Archive - April, 2011

An Incredible Holy Week and Easter at Cornerstone

What an incredible Holy Week and Easter we had at our Church! Words can’t describe how God moved in the hearts of those who were a part of our Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter experiences. However, our IT director did a great job of putting into words our Maundy Thursday experience (complete with incredible pictures). Thanks Scott for all you do! Here are his thoughts…

Maundy Thursday 2011 at Cornerstone

Last night from 8pm to 8am (that’s Maundy Thursday from 8pm until today, Good Friday at 8am) our church, Cornerstone, had its annual observation of what Jesus and his disciples did on that Thursday night as explained in the Gospels. Our observations follow that tradition with communion, feet washing, and then an open area for prayer and Christian meditation similar to what Jesus and his disciples did in the garden of Gethsemane.

It is actually hard to explain. I was trying to find words, and obviously some photos, to explain the night to someone who wasn’t able to be there in person, but nothing I can think of gives an adequate representation of the night, and the experience I believe is different for each individual who moves through the worship setting. Each year I come expecting, expecting something specific, some preconceived notions of what the night will bring, and each year those are basically thrown out the window by the time I get in the car to come home. Last night was no different. While I didn’t spend as much time in the “garden” area last night, I did experience something new as a believe, and I had the privilege of helping others come into the worship experience who had never been here before.

Something interesting happens when we as believers take a moment to set aside time to spend with God without distractions, without cell phones beeping, without people running about. Our lives are so busy, so hurried from one thing to another that we rarely have time realistically observe Psalm 46:10, to just “be still and know He is God”. That is what last night typically tries to achieve. It isn’t something that just pops out of the air, it takes a lot of preparation, and a willing spirit.

Below are a few photos of what was the main part of the room. The photo above is Rusty preparing to serve communion and out of the photo behind me is a foot washing station. After communion people were able to proceed into the main area through the garden around the “I AM” statements of Christ where they could read scripture, contemplate on information about each area, write on an adjacent board with chalk, feel the grass of the garden, or just sit and pray.

Tonight, on Good Friday, we turn our eyes towards the cross and the amazing sacrifice Jesus made by dying for the sins of the world. It’s all connected, all part of the same story, part of my story. For some additional photos see Maundy Thursday, Chalk Board Prayers, Easter Sunday, or the Holy Week Gallery.

Swimsuits & Beach Towels!!

I just wanted to plug something that is happening in our pre-teen ministry this Sunday. Our Cornerstone Preteens have partnered with BigHouse Foundation to collect swimsuits and towels to help foster children throughout Alabama get ready for summer. Foster care is an area in our state and local community that is in real need of some love and attention. We are glad to work in conjunction with the BigHouse to minister to Foster families.

BigHouse is a Christ-centered non-profit organization designed to meet the needs of children in foster care.  Their mission is to connect the needs of foster families with the generosity of our community through the love of Christ.

There are 6,000 children in foster care in the state of Alabama and we want to help each one of them have a new swimsuit and towel this summer.

Our collection day is this Sunday, April 17.  Please bring NEW swimsuits and/or towels and drop them in our collection bins near the kids’ check-in stations.  All sizes, infant through adults are needed.

For more information about BigHouse you can go to their website.

I would love to see our church go over the top with this!!

Thank you for your amazing generosity!

See you under the ball,

Rusty

 

I AM The Good Shepherd, Lenten Reader Day 36

Thanks for checking out this blog post. You have probably come here via the “I Am” Lenten Reader (day 36) at Cornerstone. If that is not how came across this post, no problem, glad you’re here.

I taught this past Sunday from John 10:11 (NIV). In this passage Jesus declares to his listeners, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

Jesus is comparing himself to a shepherd who loves his sheep and will do anything to keep them from ultimate harm (death) including dying for them. In fact, we now know that this was a statement foreshadowing what was to come for Jesus. He came to this earth for a purpose. It was His mission to get on that cross.

I think about that scene in the movie The Passion of the Christ where Jesus falls to the ground beside the cross, bloody and beaten up. Then he agonizingly drags himself over and puts himself on the cross. There were no soldiers forcing him, he willingly puts himself on the cross. I can just imagine while he was dragging himself onto that cross, in his heart he was calling out “I MUST serve people on this cross!” I MUST do this for others. I have come to serve not to be served”

Jesus’ mission was to SERVE. To serve others. I think about our life missions: to get married, to have a great career, to make money, to raise a family, to have a better body, to achieve at a higher level. These are all fine goals, but if they become our only mission and the object of our attention then we have missed the point of life. We too should live to serve.

Jesus had one focused objective – to go to Jerusalem and be sacrificed for the sake of the world. He was trying to get there as quickly as possible, not because of the cross itself, but because he was completing his mission of bearing the sins of humanity. He WANTED to get that done! He knew on the other side of that cross was FREEDOM! Freedom for you and for me.

What a good, worthy, approved, and valuable Shepherd!!

Some questions for you to ponder:
How are you handling your shepherd right now?
Does Jesus have your full attention right now?
Do you love the one who got on that cross for you? If so, how does that look in your life?

Dallas Willard in his book, The Divine Conspiracy said, “The Lord is my Shepherd’ is written on many more tombstones than lives.”

I pray this would not be true of you and me as we follow Christ. I pray those words, ‘The Lord is my Shepherd’, would be etched into our hearts as we live our lives.