To Honor a Local Artist Cindy Massey and Her Murals

Murals by Cindy Massey at Cornerstone Church

As with all things, change is inevitable. Change is actually the one thing that actually stays constant, and this week we began an extensive remodeling process that would bring the vision of Cornerstone Church together. After more than a year of planning, in February 2012, Cornerstone opened its first off-site location, called our Cornerstone Church at Lee-Scott site. The leadership of the church envisioned a multi-site church, a single church with multiple locations, one where the worship experience, the DNA of the church, would be the same no matter which site you visited. To accomplish this, among many other things, it was decided we needed to remodel the kids area to match all other sites, present and future, which brings me to this post.

Back in 2005, a few years before Deb and I arrived, our local church started to execute plans for a new building. As you can imagine there were so many different aspects of planning and visioning that went on among the staff and executive council at the time, and one of those areas was what we call Kidztown (our children’s area). A vision was put together by the then youth and children’s director for what type of environment would greet the kids visually when they came into the Kidztown area. This vision included a fun themed design of murals with different shops and stores for each room.

Once the theme had been envisioned the hunt was on for an artist who could make this vision come to life. Cornerstone Church decided to hire a local artist, Cindy Massey, to make this vision come alive on the walls of the kids area, and she did. The amazing part of the story is how God works through the church body because after she finished painting the walls of this new church building her family started coming to Cornerstone, and they were some of the pioneers who started the new Lee-Scott site! For about seven years now the kids have walked through the halls of her artistic work, which covered just about every inch of wall and window space we had.

So, here, to honor the work of an artist we hired to cover the walls of the church with beautiful murals, I present a small sampling of that work. Please keep in mind, this is one artists rendition of another artists work (kinda weird), so, along with the thousands and thousands of kids who graced these halls, this is what I will remember about her work. I know Cornerstone appreciates and values the work she did, and I’m glad I can showcase a bit of that here. Thanks Cindy!

What is the Church? 10 Things the Bible Says About the Church

Cornerstone Church at Lee-Scott Open Air Worship Service
Cornerstone Church at Lee-Scott Open Air Worship Service

Over the past several years of seminary work I have had the privilege of studying the church. There are a lot of different answers to that question (just look how many different churches there are in this country). Yesterday was our first open-air outdoor worship service at our Cornerstone Lee-Scott site. Not because we all wanted to sit in the sun and fry, but because they were refinishing the hard wood floors in the basketball gym where we worship, but it ended up being a fantastic service, and a great reminder to all of us what exactly we mean when we say we are “going to church.” Today our churches can be places that become so internalized with our own events and “church life” we don’t even realize we have stopped living out Matthew 28:16-20. So yesterday, as we sat out in the heat, we got a good reminder that church is not a building, or a gym, or a place to “go,” but a people we serve with.

I think those in my generation and older are still quite set that we “go to church” at a church building, and that was just never the case with the New Testament Church. Our site pastor, Josh Agerton, gave a very appropriate message on this very topic, to discuss what misconceptions we bring to the word “ekklesia.” This word, ekklesia, meaning local church, was established by Christ Himself (Matt. 16:18), and then we see it in action for the first time in Acts 1:12 when Matthias was chosen to replace Judas.

I love that our particular church is willing to do things like worship in a gym, or outside on a hot day, to better reach our community for Christ. Our culture today tends to the Bible with tradition, and personal preference, to create these glorious buildings we can go hide in from cradle to grave in some cases. Clearly, God’s plan is that born again Christians be a part of a local church. Nowhere in the New Testament, after the institution of the local church was established, do you find believers serving God outside the authority or rule of the local church.

So what are a few things the bible says about the church? This top ten list below is no where near a complete and total list, nor is it compiled into any specific symmetry, but it does show what the Bible says about the Church. Notice there are a TON of things the Bible doesn’t say the church should that we have made it out to be (but that is a whole different post).

10 Things the Bible Says About the Church

  1. The Bible is the Sole Authority
    There is no only authority for the New Testament church other than that of Scripture for the faith and practice of a True New Testament Church. (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21; John 5:39 and many others).
  2. Believers are Instructed Not to Forsake Meeting Together
    If a believer is not part of a local church, whatever form that takes today, is in disobedience to God’s word. Scripture clearly teaches we are to meet or “assemble” with each other periodically. When the church meets, we should be there to support it (Hebrews 10:24-25).
  3. Believers are to be Under the Leadership of the Pastor and Church
    This is so difficult for us today, especially in the U.S.A. where we are told we are our own authority in everything we do. We are supposed submit to the authority of the church, and be lead by it’s leadership (Acts 20:28; 13:2).
  4. The New Testament Church is Only Made Up of Saved Individuals
    This is clearly indicated in Scripture as well. The church body is not made up of secular people as with any other civil club, members are believers, that’s it (Acts 2:41, 47).
  5. The New Testament Church Has Only Two Ordinances
    The Lord’s Supper and Baptism, which are not sacraments, are the only two ordinances called for in Scripture (Acts 2:41-42). We have a lot of other traditions and things that take place in the church, but these are the only two ordinances Scriptures calls for.
  6. All Believers are Placed in the Local Church upon their Baptism (Acts 1:15; 2:47)
  7. Believers are to Learn Doctrine in the Local Church
    For those of us who love to learn Scripture, here we go, but our culture today is moving more and more towards an anti-intellectualism, which is no more Biblical than forsaking the widows and orphans. This also means the local church is supposed to TEACH doctrine as well (Eph. 4:11-16; 1 Corinthians 12;  2 Timothy 4:1-4; Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 5:25; Acts 20:28).
  8. A Believer’s Responsibility to Missions as part of a Local Church
    A believer ought to be a part of supporting missions through their local church. The clear New Testament example is that it was the local church which sent forth missionaries. No church has the authority to delegate this responsibility to anyone else which would include mission boards, conventions, or any agency outside the local congregation (Acts 15:3, 20:38, 21:5, Rom. 15:24, 1 Cor. 16:6,11, 2 Cor. 1:16, Titus 3:13, 3 John 6).
  9. If One Member Suffers All Suffer With Them
    The local church is the support center of people to surround the believer in good times and in bad (1 Corinthians 12:26).
  10. Believers are Given the Responsibility and Privilege of Supporting the Local Church Financially
    There are probably more ways to get out of this than there are ways to count, but Scripture clearly says we are to financially support our local church, and it says this clearly and unequivocally that we are to give money to our local church, even Abraham did this. (1 Cor. 16:1-2, 2 Cor. 8-9)
On a practical level, what is the church? These shots below are just a very few examples of where our church assembled for fellowship yesterday. But this location at Lee-Scott Academy is not where the church is, the church is dispersed all throughout our city and county, this is just where we met yesterday.

Church and Amazing Lyrics of How Deep the Father's Love for Us

Cornerstone Church at Lee-Scott Band Warmup

Cornerstone Church at Lee-Scott Drummer Warmup for Worship

The shot above was one I took while the band was warming up for worship this morning. I never get tired of being around the worship band and their practices. It is just as much a part of worship to me as when the official worship time begins. This church location, our second site, has been meeting in a basketball gym since February, and I love how it forces us to look at church from a new perspective again.

One of the songs we sung today, a modern hymn called How Deep the Father’s Love For Us by Kings Kaleidoscope on their album Sin, which was original written by Stuart Townend many years ago, has become one of my favorites because of the amazing lyrics and how it was written. It was released almost 2 years ago at this point but every time I read this poem, or listen to it being sung, it just hits home why we believe what we believe.

As mere created beings we can’t possibly fathom how deep God loves us, but the part that always rests with me is when the writer says “I hear my mocking voice, call out among the scoffers.” What an incredible thought to process and ponder. You can listen to the song from a link at the top of this post, but the rest of it goes like this:

How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that left Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

I guess everyone has different stretching points in words and in music that makes them emotionally tied to one work over another. This one for me brings out the beauty and sadness in sacrifice for someone who finally gets it. I love that we can worship a God this great, through these words, and do it with a basketball goal above our heads.

The Start of a New Multisite Church in Auburn Launches

This past Sunday was an incredible day in the life of Cornerstone Church here in Auburn. This was the first Sunday we started worship in two different locations; one church, in two locations. After 9 months of planning, months of praying for all aspects involved in having two sites, we finally had our first regular worship service over at Lee-Scott Academy in Auburn. To me, it went about as well as anyone could have hoped and prayed for, but there is still a lot of work to be done.

Over the next few weeks, everyone involved will refine the setup and tear down process before we officially open to the public on February 26th. It was such a great day. Everyone involved, in both locations, had a part in making this past Sunday great, but God made it all happen. Without God’s presence and involvement this would all be pointless. Can’t wait to see what’s ahead for our new site. If you are in Auburn, and are looking for a new place to call your church home, come check out Lee-Scott on Sunday 1t 10:30am.

Cornerstone as a Multisite Church Only Weeks Away

It always seems that the busier things get the less time I have to just post a simple photo and put a caption on it. I’m sure this is the same with every blogger I just try to keep up regardless of my schedule, oh well. My house went from a nice calm state over the new year holiday to crazy in a matter of a few days once the semester started back up again, but one other reason is pictured above. I took that photo with my iPhone about a week ago during a planning meeting for Cornerstone at Lee-Scott, our new multi-site location, and right where I am standing is where we will begin worshipping in February. The sheer volume of things to be done by everyone has grown wildly, but the time to open is almost here.

I have been reading Matthew for the last few weeks and this morning I ended with those famous words Jesus spoke after the resurrection in Matthew 28. In the Greek πορευθέντες (poreuthentes) is difficult to determine a proper tense, but when you try to translate it to English, it all comes out to be an action. Having gone, as you go, while you are going, and go therefore, are all common translations, but “GO” puts the emphasis on the imperative character, which gives the sense of a strong “go” in the missionary command.[1]

That’s a complicated way to say, it’s an exciting time at Cornerstone when 9-10 months of planning comes down to two characters in the English language… G-O. That work has been going on for a while, and that part is almost here. Make disciples… (over at Lee-Scott), that work is just about to begin. Today this image servers also as my Project 365 [Day 50] photo (see the rest of the P365.me :2012 here).


[1] A More Accurate Look at Matthew 28:19, By John A. Finton.

Mission Theology and Being a Multisite Church in Auburn

I love being part of a local church body that takes the GO in God’s word literally, and seriously. Last week I spent as much time as I could studying about mission theology and how it relates to the nature of God for an international missions paper. Even though my study was under the context of international mission, much of the study of mission theology relates to the mission that is being lived out through our local congregation here in Auburn, and local churches all across the country.

Sunday was our very first meeting and worship service for the new multisite location, and it was amazing to see about 150 people there to kick off the new site. With 150 people or more who have committed to making this new site a success it is already bigger than about 80% of the churches in the country. But more importantly, the people here have a huge heart committed to serving people in our area who have never walked into a church before, and that is exactly what scripture talks about through mission theology.

Throughout the Old and New Testament scriptures, God’s mission is deeply related to His own nature.  In fact, the two terms are so deeply related to each other that mission can be defined as being part of the “nature of God.”  The Latin term missio Dei is often translated as the “sending of God” or the “mission of God” and is derived from the very nature of God himself,  “encompassing everything God does in relation to the kingdom and everything the church is sent to do on earth.”[1]  When we examine scripture in context we see that “God is the initiator of His mission” sent to redeem his people through Christ, and then through the Church.[2]

While mission is not the only “nature of God”, the nature of God can’t be separated from mission. It is in God’s very nature, and is played out from the calling of Abraham, to the exile and exodus of the Israelites, to the coming the Son of God the Messiah. It can be seen in the setup of the New Testament Church in the book of Acts, and on into our modern day evangelical churches like my own where our leadership long ago decided that this church would not sit idle while “someone else” did the work of mission.

The very mission of God, which is to receive the praise and worship of all nations, is so closely woven together that neither could exist without the other. In modern day cultural terms, mission is not often thought of as a theology, and is rarely related to other aspects of theology.  But, when scripture is closely examined, we see God indeed calls all nations to worship him, which then makes it “natural to build a theology of mission at the core of all theological studies.”[3][4]

All that to say, this is an exciting time here at Cornerstone as we move ahead with being one church in multiple locations. We are one of very few multisite churches in our area, or even the state, who are moving through a plan to reach people in our area through more than one location, and doing so with missio Dei as the focus.


[1] McIntosh, John A. 2000. Evangelical Dictionary of World Missions, ed. A Scott Moreau, s.v. “Missio Dei.” Grand Rapids: Baker.

[2] Sanders, Van. “The Mission of God and the Local Church,” in Pursuing the Mission of God in Church Planting, ed. John M. Bailey, Alpharetta: North American Mission Board, 2006, 24.

[3] Moreau, A. S., Corwin, G. R., & McGee, G. B. (2004). Introduction to World Missions: A Biblical, Historical, and Practical Survey (1st Edition ed.). Grand Rapids, MI, USA: Baker Academic, 75.

[4] Bosch, David J. 1980. Witness to the World: The Christian Mission in Theological Perspective. Atlanta: John Knox.