Downtown Cornerstone Blog
Jul 12
2016

Racial Justice and the Gospel

City Life, News | by Pastor David Parker

Downtown Cornerstone,

This Sunday we spent some time talking and praying about the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, the slaying of five officers in retaliation, and the violence that has opened up the hearts and wounds of many. I have been deeply moved by the events that have taken place, and believe that we would be remiss if we did not take time to consider how we can and should respond.

The issues of race, cultural bias, and racial injustice are complex and difficult. These issues are also real and affect every one of us as a church family (whether we realize it or not). For some of us, especially if we are white, the issues of racial injustice may feel confusing, or, easy to dismiss or rationalize. But if we are to be a people who are a gospel people, we cannot ignore this issue.

If we seek to love our city and desire to bring the Gospel to bear in the lives of those around us, we need to care about justice and the issues in front of us. Ultimately all issues of racial injustice are gospel issues. In Matthew 25, Jesus reminds us that when we minister to the marginalized, we are ultimately ministering to Jesus. And inversely if we ignore issues of injustice and those marginalized, we ignore the very heart of God.

Our righteousness is not evaluated by our deeds, but God calls us to faithfully respond when injustice is placed in front of us. With that in mind, I have three encouragements for how we can respond:

WE NEED TO WEEP WITH THOSE WHO WEEP

If we are to care, we need to weep with those who weep, and mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12:15). We can weep together because the Gospel reminds us that we are all people who are in need of redemption and who long for restoration.

If you are a black brother or sister, we mourn with you for the injustices that have happened and continue to happen in our country. Even more, our Savior mourns with you because through His life and the cross, He perfectly understands what it’s like to face injustice, suffering, racial tension, being wrongfully treated, abused, and ultimately wrongfully killed. We weep with you now and remember that one day He will wipe away every tear, every injustice, every longing of our hearts and souls, and He will make all things new.

WE NEED TO LISTEN AND LEARN

If we are to care, we need to listen and learn. We need to seek to understand what it’s like to view life through the eyes of our black brothers and sisters in this city. We need to proactively ask questions and have a posture of heart that is open to having our presuppositions challenged. Most of all, we need to learn about how God feels about these issues and let our hearts be broken by what breaks His heart.

WE NEED TO PRAY AND SPEAK OUT

We need to pray and speak out. If we see life that is not in step with the gospel, we need to be a people who are moved by the gospel to action. Proverbs 31:9 says, “Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.” We need to be bold and unafraid of sharing how Jesus has created each of us with equal dignity, value, and worth. We need to be wiling to have hard or awkward conversations that confront racism. And most importantly, we need to remember that Jesus went to the cross to ultimately bear the weight of racism, injustice, and sin.

We live in a world full of brokenness that can feel overwhelming, but I believe that God is calling us to consider how we can adorn the beauty of the Gospel in all of life. We need to seek justice where we can, in our given area of influence, and more than anything, we need to proclaim the name of Jesus as the only one who can ultimately heal this brokenness.

Friends, as we pray into this issue, especially in our city, let’s ask God to give us humble hearts that are willing to learn, to make us a people who are able to empathize, and to make us a church that is able to speak out in appropriate ways, so that Jesus would be made to look as good as He is.

For the Glory of our King,
Pastor David

Jun 30
2016

New Sermon Series| 1 John: Living in the love of God

News, Teaching | by Pastor Craig Sturm

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“How can you know anything for certain?” Have you ever been asked that or perhaps even wondered it yourself, particularly in connection with spiritual truth?

On July 3rd, we will launch a twelve-week journey through the book of 1 John. Though it is a short letter (just five chapters), the Spirit of God has packed it full of Gospel-centered, truth-establishing, righteousness-inducing, love-living-out words!

The Apostle John wrote to churches in crisis when he penned this letter. False teachers were causing the young church to wrestle through some very important issues: Who exactly is Jesus Christ? Can I have confidence that I am a follower of Jesus, a child of God? Do I really need to pursue holiness in my day-to-day life? What impact does God’s love for me have on how I love other people in the church?

In the midst of this fog and confusion, John writes to correct false teaching, not by point-by-point arguments, but instead by clearly and passionately presenting the truth of the Gospel and its implications for living.

Our prayer is that Jesus would use this book to stir our affections for Him, invite us into deeper levels of trust in Him, and move us to align our lives around Him. Additionally, let’s be praying for the men who are already prayerfully preparing to serve you well. One of our hopes and prayers as a church is to become a teaching hospital in order to train, develop, and equip future pastors and church planters.

Christ is all,

Craig Sturm

Apr 14
2016

Meet Your Next Pastor: Randy Lundy

Community, Discipleship, News

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Downtown Cornerstone,

As many of you know, last Sunday we presented Randy Lundy to the church as a pastoral candidate. We are taking the next two weeks to give you time to meet with him, ask questions and/or express any concerns you may have. One of the over-arching qualifications for a pastor is that he must be “above reproach” (1Tim 3:1). This waiting period is our attempt to ensure all bases are covered and you have an opportunity to speak into the process.

The office of pastor (or elder) was created by God, for the leading, feeding, and protecting of his flock, the local church. Therefore, we treat the equipping and installation of such men with great seriousness. Randy has completed a multi-year development process that included reading, writing, hands-on ministry, shared life and an assessment interview with area pastors.

Randy is a good man with integrity, character, love for Jesus and passion for the spread of the gospel. He is also a friend. I believe he is called, qualified and ready to be installed as a pastor of Downtown Cornerstone, however we are taking this time in case you know something that we do not.

That said, would you pray for the Lundy’s in this season? Would you also pray for our church? It is a sign of God’s grace to us that we have men, like Randy, being raised-up to lead, feed and protect Jesus’ flock. Let’s ask Him for more. Provided nothing arises that would cause us to stop the process, which we don’t foresee, we will install Randy as a pastor of Downtown Cornerstone on Sunday, April 24th. It will be a great celebration and a joyous moment.

What follows (below) is a short interview with Randy so that you can get to know him a bit better.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns you can email me at adam@downtowncornerstone.org.

Christ is all,

Pastor Adam

………………………………………………..

How did you meet Jesus? How has he changed you?

RL: Jesus has been incredibly kind to me. Both Charissa and I grew up in loving Christ-centered families, where Jesus was regularly worshipped, the gospel was prized, and grace was applied to everyday life. I saw my need for Jesus at an early age, and through those early formative years I grew to love and treasure him more and more through the modeling of my parents and teaching of my church. If it were not for Jesus, I’m sure that my life would have been a wreck, but instead I have been graced with a joy that only he could give, rescued from my sin, adopted as a son, secured in Him. Apart from anything I could ever do or deserve, he has poured out his love lavishly upon me. And I’ll be gladly, freely singing the praises of my King for as long as I have breath!

Tell us a little about your family.

RL: My most precious treasure in this world is my bride of nearly 7 years, Charissa Joy. She is my best friend, trusted counselor, loyal companion, and faithful co-laborer. Jesus has given us three amazing kids – Aiden (3yr), Theo (1.5yr), and Harlow (3mo) – together they make up a formidable threesome! We love city-living. We love good food and friends to share it with. You can often find us at Seattle Center, SLU park, or Myrtle Edwards – all within walking distance of our 2-bd apartment in Lower Queen Anne. Charissa is an incredible cook, loves to be outdoors, and is passionate about the gospel and biblical counseling.

What are you most passionate about?

RL: There are a lot of things I’m passionate about – coffee, outdoors, music – but only one thing that I’m most passionate about – and that is seeing people come to know, love and worship Jesus for all that He is and has done. And not just worship in a corporate gathering sense, but in an all-of-life sense. I want people to be able to see Jesus as supremely worthy of worship in work, in play, in rest, in celebration, in suffering, in literally every aspect of life. As I’ve come to see Jesus as the source and center of all of life, I’ve tasted the sweetness of surrendering my life to Him, the Giver of all life. I want more people to experience the joy, freedom, and sweetness of knowing all that Jesus is and has done for them.

How did you get involved with DCC?

RL: We joined the DCC launch team in 2011 and were glad to jump in wherever we could to help support the vision of establishing a new gospel-centered church in the downtown core, as well as to eventually plant more churches across the city and around the world. In the months leading up to that, Jesus was doing a profound work in my life around the subject of worship – giving me fresh vision for the relational and pastoral functions of worship in the gathered context. When Pastor Adam made a call for worship leaders, I was in. The rest is history. It’s been a crazy ride and couldn’t imagine it any other way :).

What are your current areas of oversight?

RL: I currently oversee our creative arts teams, which includes music, productions, design, visual art, and media. All of these are means by which we can help facilitate and focus our worship of Jesus together as a people. It’s one of the greatest privileges of my life to work with so many extraordinary artists and musicians, who genuinely desire to see Jesus made much of through their work. Over the past few years, I’ve also provided ad hoc support on counseling, discipleship, and financial matters as we’ve grown as a church.

How did you determine you were called to be a pastor?

RL: This has been something at work in me from an early age. Said simply, I’ve grown to love the church deeply. And I don’t say that from an idealized, sugar-coated standpoint. I’ve seen some pretty messy things through the years in the church, and experienced my own messiness in the middle of it as well. Church is messy. But I’ve come to love the church as I have because of how radically I’ve experienced Jesus’ love for me – and all who he is redeeming through his life, death and resurrection. The calling to undershepherd (i.e. pastor) a local expression of Jesus’ flock is something that I want to give my life to, under his direction as our Chief Shepherd. And if there’s any way that my life and leadership can lead others to encounter the beauty, glory and hope in Jesus afresh, I want to be about that work.

How can we be praying for you and your family in this season?

RL: We are overjoyed for this task, but with it we know there comes additional weight and burden. We would covet your prayers for strength, wisdom, and joyful conviction knowing our sufficiency comes freely and abundantly from Jesus. Please pray that Jesus would protect our family and give us good times of rest. Please pray that our trust and hope would be only and fully in Jesus. Please pray that Jesus would increase our fruitfulness as we submit to his sovereign, gracious plans for us. We love you all and we’re eager to see what Jesus has in store for us as a church these coming years!

Dec 17
2015

A Cry in the Wilderness | Songwriter Interview

Music, News | by Pastor Randy Lundy

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Two weeks ago we announced the release of our Advent EP: God With Us. If you haven’t downloaded your copy, you can do so at our website through the end of the year!

One of the great privileges of recording this project was writing an original song to be included. A Cry in the Wilderness was birthed out of a series of songwriting sessions this past fall where a small group of us came together almost weekly to brainstorm, write and rewrite together in a collaborative effort.

Adrienne Haass was one of our lead songwriters through this process and was hugely instrumental in writing A Cry in the Wilderness. I asked her if she’d be willing to share a little bit of the story behind the song and her experience collaborating in the writing of it.

Can you share a little bit of the original vision/inspiration for A Cry in the Wilderness?

One of the realities that we were struck with early on in the writing was how the Christmas season can be a really difficult time when you are lonely or suffering. It hurts to fake a smile and sing “Joy to the World” when nothing about your life seems very joyful. Our goal was to write a song accessible to those in darkness and then help them move to a knowledge and conviction that Christ’s coming is good news.

As we thought about the biblical examples of those who are lost and hurting, we continually ran into the theme of “the wilderness.” Adam and Eve are banished from the garden to the wilderness, Cain is exiled to the wilderness, the Israelites wander in the wilderness, David hides from Saul in the wilderness. The wilderness in the Bible represents being cut off and cast out from civilization, from home, from the blessings of God in a land and a city. It is remarkable, then, that in the New Testament, we see Jesus, an exile in Egypt, sent out into the wilderness to be tempted and ultimately crucified outside the city. The powerful reality we resonated with here is that God not only promises to deliver us from the wilderness, he enters into our suffering and redeems it.

Could you walk us through how the song unpacks those themes?

The song is laid out as an answer to the question, “why is the incarnation good news for suffering people?” The answer is:

God HEARS us in our suffering (verse 1)

When we wrote this verse, I thought of Hagar, banished, lost, her infant son dying of thirst in the wilderness. God hears the baby’s cries and an angel tells Hagar, “Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the boy.” (Gen. 21:17)

God COMES into our suffering (verse 2/3)

God is not just a sympathetic listener, He comes after us and does something about our condition! He becomes an exile and takes our curse upon himself, literally cast out for us and nailed to a cross to bear our shame.

God REDEEMS our suffering (bridge)

God will ultimately turn the desert wilderness into the restored, thriving garden that he has promised. All of the wasteland experiences of our lives, everything that is barren, dead and dry, God redeems and makes fruitful.

The chorus is our response to this incredible good news. As our eyes turn from looking at ourselves to beholding what God has done, we are compelled to worship.

What was it like writing collaboratively with a team of songwriters?

It was an amazing experience to write a song for the body as the body (1 Cor 12:27) – to see the Lord bring an initial idea from one person, melody from another, the musical mood from a third. It was fun to just focus on being a finger and let the rest of the body do its part! The rigor of having every word subject to the critique and input of a team also forced a depth and precision of thought that could not have occurred working solo.

What was the hardest thing about writing this song? How did you see God show up along the way?

The hardest part of this song was starting! The night before Randy and I were scheduled to discuss an initial draft of the song… I had nothing. I had done the work, read the texts, applied the methods and come up empty. It was a humbling reminder from the Lord that I have nothing valuable to say about Him unless He first reveals himself to me. That evening, 12 hours before our meeting, God did speak, in the way He is faithful to speak – through His Word. I heard Pastor Adam read from Ephesians 2:12, “remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world,” and there was the first verse.

Do you have a favorite line/phrase/verse of the song?

My favorite part of the song is the bridge, it was actually one of the easiest pieces of the song to write! We were reading through Isaiah 35, and as we read, Randy began extemporaneously putting the passage to music. I love that this section of the song lifts our focus from our individual plight and even our individual salvation to God’s cosmic redemptive plan. The anticipation is palpable, come Lord Jesus!

What encouragement or advice would you give to an aspiring songwriter?

I truly believe every Christian can benefit from writing songs to our God. The reward is in the effort, not the result. Laboring over a scriptural theme, trying to understand it and express it, is a lot like Bible study. It is, in fact, Scriptural meditation. Start with a truth about God that moves you to worship, maybe a verse that you want to sing back to God, then start the work of saying it as beautifully and accurately as you can. There are delightful treasures waiting for those who take a pick and chip away at the rock!

What’s your hope for others listening to this song?

My hope is that those who listen and sing the song will experience what I did in writing it – a fresh understanding of why Christmas is such a big deal and why it is cause for joy. The birth of a baby in Bethlehem is not a cute fairy tale. God really did break into human history through a birth canal. It’s shocking, gritty, and it’s true. How can we remain unchanged in the presence of such scandalous love?

You can listen to A Cry in the Wilderness at our website or on YouTube. Feel free to share and distribute this song to any who you think would be blessed by it.

Dec 8
2015

Advent EP Release: God With Us

Music, News | by Pastor Randy Lundy

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This Sunday, we officially announced the release of our Advent EP: God With Us! This is the culmination of months of arranging, tracking, mixing, and mastering, and we are thrilled to be sharing and celebrating this with you.

Background

The vision for the EP began over a year ago and culminated early this fall with key songs and gifted teams coming together to collaborate. Our songwriters group began work on an original song for the record. Our bands grew and we were able to form an exclusive Advent band that would serve as the musical backbone for the project. Our design team began creating some amazing stuff around our emerging Advent theme: God With Us. We were able to leverage our auditorium for all the live tracking and incorporate some of the natural acoustics of our building. And then by God’s grace, we were gifted a full week of studio time for all the post-production. It’s so clear that God has gone before us faithfully in this project and we are stoked to share it with you all. Jesus’ grace is all over it.

Album Title/Songs

We chose the theme God With Us this year as our Advent theme and the title of this album, because of how it reminds us that God is not only for us, but he is with us. The personal and intimate presence of God was a profound theme as we considered much of what we’ve studied this past year in Philippians, Lamentations, and James. These included themes of joy in suffering, longing for the coming and consolation of God, and trusting in the steadfast love of God. So we wanted our songs (traditional and original) to embody those themes in various ways and to point to God as our clear and present hope in every circumstance.

The song list includes: Hark the Herald, O Come O Come Emmanuel, A Cry in the Wilderness, What Child Is This, and Angels We Have Heard on High.

How to Get It

We are thrilled to be able to offer this to our family and friends for FREE at our website and on Bandcamp. You can stream, download, and share the music for FREE! (Did I mention it’s free?). We want this to be a gift to all our church family and friends, and we are honored to share it as a small expression of the love we’ve received so freely in Christ. Merry Christmas, Downtown Cornerstone!

Special Thanks

This record simply would not have been possible apart from the sacrificial time and talents of many people in our church! I want to personally thank Pastor Adam and Pastor David, Barrett Miller, Bryan Alsbury and Brendan McDonnell, Nathan Lowe, Tyler Johnson, Chelsey Scheffe, Julianne Smith, Jayson Jodrey, Rachel Battershell, Mitchell Orsucci, Leah Dankertson, and Aaron Mortensen and the host of other individuals who I can’t thank in name here but who have contributed immensely to this project at various stages along the way. It’s truly an honor to serve with such a committed and talented group of artists and worshippers. You all are a testimony to the glory and grace of our King! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!

Send Us Your Feedback

We would love to hear from you in the coming weeks! How has Jesus used the songs to encourage you in His grace? What songs have particularly resonated for you? Send us an email at music@downtowncornerstone.org.

Trust and treasure Jesus above all this season, friends. He is God with us!

For our King,
Randy

Dec 3
2015

REST House Drive

News, Service

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Advent is a season of hopeful expectance and anticipation of Jesus’ joyful arrival. We remember that Christ entered into our brokenness to live the perfect life we could not, die the death we deserved, and rise from the dead to set us free from satan, sin, and death. As we reflect on His coming and anticipate His coming again, we are moved reflect Christ’s goodness to the broken world we live in. In light of this, we’re partnering with REST: Real Escape from the Sex Trade this Advent season.

The statistics are devastating – every night in Seattle, hundreds of individuals are sold for sex. The average age of women entering the sex trade is between 11 and 13 years old. These women were lured or coerced into the sex trade and will likely die within 7 years of entering into prostitution. Traffickers sell them like a commodity and keep all or most of the money. Nearly 75% of women in the sex trade are or have been homeless.

REST was formed to build pathways to freedom from the sex trade. They provide individualized, holistic programs that address the prevention, intervention, and restoration of at-risk and exploited individuals. One way REST comes alongside young women seeking to transition out of the sex trade is by providing longterm restorative housing at the REST House.

We’re partnering with REST to help outfit the REST House through a household goods drive. The blankets, decor, and supplies we donate will help REST create a welcoming and safe environment for these women to begin to dream again of a new life.

NEEDED ITEMS
A full list of needed items can be found on this Target Wish List. If you’re inclined to shop in-store, any cleaning products (dish soap, trash bags, surface cleaners), personal care products (lotion, nail polish, shampoo, etc), or crafting items (crayons, stickers, scrapbooking supplies, etc) will be appreciated.

  • Purchase online and have items shipped directly to REST or bring in your donations every Sunday, now through the end of December.
  • Communities: Consider pooling your resources within your community to donate a high value item on the list. Speak with your community lead to organize details.

Email info@downtowncornerstone.org if you have any questions.

Whatever you and/or your community ends up doing, get creative, be generous, and ask Jesus to give you a vision for incarnating the love of Christ this season. In Christ we have been given much. By Him and through Him we have much to give.

Dec 2
2015

A Note About Upcoming Pastoral Sabbaticals

News | by Pastor Adam Sinnett

Jesus has been exceedingly kind to us over the last four and a half years. Honestly, what He has already done in, and among, us has exceeded all of our expectations (Eph 3:20). It was not long ago that a small group of us were asking the Lord to lead the way in planting a new gospel work in the heart of our city. Look at what He has done! This past year alone we have grown 80%, moved into a more permanent gathering space, and transitioned to two gatherings. Our membership has grown. Participation in community, service and sacrificial giving have grown. Most importantly our hunger for Jesus has grown. Some of you have given your lives to the Lord this year. Some of you have returned to Him. Some of you have brought sin, long laid hidden in the dark, into His redemptive light. Some of you are just beginning to taste what it looks like to live every day life with gospel intentionality. Beautiful. I hope you’re encouraged. We should be. I love our church.

A SEASON OF HEALTH

Amidst all of this, we’ve prayerfully discerned the need to focus on health in this next season. From the beginning, as a church, we’ve held to a certain vision and set of values that shape who we are as Jesus’ people in the city center. We’ve grown by about 40% every year, while maintaining a very clear DNA. Yet, this past year we grew by 80%. Any time a church nearly doubles in a single year, the vision and values of that church are easily diluted amidst a sea of new faces, conflicting agendas, and multiplied complexities. In some ways, we’re a new church. So, we’re taking this year to evaluate and adjust to our new God-given realities – in other words, focus on health (from leaders, to members, to communities, to ministry teams, to communication, to church-wide systems and more). We’re not unhealthy. But, given all of the changes that have taken place over the last year we need to make some adjustments in order to thrive in the next season together.

2016 PASTORAL SABBATICALS

One aspect of our pursuit of health is that Pastor David and I will be taking sabbaticals in 2016. This has been recommended, and approved, by our elder board and pastoral coaches at Crosspoint Ministry. Pastor David, and his family, will go first as they do not yet have children in school. They will be taking a three month sabbatical, January – March. David is a valuable leader to the church, and a dear friend to me personally. I am grateful that he and his family have this opportunity. I hope we will all rally to encourage and pray for them as they prepare to leave and, of course, while they are away. Our family will, Lord willing, take a four month sabbatical next May – August.

Q: WHAT IS A SABBATICAL?

A sabbatical is an extended period of time, set apart from the normal pressures of life and ministry, that is devoted to rest and renewal.

Q: WHY A SABBATICAL?

The purpose of a sabbatical is to give a pastor an opportunity to step back from the constant demands of ministry in order to deeply rest, recalibrate and re-enter. The sabbatical is not an end in itself. It is designed to help pastors establish new patterns of work and rest in order to improve overall health and long-term effectiveness in ministry. To help maximize this time we will be receiving coaching and spiritual direction from Crosspoint Ministry which specializes in leading pastors through their sabbaticals. For more on why churches are increasingly making pastoral sabbaticals a regular practice I recommend reading this helpful blog post by my friend, and fellow Acts 29 member, Bob Thune, “Five Reasons for a Pastoral Sabbatical”.

Q: HOW WILL THIS BENEFIT DCC?

Sabbaticals are not only good for the pastor, but for the churches they lead. Why? Two primary reasons. First, healthy pastors lead healthy churches. We will all benefit from this. I know many pastors who have taken a sabbatical and every time they, and the church they lead, end up in an even healthier place. In 2008, the Louisville Institute commissioned a research survey of 250 pastors who had taken a sabbatical. Here is what they found:

● 87% of pastors reported a sabbatical significantly renewed their commitment to ministry.

● 94% of church members claimed their pastor seemed refreshed and re-energized after the sabbatical.

● 75% percent of congregations reported a pastoral sabbatical tangibly benefited the life of the church (and not just the life of the pastor).

You may have seen some of the statistics on pastoral turnover and burnout. They’re pretty dismal. Much of that is due to the fact that overall health is not seen as a priority. We want a healthy church. To have a healthy church you need healthy leaders. To have healthy leaders you need leaders who work hard and, as appropriate, carve out intentional time for renewal and recalibration at regular intervals. I don’t know about you, but I want to see all of our pastors make it to the end – I have a vested interest in this (!)

Second, sabbaticals benefit the church because they serve as a tangible reminder that Jesus is the Chief Shepherd. A sabbatical helps wage war against consumeristic impulses that creep into the church by creating opportunities for others to step-up and serve in greater capacities in light of the pastors absence. Often, pastors are doing what others in the church could be doing and this is revealed while they are away. A sabbatical can also help confront any “celebrity” culture, or over-dependence on a particular man, that has inadvertently developed within a church (which can happen in a church of any size). DCC does not exist for the fame of any man, but the Man. It will be a great season, for all of us, as we trust Jesus’ lead into new territory.

FAQs:

Q: Why are you both taking a sabbatical now?
Over the past year, but especially the last six months, both David and I recognized we were experiencing bone-deep tiredness. Not just the “I-need-a-nap” kind of tiredness but the “I’m-not-sure-I-can-keep-going-at-this-pace” kind of tiredness. So, in other words, serious fatigue. Therefore, last summer, I reached out to Crosspoint Ministry which specializes in pastoral care and renewal. They recommended that to sustain healthy ministry into the future that we both take a sabbatical. We have already begun coaching with them, evaluating our pace of life and ministry and, even more importantly, our hearts. It has been fruitful, helpful and humbling. Your pastors are grateful for your patience, encouragement and prayers.

Q: Are Pastor Adam and Pastor David doing ok?
Yes. We are tired, but we love Jesus, our brides and families, and this church. We want to be serving with you all for a long time. To be over-the-top clear, there has been nothing morally disqualifying in our lives. These sabbaticals are not disciplinary in nature, nor are we being “forced” to take this leave. We enter into this season humbled, thankful and expectant. Consider this preventative maintenance for our souls.

Q: Are Pastor Adam or Pastor David leaving DCC?
That question actually makes me sick to my stomach, but it is an important one. Neither David nor I are leaving DCC. Personally, if Jesus permits, I want to give the rest of my life to gospel ministry in this church in this city.

Q: Aren’t all jobs hard? Don’t we all need rest?
Yes, but pastoral ministry is unique in two primary ways. First, pastoral ministry is unique in that it is not merely a vocation but a calling. It is a tremendous honor and privilege. I love it. However, it means that as a pastor I am literally “always on” wherever I am, whenever it is. There is no clocking out. The burden of shepherding is a constant, whether at home, the office or a chance encounter at Bartells. The only way to truly rest, recalibrate and renew is to intentionally disconnect from the normal rhythms of life and ministry for a designated amount of time. Second, pastoral ministry is unique because of its particular demands. Bob Thune writes, “pastors and others in Christian ministry are, to my knowledge, the only people whose job performance depends on a strong, vibrant spiritual life. The average Christian can practice their vocation ‘in the flesh’ (Galatians 5:22) and still do well by their employer. But not a pastor. Rest and renewal is crucial for maintaining a fresh, dynamic, vital communion with the Holy Spirit.”

Q: How will this impact the church?
There are a number of ways to answer this. In one sense, it won’t impact the church at all. This is Jesus’ church. He is on the throne. We exist by Him, for Him and through Him. The gospel will continue to be declared in our words. The Kingdom will continue to be demonstrated in our lives. In that sense, nothing changes. Yet, in another sense, the church is a body so when any member of the body is absent there is a felt loss (1 Cor 12:12-31). That’s understandable. There will be some adjustment. But, it will be good for us, individually and collectively, as I articulated above.

Practically, we will be making some changes to intentionally slow down the pace of church life this next year. Our focus will be on our Sunday gatherings, community life and leadership development, while limiting other events. Disciples of Jesus are made in real time, amidst ordinary life, not merely amidst a flurry of church activity. In some ways, our whole church is getting a rest this next year as we reevaluate health in every area. So, for example, next summer we do not plan on holding any events (with the exception of our summer barbecue and baptism) and will encourage communities to consider how they can create rhythms of rest together. Also, due to the complexity of multiplying gatherings, we don’t plan on moving to three gatherings until next fall, no matter how full the auditorium may get. In the meantime, we plan to leverage extra seats in the commons and, if necessary, potentially create (temporary) overflow space downstairs.

Q: Who will preach while Pastor Adam is away?
A combination of elders, elder-candidates, and deacons will fill the pulpit in my absence. We are tentatively planning a summer series through the Psalms that I am incredibly excited about.

Q: Who will attend to Pastor David’s responsibilities?
We are dividing his responsibilities amongst staff, contractors and a handful of volunteers.

Q: Who will attend to other pastoral duties (e.g. counseling, pre-marital, weddings, etc)?
We will do what we can, but on a very limited basis. We are also training-up elder candidates and building a team to assist with counseling.

Q: Will this be a paid sabbatical?
Yes, both David and I will continue to receive our salary while on sabbatical.

Q: Will Pastor Adam and Pastor David remain in the area?
Sabbatical plans for the Parkers and the Sinnetts are still coming together. If you have any leads on potential places to stay, we would love to hear about them.

All told, it is going to be a great year of trusting Jesus together. This year of rest, recalibration and renewal – for all of us – will bear fruit for years to come. I can’t wait to see what He has in store.

Christ is all!
Pastor Adam

P.S. For more on ministry sabbaticals, check out these helpful resources from Crosspoint Ministry, 9 Marks, the Reformed Church in America, and the Association of Regular Baptists.

Oct 15
2015

Our Fall Sermon Series | On Being Human: Relationships, Gender, and Being Made in the Image of God

News, Teaching | by Pastor Adam Sinnett

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This Sunday we are beginning a new sermon series, On Being Human: Relationships, Gender and Being Made in the Image of God. One of the most profound questions we face in life is: “What is a human being?” Philosophers wrestle with it. Sociologists study it. Psychologists delve into it. Social activists fight for it. Politicians try to legislate it. But, what is a human? Specifically, for our purposes, what does it mean to be a man or a woman? How should we view relationships, gender and human sexuality? Can they be whatever we want or is their meaning predetermined? It is hard to exaggerate the importance of this topic. Our view of what humans are impacts our lives on every level and, yet, we often think little of it. On this point, Augustine once said:

“Men go abroad to admire the heights of mountains, the mighty waves of the sea, the broad tides of rivers, the compass of the ocean, and the circuits of the stars, yet pass over the mystery of themselves without a thought.”

In light of that, we’re going to take the fall to work through these important questions from the scriptures. The Bible is not silent on these profoundly relevant issues. Throughout its pages we see that human beings are inescapably related to, and dependent on, God. Humans were created in the image of God with inherent dignity, value and purpose – for joy, in relationship to Him and others. In a culture awash in conflicting perspectives, opinions and conjecture, there is perhaps no greater need in our day than a deep, penetrating and fresh look at God’s revelation of his purposes in the creation of mankind. That is our goal in this series. The following describes the flow of our study:

10/18 On Being Made in the Image of God
10/25 Men and Masculinity
11/01 Women and Femininity
11/08 Marriage and the Mystery of Christ
11/15 Men as Husbands
11/22 Women as Wives
12/06 Singleness and the Mystery of Christ
12/13 The Imago Dei and Sexuality*
12/20 Raising Image Bearers: Foundations
01/10  Raising Image Bearers: Practices
01/17  On Being Human and the Sanctity of Life

Please be praying for our time together.

With affection in Christ,
Pastor Adam

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*Parents: On Sunday, December 13th, we will be exploring topics specifically related to human sexuality. The content will not be explicit nor graphic. However, we will speak about pornography, same-sex attraction, gender confusion and other sexual distortions. If your child(ren) normally participates in the main gathering, and you would prefer they sit out this week, we have made preparations with Cornerstone Kids.

Jun 24
2015

New summer series starting this Sunday | Disciple: Living for Jesus

News | by Pastor Adam Sinnett

DiscipleSlide_0615_620x130_NRC_fThis Sunday we will push pause on our study through the letter of James and kick-off a brief six-week summer sermon series called Disciple: Living for Jesus. Prior to his ascension, Jesus gave us a commission to “make disciples of all nations.” (Mt28:18-20) That means the mission of Jesus’ church, local and global, is to make disciples. Many of us are familiar with this. But, what is a disciple? What does it actually mean to be a disciple of Jesus? What difference should it make in our every day lives? How do we follow Jesus in a city that doesn’t? 

Over the next six weeks we will answer these questions and clear away common misconceptions about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. We hope to make this very practical. We’ll begin by examining our union with Him and the new identity we receive by nature of being “in Christ”. Everything in the Christian life hinges on this union. From there, we will explore how our union with Him informs how we live together, live sent, as living sacrifices, with a living trust, within the context of a living church. It’s going to be a rich six weeks. Here’s the line-up:

06/28 In Christ: Living Union, Pastor Adam Sinnett

07/05 New People: Living Together, Deacon Edward Sumner

07/12 Missionary: Living Sent, Pastor David Parker

07/19 Servant: Living Sacrifices, Deacon Randy Lundy

07/26 Learner: Living Trust, Deacon Pierce Martin

08/02 In Context: Living Church, Pastor David Parker

I am really looking forward to seeing what Jesus has in store for us this summer, particularly through this series. My prayer is that Jesus would use this study to stir our affections for Him, invite us into deeper levels of trust in Him, and move us to align our lives around Him. Additionally, please join me in praying for these men who are already prayerfully preparing to serve you well. One of our hopes is to become a teaching hospital in order to train, develop and equip future pastors and church planters

Our story is one small part of His larger unfolding story and we get to participate. So come expectant, prayed-up and hungry to learn. We’ll jump back into James on Sunday, August 9th and finish up our study by summer’s end, just in time for the fall. Love you all. 

Enjoy Him, 

Pastor Adam

Jun 11
2015

New Community in U District South!

Community, News

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Downtown Cornerstone is a community of communities scattered throughout the city, declaring and displaying the gospel of Jesus Christ in relationship to each other and the city. These are communities of diverse, imperfect people that are committed to living out the implications of the gospel in every sphere of life. These are communities of radical grace, sacrificial service, and joy. These are communities that eat together, pray together, laugh together, and study the Bible together – in essence, share life. These are communities that build up the church by encouraging people to faith in Jesus Christ and build up the city through deeds of justice and mercy. These are communities where you can be who God created you to be, yourself. It’s our hope and prayer that everyone who calls Downtown Cornerstone home will find a community like this.

This week, we launched a new community in U District South! By God’s grace, this is the second community living life together in the University District. Marco, along with his wife Sara, will be leading this newly-formed community, so we asked him to answer a few questions about the people, vision, and prayer requests for U District South.

Q: WHAT ARE YOU EXCITED ABOUT IN LAUNCHING THIS NEW COMMUNITY IN THE UNIVERSITY DISTRICT?

The U District family was getting pretty large, so now that we’ve created two communities, I’m excited about having a more intimate discussion and the opportunity for connecting with everyone in a more meaningful fashion. Seeing God grow the U District community is great, but it does make meaningful connections a little harder.

Q: WHO WILL BE A PART OF THIS NEW COMMUNITY?

This new community is not for college students only! Although this is a challenge in our neighborhood, we think it is beneficial to have undergrads, grad students, professionals, stay-at-home moms, unemployed people, single people, married people, people with kids, etc. – so that we can help one another see the multi-faceted grace of God, and learn from one another.

Q: WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR U DISTRICT SOUTH?

We will strive to be a community where we cannot deceive ourselves by merely being religious: attending gatherings on Sunday, going to community every week, discipleship groups, etc. Our hope is that we will be able to encourage one another to really live a life that is pleasing to God, in light of what He has done for us – or that we would challenge one another to bow the knee to Christ, if some of us haven’t yet. For this to happen, we need to get into each other’s lives – which can be very uncomfortable at times, but is one of the marks of a real community, as opposed to a ‘group’ that meets every week.

Q: ANY SPECIFIC WAYS WE CAN BE PRAYING?

Our prayer is that a year from now, everyone will be able to look back and say that the Lord used this community to reveal Himself and pull us closer to Him. We also want to pray that as He does bless us in any way, we would not exalt ourselves and steal his glory, but would know that ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’ (Luke 17:10)

If you are not currently participating with a DCC Community and would like to be involved with U District South or another community, email community@downtowncornerstone.org.