This is an interesting process for me. Writing a newsletter article to go with my word/topic for the month isn’t as easy as you’d think. What I do on Facebook every morning is finding God’s words and various song writers’ words about the word/topic of the month. I enjoy reading many different variations on a theme (and I hope those who are following are, also). It’s amazing how many different ways you can talk about (sing about) a particular topic and it opens your eyes sometimes…kinda’ like how you can read a Bible passage over and over, for years and years, and suddenly “ding ding ding” it makes sense or you have a whole new understanding of it. But to sit down and think about the word/topic, and write out my own thoughts, memories or opinions is a bit more difficult. Hopefully it’s making me more aware of things I should be doing…..or not doing!
My word/topic for February is MERCY. An appropriate topic for the month of February when the world tends to focus on love (Valentine’s Day), don’t you think? One dictionary defines mercy as “compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm” and “an event to be grateful for, especially because its occurrence prevents something unpleasant or provides relief from suffering”. Hmmm….do I practice this? In some instances, particularly in the past, not so much. I may not have physically done something to harm someone, but I definitely have thought of all sorts of creative ways that it’d be nice to get back at those who’ve done things to me or to those I love. Pretty sure this falls in the same category as “…anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28 NIV) and “ ‘You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment.’“ (Matthew 5:21 and 22a NIV)
Are we really showing forgiveness to those who do us wrong? Would we be there to help them if they fell on hard times? Are we truly praying for them? And I don’t mean praying for God’s judgment to fall on them either….y’all know exactly what I mean! Are we following God’s directive “…love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” (Matthew 5:44 NIV)? This month (and ever afterward), let’s all actively work to put this concept into practice. Let’s look for ways to show mercy to those folks that we believe have wronged us. I’d be interested to hear how this works out. Shoot me an email or let me know when we see each other. Would love to share and celebrate how God works!!
Tia Harmon, Administrative Assistant

Elevate Your Compassion

Since the Supreme Court case Roe vs. Wade in 1973, 58 million children have been killed through abortion and today one in three women have suffered through an abortion. In Virginia 51 abortions occur every day. I pray the following points in bold will assist the Church to elevate our conversation and compassion for unborn children and their pregnant mothers.
Preborn people are people. From the first moment of fertilization the child has her own DNA, distinctly different for her father and mother. The child’s heartbeat often begins 16 days after conception. Abnormalities that begin inside the womb can often self-correct and babies born long before due dates can survive. Babies who survive abortion should convince everyone preborn babies are people. Gianna Jessen, a survivor of a saline abortion two months before her due date, educates groups all over the world on the issue of abortion. Mother Teresa said this after hearing Gianna’s story, “My prayer . . . for all who listen to her, is that this message of God’s love will put an end to abortion with the power of love.” Listen to her story at ( and share it with others.
Young mothers, especially the unwed, need loving support. There’s nothing more beautiful to see a church reach out to support a single mom and nothing more tragic when a church only offers condescending judgment. The single parent needs love in action.  Recently a first time single mom shared with me the overwhelming support she and her baby received through several churches and how it gave her courage to not give up and deepened her faith in God. Each year at Cornerstone we raise support and awareness for the Martinsville Pregnancy Care Center (, which offers love and resources including sonograms to mothers in need and other mothers considering abortion.
Millennials are passionate about social justice. In a recent Barna survey 53% of millennials agree that abortion should be made illegal in all or most circumstances. And in a 2010 Gallup poll found that “support for making abortion broadly illegal was fastest growing among young adults.” A few of the reasons for this cultural shift include younger generations include: a reduced stigma toward single parent families in which many grew up, exposure of the dark industry of Planned Parenthood and they come from a generation which believes they can enact change through social media.
One day the courts may reverse Roe vs. Wade, but that won’t eliminate the needs of the unborn and their mothers and fathers. The crisis of an unplanned pregnancy creates an opportunity for the Church show God’s love in a life changing way.  We read in James 1:27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.


Blessings, Bob Paddock

When Wrong Turns Happen

“I do not think that all who choose wrong roads perish; but their rescue consists in being put back on the right road.” C.S. Lewis The Great Divorce
I have been attending a women’s Bible study in Danville.  The drive there each week consists of many twisted backroads that make you feel like you are in the middle of nowhere.  I have finally mastered all the turns on the way there, without using my GPS!  However, on the way back I almost always miss the first turn.  I don’t know why.  It comes up fast and it is often several minutes before I realize that I must turn around.   On my most recent trip to Bible study I once again missed the turn, but discovered it right away.  I was so proud of myself that it didn’t take as long to turn around that time!
I have been parenting for over thirteen years (that’s a story for a different day).  You would think that I should know my way around by now.  That I would know what roads lead to peace in my home and the hearts of my children.  That I wouldn’t often miss turns.  WRONG!!  I still make many of the same mistakes over and over.  I miss signs of tiredness, needs for attention, hunger…. all things that might contribute to a child acting differently than if those needs were met.  
God has grown my heart in repenting with my children.  There was a time when I would hold on to anger and be unwilling to yield.  I am happy to say that often now after I make that wrong turn in parenting I realize quickly that I need to turn around.  I stop, take a minute and pray.  I ask God to tell me what to say to the child that I need to ask for forgiveness from for my harsh tone, unwillingness to listen or quickness to anger.  I am thankful to God that He helps me get back on the right road.  “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” Romans 12:18 “Pursue peace…looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble.” Hebrews 12: 14-15

Because of Jesus,

Michelle Clinton Children’s Minister

Proverbs 3:5-6


Transformed to Transform

“You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its flavor, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled on by people. You are the light of the world. A city located on a hill cannot be hidden. People do not light a lamp and put it under a basket but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before people, so that they can see your good deeds and give honor to your Father in heaven.” -Matthew 5:13-16 NET. 
In this passage, Jesus points out that the Church will have an impact on the world around us. That impact, however, only becomes possible when the people that constitute the Church experience transformation. The life of Jesus flows into us, transforming us, and then out through us transforming the world around us. 
In November, the leadership of Cornerstone considered our congregation’s strengths, weaknesses, history, and potential and planned a strategy for the next three years. That strategy can be broken down into two parts, to elevate the maturity of the members of our congregation and to elevate the compassion of Jesus in our community. These two prongs of our strategy make me think of the twofold call of Jesus to be salt and light so that we bring his Kingdom more fully into the world around us.
As Cornerstone as a whole focuses on these two goals, we will also look at how they play out specifically in our student ministry and in our families. I think we have a lot of potential right now to bring God’s transforming power to bear on our community and I am excited about what the next few years hold. 
Larry Hunt
Student Minister


ELEVATE — to raise something up to a higher position

For the next three years the family of Cornerstone will hear and see the word ELEVATE often. Why? So glad you asked! This past November the leadership of Cornerstone spent a weekend evaluating what has happened through the ministry of this church, then looked ahead three years into our future.  We chose the word ELEVATE to summarize the vision of our next three years together.

As spiritual leaders we recognized the need to ELEVATE two target areas: first, our spiritual maturity as Christians, and second, the compassion of Jesus in our community. The church staff, the elders, and several church members will form two teams to develop a strategy to achieve these two goals by the end of 2021.

Think back to where you were spiritually three years ago and how your faith impacted your daily life with others. Now look ahead three years and contemplate where you hope to be in your spiritual maturity and what you hope the influence of Jesus will be in your family and your community. You see, what we our elevate in our life today greatly determines what will happen in our future.

When Jesus began His ministry, he chose twelve men to invest in, and they chose to follow Him. He taught each of them what it means to be his disciple and how to love others as He did. Those three years transformed those first followers and they became agents of great change in their world. By God’s grace, over the next three years Cornerstone will focus upon a deeper understanding of the path of Christian discipleship and discover new ways of sharing the compassion of Christ with our community.

To ELEVATE our spiritual maturity and our Christ-like compassion in the community requires participation. First, communicate to the leadership and staff what’s helping you grow spiritually and what’s connecting you with our community. Send me an email or fill out a Connect Card with your thoughts and ideas. Get involved in what God is doing right here, right now.

Jesus Christ’s unseen hand is guiding this church, and over the next three years He will ELEVATE Himself in our lives and in our community if we will simply join together and serve Him.

Elevating Christ, Bob Paddock

What’s in a Name?

What’s in a name? Everything.

Name – a word used to identify a person, animal or thing.

A quote worth pondering this week: “The devil knows your name but calls you by your sin.  God knows your sin but calls you by your name.”  God uses names in the Bible to identify prophetic position, fondness and hope, change of character, innate character, coming events, and divine mission.  

We were challenged as leaders in Kingdom Kids to give each of the children an affirming nick-name to remind them that God sees the best in us.  As we identified each child with names like Strong Leader, Creative Kid, Fun Friend, Thoughtful Helper, and Force of Energy for God the results were amazing to watch.  Eyes lit up and smiles broke out hugely on faces.  One girl owned the name of Creative Kid and said, “I am creative.”  She went on to share how she had been creative that morning!  Another girl after being called a Kind Encourager threw her arms around the leader in a spontaneous hug!

A new year….A new name…

There will be a new name in Children’s Ministry at Cornerstone starting in January 2018.  This is Michelle Stallard and as many of you know, my family is in the process of adopting two boys.  Their names are Aiden, 2 yrs. and Gregory, 5 yrs.  In light of our family growing, God is calling me to step away from leading the children’s ministry here at Cornerstone.  I have loved being a part of God’s ministry here at Cornerstone, and I will continue to teach and be involved in many of the activities of the children’s ministry.  God has called Michelle Clinton to serve as our new Children’s Minister.   I am excited to work with Michelle C. as she has a beautiful, humble heart and desires to serve the Lord and love the kids and families here at Cornerstone and throughout our community.  

Hello.  My name is Michelle Clinton.  I have three boys Dimitri 16, Nathaniel 15, and Noah 12.  Recently I received an email from Noah’s school where the Principal ended the email with these three words…Because of Jesus.  Those words resonated deep in my heart.  I thought about why am I even a Christian when I did not grow up in a Christian home? Because of Jesus.  Why am I even alive today considering the choices I made as a teenager and a young adult? Because of Jesus.  Why am I entering Christian ministry after experiencing unimaginable brokenness? Because of Jesus.  I thought you might be wondering why I want to be the Children’s Minister at Cornerstone.  I want children to know that no matter what home you are born in, no matter what choices you make, no matter what choices are made for you there is always hope because of Jesus!  I look forward to serving you and your children in Kingdom Kids.  

As we have been working together these past few weeks in transition, it has been funny how the kids have worked through having two Ms. Michelle’s.  It has been quite comical, but has also caused us to ponder… what is in a name?  Yes, it is everything.  Before I came to Christ, my name was just the chains that I created to measure up.  Am I good enough…pretty enough…strong enough?  The answer was always, No.  But, fear not, because of Jesus, I am called by a new name…Child of the One True King…Loved…Cherished…Accepted!  It is a beautiful thing to be known and loved by Jesus, the Savior of the world.  But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.  -Isaiah 43:1 ESV

Together for God’s Kingdom, Michelle S. and Michelle C.

Losing Giving in the Gifts

As a child, our Thanksgiving meal would move into unhurried family time before a weekend spent preparing for the Christmas season. We would joyfully celebrate our many blessings, spend time with people we loved, and end with more gratitude than we started with.
Now, we can’t stay too long after dinner. Our gratitude must fit into a schedule so we can hurry to the stores. We have lost the purpose of a season of giving amid the gifts themselves and it starts before the holiday even technically begins. We sacrifice cultivating gratitude and contentment within our families in an often well-meaning, but ill implemented, pursuit of more.
I don’t want to berate anyone, but to ask that we stop and look at where we are and ask whether this is where we want to be. None of us intended to end up here; culture changes slowly over time. We arrived here because our society increasingly finds worth in building larger storehouses to hold larger piles of things.
Advertisers prey on our insecurities in order to get more from us. If you want to be beautiful, if you want to be smart, if you want to be popular, important, skinny, loved, buy, buy, buy. That’s a year old, outdated, replace it! This is more convenient, it will save you three whole minutes, get this! The barrage hits us all the time, ads on magazines and billboards and television and computer screens and the radios in our cars and the phones we carry in our pockets. A constant blaring message that you don’t have enough to be happy….yet.
This affects us, but more importantly, it affects our kids. Actions speak louder than words and our holiday rituals communicate to us and shape us. We can use our rituals to train our kids to embrace the unending hunger for more, resulting in insecurity, dissatisfaction, and manipulability, or we can train them to experience contentment which leads to peace, joy, and freedom.
One great way to pursue contentment is to recapture what it means to give. Christians ought to be known for hospitality, sacrificial love of others. So, pepper this month with opportunities for your kids to practice giving. Before they receive at the end of December, set aside a day to sort through what they already have and give some of it away. Write and send encouraging letters or cards. Volunteer. Get to know your neighbors. Help someone on your street. Visit those who might be lonely in your neighborhood. Open your holiday celebrations up to someone who has no place to go. If you need help picking some practices, talk to me! I’ve got a big list of small, easy to implement ideas.
Use the holidays to launch into making giving a part of your lifestyle year round. Don’t just ambiguously plan on it, but put a few specific ideas on your calendar and do them! Go against the flow of a culture focused on getting more by giving more and you will find more satisfaction and joy, not less.
Student Minister, Larry Hunt

Shine On

The Christmas season should be a time of reflecting the Light that Jesus has brought into the world. John 8:12 tells us, 12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Is that light shining in your heart and life; filling you with unexplainable joy and hope in the midst of the trials of this life? I recently heard a beautiful song by Micah Tyler called, “Different” and his testimony behind the things God was teaching him through the message of this song. The lyrics say, “I want to be different. I want to be changed. Till all of me is gone and all that remains, is a fire so bright, that the whole world can see…” What can we see? Tyler’s testimony talked of the power of walking through struggles, which many times seem even harder at the holidays, and praying not that God would change these things that we are walking through, but rather, that our hearts would be changed to shine Jesus’ Light and live in His Hope in the midst of the struggle. This Christmas, capture the vision and beauty of the salvation and the light that Jesus brought into the dark of this world. Allow it to illuminate your life and SHINE ON into every place you go and every person you see this Christmas. Merry Christmas! Let us celebrate that Jesus, The Light has come!
Love & Blessings, Michelle Stallard, Children’s Minister

It Is More Blessed to Give

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)
But why? Here are a few reasons: Giving demonstrates obedience to God’s commands and a submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Giving reveals God’s image impressed on our hearts. Giving illustrates the Gospel. Giving shows our trust in God as our provider, and brings Him joy. Giving promotes sanctification, the process of becoming more like Jesus. Giving extends the Kingdom of God into the world we live in.
Great joy comes from giving to those who have great need, because they so appreciate the gift. I remember one such time in India, where I served on a short-term mission trip, when we purchased motorcycles for ministers who served more than one church each week. One pastor was so full of joy on receiving his 250cc Honda that he began to weep and said, “Now I will be able to reach a new area which has no church.” Our team shed tears of joy with him. Upon returning home I met with those who provided the funds and told them the story, and yes, it was a tremendous blessing to each of them.
Central India Christian Mission ( is one of the largest missions in India, planting churches, training preachers and nurses, and housing orphans. They have asked us to meet a need of $1,150 for one of their church planters in training, which will provide tuition, room, and board for an entire year. Every church planter in India faces persecution from the Hindu Nationalist government. This year-long training gives them Biblical instruction and much-needed encouragement.
The Cornerstone family will be taking up a special offering on Wednesday, December 20, to meet this need. Why a Wednesday? Glad you asked — we want to highlight our online giving option on On Tuesday, December 21, you will receive an email which provides the instructions on how to make your Web donation on Wednesday. If you prefer not to use the online method, just bring your gift by the church that Wednesday and drop it in the Joy Box (Woo-hoo!). If 50 people gave $23 on that Wednesday, we could pay the tuition of a young preacher. Let’s do this, and we will be more blessed to give than to receive.
Grace & Peace, Bob Paddock

Just Love

In 1938, researchers at Harvard University started a lengthy project that would come to be known as the Grant Study. They took 268 of the school’s sophomores and observed them for the rest of their lives. The participants were given regular physical and psychological evaluations, they filled out an extensive questionnaire every year, and three generations of their families were interviewed. 
The researchers’ aim was to find out what led to the happiest and most successful life. Success was measured by ten factors including such things as professional success, a good marriage, and good health. As the study went on, they found no significant link between success and intelligence, body type, or the income and education levels of the participants’ parents. Instead, a successful life was rooted in the depth of relationship they experienced, with the most impact coming from the relationships they experienced in their families as children. 
This makes sense. A warm, caring home enables us to grow up knowing we are valued. It gives us confidence. It trains us for relationships later in life, teaching us how to show other people we care while also teaching us to navigate conflict when we disagree with others. Family gives us the support to make it through hardship and teaches us how to healthily cope with difficult situations. 
I wanted to draw this study to your attention, parents, to encourage you. We face so many pressures to provide our kids with the best and most and to implement the perfect parenting strategies. And often, people can be very vocal about what you HAVE to do to raise the best kids. At the end of the day, though, it all comes down to love. The success of your kids won’t come down to the most extravagant vacations, it’ll come down to how you loved them when you spent time together. They won’t remember all of the things that you buy them, but they will remember how you love them. 
So relax. Parenting is tricky to be sure, and there will be difficult situations and there will be times where we miss the mark. But all we really need to do is love our kids as best we can. Don’t let the other stuff affect how much time and energy you pour into just loving them because all of the other stuff is secondary.