Category: News

7 Marks of a Life-Giving Friend

The Cheers theme song still always makes me smile: “Where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came…” Why? Because it speaks to my heart, revealing a longing I believe is in the souls of all, a longing for a friend.

But what if the issue is not “finding a friend” but becoming the kind of person who attracts friends?

Starting January 13, we will begin a series entitled “7 Marks of a Life-Giving Friend.” Our major milestone for the 2012-2013 school year is that each person at Cornerstone Church takes steps to grow as and become a life-giving friend in God’s family. Thus, we are going to do our first topical sermon series in a long while and look at 7 different Bible passages and 7 different marks that should be reflected in our lives so that we can be life-giving friends.

Here are the ways you can take advantage of this new series:

1) Attend each Sunday service from January 13 to the end of February. Come prepared to listen, pray, take notes, and make immediate application. Let’s come and adore God with God’s people and sit under His Word.

2) A weekly small group. We have 7 different groups meeting throughout the week to look deeper and more personally at the marks of being a life-giving friend. Contact Pastor Matt to get involved in one of these groups.

3) Daily Bible Reading. Many of you are reading the Bible from cover to cover this year (see this link with options for reading through the Bbile ). Others are going to be reading one to two chapters a day with this reading plan:

4) Find a way to serve in God’s family. One key mark of a life-giving friend is sacrificial service. Who are you serving? How you are sacrificing for God’s family each week?

Article II: The Word of God (sermon series)

“The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever” (Isaiah 40:8). As such, starting this Sunday December 30, we will begin a 2-3 week series on Article II of our church’s Statement of Faith. We will focus in on the accuracy of God’s written revelation and its authority.

The key application for this series is simple: Become a Scripture-Saturated Person in 2013. Read God’s Word, study God’s Word, memorize God’s Word, and most important of all, meditate on God’s Word.

There are two ways we’d like to encourage you can get into God’s Word this year:

1)  Use the Cornerstone Church Daily Reading Guides. Starting on January 13, Pastor Matt will provide a reading guide with 5-6 short Bible readings for each week. If you are new to the Bible or you want to be reading in passages that related to each week’s sermon, this is a great reading plan for you. (now available:

2) Read through the Bible in 2013. There are many different ways to read through the Bible: straight through, chronological, a bit of the New Testament and Old Testament each day, etc. If you haven’t read through the Bible ever or in a long while, this is a highly recommended discipline for every Christian.

Here are a few options you might try:

Straight though the Bible:

Following a historical timeline:

Some from the OT and NT each day: or

Pastor Post: December 13, 2012

The Pastor Post is a bi-monthly update from Pastor Matt with a brief meditation as well as information on upcoming events in the life of Cornerstone Church.

December 13, 2012

Dear Church Family,

Today I’m reminded that the Christmas season is not “the most wonderful time of the year” for everyone. We remember lost and estranged loved ones. Many of us sense a lingering loneliness. We fear gathering with family who feel more like strangers, if not enemies. I have to think Joseph and Mary experienced some of these aches on the first Christmas…

Joseph and Mary didn’t choose to travel to Bethlehem. It had been dictated. Joseph was on his way to a forced “family reunion.” In reality, it was a nation-wide census, requiring various residents to return to their towns of origin to be counted. Lots of Joseph’s family were probably there. But who rolled out the red carpet for Joseph and Mary’s arrival? Who was extra careful the “barefoot and pregnant” Mary had a bed for her aching back and swollen feet? Answer: no one. No family took them in. Every inn was full. Instead, they cozied up in a barn (or possibly a cave–we’re just not sure). 

We don’t know if the contractions started on the way to Bethlehem or after they got there. We don’t know if a midwife helped in the delivery. All that we do know is that Mary and Joseph had been ostracized. Even years later, Jesus received slanderous accusations regarding the suspicious birth of his unwed mother (Jn. 9:34). I can’t fathom the ache Joseph and Mary felt to bring a little one into the world without any family or friends, comfort or care. 

Maybe that’s why God thought it fitting that the Great Shepherd Jesus Christ be first visited by some nearby shepherds. These shepherds were a little company for Joseph and Mary. Folks there to say (foolishly of course, but funny nonetheless), “Joseph, he’s got your eyes.” I bet Joseph gave Mary a knowing glance, and Mary simply paused in wonder that her virgin body could bring forth Immanuel (“God with us”). And there’s our hope too this Christmas season. We may feel alone, afraid, or even ostracized from friends, family, and society. But Immanuel (Jesus Christ) has not left us or abandoned us. He is with us. He loves us. Because of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. So,

God rest you merry gentlemen [and ladies]
Let nothing you dismay
Remember, Christ, our Saviour
Was born on Christmas day
To save us all from Satan’s power
When we were gone astray
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

Carols and Cocoa, Wednesday (12/19) 6:30PM: We will meet at the Village Ridge retirement community, 365 Marion Blvd in Marion at 6:30 PM.  We will carol twice in 2 different areas.  We will, also, be sharing the Christmas gifts we made during the Sunday School hour last Sunday.  Feel free to visit with these dear people about their recollections of Christmas and what these songs mean to them. We will then proceed to the Olson’s, 945 Parkview Dr. in Marion, for some hot chocolate and Christmas treats and fellowship.  We may carol in the neighborhood, too.  If you’d like to share a favorite seasonal treat bring it along.  If you have questions or get lost call Jeff Olson at 573-0669.    

Christmas Eve Service, 6:30PM: Each year our Cornerstone Church family and friends celebrate Christmas with the residents at Cottage Grove Place  (2115 1st Avenue Southeast). There is always room for one more…come and worship the King with us.

Cornerstone Apparel: For those who ordered Cornerstone polo shirts, we will begin distributing shirts this Sunday. The t-shirt order may be in by this Sunday as well, but we have heard no final word from the screen printer. Please bring payment when picking up shirts. If you have questions, please contact Jennifer Taylor:

It’s a deep joy for me and my family to remember the Christ Child with this church family!!
Glory to God for His Glorious Gift of Christ. Amen and Amen.

Pastor Matt

Christmas Eve Service 2012 – 6:30PM

Each year our Cornerstone Church family and friends celebrate Christmas with the residents at Cottage Grove Place. There is always room for one more…come and worship the King with us.

Where: Cottage Grove Place (2115 1st Avenue Southeast, Cedar Rapids, Iowa)

When: 6:30PM, December 24, 2012

What: Scripture readings, Christmas Carols, a Christmas meditation, and special music.


We will have normal worship services on December 23 and 30 at 10AM at the Collins Road Theater (1462 Twixt Town Rd NE  Marion, Iowa 52302).

Pastor Post: November 29, 2012

The Pastor Post is a bi-monthly update from Pastor Matt with a brief meditation as well as information on upcoming events in the life of Cornerstone Church.

November 29, 2012

Dear Church Family,

As we enter into the season of Advent, I pray we allow our own hearts to think and pause. For centuries, the Christian Church has used different seasons of the year to focus our attention on certain aspects of the Gospel story. For the next 4.5 weeks, we are to focus in on the humility of God in his arrival in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago. We are to be mesmerized that God would take on human flesh and then become obedient to death–even death on a cross. The incarnation (“the enfleshing”) of God is a marvelous mystery that came true in the person of Jesus Christ. Let us remember him. Let our remembrance of Him lead us to live like him: as humble servants who seek not to be served but to give our lives away.

I know that those involved in the Flint Sunday School will be having some Advent Readings start this coming Monday. But if you or your family are looking for other ways to meditate on Christ this Christmas season, you can take a look at a short Advent Reading Plan on this website:

Other Upcoming Events:

Advent Readings: For the next 4 Sundays, we will celebrate the first coming of Christ through Scripture Readings, the lighting of an Advent Candle, and prayer during our Sunday morning services.

Advent Sermon Series: We will be in Philippians 2 the next 4 Sundays of Advent. More info on this sermon series can be found here:

Cocoa and Carols, December 19: On Wednesday night December 19 everyone (young and old, musical and like me) are encouraged to go bless various residents in Marion with the singing of Christmas Carols. After the singing, we will share goodies together. Details to come.

Christmas Eve Service, December 24: On the evening of December 24 we will have a Christmas Eve Service at Cottage Grove Place (a senior center on the corner of 1st Ave and Cottage Grove in Cedar Rapids). More details to come.

A few other Christmas events are sure to come so please keep your eyes and ears open during church announcements and future Pastor Posts.

Merry Christmas!!

-Pastor Matt