Building the Church

November 2, 2021

Hey Church family, it is great to be talking with you from downtown Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I’m just about to head to the airport for my flight home but something caught my eye and I wanted to share it with you.  

When I woke up this morning, I saw this building that you can see over my shoulder.  Looking at it closely I wondered, just how strong is that?  I see the wind blowing and I wonder if there are earthquakes here.  The question comes to my mind, “Would that stand?”  As I looked a little more closely, I noticed a couple of things.  First, I know that there is a deep foundation at the base of this building.  Secondly, there are hundreds of concrete pillars holding each floor up. And then 3rd, there’s rebar - long strips of metal that are embedded in the concrete, woven together, giving it incredible strength and integrity as a structure.  When I looked at it more closely, I thought, “Yup, that thing isn’t going anywhere fast.”

Looking at the building made me think about how God builds the Church.  Yes, he is constantly building us as a community of faith as well.  I was led also to Philippians 2:1-2.  It says, “So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.”

When I hear that scripture, it reminds me of two parts of a building’s construction.  One is the strong foundation.  The first verse is incredibly relational and it reminds us that our faith is established on the foundation of Christ’s love for us.  We can be encouraged and comforted as we participate in the Spirit as a community of faith. Second, there is an amazing call to unity here.  Paul urges us to be “of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord.”  Now, we don’t experience unity by focusing on unity.  We experience unity as we live out shared values in pursuit of a larger goal.  That got me thinking, “What are the shared values of Cornerstone Church?”  

I’ve been here nearly three years and there are a couple of things that stand out consistently.  First, we are Word-centered.  We really treasure God’s Word and receive it as the gift that it is.  It is a light unto our path, it exhorts us, rebukes us, corrects us and encourages us. We accept the Scriptures as the authoritative guide for our lives.  The second value that I see faithfully lived out at Cornerstone is prayer.  We want to bathe everything in prayer, not just to ask God to bless what we’re doing, but so that he might convict us, shape us, and guide us to accomplish His purposes and to glorify His name.  The third value that I see consistently here at Cornerstone is that we are a fellowship.  There is a genuine affection and love for one another that I have experienced time and again through members of our church family.  I see this during Sunday morning worship, through service projects and outreach, and through community groups and discipleship opportunities.  That’s a pretty tremendous thing.

As I come to the end of this trip, I am confronted with the fact that God is continuing to build us up as a church.  You might say that this top level is some of the pastoral training work that we’re getting to be involved in now.  It’s remarkable to witness how God is building out that aspect of our faith community.  Of course, He continues to do a work on every level, refining us, finishing us and perfecting us.

I want to leave you with an exhortation that Paul gives in Phil. 2:14-16.  He says, church family, “Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.”  

Friends, as we look to the coming day, we realize that the world around us is changing.  It is increasingly hostile, particularly in California, to a Christian worldview.  On some level, however, we should not throw our hands in frustration or indignation.  We should expect it.  Paul reminds us that we live in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation.  But, so long as we hold fast to the Word of life, we will shine as lights.  

So, today, hold fast to the Word of life, stand firm on the foundation of the love of Christ for you and recognize the unity in the faith we enjoy as we live out our shared values of being a Word-centered, praying fellowship of believers.  Finally, go out and shine!  Bless someone around you, encourage someone around you, to the glory of Jesus Christ. God bless you Cornerstone family, we’ll see you soon!

About The Author

Dan Wendell

Dan joined the Cornerstone team in November 2018 as the Pastor of Missions. His focus is on empowering the church family to step beyond the boundaries of CCLB to declare the Good News, so that the Body of Christ might be established where it would not otherwise occur. In addition, Dan provides oversight for Cornerstone’s Care ministries.