Why?

So I’ve called Cornerstone my home church community for over 8 years now. I’ve served in who knows how many different roles. I’ve been shepherded by numerous different leaders. I’ve taken part in helping plant another sister church off of Cornerstone. I’ve had the privilege to lead countless others in the pursuit of Christ. I’ve seen our church do wonderful, amazing, challenging, and risky things together. And I’ve watched our community continually welcome new friends through the doors to come and join in this journey.

And it’s my home. It’s my job. It’s my ministry. It’s my family.

And lately I’ve been quite saddened when other people, whether it be people that have never been part of the ministry and the lives that occur here, or people that have served here faithfully for some time and have now moved on to different things, think that it’s justifiable or ok to point out our church’s shortcomings. Or our downfalls. Or our motives. Or the way we risk. Or our financial business. Or that it’s ok to mock our pastor or our staff. Or anything else that they feel is worthy of mentioning to give people a bad taste in their mouth about my church. Regardless of the fact that God is INDEED using our staff and our people to help radically redirect lives from dark, tragic, lonely existences into bright, hopeful, and fulfilling lives in Jesus.

It’s UNDENIABLE that the Great Creator is creating within the lives of the people here at this church. That He is sending us out to the lonely, hurting places of the world. That He is challenging us and stretching us to tremendous lengths. That He is calling us to let go of us and take a hold of HIM. These last couple of months alone have been eye-awakening to the Spirit moving through our community.

Yet for some reason, others discard these truths like we don’t know what the hell we are doing. To some we are just in it for the wrong reasons and that we are simply trying to grow a mega church and be the coolest thing on the block. A Christian theme park of sorts.

And to me it simply is a stab in the back. And it hurts. And I’m not quite sure why it’s necessary.

I feel this is one of the many reasons why people that don’t know who Christ is, have a hard time trusting and feeling safe within a community of believers. There’s always this friggin contention behind the facade. “That church is dumb.” “That church is wrong.”

Who cares!? Let the Lord use you were He’s placed you, take notes from churches that are helping to shape lives, and stop causing dissension between fellow Christ followers.

And I realize that we are all human, and we suck sometimes, and we get hurt by those closest to us. I really do get that. But is it our place to paint a poor picture of a certain church? Or push others further from having a conversation for the first time with the Living God??

I certainly don’t believe so.

We always forget that we are the Church and not just churches.

Gossip In The Grain.

From one friend to another, please take my exuberant advice and go to your nearest Best Buy/iTunes store/Target/Wal-Mart/garage sale/whatever and place in your possession a copy of Ray Lamontagnes newest album “Gossip In The Grain”. (I was trying, but for some reason I can’t link to the iTunes store here (if any of you would like to show me how I’d be much obliged)).

I can’t stop listening to this CD. And I’m not going to try and explain how good it is or what tunes are my favorites or whatever…heck…this isn’t a Rolling Stones record review or anything. I just want to share this with you.

Anyways, you absolutely need to at least listen to this record. Now I’m not one to impose my musical tastebuds onto others, but I really want you to at least let it hit your pallete before you discard my words.

Every once in a while, there comes an album that is so full of passion and vigor and love and sorrow and truth and life and beauty that it beckons me into a time of real reflection and worship and thankfulness. Albums like Sigur Ros’s “Med Sud | Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust”, Coldplay’s “Parachutes”, Explosion In The Sky’s “The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place”, and now Ray’s new piece of his heart.

Now these albums would never be placed in the same grab bag of other albums that we so often refer to as “worship music”. And don’t get me wrong at all or take me for some heretic or something…I’m not saying that there is anything super spiritual about these works. They don’t have lyrics that paint a picture of God’s great redemption of the lost. They don’t portray the incredible freedom that is poured upon us through Jesus. They aren’t uniting the Church together.

But I sometimes find myself heart-deep in awe of who HE is when some of these songs reverberate through my bones. Often it is the mere simplicity and honesty of the music. And other times it is the overwhelming grandness of the sounds clashing together to create a melody that sends me into the clouds. In any case, I feel closer and my heart beats heavier for my great Father around these albums.

And as a worshipper and a worship leader, I desperately want and need beautiful things that point my heart towards Jesus.

So take a listen and tell me if you like.

He’s Almost Here.

Cruz is knockin at the door! His due date is November 7th and Jess is beginning to feel light small contractions every once in a while!

Everyone keeps asking me “so…are you ready!?”

I don’t know what to say to that question. I mean…I think I’m ready. Can you really ever ‘be ready’?

Anyways, I’ll be committed to keeping you guys updated here on the progress of little Cruz.

I can only hope and trust the the Lord will give me the heart and wisdom to be the father that He designed me to be…

One Hell Of A Tithe.

So just found this on MSN….

Bill Gates has been the richest American on the Forbes 400 list for 15 years. But in this financial crisis, Warren Buffett has zoomed ahead to knock Gates off his perch.

Buffett got $8 billion richer from Aug. 29 to Oct. 1, and now has a $58 billion net worth, according to Forbes. Let’s put that in perspective. In the month of September, when the financial world was going down the tubes, Buffett got $242 million richer every day. How is that even possible?

Gates’ net worth declined by $1.5 billion over the 33-day period to $55.5 billion.

At this point I’m trying to fathom what I would do with $242 million dollars every day….