Wednesday Nights @ Cornerstone

Throughout the Fall and Spring, one of the most exciting times at Cornerstone is watching our Wednesday night activities take place. Between our adults, youth, and children, we had over 200 people on campus multiple times last year! It is wonderful to see so many serving, loving, and growing together.

At our Children’s Ministry meeting yesterday, we started preparing for a new year and a new season of ministry on Wednesday nights.

Starting in September (details/dates coming soon!) we will begin a new Wednesday night schedule that will have activities for the entire family.

We will begin every Wednesday night with a family fellowship meal. Our kitchen crew always does an outstanding job. We are excited to provide an opportunity for families to sit around the table and enjoy some time together. We do not charge for these meals, but we encourage donations to help offset the cost.

Our children will be starting a new program called “Cornerstone Kids!” They will be learning the story of the Gospel from creation, to the cross, to today! There will be music, teaching, discussion time, and lots of great activities. Pray for the leaders and workers that met last night and will begin planning for this new ministry in the coming days. We are excited to see what God will do!

Our youth ministry will continue to focus on making disciples of the guys and girls God sends their way. Bro. Ryan and Mrs. Kim, along with several wonderful servants, do a fantastic job of leading them as they learn to follow Jesus.

We are also excited to announce that we will be starting a mid-week worship service! While the children and youth enjoy some age-specific discipleship, our adults will take time to renew and recharge through worship and the Word. This service will be open to anyone who wants to attend. Some families may choose to come to worship as a family, while some may send their family to the various age-specific ministries- both of those are wonderful options!

We believe this new Wednesday night schedule will create an opportunity for the entire family to come together and be discipled. We want our families to look forward to Wednesday nights, to see it as an opportunity to be refreshed and encouraged! These new ministries will allow those called to serve in children and youth ministries the opportunity to fulfill that call, while also creating an opportunity for families to grow as disciples of Jesus through consistent worship.

There are still more details to come- but will you join me in praying for our Wednesday night ministries? Pray for those involved in leading our Mid-week Worship, our Youth Ministry, and our Children’s Ministry. Commit to come and be a part of what God is doing on Wednesday nights!

(Starting September- dates to come!)

5:15PM- Family Fellowship Meal
6PM-7PM: Mid-Week Worship, Youth Ministry, Cornerstone Kids

A New Vision for Children’s Ministry- Are You Called to Serve?

This has been an interesting season at Cornerstone. For the past several months, the word the Lord has continually brought to my mind is “simplify.” We have been in a period of “evaluation” ever since our Missional Church Conference. Every ministry and program in our church is being evaluated and reimagined as we move forward with the call to be disciples on mission for Jesus.

We know that families have many things pulling for their time and attention. And as the Church, we want to get back to what God prioritizes in Scripture. In Acts 2, we see the early church focusing on three primary things- 1. The teaching of the Word, 2. Fellowship, 3. Prayer.

We long for our families to grow in Christ. We long to see parents who love Jesus and teach their children to love Jesus. But this doesn’t happen through a program. This happens through discipleship.

Our children are really important to us. And we want to create a dynamic ministry full of disciples who are called to disciple children. This is where you come in! If you are called to serve and teach in our Children’s ministry- we want you to join us for a special meeting this Sunday, July 17, at 4PM in the sanctuary.

We are not recruiting volunteers. We are not going to beg people to serve. We are not going to guilt anyone into participating. We are calling for those in the body of Christ who have a real call to minister to our children! We want to equip you to have a real impact on the children God sends to our church.

If that is you, then please join us Sunday afternoon for an important conversation about the future of our children’s ministry.

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN HELPING IN OUR CHILDREN’S MINISTRY- PLEASE ATTEND OUR MEETING SUNDAY! IF YOU CANNOT MAKE IT, PLEASE CONTACT BRO. RUSTY OR BRO. GERALD TO LET THEM KNOW YOU ARE INTERESTED IN SERVING

Josh Chevalier Update

We got this update from Josh last Wednesday- we thought we would share it with you. Please continue to keep he and Joseph in your prayers as they minister in Zambia!

“We finally made it to the town we are working in after 3 extra days that weren’t accounted for because our supervisors got sick. But we’re here now and it’s really pretty here. Really dusty because the dirt is like a red dirt and it’s the dry season. We still haven’t gotten to do a sports camp yet because [of planning conflicts]. But we should get to do our first ministry thing tomorrow. The market here is really cool and weird at the same time, you can just about buy anything there ranging from fruits and veggies to batteries and backpacks.”

Through the Peveto’s Facebook page- we see that they have had their first successful sports camp- and enjoyed a unique day of worship yesterday! We are so thankful for the work God is doing in and through Josh. Please commit to pray for him daily- we will post updates as we receive them!

ONE Church- A Special Announcement

Greetings Cornerstone family!

Bro. Rusty here, welcoming you to the newly updated “Ministry blog!” Since I have my own blog now, what used to be the “pastor’s blog” has been updated to contain posts from a variety of ministry leaders in our church family. Along with my old posts, you will soon find a couple of articles every month from various voices within our church family. We are hoping you will be blessed by these resources.

But we are starting this new season of this blog with a big announcement!

On Sunday, June 5, we will return to our ONE service format. Our traditional Cornerstone Bible Fellowships will start at 9AM and our ONE service will start at 10AM.

Summer is traditionally a low-attendance season for most churches. And we knew that one service would be able to accommodate our Summer services. What made this decision much easier is knowing that by the time attendance picks back up in the Fall- we will be getting into our new sanctuary! And we will be able to seat 350+ as soon as we start using the new building.

There is no doubt that God called us to this season of two services. It was not easy, it required a lot of work from a lot of people! But without this season, we would not have been able to seat everyone God sent to our church.

I want to take this opportunity to earnestly thank those who attended the first service. While many could not make this decision for a variety of reasons, many of you willingly set aside your preferences to advance the Kingdom of God. I believe that an eternal reward awaits you! I wish more would have answered the call, but I am thankful for the faithful few who allowed God to use them in this special way. Because of your willingness, I believe there are multiple families that have been comfortable and welcomed into our church family.

And for our incredible worship and media teams- you have doubled up on your workload for the past 18 months! Your work has been a blessing to many, and we are so thankful for your time and ministry!

This is an exciting time for Cornerstone! We are looking forward to opening our new facility and having what we have not had for a few years- room to grow!

But we are not taking off for the Summer! While we recognize that attendance is traditionally lower- we still have a lot of Kingdom work happening! Please commit to make worship a priority for you and your family! Don’t “take off” from serving and worshiping the Lord with your church family.

I pray that we will continue to make disciples and take the Gospel to our community and the ends of the earth- in this building, in the next building- and for generations to come!

It is a blessing to be your pastor. I love you all!
Rusty

New Website

Rusty Mott   March 15, 2016   No Comments on New Website

For those who don’t use social media- my blog has moved over to rustymott.com

We are in the process of converting this to a “ministry blog!” Beside me (Rusty), we will have various ministry leaders, elders, and deacons write articles about life and ministry to share with our church family here.

Looking forward to this new journey! If you still want to follow my blog- check out the new website! I am posted 4-5 times every week. God bless!

Fixer Upper- Make It Stick!

If you were at our services Sunday, you heard a message called “Fixer Upper.” The point was that each of us are in desperate need of transformation in our lives through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

As an opening illustration, I talked about the many “home improvement” shows on television today. Mallory and I watch a lot of these shows, and that has become an increasingly dangerous thing.

Why? Because they make so many difficult things look so easy!

We live in a house built in the 1950’s. And in many parts of the house, you would know it is old just by looking at the design.

One of those areas is the guest bathroom. As per the style of the day, this bathroom is decked with bright pink tiles on the walls, the vanity, and around the entire shower area. It is a lot of tile, and a lot of pink! And on top of that, before we moved into the house, the previous owner repainted the cabinets in the house. Guess what color they chose…..Yes, PINK.

So our pink bathroom has been a point of discussion for a long time.

But this week- all of that changed! Mallory repainted the cabinets a couple of weeks ago. And yesterday, we started the process of repainting the tiles. If you have ever done this before- you know the struggle! It requires a special (and expensive) epoxy paint that is specifically made to adhere to these tiles. Mallory spent all day “prepping” the area. And then I spent several hours last night spraying, brushing, and getting the paint onto the tiles.

It is in the “curing” stage, and it will take a few days to dry. But it already looks significantly less pink!

This morning, I was thinking about the process behind the job. We had to sand the tiles, the clean them, and repeated that process three times! And then we had to use a special paint to make sure that it would “stick.”

This reminds me of the discipleship process. We really wish there was a way to snap our fingers and be done with the whole project! But the truth is, it takes time! Discipleship is a process!

Sure, you can slap a coat of cheap paint on the tile. But in a matter of days, it will begin to peel and fall off. Because without the epoxy- it won’t stick.

The Gospel is the “epoxy” of the discipleship process! Without the truth of the Gospel informing every step of our growth- it’s all just cosmetics. We can look good, act good, and seem like we have it all together. But the only way to make real and lasting change is to do the difficult work of coming to the cross and dying to yourself- and let the Gospel transform you from the inside out!

Battling Mondays and the “Monday-ish” Days of Life

Mondays are hard for everybody.

But for Pastors, Mondays follow a previous day of highs and lows. Some Sundays, we go home exuberant and overjoyed at what the Lord did during the day of services. But other days we go home drained and wondering if we spent the vast majority of our time working on a sermon that didn’t make any difference.

On the Mondays after the “highs” of Sunday- I find myself bored and uninterested in the daily grind that is the majority of my pastoral life. I can’t wait to get back in the pulpit next week! But I’m so excited that I can’t concentrate on getting started on what I will actually be preaching in the pulpit. So it is usually a rather unproductive day.

On the Mondays after the “lows” of Sunday- I find myself mourning what should have been. Thinking about how it would have been if I had worded something different, or if I had remembered that awesome illustration. Embarrassingly, I find myself looking through social media to see if anyone commented or made mention of the day’s teaching. Oddly enough, even when I find it- on the “low” days, it doesn’t really satisfy.

This may be an odd thing for you to be reading. I tend to write as if a group of pastors is reading and nodding along in agreement. As if this may be some form of encouragement to them. And maybe some are. But when I stop and think about it- this post won’t reach more than a handful of our church members….. and of course, my Mom and Grandmother!

But in some way- maybe this helps you.

I heard a pastor talk about the difference between being “authentic” and “vulnerable.” It is an important distinction!

It is popular to be “authentic” in our world today. We are all about being “transparent.” We are unashamed about who we are! But the truth is, even while being authentic, none of us like to vulnerable. We don’t like being open about our struggles, feelings, or problems.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting you start airing all of your personal struggles in the public square! But even within our own souls, we have a tendency to run and hide instead of dealing with the struggles within. And by “dealing with the struggles,” I mean running to the Savior, who is able to help us in the midst of whatever situation.

But when you are prone to depression and dark nights of the soul, if you don’t sort through these kind of days- and let yourself be vulnerable before the Lord- the only other place to go is a place of hiding. Where nothing gets sorted out, and your struggles compound into an internal struggle that eats away at every part of your life.

So on Mondays, dreary sunless days, or in the “lows” of your life- don’t run and hide. Instead, be vulnerable before the Lord. He is the one who created you. He knows your heart. Let Him take it and heal it.

Three Years Later

Rusty Mott   February 17, 2016   2 Comments on Three Years Later

Tomorrow marks three years since Mallory and I loaded all of our belongings in a small moving truck and headed south to Pastor at Cornerstone.

I am prone to sentimentality. Markers like this always cause me to reflect upon my life and ministry. Things have changed more than I could have imagined.

Personally, we have a beautiful daughter with another daughter coming in the next couple of months. Mallory has found wonderful friends and places to use her many gifts in ministry. We bought a house, and have done some significant remodeling since buying it.

Pastorally, I’ve learned that I don’t really know that much! I’ve made a ton of mistakes, and I’ve learned that it’s ok. We’ve also seen God do some amazing things. I could never have expected our church to grow as fast as we have. We are in the middle of transforming our Sunday School to what we call “Cornerstone Bible Fellowships,” with groups meeting at different times and locations throughout the week. Our elders are also putting together our new discipleship curriculum designed to help call, teach, and develop leaders in our church. And on top of all of that, we are about to start construction on our new worship center! It will be interesting to see what God does in the next three years at Cornerstone!

Mallory and I talked about how quick it has gone- but also, how it seems like it’s been a lot longer than 3 years. We still miss our dear friends and family at Freeman Heights in Garland. We stay in contact with them, and go to visit as often as we can. God is blessing their ministry too! Those relationships encourage us to keep going here in Kountze. We have seen the fruit that 6 1/2 years of building relationships brings. Sometimes I wish there were shortcuts to get to that point- but we trust that God’s timing is perfect.

It is a blessing to serve the Lord! As we all continue to serve, it is important to take opportunities to look behind us and before us! Let God’s faithfulness encourage and bless you as you continue in His service.

And one, ten, twenty…..or three years later, you can still be confident that His grace sufficient.

This Old Bible

Rusty Mott   February 9, 2016   2 Comments on This Old Bible

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As many of you know, I am a Bible collector. Like many Christian homes, I have several Bibles. But my collection is larger than most! Study Bibles, reading Bibles, and high quality Bibles.

But over the years, few Bibles have matched my first preaching Bible! Now, to be clear, when I call it a “preaching” Bible, I simply mean that it is the first Bible I preached from regularly. The Baptist Student Ministry Director at Dallas Baptist University bought a slimline English Standard Version Bible for me upon my graduation. As I moved to Garland that Summer to begin full-time ministry at Freeman Heights, this became my “go-to” Bible.

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Since then, I have been through a lot with this Bible. About three years ago, I decided it was time to get a new Bible. My old one was literally falling apart. I had pages taped together, there were parts of the text worn down from studying, crying, and pointing at certain passages over almost 10 years of use.

So I have been on a journey to find my new “go-to” Bible. I haven’t found it yet- but I still believe it is out there!

But a couple of weeks ago, I got this old Bible back out. And as I have carried it and studied it, I can’t help but think about why it is in the shape it is in.

This Bible is scuffed up and torn up because I literally took it everywhere with me. I ministered to recovering drug addicts on the street with this Bible. It sat out in the rain as I preached to kids at an apartment complex. It went with me to some scary places, and to many camps and pulpits around the state of Texas.

It has coffee stains and salsa stains from late night conversations and prayer meetings with friends and family. The pages are literally worn down from me preaching with it- because I used to preach in unique contexts that do not have a pulpit.

And the realization hit me- my Bibles don’t wear like that anymore…

They go from my desk, to my house, to the pulpit.

This breaks my heart. I want to have the passion and zeal I had fresh out of college! Before the years of ministry and life beat me into this “professional” that I often find myself being today.

I ordered a new Bible last week. It is really nice, and I’m excited to get it. But I’m hoping it doesn’t stay “nice.” I’m hoping that in a few years, it will bear the marks of a well-used, well-traveled book. And that as I look at its marks, dings, and scratches- that I will be filled with joy as I reflect upon the work God has done through His Word!

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Bro. Rusty’s Top 10 Moments of 2015

This is the time of year for reflecting on what God has done in our lives. While I always advocate for reflecting on ALL the things (good AND bad) in our lives- this post will not include the bad. But trust me- I could easily write at least 10 moments that were extremely difficult/challenging in 2015!

Also, this order is from my perspective as the Pastor. Some of these moments, while rather personal- are still tied to the church in my view. So don’t take this list too seriously, and don’t get offended if one of your “moments” isn’t included! This list is by no means comprehensive! This is just meant to be fun and to remember some of the things God has done in our Church this year.

Enough disclaimers- let’s do this:

10. Thanksgiving Community Worship
This may seem strange to many of you- because there was only one Cornerstone member not named “Mott” at this community service. But we saw God show up in a very special way. Our friends at FBC Kountze joined us, and the music, message, and fellowship were like finding a stream in the desert! Even though it was not highly attended- this night was very important to our church and THE Church- all of us who call ourselves Christ followers in our community! Pray about joining us for these services in 2016!

9. Joint Board Meetings
We have always tried to have monthly meetings with our Elders and Deacons, but have not always been successful. But 2015 saw a change that helped us grow closer to each other- and it was the classic Baptist solution- FOOD!

Each month, dinner was prepared by one of our amazing wives, and we shared a meal and fellowship before tending to the business of the church. This was a highlight of the year for me, and a tradition we look forward to continuing in 2016.

8. Summer Preaching
This may seem personal- and it is to a certain extent. But the truth is- without Cornerstone, no one would be calling me to preach at special events. But this Summer, I preached 15 times in 13 days. It was an insane experience. But what made it even crazier is that I contracted a terrible case of poison ivy that was all over my face, legs, and stomach. It was an absolutely miserable experience. I itched terribly for the entire two weeks that I preached in the middle of Southeast Texas summer camps.

But I saw God work in a mighty way through my weakness. I am still in awe of what God did dispite my misery. Over 50 students gave their lives to Jesus during those two weeks. In light of eternity- that poison ivy was no big deal! And the Lord used it to teach me to rely on Him in a way I haven’t had to before! Hopefully, I’ve learned that lesson enough to not have it again in 2016!

It is a blessing to have a church that allows me to take our ministry beyond the walls of our church!

7. AWANA Opening Family Night
To close out our Spring AWANA season, we had an amazing family night/carnival. We saw more people than we expected, and made a lot of great connections with people. Our AWANA team decided to try a similar event to open our AWANA year- but we were not sure if people would turn out for it.

But they definitely did! We had a huge amount of parents, kids, and volunteers. We had bounce houses in the sanctuary (a personal highlight of my year!) and volunteers from all age ranges in our church. It was great to see youth/adults and even children serving those who were guests at our church that night. It helped jump start the highest attended AWANA year we have had to this point.

6. Vacation Bible School
VBS is always a crazy time at Cornerstone! But this year, something special happened. While on vacation in Australia, Mrs. Diane (our VBS director) met a gentlemen from Thailand (where the mission project for this year’s VBS was based). But that wasn’t his only connection. Our theme this year was “Everest,” and Dr. Gib had climbed to the base camp of Everest.

It took a lot of work for Dr. Gib and Mrs. Diane, but we were able to arrange a time to video conference and record a video to share with our kids that week. So we literally had a conversation with a gentlemen living in Thailand who had climbed part of Mt. Everest. And God set that up by having Mrs. Diane and Dr. Gib both travel to Australia and just happened to meet…….WOW! I don’t believe in random- I believe that God orchestrated this unique opportunity!

5. Washington Church Plant- Mountain Lakes Fellowship
This Summer, a pastor from Washington State called me and asked if he could come by our office. I reluctantly said yes, because he was a friend of a friend. It was a very busy season at the church and at home. In fact, we had Edda with us in the meeting!

But as Pastor David shared his heart for planting a church in Loon Lake, I asked how many his church (FBC Deer Park) ran in attendance- and was shocked at the number. (They have since seen significant growth as they reach people in Deer Park!) But I was surprised that a church smaller than ours was working to plant a church down the road.

After a time of prayer- our elders and deacons voted unanimously to help this church plant. In October, I had the chance to go to Washington to preach at the Inland Empire Association’s annual meeting. I got to spend time with several pastors in the area, and got to spend time with Pastor Jim and Mrs. Linda (the church planters) and their core team.

Mountain Lakes Fellowship officially started their weekly services in December! Continue to pray for them as they begin this new year!

4. Youth/Children’s Christmas Play
This night is still fresh on my mind! Our Chrildren and Youth worked very hard to put together a wonderful production. Written, directed, and produced (and whatever credits are available!) go to Kim Price and Jennifer Allien. Along with tons of volunteers, including many outstanding musicians, singers, and actors- they put together an incredible presentation. Our church was packed with members, guests, and first time visitors.

But after the play, the youth hosted everyone for a Christmas carnival. It was wonderful to see so many people serving and helping make this night special.

3. New Elder/Deacons
This may seem like a blip on the radar screen to most people. But this is one that in many ways helped save my ministry! Our new elder and deacons have been a breath of fresh air to our Joint Board. Not only has their fresh perspective been helpful, but their zeal for the work has helped refresh all of us. It took us a long time to go through the process of elder/Deacon selection- but it is certainly clear that God brought the right men to our church! Continue to pray for these men as they lead our church!

2. Getting Ready for Construction
Again, for many people, this is not a big deal. But behind the scenes, this process has taken almost as much time as preparing to preach in the last several months. The process of being offered the loan, accepting the loan, and then getting all of the paper work together for closing the loan was more than I could have ever expected. They don’t cover that type of stuff in seminary!

But a couple of weeks ago- our trustees officially signed the contract with the North American Mission Board. What a blessing to partner with them for this building project. In the years ahead- every penny of interest will go to fund North American Mission work. We get to advance the Kingdom in Kountze while helping advance the Kingdom across North America!

I know that there is still much to do as we look forward to breaking ground in early 2016- but I will never forget the work to get us to this point in 2015!

1. Salvations
No list is complete without the reason we do all of these things. We didn’t grow as fast as have the last couple of years (in terms of membership). But a number I care far more about is growing the Kingdom of God! And we baptized more people in 2015 than we have before! Celebrating the changed lives in our community. And asking God to bring even more to His Kingdom in 2016!

So that’s my list- again, I know it’s not complete. What were some of your favorite moments that I missed? Share them in a comment on the Facebook link!