Covid update

October 24

Continue to observe caution and stay home if you feel any indication of sickness.  Thank you for your patience.

 

October 17

Continue to exercise precautions.  There is still a high rate of spread in our area.

 

October 3

 

New Merck Pill Called a 'Gamechanger' in COVID Fight, Cuts Deaths and Hospitalizations in Half

Pharmaceutical company Merck & Co. said Oct. 1, 2021, that its experimental COVID-19 pill reduced hospitalizations and deaths by half (Merck & Co. via AP)

There's a possible breakthrough in the fight against COVID-19. Pharmaceutical company Merck says new data on Molnupiravir shows a reduced risk of hospitalization or death by up to 50 percent in clinical trials.  

"You can take it home and it will significantly reduce the risk that you either ultimately are hospitalized or more importantly that you would ever face the unfortunate outcome of death," said Rob Davis, CEO of Merck.

The anti-viral treatment would be given as a series of pills within five days of testing positive for COVID. It is believed to also be effective against the Delta, Gamma and Mu variants. 

Related



Through 29 days of trials, no deaths were reported in patients who received the drug compared to 8 deaths in patients who got the placebo.

Merck will ask the FDA for emergency use authorization. 

The news comes amid vaccine mandate showdowns happening across the country, including staff in New York City schools. On Friday, California even announced it will mandate vaccines from all schoolkids once the FDA approves them. 

"I will continue to advocate against these mandates, but obviously I'm going to need to figure out how I'm going to pay my bills and support my son," said New York teacher Stephanie Edmonds.

Late Thursday, a Federal Appeals Court blocked the firing of New York health care workers who are claiming a religious exemption, pending the outcome of a court hearing next month.  

In Colorado, some healthcare facilities are bracing for staffing shortages with many employees there also refusing the shot.

"We've had a lot of pushback from staff, there are certainly a lot of folks that just absolutely do not want it," said Leeah Key of Eastern Colorado Services. 

Meanwhile, the numbers show hospital admissions for COVID are down by 27,000 in recent weeks. 

And health officials say the overall COVID infection rate is significantly down for the first time in three months. 

Still, the Biden administration was doubling down on its vaccine message Friday.

"COVID vaccinations are safe, effective, convenient, free. They protect you, your loved ones, your community," said Dr. Anthony Fauci of the COVID response team. 

 

 

September 26

Please do not attend church in person if you have any symptoms of allergies, colds, or flu.  The latest varient of Covid is showing common symptoms before the loss of taste or smell or even fever.

 

September 19

FDA Panel Backs Pfizer's COVID Booster for 65 and Older, Those at High Risk

Editor's note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape's Coronavirus Resource Center.

A US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel voted unanimously today to recommend a booster dose of Pfizer's mRNA COVID-19 vaccine for those 65 and older, and for those at high risk of severe outcomes from the disease, including healthcare workers.  

This followed an earlier 16-2 vote by the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee rejecting a booster dose for American age 16 and over.

Pfizer initially wanted the FDA to amend the Biologics License Application (BLA) for its Comirnaty vaccine to allow all Americans over the age of 16 get a booster dose at least 6 months after their second dose.

A supplemental BLA is the typical way boosters are authorized in the US, but it requires a higher bar of evidence and more regulatory scrutiny than the agency had been able to give since Pfizer filed for the change just days after it was granted full approval for its COVID vaccine.

The committee's actions were also a rebuff to the Biden administration, which had prematurely announced that boosters would be rolled out to the general public by September 20. The announcement triggered the resignations of two of the agency’s top vaccine reviewers, who both participated in Friday’s meeting.

Marion Gruber, PhD, director of the FDA’s Office of Vaccines acknowledged that today’s meeting would be her last, and she thanked the American public.

“It has been a privilege to serve you. All of my actions and decisions over my 32-year career have been grounded in science, with you in mind, and in the best interest of your health and safety. And I will continue to hold fast to these principles moving forward,” she said.

Page 2 of 3

After initially voting against Pfizer’s request to change its BLA, the committee then worked on the fly with FDA officials to craft a strategy that would allow third doses to be offered under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).

An EUA requires a lower standard of evidence and is more specific. It will restrict third doses to a more defined population than a change to the license would. It will also require Pfizer to continue to monitor the safety of third doses as they begin to be administered.

“This should demonstrate to the public that the members of this committee are independent of the FDA and that we do, in fact, bring our voices to the table when we are asked to serve on this committee,” said Archana Chattergee, MD, PhD, a pediatric infections disease specialist who is dean of the Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University in Illinois.

The FDA doesn’t have to follow the committee’s recommendation, but it typically does, while retaining the right to make changes.

“We are not bound at FDA by your vote, we can tweak this,” said Peter Marks, MD, PhD, director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research at the FDA. Marks participated in the meeting and helped to draft the revised proposal.

After the FDA issues the anticipated EUA, a council of independent advisors to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will meet to make specific recommendations about how the third doses should be given. After the CDC director weighs in, third doses will begin rolling out to the public.

Moderna submitted data to the FDA on September 1 in support of adding a booster dose to its regimen. The agency has not yet scheduled a public review of that data.

The Biden administration is prepared to administer shots as soon as they get the green light, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, MD, said at a Friday White House briefing.

"This process is consistent with what we outlined in August where our goals were to stay ahead of the virus," Murthy said. "Our goal then and now is to protect the health and well-being of the public. As soon as the FDA and CDC complete their evaluations, we will be ready to move forward accordingly."

"We've used this time since our August announcement to communicate and coordinate with pharmacy partners, nursing homes, states and localities," he said.

White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said vaccine supply is "in good shape for all Americans to get boosters as recommended."

Taking Cues From Israel

In considering Pfizer’s original request, the committee overwhelmingly felt that they didn’t have enough information to say that the benefits of an additional dose of vaccine in 16 and 17-year-olds would outweigh their risk. 

Adolescents have the highest risk of a rare side effect of myocarditis after vaccination. It is not known how the vaccines are causing this heart swelling. Most teens who have been diagnosed with the condition have recovered, though some have needed  hospital care.

Pfizer didn’t include 16 and 17-year-olds in its studies of boosters, which included about 300 people between the ages of 18 and 55. The company acknowledged that gap in its data but pointed to FDA guidance that said evidence from adults could be extrapolated to teens.

“We don’t know that much about risks,” said committee member Eric Rubin, MD, PhD, who is editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine

Much of the data on the potential benefits and risks of third Pfizer doses come from Israel, which first began rolling out boosters to older adults in July. 

In a highly anticipated presentation, Sharon Alroy-Preis, Israel’s director of public health services, joined the meeting to describe the nation's experience with boosters.

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Israel began to see a third surge of COVID cases in December. 

“This was after having two waves and two lockdowns,” Alroy-Preis said. By the third surge, she said, Israelis were tired.

“We decided on a lockdown, but the compliance of the public wasn’t as it was in the previous two waves,” she said.

Then the vaccine arrived. Israel started vaccinating soon after the FDA approved it in the US, and they quickly vaccinated a high percentage of their population, about 3 months faster than the rest of the world.

All vaccinations are reported and tracked by the Ministry of Health, so the country is able to keep close tabs on how well the shots are working.

As vaccines rolled out, cases fell dramatically. The pandemic seemed to be behind them. Then Delta arrived in March. By June, Israel's cases were doubling every 10 days, despite about 80% of their most vulnerable adults being fully vaccinated, Alroy-Preis said. 

Most concerning was that about 60% of severe cases were breakthrough cases in fully vaccinated individuals.

“We had to stop and figure out, was this a Delta issue,” she said. “Or was this a waning immunity issue.… We had some clue that it might not be the Delta variant, at least not alone.”

People who had originally been first in line for the vaccines, seniors and healthcare workers, were having the highest rates of breakthrough infections since they were farther away from their second dose.

Alroy-Preis said that if they had not started booster doses in July, their hospitals would have been overwhelmed. They had projected that they would have 2000 cases in the hospital each day. 

Boosters have helped to flatten the curve, though they are still seeing a significant numbers of infections. 

Data from Israel presented at the meeting show boosters are largely safe and effective at reducing severe outcomes in seniors. Israeli experience also showed that third doses, which generate very high levels of neutralizing antibodies -- the first and fastest line of the body’s immune defense -- may also slow transmission of the virus.

Key Differences in the US 

The benefit of slowing down explosive spread of a highly contagious virus was tantalizing, but many panel members noted that circumstances in Israel are very different than in the US. 

Israel went into its current Delta surge already having high levels of vaccination in their population. They also relied on the Pfizer vaccine almost exclusively for their campaign. 

The US used a different mix of vaccines and doesn’t have the same high level of vaccination coverage of its population. 

In the US, transmission is mainly being driven by unvaccinated people, Rubin noted. 

“That really means the primary benefit is going to be in reducing disease,” he said, “And we know the people who are going to benefit from that … and those are the kinds of people the FDA has already approved a third dose for,” he said, referring to an August authorization for immunocompromised people.

But Israel only began vaccinating younger people a few weeks ago. Most are still within a window where rare risks like myocarditis could appear, Rubin said.

He and other members of the committee said they wished they had more information about the safety of third doses in younger adults.

“We don’t have that right now, and I don’t think I would be comfortable giving it to a 16 year old,” Rubin said.

At the same time, the primary benefit for third doses would be in preventing severe disease, and overall, data from the US and other countries show that two doses of the vaccines remain highly effective at preventing hospitalization and death. 

Asked why Israel began to see more severe cases in fully vaccinated people, the CDC’s Sara Oliver, MD, said it was probably due to a mix of factors including the fact that Israel defines severe cases a little differently.

In the US, a severe case is generally a person who has to be hospitalized or who has died from their infection. In Israel, a person with a severe case is someone who has an elevated respiratory rate and someone who has a blood oxygen level less than 94%. In the US, that kind of patient wouldn’t necessarily be hospitalized.

In the end, one of the two committee members who wanted full approval for Pfizer’s third doses said he was satisfied with the outcome.

Mark Sawyer, MD, a professor of pediatrics and infectious disease at the University of California at San Diego said he voted yes on the first question because he thought full approval was the best way to give physicians the flexibility to prescribe the shots to vulnerable individuals.

“I’m really glad we authorized a vaccine for a third dose, and I plan to go out and get my vaccine this afternoon,” Sawyer said, noting that he was at high risk as a healthcare provider.

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September 12

Click here for Israeli study

 

Israeli Study Finds Third Shot Provides Significant Boost in Covid-19 Immunity

Israeli study finds infection rate drops dramatically with third Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination

 

 

Covid Booster
An Israeli study finds that Covid-19 immunity is significantly improved by a third Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination. (CDC via Pexels)
smithsonianmag.com 

 

When it comes to Covid-19 vaccinations, it appears the third time is a charm. A new Israeli study finds that people who get a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine have a significantly lower risk of infection from the coronavirus, including the more dangerous Delta variant.

A research team using data from Maccabi Healthcare Services in Tel Aviv found that the rate of infection dropped 48 to 68 percent within a week to 13 days after the third shot of the Pfizer vaccine. In addition, the study found the infection rate dropped even further—70 to 84 percent—two weeks to 20 days after the additional dose, reports Jason Gale of Fortune magazine.

Released on MedRxiv before submission to a peer-reviewed journal, the Israeli Ministry of Health study concludes there are short-term health benefits to receiving a third shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

“Further studies are needed to determine the duration of protection conferred by the third dose and its effect on severe disease,” conclude the researchers, who include Daniel M. Weinberger, an epidemiologist at the Yale School of Public Health.

So far, more than 2 million of Israel’s 9.3 million residents have received the third dose, reports Dov Lieber of the Wall Street Journal. They include 70 percent of Israelis 60 or older and about half who are more than 50 years old.

“If your goal is to provide someone with high levels of short-term immunity, there’s no question that a good way to do this is … through a booster shot,” David Dowdy, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University, who was not involved in the research, tells Gretchen Vogel of Science magazine.

He cautions that more research is needed to find out how long the boosters last since this study only covers a short period of time.

Health officials in Israel also want to know more about the booster’s longevity. They say they don’t know yet if more than three doses will be needed to protect people, though they are moving ahead with plans to give the booster to as many people as possible as the Delta variant continues to spread.

The World Health Organization (WHO) had wanted wealthier nations to hold off on administering boosters until people in poorer countries had received their first shots. However, Hans KlugeWHO Europe’s regional director, is now saying the additional dose should be given to people who are most at risk.

“A third dose of vaccine is not a luxury booster taking away from someone who is still waiting for a first jab,” he tells Hannah Knowles and Lenny Bernstein of the Washington Post. “But it’s basically a way to keep the people safe, the most vulnerable. But at the same time, we need to share. So we need to do it all.”

 

 

September 5

Click on these links for the latest and most reliable information on Covid-19 treatment from the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS).  As always, follow your doctor's advice when addressing health concerns.  These guides are for information only.

Guide to Home Treatment

Early Treatment Protocols

 

August 28

 

First Major Covid Study:

 

The main conclusion is that the complications from getting Covid-19 are far worse than reactions to the vaccine.

 

The hazards from taking the vaccine are real but mostly anecdotal.  This study is the broadest based on record to date.

 

 

Click here to read an important study out of Israel from a Christian news source. 

This is the most comprehensive and reliable study that we have seen to date and represents significant updates to previous information in the media as well as that from political/medical sources.

Cornerstone advocates that every person study the best research available and pray intensely for personal guidance regarding all Covid-related issues, especially vaccination.

 

 

 

 

Here is the complete text of the article.  Some paragraphs enlarged for emphasis:

Complications of serious Covid cases worse than side effects of vaccine, Israeli study finds

The largest real-world, peer-reviewed study of COVID-19 vaccine safety published by Israel’s Clalit Research Institute has found that the complications and side effects from being infected with the corona virus outweigh by far the minimal and rare side effects caused by the Pfizer vaccine that has been given to nearly six million Israelis. 

The study, just published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicineunder the title “Safety of the BNT162b2 mRNA COVID-19 vaccine in a Nationwide Setting,” was based on the Clalit health maintenance organization’s massive databank – one of the world’s largest integrated health record databases – and carried out with assistance from Harvard University researchers. 

Israel was an early global leader in COVID-19 vaccination rates and is so far the only country to provide a free, third (booster) shot against COVID-19 to all residents from the age of 12 and up.

Previous efforts to characterize vaccine safety have relied on voluntary active reporting by vaccinated individuals, which is known to be incomplete. The present study relies on the analysis of millions of anonymized electronic medical records, which are far more comprehensive.

Israel extends COVID vaccine booster shots

 

Photo of Prof. Ran Balicer, from YouTube

 

In addition, to provide the necessary context for interpreting vaccine safety findings, this study is the first to examine a wide range of adverse events both among vaccinated individuals and among unvaccinated people who were infected with the coronavirus. Thus, two separate analyses were conducted:

According to the vaccination outcomes analysis, 884,828 vaccinated individuals aged 16 and over were carefully matched with 884,828 unvaccinated individuals based on an extensive set of sociodemographic, geographic and health-related attributes. They were assigned to each group dynamically based on their changing vaccination status (235,541 individuals moved from the unvaccinated cohort into the vaccinated cohort during the study). Rates of the 25 potential adverse events within three weeks following either vaccine dose were compared between the two groups. This analysis took place from December 20, 2020, the launch of Israel’s national vaccination campaign, through May 24, 2021.

According to the study’s infection outcomes analysis, a separate analysis was conducted that estimated the rates of the same 25 potential adverse events among 173,106 unvaccinated individuals who were infected with the coronavirus, compared to 173,106 carefully matched controls who were not infected with the coronavirus. This analysis took place from March 1, 2020 (the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in Israel) through May 24, 2021.

The vaccine was found to be very safe. Out of 25 potential side effects examined, only four were found to have a strong association with the vaccine.

Myocarditis was found to be associated with the vaccine, but rarely – only 2.7 excess cases per 100,000 vaccinated individuals. The myocarditis events observed after vaccination were concentrated in males between 20 and 34 and were all treated successfully. In contrast, coronavirus infection in unvaccinated individuals was associated with 11 excess cases of myocarditis per 100,000 infected individuals.

Other adverse events moderately associated with vaccination were swelling of the lymph nodes, a mild side effect that is part of a standard immune response to vaccination, with 78 excess cases per 100,000, appendicitis with five excess cases per 100,000 (potentially as a result of swelling of lymph nodes around the appendix), and herpes zoster with 16 excess cases per 100,000.

In contrast to the relatively small number of adverse effects associated with the vaccine, high rates of multiple serious adverse events were associated with coronavirus infection among unvaccinated patients, including cardiac arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats – a 3.8-fold increase to an increase of 166 cases per 100,000 infected patients), kidney damage (14.8-fold increase; 125 excess cases per 100,000), pericarditis (5.4-fold increase; 11 excess cases per 100,000), pulmonary embolism (12.1-fold increase; 62 excess cases per 100,000), deep vein thrombosis (clots, 3.8-fold increase; 43 excess cases per 100,000), myocardial infarction (heart attack, 4.5-fold increase; 25 excess cases per 100,000), and stroke (2.1-fold increase; 14 excess cases per 100,000).

The research was conducted by Dr. Noam Barda, Dr. Noa Dagan, Yair Ben-Shlomo, Dr. Eldad Kepten, Dr. Jacob Waxman, Reut Ohana and Prof. Ran Balicer from the Clalit Research Institute, Dr. Doron Netzer of Clalit Health Services, as well as Prof. Miguel Hernán and Prof. Marc Lipsitch of Harvard’s Chan School of Public Health, Prof. Isaac Kohane of the department of biomedical informatics at Harvard Medical School, and Prof. Ben Reis of Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

This study focused on adverse events that may develop in the short- to medium-term after vaccination and those with clinical significance. The study did not focus on common immediate symptoms such as redness and discomfort at the injection site or fever. Symptoms that occurred within six weeks of the vaccine (three weeks after each vaccine dose) were defined as an adverse event of the vaccine if they occurred more frequently among the vaccinated group compared to the control group.

The Israeli and American researchers declared that the results of their study validate and complement the previously reported findings of the Pfizer/BioNTech Phase-III randomized clinical trial, which, with 21,720 vaccinated individuals, could not precisely and comprehensively assess vaccine safety. The present study’s large size allows a more detailed assessment of the vaccine’s safety across a wider range of adverse events.

“The extensive nationwide rollout of Israel’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign provided the Clalit Research Institute with a unique opportunity to assess, through its rich and comprehensive digital datasets, the safety of the vaccine in a real-world setting, without needing to rely on individual-driven active reporting of side-effects,” said Balicer, the senior author of the study who directors the Clalit Research Institute and is the HMO’s chief innovation officer. “These results show convincingly that this mRNA vaccine is very safe and that the alternative of ‘natural’ morbidity caused by the coronavirus puts a person at significant, higher and much more common risk of serious adverse events. These data should facilitate informed individual risk-benefit decision-making, and, in our view, make a strong argument in favor of opting-in to get vaccinated, especially in countries where the virus is currently widespread,” added Balicer, who also serves as chairman of Israel’s National Expert Advisory Team on COVID-19 response.

“This study sheds light for the first time on the significant side effects of the coronavirus vaccine. Since this is a more comprehensive analysis based on electronic medical records, these are more reliable assessments than those published to date which have relied on voluntary active reporting systems,” explained Netzer, chief medical officer of Clalit’s Community Health Division.

Reis, director of the predictive medicine group at the Boston Children’s Hospital Computational Health Informatics Program and Harvard Medical School, added: “To date, one of the main drivers of vaccine hesitancy has been a lack of information regarding potential side effects of the vaccine. This careful epidemiological study provides reliable information on vaccine safety, which we hope will be helpful to those who have not yet decided about vaccination. Those who have hesitated until now to get vaccinated due to concerns about very rare side effects – such as myocarditis – should be aware that the risks for this very same side effect are actually higher among unvaccinated infected individuals.”

Hernán of Harvard’s Chan School of Public Health and director of its CAUSALab said: “This research is a perfect example of how randomized trials and observational healthcare databases complement each other. The original trial of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine provided evidence of its safety, but the estimates were too imprecise given the small sample size. This analysis of Clalit’s high-quality database emulates the design of the original trial, uses its findings as a benchmark and expands upon them to confirm the vaccine’s safety on a wide range of adverse events. This combination of evidence from randomized trials and observational studies is a model for efficient medical research, something which is especially important in COVID times.”

Chan School of Public Health Prof. Lipsitch, who is director of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics there, said, “In all studies of vaccine safety, a major challenge is to ensure that those we are comparing to identify the vaccine’s side effects are similar in the other characteristics that may predict whether they will experience these side effects. This is especially hard in the context of a rapidly growing, age-targeted vaccine campaign. Clalit’s extraordinary database made it possible to design a study that addressed these challenges in a way that provides tremendous confidence in the inferences that come out of the study.”

 “The strengthening of the scientific collaboration between Harvard and Clalit made possible by the Berkowitz Living Laboratory Collaboration is already bearing fruit and giving us a foretaste of the value of healthcare systems instrumented for research,” said Kohane, chairman of the department of biomedical informatics at Harvard Medical School and co-director of the Berkowitz Family Living Laboratory Collaboration along with Balicer, concluded: “Israel offers a unique environment in which to study the vaccine and its effects, and this study is an excellent example of what can be accomplished through such close scientific collaborations.”

 

 

 

August 22

Covid Delta Variant is increasing in Arizona and in Navajo County.  It is very contagious and can lead to serious illness for people of all ages.  Continue to exercise precautions and maintain social distance.  Please do not attend if you have symptoms of illness, even a cold.  At the first sign of respiratory illness it is advisable to be tested for Covid.  Diagnosis and early treatment are the best actions for good outcomes.

 

August 8

With the rapid increase and spread of the Delta and other possible varients, social distancing, hand washing still recommended.  Please do not attend if you feel sick.  Also, please be aware that coughing and sneezing are seen as possible symptoms of illness even if they are not.  Please feel free to leave and return in order to take care of allergy symptoms.

Services are available live, on demand and on CD.

 

August 1

Continue to practice precautions and pray that the increase in Covid in our area will be stopped.

 

July 25

The Delta Varient is present in Navajo County.  It is twice as contagious and is infecting young people as well as unvaccinated people.  There is a concern about the start of school.  Our best information is that social distance and handwashing are important to prevention.  People feel very strongly both for and against the vaccine.  We urge everyone to practice Romans 14 courtesy and allow one another to pray and act according to the Lord's guidance.

 

July 18

Pot Luck at Raven Ramada, Fool Hollow, following service.  Free parking pass at the gate until 1:30 pm.

 

July 11

Fool Hollow is open again and we will go to Raven Ramada for Pot Luck after service next Sunday, July 18.  Be sure to get your parking pass from Pastor Stidham.  No charge.  After 1:30 pm passes are $10 per car at the gate.

 

July 4

We thank God for the rain!  Fool Hollow remains closed for July.  Pot Luck will be at the Hampton July 18.  Keep praying for an end to the drought.

 

June 27

The July fellowship pot luck will be at the Hampton July 18.  Fool Hollow is closed due to fire danger.

 

June 20

Observe caution with fire and Covid.  Operations at Cornerstone are returning to normal in the next few months.  Enjoy a picnic at Fool Hollow today at the Raven Ramada.  Free pass for Cornerstone at the gate until 1:30 pm.

 

June 13

This will be the last Covid update.  Operations have returned to normal with the pot luck next Sunday.  We will be re-opening our youth and children's classes as soon as teachers and students are ready.  This page will become an emergency notification page to include announcements pertaining to fire season or other community emergencies which might affect the operations of the church.  Thank you for your prayers and your patience.

 

June 6

With continued improvement concerning the pandemic, Cornerstone is making progress toward a return to regular operations.  Please pray for our children's church and youth to be resumed.  We need leaders and students!  Also pray for our increased attendance and fellowship.

 

May 30

Fool Hollow is now open and we will have Father's Day picnic following the service on June 20.  It's time to enjoy fellowship again!

 

May 23

Although the spread of covid is low in Navajo County, we continue to remain vigilant and cautious.  Pray for our children that we might resume their classes.

 

May 16

New CDC guidelines are that masks are not required for those fully vaccinated.  Many public establishments still require masks.  We continue to social distance.  Masks are optional.  We respect personal choice.

 

May 9

We have resumed serving communion.  We are also resuming our giveaways.  We will be giving away a Mother's Day gift to each of our moms this Sunday.  If you know a mom, you can also pick up a gift for her.  We are still social distancing.  Thank you for your patience.

 

May 2

We continue to use precautions and point to Romans 14.  Let everyone be fully persuaded in their own mind.  Opinions differ but the Lord God is lord over all.

 

April 25

New research from MIT suggests that wearing masks and social distancing indoors does little, if anything, to prevent Covid.  Schools are now reopening.  Blue Ridge Schools no longer require wearing masks on campus.

Cornerstone continues to advocate that each person respect the choices that others make regarding Covid precautions.  Romans 14 instructs us not to offend or be offended and to be fully persuaded in our own minds.

Cornerstone continues to support the Covid vaccines currently available.  The spread of Covid is greatly reduced but still present in the White Mountains.

 

April 11

The number of people being vaccinated with no major complications is overwhelming.  Covid remains highly dangerous for those in the vulnerable population.  If you are able to be vaccinated, you assist everyone in fighting the virus.  For the greatest majority of people, covid presents significantly more risk than vaccination.  Pastor Clay and Nancy support vaccination.

 

April 4

Cornerstone encourages vaccinations and precautions against Covid 19.

 

March 28

In person meetings at the office have resumed.  Continue to exercise precautions.  Cornerstone encourages those who are able to be vaccinated.

 

March 21

Vaccines are becoming more widely available.  We encourage everyone to consider being vaccinated and continuing to maintain precautions.

 

March 14

We are now offering communion using precautions.

 

March 7

Our quarantine has ended and we are back to meeting in person.  More vaccine is arriving so those who wish to be vaccinated should continue to check for availabilty.  If you need assistance, it's available upon request.  Please continue to observe social distance and other precautions.  Thank you for your patience.

 

February 28

Cornerstone will not meet at the Hampton Sunday, February 28, due to church quarantine.  Services will resume March 7 if there are no more cases.

Please listen live or on demand on our website.  This Sunday only the 11 am service will air. 

All meetings at the office this coming week are also cancelled.

Regular meeting schedule will resume March 7.  Check this site for updates.

Thank you for your patience.

 

February 21

Continue using precautions but thankfully, infection rate is going down.

 

February 14

We have resumed serving communion in person with precautions.  Thank you for your patience.

 

February 7

We are in God's camp!

 

January 31

Please continue to observe social distance, our best defense along with hand hygiene.  Pray for those in authority over us to increase the availability of vaccines to our community.

 

January 24

Vaccines, when available in our area, are scheduled through the Arizona State Department of Health Services.  There is a shortage of vaccine being delivered to rural areas at this time.  Continue to observe precautions.

 

January 10

Vaccines are available for 1b distribution.  Appointments required.  Contact Summit if you qualify. Infection is widespread.  Continue to observe precautions.

 

January 3

Although Summit is experiencing more covid patients than the first wave last summer, 1a vaccines have begun.  In two weeks, teachers will begin receiving 1b vaccines.  Continue to pray for our healthcare system, our educators and families impacted by covid.  And continue your precautions.

 

December 27

Summit has enacted surge protocol due to the increase in hospitalizations.  Please excercise all precautions.

 

December 20

Vaccines are being delivered.  The infection rate continues to be very high.  Please observe all precautions and seek treatment early for any symptoms.

 

December 13

Arizona has the highest infection rate of all 50 states.  PLEASE observe social distance.  Wash hands.  Use sanitizer.  Do not cough or sneeze.  Do not attend with any kind of symptom of illness.  Thank you.

 

December 6

Vaccines begin in Arizona December 15.  Please continue to observe social distance.  Thank you for your patience.

 

November 29

2020 has been a year full of unpleasant surprises, but not to God.  We Fight On!

 

November 22

Please pray for God to heal our nation and observe social distance.  Thank you.

 

November 15

We continue to observe social distance.  Thank you.

 

November 8

Infection rate has increased in our area.  Please observe social distance.  God is with us.

 

November 1

Covid is increasing in our state and in the White Mountains.  Please remember to maintain social distance.  Thank you for your patience.

 

October 25

Social distance and limiting contact inside with correct wearing of masks continue to be our best guidance.  Thank you for your patience.  The infection is increasing in our area.

 

October 18

Dr. Scott Atlas--"If you cannot socially distance, wear a mask, particularly if you are at high risk."

 

October 11

Only medical grade N95 masks properly worn provide a barrier to Covid 19.  However we continue to recommend wearing a mask or face covering when you are unable to maintain social distance of 6 feet.  We also encourage allowing people to make their choice without fear of shaming.  Let each person be fully persuaded in their own mind.

 

September 27

Young Life has started to meet in person with masks and social distance.  Our county is making good progress.  Let's help one another continue to observe the precautions as we exercise our right to meet in person to worship God.

 

September 20

Thank you for your patience as we continue to social distance.  Masks appreciated.

 

September 6

Please continue to social distance.  Thank you.

 

August 30

More businesses have been allowed to reopen last Thursday and Navajo County has moderate spread of Covid.

We continue to observe social distance.  Masks are optional but appreciated.  Coughing and sneezing even due to allergies make others uncomfortable.  Please consider leaving the room for a moment if necessary or make sure you are wearing a mask.  Others will thank you.  If you are feeling unwell at all, it is better not to attend.

Arizona's Rt is .85 (below 1 is good) and we are continuing to reopen our state.  Continue to observe the guidelines and help our community recover.

 

August 15

Continue to observe social distance, please.  It's working and Arizona's trend is headed down nicely.  

 

July 26

New evidence shows masks may reduce severity of infection.  Click here to read the article.

Masks are recommended and social distance enforced at our services.  Thank you for your patience.

 

July 19

Maintaining social distance is starting to "flatten the curve" in Arizona.  Please continue to follow all recommendations to stop the spread of infection.  Thank you for your patience

July 9

The Governor addressed the state today and stressed the need to stay at home if possible.  If you must go out, maintain 6 feet of distance and wear a mask.  Infection is widespread in the state.  Show Low has widespread infection.  Please continue to follow guidelines when attending Cornerstone to protect others as well as yourself.  We will remain in a higher state of concern for the rest of July according to today's press conference.

 

July 5

Social distance is the best protection and wearing a mask lowers risk of infecting others or becoming infected oneself.  Masks are recommended but not required in Show Low when in public.  Masks are required in Pinetop-Lakeside.  There is still widespread infection in Navajo County.  Masks and sanitizer are provided at the Hampton and their use is encouraged, especially when less than 6 feet from someone else.  Please exit the room to cough or sneeze.  Thank you for your patience.

 

June 28

Cornerstone considers wearing a mask an act of kindness toward others.  Thank you for taking all precautions to prevent the spread of infection.  Social distance is our best protection along with hand sanitation.  Let's continue to work together to keep Cornerstone open at the Hampton.

 

June 20

Please use extra caution because there is widespread infection in the Show Low area.  While masks are recommended, but not required, please do not cough or sneeze in the sanctuary and make wise use of a mask and hand sanitizer.  Even if we think it's an allergy, it can be an infection.  Continue to keep social distance at 6 feet unless you are a family unit.  It is the best protection for everyone during this difficult time.  Thank you for your cooperation.

June 1

Masks are no longer required but recommended for anyone with concerns about the virus.  Anyone with symptoms of coughing or sneezing should use face covering.  Anyone with symptoms of illness including fever should not attend until such symptoms are gone.  Hand washing and use of sanitizers is strongly encouraged.  Social distance of 6 feet will continue but family members may sit together.

May 31

We are still requiring masks and 6 feet of social distance.  The June picnic at Fool Hollow is cancelled.  Services at the Hampton meet at 9, 10 and 11 am Sundays.

May 22

The June picnic at Fool Hollow has been canceled. The ramadas are not open in June due to the virus.  We will see what happens in July.

 

May 15

The Governor's stay at home order expires today.  We are under Phase 1 CDC guidelines.

Sunday services at the Hampton are scheduled at 9, 10 and 11 am.  Please do not come if you have symptoms of illness, coughing or sneezing.  Please wear a face covering.  Please sit six feet apart as the chairs are set.  We have hand sanitizer and masks at the door.  Coffee is not being served.  Children and youth classes are not in session.  There are no meetings at the office.  These guidelines will remain in place until the end of May. 

Check on June 1 for the next phase guidelines.

 

May 3 Special Announcement

Cornerstone regular services at 9, 10 and 11 am will begin a slow rollout on Sunday May 10.  Attendees must be symptom free, wear masks, observe 6 feet of social distance at all times.  There will be no beverage service.  There will be no children's church or youth classes until further notice.

The Office will remain closed for Wednesday/Friday Cornerstone Bible Studies until further notice.

 

 

 

 

May 3

The Church Council will meet at 1 pm today to discuss plans for reopening meetings at the Hampton and at the Office.  

National guidelines expired April 30 and we are now under state guidelines which provide for religious activity as an essential activity and the occupation of hotels as residence space.  The Hampton is prepared for us to return with the wall open between the rooms and chairs placed 6 feet apart.  Attendees will wear masks, wash and disinfect hands and maintain social distance.  No one with symptoms of illness should attend.  Retail is reopening Monday in stages with the current state guidelines due to expire on May 15.

The decision of the Church Council will be posted on this bulletin page following the meeting this afternoon. 

National Day of Prayer is Thursday at 7:30 pm.  It is an online prayer meeting.  Click HERE or on the slide on our home page to join the meeting.  

You will see the website for pray4wm.com
Click at the bottom of the page where it says Tap In and the broadcast will come up.  Until then, there is a black window.

 

Crowds Soon to Gather at Delaware Bay’s Beaches

The Delaware Bay beaches will soon host an annual (and enormous) get-together, unrestricted by any unusual “social distancing” guidelines. But local police will not issue punitive fines. Neither will distancing-enforcement drones monitor, hovering above, to broadcast admonitions unto the teeming crowds that accumulate on the beaches. Why not? Because it’s now time for millions of horseshoe crabs to visit, to lay eggs in beach sands, and myriads of migratory birds follow to take advantage of all those edible energy-rich crab eggs.1

This is nothing new. As May approaches, this is a repeat of what happened last spring, and the spring before that, with a regularity that reminds us of the predictable seasons and lunar cycles promised in Genesis.2 The crabs arrive!

The world’s largest spawning population of horseshoe crabs occurs in Delaware Bay. During high tide, horseshoe crabs migrate from deep water to beaches to spawn. The female digs a nest in the sand and deposits between 4,000 and 30,000 eggs that the male will fertilize with sperm. A single [female] crab may lay 100,000 eggs or more during a season.

Horseshoe crab spawning begins in late April and runs through mid-August, although peak spawning in the mid-Atlantic takes place May 1 through the first week of June.3

But it’s not just crawling crabs that arrive in late April and afterward.

For migratory birds, springtime is busy—often dominated by travel. Long migrations require stopovers for food and rest, then it’s takeoff time—resuming air travel until nesting grounds up north are reached and settled.

Every spring two huge animal migrations congregate on the shores of Delaware Bay for different purposes. Millions of horseshoe crabs arrive to spawn and lay their eggs in the warming beach sand. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of migratory shorebirds on their way to the Arctic stop long enough to gorge themselves on the crab eggs. Today this gathering of millions of animals is considered [by some ecologists] one of the top ten environmental phenomena on the planet. … [showcasing] the ecology of the horseshoe crab/shorebird phenomenon, the work of the researchers, and the public’s interaction with this world-class gathering.1

Because of these recurring patterns, migratory birds can depend on food being conveniently available when they migrate northward in the spring. In effect, “fast food” on the beach is a “convenience store” for famished feathered fliers.

For example, consider how the annual egg-laying (and egg-burying) activities of horseshoe crabs perfectly synchronize with the hunger of migratory shorebirds (e.g., red knots, turnstones, and sandpipers) that stopover on bayside beaches, for “fast food,” right where huge piles of crab eggs have just been deposited (and where some have been uncovered by tidewaters).

No need to worry about the birds eating too many crab eggs! The egg-laying is so prolific (about 100,000 eggs per mother) that many horseshoe crab eggs are missed by the migratory birds, thus becoming the next generation of horseshoe crabs. Plus the birds mostly eat the prematurely surfacing eggs that are less likely to succeed in life anyway!

Timing is everything. Each spring, shorebirds migrate from wintering grounds in South America to breeding grounds in the Arctic. These birds have some of the longest migrations known. Delaware Bay is the prime stopover site and the birds’ stop coincides with horseshoe crab spawning. Shorebirds like the red knot, ruddy turnstone and semipalmated sandpiper, as well as many others, rely on horseshoe crab eggs to replenish their energy reserves before heading to their Arctic nesting grounds.3

But why don’t the turnstones, red knots, and other migratory birds just eat a lot of bugs in lieu of all those horseshoe crab eggs deposited in the tide-washed muddy sands of the Delaware Bay shoreline?

The birds arrive in the Arctic before insects emerge. This means that they must leave Delaware Bay with enough energy reserves to make the trip to the Arctic and survive without food until well after they have laid their eggs. If they have not accumulated enough fat reserves at the bay, they may not be able to breed.3

Why do they crowd together on the beaches of Delaware Bay? They all seem to be responding to the same “alarm clocks”—and, actually, they are. The perfect timing works because both the crabs and the migratory birds pay attention to the moon’s lunar cycles.

At low tide, adult crabs go back into the water but may return at the next high tide. Horseshoe crab spawning increases on nights with a full or new moon, when gravity is stronger and high tides are even higher. At the same time that migrating shorebirds arrive to rest and feed along Delaware Bay, horseshoe crab activity is high. While the crab buries its eggs deeper than shorebirds can reach, waves and other horseshoe crabs expose large numbers of eggs. These surface eggs will not survive, but they provide food for many animals. The shorebirds can easily feed on eggs that have surfaced prematurely.3

Amazing! What a sight to see!

As the moon goes through its periodic cycle, its gravitational pull causes the high and low tides. This facilitates the uncovering of enough horseshoe crab eggs to satisfy the needs of the migratory stopover shorebirds that pass through Delaware Bay.2

Notice how the moon provides a phenological regulation. The moon is physically ruling and correlating the interaction of the horseshoe crabs, the migratory shorebirds, and the bay’s tidewaters—all in accordance with and illustrating Genesis 1:16-18.2

In a world of turbulent change there are some things that, because God has so chosen it to be that way, changeth not.

References 
1. Delaware Museum of Natural History. 2020. May on the Delaware Bay: Horseshoe Crabs and Shorebirds. Posted on delmnh.org, accessed April 23, 2020. The museum’s website warns, “Because of the closure of many beaches and local wildlife areas due to the coronavirus pandemic, places normally available for public viewing are currently not accessible.”
2. Genesis 8:22 promised dependably recurring seasons, so spring and fall migrations show phenological patterns. Also, Genesis 1:14-18 promised reliable lunar cycles, which are linked to the timing of horseshoe crabs egg-laying. See Johnson, J. J. S. 2015. The Moon RulesActs & Facts. 44(9). Likewise, other crabs, including forest-dwelling red crabs, use lunar cycles in the timing of their annual beach-migration-based reproduction routines. See Johnson, J. J. S. 2011. A Christmas Carol in Four-Part HarmonyActs & Facts. 40(12):8-10.
3. Reshetiloff, K. 2017. Migratory Birds Shore Up Appetites on Horseshoe Crab Eggs. Chesapeake Bay Journal. 27(3):40.

*Dr. Johnson is Associate Professor of Apologetics and Chief Academic Officer at the Institute for Creation Research.

 

 

God’s Everlasting Covenant

Isaiah 43:1-13

Romans 1:16

Romans 9:1-8

Romans 11:17-27

Romans 10:8-13

 

 

 

April 26

This week the governor will make an announcement concerning the expiration of his stay at home order which expires Thursday.  This order will impact our ability to meet at the Hampton in May.  As soon as the new order is announced, this website will be updated with the impact for Cornerstone.

The action which is possible is entering Phase 1.  This would limit meetings to 10 people or less for at least two weeks.  If we qualify for Phase 2 groups of 50 will be permitted and Cornerstone would meet at the Hampton at that point provided the Hampton policy allows it.

Best case scenario has a possible return to the Hampton mid May.  This means the May pot luck will be cancelled.  Our first pot luck at Fools Hollow is June 21 which is Fathers Day.  We expect to be able to enjoy that time together at the lake.

Here's some updates on our members:

The Merifields are continuing the process of recovery after losing their home in a fire.

Art and Socorro Wood expect to end their quarantine Monday after seeing Art's primary care physician.  Socorro says Art is gaining strength daily and walking again.  

Sherri Kerr is continuing her recovery and home and so are Kurt's parents.

Ed Dunaway is recovering at home after a difficult procedure.

Mike Frost's Tuesday surgery was cancelled and moved to Friday even though he was in extreme pain.  He will see the doctor again Tuesday.  Today he is resting comfortably at last and is eating.

Continue to pray for each of these families.

We encourage you to call us and let us know how you are.  We all need to stay connected during this time apart.

Thanks to all of you who are able to continue to participate in your giving. Cornerstone continues to respond to calls for benevolence.  The need is even greater during this national emergency.  You can drop off your offerings at the office in the secure mailbox or mail them.  You can also use the giving portal on our website.

 

 

Nick Hall: As coronavirus spreads suffering and death, many people ask: Where are you, God?

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At a time when our lives have been fundamentally changed by the coronaviruspandemic many people have been asking: Where are you, God?

People have lost their jobs, people are sick, people have died and more continue to die.

So, where is God in the midst of our suffering?

JIM DALY: GOD IS USING CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC TO ACCOMPLISH HIS PURPOSE

I recently found myself asking this same question, but it wasn’t because of the coronavirus.

My sister was diagnosed with cancer seven months ago. Six months later, she passed away. Her illness and death were devastating. I had many moments where I was angry with God for taking her too soon. I still miss my sister terribly and I always will.

But as I walk through the grieving process, I have begun to understand that God does not condemn us for our feelings or our questions – or even for being angry at Him.

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I believe God sometimes uses our suffering to show us where our hope is and where it should actually be.

We tend to put our hope in things, places and people. When things fall apart – when the doctors can’t save our loved ones or the job we thought was so secure suddenly vanishes – we also fall apart.

Suffering reminds us that we cannot control everything that happens in our lives, but we can control in whom we put our trust.

The Apostle Paul wrote about trusting God in the middle of suffering in one of his letters. Scholars believe that what he describes in this passage was an actual near-death experience:

“For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will deliver us. On Him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.” (2 Corinthians 1:8-10 ESV)

Whatever it was that Paul experienced, it clearly caused him intense mental, emotional, spiritual and perhaps physical pain. But it was in the middle of this excruciating experience that he remembered God was his only hope.

If you are grappling with the question of God’s presence and power in your suffering, you are not alone. As you try to process what is happening around you, I encourage you to think about these three things.

It’s OK to give yourself a break to feel angry and sad when bad things happen in life.

Feel your feelings

Be honest with yourself and with your loved ones about how you’re feeling and what you’re going through. To deny your feelings is to deny who God made you to be.

I take great comfort in the fact that Paul was so vulnerable about his suffering. He confessed that he and his companions “despaired of life itself” and “felt that we had received the sentence of death.” While it’s tempting to think that Paul was superhuman or flawless, he was just as human as we are.

It’s OK to give yourself a break to feel angry and sad when bad things happen in life. We need to give ourselves permission to feel, so God can heal us, and others can help us.

Pray for perspective

When you are hurting, it is easy to give up on prayer. But don’t stop praying. Cry out to God, tell Him what’s on your mind and heart. Ask Him to give you perspective on your suffering. Be willing to wait for His response.

Psalm 34:18 says: “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”

We sometimes may think that because we are experiencing pain God is far away from us, but He is a lot closer than we realize.

Land on truth

Don’t allow hard times to make you question everything you know about God, your family and your friends. Don’t let one thing lead you into questioning everything you know to be true and foundational.

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Turn to God’s Word in your suffering. Read what He has to say to you. Speak aloud or write down who God says He is and who God says you are.

In the middle of suffering, Paul and his companions reminded themselves of who God was: “He raises the dead,” He had “delivered [them] from the deadly peril” and He “will deliver” again. This is why Paul could boldly say, “On Him we have set our hope.”

When you start to feel depressed by your suffering, pause, and reflect on what God has done for you in the past. He is an unchanging God, and we can confidently set our hope in Him.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE BY NICK HALL

Nick Hall is the visionary of the Together movement, author of Reset, and the founder of PULSE, a ministry at the center of the largest millennial-led prayer and outreach efforts in the world. Nick has shared the Gospel with nearly 4 million students. He is the president and CEO of The Table Coalition and sits on the board of the National Association of Evangelicals.

 

Coronavirus Article 6
The Natives are Restless: A Theology of Protest
by Dr. Jim Garlow
April 23, 2020

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In the 1868 New Zealand Parliamentary Debates: Third Session of the Fourth Parliament, Volume 2, on page 387, it states “As to the Native question…. The Natives are restless, and seem desirous of fighting.” This might increasingly describe everyday Americans wanting to get out of their houses and wanting to get back to work.

DISCLAIMER: I have stayed at home for six weeks, washing my hands very often, and have tried not to touch my face. On those rare occasions when I have to go out, I wear a mask, gloves, protective eyewear, and observe the six-foot rule. Succinctly stated, I take the Coronavirus and its associated guidelines very seriously. Having said that, I recognize that things need to change. Let’s take a look at what is unfolding in “Week Six.”

  1. ENCOURAGEMENT: Numbers of infected have flattened or nearly flattened in many places. The number of deaths is considerably lower than originally prognosticated.
  2. STAGES: It seems to me that Americans have gone through major “shifts,” best described by three stages (dates are approximate):
    • Stage One – Mid February to Thursday, March 12: Disbelief, Surprise, Bewilderment;
    • Stage Two – Friday, March 13 – Thursday, April 16: Compliance; Americans honored the requests of their government, and did so quickly. Whether that compliance is good (and it likely is, in reducing disease) or could be our future downfall (anti-Constitutional government overreach to which citizens “folded” too quickly) is yet to be determined.
    • Stage Three – Friday, April 17 to the present: Frustration, Annoyance, Feelings of Betrayal, Anger, Protest. Exaggerated numbers that were forecasted have caused feelings of distrust. There is a growing awareness that the old axiom that “the patient did not die from the disease, but the treatment killed him” might apply to our nation. The risk/reward balance would indicate that if we would not allow anyone to drive a car, no one would ever die of a car accident. This logic may have been applied to Coronavirus. In addition, since one study has shown that 94% of persons who died had underlying conditions, perhaps those with underlying conditions could have been quarantined, not the entire population. What constitutes a bona fide Coronavirus death is even being questioned. Some are listed as dying from COVID-19 who were never tested.
    • Stage Four – there has not been a “stage four” yet, but if the government does not allow greater freedoms, this next stage could be one of rebellion. Assuming that various government entities allow a proactive plan of re-activation, the next stage would hopefully be “early phase opening.”
    • Stage Five – could potentially be the taking of legal action to protect churches (and other entities) from being harassed and shuttered while Walmart, Costco, liquor stores and tattoo parlors are allowed to be open, or lawsuits that might result from destruction of companies due to government overreach.
  3. LOCKED IN: Shelter in place is beginning to feel to many as more of a “shuttered in space.” Lockdown has become “locked in,” that is, being penalized for doing nothing wrong, and for an indefinite amount of time.  
  4. GOVERNMENT LEADERS – POSITIVE: The President and multiple governors who believe in the Constitutional limitations of government are providing superb leadership. Praise God that President Trump is one who has respect for our Constitution, loves free-market economics, and is a strong advocate for religious liberty. I was privileged to be at the United Nations in New York City on September 22, 2019, when the President spoke on religious freedom, the first-ever such speech there. I also attended the first and second “Ministerials” at the US State Department which dealt with this critical topic. My wife and I attended the 2nd Annual Conference on the Persecution of Christians in Budapest, Hungary which was attended by several from the Trump Administration. Bottom line: President Trump cares deeply about the triumvirate of freedoms: political, economic, and religious. Just today, many faith leaders were on an extended conference call in which Attorney General William Barr outlined – in the face of closed churches – his strong commitment to our cherished First Amendment. He was followed by US Surgeon General Jeff Adams who outlined a potential strategy for re-opening houses of worship.
  5. GOVERNMENT LEADERS – NEGATIVE: Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer continues to be the poster child of Constitutional overreach. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has now tied with her for first place when he established his Coronavirus “snitch hotline” that would have made China’s Communist President Xi Jinping profoundly proud. Fortunately the phone lines created by the Mayor’s draconian order were overloaded with prank calls, forcing de Blasio to shut down his Orwellian devise. And who can forget his threat to “permanently” close houses of worship! Mendocino County Supervisors (California) brought quick lawsuits on themselves when they ruled that a pastor could not even livestream his services from his church, in which the soundman and camera person were the only persons in the auditorium, up to as much as 60 feet apart. Tragically, these are not the only despots who have unleashed their hatred for the church. Going beyond the churches are the issues of our parks and beaches. Miles of beaches in my city of San Diego are empty, with police riding ATV making certain that – because of some government fiat – no one enjoys them. A 40-year-old mother was arrested in Meridian, ID – in front of her children – for being in a park!
  6. PROTESTERS: Protests have erupted in multiple states. Most of these are, in my opinion, quite justified as they are often in states where government leaders have acted in tyrannical, despotic ways. (Reminder my “disclaimer” above: I have willingly complied with governmental requests. My objection is excessive tyrannical behavior by some elected officials and bureaucrats.)
  7. A THEOLOGY OF PROTEST: Given the national climate, we need to have a “theology of protest.” The defense of protesting is a very narrow and slippery road, with deep ditches on both sides. On one side is the “ditch” of rebellion, never honored by God, in contrast to biblically grounded protestation (a la Martin Luther in 1517 or Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1960s). On the other side is the “ditch” of acquiescence, capitulation, yielding to ungodly forces which result in catastrophic losses of freedoms.
    • KNOWING WHEN, KNOWING WHERE TO PROTEST: Romans 13 is the classic passage on obeying government. In contrast, Acts 5 presents the dichotomy of obeying God but not man. Jesus told Pilot his authority was from God, implying that if it is used sinfully there will be judgement on him for abusing its use (John 19:11). Midwives (Exodus 1), Rahab (Ex 2), Saul & Jonathan (1 Samuel 14), the Book of Daniel (Daniel 3,6), Esther (Esther 4), Obadiah hiding prophets (1 Kings 18), Jesus overturning moneychangers tables (Matthew 21) are only a few Scriptural examples of going against existing laws. Written into our fabric as a nation is the Boston Tea Party and the acts of civil disobedience of Martin Luther King, Jr. Many people have rightfully protested in front of the abortuaries – the killing centers of America –  for their slaughter of innocent children.
    • CONSEQUENCES: Protesters must realize that part of the “theology of protest” is the willingness to accept the consequences of disobedience.
    • DISCERNMENT: Protesting should be based on matters of faith and conscience, that is, a godly conscience based on Truth, not merely preference. The Coronavirus protesters are legitimately aggrieved over violations of Constitutionally protected rights. For the believer, participating in such protests needs to be tempered by the Holy Spirit, with an eye for always exalting the Name of our Lord, and looking for ways to honor God. Also one should examine one’s motives carefully. It is wise for believers to repent of that which allowed conditions to deteriorate to where they now are. Agree with God on this matter before you protest. If Jesus-followers go into protests with anything but a pure spirit, we pick up the spirit of the world, of that which we are opposing. We then fail to walk in holiness and Truth, and end up falling into the trap that the evil one has set for us.
    • APPROPRIATE TOLERATION: The word “tolerant” has been abused by the radical leftists, most notably by the LGBTQ, who have been obsessively anti-tolerant by forcing the radical sexual orientation/gender identity agenda upon everyone they can. Appropriate tolerance is exactly the opposite. It is, in a word, tolerant. During this season, those who protest should be truly tolerant, that is, not being critical of those who don’t, and vice versa.
    • ANARCHISTS: My wife and I were in France in December 2018 during the “yellow vest movement.” This very legitimate anti-globalism strike and protest was later undermined when anarchists – quite likely funded by a well-known international agitator  – penetrated the movement in Paris bringing violence, burning, injuries and death. Coronavirus protesters will need to keep a watchful eye for violent left-wing anarchists who will attempt to damage the reputation of the movement, much like they tried to do in 2016 in Trump rallies and at Tea Party rallies in previous years.
    • ADVOCATES: When moving in the legal realm, we need to make certain that we are not sinfully impacted by a litigious-prone culture, but are riveted to Constitutional truth that reflects the precepts of Scripture. God has provided many godly attorneys to guide us during this time, organizations such as the Alliance Defending Freedom, The American Center for Law and Justice, Liberty Counsel, Liberty Institute, Pacific Justice Institute, Freedom of Conscience Fund, Becket Fund, National Center for Law and Policy, and many others.
    • PROTESTERS’ PROTOCOL: For starters, while the protesters have a right to express their frustration, they would have much greater credibility with those they are trying to persuade if they would demonstrate that they can – while gathering – follow basic protocol such as wearing masks and social distancing. Those simple guidelines (even if the protesters do not agree with them) would give them greater influence, as they would be demonstrating that they can gather in groups while following the “new norms,” thus ready to go back into the workforce.
  8. PROGRESSIVES, GLOBALISTS: The potential for seizing power during a time of real or perceived crisis is the dream of “one-world government, Nanny-state” progressives. And it is the moment for which globalists have been salivating. In past years I would have dismissed most statements about globalists as mere “conspiracy theories.” After being involved in Washington, DC, and going to numerous global political capitals, I see that it is not merely a theory. The “deep state,” “globalists” and radial “progressives” are for real and are bringing destruction wherever they go. For the record, Trump is disliked for his pro-life, pro-free market, pro-Israel and other stances, but he is hated – severely hated – for his anti-globalist, pro-Western Civilization historic values, and pro-American views. The globalists disdain Trump. He has frustrated their plans. Discerning people know this.
  9. CONSPIRACY THEORIES: Speaking of “conspiracy theories,” much of what is floating around the internet today is likely merely theories, so beware. Yet at the same time, some ill-informed persons are far too quick to dismiss the reality of what is happening in our nation and in our globe. Sin is much more deeply embedded in governments than most realize. Because most people desire to live their lives right, they naively assume that everyone else is the same way. They can’t conceive of a horrific “dark side” in government, simply because they don’t know people like that. This grand “pause” has given people lots of free internet time which has possibly caused some imaginations to take unsubstantiated leaps, based on videos floating around cyberspace. But on the other hand, this downtime has caused some people to be aware of the evil that lurks behind much of today’s shadow governments. Alert people are informed. The uninformed will someday be surprised. Not everything labeled “conspiracy” is one. Not everything labeled “theory” is one. Pray for discernment.
  10. VACCINATIONS: There is a national conversation swirling around regarding vaccinations. I receive vaccinations, with no hesitation.  Always have. However, a word to government officials: “Leave people alone who don’t want vaccinations. Let people decide for themselves. Stop being tyrants. If people don’t want themselves or their children vaccinated, leave them alone. When you, as government or globalists, force it upon people, you only confirm their belief in nefarious plans. Leave people alone! Parents have every right to determine the medical treatment for their children.” It is interesting to note that the most disdained person in the “Coronavirus constellation of videos” is likely Bill Gates. His comments on vaccinations (“reducing the world’s population”) were at best blundering, at worst diabolical.
  11. VALUES: Avoid excessive listening to the news. It is probably best not to listen to more than two hours of the news in any one day. Beware of overdosing on even the best of internet videos. Calm your heart. Phone an old friend and laugh as you swap stories. Hold your family members (if they are with you) close. Take walks. Take naps. Watch movies, that is, good and uplifting movies. Breathe deeply. Love your neighbor. Love God. Look at flowers or mountains or streams or some aspect of nature. Thank God for all that is good. Read your Bible. Meditate. Pray. Talk to God. He will listen. Then listen to Him. He still speaks.

 

 

Christen Limbaugh Bloom: God using coronavirus crisis to touch hearts of individuals, create revival in church

Pastor Greg Laurie answers coronavirus questions: Church attendance

Pastor Greg Laurie answers coronavirus questions.

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My all-time favorite writer is C.S. Lewis. He wrote: “The more we let God take us over, the more truly ourselves we become – because He made us. He invented us. He invented all the different people that you and I were intended to be . . . It is when I turn to Christ, when I give up myself to His personality, that I first begin to have a real personality of my own.”

I love this insight because it directly opposes the thought that God expects His followers to be “perfect” robot-like clones. Lewis points us to the fact that God is actually the inventor of individuality. He created each of us with unique personalities and gifts meant to be used to further His kingdom.

Nice thought, but why does our individuality matter? What does God get out of it? In his book “You the Leader,” Pastor Phil Pringle highlights that all through the Bible and human history, God has used individuals to impart His godly vision throughout the world in order to create positive change. He referenced Moses leading the Israelites out of slavery and John the Baptist preparing the way for Jesus, stating, "When we follow great leaders, their vision becomes ours. We start to see what they see, and we begin to own a vision larger than ourselves." Pringle reminds us every great leader must first go through a period of trial.

SEN. JONI ERNST: CORONAVIRUS -- OUR ESSENTIALWORKERS ARE OUR HEROES. IT'S TIME WE PAY THEM BACK

The entire world is facing an intense trial right now as we try to mitigate the potential harm from an extremely contagious and invisible virus. We now have a heightened awareness of the power of unseen dangers – and my prayer is that this revelation will help people have a better understanding of another invisible enemy – one that has been attacking us much longer than the coronavirus.

I’m referring to a spiritual enemy God has warned humans about since the beginning of time. The Apostle Paul said of this adversary: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12).

Paul was trying to explain we should not view people as our enemies, but instead recognize it is in fact a spiritual force of evil who creates disharmony and struggle between us. How does this happen? How does the evil one get a foothold in our lives?

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There are honestly countless tactics the enemy uses against us – but I believe one of the most successful methods is creating a spiritual “desert” in our hearts. This happens when we believe things like, “Living by God’s standard is outdated and impossible” or “God is too busy to worry about my problems.”

It’s a sad reality that many people don’t even attempt to have a relationship with God because it seems too daunting. Far too often, people give up before they’ve even really begun their spiritual journeys, and they pretend God doesn’t exist – because that seems easier than answering to someone who they believe is constantly judging them.

But the truth is, those feelings about God are actually lies spoken to us by our spiritual enemy who ruthlessly attempts to skew our vision of God’s loving nature.

Though this can feel discouraging, it’s important to remember God is constantly on a mission to correct people’s misconceptions about Him. Over the past month, I’ve heard many pastors say they believe God is specifically using this unique time in history to create a revival in the church by softening people’s hearts. I agree with them.

Too many people are trapped in spiritual deserts; some believers even slip into this gray area of disbelief and loss of connection with Jesus. But I am confident although God didn’t cause this virus, He is using it to pour His living water into the hearts of countless individuals, creating streams in their spiritual deserts.

And by doing this, God transforms these individuals into spiritual “springs” so to speak. Because when we accept Jesus for who He truly is, we are filled with His all-consuming and powerful love, and this love inevitably flows out from us to others from Jesus – the source.

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By sprouting up new “springs,” God is creating more opportunities for others to come into contact with His living water of love and salvation. So you see, each individual person matters in God’s grand plan. And though we are all experiencing the same global crisis, I believe God is bringing unique revelations to every single human heart, leading them to a higher calling.

“But whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14).

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM CHRISTEN LIMBAUGH BLOOM

Christen Limbaugh Bloom is the creator of Haplous, a Christian blog for women seeking peace in a stressful world. Her writing focuses on practical “baby steps” individuals can take when pursuing a relationship with God. Christen is a Missouri girl turned Manhattanite who loves God, her husband, iced coffee year-round, and connecting with other women. You can follow Christen’s blog on Instagram at @haplous_official and her website at www.haplousofficial.com.

 

Judges 6 New Living Translation (NLT)

Gideon Becomes Israel’s Judge

The Israelites did evil in the Lord’s sight. So the Lord handed them over to the Midianites for seven years. The Midianites were so cruel that the Israelites made hiding places for themselves in the mountains, caves, and strongholds. Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, marauders from Midian, Amalek, and the people of the east would attack Israel, camping in the land and destroying crops as far away as Gaza. They left the Israelites with nothing to eat, taking all the sheep, goats, cattle, and donkeys. These enemy hordes, coming with their livestock and tents, were as thick as locusts; they arrived on droves of camels too numerous to count. And they stayed until the land was stripped bare. So Israel was reduced to starvation by the Midianites. Then the Israelites cried out to the Lord for help.

When they cried out to the Lord because of Midian, the Lord sent a prophet to the Israelites. He said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of slavery in Egypt. I rescued you from the Egyptians and from all who oppressed you. I drove out your enemies and gave you their land. 10 I told you, ‘I am the Lordyour God. You must not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you now live.’ But you have not listened to me.”

11 Then the angel of the Lord came and sat beneath the great tree at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash of the clan of Abiezer. Gideon son of Joash was threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress to hide the grain from the Midianites. 12 The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, “Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!”

13 “Sir,” Gideon replied, “if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? And where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about? Didn’t they say, ‘The Lordbrought us up out of Egypt’? But now the Lord has abandoned us and handed us over to the Midianites.”

14 Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!”

15 “But Lord,” Gideon replied, “how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!”

16 The Lord said to him, “I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man.”

17 Gideon replied, “If you are truly going to help me, show me a sign to prove that it is really the Lord speaking to me. 18 Don’t go away until I come back and bring my offering to you.”

He answered, “I will stay here until you return.”

19 Gideon hurried home. He cooked a young goat, and with a basket[a] of flour he baked some bread without yeast. Then, carrying the meat in a basket and the broth in a pot, he brought them out and presented them to the angel, who was under the great tree.

20 The angel of God said to him, “Place the meat and the unleavened bread on this rock, and pour the broth over it.” And Gideon did as he was told. 21 Then the angel of the Lord touched the meat and bread with the tip of the staff in his hand, and fire flamed up from the rock and consumed all he had brought. And the angel of the Lorddisappeared.

22 When Gideon realized that it was the angel of the Lord, he cried out, “Oh, Sovereign Lord, I’m doomed! I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face!”

23 “It is all right,” the Lord replied. “Do not be afraid. You will not die.” 24 And Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and named it Yahweh-Shalom (which means “the Lordis peace”). The altar remains in Ophrah in the land of the clan of Abiezer to this day.

 

Our worship songs this morning come from February 23.  It's before we knew how serious the Covid-19 pandemic would become.  It's wonderful to hear the way these songs, and the prophetic word from that day, are relevant to every day.  Especially today when we long to be together again.  A special blessing came to us this morning when Tom Szabo texted that song title to Clay without knowing that Clay had already chosen that song to lead today's worship.  The corporate ministry of the Holy Spirit is not limited to a group in a room. The Holy Spirit is present with each of us right now as we join our hearts in worship.  May God bless each of you in your places.

 

 

 

 

 

April 19

We will celebrate virtual communion today.  Have your elements ready--bread and juice

The office is open by appointment if anyone needs toilet paper.  Call 928-242-8591

Prayer updates--Since Palm Sunday, when the Merifield's home burned, there were 5 people who went to the ER at Summit.  The Merifields report that a CO2 detector woke them and saved their lives.  All but one of those who went to the ER have returned home to recover.  Continue to pray for Mike Frost who is being treated in Tucson.

You can mail your tithes and offerings or drop them in the mailbox at the church office.  You can also use the online giving portal on our website.  Thank you for your active efforts to remain connected and to participate in the outreach to our community.

We are creating an email contact list.  Please check to see that you are receiving email notifications from Nancy at Cornerstone.  Also, send Nancy your updated email address if you do not receive the first email which went out either today or yesterday.

Beware of the Least Likely Temptation

Joab had defected to Adonijah, though he had not defected to Absalom.  1 KINGS 2:28

Joab withstood the greatest test of his life, remaining absolutely loyal to David by not turning to follow after the fascinating and ambitious Absalom. Yet toward the end of his life he turned to follow after the weak and cowardly Adonijah. Always remain alert to the fact that where one person has turned back is exactly where anyone may be tempted to turn back (see 1 Corinthians 10:11-13). You may have just victoriously gone through a great crisis, but now be alert about the things that may appear to be the least likely to tempt you. Beware of thinking that the areas of your life where you have experienced victory in the past are now the least likely to cause you to stumble and fall.

We are apt to say, “It is not at all likely that having been through the greatest crisis of my life I would now turn back to the things of the world.” Do not try to predict where the temptation will come; it is the least likely thing that is the real danger. It is in the aftermath of a great spiritual event that the least likely things begin to have an effect. They may not be forceful and dominant, but they are there. And if you are not careful to be forewarned, they will trip you. You have remained true to God under great and intense trials— now beware of the undercurrent. Do not be abnormally examining your inner self, looking forward with dread, but stay alert; keep your memory sharp before God. Unguarded strength is actually a double weakness, because that is where the least likely temptations will be effective in sapping strength. The Bible characters stumbled over their strong points, never their weak ones.

“…kept by the power of God…”— that is the only safety. (1 Peter 1:5). From My Utmost for His Highest Updated Edition

 

April 12:  Easter Sunday

Announcements

Next Sunday we will observe virtual communion.  At your home, have something to serve as the bread and the juice ready and Pastor Clay will lead us in the observation of communion as part of the worship service beginning at 11 am live on our streaming platform and on demand later.

Click here for the link to sermon.net where we can be heard on any device.

You can download the lyrics to the Easter Hymns we will sing today.  Go to the Easter Hymns tab and follow directions to download the pdf file.  Today's hymns are selected from Easter services in 2018 and 2019.  

 

In the News

Billions of Locusts Invade in New, Larger Wave as Second Swarm Threatens Africa: 'Extremely Alarming' | CBN News

A new wave of locusts is threatening Africa with devastation and starvation, even as the COVID-19 pandemic undermines efforts to fight the locust plague.
 
Parts of the continent already experienced the biggest locust outbreak in 70 years, just weeks before the coronavirus hit. Now a second wave is on its way, with some locust swarms 20 times the size of the first.

Billions of young desert locusts are coming, threatening plants and crops. This second invasion includes more developed locusts known as “young adults,” which are especially voracious eaters.  

Some Africans view the locust swarms as more destructive than the coronavirus. And there are predictions that the locust plague might cause the coronavirus to spread even further as people band together, trying to fight off the swarms of locusts from eating all their food.

Related

(PHOTO CREDIT: Sven Torfinn/FAO via AP)

“Everyone is talking about” the locusts, said Yoweri Aboket, a farmer in Uganda. “Once they land in your garden they do total destruction. Some people will even tell you that the locusts are more destructive than the coronavirus. There are even some who don’t believe that the virus will reach here.”

Gardens with essential crops like cassava are in grave danger across Kenya, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Djibouti, Eritrea, Tanzania and Congo.

“The current situation in East Africa remains extremely alarming," a new UN Food and Agriculture Organization assessment said. "An increasing number of new swarms are forming in Kenya, southern Ethiopia and Somalia.” 

The Nairobi-based Climate Prediction and Application Center said the locusts are “invading the Eastern Africa region in exceptionally large swarms like never seen before." 

(PHOTO CREDIT: Sven Torfinn/FAO via AP)

Meanwhile, coronavirus-related travel restrictions around the world are preventing the importation and delivery of urgently needed pesticides in some areas.

“I think, unfortunately, because of other things going on around the world, people are forgetting about the problem with the locusts. But it’s a very, very real problem," farmer George Dodds told the FAO. 
 
In Ethiopia, six million lives are at risk as the locust outbreak threatens to cause “large-scale crop, pasture and forest-cover loss, worsening food and feed insecurity,” according to the FAO. 

And Ethiopia’s agriculture ministry says the problem is worsening as the locust swarms are now appearing in locations where they had not been previously sighted.

This story compiled from Associated Press material.   

 

Mississippi city's coronavirus shutdown bans drive-in church services ahead of Easter

Cops fine worshippers at drive-in service in Greenville, Mississippi

Pastor James Hamilton of the King James Bible Baptist Church and Kelly Shackelford, president of the First Liberty Institute, join Tucker Carlson on 'Tucker Carlson Tonight.'

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Drive-in church services that attempt to adhere to social distancing guidelines by keeping worshipers physically apart from one another in their own cars will not be allowed this Easter Sunday in at least one Mississippi community, as the coronavirus crisis has left wide swaths of the country shut down.

The mayor and city council of Greenville, Miss., banned all in-person church services and implemented a citywide 10 p.m. curfew from April 7 until whenever Gov. Tate Reeves’ statewide shelter-in-place order is lifted.

CLICK HERE FOR FULL CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE

“Churches are strongly encouraged to hold services via Facebook Live, Zoom, Free Conference Call, and any and all other social media, streaming and telephonic platforms,” the mayor’s office said in a press release.

But the governor’s shelter-in-place order did not place a specific ban on drive-in services, and some pastors are trying to hold them in defiance of the city’s order.

The Rev. James Hamilton of the King James Baptist Church in Greenville tried to hold a drive-in service anyway -- and police arrived to shut it down, as seen in cellphone video he recorded.

 

DOJ: 'Expect action' on government regulation of religious services amid COVID-19 outbreak

DOJ ramps up fraud protection amid pandemic

U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama Jay Town joins Jon Scott to discuss how criminals take advantage during a pandemic.

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The Justice Department (DOJ) may take action next week against local governments that have cracked down on religious services as widespread parts of the country are shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, a DOJ spokesperson said Saturday.

“While social distancing policies are appropriate during this emergency, they must be applied evenhandedly [and] not single out religious [organizations],” DOJ Director of Communications Kerri Kupec tweeted.

 

 

Ellis & Pence: In coronavirus fight, Americans armed with faith, freedom and democracy

President Trump says there are signs coronavirus cases are entering a 'downward curve'

President Trump leads daily briefing of the White House coronavirus task force.

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The United States is fighting an invisible enemy known as the coronavirus. President Trump and all of America are coming together to prevail. And together we will.

We know the costs in this fight are profound and growing by the day. More than 18,000 Americans have passed in this fight so far, businesses of all sizes are shut down, and unemployment is rising.

In these trying times, America is fortunate to have a president who cherishes the Constitution and its rights enshrined.

SEN. RICK SCOTT: CORONAVIRUS -- WHO FAILED THE WORLD WITH COVID-19 PANDEMIC

When asked whether states should put in a stay-at-home order, Trump answered, “we have a thing called the Constitution, which I cherish.” The president went on to explain that he would defer to states as they follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines while crafting a state-specific response.

This was an important moment for America.

By cherishing the Constitution, Trump and America are signaling to the world that we are best positioned to defeat this virus and to preserve prosperity, liberty, and the opportunity that first made America great.

Our Constitution was designed to protect inalienable rights like life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Such inalienable rights protect faith, freedom and our republic across America.

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If our leaders don’t cherish these rights and, by extension, our Constitution, then we would weaken our all-of-America response to defeat this virus. That won’t happen thanks to Trump as he champions freedom, faith, and prosperity at this moment.

Rather than more dependency on government or globalism, exercising our rights is helping beat this virus. Here’s how.

Faith

Faith is essential in America. The power of prayer is seen across all of America in this crisis, as our heroes fight this invisible enemy. In fact, our heroes continue to pray for our nation, as nurses and doctors stand on hospital rooftops to pray over patients and families.

Our founders understood that free exercise of religion is an important element of society because through our faith, we meet moments of crisis with courage and reliance on God. American presidents have always turned our nation back to God in all manner of challenges we have faced and other wars we have endured.

Freedom

In America, freedom to innovate provides the catalyst for us to solve the hardest of problems. Freedom enables our markets to find creative ways to problem-solve and cure. Trump is calling on this freedom to defeat this virus.

The private sector of America’s brilliant enterprise has answered the call to fight in this war. The president has been consistently fighting to bring back manufacturing and jobs to our shores, and through this crisis, America is realizing the wisdom of that policy. We have amazing enterprise and a free market system that encourages innovation.

Democracy

We can keep America great by preserving essential elements of democracy, no matter the moment we face. Trump and his administration are doing just that.

“Democracy is the answer in times of crisis,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at a press conference. We can’t take the bait of those who claim that less liberty is a better recipe for combatting pandemics. America and our democratic allies are better positioned to defeat this invisible enemy than China, Cuba or Iran. And we are ever stronger in this fight with a president who always puts America first.

In this trying time, Trump is right to cherish our Constitution. Countless examples of Americans exercising their constitutionally protected rights prove that America is better for it. And so too is the world. This is why the American experiment was truly unique and why America has endured and become the beacon of light and liberty to the world.

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There is a light at the end of the tunnel — the light of liberty that has shined brightly in many dark moments — and we are grateful that our Constitution remains with the president on this voyage.

God bless America and all of our heroes in this fight.

John Pence (@JePence) is a senior adviser to the Trump 2020 campaign. He is an alumnus of The College of William & Mary and holds a law degree from the Indiana University Maurer School of Law and a business degree from New York University.

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CLICK HERE FOR MORE FROM JOHN PENCE

Jenna Ellis is a constitutional law attorney and the Senior Legal Adviser to the Trump 2020 campaign. She is an attorney to President Trump and author of “The Legal Basis for a Moral Constitution.”

 

Word for Worship

When I was a child, my mother always dressed my younger sister and me in brand new Easter dresses complete with shoes, purses, hats and gloves.  It was a great American tradition in those days to parade down the street and off to church in your best new finery.  I still enjoy dressing up for church on Easter in a special way but this Sunday I am wearing ordinary clothes so I can help broadcast our church service from the office.  We all wish we could greet each other in person today.

A message from International Christian Concern this past week is a great reminder of the precious liberty we have in this country.  A Christian orphanage founded in Nigeria in 1996 was closed last year and 27 orphans moved to Islamic state run homes.  Six of the children were so desperate for the gospel they ran away to attend church last month.  The pastor of the church had no choice but to have the children returned to the state homes.  ICC is looking into the case to see what can be done.

Today in America our churches are free to broadcast but meeting in person is not allowed in most jurisdictions.  In some localities the police are actually issuing $500 fines for meeting in closed cars in a parking lot.  But we are really only enduring a temporary halt in our freedom to worship.  As we celebrate Resurrection Day, we can pray for our fellow belivers around the world who must meet in secret or risk loss of life and property.  The day is coming when the Lord will return and persecuters will face justice.

This pandemic is unlike any other world event in history but was predicted as one of many birth pangs which will take place with greater frequency as the Lord's return approaches.

Matthew 24:7  (NKJV)
For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.

The women who went to the tomb early on the Third Day had purchased spices with their own money to anoint the body of the Lord.  But when they arrived at the tomb, they were told the amazing truth.

Mark 16:5-7
 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed.
But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples—and Peter—that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.”
So they went out quickly and fled from the tomb, for they trembled and were amazed. And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

The children from the orphanage risked their lives when they ran away to attend church.  The women purchased costly spices and then ran away from the empty tomb in fear.  I grew up with a tradition that celebrated my stylish Easter dress.  What contrast!

Today we should not be focused on the loss of our freedom to meet.  We should not be running away in fear.  Resurrection Day is not about a beautiful new dress.  It's about the truth that He is risen!  

 

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who [c]sleep in Jesus.
15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.

 Our Savior has gone to prepare a place for us but He is coming again and when we join Him in the air, we will forever be with the Lord.  That is all the comfort we need.

 

 Here are links to the various services and Easter messages from earlier today.

 6 am Sunrise Service with KNLB the Celebration Station 88.5 fm--Click here 
Fox special Easter services--click here
Franklin Graham Easter Message on Fox News--click here
President Trump's Easter message to the nation--click here

 

 

April 5: Palm Sunday

Zechariah's Strange Prophecy

“All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.” (Matthew 21:4-5

When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on an unbroken donkey colt on that momentous first day of the week, just a week before His resurrection, the multitudes quickly recognized that He was fulfilling an ancient prophecy and thereby specifically claiming to be their long-awaited Messiah. The prophecy was that of Zechariah 9:9, and the people in turn began to fulfill David’s even more ancient prophecy, laying palm branches in His path, and crying out: “Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the LORD” (Psalm 118:26).

This is one of the few events in the life of Christ that are recorded in all four gospels, though only Matthew notes it as the fulfillment of prophecy. And what a strange prophecy it was! One would think that the anticipated King would come riding on a great white horse, ready to put down all His enemies (and indeed He shall do exactly that some day—see Revelation 19:11).

But here He comes riding on a colt, the foal of an ass, not high and mighty, but meek and lowly! Ah, but as Zechariah prophesied, He comes “just, and having salvation” (Zechariah 9:9). And the salvation He was bringing was not deliverance from Roman subjugation but eternal deliverance from sin and its awful wages.

These same multitudes that hailed Him soon were following their high priest in clamoring for His crucifixion. Nevertheless He someday will fulfill Zechariah’s later prophecy: “They shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him” (Zechariah 12:10). Then, finally, indeed, “the LORD shall be king over all the earth” (Zechariah 14:9). HMM

 

Prayer for the Nation from my morning devotional

Lord, these days seem dark and difficult in our nation. But you are the God who led your people through the Red Sea on dry ground. Things seemed dark then, but you provided freedom. Teach us also to follow you as our shepherd. Amen.

The One Year Pray for America Bible NLT (p. 377). Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

 

I was blessed by the fact that these words, which so perfectly describe our nation today, were written years ago...Nancy

 

Announcements for April 5 Palm Sunday

Tithes and offerings can be mailed to our office or dropped in our mailbox at the office.  You can also use the online giving portal on our website.

There was an attic fire in Cole and Angela Merifield's home this morning.  Everyone is safe.  Pray for them.  We will contact people if help is needed.

Continue to call, email or text Pastor Clay and Nancy to let us know how you are doing.  Also contact one another and alert us to any needs.

The Sunday service will be archived on the website so if you know someone who needs technical help to access the broadcasts, contact us or help one another if possible.

Remember to tune in to our radio broadcasts during the week.  It's always a different sermon.
“Morning Light” radio program airs on:
  • Sunday at 9 am on KRFM 98.5 FM
  • Sunday at 9:30 am and Monday to Friday 11:30 am on KSNH  88.5 FM
  • Sunday at 9:30 am on KNLB 91.1 FM, Lake Havasu, AZ 
  • Daily at 7:30 am & 3:30 pm on KRCI 89.5 FM 
When you are in the Valley, tune to 95.5 HD3 for the Celebration Station

Today's worship service was pre-recorded from 2000-2006.  

It features Nora Stidham on the piano, Betty Hiegel alto and Jimmy Seay on the guitar.  We can thank Pastor Clay for rescuing these archival recordings from cassette tapes last summer!  Pastor Clay's sermon today was delivered live from our studio at the Cornerstone office.
Fight on!

 

 

 

 

April 2: 5 pm

You can mail your offering or drop it in the mailbox at the office or use the online giving portal on our website.  Some have asked about that.

We are going to broadcast on our livestream Sunday at 11 am.  The service will be available on demand on the website under sermons as well.

We have a treat for the worship service. Pastor Clay has selected some old recordings from the PL Senior Center services and we will air these for the first time ever.  You will enjoy the song selections as well as the wonderful worship team members from that era.

Pastor Clay will bring a message following the worship set.  The service will be an hour or less.  We look forward to hearing from you by phone or email.  Let's stay connected and let's Fight On!

 

March 29:  6 pm

Following the White House press conference today the decision has been made to suspend services at the Hampton for the month of April.

We will broadcast a brief worship service and sermon from our office using our livestream at 11 am.  The Impact Hour at 10 am is suspended for April.

Please spread the word and continue to check our website for updates.

 

March 28:  8 am

Services are cancelled tomorrow at the Hampton.

Check the website later this week for announcement concerning next Sunday.  We are reviewing the situation as guidelines are updated.

You can listen to Morning Light, our radio program, Sunday morning at 9:00 on 98.5 fm and 9:30 on 88.5 fm

You can also listen to previous recordings of the Impact Hour and Sermons on website.

Thank you for your cooperation during this national emergency.

We join in prayer for our nation and the world.

Fight on!

 

March 25: noon

Senior Shopping Hours:  Walmart Tuesday 6-7 am

                                            Safeway Tuesday & Thursday 6-9 am

                                            Eddie's Country Store Wednesday 6-7am

                                            Dollar General Daily 8-9 am

State of AZ Hotline for seniors unable to access groceries (602) 264-4357

And Show Low Library is offering curbside pick-up  928-532-4070 for books, puzzles exchange Parking Lot WiFi

 

Word from Pastor Clay Stidham

Psalm 55:22

Cast thy burden upon the Lord and he shall sustain thee:  He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. 

 

 

March 23 at 10:30 am:  Covid-19 virus emergency update

 

Services were held yesterday at the Hampton with an attendance of 21 total including the staff.  The streaming and podcast listening devices were 24, representing numerous people listening live and later on demand because there were families listening.  Thank you for observing the social distance guidelines!

The sound was better because we turned up the microphones.  If you experience a pause in the streaming, it may be due to buffering.  However, the services in their entirety are available on demand from the website.

Continue to report to us by phone, text or email and let us know how you are.  We would love to pray with you.

Thanks for all of you who are contacting those without internet access to keep them informed.  Thanks for all of you who are volunteering to shop and take care of other needs for our more vulnerable members.  

God be with you all.

 

Meetings that are cancelled until further notice:

Children's Church

iTeen Youth

Young Life

Men's Bible Study

Friday Bible Study

Monday Marys Bible Study

 

 

Until further notice:  

10 am and 11 am services will continue at the Hampton

Coffee Service is suspended--bring your own beverage

Social Distance will be observed

No one should feel compelled to attend

Anyone with symptoms of illness should not attend

If possible, access our website streaming live or on demand and enjoy service remotely

Contact those without internet access to keep them up to date

All services will be recorded, archived and available on CD

Online giving is easy.  You may also drop envelopes with your name on them at the church office mailbox.  It's hanging on the wall to the left as you enter.  We check the office daily.

Should the order to shelter in place be given, we will continue to stream our 10 and 11 am services from the Cornerstone Office

 

These announcements are updated in real time so check this website for the latest information

Thank you

Pastor Clay and Nancy Stidham

 

“Fight on!”

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life”

1 Timothy 6:12 (NKJV)

Impact Hour streams live at 10 am

Sermon streams live at about 11:45 am

Click on “Livestream” or "Listen Live" at cornerstonelakeside.com

Recordings are also available

 

 

9:00 am—Music and Prayer with Worship Team

 

10:00 am—Impact Hour with Clay and Nancy Stidham

"In Search of Warrior Jesus" 8

 

11:00 am—Worship for all ages

Children's Church and iTeen, Young Life cancelled until further notice

11:30 am—Morning Message from Pastor Clay Stidham

 

"Transitory vs. Permanent"

Exodus 40:16, 34-35

Leviticus 1:1-4

Deuteronomy 3:23-26, 32:51-52

1 Chronicles 17:1-5, 11-13; 22:5-8

Ezekiel 36:26; 37:12-14

John 3:25-36

Romans 8:1-11

2 Corinthians 4:17-18; 5:1-4

 

 

 

12:25 pm—Commitment and Dismissal

 

 

Calendar 

Please check our website for announcements and cancellations.  We are observing all CDC precautions and government/corporate directives during this national emergency.  The website will be updated in real time as changes occur. You can help by connecting with those who do not have online access.

All meetings and events cancelled until further notice

Sunday services will continue at the Hampton.

Should the order be given to shelter in place, services will continue at the Cornerstone Office by online streaming.

 

In the News

Articles featured do not necessarily represent the opinion of Cornerstone Community Church or its members.  Selection of articles is for information purposes only.

 

Anne Graham Lotz: Coronavirus -- A Sunday message in a time of crisis

Billy Graham's daughter discusses her new book and the power of the Holy Spirit

Anne Graham Lotz, founder and president of Angel Ministries, shares journey of faith in "Jesus in Me: Experiencing the Holy Spirit as a Constant Companion."

It’s springtime in the Western North Carolina mountains where I was raised. There are days of beautiful sunshine, blue skies, and cool breezes.

On such days, the views of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains are spectacular.  But there are also days when storms roll in, black clouds descend, views are obliterated, and the thunder shakes the earth as it ricochets from peak to peak.

I’m reminded of those fierce storms now because the threatening black cloud of the coronavirus has enveloped our nation. Its powerful impact is ricocheting from “peak to peak”-- place to place--from our families to our homes, to our schools, to our businesses, to our sports, to our economy, to our churches, to our health care facilities…to our entire way of life. 

ANNE GRAHAM LOTZ: HOW MY STRUGGLE WITH CANCER TAUGHT ME TO LISTEN TO GOD

It seems to be obliterating our view of freedom…of peace…of happiness. The swiftness of this storm’s advance is stunning and almost breath-taking (pun intended).

As I have prayed, a dramatic scene from the Old Testament has unfolded before my mind’s eye which I would like to describe for you. It took place when the recently freed Israelite slaves were camped at the base of Mount Sinai. God spoke to Moses, the man He had used to liberate the people from bondage in Egypt. The Lord said to Moses: I shall come to you in a thick cloud, in order that the people may hear when I speak… The Bible then describes the thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud… (Exodus 19:9, 16, 18).

Moses encouraged the terrified people, Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin. The people looked, and there was the glory of the Lord appearing in the cloud (Exodus 16:10). The amazing climax was that Moses then approached and entered the cloud where God was. And it was there, in the cloud, that God spoke to Moses.

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In the past four years, I, too, have entered into a black, terrifying cloud. My husband’s sudden, unexpected death; my father’s death three years later; my diagnosis of cancer and the subsequent surgery and follow-up treatments have been personal storms as fiercely threatening as the storm that has now broken upon all of us. But there was a silver lining to the black cloud in my life because it was in the cloud where I encountered God in a fresh way.

I have “seen” His glory…His character…in the dark cloud. I have experienced God’s faithfulness to meet my needs, His grace to pour out His blessings through family and friends, His strength to enable me to endure triumphantly, and His goodness to bring me through one day at a time.

Throughout the four stormy years, I never once lost my joy, or my inner peace, or the steadfast hope that God was in control and would work out all things for my good.

During this time, God spoke to me through His Word: Anne, even though you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you will fear no evil; for I am with you. (Psalm 23:4)

In addition to claiming the above promise, is it also time for us to give serious attention to what God has to say? This is His message: When I shut up the heavens so there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land, or send a plague among My people, if My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayers offered…(2 Chronicles 7:13-15)

It’s time to pray! It’s time to turn to God in faith and trust. Now. Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and He relents from sending calamity…

Join me in prayer…

Lord God, as we turn to you, and place our trust in you, please have mercy on us! Hear our prayer. Forgive our sin. Heal our land. 

As we repent of our sin and return to You, return to us! There is no one like You to help the powerless against this mighty disease. Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on You and in Your name we come against this vast, invisible enemy.

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We pray in the name of the One who is the living proof that You truly care about us…Jesus.

Amen.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM ANNE GRAHAM LOTZ

Anne Graham Lotz is author of eleven books. Her latest is the bestselling "Jesus in Me." (Multnomah, October 1, 2019). She is president and CEO of AnGel Ministries, a non-profit organization that undergirds her efforts to draw people into a life-changing relationship with God through his Word. Visit her website here. Lotz is the daughter of Billy and Ruth Graham. 

 

Jim Daly: Online church reminds us that true faith and worship never ends -- it only takes on new forms

Fox News Flash top headlines for March 22

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The pews and seats in sanctuaries and other sacred spaces of worship all over the world are empty these days, closed in an all-out effort to help ward off the spread of the highly virulent coronavirus.

Government-ordered shutdowns of churches would normally be an anathema to freedom-loving people of faith, but it’s a wise and understandable measure in these unprecedented times. Preserving life should always be prioritized.

But thanks to technology and the broad availability of access to the Internet, the shuttering of churches need not mean the suspension of group worship.

SERVICES FROM TOP RELIGIOUS LEADERS YOU CAN WATCH ONLINE THIS SUNDAY 

Faced with the mandate of social distancing, congregations all over the world are taking their services online. Of course, many churches have been streaming their services for years – a ministry primarily intended for the elderly or infirmed, or maybe an inclement weather day that made driving too dangerous.

Months ago, long before the coronavirus was even in the news, a former colleague of mine initiated a debate on Twitter about online worship. He seemed skeptical that it was really possible, likening a streamed church service to a television show you passively watch while sitting on your couch.

I get the spirit of his objection, but I don’t agree that online worship is inherently a discounted form of sacred praise.

My friend Dr. Tim McConnell, who’s a pastor of First Presbyterian Church here in Colorado Springs, likened this new season of Internet worship to the surreptitious behavior of the early Christian Church fathers. Faced with persecution at the hands of the Roman Empire, those first followers of Jesus met in small groups in people’s homes, where they shared a meal together.

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During his message this past Sunday, my own pastor and friend, Brady Boyd of New Life Church, compared this new season of uncertainty we’re in to the Old Testament plight of the Jewish people, who found themselves living in the dangerous wilderness of the desert.

I want to be clear. I don’t view online worship as a preferable alternative to meeting in person. There is no substitute for the gathering of believers in a physical location, raising their voices as one, encouraging one another face to face, and building and deepening relationships all in pursuit of a great common cause. So, yes, the online church certainly has its limitations — but it also has its place, and especially in our present moment. 

First, it’s keeping people of faith together during a very difficult time, albeit remotely, but still unified and connected to their pastor and their congregations. There is something powerful about reading the same Scriptures and hearing the same message.

Second, the rise of the online church is a reminder that a true “church” really doesn’t have walls. In the common vernacular, most people look at a building with a steeple or cross and immediately call it a church. That’s really not the case.

In fact, without people of faith inside of it, a “church” is just a building.

The “Church” is comprised of people who actually live out their faith in ways big and small. You can take away any church building – including the stained glass, pews, musical instruments, you name it – and the work of the church will carry on, because the true ministry of the congregation takes place largely outside the physical structure.

Online churches also stand to draw in people who would otherwise never be comfortable darkening the doors of a traditional faith community. In the last few days, I’ve seen evidence of churches putting a renewed emphasis on promoting their online worship platforms – and that’s bound to attract those curious who may be searching for something different and more meaningful.

In the coming weeks and months, as nerves fray and tensions escalate, people of faith will be called upon to serve as something of a soothing balm. The easily accessible and readily available online services and sermons of churches will be medicine for the mind and soul.

A colleague of mine grew up attending a vibrant Catholic Church that had a dramatic priest on staff named Tom Catania, who also taught Shakespearean literature at a nearby college.

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At the conclusion of each liturgy, the priest would say with great fervor, “The Mass never ends! Go in peace to love and serve the Lord!”

So it is with online worship, which serves as a reminder that true faith and worship never ends – it only takes on new forms, especially in tough and trying times.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM JIM DALY

Jim Daly is president of Focus on the Family and author of  “The Good Dad: Becoming the Father You Were Meant to Be.” 

 

Scott Gunn: A Sunday sermon in the time of coronavirus -- We are never alone

Fox News Flash top headlines for March 21

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In the name of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

I grew up in rural Iowa, so I spent time around farms and farmers. Because of this, I was pretty well-versed in growing corn, beans, and wheat. I knew a little about cows and pigs. But my agrarian upbringing did not feature sheep and shepherds.

Whenever I read in the scriptures about sheep and shepherds, my instant mental image looks like a postcard.

MAX LUCADO: CORONAVIRUS ANXIETY AND FEAR – HOW TO INTERRUPT THE DOWNWARD SPIRAL

There are fluffy, glistening white sheep standing on perfect green grass against the backdrop of a clear blue sky. Looking at that postcard image, you’d think that being a shepherd is a good gig.

 

At the entrance of a movie set tourist attraction in Rotorua, New Zealand, this flock of sheep was curiously looking at anybody passing by. At safe distance they starred right into the camera, before a car scared them away.

At the entrance of a movie set tourist attraction in Rotorua, New Zealand, this flock of sheep was curiously looking at anybody passing by. At safe distance they starred right into the camera, before a car scared them away.

 

But being a shepherd in biblical times was far from a high-status, desirable occupation. They were likely caring for someone else’s sheep, so they were on the hook if a sheep were lost or killed.

Shepherds worked outdoors, even when the weather was not good. They had to face down predatory animals to keep their flock safe.

Sheep are also not known for being the most clever animals on the farm. They need to be herded around for their own good. And sheep are not like the fluffy stuffed animals we see sometimes. They are dirty, and they don’t smell very good.

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” It’s so familiar, we might miss what it’s saying. The opening of Psalm 23 is so lovely, so lyrical. And yet it is a bit shocking.

Comparing God Almighty to a shepherd is to say that our loving Creator gets right down in the thick of it with us. God faces danger with us. God braves the storm to be with us.

And what about the sheep? To compare ourselves with sheep is to say that we need God. We need to be herded and guided. We need protection. We need to be watched over. We are not all that great.

In our fear and in our confusion, God is with us. We are never alone.

Psalm 23 is the assigned psalm for many churches this weekend, and I could not be more grateful. It’s just what we need to hear at this moment in our common life.

Many of us are stunned, trying to keep up with daily news about the coronavirus and the necessary changes to our lives.

We might be terribly afraid, both for our own well-being and the health of those we love. And here we get the reminder we need. “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”

In our fear and in our confusion, God is with us. We are never alone.

Even when we “walk through the valley of the shadow of death,” we need not fear. I do not read this as saying nothing bad will ever happen to us. Rather, this is divine assurance that in our trials and tribulations, God is with us. We are never alone.

The earliest known images of Jesus Christ, created 200 years or so after his death and resurrection, depict him as a shepherd. Jesus is often seen standing among sheep with a lamb on his shoulders.

Jesus is not shown in those ancient images wearing glittering robes, nor is he seated on a throne. Instead, the savior of the world is standing in humility among sheep, literally picking up and carrying the most vulnerable of his flock.

That’s how it is with us. As we stay in our homes, perhaps gripped by fear, we should know that Jesus Christ, who is the Good Shepherd, will pick us up and carry us in our moments of greatest need.

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We know that God does not idly sit by and watch us suffer. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son…” Jesus Christ lived among us, knowing every pain and sting of humanity, even death itself.

Our God is not distant and uncaring, but comes near to share our pain.

It’s not wrong to be afraid. That’s a healthy response to the threats we face. But we can, by God’s grace, face our fears so that our hearts and our lives are ruled by hope and love, not by fear.

On the third day after his death, Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, showing the triumph of God’s love. As Easter reminds us, God’s love is stronger than hatred, stronger than imperial armies, and stronger even than death.

Because Jesus has destroyed death, we can walk through the valley of the shadow of death — or face the spread of the coronavirus — knowing that, in the end, God’s love is stronger than our fears and stronger than anything we might face.

It’s not wrong to be afraid. That’s a healthy response to the threats we face. But we can, by God’s grace, face our fears so that our hearts and our lives are ruled by hope and love, not by fear.

We should take care to stay at home to slow the spread of disease, for that is how we can love our neighbors. But in our homes, we should remember two lessons that the Good Shepherd shows us.

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God’s love, in the end, is stronger than whatever we face.

We are never alone.

Amen.

Scott Gunn is an Episcopal priest and serves as executive director of Forward Movement. He is co-author of Faithful Questions: Exploring the Way with Jesus. You can follow him on Twitter @scottagunn or read his blog at www.sevenwholedays.org.

 

'The Passion of the Christ' actor: Painful movie ‘mistakes’ made hit film ‘more beautiful’

James Caviezel, the actor who portrayed Jesus Christ in the film, "The Passion of the Christ," revealed the painful, behind-the-scenes mistake that made it into the final cut of the hit 2004 movie.

In an exclusive Fox Nation interview, Caviezel told Fox News contributor and Fox Nation host Raymond Arroyo that he was injured while filming of Jesus' walk through the streets of Jerusalem's Old City, the path that Jesus took to his crucifixion.

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Caviezel carried a heavy wooden cross in the scene, as did Jesus, and when he fell, the cross came down on top of him.

WATCH 'THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST' ON FOX NATION

"As I went down, the cross... it actually struck my head and buried my head in the sand. And I bit through my tongue," he said, "Now, in the tape, you'll see streams of blood coming down from my lip. That's actually my own blood."

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Caviezel's shoulder was also badly hurt, but he worked through the pain and delivered his lines to actress Maia Morgenstern, who played the Virgin Mary.

"At this time, the shoulder is out and I was trying everything I had to get my arm over [the cross]," he continued, "And it looks like it's the most extraordinary take because it looks like I'm cherishing our cross, which is our faith, and hugging it but in the most beautiful way.

WATCH ALL OF RAYMOND ARROYO'S EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH JIM CAVIEZEL ON FOX NATION

"It wasn't beautiful to me," he acknowledged with a laugh, "because it hurt like hell. .. my AC joint had been torn."

"The Passion of the Christ" was produced by Newmarket Films and earned $612 million worldwide on a $30 million production budget, making it the most successful independent film ever.

Caviezel was also seriously hurt in another scene -- the portrayal of the scourging of Jesus by Roman soldiers, during which he was accidentally struck.

"I had a 14-inch gash right on my back," he said, "I ripped my hands out and walked out of the take and I fell down. But it's an extraordinary experience because I got hit and it froze my diaphragm, which was like getting... the wind knocked out of you."

That footage did not make it into the film.

"A lot of these mistakes were occurring, but it was making something much more beautiful that will last forever," he said, reflecting on the production.

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"It seems every Lent, every Easter, people gravitate back to this movie," observed Arroyo, "It is amazing to me, after all these years, more than 10 years, 'The Passion of the Christ' remains this force that people returned to year after year,"

"Why do you think they keep going back to it?" he asked Caviezel.

"I think it's like the Bible. People are going to keep reading it. They've been reading it for thousands of years," Caviezel said. "I think that Mel Gibson and I did very clearly stick to that and not much has changed in 2000 years. Jesus is as controversial now that he's ever been."

"It's a film that when you watch it, it asks you a big question, 'Hey, where are you going to go? What character are you playing in the Bible?" he observed.

Caviezel also opened up about a long-rumored sequel to the hit film.

"Mel Gibson is talking about doing a sequel to 'The Passion.' He's been working on it for a number of years. Where is it now?" asked Arroyo.

"Fifth draft," revealed Caviezel.  "It's going to be a masterpiece. It's gonna be the biggest film in world history, I believe it will be based on what I feel in my heart.

WATCH: 40 DAYS AND 40 NIGHTS: A LENTEN JOURNEY ON FOX NATION

"It's so imperative in this time. These films can't be made now," he said, suggesting that the film industry overlooks biblical films.  "The films they make are Marvel Comics movies. You'll see Superman. You won't see Jesus... I got to play the greatest superhero there ever was."

In 2016, The Hollywood Reporter reported that the sequel would be titled, "The Passion of the Christ: Resurrection."

To watch all of Raymond Arroyo's exclusive interview with Jim Caviezel and the full movie "The Passion of the Christ," go to Fox Nation and sign up today.

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Word for Worship

 

In a Moment of Time


“And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.” (
Luke 4:5)

It is interesting that there are just three “moments” mentioned in the New Testament and that there are three different Greek words so translated, each used one time only in the Bible. Furthermore, each of these three “moments” is used in a context that is anticipatory of the future.

First of all, Satan tempted Jesus by flashing before His eyes a vision of the whole world, offering it to Him immediately without His having to endure the cross, if He would rule it for the devil. Here the Greek word for “moment” is stigme, meaning a “point,” like a period after a sentence. In an infinite “timeline,” it would be just a dot on the line, a “point” in time. Satan’s apparent dominion over this world, though it lasts six thousand years or so, is only a moment compared to eternity, and Jesus knew this was a poor bargain.

One day, in fact, He will return to reclaim the world from Satan. At that great day, “we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52). In this passage, the unique word is atomos, meaning an indivisible particle. That is, in an “atom of time,” too instantaneous to measure, we shall be changed to be like Him in “his glorious body” (Philippians 3:21).

Right now, however, our bodies are weak and easily beset with pain and sickness. Nevertheless, we are assured that “our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17). The word here is parautika, referring specifically to the present moment. What we must endure “here and now” is so brief compared to the eternity “then and there” that it is not even “worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). HMM

 

 

 

 

  

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