Jason loves being a pastor. He loves to encourage people and help them become over-comers through preaching, teaching and counseling the Word of God. He is super excited about reaching others with the Good News of Jesus Christ and helping Christians get on this same mission. Jason served as an Adult Ministries Pastor for 10 years at an EFCA church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa before becoming the lead pastor at Cornerstone. Before serving in Iowa, he went to seminary at Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY. Jason is from southwest Ohio, and thus a (not) proud Cincinnati sports fan. He is married to his best friend, Gwen, and they have 3 kids, 3 dogs (small, medium and Newfie-size), 7 cats (one being a 3-legged, black cat named Darth Kittious), and 3 rabbits. He likes music, songwriting, reading, movies, outdoor sports, beatboxing, coffee, chocolate, adventure cycling, Sci-Fi, hobby farming, and cottage cheese on pizza (and you really should too).
A Journey from Fear to Faith
Join me as we seek to trust God like never before!
It's been almost five years ago now. I was sitting outside a church in Lahaina, Hawaii on the island of Maui. I was in my car waiting for my appointment to meet with the Elders of the church. And I was nervous.
The Elders were hoping that I would become their next lead pastor, and the meeting I was about to enter was a formal interview with them. As I waited for the designated hour to strike, I fumbled through my Bible looking for God to quiet my fears with a Word from His mouth. I randomly opened to Psalm 16. "The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance". This verse sang out to me. Like a powerful drug, its words soothed my soul and helped my racing heart settle to the pace of a light jog. I felt God had spoken to me. With this burst of divine confidence, I tackled the interview like a man of destiny.
A few weeks later in the candidating process, the church offered me the position...and the Fear came again. Like a cruel, personality-crushing dementia, it erased all memory of God's Providence, of His Goodness, of His Faithfulness, of His Word of Promise in my life. I could think of one hundred reasons why following this call to Hawaii would bring chaos and tribulation, and barely ten why it would bring blessing. For the second time since being called by God in 1994 to preach and lead His flock, I turned down the call to be a lead pastor. Fear had won, again. And so I stayed in my comfortable boat and sacrificed Faith, along with the mental and emotional health that water-walkers get to enjoy as they take their next step toward the King of the Waves.
I continued to drink deeply of self-preservation and comfort, and became often inebriated on the spirits of Fear. But God persisted. He continued to invite me to step out of the boat. He opened up a lead pastor position in California at Cornerstone Church of Yuba City. And again, He held out His hand and asked me to trust His call and His leadership in my life. He did not reveal to me the otherworldly physics of water-walking to satisfy my craving for detailed proof of my safety. He did not engage in a pragmatic analysis of the pros and cons of stepping out onto the water. He did not show me before-and-after shots to guarantee a positive outcome. He just said: “Follow Me.”
Finally, after 43 years, I did.
I cannot express in words how good it feels to get up and out of that boat. What I thought was a comfortable spot in the stern was instantly shown to be a cramped seat on a commercial flight with very little leg room (sorry for mixing metaphors, my seafaring friends!) I knew this, because when I stepped out into the aisle my soul creaked and cracked like one's back does after a very long flight. My soul had been pressed down, squeezed tight and contorted to fit in my little, “comfortable” chair. And this was my own doing. I had calculated it to be the safest way to travel.
But I was wrong.
Fear is always a loser. Faith always wins. Always. Even when it looks dangerous and uncomfortable...and often really is so. But the discomfort of faith is different than the discomfort of fear. Fear cramps the soul while indulging the flesh. Faith frees the soul while sometimes insulting the flesh.
Coming to Cornerstone Church and Yuba City has been freedom to my soul. Stepping out of the boat, taking Jesus' hand, and getting drunk on Faith in the Spirit of God is simply the best high ever! It has actually become FUN to see what God is going to do next!
I hope you will join me and the Cornerstone Family as we trust God like never before to build new lives on Jesus. Together.
FEAR NO MORE.