Downtown Cornerstone Blog
Oct 3
2019

An Invitation to Men’s Training Day

Discipleship, Event | by Anne Johnson

Men of DCC,

In just over two weeks, on Saturday, October 19th will be our 2019 Men’s Training Day, from 9a-3p at DCC’s building. Think of this single-day event as a “mini-man-camp,” but without the drive! We’ll be gathering for instruction from God’s Word on what it means to cultivate a fruitful life in Christ. We’ll also be hearing testimonies of God’s work among us, with space for personal reflection and group discussion.

Over the years, I’ve found these events to be deeply encouraging – and I know many others have as well. I’d encourage you to make it a priority to attend, as an investment in your relationship with Jesus as well as an opportunity to build relationships within our body. It is our prayerful aim to gather with 200 men!

What will we be doing?

Anchored in Jesus’ parable of the soils (Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23), we’ll consider what it means to bear fruit through receiving the Word. We’ll look at those things, internally and externally, that threaten to choke out our faith, and how to combat them. The goals of the day are to instruct and equip through the Word and to build relationships across our church body.

What if I have plans?

Consider changing them and making this an intentional investment in your faith. We only host these training events every nine months, so there are limited opportunities to grow in this unique way. You can bring others too! You don’t have to be a member to attend; you’ve just got to be a dude. (Don’t worry, ladies, there will be a Women’s Training Day in February!)

What if I don’t know anyone?

Don’t worry – you won’t be the only one! This event is a great way to meet other men in our body. Events like these are like relational Insta-pots: you can grow in your relationships more through a single day like this together than over many months of short meet-and-greet conversations.

Why a single day event?

Our goal is to remove many of the barriers that exist with a full weekend retreat – a much shorter drive (and no ferries!), easier family logistics, lower cost – while keeping much of the same rich biblical content, time with brothers in worship and discussion, and practical equipping.

What does the $25 cost include?

We’ll provide a light breakfast, coffee throughout the day, a box lunch, the materials for the day, parking, and a book. If the cost is a financial hardship – just let us know in the registration, as there are scholarships available!

With all of that, here are the event details:

WHEN: Saturday, October 19th
WHERE: DCC’s Building – 2333 Western Ave, 98121
TIME: Doors open for registration and light refreshments at 8a, the event starts at 9a and will go until 3p.
PARKING: Free parking is available in both lots next to the building for this event. Validation will be available at the Bell Harbor Garage (located at 2323 Elliott Avenue) if both parking lots are full.
LUNCH: Box lunch included with registration.

Click here to register.

I am looking forward to gathering with you on the 19th!

Pastor Justin

Feb 11
2019

Start the Year Taking Fresh Steps of Faith

Discipleship, Teaching | by Pastor Adam Sinnett

As most of you know, we concluded our 2019 New Year Essentials sermon series last week. This has become an annual set of sermons that address topics to which we must repeatedly return for God’s glory, our joy, and the good of others. Of course, this is not an annual repeat of the same sermons. Rather, they are different sermons that take different angles on subjects we need to come back to again-and-again. 

Here is how our series came together this year: 

Storing Up God’s Word

A Gospel-Forged People in a Divided Age

Rebooting Your Prayer Life

The Wonder of Jesus’ Local Church

My prayer for that series was for the Spirit of God to move each of us to take fresh steps of faith this year. Faith does not stay put for long. Faith moves (James 2:17). Faith is a living dynamic force, given and fueled by the Spirit, that changes our every day lives, in ways big and small, for the glory of God. 

That prayer is what led to my weekly challenges, to the entire church, throughout the series. Each challenge was a practical suggestion for how your faith in Christ might move you to take fresh steps in the area under consideration. Here are the four challenges I gave to the church: 

#1 Memorize one verse a week 

In a world filled with words, we won’t make it unless we’re being fed and fortified by the right words. We need unshakeable words of truth to give meaning, strength and hope to our lives. Those words are found in God’s Word. Of course, the amount of Scripture will vary from person to person. What matters is that you are stockpiling the riches of God’s Word in your heart. What’s your plan? 

#2 Do not mirror the divisions of the world, within the church, but heal them 

One of the purposes of the local church is to show the world the new kind of humanity God is forging in Jesus. Unfortunately, the local church can look just as divided as the world. What do we do? The healing we long for doesn’t occur automatically nor by blaming others. It occurs when each one of Jesus’ people decides, in faith, to be an agent of healing themselves. In this sermon, we considered ten attributes of a Gospel-forged people from Romans 12:9-21. What are two or three relational dynamics in that passage that Jesus is inviting you to grow in this year? 

#3 Refocus your prayer life

There is no other way to reboot your prayer life than to begin to pray afresh. To do that it is critical to not see prayer so much as a separate activity, or even means of grace (which it is), as much as a vital means of ongoing communion with God. In other words, if we’re not praying, we’re not communing. This week my challenge was twofold: (1) Read one book on prayer and (2) prioritize each of our church-wide prayer nights this year.

#4 Consider afresh the wonder of Jesus’ local church—and join in. 

Jesus’ local church is not one of the many options. It is God’s Plan A for spreading his glory through the salvation of his people among the neighborhoods of Seattle to the nations of the world. There is no such thing as a churchless or free agent Christian. That is largely a modern phenomenon. Though it is unfortunately common, it is irregular and unbiblical. This year, link arms with this local expression of Jesus’ people (or join another) if you’re not yet a member. If you are already a member, keep in mind that membership is a living commitment to a living people. In what ways might Jesus be inviting you to become more deeply committed to his people this year? 

Bearing Gospel fruit in our everyday lives

In all this, we must remember that none of these make us right with God, nor earn us more of his love. We have God’s love, in Christ, through faith. Full stop. That is not our doing, it is a gift of God (Eph 2:8). However, as the reality of God’s love sinks into our hearts, it bears grace-laden fruit, such as storing up God’s Word, healing divisions, renewed prayer, and a growing love for his church. Let’s ask God to use these massive gospel truths to bear lasting fruit in our lives this year. Who knows what He might do through us?

Christ is all,
Pastor Adam

Dec 15
2018

Until The World Knows

Discipleship, Missions | by Pastor Adam Sinnett

The prophet Habakkuk prophesied of a coming day when “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Hab. 2:14). God’s millennia-spanning rescue project is global in nature.

Jesus re-emphasized this globe-sized vision, and how it would be brought about, in his Great Commission, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Mt. 28:19). In other words, God’s glory fills the earth as disciples are made in every nation and will culminate with his triumphant return. The scope and significance of this mission are staggering—and we play an integral part in it.

How? By supporting the planting of Jesus-centered, gospel-preaching, bible-teaching churches that then, in turn, plant churches here and abroad. That is why we belong to Acts 29.

Last week, I went to Brazil to teach and get a sense of how our partnership with Acts 29 Brazil and Restore Brazil is progressing. Honestly, I couldn’t be more excited to see what Jesus is doing there and the impact we are having through our financial, relational, and spiritual support.

We were one of the first two churches to support Acts 29 Brazil. When we began this partnership there were no Acts 29 churches. Today, there are 28 churches, along with 30 more candidate-planters in the pipeline.

Integral to the development of these planters is a Residency program that our financial support, in large part, makes happen. The Residency consists of two cohorts of ten pastors (i.e. 20 total) who meet every month over the course of two years for training. Here is a photo of the current Residents:

One of those Residents is Eduardo Faria. He is at the very beginning of planting a church in the Ipanema neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro. Yes, that Ipanema. Like every other major city, including our own, Rio is divided into distinct neighborhoods. There are 40,000 people in Ipanema and not a single gospel-centered evangelical church. This is the first and we are playing a key role in role in making it happen.

Here is a personal note from Eduardo:

As a church, we have directly helped plant over 100 churches through financial support, training, and ongoing coaching—and that’s just in our short seven and a half years of life. It is so kind of the Lord to allow us to participate in such valuable and concrete ways. This is not, in any way, to draw attention to ourselves but to highlight the ways he is using us to point to him (Ps. 115:1).

So, let’s stay faithful, prayerful, and generous. Who knows what he may do next? But, what we do know is that he will get the glory, and we will get the joy—until the world knows.

Christ is all, 
Pastor Adam

Oct 17
2018

Let the Nations Be Glad!

Discipleship | by Pastor Adam Sinnett

The good news of Jesus, the gospel, is meant to be delivered (Mt. 28:19-20). 

The gospel is not a message meant to stay in place for long, let alone relegated to dusty doctrinal statements. The gospel is meant to move and spread, not sit still. 

By God’s good design, the primary deliverers of this message of Jesus are the people of Jesus. As Apostle Paul said, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” (Rom. 10:15; cf. Isa. 52:7). Those gospel-delivering feet are not beautiful because they are well pedicured, but because the news they carry is of inestimable value. 

Think of the joy of seeing a young ring bearer deliver the bride’s ring to the groom during a wedding ceremony. All eyes are on him. The deliverer is honored because of the profound significance of his delivery. That delivery points to powerful relational realities and massive joy, hope, and love that flow from them. 

Now multiply that by eternity and you begin to scratch the surface of what’s at stake in delivering the gospel. That makes for beautiful feet.

These beautiful feet carry the gospel into our neighborhoods, condo buildings, grocery stores, cafés, schools, and offices. They make gospel deliveries while having lunch with friends, or riding the metro with a coworker, or talking on the phone with family. Yet, they don’t stop there.

The gospel is not content to stay at home. It is a power, the power of God for salvation, that pushes outward (Rom. 1:16); not only among the neighborhoods of our city, but among the nations of the world. 

Unsurprisingly, Jesus has the same delivery strategy for the nations, as he does our neighborhoods, namely our feet. Beautiful feet lead to glad nations that sing for joy (Ps. 67:4). With God, we want all the ends of the earth to be eternally glad, in Him (Ps. 67:7).

Therefore, to help facilitate DCCs part in the global movement of the gospel we are having our first missions meet-up this coming Sunday, October 21st. This is the first of what will be monthly meetings that will explore how we can participate in God’s global purpose to take the gospel to the nations through the reading of books, articles, biographies, and discussion. These meetings are intended for anyone interested in learning more about long-term global missions and catalyzing global church planting. 

How you can participate:

  1. PRAY. Ask the Lord of the harvest to raise up global workers (Mt. 9:38). While you are at it, ask the Lord if you may be among them. We currently have three members training to reach unreached people groups. Lord willing, this is just the beginning. We hope to get to the place where we are able to send ten missionaries a year to help plant churches among unreached nations.
  2. JOINJoin the Global Missions Interest Group on The City hereJoin the missions meet-up this Sunday. Consider devoting the next season to prayerfully exploring your role in Jesus’ unfolding global story. 
  3. PARTNER. Together, our cheerful, sacrificial, and regular giving supports this ongoing spread of the gospel, from our neighborhoods to the nations. DCC gives 10% of all giving received to this work, from funding church plants, to supporting pastors, to training. Even this week, we are hosting an Acts 29 Assessment Conference for six church planting couples. We all play a role. Some of us will be called by God to go. The rest of us are called by God to fund those who do. 

Who knows what He may do through us? Let’s trust him together.

With you for the greatest cause on the planet,

Pastor Adam

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
Aug 30
2018

Classes Are Coming This Fall!

Discipleship, News, Teaching | by Pastor Adam Sinnett

DCC,

I’m writing to update you on an important change coming this fall: classes. Let me explain how this came about.

COMMUNITY IS CRITICAL

Outside of our Sunday gatherings, the best way to to get plugged into the life of DCC is through a Cornerstone Community. In community we’re able to build friendships around the Scripture, prayer, mission, accountability, and service. Being in regular relationship with other followers of Jesus helps ensure that what we believe doesn’t merely remain in our head, but actually takes root in our lives. This is all the more important in a church of our size, where it is easy to remain unknown. 

BUT, SO ARE CLASSES 

But, as important as communities are, they can’t do everything in the life of a Christian. That shouldn’t come as a surprise. Nothing can do everything—not even the pulpit. Where will we learn about evangelism, or church history, or biblical theology, or counseling care, or how to disciple, or financial stewardship, or spiritual disciplines, or parenting, and more? The only answer to that is “classes.” So, this fall we are going to begin offering a handful of classes.  

THE HEAD IS THE WAY TO THE HEART

The purpose of offering classes is not to create big heads, but big hearts. However, the way to our hearts is through our heads (Rom. 12:2). Spirit-filled thinking about God results in Spirit-filled feeling for God. After all, to “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Ps. 34:8) we must know who this Lord is and exactly why he is good. That makes learning-well crucial to loving-well—and loving is the heartbeat of worshipful change. All Christian learning should be viewed in that light.

OUR FALL CLASS OFFERINGS

Therefore, this fall, we are offering six classes over a ten-week period. Our Sunday classes will begin on Sunday, September 30th. Our midweek classes will begin on Wednesday, October 3rd. Most classes will meet for one hour over five weeks and will be taught either by pastors, staff, or members. Our fall class offerings will be: 

Foundations (Five weeks)
Our Foundations class is the first stop for folks seeking to learn more about DCC and/or becoming a member. The purpose of this class is to walk through what we believe (doctrine), why its important to belong (membership), who we are (vision, mission, values), why we are here (context), and how we function as a church (leadership, ministries, partners, finances, etc). This class will meet on Sundays, during the 9am gathering, starting September 30th, for five weeks (and will then repeat) and will be taught by DCC pastors and staff. This class is required for membership with DCC.

Dynamics of Biblical Change (Five weeks, every other week)
This is a for-credit, or for-audit, class through CCEF (Christian Counseling and Education Foundation) that focuses on the heart-level dynamics of how people change. This class offers a combination of online and onsite training. The onsite class will meet every other Wednesday, starting October 10th, for five weeks and will be led by Lisa Pratt, a certified CCEF facilitator. 

Meeting with God (Five weeks, every other week)
Would you like to grow closer to God, but you’re not sure where to begin? This class will provide a biblical understanding of the how and why of meeting with God through the spiritual disciplines on a daily basis to grow in deeper communion with Him. This class will meet every other Wednesday, starting October 3rd, for five weeks and will be taught by Pastor Craig Sturm.  

Unity and Diversity (Five weeks)
Can there truly be unity and diversity in the local church? This class approaches diversity through a biblical lens, while grounding us in our unity in Christ. Teachings will address the need for diversity and unity, the role of the local church, and practical next steps for each believer. This class will meet every Wednesday over five weeks, beginning October 3rd, and will be lead by Justin Keogh, DCC’s Director of Communities and Mercy Ministries. 

Church History (Ten weeks)
Have you ever wondered how the church got to where it is now? This class will walk through an overview of the history of the Church. Teachings will cover prominent figures, key events, and important movements from earliest days of the Church in Jerusalem to today in Seattle. This class will meet every Wednesday, starting October 3rd, for ten weeks and will be taught by members Marco Ribeiro and James Rayment.

Following Jesus (Five weeks)
Are you a new, or renewed, follower of Jesus and looking for a place to start? What does it actually mean to follow Jesus? This class will walk through the “basics” of what it means to be saved by God and walk in his ways, from the gospel, to listening to God, to meeting with God’s family, to living in hope. This class will meet every Wednesday (except the week of Thanksgiving), starting November 14th, for five weeks and will be taught by members Pierce Martin and Kyle Dunn. 

»»TO LEARN MORE OR REGISTER FOR A CLASS GO HERE.

If you have any questions, email us at classes@downtowncornerstone.org. 

Christ is all, 
Pastor Adam

P.S. FAQs regarding classes can be found below.

—————————————-

FAQ

Q: When exactly will the midweek classes be offered? 

Most midweek classes will begin on Wednesday, October 3rd (be sure to check for your particular class). The building doors will open at 6:00pm. Classes will begin at 6:30pm and end by 7:30pm.  

Q: Where should I begin if I am brand new? 

Welcome! We encourage you to to jump into the Foundations class this fall. 

Q: Do I need to take Foundations before taking other classes? 

That would be our recommendation. Foundations is a soft-pre-requisite. Will we stop you from taking other classes? Of course not. But, we want you to know more about us as a church before digging in too deep, so Foundations makes the most sense as your first stop. 

Q: Will the classes require homework? 

Outside of the Dynamics of Biblical Change class, there will be no homework required in order to eliminate any potential barrier to participation. However, most classes will offer some form of optional reading and/or writing to process what you are learning.

Q: Can I still sign-up if I know I will miss a class or two? 

Yes, please do. While we encourage you to prioritize your schedule around the class you take, in order to maximize your learning, we understand there will be conflicts. Please register and join as you are able. 

Q: Can I jump into a class if I don’t register? 

If you plan on taking a class, we highly encourage you to register. But, if you were not able to register, do not let that stop you from participating. Join the next class and let the instructor know. (There are exceptions to this, such as the Dynamics course which requires advanced registration.)

Q: Should I participate in a community or take a class?

Our answer to that would depend on your particular situation. Are you new? Join Foundations. Have you been on the fringes and are now looking to get more involved? Again, Foundations is for you. Are you involved in a community yet desire to take a class? Our first recommendation would be to do both if your schedule permits (after all, most classes are only five weeks). But, if you can only do one, and really desire to take a particular class, then feel free to take a temporary hiatus from community. Or, your community may decide to take a class together. There are lots of options. 

Q: Will Kids ministry be offered for midweek classes? 

Initially, there will be no Kids ministry offered on Wednesday nights. This will allow us to leverage the Kids space for classes. However, our hope is to eventually offer Kids. If you would be interested in helping to lead, or be part of, that endeavor please let us know. 

Q: So, what should I do with my kids if I’d like to take a class?

There are a number of options:
1) You could bring your kids to a class,
2) One parent could take a class while the other stays at home with the kids,
3) You could make sitter arrangements or swap with another family, etc. You could also pray that we’d get a bigger building, along with a robust Kids volunteer team to staff midweek! 

Jul 26
2018

A Culture of Care

Discipleship, Scripture, Teaching | by Pastor Craig Sturm

This month we’ve been exploring the transforming power of God in our lives through a sermon series called “Transformed: How Jesus Changes Lives.” My goal has been to help us see how the gospel of Jesus is active in pursuing real change in our Christian lives. I’ll land the plane of the series this coming Sunday – thinking through how we develop a culture of care within DCC.

EVERY CHURCH HAS A CULTURE

This is important for us to think about, because whether we realize it or not, some type of care culture is always active within our church. My prayer is that it would be a Jesus-centered, gracious culture in which people are receiving and extending gospel-saturated care to one another because that’s part of what it means to be the family of God.

Consider for a moment the various ways people in our church family would describe the struggles and hardships in their lives. You will hear terms like confusion, fear, anxiety, hopelessness, numbness, shame, guilt, anger, bitterness, injustice, betrayal, unforgiveness, loneliness, discontentment, and feeling overwhelmed. If the worship songs, liturgy, sermons, and conversations during a Sunday gathering or in community never address these struggles then people may wrongly conclude that the gospel is irrelevant, not offering hope for their reality.

We need to strive to make sure that the gospel that we read, sing, and preach Sunday after Sunday reorients and reshapes us as God’s people. Only God and His realities offer real hope in the difficulties of life.

A CULTURE OF CARE ROOTED IN THE GOSPEL

It’s good news to know that the gospel that changes hearts of stone to hearts of flesh is the same gospel necessary for caring for God’s people. It’s good news that we, as a church family, can develop a culture of gospel care regardless of the number of elders, staff, members, attendees, and budget. It’s good news that we have access to the wisdom, love, and power needed to develop a culture of gospel care within the church.

“When any person’s struggles are rightly understood, the mercies of Jesus Christ directly connect. The Savior of the world is specifically relevant to personal, interpersonal, psychological, emotional, and behavioral problems. God meets people in the very places they are weak, confused, wandering, and self-absorbed. The Holy Spirit causes faith, love, and wisdom to flourish in the very places where anxiety, anger, anguish, and addiction consume us.” (David Powlison)

A CULTURE OF CARE ROOTED IN THEOLOGY

Our vision for a culture of gospel care stands on firm theological grounding. The following is a snapshot of some of the central theological commitments undergirding our vision and practice of gospel care.…

  1. It aims to be Centered on Jesus. (Rom. 5:6-11).

  2. It aims to be Rooted in Scripture. (2 Tim. 3:16-17)

  3. It aims to be Grounded in Theology. (Rom. 11:36)

  4. It aims to be Dependent Upon the Holy Spirit. (Eph. 5:17-18)

  5. It aims to be Focused on Change. (Rom. 12:1-2)

  6. It aims to be Embedded in the Local Church. (Gal. 5:6)

  7. It aims to be Founded in Love. (1 Jn. 4:19-21).

  8. It aims to be Attentive to the Issues of the Heart. (Eph. 4:17-24)

  9. It aims to be Comprehensive in Understanding. (Prov. 20:5)

  10. It aims to be Thorough in Care. (2 Tim. 3:16-17)

  11. It aims to be Relevant in Methodology.

  12. It aims to be Missional in Orientation. (John 3:1-15)

A VISION FOR A CULTURE OF GOSPEL CARE

We believe God builds His church as we love Him and others, specifically as we bear one another’s burdens and encourage one another to follow Jesus by faith. Therefore…DCC Care exists to help people know and experience joy in God so that they can live by faith and obedience in the midst of life’s struggles and help others do the same.

I pray that God will make us a people who are actively engaged in helping one another know and experience joy in God so that we can be a people living by faith and obedience in the midst of life’s struggles. By the grace of God, may He give us wisdom as we “consider how to stir up one another to love and good works” (Heb. 10:24), as we “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Gal. 6:2)

That Jesus would be our chief joy,

Pastor Craig

Apr 27
2018

Stories of Grace | God Answers

Discipleship, Scripture, 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 should use my time more for others.”

This half thought, half prayer flitted through my mind during my community’s discussion of this year’s earlier sermon about using our time. When I left community, the thought left my mind.

Exactly 24 hours later, I was sitting in my car with a distraught friend, assuring her she could stay with me as long as she needed. She’d called me sobbing, barely able to get words out, but I knew instinctively she needed to leave where she was. When I went to pick her up, she was standing on the sidewalk, a giant suitcase next to her. A relationship that had never been great had turned categorically abusive and manipulative.

Feelings of overwhelming inadequacy seeped into my mind as I listened to her pour out months of pent-up problems that had festered in this relationship. I’ve never been in her situation, I thought. How do I empathize, offer anything true or helpful? I’m not a counselor. I have no idea what to say. What do I do? My half-hearted prayer from the day before flashed through my mind. The feeling of inadequacy was immediately replaced by a certainty that God had received that prayer, chuckled a little, and opened wide the gates on a situation He had been carefully preparing.

Let me clarify one point about time: I love being alone. My routines and time to myself each day have always been vital to my well-being. Having an indefinitely-invited houseguest was not what I’d meant by using my time more for others. I’d vaguely pictured volunteering once a week for a couple hours, something I could comfortably leave when I wanted.

But then she moved in, and I knew she could not go back to where she’d been. During the next two and a half weeks, her tears were constant, her questions were staggering, and the lies she was fighting were so pervasive I almost didn’t believe God could transform them into truth.

Though she grew up in the church, her understanding of God’s love was distorted beyond recognition. One night, she described her conception of God. “He’s like an angry teacher,” she said, “waiting in the classroom to punish me because He knows I haven’t done my work and that I keep missing class. Things will only get worse if I go into the classroom, because He knows how far behind I am and what a negligent student I’ve been my whole life. I can’t face Him.”

Every time she articulated unworthiness, guilt, condemnation, self-loathing, and other hell-sent lies, I wanted to shake her and shout, – at the lies, not at her – “These things are not true of you! This is not love! This is not how God sees you!” There was a near-tangible darkness over her that I knew I was incapable of fixing. This didn’t require a mere shift in thinking – the Spirit of God needed to renew her mind and soul. The only solution I could offer was the powerful Word of God.

The next morning, I opened Isaiah and read this: “[The Lord] will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you. And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher.”

I was stunned by God’s intimacy. As far as I know, this chapter is the only time in the Old Testament God is directly titled Teacher. I didn’t go looking for this verse; it was just up next in my daily reading. God wanted her to see and know a loving and pursuing Teacher, not a retributive one. And He wanted me to know that His word is sufficient truth for every situation, even the ones that seem layered in lies. I showed her the words, and from then on, we started reading the Bible together each day.

I know my initial reaction to those lies is only the faintest reflection of how God views our sin. With incisive clarity, I saw God looking at my sin as I was looking at my friend’s struggle. If I could feel devastated at the hold these lies had on her, it must be only a shadow of the way God feels when we choose sin over Him. But God’s grace is to keep gently pointing us back to Him as the only loving and good Teacher who can free us into truth.

In those weeks, God changed my ideas of what it means to serve Him with the time I like to think is mine. And as I relied on Him for wisdom, He moved in ways I had rarely experienced before. My confidence in the power of His Word grew with each conversation, as I begged the Spirit to use His words, not mine, to speak truth into the lies. Answers to problems I could not solve came directly from His Word. With that half-hearted prayer about my time, He reoriented the purpose of my days to bring healing to one of His beloved children, growth in my own faith, and glory to Himself.

– Elisabeth Schyberg, DCC Member

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

Feb 22
2018

Stories of Grace | God’s Heart in College Ministry

Discipleship, 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.”

“So… would you like to know more about Jesus?” Jeff asked somewhat uneasily as we sat across from each other in the dining hall. It was the start of my first year at University of Washington in the fall of 2009. One week prior I had stopped by a table outside my dorm, where a Christian organization was reaching out to students. I wasn’t quite interested, yet I gladly took a free laundry bag and other dorm essentials, and—mostly out of a felt need to reciprocate—I had filled out a survey card indicating I was “maybe interested in knowing more about Jesus.” Jeff had contacted me to follow up on my response to the survey.

Sitting together with Jeff, however, I responded to his question with, “Well… thanks, but no…I’m not really religious and not exactly interested, to be honest.” Yet, I asked him how he came to be involved in that work. Jeff explained to me how he came into a personal relationship with God as a college student, and how the Lord then brought him to Seattle with a calling to reach college students with the gospel.

I nodded along to his story with increasingly piqued interest, while taking note of both his timid demeanor and the sincerity that pervaded his speech. Though he seemed a bit uneasy, he was present and available with me. I engaged him with questions/reservations I had about Christianity and faith. “Isn’t the Bible irrelevant to follow today since it was written thousands of years ago? How is there a hell if God is loving and fair? And why do we have so much evil and tragedies going on if this good, all-powerful God is real?” For over an hour, I pummeled poor Jeff, who struggled to answer, and  eventually we parted ways.

Once home, Jeff, discouraged from meeting yet another hard-hearted UW student, was but a moment away from throwing away my contact card. Yet, he held onto my “maybe.” Something in his heart gripped him to pray for my salvation.

A couple months later, while home in Los Angeles for Thanksgiving break, I decided to join my high school friends to their church. By God’s grace, I started to understand my emptiness and utter brokenness and need for a Savior, a loving and merciful Jesus. Furthermore, the mental hang-ups and barriers I once held to following the Lord exchanged themselves for opportunities and ways to further know Him, all out of my growing, new-found love/surrender for Jesus Christ. And my personal relationship with the Lord started to change everything.

“For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”- 2 Corinthians 4:6

Much of my growth in Christ happened on the college campus. By God’s rather divine arrangement, the very first friend that I made during orientation week invited me to a Bible study. As I committed my life to the Lord my freshman year and became involved in the community. The leader of this ministry, who regularly meets up with Jeff, exclaims that there is an Asian American guy from LA who just received Christ and has been attending their Bible studies. A light bulb goes on in Jeff. This is the same difficult freshman he spoke with earlier in the school year and prayed for! He rejoices in the Lord for my new relationship with God and the small, yet profound role he got to play in my spiritual journey.

By God’s grace, I learned that my role as a student and child of God is not to be a passive consumer, but an active participant and witness for His glory. I was also discipled by a campus ministry staff who cared for my soul, spurred me on towards surrendered commitment to Jesus. I learned the importance of humility in leadership through serving and gained a passion for God’s work through mission trips and student conferences/retreats. As I served the Lord via campus ministry, I was captivated to answer His call to work in college ministry upon graduation (one year part-time and two full-time internship years). These years were pivotal in getting to be a witness of God’s work in students’ lives and receiving His grace for my own journey and growth.

Recently, my wife Rose and I also joined full-time staff with Cru (the U.S. ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ), the same ministry Jeff was with when I first met him. May the Lord raise up more students like me, distant and separated from God, to a vital relationship with Himself within Christ-centered community and the local church, with a life-long passion for spreading His beauty, truth, and goodness.

College students today are coming from a plethora of backgrounds with real questions and in need of a true, everlasting Savior and Lord. The enemy in their midst is rampant to steal, kill, and destroy present realities, lives, and future hopes. With this great need and darkness, however, comes even greater opportunity for the Kingdom of Light to be the living reality in hearts and places. Imagine how students who grasp the gospel in this pivotal stage will go on to make significant decisions to impact the world for Christ, now and in the future, through their work, families, churches, community engagement, and more. In the words of a former student/disciple, Tyler, “If we could reach even one person, that would multiply and God could use that mightily. Whether it is planting a seed, watering, or reaping a harvest, it is all worth it if we trust God and rely on Him.”

May we be a people that live by faith and pray, believing in the Lord’s work. We never know how God can use even one conversation or prayer, no matter how awkward, daunting, or discouraging. He is surely doing His work. May we share the good news of Jesus Christ and engage in discipleship in the power of the Holy Spirit, leaving all the results to Him. Knowing that He is the good, sovereign Orchestrator in His story of amazing grace, may we know our labor in the Lord eternally matters.

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”- Ephesians 3:20–21

– Mike Fujimoto, DCC Member

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