December 15, 2011
Dear Church Family,
Pastor Tim Keller explains in a past Christmas sermon that truth without tears is cruel and tears without truth is unhelpful. What we have in the incarnation of the Son of God, however, is a perfect blending of tears and truth. Jesus came as a complete human, totally vulnerable, subject to the same fears, pain, and anxieties as us. But, he was not only vulnerable, he was also fully God, full of truth, fearless in the face of evil. An event that depicts this clearly is Jesus before the burial site of his friend Lazarus. In almost the same breath, Jesus proclaims to the crowd, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Christ will live, even though he dies, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11:25-26), and then just moments later he weeps before a crowd of mourners. Emmanuel, God with us, God the Son in human form, perfectly blends truth and tears. He faces death down and wins, and yet the reality of death breaks his heart. This is why Jesus took on flesh. This is why he bore our sins on Calvary. He wept at death, and He knew that He alone could stop to tide of death from wiping out His people. Let us worship the God-Man this Christmas not only for His perfect power, but also for His intimate love for us. But let our worship not only be in songs, but also in the giving of our lives for others. Let us enter into people’s suffering not as cold, truth-telling stoics. We need to befriend the hurting, mourn alongside the despondent, and walk with those who can only crawl. But let us also be bearers of truth, who stand in the face of evil and proclaim that its defeat has been accomplish on the Cross.
Church Brunch and Children’s Program, this Sunday December 18th: Come and join the Cornerstone Church family at from 9:15-9:45AM on December 18th in the theater’s lobby. We will have a special brunch together followed by our Sunday morning service. There will be orange juice, egg casserole, fruit, and muffins to eat and drink. The children will be a part of our Sunday morning worship service on December 18th. In addition, Pastor Matt will give a clear Gospel presentation from John 1:12. This is a perfect Sunday to invite friends and family to hear about the joy of the Christ Child.
Christmas Eve Service, Saturday December 24th: We will have an intimate and Christ-honoring Christmas Eve Service at 6:30PM at the Cottage Grove Place (2115 First Avenue S.E) in Cedar Rapids. We sing songs together, read some special Scripture passages, and be reminded of the old, old story of Jesus and His love.
Missions Month, January 2012: Ever wonder about the ministry behind the Christmas-time red kettles and bell ringers? Join us during the 9am Sunday School hour each Sunday this January as we learn about the action-packed story behind “The Salvation Army” and its founder. William Booth was a preacher in England in the 1800s. He and his wife Catherine were called by God to serve people who were not welcomed in the established churches of that time. The Booths followed God’s call, even when they were in danger.
Membership Class in January: A member of Cornerstone Church covenants to grow in Christian community, to invest in the church family and the Gospel with their time, talent and treasures, and to submit themselves to the church family and its leaders for accountability, protection, and growth. If you are considering church membership, we encourage you to attend a 4 week Membership Class Sunday mornings January 8, 15, 22, 29 at 9AM. We will also meet an additional time outside of the Sunday morning for a more intimate, homey gathering. At the end of the class, individuals can decide if they would like to take the few additional steps toward membership in our church family.
Visitation in 2012: Proverbs 27:23 tells us, “Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds.” Shepherds cannot serve and feed their sheep if they do not know the condition of the flock. Starting in January, the elder shepherds of this church are going to begin an intentional process of meeting with each household in our church family throughout 2012. These will be approximately 1 hour long visits involving 1-2 elders with a simple agenda. The elder(s) will ask questions to see how each household is doing spiritually and emotionally. The elder(s) will answer questions our people have regarding the ministry of the church. The elder(s) will share a word of encouragement from Scripture. And finally, the elder(s) would like to pray with each household. You do not have to feed the elders. You do not need to clean your house. We only ask that you open your heart and home to us that we might be mutually encouraged in the faith.
January Sermon Series “Delighting in the Divine: An Exploration of Article I of the Evangelical Free Church Statement of Faith”: A.W. Tozer has rightly observed, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” As such, the elders plan to set aside the first 3 Sunday worship services of 2012 to look at the theology of God as it is stated by the first article of our Statement of Faith. We will return to Genesis and our sermon-based small groups at the end of January and throughout the Spring.
Merry Christmas friends,