The title is a bit misleading, because honestly, we never left! We’ve had a different method of gathering as a congregation because of technology. However, I am very excited about our first service back together today! We are opening at 25% of capacity and it will not be very long before we are at 50% ,75% ,and then back to full capacity. We understand some people will not want to venture out yet, and we will not brow beat anyone for their decision. My responsibility, as the under-shepherd of this local fellowship, is to make balanced decisions based upon the Word of God, and respect for our governmental authorities. Obviously, all of us have seen our government authorities waver as they allow protests and people to march arm-in-arm in cities all across the United States, and not condemn them for violating the social distancing rules they’ve established. No one is saying there isn’t a virus. But many believe the authorities have overstepped their boundaries as it relates to what churches can, or cannot, do. So, from this point forward when the leadership team meets, we will have a totally different perspective regarding these rules and regulations, whether they come from the White House, or the Wisconsin Governor, because the most important guidance comes from The Holy Spirit and the Word of God. Yes, we will be cautious; yes, we are mindful that there is a real epidemic, but we will not be frightened away from meeting together. With knowledge of the current situation, we are moving forward, stepping out in faith and trusting God. It is a sobering thing to watch people, not knowing where they are spiritually, but they are impassioned and willing to march together, to violate all social distancing rules for the sake of this tragedy that happened in Minneapolis. It’s reminded me that we need to be as passionate about our faith in Christ as other individuals are about any other issue happening in our world today. I can’t think of anything more important than the fact that we are one day closer to the return of the Lord Jesus, and there are millions of people who are lost, not knowing Christ as their Savior. I will not apologize for the decisions I and our leadership team have made up to now for the safety for our entire congregation, but moving forward we will have a different perspective, a larger appreciation of being led more by God’s kingdom mandates than something man has established. Yes, we will maintain a healthy balance. Yes, we will not have our heads in the sand. Yes, we understand there is an unseen enemy that is causing people to die. But we also know that “greater is He who is in us than he that is in the world.” The devil is out there like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour, but Jesus always has the last word. Now is the time to rise up and be the people of God we are called to be, not fearing the unknown; not fearing man’s repercussions; not fearing even our own loss of life; realizing that our reward awaits us in eternity. We will not try to strap on some kind of martyrdom syndrome, but we know we will face even greater challenges in these last days as the church. Not just Hawthorne Assembly, but God’s whole Church. The Scriptures are clear that we will, so we must choose now to make some decisions that the world won’t like.