Who’s Preaching This Week?

Wow, Allen Whittaker did a phenomenal job this past Sunday preaching on the Trinity. He nailed it! That’s a tough subject to handle especially when you’ve only been at a church for a few months. I’m glad to have him and all of our other guys who share the Word on Sundays.

In light of that here’s some thoughts on the preaching rotation for 2011. Now that we have several gifted preacher/teachers on board I’ve become more aware of the need to be intentional about giving up the platform every now and again. So, throughout the year you may be hearing from me, or any one of these guys: Josh Agerton, Brian Johnson, Lee Cadden or Allen Whittaker. I expect you’ll be hearing from me about 35 of the 52 Sundays.

While I love to preach and would do it every Sunday, I also know that if I preach three services, every single Sunday of the year, my burnout meter will be pegging by Christmas! That’s 156 sermons a year, plus other speaking engagements. In fact, many preachers today are realizing the same things I’ve realized about this matter.

Things like, preaching every week can be a drain. It can actually be a deterrent to creativity and passion. It’s good just to be away for a few Sundays to recharge. Also, I’m not the only one who can offer the word of God. It’s good for all of us to hear the Word preached through other pastor’s experiences and views.

I believe in each one of these Godly men! They have been called to minister and teach scripture. I hope you’ll encourage them and pray for them when it’s their turn on the platform.

An Example of Living out the Mission of the Church

Our Pastor of Connections, Josh Agerton, recently posted a great story on his blog called Living the Mission. I thought it really needs to be retold as much as possible. It’s about making Jesus real to people. So, here you go…

Living the Mission

So last night Leslie told me that Ms. Mary, the custodian where she works – Wrights Mill Road Elementary – came to her and said, “I need to talk to you about your church – Cornerstone.” Leslie’s first thought – “Oh no – what’s going on? What happened”. A little later in the day Ms. Mary came to Leslie and began to tell her story. Tears streamed from her eyes as she said, “Some people from your church came to my house last Saturday to help me.” She went on to explain how they stepped into her life simply to offer some help around her home on North Gay Street. They put on a new front porch, cleaned up the overgrown yard and told her they would be back in two weeks to keep their work going. She was completely blown away by this act of love and told Leslie how “I’ve never had anyone do anything like this for me before in my life.”

So after talking to a few more people I pieced together more of the story. Turns out it was a Small Group from Cornerstone that showed up at Ms. Mary’s house. They had been talking in their group about how they could go beyond themselves and serve the community in some way – specifically desiring to do something nobody else was doing. A few calls and connections were made that led them to meeting Ms. Mary – a hard working woman accustomed to helping others but doing little for herself. They asked her what her wish list was for her home and began to prioritize some projects starting with the front porch that was falling apart.

Amazing story here isn’t it. But what I love about this was the initiative that was taken on their own. It wasn’t directed by a church program or blessed by a staff person. It was just a normal expression of people following Jesus and giving their lives away for the sake of another. You could say that these people are living out the mission of Cornerstone – Leading People to Know and Serve Jesus.

I wonder what could happen in this community and our world if this kind of stuff became the new normal for small groups at Cornerstone? It’s definitely a picture of the church at its best and I pray that we see more of this among us in the future.

The Doctrine Series Notes, Week 2 and 3

Wow, I’m amazed at the response by many in our church regarding this sermon series on the doctrines of the Christian faith. I think it reveals that inside every person is a deep desire to know the Truth. We all want to be reminded of the very basic and important beliefs about the critical issues of life, death, salvation and eternity.

As promised I am providing my sermon outline with the scriptures in case you missed them. I hope this helps you track along with us throughout this series.  The notes below are provided in a Adobe PDF document where all you have to do is click on the link below to access the file.  Also, please keep in mind these are my raw notes as I prepared for each message. They are not intended to be a polished scholarly work, but an additional resource to accompany the message on Sunday.

You may also want to download or listen to a copy of the podcast while reviewing the notes.  You can listen to the podcast right from the website by going to each message, The Doctrine of Salvation Podcast, or The Doctrine of Eternity Podcast, or download it into mp3 or subscribe to the podcast through iTunes.

Leadership, Cornerstone, & Serious Prayer

Our leadership retreat last Saturday was great as usual. We talked about vision, strategy, leadership and how to better lead people to know and serve Jesus. Our church is blessed to have such amazing lay people and staff serving on the Executive Team (I’m just honored to be around this group!).

Please pray for this team! They love Cornerstone and the stories of people whose lives have been changed for eternity. They feel the burden of guiding this ship we call the church. They know the seriousness of plotting a course toward our future.

Please pray for our ministries. Pray specifically for our strategy to reach more people. Our leaders are working to simplify and streamline our processes. Pray for wisdom regarding the possibility of building a new facility to handle our growth. This will not be an easy decision and we want to be squarely in God’s will on this issue. Pray for our Sunday mornings that people would give their whole life to Christ. Pray for our small groups that people in our church would find relational connections and grow spiritually. Pray that more people would find a place to serve and partner with us in our mission. Pray for marriages to be strong. Pray for college students to maintain purity and be a light on their campus. Pray, pray, pray!!

FYI, Here are the members of our 2011 Executive Team…

Robbie Taylor – ET chair
Michael Moore – Lay Leader
Ken Lott – Personnel Team chair
Jason Belcher – Trustees Chair
Nic Cofiled – Finance Chair
Bruce Shelton
John Atkinson
Rebecca Gaston
Elizabeth Yost
Paul Hansell
Jennifer Stephens
Christopher Slagley
Lynn Blount – Secretary
Jack Fisher
Brian Johnson
Josh Agerton
Lee Cadden
Allen Whittaker
April Olive
Jill Harris
Julia Farrow

Time Series Recap, Creating Margin in Your Life

We just finished a series at Cornerstone a couple of weeks ago called “TIME”. We basically tried to recapture the value of this precious and fleeting gift. One of sermons was about something very few of us understand it’s called – “margin” (week 4 podcast available here).

This is an article that has a lot to say about building “margin” into our lives, Margin: Space Between Ourselves and Our Limits, and I would highly recommend reading it when you get a chance.

I’m convinced that margin is something that could add so much to our connection with God. Because of our mostly unhealthy schedules we are people who live jammed lives. There is no margin or down time where we just relax and listen to God. There is no space for God to do His renewing work in our souls. It’s like we’re outpacing God’s desire to catch up with us. Here’s a reality check for you – margin is NOT simple. It requires us to be intentional about how we spend resources like time and money. It means adjusting our priorities and possibly doing away with some things. Man, that’s the tough part. Saying “no” to the good, so we can say “yes” to the best.

We cannot create more time, but we can create margin. So, I dare you to do it! Here’s a truth: even when you think you can’t, life goes on.

To Blog About Blogging

Blog, blog, blog…that’s just a funny word to say over and over.

If you read this blog you are fully aware that my blog has been terribly abandoned for months now. Sorry. I’m going to try to do better starting right now with this blog about my blog.

I now have a new format and 3 new purposes for writing.

First Purpose: to inform people who want to know more about what is happening at Cornerstone. I will be writing about issues, decisions, news (don’t forget to check out this week’s issue of the Cornerstone News) and general things going on around our church. This will be a good place to find out the “inside” stuff.

Second Purpose: to talk about anything in the leadership realm. This is something I do and am passionate about. I might post links to helpful articles, my own thoughts on the subject or experiences I’m having leading our church. So, if this matters to you it should be good.

Third purpose: to talk about things happening with me. This might include random thoughts, spiritual matters, updates on my hobbies, funny things about my family, etc. etc. If you care about this part then you really have waaayyyy too much time on your hands! But still, you might find it helpful…or not….no, I think you will.

So, I’m back on the wagon. We’ll see where it goes.

A Mouse in the House!

Wow, if you were at the 10am service Sunday you got a little something extra in worship! Right in the middle of my message the front row of people started screaming and some even jumped up on their chair. I’m thinking, “Alright! now we’re getting somewhere. They’re lovin’ this sermon.” Then I realized they were screaming and jumping because there was a mouse running along the bottom of the stage right below me! So, I decide to just go with it and bring the mouse excitement into the sermon for a minute, but in the process of doing that I totally forgot where I was going with the message. I was distracted, the crowd was distracted and it took us a minute to get our ourselves focused again.

I’m reminded how easily we are distracted from important things in our life. How quickly we can forget to spend time with our kids, to give special attention to our spouse or to connect with God in the midst of busy-ness, hobbies, work, tight-schedules and on and on. In fact, I think distraction is one of the TOP reasons for a lack of spiritual growth in a person’s life. So, this is our focus verse – Hebrews 12:2 “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…”

PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE LITTLE MOUSE RUNNING ALONG THE STAGE!

Responsibility of Romans 12:8 // Part 2

Paul said in Romans 12:8 if we have the gift of leadership then we should use it and take the responsibility seriously!

if it is leadership, let him govern diligently (NIV)

“If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously.” (NLT)

I am constantly aware of this verse as I, along with our staff and Executive Team, provide leadership for Cornerstone. Leading other people is serious business. It is a responsibility not to be taken lightly. Really, it doesn’t matter what business you’re in, leading other people is a high calling.

Jack Fisher our Administrator sent out this article from Forbes.com entitled “Rising above your job description. I liked this author’s take on leadership,

“The first step toward real leadership is understanding that it isn’t about title or hierarchy. It’s about attitude, specifically having an attitude that puts people above all infrastructure and process, considering them the center of all activities, not part of the periphery. To a real leader, people are not the means but the end. Under that leader they do their jobs not because they should or must but because they want to and are passionate about it.”

While that’s true in the corporate world, in the church it holds special significance because we are leading people, in the eternal sense, to know and serve Jesus. So, God needs people in these important roles who have died to power, worldly significance, prestige, self-glory and “serve me” mentality. He is looking for true servants who have clothed themselves in humility and love, who can point the way toward the redemption that God offers through Christ. Before leaders in the church ask others to bow the knee to Christ, they need to have performed that act themselves. Our outward attitudes should convey clearly our inward convictions.

Please pray for our Executive Team! They have committed themselves to passionately advancing our mission under the guidance of God’s spirit. They will need the support of the whole body as they lead us into the future.

See you under the ball!

Rusty

Cornerstone’s 2010 Leadership Team // Part 1

Just wanted to give you some information about Cornerstone’s 2010 leadership team. We are calling this group our Executive Team (formally known as Executive Council). Their purpose is as follows,

“The Executive Team is responsible for giving overall direction and guidance to every aspect of our church’s life. This team is charged with passionately advancing our mission of leading people to know and serve Jesus by protecting our values and beliefs, following our commitments and trusting in God’s leadership.”

This is the same purpose they have always had, just under a different name.

The members of this team are:

Frank Oprandy – Executive Team (ET) Leader

Rebecca Gaston – ET Secretary

Robert Taylor – Lay Leader

Jason Belcher – Trustees Team Leader

John Feehan- Personnel Team Leader

Nic Cofield – Finance Team Leader

John Atkinson – ad hoc

Paul Hansell – ad hoc

Michael Moore – ad hoc

Bruce Shelton – ad hoc

Christopher Slagley – ad hoc

Jennifer Stephens – ad hoc

Elizabeth Yost – ad hoc

Amy Coxwell – staff

Michael McClendon – staff

Julia Farrow – staff

Jill Harris – staff

Brian Johnson – staff

Jack Fisher – staff

Josh Agerton – staff

Rusty Hutson – staff

We will soon have their pictures, biographical information and ET role description on our website. This team is here to serve the church! Please encourage and pray for them often.

See you under he ball!

Rusty

Big “Thanks!” For Support of Haitian Relief

Just a big “thanks!” to everyone who gave to Haitian relief this past Sunday at Cornerstone. We raised $12,000! That money will go directly to relief efforts for those most devastated by the earthquake. I want to echo Josh’s words from the services Sunday morning and say how proud I am to be a part of a church that will rally to share the compassionate love of Jesus with others. Way to go church!! Good job!

Perhaps in the future we will be able to do more than just send a check. Brian is waiting for the right opportunity to get to Haiti and see first-hand the needs and how we as a church might be able to help more tangibly in the months to come. Stay tuned.

Anyway, please continue to pray for the people there and our continued response.

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