Category: News

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


Pastor Post: May 4, 2022

Dear Church,

I loved our worship, meal, and meeting this past Sunday. What a rich reminder of God’s many mercies on us. Also, for a brief word of encouragement you can check out this recent pastor encouragement video: https://youtu.be/aMd10py0_CQ


Please support these upcoming opportunities with your presence and prayers:

1) Giving to Bridgehaven Pregnancy Support Center. More info on our website on what we’re doing right now: https://cornerstone-marion.org/2022/05/04/mother-baby-drive-for-bridgehaven-pregnancy-center/
2) Be on the look out on ways you can donate shoes and backpacks for the next school year. (details to come)
3) Invite new people to our Next Steps Class on 5/22 @11AM.
4) Encourage not-yet members to join the membership class on June 12th (12-3:30PM).

I look forward to worshipping with you this Sunday. We have a neat service with great music, a Mother’s Day testimony, a time to pray over our whole church (for Moms too :), and a concluding message from the Book of Hebrews! (Pray God anoints our time together.)

Thanks for letting me serve,

-Pastor Matt


Mother/Baby Drive for Bridgehaven Pregnancy Center

Cornerstone is sponsoring a Mother/Baby Drive for Bridgehaven Pregnancy Center from May 1 to 22nd. Since 1983, Bridgehaven Pregnancy Support Center has offered compassionhope, and help in the circumstances before, during, and after pregnancy in the Cedar Rapids area. We serve both women and men and our services are always free and confidential.

Some of our services include:

Before

  • Relational & sexual health education
  • Mentoring

During

  • Options discussions
  • Pregnancy testing
  • Confirmation ultrasound
  • Prenatal classes
  • Abortion Pill Reversal
  • Pregnancy/Infant loss support

After

  • Life-skills classes
  • Mentoring
  • Earned material assistance (food, clothing, diapers, etc.)
  • Abortion recovery support

We also operate Treasures Quality Resale Shoppe, a resale store benefiting Bridgehaven that sells clothing for the whole family, kitchen, home décor, toys, collectibles, and more. (From their website) You can find more information at bridgehavencr.org. We will have a representative speak during the May 15th service. The list below is of current needs:

Dr. Brown baby bottles

Baby clothes, outfits, sleepers newborn-6 months, boys and girls

Bibs and burp cloths

Hand held toys

Car seat toys

Nursing and car seat covers

Pacifiers

Bottle scrubbers

Crib sheets

Hair bows

Hats

Monetary donations are welcomed as well

Please place either in the basket, at the table or underneath in the fellowship area. any questions, please direct them to Anne Cunningham at 319-360-4194 or slypigamrc@gmail.com.


An Opportunity for Courtesy (4/12/22)

Cornerstone Church,
I’m excited to worship with you this Holy Week. We have a few different opportunities to gather (see them below), but first, can I ask a favor of you?
Would you please park far and sit close this Friday night (Good Friday Service @6PM) and Sunday morning (8:30AM breakfast/9:25AM service)?
First, would you park far from the main doors? We can park in the adjacent parking lot to our east (Rim Technologies). We can also park on the street. Let’s allow guests, baby mommas, and older saints the closer parking spots. If we have a normal Easter bump, we’ll have a difficult time fitting everyone in our parking lot.
Second, would you sit close? Sit close to the far wall when you enter the sanctuary/ Rather than sit in that first section of chairs, would you leave them for the late arrivers? Also, please sit closer to the front and closer to each other; please move into the center of the row if you are the first to arrive rather than guard the outside seats. By the way, I’ll try not to spit on you if you sit in the front row 🙂
Thanks for being such a warm and welcoming bunch! Pray also for the hearts of those God is leading to join us. Remember, to invite a non-churched person; this may be the day of their salvation.
I love being your pastor!
(Don’t forget our last Wednesday 12PM service tomorrow.)
-Matt