24
Posted: Feb 24, 2009 in Uncategorized | No Comments |

24 is by far one of the most compelling shows on television. If you haven’t seen it, Keifer Sutherland stars as Jack Bauer. On the show, Jack Bauer is an agent with the counter terrorist unit or CTU. The outfit is located in Los Angeles, California and is responsible for keep the country safe from acts of terrorism. Each season of 24 consists of 24 one hour episodes and takes place in real time. So if the season started at 7:00 am it would end after the 24th epidode at 6:59 am. During this span of 24 hours, all kinds of crazy and unexpected things happen. 24 is currently airing it’s 7th season and while some characters have come and gone, Jack Bauer has been there for every single one. For Jack, it seems as though if something can go wrong, it will. During the past 7 years on the show, Jack has lost his family, been tortured numerous times, been kidnapped by the Chinese, been legally pronounced dead twice as well as countless other life altering events. Jack Bauer, although a fictional and made up character, has almost become a hero to many in real life. His no nonsense attitude as well as his intense loyalty to his country make him a compelling story worthy of support. Last night, as I was watching the latest episode of season 7 with some friends, I was literally on the edge of my seat. The constant action, as well as frequent plot turns make for one incredible hour of t.v. every single Monday night. After the show was over last night, I began to reflect on the old adage that says…”when it rains, it pours.” If there has ever been a story about a person’s life story that gradually goes from bad to worse, it’s Jack Bauer. Yet in the midst of all of the difficulty, he continues to remain focused on his objective of keeping the United States of America safe at all costs to himself. While I know this is just a story, I find it to be a great learning point for us as Christians. There is a well known passage of scripture found in the 6th chapter of Epheisians in regards to the armor of God. This gives us great insight on what we are to do as believers to prepare ourselves for the battles we face. Ephesians 6 tells us that we do not battle against flesh and blood but rather against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world. We are instructed to take up things such as God’s righteousness as our body armor, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the spirit which is the Word of God and so on. Ephesians 6 also says the following in regards to the battles that we face.

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then”.

I love that! When you have done all you can do to stand, stand firm then. Sometimes it seems as if the world is bombarding us from every direction. And just like Jack Bauer, things seem to go from bad to worse in what seems like no time. We are living in difficult days and let us not forget that there is a very real enemy out there that is poised to strike. We need to prepare ourselves. Just as Jack Bauer fights for the cause of freedom, we to stand in the face of difficulty knowing that Jesus is with us always. I leave you with the chorus of a famous gospel song:

“He never promised that the cross would not get heavy, that the hill would not be hard to climb. He never promised our victiories without fighting but He said help would always come in time. So just remember when your standing in the valley of decision, and the adversary says give in, just hold on. Our Lord will show up and he will take you through the fire again.”

This week, when it seems as though you have done all you can do to stand, stand firm then!

With Expectancy!

Corey
cbaker@famfm.com


Five Guys Burgers and Fries
Posted: Feb 17, 2009 in Uncategorized | 3 Comments |

I sometimes get into a rut when it comes to food. I am most definitely a meat and potatoes type of person. Growing up in the midwest, I have a soft spot in my heart for ham, turkey, steak, mashed potatoes and corn on the cob. I literally could eat that for dinner every night for the rest of my life. I generally always tend to get the same thing at restauarants and very rarely try new things when it comes to the food that I eat. In years past, the hardest aspect of missions for me has always been the food. While I appreciate the culture and food that other people enjoy, I personally am an American and therefore like American Food. My wife absolutely loves Thai food. I on the other hand, can’t keep Thai food down. Over the past several years of living in Southwest Florida, I have been through several “ruts” if you will, in terms of restaurants. I am notorious for finding a restaraunt that I like and more specifically a certain item from the restauarant and eating it as often as I can. Several years ago, my “fad” was Firehouse subs. The turkey steamer sub from Firehouse is marvelous. After sometime however, I begin to get a little sick of Firehouse and venture into the area of pizza. I have, do and always will love pizza. My wife and I get Little Caesars Quick and Ready Pizza at least once a week. I know, probably not the heathiest choice but we love it. There is a pizza joint in Fort Myers called Fortinos. It is actually Chicago Style Pizza and they have the absolute BEST italian sausage pizza in the state of Florida. My latest restaraunt trend has been Five Guys Burgers and Fries. They are hands down the best burger in Southwest Florida. I have frequented Five Guys often in the past several months but it was until last week that I noticed something I hadn’t seen before. Five Guys has there mission statement posted right on the soda machine. This is how it reads….

Thank You Customers
You the customer are the most important visitor on our premises.You are not dependent on us, we are dependent on you. You are not an outsider in our business – you are a part of it. We are not doing you a favor by serving you – you are doing us a favor by giving us the opportunity to do so.
Thank You
Five Guys

Can you imagine what would happen if the churches in America felt the same way about their congregents the same way Five Guys feels about their customers? Our churches would explode with growth. Jesus gave His life for people. They are the apple of His eye. We are the representation of Christ in this world. I encourage you today to ask God to give you a fresh vision for serving people. God Bless and I hope you have an opportunity this week to tell someone about the greatest story that was ever told.

With Expectancy!

Corey


My bout with a mouse
Posted: Feb 10, 2009 in Uncategorized | No Comments |

Last Sunday, I shared with our church a story of a lady in South Korea who had failed her drivers exam every day for the past several years. She has unsuccesfully taken her drivers test 700 times in a row. Unbelievable! What a story of persistence. The old addage says “If at first you don’t succeed, try try again.” This story reminds me, on a smaller scale of course, of my recent attempt to catch a mouse that was in our home. My brother and his wife were visiting from Illinois. Why does it seem when you have guests in town that things like this always seem to happen? It’s when your guests are in town that the toilet stops working, or your dryer breaks or a cockroach is spotted in the shower. These things may not happen for a long time but innevitably happen the moment you are trying to make a good impression. This particular time, my sister-in-law got in the cabinet to get some cereal and there, on the cereal box, stood our furry gray little friend. Of course, there was a lot of commotion. Mice in themselves are not scary creatures but things like that have a tendancy to scare even the bravest of us when we are not expecting it. Obviously, Julie was less than thrilled about having a mouse anywhere close to her so I set out on a mission to catch it. My sister-in-law loves animals and was insistent on us using humane mouse traps. I complied and went to Walgreens to purchase the traps. We set the traps up, 4 of them to be exact and filled them with all the basic mouse trap bait. We waited for several days……nothing. Over the next few days, we saw our furry little friend a few different times but were not able to catch him. One thing we began to notice is that the mouse kept getting bigger. He was growing off the food I provided him from my cabinets!!! I decided to take the chase up a notch by going to a more traditional mouse trap. I tried the humane trap thing without success so I felt justified that my role as the protector of my home gave me the right to pull out all the stops in my battle with this illusive mouse. I set 4 or 5 traps in the kitchen and began to wait. One day I came home from work and noticed that all of the bait on the traps was gone but the mouse was still not caught! Great, not only do we have a mouse but we have one that seems to be brilliant! About a week later, I was sitting in the living room watching tv while Julie was asleep. I heard a stirring in the kitchen so I got up to check it out. Sure enough, the mouse was eating the bait off the trap and it was not going off! Do you have to have a master’s degree to make these things work or something? The mouse saw me and retreated to his domain in our cabinet. Finally, about 1o minutes later, I heard the SNAP of one of the mouse traps going off. Sure enough, I went in the kitchen and this mouse was laying next to, but not caught in the mouse trap. Trying to use my problem solving skills, I resolved that my best option would be to get a bucket and place it over the mouse. One thing you need to know about me is that I do not like touching or having any association with critters. Logic would say that I could just go, pick up the mouse and get rid of it. However, my dislike of touching this mouse led me to the bucket plan. I placed the bucket over the mouse and the second I did that, the mouse went crazy and began scurrying trying to find a way out of the bucket. Great, now what was I going to do? I grabbed a broom and began to scoot the bucket towards the front door. Once I reached the door, using my best golf swing I sent the bucket and mouse flying towards the outside porch area. It worked like a charm! The mouse got up and ran away and I was rid of him! I was so proud of my accomplishment that I went in and woke Julie up to let her know that I had taken care of the mouse problem. She was happy and I felt a sense of accomplishment. I know that pales in comparrison to the young lady in South Korea who keeps on trying to get her drivers liscense but the principle remains the same. “If at first you don’t succeed, try try again.” If you have failed in the past, that’s ok. Get back on the horse and keep on trying. Oh, and if you have a mouse in your home trust me, the humane traps don’t work…..go with the real thing. :)

With Expectancy!

Corey
cbaker@famfm.com


Painting
Posted: Feb 3, 2009 in Uncategorized | No Comments |

If there has ever been a stereotype about men that isn’t true, it’s that all man know how to work with tools. I’m not a person who likes to or even knows how to “work with my hands” as the saying goes. I have always admired people that know how to build things. My dad was always good working with his hands and remodeled several rooms in our house as proof. Even though he was good at working with his hands, that still didn’t stop the occasional “accident” that seemed to happen quite a bit when a hammer would miss the nail and connect with a thumbnail. Everytime we heard my dad scream, we knew what had happened. During the summer after my senior year in high school, I took a job painting at a school district in a suburb of Chicago. My friend’s dad was the painting supervisor so he took me under his wing and literally taught me how to paint. I know it doesn’t take a whole lot of raw skill to paint, which is probably what interested me in it. I remember once when we first got started I spilled an entire 5 gallon bucket of paint in the hallway of an elementary school that had just had carpet freshly laid. Awesome. After 2 hours of cleaning paint, the hallway looked relatively better. Jim (my friend’s dad) was always very helpful to me and to his credit, didn’t fire me on the spot when I wasted money by painting the carpet. During that summer, slowly but surely I learned how to paint and actually learned to enjoy it. I painted with him for the next several summers in between my seasons of Master’s Commission. Now nearly 10 years later, I still enjoy painting. I can’t count the number of friends houses that I have painted or how many times I have repainted (love ya Julie:)) our house. Currently, I am painting a house near ours on Saturdays that my in-laws have purchased as an investment property. As I was painting last week, I began to be astounded by how much of a difference a fresh coat of paint can make to the look of a house. You can make a room that is dirty and dingy look brand new in a matter of hours. As I was recently reading through the book of II Corinthians, verse 17 of chapter 5 jumped out at me. It reads, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” Just as a fresh coat of paint changes the landscape of a dingy house, so too does the blood of Christ give hope to those without. Jesus came to give us life abundantly as it says in John 10:10. No matter how far you think you may have strayed away. No matter how many mistakes you think you may have made. No matter how many times you may have blown it. God cares deeply about you and hears you when you call. The Bible says in Lamentations 3 that his mercies are new every morning. Call on his name today and allow Him to make you new again.

With Expectancy!

Corey