Category: Uncategorized

Pastor Post: 11/16/2022

Friends,

This Sunday we start an Advent Christmas Series, entitled, "Concerning the Son," in Romans chapter 1. Pray for me as I prepare to herald the gospel; pray for your own heart and the lives of this body that God's Word would accomplish its intended work.

5 Quick Things to Know:

#1: Building Decorations: We would love your help on Saturday November 26 from 9-11AM to decorate the church building. We only have about 1/3 of the slots filled so far. Sign up here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/30e0e45a9a822a6f49-advent

#2: Advent Special Music: If you desire to sing an/or play something special during the Advent season, please contact Carrie ASAP: mattandcarrieproctor@yahoo.com 

#3: December '22 Sunday School: Please join an all-church, intergenerational Sunday School hour December 4, 11, & 18 @11AM.

#4: Please join us in worship on Christmas Eve @3:30PM and Christmas Day @9:25AM. These will be two different services (only on Sunday will we take the Lord's Supper).

#5: Free Books: Desiring God Ministries has recently provided us with a number of books. In our foyer, please pick up an Advent Devotional by John Piper. We also have a few leftover copies of the book we distributed at the members' meeting on Sunday by John Piper, What's the Difference: Manhood and Womanhood Defined According to the Bible.

By the way, thanks for the wonderful response to opening closer parking spots and better seating in the sanctuary. I think that’s beautiful hospitality at work. Glory to God!

​Let me know if there’s any way I can pray for you or serve you.

For the Gospel,

Pastor Matt​


Pastor Post: October 13, 2022

Dearly beloved in Christ,

Christ’s beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12) depict the lifestyle of one who is a part of the kingdom of heaven. Such ones have no higher allegiance than Christ, the LORD. They sit at his feet and accept his instruction. Such ones are salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16). 

There’s so much talk today about “being an influencer” or “shaping culture.” Christians try to make a splash on Facebook or change the world through politics. Jesus has given his followers a clearer path: meekness, persecution for righteousness sake, mourning, hungering and thirsting for righteousness, and later we’re exhorted to private prayer, fasting, and giving alms. Paul in 1 Thessalonians encourages Christians to ambitiously pursue a quiet life of godliness. Heaven will reveal that those who made the “biggest splash” quietly dispensed cold water in Jesus’ name. Salvation comes through the simple sharing, hearing, and believing of the Gospel. For the gospel is the power of God to save all who believe. The world is turned upside down politically by men like Telemachus who gives his life to see the brutality of the Colosseum games come to an end. The call of Jesus’ beatitudes have pierced me this fall. I fall so short. This sort of righteousness is only possible through Christ’s saving and sanctifying grace. So too, this sort of life is only worked out in authentic community in a local church. We need Christ; we need each other. Let us press into the LORD together.

Announcements:

#1: Baptism class October 23rd, 11AM: have you professed your Christian faith through receiving baptism from Christ’s church? Do you have a child who has expressed faith in Christ and desires to be baptized? Please let us know if you would like to attend a baptism class on October 23rd during the 11AM Sunday School hour–office@cornerstone-marion.org

#2: Church family meal and meeting, November 13. Please join us for a church family meal at 11AM on November 13th, and then a church family meeting will follow around 11:45am.

#3: Our Anamosa Church Plant team has a potential church planter candidate that plans to come visit in the next 30 days. Pray for clarity and discernment for this planter and the Cornerstone and Anamosa leaders. There will be discussion at the November 13th congregational meeting, but the goal is to cover 50% (or more) of the church planter’s salary in 2023. Lord willing, the planter can raise the other funds, and we also can pursue a grant from our district and national offices. What a joy to invest in this new work of God. Keep praying.

In fact, could you pause right now and give at least 60 seconds for praying for your church family, your pastors, and the Anamosa church plant?

It’s a privilege to serve the LORD with you,

Matt


Multiplication Conference Messages (9/17/22)

If you were unable to listen to the Multiplication Conference messages or there was a message that particularly touched your heart, feel free to download and listen these 4 quality presentations:

#1: Pastor Mike Shields on “The Essence of Humility” (Luke 17:1-10)

#2: Pastor Steve Brant on “Advance (through Church Multiplication)” (Philippians 1:12-3)

#3: Pastor Levi Anderson on “Being Sent for Jesus” (Luke 5)

#4: Pastor Mike Shields preaching “On Mission Together” (Acts 18-20)


Pastor Post: 9/8/22

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/multiplication-conference-tickets-400368812897

Cornerstone Family,

In Colossians 1:28, the Apostle Paul gives a sort of personal mission statement. He writes, “[Jesus Christ] is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.” Paul more than anyone wanted people to be saved from God’s wrath, but he was not content with saving faith or simple conversions. Paul’s passion was the holiness of the people of God. So, ask yourself: “Am I more spiritually mature this year than I was last year? Is my central aim personal holiness to the glory of God? Does obedience inwardly and outwardly convey my deepest longing?” I’m with you in this fight of faith.

BIG ITEMS TO NOTE:

#1: Final sign up for the Saturday September 17th Multiplication Conference is this Sunday 9/11. You can bring your $10 registration fee this Sunday or jump online right now and sign up here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/multiplication-conference-tickets-400368812897 – The sessions will encourage us. The music unto the LORD will bless His Name. The Panera Bread lunch and time around tables will be sweet.

#2: Would you consider inviting or attending the October 2 Next Steps Class or Membership Class? The 11-11:45AM Next Steps Class is for those who have been visiting Cornerstone in recent months and want to take their next step with this church. The 12:15-3:30PM Membership Class involves a meal, Biblical instruction related to Church Membership, and more discussion about the passions and priorities of Cornerstone.  We ask people to be a part of our church 5-6 months before they pursue membership.

Thankful for your partnership in the gospel,

– Pastor Matt


Fall Ministry Launch


Sabbatical Reflection #3

Church Family,

Recall what I said yesterday: We’re of the dust; let us remain forever humble. We have the breath of God in us; oh, such an exalted position. 

I’m including my 3rd installment of sabbatical reflections.

Also, please sign up for the September 17 Multiplication Conference: https://bit.ly/3AvDHeg

And, if you’d lift up our elder team especially on Wednesday, we’d be ever grateful. We have an all day retreat to seek the Lord for our next steps.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Pastor Matt


Pastor Post: 8/18/22

Dear Church,

You’ve been hearing a lot from me lately, so let me be brief.

#1: I GREATLY desire everyone at Cornerstone to commit to attend our September 17th Multiplication Conference. It’s a short day, 9AM-3:30PM. It’s a special opportunity for our church to experience together. You can sign up today online at this site: https://bit.ly/3AvDHeg Or you can bring $10 cash or check and sign up this Sunday (and subsequent Sundays). Also, if you know any other Christian in town that could use encouragement in this area, please invite them.

#2: Just a heads up…There is a churchwide meal 1.5 weeks from now on August 28th at 11AM. We’re catering most of it from Pizza Ranch (fried chicken and co.). But would y’all bring a some fruit and/ dessert to share? At the end of the service, we’ll announce all the Sunday School launching this fall. And then we’ll eat around tables together. It should be sweet.

Love you much,

Pastor Matt


Cornerstone Multiplication Conference


Sabbatical Reflection #2

Dear Church Family,

It was a sweet reunion yesterday; I loved hearing your voices praise our Almighty Creator and King.

(Feel free to read through the reflection from my second month of sabbatical…)

Also, here’s a quick meditation and word of encouragement. As many of us are preparing for the relaunch of fall schooling, ministries, and activities, I can’t express enough how important it is to rest in the Lord. The world in which we live is loud, fast, and full. And when we supposedly “take a break,” we exercise or play a game. God designed human beings, not human doings; we were not made for constant activity. So, as your fall schedule fills up, please consider two things:

#1: Put in 4 breaks in your day to call yourself and your family to rest. 

   The morning break: Begin your day pausing in silence before the LORD in Word and prayer. Turn off your phone or leave it in a room away. I know some of you have the Bible on your phone so at least put your phone on airplane mode so you can be free of outside contact. Start with 5 minutes and see if you can grow it to 15 or 50 minutes.

   The mid-day break: Take 3-7 minutes to pause, pray, confess sin, and seek God’s strength for the rest of the day. 

   The early evening break: Set aside an hour each evening where everyone in your household disconnects from phone and media. Talk to each other; eat together; sit in silence; read a book; meditate on the Word. 

   The bedtime break: Before you close your eyes, take some final minutes to pray through the past 24 hours and for the next 24 hours. For what can you be thankful? Where did you see God? What matters need to be confessed? How do you want God to join you in the day ahead? Google St. Ignatius’ “Prayer of Examen” to see a 500 year old practice for the close of day.

#2: Prioritize Sabbath

   Under the Old Covenant, breaking the Sabbath would bring pain of death. In Christ, the Sabbath command is fulfilled. Christ is our rest. Christians do not have to Sabbath in order to be saved; this is probably one of the reasons early Christians focused their worship on the Lord’s Resurrection Day (i.e. Sunday). Still even in the paradise of Eden, God set aside a holy day for Sabbath. That should tell our still, not-fully-sanctified-selves that Sabbath is not optional for health and holiness. God’s commands are not burdensome. Sabbath was made for man. So, set apart 24 hours each week for remembering your Creator and worshipping your Redeemer. Practically for most people that might be from 5PM Saturday to 5PM Sunday or from dawn on Sunday to dawn on Monday. Challenge your family to postpone work, skip practices and games, consider how you can help those most in need (see Isa. 58), and be still before the Lord. 

Stumbling with you in faith,

Pastor Matt


Pastor Matt is Back from His Sabbatical

Dear Church Family,

Matt and Carrie in Edinburg, Scotland (Edinburg Castle in background).

With great joy and anticipation, I got up this morning. With hope, I return to serve.

Still, I wish I was farther along in my spiritual journey, wish I had a purer heart, and o how I long to be free of the weight of lingering sin. That I’ve made any progress in Christ is all to His glory and the sovereign grace of God to break through my willfulness. It is in these realizations that I’m humbled you called me 12 years ago to serve as a pastor here, and that you’ve been ever gracious and supportive up to this very moment. Thank you again for this summer sabbatical. Thank you for your labors of love and prayers of faith.

I’m excited to follow our Great Shepherd together in the year ahead!

Speaking of the year ahead…

#1: Fall Conference: Please block out Saturday September 17th for our Multiplication Conference (9-3:30PM). We’ll praise the LORD, be exhorted unto good works, and treasure the gospel together.

#2: Sabbatical Reflections: My intention is to share bits and pieces of my sabbatical in sermons and in three short summaries reflecting on each month away. Click this to read my first reflection:

#3: Upcoming Sermons: My preaching plan for the next several months is to spend 3 weeks in the early chapters of Genesis, and then I want to spend the Fall looking at Jesus’ Beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount. May we treasure the King, seek His kingdom, and reflect His character.

I’d love to hear from you, reconnect, and make time for anyone who needs a pastoral ear. I’m hanging around the church office a lot this week, so feel free to call 319.447.1688. If you want to meet, I have open office hours available on Wednesdays. I’m also willing to meet for early coffees or evening chats.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Humbled to serve,

Pastor Matt