What are you grateful for?
Posted: Feb 23, 2010 in Uncategorized | 1 Comment |

I heard an interesting quote this past week that got me thinking. The quote said, “The seeds of depression can never take root in a grateful heart.” As I sat down to ponder that, a lot of thoughts raced through my head. First of all, depression is a serious problem in the United States today. Over 10 million American’s sought medical treatment for depression last year alone. Globally, that number rose to over 340 million. And that is just the numbers for those who sought treatment! Depression is no doubt a major issue and I am not denying that fact. I am sure that there are lots of legit medicines and remedies that can be prescribed for the issue. I am convinced, however, that the greatest remedy that can possibly be described for depression is gratefulness. Gratefulness is the ultimate depression equalizer. It is depression’s kryptonite. The seeds of depression can never take root in a grateful heart. What are you grateful for?

I am always astounded that people can honestly answer that question with…..nothing. Really? You are grateful for nothing? I want you to consider some of the following things that we can be grateful for that we may have never realized before.

We can be grateful for clothes that fit too tight……Why? Because it means we have enough food to eat to make our pants fit tight!

We can be grateful for mowing our lawn, fixing the broken gutter, fixing the leaky faucet and cleaning the dirty windows because it means we have a place to live.

We can be thankful for a flat tire because it means we have a car to drive.

We can be grateful for our kids waking us up at 3 am for help using the bathroom because it means that God has blessed us with kids in the first place!

We can be grateful for a huge electric bill. Do you know how many people across the landscape of our world would love to have the ability to heat and cool their homes?

We can be grateful for income taxes because it means we have a job!

We can be grateful for our alarm clock that blares at 6 am because it means that we are alive and have a chance to live another day!

Life truly is all about perspective. If you allow yourself to throw a pity party asking always, “why me,” you will never be able to truly experience the amazing joy that comes with being a citizen of this planet. It’s true. Some people are better off than we are. But there are tons more that are not. The astounding thing is that the world’s happiest people are often the world’s poorest. Money can’t dictate how happy I am. Gratefulness can. Take a few minutes today to think about all just a few of the things that you are grateful for. I’ll get things started. I am VERY grateful that you have taken a few minutes out of your day to read my random thoughts. Hope you have a fantastic day!

With Expectancy!

Corey
corey@firstassemblywest.com


We Fall Down
Posted: Feb 16, 2010 in Uncategorized | 1 Comment |

I love watching the Olympics. The stories of these thousands of athletes who train several hours every day all for an event that takes place every 4 years really is inspiring. in comparing the winter Olympics against the summer, I would have to say I prefer the winter. Honestly, I can’t tell you why. I hate the winter. No really, seriously, I HATE winter. I grew up in Illinois. I know what it is like to put on a snow suit, gloves, hats etc. to go outside and play for 10 minutes. Many of you from up north will remember doing this. My brothers and I used to wrap plastic around our feet (usually the packages that bread would come in) and then put our boots on. My mom swore up and down that this would make our feet warmer but I am still not convinced. I remember going sledding and being absolutely miserable. Even now, to this day, I honestly don’t care in fact I would prefer not to ever see snow again.

Winter sports just never really appealed to me. But even though I don’t care for participating in winter sports, I love watching them every 4 years when the time for the Olympics rolls in. I think there are a few reasons why I love watching the winter Olympics.

1. I love America and look forward to the opportunity to cheer for my country
2. I admire the skill set in which it takes to compete in these specific games
3. Aside from the show Lost, (which is the best show on t.v. hands down) there isn’t much else worth watching

Last night, I stayed awake WAY to long watching couples figure skating. Don’t judge me. :) Is it wrong that I honestly really do enjoy watching figure skating? Seriously I can’t think of any sport that is as tough to be great at. You should see me uncoordinated self try to skate from one end of the ring to the other let alone do a triple sow cow. Ok, I’m a little embarrassed that I know what I triple sow cow is. I got sucked into the story of the Chinese couple who had been training for these specific Olympics for the past 18 years! Can you imagine that? Training 18 years for an event that lasts 4 and a half minutes. What made the story even more interesting was the fact that they were married. Watching them skate and win the gold medal really was a feel good story.

It truly breaks my heart watching these skaters fall on the ice. It’s as if all of their hopes and dreams lay exposed as failures just because of a 1 wrong jump. However, I am so encouraged when I watch these skaters get back up, dust themselves off and keep skating…..with a smile on their face to boot! They go back to the judges table obviously disappointed with their performance, yet proud that they had an opportunity to represent their countries in their sports biggest stage.

There is a verse in Micah 7:8 that says, “Do not gloat over me my enemy. For though I fall, I will rise again. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord himself will be my light.”

I don’t think God is very impressed with my talent or lack thereof. He isn’t impressed with how much money I have or what I look like with a tux on. He doesn’t care what kind of car I drive or how much is in my 401k. What moves Him to his core is one who after he falls, picks himself (or herself) back up, dusts himself off and continues pursuing Him. That is what God gives standing ovations for. God doesn’t expect you to get a perfect 10 all of the time, He does however expect you to get up and keep skating.

With Expectancy!

Corey
corey@firstassemblywest.com


300
Posted: Feb 9, 2010 in Uncategorized | No Comments |

Ever since I have been 12, I have always loved to bowl. I don’t know what it is about bowling but it always seemed to come naturally to me. My high school had a bowling team which I was a part of and I actually won a few tournaments that I competed in before I started college. After high school, I kind of hung up my bowling shoes so to speak. I still enjoyed it but I didn’t have the time or the money to give.

I guess my love for bowling really started to take off when I was about 15. Our little town of about 10,000 people had a bowling alley right down the street from me that I worked at. I would work the desk, fix the machines, etc. My compensation for working at the bowling alley was free practice. I would bowl at least 5 games every single day. I am not exaggerating when I say that my right thumb (I am a right handed bowled) was twice the size of my left them. Even today, my right thumb is still bigger. If you don’t believe me, ask and I will show you. :)

As I continued to practice, I continued to get better at bowling. At the end of my freshman year, I averaged about a 160. After my sophomore year, my average was over 190. For the next two years, I continued to get better and at the close of my senior year, I was averaging about 205. Then, college started and I stopped bowling. I actually took about a 10 year hiatus from bowling until actually about a year ago. I was looking for an opportunity to enjoy a recreational activity while at the same time giving me the chance to get to know some people in our community who were unchurched. Bowling seemed like a perfect fit. So, last August I joined a league and things have been going pretty well.

One of the things that I never had accomplished in all of my years of bowling in high school was to bowl a 300. I had gotten close a few times, but never actually accomplished it. That is…..until last Thursday. Last Thursday, in my bowling league, for the first time in my life, I bowled a 300. It truly was exhilarating. Tons of people were watching. I was nervous. I kept telling myself, alright Corey, just don’t screw up. Not exactly motivational but I guess it worked for me. On the 12th and final shot, I remember feeling abnormally relaxed. I can actually remember thinking, “Corey, just hit the pocket and let the ball do the rest.” I actually probably made the best shot of the day on the last ball. I turned around after the strike and there were tons of people cheering and clapping and to be truthfully honest with you, it was an amazing feeling.

On the drive home, I was thinking about my 300 game in conjunction with a story I heard about the legendary golf pro Gary Player. He was in a bunker at a major tournament and needed to make that shot just to save par on the hole. He dug his golf shoes into the sand, eyed the ball and swung. The ball floated out of the sand, landed gracefully onto the green and rolled right into the cup. As Mr. Player was walking up to the hole to retrieve his ball, a player from the stand shouted, “Lucky!”

Without missing a beat, Gary Player turned around and looked at that man and said, “You’re right…..It was lucky. But I have found that the more I practice, the luckier I get.” Driving home from bowling that night, I remember all of those days practicing over and over trying to improve me skills in the silly game of bowling. i believe that all of that hard work paid off for me. I truly believe that if you work hard enough and want it bad enough, there is nothing that is impossible for you.

With Expectancy!

Corey
corey@firstassemblywest.com


Gehazi’s Greed
Posted: Feb 1, 2010 in Uncategorized | No Comments |

In many things, I seem to find myself liking exactly the opposite of things that most others do. For example, most people like music….I like talk radio. Most people like salad dressing, I can’t stand it. Most people when it comes to Bible reading prefer to spend most of their time in the New Testament; I am an Old Testament guy. Don’t get me wrong, I love the New Testament. I am all for grace and the redemption story of Christ and the tales of the growth of the early church. I guess one of the reasons I find myself reading through the Old Testament is that I have always been a history guy and the Old Testament is FULL of incredible history. Another reason I like it is because it helps put into perspective exactly how amazing it truly was that Jesus died for us. Reading through the Old Testament helps me to realize that if Jesus would have never come and died on the cross, we would have all been in a lot of trouble with no hope of redemption. Enter Jesus. The rest is history.

One of my favorite books in the Old Testament is 2 Kings. I love the story of the nation of Israel and the interaction between the kings and the prophets that God sent. Elisha was a very interesting man. His mentor, Elijah, was taken away in a chariot of fire before his very eyes. Most people in his land can’t stand him because he always seems to be prophesying doom over them. (Which God instructed him to do so) Even his assistant Gehazi was an interesting guy. Gehazi was loyal to Elisha and I truly believe cared deeply for him. Gehazi’s story is told mostly in II Kings chapter 5 and unfortunately for him, it doesn’t make him come off very well. A foreign military leader named Naaman had heard about Elisha and his God Jehovah. Being that Naaman didn’t live in Israel, he was not a follower of God. He had, however heard of the incredible miracles that His prophet Elisha had performed. Naaman had a physical problem. Actually, he had a major physical problem called leprosy. Leprosy in Biblical times was the aids of today. Nothing short of a death sentence. Naaman was desperate and decided to go and see Elisha and he brought with him loads of gifts hoping that he could possibly buy his healing. When he sees Elisha, Elisha instructs him to go and dip 7 times in the Jordan river, (which was disgusting) and after a bit of protest from Naaman, he follows his orders. After he came out of the water the 7th time, the leprosy was completely gone! After being healed, Naaman borderline begs Elisha to take the gifts that he brought but Elisha refuses. Naaman goes on his way back to his homeland. Meanwhile, Gehazi, watches all of this happen and is infuriated! He thinks to himself, wait a minute. “We” worked hard for that. “We” deserve to be paid for the service that “we” provided to Naaman. Verse 20 of II Samuel 5 tells us what was going on inside the head of Gehazi specifically.

“But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha, the man of God, said to himself, “My master should not have let this Aramean get away without accepting any of his gifts. As surely as the Lord lives, I will chase after him and get something from him.” So Gehazi set off after Naaman.”

Gehazi makes up a story to Naaman about how Elisha changed his mind about the gifts and wanted them so that he could bless some other people. Naaman gives the gifts to Gehazi with no questions asked. Upon receiving the gifts, Gehazi does not take them back to Elisha, instead he goes home to his house and buries it all in a hole. Elisha finds out about the whole ordeal and because of the greed of Gehazi, he has him stricken with leprosy! This whole story I think hammers home one very key point. Don’t ever make the mistake of thinking that you deserve to be blessed. Gehazi didn’t heal Naaman…..Elisha didn’t even heal Naaman. God did. When we start telling ourselves that we deserve the blessings of God in our life, we are opening up a crack for the deception of greed to make it’s way into our life. God does bless us. But not because we deserve it. He blesses us because He is good.

With Expectancy!

Corey
corey@firstassemblywest.com