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.