Month: November 2018

Kids SS – Jesus Gave the Great Commission

Jesus Gave the Great Commission
BIBLE PASSAGE: Matthew 28:16-20
MAIN POINT: Jesus gave the disciples the Great Commission.
KEY PASSAGE: 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
BIG PICTURE QUESTION: What is our mission as believers? Our mission as
believers is to make disciples of all nations by the power of the Spirit.


Dear Parents,

After Jesus’ death and resurrection, He appeared to His disciples over a 40-day period. At one point, He appeared to more than 500 people. During that time, Jesus taught about the kingdom of God. (Acts 1:3) Some disciples wondered if Jesus was going to restore the kingdom of Israel. (Acts 1:6)

Jesus had a different plan for the disciples. He directed the Eleven to go to a mountain, where He appeared to them again. They worshiped Him, but some still doubted. (Matt. 28:17) On the mountain, Jesus gave His disciples the Great Commission. First, Jesus stated that all authority had been given to Him. Before the resurrection, Jesus had authority as God the Son. Through the resurrection, however, the Father gave Jesus far more than even Satan had promised. (Matt. 4:8-9) Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, God subjected everything to His beloved Son. (See Heb. 2:5-9.)

Because of Jesus’ authority, He commanded His disciples to go into the world and preach the gospel, the good news about Him. The Great Commission is not just for missionaries far from home. All believers are called to share the gospel with others, teach them to obey God’s commands, and baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus finished His commission with a profound promise: “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20).

Talk to your kids about the importance of living out the Great Commission. Because Jesus has authority over all places and all people at all times, we can take the good news about Jesus to all places and all people at all times. God has given us a mission and gives us power through the Holy Spirit to obey this calling.

The good news about what Jesus has done to rescue us from our sins is too great to keep to ourselves. Before Jesus went back to heaven, He gave the disciples a job to do. Jesus wants His followers to teach people everywhere about Jesus so they will trust in Him as their Lord and Savior.

2018 in Review – Pastor Matt’s Report

Isaiah 63:7 proclaims, “I will recount the steadfast love of the LORD, the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD has granted us, and the great goodness to the house of Israel that he has granted them according to his compassion, according to the abundance of his steadfast love.” This is how I feel nearing the end of 2018. God’s steadfast love has held me fast; He has held our church. I have felt the pains and sorrows more in 2018 than in past years. I have also sensed God’s presence and power among us. Let me summarize my labors under what I believe to be my three main roles: preacher, leader, and shepherd.

Preaching in 2018: I consider the preaching ministry my highest calling. Being a teaching elder for a local church is a tremendous responsibility. Oh, that I would be faithful. And yet I know my fruitfulness does not depend on me. When asked the “secret” of his influential ministry, the famous 19th century preacher Charles Spurgeon frequently responded, “My people pray for me.” Thank you for praying for me; continue to pray for the pulpit ministry at Cornerstone. To begin 2018, we finished the book of Galatians, then worked through two short series in 1 Corinthians 15 and the Epistle of Jude, and then Randy and Michael preached 7 sermons from the Gospel of John. I came back from my sabbatical to work through a few Proverbs, moving next to our series on the Marks of the Church. To end 2018, I’ll preach through Psalm 89 during Advent, and then in 2019, I’ll begin working through Exodus and the Gospel of Mark.

Leading in 2018: I am just one player working alongside the elder team, our deacons, and ministry leaders and directors. These are gifted and caring servants. The four big areas we are trying to focus on during 2016-2021 are (1) Broadcasting the Gospel; (2) Maturing the Saints; (3) Equipping Leaders; and (4) Church Planting.

  1. Broadcast the Gospel: I’m thankful for a few events that brought in new faces in 2018 (the chili supper, moving night, and different Sunday morning efforts). I’m also excited to report that as of October, our church has joined a cohort of other Cedar Rapids area churches (Faith Bible, Cedar Valley Bible, River of Life, Oakland Nazarene, and 1st Nazarene) to grow in the area of Evangelism. It’s a two year process that focuses first on leaders and then later with the rest of the congregation. If you want more info, Google “Church Evangelism Initiative.” This is a ministry of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College.
  2. Maturing the Saints: Sunday morning worship, Small groups, Sunday School for all ages, and youth group are our primary programs for discipleship. Thankfully, much disciple-making occurs outside our programs over coffee, across cubicles, and around kitchen tables. The elders have taken note in recent weeks on some interest among women for a few more ministry opportunities targeted to women. We are trying to talk to a cross-representation of our women and if there is a critical mass of interest, you may see opportunities come together in 2019. Maybe the hunger among the women will encourage the men to find more ways to press on with Christ together in 2019 as well.
  3. Equipping Leaders: New faces are taking leadership roles. New volunteers are jumping into service opportunities. And yet, leadership development is an area of growth for us as a church family; we’ve never done it well. Thankfully, our new leadership class has just shy of 20 attendees; Lord willing, we offer this class again in 2019. But classes ultimately do not make leaders. The elders are keeping this growth area in mind as we make plans for 2019.
  4. Planting Churches: Healthy churches birth new believers and new baby churches (think John 15:5). We have had the opportunity in 2018 to encourage and support Harvest City in Iowa City, but we still have hopes of planting a church. We have seen growth in our church numbers in 2018; will we be able to target a city or region in need of a church in 2019? Maybe the Lord will allow us to plant before our 20th birthday in 2021.

Shepherding in 2018: This year has been full of shepherding challenges. We had a bittersweet farewell to several key members (mostly related to moves). Charles Stuelke passed away. Some marriages dissolved before our very eyes. The elders have taken active roles in various other situations. Shepherding a church is not for the faint of heart. I don’t even want to guess where my heart would be without the sabbatical you gave me and my family this summer. Thank you so much for caring about our spiritual and emotional health (and sanity :).

A few closing highlights:

#1: To begin 2019, the elders are asking every member (and interested attendees) to join us for 4 Sunday night prayer gatherings in January. We want to start the New Year with intentional, fervent prayer and worship as a church family.

#2: My role as the Marion Police Chaplain has been a huge blessing. In the past year, I was able to help lead a Bible study, perform an Officer’s premarital counseling and wedding, do a number of ride-alongs, teach on the importance of marriage at a quarterly training for all the officers, serve a grieving family, pray over several officers, and my small group fed over 50% of the MPD employees one morning with something we called Chaplain Chow.

#3: We may go to Ukraine. Steve and Meg Collier have asked Cornerstone to send a specific team to help with a conference for all the Ukraine Missionaries from Send International in August 2019. I may bring some messages of encouragement; we may put together a worship team; and they also need help with childcare. Details to come! PRAY, PRAY, PRAY!

May Christ hold us fast; may we hold out Christ to our cities, neighbors, and friends.

-Pastor Matt Proctor

Pastor Post: November 2018 Happenings

Dear Church Family,

Yesterday was a sweet day for me. Worship was rich; the meal together was delightful; and the unity of the Spirit and step of faith we took as a congregation at our business meeting made me feel privileged to serve as one of the shepherds of this flock. Be be in prayer for our Associate Pastor Search Committee and how you and your family will cheerfully and sacrificially give to meet our 2018 and 2019 budgets. All praise to our Beautiful Savior, Jesus Christ!

Would you be praying for these ministry opportunities coming down the pike?

Women’s Event this Wednesday November 7 @7PM – Mentoring Across Generations – Ever wish you knew how to ask someone about an issue that is worrying you? Want to have more meaningful conversations with the young people in your life? Relationships across generations can be difficult at times, but are incredibly important. Come join us for some good conversation about how to have more meaningful relationships with other women in our lives! 

Sunday morning Guest Preacher, November 25th – Chaplain Jay Larette – Pastor Matt has built a relationship with Jay through denominational Pathways Training. Jay is a Truck Stop Missionary/Chaplain in IL with Transport for Christ, supported primarily by E-Free Churches. He’s a powerful preacher and tells wild stories of an amazing God! He was even featured in a 1998 NY Times Article (

Praise and Pie – November 25 @6:30PM – Join us for some post-Thanksgiving worship and pie eating at our church facility. Invite a friend. Bring your leftover pie or feel free to bake another. It’s challenging to have too much pie 🙂

An article of note…please read this article and pray God grows us individually and corporately as people who share Christ to our lost and dying neighbors:

Until all have heard,

Pastor Matt

November 4, 2018: Hebrews 13:17 “Meaningful Membership (Part 2): Church Leaders”

Big Idea:  God has given leaders to serve as under shepherds within the body.

Kids SS – Jesus Forgives and Restores

BIBLE PASSAGE: John 21:1-19
MAIN POINT: Jesus forgave Peter and gave him a mission.
KEY PASSAGE: 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
BIG PICTURE QUESTION: What is our mission as believers? Our mission as
believers is to make disciples of all nations by the power of the Spirit.


Dear Parents,

After Jesus’ resurrection and His appearance to the disciples, seven of the disciples returned to Galilee, near the Sea of Galilee where Jesus had called four of His disciples to be fishers of men. (See Luke 5:1-11.) The disciples went fishing. Perhaps they felt it reasonable to return to the fishing business since their stint as disciples was apparently over—or so they thought!

In Bible times, nighttime was the preferred time for fishing. Fish caught at night could be sold fresh in the morning at market. But by daybreak, the disciples had caught nothing. Jesus stood at the shore, but the disciples did not know it was Him. He called to them, “Men, you don’t have any fish, do you?” (John 21:5). Then He urged them to cast their net on the right side of the boat. They obeyed, and they were unable to haul in the big catch!

John knew right away who He was. “It is the Lord!” John exclaimed. Peter immediately tied his outer garment around him and jumped into the sea, swimming 300 feet to shore. When the other six disciples arrived in the boat, they found Jesus sitting beside a charcoal fire with fish and bread. “Come and have breakfast,” Jesus said. Jesus ate with His disciples; then He turned to Peter.

John 21:15-19 describes Peter’s restoration. The disciple who told Jesus that he would die for Him (Luke 22:31-34) had denied Jesus three times. (Luke 22:54-62) Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Jesus. Each time Peter responded yes, Jesus told Peter to feed His lambs. Jesus restored Peter to ministry.

Emphasize to your kids that Jesus’ plan for the disciples did not end with His death and resurrection.

When Jesus first called the disciples to follow Him, Jesus had promised to make them fishers of men. Instead of catching fish, they would tell people about Jesus. (Luke 5:1-11) The disciples had left Jesus when He was arrested and even denied Him, but Jesus still wanted to use them in God’s plan. Jesus is the Lord who forgives us and makes things right again.