Summary: This was my message for the first Sunday of 2020 sharing what God had laid on my heart for the New Year.
It’s a brand-new year, a brand-new decade and a chance for everyone to have 2020 vision.
As we were preparing to step over the line into 2020, I realized that I was now entering my fourth decade at Cornerstone. The nineties, Y2K to 2010, 2010 to 2019 and now the Roaring Twenties. And that caused me to stop and reflect a little bit on where we’ve been, but more important on where we are going.
25 years ago, on January 8th 1995 seven people gathered together in a living room on Basinview Drive in Bedford to discuss what a new church could look like. It was the first official worship gathering of the group that would eventually become Cornerstone Wesleyan Church.
And that evening we sang some songs, we read some scripture and we dreamed of what God would do if we let him.
If you are interested, that night there was Angela and I, a young lady from Australia by the name of Rebecca Perry, Stan and Karen Wickwire and Ian and Sylvia Richardson. Of that original group of seven, five are still a part of Cornerstone.
And I’m not sure that we could have envisioned where we are today. Pretty sure that we couldn't imagine the building being here.
I remember, the first time I drove from Bedford into Kingswood, to visit a perspective contact. As I drove down the dirt road called Kingswood Drive, past the twenty-five or thirty homes that had been built, I thought to myself, why would anyone live out here? Indeed.
And in the twenty-five years since that first small group met, there have been a lot of changes.
We’ve worshipped in a half a dozen different places, we’ve sung a multitude of different songs, Denn has worn suits, jeans and business casual on the platform.
There have been people who have made Cornerstone their church home and are still here and others who made Cornerstone their church home and who have moved on. There have been weddings, funerals, baptisms and baby dedications.
But through all of the years and all of the changes, there has been one thing that has remained constant, and that is we’ve been a church.
And understand that while it would be another four months before we would launch our public worship service on April 9, 1995, on that Sunday evening in January of 1995, the church that would become Cornerstone Wesleyan Church met for the first time.
And through the good times and the bad times, the scripture that I continue to come back to is a portion of what was read this morning, and those are the words of Jesus in Matthew 16:18 Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. And more specifically, I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.
You don’t have to go very far in that scripture to get into a discussion of what the church is and what the church isn’t.
The church was not established by man, not by Peter, or Constantine, or Augustine, or Luther, or Calvin, or Wesley, or Guptill. The church has been established by Jesus Christ. The church is a divine institution.
The problem is that all too often we get the church confused with the church. We get mixed up.
A building may be a church building, but it is never the church, I don’t know how many times, right after we moved into the building that I was asked by well-meaning people, “How do you feel now that you have a church?” and my response is “We’ve had a church since 1995, now we have a place to put it.”
This morning, the first Sunday of a new month, a new year and a new decade, I’d like to share my thoughts on our Church, Cornerstone, as we move forward after 25 years.
There Will Be Things We Did Then, That We Can’t Do Now Every once in a while I’ll have someone mention something they miss about when Cornerstone was small.
Although, that number is getting smaller. There are only 19 people worshipping at Cornerstone today who were worshipping with us before we moved into the building.
And for the first ten year of our existence we were small by every measure. For most of that time we averaged under 50 in our Sunday Morning worship, we had a part time pastor, that would be me and Mike was a volunteer treasurer/administrator and he can tell you about the financial challenges of those days.
But there will be those who remember the potlucks that we had on the second Sunday of every month after the service. That’s not going to happen in 2020. Sorry! Logistically it would be close to impossible.