Arkansas Heinen clan is two days away from celebrating the marriage of Timothy Thorpe to Rebekah Heinen.  (We will have pictures in the next newsletter!)  Victoria and her fiance, Noah, are busy planning their May wedding.  Maria is back on campus and is enjoying her new semester at Arkansas Tech University.  God has blessed our children in such wonderful ways.

Our December was filled with holiday celebrations.  Maria and Rebekah directed the Christmas program at church.  They did a terrific job organizing the chaos that occurs when the majority of the actors are under the age of 6.  I have to admit, I have never seen the Christmas story presented like that before.

Between Christmas and New Year’s Day, Maria, Victoria, and Noah drove me to Wisconsin for the gathering of the Heinens for Christmas.  For the first time in fourteen years, all us kids were together, along with most of our family members.  It was a glorious time.  We then visited my mother and step-father before we made the 13-hour trip home.  I am so thankful to the kids for driving me home, especially as my own ability to travel is so limited and my parents are getting older.

heinen christmas 2020

Leah was not able to make trip.  Rebekah stayed with her and prepared for her wedding.  Leah recently had some good doctor visits.  Please pray for her to be strong enough to enjoy the wedding.

Daily, I face the limitations that come with decreased use of my feet/legs and hands/arms.  Yet, God continues to pour out His mercy and grace on every part of our lives.  One again, I need to thank all who have prayed for us and generously encouraged us over the past months.  God used you to daily renew our hope.  The Go Fund Me page our girls set up is being deactivated, but if any of you would like to help in the future, this web page has a PayPal button at the bottom of most pages.  Please pray that my disability hearing will be held soon.

I am spending time seeking God as to what my future ministry life looks like.  Please pray I will hear His voice.

We love you!  Please contact us as to how we can pray for you.

Brian

Brian Heinen, 802 East 23rd Street, Russellville, Arkansas, 72802
479-886-0765 brheinen1@gmail.com
Follow my journey on Facebook and Twitter.

HEINEN HAPPENINGS – December 2019

Isaiah-9.6-unto-us-a-child-is-born

May the Christ of Christmas fill your hearts with renewed wonder as you more fully realize who He is and all that He has done for you!

This past month has been one of incredible blessing. Victoria celebrated her 23rd birthday yesterday by conducting a few songs at the Dover High School Christmas concert. She completed her student teaching at Dover and will graduate from Arkansas Tech University this Saturday. Oh, yeah – she also got engaged to Noah Greenawalt! They anticipate a wedding sometime later in 2020.

Maria finished her first semester at ATU. She loves college and has yet to receive anything lower than an “A” at any level of her education. Rebekah graduated with her Master of Social Work degree. She is finishing plans for her January wedding to Tim Thorpe and is packing for her move to New Jersey right after the wedding. Leah continues to be the World’s Best Mom to her busy girls. Leah’s health challenges remain, but so does her rock-solid faith in her rock-solid Savior. My “severe axonopathic polyneuropathy” continues to progress, slowly making use of my hands more difficult as it also creeps up my legs. I am still in the long process of being approved for disabilty. Through my physical and financial struggles, I am once again forced to be completely dependent upon my Lord, and He constantly proves Himself faithful.

We are absolutely overwhelmed by the extremely generous help we received from family, friends, acquaintances, and even from a few strangers. We are deeply humbled and thankful. We are current in our house and car payments and have not had the lights turned off, even though I have not worked since July 1st. You have no idea how much peace your gifts have brought to our hearts. Your emails, cards, and messages daily give us courage to continue to trust the goodness of Jesus. God has given us all of you as a very special gift this Christmas season. We appreciate you! And may God bless you as you have blessed us!

The go fund me page the girls started is still active – https://www.gofundme.com/f/heinen-family-in-need. Again, thank you so much for blessing us with your gifts!

If you do not have a church home and live in the Arkansas River Valley, feel free to visit us at the Appleton Cumberland Presbyterian Church on December 22nd for our Christmas program. The fun starts at 10 A.M., and we never know what to expect from our kids as they remind us why Jesus was born in Bethlehem so long ago. Message me for directions.

Here is a final “Merry Christmas” picture from our girls (and Noah!).

christmas 2019

Brian

Brian Heinen, 802 East 23rd Street, Russellville, Arkansas, 72802
479-886-0765 brheinen1@gmail.com
Follow my journey on Facebook and Twitter.

HEINEN HAPPENINGS – November 2019

1 chron 16 34

In this season of giving thanks, may you be more aware than ever of God’s love for you and His amazing grace that is offered to you.  Truly, “His love endures forever.”

Leah and I have so much to be thankful for as we approach Thanksgiving.  Our girls continue to amaze us and bless us.  Maria is a terrific student at Arkansas Tech University.  She just received news she can graduate a semester early.  She invited me to the homecoming game for ATU last month.  Rebekah drove me to the campus and Maria escorted me in as I limped up the ramp into the seating area.  Even though they lost, it was a lot of fun.  Maria continues to encourage our church family, teaching an upcoming Thanksgiving devotional and directing the Christmas play, both with her sister.

Victoria is just weeks away from finishing her student teaching.  She will be working at her alma mater, Russellville High School, in an adjunct position in the spring semester.  After that, the sky is the limit!  Her boyfriend, Noah, just landed a great job.  She is super involved during this season of school plays and Christmas concerts, and is loving every minute of it.  She surprised me by coming to our church on my birthday.

Rebekah is weeks away from finishing her internship and her Master of Social Work degree.  They will really miss her at the senior adult center where she has worked for the past year.  And she is just a few months away from marrying Tim and moving to New Jersey, where they being an exciting life and ministry together.  It looks like they have found a place to rent!  Please pray for her healing, as she continues to struggle with immune system issues that are yet to be accurately diagnosed.

leah and iLeah and I will celebrate 33 years together in a few days.  How blessed I am to have someone who radiates Jesus and encourages me with her love and wisdom.  Her health issues don’t get any better, but she continues to trust our Savior in a way that inspires me and glorifies our Lord.  Please pray for her complete healing.  We were lamenting today that her health problems and the medications she takes have robbed her of her beautiful singing voice.  Please pray that she will be able to sing again!

Many of you have asked for more information about my own health needs.  I am diagnosed with severe axonopathic polyneuropathy.  My feet have no feeling left, and my ankles and lower legs are severely numb.  My ability to drive is extremely limited and I walk like I am inebriated.  My hands have constant pins and needles pain and numbness which impact my fine motor skills.  Writing and computer work are difficult.  The symptoms continue to progress.  My wonderful team of doctors are unable to find a cause and are trying to set up an appointment with a very busy neuromuscular specialist at the medical school in Little Rock.  I have been on medical leave from work since July 1st.  That leave ended today.  Many of you know our financial difficulties over the years and realize that we do not have resources to fall back on.  I am working with a great lawyer to try to get disability, but the process seems to take forever.  (Leah does not qualify, as she does not have enough work credits.)  We survive simply because of the extreme generosity of our dear friends and family.  We are so thankful for you!  We continue to pray for our daily bread and depend upon the One who provides.  We never know how the bills this month will be paid, but He remains faithful!

I hesitate to write this, but if you feel led to give, the girls set up a Go Fund Me set up to help pay some medical and everyday living bills.  Thank you to everyone who has already given!  I am blown away by the love and support we have received.

https://www.gofundme.com/heinen-family-in-need

Leah and I were discussing the topic of thanksgiving lately.  She has lost so much because of her health trials over the years, but she remains so thankful to our Savior!  I more recently lost my mobility, my ministry, my profession, and now my ability to work and provide for my family.  I can easily begin a big pity party, but because of her example and the encouragement of Scripture, my loss is now turning into praise.  I am incredibly thankful for the little things I experience each day.  I can’t drive, but when I can walk into the backyard or across the street to go to the mailbox, I am grateful!  I can’t work, but when I can do a load of laundry my heart is filled with praise!  I can’t pastor, but when when my daughters drive me to our wonderful little church and I can expound on the good news of the gospel, I cannot help but get alone with my Lord and give Him glory!  I am so thankful for each moment’s breath, for all the wonderful people I come in contact with each day, and for the presence of my Heavenly Father who never leaves me nor forsakes me!

Some wonder why our family struggles so.  Weary friends question why the bad news never seems to go away.  Many ponder what secret sin we are harboring that has brought God’s punishment into our lives.  Others have thought out loud how weak our faith must be for our lives to be as they are.  Maybe my faith is weak, but while I may not be able to rejoice in the greatness of my faith, I do marvel at the greatness of the One who is the object of my faith.  Our family does face constant trouble, but remember the words of Jesus:  I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world (John 16:33).  You have trouble, too!  It may look different than ours, but you have it.  And when you are overwhelmed by it all, please remember the last part of the verse – we can take heart, because He has overcome the world!

Brian

Brian Heinen, 802 East 23rd Street, Russellville, Arkansas, 72802
479-886-0765    brheinen1@gmail.com
Follow my journey on Facebook and Twitter.

 

HEINEN HAPPENINGS – October 2019

Man-at-crossCome to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28–30)

From Leah:  I chose this verse to encourage you all. It has been a verse that has stuck with me for many years and means a lot to me. Blessings!

 

From Rebekah:  I wanted to thank all of our friends who have showered our family with encouragement, generosity, and love.  Life has been crazy this past month, but God has shown Himself faithful time and again by giving us Scripture, songs, and encouragement from loved ones to keep us going.

Dad’s health continues to deteriorate. He has been to various specialists and doctors. It is a bit discouraging to experience how long every medical process seems to take. Every new referral, every part of the disability process, and every waiting period for test results bring more questions than answers. Currently our family doctor is trying to send Daddy to UAMS for more testing to see why in the world his nerve damage is rapidly progressing.

Amidst all that chaos, life has also been moving fast for all of us girls as well! Maria is doing great in her first semester of college. She says her classes are easier than high school haha.

Victoria is so close to graduating! She will have her choral music teaching degree in December! Right now she is enjoying finishing up student teaching, leading voice and piano lessons, and giving googly love-eyes to her man. 😉

My life is revving up too! I will be done with my Masters Degree in Social Work in December. I am absolutely loving my internship working with geriatric patients, and I will miss them dearly. I also am only 91 days away from getting MARRIED to the love of my life, Timothy Thorpe!! We had a beautiful shower last weekend at Church, and it is all getting sooo real. I am blessed to have this time left with my family before moving away to be with my honey in New Jersey.

We are all in different seasons of life but God is showing Himself to be faithful in them all. Every step He proves His goodness. Every second He whispers His love. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of helping us keep our eyes on Jesus through the thick and thin of our crazy lives.

If you would please be praying for all of us in this transition and also as we face the uncertainty (money-related and otherwise) of Daddy’s medical problems we would appreciate it! Please let us know how we can pray for you too! My momma especially is a super-prayer warrior and would love to lift your needs to our loving Heavenly Father.

And if you feel led to give, we also have a Go Fund Me set up to help pay some medical and everyday living bills. Thank you to everyone who has already given! I am blown away by the love and support we have received.

https://www.gofundme.com/heinen-family-in-need  

 Now all glory to God, Who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to Him in the Church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21 NLT)

HEINEN HAPPENINGS – September 2019

Friends, I have a short prayer update for you this month. Please pray for God’s financial provision for our family. Many of you know that Leah has been homebound due to physical and emotional challenges. I am now unable to work because of my own health challenges. It is so frustrating not being able to do anything to change my circumstances. I am forced to rely completely on God’s mercy, which is a lesson I need to learn and live everyday.  I did not want to share this need, but our Lord encouraged me to humble myself and ask for prayer.

I have some major neurological tests this week. Please pray. God is able.

Here is a Scripture that I am praying this week. May it encourage your heart.

1 In you, O LORD, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame! 2 In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; incline your ear to me, and save me! 3 Be to me a rock of refuge, to which I may continually come; you have given the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress. 4 Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of the unjust and cruel man. 5 For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O LORD, from my youth. 6 Upon you I have leaned from before my birth; you are he who took me from my mother’s womb. My praise is continually of you. 7 I have been as a portent to many, but you are my strong refuge. 8 My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all the day. 9 Do not cast me off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength is spent. – Psalm 71:1-9

We so love and appreciate our many friends who faithfully pray for us and encourage us in a multitude of ways.  Please contact us with your own prayer needs and praises.  May God bless you with His presence and peace!

Brian

Brian Heinen, 802 East 23rd Street, Russellville, Arkansas, 72802
479-886-0765    brheinen1@gmail.com
Follow my journey on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

Heinen Happenings – August 2019

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Psalm 127:3

Once again, as I share with family and friends the incredible ways the Lord blesses us, I must focus on how our Father has blessed our children.

Rebekah is engaged!  Our oldest is marrying Tim, an amazing gentleman who has experienced God’s grace in a life-transforming way.  They love their Savior dearly, and that love has drawn them together for a lifetime of love and service to our King.  God is good!

Victoria begins her student teaching soon in the music department of a neighboring community.  She also teaches voice lessons in a local music center.  She is in a relationship with a terrific young man, Noah.

Maria begins her first year of college in a few weeks and will be rooming with her best friend, Elizabeth.  Arkansas Tech University, watch out!

Please pray for our girls to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus and to continue to love and serve Him faithfully all of their lives.

Also pray for Leah, who continues to battle physical issues.  She experiences constant pain and exhaustion, but shines the light of Christ every day!  Pray that she will have the health and strength to be part of wedding plans and all the other wonderful things that our girls are experiencing.

Many have asked about my own health.  I am struggling with neuropathy, which started some time ago in my feet, but is now spreading up to my knees.  I am not able to drive very well as a result.  My balance is off, and I occasionally stumble or fall.  My hands experience pain and numbness, which makes writing and turning the pages of my Bible difficult.  I sometimes drop things, including Leah’s serving bowl and platter – sorry, Sweetie!

I am under the care of four great doctors who are trying to figure things out.  My neurologist recently tripled my medication, which seems to be helping a little.  Many more tests are in my immediate future.  I have been off of work since July 1st.  Please pray for God’s provision with no paychecks and many medical bills.  And please pray I will glorify God through it all!

We so love and appreciate our many friends who faithfully pray for us and encourage us in a multitude of ways.  Please contact us with your own prayer needs and praises.  May God bless you with His presence and peace!

Brian

Brian Heinen, 802 East 23rd Street, Russellville, Arkansas, 72802
479-886-0765    brheinen1@gmail.com
Follow my journey on Facebook and Twitter.

 

HEINEN HAPPENINGS – July 2019

Friends, I apologize for not writing many recent updates.  My explanation will be clarified below.

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow; Praise Him, all creatures here below; Praise Him above, ye heav’nly host; Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost! 

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!  Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits… (Psalm 103:1–2)

I want to start this update by thanking our Lord for the many blessings He has poured out upon our family!

Rebekah is really enjoying the internship for her Masters of Social Work, and is powering her way through some difficult, but rewarding final classes.  The place where she works would love to hire her upon completion, as her coworkers and clients adore her and appreciate her hard and competent work.  She is in a relationship with Tim, a young man who deeply loves Jesus.

Victoria finished her senior year at Arkansas Tech University, which included her final choir concerts and events.  She did a great job with her senior vocal recital.  This fall, she will complete her student teaching at a school in a nearby community as her Vocal Music Education program lasts 4 1/2 semesters.  She is in a relationship with Noah, a fine young man she met on the worship team at their church.

Maria graduated from Russellville High School, never earning anything but A’s her entire school career.  She also earned many scholarships that will fully pay for her education at Arkansas Tech University, which she begins in the fall.  She tearfully finished her final choir concerts and play performances at RHS, including choir trips to Washington D.C. and Carnegie Hall in New York City.

We are SO thankful to God for how he has blessed our girls!  Please pray they continue to fall in love with Jesus more every day.

66020725_849698268720111_4780117949828562944_n

Leah continues to exhibit her love for her Savior and her incredible faith in Him, in spite of her many physical challenges.  She is home-bound except for doctor appointments and choir concerts and play performances as she is able.  Please pray for God to bless her with His healing and sustaining grace.

I am blessed with a great job as hospice chaplain.  I am part of an incredible team that serves equally incredible patients and their families.  I also am thankful to shepherd a fine Cumberland Presbyterian congregation with a group of people who love Jesus and continually love our family.

church fall

I am asking prayer for myself this update, as I too am battling physical challenges.  I resigned from my denominational district position due to decline in my health.  I really loved serving our wonderful district family!  For years I struggled with non-diabetic neuropathy, which numbed my feet.  It is now spreading to my ankles, lower legs, and hands.  One of the reasons I do not do monthly updates is because computer work is more difficult with my non-cooperative fingers.  My main concern is that due to my numb feet and legs, I am now experiencing loss of balance and muscle failure that prevents me from driving.  I cannot drive when my feet cannot feel the pedals and when my feet and ankles lose control.  If I cannot drive, I cannot work or take care of my family.  Please pray for me!

We so love and appreciate our many friends who faithfully pray for us and encourage us in a multitude of ways.  Please contact us with your own prayer needs and praises.  May God bless you with His presence and peace!

Brian

Brian Heinen, 802 East 23rd Street, Russellville, Arkansas, 72802
479-886-0765    brheinen1@gmail.com
Follow my journey on Facebook and Twitter.

Heinen Happenings – December 2018

Wow look at Mariah

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.   Isaiah 9:2 ESV

He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken.   Isaiah 25:8 ESV

Jesus, the Light of the World, has come! Even the deepest darkness of death itself is swallowed up by His glorious light. Whatever darkness you find yourself in right now, turn to the Light.

On this First Sunday in Advent, I hope these words encourage you to seek Jesus in a fresh way this holiday season.

It has been a long time since I last shared an update about our family.  Here is a summary of what has happened:

–Rebekah continues to work as an intern at a local agency for her M.S.W. degree.  The employees and the clients love her!  She recently traveled to Iowa for a friend’s wedding and had a great time reconnecting with friends.  She is very active in our church teaching, singing, and writing/directing the Christmas program.  Please pray for her as she struggles with thyroid/immune system issues.

SUp it's bEkah

–Today, Victoria had her final Feast of Carols concert with the Arkansas Tech University Choir.  She was even able to conduct “Carol of the Bells”!  She also is very involved in her church serving on the worship team and leading a girl’s small group.  Please pray for her as she finishes up her senior year and begins her internship in vocal music education.

rocksssss

–Maria is looking forward to a spring choir trip where the RHS choir will travel to New York to participate in a festival at Carnegie Hall.  She also has an upcoming Christmas concert.  Her one-act play did very well in a recent competition.  She was honored to write and direct the drama for our community Veteran’s Day celebration.  She also is enjoying serving at our church.  Please pray for her to finish her high school experience strong.

Mariah

Please pray for all of our girls to continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ!

–Leah continues to struggle with various health issues, but remains the heart and soul of our family.  Her faith is incredibly strong even though she faces daily challenges.  Her beloved brother died recently.  Pray for her to experience the Shalom (peace, completeness) of Jesus Christ!

–I am very busy working three part-time jobs.  I love being a chaplain with Arkansas Hospice.  I work with an awesome team and together we serve incredible clients and their families.  I also work as an administrative assistant with my denomination’s district office.  Our wonderful district superintendent is moving on after many years of faithful service, so my employment at the district may change soon.  I also am the interim pastor at a Cumberland Presbyterian Church in nearby Appleton, Arkansas.  We could not ask for a more loving and encouraging church family.  While I am not ordained in the CPC denomination, the people have embraced me as their “pastor.”  They even put my name on their sign!  Please pray for me to have the health and energy to do all I do for the glory of my Savior!

We so love and appreciate our many friends who faithfully pray for us and encourage us in a multitude of ways.  I am so sorry that with my busy schedule and exhausted body, I have not kept in touch.  May God bless you with His presence and peace!

Brian

church fall

Brian Heinen 802 East 23rd Street, Russellville, Arkansas, 72802
479-886-0765 brheinen1@gmail.com
Follow my journey on Facebook and Twitter.

HEINEN HAPPENINGS – August 2018

Email newsletter of the Heinen family: Brian, Leah, Rebekah, Victoria and Maria

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. (Philippians 1:3-5 ESV)

We pray for our friends and neighbors!  How can we pray for you?  Send your requests to my email address listed below.

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!  Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits… Ps 103:1-2

We have much to bless God for…

–Leah had a good report from the doctor, showing no further damage to her kidneys.  Her diabetes is under control.  She recently had to go through some tests for her heart, which all turned out well.  She has a stress test this week.  Please pray for her struggle with pain and exhaustion.

–Rebekah starts her MSW internship next week.  Please pray for her health, especially her hypothyroidism.

–Victoria continues to be involved in various leadership positions in her church.  She loves the girls in her small group!  She starts her senior year in college next week.

–Maria had a great start to her senior year in high school.  She is involved in the small group Victoria leads and also in the church where Brian is preaching.

–Brian is enjoying his part-time opportunities with hospice, with his denominational district, and with the small church where he is interim pastor.  It is amazing how many wonderful opportunities to share the love and truth of Jesus arise.  Please pray for his neuropathy in his hands and feet to be healed, as well as the wound on his foot, which has been an issue for many months.

–While we are thankful for the opportunities we have to bless our neighbors, we feel that God brought us to this neighborhood for a purpose.  Pray that we will have the time, health, energy, resources, and opportunities to reach these special people with the mercy and grace of our Savior.

The entire family has been blessed by the encouragement, generosity, and prayers of so many friends.  Y’all have been conduits of God’s amazing grace to our lives.  We love you and appreciate you!

–The church, the Appleton Cumberland Presbyterian Church, is very responsive to the ministry of Jesus Christ that is taking place.  While the number of people in the congregation is very small in number, the hearts of the people are deeply devoted to Jesus.  Rebekah and Maria are making a real difference among the children who attend.

church 3

Brian Heinen 802 East 23rd Street, Russellville, Arkansas, 72802
479-886-0765 brheinen1@gmail.com
Follow my journey on Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you!

Pastor friends,

I appreciate you!  Thank you for serving our Savior in the power of His Spirit for His glory.  At times, you receive the acclaim and applause of men.  Other times, antagonism is your companion because you minister in Jesus’ Name.  Worse yet, your service and efforts are often met with apathy, even among those who claim the Name of Christ.  Most often, your day is filled with a combination of those things.  May you continue to serve your King with one motive in mind – to hear those precious words, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” directly from His lips as He greets you as eternity begins.

Presents or Presence?

The fickle children of Israel quickly traded in the true and living God who delivered them from slavery for a golden calf formed from their own hands.  Before we are too critical, let us remember the multitude of times that we substitute gods of our own making for the God who truly delivers.  We all seem to prefer gods we can control over the God before whom we must bow.

Moses and God had the type of relationship where “the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend” (Ex. 33:11).  May we all have this type of relationship with Him!  God confided in His friend, expressing His deserved anger: “I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people.  Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them, in order that I may make a great nation of you” (Ex. 32:9-10).

Rather than enjoying God’s new, Moses-centered plan, Moses spoke to his Friend, reminding Him of the covenant promises that He made to the nation He called to be His own, and asked Him what the Egyptians would think of a God who delivered His people from slavery to let them perish in the desert.  “And the LORD relented from the disaster that he had spoken of bringing on his people.”

The relationship between God and His rebellious people was still fractured.  The LORD said to Moses, “Depart; go up from here, you and the people whom you have brought up out of the land of Egypt, to the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘To your offspring I will give it.’  I will send an angel before you, and I will drive out the Canaanites, the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.  Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; but I will not go up among you, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people” (Ex. 33:1-3).

God was promising the people the benefits of their deliverance from slavery with one stipulation – God, the Deliverer, would not be with them.  He was offering the Hebrew people His presents, but not His presence.  God would be true to His promises and give the Jewish people what He promised them, but because of their rebellious hearts, a righteous, holy God could not dwell with them.

I think many people today would love this deal.  Get the blessings of God without having to be accountable to God?  Enjoy the stuff without having to listen to His commands?  Many would jump at the chance.

But Moses understood that this life having the stuff of God without the presence of God is really no life at all, because God does not just give us life, He IS our life.  Here is Moses’ response:  “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here. For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I, and your people? Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?” (Exodus 33:15-16).

Moses knew that what makes the people of God the people of God is not the blessing God gives to His people, it is having God, Himself.  Do we understand this?

Being Thankful

I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.  I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High. (Psalm 9:1-2 ESV)

Facebook is increasingly becoming my prayer list.  I enjoy praying for dear friends and family that I have known for years and also for more recent colleagues and acquaintances.  This time of year, amid holiday get-togethers, vacations, family celebrations, and various ministry events, I praise God for how He has blessed so many of you!  While I rejoice with those of you who now are rejoicing, my heart and my prayers do go out to those of you who now are searching for God’s blessing.  May you see His face clearly very soon!

I love seeing the pics of your beautiful family members.  Some of them are transitioning into new and exciting chapters of their lives.  What a joy to be surrounded by those you love.  Thank you for sharing the news and views concerning your travels both at home and abroad.  What beautiful and fun places you have the wonderful opportunity to enjoy.  Some of you are traveling because you have been given the incredible opportunity and responsibility to share the Word of God among every tribe, tongue, and nation so that Jesus is glorified.  What a gift to be able to do so!  Enjoy!  Celebrate!  Be blessed!

At the same time, why not pray for the many in our own nation and the vast majority of people around the world who will never experience such blessing.  And above all, remember the One who is the giver of all good gifts and the One who blesses us with every spiritual blessing through His Son, Jesus Christ!  Everything you are, everything you get to do, and every experience you live is but a gift from Him.  Why not thank Him today?

For Me?

Say to all the people of the land and the priests, ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth month and in the seventh, for these seventy years, was it for me that you fasted? And when you eat and when you drink, do you not eat for yourselves and drink for yourselves? (Zechariah 7:5-6 ESV)

Every time I read this Scripture I am reminded to ask the Holy Spirit to show me what my motives are as I work, worship, and just plain live.  Why do I do what I do?  This question is especially applicable to my religious life, as it was to the Jewish people addressed here.  Why do I sing songs of praise, to honor God, or to make myself feel a certain way?  Why do I do “up front” ministry, to get everyone gathered to focus on Jesus, or to see me?  I can do these things – good things – with selfish motives.  When I do, I rob God of His glory.

In the original Hebrew, the “for me” is repeated.  “Was it for me that you fasted – for me?”  What a haunting echo.  Why do I do what I do?  One question helps when asking this question.  What would I do if no one said anything to me about my up-front ministry?  About my singing?  (Actually, I really hope no one ever listens to me sing.)  About my religious activity?  If I was never noticed, never thanked, never complimented, would I still do what I do?  People who are doing things for themselves rather than Jesus tend to give up if their actions don’t gain the personal attention they seek.

I am not saying that we should not thank others for what they are doing.  Thank them!  Encourage them!  It is sinful if you don’t.  What I am not saying is that it is your job to keep others humble by your silence about what they do.  What I am saying is, “What is your response when people are silent to you?”

Valuing Life – A Pastor’s Perspective

I have always valued life – or so I thought. I remember from my teen years on how I believed the Bible when it said that I was made in the image and likeness of God. I was thankful that I was “fearfully and wonderfully made” by my heavenly Father and that He had “formed and covered me in my mother’s womb.” I worked for a time at a ministry in Texas called “Last Days Ministries,” which had a branch called “Americans Against Abortion.” I served in the print shop there, and one of the most popular tracts we printed was called, “Children – Things We Throw Away.” Later, when I became a pastor, I faithfully ordered bulletin inserts for “Sanctity of Life Sunday” and preached about how God is the giver of life. I proclaimed that He alone decides when our lives begin and end. I was a hospital and nursing home chaplain and served on the ethics committee of our local hospital. I often had to help the sick and suffering see that even their lives had great value and that to end their lives prematurely would be a tragedy. Yet, none of this prepared me for that trip to my wife’s OB-GYN.

We were expecting our second child. Rebekah Hope was 2 at the time. We went to our 20 week appointment and looked forward to seeing our little one on the ultrasound. As the nurse midwife viewed the screen, I noticed that she didn’t respond to my wife’s jokes and that her face turned very pale. She excused herself and rushed out of the room. A few minutes later, she returned with the doctor, a kind immigrant from Czechoslovakia who was always smiling. He suddenly became serious and silent – until he worked up the courage to tell us the news. They couldn’t find any kidneys in our baby. As such, the amniotic fluid would not be replenished once it was used up. Without amniotic fluid, the lungs wouldn’t develop, as the lungs are strengthened when the baby in the womb breathes that life-sustaining liquid in and out. He immediately set up an appointment for us at the Ohio State Medical Center.

On our first appointment, we met with two doctors who both assumed we were coming in to set up a time to abort. They were shocked to hear my wife, Leah, explain that she believed that the same God who gave her baby life could heal her baby, but that even if He didn’t, it was not her right to end a life that He had given. They explained to her that the baby would probably be carried close to full term but would die soon after birth. Each time she felt the baby kick, she would be reminded that she was carrying a baby with a death sentence. “Why go through the heartache?” they asked her. “Why risk your own health? Why not end it now and try again?” They introduced us to a geneticist who would “test” fetuses in future pregnancies and would tell us when to abort until we could finally get one that was healthy. My wife stood firm. Over what seemed to be never-ending visits to many different doctors, the professionals realized that they couldn’t change my wife’s mind. Her courage amazed me. Her faith humbled me. We soon became a “teaching” case because of this rare disease. I looked forward to the hours of ultrasounds, realizing that seeing my daughter on the screen might be my only chance to get to know her.

Our little Christina Joy lived one hour after the delivery. She peacefully stopped breathing in our arms not long after we heard the hospital sound system play the bells that celebrated the birth of a child. We put her tiny casket in the trunk of our car and drove her to Wisconsin, where she was buried next to my brother, who had also died in infancy. Not knowing if we would be able to have more children, God has since blessed us with Victoria Grace and Maria Faith. O, how I value their precious lives! And how I value the courage of people like my wife, Leah, who have the faith and strength to live out their convictions and who stand up and let their voices be heard.

Compassion Fatigue

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV)

I first came upon the idea of “compassion fatigue” when I was working at a rescue mission.  Many times, those who begin serving the poor, marginalized, and wounded because of a true desire to help, after a time become cynical, suspicious, and hardened.  Sometimes dealing with difficult situations involves dealing with difficult people.  Not all those you deal with are difficult, but there are enough out there to make even the most caring grow cold.  Trying to help those truly needy means that others will take advantage of you.  It is easy to justify this “fatigue.”  After all, aren’t we told not to cast our “pearls before swine”?  Aren’t we to be “wise stewards” of our Lord’s resources?

The late Keith Green reminded us that the only way to never be taken advantage of is to never help anyone at all.  Daily, I try to ask the Lord to help my heart stay soft as I deal with people, or I fear I, too, could develop “compassion fatigue.”  And as I pray for my own heart, I am reminded that my compassionate Lord never grows tired of me.

I don’t deserve God’s grace.  When I ask for His help, it is sometimes because I got into trouble because of things I did wrong.  Maybe I didn’t act wisely.  Perhaps I made a serious mistake.  Possibly I am suffering because I sinned against the very God I am asking for rescue.  Yet He hears my cry and redeems.  I don’t receive His aid because I deserve it.  I receive it because He is longsuffering, good, kind, and merciful.

Is it a good (or even spiritual) thing to refuse to help people because they have proven they are not worthy of help?  I can hear the thoughts of some as they read these words.  “We need to be careful to give people what they need, not just what they want or are asking for.”  “If I give this person money, they will spend it on drugs.”  “Maybe this person needs to suffer the consequences of their poor choices so that they learn a lesson.”  These things can be true, and remind us that we need to help wisely.  We need to help them in a way that truly helps them.  Yet, we need to help them – not give up because we may possibly be taken advantage of.

There is even another level to this.  Let’s say that someone is trying to take advantage of you.  Let’s say they will spend what you give them on drugs.  Maybe they are hopelessly addicted because of poor choices and sin.  Do we then not help them?  Do we let them starve?

What if our judgment about them is wrong?  What if like Job’s friends, we see their suffering through the lens of our own faulty experience?  What if they are actually suffering because they are more righteous than we are?

As a pastor, I observed this problem in the church.  Often those who are needy are “put up with” impatiently by the people of God.  Sometimes needy people are helped for a time, but when they don’t experience “instant sanctification” those who are helping grow weary.  When helpers grow weary it is easy to grow distant.  They don’t make phone calls as often to check up on their “friend.”  After a while, the phone calls stop as they focus instead on people and projects that yield quicker results.  We are rightly told to focus on our strengths and not just our weaknesses if we are to accomplish more for God.  Doesn’t this also mean that we should focus on people experiencing success rather than failure?  After all, needy people drain us and take up all our time, and when we share their stories during testimony time or in our latest newsletter, it is not very impressive.  So, we ignore and then forget those who are needy.  And they silently stop attending our churches, and no one even notices.

Similarly, lately I have been contacted by pastors who were in the licensing/ordination process in various denominations.  Because they were dealing with personal or church-related problems, or even when they were faithful but were not experiencing impressive results, their mentors and leaders shifted focus to those charismatic, type-A pastors who were seen as being quite successful.  My now ex-pastor friends stopped receiving phone calls from their mentors.  They faded into the woodwork and seemingly disappeared.  And no one in their denomination/association even noticed them disappear.

I often fail God.  I often live Romans 7: “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.  For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.”  And what does God do?  Every morning, after I failed the day previously, He reminds me of Romans 8: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  Why does He do this?  It is because Lamentations is true: “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”  Should I not extend this same undeserved compassion that I received from God to others?

 

Envy

Rob Reimer, in his wonderful book, Soul Care, writes, “Envy starts with the question, ‘What about me?’ and ends with the accusation, ‘God isn’t fair.'”

Do you struggle with this self-centered question that then leads to the ultimate false accusation?  Note how envy is completely selfish.  It is all about what you think you deserve and how unfair God is to you because you feel He should give you more (or at least “different”).  You look at how God is blessing others and you think you deserve better than they are receiving.

Of course, the key to being set free from envy is to understand God’s amazing grace.  Grace is God’s “unmerited favor.”  It is when He doesn’t give you what you deserve (separation from Himself because of your sin), but instead lavishes upon you blessings you would never deserve (life forever with Him).  This is the Christian gospel – the God of this universe who should punish all of us because of our rebellion and sin, instead becomes a man like us to live the perfect life we could never live and die the death we deserved to die.  “For our sake, he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”  2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV

When we truly understand what we deserve, and what God offers instead (based on what Jesus has done for us), envy disappears.  We no longer demand justice from God.  Instead, we thank Him that He doesn’t give us what we deserve.

The Scriptures tell us a lot about envy:

A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.  Proverbs 14:30 ESV.  How many of you have experienced this?

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant…  1 Corinthians 13:4 ESV.  Note how this passage about God’s self-giving love implies that envy is anything but self-giving.

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  Galatians 5:19-23 ESV.  Again, the life of selfish men is contrasted with the life of God, which is completely self-giving.  Which category is “envy” in?

Here are a few tips to help you deal with envy:

  1. Be thankful! Always be thankful to God.  Express your thanksgiving aloud.  Thank Him for all He does for you.
  2. Be thankful – for the things you see in other’s lives that make you envious. Thank God, again aloud, for how He is blessing them.
  3. Pray for more of God’s blessings to be given to those you are envious of. If we are to pray for enemies, and bless those who persecute us, certainly we can bless those we are envious of.  In our own selfishness we struggle with this, but as we are filled by the Spirit, His fruit and His life will enable us to be and do what we could never be and do on our own.

Figs

On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it. 

As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. And Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.”   Mark 11:12‭-‬14‭, ‬20‭-‬22 ESV

Earlier, we explored the story of Jesus cleansing the temple during the “passion week.”  An interesting story story takes place before and after that account.  It takes place on the mountain ridge road overseeing the Kidron Valley, which Jesus  walked many times that last week as He entered Jerusalem during the day but stayed on mountain at night.  In addition to the Mount of Olives, this ridge was also home to two villages.  Bethany was the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.  Bethphage was very close to Bethany.  Interestingly, both of these villages mean “house of figs.”  Bethany refers to figs that are ready to eat.  Bethphage refers to figs that are not yet ripe.

As Jesus was walking from Bethany into Jerusalem on the Monday after “Palm Sunday,” He became hungry and noticed a fig tree.  He saw that it had leaves, but found no fruit.  Even though Mark explains, “it was not the season for figs,” Jesus curses the tree by saying, “May no one ever eat from you again.”  

On the next day, Jesus and His disciples again passed by that tree.  The disciples noticed that the tree was “withered away to its roots.”  Did Jesus unfairly judge the tree?  Did  He in anger kill the tree because He was hungry?

This story makes sense when we understand that fig trees in this part of the world begin to have early, somewhat smaller figs that would grow from the previous year’s sprouts each spring.  These early figs and leaves would fall off, giving way to another set of leaves and figs, which would come in abundance (usually after August) and would then be harvested.  The smaller figs were not much good for harvest, but were sometimes used to give the poor some sustenance as they traveled.  This tree had its spring leaves suggesting it had these early figs, but was fruitless.  Jesus cursed the tree for its hypocrisy.  It looked like it was fruitful, but was not. 

The fig tree in the Scriptures was often a symbol for Israel.  During Jesus’ day the Jewish people claimed to be living for God, but in fact were living lives of hypocrisy.  Their lives bore no spiritual fruit, even though they “looked good” on the outside.  Luke tells us that at this same time, Jesus wept over the people of Jerusalem, mourning their lack of spiritual life and prophesying about​ their upcoming destruction. 

I pray that my own life is not all leaves but no fruit!  May we not be hypocrites, but bear fruit for God’s glory.