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April 16th, 2020 Update

Hi Church, I will provide a much briefer update tomorrow on "life in our church" related items, but I feel both a pastoral burden and excitement to offer this special perspective today.  I hope you will take the time to read it. Soon, many to most of us will be receiving "stimulus" checks in the mail...I am guessing for all those connected to our body, that could total almost $500,000. In one sense, these checks are a gift.  Some of us may need them much more desperately than others, but we did nothing to earn them. As Christ followers, we recognize all that we have as God's, including stimulus checks. And as Christ followers here at Cornerstone, one of the key discipleship distinctives we emphasize as reflecting being like Jesus is generosity. I am excited that this stimulus gives us an opportunity to be generous.  I am excited that this stimulus perhaps gives some in our body who have never really practiced this remarkable grace of giving an opportunity to start a life long habit of blessing!  But I am also burdened that a sense of fear or desperation or even greed might take these "gifts" that we are receiving and reinforce the very opposite of what we long to be as Christ followers...a selfish holding on to everything for ourselves. Here is what I am urging every single one of us to do---give back to the Lord as the first fruits of what he has given us, some portion of our stimulus check for kingdom impact!  When we talk giving, we typically talk about giving a tithe or 10% of what we receive. The tithe was an Old Testament commandment (that really involved giving multiple tithes), that gives way to the grace of giving in the New Testament...a shift from "got to" to "get to". The idea is that we now give out of the joy of what Christ has done for us; and the inference is that we will not be limited to just a tithe!  But in the grace of giving is a non-judgmental attitude that simply invites everyone to give something as the Lord leads them, trusting the Spirit to make that clear! So again, I am inviting every single one of us to give back something from our stimulus check.  For most of us, I honestly would recommend a tithe.  For some of us who perhaps are really struggling or who rarely if ever give back to the Lord of the "little" we think we have, I would say please, just give something.  Give $10!  And make this stimulus gift the start of giving back something every time you receive income!  Make it an adventure to increase the percentage over time.  Get excited about starting a habit that creates generosity and joy in your heart and delights God's heart and impacts the Kingdom! You will be amazed how the discipline has a positive overflow effect on managing all the rest of God's money that you use for yourself! You can't out give God.  As we give, He will continue to supply! Go for it! A few of us can perhaps give a much larger portion of our check for kingdom impact. If indeed our employment or income stream has not been impacted or will not be impacted as far as we know, perhaps we can give 50% or more---"one dollar for us, one dollar for the Kingdom!" But these are just prayerful suggestions...it would be so cool if all of us prayed about it and responded to what we sense the Lord is saying! I can say without any hesitation that absolutely none of this is motivated by some selfish desire I have for Cornerstone to "get your money."  Maybe the Lord will lead you to give to Kingdom initiatives that have nothing to do with Cornerstone.  The Lord bless you!  And if you do give through Cornerstone, I am urging you to give not more than 50% of what you give to our general operations (General Fund), and not less than 50% of what you give to "beyond the walls" giving. We are always saying our goal at Cornerstone is to give away as much as we keep. This is a wonderful chance to practice it for many of us! Here is my "top ten" list in no particular order of priority, of "beyond our walls" ministries that I would encourage you to give to through Cornerstone. (And if you have others in mind, the Lord bless you in giving to them)! 1. The Great Commission Fund (that supports international workers all over the world, many of which are being significantly affected   financially by this pandemic). 2. Our own Sharon Foley (offering medical care and hope in Jesus in Africa) 3. Our own John and Ali Weston (also offering medical care and hope in Jesus in another part of Africa) 4. Beulah Beach Camp and Conference Center (who has no income stream outside of people graciously giving at this point). For this one, a     family has already offered a $1,000 challenge.  They are willing to give $1,000 and would love to see that matched by others!) 5. Crisis Care ministries through Scott Mason. 6. County Jail ministries through Chaplain Tim Smith. 7. One Plus God Ministries (who has had to revamp everything during this crisis) 8. Voice of Hope (who continues to minister to parents in pregnancy related need or crisis) 9. Our Benevolent Fund (that tries to help meet practical needs and pay basic bills for genuinely hurting people in our community) 10.Our Delaware Church Plant, DelCo Alliance...one of our kids so to speak! It is not my desire to speak into how our government addresses this crisis economically. It is my desire to pray that God will give wisdom (from making testing available to utilizing resources to creating social distancing and economic guidelines) and provide healing that only He can offer,using us as his hands and feet where possible! It is my desire that in the midst of this, fresh lessons of Sabbath, and simplicity, and Spirit-sensitivity, and sacrifice would not be quickly abandoned when this passes.  It is my desire that faith, not fear or foolishness will carry the day!  And as a part of faith carrying the day, it is my desire that Kingdom generosity finds fresh expression! As you receive, give.  Give something...maybe even give sacrificially. But definitely give joyfully not reluctantly!  Shine church, shine! In Christ, Pastor Tim

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Cornerstone Alliance is a part of the Christian and Missionary Alliance network of churches. More information on the Alliance can be found at cmalliance.org

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2010 Marion Marysville Road

Marion, OH 43302

740-387-3565

 

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