Thursday, May 29, 2008

Prayer Service...

We held a prayer service today at 11:57 to memorialize the tornado that hit our town exactly one week ago. 11:57 is the time that the tornado struck. We rang our church bell, had a moment of silence, offered up some prayers, and shared some Scripture. I discovered today that the One Year Bible had quite a message for us. The Psalm for May 22nd (the day the tornado hit) was Psalm 118 and included this passage:
I thank you for answering my prayer and saving me! The stone rejected by the builders has now become the cornerstone. This is the Lord's doing and it is marvelous to see. This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. Please, Lord, please save us (Psalm 118:21-25).
This is significant since our community is called the Cornerstone community. This is just one more loud declaration from our God indicating His sovereign control. He never says, "Ooooops"!

Here are a couple of news clips from today that include Cornerstone:

9NEWS: Windsor Continues Recovery, 12n - click here.

9NEWS: Windsor Continues Recovery, 4pm - click here.

There is another video here from CBS5 in Cheyenne but as of this posting the video was not yet available.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Tornado Recovery...

Cornerstone has become the staging area for disaster relief and clean up for the May 22nd Windsor Tornado. As you can see, we have a very busy parking lot...
Our building fared better than most of the homes and businesses in our neighborhood. This has given us a great opportunity for ministry. The Cornerstone family has risen to the challenge and is aggressively serving our community even though many of our members would be considered tornado "victims". Much is being accomplished very quickly as roving gangs of workers move daily throughout the Cornerstone community.
One of our members, Amy, sent me an inspiring report in an email. I want to share a few lines of her message with her permission.
"Its so amazing to see how everyone from all the different communities are working together. On Sat. Barry and I and a couple other adults took a group of Cornerstone youth out into the neighborhood for clean-up. Youth being youth, they rotated in and out but we had a handful of them the entire time we were out there and there was no complaining, they did everything that was asked of them, and they represented themselves well. Yesterday, me, Sonny, Juan M., and Ron W. jumped on a crew that was a mixture of Habitat for Humanity and Redeemer Lutheran and just scoured a neighborhood. People were so amazed to see a group of 20-25 people sweep through their yard and have it cleared in about 20 minutes. I think our society as a whole has become jaded and has forgotten what human kindness is really about. This disaster has allowed people to jump in and help in ways they never thought possible and for people who normally would never dream of asking for help getting it and not having to feel bad about it. I have seen homeowners on the verge of tears when they see us come through because they are so grateful for what we are doing. If something like this ever happens around here again, I guarantee these people will be the first in line to volunteer to help."

Thursday, May 22, 2008



Our communtity was hit with a tornado this morning. We have much damage in our community but minimal loss of life. I appreciate your prayers.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Contract With Southern Baptists - Part 2

Baptists Must Be . . .

Based in Humility - a necessary foundation - part one

Authorized by Scripture - a necessary standard - 2 Timothy 2:15, 3:16-17; Psalm 119; Hebrews 4:12; James 1:21-25

It's one thing to proclaim a high view of Scripture--it's quite another to live a high view of Scripture. the Battle for the Bible has been won and it's time that we begin to live out the Bible's principles. Set aside for the moment those passages that we might have interpretive disagreements over. Let's focus on practicing those passages that we can all agree upon. Let's love our neighbor as ourselves. Let's bless our enemies. Let's give away our stuff and trust in God. Let's decrease so that Jesus can increase. Let's serve without expectation of recognition. Let's lay down our lives for each other. Let's take up our cross daily. Let's wash each other's feet--even those whom we consider to be our Judas. Let's bridle our tongues. Let's affirm as the Baptist Faith and Message states that, "It (Scripture) reveals the principles by which God judges us". It's insane to argue for the authority and inerrancy of a book, that in practice, we largely ignore. "But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves" (James 1:22).

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A Contract With The Southern Baptist Convention - Part 1

Seven Non-Negotiables Necessary for Revitalization

Baptists Must Be . . .

Based in Humility - A necessary foundation - 2 Chronicles 7:14; Psalm 51:16-17; Matthew 18:4, 23:12; Philippians 2:1-8; James 4:6,10; 1 Peter 5:1-6

It couldn't be clearer: God resists the proud! Our denomination, our leaders, our pastors, our churches . . . we're all guilty of believeing that we are God's gift to the world. We arrogantly believe that we have a corner on the truth and unfortunately for us, "The Truth" (Jesus) seems to have left the building. "What is the source of your quarrels and conflicts?", James asks (4:1). "You lust and do not have . . . you are envious and cannot obtain . . ." (v2). The conclusive answer to James' question about conflict is: "God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (v6). Our arrogance is no less than an offence to God. We must humble ourselves doctrinally and acknowledge the very real possibility that we may not know it all. How about attempting to humbly listen to those with whom we differ? We just might learn something new about a God who is far greater than our ability to comprehend. We must humble ourselves relationally and begin to serve each other rather than competing. We need to discover the joy giving to each other and submitting to the will of those that we may consider inferior. We must humble ourselves corporately and consider the reality that we are not the only ones God chooses to use. This may be a surprise to some but . . . The "Kingdom of God" is bigger than "The Kingdom of Baptists". We must humble ourselves spiritually and confess our lack of maturity. We must repent of focusing on primary leadership positions and pushing and shoving our way to the head table. "'Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus . . . He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross" (Philippians 2:5,7).

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Meet the Wong's...

My wife's sister and her husband are missionaries in Mexico City. This is an article about David and Pam Wong's ministry that the International Mission Board has written:

Churches help missionaries dole out love to Mexico City homeless


By Erich Bridges

MEXICO CITY (BP)--The police were standing around a grimy box on a street in Mexico City.
Southern Baptist missionary Pam Wong and a group of church volunteers spotted them while distributing Gospels in the inner-city neighborhood. When they asked a woman standing nearby what was going on, they were told a homeless man had died on the street the night before.
“He was in a cardboard box. His body was there – and nobody cared,” Pam recalls. “It brought home to me the reality of what is going on in this city.”

Of the 9 million people jammed into the centro area of Mexico’s vast capital city, about 80 percent are poor. At least 50,000, according to estimates, live on the streets – because of drug or alcohol abuse, or joblessness, or both. “Some have checked out on society,” explains missionary David Wong, Pam’s husband. “Others, though, truly want work. I met one man who had lost his business, home and everything else in the Cancun area because of a hurricane and could not get back on his feet. Economically in Mexico, it’s hard for the working class to get off the low rung.”

About 300 street people line up weekly for a free meal at a ministry center for the homeless located at a church in Mexico City. Southern Baptist missionaries William and Orpha Ortega joined the ministry as part of their larger effort to reach the inner city (see “Dispelling the darkness in Mexico City”). “We have a worship service with them,” William says. “We sing. We give testimonies. We preach the Gospel. After that we feed them. Some of them have come to know Jesus, but it’s very difficult for them to change because they don’t have a place for rehabilitation. We are praying God will provide a place for them” – not just a shelter, but a place where homeless people needing a new beginning can break free of old habits, grow in Christ and learn basic skills for living. In the meantime, they need to know someone cares. That’s why the Wongs got involved. They work with “Operation Gospel Outreach” (“Operation GO” for short), an effort designed to mobilize hundreds of Southern Baptist volunteers and short-term missionaries each year to distribute Christ’s message door to door throughout Middle America and the Caribbean – including Mexico City, by far the largest urban center in the region.

The Texas natives were short-term missionaries themselves, serving two terms in the IMB’s International Service Corps before being appointed as long-term missionaries in 2006.
The homeless don’t have a “door” to knock on, but they need hope just as much as others.
“I checked with William on whether we could bring a ‘GO’ group to the homeless center and he was all for it,” David says. “The first group just fell in love with the ministry. It’s become one of the highlights of the week (for volunteer groups). They jump right in and help share the food. Sometimes they preach or share a testimony or sing or do whatever’s needed. But more than anything else, the groups give love – a hug, a handshake, a smile. The people there are so hungry for some affection and compassion. They’ve been shunned for so long. They feel dirty and neglected. For a group from the United States to come and share speaks volumes.”


A recent ‘GO’ group from First Baptist Church of Gray Gables in Callahan, Fla., included several volunteers who understand some of the struggles of the homeless from personal experience. Volunteer Warren Hunter freely admitted he used to drink – “real bad,” as he describes it. Who better to pray over a concerned father and his young adult son struggling with alcohol addiction?“I can relate to this man and his son because I used to be alcoholic,” Warren says. “I know how bad it can be.”Warren and 12 other Gray Gables volunteers joined the Wongs and Pastor Arturo, a Mexican Baptist house church leader, to distribute 6,070 copies of John’s Gospel. They visited door to door, fed the homeless and shared Christ with adults, youth, kids, drug addicts. “I’ve been in cubbyhole apartments. I’ve knelt down with people in the street and prayed for them,” says Warren, eyes glistening the night before heading home to Florida. “The Holy Spirit has been so strong I had chill bumps. It’s the greatest time I’ve ever had serving my Christ.”

For Pam, one of the most powerful moments of the week came as she was distributing Gospels with Mark Tuso, Gray Gables’ pastor. “We were walking down the street and there was a man sitting on the sidewalk,” she says. “He wanted us to give him a Gospel. He was crying and said he was all alone and had no family. We tried to talk to him, but we knew he could only understand so much. He was drunk – and maybe high on drugs. But he was so grateful that we would bend down on our knees and touch his leg and pray for him. He needed that time, just that little bit of time. He said he was going to come and speak with the pastor and get some counseling for his alcoholism.”

Many Southern Baptist volunteers come to Mexico, but the Wongs report it’s hard to get church teams to come to the nation’s sprawling capital. Some fear crime and violence in the city. No recent volunteer groups have been threatened, Pam says, but she spends a lot of time on the Internet assuring nervous churches that it’s OK to come.

“It’s overwhelming,” David acknowledges. “It’s overwhelming when you see so many in poverty, when you see young people taking drugs in broad daylight.
“We just want to give people love, give them a hug and show them there is hope.”
Mexico City desperately needs hope. Every month, 10,000 people die there – most without knowing Christ. For more information on “Operation GO” needs and opportunities, visit and click on “Volunteers.”

Read the IMB article about the Wongs at the IMB website here.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Ed Stetzer on CNN

Dr. Ed Stetzer is a breath of fresh air for Southern Baptists. He works for LifeWay Christian Resources doing research. He has written "Comeback Churches" (Cornerstone participated in the study) as well as other books.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Before He Speaks


Saturday, May 10, 2008

I have a Teen Driver...

My oldest son's driver permit arrived in the mail today. He's fifteen and we are driving through this important rite of passage that all American youth look forward to with great anticipation. We have made a few drives around the neighborhood and have even ventured across town to the church building. I have to admit, he's not half bad and I'm not nearly as scared as I thought I would be. With this subject in mind, let me share a few sobering statistics:

16-year-olds have higher crash rates than drivers of any other age. it is estimated that 16-year-olds are 3 times more likely to die in a motor vehicle crash than the average of all drivers.

In the decade of the 1990s, 63,000 teens ages 15-19 died in traffic crashes, which is more than 120 each week.

Two teens in a car increases the likelihood of a crash by 86%, three teens by 182%, according to research conducted by Johns Hopkins University.

Only about 20% of teen driving occurred at night, but approximately 50% of teen fatalities occurred during the hours of darkness.

Traffic crashes are the number one cause of death among the children and young adults.

The number one cause of death for 15-20 year olds is car collissions.

53% of teen deaths occur on weekends.

There are plenty more statistics provided at

Friday, May 09, 2008

What if You Could Vote from Home?

What would it look like if our national convention this year in Indianapolis was actually composed of our churches? What if every one of our 42,000+ churches was engaged in the many conversations that will take place on the convention floor? What if hundereds of thousands of votes were cast from all around the world? What if IMB personnel overseas as well as bi-vocational pastors in small rural areas were allowed to watch the convention online and participate by voting online?
Last year in San Antonio only 3,567 churches sent messengers to the SBC. Less than 9% of our churches participated by sending messengers! How can we say that our national meeting in any way represents the views of Southern Baptists? It's time we make a change.
I have submitted a resolution to the Resolutions Committee calling for online voting at future conventions. Should it come out of committee than I will gladly speak for the need to engage all of our churches in these important decisions that are being made concerning the future of our denomination. If the SBC is declining (and it appears that it is) then it is time to bring the whole SBC family to the table to discuss solutions.
The resolution that I submitted is as follows:

WHEREAS, each year only a small percentage of churches send messengers to the annual convention, and

WHEREAS, most of the churches being served by bi-vocational ministers are not ever able to send messengers to the annual convention; and

WHEREAS, messengers may already register for the annual convention online; and

WHEREAS, the annual meeting is already being live-streamed on the world wide web; and

WHEREAS, technology exists to allow for online voting; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, June 10-11, 2008, call for online voting to be made available at future conventions so that elected messengers may participate in the convention without having to incur the expense of traveling to the convention city.