With the Advent season coming soon, the DCC Visual Arts Team is excited to invite the entire DCC community to participate with us in celebrating the season through creative photography!
Our desire is to create a dynamic photographic art exhibit in the Commons that would feature various kinds of photography around our Advent theme this year.
This year’s Advent theme “A Light Has Dawned,” comes from Isaiah 9:2: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.”
The experience of light and darkness is all around us. Additionally, the medium of light is central to every visual art form. We want to harness this beauty for the gospel reflections of Advent this year, specifically by inviting all of you to contribute to the growing and collaborative photo installation that will be located in the long hallway next to our Commons gallery space.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Over the course of the four weeks of Advent (beginning Nov 27th) we’ll begin printing and hanging images to our photo installation wall. Anyone can contribute to this by posting photos with the hashtag #alighthasdawned on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Our Visual Arts Team will be reviewing the hashtag feed weekly to select and print images to add to our hallway installation. Our hope is that over the four weeks of Advent, this piece will grow – photo by photo – to be a unique visual devotional, a reflection of the creativity and diversity in our church body, and beautiful reminder of God’s presence with us in this city.
HOW TO CONTRIBUTE
You can contribute to this project through the following channels:
Post your photos on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram using the hashtag #alighthasdawned
Email photos directly to (please include the subject line: “A Light Has Dawned Photos”)
This is not intended to be a professional installment, but rather an organic expression of the creativity within our church and the themes of light and darkness in our everyday lives. Due to the limited space of the installation, we won’t be able to display every photo that is submitted. However, anyone and everyone is invited to use the hashtag and share things that inspire them this Advent season! The images selected for the final installation will be the ones that best meet with the following criteria: 1) connection to theme, 2) image quality, and 2) creativity in depiction.
Every expression of beauty is a testimony to the grace and glory of God! Snap those pictures! And share the ways you see God at work in the beauty around you this Advent season!
(Please note: by using this hashtag you are giving DCC permission to print and display your photos with this hashtag)
Last Sunday we presented Craig Sturm to the church as a pastoral candidate. We are taking the next four 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 – and joy!
Craig is a good man with integrity, love for Jesus, a passion for the spread of the gospel, and invaluable pastoral experience forged in the fire of the local church over the last 26 years. Personally, I have known Craig for over eight years and am profoundly thankful for he and his family. As elders we 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 Sturm’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 Craig, 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 Craig as a pastor on Sunday, November 6th. It will be a great celebration and a joyous moment.
What follows (below) is a short interview with Craig so that you can get to know him a bit better.
If you have any questions, comments or concerns you can email me at .
Christ is all,
On behalf of the elders of DCC
Q: How did you meet Jesus? How has he changed you?
CS: I grew up knowing about God, but never really knowing God. God was a nice concept, but certainly not real and certainly had no impact on daily life. At 16, God brought crisis into my life that this perspective could not address. As I wrestled with this, God was gracious to bring alongside me friends who patiently, graciously pointed me to the living, hope-giving Jesus. On Wednesday, June 13, 1981, the Spirit of God gloriously regenerated my heart — taking out my heart of stone (unbelief) and replacing it with a heart of flesh (belief), causing me to be born again to a new and living hope. On that night I joyfully yielded my life to my loving Savior, receiving his rescue from sin, freedom from wrath, and adoption as a beloved son. Through the gracious work of his Spirit in my life over the years, God has been transforming me to be more and more like Jesus!
Q: Tell us a little about your family.
CS: I am a man blessed beyond measure! God was so kind to bring the treasure of Kathy into my life nearly 27 years ago. Marriage has been a profound journey of joy and sanctification. God has blessed us with six children: Brian (26), Kelsey (24), Caleb (who died at one month), Phillip (21), Jonathan (19), and Luke (17) — and now one grandchild, Nathan (2), with another on the way! I have loved the gift of being a husband, father, and now grandfather.
Q: What are you most passionate about?
CS: There are a few lesser passions in my life, but I am most passionate to see God’s children come to know of his love, mercy, and grace in the Gospel, embrace it with their whole hearts, treasure Jesus above all else, and live out their faith alongside their brothers and sisters in Christ in the local church.
Q: How did you get involved with DCC?
CS: We have a friendship with the Sinnetts, Parkers, and Andersons that goes back to 2008. We watched as the vision for DCC began to grow and stayed connected even after we moved to Chicago. While there, Pastor Adam served as a pastoral advisor for a church I helped plant. It was during a conversation with him a little over a year ago that I shared I would be transitioning from that lead role, and subsequently, he and I began to talk of possible ministry for us with DCC. God’s sovereign hand was weaving our paths back together! We formally began ministry with DCC on February 1, 2016.
Q: What are your current areas of oversight?
CS: Currently, my main area of oversight is our Cornerstone Communities — mentoring the leads, shepherding towards healthy communities, preparing new leaders for new communities, etc. I absolutely love it! The second major area of oversight for me is our Mercy Ministries — working with our current mercy partners, dreaming about future partnerships and initiatives, and helping our communities develop their own mercy ministries. In addition, as a “generalist”, I serve alongside the pastors to help with preaching, teaching, and providing counsel and care when needed.
Q: How did you determine you were called to be a pastor?
CS: I was discipled well as a young Christian. A year into that journey, after having had chances to lead some friends to Christ, serve in up front leadership roles in the youth ministry I was involved with, and being spurred by the man discipling me, I left for university fairly confident that full time ministry would be in my future. God used those years and then my time in seminary to refine that ministry call particularly to pastoral ministry in the local church.
Q: How can we be praying for you and your family in this season?
CS: Kathy and I are humbled by God’s amazing kindness to us and the beauty of the church family at DCC. We take the call to the pastoral role very seriously. We would be blessed to have you praying for continued “humble confidence” that is rooted in God’s strengthening and provision for the call — that we would serve in the strength that he supplies, not according to human wisdom or cleverness. Pray that our joy would be in Jesus and therefore sure and immovable. Pray that our love for you all would continue to abound as he continues to knit our hearts together for the sake of the gospel and your joy in Jesus!
From the beginning, Downtown Cornerstone has envisioned radical, other-centered, loving community as central to who we are as those created in the image of God, called to be His children by grace through faith in Jesus. In order to equip end encourage us to live out implications of the gospel in every sphere of life, Cornerstone Communities have been, and continue to be, an essential part of our life together as DCC.
It’s our hope and prayer that everyone who calls Downtown Cornerstone home will belong to a Jesus-glorifying, Bible-believing, gospel-centered community. We are passionate to see communities arise wherever our people are. So, as more people gather to worship with DCC, communities also need to grow! As we head into fall, the Cornerstone Community landscape is expanding in exciting and significant ways:
We are launching three new communities into new areas of the Seattle region: in Fremont, on the Eastside in Bellevue, and south of the city in Renton.
Two of our existing communities will be replicating into five communities. The Belltown community will replicate into three communities: Belltown South, Belltown West, and Belltown East. The University District North Community will replicate into U-District North and U-District Central.
In case you’re counting, that means by God’s grace, we will now have 20 Cornerstone Communities! We rejoice in this not simply for the sake of growth, but because God is building His kingdom and creating space to invite others into meaningful relationship. That means more communities where more people can be known and know more intimately. More communities where we can eat together, pray together, laugh together, and study the Bible together. More communities that will build up the church by encouraging people to faith in Jesus Christ and build up the city through deeds of justice and mercy.
I am grateful that God continues to be gracious to sustain and raise up a great team of Community Leads. Please join me in praying for the four new community leads: Daniel Hallak (U-District Central), Jayson Jodrey (Shoreline), Ross Webb (Renton), and Kyle Dunn (Bellevue). I am also thankful to all those who will be leading, hosting, and administrating these new communities.
May God continue to build us into a Jesus-treasuring, people-loving family for the glory and fame of Jesus and for our deep, abiding joy in him!
You can learn more about our communities and why they are a central part of who we are HERE. To get connected to a community in your neighborhood, visit the Connect Desk on Sundays, or email us at .
Mark your calendars – our 6th annual celebration of BBQ & Baptisms is less than a month away! You are invited to join us on Thursday, Sept 1st, as we celebrate the redemptive stories of those who will be baptized in the name of Jesus, our Savior and our King! It’s going to be awesome.
On behalf of all the pastors and leaders, I want to personally encourage all of us to make this night the crescendo, the climax, the highlight of our summer! What could Jesus do through literally hundreds of people coming together to celebrate the gospel through physical baptisms and testimonies telling of the immeasurable worth and greatness of our Jesus – all smack-dab in the middle of Seattle’s most heavily-trafficked, stunning waterfront park? We’re praying BIG. Please join us.
WHY DO WE DO BAPTISMS?
The short answer – because Jesus wants all Christians to be baptized (Matt 28:19).
But it’s more than that. Baptism is one of the primary means by which we experience our new life in Christ. In baptism we physically identify with Jesus in his death (being immersed under water) and his resurrection to new life (being brought out of the water) for the forgiveness of sin (Rom 6:1-10; Col 2:12). It is an outward symbolic act that demonstrates the inward reality of what God has accomplished on the cross through His Son. In so doing, we are identifying ourselves with Jesus (Acts 10:48; Rom 6:3; Gal 3:27), the universal church (1 Cor 12:13), and the local church (Acts 2:41). It’s about getting dunked, yes. Following Jesus’ command, yes. But more than that? Oh YES! The gospel realities in play in baptism are almost impossible to overstate.
WHAT CAN WE DO TO MAKE THIS NIGHT AMAZING?
#1 We need to pray. For baptisms, for relational encounters, for providential conversations, for spiritual fruitfulness. For there to be an over-abundance of food, laughter, and fun. Jesus reminds us that “we do not have, because we do not ask” (Matt 7:7, Ja 4:2). Let’s ask him for everything that would make this night special and memorable.
#2 If you have not been baptized, this night is for you! Believe me, it’s awesome. And your step of faith will bring joy and fruit in ways you can’t even anticipate – in your life, in the life of our church, and the city that we love. Join us for the class this Sunday to learn more about getting baptized (more info below).
#3 If you would like to serve the church by helping with set up, tear down, or grilling for this event please sign up for a role here! Use your time or resources to serve Jesus and the church in this way, and make it something especially delicious and fun, just because you can. And just because Jesus is that good.
#4 Invite friends, coworkers, neighbors, carpool buddies, everyone you can think of! Spread the word, and let people know something’s really going down at Myrtle Edwards on Sept 1. The website is updated with the most current information, so you can direct people there as you’re extending the invitation to others.
#5 Finally, come worshipful and anticipating a spiritual and physical feast together. We are a family, and God is our Father. He loves to give good gifts to his kids (Matt 7:11). Let’s come anticipating a feast of his goodness together – in truth, in grace, in friendship. And lots and lots of ground beef and hotdogs. It’s grace upon grace, my friends.
WHAT IF I WANT TO BE BAPTIZED (OR LEARN MORE)?
We will be holding a Baptism Class this Sunday between the first and second gatherings (10:30-11:15am). If you have not been baptized as a follower of Jesus, please come and attend, learn more, and consider this step of faith and obedience to Jesus in your life. We’ll meet in the MPR room downstairs. This class is required for anyone who would like to be baptized at BBQ & Baptisms on Sept 1st.
[Update] If you are interested in being baptized or learning more, you can read more and sign up here! And as always, please feel free to email us at if you need any additional information or have any questions.
HERE WE GO!!
Sept 1st. Myrtle Edwards Park. It’s happening. Let’s come ready to enjoy one another, enjoy Jesus’ grace, and enjoy this beautiful city that he’s given to us. See you at BBQ & Baptisms, friends!
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.
“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.
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 .
Christ is all,
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 .
Trust and treasure Jesus above all this season, friends. He is God with us!
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.
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 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.