Category: News

Pastor Post: April 1, 2021

Dear Church Family,

Happy April Fool’s Day. I became a fool for Christ over 25 years ago. Admittedly, I came to Christ primarily regarding the guilt of my sin and the condemnation of my soul. It took time and discipleship for me to further understand the foolishness of the Cross. How could God embrace such weakness? And yet, Jesus became weak because we are weak. Jesus became poor because we are poor. Jesus became a sin offering because we are sinners. Now, any and all who admit they are weak, poor, and sinful can have hope, but the strong, rich, and proud will never realize why Christ’s weakness is their redemption.

This weekend I get to gather with other weak, poor, and sinful people (that’s you if you’re not paying attention :), fellow fools for Christ. We don’t come to remember our goodness, but to treasure the grace that saves and sustains. We’re a rough-looking lot, and yet we’re loved. We’re still unfinished projects, but the Father persists. He is good and His love endures forever.

Would you join me in worship of Him? This Sunday at 9:25AM with your Cornerstone family at Cornerstone Church’s facility. This Friday at 6:30PM with Northbrook Baptist, Trinity Presbyterian, and us at Northbrook (1700 Boyson Rd NE in CR).

I hope it works for you to be with us in person; if not on Friday you can use Northbrook’s YouTube link (https://youtu.be/6fvrf6VXKjo). Or our Facebook Live service this Sunday. 

If you’re interested, I also posted another Pastor Encouragement video: 

The world is different because a man came back from the dead…Hope is changed because a man walked out of his tomb…Do you know Him? Are you a fool for Christ? Go deep with God this Holy Week.

In Christ,

Pastor Matt


Pastor Post 3/25/21

Updating you on the coming week at Cornerstone Church.
First, we will have a normal church service with communion this Sunday, March 28. We’re going to hold off the restart of Sunday School until the first Sunday after Easter (April 11). We’ve seen no new cases of Covid in our church family over the past week. We will still be offering the three environments for the Worship Service: Worship Center Masks optional, Fellowship Hall Masks required, and Facebook Live.
Easter Week has several opportunities:
Linn County Prayer Breakfast is totally virtual this year. You can connect to it from anywhere you have access to the internet.Friday, April 2 from 7:30 am to 8:30 am on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/GoodFridayPrayerBreakfast/)
We will be joining Northbrook Baptist and Trinity Presbyterian for our Good Friday Service on Friday, April 2, 6:30 pm at Northbrook Baptist Church, 1700 Boyson RD NE. We will be honoring our host’s Covid policies of masks encouraged, but not required. Their worship space is quite large making it easier to social distance.
We are putting together a choir to share during our Easter Sunday service. If you would like to be a part of it, our first rehearsal is this Sunday, March 28, at 4:00 pm at Cornerstone; the second rehearsal is Wednesday, March 31, at 6:15 pm. Details and music will be provided at rehearsals.
Easter Sunday is always a special celebration. Worship Service is at 9:25 am in all three environments. No Sunday School will be held that Sunday. Attached is a video encouragement from Pastor Matt:  https://youtu.be/W9RW2UQaCIY  


Pastor Post: 3/17/21

Dear Church Family,

Let me update you on our plans for gathering this Sunday, as well as, some recent pastoral meanderings.

1) Sunday’s gathering 3/21: First off, we’re going to have another cautious week at Cornerstone. There will be no Sunday School, Children’s Church, Nursery, or the taking of communion (this will allow masks to be worn throughout the service). Lord willing, this gives us greater freedom to worship March 28 and Resurrection Sunday. (Note: Though the gathering was very small on 3/14, one person present on Sunday later tested positive for Covid-19 [they were masked and socially distant].) 

2) And now some meanderings…  The more I speak to the body, the more I reflect on my own soul, the more I converse with other pastors, the more tempted I am to think this past year was a failure. How could a virus and one election cycle bring so much harm to people’s souls, individual churches, and one geopolitical nation? I like to think I’m optimistic and hopeful, so when this pandemic started in March 2020, I thought, “God will do great things.” I still believe God will bring about good, but I personally see little fruit (so far). The one word of consolation I have for myself and you today is “Jesus is still sufficient.”

All of the seeming discouragements of March 2020 to present invite pause. Jesus taught us that building on sand leads to destruction. Storms come and storms go, but that which is built on Christ and His Word will not fail. I believe God is revealing my own sandy hopes, vain hopes of deliverance. So what might be your and my response? We repent of false hopes. We grieve over broken dreams. We return to our first love. We wait on the LORD. We trust in our merciful Savior. As the song declarers: Should nothing of our efforts stand, No legacy survive, Unless the Lord does raise the house, In vain its builders strive, To you who boast tomorrow’s gain, Tell me what is your life, A mist that vanishes at dawn, All glory be to Christ!

One final word of hope today. Read Pastor Tim Keller’s recent article on facing death. If you didn’t know, Tim Keller was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He faces his death and invites us to do so as well in this article: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/03/tim-keller-growing-my-faith-face-death/618219/

Lord willing, my quarantine ends Friday, and I join you in worship this Sunday. Thankfully those recently hit by Covid at Cornerstone all seem to be on the mend. Thank you for your prayers.

A recovering sinner with a sufficient Savior,
-Matt Proctor


Community & Covid

Church family,

1) A Word on Biblical Community & Sunday School: 

Two of the first verses I ever memorized were from Hebrews 10, verses 24-25: “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another– and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

I believed those verses 20 years ago, but after a 12 month dance with Covid-19, I feel the truth of these verses personally. I’ve seen just how hard it has been on individuals to be away from their church family. I’ve seen how disorienting it is to lose regular encouragement from God’s Word and God’s people. 

Losing Biblical community is like severing body parts; the body and each part can’t live long in isolation. Many of you have worked through the challenges of the past year; you’ve been creative in finding ways to press on together. Still, it has been a time of sorrow and grief.

Thankfully, we’ve been able to regather with some ministries in 2021. One in particular that relaunches Sunday March 7 is our 11AM Sunday School hour. What a gift to meditate on God’s Word and Christian theology with brothers and sisters in Christ. It’s like reoxygenated blood pulsing throughout the Body.

2) An Update on Cornerstone Church & Covid Protocols:

First off, I’m thankful to see plummeting Covid-19 cases and positivity in our county, state, country. They say anything under a 5% 14-day positivity is a watershed mark, and we’re at 4.3% statewide and 3.7% in LInn County. (For comparison, I read a Sept. 2020 NBC news report that the seasonal flu is normally around 19%) So too, I know a number of you have had a least one vaccination shot, and others have even had their second. 

How will Cornerstone respond to these positive changes? First, let’s remember forbearance is a virtue and fruit of the Spirit, so let’s be open to each other’s convictions on the losses/benefits of masks. Second, we will continue to provide a mask-required live-streamed worship space in the overflow area in our lobby on Sundays at 9:25AM. The general stance on the rest of the building, Sundays and throughout the week, will be that masks are optional. Most of the sanctuary will continue to have socially-distant places to sit. We also will wait a bit longer before we provide coffee or have any family meals. Lord willing, if these trends continue, we can open up more down the road…

All in all, it looks likely that Easter 2021 will not be Easter 2020; and yet the good news stays the same, Christ has risen from the dead!

I love this church family,

Pastor Matt


Pastor Post: 1/28/21

Dear Church family,

On Monday, I went on a ride along with a police officer who expressed how challenging policing has become in recent years. On Tuesday I sat in a hospital room with a mid-30 year old man in constant pain (the I.V. pain killer hardly helped). On Wednesday, I heard a retired pastor express regret on how he handled a teenager struggling in sin 30 years ago. Every day I hear about the anxiety and tension that covid, politics, and family dynamics create.

The more I listen, the more I sense that people are buried in burdens. Fear seems rising. Hope fades. A sense of paralysis grows.

I believe the devil hopes to exploit the pressures we face. He wants us to divide. He wants us to create an “us versus them” mentality so we can hate “the other.” He wants us to become self-protective. He wants us to be hostile toward those “not like us.”

Yet, into a world of worry, Jesus says, “Be not anxious about anything; your heavenly Father knows…your heavenly Father provides.” Jesus says, “love your enemy, pray for those who persecute you, go the extra mile, turn the other cheek, love as your Heavenly Father loves.” How did Jesus combat hostility in the 1st century? He took whips, ridicule, and death. He cried out, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

I believe the church is poised for great things in the year to come. We have a compelling gospel, a beautiful community, and a tangible alternative to the vitriol that rules the day. I’m excited to be on this journey with you. It starts with us drinking in God’s forgiveness together; it continues as we pour our grace and forgiveness to the world around us.

What’s ahead…

#1: I’m preaching about Intimacy, Sexuality, and Marriage January 31-February 28. My main text is Song of Songs (check out this video for a fantastic overview of the book, https://youtu.be/4KC7xE4fgOw). Some parents wonder if this is kid-appropriate. I’m confident that my message will be PG (I’ll not be more explicit than the biblical text itself). Hopefully, if I say something that requires some explanation, it opens a great door for you and your kids to have a great conversation.

#2: Nursery and Children’s Church during the worship service plan to be open every other week in February. (Lord willing, Sunday School starts in March.)

#3: Small groups are available and beginning to meet again, some in person, others via Zoom. Let me know if you want to join a group.

Onward and upward,

Pastor Matt
-Pastor Matt