Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Let Go and Let God...

When Carla and I were serving in New Paris, PA, we had the honor of knowing, loving, and being loved by a wonderful saint in the Lord. I'll call her JB, because that's what we called her! She went home to be with the Lord at a far too young age two years ago. I rejoice that she is with her Savior, but I still get a tear in my eye thinking that the world isn't quite the place it used to be when JB was with us.

She was so faithful, and when I was struggling or worried or concerned, she would often say: "Brett, just let go and let God." Then she'd smile and say "that's all you have to do...let go and let God!"

Last night, I was awake in the middle of the night and found myself thinking of JB and her words of eternal wisdom. How true...that we must let go and let God.

So today I ask how? How do you do that? For me, it is continually praying "Lord, help me to let go..." And is He faithful!

Friday, January 26, 2007

My Window on the World

Here is a view from my office window this morning. Isn't it beautiful...the snow? I wish I could just take the day off and go for a long walk in the winter woods. For now, the view from my office window will have to do.

And isn't that like our relationship with the Lord? The apostle Paul said "Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." (1 Corinthians 13:12 NIV)

We really have such a small view of God and of the realities of His presence in our lives. We only see such a small part, but it pulls us into a greater desire to know Him more. Just as my little view on the world from my window beckons me to the greater realities of winter, so does my view of God. Maybe I'll read a little more Scripture today....maybe I'll spend a little more time in prayer...maybe I'll put on some praise music...and make that window just a little bit bigger today...

Thursday, January 25, 2007

I'm sick of this!

Being sick, that is! My sinus infection is back...in fact, I think I never really got over it. But thanks to my fine doctor, I'm gonna be back on drugs any minute and get over this once and for all. I shall overcome...someday.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

So Carla says to me...

.... it must be really tough to come up with fresh material to preach on each week. You know, I never really thought about it! I've been preaching for 10 1/2 years and I never really stopped to consider that it is challenging to prepare material and keep it fresh. Now it could be she was saying that because she doesn't think it is fresh!!! I hope not.

I guess I am just asking the Lord today for wisdom. Show me how to tell your timeless message afresh and anew this week. May your Holy Spirit transform my life and my thoughts that I might truly be an instrument for you. Speak through me, or in spite of me...

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Whiskey Before Breakfast

Not something I generally practice, until yesterday that is. OK, I'm talking about the bluegrass song "Whiskey Before Breakfast" which I am learning. My latest endeavor is to improve on my bluegrass flatpick skills. After a trip to see Steve last week, he hooked me up with a Steve Kauffman book to take me to the next level. So I've been working on the intermediate versions of Whiskey Before Breakfast and Turkey in the Straw. I'm having fun pushing myself to learn some new things and all the while enjoying the best guitar money can buy! God is good!

Psalm 33:1-3 says "Sing joyfully to the LORD, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him. Praise the LORD with the guitar; make music to him on the six string Collings. Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy. (NIV) (I only changed it a little!)

Yeah...what He said!!!!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Boy Band!

Last night, I enjoyed another practice with "Boy Band." Steve, Mark, Mike and I join together once in a while to lead worship for Cornerstone. We were practicing last night for our "gig" next Sunday....what a blast. These guys, myself excluded, are great musicians. It is so fun to learn a song in 10 minutes and get it "tight" within a half hour. They inspire me, make me laugh, and make me a better player. Man, am I blessed!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


We all know that God loves bluegrass...but did you know that He loves snow too?

See: Isaiah 1:18-19 - "Come now, let us reason together,"says the LORD."Though your sins are like scarlet,they shall be as white as snow;though they are red as crimson,they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient,you will eat the best from the land. (NIV)

And then in Job 37:5-6, we learn that "God's voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding. He says to the snow, 'Fall on the earth.' (NIV)

I am thankful for the snow today...its beauty, that fact that God sent it to us, and the metaphor behind it!

(Plus I'm glad I get to play with my new remote control snowmobile Carla got me for Christmas!!!)

Monday, January 15, 2007

The faith of the people called Cornerstone

Man, am I blessed. (Woman, am I blessed too.) I have the awesome privilege of being a pastor. Wow...what a deal. I get to love people and be with them. I get to share Jesus and get paid to do it. I get to follow what God planned for me since before I was born (see Psalm 139). And I get to be with some of the greatest saints ever...most of which I cannot name here...bummer.

But I can tell you about one dude who blessed me today. I have been fretting about our upcoming reality of greater space and the money that it will take to lease that. But this person just shared with me that the 22 % increase in giving needed to make 2007 happen is easily doable if we just continue to follow the Lord's leading.

Wow...what faith. Here I am fretting, and here he is saying "it's as good as done." Thank you Lord for humbling me and for placing people of great faith beside me to steer me closer to you. Thank you Lord for blessing me, and for using the people called Cornerstone to do it!

Saturday, January 13, 2007


In case you don't know me...I LOVE to play guitar. Yesterday I took the day off because I have too many Saturday obligations this week. While Carla was hard at work at Nursing school, I headed to Pittsburgh to my favorite music store. Steve, the dude who runs it, is a great guy and probably knows more about acoustic instruments than any single person in the free world. After I came back home, I spent the best part of the rest of the day playing. Know you may ask, "doesn't that hurt your fingers...pressing on those strings?" Well, I may answer "no way, Jose." The secret is the calluses. If you play daily like I do, eventually the skin on the tips of your fingers becomes very hard and doesn't seem to mind the constant activity of the fingertips on the strings.

Tomorrow, we embark on the second week of our Cornerstone journey entitled "What If?" Still focusing on the early church in Acts 2, we will ask ourselves "what if we weren't so callused to what God is up to?" You see, we Christians sometimes get calluses...not the kind from playing guitar but the kind from playing church. We lose sight of the lost and we lose sight of what God is doing and how to join Him in His activity. Tomorrow in worship, we'll look at how Peter got rid of the calluses and how we can too!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Another Auld Lang Syne

I have been working out at the gym now for an entire year. What a blast. My cardio endurance is better than it has been in 15 years. I can lift "weigh" more (get it? "weigh more"? get it?) than I did when I started. And I've made some new friends...friends who aren't Christians. What a blessing it has been in my life...it has helped me to grow stronger physically, spiritually, and emotionally...and it has helped to remind me of why I do what I do...

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Unless you become like little children...

Check out this interaction with Jesus, His disciples, and some kids Matthew 18:2-4:

He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." (NIV)

I think I know what He means... You see, Cornerstone Church is headquartered in an office/warehouse complex. We share our building and parking with businesses located in our complex. There is a tenant across the parking lot from us who seems to think that there is assigned parking spots for certain tenants. If somebody parks in "his spot," he simply pulls his expensive foreign luxury car so close to their driver's side door that it is almost impossible to get in. I know this because it happened once to me, and I watch it happen to the other tenants from my office window. This seems to me to be about the most childish act I could witness....so this guy must be just like Jesus!

Wrong! There is a difference between being childlike and childish. My "friendly" neighbor is pretty childish, but not very child-like. Why? Well, there is that humility piece! You see, Jesus wants us to humble ourselves....to put Him and others before ourselves. When we do that, we have child-like faith.

Jesus, help me not to be so childish today, but to have the humility of a child and your heart of love and service today....

Monday, January 08, 2007

What If?

The people called Cornerstone started a new journey yesterday as we worshiped together...a journey to begin a strategic outreach to our community. 2006 has been a great year. Our "Stepping Stones" discipleship ministry has been a valuable tool in helping to equip us for ministry. Our small groups are growing and we added a few over the past year. We have embarked on a new journey of leadership structure that will allow us to be more faithful in ministry. God has been blessing us very richly in this past year.

Now it is time to start looking outward. We are poised to make a Kingdom impact where live and move and have our being. We are beginning that by asking "What If?" What if we saw the purpose of Cornerstone not so much to worship and meet our own needs, but what if we saw the purpose to be an instrument of God's love and salvation in our communities? What if we were really passionate about Jesus....and about the lost?

Whaddya think? How can we do that? What have we done well? Where do we need to be working? What needs to be a part of our strategy? What "what if's?" do you have to offer?

Friday, January 05, 2007

My latest update...

If you click here, you can read the latest update I wrote to Cornerstone Church...the people I love to serve, and the people with whom I love to serve the Lord!!!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Go Rain Check!!!!

Do you remember that Toys R Us commercial from a few years back about the rain check? It features a little boy who gets a rain check for Christmas instead of a toy. He runs with his rain check...watches TV with it...shows it off to his friends...call his rain check his best friend! You can check out a very poor quality video of it here. The commercial is absolutely hilarious.

But more than that, I think it illustrates a sad but true point. I am beginning a message series this Sunday for Cornerstone entitled "What If?" During the series, we will challenge ourselves by asking the "what if?" question of ourselves in comparison to the early church. I will share for five consecutive weeks from Acts 2:36-47.

Sunday, we begin by asking "what if we really had a passion for Jesus?" Look at Peter. He was a louse all through his apostleship training. He would have been on Academic Probation (ask my mom about when I was in college and my experience with the "dean's list"...I was on the dean's "list" all right!!!) But when Peter is filled with the Holy Spirit, look out. He is on fire and for the first time does something right!

He gets excited not about the stupid things in life that, in the end, mean nothing. He gets excited about Jesus and cannot contain that excitement. And it forced him to focus his ministry...DON'T MISS THIS...on the UNsaved! What if...we did the same?

What if our raison d'etre wasn't for Christians, but for those who are not yet.....?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A New Chance

I love the first of a new year...it is an awesome time to reflect back and to hope ahead. I am excited to see what God has in store for 2007!

Check out waht Jesus said in Matthew 9:16-17:

16"No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. 17Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved."

In my life personally, and in the life of Cornerstone Church, I want to allow my life to be a new wineskins...full of the new wine that Jesus brings!