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It seems that when you call spin, the challenge is to keep spin going. Using spinOnce may solve this.

int main(int argc, char** argv){

  // Initialize ROS
  ros::init(argc, argv, "simple_navigation_goals");

  ros::NodeHandle nh;

  // Create a ROS subscriber for the input line segments
  ros::Subscriber sub = nh.subscribe("/corners", 10, starting_point);

  // Create a ROS publisher for the input point cloud
  goal_pub = nh.advertise<geometry_msgs::Point>("goal_points", 10);

  //tell the action client that we want to spin a thread by default
  MoveBaseClient ac("move_base", true);

  ac_ptr = &ac;

  //wait for the action server to come up
  while(!ac.waitForServer(ros::Duration(5.0))){
    ROS_INFO("Waiting for the move_base action server to come up");
    ros::spinOnce();
  }

  return 0;
}

Prepare the subscriber before the loop and use spinOnce in the loop. This will allow you to subscribe during the loop.