The Believer’s Double Anchor of Hope (April 2009)
Sailing in the Pacific Ocean around Vancouver, Canada, is a sailor’s paradise; but those beautiful waters can be very dangerous. When I lived in British Columbia I learned that inexperienced boaters can unwittingly be ensnared on the rocky bottom. Here’s how they get trapped: At evening, novices sail their boats into what looks like a picturesque bay at high tide. They anchor and as night falls, go to sleep. Since northern latitude tides range up to 16 feet, they wake up to a shocking reality. Their boat is sitting on the rocky bottom tilted at an odd angle with the ocean far from their craft.
Learning to navigate dangerous waters is a picture of reality. Life at its most beautiful place is only a few steps from a risky trial. Apostle Peter writes, “Do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though some strange thing is happening to you.” 1 Peter 4:12.
If we know that trials are coming, what keeps us filled with hope? There’s another secret of boating in dangerous waters that illustrates what I think is a picture of our hope in Christ. It’s called “double anchoring.” When the captain expects a fast running tide or strongly adverse winds he can order the crew to double anchor. The procedure goes like this: One line goes from the bow (front) to an anchor set securely on the bottom. The second line goes from the stern (back) and is tied to a tree on land. By double anchoring the boat the vessel is held secure and does not move. The double anchor is a picture of how we tie our lives to keep them from breaking free during the storms that come.
Looking back in time is the historical event of the cross. That is our first place to anchor our lives. There we can see Christ who died to save us from the dangers of our sins. But wait, there’s more! Our second spiritual anchor looks ahead to another great event to come on God’s calendar…Christ’s Second Coming. This is the event to top all coming events. When Jesus comes again we will be taken up into the clouds and reunited with Jesus and those believers who have gone before us. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.”
With two spiritual anchors securely in place you can weather any storm of this life and find your way to the safe harbor of heaven. Check your ropes and double anchor!
Showers of Blessings (March 2009)
The headline news seems to be filled with two main subjects…the economy and the weather. America is experiencing a significant economic downturn which means that thousands of people have lost their jobs and more are on the chopping block. Meanwhile, we have experienced one of the coldest and wettest winters in recent history. This stressful mix is not new to America or anyone who still remembers the Great Depression of the 1930s or the S & L crisis of the 1980s. Biblically speaking, difficult economic times and uncertain weather are two means used by God to awaken spiritually deaf and proud nations. Have you ever stopped to think about that?
In Genesis 7, God judged the earth with rain during Noah’s flood. During the reign of wicked King Ahab, God sent a drought that was only broken when Elijah prayed (1 Kings 17). Weather was God’s tool of choice to rouse humanity from spiritual slumber.
Similarly, God used economics. In Genesis 41, Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dream about the seven years of plenty followed by seven years of drought. As a result God opened the door for Joseph to become the prime minister of Egypt. In the end God also spared the Jewish nation through Joseph’s intervention. During the time of Isaiah God warned Israel of impending economic decline because of her hardness of heart (Isaiah 5).
In many cases God used weather or economics to bring people back from their proud and willful ways.
As Long Beach and the rest of our country experience the impact of uncertain times, I believe that we need to understand that God is calling America back to Himself. As the economic crisis deepens I believe we need to look for new opportunities to share the hope we have in Christ.
What does hope look like when times are hard? Practical hope may take the form of clothing, food and shelter for those who cannot get through a month. Hope may look like tutoring a child whose home is filled with unrest. Hope could be a phone call or a gift that says “I care” to someone in need. Hope is volunteering at a preschool for poor children in the inner city or helping out at the Long Beach Mission. Hope may be teaching a class of Kindergarteners at Cornerstone Church.
But the ULTIMATE HOPE we must never lose sight of or fail to communicate is found not in the things of this world, but in Christ. During difficult times people become ready to take a second look at God. Since that is the case…let’s be ready with an answer brimming with hope. Let’s not become part of the moaning and groaning that characterizes the world. Let’s become part of the solution, not the problem. Here’s Peter’s plan for times like this: But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. (1 Peter 3:15) Now there is hope that a weather report or economic status cannot destroy!
C.S.I. Methods Answer Questions and Prompt Faith (February 2009)
Recently I was speaking to an agnostic friend about the existence of God and the reasonableness of believing that Jesus is the Messiah. As I gave him some evidence for my belief, he countered with good questions mixed with well-worn skepticism. He said, “What about all the wars?” “Why was there a holocaust?” “I only believe what I can see and touch.” Rather than being discouraged I was energized by the conversation, because I enjoy uncovering the barriers that keep people from embracing God. Even better…I enjoy watching those barriers to belief fall.
I continued to offer my friend some reasons to believe that God exists and that Jesus is the Savior of the world. For example, I gave him the statistical probability that Jesus is the true Messiah by providing him with the numerical probability if only nine of the Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus’ first coming. In case you are wondering, the number is one chance in 10 to the 17th power. That’s a number so huge that it proves with absolute certainty that Jesus is the true Messiah. After giving him other reasons to believe he said, “I think you are trying to convert me.” My response was, “I’m not trying to convert you because I can’t do that. (According to 1 Corinthians 2:14 only the Holy Spirit can do that.) I’m only trying to make you think.” Then he said, “I want to talk more. This is interesting.”
When the conversation ended I silently prayed that God would allow my friend to ponder what he heard and that his heart would be opened. C.S.I. (Christ Scene Investigation) methods help unbelievers think outside the box labeled “unbelief.” C.S.I. methods also give believers strong evidences to present to the world that Jesus is the Savior. Apologetics is the study of how to defend the faith in the face of serious questions. Christians in America need to be equipped with a “reason for the hope that is in you.” (1 Peter 3:15)
No intelligent home buyer purchases a house without first checking significant things like the foundation, the condition of the house and the title. But how many unbelievers blindly live out their earthly lives without ever investigating the truth about God, life’s purpose and eternal destiny? I believe it is time for Christians to strengthen our grip on understanding the rational basis for belief. As one Christian apologist said, “Christianity is an evidential faith. God has given us reasons to believe that make sense.” In the coming year I want to encourage you to reach higher and dig deeper so that you can defend your faith.
The world of unbelievers awaits a fully-empowered and fully-equipped Christian.
How to Start Anything New...Including a New Year (January 2009)
What could a new year bring to your front door? What joys and challenges await you in 2009? Will this be a pivotal year with exciting new vistas to explore? Or will 2009 require you to grind out another year in sameness and obscurity? Will you meet a new lifelong friend or lose one? Will your investments succeed beyond your wildest dreams or will your meager fortune be ravished by hard economic times? Will you discover a hidden strength that propels you into a new direction, or will you experience lessons of failure that will temper your heart?
The answers to these and many more questions remain a mystery still to be unraveled in the scroll of God’s plan for your life. Jesus had some great advice for people like us who tend to worry about the future:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”
The worry-free life Jesus spoke of doesn’t remove our responsibility to work hard, be diligent, value ingenuity and remain patient. Neither does Jesus’ promise have any small print that says, “Void during a crisis.” What Jesus told us is that we are “more important’ – “more important” - and “more valuable” to God than anything that could possibly worry us. Now that should bring peace to your heart as your think about your life in the future tense!
Don’t let the silent thief of worry claim 2009! Take back your future by placing your faith in God who considers you more valuable and more important than anything you could ever imagine or worry about!
Lost in Space (December 2008)
In a pre-holiday surprise, flight controllers at NASA Mission Control had to revamp their plans for the remaining spacewalks scheduled for the space shuttle Endeavour. In the course the visit to the international space station, a crucial tool bag floated out to space during a repair trip. The briefcase-sized tool bag drifted away from an astronaut as she cleaned and lubed a gummed-up joint on a wing of solar panels on the space station. The errant tool bag will presumably float in space for a long time and then eventually reenter the earth’s atmosphere as a fiery speck. A sad ending for expensive government tools! When I read this news article I wondered at how small things make the news when large things go untold. Things that matter the most are often hidden from public view.
Such was the case of Jesus’ birth 2000 years ago. If Bethlehem had a newspaper on the day Jesus was born, it would have certainly carried a story about the unpopular tax grab by the Roman government or the lack of hotel rooms at an affordable price. Lost in the crush of the day’s news was the birth of the Son of God. Not that God didn’t give anyone advance notice! The prophets had predicted in detail the Messiah’s arrival at Bethlehem and the circumstances surrounding His birth. But when the day arrived no one was looking. The greatest birth event ever would have gone totally unnoticed if it were not for a star to lead the Magi and an angelic visitation to some sleepy shepherds on a Judean hillside.
Christmas 2008 could easily go by without acknowledging the real story, were it not for churches like Cornerstone. At Christmas we are like the star that guided the Magi and the angels that announced Christ’s birth. Each year we have a whole array of ways to communicate the message of our Savior: Sunday Worship, “Come to the Light” Musical, “Happy Birthday Jesus” Children’s Event, and a Candlelight Christmas Eve Service to mention a few. Through all of the Christmas events the purpose is the same: Give the message of Jesus’ coming to earth as our Savior. As your pastor at Cornerstone, I promised you that we will not focus on the minors but stay fixed on the one event that changed everything. This Christmas that promise will be kept.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." John 3:16-17
Let the Praises Begin!
In Everything Give Thanks (November2008)
The economies on Wall St. and Main St. are shakier than at any time since the Great Depression and…Thanksgiving is just around the corner. What will be the topic of conversation around the tables in America this Thanksgiving? Will people grumble and complain about investment losses or speak in angry strains about the pressure of no work and tight budgets?
This week I met with one of our Cornerstone families needing help to put food on the table. As I talked with the head of the household and offered some assistance, he told me of the many ways God was blessing his family. In the face of hardship this man was thinking of reasons to praise the Lord. His attitude reminded me of an important spiritual principle. God calls us to keep thanking Him… especially when times are hard.
More than 2500 years ago an obscure prophet with a funny name lived in desperate times. Habakkuk, in the Old Testament book named after him, makes a powerful statement that echoes down the corridor of history to us as 21st century Americans.
Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign LORD is my strength!
How could Habakkuk be so buoyant and grateful at a time of such pressing need? What secrets did he hold that made the difference between complaining and celebrating? Let me suggest three:
First, he didn’t look at his meager provisions, he looked to his great Provider.
Second, he believed that God is sovereign and in control of all things.
Third, he relied on God to give Him strength to face each day.
No one can predict what the next year holds for America’s economy. No one knows how long this current financial crisis will last. During uncertain times the one immovable foundation is God and the one necessity for life’s bumpy journey is a grateful heart.
Determine to face every day and Thanksgiving 2008 with a heart like Habakkuk.
Solo Saints in a Community of Faith? (October 2008)
What's Wrong with This Picture?
The image of a rugged individualist was seared into the American cultural memory when courageous pioneers ventured across the untamed wilderness in search of a new life. Manifest Destiny lured our forefathers westward with the promise of free land and a chance to break their very own sod. My great-grandfather was one of those hardy souls who loaded all his belongings onto a wagon and headed west to the Dakota Territory. When he arrived at the patch of land along the Missouri River, he claimed it as his homestead. Soon he built a prairie house and started to till the earth. However, living out in the wilderness in isolation was not the end of the story. Remote and cut off from people all week, farmers and their families longed to “go into town,” and built a community. At the center of almost all community life in the American west was the church.
Reel forward to 21st century America. Today’s post-modern Americans live in houses and apartments, work at jobs that usually don’t require dirt under their fingernails, travel in gasoline-powered cars along sleek roads at speeds that would terrify a pioneer. Despite all the differences, there is one common life experience of historic and modern Americans…a longing for authentic community.
The same Creator who looked at the first man and said, “It is not good for man to be alone,” intended us to be in community. The earliest recorded memoirs of the church in Acts log the priority that community had in the lives of our spiritual forefathers: “All the believers were together and had everything in common…they broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts.” (Acts 2:44, 46) In a phrase, they were “doing life together.”
God designed the church to be a place where life gets lived under the authority, direction and safety of Christian community. At Cornerstone Church we believe that every follower of Jesus is important and needs a loving community in which to grow. Over the next year we have set a goal to involve 80% of our Sunday-worshipping congregation in small groups. Let me give you three reasons why you need to seriously answer the call to community.
- You will grow spiritually stronger when you connect with other believers in a small group that teaches the Bible.
- When you face difficult times you will be encouraged, prayed for and built up by a small group.
- Your Christian life will be more stable and resilient when you balance it with authentic fellowship and honest accountability.
Solo is not the way to go.
Good Transitions…Continued Blessing (September 2008)
Cornerstone Church has faced more than a few changes in nearly 7 years. Since our humble beginnings, life has never been boring. I imagine Abraham and Sarah scratched their heads in wonder many times during their circuitous sojourn to the Promised Land. With only a small supply of advance notices and a lot of faith, God was orchestrating for them something great that was yet future.
As we prepare to say farewell to the Myers, we face a similar path. Looking back we can see the leading of God in sending Dan and Kirsten to Cornerstone. Few couples could have served with more flexibility, sacrifice and willingness. They have been an ideal fit for our first years. It was in our church that the Myers heard the call of God to full time Christian service. It was in our church they developed their natural gifts, honed their musical skills and learned how to minister as servants. Along the way they also became the parents of three beautiful girls, Aurie, Clara and Selah. I will always be grateful to God for them.
God has used the challenge of developing worship ministries at another new church to move them on. Like grown children leaving an extended family, we bless them as they venture out. The lingering impact of their lives and ministry will always be appreciated. Dan says that he will always take the heart of what he learned at Cornerstone with him. Amen to that!
September 1st begins a new day in the worship life of Cornerstone. The goal of the transition is very simply stated: To enable Cornerstone Church to successfully transition to interim worship leadership without sacrificing the level of excellence. In God’s amazing planning, we were blessed to hire Pastor Terry Miller in May. With a “hit the ground running” enthusiasm, Pastor Terry has been assisting me in pastoral duties and successfully launched a new ministry called Believer’s Essentials. Numerous other projects are on the drawing board and scheduled to roll out this fall. In God’s wisdom, Terry came with numerous God-given gifts including worship leadership. My first introduction to Terry nearly two years ago was hearing him lead worship in such an awesome way that it left a lasting imprint on me. Little did I know then that God was orchestrating a wonderful plan to release Terry’s worship leading gifts at Cornerstone. So starting Sunday September 7, Pastor Terry will assume the leadership of worship.
Even the most talented and dedicated pastor cannot accomplish the combined duties of Assistant Pastor and Worship Director; so the transition plan includes hiring Sara Collins as a special part-time assistant to carry out the behind-the-scenes details. Again, God has blessed us; this time with an amazing and talented woman of multiple skills and a servant’s heart.
Over the next months, I will be collaborating and assessing the present and future needs of our worship ministries. Based on those findings, together we will take the next step in this walk of faith. Like a good friend of mine once said, “When you walk by faith, you have to take whatever God gives…even if it is the best.” I have a hunch that this transition will prove to be the best for everyone.
Why Children and Youth in Church? (August 2008)
We live today in an age of specialization and over-choice, often fueled by clever marketing strategies. This march towards specialization has of course impacted the church. In an effort to meet everyone’s needs, market-driven churches offer a myriad of ministry choices for the church “consumer.” While we can applaud some of the niche thinking that addresses individual needs, there is a downside that lurks in the shadows. It is easy for church “consumers” to be blinded to the wider values that have held the church together for centuries. One value that is in jeopardy of being overlooked today is the importance of intergenerational worship.
Moving into our new building and offering two worship services has made it possible for Cornerstone to strengthen this value. For our first six years we relied on tight scheduling that required children and youth to meet in other places during worship. What pragmatism necessitated then should now be replaced with what our values dictate. Our new building and more flexible schedule gives families with school age children the opportunity to sit together in worship; it also provides youth with a place to connect with adults.
Why is it a good idea for children and youth to be in church? Here are some reasons why the leaders of Cornerstone and I want to emphasize including children and youth in worship:
1. Improving Listening Skills – Children are naturally fidgety and youth are easily distracted, but both will benefit throughout their lifetime by sharpening their listening skills.
2. Intergenerational Interaction – Everyone can benefit from the unique perspective differences that identify each generation. Making room for one another and progressing from toleration to acceptance pleases God who made all generations.
3. Family Modeling – Children and youth who witness their parents in worship more easily see and emulate the behavior of parents in their expression, music, prayer, and response to God’s Word.
4. Self-discipline – Experiencing a worship service where reverence and quietness are required is an important contrast to the loud media saturation most children and youth experience each day. “Be still and know that I am God” is part of discipleship.
5. Academic Preparation – Christians of every generation have excelled academically because of their emphasis on learning, growing and interpreting the text of Scripture. Worship sets the groundwork for academic achievement.
6. Spiritual Understanding – Most children and teens in a church worship service do not engage in everything that happens, but they are catching bits and pieces of truth that have a cumulative effect on spiritual growth and understanding.
7. Common Songbook – Every generation has “their” music. However, there are hymns and songs that have stood the test of time that every generation needs to know.
8. Reminder to Adults of Leaving a Legacy – Children and youth in church keep the adults from living for their generation. Christianity is always only one generation from extinction. We are commanded to pass it on to the next generation.
“What we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done.” Psalm 78:3-4
Families Connect in Summer (July 2008)
Ahhh….summer. Just the thought of it brings up memories of warm days, water sports, camping, baseball, BBQs, family gatherings, and great times. For many families summer is the time to temporarily disconnect from the daily grind and attend family reunions that bring relatives from every corner of the country.
As a boy my family traveled to my great grandfather’s homestead in the Midwest along the rolling farmland of the Missouri River. There I met some wonderful relatives who made me feel loved and, at times, some who made me wonder how they made it on the family tree. Visits always included grandma’s cooking, homemade ice cream and fun on the farm. While many of my boyhood recollections have faded, the desire to connect with my family has never diminished.
Cornerstone Church is God’s family. Some of the same things that I recall about my biological family also apply to my spiritual family at church. Let me list them for you:
God’s family should take advantage of the summer months to connect and build closer ties. During the course of a year members of a church family can get detached from others in the same family.
God’s family needs to eat together often and talk about their lives in an atmosphere of love and trust. Summer is a time to build our relationships.
God’s family needs to do family business together so that everyone remembers what is important. Serving together happens in summer.
God’s family needs to care for the children, elderly, sick, weak, and lonely of their ranks. Love heals all wounds.
God’s family ought to have fun together.
This abbreviated issue of Cornerstone’s newsletter provides you with the connection points available to the Cornerstone family this summer. Let’s make some family memories this summer…together.
Sterling Silver or Clay Pot (June 2008)
We have a sterling silver coffee set at home that a family member gave us as a reminder of our wedding anniversary. It's quite old and beautifully made. It is easily the most expensive servingware in our house. A few times over the years I have been assigned the unenviable task of removing the tarnish that covers the silver with a black film.
Once the tarnish is removed, the coffee set gleams brighter than any container in the house. But left alone in the cupboard it is not long until the shiny silver set is hidden behind another layer of tarnish. The sad commentary of our valuable silver coffee set is that it sits on the shelf and gets very little use.
God's not looking for sterling silver tea sets. He's looking for rough-and-tumble clay pots—the kind that can be used everyday. He's looking for the kind of pots that don't need to be tucked away in a china closet, but can be sent out into a crash-bang world, carrying within them the life of Christ. The church was never meant to be a china cabinet, where precious pieces could be safely stowed out of harm's way. The church was meant to be a working kitchen, where well-worn pots are filled again and again to dispense their life-giving contents to a thirsty world.
This summer Cornerstone Church will join hundreds of other churches in Southern California to serve the community on Serve Day. Raking a lawn, cleaning an injured veteran’s bathroom, visiting the elderly, raising awareness of cancer are only a few of the planned events. At Cornerstone every day is serve day. Within our church there are scores of opportunities to teach children, counsel at summer camp, work in VBS or volunteer at Soccer Camp and many more. Summer is a time for serving so that people see Christ inside us.
This summer remember this simple truth: Clay pot Christians were meant to be filled and busy. Tarnished silver coffee sets sitting idle are neither useful nor beautiful to God. “We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7
National Day of Prayer (May 2008)
There was no message from Pastor Jerry this month. Instead, the space was given to promote Cornerstone's participation in the National Day of Prayer. For more information, on the National Day of Prayer event, click here.
Red Carpet or Wet Blanket? (April 2008)
Everyone has experienced walking into a room full of new faces, and wondering if you fit. Few things in life are more frightening. That is why it is important that every Cornerstone member and friend ask themself this very honest question: Do I come across to others as a “Red Carpet” person or am I a “Wet Blanket”?
Right now Cornerstone is at a most delicate moment. We are the “new kid on the block.” 1000 Studebaker is finished and guests are pouring through our doors in record numbers. What will they find? What will impress them? Depress them? Will they find their fit or find the revolving door?
People in the surrounding neighborhood are curious about us and what they might find when they enter our doors. One study shows that if a visitor does not make a personal connection with at least one other person within three weeks of attending a church they will leave and not come back. What a tragedy! Here’s how you can help avoid this heartbreak: Be a “Red Carpet” person.
What do “Red Carpet” people do?
They pray and then look for anyone new and go out of their way to personally connect with them.
They are sensitive to find the common ground and develop a friendship bridge.
They don’t pressure people to instantly become a Cornerstone “insider”; they love them and let them be themselves.
They demonstrate acceptance by introducing guests to their friends.
Once they make a connection they invite them to a ball game or other social event, out for coffee, to their community group or Bible study.
They listen carefully.
Everyone knows what a “Wet Blanket” person feels like. They smother, douse, freeze out, and drive people away. Check out how Jesus handled guests in John 4. The Bible tells us that Jesus was “the friend of sinners” and that He called His disciples “friends.” Now that’s the kind of heart that will win those who enter our doors with temerity.
A Note from Pastor Jerry (March 2008)
On a weekend scheduled for rain, Cornerstone experienced a powerful “shower of blessing” with a full weekend of Dedication activities. The whole weekend started off with our youth in the worship center as the cast of ComedySportz brought laughter and some great insight into the Christian life for our students. Saturday morning was all about kids! Children and their families were inspired and entertained by singer/songwriter Randy Stonehill doing his “Uncle Stonehill” routine. Children’s Director Debbi Andrews and her team prepared a fun morning for kids while emphasizing the mission of Cornerstone’s children’s ministry. Nothing could dampen their spirits.
On Sunday the doors of Cornerstone’s new facility swung wide open to the community as scores of new people entered our church for the first time. Thousands of flyers sent out into the community have raised the interest and curiosity of the surrounding neighborhood. Many of those people expressed appreciation that Cornerstone has made Long Beach its home. At the official dedication service the packed house heard of Cornerstone’s vision and mission. Dignitaries from local government, schools, universities and ministries gave their hearty congratulations on this great milestone. Among the special people recognized at the Dedication service were the five men who worked so closely together to get the project finished by Christmas: Leroy Williams, Jack Mazorlig, Jason Shelton, Dale Moen and team leader, John Fuqua. They top the list of literally hundreds of people including contractors, professionals, and volunteers who sacrificed much to make our Cornerstone Church facility a reality.
Our greatest thanks go to God who orchestrated the miraculous set of circumstances that brought us to this point in Cornerstone’s history. The glory and honor are His. For without Him we can do nothing. In response to God’s great provision, Cornerstone Church will continue to be the “salt” and “light” to the surrounding community and wider world.
Coming Home (February 2008)
Chris Clark, founder of Children of the Nations recently received an email from a staff member in Uganda. Pastor James titled his message “9 orphans… GOOD NEWS!” The orphans he was referring to had fled the genocide in Darfur. Their parents were killed and they were left homeless. Pastor James went on to report that the nine newest children had been in their new Children of the Nations home for two days. His next line said, “They can’t avoid the joy!”
These children have missed out on the sense of security that “home” should represent. Now, thanks in part to Cornerstone Church, they have the opportunity to learn of the safety and security that “home” represents.
They will get to sleep in a bed on a real mattress, for the first time!
They will learn that they don’t have to wonder where their next meal will come from!
They will have the privilege of attending school and being able to study instead of begging in the streets!
They will get to know new home-parents who will love them and provide for their needs. They will experience “family!”
They will have a chance to dream again and begin to fulfill these dreams. The opportunity to dream - what a gift!
At this point everyone at Cornerstone Church can identify with the gift of our dreams… a new church home. We’ve not only dreamed about our new church home, but like these children, we have seen our dreams realized. So now do we stop dreaming? Definitely not! Like these children, we now have the opportunity to dream bigger, innovate and embrace a brighter future.
What creative opportunities will God give us?
How will Cornerstone’s new campus become the launching place for greater work of God in Long Beach?
In what way will you invest your life to make a difference?
Let’s keep our dreams alive and focused on God’s opportunities here in Long Beach. God says, “Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left…” Isaiah 54:2-3a
Owning the Vision (January 2008)
The late President Ronald Reagan had a framed sign prominently displayed on his desk in the Oval Office that read, "It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit." For the longest time I thought it was one of President Reagan’s own mottos. However, I later discovered that it is a quotation of President Harry Truman who had a great ability to make pithy remarks like this one: "If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog."
During the construction of the Cornerstone Church facility I have been impressed and inspired by the sacrificial dedication of so many willing servants. Scores of the Cornerstone family dug in and helped with a host of projects from demolition to the finishing touches. People have taken weeks of vacation time to work at the church and set aside their profitable businesses to get the job done; setting up and fine-tuning our wonderful new A.V. and lighting systems, reconditioning heaters and air conditioners, moving furniture numerous times. Still others fixed landscaping, cleaned up, stored stuff, painted, washed floors, renovated offices, shoveled, roofed, supplied or made equipment, consulted our I. T. needs, bought furnishings, provided musical instruments. When Solomon built the temple the same attitude prevailed in Israel. When they dedicated the Temple there was not enough room on the altar for the offerings that were given to the Lord (1 Kings 8:64).
Now the most amazing part about our Cornerstone church family is this…
I don’t hear anyone who wants credit for what they have done. Let’s keep it that way. Then we will all keep looking to God and not get tripped up on who did what. To God be the glory!
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