Pastor’s Corner

Meet Jesus!

We welcome you to the Pastor’s Corner. We’d love to meet you face to face, to get to know you, learn more about what is important to you, and walk together by faith in Christ with you.

Let’s talk a little with you about Jesus Christ? We know that His name is well known; you may have even grown up in a home that self-identified as “Christian”. You may know people who know Jesus. You may be a Christian yourself.

The Bible has a lot to say about Jesus. He is the primary subject of the New Testament. For starters he is God. He is the Son of God. At a point in history, he “took on” humanity for a specific purpose: To die. His death was on your behalf.

Why? This is the heart of what is known as the “Gospel”. The Good News of God in Jesus Christ.

The Gospel In Five Words

one / GOD / what do you know about God?

God’s character and nature are awesome. He is eternal. God always existed and always will exist. Have you ever considered that God is unique? The Bible says, “There is no other besides him.” (Deuteronomy 4:35) Although people might talk about other gods, he is the one true God. He is holy. He is distinct and perfect in every way. 

There’s something else you need to know about God: He created everything, including you. God personally designed you because he wants to be in a relationship with you. That’s why he continues to make himself known to you.

two / SIN / you might be thinking, “if God created me to be in a relationship with him, why don’t I have one?

Well, we all know what relationships are like. They are messy and easily broken. Usually, relationships are damaged when one individual makes things more about himself or herself than about the other person. In a similar way, we have all done the same thing to God. Despite the fact he created and loves us, we all have chosen to make life more about ourselves. As a result, we have not given him his rightful place in our lives. We are born wanting to live a life that’s more pleasing to us than to God. This selfish tendency is called sin. The Bible is clear: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

The bad news is, your sin separates you from God. Although he still desires to have a relationship with you, it isn’t possible. Your sinful nature is a barrier between you and God’s holy character and nature. When sin is present and you desire to please yourself more than God, you’re making a decision to shut him out of your life. You end up with a massive debt of personal sin, and there is nothing you can do to pay for it. In fact, God says, “The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23) You are helpless. Unless you are rescued, your debt will be judged and punished by eternal separation from God. 

three / SUBSTITUTION / thankfully there is really good news

God loves every person. Unconditionally. Because of his love for you, God had a plan for you to escape judgment and punishment for sin. What you could never do for yourself, he chose to do for you. His plan provided a substitute to take your place.

The Bible says, “For our sake, [God] made [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in [Jesus] we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) In other words, instead of leaving you with a debt you could not pay, God transferred your debt to his perfect Son, Jesus Christ. Incredibly, God then took the perfect life of Christ and credited his perfection to all who would follow him. As a result, Jesus received the punishment for your sin—which meant he had to suffer and die on a cross. But that wasn’t the end of the plan. Three days later, after Jesus died in your place, God confirmed Christ’s sacrifice was sufficient to pay for sin by raising him from the dead. 

Thanks to God’s amazing love, you are able to receive forgiveness for your sin and have your relationship with God restored through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

four / BELIEVE good, God’s plan took care of things for me

Well, that’s not the whole story. Yes, it is true God had a plan and made it possible to be in a relationship with him. However, do you personally believe that plan? Have you acknowledged the reality of sin in your life and turned from it? Do you personally accept that Jesus took your punishment and died in your place? Jesus said, “Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life.” (John 5:24)

Believing doesn’t necessarily mean you have all the evidence and data you need. Nor does it mean you have everything figured out and have no further questions. It does mean more than agreeing and saying, “I understand.” True belief is when you personally acknowledge you are a sinner and Jesus paid for your sin, asking for and receiving his forgiveness, and trusting he has rescued you from the debt you could never pay. In response to Jesus taking on your debt, true belief means choosing to live for him rather than yourself. The same power that raised him from the dead will give you the power to do it.

five / LIFE / believing in Jesus is more than having your sins forgiven, its about receiving true spiritual life

Jesus said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10) For some people, life is about making money, pursuing pleasure, seeking relationships, or achieving great things. While none of these are wrong, true life is so much more. It’s about finding your significance, meaning, and purpose in God. It’s having hope for every day and beyond. It’s experiencing freedom from things that control you. Only when you live for God will you find true life. This is the life you were created for, and personal belief in Jesus Christ makes it possible. The Bible says, “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (1 John 5:12) Simple, right?

There is something even better about this kind of life: It is eternal. That means the true life we receive through Jesus Christ is never ending. Yes, our life in this world will end, but Jesus gives us life even after death. That life is far better because there will be no more suffering, no more sin, no more struggles. Eternal life is lived alongside Jesus forever and ever



Starting Off 2024 Right

Let’s invite you to check out the “Starting The Year Off Right” sermon series. Its not always easy to get off to a good start, and we want to encourage you along the way.

If we fail to plan it out, well, its a back door plan to fail.

Thankfully, there’s always time to get started. Email us at Let’s suggest to you four ways to set a good course for 2022

Four Ways To Start 2024 Off Right

SPIRITUAL CLEANSER. First, plan to read the Bible. Yep. The entire thing. Genesis through Revelation. Doing this will help you get a diet of good, God-centered thinking. Its like taking a spiritual cleanser. There is a lot of negative, damaging and depressing information your mind processes every day. Start introducing the message that God has for you.

How? Simple. Get and download the YouVersion Bible App. Join me in the Bible Reading plan we are on, and just start reading at Genesis chapter 1, verse 1. Read 3 or so chapters a day, or even listen to it while driving or running. Email me if you want to join in.

EYES ON THE PRIZE. Getting distracted is the easiest thing to accomplish this year, right? I’ve already done this several times. Busy-ness distracts us. Fear distracts us. Worry distracts us. Trouble distracts us. Anything can distract me. But what is the most important thing? Trusting in the Lord.

Get your eyes on the Prize of following and trusting God this year. Jesus Christ dies on the cross for YOU. Turn from your sin, and turn to Him. Trust Him by faith. Follow Him by faith.

Shoot us a note if you need help getting on this target.

CULTIVATE THE RELATIONSHIP. Do you realize that the most consequential thing you can do in 2024 is to make a Biblical connection with God? Respond to His overtures. Hear His call. There is far more to gain in doing this than you can imagine.

If you are already a follower of Jesus Christ, your lukewarm pursuit is not what He has called you to. Get your eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and the finisher of your faith.

JOIN THE COMMUNITY. For people trying to get in God’s Word, and get on track following Him, its hardest to do alone. Connect and dedicate this year to a church community where others on this path can walk along side of you.

If you are near the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago where our church community meets, then come by, jump in and lets grow in Christ together.

You know how to get hold of us!

773-248-3142 or

Its The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!

November 2023

This year has been one for the books.

You have felt the weight.

Request one today for you and your friends!

You have known the stress.

Now is the time to see something better, more wonderful than anything we have seen all year.


Promises Kept

God, made us, and all that there is. God has never left us.  He reveals Himself to us in creation and His Word, the Bible.  The Christmas story shows God keeps promises He made long ago and He reveals Himself to you by Jesus Christ.

Needs Met

All humanity fell into a pit of sin that impacted our relationship with God.  Sin lead to our rebellion of God in word and action.  Our great need is restoration of relationship with God by forgiveness, and healing.  Jesus paid a price purchasing our freedom. 

Gift Given

God’s persistent love is on full display BY Christmas.  This is the day Jesus—God the Son–was born, adding humanity to His deity.  He is the Child given. In this gift is life.

Hope Restored. Imagine a life freed from bondage of sin! Freed from guilt and shame!  Freed from strongholds that held you for all your life!  Faith in Jesus leads to this new life—everlasting and abundant in Him.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!

We know that life is filled with challenges.  Yet, we found real peace, joy and hope in the Christmas Story1.  There is good news for you too.  Wonderful news:  God forgives sin.  More importantly, God forgives your sin.

To understand this, we have to start here:  What is sin?  Sin is both an action of rebellion and a position of just condemnation2.   God is the creator and rightful ruler over His Creation, and over how we relate to Him.  At the beginning of humanity, people “sinned” against God.  This fall effectively brought a brokenness upon all people.  This act of rebellion made a separation between us and God. This condition of condemnation was generationally passed down in our DNA to everyone alive today.  You and I are impacted.  Our resulting brokenness, and isolation from God brought about other decisions of intentional sin against God to the extent that all of us have sinned and have fallen short of reconciliation possibilities that we can initiate.3

But God loves the people of this world.  Knowing that nothing we can accomplish will bridge this gap between us and God, He made a way.  Religion across the world is made by people genuinely, creatively reaching to God trying to find a way of establishing and restoring the relationship.  The Bible says that God so loved the world that He gave His only Son Jesus as the solution to the problem.  Jesus’ historical death, burial and resurrection accomplished the necessary reconciliation of the relationship between us and God.4

On the day we call “Christmas”, Jesus was born in a small town in Israel called Bethlehem.  His birth was so impactful that our modern calendar still counts the days since His birth.  But what makes this gift wonderful is that His birth affects you.  His death affects you.  His resurrection affects you.  How it affects you is based on whether you trust Him or not.  If you receive Him, you receive His forgiveness, cleansing and restoration of relationship with God.  If you choose not to believe, or receive Him, then the just condemnation of our rebellion remains on us, in full effect.5

Now, what is important is you, your family and friends.  How does Jesus forgive you?  How can you help your family experience reconciliation with God? How can your friends have a restored, healthy relationship with God?  This is the whole reason we have the Bible.  God revealed His plan to you.  In short, “Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.”  Take what the Bible says about Jesus and believe it.  Then, apply it; the Bible calls this “receiving”, “trusting”, or “having faith” in Jesus.  Jesus forgives our sin as we place our faith in Him. Jesus gives us new spiritual life.   Turn from your rebellion and sin, and trust Jesus today.  Truly blessed are you who have your sin forgiven.   This is the good news.  This is the wonderful news of Christmas.6  

Thanks for visiting the “Pastor’s Corner”. Just take a minute to write us an email introducing yourself at our direct email, We’d love to hear from you.

Guard Your Heart & Mind

Of course, some of you are already acknowledging, “Yes. It can get worse. You could be sick with Covid-19, or worse.” Oh, yeah, that too. Get vaccinated if you are convinced it is the right thing to do but also respect the wish of others who don’t want to.

I’m not interested in adding to your stress. What I am interested in is sharing with you a stabilizing approach to guard your heart and your mind through it all.

Philippians 4:4-9 provides time tested ways to mitigate–make less severe, serious, or painful–the anxiety and overwhelming worry we are dealing with in 2023.

We can choose to put into practice First-Response R’s: Rejoice, Reason, Remember. Verses 4-6 provide the content: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand.”

The is an important first-response: Rejoice. When facing anxiety, take quick stock of what is going on in your life. List the blessings, identify the strong points, the people in your corner, God’s promises to care for His people. Anxiety rises as we forget to rejoice in the Lord over things that are blessings to us. In this, we then feel very alone, isolated, abandoned and weakened. Rejoice, “in the Lord”. Every blessing we receive directly or indirectly comes to us from our heavenly Father who cares for us.

Reason. Sort out what the facts are in your situation; what do you actually have and know? Let “reasonableness” be the dominate trait at this critical juncture. Don’t “freak out”. Don’t speculate over worse-case-scenarios. Gather the facts. List out options you have. Talk it over with a level headed friend, family member or pastor. Avoid going to another person who also is known to “lose it” under pressure.

Remember. Remember that God is near. He is your Father by faith in Jesus Christ; He cares for you as His child. He is your Creator, and knows how you tick. Trust Him. He is sovereign, which means He is in control. No circumstances that we face are uncommon to the human experience. In each situation, God is faithful, and He will not allow you to face difficulties that you cannot handle with Him and in His strength.

We find the Panic-Attack Action Plan next in verses 6 and 7. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Here’s the two parts of the plan:

1st – Resist anxiety:

You can feel it welling up. Your mind starts moving a hundred miles an hours and concern becomes an avalanche of worry and destructive fear. The problem and its possibilities will grip you and paralyze your ability to move in a constructive way. At that second you begin to feel the build toward panic, move immediately to prayer.

2nd – Pray hard:

Go after this with all the adrenaline and energy your body is pouring into the problem. Take it to the Lord in prayer. We pray because we know God can handle the situation and because we need His guidance, wisdom and sometimes miraculous intervention. How He responds in prayer is on Him; we don’t command God, or demand, or throw a tantrum. No, prayer is an overt act of trusting God in the particular scene. We see this in our supplication which is listing our cares and worries and concerns in our prayer. We see this in thankfulness which keeps in view our Father we are speaking to in prayer.

The Promise.

As we approach scary and overwhelming situations using the Doctor’s orders, we experience His promise at work within us. “The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (v.7) This is what you want. And, as we obey Him, this is what He delivers.

The Maintenance Of The Mind & Heart

We all know that once this current worry is over, another will be coming again. Then another. You’re going to need to guard your heart and mind in Christ. Once you are thinking and and living in His peace, that’s precisely the time to be prepared and readied for the next panic-inducing situation. You build on the peace of God. First by managing what you think on, what you allow your mind to dwell on.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (v.8) This doesn’t mean sticking your head in the sand over real issues. It means allowing God’s way of thinking be the way you prepare your mind. Before the next problem arises.

Second, by watching, and learning from mature followers of Jesus how to cope, how to handle, how to live wisely.

 “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” (v.9)

If you are visiting this “Pastor’s Corner” for the first time, please take a minute to write me an email introducing yourself at my direct email, I’d love to hear from you.

Far More Than I Can Ask Or Think /

It is an incredible blessing to be welcomed to Cornelia Avenue Baptist Church. We look forward to seeing what the Lord will do in this church, and in this neighborhood.

If you are visiting this “Pastor’s Corner” for the first time, please take a minute to write us an email introducing yourself at our direct email, We’d love to hear from you.

The idea of being a “pastor” is not the creative idea of some leadership mogul. It is the Biblical concept of “shepherding”. The term (poimen) means to tend, to guide, to lead. The imagery is that of a first century sheep-herder; or, one who oversees a flock of sheep. Like those shepherds, we see in the Bible pastors are charged with a fourfold task: Protect, Lead, Feed, Care

Protect. To a group of Pastors, also known as “elders”, over the flock of Christians in ancient Ephesus (western modern day Turkey), the Apostle Paul said, “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” (Acts 20:28). Shepherds watch their sheep, protecting them from wolves and other animals seeking to bring harm. He warned the pastors that great challenges would come requiring the protection of the flock. We need to be alert and courageous.

Feed. On the grassy field, a shepherd’s most time-investing task is feeding. Sheep need grass. Sheep need water. Every day. Every week. No stopping in view. God’s flock that pastors are set over need to be fed too. Spiritually fed. Pastors bring our flock to the Word of God for feeding. Teaching is nourishment to the soul (Psalm 19:7-11). Jesus–the Good Shepherd–said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4) The Word of God is likened to the essential milk in an infant’s survival: “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.” (1 Peter 2:1-2) And, 2 Timothy 3:16 gives a comprehensive view: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” A pastor feeds God’s flock; a pastor teaches the Word to his church.

Lead. “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.” (Psalm 23:1) The Lord is the Shepherd of all of us. Pastors are His appointed shepherds who lead the local, individual flocks. I have the joy and responsibility of leading the flock at Cornelia. You and I are living in tumultuous times. 2020 is a crazy Episode of the reality show we call “Life”. As a pastor, I need to take my lead from my Shepherd, and help guide His flock through it. As a pastor, I am a manager, a steward over a local part of God’s household. As He leads, I follow. As He leads by His Spirit and His Word, I lead.

Care. As a pastor, I am not detached from the needs of God’s people. The key to caring is loving the sheep. A pastor’s work is people orientated. Loving God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength; and–as a genuine recipient of God’s love myself–loving others intensely. That which a Christian most wants from their spiritual leaders is to be loved and cared for. “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;  it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

Seeing the Biblical calling of a pastor is, well sobering; it is serious. This is why, as I begin this journey, I follow the example of the Apostle Paul, praying for those who are a part of our local church, and trusting God to do His transforming, abundant work in us all:

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:14-21)