SACRED HERITAGE — A TRIBUTE TO 75 YEARS OF FAITHFULNESS

I went to a concert last night – the first I had been to in a couple years. It was at the church I grew up in, Hessville Baptist Church in Hammond, IN. The church is celebrating its 75th anniversary this weekend – a wonderful achievement in this day when so many churches have closed their doors or become watered-down versions of what they had once been. Anyone at Hessville Baptist would tell you that the glory and praise for that goes to God. Sure, the numbers are not what they once were, but He has brought them through some pretty tough trials. They’ve struggled over the years to stay above water in a declining area, but still, praise the Lord, the doors are open and the Gospel is being preached.
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Our family has been a part of Hessville Baptist Church for nearly 55 of its 75 years. I was three years old when my mother first took me. We rode the Sunday School bus for several years until my dad was saved when I was nine years old, and then he took us himself. I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior at the age of six and was baptized in that church. My siblings were all saved there, too. The strong foundations of my biblical training and growth began at Hessville Baptist Church.
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Bob and I met and began dating through a church activity and he accepted Christ as his Savior there, as well. We were married there and started serving the Lord together in that church. When our children came along, they too were saved and baptized at Hessville Baptist Church. Bob was an associate pastor of youth and music, and I taught preschool in its Christian school. Later it was one of the first churches to support us as home missionaries.
God has used the people and ministry of Hessville Baptist Church to play an important and very special part in our lives and to help make us the people we are today. And if that were not enough, for all of those 55 years, we have known that we are loved there. We have been so blessed by God in our lives, and one of His greatest blessings has been in making us a part of the Hessville Baptist Church family.
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This is the story of the impact this faithful church has had on just one family. You can multiply that by many hundreds of families, many thousands of lives over the last 75 years. It is wonderful to have a reunion this weekend of many who have come back to recognize and celebrate this special anniversary, but can you imagine the reunion someday in Eternity when the Lord may actually show us exactly how great an impact the testimony and ministry of Hessville Baptist Church has had in Hammond and around the world?
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The name of the group who sang at the concert last night was “Sacred Heritage” – very fitting, I think, for the legacy that Hessville Baptist Church has left behind. I have thought often, the last few years, of the spiritual legacy that I am leaving to my children and grandchildren and all the descendants who will come behind. I pray that I will be found faithful, and that my godly example will influence and inspire young lives to follow after Him as I have followed. In the same manner, there have been and will continue to be generations whose lives have been touched for the Lord by Hessville Baptist Church. Praise the Lord for its faithfulness. Eternity will tell the true tale of its legacy.
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“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
Philippians 1:3-6
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