Downtown Cornerstone Blog
Jun 14
2018

Mercy Ministry Update – June

Mercy Update | by Justin Keogh

The Bible contains numerous exhortations for God’s people to care for the sojourner and the alien (Deut 10:17-19, Jer 22:3). And even as we read these passages, we know that we were once ourselves alienated from God by our sin. In 1 Peter, Peter uses this language of “sojourners and exiles” to call our attention to the fact that our home is not of this world, but with God in heaven. He then speaks to our new corporate identity, saying “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” (1 Pet 2:9-10). And it is from this mercy that we have received from God that we also extend mercy to others, including the sojourner and alien in our midst.

Mercy Focus Highlight: Refugees

As recently as 2015, Washington was the eighth largest refugee-receiving state! Over the years, we’ve had a number of our members working with organizations like World Relief to serve refugees here in Seattle. World Relief is an international ministry that focuses on disaster response, health and child development, refugee and immigration services, economic development, and peace-building. If you are interested in some ways you can continue to learn and get involved alongside others in our church, please join the Mercy Focus: Refugee group on the City, which will be a go-to place for information and upcoming events!

June 20th is World Refugee Day. This is a day intended to honor the strength, courage, and perseverance of millions of refugees, show support for those who have had to flee their homes, and raise awareness of the situation of refugees around the world. There are a number of special events coming up this month hosted by World Relief and other organizations in the area. Please check the list of upcoming events below to learn more about those, as well as events related to other mercy ministry focus areas!

Upcoming Events:

June 16 – Caregiver’s Evening Out (DCC Building)
June 16 – Stand with Refugees (Seattle)
June 19 – Refugee Community Garden Work Day (Kent)
June 20 – ARTvocavy: World Refugee Day (Seattle)
June 24 – Worship Service @ King County Juvenile Detention Center (Seattle)
June 28 – Swing for Life Golf Tournament (Kent)
June 30 – World Relief Golf Tournament (West Seattle)

To learn more or get connected, email mercy@downtowncornerstone.org

Partner Prayer Requests:

Refugees

Pray for increased awareness, compassion, and advocacy for refugees through the upcoming events hosted by World Relief and other refugee focused groups on World Refugee Day.

Orphan Care

Caregiver’s Evening Out event on 6/16 – Pray that this event would be a blessing to caregivers and parents, and that God’s love would be made evident in our service to them.

Sex Trafficking & REST

Due to recent legislation, the number of clients seeking aid from REST doubled in the month of April. Pray for the safety of those involved in the sex trade, for lives to be transformed by God’s grace, and for REST to have the resources and ability to support the increase in demand.

Homelessness & UGM

A recent count indicates that the homeless population in Seattle has increased to over 12,000 individuals. Please pray for the safety of those facing homelessness and for the efforts of organizations and ministries like UGM who serve those in need, and that God would use them to bring people to him.

Juvenile Detention

Pray that through the upcoming worship service on 6/24 kids in detention would hear and respond to the gospel.

Life & CareNet

Continued prayers for the mobile unit, that CareNet continues to make progress in the communities they are currently serving (Eastside, Burien, Rainier Valley). Pray that the women who need their services seek them out and use their services, and that they’d choose life and get support they need.

Jun 6
2018

Stories of Grace | This Side of September

Prayer, Stories of Grace

“The Stories of Grace series is intended to capture snapshots of God’s grace and glory amidst our every day lives. They are real stories of real people who have seen the fingerprints of God amidst the ordinary—God’s favorite canvas. Each story is personal, unique and, often, unfinished. Through it all we get glimpses of God’s steadfast love, sufficient grace, and ongoing presence with his people.”

Years ago, I prayed: If you teach me, Lord, I would learn. Teach me to fear You, to love You.

When I prayed that, I hadn’t the faintest idea exactly what it would require for me to learn those things, and I probably still don’t. In my more foolish moments, sometimes I think I would have liked to retract that prayer, but I am so thankful that the Lord in His infinite goodness went ahead and answered it anyway.

Circumstances took place this past September that brought me along the hardest and loneliest path I have yet walked, resulting in great depths of depression. Coupled with my acutely self-aware, introspective, introverted self, things were hard, to say the least.

In my many lonely, bitter hours this year, the Lord Himself sat with me–sometimes I did not even recognize Him–and did some of the most painful and tender searching of my heart. I found out how confused I was: I confused discipline with condemnation, I confused God’s voice with my own, I confused Christ’s righteousness in me with the call to “work out [my] own salvation with fear and trembling,” (Philippians 2:12) among other things.

It was okay for me to be confused; it was good for me to learn the difference between all of those things. But it was not good for me to do it alone. In all my confusion and navel-gazing, I would not go to God for answers or comfort or assurance, determined I could find them all within myself if I just looked hard enough. But I only became more confused and despairing of my sin, all the while thinking God was unapproachable.

When I came to the end of all these roads I walked alone, God met me there every time. Through a mess of sermons, books, and conversations with some trusted friends, He bid some storms to cease in me. He helped me and He taught me, with all patience. I learned that, of course, Satan would do everything in his power to keep me from going to God. The good word Jesus had for me was a word I was looking for for a long time without even knowing it: self-forgetfulness. There was no assurance that I would gain from mere self-analysis, because I could always doubt its genuineness. My best moments of assurance were not when I was thinking about my assurance. As Frederick Buechner wrote, I was “too busy apologizing for my own unworthiness to notice” the loving face of the Lord, which had never turned away from me. It required the power of God to simply lift my head and see it.

I am thankful that God is God, and as a college student, I know very well that it makes the world of difference to have a good Teacher.

If you teach me, Lord, I would learn. Teach me to fear you, to love you.

Would you pray this again, Vanessa? Will you continue to pray for this? I hear the Lord ask me sometimes, this side of September.

Yes, Lord, yes.

My word of encouragement is to all, but directed especially toward those who, even in the church, feel silenced by uncertainty or shame:

First, go to God, look to Him, ask Him. He is big enough for any emotion, and give the devil no opportunity for a foothold, because there is nothing to be gained the more we delay going to God.

Second, seek all of the above with the Lord Himself and with community, too. One thing I learned especially this year was that Christ called me out of my loneliness to dwell in Himself, but also to dwell with the family He gave me.

Lastly, it is cause for rejoicing and thankfulness when the Lord brings us to the day when we can say, in our own voice, that the gospel is good news to us. Even on days when we cannot do the things required of us, things we know we should do but have not the strength to do them, He will continue to do good anyway. And if you can’t believe that, He will help our unbelief if we would but ask. He who does not lie has promised it.

“O LORD, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways…Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts. And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:1-3, 23-24

– Vanessa Lim, DCC Member

If you are a member with DCC and have a story of grace to share please email info@downtowncornerstone.org.

May 31
2018

June 10th will be the last 5pm gathering

News | by Pastor Adam Sinnett

This week we announced to the members that, after much prayerful deliberation, the elders have decided to make Sunday, June 10th, the last Sunday that we will gather at 5pm (This will not affect our morning gatherings). We started the 5pm this past October. Since then, that gathering has made up approximately 15% of our total Sunday adult attendance, so it has not been a failure. At the same time, it has not taken root, nor opened up more space in the morning, as we hoped it would. The five o’clock hour doesn’t seem to be a particularly attractive gathering time for us, as a church.

We know that some of you are fans of the 5pm, but it’s not many of you. While we genuinely want to create as many opportunities as possible for people to grow in Jesus, we believe our limited resources would be better stewarded, for the good of more people, by cancelling the 5pm and reevaluating for the fall. We are currently considering three morning gatherings beginning mid-September.

We want to thank the handful of committed volunteers, and band members, that have selflessly sacrificed to make the 5pm happen over the last eight months. Thank you! We will keep you posted as plans come together for the fall. 

Q: When will the 5pm be cancelled?

A: The last 5pm gathering will be held on Sunday, June 10th. Therefore, there will be no 5pm gathering beginning, Sunday, June 17th. 

Q: What do I do if I’m a volunteer at the 5pm? 

A: Don’t quit yet! If you are on a 5pm service team, your Ministry Lead will reach out and help get you connected to a morning service team. But, keep in mind, we still have two weeks until our last 5pm gathering.

Q: What will we do in the fall? 

A: We are still deciding, though moving to three morning gatherings is a real possibility. That means we will only have three months (June, July, August) before we’re back to three again in September. 

Q: Why not change to three morning gatherings now? 

A: Changing gathering times is no small feat and requires significant coordination and communication. Therefore, it seemed most prudent to not attempt that as we enter summer, but wait until the fall. 

Q: Does this mean we will never have an evening gathering again?

A: No, not at all. We are still open to an evening gathering when timing, circumstances, and the life of our church align in such a way that it makes sense. Though, I will say it would be our preference to be able to have everyone gather at the same time! Let’s pray Jesus would make that a possibility. 

Q: Will this change how long I can park in the lots next to the building? 

A: Yes, we’ll be adjusting our parking lot reservation timeframe to end at 2pm on Sundays. So, please ensure you do not leave your car beyond 2pm or you may be ticketed. 

This isn’t a withdrawal, by any stretch, but a recalibration for more effective gospel ministry. The Lord is at work among us, friends. Let’s pray for the Lord to use this change to shake off any spiritual sleepiness and alert us to the importance of the realities we are swimming in as his people. Together, we are “the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15) in Seattle no matter what time, or how many times, we happen to gather on Sunday.  

Christ is all, 

Pastor Adam

May 17
2018

Why “Serve the City”?

Event, Serve the City, Service | by Justin Keogh

In just a few weeks, on Saturday, June 2nd from 9a-1p, we’ll gather at Bailey Gatzert Elementary School as a body to serve and bless the Seattle Public Schools (SPS) through our 6th annual Serve the City event. Over the years, we’ve set aside a summer Saturday morning in order to serve together as a family on mission. As we’ve continued to grow so has our impact through this event – and as of the last few years, we’re one of the largest groups that SPS has worked with! Of course, our motivation is not to be the largest group, but to serve with the joy of the Lord as our strength (and thereby do as much good as we can). As we gear up for serving together on June 2nd, I wanted to remind us of some great truths in our service to our neighbors:

We have been loved and served beyond measure in Christ

Our fundamental starting point is the good news of the gospel, which is that when we were dead in our sins Christ came to rescue us through his death and resurrection and restore us to right relationship to God (Rom 5:8). And from this restored relationship overflows a love that is expressed in all areas of our life – how we spend our time, money, and effort; how we work and play; how we relate to one another and to our neighbors. We live with Christ as our model, who came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (Matt 20:28).

We serve by God’s strength and for His glory

Throughout Scripture, God speaks of his redeeming work to create a people for his own possession, that we would be set apart, living for His Glory. Ephesians 2:10 says it this way: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” God has redeemed us and set before us good works that we might display something of His love and glory to the world around us. Jesus says that we are to be light in the world, “so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matt 5:16).

We serve our city out of love as an implication of the gospel

In being loved by God through Jesus, we are moved by the love we’ve received to love others, within the church and outside of the church. Paul writes to the Thessalonians that they are to “always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people,” (1 Thes 5:15). We seek to both declare and demonstrate the good news of Jesus across Seattle, through our faithful proclamation and service.

With this in mind, let’s serve with a humble and joyful posture of heart, working heartily unto the Lord. More details, directions, and registration can be found here. Please register to let us know you’re coming and so we can plan accordingly. Bring your communities and friends!

For the glory of our King and the good of many,
Justin Keogh

May 16
2018

Seven Hopes For Our Next Seven Years

News, Prayer | by Pastor Adam Sinnett

Last month we turned seven years old as a church. You can read more about that here. Since many of you are relatively new to DCC, I thought I’d take this milestone as an opportunity to share seven hopes we have for the next seven years. These aren’t exhaustive, of course, and my assumption throughout is that our current culture of being a God-saturated, Christ-centered, Spirit-dependent, Bible-fueled, faith-filled, holiness-pursuing, people-loving-people will only deepen (which is why I don’t explicitly mention them below). If you’re not already a part of this family-on-mission, we invite you to join our next membership class this weekend. Here are seven of our hopes, in no particular order:

Hope #1 A Permanent Home

This can seem like a bland hope, but its not. We spent our first four years completely mobile, setting-up and tearing-down every single week. Every piece of equipment that was needed for a Sunday gathering fit into a barrage of boxes with wheels. During the week we had an office in a donated space on the 17th floor of a downtown high-rise. But, the office was so small that all of the staff couldn’t work there at the same time—and we only had four! For midweek classes, or meetings, we met at the Belltown Community Center or in various apartment community rooms throughout the city. In other words, being able to consolidate our base of gospel ministry in our current building has been a game-changer, even amidst its own challenges. With two years left on our current lease, in an inflated real estate market, finding a permanent home in the city is a significant point of prayer. 

Hope #2 A Missional Culture

God’s mission for us is to make disciples of all nations (Mt. 28:18-20; 1 Pet. 2:9; Acts 1:8)—across the street and around the world. That happens as we cultivate a heart for the lost and seek to share the good news of Jesus with our not-yet-believing friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers. It is easy for a church to subtly shift to being so preoccupied with its own needs that it neglects the greatest needs of our neighbors—to know and belong to Jesus. Therefore, a second hope we have for the next seven years is to continue to intentionally cultivate a culture that loves the lost and seeks to share the radical news of Jesus. 

Hope #3 A Discipleship Culture

Christians are meant to grow, mature, and develop deep roots in God. That process is called “discipleship” where a follower of Jesus progressively—amidst starts and stops—learns to walk in Jesus’ ways for our joy (Jn.15:11) and his glory (1Cor.10:31). Discipleship doesn’t happen in a vacuum, or merely by reading books or listening to podcasts, but primarily in the context of relationships with others who are seeking the same. By God’s grace, we do have a culture of discipleship in place, but there is more to be done. Imagine if every member of DCC had two to three people they were intentionally investing in to help them grow in Jesus. Our aim is to kneed this even more deeply and fully into the fabric of who we are as Jesus’ people in the next seven years.

Hope #4 A Diverse Culture

We know that God’s great redemptive purposes span millennia, continents, ethnicities, ages, genders, socioeconomic statuses and more (Rev.7:9-12). Jesus’ redeemed bride will be a multi-ethnic, multi-generational, multi-socioeconomic people. It will be like that then because that is the kind of people Jesus’ is redeeming now. That means we need to think intentionally and thoughtfully about how to cultivate a diverse people, in Jesus. We need to ask important questions like, “Why is the city, during the week, so often more diverse than the church, on Sunday?” Or, “Are there systemic and historical ways sin has created this bifurcation? If so, how we can intentionally bring healing there?” Believe it or not, as a church, we’re more diverse now than we’ve ever been. But, we know there’s room to grow. So we’re actively navigating these waters in hope, asking Jesus to allow us to grow as a diverse people in the years ahead.  

Hope #5 A Forward-Thinking Culture

I was recently struck by verse four of Psalm 145, “One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts….” In his wisdom, God has chosen to spread his fame and saving goodness, in Jesus, as one generation commends him to the next. I suppose this stood out because I recently turned 40. Now that I’ve crossed the 50 yard line I have begun to think about the importance of the next generation—namely students. I’m not saying I’m ready to hang it up! Far from it. But, its never too early to think about those who will be here long after us. How I long to see a generation of young people, passionate about the Lord, convinced of the absolute trustworthiness of the Bible, gripped by the gospel of grace, with lives open to follow his leading. But, that doesn’t just happen. As with everything, intentionality is required. Therefore, another hope for the next seven years is that we are able to implement a plan to reach, equip, and send students, and other young people, for the cause of Christ. 

Hope #6 A City-Loving Culture

If you’re around long enough you will hear us say something like, “We’re not in the city to look down on the city in pride, nor cower under the city in fear, but to love and challenge the city with the reality of Jesus.” We love Seattle. God’s common grace here is staggering, if we have eyes to see. Yet, amidst the beauty, there is tremendous brokenness. So, we want be known for spreading the good news of Jesus, but also known for being good news in our city. Our hope is that this will continue to express itself in the form of expanding mercy ministries, partnership with like-minded churches, integration of faith and work, thoughtful engagement with the arts scene, and more. By God’s grace, we hope our roots sink even more deeply into the soil of this city for its good and the glory of God. Let’s love this city to life in the next seven years. 

Hope #7 A Sending Culture 

Our hopes for the next seven years go well beyond ourselves. Over the last seven years, together, we have given hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund church plants around the world, including places like Brazil, Mexico, Ecuador, Turkey, Japan, and all along the west coast (from San Diego to Alaska). This is, in large part, due to our affiliation with the Acts 29 Network. We hope to do even more in the next seven years. Even right now we are looking at developing a formal partnership with Radius, a training center for missionaries seeking to plant churches amidst unreached people groups around the world—three of our members are already involved. Will you join me in praying that the Lord will continue to grow us as a sending center for the sake of the world? 

What Might He Do Next?

I write all of this fully aware that, “Many are the plans in the mind of man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand” (Pr.19:21). The Lord of all the earth will do what is right. Our role is to be faithful, while allowing the Lord to determine the fruit. Knowing that should cause us to pray big prayers and dream big dreams. This is not the work of one man, nor a particular group of passionate individuals—this is our work. This is the work of Jesus’ church—and we’re all gifted and called to participate in his unfolding drama of redemption (1Cor.12:4-30). Let’s enter these next seven years filled with faith, hope and love. “Come Lord, Jesus!” (Rev.22:20).

What might he do next? 

Expectantly yours, in Christ. 

Pastor Adam