Somewhere in Portsmouth Ohio between Mound Park and the Ohio river a group of Native Americans lived and developed a network of mounds to the river. Long gone before the Shawnee, Delaware and Lingo and other roaming tribes who followed wide banks of the river. These people thrived and this was their home. A church exists that surely must have been in the pathway of these early people.

Built in 2003 the Cornerstone United Methodist Church offers two services on a Sunday morning, an early morning traditional service called “Traditions" and a contemporary Service, “The journey".

It was on a late Sunday morning that Beverly and I walked through the doors of this lovely church with lovely greetings. Our friend Stephanie Neff had already attended the Traditional service earlier in the morning.

This was one of those days that we determined we would let the Lord guide our search for a church. We headed to the Scioto Trail but again missed a start time and we moved on over to the West Portsmouth area. We missed another church start time of nine thirty a.m. So the Lord worked through google and we found an eleven oclock start time which guaranteed our soon to be presence in a Scioto County Ohio church. The blessing was all ours and I looked at Beverly and said, I think I know what we are going to do today in the character of the cartoon characters, Phoenias and Ferb! So that’s the process we experienced in finally getting to the Cornerstone Church.

For someone who might be keeping track we had attended a youth event at this church but we determined that did not count in our effort to join every Scioto County church in worship.

We had walked in being greeted by long time friend Dave Todt at the front door and then Pastor Tim Roth as we walked into the sanctuary. Beverly selected our seats and I decided that with a little time to spare I would check out the lobby and the coffee and cookie station. This allowed me a chance to meet a few folks including Margie Otworth.

It was time for church and Pastor Tim welcomed the congregation stating that he would like all to connect in this church. The praise team opened to the song, “Holy is the Lord"! Familiar faces from Doc Roc and the Remedies were on stage, I believe they call their church praise band “Thrive". Following, a prayer was given for the sick, for the church worship and for the hearts who are here, Amen! That was given by Robb Krebbs.

Dave Todt came forward to introduce progress on the upcoming purchase of a new fifteen passenger van scheduled for the near future. He said one of the current church vans is getting old and a new one is needed. It needed to be roomy and comfortable and reasonably priced. A call was made for the church to continue contributing toward the purchase so not to incur debt on the purchase.

Once again the Pastor came forward and shared information on an upcoming church dinner and special event. He explained that a church missionary group had left for Haiti to build four eight by twelve houses helping to get some Haiti residents from their current housing of tents. He asked that the congregation pray for those on this project. He also mentioned the church youth Kingdom Basketball League. As well the church is seeking coats for a project they call, “share the warmth.” The jackets or coats would be going to children in the Portsmouth Elementary School. Following was the congregational offering Nicole Sinclair came forward and read scripture from Phillipians 3 12-16.

A next song was “Jesus you are all I need”. Or was it “I trust in you"?

But it was then time for the Pastorial message titled, “Winning The Race!” Pastor Tim suggested that Phillipians is his favorite book in the bible. The Pastor discussed Apostle Pauls letter while in house arrest or prison. Check out Phillipians for yourself to get it right.

The Pastor said that culture leads us to look for the right body, the right job, the right family, then we will be successful. Many are taught this at an early age and then it carrys throughout our lives.

He said, as a boy “I told my mother I would like white tennis shoes with a blue Nike stripe, then I would be cool!” Our culture drives our wishes and tempts us to make more money and to have certain jobs to obtain this money. As status gains a person’s spirituality tends to get moved to a back burner. Many do not have it right due to a huge void in their life and this big lie. Part of our being is having a relationship with Christ. Paul teaches us through Phillipeans the right way to success, that we should find these as their goals being transformed and changed through Jesus Christ.

We only have one chance in our life. The Pastor spoke of his experience of going to a swamp tour on one occasion. He said a swamp has no boundaries, breaks out in all directions with no boundaries. However a river has purpose, direction and boundaries. He suggested that our lives should be built in such a way.

The Pastor spoke of a friend who memorized the book of Phillipeans and he is the most contented person in his life that I know.

Tim said if I were going to make an offer it might be $1,000 and free advice, “your past is your past. My past is my past. Look to forgiveness from God and don’t look back.”

From this the Pastor told a story of what might have been one of the greatest races ever run.

Bannister and Landy met at the 1954 Vancouver Commonwealth Games in what was billed as the “Mile of the Century”. Landy, traditionally a front runner, went out very hard for the first three laps, and led by 10 metres at the bell. Thinking he had shaken Bannister off, he looked on the last bend across his left shoulder. Suddenly the Englishman was sweeping past him on the right to win gold. Such was the impact of that moment that a life-sized sculpture of it was erected outside the stadium.

John Lundy looked back, instead of ahead. Tim said that one should get over the past, just get over it. Press on! Leave the past and move ahead in confidence. Lastly he pointed out the footrace in a movie “Chariots of Fire.” Eric Little stretched out at the finish line to win the race. Tim said that many people go through life with their feet on the brake because they are not going for it.

He said, “this is how we need to live our life and this is how our church needs to operate. There are things God wants us to do in our lives, we just have to go for it”. There was prayer and the Pastor came forward a last time to say, “your past is in the past, press on”!

If you are looking for a church this body of believers would welcome you at their door. As believers, let us share the good news of Jesus Christ as Savior of the world! Each one, reach one! See ya in church.

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