Dear Church Family,
Today is garbage day at my place. So too, a different truck drives by to pick up our yard waste. I counted 4 cans and 7 bags of yard waste. My wife has spent a few hours most days pulling weeds. My kids have pitched in; I’ve pulled a weed or two. Still you might drive by and say, “It’s a jungle out there.”
Sometimes life is like my yard. We identify weedy areas and pull out the junk, but there’s still so many weeds. Or we remove a nasty patch in our soul, only to have a different ugly thing take root and sprout.
Reading and studying the Proverbs has had a humbling effect on me this summer. The Proverb paints what a life of wisdom can really look like. God has a masterpiece in mind for us. Nonetheless, the lusts of the flesh, the lies of the enemy, and the allure of the world sow seeds of destruction. You may be tempted to give up. You might think it’s not worth working on your life if other weeds remain.
Let me offer 2 reasons to keep engaging with God on the weeds in your life:
Reason #1: God sent His Son to save us from our sin and sins. Jesus died to remove the debt of sin we owed to God. Jesus’ blood cleanses us from all sin. In addition, He seeks to purify us from all sins. Every little spiritual victory is joy for us and honoring to God. The Spirit of the Son never gives up, working to make us good and to heal us from evil.
Reason #2: Our good works lead others to turn and glorify God. Yes, we will not ever be perfect. You know that; God knows that; your neighbor knows that. But your neighbor notices those little transformations. She observes her girlfriend no longer gossipping. He notices that his buddy no longer speaks ill of his wife. They remember when you send encouraging text messages. They treasure your birthday notes and gifts.
Carrie and I worked together last night to get the final bags to the curb for pick up. Despite feeling pretty defeated that our yard is still a sanctuary for weeds, our neighbor spied us and said, “Wow, you’ve done a lot of work this week.”
Other Church Items:
A new video encouragement was uploaded today: https://youtu.be/73y5Ep38cAM
August 8th Membership Class (12-3:30/4PM) – Please let Pastor Gary know if you will join this class. Lunch is provided. This is the first step toward membership at Cornerstone Church.
ReviveCR (August 14-22) – Will you serve your city? Our regional coalition of churches, Serve the City, in partnership with Eight Days of Hope have teamed up to serve city parks, and families still in need from the Derecho. Here are a few details to put on your family calendar (this is for people of ALL ages)…
Saturday Aug 14: ALL DAY – Go serve the city…We’ll start at St. Mark’s Lutheran at 7AM and for the die-hards, you can go all day, and eat supper together at 6PM. YOU MUST SIGN UP HERE: https://eightdaysofhope.com/registration?ev=42
August 15-21 – You can go back any and all days to continue to serve.
August 22 @7PM – City-wide ReviveCR Worship at the NewBo Market Amphitheatre. Food trucks 5-7PM, more info @ https://www.revivecr.info/
Love ya lots,
Dear Church Family,
I crossed my 11 year mark this past Monday, June 21. You’ve been gracious and forgiving, encouraging and kind, generous and hard working. Thank you for the privilege of serving beside you. Our future together is as bright as the promises of God.
By way of reminders:
#1: Sunday Morning Prayer: There is an open invite every Sunday from 8:40-9:10AM to PRAY in Room 103. The head of every church is Christ; the backbone is prayer. Would you join us each Sunday for 30 minutes of prayer? You can cut out early if you have a Sunday morning service obligation; you can come late if 8:40AM isn’t feasible.
#2: Elder Retreat (June 30-July 1): Please also be in prayer (and potentially fasting) for the elders when they meet this coming Wednesday-Thursday for a 2 day retreat for planning, seeking the LORD, and assessing our body.
#3: Focus Group Summary Doc: I’ve attached a 2 page summary of the Covid-19 Focus Groups. Thanks for the feedback. Please read thru this to get a taste of the journey shared by your brothers and sisters.
Do you know what makes a joke a “dad joke?” When the punchline is apparent. My kids often roll their eyes at my attempts at humor, but can you imagine what it was like to be a child in King Solomon’s home? I wonder if they ever had conversations like this:
Son: Hey dad, got any tips on my first date?
Solomon: “Yes son, beware the adulterous woman, her lips drip honey” (Proverbs 5:3).
Son: But dad, yesterday you said, “Eat honey, my son, for it is good” (Proverbs 24:13a).
Solomon: That’s not what I meant. But speaking of honey, “It is not good to eat too much honey, nor is it honorable to search out matters that are too deep.” (Proverbs 25:27)
Son: So Dad, are you saying I’m not supposed to try and figure out what you’re saying? What about what you said last week, “One who is full loathes honey from the comb, but to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet.” (Proverbs 27:7)
Solomon: Son, you’re testing my patience.
(Solomon’s wife walks in)
Solomon: Good morning, Honey.
This is just a teaser for our upcoming sermon series in the Proverbs (starting June 13). I encourage you this summer to read a chapter of Proverbs based on the day of the month (it’s June 3rd, so open your Bible right now and read Proverbs chapter 3).
Other Church News:
Another Communion Change: Starting this Sunday, we’ll line up in the rear of the sanctuary to collect the elements during the Lord’s Supper. We’ll have two stations in the back where you will line up to pick up two stacked cups (bread on bottom, juice on top). We’ll then return to our seat and wait for one another before taking the bread and juice together. The person leading communion will provide similar directions this Sunday. We’re shooting for July to return to how we took communion pre-pandemic…thank you for your patience!!
Soles for Souls: There’s still time to buy a pair of shoes for a Marion Independent School District student or donate money toward this opportunity. (It is requested that the value of the tennis shoes (prior to sale prices) be at least $25 for kids and at least $35 for adult sizes. Requested shoe sizes are Girls 9K-5Y, Boys 10K-6Y, Womens 6-10.5, and Mens 7-10)
A pastor encouragement video for 6/3/2021: https://youtu.be/8JcZaiuZmbM
A Summer Opportunity for Connection: Remember that after every Sunday gathering, you can join your church family at a local park for a picnic. All of June we will head to Willow Park (990 2nd Street in Marion) after Sunday School at ~12:30PM. Pack a lunch, bring a lawn chair, come to share.
God loves you with an everlasting love.
And I love you too,
Dear Church Family,
2 Corinthians 13:12 commends Christians to greet one another with a holy kiss. This verse speaks to the intimacy to which God desires the church to offer one another. The church symbolizes the welcome of God when we welcome one another in love. In the culture the Bible was written, this is how you greeted a close friend and family member. In today’s culture, we offer a handshake or lean in for a hug. After months of isolation and social distancing, I’d like us to move toward obeying 2 Corinthians 13:12 (with grace). Some of us are still going to offer a fist bump or a step back wave; still, let’s greet one another with love.
And here’s a new practice that can help us. When you come in this Sunday, you’ll see pre-printed nametags for our regular attenders and members. Would you please grab a nametag? If I misspelled your name or you accidentally didn’t get a pre-printed nametag, please create your own and let a welcome team member know so we can get you a nametag the following week. We’ve all forgotten names. We’re all seeing new faces. Let’s work together to know and receive one another this week!
5 quick items for prayer and participation:
#1: Please join a focus group to share your reflections on this past year. “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed” (Proverbs 15:22). https://docs.google.com/document/d/1hMws5cnOFH3PS0kNZmTzu_RdYND36nfrHoq26bw-zZM/edit
#2: Join us for the congregational meeting at the church building (11AM) and meal at Thomas Park (12PM) this Sunday.
#3: Enjoy my video encouragement for this week: https://youtu.be/WWdll2fnBL8
#4: Starting June 6 we’ll have pre-service prayer from 8:40-9:10 in room 103; open to all! Come for 5 minutes or stay for 30.
#5: Pray for our summer sermon series in the Book of Proverbs. When the great Charles Spurgeon was asked the secret to his tremendous success as a preacher and his church had in the city, without any hesitation replied, “My people pray for me.”
Lord have mercy,
Subscribe to Podcast
- October 17, 2021: Malachi 3:6-12 “How Have We Robbed God?”
- October 10, 2021: Malachi 2:17-3:5 “Where Is The God Of Justice?”
- October 3, 2021: Mal. 2:10-16 “Why Profane the Covenant of Marriage?”
- September 26, 2021: Malachi 2:1-9 “How Have We Shown Contempt for God’s Name?” (Part 2)
- September 19, 2021: Deut 8 “Never Forget”
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