Pastoral Notes for Sunday, June 30, 2019


It’s early Thursday morning at the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) in Dallas, TX. Even early in the morning, it’s as hot as blue blazes in Texas, which is why I’m glad to be typing this brief message from the cool confines of the hotel lobby.

 Let me say first how thankful I am for your prayers this week. I’ve probably received a dozen or more e-mails or text messages from Cornerstone members this week letting me know they are praying for us. We need your prayers! As always, there are lots of important matters facing the church, and, as always, we’re in desperate need of God’s grace, wisdom, and direction. The most important items of our business will be debated and voted on today, so I can’t yet share highlights from any of the key items of business. I will do that soon, however.

For now, what I want to share is how thankful I am for faithful ruling elders like Mr. Jim Payne and Mr. Terry Cheney. These two brothers have done a fantastic job representing you and the Nashville Presbytery on general assembly committees. Both men were prepared and principled in their work, and it was an honor to lock arms with them in the work of the denomination this week. I thank God that we have ruling elders who care deeply for the health and growth of not just our church but also the whole denomination. I urge you—please take time to thank them for their tireless efforts!

 The assembly reconvenes in a half hour; so let me wrap this up. Before I do, however, let me offer one more encouragement. On Tuesday this week, we attended the Gospel Reformation Network lunch. If you’re not familiar with the Gospel Reformation Network (GRN), check it out online. It’s a great resource. I’m truly grateful for the role this fellowship of pastors and elders is playing in helping to nurture and provide resources for healthy churches in the PCA.

At the lunch we enjoyed, we were given a wonderful little booklet entitled Mere Presbyterianism by Jon Payne. Some of you will catch the echo of C.S. Lewis’ classic work, Mere Christianity, in the title. That’s intentional, of course. For just as Lewis was setting to set forward the commonly held beliefs of Christians throughout history regardless of tradition, so Jon Payne is seeking to advance a recovery of the commonly held beliefs of historic Presbyterianism throughout the centuries. As the title and aim of the book indicates, Jon is not looking to revamp our beliefs and practices to address modern challenges, but to instead call us to remain committed or return, as the case may be, to our historic confessional beliefs and practices as the tried and true paths for addressing the challenges of every era.

 It’s easy to drift, isn’t it? It’s easy to be blown along by the cultural winds (Eph. 4:14). It’s actually more difficult to stay put. Which is why in the midst of the storm, your most valued asset is an anchor. By God’s grace, we are laboring at Cornerstone to anchor ourselves in the Bible and the historic confessions, rejoicing that in an ever-changing world, we have the never-changing truths of Christianity on which to rest.