Home and Garden
Posted: Jan 26, 2010 in Uncategorized | No Comments |

Julie and I have very different ideas about what the definition of a good t.v. show is. Julie could sit and watch H/G t.v. for hours on end while I can watch H/G t.v for approximately 13.5 seconds before wanting to change the channel. On the other hand, I could watch an entire baseball game, commercials and all without moving 1 centimeter for 3 hours with no issue whatsoever. Mainly, that is because her and I have vastly different interests when it comes to recreational activity.

Julie loves watching the shows about homes that have been remodeled and redecorated. She also gets magazines about everything from decorating houses to what kinds of herbs and spices go best with which kind of meals. My magazines tell me which team is most likely to win the super bowl. However, being the good husband that I am, (insert smiley face here) I have on occasion watched a few of “her” shows with her. I always am impressed with the time and effort people put into their respective homes on these shows. I remember being on missions trips in 3rd world countries in which while there may be tons of garbage and pollution on the outside of the home, the inside is spick and span. Why? Because each of us greatly value that which is ours. Our parents taught us that right? If we purchase something with our own money, we are 10 times more likely to take care of it than if it was just gifted to us.

Growing up, my parents kept a little garden in the front of the house. My mom liked to plant flowers and the like and it really did look very nice. That is until one day when my brothers and I decided to play a game that involved us jumping out of the front window which was one story high and landing on the plants my mom worked so hard to grow. Not one of my better decisions as the oldest brother. I am still sorry for that to this day.

This whole thought concept about homes and gardens got me thinking about a passage of scripture in I Kings. This particular verse takes place during the reign of Solomon. Solomon, for the first part of his reign at least, was extremely devoted to God. Because of this, the entire nation prospered greatly. Israel was at peace with all it’s enemies and the favor of God rested on His chosen people. The promise of God has always been, if we seek after Him first, He will take care of us. Listen to what this verse says in I Kings about the status of Israel during the first part of Solomon’s reign. We find the verse in I Kings 4 verse 25.

“During the lifetime of Solomon, all of Judah and Israel lived in peace and safety. And from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south, each family had its own home and garden.”

Yep….you read correctly, each of the families in Israel and Judah, because of the wisdom and obedience of Solomon, had their own homes and gardens. Wow! Can you imagine if that were the case in the United States today????? Tragically, it didn’t stay that way for the Israelites. They began to follow other gods, and all that which they worked so hard for began to crumble before their very eyes. I believe the principle of this rings so true for us today and can best be summarized by a very popular passage in Psalm 37:4.

“Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

I don’t believe in the prosperity gospel. I think that adding any adjective to the gospel distorts the gospel. The gospel is the gospel period. That being said, I do believe that God honors those whose hearts are truly to honor Him with all of their life. The catch is that God will honor us the way that He wants to not the way that we think we deserve.

With Expectancy!

Corey
corey@firstassemblywest.com


A pleasing aroma
Posted: Jan 21, 2010 in Uncategorized | No Comments |

What smells good to you? What are those things in life that just make you say, “Holy Cow that smells good!” For some it may be the smell outside after a rainstorm. Some may say a certain candle at Yankee Candle does it for them. Still others may say the smell of a certain flower, a certain perfume or leather. There are some who like the smell of odd things. Weird things like gasoline or a box of crayons or paint are often times popular smells. I have a friend who honest to God says that she likes the smell of cow manure. I know, crazy. She is from Wisconsin though so what do you expect:)

For me, the smell of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies is the smell of heaven. I am absolutely convinced that when we get to Heaven, it will small like freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. If there was a cologne that smelled like chocolate chip cookies, I would buy it and wear it proudly. Ok….that may be a stretch, but you get the point.

In the book of Leviticus, there is a phrase repeated several times that caught my attention the other day. The phrase simply says, “And the priest burnt the entire sacrifice on the altar. It is a special gift. A pleasing aroma to the Lord.”

There were several things about that offering that made it pleasing to the Lord. First of all, it was the whole thing. It wasn’t part of the animal, it was the entire animal. So often we give God the part of us that costs us the least or is the most comfortable. The 2nd part of the offering that made it pleasing was the fact that it was a living sacrifice. One that was valuable. What good would a dead sacrifice be? When we give our lives to Christ, we are asked to give Him our whole lives and to lay them down at His feet because of what He has already done for us.

Romans 12:1-2 says, “Therefore I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your BODIES as a LIVING sacrifice holy and PLEASING to God. THIS is your spiritual act of worship.”

I hope and pray that my life is a pleasing aroma to God. At the end of the day, I pray that through my obedience to God and His Word that I have been found acceptable in His sight. So many times in my life, I have wanted to give God a partial offering of my life. One that didn’t cost me very much or didn’t or was comfortable. I’m done living like that. As the World Series of Poker players often say…..”I’m all in.” No holding back. No turning away. No partial or dead sacrifices. I want my life to be a pleasing aroma to the one who gave His life for me! What about you? What aroma does your life bring to the Holy and Majestic God. Something to think about.

With Expectancy!

Corey
corey@firstassemblywest.com


Journey through Leviticus
Posted: Jan 13, 2010 in Uncategorized | No Comments |

One of my goals at the beginning of this year is to read through the Bible in 90 days. I have been on many different Bible reading plans before but I have yet to attempt this one. I am learning so much about myself through this process. In order to accomplish this goal, it requires reading between 14 and 16 chapters every day. The reading plan starts at Genesis which is one of my favorite books in the entire Bible. There are so many incredible characters that are talked about. We read about Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Noah, Adam and the list goes on and on. If you are looking for a fresh start in your Bible reading, I highly recommend Genesis to you. It will challenge you! After Genesis comes Exodus which is also a very interesting book. This is the book that details the life of Moses who was known as the friend of God. You read about the incredible escape through Egypt for the Israelites and the beginning portion of their 40 year journey through the Wilderness.

After Exodus, we come to Leviticus. In all of my years of talking with people about the Bible, I have never once heard anyone say, Leviticus is my favorite book in the Bible. I have never heard anyone say, my favorite verse in the Bible comes from Leviticus. I hear John quotes a lot, I hear a lot of Psalms and the writings of Paul usually seem to rank pretty high on most people list of favorites. But not Leviticus. To be truthfully honest with you, Leviticus is a tough book to get through. It is a book filled with laws for the Jews to fulfill in order to make them right with God. First of all, if you have studied the Old Testament at all, you know that the Jews made some pretty bad mistakes. However, after reading through Leviticus, they had some tough laws to live up to.

If you haven’t realized it before, we serve a God that passionately dislikes sin. Read through the book of Leviticus and see the prices that people had to pay in order to be right with God. I am so glad I didn’t live back then! The Bible says that God is the same yesterday, today and forever meaning that God still feels the same way about sin now as he did back when the Israelites traveled through the wilderness. In Leviticus, you read all the things that the Israelites had to do to be forgiven from sin. An animal was to be chosen and it couldn’t just be any animal. It had to be the best with no defects at all! The priest would then place his hands on that animal which in effect transferred the sin from the individual onto the animal so that the animal could pay the price tag for it. That doesn’t seem fair does it? An innocent animal has to die because some dude made a mistake?

Yet we realize that we serve a Holy God who hates sin with every fiber in His being. Sin always has and always will have a price tag. Somebody or something has to pay the penalty for sin. Here is the kicker. Reading through Leviticus made me appreciate all the more what Jesus did for me on the cross. When He stretched out his arms on the cross and said, “It is finished!” What was he saying? He was saying, that old way is finished. The price has been paid. The sacrifice has been offered. I have taken the place of the countless sacrifices that you used to have to do. I am now the ultimate, once and for all sacrifice. The Bible says that “Whosoever will may come.” That means that it doesn’t matter what you did, the price tag for your sin has already been paid on the cross. Just like those animals, Jesus didn’t deserve to die. Yet he chose to because He is crazy in love with you.

That’s my lesson from Leviticus. I hope it was a blessing to you today.

With Expectancy!

Corey
corey@firstassemblywest.com


Soap Opera
Posted: Jan 5, 2010 in Uncategorized | No Comments |

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to read through the Bible in 90 days. I started on January 2nd and have just about finished with Genesis. It has been a great way for me to reevaluate how I spend my time. Now, when I have a few minutes to spare, I grab the Bible to make sure I get my reading regiment in for that day. It’s been great for my self discipline:)

As I was going through the Genesis account again, I was awestruck by the characters upon which our faith is grounded. Obviously, Christianity is based on the teachings of Christ. However, as Christians, the founding fathers of Judaism have a great deal to do with our understanding of the Bible as well. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were great men and I am learning over again over the course of the past week just how “normal” these guys were. I guess the reason that I like reading about these guys so much as that it encourages me to know that God uses people that sometimes make mistakes. Believe me…..I know how to make mistakes!

Jacob has always been an interesting study to me. Here is a guy that cheated and stole his way to just about all that he received. He deceived his brother to get his birthright, stole livestock from his uncle Laban, and had 2 wives and 2 concubines. Hollywood could make a lot of money basing a soap opera off of the life of Jacob! To me, that wreaks of instability! Yet we know Jacob as one of the founding fathers of our faith and a man who was an ancestor of Jesus himself!

Why does God choose the people that He does? I guess none of us will ever really know for sure. I know that God uses normal, everyday, unworthy people. I think God uses mundane, ordinary, common people to underscore the fact that it is He, not the person, who should get the credit. I am very happy to play 2nd fiddle when it comes to my relationship with God. It’s all about him and not about me. My life exists so that people can see God in and through me. Jacob, for all his shortcomings and failures understood that.

This year, put your trust in God and allow Him to be the one that pulls the strings in your life. The path He takes you on may not always be easy and uncomfortable, but I can tell you with absolute certainty that it will never be boring!

With Expectancy!

Corey
corey@firstassemblywest.com