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2021 Recap - Cornerstone Impact Update

Just like that, 2021 is almost over. I've enjoyed getting to share what God is teaching me throughout the year in these blogs, and I hope they've been helpful in some way in your life. The holidays are a busy time. For my last Cornerstone Impact blog of the year, I'm going to recap my 2021 blogs.

January: Your Motives Matter
At the beginning of every year, people are most motivated to reach their goals. In this blog, I stated that our motives matter to God. It doesn't matter if we do a bunch of good works if we have poor motives. As you get ready for 2022 and start thinking about your New Year's Resolutions, I'd encourage you to take some time to read this blog and answer the reflection questions I leave at the end:

Your Motives Matter - Cornerstone Impact Update
I started writing Cornerstone Impact Updates in May. Most of the articles have been focused on what our BRI Partners (like Eventide) are doing. This year we’re making a change to these blogs. Each month, the beginning of the blog will be a topical study, while the end will give

February: Let love be genuine
Throughout the Bible you'll find the command, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" several times. When I initially wrote this blog, I was disappointed at the amount of hostility so-called Christians were spreading on social media. Looking back at the article now, I'm still disappointed at all the hate. I understand that it can be difficult to show love to people, especially if you have differing opinions. If you find yourself struggling to show love to people around you, take some time to read this blog:

Let love be genuine - Cornerstone Impact Update
COVID-19, the Black Lives Matter movement, the election, storming the capital, and the recent inauguration of President Biden are just some of the major events that have occurred over the last year. It was hard for so many people. The struggles left people searching for hope, for the light at

If people look at your life, are they going to see characteristics of Christ in you? Including in your social media posts/words on all platforms/etc?

This is the main message of the Cornerstone portfolios. If you'd like to order a free t-shirt to share this message, click here.

March: The Fruit of the Spirit
If you're a Christian, are you bearing good fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control? To live a more fruitful life, we must abide in Christ and put in the daily work to grow our relationship with Him. In this blog, I go into more detail on the fruit of the Spirit and compare it to the works of the flesh.

The Fruit of the Spirit - Cornerstone Impact Blog
In several parts of the Bible the analogy of trees and fruit are used to describe believers. Bearing good fruit – our actions – is a result of having the Spirit work within us and our character changing to be more like Christ. John 15 is Jesus’ allegory of the vine and

April: Did the resurrection actually happen?
For April, it made sense to do an Easter-themed article since it's a time to remember and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. Do you believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ? Did Jesus really rise again from the dead? There was a lot I could have covered in the blog, but I specifically focused on consistency:

Did the resurrection actually happen? - Cornerstone Impact Update
Just like that Easter is over. In the weeks leading up to Easter we started a “Wednesday in the Word” on our social media pages (Facebook & LinkedIn). Here’s what you missed if you aren’t following our pages: SEM Wealth Management on LinkedIn: #WednesdayintheWord #Cornerstone #stpatricksdaySaint…

May: A Core Part of a Christian Life: Prayer
Throughout the month of May, our #WednesdayintheWord social media posts were all focused on prayer. Regular communication with God helps us build a stronger relationship with Him. Do you struggle with prayer? I shared an example of Jesus' prayer as a template for how we should pray in May's blog:

A Core Part of a Christian Life: Prayer - Cornerstone Impact Update
Throughout the Bible there are a plethora of examples of prayer. Prayer is our way of communicating with God and growing our relationship with Him. It’s a way to worship Him. As Christians, we need to make sure we’re not neglecting our prayer life. It’s something we should continually work

June: Modern Day Golden Calves
Do you have a modern day "golden calf"? Something in your life that you idolize? In June, I described some potential idols people have today such as money or possessions:

Modern Day Golden Calves - Cornerstone Impact Update
Throughout the Bible we see examples of idolatry. I don’t know about you, but whenever I read examples of idolatry in the Bible, specifically with the golden calf (see Exodus 32), I think the Israelites are crazy. Why would anyone worship that over God? God has done so many good

It's important to recognize if you're idolizing something, then turn your focus back on God – He should be your number 1 priority in your life!

July: Freedom in Our Identity
One of the reflection questions in June's blog was "what's your identity?" As a Christian, it can be easy to say that our identity is found in Christ, but does your life align with that? July's Cornerstone Impact Blog focused on our identity (and where our identity is not).

Freedom in Our Identity - Cornerstone Impact Update
“But to all who receive him, who believed in his name, he gave them the right to become children of God.” - John 1:12Where do you find your identity? As a Christian, it’s easy to say that our identity is found in Christ. While our identity is (and should

Towards the end of the blog, there are a few reflection questions.

August: Worry Less
I tend to be an excessive worrier. Over the last several years, I've gotten a lot better; however, there are still times I find myself worrying about unnecessary things. If you're someone who worries often, you should take some time to read this blog:

Worry Less - Cornerstone Impact Update
Are you someone who excessively worries about what’s going to happen in the future – whether it be tomorrow or years down the road? This has been a struggle of mine for most of my life; however, it’s gotten drastically better over the last couple of years. Some common things people

When I was looking into worry for this blog, I was surprised at some of the health effects that come with excessive worrying.

September: Stewardship
Being a good steward is important in all areas of your life. For my September blog, I took some time to focus on just three areas: money/finances, spiritual gifts, and the environment:

Stewardship - Cornerstone Impact Update
Being a good steward is “utilizing and managing all resources God provides for the glory of God and the betterment of His creation.” We should strive to be a good steward in all areas of our lives. We should do everything for the glory of God. Today, I’m just going

October & November: Christian Relationships
The last two months, I focused on Christian relationships. First, in October I went into more details on having some closer Christian relationships and why it's important.

Sharpening One Another - Cornerstone Impact Update
God didn’t design humans to do life in isolation. I didn’t realize how important relationships were until COVID practically forced us to live in isolation (at least for a period of time). Thankfully we have technology to allow us to stay connected; however, even though I was attending church virtual…

Then in November, I discussed the church community as a whole and why it's important for the church body to regularly meet together.

Neglecting to Meet - Cornerstone Impact Update
I hope you took some time last month to reflect on the close relationships in your life. Or if you don’t have close relationships, I hope you took the time to find some ways to work on gaining close relationships with other Christians because it is truly important. If you

I look forward to sharing more of what God is teaching me in my life in 2022. If you're interested in learning more about our Biblical Approach to Finances, please reach out to me. I hope you all have a blessed Christmas and New Year's! See you in 2022!


Church building grand opening!

Director of Technology Dustin Briles (far left) and Portfolio Manager/Co-owner Jeff Hybiak (3rd from right) perform during LifePointe Community Church's grand opening weekend.

On November 14, several SEM employees took part in the grand opening of LifePointe Christian Church’s new building. After meeting at local schools since its founding in 2006, the church purchased a horse farm and spent the last few years converting it into their new campus. You can read more about it here. While the Cornerstone portfolios do not directly invest in specific non-profits, SEM encourages employees to donate both their time and money in their local area (see the Stewardship blog from September). SEM Portfolio Manager and co-owner, Jeff Hybiak along with SEM Director of Technology, Dustin Briles served in the band for opening weekend. I spent the weekend serving in the children’s ministry. Dustin also donated countless hours of his expertise (and sweat) to help set-up the church's network.

The mission of Cornerstone is to spread God’s love at the local level. We are excited about the opportunities having a larger footprint will give us in our community here. More importantly, we hope you are able to find ways to impact your own community for God. All of us at SEM truly appreciate the support you have shown for the Cornerstone portfolios and will continue to find ways to bless and serve those around us.


Cornerstone Impact Update

As we close out 2021, I want to share some updates from some of our BRI partners, Eventide and Inspire.

Eventide

Does your business add value to society? If businesses fail to answer this fundamental question, Congress may answer it for them. Eventide's, Shaun Morgan explains this in a recent blog:

If Investors Don’t Ask, Congress Will

Inspire

Facebook seems to be a hot topic lately. Morally speaking, should Christians be invested in Facebook? Inspire's CEO, Robert Netzly answers this question on a recent MoneyWise podcast:

Should Christians Invest In Facebook? With Robert Netzly
There’s no question that Facebook has a huge impact on public perception … too often a negative one. Morally speaking, should Christians invest there? Robert Netzly answers that question.

Inspire has a Give50 program where they donate at least 50% of net profits from our management fees to charities. Over the last 3 years, the Give50 program has helped a Guatemalan village. Read about it here:

How a Guatemalan Village was Transformed by Investment Fees
Inspire Investing’s Give50 program completes 3-year transformation efforts to restore a village in dire need of restoration.

Thank you all for your support this year with our Cornerstone portfolios! Make sure to follow us on social media (Facebook & LinkedIn) for encouragement throughout the week. #WednesdayintheWord happens each week with a specific verse and a challenge or encouragement to go along with it. On Saturdays, we share something about being faith-driven in all areas of your life, specifically at work. We look forward to seeing what we can do next year through Cornerstone.

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Williamsburg, VA
Courtney is SEM's Marketing Manager. She joined SEM full-time in 2016. Outside of SEM, Courtney enjoys hiking with her golden retriever, Mya and volunteering at LifePointe Christian Church.