Offer a Helping Hand

L.
Offer a Helping Hand
V.
E.
 
A few months back, Bob introduced the acronym L.O.V.E. as a way to practically live God’s love in our day to day lives. For the next few couple of months, we’re discussing how to pursue this love as a family.
 
The second part of the L.O.V.E. acronym, “Offer a helping hand,” is probably the easiest to implement as a family. As you become aware of the needs of others, you simply do whatever you can to help. Whenever possible, help as a family. If you help someone with repairs around their house, take your kids along and let them help out. Have your kids help you with some yard work for an elderly or shut in person. Let them tag along to deliver a meal. Whatever you find yourself helping with, just include them.
 
You can also encourage them to pursue helping others on their own by regularly asking how they live out this part of L.O.V.E. Make time for you and your spouse to share your stories of offering a helping hand and give your children a chance to share as well. When possible, you could even teach your kids to practice the discipline of secrecy. This simply means that you help someone without taking credit for it. This helps us to develop humility and teaches us to serve with pure motives. 
 
Model the practice of offering a helping hand, allow your kids to assist you, and make space to share your stories and encourage one another. In doing this, you will teach your children to notice and act on opportunities to selflessly serve others. They may even spur you on to making this practice more central to your life.
 
 
 


Listen to the Promptings of the Holy Spirit

Listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit
O.
V.
E.

This past year, Bob introduced us to the acronym L.O.V.E. as a way to look for the ways that we can live as people filled with and directed by God’s love in our daily lives. For the next few months, I will discuss how you can live each aspect of this acronym as a family.Listening to the promptings of the Holy Spirit is a daunting task for many Christians. Most people find talking to God much easier than listening to God. After all, how do you listen to something that almost none of us will ever hear the way we hear each other speak?

First, we need to actually invest in our relationship with God. We do this primarily through engaging in the spiritual disciplines. The disciplines are not our end goal, they are a means to transformation and to a closer walk with God in our daily lives. Like any other relationship, the more we spend time with God, the more we will know him, and the more we will recognize his voice in other situations. If you don’t know how to spend time with God I (and the other members of the staff) would love to help you get started. Just let me know. (Also, those of you with teens in the youth group will start seeing them bring home information and guides on the disciplines in the next couple of weeks.)

As you learn, begin to spend time as a family engaging in some of these disciplines. Read and discuss Scripture together, pray together, or fast (from food or, perhaps more impactfully for us today, from digital media). Whether you engage in these disciplines or others, your kids do not naturally know how to engage in them. They need to learn. As you learn, pass it down to your kids by engaging with them.

As you experience transformation in your individual lives and as a family, you will find yourself more sensitive to the promptings of the Spirit in day to day life. Listen. Act. And as the Spirit leads you, share those stories with your family and give them the chance to share their stories with you. You will find yourselves encouraging one another to pursue the first part of L.O.V.E.

Larry Hunt

(I’m starting a book on this particular subject today. It’s called “Hearing God” by Dallas Willard. You may,want to read this if Listening is something you have difficulty with.)



TCTC 2016

A couple weeks ago, 15 teenagers and 7 big kids (sometimes referred to as adults) headed off to Gatlinburg, TN for a weekend of TRUTH. We loudly and enthusiastically worshipped with Rend Collective, Stikyard and the Jordan Howerton Band (check out my Facebook page for some video snippets). We were entertained and challenged by illusionist Harris III, who showed us how easily we can be deceived and led away from the truth.Jeff Walling brought several messages over the course of the weekend asking us “what is the truth and Who is the truth?” We learned that it’s not enough that we read God’s word or speak God’s word….we have to live it out. Truth doesn’t become truth until you live it out.
Saturday morning and afternoon we had the opportunity to attend several workshops and to participate in a mission project. Late evenings were spent relaxing for a bit before meeting together to discuss the topics we’d heard that day and have prayer together. The highlight of the weekend was Michaela Phillips accepting Jesus as her Lord and Savior, and we were blessed to witness her baptism after we returned home!!
 
Check out my facebook page under photos to see all the pictures from the weekend.
 
Tia Harmon


Breaking the Silence

What if God never spoke?

What if He hadn’t told us, through Moses and the prophets, how we got here? That He created us to live in His presence? How everything went wrong? What it looks like to live a life that honors Him? About His intention to someday recreate broken people and a broken world?

No knowledge of the meaning of life or its source. No understanding of how we were separated from Him and each other. No promise of restoration for us and our world.

What if we didn’t know, through the apostles, that God had come to live in our presence? That He, somehow born a man, had finally been the man to live a life that fully honored God — for us? That we can become a part of the people that God is restoring to live in the world which He will also restore?

No understanding of the depths of God’s love. No knowledge of how to be reconciled with Him and His people. No assurance that God will accomplish His purposes in spite of our failures.

Each week when we gather, you can expect to see scripture displayed (and sometimes read) before we sing our first song. If God had not spoken to us first, what could we say to Him? But through His word He invites us to know who He is, and to join all the saints and angels in proclaiming His glory and goodness. All we say is in response to Him, because He spoke.

David Mitchell



What Is Family Worship?

There are kids in the service… what if I can’t hear the message? They can’t understand half or any of what he is preaching, anyway. Oh no, I have forgotten my drawing paper that was hidden in my Mary Poppins purse and I don’t have anything but a crumpled up piece of gum wrapper to let them draw on. Please don’t judge me because my children are climbing over the back of a pew and I am trying to not pull my hair out! What is the deal with this family worship thing? These are some of my own thoughts, as well as, others on any given family worship Sunday.

Why then do we continue to have family worship Sunday? The answer is children do what they see their parents and other adults do. They learn by modeling behavior. When we as Christ followers and a family of church believers find such value in our children that we want them to be a part of what we feel passionate about, Christ, they sit up and take notice. Even if their definition of taking notice is rolling around on the ground or asking for the hundredth time if we can go yet. God uses all the perspectives from the young to the old to teach us to walk in His ways. “Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.” (Psalm 86:11 NIV)

We all learn through the lens of perspective. This is what the parables do, show us different perspectives. The Father says come to me as a child with all your questions recognizing that you can’t do it on your own. This is one of the perspectives that we gain through the eyes of a child. One perspective our children see is the value of presence. Just as our Father’s Presence is what we seek and desire, so our presence is what our children long for. When we combine the power of presence with our joy in Christ that is demonstrated in our act of worship on Sunday mornings it speaks a great deal to the hearts of our children. We are putting God first, our joy and salvation come from Him, and we are walking in faith as a family – the family of God. Our hearts aren’t divided. We are walking in step with our Father and holding the small hand of a future daughter or son of the Most High God. That is the beauty of Family Worship!

Love and Blessings,
Michelle Stallard



Forgotten Power

“Much power has been ignored by the Church because of its failure in the area of prayer”-David Butts. Prayer will be the focus of February’s sermon series and I am excited about Cornerstone becoming more and more “a people of prayer”. Often our prayers form out of desperate moments or they are a simple “thank you” at dinnertime. Most people pray less than 3 minutes a day. Prayer is the most underutilized weapon of spiritual warfare. In the movie “War Room” the prayer closet becomes the place where the person and God unite to do battle against all evil.

In the Book of Revelation, John portrays heaven coming to an abrupt halt when God’s people pray. Walter Wink says: “History belongs to the intercessor – those who believe and pray the future into being”. The Bible demonstrates over and over that prayer changes things. So why do so many disciples have a weak prayer life, because prayer is a learned behavior.

We learn to pray by establishing our time and place. Start with five minutes in a quiet place and use Scripture and the Church prayer guide on the back of Sunday bulletin. Begin your prayer with something you adore about God, followed by confession of your sins and struggles, then give God thanks for His blessings and lastly make your supplication, which means requests. Create a prayer journal with a notebook. On each page make two columns. In the first column record your request and the date you first made it. The second column record God’s answer and the date it occurred. Your prayer journal will become a convincing testimony of God’s power.

My prayer is that the church building would become a house of prayer and Cornerstone will become a praying people. Dallas Willard says prayer is “talking with God about what we are doing together”. If your prayer life is weak, you are weak, but that can change. So let’s pray and remember the source of our power, the one God who made and sustains the universe!

Grace & Peace, Bob Paddock


The Real Smaug

If you have some how missed watching or reading Tolkien’s “Lord Of The Rings”
then let me explain Smaug. He’s a fierce dragon who loves gold, soars through the air
and breathes fire. The kind of enemy that makes the fiercest warrior tremble. In the real
world we do not have threatening dragons living in mountain caves swooping down to
incinerate us, but we do have threatening movements slithering into science,
contemporary media and your child’s school and university. One of many threats which
desires to destroy us been labeled, New Atheism.
New Atheism is a social and political movement that began in the early 2000s
who advocate that religion should not simply be tolerated but should be countered,
criticized, and exposed by rational argument. I suppose the old atheist was a bit more
tolerant of us Jesus followers, but these new guys are hostile; they see religion as the
source of the worlds problems. Not just Christianity but every form of religion.
If you want to equip yourself for some future debate with a “New Atheist”, I suggest
reading: The End Of Reason by Ravi Zacharias or New Atheism: A Survival Guide by
Graham Veale.
What’s more important than knowing the enemy’s strategy of attack is growing
in understanding the Bible and having an abiding relationship with God. Can you explain
the concept of Grace or the righteousness of Christ? Are you connected to a Christian
small group that you can invite your non-believing friend to? If you answer “no” to
either the above questions you have some work to do & some changes to make. Get
ready for The Real Smaug.

Standing Watch,

Bob Paddock- Minister Of The Gospel


Who Are You Becoming?

When meeting new people and seeking to discover their identity, one question that consistently arises sounds something like this “What do you do”? What follows sounds something like “I teach at the High School”, “I work for Joe’s Construction” or, “I just retired and spend a lot of time playing golf.” Most of us find our identity in what we do; I am suggesting a new question in getting to know someone. A question that I think is more important and provides a way to open the door to a person’s spiritual life. Try asking “Who are you becoming?”. Now make sure you have already answered this question about yourself. So let me ask you, the reader, “Who are you becoming?”

In Mark 4 Jesus tells the Parable of the Four Soils, the only parable Jesus explains to his disciples. In this story the seed represents God’s word and actions to redeem our souls. The seed is constant but the soul or soil varies. Which type of soul are you?

You may at times find yourself the hardened soil/soul. Major disappointments, abuse and betrayal can make a person tough. Underneath all that hardness is usually fear; fear of being rejected by a confession or fear of trying to forgive. But if that hard soil could just give a little the seed could work in and break it up, and actually bring something beautiful from the ground.

The shallow soil/soul represents the superficial life and it plagues many. The surface of life is non-threatening so we like to stay there and avoid the deep places. I once snorkeled in the crystal blue waters of the Bahamas along a reef. Beyond the reef’s edge appeared a drop into the deep blue. Don’t scary things come up from the deep blue? Only God could drag me into the deep, and He did through events like my dad’s death and my divorce. When God leads us through the deep, simply hold on and allow Him to develop us.

A clutter soil/soul is full of distractions. If the devil can’t make sin he will simply distract you. It’s so easy to focus on the exterior life rather than the interior person. So be intentional in uncluttering just a small portion of life for spiritual growth.

 
Anyone who gardened knows something about good soil. Good soil accepts seed easily into itself and remains free of weeds of worry that choke out the fruit of the seed. Good soil produces a harvest that benefits everyone. So who are you becoming? Five years from now will we become more like Christ or be mostly the same? “The most important thing about you, is not the things that you achieve; it is the person that you become.” Dallas Willard, Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You by John Ortberg.

Grace & Peace, Bob Paddock



The Best and Worst Part of Working in a Church

If someone was to ask me if I like my job I would say, “Absolutely I love it!”  If they asked “what
is the best part?”  I would say “volunteers.”   If they asked “what is the worst part?”  I would say,
“volunteers.”  You did not read that wrong.  In ministry one of the most rewarding moments is
empowering another to shine for Jesus, that’s why I love volunteers.  However, the most disheartening
moment can be when your friends and brothers and sisters in Christ begin to cringe when they see you
coming. 
 
No one wants to be a nuisance, but the Church cannot begin to function without volunteers.   At
Cornerstone the Children’s ministry runs with 13 volunteers, we need 18 total.  The nursery operates
with 21 volunteers, we need 24 total.  This does not staff any special events, just normal weekly
scheduled programs.  In a church of 150 that is 4% of our church for children’s ministry and nursery
alone.  Don’t forget music, coffee, small groups leaders, breakfast ministry and so forth…  Be one of the
best parts of my job, step up and volunteer!
 
-Courtney Hood


IS OUR WALK MATCHING OUR TALK?

It’s here; Work Camp Weekend, September 12-14. Friday afternoon begins with a Blood Drive followed by a Stew, Private Yard Sale, School clean up, the building of Handicap Ramps, Playground Construction, Yard Clean up and much more. Why would Cornerstone engage in this every year, because, we want our walk to match our talk. If you a church member then you should know our church mission statement: “Love God > Love One Another > Serve Community”. Cornerstone is an externally focused church and Work Camp Weekend is just one way to prove it. Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “Who you are speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you’re saying”. Can our community hear the Good News by what they see we are doing?

                  In past Work Camps we have witnessed: people who had given up on Church return to worship; young people participate in Work Camp and then bring the rest of their family to Church; elderly shuts-in’s cry with joy that someone brought them fire wood for winter; a terminal woman with cancer overjoyed to receive a new porch for safe entry into her home, and these are just a few examples of how lives change when our walk matches our talk.

                  Your mission field is the grass between your feet, your short-term mission trip is this community and your next greatest blessing will come from sacrificial service to someone in need right next door, so sign up by calling the Church office (434-432-4300).

                  In Nehemiah 2:18 we find these inspiring words “Let us rise up and build.” So they strengthened their hands for the good work”. God had called Nehemiah to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the broken city. God is still seeking people to sacrifice to do His work. You can make a difference to rebuild a broken community.

                                                                                                            Grace & Peace, Bob Paddock