Seriously?
Posted: Mar 31, 2009 in Uncategorized | 2 Comments |

I don’t know about you, but I seem make a fool out of myself almost on a daily basis. I remember not to long ago I was in the Fort Myers airport waiting in baggage claim for what seemed like an eternity. What is it with that? Anyway, as the bags started to come out, I noticed a bag that was literally a trash bag with some duct tape holding it together. That was somebody’s suitcase. I leaned over to Julie and said, “Can you believe that somebody would actually travel with that?” Sure enough, the person next to me leaned over, grabbed the “suitcase” and walked away. I felt terrible! Julie gave me the look which implied, “Corey, what in the world is your problem.”

I remember something that happened to a friend of mine several years ago at a youth convention. Reggie Dabbs was speaking and we were doing dramas with him. At the close of the service, Reggie called us forward to pray with students as they responed to the alter call. As was the norm at these ralley’s, the alters were packed with students so much so that there were way more students than there were alter workers. Normally we liked to pray with students one on one but the shear volume of people that responded made that extremely difficult. We began to lay our hands on the shoulders of the students as they knelt in prayer. We would pray for them for a few moments and then move on to the next person. One of my friends who will remain nameless was praying and happened to begin praying for a student. He began to pray prayers like, “Dear Lord make him a man of God. Thank you for making him a man after your own heart. I pray for his future wife that she would be a godly woman,” and so forth. After his prayer, the individual he as praying for turned to him with a look of despair and said, “I’m a girl.” There is no recovering from that. He felt terrible.

Have you ever had an experience like that? I know that my life seems to be littered with those moments. A gentleman whom I respect greatly gave me some great advice several years ago. He said, “Corey, if you are going to be successful in this life, you need to learn how to not take yourself so seriously.”

That was a breakthrough moment for me. I used to be so critical of myself and still am from time to time. We need to learn how to not take ourselves so seriously all the time. I’m all for setting high expectations for myself but at the end of the day, if I can lay my head on my pillow and know that I did my best, that is good enough for me. There have been times that I have literraly fallen asleep laughing over something I may have done earlier that day. Most of the time because of me putting my foot in my mouth unfortunately :) . I am sure that there are times that God looks down at us from heaven from time to time and chuckles at some of the things we do. I firmly believe that sometimes the most spiritual thing that we can do is laugh at ourselves.

With Expectancy!

Corey
cbaker@famfm.com


Collecting the Plunder
Posted: Mar 24, 2009 in Uncategorized | 1 Comment |

When it comes to Bible reading, I would have to say that I absolutely love reading through the Old Testament. While many find themselves reading almost exclusively from the New Testament, I find the stories from the Old Testament to be filled with incredible insight. Don’t get me wrong, the New Testament is fantastic as well. If I had to pick my favorite book of the Bible, I would have to go with Romans. There is a well known scripture passage in II Samuel 23 that talks about King David and his mighty men. King David at this particular part of Scripture is running for his life. King Saul is frantically looking for David because he is insanely jeolous of him. Not only is David hiding from Saul, but he is also dodging the Phillistines which were the mortal enemy of the Isralites.

King David had a group of people known as his “Mighty Men” that were responsible for his protection. These men were fiercly loyal to David and would do anything to protect him. II Samuel 23 tells of their exploits. The first man, Jashobeam once used a single spear to kill 800 enemy warriors in a single battle. 800! The 2nd of the three was Shammah who was figthing the Philistines in a field full of lentils (beans.) When the Israelites saw the vast number of Phillistine fighters, they fled. But Shammah held his ground and by himself fought of the Philistines and because of that act of courage, God brought about a great victory.

The 3rd of the three warriors’ name was Eleazer. Similar to Shammah, Eleazar stood together with David to fight off the Philistines even after the entire Israelite army fled and cowered in fear. The Bible says that Eleazar fought with such tenacity that after the battle, his hand clung to the sword. He gripped the sword so tight and for so long that he couldn’t even let go of the sword. Try even clenching your fist as tightly as you can for two minutes and you can understand how impressive this truly was.

One part of this story that absolutely fascinates me is found in verse 10 of II Samuel 23. It reads, “He (Eleazar) killed Philistines until his hand was too tired to lift his sword, and the Lord gave him a great victory that day. The rest of the army did not return until it was time to collect the plunder.”

Are you kidding me? So what this verse is saying is that after Eleazar and David fought off the Philistines by themselves, their fellow soldiers watched from a distance and didn’t return to the battle field until the battle was over. And that isn’t even the worst part. Not only did they come back to the battlefield after running in fear, but they began to collect the reward once they returned. You know what that makes me realize? There are so many people lining up to collect the reward but very few who are willing to pay the price and fight. Which one are you?

With Expectancy!

Corey
cbaker@famfm.com


Madness!
Posted: Mar 17, 2009 in Uncategorized | No Comments |

As many of you know, I am an avid sports fan. If you walk into my office, you will see walls lined with Chicago Cubs memorobilia. I have an actual brick from Wrigley Field, an autographed baseball bat signed by Chicago Cubs legend Ernie Banks as well as several signed photographs. I have always, for as long as I can remember loved sports. When I was a kid, I was outside every single day playing whatever sport was in season. In spring and summer, I played Baseball. In the fall, football was the game of choice and so on. Now as I have gotten a little bit older, I don’t have as many opportunities to actively participate in sporting events but I still love to watch.

One of my favorite sporting events of the year would hands down be the College Basketball tournament or perhaps better known as “March Madness.” During this tournament, 65 of the best 300 plus division 1 college basketball times play a win or go home style tourney. For 2 weeks, the entire sports world seems to be mezmorized by this tournament. One of the most enjoyable aspects of the tourney is trying to guess how it will all play out. Each year, I along with several of my friends have a contest to see who can most accurately guess the outcome of the tournament by picking each game. What do we play for you may ask? Pride! There is no money or anything like that. We want to know who among us can be crowned “The Corey Baker Bracket Challenge” winner. Last year, my good buddy Jason Maupin won the crown and I am eagerly anticpating taking back the crown this year.

I guess I am one of these guys that like to make everything a competition. I guess most guys are like that. When I was a kid, my brothers and I seemed to invent the crasiest competition games between us. We even started to time who could clean up our rooms faster. I know….that is a bit ridiculous. My philosophy has always been, if your gonna play the game, you might as well play to win. That reminds me of a verse in I Corinthians chapter 9 verse 24 that says,

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.”

In the March Madness tournament, 65 teams will enter but only 1 will come out victorious. In this passage of scripture, Paul is comparing our walk with Christ to a race. Later in the passage, he says that runners go into training and compete for a prize that will not last, but we as sons and daughters of God will be getting a crown that lasts forever. If we are going to be Christians, why not give it our absolute best? Each of these teams entering this March Madness tournament have one goal…to win. May we be people who constantly strive to be more like Christ every single day. Give Him your absolute best today. Oh yeah, and one more thing, enjoy the madness:)

With Expectancy!

Corey
cbaker@famfm.com


why not guy
Posted: Mar 10, 2009 in Uncategorized | No Comments |

In terms of ministry, one of the most influential men in my life has been Pastor Dan Betzer. Pastor Betzer serves as the Senior Pastor for First Assembly of God in Fort Myers, Florida. He has been a minister of the gospel for several decades and is one of the leading voices for the Assemblies of God. I have the privilege of serving on his staff as the lead pastor of First Assembly West. Dan Betzer has been my pastor for the past 10 years and the topic that I have heard him speak on the most (aside from missions of course:)) is that of faith. Over the course of the past 10 years, I have seen God do absolutely astounding things through Pastor Betzer. Seeing a several million dollar children’s center building paid for in cash through the amazing congregation at First Assembly probably ranks near the top of breakthrough miracles I have witnessed. Of all of the miracles that I have witnessed, one thing remains constant……faith.

Hebrews 11:6 says that, “It is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that God exists and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him.”

Maybe it would help us to know what exactly faith is. Hebrews 11:1 gives us the best definition by reading, “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things that we cannot see.”

It is so easy for us to have faith in things that we can see or understand. Have you ever stopped for a moment to remember that God created everything out of nothing? God merely spoke and the universe was. Oh how easy it is for us to forget that. We are going through a difficult time in our country at the present time. Yet we should not be surprised as Hebrews 12:27 says that those things that can be shaken will be shaken so that those things that cannot be shaken will remain. Our economy has been shaken. I am so grateful that I serve a God that is bigger than the economy. For as the old hymn says, “my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.” During times of difficulty, the church should be the most popular place in town. Why you ask….because we have the answer. We can’t guarantee long life, huge bank accounts or that you will never experience heartache. What we can guarantee is that there is a God in Heaven who hears you when you call and is closer to you than a brother, a God who will sustain you through the peaks and through the valley’s. I challenge you to be a person of faith today. When those around you bury their heads in fear, may you be a person that stands boldy on the promises of God.

I leave you with a quote from George Bernard Shaw which reads, “Some men see things as they are and say why – I dream things that never were and say why not.”

Don’t be a why person….be a why not person!

With Expectancy!

Corey
cbaker@famfm.com


The Desert
Posted: Mar 3, 2009 in Uncategorized | 1 Comment |

I have never really been a fan of the Southwestern United States. I have done quite a bit of travelling mostly during my time with Master’s Commission. During those travels, I have visited Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Texas, and Wyoming. Don’t get me wrong. I think this is a beautiful part of the world with the mountains and landscape. I have seen the Grand Canyon, hiked through Moab Utah, climbed the Rocky Mountains in Denver, and gone white water rafting down the Colorado river. One thing you should probably know about me is that I am not much of a nature guy. I know some people who would be beside themselves just to get to do one of the things one the list previously mentioned. One of the main reasons why I don’t care for the Southwest very much is that it just seems like one big desert. For example, if you go to Phoenix, Arizona and other major Southwest cities, most people’s front yards consist of gravel. No grass, just rocks. While I do enjoy the occasional visit to this part of the United States, I could honestly never see myself living there. I understand I am probably in the minority here. I have some very close friends who adore the west and couldn’t see themselves being anywhere else. One of the reasons many people enjoy the west is that it seems as though there is just something about being in that environment that helps a person rediscover who they are. When you stand on top of a mountain or stare into the vast caverns of the Grand Canyon, it’s amazing how the stresses of life seem to not be as big of a deal. A read a quote recently that says, “sometimes you find yourself in the middle of a desert. And sometimes, in the middle of a desert, you find yourself.”

Are you in a desert today? Do you feel that you are all alone and that the world seems to have forgotten about you? Although I would not prefer to live in the Southwest, some of the most amazing conversations that I have had with God have happened while I am there. I specifically remember a time about 8 years ago that I spent all day by myself hiking through several mountains in Phoenix, Arizona. I was going through a difficult time in my life and I was searching for answers. Just as the spirit of God led Jesus into the wilderness for 40 days, so was the case with me during this season. I was in a spiritual desert searching. I remember like it was yesterday sitting on top of that mountain in Phoenix when a peace came over my soul unlike anything I had ever experienced before. It was as if God was saying, “Corey, I have not forgotten about you. I know where you are and I have an incredible plan for your life.” God helped me find myself in the middle of the “desert” that day.

If you find yourself in the middle of a desert today, cling as close to the heart of God as you possibly can. I cannot promise you how long you will be in the desert, but I can promise you that if you hold onto Jesus, He will help you find yourself in the midst of it.

With Expectancy!
Corey
cbaker@famfm.com