Video from Pastor Hamilton of King James Bible Baptist Church in Greenville, MS. Church tried the “drive-in” method of holding services & were targeted due to the Mayor issuing an order prohibiting such services. Watch as an officer tells the Pastor that his rights are suspended.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Rules. Acts & 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 Harmony. Acts & 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
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.
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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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
- ENCOURAGEMENT: Numbers of infected have flattened or nearly flattened in many places. The number of deaths is considerably lower than originally prognosticated.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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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.
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?
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.
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).
Gideon Becomes Israel’s Judge
6 The Israelites did evil in the Lord’s sight. So the Lord handed them over to the Midianites for seven years. 2 The Midianites were so cruel that the Israelites made hiding places for themselves in the mountains, caves, and strongholds. 3 Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, marauders from Midian, Amalek, and the people of the east would attack Israel, 4 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. 5 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. 6 So Israel was reduced to starvation by the Midianites. Then the Israelites cried out to the Lord for help.
7 When they cried out to the Lord because of Midian, 8 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. 9 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.
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
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.
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.
(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.
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.
“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.
“We were abiding by the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines,” he said during an appearance on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Friday. “Members of the church were inside their cars, had their windows up, and I was preaching the Word of God. So no one was outside, and also we had cars at a distance.”
Kelly Shackelford, president of the First Liberty Institute, argued that the city’s order “is just massively unconstitutional.”
“It targets churches in a way that it targets no other group,” he said. “Cars in parking lots are fine. It’s only a crime if the cars in the parking lot are at the church parking lot.”
And attorneys with the Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit Friday on behalf of the Temple Baptist Church, challenging Greenville Mayor Errick Simmons' April 7 executive order.
Parishioners at both churches were ordered to leave their drive-in services or face a $500 fine, Magnolia State Live reported.
The mayor of Louisville, Ky., had also blocked drive-in services, prompting the First Liberty Institute to send a letter on behalf of a local church there asking for the ban to be lifted.
But a federal district court granted a temporary restraining order blocking the city from enforcing that order.
“The Mayor’s decision is stunning,” District Judge Justin Walker wrote in an attached memorandum. “And it is, ‘beyond all reason,’ unconstitutional.”
Fox News’ Louis Casiano and Caleb Parke contributed to this report.
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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.
During this sacred week for many Americans, AG Barr is monitoring govt regulation of religious services. While social distancing policies are appropriate during this emergency, they must be applied evenhandedly & not single out religious orgs. Expect action from DOJ next week!
She said the Attorney General William Barr is “monitoring” such regulations.
The DOJ move would come as some churches are standing up to city governments that have blocked them from holding in-person services during the outbreak -- even in "drive-in" formats that keep people separated and in their own cars.
A judge in Louisville, Ky., on Saturday issued a temporary restraining order blocking enforcement of Mayor Greg Fischer’s ban on drive-in church services there.
“The Mayor’s decision is stunning,” District Judge Justin Walker, a former clerk to Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh, wrote in a memorandum to the order. “And it is, ‘beyond all reason,’ unconstitutional.”
Freedom of religion is the first of the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” its text begins.
“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,” Mayor Errick Simmons’ office said in an April 7 press release announcing a ban on in-person and drive-in church services.
Attorneys with the Alliance Defending Freedom have filed a lawsuit challenging that order on behalf of the Temple Baptist Church in Greenville.
Kelly Shackelford, president of the First Liberty Institute, argued in an appearance on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Friday that the city’s order “is just massively unconstitutional.”
“It targets churches in a way that it targets no other group,” he said. “Cars in parking lots are fine. It’s only a crime if the cars in the parking lot are at the church parking lot.”
The virus is highly contagious, and authorities at various levels of government around the country have been urging social distancing guidelines or implementing stay-at-home restrictions in an attempt to slow the spread.
Americans are being told to avoid close contact with one another, maintain good hand-washing hygiene and avoid leaving their homes as much as possible.
There were more than 500,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. as of Saturday afternoon and at least 20,000 deaths.
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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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
7 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.
5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed.
6 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. 7 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.”
8 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.
April 5: Palm Sunday
“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.
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.
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
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:
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
Pastor Clay and Nancy Stidham
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
Deuteronomy 3:23-26, 32:51-52
1 Chronicles 17:1-5, 11-13; 22:5-8
Ezekiel 36:26; 37:12-14
2 Corinthians 4:17-18; 5:1-4
12:25 pm—Commitment and Dismissal
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, 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.
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.
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.
We pray in the name of the One who is the living proof that You truly care about us…Jesus.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
God’s love, in the end, is stronger than whatever we face.
We are never alone.
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.
Caviezel carried a heavy wooden cross in the scene, as did Jesus, and when he fell, the cross came down on top of him.
"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."
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.
"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.
"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.
"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."
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Word for Worship
“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