In 2013 Apple upgraded the operating systems on their phones to IOS 7 and everyone with an iPhone dutifully clicked “I accept” in order to install the new software on their devices.
It wasn’t long after that that someone posted a screenshot of Page 46. Apparently, buried deep within the Terms and Conditions were these words.
“Oh you know what? This is page 46, nobody’s still reading this. I bet only about five people clicked to read the T&Cs in the first place – we might as well just say anything we like.
Tony on floor 5 of Apple HQ smells of sardines.
When someone sends a funny email around the offices we have to reply with iLaughed. It’s in our job description.
Remember that legal kerfuffle over Apple & Apple studios? Want to know how we fixed it? We bought The Beatles. We have the surviving ones come and sing to us for scraps. We’re looking at ways to reanimate the dead ones.
The canteen only sells apple products. Apples, apple juice, apple flapjacks, toffee apples. We get fired if we’re caught eating anything without apples in it. I’M ALLERGIC TO APPLES AND I’M ALWAYS HUNGRY.
We faked the moon landings. Did it in 2008, then brainwashed you all to believe it happened in 1969, just because we could. If anyone finds out I’ve leaked this information, I’ll be killed. But no one will ever, ever read this.”
I would love to tell you that page 46 really existed in Apple’s terms and condition, well I’m sure it exists, just not in that form.
Sadly, it turned out that those terms and conditions were just a joke created by the Huffington Post’s UK Comedy team.
However, in 2017 students at York University in Toronto and the University of Connecticut were offered the chance to join a new social network called NameDrop.
Only a quarter of the students who signed up said they looked at the terms and conditions, but that doesn’t mean they read the terms and conditions, because by clicking “accept” hundreds of students agreed to give NameDrop their future first-born children.
Luckily the students were simply subjects in an experiment run by two communications professors who subsequently wrote a paper about the “Biggest Lie on the Internet”.
This is week 3 of our Terms and conditions series here at Cornerstone and in the first week, we defined Terms and Conditions this way Rules by which one must agree to abide in order to use a service.
In week one we talked about the terms and conditions in the beginning that man and woman were created to be in fellowship with God, there was just one thing on the terms and conditions, don’t eat from that one tree, you can eat from any other tree in the garden, just don’t eat from that one tree. And you know the end of the story they ate themselves out of house and home.
And because of their disobedience, humanities relationship with God was damaged.
Last week we looked at the terms and conditions for worshipping God, that is meeting him in a restored relationship. And we discovered that God not only wants our relationship with him to be right but also our relationship with others to be right.
This week we are going into a letter written by Paul where he tells the believers in the church in Rome part of what was expected of them as Jesus Followers. Let’s pick up the letter in Romans 10:13 For “Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.”
So, let’s begin with The Service
The service, in this case, is the premise that Jesus cares about lost people and wants them to be saved. Over and over again we see this reflected in the Jesus story, from John 3:16 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
To Luke 24 where after his death and resurrection Jesus tells those who followed him this, Luke 24:46-47 And Jesus said, “Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah would suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day. It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’
In the second letter that Peter wrote, he is addressing the concern that some believers felt regarding the fact that Christ hadn’t returned and he writes this, 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.
When you say, “Oh how I wish Jesus would return soon.” You are asking for a line to be drawn in history and for judgment to come. You are in effect saying that you’ve given up on your loved ones who don’t know Jesus.
In Luke chapter 15, Jesus tells three parables in a row to remind us how important lost people are to him.
The first is about a man who went looking for a lost sheep, just one of the hundred that had been entrusted to his care but that one was very important to him. And how he left the 99 found sheep to find the one lost sheep.
Pastor Deborah preached on that parable back in July.
Then Jesus told the story of the woman who had ten silver coins and how she lost one and then how she frantically looked for the one.
And the last story was the story of the Prodigal Son, where a man had lost one of his two sons.
The sheep was lost through its own carelessness, the coin was lost through the woman’s carelessness. And the son was lost through his own decision, but they were all lost, and they all needed someone to help them be found.
And if lost people are important to Jesus, then they ought to be important to us.
Which leads us back to our scripture, Romans 10:13 For “Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.” And of course, the service leads to the terms and conditions Romans 10:14-15 But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”
These are The Terms and Conditions
If the service is, that whosoever will can be saved, then the rules are that someone has to tell people about Jesus if they are going to hear about Jesus.
And that is called Evangelism. Evangel simply means good news, so Evangelism at its simplest is sharing the good news of Jesus and his grace. Someone once defined evangelism as one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.
Even when we hear stories from Muslim countries about Jesus appearing in the dreams of people, there still is a person involved who leads them from their dreams to reality.
One of the outcomes of the Maximizing Impact weekend for me is that it brought back into focus what it is that Cornerstone is supposed to be doing.
24 years ago, I wrote the mission statement for Cornerstone and it says: “Cornerstone Wesleyan Church exists to reach pre-Christians through dynamic worship and relevant preaching, bringing them to a life expanding relationship with Jesus Christ and guiding them into a practical holiness as evidenced through the fruit of the Spirit.”
Or simplified: Cornerstone exists to reach Pre-Christians
Or the simplest of all: We are here to help depopulate hell.
The reality of these terms and conditions are why we do what we do. And why there are some things that we don’t do.
It is the Reason We Exist
When I planted Cornerstone 24 years ago, when met with people to share the vision, I always came back to the reason that Cornerstone would exist. We would exist to reach people who need Jesus. We defined them as the pre-churched, the de-churched and the un-churched. Or simply, we wanted to reach people for whom the church wasn’t a regular part of their lives.
That didn’t mean that believers weren’t welcome at Cornerstone, but it did mean that our primary focus would be those who were pre-churched, de-churched and un-churched.
Along with the mission statement, we also developed 7 core values defining who we would be. And those are both available at Cornerstonehfx.ca, just click about us and values.
Our first Core Value says: 1) Cornerstone Wesleyan Church is committed to the reaching of pre-Christians through relational evangelism. Evangelism is and will remain a priority.
What does that mean? It means that our primary strategy for evangelism is . . . you. That you will tell people who you know and love and who need Jesus about Jesus and about Cornerstone. That you will invite them to experience what it is that you have experienced.
Not only is reaching people why we exist, But It Is also The Reason Why We Do What We Do, It is the reason Why our Services Look the way they look
While we were pastoring in Australia, I attended a week-long conference on creating a church for the unchurched, that led me to read the book “Inside the mind of Unchurched Harry and Mary” by Lee Strobel. And I began to dream of a church where Jesus followers could invite their friends to meet Jesus. Which is why the second of our core values says, 2) Cornerstone Wesleyan Church is committed to providing a service which incorporates dynamic worship through the use of contemporary music and relevant preaching.
The idea was to present the gospel in an appealing way, in a service that people enjoyed and with a message that people understood and was relevant to their lives. And we felt that we could do that in one hour. And not just say one hour, it would be one hour. That it would respect people’s time, that it would begin on time and that it would provide a message of hope for their lives, using words that they would understand and that it would provide music that they would enjoy.
We don’t want to compromise the message or dumb the message down, we simply want to present it in a way that people will understand and enjoy it.
And if you are wondering why they need to enjoy it I will speak slowly, “If they don’t enjoy it they won’t come back and if they don’t come back they may never meet Jesus.”
And understand that this isn’t the only way to do what we are doing. It’s just our way. There are all kinds of churches who are committed to reaching the lost that do it differently than us, and in no way am I trying to say that what they are doing is wrong.
When we were in the initial stage of starting this church, I drove thousands of km around the Maritimes sharing the vision for what would become Cornerstone and inviting people to join the vision and help us with our initial support.
And some pushed back because they felt that by saying “this is what we feel that we are supposed to do to win the lost, it’s what everybody should do.”
Not at all, people are coming to know Jesus all over our city in all kinds of diverse churches, and that’s because different things will reach different folks. But churches need to keep in mind, that lost people mattered to Jesus and they should matter to those who follow him.
I love the story I heard years ago, someone once told D. L. Moody they didn’t like his method of evangelism. And Moody responded by asking, “Oh? And how do you evangelize?” To which his detractors responded, “I don’t.” Moody simply answered, “I guess I like my way better.”
And It is the reason Our Building Looks the Way it Looks and Why It’s Open So Much
When the time came for us to have a permanent home, we wanted it to be strategic. If we were going to invest a major portion of our finances in a building, we wanted it to be a wise investment.
Sometimes people will comment that our Church doesn’t look like a church. That wasn’t an accident. I’ve lived in Kingswood for over 20 years and when we were dreaming about the church that would sit at the entrance to our community, we wanted it to fit in with Kingswood and not be a jarring contrast to how Kingswood looks.
And really, the only people who grumble about Cornerstone not looking like the church they grew up in are people who already go to church that looks like the church they grew up in.
There are all kinds of things that stand in the way of people coming to church, we were committed to how our building looked not being one of them. If every time someone drove by the building, they grumbled about how it looked and how it just didn’t fit in with the community, that would be a hindrance to them eventually attending a service here.
We designed our church home so it would feel like home and so it would feel welcoming and be a place you’d be pleased to invite your friends to.
And we were committed to opening it up to the community as much as we could.
So, when someone comes to a service, that it doesn’t feel awkward or strange. That they’ve already been here to give blood, or to vote, or pick up their kid’s ball uniforms
And agreeing to the terms and conditions is The reason we Give Where we Give
I mentioned a couple of our core values earlier, number 3 says this 3) Cornerstone Wesleyan Church is committed to reaching the lost and will make tithing our general offering to world and home missions a priority.
From day one we said that we can’t do this ourselves, not globally and not locally and so we decided that we would give 10% of what came in to those who were doing it where we can’t do it.
And one of the first things we did as a church was to make a commitment to support Cora Gorman who was going as a missionary to Indonesia. We couldn’t go to Indonesia, but we could help Cora go.
And it’s why we now help Carl and Maya reach lost people in Haiti, and why we help Robin White reach lost people in Japan, and why we support a little church in Slave Lake Alberta who minister to First Nation Kids. It’s why we support Hope House, getting teen girls off the street in Odesa Ukraine. It’s why we partner with World Hope to drill wells in sub-Saharan Africa.
Locally it’s why we support Open Doors in their effort to battle human trafficking in Halifax, and why we support Souls Harbour who help feed the disadvantaged on the peninsula and why we collect soup and milk for Feed Nova Scotia.
And it’s not just to help feed people and provide them with clean water, whenever we can we partner with people who will also tell people about Jesus.
We can’t tell everyone, but we want to help tell as many as we can.
And part of that is the realization that the most important people are those who haven’t come yet. And that can be a bit disconcerting for some. It’s not about me.
Early in my ministry, I discovered that evangelism, telling people the good news, was kind of like the weather. People talked about it but didn’t do anything about it. And while there isn’t much we can do about the weather we can all do something about evangelism.
People have commented about the Maximizing Impact Weekend and have said they don’t know if they would have done it, or commented on the fact that it must have been tough. It was, but the staff is committed to reaching the Pre-churched, the de-churched and the Un-churched and if the recommendations in the MI report help us to do that better and help us to fulfil our mission, then it was a great weekend and a great experience.
Because if we go back to the terms and conditions, they say Romans 10:14-15 But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”
And when I get to heaven, I want Jesus to say, “Nice feet”.