One of the things our church has done, since the very beginning, is carve out one night a month for corporate prayer and song. We call it our monthly prayer night. It's not original, but we're not trying to be original. Our goal is to come before our Father in heaven, together, to ask Him to do above and beyond all we ask, think or imagine (Eph 3:20). I've received a lot of questions about these nights from other pastors. What do they look like? Who leads? How many people turn out? What happens? Why do you do them? If you have any of these questions this is for you. I asked many of the same questions when we were starting out. I was particularly helped by Dave Lomas of Reality | San Francisco. I'm not an expert, but we have learned some things over the last four years that you may find helpful.Read More
Until setting out to plant Downtown Cornerstone a few years ago, I had done little investigation into the biblical rationale behind church membership - or, more simply, being passionately committed to a specific, local, loving community of Jesus-followers. Though I had previously belonged to a church that practiced membership, I had a very cursory understanding of its biblical depth. I find this is very common. When it comes to the Christian life, the local church’s importance is often overlooked, minimized or misunderstood. Have you ever stopped to ask, “What is the local church? What is God’s purpose for the local church? What is church membership all about? Is that some sort of legalism or authoritarian power-grab? Is it biblically essential or merely optional? Is membership a matter of obedience to Jesus Christ or a matter of personal preference?” Over the years, through my own study and that of others, I have compiled the following list of 11 compelling evidences that every follower of Jesus should be passionately committed to a specific local church. I hope they serve to biblically root and stoke your affections for Jesus' local church as they have mine.Read More
This is for single men. However, I'm throwing it out to everyone because I want single ladies, in particular, to know what you are called up to. I’ve been married for twelve years, but I too was single at one point. I, for one, know the pro’s and con’s of singleness intimately. I made my share of honest mistakes and outright stupid moves. I also, by the sheer grace of God, made some good, godly, wise decisions that I am thankful for to this day. I know that the season of singleness, like marriage, comes with its own unique set of fears, temptations and idolatry. So, I want to help. If you're interested I addressed this topic about a year ago in our church's study through Proverbs in a sermon called, Understanding Singleness.Read More
This fall Downtown Cornerstone Church, which gathers in downtown Seattle, is rolling out two discipleship training tracks: a 1-Year Gospel Leader track and a 2-Year Pastor/Church Planter Residency. Each track leverages a mixture of BILD, Porterbrook and other resources to create a world-class, yet very local, training environment for making disciple-making-disciples. This is a great opportunity to be further equipped, whether you hope to go deeper in your relationship with Jesus, desire to grow as a disciple-maker and/or be trained as a church planter. For more information, track descriptions, frequently-asked-questions and to enroll, go here.
I'm currently in the middle of two weeks of vacation. One of my goals during this time is to revisit a number of books which have impacted me most (so far) this year. One of those is Sensing Jesus, by Zack Eswine. Before reading this book, I had never heard of Zack and, to be honest, would have judged this book by its cover. However, if I had, I would have missed a treasure trove of gospel-laden wisdom for modern-day pastors ministering in a culture of consumerism and celebrity. If you're involved in ministry (particularly in the US), you should read this. In my mind, this book should be read alongside Dangerous Calling, by Paul Tripp. I have lost track of how many times I have recommended it since I first read it. Here are a handful of my favorite quotes...Read More
Our church is currently working its way through First Timothy. One of the major topics the Apostle Paul addresses is leadership, particularly qualifications (1 Tim 3:1-13). One of the questions I get from time to time is, "If I feel called to local church leadership, but know that I am not ready, what should I do in the meantime?" Over time I have put the following thoughts together. While I have potential pastors and deacons in view, as that is what the text addresses, clearly these could apply to any form of leadership at home and/or at the office. Wherever you may land, I have the following eight suggestions...Read More
Cities are places of transition. Seattle is no different. Many people move to Seattle for school, work or new opportunities. Moving to a new community is difficult. But, finding a church that loves Jesus, believes the Bible and preaches the gospel is even more so. Since launching in 2011 we’ve met many new-to-the-city Jesus-following transplants in search of a church to call home. That search is not as easy as it might sound, particularly in Seattle. What follows are questions I encourage others to consider when in search of a new church family. There's no such thing as a perfect church or a church that will fulfill everything you wish a church would be, but there are a number of things that should be non-negotiable as you consider partnering with a local body of Jesus followers...Read More
Now that we're a couple weeks out from hurricane "Sandy" the news coverage is slowly transitioning to other topics. Yet many in the hardest hit areas are still without power. Many are still trying to piece their lives back together. Many are still determining what's next. Many are still in need of the basics - food, water, shelter. If you haven't yet, you should consider giving something toward the relief effort taking place on the ground. Everything counts.Read More