Downtown Cornerstone Blog
Oct 4
2018

God at Work Among Us | Summer BBQ Recap

Baptism, Summer BBQ

On August 25th, we gathered for our eighth annual BBQ and Baptisms at Myrtle Edwards Park. Through hazy smoke, windy rain, and cooler temperatures, we rejoiced with ten image bearers of God as they shared stories of Jesus’ radical grace in their lives through baptism! What a picture of God’s amazing mercy and handiwork in saving people from varying backgrounds, childhoods, sins, and world views. He is mighty to save and no one is too far out of His reach!

Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear. – Isaiah 59:1

Let’s be faithful in praying for more of this life-transforming work in our city, our workplaces, and our spheres of influence!


Below are some snapshots and quotes from the day:

“My story, like every Christian’s, is one of God’s gracious and unmerited kindness meeting me in a place of deep need.” – Robby

“Everything that I thought I could find in life apart from God, only led to more brokenness. But God was at work!” – Derek

“After many years with a hardness of heart, I was not interested in attending church or reading scripture. I really didn’t think I needed a savior, let alone faith. But, Jesus had other plans for me.” – Giliane

“Seeing I was helpless to fix my sin, I finally understood why the only solution would be if God fixed the problem for me. He knew I would never and could never make myself righteous.” – Andrew

“Last May I lost my job…an event that would have absolutely crushed the old me. Instead of having an identity crisis, God replaced some of the emotions surrounding job loss with sheer, unapologetic joy in Jesus Christ.” – Hailey 

“God isn’t distant and detached to us. He not only cares about our sufferings, but He knows them exactly.” – Sophia

“I was welcomed by the body of the church, something that I had not seen or felt before. The light of Christ was shining in these people and I knew it was not shining in me.” – Charlie

“I began to learn of the grace and love He has for me, when I least deserve it. I realized that although I was born into a Christian home, I had not truly given my life to Jesus.” – Manasseh

“I can’t thank Jesus enough that His once-and-for-all sacrifice is more than enough to cover my iniquity and abominations against The Father. He saved me and forgave me because He loves me and He wanted to.” – Crystal

“Today I’m being baptized because I want all to know that Jesus is my savior and my foundation. He is the Truth, The Way and the Life.” – Andre

Oct 1
2018

Mercy Ministry Update | September

City Life, Mercy Ministries, Mercy Update | by Pastor Justin Keogh

The Mercy Ministry Updates are a regular snapshot of our Mercy Ministries in DCC, where we are working to serve and uphold the value and dignity of God’s most vulnerable image bearers in our city. Each update highlights one of our focus areas, as well as provide a listing of upcoming events, and current prayer requests across all of our focus areas.

GOSPEL FRAMEWORK
The Bible, as God’s inspired word, displays God’s good design and our radical need for a savior, found only in Jesus, and calls us to live out our new identity in Christ as we engage the world around us.

“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” – Isaiah 55:1

“On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive…” – John 7:37-39

We are often prone to forget the deep wonder of God’s grace for us in Christ. Israel would have heard the promises Isaiah spoke of—promises of forgiveness and restoration and peace and love—and hoped in them for hundreds of years before the fulfillment of these promises in Jesus. If we are honest, we too have felt that deep thirst and longing, which we can only be satisfied in Christ. And Jesus tells us that as we drink and savor God’s love for us in Christ, our hearts will be fountains of living water by the Holy Spirit (cf. John 4:1-15), and that the same joy, satisfaction, and love which we are filled with will also flow outward from us. This imagery of a fountain and of flowing waters richly and beautifully reflects our call to love others as we are loved in Christ. We serve because we have been served by God. We have compassion for others because God has compassion for us. We love because we are a people profoundly and eternally loved by God.

MERCY FOCUS HIGHLIGHT: SEX TRAFFICKING AND REST
As a church we support and partner with several mercy ministries and want to share and highlight their on-going work.

Sex trafficking is a major issue in our city, with an estimated 3,000 individuals are being trafficked in Seattle every night. Our primary partner in this area of focus is REST: Real Escape from the Sex Trade. REST was founded in 2009 with the purpose of powerfully serving and loving victims of sex trafficking by providing prevention, intervention, and restorative services. The nonprofit has served over 1,580 individuals and assisted over 100 in exiting the sex trade for one year or more. Every one of those individuals is a person made in the image of God and every story matters. God has done and is continuing to do amazing things in people’s lives, and it is a joy and a blessing that he gives us the opportunity to lovingly serve those in need.

DCC will be hosting an Info Session with REST this Sunday at 1pm, where you can learn more about the issue of sex trafficking in our city; the work that RESTdoes in caring for sexually exploited women, men, and children; and the ways you can partner with DCC and REST to care for these image-bearers!

UPCOMING EVENTS
Not all events are sponsored or hosted by DCC, but serve those in our focus areas. See linked details for each.

PARTNER PRAYER REQUESTS

  • REFUGEES | Let’s be praying for the image-bearers around the world fleeing oppression and destruction, that they would find refuge and justice, that the true King would establish his throne in steadfast love, in faithfulness, in justice, and in righteousness, and that God would give us opportunities and courage to be the advance guard of that kingdom. 
  • ORPHAN CARE | This month our prayer focus is the global orphan crisis. Please consider a particular nation as you pray for families in that nation to be strengthened, Christian families to adopt and/or foster children in need, churches and NGOs to partner and seek restoration, and that God would ultimately adopt the fatherless into his family.
  • SEX TRAFFICKING & REST | Pray for the young and vulnerable girls who have run away from home and become targets for traffickers. Pray also that they, along with other women, would find shelter in REST’s services including the emergency center.
  • HOMELESS & UGM | Pray for the men and women experiencing homelessness in Seattle, especially that those who have contact with UGM will be able to pursue recovery and treatment as needed. Pray also for UGM and its leaders as they undergo a search for a new Mission president.
  • JUVENILE DETENTION | It has been really encouraging to see God soften stony hearts and draw some of the young men and women in the detention center closer to Him by sparking curiosity in His word.  Please pray that He would keep this desire burning in their hearts and that they would read and study His word with a desire to know Him, that would continue as the leave detention.
  • LIFE & CARENET | Pray for the girls returning to school this year facing unplanned pregnancy, that they’d find life-affirming options through CareNet and other pregnancy centers. Pray for the launch of CareNet’s Smart Programs this year in schools.

STAY CONNECTED
Join the focus area city groups in order to hear more regular updates, events, and opportunities to serve.

Sep 28
2018

Our New Onramp into Life with DCC

Discipleship, News | by Pastor Adam Sinnett

DCC,

Beginning this Sunday (09/30) we are offering a new five-week class called Foundations

Over our history, we have discovered it is important, and extremely helpful, to provide an opportunity for people to learn more about us before committing more deeply to the life of our church (e.g. via community, service, giving, leadership, and more). 

Foundations was designed to serve that purpose and, therefore, function as the primary onramp into life with DCC. So, whether you’re new and curious or a long-time attender who is looking to go deeper, Foundations is for you. 

This class is the first stop for folks who would like to: 

• Learn more about DCC
• Gain an understanding of foundational Christian beliefs
• Join a Cornerstone Community
• Become a leader
• Take your next step toward baptism
• And, ultimately, become a member

This isn’t merely a “hoop to jump through” but a relational opportunity for us to get to know one another in an intentional environment. 

This class will meet on Sunday mornings at 9am and will cover:

Week #1—What we believe (i.e. biblical beliefs)
Week #2—Why its important to belong (i.e. membership)
Week #3—Who we are (i.e. vision, mission, and values)
Week #4—Why we are here (i.e. our city)
Week #5—How we function (i.e. leadership, service, partners, and finances)

By the end of the class, you will have clear next steps for how to grow and get further connected with DCC.

The first class will run Sept. 30—Oct. 28. The class will run again Nov. 11—Dec. 16. We are currently planning to offer this class twice each quarter. You may jump into the class at any point—whether the beginning, middle, or end—and complete the remaining classes the next time the course is offered. 

For more information and to register go here. If you have any questions, just let us know. 

Let’s pray that the Lord would use this class to spread his glory, strengthen his local church, save souls and edify saints, while increasing our joy in him. 

Christ is all, 

Pastor Adam

Sep 27
2018

Life in Community | Why Community?

Community, Discipleship | by Pastor Justin Keogh

The Life in Community series highlights aspects of our life lived together in community through a mixture of theology, vision, and personal stories. Cornerstone Communities are the primary means of forming meaningful discipling relationships where we can be known, encouraged, and challenged by brothers and sisters in our body, and live out the “one another” commandments in our daily lives. 

— 

On most Thursday nights, I come home to our living room set up with all the folding chairs we own. The table is cleared of the usual place settings to make room for a potluck buffet. In a few minutes, somewhere between ten and twenty people show up, placing food and drinks on the table, catching up with each other, and marveling as the kids run in circles around it all. Is it a party, every week? Sometimes it feels that way, but in reality it’s our community gathered for quality time together over a meal, studying and discussing God’s word, and praying for one another.

As we go around the circle and share the evidences of grace we’ve each experienced that week, I marvel at how quickly these people, once strangers, have become family. I reflect on how these brothers and sisters in Christ have more in common with me than many of my own biological relatives, despite some being a decade younger or older, some of a different ethnicity and race, some of a different political persuasion, and some with different educational and economic backgrounds. At times I may have preferred an evening out with coworkers, but God has used the diversity of His body to challenge my assumptions and bring fresh conviction, expand my understanding of grace, and grow me in my compassion for others. What could bring us together, week after week, to form meaningful, mutually encouraging, discipling relationships where this sort of personal change could occur? Nothing but the love of God found in Jesus Christ, experienced by us all and lived out together.

In all the circles I find myself in, the bonds within the Body of Christ are the strongest. No matter how much my graduating class has shared experiences, my coworkers have shared goals, or my friends have shared interests, nothing brings together as diverse a people in as meaningful ways as the gospel of Jesus Christ. This amazing gospel brings us into a restored relationship with God and adopts us alongside others into a new family who now share a common identity.

This is Christian community. We, the adopted sons and daughters of God, are now part of God’s family, citizens in His kingdom, members of His body, and stones in His temple. We gather throughout the weeks and across the city in people’s homes in these Cornerstone Communities, intentionally living our lives together, so that we might encourage, and be encouraged by, one another in our faith. Throughout the history of the church, brothers and sisters in Christ have met together in similar fashion. The early church in Jerusalem is described in Acts chapter 2 this way:

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.  – Acts 2:42-47 

The heart of Christian community is relationship. We structure our Cornerstone Communities by neighborhoods in hopes of best facilitating shared life together. It is our prayer that everyone who calls DCC home will find this kind of genuine life-on-life community, where they can be known, encouraged, and challenged in their faith – and do the same for others. Here’s my encouragement…

  • If you’re already part of a Cornerstone CommunityI hope you’ll continue to press in and use your gifts for the upbuilding of those in your community.
  • If you’ve been on the fringe of a community and haven’t been regularly connected, we’re just kicking off the year and now is a great time to jump back in.
  • If you’ve never been a part of a Cornerstone Community, sign up for the DCC Foundations class starting this week to learn more about who we are, what we believe, and how we operate as a local family and get connected! Register here
Sep 13
2018

Stories of Grace | Desperate with Thirst

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.”

I have come to know God in the face of Jesus by taking deeper and deeper draughts of His love over the years, usually desperate with thirst. Weary with my own failure or the evil in the world around me, I am forced to decide – do I self-medicate with spiritual platitudes and worldly comforts, or do I accept my desperate neediness and dive in to the Fountain of Life for another sweet drink of his grace? Every increase I’ve felt in my love for Jesus has directly coincided with my need of Him. These needy experiences have been tough and painful, but all have been a divine gift.

Prior to officially planting Downtown Cornerstone Church, the core team completed a study on The Gospel-Centered Life. Alongside a messy group of church-planters, I remember encountering a diagram (image below) and understanding its sense completely. Yes, God’s holiness can clearly be seen in the Scriptures and the universe at large. Yes, sinful selfishness and its consequences was all around. But the impact of Jesus’ death on the cross had yet to grow greater in my life. I still maintained a small, comfortable view of my own sin and God’s holiness, despite “understanding” it. By God’s grace, the significance of the cross grew in my heart, but it took a journey of pain mixed with joy.

My first pregnancy wrecked my health, energy, and emotions. Without yet feeling the little baby within, my mind couldn’t make sense of the physical consequences I was experiencing. Inwardly, I railed against God for these uncomfortable inconveniences and other secret grievances I was harboring. Instead of Christ’s grace and goodness growing greater in my heart, I was shrinking the cross by putting myself in God’s place, asserting that I knew the best way for me.

While pouring out my bitterness, a friend kindly rebuked me, reminding me that indeed this trial was a good gift of God if only I had eyes to see it. Life inside of you, what a gift! But I blindly allowed his rebuke to offend my hardened heart.

Fast forward one year and thousands of miles, I now had two little children in a land of snow and ice called Connecticut where God had led us for my husband, Giulian’s graduate program. Though every change is initially exciting, the thrill had worn off and we found ourselves trapped in a church that lacked any real community.

Reluctantly, I joined a women’s book study, in part thinking I could teach them what genuine community should look like. Oh what pride I had! What initially softened my heart wasn’t an alleviation of my worldly burdens, or the wisdom of an excellent book, but witnessing another believer face a grave trial beautifully, by trusting in God.

The group had only met a few times when Kim shared that she had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. A wife and homeschool mom to three little boys, I witnessed all her emotions and started to feel them too. She found something amidst the trial that I wanted, a profoundly deep faith in God her Maker.

All of a sudden, God brought back to mind that gentle rebuke I received in my first pregnancy and I was finally able to see it as kindness. Through continued meditation and a perspective shift to see suffering as an act of grace, my love for Jesus and view of His goodness finally began to grow. I began to see that the highest form of “self-care” was in caring for others and shouldering their burdens with them and allowing them to help shoulder mine.

Rather than seeking to “bounce back” after personal trials, I have received a far greater gift by submitting to trials as a force to shape my character. I recently learned that water is the single most erosive force on the planet. The Fountain of Living Water has eroded parts of my person, and in turn created something far more beautiful. 

“For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” – Revelation 7:17

“God disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful but it later yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness [here’s the important key] to those who have been trained by it.” – Hebrews 12:10 

The torrent of life can be overwhelming and at times discouraging, but I hope it leads us to the Everlasting Fountain again and again until we are brought there by the hand of Christ Himself never to depart again. 

– Christy Giusti, DCC Member

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