Christ Alone, Cornerstone

We recently got back from leading praise at the GKUMC Retreat and from the worship, to the people, to even the food… what a weekend!

The theme of this retreat was Building Brick By Brick. Which may make you wonder, what’s at the base of your life? What’s your foundation? The writer Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “The beautiful rest on the foundations of the necessary”, meaning that before a structure is built, it’s important to examine the foundation. In fact, other scholars, poets, and other notable figures have emphasized the importance of a solid foundation as well.

One reference that might come to mind is Matthew 7:24-27, which is the parable of The Wise And Foolish Builders (also known as “Build Your House On The Rock”).

But the idea is this: a foundation (or cornerstone) carries & supports not only the weight of the building, but also withstands any extra weight that may come its way such as the people, furniture, vehicles, etc. Therefore, good planning is a must! Without a solid foundation, you won’t have strong & level support for the structure.

Likewise, when we follow after Jesus and live by the Word of God, we are building upon the rock. The support we find with this Cornerstone would be able to withstand the extra weight of people, situations, difficulties, and other storms of life. But as we see in the passage in Matthew, those that don’t build their lives on solid ground but rather on sand will experience their structure falling with a great crash.

The way the retreat wrapped up was perfect. The backbone of that last message was to put God first. When you go through your list of important things, is He first? Or do you build your structure on fleeting things, unreliable objects, sinking sand? If we want to make it, we can’t do it on our own strength and planning. We need to live by God’s Word and trust in the course He’s set for us.

Simply put, we ought to follow after Jesus. I don’t know about you today but when I reflect upon my life, He’s been faithful time and time again. No one and nothing else can compare! Let’s continue to refocus and plan our lives to be built upon the solid rock, Jesus Christ, who gives us level support and satisfies our every desire!

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ — the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ — yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.Philippians 3:7-11

Reflection Song: Because Of Your Love

The Father Heart Of God

You and I have probably read or heard of “The Parable Of The Prodigal Son” more times than we can count. You may even know it as “The Parable Of The Lost Son”. For some reason, every time I hear a pastor preach on this story, it shines a new light on it every single time. If this is your first time hearing about it, please feel free to first read Luke 15:11-32 for some context.

You might think that “prodigal” could mean “lost” because in the parable the younger son loses his way, demands for his share of the inheritance before his father’s death, squanders it, and finally realizes his wrongs & comes home. But “prodigal” is actually defined as wasteful, extravagant, recklessly spending…

Recently we led worship at the Cornerstone Church Retreat, where YWAM speaker Rev. Joe Ferrante spoke on “The Father Heart Of God”. A couple of questions he asked that weekend were: How do you view God’s heart for your life? Do you believe that He really is good and that you are good enough for His love?

From time to time, we might feel like the younger son – thinking “I’ve got this”, ignoring God the Father, and wasting it all away on things we think we’ve got a handle on. Maybe you’ve actually done this in real life with your own parent(s). But as you know, life isn’t perfect… we aren’t perfect. Even Jesus said that in this world we’ll have trouble (John 16:33)! So why do we run away from God our Father and think that we don’t need His love and support?

Lately I’ve come to re-realize that the Father heart of God is as extravagant, as extreme, as prodigal as the younger son… but in the best sense possible! But to draw an even better picture, Jesus continues the story: the younger son comes home to beg for his father’s forgiveness. Yet the father, who was waiting for his son to return, sees him from a distance and runs to embrace him. I’m sure the son was surprised – I know I would be! But he says, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.”

The father’s response? “Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”

Not only does the father take him back… he throws a feast! If you were the older son at this point you’d probably be thinking as he does, “Hey… what’s this? Where’s my feast?”… But Rev. Joe Ferrante puts it very nicely here: The party may not necessarily have been for the younger son, but for the father. That’s how extravagant God’s love is for us. That’s how much and how long He’s been waiting for us to come to our senses and come home too. That’s how lavishly He wants to waste it all on you and me.

To even throw a party for the one who’s messed up so badly in life… wow. But you know, He gets it. Life’s tough and stuff happens. He gets it. Just as the father killed the fattened calf for the returned son, our Father sacrificed the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, so that those who see this sign of God’s perfect love would come home and realize the true heart of the Father.

No matter how badly or carelessly you’ve handled things, God is waiting for you to return… maybe even for the first time. You might not think you’re worth it, but He does! God searches our hearts and knows us (Psalm 139). He is good all the time, even when you don’t feel like you’re good enough for His love. Wherever you’re at today, I pray that you would experience an extravagant love from the Father like no other.

Reflection Song: Here Today