Chuck Arney has been the one and only pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church for the past 19 years. It is my honor and delight to serve with him. On good days, I think that I can preach. But I never think I can pastor.
Chuck pastors with passion, grace, and sacrifice. I do not know how many times Chuck has stood by my side--supporting and encouraging me, helping me learn what it means to live and love as staff at a small church.
When Jamie, Kaylea, and I moved to Lee's Summit from Texas, we had great difficulty selling our house in Waco. Chuck opened up the doors of his house, and we lived with him and his family for over three months! He spent more than one night helping care for and pacify a colicky baby.
Funerals and weddings, hospital visits, prophetic preaching, extensive writing for Miracle Word and Miracle Word Revolution, dinners with church family, Chuck consistently models dying to self, losing to follow, and great love through small things.
But yesterday was truly amazing. Chuck preached the singular most daring, risky, brave, challenging, and passionate sermon I have ever seen.
He stood at the front and simply said, "Does anyone have any questions?" Prior to addressing those gathered, he distributed a flyer with difficult questions ranging from doctrinal issues to Bible translations to The Shack and Irresistible Revolution to emergent and missional church.
And he answered every one. He said that Cornerstone is not a church defined by labels--Baptist, Emergent, Liberal, Moderate, Conservative--for labels are an attempt to control and comfort. He said that Cornerstone is a church defined by the extravagant and expansive love of God. Jesus Christ, sent by the Father, now sends us into the world to be a church for others, where we willingly engage culture and new friends with the hope, peace, and love found only through the resurrected Christ.
I am certain that some persons were offended. I am certain that he was misunderstood. I can only hope that the love and passion with which he preached communicated deeply to those gathered, leading us to be continually transformed by the Word together.
The year of Miracle Word is almost over.
The Revolution is coming.
May God continue to surprise us as he invites us to lose everything in order live his life in his kingdom today!