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From Dave's Desk...

February 1, 2024 

1 Corinthians 15:3-4  - “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.”

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Please join with me in giving praise and thanks to our God for his steadfast love and faithfulness to us over the last twelve months. In a world full of uncertainty, fear and darkness, knowing our heavenly Father stands sovereign over all the circumstances of our lives and that he is for us, gives us a peace that surpasses all understanding and enables us to stand firm as we await patiently the return of our Lord Jesus. 

I have included two passages from 1 Corinthians 15 (above and below) as a reminder to us of what God himself has declared to be of primary importance, namely the death and resurrection of his Son. In a world that can easily distract us and calls for our attention to be focused elsewhere, may we continually remind each other and the world of what Christ has done and where forgiveness and new life can be found. May we be like the apostle Paul and see everything as loss compared to the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen!

I would like to thank God for all those who over the last 12 months have served our congregation in a variety of ways.  From my personal files, I note we have added 11 new members in 2023 including 4 by baptism and 7 by transfer of membership.  We welcome baptisms: Cloe Rainey; Ben Williams Sr.; Bill Siverling; Sandy Perry.  Transfers Mark Gustovich; Joel Savala; Danielle Hoover; Christian and Corinne Allen; Greg and Sarah Benson.

This past year I officiated or participated in 13 funerals.  Corner House members who passed in 2023 included Georgia Bosley, Vesta Putnam, Lorainne Roskie, Ernie Cunningham and one of our ordained Timothy’s from the past, Don Critzer.  Many of our members and attendees experienced the loss of loved ones in the past year.  During the year I conducted 2 weddings.  

Corner House also celebrated the new arrival of several new babies.  Congratulations to Shawn and Kim on the arrival of Alexis.  Jake and Kelsey on the arrival of Miles. Christian and Corinne on the arrival of Lucas.  Gavin Migletts and Megan Murphy on the arrival of Stella. 

I am thankful for the many opportunities God has given us to grow in the ministries that we have
throughout our church and community.  God has given us many things to celebrate as we look forward to the new year.  We are an active church and as a result God is blessing us with children for the future.  Just maybe we can re-populate the house with babes and toddlers who will grow with us through adolescence and into a life-long relationship with Jesus Christ.  Those children will bring more families and hopeful growth to our numbers.    

I’m hopeful 2024 can be a year of the child at CHCC.  Why not?  Jesus often referred to His disciples as children. (Matthew 18:5,6 and 10; Mark 10:4) Looking back on 2023, we have had a year filled with church activities for the child in us all.  From Car Cruises (3 in our parking lot last year) to ATTAP functions (2 in the past year), our Saturdays have been hopping busy.  

Our Refuel program is off to a great start this past fall with classes and activities for all ages, not to mention the best dinner and fellowship in the area.  Our children hosted an awesome banquet for our seniors last April and were featured in an Easter Pageant and a Christmas Drama on Christmas Eve.

Our youth programs are looking ahead to the future with good vision and a full staff of volunteers to lead.  Activities included a Super Bowl Party, a Movie night and Game nights.

Our new Pavilion is looking good with the addition of landscaping and a fire pit.  We look forward to the additional playground equipment to be added in the future to complete the project.

Our worship ministry hosted the area Thanksgiving Service and the Compassionate Friends Candlelight Vigil.  I also co-directed the HCIA National Day of Prayer service as well.  Our church family participated in the Salvation Army Red Kettle Drive.  

We continue to provide food the 3rd Friday of each month at the Mahoning Valley Rescue Mission.  Our Monthly Food Drive and Food Bank have helped many families get by during these hard times.  We distribute on the average around 35-40 bags of food each month.  

Our missions ministry continues to impact countless lives as we fulfill our church vision of being a voice of hope to our church, community and world. We thank our congregation for their stewardship and generosity as we encourage missionaries and people groups far and wide with our monthly contributions.  

Our ladies continue to lead in so many positive ways.  Whether teaching, or leading children’s ministry preparing meals setting up our Coffee corner or baking pies and pastries for fund raisers - what a team.  

Our Men’s Breakfast continues to serve and equip men.  Our monthly gathering includes a delicious, home cooked, breakfast as well as a time of sharing and devotions.  

Last year our women participated in the Elkhorn Valley Woman’s Retreat with our Worship Team leading the music.  Our men also attended the Elkhorn’s Man Camp and some of our guys assisted with the Rally in The Valley at Stanbaugh Auditorium last spring.  Our Senior Citizens also attended Senior Day at Elkhorn Valley, not to mention the many Corner House children who attended various summer camp programs at Elkhorn.

We are proud to be a church that hosts the community through AA meetings, AATAP, Twin State Auto, Yoga and Zumba classes and the Girl Scouts. 

I am amazed by God's work in raising up young men who seek God and who might aspire to
take on leadership roles here at CHCC in the future.

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of our ministry at Corner House is the number of post-pandemic new-comers who have plunged in to take ownership in various aspects of our church.  I have personally sensed a great spirit at CHCC in recent months.  New-comers are not only staying faithful to their attendance, but are getting involved by attending Bible Study, volunteering for ministry, and taking a more active role in the congregation.

We have also seen more young people in their 20's - 40's actively attending and involved at Corner House in the last year than we have in a long time.  We have to invest in younger leaders because they are the ones who are gonna make sure the church is carried forward into the future.  Thank God for their vibrancy and energy.  May God be forever glorified.

As we look ahead to 2024, we want to turn our focus to the NEXT GENERATIONS.  This coming year we need to be more and more generationally focused in our prayers and in our strategic planning.

Also, our vision for the future must be continually emphasized.  Our actual VISION TEAM will need to expand in 2024.  Our elders are committed to a two fold vision emphasis for the future.
Our hope will be to create 2 teams.  One team will emphasize DISCIPLESHIP and the second team PROPERTIES.  Notice the breakdown of the two teams in the diagram below.  

VISION TEAM EXPANSION

TASK FORCE ONE: DISCIPLESHIP 
- Invitation Team
- What We Believe Class
- Discipleship Program
- Next Generation

This literally becomes the ministry group that takes the place of Evangelism 

TASK FORCE TWO: PROPERTIES
- Fund-raising 
- Playground/Pavilion Area
- Restrooms
- Future Renovations
First Corinthians 15:20 gives us a reason to press ahead in 2024.  Paul writes: But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

We are reminded that we have been given a second chance at new life.  Even though just three years ago the outbreak of a pandemic caused us to scatter and then trickle back little by little.
If you told me that 50 people would no longer attend here either because they are deceased, moved away or otherwise absent from the body at CHCC, I would have told you we were in deep trouble.  But God has been so good and many have come to experience new life in the resurrection of Jesus Christ at Corner House.   

Christianity is based on the belief in one God.  His teachings emphasize morality, love, and compassion. Christians, we believe that through faith in Christ, we can overcome any obstacle.

Corner House, we are moving into our 196th year of existence. We are a church that emphasizes a positive message for the future.  Our mission is “To know Christ and to make Him known.” 
And the vision of where we are headed is to “be a voice of hope in our church, community and world.”  

Thank you for your on-going faithfulness and love.  It will be a joy to serve the Lord with you in 2024.  

Respectfully submitted,

Dave Coxson, Minister
Corner House Christian Church

 

 

 

December 15, 2023

Christmas is such a special time of year and part of the reason the time is so special is the message from the angels. Angels literally hover over the Christmas story. Surrounding the birth of Christ was a flurry of angel appearances, 

Angels are supernatural agents that have great power and are entrusted with important assignments. The name angel means, "messenger" and throughout the Bible, you'll see angels carrying God's message to people. Angels protect, comfort, and guide people. Angels make war, make announcements, and teach. But the main job of the angels is to worship God Almighty.

Matthew the Evangelist tells us that it was one of them who brought the announcement of the upcoming birth to Joseph (Matthew 1:20-21). Luke the Evangelist tells us that it was one of them who brought the announcement of the upcoming birth to Mary (Luke 1:26-38). And Luke again tells us that it was a host of them who brought the birth announcement to shepherds  (Luke 2:8-14).

Understandably, images of angels have become a familiar symbol of Christmas. However, contrary to their depiction as gentle feminine creatures that top Christmas trees and hover over Nativity Scenes, the Bible reveals angels as persons of tremendous strength. Psalm 103:20 refers to angels as the “mighty ones” who do God’s bidding. On one occasion, as recorded in 2 Kings, a single angel killed 185,000 soldiers over night at the Lord’s command (2 Kings 19:35).

That may sound a bit terrifying, but the strength of God’s holy angels is actually great news for believers. After all, angels follow the commands of a God that loves and protects his people. Psalm 91 says:

“If you make the Most High your dwelling — even the Lord, who is my refuge — then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone” (Psalm 91:9-12).

The angels role in the Christmas drama has been practically immortalized by our hymn writers. Think of the hymns we'll be singing at this time of year:

"Angels from the Realms of Glory"
"It Came upon a Midnight Clear"
"Angels We Have Heard on High"
"The First Noel"
"While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks"
"Hark! The Herald Angels Sing"

To hear the hymn writers tell it, the angels had a lot to say about Christmas, and, biblically speaking, those hymn writers are right. You may not have realized it, but it is principally from angels—yes, angels—that we learn the significance of Jesus' birth. But why should we care about what these beings say about Jesus' birth? What is it about them that makes them reliable sources to listen to? Very simply, it was they who came from the very presence of God in heaven and, with birth announcements patterned after those of the Caesars, it was they who declared to us on earth all that is important for us to know about Christmas, about Jesus' birth.

So what do angels really look like? In their natural state, angels are spiritual beings and do not have physical or material bodies. This doesn’t mean that they are without “form.” Humans simply don’t have the eyes to see their spiritual bodies. Thus, on several occasions, angels have assumed a physical body in order to communicate with men.

The Bible describes angels as dressing in white, gleaming like lightning, and wearing clean, shining linen with gold sashes around their chest (Daniel 10:5-6; John 20:12; Luke 24:4; Revelation 15:6). The only classes of angels clearly described as having wings are the Seraphim and the Cheribum who seem to guard or attend the throne of God (Isaiah 6:2; Exodus 25:20). Regardless, wings have become a standard feature in our depiction of angels – perhaps an artistic way to portray the speed at which angels can travel. In the same way halos are an artistic way to portray the “gleam” of angels.

Stop and picture an angel for me. Ok, what do you see when you picture an angel? I overheard one man say earlier, "My wife. My wife's an angel. She's always up in the air and harping about something." Some of you picture Tinker bell. Others of you think Willow Tree Angels as some of you collect these. Angels are thought by many to be bite-size, cute pets you can place in a woman's purse. It's thought they offer us nice feelings of warmth like when you receive a delivery of flowers.

Surely, there are many facets of angelic beings that remain a mystery to humans, and believe it or not, there are some aspects of humanity, particularly God's grace toward us, that appear to be a mystery to angels. When speaking of grace and salvation, 1 Peter says, "Even angels long to look into these things" (1 Peter 1:12b). May our amazement surpass that of the angels, for we, unlike them, are the recipients of God's grace and salvation!

Imagine discovering that the Creator of the Universe had chosen to become a man. Imagine knowing the true identity of Christ, the King of Kings, yet witnessing his most humble birth and his most ordinary Jewish upbringing. As Jesus grew into a man and began his ministry, imagine seeing men hurl insults at, and ultimately crucify, the Author of Life and Salvation.

The book of Hebrews says, “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it” (Hebrews 13:2).  Be aware - angels are among us and who knows?  Maybe you will entertain one this Christmas season.  

Thank God for Corner House.  We are a church full of wonderful angels who serve, minister, teach, while bringing and sharing the good news of Jesus Christ.

October 2, 2023

THIS FALL - WHY NOT FALL INTO JESUS?

Welcome to Fall! Witches, goblins, ghosts O’ my!  Have no fear? It is often said that fear of God has no place in the Christian’s life for, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and he who fears (for himself) is not perfected in love”

(1 John 4:18).

Someone I know said they recently pulled up next to a car at a stop light.  A quick glance to her left caused her to hit her head on the car roof.  The passenger in the car beside her was all bones and no flesh.  Funny how a skeleton can startle us.  Last time I checked the anatomy books I am one of those.  Dem Bones Dem Bones Dem Dry Bones.  I’m a skeleton with flesh and I’d like to keep it that way a bit longer.

Maybe you have had some startling experiences in recent days.  The natural tendency of our human brains is to focus on our scariest problems and then dwell on that specific problem. Many of us obsess endlessly over our fears. You might be fearful about finances, a job, a child or grandchild or, as in our situation, health.

We can allow fear to keep us awake all night and greet us first thing in the morning. We can try to wish our situation away or fret ourselves into panic, but at some point, we need to decide that we are not going to be paralyzed by fear.

Instead of hitting our head on the ceiling every time we are startled about a circumstances or our futures, we must run to Jesus instead, and fall into his arms.  By falling into Jesus, instead of allowing fear to control us, fear, over time, will become more like an ocean foghorn on a misty night, sounding its horn to remind us to avoid the rocky shores of submitting to fear and turning, instead, towards Christ.

What do I mean when I say, “falling into Jesus?” Falling into Jesus can be as simple as remembering and singing a hymn or worship song when you find fear filling your heart.

It can mean memorizing and quoting a verse that brings comfort in the face of your fears or talking to God through prayer as you marvel at his provision and creation.

This fall, when fear comes knocking at the door of your heart, refuse to let it in. Instead, “Fall into Jesus,” the one who is the author and perfector of our faith! He is waiting with his arms wide open to receive you.  May God be greatly praised!

With passion for King and Kingdom,

 

August 18, 2023

Hello Corner House.  I am absolutely jazzed up about our new pavilion and the opportunity it will soon provide to our membership and community.   Once again, a great big thank you to all who have sacrificed to provide for it establishment.  God bless us as we gather there this September 17th for Back To Church Sunday and 195th anniversary picnic and celebration.  
We are also excited to kick off another season of REFUEL which will begin September 27th 
All great reasons to be apart of our wonderful family and fellowship at CHCC.

Wow! Where has our church attendance gone?  I hear quite frequently from our older members the words: “Why back in the 60's the sanctuary was full...”  We could speculate all day regarding church attendance but facts are still the facts - and the fact is, fewer and fewer Americans are attending religious services, and our society is reflecting the loss of morality. 

"Americans’ membership in houses of worship has continued to decline… dropping below 50% for the first time in Gallup’s eight-decade trend. In 2020, 47% of Americans said they belonged to a church, synagogue, or mosque, down from 50% in 2018 and 70% in 1999." Church membership had been at 70% or above since the statistic started to be measured in 1937. 

Research has shown that every generation of adults is less religious than the generation that preceded it. "This pattern continues with Generation Z… in terms of identity, Generation Z is the least religious generation yet. More than one-third (34%) of Generation Z are religiously unaffiliated, a significant larger proportion than among millennials (29%) and Generation X (25%)." Research shows that churches (all houses of worship) have to replace 32% of their membership each year just to stay even.

The fact that each generation is less religious than the previous generation is often attributed to the fact that fewer and fewer children are exposed to religious experiences, going to church on a regular basis or even experiences as simple as saying Grace before a meal. This then leads to them being less religious, and the cycle repeats itself.

People need the church and the church needs people.  We are continually refreshing and renewing the tremendous number of people God has prepared for us to bless.  The way we do that best is through church attendance.  Let me give you 8 good reasons why we need to attend church.

1. The church is the body of Christi.
The Bible consistently teaches that the church is Christ’s body on earth (Eph. 1:22–23). Each believer is a different body part, but we’re intricately knitted together (Eph. 4:15–16). We’re not independent but interdependent.

3. The Spirit is drawing us.  (Eph 4:4).
The Holy Spirit—the third person of the Trinity—inhabits God’s church, and he’s always drawing us toward unity. The Spirit within us yearns for us to be together, like that same rubber band pulling us back in.

4. We’re a spiritual family.
In the church, God is our adoptive Father, so we’re all spiritual siblings—God’s “household” (1 Tim 3:15). Healthy families live together, laugh together, cry together, and help each other. Parents with grown children love when the adult kids get together—and those parents are only fully satisfied when everyone’s present.  God is our spiritual parent.  He beckons you to come back to church.

5. Preaching is a sacred moment.
When we hear God’s word taught in a congregation, we resonate not only with our risen Lord and his royal word, but with each other. A feast enjoyed together is better than food eaten alone.

6. There’s nothing like singing together.
There’s no experience on earth like congregational singing (Ps 95:1–2). Singing together glorifies God by re-enthroning him in the hearts of his people. It symbolizes our unity as we harmonize over the gospel. But we don’t just sing to glorify God; we also sing to encourage each other (Col 3:16). And we can’t sing to each other through a computer screen. God will hear the rising praises of the Christian church, and it will be good if we’re there to express them together.

7. We need baptisms and communion.
Baptism and communion remind us that God communicates to us in sensory ways. In these two ordinances, we taste and touch and see and hear the gospel, whether the splash of water in a baptismal tank as a new believer dies and rises with Christ, or the broken bread and crushed grapes that feed us with the remembrance of his sacrifice (Matt 28:19; 1 Cor 11:26).

7. You have a job to do.
If you’re a believer, you have a job to do when the church gathers. The work of ministry isn’t mainly for ministers and leaders. It’s for every Christian. Every believer has spiritual gifts meant to be used, and every church body desperately needs every body part to be active (Rom 12:4–8; Eph 4:15–16; 1 Pet 4:10–11). There are many ways we simply can’t serve or encourage or build up Christ’s body unless we’re physically present.

8. Our worship is a witness.
Each week our friends and neighbors and coworkers walk through the same broken world we do, but without our hope and our map. Each week they suffer challenges and tragedies that make them wonder where grace and truth can be found. The unbelieving world needs to see the gospel’s transforming power embodied in a local family of Christians who love God and serve each other in the most gracious and gritty ways.

Conclusion
Friends, our gatherings are ultimately a taste of heaven. (Heb 12:22–23; Rev 22:4). In the life to come, we won’t be siloed and segregated in mansions of glory, but living and working and loving and serving together in a new world where righteousness dwells (2 Pet 3:13). So let’s get back to gather together again—in person—until all things are new.

FROM DAVE’S DESK SOURCES 
- 10 Reasons to Come Back to Church after COVID-19 - June 13, 2020 by: David Gundersen

- On line article: I went back to church on Sunday. Here's why we should all consider getting back to religion.  By Jim Nelles 

FROM THE PULPIT
SEPTEMBER 3
THE BATTLE WITHIN (FREE AT LAST) TEXT: ROMANS 7:1-7: 
There is a Civil War mounting within every mature Christian.  Romans 7 is describing the spiritual struggle of every believer..  If we are ever going to victoriously live the Christian life we must come to grips with the battle within.  

SEPTEMBER 10
SPIRIT OR FLESH TEXT: ROMANS 8:1-11: There are two other options in response to Romans 8. "You can live in the Spirit" or "you can die in the flesh." The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.  (Romans 8:11)

SEPTEMBER 17
TWISTED SCRIPTURE TEXT: ROMANS 9:1-33 : In one fateful phrase two titanic forces collided with historic significance in the first century: the original election of the Jews and the later inclusion of the Gentiles.  The great reversal of the first century raised the question: "Has he rejected his own people?"   In response, Paul seeks to reassure the Romans by referring to God's foreknowledge, His election, and of predestination.  What Paul intended to be as a reassurance has instead become something quite unsettling: The mistaken idea that predestination means God arbitrarily appoints some individuals for salvation and other individuals for damnation.  Lets talk about "Twisted Scripture."  

SEPTEMBER 24
COMMUNICATION TEXT: ROMANS 10:1-10: The word CONFESS is the Greek word "Homologeo".  It literally means "to speak the same thing". When I "confess" that Jesus is Lord (as Romans 10:9 says I should) I'm agreeing with God.  I'm echoing His words.  Through my words and my life I am communicating to the world the greatest message of all time.  "Jesus is Lord."

OCTOBER 1
THE GOD OUTSIDE YOUR BOX TEXT: ROMANS 11:33-36: Jewish unbelief brought Gentile salvation. Gentile salvation creates Jewish jealousy. And out of their jealousy they are drawn back into the place of salvation. Mercy will be shown to Jews by the mercy shown to Gentiles.  When Paul realizes this he is driven to his knees in praise and worship.

OCTOBER 8 - GUEST SPEAKER FROM TCM MISSION

OCTOBER 15
GRACE GRAFTED GIFTED TEXT: ROMANS 12: God has been so gracious as to graft us into His spiritual family.  We all have gifts we must discover and use to His ultimate glory.

July 3, 2023

As you may well know, our Missions Statement, coupled with our Vision reminds us “to know Christ and to make him known by being a voice of hope in our church, community and world.”

I desire to “Make Christ Known” in our community by carrying the message of the cross by preaching the Gospel to those who are lost.  I also desire to help our congregation “Know Christ” better by interpreting the Gospel to the saved.

The entire New Testament is an interpretation and application of the Gospel. The Apostle Paul’s letters to the churches are not to tell them how to be saved. They were already saints as he addressed each letter, “I write to you saints...” Paul wrote his epistles to explain to the churches what was involved in their salvation and sanctification. His letters were an explanation of the “deep things of God” and how they applied to daily life.

I desire to see our congregation grow as mature Christians as they love one another and encourage each other. The desire of every Christian minister is to help the church mature and grow spiritually so that all may know Christ and make him known. This is achieved by steadfast, balanced, unapologetic preaching, and the study of God’s word.

I desire to see the church family use their spiritual gifts, talents, abilities, and resources to build the Church and build the Kingdom of God. That was Paul’s admonition to the church of Corinth, some of whose members were using their spiritual gifts as “toys” or “trophies” about which to boast.

The purpose of ministry is to love, feed, and disciple God’s family so his children mature and become more like Christ. Will you join me in this endeavor to create mature disciples who “Know Christ” and then “Make Christ Known”? Until the whole world knows Christ.

 

 

FROM THE WORD (Upcoming Sermons)

ROMANS OVERVIEW - Here is a look at what to expect in the way of preaching this summer. 

JULY 9 - PAUL'S I AM'S

TEXT: ROMANS 1:1-17

Paul uses the personal pronoun "I" 14 times in his introductory comments in the book of Romans.  The persistent endurance and unwavering determination of the apostle Paul to share the "Good News" inspires us.  His faith enabled him to endure and press forward.

 

JULY 16 - I'M OKAY, YOU’RE NOT OKAY, I THINK.

ROMANS 2:1-16

As Paul continues to lay out the fact that all people fall short of the glory of God and are in need of God's righteousness, he focuses on the fact that the Jews are no better off than the Gentiles.

 

JULY 23 - GRACE GUARANTEED?

TEXT: Romans 3:20-24; Romans 4:16; Eph. 2:8

There are a lot of things that are guaranteed.  Grace is guaranteed but not to everyone.  Only to those who come to Jesus in faith. 

 

JULY 30 - ORCHARD GROUP MISSION

 

AUGUST 6 - A FAITH LIKE ABRAHAM'S

TEXT: ROMANS 4:1-25

God has always required those who want to be righteous to place their faith in Him. This has always been true. As far back as Abraham in the Old Testament it has been true.

 

AUGUST 13 - JUSTIFIED

TEXT: ROMANS 5:1-11

The words justify and justification are interwoven into our culture and are used in ways that tell us a lot about what God did when He justified us.  Before God I am powerless, ungodly, a sinner and an enemy - Yet God demonstrated his love for us in THIS... While we were yet sinners Christ died for us. (Rom. 5:8)

 

AUGUST 20 - BENEATH THE WATERS

TEXT: ROMANS 6:1-14

Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, it's possible to live life the way it was meant to be lived. We can join Jesus in his death and in his new life through baptism. For every person, it's time to step into or celebrate new life, leaving everything else beneath the water.

 

AUGUST 27 - SPECIAL GUEST TIM SNYDER

 

 

CORNER HOUSE 195TH ANNIVERSARY

Every church should celebrate its anniversary at least every twenty-five years so that each generation has an opportunity to learn about the church's history and to join in a celebration of the church on a grand scale.  We are actually in the middle of our 195th year of operations as a church.  That means, five years from now, in the year 2028, we will be celebrating the big 200th birthday. 

Some of you are life-long (or close enough to it) members of CHCC while for others, 2028 will mark their 5th year in attendance.   Either way, if you are interested in church history and vision, please consider attending a brief meeting to begin to organize the festivities for 2028.  

 

June 2, 2023

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Lord is my strength...  (Habakkuk 3:17-19b)

 

One of the shortest books in the Old Testament is the book of Habakkuk. In its three brief chapters we see an amazing transformation in the prophet's outlook on life. His opening words express depths of despair, but at the close of the book he has risen to heights of joy.

 

WATCH THIS: How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? (Habakkuk 1:2)

...yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior (Habakkuk 3:18a)

 

What caused this remarkable change? Why did Habakkuk begin with a complaint and end with a song of praise?

 

The prophet Habakkuk undoubtedly enjoyed many days of walking with God in sunlight, peace, and plenty. But then the day came when everything went wrong. There were no flowers on the fig trees, no grapes on the vines, no olives on the

trees, no grains from the fields, no sheep in the pen, and no cattle in the stalls.

If you were a farmer surveying such devastation, you might have a difficult time rejoicing in the Lord. But not Habakkuk. He knew the very time to trust God in triple measure was on a day when everything bad happened at once and all his

dreams came unraveled. He not only trusted God in the midst of crazy and bizarre disappointments, but he also determined to put a smile on his face. As a result, a very bad day on the Habakkuk ranch ended very well - with joy, trust, and thoughts of God's enduring strength.

 

Have you experienced times in your life where you can’t feel God’s presence? When the worst happens in our lives, while we do our best to cling to our faith, it’s easy to question God. Where is He when a loved one dies far too young? Where is God in divorce, disease and death? Where is He when war rages? These are age-old questions humans have struggled with for centuries, and questions we can easily ask today. It seems as if the world is on the brink of disaster, so we are left searching for God through all of it.

 

By fixing his eyes on God, Habakkuk rose above his discouraging circumstances and found a source of lasting joy in the Lord.  Like the prophet, we too must walk by faith and look forward to that glorious time when Jesus will return and all things will be made new. In the meantime, maintaining our confidence in Him is the secret of true joy!

 

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:4-6).

 

PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, I look forward to meeting Habakkuk in heaven. I'm so thankful for his passion and patience of heart as he faced devastating events in his life.  Every time I am troubled and down and out about the circumstances of this life I will also say, "Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”

 

Serving God’s Children,

 

Dave

 

SERMON SERIES OVERVIEW JUNE-JULY 2023

 

Sermon Series: Habakkuk (When God Seems Unfair)

What are some of the idioms that have been popular over the years? In the 60's-70's "No way" (Jose); Then in the 80's it was "What's up" or "What's up with that?" or "Wassup?" then "Sup?" In the early 2000 it was "wait for it!"  In the 2020's its "Big Yikes" Big what? Big Yikes is a  situation that has evolved from a " yikes " to a more severe, uncomfortable, or otherwise unfortunate moment. You see it every day. Things seem to go from bad to worse.  Mean people taking advantage of the weak. Good people down on their luck. Innocent people suffering. War. Injustice. Ever get the feeling God isn't fair? Discover how an Old Testament prophet can inspire a modern day faith in God's promises.

  

SUNDAY, JUNE 4 (Pentecost Sunday) This sermon will feature Jerry, Chuck, Steve and Dave

SERMON: "LIVELY STONES" (LIVING STONES) 

TEXT: I Peter 2:1-10

Discover what it mean to be a lively church - a chosen people, a kingdom of priests, a holy nation and a people belonging to God.

 

SUNDAY, JUNE 11

SERMON: "WAIT FOR IT"

TEXT: Habbakkuk 2:2-17

When you feel like you are in the waiting room, and you've had it up to here.

 

SUNDAY, JUNE 18 (Father's Day and Baby and Toddler appreciation Sunday.

SERMON: THE FATHER OF THE PRODIGAL

TEXT Luke 15:11-24

We always hear of the story of the Prodigal Son, this message is based on the grace and love of the Prodigal Father.

 

SUNDAY, JUNE 25

SERMON: "SAY WHAT?"  SOUNDS AND SILENCE

TEXT: Habakkuk 2:18-20

When you realize it's time to stop talking and start listening.

 

SUNDAY, JULY 2

SERMON: "BIG YIKES"

TEXT: Habakkuk 3

When yikes isn't enough to describe your unfortunate situation, but God comes through again. 

 

 

4/13/2023

Children Today…” 
In a speech to the House of Commons on February 28, 1843, Anthony Ashley Cooper, the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury, ranted: " ... the morals of children are tenfold worse than formerly."

"The young people of today are utterly dissolute and disorderly" -Martin Luther 16th Century. 

"The youth are rebellious, pleasure-seeking, and irresponsible. They have no respect for their elders." - Plato 

"We live in a decadent age. Young people no longer respect their parents. They are rude and impatient. They inhabit taverns and have no self-control." - Inscription on a 6000-year old Egyptian tomb. 

I hear similar statements today. “Kids today are not like they were years ago,” or the famous tune from “Bye Bye Birdie” “Kids! What’s the matter with kids today… why can’t they be like we were, perfect in every way?” 

God has always had a powerful love and place for teenage and child heroes ready to change the world. Joseph “the dreamer” helped spare the Jewish people from famine. Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were kidnapped and taken to Babylon where they refused to forsake their faith. Remember young David the giant-killer, and also the virgin Mary who was most likely a teenager when she gave birth to the Messiah.

Jesus reminded us of the value of children and young people when he said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to them.” He also said, 
“Unless you become converted like little children you will by NO MEANS enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” When asked who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven, “he called a little child unto him and placed him in their midst.” 

The great revivals of the world (including the recent revival at Asbury) came together as young people and children knelt in prayer crying out to God. For years Christian missions have focused on the 10/40 Window, a rectangular area of North Africa, the Middle East and Asia between 10 degrees north and 40 degrees north latitude. This area is often referred to as “The Resistant Belt” where the majority of the world’s Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists dwell. Much time, 
money and resources have been spent trying to break into the 10/40 Window with the Gospel. Today I believe there is another “window” that encompasses the most forsaken mission field in the world. That is the 4/14 Window. 85% of Christians today claim that they came to Christ between the ages of 4 and 14. Why? “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, I find pleasure in them” (the things of Christ). Ecclesiastes 12:1. 

Corner House, I believe we are awakening once again to an opportunity to reach young people.  In fact, I would submit that the youth of today who need to be reached actually more like age 4-44.  We have needed desperately to discover ourselves in the middle of a youth movement.  Here are just a few evidences of the opportunity that has presented itself.
- We have several babies born or due over the course of the last couple years.

- There has been vested interest in making good use of our Nursery which, ten years ago, was part of our remodel.  Notice the cradle roll bulletin board that is now displayed containing the names and pictures of our infants and toddlers.  

- Our Children’s Discipleship ministry meet monthly and oversees all children and youth activities.  Children’s Discipleship is our largest active ministry at Corner House.  Lessons and activities and programs are continually being planned and carried out by this ministry group. 

- We have had a recent resurgence in volunteers and activities for our Youth Ministry.  Our hope is to restore regular and ongoing activity among our teens.

- A special class has been started called “WARM EMBRACE” for younger people who are either young married, young and single.  Although no age limitations have been set on this group, the promise of relationships and activities will certainly help Corner House reach the 4/14 Window in the future.  

Please pray that God continues to use these and many other ministries to bring glory to His Kingdom in future years.

Blessings In Christ,

Dave

 

3/2/2023

II Corinthians 9:15 “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”

I’m not much of a romantic but I have made a more than a few attempts over the years to be a romantic in my marriage.  I’ve tried to make my wife dinner, I’ve given jewelry, I’ve done a simple woodworking project (since I’m so gifted behind the work bench its usually refurbishing something already made by someone else) and of course the fall back on Valentines day is always going the ole dozen roses route.
This year I even heard my wife say: “No flowers please, save your money.”  
My wife is not one to get excited a
bout gift giving and receiving.  Her love language is “time.” So, when I have given a special gift at valentines or Christmas or birthday, I’ve never expect her to squeal with delight, burst into tears, or open the window and exclaim to the neighbors, "I'm married to the greatest husband in the whole wide world!"   When I think about it, I’m not sure that is what God expects of us either.  As a matter of fact, when it comes to Gary Chapman’s “love languages”, I think God expects nothing less than all 5 of those gestures.  He demands my time, he expects words of affirmation, he delights in my gifts, he expects my service and he wants my tender touch as well, although admittedly its hard to touch God because God is a spiritual being. 

Expression of our devotion to God can come in various ways too.   

1. Confess and surrender your emotions to God It’s easier to glorify God when we’re experiencing positive emotions. The struggle is when we don’t. ...
2. Speak to your emotions with Scripture. There have been seasons when I was gripped by fear. Fear of loved ones dying, or fear of someone I love rejecting God altogether. 
3. Turn your emotions into actions

Sometimes we raise our hands as an expression of our praise.
Other times we bow our heads as an expression of our devotion.
At times we might be drawn to our knees 
Sometimes our eyes are open and sometimes they are closed.   
Sometimes our emotions turn into actions - we might serve or help
Sometimes we speak our emotions with scripture while other times we surrender under the intense presence of the Holy Spirit.

Since God is so good to me, I wonder if he expects a little more emotion from me on behalf of his indescribable gift?  Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! 

Your Friend and Minister,

Dave

 

 

 


 

It never seems to astonish me how fast a year can go by. The saying is true: “A day feels like a lifetime, a lifetime feels like a day.” In this case it we can use the same saying for a year. This is a time to allow us all to reflect on what God has been doing here at Corner House this past year, and also to help us look forward to what God will continue to do through us as we walk faithfully with Him.

 

In many ways the churches re-entry back to the norm following Covid-19 seems like a resurrection.  Because of how effectively we used outdoor church, both as a necessity and a transition, coupled with a church-wide spirit of cooperation, the perilous season of 2020 ushered in an opportunity for new beginnings (transitions) which have certainly had a profound impact on 2021-22.

 

First of all, we capitalized on the opportunity to introduce new Mission/Vision statements.  Secondly, we have introduced a new line of programming to complement our old traditions at CHCC.  Finally, we have seen the Lord bless us with a growth spurt that has impacted us beyond the pews.

 

I thank God for his grace, but I have never seen a season of great growth in a church like 2022 has been bringing.  I thank you personally for your part in the bringing about of this growth.  I am really looking forward to how we can reach those closest to us in our church, community, and around the world in 2023.  Let’s look at every opportunity with fresh eyes as to how the Lord would have us seize the new beginnings we have been given.  Jeremiah wrote in Lamentations 3:22-23; 22 The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. 23 Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.  (NLT).  What a reminder that, with the Lord, we have a new opportunity for success every day.

 

Thank you all for being God's servants as He has called you to be, doing things you never planned on, serving in ways you never expected.  The Lord takes note of it all, and I cannot tell you how much I appreciate all those who serve in whatever capacity God has called you.

 

Kim and I are blessed to be part of this group and truly feel it is a Faith Family.  We want to thank you for your thoughtful expressions of kindness, and we look forward to many more years of faithful service together.  May God bless each of you as you travel the path God has set before you.

 

Because of His Great Love,

 

Dave Coxson, Minister

12/22/2022

I know many of you will venture out on the roads this Christmas season.  Whether it is over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house or across the state or state lines to visit family, may God be with you on your journeys. I pray you find a spirit of hospitality waiting for you wherever you may travel.

The Bible tells us that, wearied by travel across a barren and harsh landscape, Mary and Joseph sought refuge in an inn at Bethlehem. Can you imagine the couples disappointment when the innkeeper informed them that there weren’t any vacancies? All would have been a loss except for the gracious innkeeper who offered the couple a stable located at the back of the inn.  In that stable was the manger which provided warmth and shelter for baby Jesus.
 
An ordinary act of simple hospitality lies at the heart of the birth of Jesus Christ!

Before the world would know the graciousness of God who was born to serve, to die and to rise, Mary, Joseph and our Lord would know an ordinary act of hospitality by the innkeeper. Hospitality is a sure sign of Christmas!

There are many people whose travels through life have left them wearied. Such people flock to churches this time of year yearning to hear “Good News”.  Some are familiar with the Christmas story and it draws them back because they still hear the voice of the “Good Shepherd”. Others may know little about the story but are drawn out of curiosity. They may wonder, “Is there really something to all of this?”  As God’s Church we are called to offer hospitality to such as these. To those we say– take heart for, “today in the City of David a Savior has been born to you, he is Christ the Lord”. Luke 2:11-12 reminds us He is the One who gives rest to the wearied, grace to the sinner, hope to the desperate, joy to the despondent, and light and life to all who believe!

During this Christmas Season, it has been my prayer that each of you would find opportunities to reflect on your own faith and relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and His Church. 

Whatever it is that our hearts and souls desire, whether we realize it or not, our ultimate passion is Jesus Himself.  For this reason, we are filled with joy and consolation at Christmas to know that all that we hoped for has been fulfilled in the person of the Christ Child.
 
In proportion to grace given to you, continue to show hospitality this Christmas and thank you for being so generous with your giving.  By doing so, Corner House can offer programs of outreach, evangelism, and nurture that touch people’s lives. Like the Innkeeper gesture, our ordinary acts of hospitality and the grace of giving, become an extraordinary means of grace to those seeking refuge. Your support makes this possible. May the innkeeper's hospitality be your guide this Christmas and always!
 
Merry Christmas!

 

 

11/17/2022

If you get a chance, sit down and make up a “Gratitude List” consisting of the things in our lives for which we are, indeed, grateful.  Having a “Gratitude List” will increases your ability to maintain a positive outlook in life.  It will give you a measure of happiness and fulfillment in life as you reflect on the blessings of God all around.  It may even improve your ability to handle obstacles, challenges and undue stress. 

What should I put on my gratitude list?

The truth is gratitude lists are as unique and personal to you as your fingerprint.  Some people begin with what they’re thankful for in their lives or the things that happened during a day; others start by thinking about specific individuals who have done something kind for them recently.

There are no limits, but some things you may be thankful for could include:

- the people in your life (relationships - family)

- your church family

- the animals in your life,

- health and the health of those around you,

- free and natural resources that you have (air, water, sunshine, rain etc.)

- the shelter you have,

- the knowledge you have,

- the experiences God has given you

- the food you have,

- the resources available to you,

- the support system you have,

- the opportunities you have,

- the abilities you have,

- the talents you have

 

I can’t help but to think of the blessings God has provided Corner House in recent months. 

We’ve had baptisms and transfers in the past year; we can thank God for the roof over our heads and that a newly shingled roof has been paid off in the past year.  Thank God for our Wednesday Refuel ministry and for our children’s groups and workers; Thank God for the number of Bible Study opportunities we have; Thank him for our ability to stream our worship services and for the number of participants on  Facebook who listen regularly; Thank God for our leadership team; Praise Him for the continual in-flow of guests at CHCC; Thank God for vision and for the Pavilion project and the funds that have come in so far;  Give God the glory that we can reach out to special groups in our community like AATAP (Autism), Whole Life (Special Needs), Twin State Auto, Alcoholics Anonymous, Zumba club, and our newest outreach to the “Stepping It Up” program through Mercy Health who will offer Yoga classes on Thursday evenings.  Thank God for the number of people who step onto our church properties weekly due to these diverse outreach opportunities.  We so appreciate our Worship and Praise Team, and we thank Him for Biblical Preaching and Teaching.  Thank the good Lord for our missions and missionaries we faithfully support and who often visit.  Thank God for the continual monetary gifts and offerings we receive which keep us operating in the black. (Mostly) 

 

I recently read about a guy who started making a “Gratitude List” a few weeks ago and he’s been adding to it each day. He put some bad things on his list because those bad things led to personal growth that helped him move forward in life. There’s a saying, “He who has not tasted the bitter cannot appreciate the sweet.”  There’s some truth to that.  Difficult times can sometimes be seen as a blessing when viewed through the lens of hindsight.

 

Well, we can be thankful for a number of things, but those things always have one thing in common.  That one commonality is YOU!

 

So, the Apostle Paul simplified his “Gratitude List” down to just a few words. 

He simply said: I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now,

(Then he added) ...being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

 

10/13/2022

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”  Matthew 19:14 (NIV)

Most of us missed this “tid bit” of a fact.  October 21 is National Back To The Future Day.  "Great Scott!"  It’s been 37 years since I watched that movie on the big screen.  Back to the Future premiered on July 3, 1985.   I saw it the weekend it came out.  That was also about the time I started my first Youth Ministry.    

In "Back to the Future Part II," (1989) Marty McFly travels to October 21, 2015, to save his children, yet to be born in "Back to the Future's" 1985.

Unlike Marty McFly I can’t travel back to the future in a time machine to save our children in 2045.  I don’t know if CHCC will still be serving Christ or even exist as a church in that day.  I can say that a couple things we do today will have a direct impact on our future.  We probably won’t need to wait until 2045 to see the impact if we are faithful to do these things in the present.

First, we need prayer in order to save our children. Praying for our children’s future is a “must do”.
Secondly, we need participation.  Participating in our children’s and youth ministries is a “must do” too.  
Thirdly, we need to invest resources in our children’s future too.  Our children need top quality programs and need to take some life changing retreats as well.
Lastly, we need to re-visit the idea of hiring a children’s and youth director either/or part-time during the school year or full time during the summer.

In the church, we sometimes see children as a means to an end. “If you want to reach parents, you need to reach their children. If the kids don’t like the church, the parents won’t come back.” But statements like these judge the value of children based on what can be gained from them.

Jesus sees it differently. Little ones are inherently valuable to Him, and they should be to us as well. We should include children in the life of the church because not only are they our future but they are the church of today too.
 

 

8/26/2022

Hello Corner House.  We may be a small church but we pack a pretty hefty punch.  Eighty percent of the churches categorize as small, but, I’m convinced that we are one of the most active small churches out there.   A Car Cruise, meal preparation for our shut ins, meal packing for Haiti and the Ukraine, a Children’s Camp Out, hosting Professor Steve for a Family weekend, adding a new pavilion, and the list goes on and on.  And all highlighted in a short 2 month period.  First of all, THANK YOU!
Sometimes, however, we are guilty of rushing from one big event to another without taking time to ask God to lead us.  O’ He’s already promised us big things if we are faithful with the small things but to get to the big things we’ve got to slow down and really take in what He is doing.  
For instance, most of us are still reeling from the effects of the pandemic.  Not a one of us can say it has not had an impact on our lives and how we move and act and behave.  Five years ago small churches thought streaming worship services were what the mega churches do.  Now we know better.  In 2016, 2,778 houses of worship across 59 countries used Livestream to broadcast 166,700 services, ceremonies, and meetings.  Those numbers have more than quadrupled since.
More people are watching on line sermons today than ever before.  More and more people are using the Web to shop for a church.  As things simmer I want to stay optimistic.  In the future, I believe more people will try church for the first time or get back to church after a long absence because of our activity on the Internet.  Like a good soup, it will just take time to simmer.    

SPEAKING OF SOUP
In Genesis 25 (Genesis 25:19-34) Jacob was cooking up something more than lentil soup that day, and the result of his scheming would set the course of his future.
It was in God’s plan that Jacob would be first. He had announced that to Rebekah back in verse 23. But if Jacob had paid attention to the history of his own grandfather, Abraham, he might have understood that going out ahead of God and trying to acquire His blessings by our own strength and methods can only lead to disaster.
God promised Abraham a son who would be his heir and through whom the nations would be blessed, and Abraham thought he would help God out a little by going in to Hagar. The ultimate result was the Arab nations, who continue to despise God’s chosen people to this very day.
Jacob had the promise of God that he, the younger, would be served by Esau, the elder. But unwilling to wait, and unwisely ignoring the example of his forefathers, he chose to walk by sight rather than by faith, and spent the coming years living in fear and in exile.
How often, Christians, do we miss the blessings that God wants to pour out on us, and even invite evil and unnecessary suffering into our lives, simply because we are unwilling to wait? Unwilling to pray and place ourselves and our circumstances in His hands, and just wait..?
Faith, by definition, demands patience. And lack of patience with God is lack of faith, is disobedience, is unbelief.
My hope is that as a church we can learn to “let it simmer” Let the soup simmer.  If Jacob and Esau would have both given God time to work things out instead of jumping in head first the outcome might have been different for both.  
We don’t want to get out in front of God but we also don’t want to lag behind Him either.  He has a plan for us.  We want to keep our long range plan to be a voice of hope to our church, community and world out in front of us at all times.  More importantly we want to make sure God is out in front of us too.  

UP COMING SERMON SERIES FOR SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER: “5 WORDS" about the END TIMES. (End times study from Luke and Revelation)  
We cannot anticipate or desire what we cannot imagine. That's why, I believe, God has given us glimpses of the last days and heavenly places in the Bible—to fire up our imagination and kindle a desire for Heaven in our hearts. And that's why Satan will always discourage our imagination—or misdirect it to ethereal notions that violate Scripture. As long as the resurrected universe remains either undesirable or unimaginable, Satan succeeds in sabotaging our love for Heaven. 

7/21/2022

Resist the devil. We should keep as much distance between us and the devil as possible.

 

“Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

When my boys were young, they seemed to enjoy reptiles.  I never was one to be enamored by snakes, lizards and ooiegoos (made up word).  Those little guys would pick up and play with the kind of creatures that gave me nightmares.  Yikes!

While traveling on a weekend getaway several years ago we came across a Serpentarium.  I found myself reluctantly paying the cashier for 3 tickets and off we went into the world of the deadly and venomous.   The tour guide looked like the son of the devil himself.  As we stood behind a mesh barrier, he proceeded to feed three of the most deadly snakes on earth including a Spitting Cobra, a King Snake and a huge Python.  He warned guests to be very quiet on his behalf because one mistake would be all it would take. 

Jesus and I had one thing in common for sure.  We both hate snakes.  You may recall that Jesus called the devil “That old serpent...” (Revelation 12:9).   He knew how deadly just one venomous strike could be.  Lately I’ve been sensing the devil is on the prowl and looking for someone to devour. The serpent is ready to strike.  Please be in prayer for the Church of Jesus Christ.

Also, "Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might" (Ephesians 6:10). This literally means, "Strengthen yourselves in the Lord." The first thing we must realize is that in our own strength, we are no match for the devil. He is a powerful spiritual being that we must not try to engage on our own.

Satan recognizes that God is your powerbase. Therefore, Satan's goal is to get between your soul and God. He tries to separate man's heart from God and inspire man's confidence in himself instead.

I found a list of several ways Satan attacks churches.  Please use this list to pray for Corner House against the Devil’s many schemes. 

 

1. Congregational Division (1 Cor. 1:10–17).

I've seen churches divided over budget decisions, paint colors, worship styles, Bible versions, community outreach, global missions, staffing choices, service times, choir robes, small group curriculum, and church vans. The enemy still knows this truth: believers make little dent in the darkness when they shoot each other in the back. When groups compete against each other, and ministries fight for their turf, the Enemy is winning.

 2. Family Breakdown

We don't need to look far to find this problem in the church. Even the seemingly healthiest families don't always stand in the armor of God to fight off the enemy's arrows.

 3. Self-Dependence

Some churches, I am convinced, would continue to exist for some time even if God withdrew His presence. That is, they operate in their own strength and ability, but they do it well.

 4. Believers turning on believers (1 Cor. 6:1–8).

The Corinthians apparently regularly filed grievances against one another rather than try to work them out in Christian love. Internal strife marked their congregation.

 5. Sexual immorality in the church (1 Cor. 5:1–13).

There's a reason Paul so often spoke against sexual sin (e.g., 1 Cor. 6:12–20, 10:8) and called believing couples to give themselves to each other physically lest Satan tempt them (1 Cor. 7:5). This temptation is real and powerful.

 6.  Discipleship Distraction

The enemy delights in churches that have no strategic, effective discipleship strategy. After all, these churches have no plan to teach believers how to wear the full armor of God (Eph. 6:11).  They frequently leave new believers to fight battles on their own, select unprepared persons for leadership, and then provide no training for those leaders. Because no one discipled them, their members often lose battles in a spiritual war they did not know existed.

 7.  Hopelessness

It's easy to get here. Church leaders give all they have to give, yet with few results. The church is dying but unwilling to change. Lay leaders protect their turf. Staff members sometimes battle among themselves. Seemingly, no lives are experiencing transformation. "What's the point?" the enemy asks. "Why not just give up?"

 8. Competition over spiritual gifts and talent.  (1 Cor. 12–14).

When we think we're more gifted than others, or that our gifts are more significant than others, we're playing into the Devil's hand.

 9. Unwillingness to forgive a repentant believer (2 Cor. 2:5–11).

When we don't forgive a returning brother or sister in Christ, we open the door to the Enemy's influence.

 10. False teaching in the church (2 Cor. 11:1–15).

From debates about the Lord's Supper to questions of the resurrection to preaching about "another Jesus" (2 Cor. 11:4), the Enemy seeks to sow falsehood in the church—often through teachers who seem to be angels of light.

 

Which of these strategies is most evident in your church? What steps are you taking to counter the Enemy's work? What steps are you taking to prepare for his attack?

 

We do have hope, of course, in Jesus' words: "I will build My church, and the forces of Hades will not overpower it" (Matt. 16:18b). The enemy is viciously strategic against the church, but we need not let him win.

 

5/19/2022

In Galatians 6:10, the Apostle Paul encourages both the church in Galatia and the church today: “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”

In Acts 10:38, Peter said that Jesus went around doing good. Here in Galatians, Paul is talking about doing good in terms of “sowing to the Spirit” (Gal 6:8), promising that we will reap a harvest of good by sowing good.

Breaking Down the Key Parts of Galatians 6:10
#1 “Therefore,”
Anytime we see a “therefore” in the Bible we must ask ourselves what it is there for?  Paul says don’t hesitate, it’s time to take action.  It’s time to do something to move ahead.  

#2 “as we have opportunity,”
There are opportunities to do good in the name of Christ all around us. Like the Good Samaritan (Lk 10:25), will we see the brother in need as an assignment from God?

#3 “let us do good to all people,”
God blesses “all people” and so should the Christian.

#4 “especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”
The New Testament places a priority for helping the members of the Church because the Church is a family. The Christian and the local church should seek first to care for those in the family of God as part of God’s means to care for his dear children.

Maybe you’ve felt that tug to encourage a brother or sister in need, but you hesitated because you were unsure how they would respond. I’d like to challenge us today to push through the awkwardness and prayerfully act upon God’s prompting.

I am personally blown away at the number of opportunities we have at Corner House to do good.
You can support a church camper; cook a meal, make a dessert for Sunday morning, serve at the rescue mission or at our food giveaway, be a door or parking lot greeter, volunteer in the church office, teach a child, help maintain the church grounds, or serve in any of a number of ministry groups including Fellowship, Discipleship, Greeters, Welcome Center.

So let’s continue as the Apostle Paul said to spur one another on to love and good deeds, (and) let us not neglect meeting together, as some have made a habit, but let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.…  (Hebrews 10:24-25)

Blessings as we serve Christ together.

Dave

 

3/31/2022
We marvel at the stories of the triumph of God’s people over evil in the Bible.  Whether it’s Joshua’s conquest of Canaan, David taking down Goliath, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s refusal to bow or Esther and Mordecai’s triumph for God’s people in Persia - we see a divine plan unfolding through the Bible leading to a cross. Those Old Testament stories serve to remind us of the three-fold message of the book of Revelation.
1) God wins
2) God shares the victory with His people
3) Life is hard in between
Somewhere between points 1-2 comes the reality that, at least at some point, life is going to get tough.  The pandemic should have hinted that to the Christian world.  It’s hard to see a victory when the central aspect of Christianity is coming together to celebrate one and to do it regularly when the world around us was shouting “don’t gather!”  Now a potential war following a pandemic sounds like a perfect storm, that is, if you like storms.
For the children of Ukraine, that storm is a reality.  For believers in the Ukraine, life is hard right now.  Christians in the Ukraine might be praying for Christ’s immanent return.  What should we be praying for on their behalf?  
One Christian Pastor from Ukraine was asked what the West should be praying in regards to their situation. His reply was that we pray, first and foremost, for people's safety.  Pray also for wisdom and pray that God would somehow be glorified in the midst of it (the war).  Pray that the Holy Spirit fills them (the Ukrainian people) with wisdom and understanding and with the peace, comfort and empowerment to get through these tough times.  He also believes Christians need to pray for protection for fleeing unbelievers.  And with words reminiscent of Christ's call for Christians to love their enemies, he also encourages prayer for Russia's leader.  Pray that God shows up and brings revelation to Vladimir Putin and his need for a Savior.  Pray that Russia's military men will encounter the Lord.  Mostly pray for divine intervention.  Pray that God in his sovereignty and control intervene in a divine, supernatural way that makes people realize that ‘Wow, that could only be God.’  Finally, he concluded, pray for the other countries' presidents that God guides them on how they are supposed to be stepping up with supplies and militaristically.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has also prompted some of America's most prominent evangelical leaders to raise a provocative question — asking if the world is now in the biblically prophesied "end of days" that might culminate with the apocalypse and the second coming of Christ.
"Why does God permit evil like this to continue? …. Are we near Armageddon and the end of the world?" asked one Christian leader?
"We are living in the last days," replied one pastor, "We've been living in the last days for the last 2000 years. We don't know, is this the end? Is this the beginning of the end, or the end of the beginning?"
Russell Moore, public theologian at the evangelical magazine Christianity Today, said it's wrong to try to connect world events to end-times prophecy, noting that Jesus himself said his second coming would be unexpected and unconnected with "wars and rumors of wars. It's not consistent with the Bible and it's harmful to the witness of the church," said Moore, noting that the world has outlived many episodes of end-times speculation.
Hopefully more Christians are concerned about Ukraine's well-being.  We are aware of the efforts of TCM (Taking Christ to Millions) with offices in Western Ukraine, Austria, Poland and throughout western Europe. According to Tony Twist, the President of TCM - TCM has approximately 3,000 students and alumni directly impacted by this war. Their Regional Representatives and partners in the countries surrounding Ukraine have established aid stations to provide food, water, clothing, medicines, beds, and other needed provisions. In addition to prayer, they will share the love of Jesus and His Good News with them and help them find permanent housing and church connections.  
If you want to provide help gifts may be mailed to TCM International Institute PO Box 24560, Indianapolis, IN 46224-0560 - also online at www.tcmi.org/give. 

Preaching in a most desperate hour, while he could hear bombing in the distance, Sergey Nakul, pastor of Grace Reformed Church in Kyiv, Ukraine, delivered the only message he believes will keep people safe, no matter what.  "God is with me right now. God is with us … and He says, 'Don't be afraid, I am with you."  He concluded, "People are so open to right now, when they understand that their life could just end any moment — and nobody knows who is next."

On line sources:
https://www.tcmi.org/ https://fremonttribune.com/lifestyles/faith-and-values/pastors-comfort-urge-congregations-to-pray-for-ukraine/article
https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2022/march/russia-ukraine-war-pastors-protest-esther- barth-bonhoeffer.html
https://www.foxnews.com/lifestyle/ukraine-pastor-war-god-hope
https://www.hometownsource.com/forest_lake_times/a-pastor-s-view-of-putin-s-war-in-ukraine/article

 


 

1/25/2022
One day, a professor announced a surprise test. He distributed a paper to each student, with the 
front side facing down. Then he asked the class to turn the page and start the test, but there were no questions on the paper – just a black dot in the center of the page. “I want you to write a few lines about what you see on the paper”, the professor said. Puzzled, the students started the 
test. 
Once everyone was finished, the professor collected all the tests and started reading the essays out loud. Without exception, each student had written about the black dot. One wrote that the dot 
signified their smallness in the great plan of creation. Another wrote that the black dot pointed to the lack of perfection in even the most successful enterprise. Still, another wrote that the black 
dot stood for the power and purpose of diversity and difference. 
Some mentioned the size of the dot, others the position, still others expounded brilliantly on the color of the dot. One by one, each essay was read aloud and after reading the answers, the professor addressed the class. 
“None of you will be graded on this test. I only wanted you to ponder over something. All of you wrote about the black dot, yet no one concentrated first and foremost about the white part of the paper. The same thing happens in our lives. We all have white paper to observe and learn from, yet we always seem to focus in on the dark spots. We have so many reasons to celebrate – our 
parents, co-workers, friends, good health, a satisfactory job, a child’s smile, the miracles we witness every day.  However, we often limit our horizons by focusing on just the dark spots; our disappointments, our frustrations, our fears and anxieties. In our day to day lives, we tend to take so many good things for granted rather than focus our energy on insignificant dot-like failures and disappointments. 
Take your eyes off the dark spots, the black dots of your life. Look and focus on what brings life and the larger picture. Most of all – look for the good.” I think, looking for the good is another way to describe the journey of faith. Looking for the good is looking for God. This, of course, is not to deny the problems or avoid the problems that demand our attention. Rather, it means that the darkness does not overwhelm us. 
Only last week, after reading the headlines, I was overwhelmed. I grew angry over what I had read and began dwelling on negative thoughts. I opened morning prayer for that day and read this from Ephesians: 

29 No rotten word must proceed from your mouth, but only something good for the building up of the need, in order that it may give grace to those who hear, 30 and do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 All bitterness, and rage, and wrath, and clamor, and abusive speech, must be removed from you, together with all wickedness. 32 Become kind toward one another, compassionate, forgiving one another, just as also God in Christ has forgiven you. (Eph. 4:29-32)

The writer of Ephesians is simply echoing what Jesus proclaimed in calling us to love one another. Ephesians challenges us to focus on what brings life – the larger picture. Perhaps it is the pandemic we are still trying to navigate, or the troubling times in our nation’s history, or the difficult moments in each of our lives. Whatever it is that threatens to overwhelm you, perhaps these are moments challenging us, like the letter to the Ephesians, to make a choice. Will we focus on the black dots, the problems and pain, or will we look for the good? Will we look for God? This is the journey of faith! Stay strong my friends. Love one another and always - remember the One who holds you forever.

Stay hopeful. 

David 

 

 

12/9/2021

CHRISTMAS EMOTIONS

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.  (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great JOY for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”  When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.  When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were AMAZED at what the shepherds said to them.  But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying, and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived. (Luke 2:1-21)

Later in Simeon’s prophecy.  “And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” (Luke 2:45b)

 

I can be a little moody at times in late November and early December, as the sun goes down earlier each day.

If you were to select one word to use in describing the atmosphere at Christmas time, what would it be? One word that comes to mind is “emotional.” All the elements that combine to make the Christmas celebration tend to fill our hearts with emotion.  In our text, Luke attempts to describe the emotions felt on that first Christmas. He tells of the baby being born, of angels filling the heavens and the shepherds visit to the manger.

What are the emotions of Christmas? Let’s look here at Luke’s description of the first Christmas and see if we can identify some of them.

JOY: (V. 10) Perhaps one of the most favorite songs of Christmas is “Joy to the World.” And rightly so, for the message of Christmas is “Good News of great joy.” The Good News is that, because of Christ’s coming, we can have true joy. Christ came to take away our sins, to roll off our curse, to unbind our chains, to open our prison house, to cancel our debt; in a word, to give us the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. Is not this joy? Where can we find a joy so real, so deep, so pure, so lasting? There is every element of joy – deep, ecstatic, satisfying, sanctifying joy – in the gospel of Christ.

LOVE: 2. Love - v. 14

The angels sang of God’s love which made it possible for men to have peace. The story of Christmas is about God reaching out in love to make peace with men. God expressed His love by giving the gift of His Son.  The gift that is given often tells you much about the giver. From the gift you receive, you can tell if the giver wasn’t very thoughtful, or if they were cheap, or if they were simply “going through the motions” without much concern for you personally.  If you really care for someone, you will put more thought, more planning, more sacrifice, more effort into what you give, because you want them to know of your love for them. You will make the effort to give them something that they really want or need. When God decided to give us the gift of eternal life, it wasn’t something that He just thought of on the fly. Long before there was a town called Bethlehem, a garden called Eden, and a planet called Earth, a decision was made in eternity past that God would send forth His Son, born of a woman, made under the law, to redeem those that are under the law.

AMAZEMENT: vs. 17-18

Those who heard the story related by the shepherds were amazed at what God had done. The Word of God had come to the world of men.

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” - John 1:14 (NIV)

SADNESS: (V. 35b) “And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” There is yet one more emotion often associated with the modern-day celebration of Christmas. That is sadness. Psychologists say that for many people Christmas is the most depressing time of the year. Sometimes the sadness comes because of the demands of the season. To others the sadness comes because they recognize more clearly than at other times the emptiness within. They see another year completed, yet no more has been accomplished in their lives. Most often the sadness of the Christmas season is caused by the awareness that the future will never be exactly like the past. Those who have to face Christmas without a loved one they lost during the year experience a certain degree of sadness in the midst of the Christmas revelry.

Some of the sadness is inevitable. The demands of the season are depressing at times. There are some people whose lives are empty. The facing of Christmas alone does hurt. Some of this sadness is inevitable.

But that’s why people need to discover the true meaning of Christmas! May this Christmas be a time when God’s people rediscover the joy, love, and amazement experienced by those who were part of the first Christmas so that the true meaning of Christmas might be revealed through the way we celebrate our Lord’s birth.

Christmas greetings friends of Corner House, 

 

Wow, it just can’t be Christmas time already.  Twenty, twenty-one is nearly in the books.

The Word became Flesh and dwelt among us (John. 1:7). Christmas celebrates God’s dwelling among us.  We experience Christ’s presence every Lord’s Day when we come together.  I pray that those of you who worship online have not laid aside the need to partake of the bread and the juice in celebration of and devotion to the body of Christ.  At Corner House we have been fortunate to be able to give three options to our worshipers during the past year and a half, nearly through the entirety of the covid-19 pandemic.   We worship together at 9:50 in our parking lot service; we worship together in our 10:30 worship center service; we worship together on-line during our live stream accessible at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzgINHegE9rqnvd_ncFKk5g. Or our Facebook page at facebook.com/cornerhousecc.org.  Don't forget to hit the subscribe button to remind you that we are streaming.

But we must not forget.  We are the body of Christ.  Do not forsake assembling as some are in the habit of doing but encourage one another and all the more as you see the day approaching (Hebrews 10:25).  If you attend the parking lot church or if you are worshiping with us via the live stream, we encourage you to find fellowship in the body of Christ.  Stay in contact with fellow Christians.  Attend a Bible study if that is more convenient.  Above all matters, prayer matters, so pray for one another.  The Christmas miracle is always Immanuel, God with us!  Let that miracle impact your life making your Christmas sparkle with moments of love, laughter, and goodwill. And may the year ahead be full of contentment and joy. Have a Merry Christmas!

 

I pray the pandemic has caused an epidemic of worship. 

 

8/12/2021

CONNECTIONS NEEDED

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)

You know, some things never change even when the world around us does.

People still need people. Throughout the Corona Virus pandemic of 2020 and the subsequent shock waves of Corona Virus 2.0 and the Delta Variant people have lived like two porcupines caught in a dilemma. One chilly night two porcupines found themselves alone out on the plains. There was no shelter or place to keep warm. They only had their body heat. But they were scared that if they stood too close together during the night one could prick and even kill the other by mistake. After experimenting they found the right distance to stand next to each other. They debated as to whether it was 3 feet apart or 6 feet apart, so they compromised at four and a half feet. They were close enough together that their bodies gave heat to each other, but far enough apart that they would not prick each other during the night. And so, for the last eighteen months we have debated public educate, six foot or three; Masks, or no masks; Vaccine or no vaccine; Fist bump or handshake (forget about the hugs) Public gatherings or no public gatherings? Bottom line is that people were created to need each other.

The body of Christ needs to be together in order to thrive. Romans 12:5,1 Corinthians 12:12–27, Ephesians 3:6, 4:15–16 and 5:23, Colossians 1:18 and 1:24 all speak of the body of Christ. One of the top reasons for the early church had success was in their numbers. The growth of the church is referenced in the book of Acts on no less than 20 occasions using phrases like “The number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem” (Acts 6:7)

The average church has seen their re-opened, in-door attendance come in around 36% of previous levels. Few Christian leaders expect church attendance to jump back to pre-COVID levels for quite a while. While it has been great to have Facebook Live worship and our outdoor worship, it is truly wonderful to be in the sanctuary together.

People still need Jesus.

Our mission as Christians was the same yesterday as it is today and will be tomorrow. The world, however, is changing faster than ever before, and stuff happens that is beyond our control. However, the condition of humankind is still the same before God. We are sinners in need of a savior.

When the children of Israel displeased God in their wilderness wanderings God allowed poisonous snakes to invade the camp. Many were bitten and the poison-virus was spreading through their veins, and causing pain, and death this was symbolical of the world lying in the misery, restlessness, and spiritual death, which came from the Serpent's victory in Paradise.

So “Moses made a serpent of bronze and put it upon a pole; and whenever a serpent bit someone, that person would look at the serpent of bronze and live” (Num. 21:9).

In His famous discourse with Nicodemus Jesus referred to this symbol when He said: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up.” The record reads that everyone who looked to the serpent was healed. But why a serpent? Why not a nicer more noble symbol? What is Jesus trying to tell us?

Paul plainly informs the Ephesians that there is a spirit, who he identifies as the prince of the power of the air, which now is at work in the sons of disobedience. (Eph. 2:1-2) He further tells us that we once were among them following the passions of our flesh, that is, our self-for-self nature. But, by God's mercy we are now made alive together with Christ.

How did we receive this new life? By what means were we healed? We looked to Christ. The scriptures relate that Jesus was made to be sin for us. His identification with us went so far that He became what we once were. More than that, He did not hang on that cross alone – we were there with Him. Paul writes, I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Gal. 2:20) When we became believers the old man died to this world.

We have become new creatures (II Cor. 5:17) so that in a world of fluctuation and change we can keep our footing as we fix our eyes on Jesus the Author and Perfecter of our faith. (Heb. 12:2) Finally, always remember, brothers and sisters “The one who called you is faithful, and He will do it.” (I Thess. 5:24)

 

Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. (Romans 6:3-7)

 

I believe it is crucial that we understand that on the cross our old self died. The serpent Moses lifted up refers to that old serpent, Satan, the usurper who indwelt us before we looked to Christ. He is now chased out of the temple by One who is stronger and who has now found a resting place within us.

April 2, 2021

A CHILDLIKE WONDER
Just one week ago we hosted an Easter event for the Autistic community.  It wasn’t the most well organized gathering in our church history.  There were only a few games for the children to play, a smattering of exhibits for Special Needs people, and, of course, a featured Easter Egg hunt.  The event itself featured fire trucks, police cars, and special presentations by a group called “Bunnies in a Basket” therapy bunnies and an organization known as K-Dogs Kidz Mission featuring motorcyclists whose motto is “a voice for innocent (bullied) children.”
The weather was a perfect reminder of the beauty of spring.  One day sooner or one day later and strong winds and rain would have put a halt to this event.  But not on this day.
One of my tasks was to replenish the eggs out in the field as quickly as these special children could gather them.  The hunt itself was a bit of a free for all.  All I could see coming at me from every direction were happy children.  All they aimed to do was fill their baskets with eggs.  All I could think of at the moment was “Thank God for this field, this amazing opportunity and the joy of spring the moment brought to all who participated.  Thanks to all CHCC regulars who were able to jump into the fray and lend a helping hand.  If you didn’t know about the event or were unable to attend there will be plenty of opportunities in the future.   
As we were getting ready for Easter, a season of renewal, it was the unbridled excitement  displayed by those children that let me experience joy in a new and unexpected way.
And through it all, I am reminded of the empty tomb and the childlike wonder of those who witnessed it—who stood at the entrance of the place where just hours before, the turning point in history had happened: human feet on holy ground. Hearts filled with the utter delight of God’s love made visible in a way that it had never been before.
That’s what I want on Easter Sunday. Even more than egg hunts and chocolates and new clothes and ham dinners, I want to be filled with His joy in a new way, and let it spill out everywhere.
And I believe the children in our lives have a lot to teach us about joy.
Jesus knew it, too:
He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:2-3 NIV

 

March 26, 2020

Feeling cooped up by Coronavirus? 
Take some time to consider Psalm 1 in the context of the outdoors. 
Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. (Psalm 1:1-3)
I imagine that Jesus pondered this Psalm on many occasions as He was growing in his relationship with His heavenly Father. 
When we think about Jesus ministry it was largely an outdoor public encounter.
Indoors he dined with and taught the small groups.  Indoors He honed his relationship with his disciples and taught them. Outdoors is where Jesus did the bulk of his preaching, outreach, healing, and leading. One other thing Jesus did outdoors was meditate and pray.  Consider the following verses. 
- Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Mk. 1:35
- After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone.  Matthew 14:23 
- After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray. Mark 6:46
- But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. Lu. 5:16
- One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. Luke 6:12
The other day one of our church members told me they really were feeling cooped up staying inside all the time during the Covid 19 threat.  I told them that a little fresh air would do them some good.  
Go outside.  Go to the park.  One thing I've learned about the few public encounters I have had lately is that people are keeping their distance.  Three weeks ago I could extend my fist and say "Don't leave me hanging, dude!"  Today, its 6 foot diameter distancing if at all possible.  But outdoors you can be one hundred yards away from the next person and still very close to your heavenly Father. 
Go outside.  Take a walk on the sidewalk in front of your house.  If you have a wooded area nearby you are far safer from germs there than inside your house.  If you meditate on Psalm 1, or 23 or anyone of the Psalms about nature, ask God to speak to your heart through the lesson of the connection between a tree’s leaves and fruit and the health of it’s roots, or through the green pastures and quiet still waters.  
Otherwise, commit to delighting in Jesus by meditating carefully on his Word this week and see what happens. Maybe share with a trusted friend what God is speaking to you through your daily meditation or post it on Facebook.  Whatever helps you through these times.
O’, and one more thought.  I can imagine with the weather breaking into spring that we might be worshiping outdoors more in the near future.  Just saying!

Remember I Thessalonians 5:24: The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.

All my love,

Dave

12 March 2020

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (II Corinthians 4:7)

Hello Friends!

God has given us power through the blessed gospel of the good news of Jesus Christ and that is the treasure we have in jars of clay.  We are but “jars made of clay.”  We are but weak earthen vessels.  We are susceptible to everything that any other human being struggles to overcome. From depression to disabilities, from famine to frustration, from sickness to sins and grievous temptations. 
How do we “earthen vessels” handle things that come our way such as the Coronavirus threat for instance.  Earthen vessels worry. Earthen vessels panic.  Earthen vessels create scares.  Earthen vessels react instead of respond.  But we have this all-surpassing power that is from God and not ourselves.  Does that mean that in the face of stock market threats, the agendas of world leaders and the spread of disease I am somehow ?   
Should we be claiming as one pastor did that the coronavirus is God's "death angel,” blaming "the filth on our TVs and our movies" for what he views as divine judgment.
Author and co-founder of the Texas-based Kenneth Copeland Ministries, Gloria Copeland, famously claimed that believers should not be afraid of coronavirus because they have “Holy Spirit flu vaccines” Should I just keep saying “I’ll never have the flu, I’ll never have the flu?” as this pastor is promoting?  Should I live with the expectations I can just name it and claim it and therein be protected against ever contracting any disease.  Tell that to the preacher in Georgetown Kentucky who recently contracted the Coronavirus.  I guess he must not have prayed that virus away.  
On the other hand, do pray.  Pray that God will intervene in a mighty was through yet another world crisis for whatever it takes to bring people to their knees.  Corner House remembers the day when our church doors were closed in part to spiritual apathy but also do to the back-lash of world war and world politics and a virus known as “The Spanish Flu” that killed one fifth of our world population.  
I recently attended a seminar on the topic of “vaping.”  The OxyCotin, fentanyl and heroine tragedies that rocked our world the last ten years are now re-trending and re-disguising themselves in the guise of cocaine and even vaping.  As the death toll rises the mortality rate decreases and according to recent studies is plummeting steadily.  Soon it is projected to reach all time lows.  By the way, the lowest levels were typically measured during war times.
We have much more to worry about than the Corona Virus could bring our way.  Yet we should respond as responsible Christians.  
Many Christian sources are encouraging us to understand that the Bible does not promise immunity to sickness in this lifetime, and if believers are near an impact centre for the coronavirus or any other contagious illness they should take basic precautionary measures like the frequent washing of hands and good hygiene to avoid contracting the sickness.  
At CHCC, we choose to suspend our Sunday morning meet and greet for a time allowing individuals to choose their own method of greeting people at the door and in the foyer and worship center.  Please take time to notice our several hand sanitizing stations provided throughout the church building.  Mostly, don’t forget to pray that God shows his mercy and his grace and that He will be glorified in yet another human weakness.

 

As human beings, we will likely have fears.  Here are  four different paradoxes from Paul’s life that he used to illustrate our weakness up against the assurance we have for faithful service.  
The Apostle Paul found himself in some difficult circumstances.  In his constant struggle to carry the gospel far and wide he pauses to give us some 

Paul was afflicted, but not crushed (2 Corinthians 4:8). Let me now read for you the first part of verse 8 and see if this is this is not so. “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed.”
This was the first paradox that Paul used to illustrate how his weakness as an
earthen vessel left no doubt about where the power for accomplishing the
work of the gospel that he was doing as a servant of the new covenant came
from. So, what is the meaning of the word “afflicted?” The word “afflicted”
(THLIBO) comes from a verb that means “to pressure.” Paul, as a minister of the new covenant, was continually pressured, or in other words squeezed, by what he had to suffer. In fact, Paul earlier in this same epistle referred to a very specific time when this was indeed the case.
Let me now read for you 2 Corinthians 1:8-9 and see if this is not so. “For
we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction
which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond
our strength, so that we despaired even of life; indeed, we had the
sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in
ourselves, but in God who raises the dead.” So was Paul continuously
afflicted, pressured, squeezed as a servant of the new covenant? Absolutely!
This was his life.
But even though he was continuously afflicted, pressured, and squeezed and
so much so that he even at times even despaired of life itself, Paul was not
crushed. Let us continue to read 2 Corinthians 4:8 and see if this is not so.
“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed.”
The verb “to crush” (STENOCHOREO) means “to be confined to a narrow
or tight place.” So, what was Paul saying to his readers when he used this
word? When Paul used this word he was telling his readers that though he
was continuously afflicted, or in other words pressured and squeezed into a
very tight place by all that he was suffering, he had not been pressured or
squeezed to such an extent that his ministry had somehow been contained or
in other words confined. How could it be? His ministry was not being done
in the power of his strength but in the surpassing greatness of the power of
God. 

Lights in the Darkness

I’m no healthcare expert and I don’t play one on TV. But I am a minister of the gospel, and we have a place to go for any and all crises, including a health issue like this. That place is described in the word of God, which reminds us where to put our hope.

For believers, this is a good day to remember that our hope is not in what we save or even in our physical health. Neither the markets nor our current health status provides the source of our identity. Psalm 20:7 reminds us:

"Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God" (Psalm 20:7).
Or, we might say,

“Some trust in our financial portfolio and some in our health status, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.”

This is critical to hold to when fear threatens to grab hold of our hearts: our God is not surprised by a viral outbreak. He is not disinterested in our fears. He is our rock, our light, and our salvation (Psalm 27:1). This might be a good time to look toward our Psalter instead of our news feed for support.

As American Christians we are accustomed to power and security. Suddenly as the possibility for reversal becomes greater, it is how we respond in times when we feel powerless and vulnerable that may offer the opportunity for growth for us and to witness to others we say we long for. Jesus told us to let our light shine in a dark world (Matthew 5:14-16), and our response in a time like this may be such a time to shine.

 

13 February 2020
Why should we host a “Financial Resource Workshop” at Corner House?  

Some might wonder why Christians should get involved in the personal affairs of others by offering instructions on how to prepare financially for the future.  We might be tempted to assume that is the role of a personal financial planner and the church should stay in the business of helping people with the spiritual and not the material.

Here are several good reasons why we should help others plan financially for the future:

Money is a topic Christians should discuss
Money is a big deal in the Bible. We're given more instruction in the Bible about money (more than 2,000 verses) than almost anything else. Although some might try to make us feel guilty about it, there's no biblical law against earning a living, or even succeeding greatly in our chosen field. What is important is how we use the money we make, and how we balance our time and attention so that we do not become obsessed with it.

Money is a powerful tool
With our money, we have a powerful tool to express our values through what we buy and how we use it. Each purchase is an extension of our Christian walk, and when we understand that, we can strengthen our faith and the example we set for others.
The Apostle Paul often collected money to care for impoverished Christians. Not all of us can be missionaries, traveling abroad to spread the Gospel. And not all of us can quit our current jobs and volunteer full-time for worthy causes. But even the smallest donation to one or another cause such as these can make a huge difference – and support others’ good works. As we understand that no donation is too small to matter, we can open our eyes to the possibilities of doing good beyond our limited means.

Money is a way to teach people the gospel
Financial literacy is important for everyone, but especially for those young girls and boys who will someday be in positions of great responsibility in our society. Beyond balancing the checkbook, strive to impart responsible lessons about the good that money can do and the importance of discipline and proper stewardship of it.

Money doesn’t make us who we are
We make choices and our choices turn around and make us.  
There will always be people who have more money than you do, and people who have less. But nobody will be who you are: uniquely and very preciously you. The less we identify ourselves solely with our financial situation and tie it into our self-worth, the more we will become the individuals God has intended us to be. And as we grow in wisdom, we will also rise above our tethers to money and find ways to use it to promote God’s Word and love.

Money brings about the temptation of debt and debt can be dangerous
Debt is common these days; all forms of consumer debt are on the rise. Some debt may occasionally be necessary, but most kinds can be avoided with careful planning and discipline.
Scripture doesn't explicitly prohibit lending and borrowing, but it does teach that debt is a form of "bondage," since it makes the borrower a slave to the debt payment itself (Prov. 22:7). It also makes the borrower a slave to the lender in the sense that the lender has partial "ownership" of the time the borrower must work to pay the lender back.
Unless there's an overwhelming need to borrow, we shouldn't put ourselves under the bondage of indebtedness. At a minimum, we shouldn't frequently borrow, and we should always pay off debt as soon as possible (which is the wise thing to do regardless).

We should view our financial needs as an opportunity to trust God
Contentment allows us to trust God with our needs and not our own ingenuity. It frees us from worry and fear and allows us to cling to the Giver of good gifts (Jas. 1:17) for our sustenance and provision. This is what is meant by the prayer, "Give us today our daily bread" (Matt. 6). Everything we own is from the hand of the Father.

Final Thoughts
There are a lot of opinions in the church about money and finances, even among spiritually mature followers of Christ. Good people, sometimes in the same household, disagree on how much to give, the use of debt and what constitutes a good use of money. But certain basic, bedrock, biblical principles are things all Christians can and should agree on—and agree to pass on to the next generation.

January 16, 2020

Perhaps you feel as I often do - “overwhelmed by Christianity.”  The things that Christ expects me to do including attending and involvement in my church, loving others, even enemies, witnessing, tithing and faithful prayer and meditation on God’s word.  It would take a small miracle to major in all these categories.

Christian writer Kathleeen Norris tells one of the most incredible stories I have ever heard about an encounter with the Bible, in her book, "Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith". 

Norris recalls a conversation she and her husband once had in a local steak house with one of their South Dakota neighbors, a grandson of “dirt-poor immigrants” who now owned several thousand acres and bought new cars for his family every year; a man who had now begun treatment for a probably terminal cancer. That night this man of few words who usually spoke about business when he did speak, began telling about receiving a wedding gift, many years before, from his devout grandfather. Norris says:

His wedding present to Arlo and his bride had been a Bible, which he admitted he admired mostly because it was an expensive gift, bound in white leather, with their names and the date of their wedding set in gold lettering on the cover. “I left it in its box and it ended up in our bedroom closet,” Arlo told us. “But,” he said, “for months afterward, every time we saw grandpa he would ask me how I liked that bible. The wife had written him a thank you note, and we’d thanked him in person, but somehow he couldn’t let it lie, he’d always keep asking about it.” Finally, Arlo grew curious as to why the old man kept after him. “Well,” he said, “the joke was on me. I finally took that Bible out of the closet and found that granddad had placed a twenty-dollar bill at the beginning of the Book of Genesis, and at the beginning of every book … over thirteen hundred dollars in all. And he knew I’d never find it.”

Arlo said, “I knew little about how to practice Christian faith when I first began attending church, in my early twenties. But I had heard the Bible is The Book for Christians. So I started reading…
Forty-some years later, I’m still reading the bible nearly every day, and still learning what life and the bible are about every day… There are still parts of life and the bible I don’t understand well. He said, through the years I have been given gift Bibles, and though I haven’t found money stuck inside the pages of any of them, I have found in all of them the gift beyond price… (See Matthew 13:44-45).

Maybe you feel like you don’t completely understand the Bible or why Christians are called to read it so often.   But after prayerful study on your own and with other believers  – you will discover that essentials like  prayer, worship, witness, and works of mercy, justice, and love, the most basic practices of the Christian faith – all depend on listening to God through His eternal Word.

May God give us grace to open wide the scriptures – and find treasure far beyond price.

The grace and peace of Jesus Christ our Savior be with you.

December 19, 2019

My wife is a collector of Nativity sets. Awhile back I came across a single stable at a sale marked $2, so of course I bought it. (I got brownie points for that one!) The miracle of Christmas is that God chose to come be with us in Jesus Christ. While we may over romanticize the stable where Jesus was born, we can know that this birthing place speaks volumes about God’s infinite courtesy towards all people.  Jesus was born in an earthy, raw, smelly stable, not in a temple or royal palace. In fact, most scholars tell us it wasn’t a stable at all, even worse -it was a cave.

Being born in such a place is God’s way of showing that Christ comes to us in all sorts of human conditions – earthy, smelly, broken and accomplished.  No matter what we’ve done or haven’t done, God comes to be with us in Jesus Christ where we are in life, and out of his great love for all humanity. Wherever you find yourself this Christmas – let God come to you and transform you in that place into something worthy of his honor and glory.

November 15, 2019

Everything happens for a time and a purpose. Solomon reminds us that God makes
everything beautiful in his time. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)


I think it is God’s timing, and not my plan that we are doing a couple messages this
November about finances. I personally hate to talk about money. I’d like to tell you
that I am a great financial planner and that all my bill are always paid and that money
problems have escaped me, but that would be a lie. I would also like to tell you that I
give to God from the depths of my heart and never under compulsion but that too
would be untrue.


But in the past year God has been speaking to my gut about a couple of issues dealing
with finances. The question I have wrestled with is "How can we (CHCC) expect
people to give their ten percent and above and beyond when we haven’t taught them
how to better manage the other ninety percent?" So God began placing the
individuals in my path who were able to guide my thought process.
For instance: A Christian preacher who does financial planning with churches
engaged me over lunch a year ago; one of our local funeral directors spoke about
preparing for death at our Happy Wanderers meeting several months ago; One of our
members spoke to me about leading a Financial Peace seminar using trusted
curriculum from Dave Ramsey; Finally, one more member of CHCC has shared their
passion for helping people with important life choices. To make a long story short
the end result is that we will be offering a Financial Peace Class at Corner House in
the near future as interest prevails.
On February 22nd we will be hosting a Financial Planning Seminar right here on these facilities. We will also hope to be offering a session or two for young people who are in college, trade school or who are anticipating post high school or college on how to get a debt free degree.


In II Corinthians 8 Paul is addressing the Macedonian Christians who took up a love
offering for the church in Jerusalem. Paul said that their generosity "exceeded our
expectations" because "They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by
the will of God also to us." Remember my flock, when we give ourselves first to the
Lord our priorities get straightened out rather expediently.


In doing some recent research, I came across an article that gave 5 reasons why
people are motivated to give to the church.


Reason #1: They See a Need
One reason why people gave to the church remodel phase one project is that
needs were established. Our foyer was bottlenecked and crowded – our
children’s classrooms were in need of updating. Although worship, or giving
to the Lord because it flows naturally from a heart that is attuned to God, is by
far the best reason to give, needs are one of the biggest motivators of giving.
Just note that when natural disasters occur, people are motivated to give based
on real needs of real people.


One of the primary goals of our Vision ministry is to establish a priority list of
needs for our congregation. We will then have the opportunity to give
sacrificially and joyfully in order to fulfill those needs.


Reason #2: They Believe in the Vision
Let’s face it - keeping the staff employed, the mortgage current, and the light
bill paid isn’t that inspiring. But being a part of a church that’s making an
eternal difference is a mission that will inspire people.


Think about what we could accomplish at CHCC in terms of ministry if we
didn’t have to worry about the bottom line of last year’s budget or weekly

giving stats. What if we could take the lid off the building and see far beyond
the parameters of the four walls? What is God’s vision for CHCC?


Reason #3: They Are Taught How To Give
Many people don’t give because they don’t know how. Beyond a sermon
series and a simple seminar, what else can we offer our people to teach them,
not only how to give, but how to manage their current resources?


Reason #4: They Understand the Bible
In a recent study of churches it was discovered that the average church teaches
on money for about the sum total of 90 minutes a year. When you consider
that the typical American household consumes more than six hours of
television each day, and that people are now spending on average 24 hours a
week on line, it’s no wonder people in the church don’t manage their money
differently. They get the worlds perspective on resource management and not
the biblical perspective.


We must teach them what the Bible says about money. There are more
passages in the Bible that deal with how we manage our resources than any
other topic including faith.


Reason #5: They Have a Relationship with Someone
Whether it’s the minister, a volunteer, or another Christian friend in the
church, relationships in the church are VERY powerful. When people are
relationally connected, they are more likely to financially contribute. When
people become disconnected, their wallet will leave quickly. Endeavor to
build solid relationships with other people.

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