The Napkin
Posted: Mar 30, 2010 in Uncategorized | No Comments |

I love Easter. I remember going to my grandparents house as a kid every Easter. When we got there, she would hide our Easter baskets and make us go and find them. For some reason, mine was always hid the best. In fact, I think there are a few Easter baskets from years past that to this day have never been found. As a kid, Easter was all about candy and bunnies and ham. Don’t ask me why, but we always had ham on Easter. As I have gotten older, Easter’s meaning has changed a little bit.

A few months ago, I was privelaged to spend some time in Israel. While in Israel, we got to spend one afternoon at Gordon’s Calvary which is one of two speculated locations for Calvary. Seing the place where Jesus (in all liklihood) gave His life for me was a truly sureal experience. After spending several minutes staring at the hill that looks just like a skull, we made our way through the garden to where the tomb would have been. It was a round tomb. Probably about 10 feet long by 12 feet wide and 7 feet high. It was actually built to be a two person tomb. When Joseph of Arimathea took Jesus’ body down from the cross, he wrapped it in linen strips. This was actually a burial that would have been given to a rich man. Jesus was not rich during his 33 years on Earth but Joseph most certainly would have been. After the linen wrappings would have been placed, a towel or as the King James Version calls it a “napkin” would have been placed over the head of Jesus.

When Peter and John were told by Mary Magdalene that Jesus was raised from the dead, they took off towards the tomb. John 20:3-7 tell us what they saw when they arrived.

“Peter and the other disciple started out for the tomb. They were both running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He stooped and looked in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he didn’t go in. Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying apart from the other wrappings.”

What is the significance behind the cloth (napkin) being folded up? In Jewish culture, meal times were very significant. Today, it is very rare for a famliy to sit down together and have a meal. In Jewish traditon, family meals were a very sacred time. When a Jewish man would get up from the table, he would take his napkin, wipe off his face and beard and throw the wadded up napkin on top of the plate. This would signify to the person cleaning up the meal that he was finished with his meal. If, however, the man wanted to get up from the table and not have his plate taken away, he would take his napkin, fold it and place it on his plate. This was an indication that the he was not finished eating and would be coming back.

Did you catch the symablism? The folded up napkin that the disciples found in the tomb on Easter Sunday was a message. And that message was, “I’m coming back!”

Just a little something to think about this Easter season.

With Expectancy!

Corey
corey@firstassemblywest.com


BHAG
Posted: Mar 24, 2010 in Uncategorized | No Comments |

I know what you are thinking. The subject line for this blog must be some sort of mistake. What in the world is a BHAG? I am so glad that you asked! I like to read as much as I can. I especially like to read books that challenge the way that I think. In Jim Collin’s book, “Built to Last,” (great read by the way) he tells us exactly what a BHAG is. BHAG stands for Big Hairy Audacious Goal. I love that description. I have come to realize that we need more BHAG’s in our lives. Sure….we all have goals. We want to lose a few pounds, eat a little healthier, save a little more money and spend more quality time with the kids. There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of those goals in fact, I highly encourage each of them.

Each of us needs to establish in our lives goals that we can accomplish. I am all for realistic expectations and giving ourselves a fair chance of meeting each of our goals. However, for each of us, a BHAG is necessary. Each of us needs a goal that is absolutely, possitivey and unequivacly impossible for us to accomplish. Why have a goal that is impossible for us to accomplish? Because that, my friends is where faith comes into play. Pursuing a BHAG will keep you close to the heart of God. BHAG’s will force you to say, “God….if you don’t show up I am toast.” God loves to work in situations like that. He longs to be your only option. He wants to be the only solution.

I love studying great leaders who have made a significant difference for the Kingdom of God. Each of them has had a BHAG. Whether it is bringing fresh water to each person on the planet or placing a Bible in the hands of every people group, there are people in this movement that we call Christianity today that have some Big, Hairy, Audacious, Goals. And I want to be one of them. Can I give you an insight into one of my BHAG’s? I want to see First Assembly West minister every week at our services to 10% of our city. With 160,000 plus residents in Cape Coral, 10% would meen 16,000 people every week. Crazy? Yes! Possible for me to do on my own? Absolutely not! BHAG? You betcha. I am all about dreaming for the impossible because I serve a God that is able to do exceedingly and abundantly more than I can even hope or imagine.

What is your BHAG? If you don’t have one yet, I strongly suggest setting one.

With Expectancy!

Corey
corey@firstassemblywest.com


Follow through
Posted: Mar 16, 2010 in Uncategorized | No Comments |

I started learning how to bowl at about the age of 12. I was a pretty active kid and I was involved in whatever sport was in season. I remember one of my childhood friends was really into bowling and bowled on a youth league on Saturday’s. One day a member of his team didn’t show up and he asked if I would be willing to fill in. I remember not doing well that day but I also remember thoroughly enjoying the experience. A spot opened for me on the team and I began to enjoy the game more and more. Whether it is baseball or football or golf or bowling, practice is very important to me. There was a guy at the bowling alley that I went to as a kid named Dan. Most people there referred to him as Danno. Danno began to watch me bowl as a 12 year old kid and began offering me tips along the way. Before long, he was my personal coach and to this day, I credit him with teaching me how to bowl.

During most of our practice sessions, I remember him telling me about the importance of follow through. When you bowl, follow through is tremendously important. Bowling, like golf is very technical in that just like golf, one minor timing flaw can be costly to your score. For me, I would always have a problem remembering to follow through with my shot. For years, my scores would get worse before they got better. But one practice session, things began to click. Follow through seemed natural as opposed to unnatural and along with that came an improvement in my average of 40 pins in one year. I truly believe follow through was a major reason why.

There is a book in the Old Testament that doesn’t get talked about very much. Haggai is a small book nestled near the back of the Old Testament and is a story about a prophet of God that was called to bring a message to a group of people who needed to repent. Haggai, like most Old Testament prophets had a tough assignment. Israel, God’s chosen nation, was constantly turning their back on Jehovah God in favor of worshipping foreign fake gods. God would then send prophets to the people instructing them to repent and turn to God or face the consequences of their decisions. Most of the prophets didn’t see very good results. The people they were assigned to prophecy to were very stubborn, selfish and for the most part enjoyed their lives of disobedient sin.

Haggai was instructed by God to tell the people of Israel to rebuild the House of the Lord. Because they had neglected God’s house, a drought covered the entire land of Israel. Sin always has a consequence. Haggai chapter one says that he (Haggai) told the people of their sin on August 29th. Zerubbabel, who at that time was in charge of the crew in Jerusalem, headed the instruction of the prophet and began to rally the troops with the intention of rebuilding God’s house. (the temple) On September 21, the team was assembled and the rebuilding project began.

Here’s the point. The people began to rebuild the temple just 23 days after Haggai’s first message. Rarely did a prophet’s message receive such a quick response. How often do we hear a sermon and respond with, “That was an excellent point – I ought to do that,” only to leave church and forget to act? These people put their words into action. I pray that we are people who realize the importance of follow through. When God speaks something to you whether during a message or in your own devotional time with Him, have the guts to put legs to your prayers and follow through with what He has called you to do. Just like bowling, the ability to follow through can be a major turning point in your spiritual journey.

With Expectancy!

Corey
corey@firstassemblywest.com


You can’t do it
Posted: Mar 2, 2010 in Uncategorized | No Comments |

I am generally a pretty positive person. I have a quote on my desk that I look at every day. The quote simply says, “how bad do you want it?” Generally speaking, I honestly believe that we can achieve and do anything that we want to do badly enough. Imagine that you have a smoking problem. You have smoked every day of your life for the past 18 years. You have tried to quit many times but you keep failing and you tell yourself, it just isn’t worth trying to quit anymore. Now I’d like you to imagine that you were given an offer by a very generous man. This generous man came to you and said, “if you would be willing to quit smoking for 3 months, I will pay you 10 million dollars cash.” What are the chances you would be able to quit then? I would say pretty good. So the problem isn’t that you can’t, the problem is that you are lacking the motivation.

I’m not here to bash smoking. This was just for examples sake. The bottom line is, generally speaking will power can get you a lot of places. I once heard someone say, we are not lacking will power, it’s won’t power that is the problem. Now, as I said at the beginning, I am a very positive person. I generally believe in people and when a person comes to me for counseling, my response is usually the same. You can make it. You can do it. Hang on and keep fighting. Don’t give up. Don’t give in. Try harder!

That sounds all well and good but here is the problem. When it comes to dealing with sin in your life, that strategy doesn’t cut the mustard. Not only does it not cut the mustard, it doesn’t ever work. Think about this. If it was possible for you to try harder, fight harder, resist longer to get rid of the sin in your life, why did Jesus have to die on the cross? Jesus came to die on the cross because God knew it wasn’t possible for people to defeat sin in their lives in their own power and strength. He had a major problem on his hands. The people that He created were now bound by sin with no possible hope of fixing it in and of themselves. Enter Jesus.

Want to know the answer to defeating the sin issue in your life? Draw close to Jesus. It really is that simple. When you draw closer to Jesus, you are running away from sin. No matter how hard you try on your own, you can’t do it. It’s like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. No matter how hard you try, you will only end up hurt, frustrated, and away from Jesus. Jesus says to us who are weary, weak, tired, tempted to come unto Him and we will find rest. The answer to your sin problem is not to try harder. The answer is to seek Jesus. I know Nike’s famous slogan is “You can do it.” My friends, I hate to break it to ya, but when it comes to breaking the power of sin in your life by yourself, “You can’t do it.” Learn to love God for who He is and He will show you how absolutely amazing His grace and love for you really is. When you get that picture, trust me, you won’t want to sin anymore.

You can’t do it! :)

With Expectancy!

Corey
corey@firstassemblywest.com