by: Steven Robinson
Bethel Baptist Church
1919 North 1000 East
In unity with all Christians, Bethel calls on our faithful to make HOME the Holy Place of Holy Week 2020 for the sake of all families during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Holy Week 2020 is a little different than most years. It is more about inward reflection and not a public profession of faith. But it is still hard for most of us. It doesn’t seem right to not go to church and not join with our church family during this holiest of weeks. Instead, we try to be resourceful and continue to find ways to live out our faith and spread the Word of God.
We have been trying to keep our Bethel church family connected. Technology has been a big help in doing that. Here is a little of what we’ve been hearing about this past week:
I have been healthy. I have been laid off since March 6th. I am now collecting unemployment for the first time in my life. I am able to stay home. I do quite a lot of reading on my kindle. I have also been watching a lot of shows on my DVR that I have recorded over the years. Every morning I read from meditation books and my Daily Bread. I’m trying to stay out of the kitchen, as I tend to snack on to many unhealthy foods. I miss seeing everyone! Please feel free to call if there is anything I can help with! May God continue to Bless us all!
The Megginson Family
We are surviving our new normal. The kids have started remote learning for school, I am still going into the office to work at Rural Electric, and Todd has started planting. We are missing all the activities the kids are usually involved in but it is kind of nice not having to go in a million different directions. We will make it through!
The Lanham Family
The Lanhams are doing well, all things considered. The boys and Nicole are trying to navigate remote learning the best they can. We have been painting and cleaning out our basement/basement bathroom, which has been quite a project. We are grateful for warmer weather which has allowed us to work outside. Matt is in the field and doing well. My brother and-sister-in-law welcomed a healthy baby boy into the world on March 30, and he is absolutely precious. We are all healthy and are available if anyone needs groceries, etc. We miss our church family, and the thought of not being able to attend church on Easter is definitely strange! We hope everyone is well, take care of yourselves!
We are healthy and doing well. Mary says, “Jim's dad is doing well as far as I know. In fact, he seems to be doing better without Jim going out there!”
The pastor here, at Toni's church, is recording his sermon from the pulpit, and the praise band is recording their session, from the church, then they are playing it on facebook and/or YouTube on Sunday morning at 10:30. Church members just tune in over their computer and can have worship "from the church" on Sunday morning at the regular time. Not great, but a good solution.
All is good, here. Everyone is staying healthy, but going stir crazy. We are planning on returning to Taylorville as soon as the way is clear. Looking forward to seeing everyone then. Please pass along our greetings.
The LeVault Family
The LeVault family is still well and doing all we can to social distance. The bank is an essential business so Mark continues to go to work (lobby is closed to flatten the curve.) Mark has been using his time at home to work on some new house projects (they never end). I have been doing some gardening, landscaping, crafting and other little things I’ve put off for a rainy day. We both also try to get some exercise—really like walking around our little town and the warmer weather helps with that!
Gordon says he is staying home and doing well.
Nelvin has checked in and says he is doing fine. His family checks in on him regularly.
The only thing that’s changed for us is that I’ve been back to work since Thursday with 10-12 hour days without a break. I’m hoping for a quiet dinner with my husband and some FaceTime calls with my kids and grandkids. Maybe even a drive to drop off the few goodies that I got them for Easter. I started reading the book of John this week leading up to Easter. Miss everyone and look forward to seeing them soon.
The Seaton Family
The spring weather is helping our mental health! David & the boys are now busy with spring planting! If anyone is interested, Pastor Caleb will be putting his Easter service on Zoom & on the Edinburg United Methodist Facebook page. It will be at 6:30 am but can be viewed any time. He will be doing it from his living room. To watch live on Zoom the phone # is 902-334-1747 & password is 500528. Hope all are doing well!
We need to keep all the people who live at Park Glen apartments in our prayers. I just talked to Clara Athey who lives at Park Glen, and she is doing fine. Everyone is confined to their apartment and meals are being delivered.
I talked to Edna Pearson. She got her arm out of the sling and is using it. She said she is doing well and wants to thank everyone for the cards and prayers.
My aunt, Betty Meikle, had a fall yesterday. They sent her to the ER to be checked out. She has a large hematoma on her leg and a small tear on her arm but talking to her today, she says she is doing fine. On July 11th, she will be 97. She is the only aunt and elder relative that we have left. She was our Dad's youngest sister. Dad had macular and could barely see, and his hearing was very bad even with hearing aids. Betty is the same way. Dad lived to be 98, and she's getting close. She still has a good mind and memory.
After talking to all the people whose last names start with A and B, they are doing well, staying at home and keeping everyone else in prayer.
I am currently living in Vacaville, California, with my aunt and uncle. Things are going well here. I have gotten a full time job at Walmart, and I work 40 hours a week. I’m still taking classes for school online. Other than work I have been stuck at home!
The Mayes Family
Taylor is trying to find ways to celebrate her birthday which is Friday the 10th. So far she wants to have a cookout in the back yard with s’mores and hamburgers. Such a strange time for the
kids. I have seen other places having ambulances and fire trucks drive by the homes for birthdays. It’s kinda neat for the kids.
For Easter, the kids want to do devotion when we wake up since there will be no church. Then Easter egg hunt outside weather permitting. Eat dinner as a family and play games. Try to enjoy the weather outside if possible. We will FaceTime with extended family and wish them all well.
Maybe Pastor Steve could do his Sunday sermons on Facebook each Sunday….?? We would enjoy that.
The Bates Family
It is heartbreaking not to be able to see my mom (Virginia Funderburk), but I can call her at Taylorville Care Center and talk to her every day. She is out of isolation now, but is still not able to use her arms very well or at all. And she still has a lot of pain which they are trying to help with medications.
Fred and Joyce Greffe
Please add Fred’s name to our birthday list on April 16th. And please change his address in the directory to: 1004 W. University Ave., Champaign, 61821
The Greene Family (Patricia & Terry)
We are almost totally stay-at-home. Drive thru/carryout only at restaurants. Most have closed. No hair salons. Churches have to be under 10 people staying 6 ft apart. Our Church office closed. The Pastors are working from home. Live-streaming Sunday School & church & Wednesday studies. Golf is allowed. Nursery is open because of agri business. State parks still open for 10 & under groups distancing 6 ft apart.
Terry & I have been working in the yard & taking walks every day. Our weather has been beautiful after raining for months. Catching up on Gunsmoke & Steve McQueen movies etc. Glued to the news of course. Lots of time for praying!
Hope you guys stay well. We appreciate Bethel news & prayer needs.
Judy is used to being here, there, and everywhere else. Between the stay-at-home restrictions and a car that is not being real dependable right now, she is just trying to cope in the best way she can. She knows that all of this is just part of God’s plan. And she knows He has a message for all of us, if we will just listen.
Jeremy Frost and Family (Beth Sutton’s son)
Jeremy, Stacey and Gabrielle are all doing well. Both of our sons Tyler and Christian are doing well also. I have continued to work from home for the Federal Aviation Administration as a technician working on airport avionics equipment which is hands on stuff but during this time if its not broke we aren't working on it. I'm still in the PA Air National Guard doing drill once a month but this month they have shut it down due to the ongoing crisis. Stacey has been working on some online courses at the Master's University for Christian Ministry. It has been a blessing with me being home to help keep the house running smoothly so she can focus on these courses. Gabrielle has been enrolled with PA Cyber School for the past 2 years so she is still plugging away at her sophomore year. She turned 16 back in November and will be driving on her own this summer. Tyler works for a Gold's gym owned by some family members and they have come up with some inventive ways to keep their members exercising by offering on line courses through Zoom. Please pray they are able to make it through this crisis as a small business without having to close permanently. Christian and his wife Rose, who I had the privilege of marrying this past August in Guatemala, have started their own non-profit organization called Healing Hands of the Highlands. Christian is a physical therapy assistant and his wife is studying to become a nurse/mid-wife and they are planning on going back to Guatemala (where she grew up with missionary parents) in June (God willing) where the health system is pretty non-existent unless you are near the capital of Guatemala City. They have a true passion for the people there and Rose grew up knowing she would one day return to serve the people she grew up with. It has been amazing to watch how God brought them together and formed this organization as I have watched them follow God's lead in this. On top of all this we are going to be grandparents through them in October and we couldn't be more excited to meet our first grandchild! Please keep Christian and Rose in your prayers and thank you all for allowing me to share this with you. I have grassroots at Bethel and so many fond memories with so many folks there! God Bless you all and keep you safe during this time! Psalm 46:10
From Marsha & Frank:
Since Frank grew up in New York one of his memories are pictures outside in new Easter outfits with a foot of snow still on the ground and his Grandmother wearing her fur coat to church on Easter Sunday.
Marsha remembers getting baby ducks from her Grandpa Linton every Easter ... so fun! At Bethel, I remember Easter Egg Hunts and BYF boiled-egg eating contests after Sunrise Service.
From Annette Spears:
Marsha and I have very good memories from Easter 1963. We and several other kids our age went forward in the church and asked to be baptized. One by one others in the congregation followed us. It ended up being 20 of us that day. In a small church like ours, that was unusual. We were all baptized on April 28th that year. Praise the Lord!!
I also remember Easter 1978 very well. It was our son Donald’s first Easter. I had his Easter suit and shoes all ready! Then God decided to send an ice storm to our area. All the churches and businesses in town were closed. We had no power at our house for a week. We moved in with my parents because they had a generator.
From the Mayes Children
Their favorite Easter memory is when we went camping Easter weekend at Taylorville Lake. We stayed in our camper, and Tammy and her family stayed as well. We dyed eggs and spent the whole weekend outside, and the kids loved it.
Every year since the kids were born we color Easter eggs. It is a tradition that Brian and I had as kids too. Cambelle and I still color eggs but Noah not so much. I always pull out their Easter baskets from when they were little and fill them with candy and fun toys when they were little but now the toys are replaced with gift cards to get gas, Star Bucks, etc. Grandma Oller always got them huge Easter baskets filled with all kinds of fun spring and Easter things like kites, chalk, jump ropes, balls. We still continue to have Easter dinner either at home or at one of the grandparents houses.
When the kids were younger my parents would hide plastic Easter eggs all over their yard filled with money and candy. This was something I did as a kid at my grandma's house. Of course Easter isn't complete without attending church service and hearing the story of Christ risen and to rejoice in his sacrifice that gave us eternal life.
From Nancy Andrews
In talking with Darlene, she remembers more than I do about growing up in Langleyville. She remembers the Easter Sundays when we had church at the Community House with an early morning breakfast, church service,(she played the piano) and everybody dressed in their Easter best. At that time, we had a lot of the country families who came for the activities, so we had quite a few young people. It was fun growing up in a little town where everybody knew everybody else. This was in the early 50's.
In March 2020, our Bethel Men & Women’s Ensemble was preparing to sing a song on Easter. The name of it was “The Mercy Tree.”
So I’ve attached some YouTube links here that should provide you a chance to hear this song. There are 3 different ones because I could not choose just one.
I love them all!
Features Michael Bethany:
Music Video with Anthony Evans:
Pastor Steve has provided us with an Easter message here:
You Can't Keep a Good Man Down
At the age of 22, he failed in business. At the age of 23, he ran for the legislature and was defeated. At the age of 24, he again failed in business for the second time. But at 25, he was elected to the legislature. At 26, his sweetheart that he was engaged to marry died. At 27, he had a nervous breakdown. And at 28, he was defeated for the speaker. At 31 he was defeated for elector and at 34, he was defeated for Congress. At 37, he was elected to Congress. At 39, he was defeated again at Congress. At the age of 46, he was defeated for Senate. At the age of 47, he was defeated for Vice President. At the age of 49, he was defeated again for the Senate. At the age of 51 he was elected President of the United States. His name was Abraham Lincoln. Folks, you can't keep a good man down.
This preacher, at the age of 53 became quite frustrated because his goal was to write a book. He had a manuscript and he had spent years in writing this book. He was so excited; he felt that some publisher would certainly want to print it and put it into circulation. After going to about 13 or 14 publishers, of which none of them would take the manuscript and publish the book, he was so discouraged one day that he took the manuscript and he threw it in the wastepaper basket and said, "My dream will never come true. That book will never be a reality." His wife, whose name was Ruth reached over and began to pull the manuscript out and said, "Oh Honey, let's give it one more try. Let's send it to one more publisher." And in his disgust and frustration, he forbade her to pick up the manuscript and said, "Don't you ever take it out of that wastebasket. It will never be published." So his wife, Ruth, the next day-you can't keep a good woman down - takes the wastepaper basket, puts it in a sack, wraps it up, and sends it to the publisher like that. The publisher says, "I've never had a package like this." He opens it up; there's the wastepaper basket. The manuscript is inside the wastepaper basket. She didn't take it out! This publisher took it out, he read it, he liked it, and he published it. It was the first book of Norman Vincent Peale, "The Power of Positive Thinking." Thirty million copies sold. You can't keep a good woman and you can't keep a good man down.
And the story that we're dealing with today in Acts, chapter 2 is a message that is being preached by Peter. It's a story that we love. Let me enter in with verse 22 with you. He said, "Men of Israel," and I would say to you, "Community of Bethel," "Listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs, which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know, this man delivered up by the predetermined plan and the foreknow/edge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and you put Him to death and God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power. For David says of Him, 'I was beholding the Lord in my presence for He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken. Therefore, my heart was glad and my tongue exalted moreover my flesh also will abide in hope because thou will not abandon my soul in Hades, nor allow thy Holy One to undergo decay. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life. Thou will make me full of gladness with thy presence."' Peter said three things in this message.
I. The doubters couldn't keep Jesus down.
Did you notice that in verse 23? He said, ''You nailed Him to a cross by the hands of godless men, who put Him to death." The doubters couldn't keep Him down. “He came to his own, Yet His own received Him not." He was doubted by:
1. His own brothers, until after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, doubted His divinity.
2. His own disciples at times had tremendous questions. One betrayed Him; one denied Him. When He went to His hometown to preach, they said, "Is this not the son of Joseph?" And He could not do miracles in that town because of their unbelief. And even at the crucifixion of our Lord, as He has died and now is buried in a borrowed tomb, His own disciples have fled and they have hidden away, secretly, fearful, angry, frustrated, discouraged, doubting, questioning, what has transpired in their minds in the last three years.
But the good news today is, whether the world is full of skeptics in our age or whether the world is full of skeptics in the age of Jesus Christ, my brothers and sisters, you can doubt, you can sit in your seat this morning and question the resurrection. You can question the validity of Jesus Christ being the Son of God, but I have news for you. Whether you question it or not, whether you doubt it or not, Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And as the doubters in His day, and as the doubters in this day, I say unto you again, "You can't keep a good man down." Jesus is resurrected. Love the Work
II. Death couldn't keep Him down.
Not only could the doubters not keep Him down, this gets a lot better folks, death couldn't keep Him down. If you look in the next verse, in verse 24 it says, "God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death." Not putting Him into death, putting them into the agony of death. There's a point when we're all going to die. I'm going to die, you're going to die. Unless Jesus comes back before our time on this earth, we're all going to die. He didn't put an end to death; He just took the agony, the stinger out of death. We die, but in Jesus Christ, it's just a transition from a temporal world to one that is permanent, from one that is full of pain into one that knows no pain or sorrow. And Jesus put an end to agony in death. And He not only put an end to the agony of death, because it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.
Just put it in your mind. Matthew 27 says : "On the next day, (which is one after the preparation), the Chief Priests and the Pharisees gathered together with Pilate and said, 'Sir, we remember that when He was still alive, that deceiver said, "After three days, I am to rise again," therefore, give orders for the grave to be made secure until the third day, lest the disciples come and steal Him away and say to people, 'He is risen from the dead.' And the last deception would even be worst than the first. Pilate said to them, 'You have a guard, go make it as secure as you know how.' And they went and made the grave secure."
It cracks me up. They went over and they plastered the stone rolled in place. I mean, they made it absolutely secure. They put guards there and they put a big stone there. In fact, if you remember, when Mary came, her greatest problem was how she was going to get to see Jesus to anoint His body because of the stone. It's just like God. When Jesus arose, He moved the stone, sat it down, and by the time Mary gets there, the messenger of the Lord is sitting on the stone. Isn't it amazing?
The biggest problem that they had was the stone and the very thing that they secured it with; God takes the biggest problems in your life and sits on them. "Make it as secure as you can."
Well, we're going to do our best. We're going to put that big stone up there. That's what I call the impossible assignment, containing Jesus. It's impossible. It's like us having a tornado, and I'm saying, 'We're having a tornado, let's stop the tornado from spinning, let's all stand in front of it with our hands in the air and stop it from spinning. "It's like going down to the ocean and saying, "Let's stop the waves of the ocean. Let's all join hands and we'll just stop the waves."
It's like the Illini keeping any team from scoring against them in any game. It's like trying to teach a teenager, anything. Have you got the point?
I tell you, if there ought to be laughter in the community, today on this day that the Lord arose, it ought to be in the Christian community. Amen? If there ought to be happiness, if there ought to be joy, if there ought to be a song in our heart, if there ought to be a glisten within the eye, if there ought to be a spring in the step, if there ought to be a chin that is up, and a back that is straight and pain free, it ought to be the Christian community, because death could not hold our Lord, Jesus Christ. Neither could the tomb, neither could the stone, neither could the plaster, neither could Pilate, neither could the guards, neither could all the edicts of the law of the land that day. Jesus Christ arose ... Death could not hold Him! Hallelujah! Death could not hold Him!
III. The devil could not keep Him down.
It gets better folks. The devil couldn't keep a good man down. That's what Peter says, he speaks that passage in verse 27: "Because thou will not abandon my soul in hell." Peter said, "I want you to know the devil, who from the very beginning with the fall from heaven has wanted to have power and supremacy, could not keep the Lord down." In the fall of man in the beginning with Adam and Eve, he jumped with glee when there was a separation between God and man. When Jesus was born, he tried to snuff out the lights of Jesus with an egomaniac that was the king at that time, and Herod made the edict that all male children were to be killed. But God protected Him and off He went to Egypt and put a hedge around Him. At the temptation, the devil tried to get Him to take a shortcut from the cross and not go all the way to Calvary. But again, our Lord withstood. And even in the Garden of Gethsemane, when He's sweating in the garden and talking to God, the Father, saying "If it's possible." God the Father says, "It's not possible, you must die for the sins of the world." And now Jesus is on the cross, and finally He says, "It is finished."
I happen to believe at that time that the devil and all of his legions began to jump up with glee. And they finally said, "It is done, it is finished, we now can take control of the world, we will become victors." But the Word of God says He descended into hell and He preached to the captives, the only sermon that's ever been preached from Jesus there.
And on the third day, He arose again and all of a sudden, Satan was thwarted for the final time. Listen to me, we are no longer in battle folks. Jesus is King. He is King now, He is King forever. There is a day when He's going to take the church back to be with Him. Satan has been defeated. He is the defeated foe. Under the power of God's Holy Spirit we can also live victoriously over sin. And through the power of God's Spirit, we have the hope of someday being reunited with Jesus Christ, to live forever. The devil couldn't hold Him down either. I love what happened at that time, the courage that it gave the disciples, the strength that it gave them. When I look at the book of Acts, I'm confident that the church grew In such tremendous proportions for two reasons:
1. They had an attitude, a mindset that nothing was impossible.
The had just come from the crucifixion and the resurrection, and they had a mindset; they had an attitude that said nothing is impossible, and that spirit of faith propelled them and compelled them out into the Christian community to change lives for the glory of God.Love the work
2. They were filled with the Holy Spirit.
Unquestionably, spirit-filled people have power. Work the Love
Now,you say, 'What's Easter, pastor?" I'll tell you what it is.
1. It's an attitude about life.
It's a mindset, just the same thing that happened to the disciples when they came into the book of Acts and they believed that nothing was impossible with God. That's the same kind of attitude that God wants us to have in the Christian community, an attitude that nothing is impossible with Him. It's an attitude about life. Basically, Easter says, "There's no problem when you have everything in the hands and the control of the Lord, Jesus Christ." It's an attitude about life. Love the Work.
2. It's an attitude about death.We look at death differently as a Christian. We view it as just a passing from one world into another. The other day I was reading some very cute things that little kids say about death. Here are a few of them:
Gilda, Age 8: 'When you die, they put you in a box and bury you in the ground because you don't look too good."
Stephanie, Age 9: "Doctors help you so you won't die until you pay their bills."
Marcia, Age 9: 'When you die, you don't have to do homework in heaven unless your teacher is there too." (And any kid in school knows that the teachers never make it to heaven.)
Raymond, Age 10: "A good doctor can help you so you won't die. A bad doctor sends you to heaven."
I love what a Christian mother said to her son. Her son was leaving her, going back to the East Coast. And she was very near death and he had to go back for some business and she said, "Son, when you come back if I'm not here, you know where to find me."
The Christian looks at death and realizes, through Jesus Christ, that death no longer has a hold on us. Love the Work
3. It's an attitude about God.
It's an attitude about God Himself. Remember Mary, when she was at the grave and she had her head hung and she was weeping? She had come to see the Lord and He was gone, and Jesus came, and she did not recognize Him. He said, 'Why are you crying?" And she said, "They've taken my Master away." And at that very moment, Jesus looked at her and He walked into her life, and He said, "Mary." And when He said her name, she recognized it was He. And a resurrected Lord had now made a personal relationship and call on her life.
Let me tell you what Easter's all about. Easter's not a historical event friends. It is, but it is more than that. It's an event that happened 2,000 years ago. If you allow Jesus Christ to come into your life, He will bring a miracle into your life that is no less great than the resurrection of Jesus Christ Himself was 2,000 years ago. He will give you hope, peace, joy, forgiveness, and a beautiful future. He wants to do a miracle in your life.
Work the Love
(Structure of message is credited to Dr. John Maxwell)
A favorite tenor of mine, Andrea Bocelli, is doing a concert on Easter from the empty halls of Milan’s Duomo Cathedral. You might want to check it out:
Happy Easter to All!!