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Thankful and Blessed

March 19, 2010 — 2 Comments

I never like waking up to a phone call. I always wake up with my heart racing, wondering if something is wrong. This morning I received a call that a fire had started downtown just a few buildings away from our church. All the buildings are connected, so we didn’t know what to expect. By the time I arrived at the church, smoke was rolling out of a building just three doors down from the church and flames were coming through the roof.

It didn’t look good for a while, we loaded up several of the instruments and valuables from the church, expecting the worst, but our local volunteer fire department did an awesome job of keeping the fire contained. I’ve grown up around the fire department with my dad and brother both long time members. We also have several firefighters in our church. It was great to see the teamwork and effort from a group of people who continually put their lives on the line to serve others.

You can see the back entrance of the church in the picture above. Cornerstone is the building on the left. I am thankful and blessed to let you know that the church sustained no damage at all and there were no injuries. Misty, our children’s director at Cornerstone, runs a cosmetic business that was next door to the fire. Her business sustained some smoke damage, but no fire or water damage. Below is a video from channel 10 news that shows the fire from the front of the church. I just keep thinking, it could have been much worse …

Please pray for the families who were living in the burned apartments. Thankfully they are safe, but it looks like they lost everything.

Wrestling With God

March 16, 2010 — 1 Comment

I felt a little like Jacob from the Old Testament (Genesis 32:24-32) this past week. In preparing my message for Sunday, I had to do some wrestling with God. Have you ever argued with God? As a pastor I should know better, but sometimes I don’t like giving up control.

John Waller was in town for a Sunday night concert, so we had him lead worship for our Sunday morning service. I knew we would have a lot of guests and that I wouldn’t have a long time to share, so I wanted to do an “uplifting and encouraging” message. One that  challenged everybody, but nothing too controversial. God had other plans. We are in a series titled “Love Is …” and we have been going through a Biblical definition of unconditional love. We have gone through 1 Corinthians 13 and shared about unselfish living and forgiveness, but there was one message that I knew must be part of the series. God wanted me to share it this weekend. It was a message on purity and intimacy.

So with all our guests, I ended up preaching a message from 1 Corinthians 6:15-20 about sexual purity and how that purity will pave the way to intimacy. It was a little uncomfortable at times, but I know I was obedient. Even if no one comes back next week, I’m fine. I went to sleep happy and relieved. Because my preaching is not to please the people who are in attendance, but to share truth from the Bible and please God. We need to be challenged to confess and repent when sin creeps into the church. I hope next time I will just trust God completely and skip the wrestling part. It’s definitely not a fun process.

I’m excited about John Waller joining us this Sunday at Cornerstone Community Church. If you saw the movie Fireproof or listen to SpiritFM, you have heard John Waller’s music. His song, While I’m Waiting is a powerful song about waiting on God’s timing. He will be joining us and leading worship for our 10am service, and then going over to First Baptist to lead them in worship at their 11am service. At 6pm on Sunday night, we are moving our evening service over to the historic Rex Theater in downtown Galax for a special concert with John.

The great thing about this concert is that it was organized by a young man in our church. Isaac Larrowe has organized and promoted the concert and has raised the funds to allow John to come minister to us. Please help us get the word out about the concert. If you haven’t heard the song, check out the video below or check out John’s website.

The Bored Generation

March 11, 2010 — 2 Comments

Lately, I have noticed something that seems to be on the increase.  I am concerned with the boredom of an entire generation.  Check out the facebook and status updates of young adolescents and you’ll be sure to see the infamous statement, “I AM BORED.” I am sure that this isn’t something entirely new, but I do see it as a growing problem. In the midst of incredible advances in technology, entertainment, and communication, teens and children are complaining that they simply have nothing to do. With a 5 year old, 9 year old, and 11 year old, it’s a phrase that comes up often at our house. If we hear complaining about boredom at our house, the first step is usually cleaning their room or reading a book. But even with consequences, our children still want us to entertain them and help them find something to do.

I think this problem has huge implications for the church as well. If the younger millennials grow up in a society where they are constantly entertained, it will affect how we reach them. We must start getting to the root of the problem. One area of concern is the pace of our society. Everything is based on instant gratification and no waiting. From fast food to movies on demand to instant messaging, everything has been geared toward providing them what they want when they want it.  I still have hope, but it will require action on our part.

At the risk of sounding old, I actually remember before we had game systems, cell phones, and home computers. As kids, we spent much of our time simply being kids, playing and enjoying our time with friends. As adults, I feel we have a responsibility to help guide and direct the younger generation to learn how to live life to the fullest. I think we can teach and model some important truths.

So What’s the Cure?

  • Let’s teach them to develop a Holy curiosity – When you look at the world with wonder and anticipation, you simply cannot become bored. When you explore and learn, you will grow in maturity and in knowledge.
  • Let’s teach them to be still and know God – If we cannot teach our children to slow down, what will happen as they grow older? Jesus spent regular time in silence and solitude with God the Father, and we need to do the same thing. It brings us into God’s presence, it allows us to avoid stress by bringing our requests before God, and it strengthens us with the power of the Holy Spirit.
  • Let’s teach them to use their imagination and creativity - I’m afraid we are preventing them from finding solutions to their problems. When they are bored, they can become incredibly creative. It’s in those times when they come up with new ideas and new ways of doing things. Let’s not stifle their creativity. Instead encourage them to discover something to do when they are bored.
  • Let’s teach them to serve others – At the root of boredom is selfishness. Everything is focused on my needs and wants. When we find ways to serve others, it helps refocus our priorities on the two greatest commandments. Loving God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and loving others as ourselves.
  • Let’s teach them the power of reading the Bible and other great books – I am thankful that my children love books. I love seeing them pick up books, but still way too often I hear the phrase “I am bored.”  I want to create in them a love of reading. It’s amazing what they can learn from great stories. And I especially want them to spend time reading their Bible. It is such a great joy to hear them reading Bible stories to each other.

I encourage you to join in the conversation. What else would you add to this list?

Updating the Blog

March 9, 2010 — Leave a comment

It’s been quiet here on the blog for the last few days. During my normal blogging hours I have been working on the site design. I’ve been using the same graphics for a while now and since I can’t leave anything alone for long, I decided to update the theme the blog is based on. I wanted to switch to one that is sleek, clean, and easy to customize. The Standard Theme is a newer WordPress theme that I chose for the updated look. It is a great premium blog theme and I plan on using this as a framework for the blog for the foreseeable future.  I still have some customization to do, but I think this is a great start. Here are some of the features of the new theme.

  • it’s coded to be fast and meet current web standards
  • it’s SEO Friendly (Search Engine Optimization)
  • it has multiple advertising options built in
  • it is easy to customize and style using custom CSS
  • and it has a great community forum where you can find support

So far, I’m impressed. I was able to eliminate several plugins because of built-in functionality, and it just looks sleek and modern. Let me know if you have any problems viewing the site. Especially if you are on older browsers in windows. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

NewSpring has relaunched their website for free graphics and print resources for churches. Check it out at

They are offering both print and video downloads for many of their sermon series. I’m a big fan of free graphical resources, because they enable churches who don’t have the technology, resources, or manpower to incorporate technology without spending huge amounts of money. It helps smaller churches like ours to focus on the message and not spend countless hours on preparing graphic files. It shows that churches like Lifechurch and NewSpring have a huge Kingdom focus to give away resources for free.

NewSpring Leadership Conference

At the Unleash Conference yesterday, which was absolutely amazing, the team at NewSpring announced a new one-day leadership conference this fall. Mark your calendars for September 16th and make plans to drive down to Anderson, South Carolina. They’ve lined up an awesome group of pastors who are passionate about sharing the gospel.  Can you imagine hearing from Francis Chan, Mark Driscoll, and Perry Noble all in one day. It will definitely be powerful. Here’s the info from their website

The NewSpring Leadership Conference is a full day of teaching and worship focused on influence and how it affects our preaching of the Gospel. We’re passionate about the local church, and we believe in the power of the preached Gospel to show how Jesus Christ changes lives. There is no better goal to spend your influence on.

Join us in Anderson, SC on Thursday, September 16th to hear unique perspectives from our 6 speakers on leadership and influence. The event will run from 9:00am until your brain can’t process any more. Your ticket includes admission to the conference, all conference materials, a tasty lunch and plenty of southern hospitality.

Love Never Dies …

March 2, 2010 — 2 Comments

Last month at Cornerstone, we shared the touching story of Rogers Kirven and his wife Christy.  Rogers was a former business partner with Sam who now lives in Florida.  Rogers and Christy have five children and have been married for 35 years. Three years ago Christy was diagnosed with three specific types of cancer. In addition to fervent prayer, Rogers has spent a fortune seeking the best treatment available from places like M.D. Anderson Cancer Center out of Houston, TX and Shands, the University of Florida Cancer Hospital. During Christmas, the medical community sent Christy home to die.

Today was the day when the Lord gave her ultimate healing. Christy passed away and I want to ask that you keep Rogers and his family in your prayers. If you missed the church service where we called and interviewed Rogers, then please watch the video below and listen to the audio of the phone call.

It was powerful, it was challenging, and it reminded all of us that love never dies …

Audio of the phone call with Rogers (Click here to play)

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