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Posts Tagged ‘Cornerstone Online’

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I only know a few people in this Experiencing God small group (I would hardly call 25 people small..) that I am in. But tonight I shared my testimony with them so they could get to know me. A lot of them go to Cornerstone and to meet someone who had Pastor Linn as a youth Pastor and then to also meet someone who was a part of the beginning days of the church was interesting to them. They of course had lots of questions for me. For me, it was a time of reflection of my roller coaster life. Not that it has been bad, but I can see where God has always been present and how he has always been calling me back to him all throughout my life.

This week’s study has been focused on joining God where he is working and to be a servant for him. For me, I have always interpreted that as a service project or an event, etc. I have had so many opportunities that have come my way lately that I could easily jump on board with. I have been very careful about not keeping myself too busy or ignore where I am at in life. So I just commit to pray about each opportunity and to make sure it is part of Gods plan. Other than be father to my kids, God keeps telling me to be still. He doesn’t mean to just sit and do nothing, but to really take the time and build my relationship with him. I know it is because he is molding me for something bigger and better in my life. I have experienced things the past six years that only I can attribute to God, but I truly feel he has something even bigger than my puny brain can ever come up with. My relationship with the Lord is so rich right now, I can’t ever imagine walking away from it.

God has taught me so much about his sovereignty and the power of prayer. I always find myself in situations where I want to control my environment. But I am in a place right now that I know praying is more than enough for God to do his work and I don’t have to anything more. It takes the power out of my hands and teaches me to trust God. Last year, I left my last church looking for community to apply the gospel to my life. At that church, my life was mainly about me and my accomplishments (not to say there wasn’t good things.. but this was my idolatry issue there). There are a lot of people who like to pat themselves on the back there and I got caught up with that. I have learned the importance of community at my current church and I now have that and it has become a big part of my life. But now God is teaching me another part of the gospel – the cosmic part of it. This is the part where we look at all creation and trust God is in charge and that he is at work. This is huge because we all want to do things our way because our faith and trust in God is weak. This is where in my Experiencing God study that I feel God is wanting me to look at and join with him.

At church today they nominated Mark Durban to be a deacon. You know, Mark has stuck to me like glue these past few months. I have had many great mentors (I can’t tell you how important having older wiser people in your life is for growth. You will never get that from younger people or people your age), but Mark seeks me out each week to see how I am doing. My last counselor was great and he helped me with a lot of things. But what I have learned is counseling is a process that process needs to keep going, even when things are great. Mark has been counseling me each week for the past few months with the material from CCEF. This stuff is so rich with the gospel and is truly material for life long change. I have taken some courses myself, but to have is applied has been amazing. I’m not going to lie to you, I fought God long and hard my first month of counseling. Our tendency is to finger-point, blame everyone for our problems and simply to avoid them all together (I hate it when I fall into this trap). It is such an exhausting way to live and one will simply carry those burdens their whole life and look to quick fixes to get by. True change doesn’t even begin until you have a desire to change first and that you are willing only to look at yourself and your own heart issues and not anyone elses. We spent a lot of time re-visiting my childhood and I did not like seeing myself as that scared little boy in the corner watching my parents fight and my father abusing me. Or being picked on in school or going through divorce. But after a few weeks, I finally gave in and repented my crap to God and I have experienced so much freedom since. I quit blaming all these people and circumstances for who I am today and remembered who I was in Christ. Just learning about the gospel and my need for a Savior has so enriched my life. I have never had this much peace in my heart and I feel the changes going on in me will be life long changes. I am so thankful for Mark, my church, my MC and the scores of support from friends for their commitment to me and the changes God is doing.

So today the plan is to be still and allow God to mold me. I’m growing, learning and I love my life! I am so thankful I am choosing to go through the fire and trusting God as I face my problems and not side-step or hide from them. God has something huge in store and I want to be ready for it. And the glory part of it comes with how he used this broken guy who loves Jesus for his purposes.

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Tonight I watched the movie “Courageous“. Sometimes these faith-based films can be a little cheesy, but they carry a powerful message. “Fireproof” and “Soul Surfer” were great movies too. I have had several men tell me I should see this movie. It’s about four law enforcement officers going through some tough trials in their family. They end up putting their faith in God and he works through all them despite their shortcomings. It really hit me hard as a man because I carry the responsibility to be the leader of my family. I have failed in so many ways over the years in this. I’m thankful to God that he continues to stick with me and work in me to grow stronger in this area.

I have been praying a lot lately to be a better example to my family. I pray every morning for an opportunity to be a better man and husband to my wife. But for now, I can be an example to my kids. Both of my kids have really got involved with their discipleship groups. I am blessed that they both have good Godly men leading their groups. Cornerstone is doing this church-wide study of Experiencing God. I started this study awhile back and never finished it. A small group contacted me and asked me to join them in their study and I have decided to do so knowing my kids will be doing the study in their own group. I have been praying for an opportunity to step up and lead my own kids in devotions. So we are going to spend each week discussing what we are learning in our groups together. I loved sitting down with Ty tonight and helping him look up verses in his Bible for his homework. I have spent so much time trying to find the courage to be a Godly example to my kids and now he had blessed me with that. God is working in my family – He is so amazing!

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Today I helped moved a friend and her husband to a new home with a group of people from Cornerstone for Second Saturday. It was great to get out and be a light in the community and to fellowship with some wonderful people. Just hearing Debbie’s story of how God brought her and husband back together after years of both of them struggling to be single parents on their own was encouraging. And now God has blessed them both with a new home to do life together in. I also enjoyed hearing the many stories of the group around me and how God is working all over the place in people’s lives. We had this amazing prayer session afterwards in which we prayed for people and blessed the new home. I love how a simple day of serving turns into a day in which we saw God glorified in people’s stories.

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Answer

These are examples of stories in the Bible of responses to God when He calls on us

Numbers 13:30-14:23

I love this passage of scripture. But at the same time it can be scary. God is asking a question – How big am I? The people of Israel were afraid to cross into the land God promised to them because there would be huge trials ahead. Even though God delivered them from Egypt, they still doubted Him.

Everything great for God costs deeply

God asked the question to Moses “How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the signs I have performed among them?” (Numbers 14:10-12). How do we respond to the question if God is big enough? We answer this by what we do or don’t do. People (and churches) who blink lose the glory. The Israelites that had doubt did not cross into the promised land because they didn’t have faith that God would deliver them. But in the book of Joshua, the generation that followed had great faith and God used them in amazing ways.

Esther 4:12-14

When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

God invites us to join his work – it’s an invitation. God draws, reveals and convicts. It is key to realize why He is positioning us. Just know that comfort is never a part of His agenda. Esther had to make a choice. She was placed in a unique situation and had to have an answer to God’s calling. Her answer brought glory because doing nothing isn’t an option.

God has a purpose for you to fulfill

Genesis 22:1-2

God wants to know – If I ask … would you? Will you give me all of you?

God asks this question of Abraham because he was prideful (Genesis 12), manipulative (Genesis 16) and selfish. He tests our faith. He wants to know where our hearts reside. In this moment, Abraham had to give an answer to God’s calling by trusting Him.

Some questions have to be asked because giving the answer changes me

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Power of 10

Program from Phoenix Civic Plaza

This is where my story starts. On September 16, my wife and I separated after 9 years of marriage. Earlier this week I stayed with my uncle to give her space. He is a Godly man and has been like an older brother to me. I’m so torn. My world has been turned upside down and I hurt for my two boys for the brokenness they will have to endure. This past week while laying on an air mattress in my uncle’s spare bedroom, I cried out to God. I will admit that for some time I have doubted that He even exists. I asked Him to reveal Himself to me and to help me through this difficult time. I want to be a man of honor and integrity as I endure these trials. I want God to lead my path. This week I surrendered my life to Christ and vowed to live my life for Him. The only thing I asked for in return is for Him to provide good solid people to do this new faith journey with.

I have been attending Cornerstone Christian Fellowship for the past ten years and many at the church have rallied around me to help walk me through this difficult time. Today was their ten year anniversary and they celebrated downtown at the Phoenix Civic Plaza. Pastor Linn Winters was my youth pastor growing up and I have been a part of this church since its initial inception. Now is a time I need my church family more than ever. I took the boys to this event to be a part of this milestone. It was pretty hard for me to be there without my wife. Little did I know, God was answering my prayer by providing this community for me to do life with and working out His plans for my future in the process.

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My Uncle Joel doing a skit onstage

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Brian Wurzell leads the congregation in worship

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Pastor Linn and the original members that started the church ten years ago

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