Each Sunday you will see on the front of your bulletin, or hear audibly from our one of our officers, the vision or mission statement which is: A community of believers ... devoted to the Apostles teaching, to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Cornerstone Presbyterian Church is rooted in this vision that is based on Acts 2:42. You may be wondering, "What does this vision even mean?"
When we say that we are devoted to the Apostles’ teaching, we affirm the sufficiency of Scripture, and we view the Bible as the infallible and inspired word of God. As a Reformed body of believers, we also recognize the Westminster Confession of Faith as a treatise rooted in Scripture and rich in Biblical truth. Regarding theology and specific issues surrounding the justification of unbelievers and the sanctification of believers, we look to these timeless texts as our guide and source of truth.
When we say that we are devoted to the fellowship, we mean that the body of Christ, the church, is bound together and knit together with love. The unity of believers transcends individual distinctions and is unique in the world. As Christ transforms us, our relationships deepen and our desire to serve grows. In this way, we humbly strive to model Christ’s love to the world, serving and loving each other as He has loved us.
When we say that we are devoted to the breaking of bread, this phrase refers to the unifying activity of believers sharing meals together. It also reminds us of the Lord’s Supper, a church sacrament instituted for the spiritual nurturing of believers and “for the perpetual remembrance of the sacrifice of [Jesus] Himself in His death.”
When we say that we are devoted to Prayer, it is through prayer that a church displays its utter dependence on the Father. Prayer also is the primary Scriptural means of access to our source of strength: the Holy Spirit. Prayer undergirds and makes possible all that the church does. Finally, prayer equips the individual believer with power to change. Our battles with sin, our sanctification and journey to holiness, our continuing love for God and our fellow man - these are all dependent on our active, healthy lives of prayer. We thus display and maintain our relationship with Him who loved us and gave Himself for us.
We also have values by which we express our vision. Our biblical core values provide the framework for who we are and what we do as a local church. Creativity in ministry is always a premium in Gospel ministry but creativity should never go beyond the teaching of Scripture. God has spoken in His Word very clearly about what the values of His church are to be (see Acts 2).
There are four core values that will shape the ministry of Cornerstone: Worship, Discipleship, Care, and Mission & Outreach.
Value #1: Worship. Worship means the development of hearts that look to God in reverence and praise. God’s glory demands hearts and minds that focus on His glorious attributes and His mighty works. A biblical theology of worship emphasizes both the Transcendence (that God is holy, and above and beyond his creation) and the Immanence of God (the transcendent God is with us through Jesus Christ, Immanuel). God is both ultimately great and gracious. This leads us to reverence before God and joyful praise to God. Cornerstone worship is guided by the Means of Grace: 1) The Preaching and Teaching of the Word of God, 2) The Practice and Administration of the Sacraments, and the 3) The Exercise of Church Discipline. At Cornerstone Presbyterian Church, we practice Reformed Worship. What is Reformed Worship? Reformed Worship is worship that is centered around the Triune God and His Holy Word. That’s why at Cornerstone we READ the Bible, SING the Bible, PRAY the Bible, and PREACH the Bible.
Value #2: Discipleship. Discipleship, or Teaching, means to communicate the truths of the Bible in such a way that people actually learn and apply them. Teaching is not just informative. Because it is empowered by the Holy Spirit and grounded in the Word, it is also transformative. God’s people should be lifetime learners with a goal not only to be “hearers” of the Word, but “doers” of it as well. Teaching occurs in many different forms: 1) Expository Preaching (verse-by-verse), 2) Sunday School - systematically studying the truths of Scripture, 3) Small Groups - fellowship around the Word, and 4) Counseling - one-on-one meetings. Discipleship is at the heart of all the ministries of Cornerstone. At every turn and in every ministry, it is our hope that God’s people (children and adults alike) will be taught God’s Word.
Value #3: Care. To care for one another is to personally attend to the care and development of people in Christ. It is ministering to the “whole person” – to people’s spiritual, emotional, and physical needs in the context of personal relationships. We seek to purse this value organizationally in a number of ways, including: 1) Elders - as they shepherd the flock, 2) Deacons - as they relieve suffering and lead ministries of mercy to help those in need - first to the congregation and then to the community, 3) Staff - as they teach, counsel and facilitate congregational ministry, 4) Sunday School and Small Groups - as people connect with one another in larger groups and grow closer in smaller groups, 5) Church-wide Fellowships - as the entire church gathers from time to time for special events and fellowship opportunities, 6) Family Ministry - through ministry to men, women, youth and children, 7) Prayer - bathing all ministry in Spirit-filled prayer. The Christian faith is relational and communal. We are to grow together, as a body in Christ, as we care for one another.
Value #4: Missions. Mission means to take our place as partners in ministry together, seeking to be faithful to do our part in fulfilling Christ’s Great Commission to strengthen His church and extend His Kingdom through the proclamation of the Gospel at home and abroad. We seek to pursue this value organizationally in a number of ways, including: 1) Evangelism - offering training and encouraging folks to engage their neighbors, friends, and co-workers with the Good News. This can take place in many ways. Doxological evangelism can take place when people gather to worship and witness the glory of God in worship and may be led to a relationship with Jesus Christ. 2) Mercy Ministry - partnering with local ministries that help us to carry out our mission and vision in the community. 3) Church Planting - sponsoring and planting churches in the Huntsville area. Partnering with the Alabama Church Planting Network. Partnering with church planting in other strategic areas of the U.S. 4) World Missions - serving as a base and outreach to the world through missions. Be a missions-supporting church as well as a missions-sending church through short-term mission trips and identifying congregational members with missionary gifts.
Values...this week you will see them appear on our bulletin.
I do hope that by reading this you will get more of a feel for the vision and values that God has given to us as a local body of Christ. Please speak with me or the elders if you ever have any questions about this. Please also pray about where God would have you serve at Cornerstone to help reflect this vision and these values.
Your friend and pastor,
Worship Notes: August 23, 2015
This week Chris Granberry with Sacred Road Ministries and Hope Fellowship PCA on the Yakama Indian Reservation will be with us. Check them out here: www.sacredroadministires.com.
In preparation for the sermon: “If Hosea’s story cannot be real (because God could not ask a man to marry an unfaithful woman), then neither is the story of salvation real, because that is precisely what Christ has done for us.” ~ James Montgomery Boice
A hymn for the week: In Christ Alone
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There is so much to learn and to pray about regarding protecting the unborn and developing a rigorous pro-life theology. Please click here for news - I'm not endorsing this site as I'm not very familiar with it but it does have good information.
I thought I would share with you what I'm reading or have read:
The Speech Writer by Barton Swaim. Very entertaining and insightful look into politics. I was interested because author was RTS grad.
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. This story is amazing. I have not seen the movie yet but the book is better than an action movie.
The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes. This is a very old, Puritan work. It is a pastoral, discipleship oriented book based on Isaiah 42:3. Martin Lloyd-Jones referenced this book in one of his books so I picked it up.
The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I have referenced this classic in several sermons this summer. It is probably a top 10 Christian discipleship book of all time.