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Because of family strife, illness and our current virus-related issues, I've been a stranger to this Forum. I have ZERO new guns and nothing to add until things break loose in the positive, which I believe will happen. I refuse to engage in the many current political themes that seems to hold the day. I'm not up to it, having these very same conversations/arguments with blood family and friends, nope, I'm not about to add another element to my load now, no thanks. Anyway, today I felt a breath of fresh air and I expect tomorrow to be even better than today, a blessed day! God Bless all of my Forum Family, I'm praying for your well being! :)

I’d be lying to say these recent weeks haven’t left me without fear and concerns because they certainly have. I’m not a person that panics, it’s just not in my make-up, if there’s an emergency or critical situation that needs a cool head, that’d be me. You could be bleeding, having a stroke, a heart attack, in a car wreck or anything that renders you to be in distress, then I’m your man. Long term care? Ah, not so much, I tend to feel the need to move on to other issues… don’t hate me for not wanting to be a male nurse, I know my limits. Today was different though, I felt a sense of rebirth, this particular Easter Sunday has impacted me more than I can ever remember. Even my wife has noticed and we’ve talked about it.

Except for close family and friends, most don’t know that I was raised in the Church of the Nazarene, my mother taking me as soon as I could travel after being born. In fact, my baby bed was in the church nursery for many years after I outgrew it and decades later, I got it back, refinished it and I was able to use it for my own son! I only recently donated it to Goodwill as I won’t be having any more grandkids and they’d of course want something more modern with current safety features, something my old bed didn’t offer, but both me, my son and countless tykes that attended the Somerton Church of the Nazarene managed to survive…imagine that? The reason for my ramblings wasn’t intended to focus on my baby bed or wood refinishing skills, it was more on my religious upbringing and belief’s as a Christian. I was Saved and Baptized at a young age, accepting Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, that never wavered, but my attending church certainly did, but I’ve never lost my personal connection to Jesus, ever, no matter how well I found new and special ways to sin.

I told Ann when we entered 2020, I was cautiously anxious because since I can ever remember, the beginning year of each decade has always presented remarkable changes in my life, most not always good, well that’s to say from the initial event, but in hindsight you can easily see that good and special things blossomed out of those events. January seemed to be proving my lack of optimism right, my son busted up his knee so badly it required a complete reconstructive surgery. One of God’s best crime fighters out of the game, Satan chuckling and applauding that situation I’m sure, but we aren’t without faith. Today, in April, he’s rehabilitating at home, doing well and overseeing the schooling of his young kids, a blessing. Obviously we’re feeling the effects of this new virus that has impacted our lives more as Americans than any of us have seen short of World War and even then, the war was being fought overseas, not right here. Yet through all of this I’m seeing loving acts of kindness from all of our kids and grandkids, my neighbors and virtual contacts with friends and extended family that surpass anything we’d ever seen previously…another blessing from a difficult situation, you tell me?

This past week, walking my dog Rocky, when I do much of my deep thinking and of course ‘social distancing’, I began to think about the week Jesus was experiencing back 2000+ years ago now. Hey, whether you are a person of faith, it doesn’t matter when speaking of Jesus, he existed and is clearly documented in too many historical writings to deny, so keep that in mind as I continue with my screed. I have a reasonable range of knowledge when it comes to the bible, especially the New Testament, but there are always things about this particular event we know as Easter, the resurrection of Jesus and his actual dying for our sins, it gets complicated to say the least. Something else while I’m thinking about it, did you ever wonder about the folks in the “Bible” business, did they go out and say; ‘Hey, the NEW TESTAMENT” is about to be released, like the latest Ford Mustang or Netflix offering? No matter, it was published, the Gospels of Christ and I’ve always taken them to heart. Still, I’ve always wondered about what happened to my Lord Jesus during the time after he died on the cross and until he was resurrected on what we now recognize as Easter Sunday, today in fact, where was he?

I’ve done much reading and studying the last several days and can say this with confidence; First, he was NOT using the time to color eggs. Secondly, he was in ‘Paradise’ with his father, which I can only believe to be Heaven. Third, he did not go to hell as has been often stated, but is just as often misinterpreted by biblical translations. That’s the extent of my bible study abilities, from here on, I’m just ‘winging it’, so please, no scripture quote challenges, I can’t, won’t engage, but I’m always available for ‘Zombie’ movie trivia! My son-in-law came by with our nearly 15 year old grand gal, her mama too of course, standing off like we have the ‘Coodies’ and we might, but it was still great to see them! Anyway, we were talking about movies related to Easter and Christ, he was talking about his days in El Paso Texas as an Alter Boy in the church and the ritual of his own family to the movie “The Greatest Story Ever Told”. I corrected him, telling him the alternate name was the “Longest Movie Ever”, at least that’s what I thought as a kid and our Nazarene Church rode on a bus to the theatre in Yuma to see it as a group. I recall standing up and asking my mom LOUDLY, why it was okay with Jesus to let us see this movie as good Christians, but not other movies? Well, I watched much of that extremely long movie (the length of Fourth Grade in fact) stuffed underneath a ‘fold up’ movie chair, spying spent popcorn kernels because my mom was afraid I’d ask even more uncomfortable questions in front of the congregation….I liked riding in the bus.

As I’ve said, today was different, I walked with Rocky as normal, yet everything I saw seemed to have more brilliant colors and vibrancy, unless Ann had slipped me some LSD, I was seeing the world anew by way of God himself, another blessing that I’m not sure I always deserve, but they continue. Here’s the part of my offering that isn’t about scripture or being funny, now I’m going to preach a bit, so if it’s not for you, this is where you can easily click off, but if you stay, it’s nowhere painful at all. It’s simple really, as a Christian, I know with all my heart Jesus died for my and all or your sins in this world, yet through the grace of his father, he came back to tell us we have a new way if we’ll only take it, he laid the way. Our country, for that matter, our whole world is struggling badly right now, yet the answer, the very roadmap was laid out for us many, many years ago, we just need to follow it. I firmly believe today marks a rebirth of our nation certainly, but well beyond our shores because the map is there before us all to see and I’m encouraged more than ever with so many willing to open their eyes to it. Politics, toilet paper, canned food, face masks, what seems important right now will be shown to be foolish and that time frame depends on each one of us, when do we want to make it happen? I say we start now. I’m doing it by the boost in my heart from my Lord Jesus, he’s in my heart and soul, I serve only him. If you think that can work for you, I highly recommend it and will help as best I can if you want to contact me. Be forewarned, my Christian fellowship will quickly end if all you want is bleach, ammo or sanitary wipes, I can easily become very ‘Judas’ like if necessary! ;)
 

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Hey BC2,

Glad to hear from you.

Prayers up for BC3...full Healing.

God Bless.

Later, Mark
 

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Thanks for keeping us up to date. Happy Easter to you and your family.:)
 

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Happy Easter all. I too believe we will rise from these ashes. Hopefully with a renewed sense of who we are in the world and in His eyes.
 

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You're a good man, Stacey. One of the best. It's obvious.

God has a place for you - right now it's here, and writing. Please keep it up.
 

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Well, I have to say that yesterday, Easter Sunday 12-APR-2020 was certainly different for me too. Our church had actually started setting up for wi-fi a few months ago. But for the last several weeks, our church decided to have a "Live Feed, on Face Book" for Sunday morning service. Nobody ever thought it would last this long. But yesterday after morning service, our church did communion by remote. The pastor had announced what he was going to do last week on the live feed. So Saturday evening my wife got out the Ritz Crackers and I checked on the cranberry juice. I have grown to like the taste of cranberry juice. And my kidneys applaud me for it.

So yesterday morning nearing the end of the service, we held the Lord's Supper by remote. Each family in their own home, watching the Pastor on facebook. We had a service.

God bless us each one. God bless our families. God bless the US of A.
 

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Isn’t it all just wonderful though, welcome back BC God bless..

Paul
 

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BTW, we had a very interesting Easter service yesterday. With the approval of the local authorities we had an Easter "drive-in" service

We parked people in double rows (nose to tail) across our parking lot all facing a stage set up on a flat-bed trailer where the worship team was set up for music, and a lectern was set up for the pastor to delivere his sermon. The music and message were broadcast on 87.9 FM so people could tune in and hear the service on their car radios - just like at a drive-in movie. There were two porta-potties set up for emergency use only.

Everyone was required to stay in their car except for those on the stage and the dozen or so of us directing traffic. Everyone maintained social distancing and wore their masks except the pastor during the sermon and the singers during worship. They took their masks off when they were at the microphone.

It was GREAT! People got to feel the "togetherness" of being all in the same place for worship and the sermon, but it was 100% safe. Our tech team did a great job pulling it all off and we had an excellent service with approximately 200 carloads of people - with an estimated 400-500 people in attendance. Probably more than what usually attend a "regular" Easter service in the building.

IT WAS AWESOME!

We've been doing live-streaming the Sunday morning services since Herr governor passed his edict outlawing gatherings, but it was really nice to get to see a lot of the folks I know for the first time in 3 or 4 weeks. Even if I could only see them and wave at them from a "safe" distance.
 

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Glad to hear from you again! You are right about the priorities, this forum will be here for when you can and want to post your family is what is most important.
 
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