A Note From Chris June 18, 2021

In the midst of making plans and praying through the future of Cornerstone and how God would lead us to do ministry in a post-COVID American context, I was struck by this challenging quote about the significance of the corporate gathering for worship:

Corporate worship is designed to confront you with the glory of the grace of Jesus so you won’t look for life, help, and hope elsewhere.  -Paul David Tripp

That is such a breath of fresh air to me. He has summarized in one sentence what my heart knows as I approach every single weekend. It matters that we gather and worship, not because of some tradition or habit, but because of what God does through it. We cannot replace corporate worship with other believers with anything else – a nature walk, time out on the water, a weekend trip away, or even may I suggest online-only worship over the long haul. I personally enjoy all of those things and am grateful for online worship. But we were meant to gather. It matters to our souls. I’m not talking about missing a Sunday on vacation. I’m talking about the weekly practice of prioritizing in-person worship with the church family.

Tripp wrote that phrase and the following excerpt in one of my favorite all time devotionals, New Morning Mercies. A few of our staff members recently reminded me of his great thoughts regarding corporate worship. On the devo for June 8, he wrote:

God ordained for us to gather for worship because he knows us and the weaknesses of our fickle, grumbling, and easily distracted hearts. He knows how soon we forget the depth of our need as sinners and the expansiveness of his provisions in Jesus Christ. He knows that little lies can deceive us and little obstacles can discourage us. He knows that self-righteousness still has the power to delude us. So in grace he calls us to gather and consider glory once again, to be excited once again, and to be rescued once again. It’s not only that corporate worship reminds us of God’s grace. Corporate worship is itself a gift of grace. Run with celebration to its rescue any time it is available to you.

He is so right, and my heart knows it. My soul feels it when I worship alongside you. My life needs it, and so does yours. If you have yet to join us or rejoin us in physical worship, could this weekend be the time you join us? It’s Father’s Day, and a great day to celebrate not only our earthly fathers, but also our Heavenly Father. It’s a great day to push through the conveniences of online for the value of corporate worship if available to you. To date, almost exactly ½ of our weekend worshipers are in person and ½ are joining us online. The large majority of our online community still resides within striking distance of one of our campuses. If that is you, we miss you and would love to worship with you this weekend! Will you join us?

Next weekend will be special, as Sunday night we will host Cornerstone Nights at the Shiloh campus. It will be a special time of worship, and we will have a baptism service as part of that night. I’m praying it will be an incredible, life-giving time together. If you are interested in being baptized, you can respond to this email and someone will contact you this week. You can find out more information here so you can make plans to join us outside for Cornerstone Nights!

See you this weekend as we look for life, help, and hope in the one place they can be found: Jesus.

Yours and His, 
Chris VandeLinde

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