As I sit down to write this article, I remember the significance of this day in history. Today is 9-11-2019! Eighteen years ago, America came under a brutal surprise attack. This deadly attack was the first time the U. S. suffered such an attack on our shores. Since that fateful day, America’s been engaged in continuous war abroad. The world changed on 9-11.
That same day in 2001, about 120 people met for prayer to seek God about the start of a new church. God used that prayer meeting, and Cornerstone was born for a post-9-11 world. Now over the last eighteen years, God has directed us to become a vibrant church family with ministries that touch thousands and thousands locally and globally. No one but God could have foreseen the great and mighty things that were in store for us.
As I sit here on September 11, 2019, I believe that Cornerstone is at a change point. Each week over 2000 people come to our campus for worship, teaching, prayer, service, and fellowship. The facility that God miraculously provided at 1000 N. Studebaker Road is filled to capacity! We’ve faithfully stewarded finances and facility to maximize the Lord’s work. We’ve scheduled multiple services to make it possible for us to keep growing, but there is a limit to what any facility can deliver. Each week frustrated worshipers struggle with insufficient and inconvenient parking. Each week our Facility Coordinator searches for ministry space to accommodate the increase of ministry demands. If our growth issues were only internal, that would be somewhat acceptable. However, the real pressing issue is this question: How will Cornerstone complete OUR MISSION to reach Long Beach and the surrounding communities with the gospel when there is little room to grow?
Asking a question like this reminds me of Nehemiah who inquired about the holy city of Jerusalem while living in exile. The dismal answer to his question was that the walls were torn down, the gates were burned with fire, and God’s people were living in a state of discouragement amid the rubble of their broken city. What did Nehemiah do? What should Cornerstone do living among the spiritually broken city of Long Beach?
In the story of Nehemiah, we find seven steps on the path to restoration for the city and spiritual renewal of the people. In my book, Pastoring the Flock of God, I share seven steps using the acrostic INSPIRE. Let me give you the summary on how to move ahead in finding the next step in God’s plan for Cornerstone.
I – Intercede to find God’s will. The first step in finding God’s will should always be prayer. God does nothing apart from prayer.
N – Never allow doubt to dominate. Nehemiah had detractors, but he never gave into their doubts and discouragements. He trusted God to give him the victory.
S – See a better future. Vision is central to any movement. Making peace with the status quo is defeat. Seeing God’s plan to save our city and our world through the power of the gospel invigorates, unifies, and empowers the church to move forward.
P – Passionately communicate the vision. Keeping silent about the next step in God’s plan is a waste of vision. As your Lead Pastor, I need to direct Cornerstone’s focus to the needs and opportunities before us. With a clear vision both leaders and followers know where they are heading.
I – Include others to fulfill the vision. God’s work is rarely done by one person in isolation. We are called to be a well-functioning body. Each person has an important role and task. Cornerstone’s future needs everyone involved.
R – Ruling wisely in times of crisis. Completing anything for God requires wisdom and endurance. There are always delays, discouraging days, and minor defeats along the way. However, success comes when God’s leaders don’t give up as trials come.
E – Expect God to do great things. God always rewards faith that endures. Sometimes the “great things” God does are different than first imagined, but, rest assured, God’s final outcomes are always best.
So what is Cornerstone’s biggest growth-related need? More parking? No! Our biggest need is PRAYER! Only God knows what the future holds, and His plans are waiting for us. But we must seek Him for His direction. I’ve been praying earnestly for the past year about Cornerstone’s future. Now I am asking you to join me. Let’s go back in time and learn from Nehemiah and Cornerstone’s founding. Every great work God does must begin with prayer...believing prayer, consistent prayer, urgent prayer, and intercessory prayer.
On this significant day 9-11, I am calling you, all Cornerstone members and friends, to pray regularly about our future. Please take my plea seriously. I am confident that God has great things waiting for us...if we ask Him.
"Now over the last eighteen years, God has directed us to become a vibrant church family with ministries that touch thousands and thousands locally and globally."
"If our growth issues were only internal, that would be somewhat acceptable. However, the real pressing issue is this question: How will Cornerstone complete OUR MISSION to reach Long Beach and the surrounding communities with the gospel when there is little room to grow?"
"Our biggest need is PRAYER! Only God knows what the future holds, and His plans are waiting for us. But we must seek Him for His direction."