Monthly Archives: January 2012

The Fullness of God at Cornerstone

Sermon Notes-Pastor Milton Vincent
Cornerstone Fellowship Bible Church-January 29, 2012

And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. Eph 1:22-23

Our Church’s missions statement:
We exist to glorify God by experiencing the Gospel in all of its fullness,
exalting the Lord through worship,
edifying the saints through mutual ministry,
and evangelizing the world through outreach.

We are not content to sip or taste a small portion of our Gospel blessings in Christ, but to go deeper. Experiencing the Gospel is an unending journey. We will never reach the outer limits of the “Gospel universe.”

FIVE THINGS WE NEED TO DO HERE AT CORNERSTONE TO EXPERIENCE THE FULLNESS OF GOD AND BE A PROPER MANIFESTATION OF THAT FULLNESS:

1. We need to realize that fullness in God is a choice.
-…be filled with the Spirit…(Eph 5:18), not something that happens automatically. It’s a command.
-Paul is calling believers to make a choice (Eph 5:18).
-Be filled BY the Spirit (as opposed to WITH the Spirit).
-The grammar suggests that it as if the Spirit is holding a pitcher and trying to pour the fullness of God into us.
-The Holy Spirit wants us to be filled with the fullness of God to overflowing.

2. We need to stop looking in the wrong places for fullness.
-Also see Eph 5:18: And do not get drunk with wine…
-Getting drunk is also an example of many other things that we look to for fullness and satisfaction.
-We look for fullness in things like our entertainment, money, relationships, pornography, etc.
-You are robbing yourself when you try to find satisfaction in anything besides the Gospel.

3. We need to pray to God for fullness and an increased capacity for it.
-See Eph 3:14-19.
-…that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Eph 3:19b)
-Pray that God will enlarge our capacity for His fullness. Our cup is too small!
WARNING!
-To be filled by something is to be controlled by it (just like we can be filled with rage or jealousy and controlled).
-To be filled with the fullness of God is to be controlled by the fullness of God.

Realize that God is so immense (Isaiah 40:12 says God measures the universe by the span of His hand) that asking to be filled by the fullness of God is like standing in front of the Hoover Dam with a teacup while trillions of gallons of water pour over its spillway.

English: Hoover Dam

Image via Wikipedia

It is standing there in front of Hoover Dam with your wife and your children and your house and cars and money and present way of life and everything else you hold dear and asking for that dam to break while being accepting of whatever happens as a result of the ensuing flood! Everything we know will be changed, but we still need to ask for the fullness of God.

4. We need the leadership of the church equipping the saints for the work of ministry.
-See Eph 4:10-13.
-It is the job of the pastors to preach and teach God’s Word and the Gospel in order to equip the congregation.
-Pastors are ministers and mobilizers.
-Ministry is not centered around the pastor, but around the congregation.
-Equip means to equip (Eph 4:12) restore (same word in Gal. 6:1), mend (same word in Matt 4:21).
-Biblically qualified elders shepherd the saints into the work of ministry.
-Equip the saints to: Live in the goodness of God. Be a meeter of needs in the body. Men leading their households well. Being a disciple maker.

5. We need every member doing the work of the ministry.
-Minister until you reach maturity. (Eph 4:11-13)
-We are saved unto good works. (Eph 2:10)
-Keep serving, we all have a long way to go.

Sanctification, growth, and transformation is a journey. Ask God to open our hearts to the fullness He wants to do in us, that we would prefer His fullness to other things that don’t satisfy. Ask God to make us willing ministers with grace and patience.


Things We Can Know in Our Weakness

Sermon Notes, Pastor Milton Vincent
Cornerstone Fellowship Bible Church, January 22, 2012

Romans 8:26-28

What do we know to be true in our weakest moments? In times of weakness and bewilderment, what you hold to be true tells much about your spiritual condition. The focus of this morning’s message is not so much what we know when things are going well, but what we know is true in the midst of suffering, ignorance and weakness.

“My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things–that I am a great sinner and that Christ is a great savior.”
-John Newton

See also Job 19:13-26; Psalm 56:1-9

FIVE THINGS PAUL KNEW TO BE TRUE IN THE MIDST OF HIS WEAKNESS AND IGNORANCE

1. That the Spirit helps us in our weakness. (Rom. 8:26)
-The Holy Spirit is not put off or disgusted or irritated by our weakness, but rather He is attracted to our weakness.

2. That the Spirit intercedes for us. (Rom. 8:26)
-You are always covered with perfect, flawless prayer.
-The Holy Spirit prays with perfect understanding and articulates perfectly what you need to the Father.
-Be blessed by the Holy Spirit’s intercession for you!

3. That God knows the mind of the Spirit. (Rom. 8:27)
-Know=as in knowing approvingly, not just knowing in the omniscient sense.
-The Father approves of the prayers that the Holy Spirit prays for us.
-The Father’s response to the Holy Spirit’s prayer is, yes, that is exactly the prayer I want to hear for this child of mine.

Romans 8:28 is telling us how the Father answers the prayers that the Holy Spirit prays for us:
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.

4. That God is working all things “into” good for those who are His people. (Rom. 8:28)
-God is always doing something in direct answer to the prayers of the Holy Spirit for us.
-God uses all circumstances in our lives, good and bad, as part of His design to work good for us.
-In all things and in everything God is busy working for our good.
-Does NOT mean that all circumstances are good. We are not calling evil, good. Rather, we are saying that there is no evil that God cannot use for good.
-Does NOT mean that God works everything for good according to what WE think is good.
-In His infinite intelligence and wisdom, He allows circumstances into our lives and weaves them together for good.
-A good example of this is the story of Joseph. …you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good… (Gen 50:20)
-Consider the example of Christ’s death on the cross. God takes this massive evil against His Son and combines it with Christ’s obedience and weaves it into the best thing that has ever happened in human history resulting in the salvation of many.
-If you believe the Gospel, it should help you to believe that God works everything for good.

Believe Romans 8:28 in every situation and know that whatever God allows in His good Providence, He will work for good in the lives of His children.

For this light and momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.
2 Cor 4:17


Meet My Best Friend

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him–a threefold cord is not quickly broken.  -Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
 
It’s January, 1985, and I am waiting for my handsome Dutchman and soon to be husband to walk up the ramp at Tom Bradley Terminal, LAX. I lean over the railing as travel-worn passengers make their way to waiting family members and wonder if somehow he missed his flight or decided not to come, but finally here he is…
 
Next month, on February 16, we will be married for twenty-seven years.
 
Jaap and I met while I was on short-term missions trip to Amsterdam with a group from a church I was attending at the time. (Who says that short-term missions are not productive!) It was an exhilarating time of life for me. Young in my Christianity. Excited about serving God. First trip to Europe.

Youth With A Mission, Amsterdam. This is where it all started.

The purpose of our trip was to help renovate the Youth With a Mission building in Amsterdam. Lots of sanding, painting, wallpapering, and general clean-up. Rather than riding the bus to the YWAM building each morning, several of us decided to walk the mile or so from the Zeemanshuis (where we were staying). Jaap was part of that group. He and I hit it off right away and had some good talks on the way, and yes, I must admit, I thought he was pretty cute.

Three weeks later, after promising that we would write to each other, I was on a plane back to the United States. To be honest, I didn’t think much would come of it. There were too many complications for an actual relationship as far as I could discern. One main thing being that we only lived a mere continent and ocean apart. But, I was surprised to get a phone call the next morning from my new Dutch friend, “Terrie, I was serious about keeping in contact with you,” he told me.

We did write to each other at least 2 or 3 times per week. And, that was before e-mail. It meant taking a piece of paper, finding a pen, writing words on said piece of paper, inserting it into an addressed and stamped envelope, and walking out to the mailbox knowing that it would take 4 to 5 days (days!) for the letter to reach its destination. We also phoned each other once in a while, but mostly it was the letters.

I returned to Holland about a half-year later as a volunteer for Youth With A Mission. For about six months, I worked in their main office during the week, took part in several of their urban outreach efforts, served coffee in the Samaritan’s Inn (also part of their evangelistic outreach), developed a friendship with one of the “window girls” in the Red Light District (attempting to share the Gospel with her) and as if all of that was not exciting enough, I was able to spend time with my future husband and his family each week-end. Before I returned to the States, Jaap and I decided we would be married.

And so we were, February 16, 1985.

Now, I know this is getting to be a long post, so I am skipping many, many details just to say this:

I thank the Lord for my husband.

I’m thankful that he came to the United States carrying a backpack filled with his worldly possessions to make a life for himself. I’m thankful that he included me in that life. I’m thankful for our marriage and the privilege of raising three children together. I am grateful for a husband who is a man of integrity, a man who thinks before he speaks, a hard-working man, an honest man. I’m thankful for a man who is intelligent and kind, handsome, handy, a romantic, and a man who plays a mean game of Scrabble.

But most of all, I’m thankful that my husband is a man who loves God and loves others and who generously extends much grace to me.

I thought it was impossible that a long-distance relationship like ours would ever work. But here we are, married for almost twenty-seven years! We once figured out that we were actually in the same space and time for only one and a half months before our wedding day. It’s obvious that God knew better than I did.

Jaap and I get up early every day and spend time together reading our Bibles. We pray together each morning, too. (It wasn’t always like that, when the children were little those mornings were few and far between.) Several mornings ago, my husband prayed for me and his prayer expressed each and every concern I had been carrying in my heart.

As I listened to my husband’s petitions to God for his wife, I realized that it was no great mystery how Jaap knew just what to pray. My husband knows me. He listens to me. We share a life together. Two have become one.

Meet my best friend.

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel


A Singing Lesson From Paul

*Sermon Notes, January 15, 2012-Pastor Mike Berry
Cornerstone Fellowship Bible Church

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.  Colossians 3:16

Paul is a practiced worshiper of God. What can we discern from this text and how it applies to our singing and worship?

1. Why do we sing?
-We sing to enrich ourselves with the Gospel.
-“The word of Christ” here = Gospel.
-A command, let the Gospel dwell in you in a rich way.

2. What do we sing?
-There is a vertical and horizontal aspect to singing.
-We sing to God but also to ourselves and each other.
-We sing songs that teach and admonish.
-Songs that help us learn about God and His Gospel.
-Songs that admonish have a corrective element to them.
-The horizontal aspect of worship is that we build one another up.
-Even if a particular song is not our favorite, we still have the responsibility to sing in order to help a brother or sister for whom the song resonates.
-Give due consideration to the building up of one another while worshiping God.

Songs that teach:
-The early church responded to heresy by using hymns that taught correct doctrine.
-One way to be enriched by the Gospel is to sing right doctrine to myself and others.
Example of songs that teach:
-The words to an early teaching church hymn (taken from 1 Tim 3:16):
          He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.
-One of today’s teaching hymns, In Christ Alone:
          In Christ alone, who took on flesh
          Fulness of God in helpless babe.
          This gift of love and righteousness
          Scorned by the ones he came to save.
          Til on that cross as Jesus died
          The wrath of God was satisfied
          For every sin on Him was laid
          Here in the death of Christ I live.

Songs that admonish:
-These are songs that correct our course and the course of others and challenge us to repent.
Example of songs that admonish:
Be Thou My Vision
-The hymn, Mistaken Souls, by Isaac Watts

3. How do we sing?
-We sing to the Lord with the knowledge of His undeserved favor in the front of our minds. Grace!
-We sing with our hearts. Heart=Thinking process.
-Results in a passionate response to God in our singing.
-Christ sung hymns after Passover (Psalm 115-118).
-When we sing, are we aware of the effect our disposition has upon others?
-If God’s undeserved favor is in our minds when we sing, the gratitude in our worship will affect our brothers and sisters around us.

-Consider Wesley’s Directions for Singing (#4):
“Sing lustily and with good courage. Beware of singing as if you were half dead, or half asleep; but lift up your voice with strength. Be no more afraid of your voice now, nor more ashamed of its being heard, then when you sung the songs of Satan.”

Note from Terrie: If you were not in church for this teaching, it would be worth your while to listen to Pastor Mike’s sermon online. There was really a lot more to it than I was able to get across in these notes. Great sermon!

*Running a little behind in my sermon notes. Will try to get Pastor Milton’s sermon from January 22 posted this week, too!

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel


In the Morning

O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up. (Psalm 5:3)

Early in the morning, when the house is quiet, He is there, waiting. When I’m able to drag my sleepy self out from under the blankets and stop worshipping my bed pillow for a few moments; He makes it worth my while.

It’s the quiet that amplifies His voice and enlarges His mercies. Precious are the moments when I can believe that all the promises of God are yes and amen in Christ Jesus. Before the noise, before the confusion, before the stress, before the anxious disquietude of life begins anew, I look up. O LORD, in the morning my prayers are unhurried and in no danger of being drowned out by the clamor and commotion of life. There is time enough for my expectant heart to sense the sweet bloom and fragrance of truth and hope.

For it is there, hidden and safe between darkness and light that my Lord whispers to me, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” I hear Him, and my response is praise.

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel


Ingredients of an Epic Prayer

Sermon Notes-Pastor Milton Vincent
January 8, 2012, Cornerstone Fellowship Bible Church

2 Chronicles 20

We are like the people we read about in 2 Chronicles chapter 20 in that:
-They were being attacked by forces that they were no match for.
-They were in a place of powerlessness and ignorance.
-It was a hugely consequential moment.

SEVEN INGREDIENTS OF A HUGELY CONSEQUENTIAL PRAYER FOUND IN 2 CHRONICLES 20

1. Seeking God. (v.2-4)
-Seeking not just an answer from God, but God Himself.
-The people who were after Jehoshaphat and his people were a great migrating multitude. (v. 2)
-Jehoshaphat was afraid (not just mildly worried, but shattered!) and sought the Lord. (v. 3,4)
-He declares a fast so all can seek the Lord together. (v. 3)
-Nothing else is important at this point, just find God!

2. Looking at God and voicing what is seen.
-Jehoshaphat doesn’t jump directly to his request, but takes a moment to look at God. (v. 6)
-…but our eyes are on you. (v. 12)
-Behold your God, His goodness and His Grace and this will have a shaping effect on our prayers.

3. Rehearsing God’s Story and one’s place in it. (v. 7-9)
-When praying, rehearse the story of God’s gracious favor and what He has done for you.
-Prayer is a venue where we can rehearse the details of our Gospel story.
-Our request before God fits within a larger storyline-i.e. before the world began you were predestined to be saved, forgiven, a child of God and one that He died for.
-As you pray for others, rehearse their story and God’s goodness and grace in their lives before making your request.

4. Looking at circumstances through God’s eyes. (v. 10-12)
-In a sense and in part, prayer is getting into the mind of God and praying from His perspective.
-Verses 1-3 show Jehoshaphat to be shattered by fear, but in these verses he sees his circumstances through God’s eyes.

5. Confessing weakness and ignorance to God. (v.12)
-We read these amazing words from a king as he confesses in front of everyone:

“…we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”

-We will probably never hear a world leader say these words publically, but God has the back of a man who is willing to confess his weakness and helplessness.
-Pray willing to admit helplessness.

6. Listening to God. (v.13-17)
-God speaks in these verses and the people listen.
-They would’ve never received this direction if they hadn’t prayed. James says you have not because you ask not.
-We are often too busy trying to do things on our own rather than listening to God.

7. Worshiping God. (v.18-23)
-The people worship God before He has actually done what He said He would do.
-They faced the opposition by worshiping God.
-They went to battle singing the song of victory.
-When they began to sing and worship, the Lord provided the victory.

The Christian’s life begins in helplessness and that is when salvation comes. It is an ongoing pattern.

Note from Terrie: It’s really worth it to go back and re-read the entire 20th chapter of 2 Chronicles. Lots to learn here and lots to trust God to teach us.


God’s Grace

God’s Grace is immense. It spans the universe. His Grace lends significance to everyday life. Grace is the hammer that softens the blow. Grace plucks the sinner from the mire that is despair and sets him on a wide place, the Rock that is Jesus Christ. Grace asks no favors; it is the favor of God. God’s Grace is deep. God’s Grace is wide. It is also pointed and precise. A blade that cuts to the quick, then heals and quickens. Grace preserves, transforms, destroys and builds up. Grace does not flinch at the truth. It is safe and predictable. It is dangerously wild. God’s Grace reaches to the heavens. It stoops low to illumine the dark hearts of men. Grace is freely given, yet its worth is incalculable. Grace sentences the God Man to a tortured death on a wooden cross. Grace absorbs wrath. Grace gives life. Grace will have its way. Persistent, constant, irresistible Grace!

Oh, to be the recipient of such a Grace as this! And so I am. Herein lies a mystery. How can it possibly be? By Grace the Son is my salvation. By Grace I am the object of the Father’s love. Grace invites me to fellowship with the Spirit. Bound by Grace, I am a willing slave. Utterly dependent, I am set free. Saved by Grace, unto Grace, and for the glory of God. In and of myself, I stand empty-handed save for God’s wondrous, astonishing Grace.

The Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Cor 13:14)

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel


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