Names of God: Cornerstone

Cornerstone
shared by Harry Rodenberger

 

And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
Ephesians 2:20 (KJV)

Internet Examples of Cornerstone references:

Ballard Marine Construction Inc. – Washougal, WA

BALLARD is seriously committed to our employees and understands that team work is the cornerstone and fundamental driving force behind our organization’s…

 

ONE Gas, Inc – Hugo, OK

a division of ONE Gas, Inc., was founded in 1906,and is the cornerstone of one of the oldest corporations in Oklahoma. Oklahoma Natural Gas Company*….

 

 

The Animal League – Leesburg, FL

Kindness and care for animals and respect for the client is a cornerstone of this organization. The Animal League has been in the business of advocating for our

 

BAC Construction Services LLC. – Minneapolis, MN 55426

Providing excellent customer service is the cornerstone of our success. APPLICANTS MUST APPLY IN PERSON TO BE CONSIDERED.*….

 

from The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica

Cornerstone, ceremonial building block, usually placed ritually in the outer wall of a building to commemorate its dedication. Sometimes the stone is solid, with date or other inscription. More typically, it is hollowed out to contain metal receptacles for newspapers, photographs, currency, books, or other documents reflecting current customs, with a view to their historical use when the building is remodeled or demolished.

The cornerstone of Boniface Church, Aachen, Ger.

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Norbert Schnitzler

Until the development of modern construction, the stone was usually at a corner, possibly as the first of the foundation stones and it was a real support. The modern cornerstone need not actually support, need not be positioned at a corner, and need not be part of the foundation; often it is placed ornamentally in the facade or in an interior wall or floor.

From the original position and function of the cornerstone arose figures of speech in many languages referring to cornerstones or foundation stones of character, faith, liberty, or other excellence. Early customs connected with cornerstones were related to study of the stars and their religious significance. Buildings were laid out with astronomical precision in relation to points of the compass, with emphasis on corners. Cornerstones symbolized “seeds” from which buildings would germinate and rise.

Various religious rituals and Bible references spread and perpetuated the cornerstone custom. Ceremonies have been marked with processions, sacrifices, sprinklings of blood and water, and wide participation by rulers, priests, and other dignitaries who used the mason’s trowel, often made of gold or silver.

LAKE HAVASU CITY, ARIZONA—

In 1962, London Bridge was falling down. Built in 1831, the bridge couldn’t handle the ever-increasing flow of traffic across the Thames River. The British government decided to put the bridge up for sale, and Robert McCulloch, Founder of Lake Havasu City, Arizona, and Chairman of McCulloch Oil Corporation, submitted the winning bid of $2,460,000. McCulloch then spent another $7 million to have it moved to the community he established in 1964.

The bridge was dismantled, and each stone was numbered. Everything was shipped 10,000 miles to Long Beach, California, and then trucked to Lake Havasu City. Reconstruction began on September 23, 1968, with a ceremony including the Lord Mayor of London, who laid the cornerstone.

 

And now from Harry himself:

HE IS THE TOP LINE AND HE IS THE BOTTOM LINE…THE ALPHA AND OMEGA…. THE BEGINNING AND THE END….

HE WAS BORN OF A VIRGIN….WORKED AND LIVED AMONG US …WAS CRUCIFIED…DIED …BURIED AND ROSE FROM THE DEAD!

HE IS THE CORNERSTONE THAT WILL NEVER FAIL!

HE IS THE ARTIST …. THE WORLD IS HIS CANVAS!

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Names of God: Dayspring

Dayspring
by Pastor Bert Hitchcock

 

“Through the tender mercy of our God . . .
the dayspring from on high has visited us,
to give light to them that sit in darkness
and in the shadow of death,” – Luke 1:78-79
The name of Jesus we consider today is the name ‘Dayspring’. That is a quaint, old-timey word which really simply means “dawn” or “sunrise.” But, what an interesting name for Jesus.

Many of us seldom see the sunrise – especially this time of year. But for others – those who work the night shift, farmers up doing chores before first light, or soldiers standing guard through a long, creepy night – the dawn is a most welcome sight. Everything changes when the sun comes up. It brings warmth from the cold; breadth of understanding for we can see what’s around us; and often, unspeakable beauty spread across the sky. No wonder sunrise is many people’s favorite time of the day.

So, when the old Jewish priest Zechariah was told by an angel that he would have a son (John the Baptist), he sees in that announcement an even greater good news. If God was giving him a son as a forerunner; that meant the full sunrise of God’s plan was about to dawn. Actually, Zechariah didn’t make this up; he was referring to God’s ancient promise
of a Messiah, given through Isaiah:

“The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light; on those living
in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.” – Isaiah 9:2

And Jesus’ coming has proven to be nothing less than a new dawn: suddenly, the Old Testament prophecies make more sense; God’s unfolding plans are more obvious, and the beauty of God’s grace suddenly shines everywhere. Suddenly there is hope where there was only despair; understanding where confusion had reigned; and good news of God’s grace that eclipses all the rigors of the law. Surely a new dawn has come, for Jesus, the Light of the World, has dawned upon those sitting in darkness and despair.

May you feel the warmth and see the beauty of God’s Sunrise, during these days of Holy Week.
~Pastor Bert Hitchcock

Names of God: Carpenter’s Son

Carpenter’s Son
by Pastor Bert Hitchcock

“Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas?
Matthew 13:55

We reflect on the names Jesus was given because they each teach us something about him. But when he was called the carpenter’s son, it was not a compliment; his hometown cynics were trying to discredit him. Others might think he was something special – a prophet, perhaps – but they knew this Jesus – he had grown up there. In their mind he was just the son of Joseph the carpenter – a local boy, someone just like them. They took offense at him because of his growing reputation.

But when we read further in the New Testament, we learn that what caused them offense, was actually one of the most impressive things about Jesus. We may like to imagine the Messiah as some kind of super-hero, with super-human powers which made him immune to the troubles and hardships which others face. But in reality he was just the opposite; he suffered the same things everyone else suffered, and he had proven that in the carpenter’s shop. When he smashed his finger, it hurt like ours does; when he got cut, he bled like we do; when the wood he was working split unexpectedly, he was as frustrated as you would be; and when people didn’t pay, he was broke, too.

This was God’s marvelous plan: he sent his Son to share in our humanity, with all our frailty, that he might be qualified to stand in our place and bear the penalty of our sin. Then, when God raised him from the dead, he might be our great representative before God the Father: not one unable to sympathize with our weakness, but one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet without sin.

What a comfort; our Savior is not far off and out of touch with our trouble; he is one of us – he has walked in our shoes and suffered what we suffer, that he might deliver us from sin and sustain us as we live in this broken world.
~Pastor Bert Hitchcock

Names of God: Wise Master Builder

Wise Master Builder
by Brian Vander Haak

10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care.
1 Corinthians 3:10

Our family had the privilege of being able to rebuild a 100+ year old cabin in Japan following the earthquake and tsunami in 2011. As we peeled back layers of outer wall and flooring we were amazed at the hidden craftsmanship. Walls were made by hand-woven meshes of bamboo and twine, each small square perfectly sized and spaced. The floors were built on rough hewn posts floating on rocks, and in areas not damaged by time or this massive earthquake still perfectly straight according to our modern laser level. The bones of the cabin, logs and beams mortised and tenoned together using hand saws and hammers, had flexed as designed under the spectacular stresses of what they call a 1000 year earthquake and remain strong and safe. In fact, most of the damage we repaired was because of modifications made later that undermined part of that masterfully built structure. As much as possible we tried to work with the existing craftsmanship rather than just replace it.

To fully appreciate this verse we have to keep it in the context of the chapter. Jesus is the foundation already laid (11), and we are all builders from that point forward. All of us are part of, and responsible for, the building of the Kingdom. From that firm foundation Paul talks about the materials of building in a way that quickly brings to mind the three little pigs: gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw (12). The craftsmanship will be “revealed with fire and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work”(13). But then we get a glimpse of incredible grace and acceptance when we are told that, even if our efforts are burned up, “the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved…”(15).

I also find great comfort in this chapter’s emphasis that we are not in this by ourselves but “co-workers,” and that we are “God’s building” (9).

If you are a worrier as I am, you might find yourself asking too often: “what have I really accomplished” or “am I up to the task”? The concepts of grace in the face of failure and being part of a larger team and scheme then come as welcome assurance.
~Brian Vander Haak

Names of God: Teacher

Teacher
by Lea Gibson

The majority of the time when Jesus is addressed in the gospels, he is addressed as “teacher” or “rabbi”.

As a first year teacher this academic year, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means for us as Christians (and me as a teacher) for Jesus to be called teacher. Jesus is the perfect teacher, and we can learn from his example as we strive to teach others about him.

As a teacher, Jesus:

Tells it as it is.

He tells the truth even when (especially when) it’s controversial. He wasn’t afraid to address the Pharisees and how they had misinterpreted the law, or to call out his disciples on their misconceptions of his role as Messiah.

Meets people where they’re at.

He makes his teaching relevant and relatable to his students. Parables are a great example of this. He took stories, concepts, or traditions the Jews were familiar with and changed them to fit his purpose. This had an impact on those listening because they were able to relate to what he was saying, and it stuck out to them when he changed a familiar story (such as the story of the prodigal son).

Has compassion for the broken.

Jesus’ ministry was focus on the sinners and outcasts, and that included his role as teacher. He gave love to those who didn’t know love.

As Christians, we are all teachers of some sorts. We all are teaching others about the gospel, whether it’s our children, friends, or unbelievers. We can learn from Jesus in how he approaches his role as teacher. We are called to tell the truth, even though it is contradictory to the ways of the world. In order to do this, we must meet people where they’re at. We must be approachable and relatable and use examples familiar to our students.

Lastly, and most importantly, the role of a teacher is to love. We need to love everyone, but especially those who aren’t getting the love elsewhere. Jesus loved the Pharisees and the teachers of the law-but where did he spend his time? We must do the same.

Names of God: Friend of Sinners

Jesus: Friend of Sinners
by Danyale Tamminga

 

There are many words and phrases in the Bible that give us some understanding of who Jesus is. These Lenten reflections of the past month have been helping us to see that again. I am glad one of those phrases is: Friend of sinners.

Friendship is a special and rare thing, no doubt about it, even if Facebook tells me I have 758 friends (Which it hasn’t. Because FB and I haven’t friended each other yet). Different people dot my memory as I think back over, “Who are my friends? Who have been my friends?” There’s my kindergarten memory of Becky with her long, brown hair. There’s Emily Furlong in middle school, with her wit: “I’m ‘Em’ for short and ‘Emily’ FUR-LONG.” And Hollie, in high school, who was my U/B/F/F. I like thinking about these earlier friendships, but I wonder what was it that drew us to each other?

And what of our friendship with Jesus? I think about Christ inviting us to Life in Him. Do you remember the hymn we sing in church sometimes: “I sought the Lord, and afterward I knew he moved my soul to seek him, seeking me; it was not I that found, O Savior true; no, I was found of thee?” We were found by Christ and invited to be (among other things) his friends. It is a privilege to be Christ’s friend. There was nothing in us, our hearts all corrupted by sin, that would have moved us toward Jesus. It was all Him, this friendship that is now ours.

There is another sweet song in our hymnal. The first part of the last verse goes:

“I’ve found a Friend, O such a Friend! So kind and true and tender,

so wise a Counselor and guide, so mighty a defender.”

Having become our friend, through his death and resurrection, what a friend He is. Who wouldn’t want, as the line of this hymn suggests, a friend who is kind, true, tender and wise? Or a friend who is a mighty defender? (Who, by the way, wouldn’t want to be that sort of friend?) Jesus is that kind of friend to us. The best.

Not so long ago, an older church friend said to me, “Growing old isn’t for the faint of heart.” Nor is the Christian life. It is a hard life (think of our dear brothers and sisters throughout the world being persecuted for their friendship with Christ), but we have been given something as we slog and keep fighting: a best friend who is with us and for us. The best. Or in secret friendship language: a U/B/F/F (ultimate best friend forever).

 

 

Names of God: The Word

The Word
by Tricia Hitchcock

 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 1:1

 

Words. They are everywhere. We wait for our children’s first words. We use them to measure someone’s education. We hear them EVERYWHERE. We even make new ones all the time (just compare a new dictionary to an historical one)! We treasure the last words we heard from a loved one that passed. Words are a part of most of our interactions. They carry information. They carry emotion. Words hurt. Words heal. Words surround us.

And yet, how many times have we said or heard someone say, “If only God would speak to me…”

But Hebrews 1 tells us that God HAS spoken. “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways,  but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.” (Hebrews 1:1-4)

So if we want to know what God has to say – about us, about Himself, about the world – we need to study and listen to what Jesus said and what Jesus did and who Jesus was. And we can trust that what we learn from Him truly is what God has to say. He was there with God from the beginning. He was God from the beginning. Though we cannot fully understand everything about God and His ways, God promises that His Spirit will guide us to all truth (John 16:13) and will even intercede for us when we don’t know how to pray (Romans 8:26).

In the midst of this crazy, noisy, word-filled world, that can be loud and scary and confusing, let us fix our eyes on Jesus and “hear” what God has to say through Him, God’s final Word.