Saturday, July 29, 2006

Running, and discipline (like getting smacked), and stuff

Well, if you're gonna make sense of this post, you better start by reading THIS. I just got back from running. Yes, it is 86 degrees out there and killer humidity. Why, you ask, am I running? Why, I ask, am I running? Especially on a day like today when I feel like I've never run before in my life. (Which isn't actually too far from the truth!)

Well, I'm running to train for my very first 5K race which I'm running with some friends from Cornerstone next weekend. It is amazing how at 41 years old, one (namely I) can still succumb to peer pressure! At any rate, today wasn't the best run. I felt like I was carrying around a heavy weight (other than the natural one I have amassed around my waist). This fact, accompanied by my thoughts around our small group Bible study lesson in Philippians 3, sent me to Hebrews 12. "Let's throw off all the hindrances and run with perseverance." Sounds like a plan. (Note that I am talking now of "running" in the figurative sense) But it isn't always that easy. What about the days when you aren't sure what the hindrances are? What about the days when you try to throw them off when all they while they appear to be attached with Gorilla Glue (the preceding was in no way an endorsement or criticism of Gorilla Glue, just an attempt to continue my trend of using lots of parenthetical statements in this blog).

That is when it feels like you're being disciplined. I don't mean in the sense that you're sticking to your plan. I mean in the sense that you're getting smacked. (Remind me to tell you of the paint stirring stick my mom kept on top of the fridge...)

But if you read on in Hebrews 12, you'll see that discipline isn't such a bad thing. The Lord kinda says He uses it on us to make us better because He loves us. (Can you imagine God saying "Now son, this is going to hurt me more than it hurts you...?)

So on those days when it feels like you're "running" uphill...when you've got weight that you can't seem to shed...take heart. Jesus is running the race with you. He may be helping you to run, or He may be adding some weight to make you stronger. The cool part is that He is there...

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Remember Bonnie Tyler?

Me neither! But I did look up on internet that classic 1978 forgettable hit "It's a heartache." She sang it, or at least was the person who was using her voice over music in the background to share those lyrics. Our Cornerstone devotions for today are taken from 2 Peter 3. Verse 9 goes like this: "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."

Can I paraphrase? God is heartbroken at every lost soul. He says He wants everyone to come to repentance. Notice, that isn't just coming to Him, but coming to Him in repentance. That means being sorry for whatever sin you wrestle with, and then giving it to Him to rescue you from.

So, why is it that God is heartbroken over you? And what will you do about it?

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Train Wreck!

OK, it wasn't actually a train wreck, it was more like a car wreck.

OK, it wasn't actually a car wreck, it was more like a fender-bender.

OK, it wasn't actually a fender bender, but I did hit another vehicle yesterday with my van. The evidence is clearly on the front bumper. It was that crazy Cranberry rush-hour traffic and someone ran a red-light and pulled right in front of me. I slammed on the brakes, locked up all fours, and skidded to a near stop just in time for my bumper to smash into his tire. What happened next was amazing. He acted as if he never saw me, and just kept on driving. He got in his lane and headed on his merry way, and I got in my lane and headed on my merry way. It was as if he didn't even notice.

Now you're asking, why is he telling me this? Well, it actually dovetails with a conversation I had with someone this morning who was telling me of an experience on vacation in South Carolina where they met some people who actually worship the church in Florida where the former pastor of Cornerstone now serves. They met on the beach and struck up conversation over, of all things, a silly T-shirt.

That got me to many opportunities does God put in our path that we just miss because we are going OUR way? How many times does He run right into the side of the vehicle of our life, only to have us respond in complete and utter apathy?

Lord, forgive me. When you need to get my attention today, please let me pull out in front of you. Jesus, thanks for being willing to wear my "tire marks" on your "bumper."

Monday, July 24, 2006

"I'm Back in the Saddle Again!"

Wow...this has been a summer. I feel like I've been away every other week. Maybe I am feeling that way because I've been away every other week!

Our Cornerstone mission trip was absolutely awesome. You can listen to the testimonies that people shared in worship yesterday by clicking here. It was so neat to be able to witness for the Lord and to grow as a church family. I'm very grateful to those who went, and I'm also very grateful to those who stayed behind to cover us in prayer and to support us financially. Thanks a zillion!!!

Today, our devotions take us to Psalm 67. We are reminded that in our praise to God, others can come to know Him. There is a huge world out there lost and hurting because they don't know Jesus. Many just know about Him. We are called to make Jesus come alive in the hearts of those that we meet today. I am praying for you as you make that happen.

Anyone care to share an online testimony, or maybe a struggle, to share the Lord?

Friday, July 14, 2006

A church on the move!

Cornerstone is a happenin' lately! First, construction has started on our new expansion!!! I am so excited...and if we are really blessed, the first phase will be done in time for our first-ever Vacation Bible School!!! Praise the Lord!

We have lined up some interviews with some very promising candidates for our first-ever full time Family Ministries Coordinator. We are very excited and are just so blessed to be able to follow the Lord's leading on faith! Let's go, Lord!

And next week, 16 of us will travel together to be in mission in West Virginia! We are going to be adding a bathroom addition on a home and we're helping to construct a "church-in-a-box!" Also, we're teaching the Bible stories for a Vacation Bible School ministering to the local children. I can't wait!!!

God is so good!

Thursday, July 13, 2006


Ok, check this story out: Mark 2:1-12. Our Vacation Bible School coordinator (thank you, and God bless you Sandy!) and were talking this morning about this as one of the stories we'll be sharing with our kids. This seems to be a typical day in the life of Jesus. He gets up, probably with a plan, just like the rest of us. Then, as the day unfolds, nothing goes according to the plan! Sound familiar? Well first have peace in knowing that Jesus knows what you're going through. In fact, it is His reality too.

Then, look at what He did. He did not do what Brett does (which may explain why the WWBD fad never really caught on!). He doesn't see these events as interruptions to His carefully planned day. He sees them as opportunities for ministry!

So today is another training day...another day for me to be more like Jesus. And in it, I am trying to see all the interruptions of this day as Jesus opportunities share Him! Help me, Lord!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


At Cornerstone, we offer daily devotions that relate to our theme of worship for the week. They can be found by clicking HERE. Todays devotion is taken from Nehemiah 8:10. This has always been a favorite verse of mine, and it seems to go along with my reading of "The Life You've Always Wanted." Isn't it so neat how God is so wanting to line up the things of our lives to point us to Him? Why don't we pay better attention? JOY, and not just any joy. But the JOY of the Lord! Why are we so joyless sometimes? I have to say that church people (notice I didn't say Christians!) are the most joyless people. C'mon...if we have Jesus, we can't help but have joy! So today, I am happy. And I think I know why...because I have the Lord, and His joy is my strength! How about you?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


I've been reading "The Life You've Always Wanted" by John Ortberg at the recommendation of some good friends here. I have to admit that I am now working through a chapter on Spiritual Disciplines...pretty "coinkydinky" considering that I'm sorta preaching about that right now at Cornerstone!!! Isn't God cool? Anywho, I'm having one of those embarrassing "duh!" moments. You know, like when you're 41 years old and you should have figured it out by now but you didn't and it just hit you and you're excited but feel stupid at the same time so much so that you lapse into runon sentences? A few years ago, I must have been in my 30's then, I had them same experience with LMNOP. I always thought it was a single letter in the alphabet...

Anywho, the point is, spiritual disciplines are tools for to be more like Jesus. They are not things that are to gain extra points with God. They are not the measure of holiness. They are not the end in itself. They are the TRAINING TOOLS! Now I get it! So my prayer life, devotional reading, personal worship, fasting, Christian service...they are tools to use in my training.

Now you know that nearly every day I go to the gym. I don't go there because I am strong. I go there to get strong. And it is fun to train to be strong. One of these days I'll be benching my own weight. But so it is in my walk with the Lord. Every day is another opportunity to get just a little stronger. OK! This helps! Thank you Jesus!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Who is this King of glory?

I'm sitting in our worship center trying to focus on Jesus in preparation for worship. I'm worshiping to a Third Day CD I found in our CD player. Right now, I keep hitting the repeat button because I'm just blown away by this song. Check out this powerful line:

"Who is this King of glory, that pursues me with His love?
And haunts me with hearing of His softly spoken words?
My conscious a reminder of forgiveness that I need...
Who is this King of glory, who offers it to me?"

Now that'll preach. Thank you Jesus for being my King of glory. May I make room for you in my life today....

Saturday, July 08, 2006


I think I heard it said somewhere "there's no place like home!" Yesterday, Carla had to work so I set off on a solo journey for Salix Pennsylvania. You can see it on the map HERE. Salix is home. It is the place that never changes. It is the town where you refer to the homes as "so and so's old place." It is the town of a zillion childhood memories. And it is the town where my mom and dad still live. I had a great visit yesterday. I had a baloney sammich with mom and dad. (I wanted something better, but mom wouldn't oblige.) I checked out their garden, surveyed the trees, and picked a few prematurely ripe raspberries. A good time was had...

So today, I'm back "home." Not Salix, but Cranberry Township. And what a comparison in contrasting Pennsylvania towns. Cranberry is the "anti-Salix!" And yet, it is home. It is the place where Carla and I currently put down our roots. It is the place of new friends. It is the place of a rapid, and yet somehow exhilarating, pace. It is the place where everything changes. And it is the place where we now love to call home.

Maybe home has more to do with where God is calling you to be. Maybe home is where you see Him most. For me, that has been and still is Salix. For me, that has been and still is Cranberry Township. I wonder where home will be next.....

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Where Does My Help Come From?

Psalm 121 starts something like "I look up into the hills. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord!"

OK....good news. My help, and my hope, comes from the Lord Jesus Christ. Got it.

So why do I always look for help in other places? I don't look to the "hills" but I look in equally dumb and unsatisfying places. When will I learn to start with the Lord in the first place?

Lord, please forgive me...again. And please help me...again.

Oh, and thanks...again!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Family Ministries Coordinator

Well, this is a shameless advertisement. I know my blog has readers as far away as Jefferson Hills (in the south hills of Pittsburgh), so I thought I would tap this endless sea of adherants to advertise our newest position at Cornerstone Church. I am so pleased to announce that we are going to take a big step of faith and hire a full time person to work on our team. After the announcement of our current Children's Ministries Coordinator that she accepted full time employment, we the leadership set to the task of praying and visioning where we go from here. We decided to step out and hire someone who will work with our parents and recruit and train our adult leadership so that we can better reach the children and youth of our church and community.

HERE is the link to one of the places we advertised. If you know of someone who may be interested, please pass this along. Thanks!!!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Good to be home!

I returned from Camp Allegheny yesterday and I had a wonderful experience. But there is no place like home. It is good to see Carla again, and it was good to worship at Cornerstone. We truly feel like this is our church home and we love being here!!! I really sensed the presence of the Lord among us in worship today...God is so good. I am also looking forward to returning to blogging in earnest tomorrow.