Letters to CWLA: Pastor Scott

In conjunction with our “Letters to a Healthy Church” sermon series, each pastor has written a letter to Cornerstone in a similar style to Paul's pastoral letters.  We pray they will be a blessing and encouragement to you.

To my brothers and sisters of Cornerstone Church of West LA.

From Scott, your pastor by the will of God and servant because of the grace of Christ.

Grace, peace, love, comfort, and joy be yours in the name of Jesus.

I write you this letter with a heart bursting with thanksgiving. For over ten years now, as I have served as your pastor, I have continually thanked God for the work that he is doing in your hearts. Through many different seasons and circumstances God has continued to conform you to his image, increasing both your love for him and for one another. He has drawn you back again and again to the foot of the cross where you experience his grace afresh and walk forward in ever increasing faithfulness and obedience to his call.

Many of you have simply passed through this family. You’ve been here for 2, 4, or 6 years and you have moved on to other places in the country and other places in the world. I am thankful for how God used your time here both for your growth and the blessing of the church, and it is my joy to see you continue to grow, serve, and care for others wherever the Lord has led you.

Many others of you have chosen to stay here in West LA for a longer period of time. You have sacrificed much in terms of standard of living, ease of living, and financial security to be here and minister the gospel to our city that continues to be desperately in need of Jesus. I cannot express how thankful I am to God for your sacrifice and how regularly I am encouraged by your faithfulness. God is transforming our city through the sacrificial choices you have made and the implications of those choices you live with every day.
It is one of the greatest joys of my life to be your pastor. I consider it an honor and a privilege to minister alongside you and sacrifice with you. Your desire for unity amidst diversity, your passion for caring for the weak and marginalized, your passion for truth and love for Scripture, your love for one another, your burden for the lost, and your continual sacrifices of love all bring great glory to God who is the author of all your good works and selfless desires.

Make no mistake, God’s Spirit is alive and working in each and every one of you. You may have difficulty clapping on a Sunday morning, but the genuineness of the Spirit’s work in your lives is not demonstrated through contrived emotionalism, sensational “gifts,” or seamless church programs. The Spirit constantly demonstrates the authenticity of his work in you by regularly producing love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in your life. You are not perfect, but each of these traits is regularly increasing in your lives.

If there is one area where I would love to see us continue to develop and grow it is in seeing ourselves as missionaries here in West LA. Many of you are regularly sharing Christ with neighbors, co-workers, and friends, and for that I am incredibly thankful. Some of you are now a part of this church family because a neighbor, co-worker, or friend shared the gospel with you. However, I cannot kick the feeling that proactively engaging in our communities and boldly sharing the gospel is not yet a part of our culture or identity as much as God would desire.  

We are all here in West LA for a reason. It is an incredible blessing to be a part of such a healthy, tight-knit church family, but we cannot let the joy of that blessing cause us to become complacent. My prayer is that in the coming years we would see more and more community groups multiplying in order to create room for those that don’t yet know Christ who we are regularly inviting in. My prayer is that our presence in our schools and neighborhoods would increase as we seek to have a greater presence among our diverse communities for the sake of the gospel. My prayer is that God would light a passion for church planting among us that would see the blessing of our church multiplied into communities that have little or no access to a gospel-centered church.

But, none of this is possible if we either become complacent or do not stay on guard against the many different temptations that can subtly grab hold of our hearts. For this reason, flee sexual immorality. Kill any propensity in you to indulge in any form of porn. For those that are single, fight for sexual purity in your singleness. For those that are married, do not settle for anything less than complete fidelity to your spouse in action and thought.

Do not be swept up by the rampant materialism that pervades our culture. God has given you what you have so that you might be a steward of his endless resources. Do not buy into the lie that what you have is yours to own and do with as you please. God has provided you with everything you have both to enjoy and to bless others. What our world calls “normal” or “expected” is ultimately neither.

And, finally, be on guard against the distraction of entertainment. Most people already live their lives in some form of virtual reality through regular engagement with movies, video games, TV shows, or social media. All of these media can be enjoyed to God’s glory, but they are far more often not. Search your heart for the motive of your engagement with entertainment. It is a far more distracting force than any of us realize, regularly pulling our gaze and meditation away from that which is true and eternal.

But above all, remember the gospel. None of this is possible without gospel motivated worship of God continually increasing in your heart. God created you. He loves you. And he sent his Son to die and take the punishment for your rebellion. In Him you are forgiven, redeemed, set free, made alive. And he has sent his Spirit to confirm the reality of your faith, seal your salvation until his impending return, and empower you to live the life he has called you to live.

He has died for you. He is working in you. He is preparing a place for you to dwell with him eternally where there will be no more pain, or tears, or crying, or shame. There is hope beyond the pain you are experiencing in this life. Hope for his redemption of your suffering, and hope for your deliverance from it forever with him. Never stop reminding one another of all of these words. They are life and breath.

And so, I simply want to exhort you to continue to walk in a manner worthy of your calling in obedience, hope, joy, and love. This is what I know that you are already doing, but I encourage you to continue to press on more and more. To God be the glory for all that he has done, is doing, and has promised to do.

With deepest love and sincerest thanksgiving.