Downtown Cornerstone Blog
Jan 3
2022

Ten Tips For Improving Your Bible Reading

Discipleship, Scripture | by Pastor Adam Sinnett

The following is a repost from January 11, 2017.
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Just like our bodies need food to flourish physically, so our souls need God’s Word to flourish spiritually (See 2 Tim 3:16-17; Hebrews 4:12). Our souls will shrivel without it. There is no other means of grace (aka spiritual discipline) that is more important than intentionally, regularly immersing yourself in God’s revealed word, the Bible. Not even prayer is as important (though it is a close second) because there is nothing we need more than to hear from Him. So, in light of this, let me offer the following ten tips to help improve your reading of the Bible this year.

#1 Ask yourself “Why do I read the Bible?”

This might seem like a strange place to start, but it is important to begin here. Often, we jump in without even considering this question. But, I’m growing increasingly convinced that our answer to this question may reveal why so many find reading the Bible dull drudgery – if they read it at all. Ask yourself, “Why do I read the Bible?” or, “Why do I think I should read the Bible?” Many people will answer by saying, “Because I am supposed to.” But, is that meant to be our primary motivation? “I’m supposed to.” No. Here’s the real question: “Do you want God?” In other words, do you want to know him more? Do you want to grow in relationship with him, understand who he is more fully, revel in all that he is for you, grasp his promises afresh, love what he loves, be more deeply anchored in what is most real? If so, you will want to read the Scripture. But, if God is not what your heart is ultimately after, then your reading will largely feel like dull drudgery, mere duty. Whenever we do the right thing (e.g. reading the Bible) for the wrong reasons (e.g. just because we should), it will always leave us dry and dissatisfied. When you read the Scripture because you want to know God more, it changes how you approach your reading. This doesn’t mean there won’t be times of dryness, there will be, just like in any other relationship, but the underlying motivation will propel you through those seasons. So, as we begin the year, maybe the first question isn’t, “How will I read the Bible this year?” but “Do I want God?”

#2 Read the Bible from love, not for it

The good news of Jesus’s life and work is that we are made right with God through faith alone, by grace alone, in him alone. In other words, we don’t earn or merit or deserve his incomparable love. For our purposes here, that means we don’t read the Bible in order to earn God’s love, but because we already have it. Or, to put it differently, reading the Bible won’t make him love us any more than he already does, in Jesus. Why point this out? Unless you are sure that you are safe with God, that he loves you, that he is completely committed to you, that he wants your best, you will never seek him. After all, if you see God as a vindictive, cruel, unapproachable task-master, why would you want to spend time with him? I wouldn’t. But, if God is immeasurably good, incomparably wise, unfathomably powerful and he has graciously made you his, in Jesus, that allows you to read the Bible from love, not for it. So, we can open up the pages of his Word day-after-day not to earn His love, but because we know we already have it.

#3 Understand the dynamics of your fallen heart

Nearly every morning I wake up and my heart has drifted back into it default position of unbelief. Pastor and author Paul Tripp, rightly calls this “gospel amnesia”. When I wake up I often feel like the weight of the world rests on my shoulders, that I need to earn the approval of others, that my worth is tied to my performance, that my treasure is found in this world, that I don’t really need God, and more. It’s embarrassing, really. But, we shouldn’t be surprised about this. Our hearts are like leaky buckets. Just when you thought it was filled, they start to empty. We need to know this about our hearts. This is just how fallen hearts function. Because of the nature of indwelling sin, our hearts effortlessly drift away from God like unanchored boats at sea. So, when we think, “I don’t really feel like spending time with God today?” we should respond by saying to ourselves, “I expect to feel that way. That’s my shady heart talking. I obviously need to take it in for a realignment.” Knowing that my heart is misaligned, to some degree, every morning motivates me to reorient my heart toward God and all that he is for me every morning. This happens most powerfully through the Bible.

#4 Raise the sail to catch the wind

In his helpful book Union with Christ: The Way to Know and Enjoy God, Rankin Wilbourne uses the illustration of a sailor raising his sail to catch the wind as a metaphor for how we should approach the means of grace. Just as a sailor will not catch the wind if he doesn’t raise the sail, we will not grow if we do not raise the sails of our hearts through the means of grace – especially regular bible reading. Some object to this and say, “If salvation is all of grace, then why are you saying there is something I need to do?” Well, no doubt, life with God is all of grace. But, his grace invites us into a life that requires us to participate (see Phil 2:12-13). We play a crucial role in our ongoing growth. Now, of course, if anything good and worthwhile is to happen within us it is ultimately up to God. The sailor raises the sail, but he’s dependent on the wind to move the boat. Reading the Bible is like that. Humbly opening up the Scripture is how we raise the sail of our hearts, while knowing it is only God who sends the wind. Fortunately, more often than not, he loves to send the wind, so its not much of a gamble. We can’t control the wind, but we can raise the sail to catch it. If we don’t, its guaranteed we’ll do nothing but drift.

#5 Find a good translation

I remember being a new Christian in college wondering, “How in the world am I to pick the right Bible? There are too many options!” It can be overwhelming. If you’re a new, or renewed, follower of Jesus I recommend reading through the Bible using a study bible (e.g. ESV Study Bible, Gospel Transformation, Reformation Study Bible, NIV Life Application Bible, etc). Most Bibles with study notes offer enough information to answer your basic questions and ensure you don’t get needlessly hung up on what things mean. As far as Bibles themselves go, here is a good place to start:

ESV: Probably the best literal (word-for-word) modern translation available. The ESV is an updated version of the RSV. This is the translation we use on Sundays as a church. If you need one, feel free to take one of the paperback ESV’s we have available. Personally, I also enjoy the NASB and NKJV.

NIV: The NIV is the most popular dynamic-equivalent Bible of our day that seeks to strike a balance between matching the original word usage while communicating the original meaning. That makes it not quite as literal (i.e. word-for-word) as the ESV, but helpful and easy to read. You do need to be more discerning here as recent editions have introduced more gender neutral terminology that is not found in the original languages.

NLT: The New Living Translation belongs to the family of Bibles known as “paraphrases”. The goal of interpretation of these paraphrases is not to match word-for-word but to freely use language to highlight the original meaning. The Message is another popular paraphrase. The primary advantage of the NLT is that there was a translation committee involved, as opposed to the single authorship of The Message by Eugene Peterson (which is great too).

#6 Find a plan

This is where it is easiest to get lost. You want to know God. You understand that you’re reading the Bible from God’s love, not for it. You know your shady heart needs it. You’re ready to hoist the sail. You have your ESV open in front of you and think, “Oh, great, now what?” To avoid this moment, you need a plan. It doesn’t really matter what your plan is, provided you have one. Often in their eagerness, new believers will think, “I’m just going to read the Bible straight through.” I tried this myself. This might surprise you, but I don’t recommend it. Why? Because it can be really discouraging, especially once you hit Leviticus. Instead, try a plan that has you reading the Bible in a year. This is the one I use. If a year is intimidating, take two or three. it can also be helpful to read a chronological Bible reading plan so you get a sense of the order of events in the Scripture. Or, you could sink yourself into a single book, or study a character, or dive into a topic you’re interested in. Don’t worry about getting it right. Pick something. Give it a shot. If it doesn’t work, try something new. Be sure to ask your friends what they’ve found helpful.

#7 Find a rhythm

If you don’t have a rhythm for when you’re going to get unhurried time with God through the Scripture, it likely won’t happen. Look at your calendar. Find a consistent block of time. Then, find a quiet spot. Turn your electronics off or leave them somewhere else in the house. Be intentional about making it a focused, non-distracting time. I remember once reading of a famous theologian, who had seven kids, whose wife would put a towel over her head at the kitchen table to read the Bible and pray. When the towel came out, the kids knew that momma was getting time with Jesus. Do whatever it takes. Get creative, even if it involves a towel. A relationship with God is forged like any other relationship – thru consistent, unhurried, quality time. Be patient with yourself, especially if this is new for you.

#8 Ask God to give you eyes to see

A passage of scripture that I regularly think of when I open my Bible is Psalm 119:18 that says, “Open our eyes that we may behold wondrous things out of your law.” We need God to open the eyes and ears of our hearts to see and hear what he has for us in his Word. This is why one person can read a section of the Bible and be bored to tears, while someone else may read the exact same section and be lost in the breathtaking beauty of what she finds there. So, when you open your Bible, pour out your heart to Him. Tell him you’re tired, distracted, or distant. Tell him your heart needs realignment around what is most real. Then, ask him to open your eyes. Tell him that you want to see, really see. Trust that the Spirit who inspired the writing of the Bible (2 Peter 1:21) is the same Spirit at work in you (Romans 8). Then read, full of faith, on the lookout for what he might bring to your attention. That leads us to the next tip.

#9 Stay on the lookout for God as you read

After asking God for help, be on the look out for how he wants to feed your soul and stir your heart. You’re really looking for one, maybe two, things to think about. Its hard to digest more than that in a single day. So, as you’re reading, you want to find a truth to savor for the day. Ask: What is this saying about God? What does God want me to learn here? What does this tell me about myself? What difference would it make today if I actually believed this? Try to find something about him to satisfy your hungry heart every day. More than likely, it won’t be something new that you haven’t seen before, though it might be, but more often it is something “old” that strikes you in a new, deeper way. The famous English pastor George Mueller was known for his goal of making his heart happy in God every morning. I’ve adopted that as my own goal ever since I first heard it. Read with intention. Look for what jumps out. Then, when it does, stop and savor it.

#10 Slow it down, then write it down

Have you ever spent time reading, then closed your Bible, and immediately forget what it is you’ve read. I’m sure you have. I have. It is a universal problem. Is there a way to avoid that? Yes. Slow it down. Then, write it down. By “slowing it down” I mean don’t spend all your time reading. Rather, read and then chew on something that you’ve read (this is called “meditating”). Take a verse, or two, that stood out. Stop. Read through it a number of times. Turn it into a prayer. Look at it from multiple angles. Imagine how your life would be different if you believed the truth in view. Take your time with it. So, for example, if you have 20 minutes to read. Spend 10 minutes reading and 10 minutes slowing down on one verse or passage that stood out. Writing it down helps to further solidify these things in your heart, especially if you’re prone to distraction. One thing I do, nearly every day, is write down a verse or two that stands out. I use a small notebook, but it could be anything, even a 3×5 card. Then, I pray through it and meditate on it. Then, I try to pull the notebook out around lunch and before bed to review those truths so that they are with me throughout the day. Give it a shot and see what works best for you.

Christ is all,

Pastor Adam

Sep 30
2021

Eight Encouragements To College Students

Discipleship | by Pastor Adam Sinnett

College is a life-defining season. It was for me. I met Jesus and my wife at the UW and my life has not been the same since. So, maybe you're a student who is on your way into another school year and you’re wondering how to keep Jesus at the center of your studies. How might you navigate those crucial years so that you graduate as a Jesus-exalting, Bible-saturated, missions-minded, people-lover? If that’s your aim—and I hope it is—I offer the following eight encouragements to you as the school year begins:

#1 Put God first, in all things.

Regularly remind yourself that you are not first a student, but Jesus’ own. You belong to God. You will not always be a student, but you will always be His. So, pursue Him with vigor. Prioritize daily plundering of His Word for wonders and pouring out your heart in prayer. Prioritize embedding your life with His people (more on this below), even if they are not fellow students. Build your schedule around Him, rather than fitting Him into your schedule. Offer your studies to Him as an act of worship. Don’t push pause on Jesus. Seek Him first and everything else will fall into place (Matt. 6:33).

#2 Love others well.

Love others as you love yourself (Mk. 12:31). There is not a season of life that makes other-centeredness easy, but the college years are a unique challenge. After all, you’re preparing for your future vocation, you’re on the lookout for your future spouse, and there is a healthy concern for the trajectory of your life. While all those are natural, they can make us unduly focused on ourselves. So, be on the lookout for how you might be able to help, encourage, and build up others. Look for opportunities to serve.

#3 Love the Word.

Don’t neglect God’s Word, instead prioritize it. That’s not easy because there will be many other books vying for your attention, but the voice you need to hear most on a daily basis is God’s and that happens through His Word. Remember the Bible is not something you merely look at, but something you look through to true truth and real reality. This book, unlike any other, will be with you for your entire life. So, when you sit down to do your homework, along with your stack of class books, put your Bible on top and start there.

#4 Beware of worldliness.

Worldliness is an over-desire for the things of the world that is rooted in the subtle, but spiritually dangerous lie, that true life, satisfaction, and joy are found in the world and not in God (1 Jn. 2:15-17). This is a particularly strong lie in college. The world is before you. You’re young and on your own. Opportunities abound. A career is around the corner and financial independence along with it. These are all great gifts! However, they make terrible gods and often choke our spiritual life when left untended (Mk. 4:18-19). Enjoy the gifts of the world while remembering they come from the lavish Giver (James 1:17).

#5 Read the best books.

I know you’ll be reading a lot and the idea of reading more may be unattractive. But, not all reading is equal. Supplement your studies with life-giving reading. Find out who the best authors are and read them. Discover the time-tested classics. Read J.I. Packer’s Knowing God or Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, D. A. Carson’s Praying with Paul, and Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology. Read Elisabeth Elliott’s Suffering is Never for Nothing, Rebekah McLaughlin’s Confronting Christianity, or R.C. Sproul’s Holiness of God. More recently, read Surviving Religion 101 by Michael Kruger written to students navigating secular campus life. Above all (my favorite) read John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress (especially part I, the story of Christian). Weave 15-minute reading sessions into your daily devotions or marathon homework sessions. Your heart will thank you.

#6 Find a solid local church and campus ministry.

If I could do college over again I would make one change. I would become intentionally involved in a specific local church. I did the college thing, floating around from church to church but making nowhere home. I didn’t understand the importance of the local church in my life or in God’s unfolding purposes. You need a church home where you can be a member, get involved, be fed the Scriptures, and be in relationship with others who are in different life stages. Just be sure that the church preaches the gospel, teaches the Bible, and keeps Jesus central. I also recommend finding a good campus ministry. This won’t replace the local church, but supplement it. If you do these two things, they will be a huge means of grace in your life, and you will be miles ahead in maturity by the time you graduate.

#7 Beware of unbelief disguised as plausible excuses.

There are legitimate reasons we won’t be able to make it to every church gathering or campus ministry event. But, there are also illegitimate reasons. Beware of putting Jesus—and your soul—on the shelf, thinking, “I’ll come back to Jesus, the church, my faith, when ________.” (insert: “I have more time”, “this season dies down”, “this project gets done”, “this internship is over”, etc.) In 25 years of following Jesus, rarely have I seen people who say such things do so. In many ways, the convictions and priorities you set in your college years, will become the convictions and priorities of the rest of your life. So, beware of unbelief disguised as plausible excuses.

#8 Trust Him in all things.

You have one life to live. There is a sense in college that you’re not quite living yet, after all, you haven’t graduated. But, when you do graduate, then you’ll be living. That’s not true. How you live your life today, and amidst your college years, is how you live your life. Trust Him with it. You will face many questions in college: “Will I get into that program? Will I meet my spouse? What will happen if it all goes wrong? If I prioritize Jesus, will he really come through?” Yes, he will—always—though often not as we would anticipate. Take Him at His Word, even when it doesn’t make sense in the moment. One day it will, and you will thank Him for it. Trust Him in all things.

Christ is all,
Pastor Adam

Sep 10
2021

Classes, and the Power of God’s Word to Change Us

Discipleship, Teaching

Downtown Cornerstone,

As disciples of Christ, we are called to changed lives as we grow in our knowledge, love, and trust of the Lord. But, this change doesn’t happen automatically; it happens through regularly opening and applying of God's Word together.

In Psalm 19, we see the primacy of God's Word and its power to change our lives, summarized:

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.

– Psalm 19:7-8,10

Our quarterly classes are intentional times together meant to allow God's Word to affect this change in us, and to grow us in holiness amidst the season of life we find ourselves in.

To that end, we're offering a number of classes this fall over two five-week sessions. These will be taught by pastors, staff, or other leaders. Most classes will meet at the building in the MPR downstairs.

We have also prepared a brochure that lists all the classes we will be offering this year, organized into distinct tracks.

Download Brochure
Session 1 begins this Sunday, September 12th at 9 am (Foundations) and Wednesday, September 15th at 6:30 pm (midweek classes):

  • Are you new with us and looking to meet others, learn more about DCC from our elders, join a Cornerstone Community, be baptized, and/or become a member? Join our Foundations class. We’re offering a weekly round (Sundays) as well as a weekend round (Friday evening–Saturday afternoon). Register here…
  • Are you (or do you know) a skeptic who is exploring the claims of Christianity, or a believer wanting to learn how you can better explain your faith to others? Join the Exploring Christianity class. Register here…
  • Are you desiring to trust in how the cross of Christ brings comfort and help, and how you can grow to be like Christ in the hardest circumstances? Join the How Jesus Changes Us class. Register here…

Session 2 will begin in the second half of October, and offer another round of the Foundations class, along with three additional classes:

  • Are you an engaged couple who want to build a solid gospel foundation for their marriage? Join our Building a Strong Marriage (Pre-Marital) class. Registration deadline: October 6th. Register here…
  • Are you seeking conversations with others in the body about how we as Christians can work toward racial harmony in the church and the world around us? Join Undivided 2: Biblical Conversations About Race. Register here…
  • Are you looking to grow in how you approach decisions in light of God’s wisdom and His revealed will to us in and through the Bible? Join the Guidance: Making Godly Decisions class. Register here…
If you are new with DCC, we would encourage you to start with the Foundations class.

To read more about our midweek classes and FAQs, visit our webpage here. If you have any other questions, please email us at .

Apr 16
2021

Reviving Our Discipleship Rhythms This Spring

Community, Discipleship | by Pastor Justin Keogh

DCC Family,

Have you considered how the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has impacted your discipleship rhythms? For many of us, our weekly gathering with the church on Sundays which had been a years—or decades—long discipline has become gathering with restrictions and/or livestreaming; our beloved potlucks in community have given way to quick meals and zoom gatherings; our regular DG meetings at the local coffee shop have gone virtual, or worse, stopped altogether.

This hard season has impacted us all in so many ways, especially our discipleship, because so much of our discipleship relies on being together.

The normal pattern of the New Testament church is gathering together in multiple forms on a regular, even daily(!), basis (see Acts 2:42-47; Heb. 10:24-25). Far more than only gathering at the church building on Sundays, Christians are encouraged to meet regularly for the purpose of living out the "One Anothers." Consider Hebrews 3:12-13:

Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called "today," that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

As DCC, we live this out intentionally through our Cornerstone Communities and our Discipleship Groups. If you've taken the Foundations class, then I'd invite you to jump into both this spring!

  • Foundations: If you've not yet gone through our Foundations class, I'd encourage you to start there. You'll not only learn more about DCC, but you'll meet others who are new to the church and get connected to a community and/or a DG through the class. Learn more and register here.
  • Cornerstone Communities: Our communities are diverse groups of people that meet weekly in their local neighborhoods (and/or, in this season, over zoom) for fellowship, prayer, and discussing and applying God's word to their lives. Check out our current community list here to get connected.
  • Discipleship Groups: Within, and sometimes across, our communities are smaller (2-5), gender-specific, DGs that meet regularly to cultivate trust in Jesus, growth in holiness and missional living. Check out a short video below to learn more (5 mins), and then fill out this simple form to get plugged into a DG for the spring.

It's our prayerful aim that everyone in DCC would be relationally connected, intentionally growing, meaningfully serving, missionally engaged, willingly accountable, and known by a pastor—and being in meaningful discipling relationships through our Cornerstone Communities and Discipleship Groups are a big part of that!

While you can jump into a community or DG at any time, now is a great time at the beginning of the Spring quarter. As such, I’d encourage you to join a community and/or a DG this next week, and commit for the next 3 months. If you have any questions at all, please don't hesitate to email me at .

With Brotherly Affection in Christ,
Pastor Justin

Apr 12
2021

Spring Classes: Growing in your Knowledge, Love, and Trust of the Lord

Discipleship, News, Teaching

Downtown Cornerstone,

As disciples of Christ, we are called to grow in our knowledge, love, and trust of the Lord (Col. 1:9-13). But, this growth doesn’t happen automatically; it happens through exercising our faith and intentionally utilizing the means of grace. One of these means of grace is the regular opening and applying of God’s Word together (Ps. 119:130, Col. 3:16).

This spring, we’re offering a number of classes over two five-week sessions. Each class, grounded in God’s Word, is intended to help you grow in a specific aspect of your life as a follower of Christ.

Session 1 begins this Wednesday, April 14th at 6:30PM:

  • Are you new with us and looking to meet others, learn more about DCC from our elders, join a Cornerstone Community, be baptized, and/or become a member? Join our Foundations class. Register here…
  • Are you looking to learn more about the history of Jesus’ church and God’s work of redeeming his people over centuries and millennia? Join the Church History class (ten weeks). Register here…
  • Are you desiring to grow in your understanding of the Bible, properly interpreting it and practically applying it to your life? Join the How to Study the Bible class. Register here…

Session 2 will begin on Wednesday, May 19th, and offer another round of the Foundations class, along with two additional classes:

  • Are you wanting to grow as a disciple-maker and help others become more like Christ? Join the Making Disciples class. Register here…
  • Are you seeking to learn what Scripture says about parenting and raising children who will love, trust, and treasure Jesus? Join our Parenting class. Register here…
If you are new with DCC, we would encourage you to start with the Foundations class.

To read more about our midweek classes and FAQs, visit our webpage here. If you have any other questions, please email us at classes@downtowncornerstone.org.

Feb 8
2021

Stewarding Our Resources and Our Seasons of Life!

Discipleship, Teaching | by Pastor Craig Sturm

Downtown Cornerstone,

The Holy Spirit, through the inspired pen of James, reveals this grand truth: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (James 1:17)

Our consistent challenge is to live and order our lives in such a way that honors God, the Great Giver, by being good stewards of the entirety of our lives—including our financial resources and our various seasons of life.

Starting this week, you have an opportunity to learn a biblical perspective on these two topics through two helpful classes:

  • Financial Stewardship: During this five-week class, we’ll examine what Scripture has to say about our finances, how we’re to use them, and the dangers to avoid. We’ll also cover practical topics such as budgeting, saving, getting out of debt, investing, and more! This class will be taught by Pastor David Parker and DCC members Bryan and Lisagrace Alsbury. Register here
  • Singleness: This five-week class will cover a basic theology of singleness, and tackle questions like "What is the gift of singleness that Scripture talks about?" and "How can I find contentment amidst singleness?" Singles are encouraged to join in but this class would also benefit anyone who lives in community with singles. This class will be taught by Kyle Stewart, DCC staff member and deacon. Register here

Both these classes begin this Wednesday, February 10th at 6:30PM. To ensure availability, and to help us better prepare for the start of class on Wednesday, we ask that you register by Tuesday, February 9th.

Let me strongly encourage to take advantage of whichever of these you deem would be most helpful for you in your life right now. I truly believe that the investment of your time will yield the fruit of spiritual growth in your life.

Lastly, if you are new with DCC, I would encourage you to start with the Foundations Class which takes place at the same time. If you have any questions, email us at .

For the increase of your joy in Jesus, and the more clear magnification of God’s glory in your life,

Pastor Craig

Sep 10
2020

Fall Classes begin next Wednesday!

Discipleship, News, Teaching | by Pastor Craig Sturm

Fall Classes

Downtown Cornerstone,

From skeptics to new believers to seasoned saints, the knowledge of God—through his Son and his revealed Word—is how we are reconciled to him and grow in relationship with him.

And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. – Jesus (John 17:3)

As Jesus’ people, an essential part of knowing God is to set aside dedicated time to learn together from Scripture, apply it to our lives, and savor God as we do that. After all, Spirit-filled savoring of God in this life is what equips us to savor him in the life to come.

To this end, we are continuing to offer midweek classes as a meaningful way for our body to grow together. The purpose of offering classes is not to create big heads, but big hearts.

Most classes will meet over five weeks and held virtually, where you will be live with the class teacher (DCC pastor, staff, or member). We have also prepared a brochure that lists all the classes we will be offering this year, organized into distinct tracks.

DOWNLOAD BROCHURE

Session 1 begins this Wednesday, September 16th at 6:30PM. To ensure availability, and to help us better prepare for the start of class on Wednesday, we ask that you register for Session 1 by Monday, September 14th. See below for class details and registration.

SESSION 1

DCC Foundations – This class is the next step for those seeking to learn more about DCC, join a community, serve, be baptized, and become a member. This five-week class serves as the primary relational on-ramp into life with our church and covers what we believe, why we belong, who we are, why we are here, and how we live together. ***This class is required for membership with DCC.***  Register here…

Exploring Christianity – Are you a skeptic who is exploring the claims of Christianity, or you a believer wanting to learn how you can better explain your faith to others? This five-week class will walk through the claims and life of Jesus and what it means to be a Christian. Register here…

How Jesus Changes Us – How does your faith in God impact your everyday thoughts, feelings, and actions? This five-week class will give you an opportunity to reflect on one specific area in your life and learn how God changes you to become more like Jesus. Register here…

New Testament I – The goal for this ten-week class is to help you understand the big picture of each book of the New Testament. You’ll gain a more clear picture of the continuity between the books in the New Testament, see the promises God has kept to his people from the Old Testament, and learn how he speaks to us through his Word today. Register here…

Unity & Diversity – This class covers the biblical foundation of our union with Christ and the need for unity and diversity within the local church, along many dimensions—race especially but not exclusively. We’ll also discuss ways to maintain the unity in Christ of an increasingly diverse body. Register here…

SESSION 2

(Begins Wednesday, October 21st @ 6:30PM)

Christians in the Workplace – How should our faith and the reality of who we are in light of the gospel change how we view our work? This five-week class will seek to create a biblical framework for how we approach work, and help you find new and fresh ways of integrating your faith in your work. Register here…

Developing Meaningful Relationships – Imagine being part of an interconnected group of people who entrust themselves to one another. The goal of this five-week class is to help us all consider how meaningful relationships can increasingly become a natural part of the daily life of our church. Register here…

Guidance – Have you ever considered what the Bible says about decision-making? In this five-week class, we’ll look at how we should approach practical decisions in light of God’s wisdom and His revealed will to us in and through the Bible—amidst all of the “counsel” that exists in our world today. Register here…

For more information and FAQs, visit our webpage. If you have any questions, please email us at .

Blessings,
Pastor Craig

May 28
2020

Pursuing God Together in the Midst of Weariness

Discipleship | by Pastor Craig Sturm

Pastoral Note

Downtown Cornerstone,

I woke up recently feeling tired and weary, honestly a bit worn out—like a rubber band that has been stretched too many times to hold its elasticity.

It had been a hard week, wrestling with disappointments in myself, frustrations over the quarantine, and feeling the weight of entering into the struggles of others—broken relationships, racial heartache, fear of the future, unrepentant sin, discouraging health prognosis (just to name a few).

A phrase from Psalm 6:6 that represented my heart that morning was simply, “I am weary.” I remember crying out to God: “I am tired. Lord, it feels like the tank is empty.”

Can you relate?

A couple of days later I was reading back through a devotional resource I have used for many years. Inside the back cover I found a faded sticky note in my own handwriting. On the top was written: “In the Midst of Weariness…” Under that were four simple statements on how to work through my weariness. I’m not sure when I first wrote it, or who I got it from. But, it was a kindness of God to me that I found it!

So much so, that I wanted to share them with you (with a fifth I have added).

#1 REST IN GOD’S GRACE TO RESTORE YOU

Isaiah 40:29-31:

He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Notice here: we will all grow weary! But, in our weariness, we have the strong assurance that God—who never grows weary—will renew our strength as we wait, in faith, on His kindnesses and strengthening.

#2 ROOT OUT YOUR IDOLS

Galatians 6:7:

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.

When it comes to seasons of weariness, I have found it crucial to ask: “What am I trusting in to give me rest? Is it a life free of fear, stress? Is it perfect health?” In other words, what have I been sowing, that is contributing to the weariness I am reaping? In searching my heart, I am seeking to root out whatever I am trusting in, apart from God, to be for me what only He can be for me. And then bring that in confession before Him, seeking forgiveness and restoration.

#3 REMEMBER, GOD IS IN CONTROL

Galatians 6:9:

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

In my weariness, I need the reminder that He promises a harvest of good fruit—if I will not give up and persevere. And that good fruit will be good according to God’s definition of good: my growth to be like Jesus; the giving of grace to others in their time of need; and most importantly, the bringing of glory to His name.

#4 CONTINUE TO WHOLEHEARTEDLY INVEST IN PEOPLE

Paul ends his thought on persevering through weariness with an outward application in Galatians 6:10:

So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but a vital piece of the puzzle when I am weary, is to continue to press outside myself to invest in the lives of others. Notice this was fourth on the list…As I rest in God and find my strength in Him; as I root out false idols I am trusting in besides Him; and as I remember that He is in control and will bring the harvest of good fruit — then I can look at the opportunities I have been given to invest in discipling and caring for those He has brought into my life.

That brings me to the fifth piece I have added: In the midst of weariness, as I am working through the previous exhortations, I must continue to pursue God.

#5  PURSUE GOD

The psalmist displays this pursuit so beautifully in Psalm 63:1,8:

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water…My soul clings to you your right hand upholds me.

I love how A.W. Tozer spoke of this pursuit: “We pursue God because, and only because, He has first put an urge within us that spurs us to the pursuit…but the outworking of that impulse is our following hard after Him; and all the time we are pursuing Him we are already in His hand…”

AN INVITATION TO THE PURSUIT OF GOD DEVOTIONAL READING GROUP

I’d love to invite you to a tangible application of this call to pursue God. I am going to be facilitating a devotional reading group, working through Tozer’s classic The Pursuit of GodThis is one of the few books I have found myself reading, and re-reading over the years!

Consider joining myself and others as we reflect on what pursuit of God looks like in our lives. We’ll work through the ten chapters, one per week until we’re done. FYI, the chapters take about 12-15 minutes to read (or you could grab the audio version).

I’m going to offer it both Tuesday mornings at 7:30AM and also Wednesdays at Noon. We’ll talk about 30 minutes and then pray. If you are interested in either of those, email me at , and I’ll get you set up so that you receive reminders and the Zoom link. We will begin next week.

Participation would look like this: reading or listening to the chapter for that week; coming prepared having thought through the chapter, especially thinking: “Is there anything in the chapter that draws my heart to understand God better? What in the chapter was helpful in helping me understand what it looks like to pursue a deeper relationship with God? What is a tangible action I can take moving forward?”

Praise God He is the God of the weary! May our pursuit of Him refresh, restore, and renew our weary hearts, minds, and bodies.

Pastor Craig

Apr 16
2020

Discipleship in this Season: Classes, Community, and Connect & Prayer

Community, Discipleship | by Pastor Justin Keogh

Discipleship in this Season

Downtown Cornerstone,

This is certainly a unique season we find ourselves in amidst Covid-19 and “social distancing.” As we continue to approach God’s throne of grace for mercy (Heb. 4:16), we know that God is sovereignly in control (Ps. 46:10) and that He, in His wisdom, has appointed this time and season (Eccl. 3:1-8). We can trust that He is working through this season to carry out His will and purposes in ways both seen and unseen.

Among those purposes, we know that God desires for his people to continue to grow in knowledge, faith, and obedience (Col. 1:9-14). And we, as Jesus’ church, remain called and committed to discipleship (Eph. 4:11-16) and have shifted our normal rhythms to virtual platforms. This season especially highlights the value and necessity of personal discipleship and meaningful relationships!

NEWCOMERS’ COFFEE AND FOUNDATIONS

If you are new with us, we invite you to join us this Sunday, April 19th at 12PM for our upcoming Virtual Newcomers’ Coffee. This is an opportunity for you to meet a pastor, connect with leaders, hear our story, ask any questions you may have, and identify your next steps—along with others who are doing the same. Learn more and register…

We also encourage you to join us for the Foundations class on Wednesdays at 6:30PM, starting on April 22nd. This five-week class covers the essentials of who we are as a local church and is the primary relational on-ramp into the life of our body. Throughout the class, we’ll discuss who we are and what we believe while building relationships and community together. Learn more and register…

SPRING CLASSES

As you consider how God is calling you to take the next step in your faith, our upcoming set of classes are a great way to grow in your knowledge and love of God and all that He is for us. In light of Covid-19, we are offering these classes virtually via video call where you will be live with the instructor.

  • Session 1: Begins Wednesday, April 22nd and includes Christianity Explained and Suffering: Understanding & Experiencing God’s Grace.
  • Session 2: Begins May 27th and includes Developing Meaningful Relationships and Meeting With God.

If you are new with DCC, we would encourage you to start with the Foundations Class which takes place at the same time.

Learn more about our classes and register…

CORNERSTONE COMMUNITIES

For those who have already taken the Foundations class and have been participating with us for a while, we invite you to further embed in the life of our church by joining one of our Cornerstone Communities. While this season presents new barriers to fellowship, our communities are still operating virtually, and would love to welcome you in!

To join a Cornerstone Community, check out the current list of communities, and fill out this form.

CONNECT & PRAYER

Below are some additional ways for us as a body to connect, pray together, and share life in the midst of “social distancing”:

  • Pre-Livestream Connect & Prayer: These calls are facilitated by DCC pastors and are an opportunity to go before the throne of grace before the livestream gathering-while-scattering. Look out for Sunday Morning Guide email with meeting details.
  • Midweek Connect & Prayer: These calls are facilitated by DCC pastors as well and are meant as a way to fellowship with one another through the week. Check out our weekly DCC News emails for meeting details.
  • Prayer Night: We regularly gather together for an evening of prayer, scripture, and song, asking our Father to do what only He can do. Our next Prayer Night will be on Sunday evening, April 26th. Learn more…
  • New to DCC and looking to meet others? Cornerstone Connects exist to help connect people with shared interests. With current gatherings restrictions in place, our Digital Connect is a way to meet others in our body for social hangouts, games, and more! Check out upcoming events and join here.

Lastly, I encourage you to stay connected with us by installing the DCC App where we post important church-wide updates and notifications.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at . I am praying that this season will be one of growth in your knowledge, love, and trust of the Lord!

Blessings,
Justin

Jan 16
2020

An Invitation to Women’s Discipleship Day

Discipleship, Event | by Deacon Jen Keogh

Dear Ladies of DCC,

Our next Women’s Discipleship Day will take place on February 1st and I invite you to join us for it! This one-day event is a rich opportunity to gather with our sisters to worship our great and glorious God, receive teaching from His Word by women in our body, and point one another to the hope of His Gospel and the immeasurable riches found in Him alone.

WHY PARTICIPATE IN WOMEN’S DISCIPLESHIP DAY?

With all of life’s demands as it relates to our work, school, kids, etc., it can be so easy for our hearts to lose sight of what is truly of eternal value and worth – our relationship with God and finding our joy in all His goodness toward us, in Jesus. Women’s Discipleship Day is meant to be a time for us to slow down, and learn and grow together in ways we can trust in God while we navigate all of life’s busyness as women of faith.

WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM THIS DAY?

There will be rich, biblical teaching from women within DCC. We will be meditating on Jesus’ Parable of Soils from Mark 4:1-20. You will hear testimonies from other women on the worldly concerns that threatened to choke out their faith and how God delivered them from it. We’ll praise our God together in musical worship and prayer, as well as spend time in personal reflection and table discussions. Our goal for us ladies is to walk away from the day better equipped to till the soil of our souls for His Glory and for our edification.

WHAT IF I HAVE PLANS?

Consider changing your plans to prioritize time spent in scripture, prayer, and fellowship with one another. Our next Women’s Discipleship Retreat will not be until next fall, so we hope that you will make this day a priority to the benefit of your soul and your sisters in Christ.

WHAT IF I DON’T KNOW ANYONE?

Don’t worry – you’re not the only one! This event is a great opportunity to meet other women in DCC, and build and strengthen relationships. Consider inviting a friend; you don’t have to be a member to participate. In fact, invite the woman sitting next to you at our next gathering. One of our prayers for this day is that each woman will find the beginnings of a deep, discipling relationship with others in our body.

WHY ONLY A SINGLE DAY EVENT?

Our reason for a single day event is to eliminate many of the barriers that come with a weekend retreat. A single day event allows for much shorter commute, lower cost, and easier family logistics while preserving valuable time for studying God’s Word, worshipping and praying with one another, and practical application.

WHAT DOES THE $25 REGISTRATION FEE INCLUDE?

The cost includes a light breakfast, coffee throughout the day, a box lunch, materials for the day, parking, and a book giveaway. If this presents a financial hardship – just let us know in the registration form, as there are scholarships available!

WILL CORNERSTONE KIDS BE PROVIDED?

Please note Cornerstone Kids will not be provided as we’d love for this time to be focused and fruitful for the ladies. We encourage husbands, family, or friends to help care for children during this time.

EVENT DETAILS

WHEN: Saturday, February 1st
WHERE: DCC Building – 2333 Western Ave, 98121
TIME: 9 am to 4 pm. Doors open at 8 am for registration and light breakfast.
LUNCH: Box lunch included with registration.
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.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to email:

In Christ,
Jen Keogh
Deacon of Women’s Discipleship