GET YOUR MASK ON! by Jimbo Shinn

    So let me tell you about my mask collection! I have one for going to the grocery store, and another made of sweat pants material. I use that one for jogging. I have another one, which is made out of some fine cotton material. That one I use for “date night” where we don’t go anywhere! So right now you are thinking either, Shinn is a nut or you are thinking of updating your own mask wardrobe.

                I have two types of masks. One is the cheap, blue ones made out of paper, I think, and the other which is cotton, has some color, and was made by my niece Ellie. She is a great kid who lives up in Oceanside and knows how to sew. How cool is that, I mean sewing is a lost art for most females. I usually wear the blue ones because as protector of the family, I will go out there and fight the invisible demons of disease and honor the Queen with her “Trenti Skinny Vanilla Latte!’ and the needed groceries from Von’s or Wal-Mart. I love going out an about. It is like living in a science fiction movie, a “B” one at that! It is also nice to see friends.

                Putting on things for protection is not new. The air quality in China is so bad, they have been wearing masks for years. First responders, especially fireman, know it is a toxic world out there, especially in 500 degree heat. As a youth, I use to work in the seed business and the guys who ran the mills wore masks. Bad stuff, when it gets in your lungs, can wreak havoc, especially if you have asthma, COPD or other respiratory issues. My wife has them both and is in her 60’s so she hits the COVID trifecta!

                Most folks will not get sick and die from the virus, but we will all die! Read Ephesians 6:11-20. It will help you with the issue of protection and feeling safe from spiritual warfare. I try not to worry about things of this world. My faith enables me to enjoy life even in the midst of a storm. Viruses can mess with my body, but not with my soul. So get your mask on team, but it is more important to get the suit that comes from salvation! Just one more thing about worldly woes: Does this mask make me look fat???






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                                                                                                               COVID AND COMFORT

                I saddened about the news of Danny Bonillas and shocked. A week ago, in the obits, I read about a friend and mentor of mine passing away. He was in his 70’s and when we get older, we expect people to check out, but no matter the age, it catches us off guard. When it is a younger person with several children, it hurts a lot more. I had my parents for a long time. Too many kids miss out on one or more parents from death, dissertation or divorce drama.

                The precautions we are taking from the COVID virus provide little comfort for people in real need. I am talking about the bereaved. Because of social distancing, people staying in and group get togethers being forbidden, people are unable to hug, share intimate feelings or stories, or just being with others who are going down a similar painful path. COVID has prevented much comfort that the church provides.

                For me, like in the Books of Acts, the church is fellowshipping, breaking bread and talking about Jesus and His word. I have been “zooming” Bible studies and prayer meetings, and I come away feeling empty. It is kind of like bread without any butter, jelly or flavoring. It will fill you up, but you don’t feel fulfilled. I know the Holy Spirit is around, but it seems like His work on me is more pronounced when we are in the same room together.

                It makes me think of Jesus and how it was important for Him to appear face-to-face with the apostles after His resurrection. In John 20:19-31, He visited them in the upper room. And then He came back after doubting Thomas showed up. Thomas heard what the other apostles said, and I am sure he witnessed miracles, but it became powerful when Jesus was in the room with him. Jesus knew the power in “close distancing!”

                Now “social distancing” has been around since the beginning of humankind. It is very evident when Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4:7-26. The Jews were very prejudiced and viewed many groups as “unclean” and dangerous to touch. There was also a lot of racism and sexism. Most of us can relate to how healing is a hug or face-to face words of comfort at difficult times. I miss being with my church and being a part of the church in prisons. One of our mottos in KAIROS is “hug a thug!” Incarcerated Christians, and those curious about Jesus, being separated from family, hunger for human touch and connection. In most 12-Step programs, meetings are ended with hugs. I was not comfortable in the beginning, because I was uncomfortable with others comforting me. Part of that comes from a culture that worships the “rugged individual” that is antithesis to God’s word and sharing the gospel. Most of us get to know about Jesus from others sharing their testimony, or experiencing something powerful in a Christian’s witness.

                I think the spirit of the anti-Christ is using this pandemic to keep people apart, destroying unity and creating barriers to fellowshipping and evangelism. If you think about the “fruits of the spirit” (Gal. 5:22-23), “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” they are born from relationships. Think about when you have experienced the above. It was usually with someone in the room, or you alone in prayer or meditation on God’s word. I also think it is part of the triune nature of Christian life. We need to pray, meditate on God’s word and do good works. Good works are hard to do without another person nearby.

The pandemic procedures put before us make service to others more difficult. Worshipping Jesus is being replaced with a worship of “heroes” in our culture. A lot of those folks are medical professionals just doing their job. God bless them and those making masks, delivering food, etc. but if you look at the definition of hero, it is someone who commits an act of “remarkable bravery.” I prefer to reserve the hero label for soldiers, firefighters, law enforcement, missionaries and people who put their lives in harm way. I could be wrong, but there are few health professional getting the virus and dying. Jesus died on the cross. His apostles followed similar fates. The spirit of the anti-Christ wants to take our focus away from Godly heroes to those the world wants us to worship.

If you want COVID comfort, be wise and don’t get sick. I do encourage you to read about “comfort” in the Bible and focus on where real comfort comes from. For me the two best books for comfort are Psalms and 2 Corinthians. Seek comfort according to God’s word and from God’s peoples, although His word is more dependable than His people. But either way, seek and ye shall find!!


9:15am    Bible Study for all ages         
10:15am  Sunday Morning Worship Service     
701 B Street * P.O. Box 334 * Brawley, CA  92227  (760) 344-3831   


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Due to COVID-19, Valley Baptist Church is currently closed for a typical Sunday morning worship service,

but as our normal custom, we live stream through our Facebook page every Sunday morning at 10:30am. 

Pastor John Mark Sharpe's message may be found on Facebook: 

Valley Baptist Church--Brawley, CA . 

The video below is our most current message.  See below article written by Jimbo Shinn!

Valley Baptist Church * 701 B Street * P.O. Box 134 * Brawley, CA  92227 * 760-344-3831 * Facebook:  Valley Baptist Church  Brawley, CA