Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Organizing for Outreach

Last Saturday we had our Leadership Training seminar and it was awesome. Many of our team leaders were there to sharpen their skills and organize their teams for growth. When we began Cornerstone God gave us a burden to reach the entire community with the good news of Jesus Christ and to bring people to a new life in Christ. If we are going to be able to accomplish this goal, we must be organized. Someone asked if we were organizing Cornerstone to become a mega-church (2,000+ in attendance) and I told them that there are 50,000 people in our immediate community with only 10 churches of any kind. If you do the math then we are responsible for 5,000 of them. Do we want to be a mega church? Yes. Because that will mean we have done our part in reaching our community. It is my conviction that every church in our community should become a mega church. Imagine every one of our churches organizing for outreach and doing the work of the ministry so effectively that we win our community for Christ. That is my burden as a pastor, that is my conviction. May God save me and our church from shortsighted and small thinking.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Wednesday Night

Last night we kicked off our new Family Night program at Cornerstone. It was fantastic. People kept coming, and coming. The kidMo team did an excellent job as they taught the kids about God’s Word. I still am trying to figure out all of the motions that go along with Matthew 7:24! I peeked in on the youth for a moment and they had 4 visitors. The youth leaders are really pumped about the new direction. All I know about the adult prayer group is that they had to keep coming back for more seating. They had packed it out. All in all, it was a great night, and if you missed it, then you really missed it.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Proactive Discipline?

Celebration High School has a problem. This year the administration enacted a plan to create a peaceful lunchroom environment by having all the students face one direction during lunch. Apparently last year’s student body was too rowdy during their lunch “break.” So this year instead of dealing with the rowdy kids, they decided to punish the whole school in advance of any rowdy behavior. Our teens that attend Celebration high have not complained to me about this, but when I saw it on the wftv news, I could not let this one go. I am suggesting that they put principal Debra Neil on Administrative leave pending any future misconduct she may or others around her may do. I have been a long opponent of homework, and the removal of recess from the schedule. All kids, not just us hyperactive kids have energy to burn. Science tells us that the average girls will speak 25,000 words every single day. If they are not given time to use them on each other, then we as parents will have to listen to phrases like “Billy thinks he is so cool, but Janet says that he is not cool he just thinks he is cool.” I shudder just thinking about it. I say turn the tables on this proactive discipline and give them the freedom of speech, at least during their “breaks” and on top of that… send them outside for recess. And while we are at it, let them play dodge ball!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Showing God's Love

On Monday Gabe and I had the opportunity to attend a networking meeting with a hundred church leaders here in the state of Florida in order to receive some instruction and encouragement and to discuss how we can more effectively launch new churches within the state. The quote that stood out to me was by Tom Messer of Trinity Baptist in Jacksonville. Here is the quote: “The difference between today’s church and the first century church is that today we are trying to show the world how much we love God and the first century church was trying to show God’s love to the world.” Far too often we fail to realize that Jesus said that when you “Do it to the least of these, you have done it unto me.” It is our goal as a church to always be focused on sharing the love of God with those in our community who do not go to church. In fact we love nonreligious people, and not so that we can give them our. We know that relationship trumps religion and that if we get you to act like a child of God without really becoming a child of God then we have failed as a church.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Letter from Lebanon

Do you ever wonder what makes a pastor cry tears of joy? A few weeks ago Israel invaded Lebanon and we were reminded of a Lebanese family that was part of our church in the very beginning. Fadi Korban had been brought to FL to work for Disney. His ability with detailed wood work is beyond compare. After some time however, he had to return to his home country. With the conflict in Lebanon we recently added him to our prayer list. Today, after three years I received this email.

Dear Joel and the church staf, it has been almost three years since last time i have been with you at the church, but through all these days at least one of you guys at the church every day been with my thought and memory. i miss you a lot and my kids too ( Rayan and Riwa Korban) we lost contact .... i,m sorry but in lebanon never comes easy. today i.m in my friends house he got internet connection so I said I want try to contact you and here I'm sending you this email with my hope that receive it with my wish that everyone of you be in a good condition.
hope talk to you later

please send my regards to all the church staf or who remember us

sincerely: Fadi Korban

Did you read the part where he said he prays for at least one of us and for the church every day? Did you read the part where he hopes that we are in good condition? Read it again.
That is the stuff that makes a pastor cry. As I replied to his letter, I was reminded of Paul and the emotional letters he wrote to church members along his missionary journey. The bond of Christian love is unlike anything this world has to offer. Sometimes people ask Why God is blessing Cornerstone so much. What is the secret to the rapid growth and the wonderful spirit of the church. The answer: there was this guy who still prays for us every day. In a country where bombs are still falling, there is a man and his kids who are praying for our good condition. Oh to God that we would all embrace the power found in the prayer of a believer. That we would pray for our brother Fadi, and the other Lebanese Christians who are caught in a battle between the Muslims and Jews. That we would continue to pray that the influence of Cornerstone would wrap around the world and have a lasting affect on all that would pass our way.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Back to School

It's the most wonderful time of the year. Those little people who have been causing so much trouble over the past two months are getting ready to be put back in their place. School has a special place in the hearts of those of us at Cornerstone. We have the privilege of meeting at the Four Corners Elementary School and basing much of our community outreach through those hallowed halls. In fact this past Tuesday a group of us met to move text book after textbook from classroom to classroom. Simple, but simply a way of meeting a very real need for the teachers and administration of "our" school.
For most people, the memory of school carries with it enough emotional backpacks, to fill a hundred lockers. Yet in spite of the teachers, we learned many of life's most important lessons at school. Don't hit, share, do your home work... And so on.
One of my favorite things about school is graduation. In K-4 the parents and their video camera's block your shot of Jr. Receiving his, I mean diploma from the teacher. Sixth grade, a little more important as the kids punish the parents and grandparents with endless barrage of musical numbers and cute costumes. High school... One word... Rebellion. "I am 18 and I have learned it all, now stop telling me what to do." In college it was a bit of gratitude and relief mixed with the ignorance of how hard it will be to land a job, and that student loans come due in two weeks. The amazing thing is that even though we graduate from one to the next that there is always more to learn and that there are always those that think that they have finished learning.
Over the next few weeks at Cornerstone we will look back at School and how important it is for us to continue learning even after we graduate. Unfortunately, many Christians fail to grasp the all important concept of continuing education. We will look at the grade levels in the Christian life and the graduated learning we all must do.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Text Messages From God

Text Messages have been around since the beginning of time. From the first sunset God has been sending a message of love to his creation. Throughout the centuries man has scribbled messages on cave walls, carved them into trees and sent them up by smoke. Today communication is so advanced that the average person is bombarded with messages that compete with our God for attention. In this Sunday’s message we will see how we can filter out the spammers and scammers that fill our inboxes with junk mail.

Friday, June 16, 2006

The Mosquito

The Mosquito is now officially the state bird of FL. We all have been driven out of the yard and into the house because of these annoying pests. Now a security company in the UK has harnessed the mosquito's sound to drive away another perceived pest. Here is a quote from Compound Security Systems website.

"The Mosquito ultrasonic teenage deterrent is the solution to the eternal problem of unwanted gatherings of youths and teenagers in shopping malls and around shops. The presence of these teenagers discourages genuine shoppers and customers from coming into your shop, affecting your turnover and profits. Anti social behaviour has become the biggest threat to private property over the last decade and there has been no effective deterrent until now. "

Now the cool thing for teens to do is to make this same sound the ringtone for their cell phones. Because the frequency is too high for most adults over 40 to hear they can send and receive text messages in class without the teacher knowing. Hence, the same thing that adults used to push teens away is being used to keep adults out of their lives.

As father's day approaches, I wonder what annoying thing I do that keep me from connecting with my kids. It is those same things that will one day keep me out of their lives. Am I grumpy, or maybe aloof, would I rather work on the computer than play with my kids. Would I rather watch sports on TV than a movie with my family. Should I take more time off during the summer or a lesser paying job so that I can be an active part of my kids' development years.

I happen to know that God loves teenagers of all ages and that the church should do what it can to attract young people and remove anything that is a barrier between them and an authentic personal relationship with Jesus Christ. So kids, if you are still listening, you are welcome here. We know that you are a genuine shopper too. That your anti-social behavior is maybe just a response to a culture that sees you as a pest rather than a person.

On a personal note, my whole family can still hear the mosquito. It does not bother Abby (8 years) but it did drive my wife Amy out of my office. On second thought, this may be useful after all :) You can check your hearing here.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Where's the Pool?

What a great weekend! On Saturday, Amy and kidZone took 23 to Green Meadows Farm. They had a blast catching chickens, riding ponys and petting farm animals. There are some pictures on the members page of the Cornerstone site. Then Sunday night a great couple, Art and Maureen, were baptized into the membership of Cornerstone. We have been claiming them for a long time and they are always a blessing when they are in the country, but they have a passion for God and want to be a more active part of the church. It is their goal to spend more time in the states serving in any capacity they are needed. That attitude does this pastor's heart well. There are some pictures on the members page as well. Props go to our friends down at Four Corners Baptist Church for allowing us to borrow their baptistery. It was the first time since beginning the church that we have used a "real" baptistery. This only became evident to me when we arrived at the church and Andrew (my 4 year old) said "Where's the pool?" He thought having a big tub in church was pretty cool. In some ways I still find myself asking "Where's the pool?"

Friday, May 19, 2006

Self Phones

Come on admit it. You have done it too. We all have. You are driving down I-4, stuck in traffic. There is nobody around, except for the guy in the other lane who is more interested in picking his nose than picking a lane. You have scanned the radio twice, and there is nothing on. Then, as if silence and solitude will kill you. You reach for the self phone. You know, that little device, that security blanket, that thing we do not know how we ever lived without. We scroll through the numbers looking for someone, anyone to talk to. At last check my phone book had 235 names. We then call some unsuspecting schlump, and totally use them. They could be hard at work, spending time with family, reading their Bible but it does not matter. We are bored and alone and want someone to talk to so we pull out the old self phone and say those now famous words ... "Can you hear me now?" Lately I have become aware of my tendency to abuse my friends and family in this way when I am alone in the car. Once I noticed it, I began to learn the driving patterns and schedules of people who call me. I like people, I am honored with their call, and I guess the only thing that annoys me is how quickly they dispense with me when they arrive at their destination, or another call comes in. "Oh, I gotta go because there is a telemarketer beeping in." That is insulting.
I guess that is how God feels. We only talk to him when we have nothing better to do. Or worse yet, we only call when we want something. Then the entire time we have him on the line we are distracted by the traffic of life, and as soon as there is someone else to talk to we quickly hang up on Him. I bet, he would like us to turn the radio off more often, and instead of scrolling through the phone book on our self phone to talk to Him for a while. Maybe He wants us to know that when we are all alone, that He is there. He is available. He is sitting by the phone waiting, hoping it will ring, that it is you on the line, and that you will say, "Hey God, it's me, what are you doing?" Well I need to go, you see I have a call to make. More on this Sunday. - Joel

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Today’s culture is marked by individualism. The iPod is the mascot for a culture where everyone wants to express themselves. The desire for personal distinction increases in a world where the population has become so large and communication so vast that the only thing you can claim as strictly, personally, yours is your DNA. It is into this culture that the church is challenged to run counter culture. The church is described in the Bible as a body; all working together for the common good. We may live in an iworld, but God has called us to become a weChurch. For the next four weeks we are going to look into our culture of individualism and see the lonely individuals around us who are starving to connect. People long to be a part of something that is greater than themselves, to belong to a place where true community exists. This community is what the Bible calls the church.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Coffee Snobs

Last Sunday we added Barnies Coffee to our Sunday morning refreshments table. We believe that good food and good coffee make for a great start to church. I noticed late last year that we have some real coffee snobs at our church. For those who may not know, these are the types that bring their own cup of coffee to church with them rather than drink a regular cup of Joe. (you know who you are) After much debate that ranged from Starbucks to Duncan Donuts, we landed on Barnies. This Sunday it was “German Chocolate Cake” flavored coffee and the aroma welcomed you at the front door. It was awesome. The coffee snobs will probably still bring their own 2 quart mugs of their secret blend. But now we are at least one step closer to reaching this elusive segment of our society.

Friday, May 05, 2006

What's the phone number for the AARP?

I am officially old. Last night we had our usual youth meeting at the Murray’s home and over 20 kids came out! We always have a blast, playing games, and talking about life. Last night, the game was full throttle basketball. There were four competing teams in a tournament of such. Being the leader, I stacked my team as to be able to win with the least amount of effort; which for me really means that I stand under the goal and tip in air balls. However, last night, something happened. I just wore out. I ended up having to tag out and bring in someone to take my place in the game. After the lesson, with my head held low, I came home to lick my wounds. Then, the phone rings. It is the little girl from my youth group at my first church in St. Pete. She will be graduating from college on Saturday and is getting married next month. Yep, make it official, I am definitely old.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Count Your Blessings

I love our Wednesday night prayer group. Last night we all met to share prayer requests and discuss the reaction of the Pharisees to Jesus’ raising Lazarus from the dead. One of the things that amazed us was that right after the biggest miracle to date. They were conspiring to kill him. It is totally ludicrous to me that even with the amazing evidence right before their eyes that they did not recognize who Jesus was or what He had done. It made me think, however, that we had just finished discussing answers to prayer requests that we have been praying about for several weeks and we did much of the same thing. Sometimes we get an answer to prayer and simply move on to the next request without really stopping to recognize who Jesus is and what he has just done. There is an old song that reminds us to count our blessings one by one. The next time you have an answer to a prayer request, stop and count that a blessing. Recognize that Jesus just acted on your behalf and consider it a blessing to serve a God who loves and cares so much for you. I for one counted it a blessing to be able to have some of Jacque Conard's wonderful rice pudding!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Beyond the Shadow of a Doubt

Next Sunday we will be continuing our new message series on doubt. In reality, if you are a Christian you have probably doubted your salvation at some point in your spiritual walk. If you are not yet a Christian, it is probably due to some unresolved doubt. Many have done much in recent days to cast doubt on Christ. Throughout this series we will tackle the issue of doubt and how we can move beyond the shadow of a doubt by understanding the presuppositions involved and weighing all the evidence available. I hope you will take time to join us this Sunday at 9:30 or 10:45 as we take on the doubts of John the Baptist and Doubting Thomas.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Greetings Baharain

Hey Jim and Celeste,
Just a quick note to thank you for staying up on the happenings at Cornerstone via the web. We miss your family very much and wish you all the best. Please email us and let us know how things are going for you there. We continue to pray for your family and look forward to seeing you when you return to the states.
- Joel

Easter Sunday Report

Hello Everyone,

I wanted to give you an update as to how God has blessed our church this past Sunday. First and foremost we praise God that Christ rose from the dead making our salvation and celebration possible. All three services were well attended, with only trouble seating everyone in the 10:45 service. The production team led by Mark Colvin was awesome really setting the stage for a great service. The praise team also hit a home run as well as all those on the welcome team. There were 7 who either accepted Christ for the first time or got reassurance of their salvation for which we praise God. We also found out that our little lunchroom can allow our church to grow to 350 on an average Sunday. For that we are grateful! If you subtract all the volunteers who stayed for two services and some for three we officially had 256 in church! Praise God for allowing our church to expand the ministry to so many of the wonderful people of our community. Also, hats off to the Easter Egg Layers. Or .... um... hiders. The kids had a blast! Today I will sit down and write thank you notes all day. What an honor to know that our team pulled together and set records that will someday, by God's grace by tomorrow's standards.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Easter Sunday

Wow! Not since the grand opening four years ago have I been so excited about Easter Sunday. So many of you have poured your time and energy into making Easter a great event for families all over oue area. This year we opted to pass out personal invitations instead of big mailouts and newspaper ads. I know it is old school, but I really believe that God blesses when we give time and personal attention rather than just spend money. I have been so impressed to hear stories of how God is opening doors for people to invite friends and neighbors and in the process share Christ. We are not only praying, but have planned for a big day. For the first time we will offer three worship services and most of our members have signed up to attend one and volunteer in one of the other two. We have the best Easter Egg hunt of all time planned, and most of the eggs will be filled with, or themselves be toys. We have yoyo eggs, silly putty, cash and even egg shaped bouncy balls. Hats off to the production team that has put in some long nights this week hanging curtains and lights in the auditorium and setting the stage for some really great music by our praise team. I heard them practice last week and my goose bumps had hoods bumps. We are kicking off a new message series called "Beyond the shadow of a doubt" that will address everything from doubting Thomas to the Da Vinci Code. Now it is up to you. What will make this Sunday a truly exciting event is to meet some of you who have never come out to one of our services. I will try to give a report of the day on Sunday afternoon for all of you who check in from around the globe to see what God is doing.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Changing Gears

I remember my first 5 speed. My brother- in law took me to the mall parking lot on Christmas Day to teach me to “Drive Stick.” It still just sounds cool. If you have ever learned to drive a car with a standard transmission you know the kind of fun it is to learn to engage the clutch, change the gear and slowly let up the clutch as you press down on the gas. Not giving it too much gas or it will conk out, or popping the clutch which makes you jerk and probably conk out. Then there is the whole problem of getting it in gear. If you are not careful in the transition from one gear to the next it is possible to grind it. That awful sound of gears grinding still haunt me when I get into a standard car.
Next week at Cornerstone we will be changing gears a little. Moving service times to accommodate a growing crowd. All shifts have the potential for a stall, a jerk or the ability to bring things to a grinding halt. But if done properly shifts are the only way that you can continue to move forward. We as a church know that this is what God has for us to do. We know that He has called us to reach more people and the only way to accomplish that is to gear up and create more room. All care is being taken to make it a smooth transition, but more than likely there will be some glitches along the way. We ask for your patience during this transition time, and want to remind all of you who make Cornerstone Baptist Church a great place to worship to be flexible and focused on the mission that God has for us.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Time Change Sunday

Dear Friends,

God is doing some amazing things at Cornerstone. Over the last 9 months the church has seen extreme growth due to your faithfulness and service, and God’s grace. In June 2005, average attendance was 91 in our one worship service. By October, we added an 8:15 early service to accommodate a crowd that had grown to 132. This trend has continued at a rapid pace, and this past Sunday we had 182 people worship with us.

As you can imagine, the rapid growth has created some unique challenges in ministering to the growing number of attendees. The greatest challenge is to create enough space in the adult worship services without overworking those who minister to the children. The addition of the 8:15 service and the sacrifice of those who volunteer at that time created 40 seats in the second service which have now been filled by new comers. We are thrilled that God has seen fit to bless us with more people with whom to serve our community. The challenge is that now the 10:30 service is again at capacity.

In January of this year we met in our monthly vision meeting to discuss the need to draw more to the 8:15 service. Many of you gave great ideas, and others made the commitment to come early to make more room at 10:30. However, in spite of the fact that 48 attended the 8:15 service this past week, there were 134 in the 10:30, a gap that needs desperately to be narrowed. Essentially, the room was at fire code capacity and there was not room for one more family to be allowed in.

The Leadership team has been working hard over the last 3 months to come up with the best possible solution; one that will adversely affect the least amount of people while positioning the church for continued growth. Beginning April 2nd, the church will move Bible Fellowship tables out into the welcome area. This will allow each Bible Fellowship Group the flexibility to meet at 8:15, 9:30, or 10:45 on campus, or at any time of their choosing off campus. This in turn will free up the lunchroom at 9:30 for the early worship service. It is hoped that the later start time will balance the attendance in the two services thus allowing the church to grow to over 250 in attendance as God continues to bless.

Those who are used to coming to the 8:15 Worship Service will still be able to come at 8:15 for Bible Fellowship and leave after the 9:30 service. Your schedule should remain the same with the exception of attending Bible Fellowship first and Worship second. Also, beginning at 10:45 for the second service will still allow the second service to be out by noon. The children’s departments will keep to the same schedule as before with 9:30 Sunday School and 10:30 Jr. Church. There will be no Sunday School for children at 8:15.

One of the added benefits of this move is that it will allow us to continue to grow without adding more services, and thus creating more pressure on existing ministries. Also, by adjusting the start times, it allows the church to once again add the 8:15 service, when 9:30 and 10:45 reach capacity. This would allow the church to grow to over 300 without having to make any drastic changes.

In summary, we want to be faithful with the ministry that God has given us now, and also lay out a vision for the future. As always, we are continuing to look for land that will meet the growing needs of the congregation. However, until God provides the land it is our duty to grow where we are planted. The staff is available to answer any questions that you may have concerning this change as we all look forward to seeing what God has planned for Cornerstone Baptist Church.

Together In Christ,
Joel L. Johns, Pastor

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Sunday Report

Hello Everyone,

I have learned that many of you are now checking the blog to see the results of church on Sunday. I know it sounds like a broken record, but again this past week, for the third week in a row, we set a non holiday attendance record. Let me thank all of you who came out to be a part this past week. It has been amazing to watch the empty seats left when we began the early service to fill again, and again we are working on ways to create more room at 10:30. One of those ways is to convince any and all who can to join the early worship service. Both services are identical in program and in ministries to the kids. Plus, you get to have more time during the day. Right now we need to add another 20-30 people to our early service. I want to send a shout out to all those involved in ministry on Sunday, Elaine and Maribell, thanks for taking care of the babies in Nursery. Amy and Cheryl, Thanks for the Sunday School lessons. Tom & Sissy, my kids gave you an A+ for the kidZone Jr. Church. Chris, thanks for staying late and helping tear down. And thanks to everyone else who made Sunday a great day for those who attended Cornerstone. There are too many names to list all of you wonderful ministers of God!

Don’t Ever Give Up!

Quitters never win, and winners never quit, but those who never win and never quit are idiots. Monday night a Southern Illinois Cheerleader was dropped on her head from a 15 feet tall stunt. After some tense moments and strapped to a backboard, she continued to cheer on her team. While the paramedics wheeled her Kristi Yamaoka did the motions for the basketball team’s fight song. “As long as my arms were functioning; I could do the fight song.” She said. – Now that is the kind of cheerleader everyone needs. Last night at supper I overheard a conversation between my 4 year old son, and my 8 year old daughter. After coming in from playing together in the back yard, he asked if she would always cheer for him. She said yes, and a proud dad piped in that we all need cheerleaders. In life we all really do need someone who will cheer us on to victory. Even when the team is down and there is no hope of winning, I marvel to watch the cheerleaders on the sideline who continue to wave their arms and jump as if the game is close. Cheerleaders like Kristi Yamaoka, even though they are hurt, continue to keep the focus on the goals of the team. Kristi, you are my hero. As part of God’s kingdom team, I hope that no matter what happens to me, that I can be faithful to put the team’s victory first. As the pastor of Cornerstone, I hope that even if they are wheeling me out on a stretcher, that my arms will be motioning to the crowd to keep on cheering, the game is not over, we will win this one for the Lord! Go Church GO!

Friday, March 03, 2006

Joel, be serious. - Joel

I must say that one of my pet peeves is when people compare me to Joel Osteen. It is enough to make one not want to ever smile again. I have never been much of a Joel fan, maybe that is why I cringe at the comparison. To be honest I respect what Joel has been able to accomplish in drawing tens of thousands of people to church in spite of his zipity do dah. I have not read Joel’s book but had to write today to let you know that there is a new board game coming out based on the book by Joel “Your Best Life Now” You can check it out at . Not to be taken too seriously this is a real game by the makers of Bull Craps dice game and Bull Spit Card game ( I guess based on the PBR) I want to go on record right now to say. “Joel, this has gone far enough.” “It is time to grow up and get serious about church, life, heaven and hell.” Somebody do something before Mattel replaces Ken with a Joel doll.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Moe Mentum

Today I finished up the first message in our new series on Moses. Moses was one of the most unique and colorful characters in all of the Bible. I am looking forward to seeing how God created such a wave of momentum from a baby in a river into a sea of people parting the Red sea. Moses' story will excite you and allow you to see potential in your own life through accepting God's plan for your life. This Sunday we will see that Moses' parents were key in positioning him for success as they, themselves followed God in the face of powerful opposition. In truth it was God who did the miracle as he gave Moses life, when all other babies were being tossed into the river. God brought Salvation to Moses along the banks of the Nile through Pharaoh's daughter, and Moses got on board with God's plan for leading God's people out of bondage in Egypt and into the promised land. The great part about this story is that it can become our story as well. God has given you life. He created you special. He made you the way you are in the place you are at this time because he has a plan for you. God has offered you salvation from spiritual death, through the substitution of His Son Jesus. You can receive Salvation by accepting Christ's payment for your sin. Finally, Moses' story can be your story if you will accept God's plan for your life. Moses had many temptations as the Prince of Egypt, but He chose to accept God's plan instead. I hope that you will join us this Sunday as we expound these thoughts in the first part of our new series on Moe.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Welcome Aboard!

It is with great excitement that we welcome Mrs. Sue King to the staff at Cornerstone. Sue and her husband Dave have been faithful members since the very beginning of Cornerstone. She will come on part time to help with managing the church office, a job that, until now has been multitasked by the pastoral staff. Of course, multitasking is the ability to mess several things up at one time. Her addition will greatly organize the week to week operations of the church and allow us to continue the strong growth by being more effective in ministering to the people who attend.

Monday, February 27, 2006

What can you buy with no money?

Isaiah 55
I was just reading my Bible and a came across a verse that said “you who have no money come.” I thought to myself. That’s me, no money. Then it said to “come and buy.” And I thought, how can you buy something when you have no money? Then it said “Why do you spend money on things that are not bread?” and “your work on things that don’t satisfy.” Wow! We do that all the time. We waste our hard earned money on things that don’t satisfy. Still intrigued I read on. God says “Listen to me, and you will eat that which is good. Let your soul delight itself in God’s fullness and your soul shall live.”

When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness by Satan, he said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Then, when he was at the well of Samaria, his disciples were off buying food and he was sharing salvation with the woman of Samaria, the disciples returned with food and he was not hungry. He said that his “food was to do the will of the One who sent me.” So often in life we …can’t get no satisfaction. We try and try… in truth it is possible to be satisfied, even when you have no money. How you ask? First we must hang onto every word of God. Second, we must do the will of the one who sends us. A life of satisfaction comes through communion with Gods word, and connecting with God’s will.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Why Good People Die

A good man died this week. Grandpa Gibbs was known for his prayer notebook. Many people coveted being in that binder. He would sit and look at pictures and notes and talk to God. A mutual friend lamented that she will miss his prayers. I guess you can still pray from heaven right? Now it is just in person. In Isaiah 57 the Bible ponders why good people die. In an almost sarcastic way it questions why people never seem to learn that good people die to get away from the evil to come in this life. Life is often a hard thing. Death is a wonderful thing for good people; people who have entered into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Death was a good thing for Grandpa Gibbs. He is with the Savior, and the woman he loves. Verse two says ‘They shall enter into peace” so the next time someone wonders why good people die, you can tell them that God said in the book of Isaiah that for a saved person, the seemingly untimely death is to avoid the trouble that would have come into their lives and so that they can enter into eternal rest with their Savior. That is why good people die.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Bricks & Mortar

Bricks and Mortar is a term people use to refer to something with substance. I thought it would be ironically funny to call the blog by that name. As a new church the one thing that everyone wants to know is “Are you planning on a building?” This has always been a frustrating question for me. Not that I don’t understand the need of a church building as a tool, but that so many of my peers (other pastors) along with “church people” think that a building is what legitimizes a church. Don’t take me wrong here; I do want one day for us to have a place of our own. But only in God’s timing and that will be when the cost in money and attention will not hamper, but help the church. As far as legitimacy goes, I am glad that God is not judging us on the number of buildings we erect, but the lives that are built. I also wish that the average guy on the street would look past rented facilities and try us out. We had a great family visit last year. They came a few weeks and seemed really to enjoy the church, but opted for another church in the next town (without a pastor then and still to this day). When following up, they said, “We just did not want to do the church in a school thing.” You probably can tell that it still hurts to this day. They chose bricks and mortar over a really dynamic young church that just so happens to meet in a school. One day I guess I will understand that, but I hope that I will never accept it. Bricks and Mortar stands for substance; Cornerstone is a church with substance and that is a legitimate enough reason for me.

Building Life Together!

Four Corners is an easy place to build a house, but a difficult place to build a home. The majority of communities are made up of people from all over the country with more reasons not to come together than they have to come. One of our stated goals as a church has been to help families not only strengthen their home, but to help them connect with other families in the community which will in turn provide long term stability.

Most people long for community, but are not willing to pay the price to obtain it. Like any relationship, community takes work. But, the benefits far outweigh the cost. It is only through paying the price of transparency, that those in our community can see our hurts and come together to meet our needs. It is only by paying the price of time, that we can get beyond the superficial wave and smile relationship we have with most of our neighbors. Legend says the handshake was invented by knights of old who, when approaching another knight, would extend an open hand showing vulnerability and the innocence of a weaponless hand.

It is hard to develop community with our neighbors. It takes a vulnerability that many of us are not comfortable with. However, staying inside our homes, emerging only to commute back and forth to work will never build the deep relationships that God intended us to have with one another. Take a chance today, open your front door, walk over to the neighbor’s home and invite them into your life. It will take vulnerability and time, but it will strengthen your community and home.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Church Planting Cures AIDS in Zambia

One of the first goals we had when the church began was to help other churches start around the world. This coming Sunday we will have a young couple coming to speak who will be going to Zambia Africa to start churches. Jim and Barbie have already spent a year interning with another church in Zambia and will be leaving in March to begin their lives as full time missionaries.

The missions program of Cornerstone focuses on church planting. We understand that all missions have value and are important, but we believe that the best investment we can make in a community is to plant a church that will service that community spiritually and socially for the long term. When many people think of missions they think of clinics and feeding stations that meet an immediate need. In Zambia, where Jim and Barbie Waters will be going, the life expectance is only 33 years of age. Most of this is due to the fact that it is a country ravaged by AIDS. Some would argue that those people need Doctors and medicines. However, Doctors and medicine only treat symptoms. Missions according to Cornerstone takes into account the physical and social needs while focusing most of its attention on the deeper spiritual needs of the people. AIDS will continue to be a problem in all societies where drugs, prostitution, and sexual immorality are not replaced by a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ.

I have always been astounded by the fact that AIDS could be cured by one single generation who chose to say no to drugs and yes to monogamy. Billions of dollars are spent every year to find a cure to a problem that stems from sin. It is a matter of stewardship for Cornerstone Baptist Church. We could spend resources on treating the problem, or invest in planting churches that will give people the cure.

If you are a regular at Cornerstone, let me encourage you to begin giving a little each week so that we can help send Jim and Barbie Waters to Zambia Africa to plant churches. If you do not attend Cornerstone, then contact Jim through their website at . Until Next time…

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Sunday Synopsis

Things I liked about Sunday:
1. There was a great spirit at church on Sunday. The feeling of anticipation was in the air. As if everyone knew that God was going to do something special.
2. The Moss Family came forward to dedicate themselves to being godly parents to their new baby Brianna.
3. We had some great first time guests who really connected with the church.
4. There was a positive response to a message about money. – Who knew?
5. There were 160 people in attendance, a record for a regular Sunday. (Only topped by Christmas 05 – 182 & Easter 05, 203.)
6. The Junior Church kicked off a new program, and according to my kids on the ride home, “It was really, really good.” Great Job Tom and Sissy!
Things I did not like about Sunday:
1. I had a typo on the slide show which was so bad, that the staff did not tell me because they thought I did it on purpose.
2. Several families who are regular attendees were not there to worship with us. This always seems to bum me out.
3. The Hughes family was in Bahrain instead of Four Corners. – Really glad for you, but we miss you a lot.
4. The A/C must have been set to heat, because it never came on. So much for never let them see you sweat.
5. My new barber Bob did not come. (Well there is always next week.)
6. Two Words – Daytona 500 (or is that three words? Daytona Five Hundred)

On a serious note, Sunday is always the greatest day of the week for me. Kerri DeVane told me on Saturday, how the people at work laugh at her new found religion. “I’ll see you tomorrow. I got to get my Jesus fix. I am addicted.” And that is what I like about Sundays. People, getting fixed by, and fixed on Jesus.

Thursday, February 16, 2006


I began this blog as a way to better communicate with the people of Cornerstone. I realize that there will be others who read here as they peruse the blogosphere and some who check out the blog before attending church. That being said this entry is more for the people who attend Cornerstone each week and are active in the life of the church. Independent Baptists are a diverse group. There are those who claim this title and believe that they alone are the bride of Christ. I am not that arrogant. There are those who by nature are reclusive and want to do their own thing. There is a crowd that holds to the doctrines that the Independent Baptists hold true with a strong stance against any type of mingling with other denominations or groups.

In reality, I guess I am an Independent Baptist by default. When we decided to come to Four Corners and begin a church I grappled with the idea of claiming any denominational name. In this area, being an Independent Baptist puts you in a ultra conservative camp that I do not feel comfortable with. On the other hand, I have friends who are Baptist in doctrine but do not want people to associate them with the negative side of Baptists. For example the Disney Boycott of bygone years. (This would make for a difficult start in West Disney) On the other hand I believe that people want to know what they are getting into. They need to know that the church’s doctrine is sound.

I am a Baptist, not because of denominational reasons, but because of the doctrines (teachings) that Baptists traditionally hold. I want people to know that when they come to Cornerstone that we believe that the Bible is the complete inspired word of God. I want people to know that we believe that salvation is in Christ alone. That we believe in a literal heaven and hell. That we believe that the church is God’s tool for taking Jesus to a lost world. These are important things when deciding on a church. I want our church to be known as one who has strong convictions about important things.

I am independent because I do not want to be tied too closely with any group that exerts outside control over the local church. I want our church to have the freedom to choose where our missions dollar is spent and the freedom to join or leave any group without any fear of reprisal. It is amazing to me that some denominations exert more control over the church than the people in the local congregation. They move pastors from church to church like pawns on a chess board. They require exorbitant franchise fees from the local church that, in my opinion, hamstring the local church. (Sometimes fees in excess of 10% of all offerings going to the headquarters.) I am independent because I believe it is the biblical model for doing church and that it is the healthiest way for our church to run.

I guess that labels will always come with consequences. There will be people who see that we are an Independent Baptist church and put is the camp of the extreme. For Cornerstone, the emphasis is on the independent and the when the label Baptist is known for fighting global warming (like Rick Warren and some other Southern Baptists) more than sharing the good news of salvation, then we will have the independence to change the name to protect the innocent.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

I failed the new test

There’s a new test out of San Francisco that claims to be able to predict your life expectancy. The 12 question test will rate the likelihood you will die in the next four years. Although it is designed for those over 50, I took the test today. I did not pass. But I guess it is good to fail this test. In reality, we all have an appointment with death. The real question is what will you do in the time that you have left to prepare for life after death?
I decided a new test was in order. One that predicted what would happen after you die. According to the Bible there is only one question you must answer. It is not how much you went to church or how many good deeds you have done. The question that you must answer is have you trusted Jesus Christ’s death on the cross as your substitution. Either you are trusting Christ to save you or you are not. If you would like to talk with a pastor about this subject, feel free to call the church office at 888-836-7234. If you have passed this test, then go tutor someone who needs to know God’s answer for sin.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Valentine?

Who was this Valentine? And why has he affected us so much? According to tradition, Valentine was a Roman who was martyred for refusing to give up Christianity. He was beaten with clubs and then beheaded on February 14th, 269 A.D. legend adds that he left behind a love note for the jailer’s daughter.

I can remember making hearts out of red and pink construction paper and eating those chalky little hearts with faded messages on them as far back as I can recall. Yesterday, I went to Wal-Mart to purchase some of the necessary Valentines Day supplies. This year I was so happy that I remembered to get something for my wife “from my kids”. While there, I ran into two other men I know from church that were on the same covert mission. I did the candy thing, skipped the flowers and went straight for jewelry. Flowers die very quickly and jewelry lasts forever; Oh, and candy can hang on in the form of fat for about eternity.

Somewhere since the beginning of the modern Valentines day, begun in the 1800’s by Miss Esther Howland, Hallmark and Whitman’s have taken over, and Saint Valentine, and the real love he knew has been set aside. The Bible tells us that “Greater love has no one than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend.” John 15:13 That is the true story of Valentine. Because of his faith that Jesus had given his life for him Valentine returned the love by giving his life for Christ. That is a love that should be celebrated. Instead, the average adult spends $50 on fancy underwear and school kids think Valentine is a half naked baby with a bow and arrow. Maybe next year we ought to campaign to have history classes in every school teach the kids about the real Valentine, or better yet the amazing love that he knew and the faith that enabled him to give his life for the one he loved.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Differences between Men and Women

A guy named Roger is attracted to a woman named Elaine. He asks her out to a movie; she accepts; they have a pretty good time. A few nights later he asks her out to dinner, and again they enjoy themselves. They continue to see each other regularly, and after a while neither one of them is seeing anybody else. And then, one evening when they're driving home, a thought occurs to Elaine, and, without really thinking, she says it aloud: "Do you realize that, as of tonight, we've been seeing each other for exactly six months? And then there is silence in the car. To Elaine, it seems like a very loud silence. She thinks to herself: Geez, I wonder if it bothers him that I said that. Maybe he's been feeling confined by our relationship; maybe he thinks I'm trying to push him into some kind of obligation that he doesn't want, or isn't sure of. And Roger is thinking: "Gosh. Six months. And Elaine is thinking: "But, hey, I'm not so sure I want this kind of relationship, either. Sometimes I wish I had a little more space, so I'd have time to think about whether I really want us to keep going the way we are, moving steadily toward . . . I mean, where are we going? Are we heading toward marriage? Toward children? Toward a lifetime together? Am I ready for that level of commitment? Do I really even know this person? "And Roger is thinking: "Hmmm. . . so that means it was . . . Let's see...February when we started going out, which was right after I had the car at the dealer's, which means . . . lemme check the odometer . Whoa! I am way overdue for an oil change here. And Elaine is thinking: He's upset. I can see it on his face. Maybe I'm reading this completely wrong. Maybe he wants more from our relationship, more commitment; maybe he has sensed even before I sensed it that was feeling some reservations. Yes, I bet that's it! That's why he's so reluctant to say anything about his own feelings. He's afraid of being rejected. And Roger is thinking: And I'm gonna have them look at the transmission again. I don't care what those morons say, it's still not shifting right. And they better not try to blame it on the cold weather this time. What cold weather? It's 87 degrees out, and this thing is shifting like a garbage truck, and I paid those incompetent thieves $600! And Elaine is thinking: He's angry. And I don't blame him. I'd be angry, too. I feel so guilty, putting him through this, but I can't help the way I feel. I'm just not sure. And Roger is thinking: They'll probably say it's only a 90-day warranty. That's exactly what they're gonna say, the scumballs. And Elaine is thinking: Maybe I'm just too idealistic, waiting for a knight to come riding up on his white horse, when I'm sitting right next to a perfectly good person, a person I enjoy being with, a person I truly do care about, a person who seems to truly care about me. A person who is in pain because of my self-centered, schoolgirl romantic fantasy. And Roger is thinking: Warranty? They want a warranty? I'll give them a warranty. I'll take that warranty and...!!! Roger, Elaine says aloud. What? says Roger, startled. Please don't torture yourself like this, she says, her eyes beginning to brim with tears.
Maybe I should never have . . . I feel so . . . (She breaks down, sobbing.) What? says Roger. I'm such a fool, Elaine sobs. I mean, I know there's no knight. I really know that. It's silly. There's no knight, and there's no horse. There's no horse? says Roger. You think I'm a fool, don't you? Elaine says. No! says Roger, glad to finally know the correct answer. It's just that . . . It's that I . . . I need some time, Elaine says.(There is a 15-second pause while Roger, thinking as fast as he can, tries to come up with a safe response. Finally he comes up with one that he thinks might work.) Yes, he says.(Elaine, deeply moved, touches his hand.) Oh, Roger, do you really feel that way? she says. What way? says Roger. That way about time, says Elaine. Oh, says Roger. Yes. (Elaine turns to face him and gazes deeply into his eyes, causing him to become very nervous about what she might say next, especially if it involves a horse. At last she speaks.) Thank you, Roger, she says. Thank you, says Roger. Then he takes her home, and she lies on her bed, a conflicted, tortured soul, and weeps until dawn, whereas when Roger gets back to his place, he opens a bag of Doritos, turns on the TV, and immediately becomes deeply involved in a rerun of a tennis match between two Czechoslovakians he never heard of. A tiny voice in the far recesses of his mind tells him that something major was going on back there in the car, but he is pretty sure there is no way he would ever understand what, and so he figures it's better if he doesn't think about it. The next day Elaine will call her closest friend, or perhaps two of them, and they will talk about this situation for six straight hours. In painstaking detail, they will analyze everything she said and everything he said, going over it time and time again, exploring every word, expression, and gesture for nuances of meaning, considering every possible ramification. They will continue to discuss this subject, off and on, for weeks, maybe months,never reaching any definite conclusions, but never getting bored with it, either. Meanwhile, Roger, while playing racquetball one day with a mutual friend of his and Elaine's, will pause just before serving, frown, and say: .....Norm, did Elaine ever own a horse?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Do You Know The Time

If your life were a 24 hour day, what time would it be? Based on the average lifespan of 77 years...
If you are 21, it is 6:30 a.m. Time to wake up.
If you are 29, it is 9:00 a.m. Time to get busy.
If you are 38, it is noon - Some of you are out to lunch.
If you are 55, it is almost 5 p.m. and you need to be finishing up your work.
If you are 65, it is 8:15 p.m. and the day is almost gone.

What are you doing with your time? James 4:14 says "What is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away."

Life is very brief. It is a rare treasure. What time is it in your day? What do you need to do before the day is done?

Monday, February 06, 2006

Monday Morning Quarterback

What a day! Sunday was anything but a day of rest, yet I would not have wished it otherwise. Two great worship services with awesome, moving music and a sense of expectation in the church. The afternoon was a bit hectic with getting the screen set up at the house requiring two sepparate trips for parts and connectors and in the end I still had to call a gracious Mark Colvin to come and rescue me again. I don't know what I would do without the help so many wonderful people. All in all the Super Bowl Parties were a hit and it provided some much needed time to strengthen relationships beyond Sunday Mornings. As for the worship services, we saw many of our first time guests from last Sunday return again this Sunday and we hope that they will continue. Also, some great people came to visit after finding us on the internet. In addition to those who came with Friends Neighbors and Loved Ones. We missed some of our regulars who were out sick and taking care of personal responsibilities. We hold them up in our prayers. Every Sunday is an edventure as we come together for worship and fellowship and make new friends along the way. The best part about it is that we only have 6 more days until Sunday.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Why I Cheer for Seattle & Pittsburg

Before you jump to conclusions, I have been cheering for the Seahawks all year. Shaun Alexander

Mostly because NFL MVP running back Shuan Alexander put me in the win column in my fantasy football league. But that is not the reason I will cheer for both of them on Sunday. In Tuesday’s press conference Shuan Alexander said “We believe life itself with Jesus Christ is more important than what we do on the field… we want to make sure our focus is on more than this game. We have a bigger calling.” Shuan has never been shy about his faith in Christ and has been naming the name of Christ every chance he gets since college at Alabama. Also, Matt Hasselback QB said that while in the tunnel before he runs onto the field he prays “Lord, may we play for an audience of one.” Hasselback told the media Tuesday that most are not aware even though we have many players on this team, “I don’t think people realize how many Christian guys we have on this team and how united we are… we are united in Christ, and the unity you see on this team is very encouraging.

Antwaan Randel ElFor you Steelers fans, Antwaan Randel El stated “People think this game may go down in history, but it’s really only temporary. I thank God that I am here, but I know I have to ask Him for guidance because I don’t know what to expect… I cant let this game get me too high or too low… I have to stay focused on God and stay focused on His Word.” Jeff Hartings said “I’ve been praying every day that I would honor Him and I am praying now that I don’t embarrass Him during this time… I want to give Him Praise all the time and use this time as a platform, not for me, but for Him.”

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Effectual, Fervent, Prayer

When James Wrote about prayer, he told us that the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. To often we settle for checking prayer off our to do list or rushing through the list of names that we have accumulated. Last night as we gathered for prayer, something happened that changed the tenor of the "prayer meeting" and brought it back to the raw reality of what prayer was meant to be. Details of what happened are immaterial, but one prayer request that usually would have fallen in the "unspoken" category, was transparently laid out along with the personal grief and pain of the individual involved. God used this to remind us that prayer is more than listing problems and difficulties. It is connecting with the God of the universe in order to lay our burdens at His feet. By the end of the night, we never opened a Bible; the whole service was taken over by real genuine prayer.

In James 5:16, he gives some qualifying statements concerning prayer and what makes them powerful. First, he says that our prayer should be effectual. The word here denotes activity. Another translation could read energetic. Too often our prayers are lacking in power because we are indifferent to the problem we are praying for. However, when we see the hurt in the life of someone we love, our prayer comes alive, it becomes active. Secondly, James tells us that our prayer should be fervent. Our prayers should not be passive requests, but pleading with God to intervene. When was the last time we begged God to do something? To often our prayers are weak because we do not display faith that God could help and the earnest desire for Him to do so. The third qualification for powerful prayer is righteousness. Too often we pray to God with dirty hands and hearts. The first thing we should do when we pray is to confess all known sin. Come - clean. When we strive for righteousness, display faith, and actively pray our prayer will become powerful.

Every Wednesday night we gather as a church for prayer. It is my earnest hope that every time we come together we will see the Spirit of God move as He did last night. No more settling for praying the list, no more settling for "unspoken" requests. Let's open up and let God and His wonder working power into our prayer.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Give It Back!

Today we met with the administrator at Four Corners Charter School to set up our new volunteer program. People from the church will rotate into the 5th grade classes and help students with reading. We are so excited to see the blending of the church and the community on a daily basis. As we serve our community we are able to serve God and for that, I am thankful.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Humpty Dumpty

Britain's Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge , England - a visitor to the museum tripped on his shoelace and fell down a stairway. crashing into three Chinese vases that had been sitting on a window beside the staircase for 40 years before the man's spill knocked them off and shattered them. The vases date from the late 17th or early 18th century. The vases, donated in 1948, were said to hold a "significant value" and were among the best known pieces on display.
I Corinthians 10:12 says "let him that thinks he stands take heed lest he fall." Sometimes in life we fall. Sometimes we fall in a very public and destructive way. It is nearly impossible to know the impact of one's fall. broken families, shattered testimonies, scarred children. All priceless, and nearly impossible to repair. Jude finishes his short New Testament Letter this way.. "Now to Him who is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy..." In truth, God is the only one who can keep us from falling. Let us all hang on to His mighty capable hands.

Record January

January 2006 sets a new high in the growth of our church. After adding staff last summer, and a second service in October, God has continued to bless the faithful steps of the people at Cornerstone with more in attendance each week. Astonishingly, there was a 46% increase in worship attendance from January 2005. With added growth comes added responsibilities. God has given us a greater amount of people that He expects us to minister to. It is therefore imperative that everyone who attends Cornerstone find a place of service. It is only through meeting the needs of those God has sent our way that we will prove ourselves faithful to meet the continuing growth of the church. I for one pray that we will never find a comfortable place to settle as long as there are people who do not attend church. You at Cornerstone have proven by your service that you feel the same way. Let's work together to meet the needs of the people of Four Corners and the Four Corners of the earth.


This Sunday at the 9:30 hour we will be pausing to receive communion. At the Last Supper before He was to be crucified, Jesus did not go to the multitudes to defend his critics, He did not go to the hospitals to heal the last few sick and diseased, He did not go to the Temple to teach the multitudes or even to win converts. It is amazing that in His last few hours he had dinner around a table with His small group. Later He would go to the garden to pray, but even then He sought the support of those in His small Group. I believe that there is a lesson here for those in the church who just come to Sunday Services and miss out on the importance of belonging to a small group of believers that care about you and your spiritual needs. I know that it is awkward for some and early for others. There are many things that we feel we must do on Sundays, but I wonder what kind of church we could be if the people of Cornerstone really caught on to the idea of what Christ already understood about small group.


I enjoy the ABC show Lost. A story of some marooned survivors of an airline crash who are on a mysterious island full of "others" intent on doing them harm. The show has a great deal of spiritual undertones and does a lot to cause introspection. On Tuesday's episode, (Spoiler Warning for those who have not yet seen it) A former drug addict, Charlie has a vision of Claire (another survivor) and his mother telling him to save Claire's baby, Aaron. In the vision he sees a dove desending from heaven, and after talking to a Ecko, a priest on the Island, decides to kidnap the baby and take it to the ocean to be baptized. Obviously the other survivors were outraged by this and he is seen as an outcast. Claire, later goes to the priest and askes him about Baptism. Here is where Hollywood takes over and Holy Word is thrown out. The priest tells Clair about the Baptism of Jesus by John and that after seeing the dove descending from heaven that John realized that he had cleansed this man from his sin. I don't even know where to begin. 1. Jesus did not have any sin that needed to be cleansed. 2. It was Jesus who takes away sin, not baptism. John himself decares that Jesus is the Lamb of God that would take away the sin of the world. Ecko, then goes on to tell Clair that baptism is sort of insurance for the baby so that if something unfortunate should happen, he will go to heaven. Again, there is never any indication in the Bible of a baby being baptized for salvation, or any other reason for that matter. It is clear in the Bible that every example of baptism followed a personal salvation experience. John the Baptist was right. Jesus is The Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. Anything else is just Hollywood stunts.