Saturday, June 09, 2007


Acts 26:20 (NKJV)
but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance.

This verse came to mind as I read a Fox news article tonight about the recent confession of a 2004 murder in NY city. You can find the story here.

Space Shuttle Launch

I almost drove to Titusville yesterday to see the space shuttle launch. I have never been that close and usually settle for going out in the yard. I have determined that the next time it goes up, that I am going to go. I tried a couple of years ago, but it got scrubbed and I had to turn around and come home, having wasted a half a day. But it is something that we should see as central Floridians. It would almost be a crime not to. Gabe's son Ethan was over and it was fun to show him the real Buzz Lightyear. I wonder if the real thing lived up to his expectations? On that note, we will be talking about expectations in church tomorrow. I expect you to be there! Here is something from the devotional blog that I wanted to share with everyone.

Eph. 3:20 (NIV)
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us

The imagination is a powerful thing. A children we would spend hours playing in the pretend world of our imagination. Life however has a way of exchanging our imagination for reality. In fact it is very hard for us as adults to imagine very much at all. I read this quote in a commentary on Ephesians this week, and it struck me so much that I had to go and make Amy read it.

"I read of the rockets and the probes into outer space. I read concerning man's braggadocio declaration that he will go to the moon, and that he will use the moon as a springboard to reach Mars! And then I remember that every major judgment God has sent upon this earth was preceded by the desire of God's creatures to by-pass God and become gods themselves."

It is hard to believe that in 1963 that space travel as we know it was thought to be "braggadocio" that going to the moon or to Mars was thought to be an attempt to "by-pass" God. I though about this last night as I stood in the front yard with my family and my neighbors and watched the space shuttle Atlantis blast into orbit. Wow! Somebody imagined that, when others were saying things like this guy, who by the way will go nameless.

I only bring this up to make the point that we as believers can easily kill the very imagination that God has given us. God does not want us to live in this human reality, God wants us to live in His reality. And His reality appears to be a lot more fun, a lot safer, and the only true reality. I don't know about you, but I am going to spend some time today imagining what God can do through me, and what God can do through Cornerstone. Then I am going to talk to Him about it and then go read this verse again and know that He is able to do immeasurably more than I can even imagine.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

You are NOT going to believe this....

I am speechless so you will have to take Fox New's word for it here.

America's Ugly Exported "Gospel"

Ernie Rischer, one of our snow-birds, is a member of John Piper's church. He is an awesome leader and this is a great rant against the health and wealth gospel that unfortunately is being broadcast as America's brand of Christianity. No wonder the world thinks so little of us and our faith. May God forgive us for not shouting louder than the health and wealth crowd. Watch his video here.

Every Member a ...

This Sunday we will be talking about expectations at church and it has me thinking about what I expect out of the people of our church. As part of a church planting school that I attended a few years back, I learned that I often have overly optimistic expectations of other people. I am still not happy being told this, because for me, they should all just step up.

However, there are some times that I can see where I have put too much stock in the abilities of some who ended up hurting the church as they were unable to accomplish the task. I remember one time having a teenage boy sing a solo on a Wednesday night youth meeting and feeling sooooooo bad for him as he took a great song and destroyed it. The bad thing was that he knew he was killing it and it was killing him. Where I thought he had room to grow, and that I could develop him in the area of music, actually turned around to embarrass him and teach me a lesson in the process.

So what is too high of an expectation or a misplaced expectation? What should we as pastors expect from God's people the church? I will say without a doubt that our expectations should line up with the pattern laid out in the Bible. Therefore, as a leader, and recognizing that people are all at different stages of growth, the end goal is still Christ likeness. My expectations of the people of my church is that they are becoming more like Christ every day. It is not too much to expect a level of devotion to God that is better than before.

A few years ago the phrase "every member a minister" began floating around church world. We realized that there is no room in the church for people who just want to leach ministry from the body like a cancer, but that every member should be involved in giving back to the ministry. This is a great step for most churches as the age old statistic says that 20% of the people do 80% of the ministry. If we could flip those numbers imagine the amount of service we could do!

However, our expectations cannot end there. Remember that Christ likeness is our goal, and that takes more than ministry. We must now go beyond "every member a minister" to the new step of "every member a missionary." Missions is ministry but with two distinctives.

First, mission is simply ministry that takes place outside of the church. Where ministry watches babies in the nursery, mission watches the baby next door. Where ministry is a friendly greeting and cup of coffee to a guest at church, mission is a friendly greeting and cup of coffee to the homeless. It moves from self serving to serving others.

The second distinctive is that mission is ministry with purpose. We become missionaries when our babysitting is done to share Christ with our neighbor; when our coffee and greeting leads to a conversation about God's love. If we do ministry without this purpose then we have failed to do mission.

2 Cor. 4:5 - 6 (NKJV)
For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bond servants for Jesus’ sake. 6For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

So what do I expect? I expect that everyone who is a member of Cornerstone will be in the process of becoming more like Christ, in holy living, and in action. Namely that we will reach the goal of "every member a missionary!"

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Holy Land Experience Under New Management

I have loved the fact that we have such an experience here in Orlando. If you have never been, then it is a must see. The difficulty for HLE is that it lacked return visitors. For many of us locals it qualifies as a "been there, done that" park. Not that the musicals were not amazing, the Tabernacle was not cool, the Temple model was not exquisite, and the Scriptorium not vast. But it could never convince me why I should pay $32 to return.

It was announced Tuesday that TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network), the largest Christian TV network with over 12,000 TV stations is buying the property. They will increase its development to be more like a theme park. A dream that Marv Rosenthal originally had for the property, but unable to accomplish financially or personally. I do not say this to deride Marv, but he was very conservative in his views and would not have promoted the park in such a way as it would have harmed the integrity of the park in his eyes. He desired that the park should be attractive on its own merits, not through TV promotion etc. In the end I believe that the Holy Land Experience will be salvaged and for that Marv and I should be happy. The marriage of TV Networks and Theme parks is a well proven business model, and as American as apple pie. Just ask our friends at Disney and Universal and they will tell you that this is a match made in heaven. You can read more on this here.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Something Old, Something New

I was reading some C.S. Lewis yesterday and he made a very insightful statement about what we read. It is his opinion that we balance our reading by reading as much of the classic/older works as we do the latest and greatest. This is wisdom that many of us (church planters & pastors) need to hear even if we fail to heed it. Classic books on belief and practice are classic because they have stood the test of time. Most of us are futurists and we try to understand our culture and how to best do ministry here and now. Unfortunately some of the latest books have yet to be defined as either classics or fads. The difficulty is that we will not know until the theories have been tested and tried. A balanced approach will help us be more effective and more discerning of the books that we do read. And, I have the wisdom of the classic author C.S. Lewis to thank.

Monday, June 04, 2007


I am so excited about what God is doing at Cornerstone. The past few weeks have been amazing as God is working both behind the scenes and on display. Sunday was a great day with the Grand Opening of our new kidZone Wing. The kids were all excited about their "new" classes and classrooms. The teachers seemed very happy as well. The only negative comment we had was that the Jr. Church space is too small. The great thing is that we can fix that in just two minutes by moving the curtain. The kids and Pastor Gabe out did themselves in leading our worship time. This is something that we are going to do a lot more of as God has really gifted our church with great music. Chuck and his team were doing a great job of running the check in table/ security center. Parents are telling me how much they appreciate the added security steps. My biggest highlight from yesterday is that Victor and his mom came to church for the first time. Many of you may remember that Victor was the passenger in Mikey Mumford's car when he was killed last fall. God used Mikey's funerals to bring over 40 people to faith in Christ. God answers our prayers as Victor continues to recover from his sever brain injury. He has regained his sight, his speech, and the ability to walk. I broke down when I saw him walking toward the door. Elaine Morales, (Mikey's mom) was so excited she was taking pictures all day. God is so good. I know it has been a lot of rambling, but one more thing. I am pumped about the free car wash on Saturday. Many of you have signed up to sponsor the kids and many more have signed up to help. I know that God will use this time to show our community the love of Christ as we wash their tires. If you cannot come, please pray that we will have the ability to share Christ with people and invite them to join what God is doing at Cornerstone!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Sunday Super Star

Todays Super Star has to be Pastor Gabe. 1. He did a great job teaching the kids and leading them today. 2. He wore a tie. 3. He closed the service with a new song that he just wrote. 4. He wore a tie. 5. He just completed his first year as our worship pastor. and 6. Did I mention he wore a tie. Gabe you are awesome, thanks so much for what you do!