Pastoral Notes for Sunday, November 18, 2018

Dear Cornerstone Family,

Today we remember with gratefulness the anniversary of Cornerstone Presbyterian Church. On November 20th seven years ago, we were received as a member church of the Presbyterian Church of America. In some ways it seems like yesterday. In other ways it seems like its been forever. In every way it has been a joy and an honor! Today we give thanks for how God has faithfully sustained and grown us as a local church and expanded His witness among us and through us. Surely, we have much to celebrate!  

In God’s good providence, our congregational birthday falls on the same week as our annual Thanksgiving worship service. To mark the Thanksgiving season in the life of our church, we’re taking the next two Sundays to explore a portion of Paul’s prayer in Philippians 1:3-6. Today we’re focusing on vs. 3-5 around the theme, “Give Thanks: Remembering God’s Faithfulness in the Past.” Next week we’ll center on v. 6 around the theme, “Give Thanks: Hope in God’s Promises for the Future.”  

As is our custom at Cornerstone, in the weeks leading up to and in the one week following Christmas, we’re going to bask in the glory of the incarnation of Jesus Christ in a series I’ve entitled, “The Songs of Christmas.” To help you prepare for worship each week, I’ve posted the Scripture readings and sermon titles for the Sundays of Advent and the first Sunday of Christmas below:

·      Dec. 2, “Singing with the Prophets: Waiting for the Messiah” (Isaiah 9:6-7)

·      Dec. 9, “Singing with Mary: The Magnificat” (Luke 1:39-56)

·      Dec. 16, “Singing with Zechariah: The Benedictus” (Luke 1:57-79)

·      Dec. 23, “Singing with the Angels: The Gloria” (Luke 2:1-14)

·      Dec. 30, “Singing with Simeon: The Nunc Dimittis” (Luke 2:22-32)

In addition to worship, let me encourage you to break from the holiday brouhaha to refresh your heart with a good book. You’ll find several new Christmas devotionals available this morning on “The Book Shelf” on the second floor landing. Let me highlight two titles:

·      The One True Gift: Daily Readings for Advent to Encourage and Inspire – This work by British writer, Tim Chester, is a great addition to the growing collection of Advent devotional books. In Twenty-four bite size readings, Tim slowly peels back the layers of the beautiful Christ hymn, Philippians 2:5-11. With ideas for reflection, prayer, and applications these daily readings can be enjoyed individually or for the whole family.  

·      Love Came Down at Christmas: Daily Readings for Advent – This work is by one of my favorite pastor-preachers, Dr. Sinclair Ferguson. Broken up into 24 biblical devotions, Sinclair takes 1 Corinthians 13 phrase by phrase and shows that “love is” the Lord Jesus Christ himself. This one is not to be missed! Keep it by your bedside or armchair and close each day during Advent with a simple, meaningful reflection on the love of God in the incarnation of Jesus Christ.

Have a great Thanksgiving! May the blessings of the gospel be yours this holiday season!  

Your Servant,

Pastor Nate