Saturday, August 30, 2008

Change, Growth & Christianity

The following is a blog from one of the Pastors at NewSpring Church in South Carolina. (In 10 years, their church has grown from zero to over 9,000 in attendance.) I liked his blog so much I wanted to share it here on my blog and to the leadership Team at Cornerstone. It speaks to where we are right now as a church and the direction we need to head in.

If you come to Cornerstone for services tomorrow, you will notice changes -- literal, physical changes. We realize that we cannot sit still or idly remain on the sideline, but must continue to grow, to change, to push forward -- to reach a new generation for Jesus.

Are You Comfortable in Being Uncomfortable?
By Tony Morgan

Last Sunday at our Greenville campus, we had an older couple, probably in their sixties, accept Christ. That's worth celebrating. I love to watch life change happen.

Here's what's amazing about stories like that. Our services in Greenville aren't designed for people in their sixties. Our services are designed for a much younger audience. It's an audience that loves loud music. They are comfortable with video teaching, because video is already a huge part of their lives. They love the coffeehouse atmosphere.

Here's what we've learned. If we design our service experiences for a younger audience, we're more likely to reach that younger person and we'll also reach older folks. The reverse is not true. If we designed our service experience for an older audience, the younger crowd would not show up.

Now, here's the reality. Most churches in America are designed for an older audience. In fact, the more-seasoned folks in those churches are sitting on committees telling the students and young adults how they can and can't do ministry. The result? Younger people are leaving churches in droves.

Here's what I know to be true. If the church is going to continue to reach the next generations:

* I have to be willing to give leadership to people younger than me...and let them make mistakes.

* I have to be willing to let younger folks lead me in worship...even when it's not my favorite style of music.

* I need to embrace new methods of ministry...even though it makes me uncomfortable.

* I need to pray and encourage and finance the next generation church...and stop trying to make church a place that I like to attend.

It's not about me. It's about the people who desperately need to know the hope, love and forgiveness found only in Jesus Christ.

For the ministry of the local church to remain effective, I need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Going Back to School Blessed

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
–Matthew 19:14

This past Sunday was a great day for families at Cornerstone. It was our annual “Back 2 School Blessing” Day in which we pray a special prayer of blessing over the Children as they begin their new school year and then we load them up with free school supplies.

This year, Cornerstone was able to bless around 100 children by giving away backpacks filled with school supplies and sundry products. With special thanks to Trichel Ramos of the Skechers Company, (they generously donated the new boys and girl’s backpacks), World Vision, and Staples, we were able to help many families in need get their children ready for the new school year.

Special thanks also to Tami Harmon and the Kidz Kingdom team who volunteered to come out and “Stuff” the backpacks in preparation for the big event – and then, pull the event off.

All in all it was a super day… children were blessed, families were blessed and Jesus was glorified – and that’s what its all about.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


The past several days, we have had issues (once again), with one of our fav-o-rite companies – AT&T. Please, pardon the sarcasm.

Tuesday evening we noticed that our telephone service was acting “funny” for lack of a better word. When we awoke on Wednesday, we discovered that there was no landline or internet available at all – the line was simply dead. To our chagrin, the unlimited knowledge-base known as the World Wide Web -- that we rely on heavily to stay in contact with the world and people around us -- was suddenly inaccessible. Our line of communication had been severed. We were disconnected.

It’s no fun being disconnected. When you are disconnected, nothing comes in and nothing goes out. Information and inspiration cease. The needed flow of life-giving knowledge is missed – because somewhere and somehow the line has been severed.

Disconnect is one of the favorite ploys of the enemy of our souls. His goal is to keep people from connecting, communicating and communing. He does his devious worst to try to separate people from their families, friends, churches, etc. He uses real and perceived offenses, envy, pride, jealousy and any number of other things to keep people away from where they should be.

There is strength in numbers and great power in unity. The Bible tells us that two are better than one. Jesus said that where two or three are gathered “together” in his name, he is there with them. The enemy knows that it is easier to defeat one individual than it is to defeat an entire army. If he can separate the individual from the army, it is much easier to defeat them.

Several things can lead to disconnection. Uninvolved people – those who chose not to participate in life with others -- often become disconnected people. An unforgiving spirit will lead to disconnecting. Un-repented sin in our lives will disconnect us from God and others. These and more are some of the tools that Satan uses to disconnect us – eventually from our glorious destiny in Christ.

God has placed certain people in our lives that love us and care about us. We have been connected to people -- parents, siblings, friends, and even Pastors – people that care about us and we care about for a reason. God brings good people into our lives to make our lives better. In some way, or sometimes in many ways, they add value to our lives. Therefore we need to stay connected to them.
When we praise God together, when we learn together, when we pray together, when we work together, when we grow together, and when we break bread together we are connecting as God designed and desired us to. This is known as doing "Church” – an assembly made up of many people who have been brought together by God as one body.

This is doing life as God intended… Together… Connected.

Friday afternoon, the landline at our house was finally re-connected. We are now back in the flow, sending and receiving information, connecting with people, and doing life as we are supposed to.

I’ve discovered something important:
Two days disconnected is two days too many!

How's your connection?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Powerful Praise

“I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” -Psalms 34:1

The book of Psalms is one of the most powerful books in the Bible. It is filled with instruction regarding our spiritual lives. One of the principal authors, David, was a man after God’s own heart, because he understood that God’s heart was touched by praise and worship. If one does not know how, use the book of Psalms as a guide to praise the Lord. It is the instruction manual telling us how to praise God.


1. God is Worthy of Praise.
"Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive… honor and glory and praise!" (Rev. 5:12) Probably the number one reason to praise the Lord is simply that He is worthy of our praise. Something inside of each of us wants to extend praise to someone, somewhere at sometime -- well, that someone is the Lord Jesus Christ!

2. We are Called to Praise the Lord.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light" (1 Peter 2:9). We have been called by God to be praisers. Not compulsory, but voluntarily. One of the greatest things we can do is honor God with our praise.

3. Praise Enlists God’s Presence.

God inhabits the praises of His people (see Psalm 22:3). When we praise the Lord and call upon Him, He shows up. When the "shout of the King" is among you, the King of the shout will be with you! (Numbers 23:21)

4. Praise brings Victory.

a. When the huge, walled city of Jericho was between the Children of Israel and their promised land, Joshua commanded them "Shout! For the Lord has given you the city!” The trumpets blew, the people shouted and the walls fell down before them. (See Joshua 6)

b. When confronted by several armies that had come together to defeat and destroy God’s people, King Jehoshaphat of Judah (which, by the way, means “Praise”) chose men to go out on the battlefield before the army to sing and praise the Lord. “As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the (enemy)… and they were defeated.” (2 Chronicles 20:22)

c. Paul & Silas were in Jail for doing the work of God. They were placed in chains and locked-up. Yet, at Midnight, they began to sing and praise the Lord – even in the midst of their incarceration. Miraculously, an earthquake hit the jail and all the prisoner’s chains fell-off and the jail doors flew open! (Acts 16:25-26)

Are there big walls in the way of your advancement? Does it seem as if you have been surrounded and attacked by different enemies? Are there chains binding you and locked doors holding you back in some area of life? The key to victory in every situation is taking the Pathway of Praise. Give God the glory, bless His name, praise Him for His excellent greatness -- and see the miraculous power of God begin to move in your life!

Don't wait 'til the battle is over, shout now!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

What a Pain in the Neck!

A couple of months ago, I shared about my painful experience of having Oral Surgery. For several weeks after that surgery, I experienced a lot of pain. However, it wasn’t pain in my mouth, but rather pain in my neck.The stress of the surgery and the position that they had me in while performing it had done something to my neck – and I was feeling the pain. I figured that it was just temporary, I would wait it out and it would just go away after awhile, but it did not. The pain continued and I had difficulty sleeping, relaxing, driving, etc. My wife, Karlene, suggested that I go get it checked-out. I didn’t respond to that suggestion enthusiastically, so the pain continued. Finally, she suggested that I see a Chiropractor.

As it turned out, one of our team leaders at church had just started working part-time with a Chiropractor and set up an appointment for me. I had not been to a Chiropractor in years – though in my late teens, I frequented a Chiropractor due to a lower back problem that had originally been brought about by an injury incurred while playing football. That Chiropractor helped me immensely and I have a positive view towards Chiropractic medicine as a result. So, I kept the appointment to see the doctor about my pain in the neck.

I arrived at Therapeutica, the Chiropractic office, which is located in an upscale complex on the hillside in south Torrance. I met Doctor Sal for the first time and we then spent a considerable amount of time discussing my medical past, current pains, filling-out forms, etc. Finally, he led me into one of the treatment rooms and began treatment. The treatment was both painful and liberating. My neck and back snapped, crackled, and popped like a bowl of Rice Krispies! It was quite the experience. Yet, it was what I needed. The adjustment was necessary to get my body back in alignment.

The experience got me thinking. How often do we Christians get ourselves out of alignment to God, His word and His purpose? We live with pains in the neck – or somewhere else – because of this certain situation or that particular circumstance, things that have happened in our lives and remain unresolved. The pain is real, but so is the solution. What we need is a new trip to the great Physician, Jesus Christ for an adjustment. It may be an attitude adjustment, a vision adjustment, or a thinking adjustment. However, adjustments are necessary for Believer’s so that we can get re-aligned to the word, purpose and person of Jesus.

Living with pain? Having trouble figuring out the difficulties? Is life giving you a rough road? Perhaps an alignment is in order. My suggestion is to go see Doctor Jesus. He can help. Good news is that appointments are available today!