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FEBRUARY 2021

Let all that you do be done in love.-2

Cornerstone Conference is a body of IPHC Churches existing to equip ministers and churches to fulfill the Great Commission!

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Growing in Maturity

By Gary L. McIntosh, D.Min., Ph.D.

Growing in maturity is a natural aspect of life. Each of us, especially leaders, are to demonstrate an increasing maturation throughout our lives.

Our primary example on how to grow in maturity is Jesus. Scripture records in Luke 2:40-52 that he grew normally in five areas.

Jesus grew physically. Speaking of Jesus, Luke says that “The Child continued to grow and become strong.” And, he increased in “stature.”

Jesus grew mentally. He was “increasing in wisdom.”

Jesus grew socially. He kept increasing in “favor with God and man.”

Jesus grew spiritually. The “grace of God was upon Him,” and he was found “in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions.”

Jesus grew volitionally. He made a personal choice to stay “behind in Jerusalem. But his parents were unaware of it.” Later “He went with them and came to Nazareth, and He continued in subjection to them.”

Jesus’ maturation did not involve sin. Several passages of Scripture speak clearly on this aspect of his life. For example, Hebrews 54:15 states the he was “tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” So, how did Jesus mature?

Jesus matured through the learning of three things: submission, obedience, and suffering.

First, He learned submission through a loving relationship with his parents. After his parents found him in the temple conversing with the teachers, “He went down with them and . . . continued in subjection to them.” Later, he subjected himself to the heavenly father, saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet, not My will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42).

Second, He learned obedience. The writer of Hebrews notes, “In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered” (Hebrews 5:7-8).

Third, He learned through suffering. “For it was fitting of Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings” (Hebrews 2:10).

What can we learn about growing in maturity from the life of Jesus? Here are a few thoughts to ponder.
We must go through a normal process of growth and maturation. Even though Jesus was perfect humanity, he had to grow through the process of normal life development. Each of us, must also live through the regular stages of life, growing in maturity as we gain life experience.

We must learn submission and obedience to authority. Even though he was perfect humanity, Jesus had to grow through the process of learning submission and obedience. Someone once said, “You must learn to follow before you can lead.” Excellent leaders have learned to submit to others.

We must go to the Lord for guidance in attaining maturity. “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).

Musings and Questions

The mature leader is a reflective person. Reflection on life, work, and ministry helps a leader become acquainted with the will and ways of God.

While some people forget God (Psalm 50:22; 106:21), the mature, godly person remembers Him. “O LORD, I remember Your name in the night, and keep Your law (Psalm 119:55).

As we begin 2021, it is a time for deep reflection on the challenges of the last year. This is perhaps the most difficult year of ministry that most pastors and church leaders have experienced. The abrupt changes, challenges, and corrections forced upon our churches, has created turmoil. However, it hopefully has caused us to grow and mature, too.

Psalm 77:12 states, “I will meditate on all Your work and muse on Your deeds.”

Here are a few questions to begin your reflection.
• What lessons has God taught you this last year?
• What ways has God increased your maturity this last year?
• How will your life be different this next year because of what you’ve learned?

What other questions might you add?
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This article is taken from the January 1, 2021 Growth Points, published monthly for the local church by the Church Growth Network.

Put Dr. Gary L. McIntosh on your coaching team. Email cgnet@earthlink.net for full details.

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UPDATE: 2021 Great Commission Meals

Due to an increase in COVID-19 cases, we have postponed our 2021 Great Commission Meals until later in the year.

We will provide an updated schedule once new dates/locations are determined. Thank you for your patience and understanding. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Keith Gilliam, our Cornerstone Conference World Missions Director.

Keith Gilliam, Cornerstone Conference World Missions Director
kgilliam@livinghopelenoir.com
828.234.1443

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EC Online Promo

EMMANUEL COLLEGE ONLINE

At Emmanuel we recognize that the traditional college calendar and on-site course work format doesn’t always work for everyone. Online programs make education possible for so many of our non-traditional students; those that may be working or have a family to care for. If you’ve been thinking of finishing your college degree and have struggled with how to get to campus, arrange childcare, get away from work, or fit classes around the numerous other conflicts that exist, our online programs may be the solution for you.

At Emmanuel we recognize there is often a sense of hesitancy involved when considering whether or not to start an online program immediately. Particularly if it’s been a while since you’ve been in class, fear of the unknown can set in. What are the classes like? Am I going to be able to understand how to navigate my course work? Even recent high school graduates may have concerns on how college work may differ from their high school experience.

In order to address these very common misgivings, we canl provide a link to view one of our online courses through CANVAS, our online class platform. As an online student at Emmanuel you are assigned a personal Enrollment Counselor that will walk you through the Admissions process, help you work with Financial Aid, and assist you with advisement each semester.

If you would like more information about the Emmanuel College Online program, please visit our website at online.ec.edu or contact Mackenzie Dye @ 706.245.2907.

Mackenzie Dye, M.A. in Executive Leadership
Emmanuel College Enrollment Counselor
PO Box 129
Franklin Springs, GA 30639
706.245.2907

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TRUE DISCIPLES LOVE...

By Joel Boyles, Resident Director of Discipleship Ministries

“Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” Many of us remember learning this little song when we were children. While it may be just a simple children’s song, it still carries a wonderful theological message! Jesus loves me more than I can ever imagine. He loves me in spite of my failures, mistakes and sinful past. He even loved me while I was still living in my sin! He loved me so much that he gave His life for me!

So how do I as a disciple, return the love He has for me? Jesus plainly said in John 14:15 “If you love me, obey my commandments” (NLT). He also said in Mark 12:30-31 “And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. The second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself” (NLT).

As we enter the month of Valentines Day, people will show their love by giving traditional gifts such as flowers, candy and jewelry. While these are nice to give and receive, they are not what true love really is.

True love is summed up in one word: COMMITMENT.

We often see social media comments concerning love for God and His people. While that is all well and good, God is looking for disciples who are showing their love for Jesus by being committed to His word, His nature and His kingdom. A true disciple will obey scripture and show love, grace, kindness and mercy to their neighbor.

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PREPARED TO GIVE

By Jonathan Hill, Resident Director of Evangelism Ministries

Are you prepared to give when the Holy Spirit leads you to do so? I’d like to be able to say I’ve always been ready to give my resources away, because they are not really mine. However, if we as believers do not intentionally decide and make plans with our God given resources, someone or some other entity, will.

Recently, I was able to take a tour of Gateway Church in Dallas, TX, home of Pastor Robert Morris. He took some time to share with us and answer questions. He brought up some stories about how God had prepared him to teach on giving, which you can read about in his widely distributed book, “The Blessed Life.” He challenged us to be very intentional on how we handle God’s resources so that we will be able to give as the Lord leads. Robert reminds us how Jesus refers to money in 16 of His 38 parables. And whether we like it or not, how we handle money reveals volumes about our priorities, loyalties, and affections.

I was blessed to grow up in a Christian home with parents who set a Godly example in many ways. They were faithful servants to their local church, and they were givers of their time and resources. On many occasions, I saw my dad strike up a conservation with total strangers, listen to their stories, share his faith and give them some money. One time we were flying to visit some relatives, and my dad sat beside a single mother who was sharing her struggles with him. Since he had a captive audience, he shared his redemptive story with her! When we landed, I watched him take some money out of his pocket and hide it in her bag she had under the seat. He didn’t know I saw him, but it was times like this, and there were many, that made a powerful impression on me.

My parents taught me the importance of tithing at a young age and they demonstrated over and above giving with how they ministered to others. I’ve learned over the years that my dad was very intentional about setting aside money to be able to give when a need arose.

My father grew up extremely poor. His widowed mother raised 8 kids on a farm and life was tough, but it was all they knew. Once my dad surrendered his life to Jesus, he had a fresh awareness of the need to share Jesus and what he had done for him. Yet, he also understood the struggles so many people face with not having enough resources to adequately take care of their family. He was not a man of great means, but he personally experienced generosity from others while growing up, and it made an indelible mark on his heart. This created a special place in my father’s heart to not just try and meet a spiritual need with those he came into contact with, but as the Holy Spirit led him, he would slip them a $50 or $100 bill, or whatever he could.

As Robert Morris shared his story about how God specifically spoke to him and about how he would teach many people about Godly giving, I began to compare it to how I was raised. Yes, Robert understood being a struggling evangelist who depended on churches giving him offerings, which can vary wildly. The difference was that he grew up in a home of a wealthy father who was a successful businessman. The scale of the giving was totally different compared to my dad…Robert’s dad gave away cars and houses (plural). To this day, Robert Morris sets aside a monthly amount of money equivalent to many full-time pastors’ salaries, just for the purpose of using it to open doors to share the Gospel! My dad gave away food, toys, and what money he could, but God is not impressed with how much more the Morris family can give. He is moved by the obedience of each of us. Please don’t miss the key point of why I felt led to write this: Each of the men I’ve referred to in this article gave above the tithe, because they were intentional on setting aside money to be able to do so. When they heard the Lord speak to them, it was just a matter of being obedient because the resource was already there.

Honest confession…it is easy for me to want to hoard and save for a “rainy day.” Truth is, I do save, just as I was taught by my dad. But his example of giving has also helped me experience the joy of giving to people who sometimes need more than just a word of encouragement, they need to pay a bill or buy some food.

Are you prepared to give? Have you set aside resources above your tithe to be able to give when the Holy Spirit leads? If not, what a great way to start 2021, by entrusting all that you have been given by the Father and being an example of truly living a blessed life!

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Register Today for The Calling Weekend - February 18-21

Beth Stephens Ministries

Have you been called to the ministry? If so, make plans to attend an amazing, life-changing, power packed and informative weekend on February 18-21, 2021!

CALLING…..a strong inner impulse toward a particular course of action especially when accompanied by conviction of divine influence

The Calling Weekend 2021 is designed specifically for the "twenty-something" person who has received the distinct call from God to live a life of service to Him in ministry through preaching, teaching, evangelizing or pastoring. The third weekend in February of 2021, a group of these confirmed ministers from various denominations will embark on a mission leading them through intense training and thoughtful discussion designed to equip them to answer this call.

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The Ark on Lake Lanier in Gainesville, Georgia is the gathering place for The Calling Weekend. It is a central location, providing ample meeting space and comfortable accommodations, on the shores of one of the most beautiful lakes in the southeast.

TOPICS FOR THE WEEKEND INCLUDE:

Embracing Your High Calling
Maintaining Integrity: Spiritually, Financially and Physically
The Cost of Your Calling
Effective Altar Calls and Altar Ministry
Convictions over Culture
Booking and Scheduling Ministry Dates—The Proper Protocol
Your Gender and Your Calling
The Lost Art of Praying Through

Space is limited to 20 participants for the weekend. Applicants will be selected by The Calling ministry team and notified shortly after. Applications must be received no later than Monday, January 25. The total cost of The Calling Weekend is $500, which covers all expenses including meals and lodging (Thursday evening through Sunday breakfast).

Beth writes, "It's my hope that every person attending The Calling Weekend leaves feeling assured, competent and affirmed in their calling. Equipped not only with practical skills but also spiritual insight into the ministry".

You don't want to miss this exciting and powerful weekend! Register today!

CONTINUE THE CALL
After The Calling Weekend, Beth invites every participant to Continue The Call. She will host a monthly, one-hour zoom session for the year of 2021. During each session, she will discuss a different topic pertaining to life in the ministry. It is Beth's desire to continue to mentor the young men and women in ministry God has connected her with. She will also be available through email providing another avenue of
support.

Ecclesiastes 4 tells us "that two are better than one..., and a cord of three strands is not quickly broken." Part of the vision of The Calling is to create a network of like-minded people who can provide support, friendship, and share ideas, all with the goal of furthering the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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Highlights from our Hispanic Ministry

By Joel Pava, Resident Director of Hispanic Ministries

Upward Hispanic Church, in Flat Rock, NC, held a particular outreach event in which citizens of El Salvador were able to meet needs related to their national documents. Pastors Joel and Amanda García hosted the extraordinary visit of the El Salvador Consulate on December 12-13.

It was reported that 246 Salvadorian benefitted from this initiative and at the same time received a word of hope in Jesus Christ while the Consulate was conducting business!

Also, under the leadership of pastors Joel and Amanda, Upward Hispanic Church has had a visible presence in bringing disaster relief and recovery in El Salvador. After the last two storms affected this country in Central America, the church was able to send financial support as well as more than 700 pounds of different items for the needy.

It is evident that pastors Joel and Amanda García believe that “even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone” (James 2:17 KJV).

Thank you pastors Joel and Amanda, and Upward Hispanic Church, for being an instrument of God to bless those in need!

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Looking for a Curriculum that will help your kids understand who God is? THIS IS IT!

New IPHC Kids' Cirriculum "Rooted"

We are proud to offer ROOTED Kids' Curriculum to you. We hope that this IPHC product is a blessing to your church and your children! Below are two resources to help you get the most out of each lesson of ROOTED.

Click on the button below to access all of the Rooted Cirriculum Downloads today!

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How can I support Compassion @ Cornerstone and fight against Human Trafficking?

By Allen & Alison Locklear, Directors of Compassion @ Cornerstone

Human trafficking is one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States with North Carolina among the most affected states. Major interstate highways, a large and transient military population surrounded by sexually oriented businesses, numerous rural agricultural areas with a high demand for cheap labor, and an increasing number of gangs all contribute to making our state a hub (breeding ground) for human trafficking.

There are several ways you can get involved in supporting Compassion @ Cornerstone this month or to simply help spread awareness, support several safehouses that we are partnered with, or become a prayer partner.

Please consider participating in or sharing the following with others:

▪ Use your social or the church’s media as a platform to bring awareness. You can choose posts yourself to share or follow Alison on Instagram (@alisonlocklear) and share her posts.
▪ You can contact Allen or Alison to set up a Zoom call with your church to bring awareness and/or talk about Compassion at Cornerstone Ministry.
▪ Search for Podcast on Human Trafficking to help educate yourself and your church family.
▪ Choose a month this year to support the Family Time Recipe for a safehouse we are partnered with. You can request more information at compassionatcornerstone@outlook.com.
▪ Financial support the Compassion at Cornerstone Ministry
▪ Prayer! This ministry actively, through partnerships, involved with rescuing victims from their traffickers, supporting residential programs in safehouses for survivors and connecting individuals who want to volunteer to join the anti-trafficking movement. This is a dark, horrific crime that can be overwhelming for survivors as well as staff in the safehouses, they need our continuing covering for strength, wisdom and rest.
Use your social or the church’s media as a platform to bring awareness. You can choose posts yourself to share or follow Alison on Instagram (@alisonlocklear) and share her posts.
You can contact Allen or Alison to set up a Zoom call with your church to bring awareness and/or talk about Compassion at Cornerstone Ministry.
Search for Podcast on Human Trafficking to help educate yourself and your church family.
Choose a month this year to support the Family Time Recipe for a safehouse we are partnered with. You can request more information at compassionatcornerstone@outlook.com.
Financial support the Compassion at Cornerstone Ministry
Prayer! This ministry actively, through partnerships, involved with rescuing victims from their traffickers, supporting residential programs in safehouses for survivors and connecting individuals who want to volunteer to join the anti-trafficking movement. This is a dark, horrific crime that can be overwhelming for survivors as well as staff in the safehouses, they need our continuing covering for strength, wisdom and rest.

Thank you all for your support and we look forward to an active 2021 fighting human trafficking in the Cornerstone Conference.

Allen and Alison Locklear
Compassion @ Cornerstone Directors (Human Trafficking)
compassionatcornerstone@outlook.com
Allen: 336-669-5577
Alison: 336-669-9618

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BMI

Upcoming Online BMI Classes

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FEBRUARY 5-6 CLASS:

Church Growth
Instructor: Anthony Craver
Text: Lasting Impact by Carey Nieuwhof

MARCH 5-6 CLASSES:

IPHC Articles of Faith & Government
Instructor: Mike Ainsworth
Text: IPHC Manual and Light For The Journey by Doug Beacham

Managing Church Conflict
Instructor: Tommy McGhee
Text: The Peace Making Pastor by Alfred Poirier

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To register or for more information please contact Tennille Nichols @ tnichols@ccrdc.org.

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THANK YOU FOR CONNECTING WITH CORNERSTONE!

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