New Years Day
Posted: Dec 30, 2009 in Uncategorized | No Comments |

As 2009 draws to a close, my mind has been racing back through the craziness that was this year. Looking back at this past year, there are so many memories. I can think of many things that went well and several others that didn’t go so well. As the calendar turns and we head towards a new decade, many people (myself included) begin the process of self evaluation. January 1 seems to always be the day the people start the diet, hit the gym, take the class, or kick the habit. There is something about that day that brings about a freshness in our lives. On January 1, there just seems to be a new zeel for life. Now I know I am not the only one that can look back at 2009 and see some victories as well as defeats. I am sure all of us would be able to say something similar.

In Old Testament times, the Israelites would celebrate a very important day once a year called the Day of Atonement. Jews today know it as Yam Kippur. On this day, the priest would go before the Lord on behalf of the people of Israel offering a sacrifice in the form of a bull or a goat as payment for the sins of the people for that year. The priest would lay his hands on the bull or goat symbolically transferring the transgressions of the people onto the animal. The animal would be sacrificed and the sins would be forgiven. The only problem with that (okay there were many problems with that) was that it never worked. The Israelites continued to mess up, Disobey God and end up in the same position year after year.

Then, something incredible happened. God sent His son to be the ultimate sacrifice. Jesus died to be the ultimate atonement. When Jesus died on the cross, God laid on Him the sins of all of us just like that priest put the sins of the people of Israel on the bull or goat. But this system is so much better. Before Jesus breathed His last breath He said, “It is finished!” What was finished? The endless requirement of the sacrifice of animals for the sins of mankind. The debt had been paid in the form of the innocent son of God.

As we move forward into a new year, remember that you don’t need the change in a calendar to launch you into becoming a better you. All you need is something that already happened. Jesus died for you. He died for your guilt and shame. He died for your destructive habit that you can’t shake. He died for your depression. He died for those mistakes that you wish you could take back.

Lamentations 3:22-23 says, “Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

I pray 2010 is the greatest year of your life.

With Expectancy!

Corey


Christmas Traditions
Posted: Dec 16, 2009 in Uncategorized | No Comments |

Christmas traditions…..every family has them. From exchanging gifts to what meal is prepared, every person that I talk to seems to have at least one unique element about their family Christmas. Our family was no exception. We would always open presents first thing on Christmas morning. My parents would always wait until Christmas Eve to place all of the presents under the tree. It was always such an amazing sight every Christmas morning to see the huge stack of presents piled what seemed like several feet high. Our stocking would also be laid out in order of our age. Each of my brothers, (still to this day in fact) sleep in very late. It is not uncommon for them to routinely sleep in until 10 or 11 oclock in the morning. That was not the case on Christmas. We would all be up by 7:00 am at the latest. Once awake, we would open up our stockings which would be filled with things like socks, golf accesories and candy. After we opened our stockings, we would then go and wake up our parents to begin the main event.

We would always have my youngest brother open the first gift and then procede from youngest to oldest with each of us opening one gift at a time. Once my dad finished opening his first present, that process would start over. Needless to say, this process took well over an hour. My dad had the video camera on at all times video taping our reactions as we saw our gifts unwrapped. Once all of us had finished opening our gifts, there would always be one gift under the tree that was not addressed to any of us. It was a gift to Jesus. After all was said and done, we all in our own ways reflected on the previous year and how incredibly grateful we are that Jesus paid the price He paid for us.

Now that I am married and have a family of my own. I look forward to making some new family traditions. I don’t know if we will open presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas day. I’m not quite sure what our family Christmas meal will be. It really hasn’t quite yet been decided what the afternoon entertainment will be once the gifts have been open. I don’t know which set of grandparents we will see at which time. I do know that there will be a gift for Jesus under our tree. I do know that there will be some time spent on Christmas morning reading the Christmas story together as a family. I want to pass on to my kids the same thing that my parents passed on to me. Christmas is about Jesus and honoring Him for all He has done, is doing and will continue to do in our lives.

What are your family traditions?

With Expectancy!

Corey
cbaker@famfm.com


Who let the dogs out
Posted: Dec 9, 2009 in Uncategorized | No Comments |

I have a Christmas tradition. Each morning, before everyone else wakes up, I try to wake up to spend some time with God. I usually get in the car and go for a drive while listening to worship music of some kind. The goal of the drive is simple……to thank God for all of the incredible things He has done in my life for the previous year. I want to make sure that before the festivities of Christmas begin that I spend a few minutes alone with Jesus thanking Him for coming to this world 2,000 years ago to die for me.

One such Christmas morning about 10 years ago, I had an experience that I will never forget. At that time, I lived in Illinois in a very small town. During my morning drive on Christmas Day, I was driving out in the middle of nowhere. It is not difficult to drive out in the middle of nowhere in Northern Illinois. Aside from Chicago, there is not much there. While driving, I noticed two white huskies that were running down the road followed shortly after by a woman with 2 leashes in her hands. To be honest, I passed by her and thought, “man it must really stink to be her right now. It is so cold outside and she is spending Christmas morning chasing her dogs through the middle of nowhere.” After thinking this, I continued driving and spending time with God. It took about 1 more mile of me driving down the road for that still small voice that sounded a lot like God which said to me, “Uh, Corey, what are you doing?”

My response…..”I’m spending time with you God.” God said, “Spend time with me by helping that woman get her dogs back.” That thought honestly didn’t cross my mind when I first passed by that woman. I felt sorry for her for sure…..but not sorry enough to do something about it. I turned the car around, went back and helped that lady chase down her dogs. Her response…..”Thank you so much! If you wouldn’t have helped, I have no idea how long it would have taken me to catch those dogs.” I’m glad on that occasion I was able to share the love of Christ with a woman whose morning didn’t exactly go according to plan. I have no idea how many cars drove by that woman and saw her chasing her dogs but I do know one who almost did. I’m so thankful for 2nd chances and that still small voice of God that still speaks to us today. This Christmas season, I pray that God would help you be a blessing to someone whose “dogs have been let out.”

With Expectancy!

Corey
cbaker@famfm.com


Dance me Daddy
Posted: Dec 1, 2009 in Uncategorized | No Comments |

My daughter loves to read books. Actually, let me rephrase that. She doesn’t so much read the books as she does flip through the pages really fast and point at the pictures. There have been a few casualties as well as she has been a tad to aggressive with pages and ripped some of the pages of her favorite books. At the end of the day, Addison loves to sit on either mine or Julie’s lap and read through a few books before she goes to bed.

A few months ago, my dad got a hold of this children’s book called, “Dance Me Daddy.” It is a book based off of song that the Christian music group Point of Grace sings. The book is about a father who watches his daughter grow from a little girl up to the point of her wedding day. It says that though some things may change as the little girl grew up, she still cherished the times that she was able to dance with her daddy. The book closes with the father dancing with his daughter on her wedding day.

Now to be completely honest with you, I don’t like reading this book very much. It reminds me of the inevitable. Some day, Addison is going to grow up, meet a boy, and move away. And while I want my daughter to get the chance to experience all of those things, it still brings a tear to my eye to think about it. My daughter Addison, however, absolutely loves that book. I haven’t quite yet figured out why but Addison seems to light up like a Christmas tree every time I come home from work. Every day when I come home, Addison is waiting there for me. Most days, she will be holding the Dance me Daddy book in her hands as soon as I walk through the door. She will grab my hand, lead me to the chair in her room, climb up into my lap as together, we read that book one more time.

I can’t help but think that is the way that God wants our relationship with Him to be like. He wants us to be like that little girl who can’t wait for her daddy to come home. And when he does, to tell him all about her day and to share secrets with him that nobody else knows. Your heavenly father longs to have a relationship with you like that. He loves you so much and wants to be involved in your life. The question is……do we want the same thing in return.

When I come home every day, it doesn’t matter what is stressing me out. It doesn’t matter what went wrong that day. It doesn’t matter how disappointed or tired I might be. What does matter is that there is a little girl who wants nothing more than to spend a few minutes sitting in the lap of her daddy. I hope that you take some time today to spend some time with your heavenly daddy. I know that He will be waiting with open arms.

With Expectancy!

Corey
cbaker@famfm.com