The “I Was A Stranger” Challenge

Immigration issues have been frequently in the media these days. As a church, Cornerstone continues to wait for the opportunity to sponsor a refugee family. What does the Bible say about all this? How can we be praying?

Now there is a great opportunity to invest yourself in this. Spend a few minutes a day for the next 40 days participating in the I Was A Stranger Challenge. You can start the challenge anytime or follow at your own pace. At the Challenge Yourself page you can get bookmarks for the Bible readings or find a link to follow along on the free Bible app.

 

The Culture Test & Volunteers Needed

The Culture Test

I came across an interesting cultural survey this week and thought you might like to give it a try. There are only 25 quick questions, it won’t take long to do.

The Culture Test

The test will give you an idea where you fit into three broad types of cultures that are common around the world. This impacts how you hear (and communicate) the Gospel. Once you’ve done the test if you’d like to know more about these ideas please contact me (Pastor Gordon).

 

DiverseCity Multicultural Street Festival

We’re also looking for volunteers to help at the DiverseCity Multicultural Street Festival on Victoria Row Sunday June 28. Volunteers are needed from 1:00-4:00 and 7:00-8:30 for set up and take down. (Please note, this is the same date as the big celebration at Cornerstone’s Montague site.)

If you’d like more info please contact me. If you’d like to sign up you can do so at this volunteer registration link. In the “special requirements” text box, please indicate the time you’re available for and mention you are from Cornerstone. Thank you!

Designed to Share

As children we are told the importance of sharing, but don’t we have a natural bent to share good things?

How naturally do you share the life and love of Jesus with those around you? What would free you up to do this more today?

Sharing the True Story

Watch this short video for a simple way to explain the good news of the Gospel.

You can also download an app to help you share the story in this way using your phone, whether on iOS or Android.

A Taste of Something Different

In case you missed it, there was an excellent story in The Guardian this week about the Afghan restaurant “Sadat’s Cuisine” in downtown Charlottetown.

The article tells some of the story of the Sadat’s and their life experiences that led them to Canada. Every refugee’s story is different, and this article captures a glimpse of something most Canadians never experience. As you read their story try to put yourself in their shoes. As you do that, ask God how He would have you respond to the needs of other refugees here in our city.

… And by the way, the food at Sadat’s Cuisine is delicious!

Moving into the Neighbourhood

Now that we are into Advent and the Christmas season, here’s a reflection on incarnation – the reality that God has come, live and in the flesh, among us. The Gospel of John (in the Message version) says this about the coming of Jesus:

The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.
John 1:14

Jesus “moved into the neighborhood”… think about that for a moment!

Have you ever had a significant move? When my family was moving to Charlottetown it was an incredible amount of work, time, energy, money… I’m getting tired thinking about it! Although Jesus wasn’t carting around cardboard boxes His move nevertheless came at a high cost. A cost He bore in the cause of the mission of redeeming humanity and bringing people back to God.

What would it look like to move into your own neighbourhood? Not a physical move, but a mental shift. Entering into your life with a different perspective, for the purpose of sharing the life and love of Jesus with others.

Grocery store

For me personally this gets worked out in all kinds of ways, but a simple one is where I buy my groceries. There are a bunch of grocery stores relatively close to my house and at first I would go wherever was convenient. Over time I began to notice that whenever I went to one particular store I saw a lot of people I knew, so I decided that most of the time I would shop there. It’s a small decision, but it’s about living “in the neighbourhood” to encourage redemptive opportunities.

How can you live on mission with Jesus? What are you doing already? What could you begin today?

Overcoming Fear to Invite

[This week I asked Pastor Stephen to share some of his notes from a workshop he attended. Without further ado…!]

Empty Chair

Michael Harvey is perhaps best known as one of the architects behind the “Back to Church Sunday” movement. Last week I had the privilege of sitting-in on a workshop he facilitated locally. Many of his discussion points were helpful & challenging.

Perhaps the most shocking, telling figure was this: within the global “western” church, statistics reveal that between 80-95% of church-goers have no intention of ever inviting others.

It would seem that the church is being driven by a toxic mission script, where despite an era of church history where we have some of the best quality teachers/preachers and the best opportunities and tools for discipleship, the mood of invitation (of “come & see”) is at an historic low. Why? One word; fear.

  • Fear of rejection. “What if they say no?”
  • Fear of inadequacy. “What if I can’t answer their questions?”
  • Fear of an affected reputation. “What if people think I’m weird or pushy?”
  • Even fear of a positive response! “What if they actually come to my church? What then?!”

Interestingly enough as we probe more deeply we discover that the heart of the problem has to do with a fear that we are being rejected. But Jesus makes it clear to his disciples then and now when he says, “Anyone who accepts your message is also accepting me. And anyone who rejects you is rejecting me. And anyone who rejects me is rejecting God, who sent me.” (Luke 10:16) Michael encouraged pastors, leaders, and Christ followers to get past themselves and our fears of being rejected and instead simply seek to be obedient in extending the invitation and allowing God’s Spirit to be at work. In the face of all of our self-centered fears it’s fitting that well over one-hundred times the scriptures say, “do not be afraid.”

Michael shared that renewal and revival are often triggered when God’s people choose to believe God’s truth. So will we as church – God’s people – choose to believe God’s truth that the kingdom has come near, that the gospel of Christ is good news for everyone; or will 80-95% of us be rendered paralyze with fear?

Hospitality VS Entertaining

Hospitality is the dominant theme of my ministry in so many ways. Participating in it, as either host or guest, bears such a strong connection to Gospel work. Hospitality is the essence of what Green Tables are all about. So I often wonder: what keeps people from being more hospitable? What stops us from inviting people into our homes and into our lives?

The answer to that is likely complicated and different for each of us, but I often have the sense that people are worried about the “mess”. Busy lives, especially with kids, often create clutter and we can all feel self conscious about how our home will be perceived. (I get the sense more women tend to think about this type of thing but I think the principle goes beyond gender.)

messy couch

I came across a great article today, written by a busy mom, who addresses this head on. What Jen Wilkin writes is worth reading in it’s entirety, but she summed up the difference between hospitality versus entertaining very well and sounds a clear call to greater hospitality in our lives:

Entertaining seeks to impress. Hospitality seeks to bless.

Orderly house or not, hospitality throws wide the doors. It offers itself, expecting nothing in return. It keeps no record of its service, counts no cost, craves no thanks. It is nothing less than the joyous, habitual offering of those who recall a gracious table set before them in the presence of their enemies, of those who look forward to a glorious table yet to come.

It is a means by which we imitate our infinitely hospitable God.

Mess or no mess, who can you extend hospitality to today?

You can read the whole article here: Choose Hospitality Over Entertaining

A “Successful” Invitation

Many of us are afraid to invite other people to church. This fear may arise from different places, one of which is being afraid to fail. What if our friend says “no”?

Founder of the “Back to Church Sunday” movement, Michael Harvey, addresses this by challenging our perception of what “success” looks like. Rather than defining the success of our invitation by the result (which is beyond our control), we should define it by our faithfulness to extend the invitation:

I think this is about simple invitation. The “yes” or the “no” of an invitation is God’s bit… that is not our bit. Our job is just to offer a simple invitation. … It’s about faithfulness, it is not about “success”.

Michael Harvey shares more in this video: Why We Are Afraid to Invite.

Who can you invite this Sunday?

Being a Mom on Mission

The following video is from the church Soma in Tacoma, Washington. The church is made up of smaller “missional communities”, groups of people the size of a Bible study group but living their lives more closely together to worship, serve, and be a witness to Jesus Christ.

From the video description: “Sondra Chamberlain shares how she has learned to see everyday opportunities to point people to Jesus through tasks like running errands, interacting with other moms, and being involved at her children’s school. Additionally, she speaks to the importance of depending on Jesus, being open and honest in community, and having a community of moms together on mission.”

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