Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Do Christians need to hear the gospel?

In Sunday's sermon, I quoted CJ Mahaney in his book The Cross Centered Life, “Three main tendencies in particular tend to draw Christians away from the gospel:

1. Subjectivism, which means basing our view of God on our changing feelings and emotions.
2. Legalism, which means basing our relationship with God on our own performance.
3. Condemnation, which means being more focused on our sin, or on others sin, than on God’s grace.”

Several people commented after the message, how much they appreciated the focus on the cross of Christ. It is not uncommon for us to base our relationship with God on feelings, or on performance, or on thoughts of guilt.

The apostle Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

Notice Paul does not say, “Christ loves me” as we might expect him to say, but that “Christ loved me.”

In other words, Paul could not graduate past the cross of Jesus Christ as the source and power of his faith. It is at the cross that we gain a full assurance of God’s specific, passionate and personal love.

So where does the cross of Christ intersect with your daily life?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Anxiety and Frustration

Sound Bites from our Men's Leadership Study this morning:

“It has been said that our anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, but only empties today of its strength.” Charles Haddon Spurgeon, 1834-1892, British Baptist Preacher

“Anxiety is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.” Arthur Somers Roche

“Every office battles the copier and all too frequently the copier is victorious.” Unknown

“Much of our frustration in life comes from attempting to control what we cannot control, and neglecting to control what we can.” Dr. Richard Dobbins

The real challenge of Christian living is not to eliminate every uncomfortable circumstance from our lives, but to trust our sovereign, wise, good, and powerful God in the midst of every situation.

Things that might trouble us such as the way we look, the way others treat us, or where we live or work can actually be sources of strength, not weakness.

Jesus said to His disciples, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” John 16:33.

As disciples of Christ, we need to accept the fact that we live in an imperfect world and allow God to do His perfect work in us. Our Lord will give us His peace as we confidently entrust ourselves to His care.

Some people assume worry is the result of too much thinking. Actually, it’s the result of too little thinking in the right direction. If you know who God is and understand His purposes, promises, and plans, it will help you not to worry.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Metrical Psalter

My Austin had a poem assignment for his 10th grade English class. He needed to take a Psalm and turn it into a metrical psalter (8 syllable - 6 syllable rhyme). He chose Psalm 13:

How long will You ignore me Lord?
When will I see your face?
How long shall I be abhorred,
Having sorrow and disgrace?

For how long must I be humbled?
Regard me and reply.
Answer me or I will stumble,
And my enemy will say “die”

And my enemy will delight
In my time of deep need.
But I will remain in Your might
My soul shall worship Thee.

My voice will be raised to the Lord
For He has been generous to me,
And His mercy will be adored!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Before we started work this morning, we prayed for a truck container full of food headed for Kenya.

Midweek at Gleanings

We are halfway through our week of serving at Gleanings for the Hungry. Our group has been getting complements by the staff here on our good attitude, unity, and eagerness to serve - Praise the Lord!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Gleanings for the Hungry

This week 4 adults and 17 youth from Cornerstone are serving at Gleanings for the Hungry. Check out some photos at www.gleanings.org

I am studying in the morning and then working the processing line in the afternoon. Just working half a day is tiring! I am so proud of Shane and our youth for their labor of love here!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Women's Retreat

I heard the women's retreat was edifying and fun ...it had to be with funny gals like Debbie!

Why Seminary?

Shane shared on Sunday that he will be leaving in early August for Southern Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. As the elders shared on Sunday, Shane is not simply leaving Cornerstone ... we are sending him out!

Shane and Jess have prayed much about this decision and have sought counsel from godly people inside and outside of Cornerstone. God has put on Shane's heart the desire to pastor a church like Cornerstone, perhaps in the Northwest where there is a great need for Christ-centered, Bible-centered churches. He is going to seminary to be better prepared for a lifetime of ministry and leadership in the church.

Southern Seminary is led by Dr. Albert Mohler (www.albertmohler.com, his radio program is on 890AM at 3 p.m. here on the central coast). The seminary has outstanding faculty, a great Master of Divinity program, family housing on campus, a seminary wives program where Jess can attend electives each semester, and they even allow pets in campus housing (the Sanders rottweiler "Kia" is like a member of the family)!

Please keep praying for the Sanders as they prepare for this move. We will miss them, but are thankful that they will visit with us when they are in town visiting Jessica's parents.

Also pray for clear leading and wisdom for the Cornerstone church leadership as we will need to identify the right person/people to help with family ministry.

Community Groups

Our family visited the South Atascadero Community Group at the Covington's on Sunday night. It was a joy to see all the children playing in the back yard and gave us a greater appreciation for how Kevin and Felicia are serving the young families!

Shane did a wonderful job of leading music, discussion, and prayer - but it was neat to see everyone in the study engaged and participating in the dialogue. I was also blessed to hear my daughter Jenn and son JP wrestling with the Bible text, asking questions and offering insights.

Studying the book of Acts has provided a great window to see the love the saints had for each other. Sunday night was an encouragement to see love in action in Atascadero!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

George MacDonald Poem

I shared this poem in the closing of Sunday's sermon. God may be calling you to go to a place you do not want to go and speak to someone you don’t feel like talking to. But like Philip go and speak the grace and truth of the gospel. And like both Philip and the Ethiopian, rejoice in a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.

I said, “Let me walk in the field”;
God said, “No, walk in the town”;
I said, “There are no flowers there”;
He said, “No flowers, but a crown”;

I said, “But the sky is black,
There is nothing but noise and din”;
But He wept as He sent me back,
“There is more, ” He said, “there is sin”

I said, “But the air is thick,
And smog is veiling the sun”;
He answered, “Yet souls are sick,
And your work is yet undone.”

I said, “I will miss the light,
And friends will miss me, they say”;
He answered, “Choose tonight,
If I am to miss you, or they.”

I pleaded for time to be given;
He said, “Is it hard to decide?
It will not seem hard in Heaven
To have followed the steps of your Guide.”

I cast one look at the field,
Then set my face to the town;
He said, “My child, do you yield?
Will you leave the flowers for the crown?”

Then into His hand went mine,
And into my heart came He;
And I walk in a light Divine,
The path I had feared to see.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Shack Attack

In light of Shane's comments from the pulpit on Sunday, I thought you might enjoy Fred Sander's (professor at Biola) review of the biblically troubling and strangely popular book entitled The Shack.

The Shack: Four Walls, Five Reviews

Monday, February 9, 2009

Marriage Retreat Evaluation

The Marriage Retreat was a blast! Shane and I enjoyed read through the evaluations. Here are some random results:

Best Part of the Retreat:

"The couple discussion questions and exercises"
"The teaching and the honesty of the speakers"
"The location, the price, being together as couples"
"Time alone with my spouse to refocus our marriage"

Worst Part:

"Too short"
"Went by too fast"
"The cookies were hard as rocks!"
"Would like more time to get to know the other couples better"

How has God spoken to you and how can we pray for you?

"The importance of pursuing God first above all"
"That we will apply all that we learned"
"That we would follow-through and close the loop on conflict step-by-step"
"That I will treat my spouse as my best friend"
"That we will be faithful to pray together"

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Marriage Retreat

I have been working on my teaching notes for this weekend's marriage retreat. Friday night I will be speaking on the first love in our marriage and how to "close the loop" on conflict.

Shane will be teaching Saturday morning on keeping your spouse a priority and how to get to know each other again.

Saturday afternoon I will be looking at how we can build spiritual intimacy and grow in physical intimacy. The physical intimacy is last so that we can keep the attention of the men to the very end! Also the hotel is hoping after I share all the love secrets, couples will book another night (they paid me to share this).

Paula and I are looking forward to the time with all the couples that are coming!

Don't forget to bring cash for dinner at the Main Street Grill Friday night, and to bring a lunch for Saturday (or cash to buy some food).

Thursday, January 29, 2009


The word “hypocrite” is an interesting word. The English comes directly from the transliteration of a Greek word, hypokrites which means “to play a part, to act out, to feign.”

In the early days of Christ, most of the drama that occurred on the stage was done by actors who had masks in front of their faces. You might have seen the traditional icon of the stage that consists of two masks. One mask is a man with a deep frown and the other is a man smiling a broad grin. That emanates from the Greek stage.

The masks hid who the actors really were, and allowed them to act as if they were someone else. The word “hypocrite” eventually came to mean someone who is acting as if they are someone or something else. A person may look spiritual, but it is just an act. Or they look moral, but it is a mask hiding dark secrets.

By God's grace and the power of the Holy Spirit, we can be authentic Christians. Honest, humble, full of grace and truth as we depend on God and His Word. Integrity and evangelism are powerful companions!

Unmasking Hypocrisy

Sorry for the long Blog drought. Life is busy ...but so it is for everybody I know!

This Sunday I will be preaching through Acts 5:1-11 and the story of Ananias and Sapphira. I've entitled the message, "Removing the Mask of Hypocrisy."

I have been challenged and blessed by this Bible text. Luke wants us to understand just how serious God takes hypocrisy. It is easy to try to wear a mask and hide our struggles, battles, and temptations.

Sometimes when people are struggling they isolate themselves because of the guilt they feel, or maybe they feel shameful, or maybe they don’t want to be a burden.

As a pastor, I often find myself wrestling with the dilemma of what I should do. Should I step in? Should I “intrude” and offer my assistance, even though uninvited?

Or should I stay out of the way and let the individuals involved work through the problem themselves? There are no hard and fast rules. I’ve done both…and had both backfire! I have also had both result in a wonderful time of reconciliation and growth. In my head I can still hear both extremes:

“Pastor, what business is this of yours? If you had stayed out of it, we could have worked things out. You only made it worse.”

And then I’ve heard : “Thank you Pastor. Thank you! Had you not stepped in and cared enough to comfort, (or confront or listen – whatever), who knows where we’d be today?”

But I have also heard: “We appreciate the fact that you gave us room to work through the conflict. Thank you for not pushing your way in and forcing the issue.”

And then I’ve heard: “Where were you? Why didn’t you make yourself available? Obviously, you didn’t care even though you knew we were hurting!”

I tell you, sometimes it is enough to make me want to go back in the Navy full-time!

But the hope you and I have is not in each other to fix our problems, but our hope is in the Lord. We can help each other see our circumstances from God's perspective and realize how sufficient and satisfying God truly is.

If we want to help each other know Him and reflect His character, then we need to trust God and let down our guard and be open and honest with our struggles, our battles, our conflict, and our temptations.