Cornerstone exists because of Jesus. We are a people who have been transformed by the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, God has forgiven us and adopted us into his family. Now, we have a whole new life.
Through the gospel, God redeems us, forgives us, and adopts us into his family. The good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection makes each one of us a new creation and gives us a new identity: children of God. This is why we can never think of the church as an organization or a building. The church is actually a family—God’s family, filled with redeemed sinners that are now his children.
Through the gospel, God forgives us, adopts us into his family, and makes us his disciples. This means that the church is not just any family. We are a family formed by God—and sent out with a purpose.
The church is a family that ministers to one another, cares for one another, and builds one another up. Each member of the family is a child of God who is uniquely gifted to bless the family and to be a light in our city.
Just like a vine grows best with a good trellis, our church family grows best with good programs. Our programs and ministries are tailored to support the community and mission God has given us.
If you’ve ever heard the word “liturgy,” there’s a good chance you imagined priests in robes, dry creeds, and other rituals that are only found in very traditional churches. The truth is that any pattern a church follows in its Sunday morning worship is a liturgy. Whether it involves responsive readings and hymns on an organ or modern songs by a full band, every church has a “way of doing things.” At Cornerstone, we want to make sure our “way of doing things” is about the main thing in the Bible: the gospel of Jesus Christ.
How does that work? The English word “liturgy” comes from a Greek word that means “work for the people.” People living in a Greek town would work to build up their community. Our liturgy, then, starts with the community of God’s people at Cornerstone: we gather to bless one another as we worship God together. When we gather, we shape our liturgy after the gospel message: God is holy, we are not, and Jesus has come to save us forever. When we encounter God together, we see his awesome perfection as well as our sinful hearts, and we are drawn back to the cross that seals our pardon and sets us free. We celebrate Jesus, learn more about him, and find new ways to follow him in our lives. Below are the pieces of our service that help us enjoy the gospel every Sunday:
God loves to initiate, and his people love to respond. We begin our services with God himself inviting us into his presence to worship him. This usually involves the reading of a passage of scripture, where we hear God’s voice call us to himself. It can also be a song where we sing God’s call to one another. Psalm 100 and "All Creatures of Our God and King" are good examples of a Call to Worship.
When we respond to God’s invitation, we encounter him in all his holiness and love. The proper response to our glorious creator is to express how good and how great he is. At this point in our service, we will often sing a song like "How Great is Our God" or "Holy, Holy, Holy".
We can’t see God’s perfection without seeing our imperfections. As we adore God, our sins loom larger and larger. Like David in Psalm 32, we can’t keep silent. We need to express to God our failings, knowing that we can never be “good enough” to be near him. But as we confess, we are reminded again of the amazing truth: God has made us perfectly clean through Jesus’ sacrifice. The cross takes our souls and makes them “white as snow.” Prayers, readings, and songs all give voice to our confessions and our forgiveness in Jesus.
As we remember our forgiveness in Christ, we look around to see a whole family of brothers and sisters. By greeting one another, we remind one another of the truth: God’s grace has made us a family. At Cornerstone, we take a few minutes to make sure we can greet one another with the proper love and care.
God has saved us in Jesus, and he continues to bear fruit and grow the gospel in our midst. We take time every Sunday to explore one way God is active here in the Cornerstone family. This might be a testimony, a baptism, or highlighting God’s word in a ministry of the church.
In light of what God has done to adopt us into his family, we take time every Sunday to pray. One of our pastors leads our whole community in a time of prayer where we thank God and bring our needs to him. We also pray that God would open our eyes so that we can see what he has to say to us in his word, the Bible. Following the prayer, one of our pastors will preach from the Bible so we can learn more about God, the gospel, and how we can live a new life in Christ in West LA.
Roughly once a month, we follow Jesus’ command and take communion as a family. The bread and wine are powerful symbols of the nourishment we find in Jesus death, and the new life he brings in his resurrection.
We respond to all that God has said and done in giving and in song. We emphasize giving as a means of worship, not a duty. We actively encourage visitors not to give so that there is no mistaking our priorities. We also encourage believers to give cheerfully, out of hearts and lives that are made full by Jesus. The offertory is usually followed by a song that unites our voices in praise to the God we’ve heard, loved, and enjoyed.
A benediction is literally a “good word.” This is the way we close our service: with a good word to carry with us as we leave to live as Christians in the world. Oftentimes this is a scripture, a prayer, or a declaration of the gospel as it fuels us for life in Los Angeles.
You might think following the same structure every week will make for a dull routine. At Cornerstone, we find it’s the opposite: our liturgy breathes life and meaning into every service! Each Sunday we find new and creative ways to express these different elements, from new songs to old songs, historical prayers to responsive readings, and more. Most of all, our liturgy encourages all of us to participate as a united family. On Sundays we gather to meet the God we love and hear his voice remind us that we are forgiven forever in Jesus.
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