to journal or not to journal……
Posted: Jun 22, 2010 in Uncategorized | No Comments |

 

Yesterday I was going through some of the books in my office when I came across a journal of mine that is about 10 years old.  It was given to me before I started working for Master’s Commission in Fort Myers back in the fall of 2001.  A couple things stood out to me as I thumbed through some of my entries.  First of all, my handwriting is absolutely abysmal.  If you compare my handwriting now to what it looked like when I was six, there would be no difference other than my 6 year old writing may have been a tad more legible.  The second thing that stood out to me was how real and honest I was.  I found myself blushing at some of the things that I wrote.  I guess I felt that if I was going to journal, I wanted it to be real.  There were several times yesterday that I literally laughed out loud at some of the things that I experienced that at the time I felt like were life and death situations.  I read about some victories and defeats.  I read about times I liked life and times when I didn’t.  I read about serious times and funny times.  There were things that I had completely forgotten about that came racing back into my memory banks.  What a refreshing time! 

I think what stood out to me most as I read through my journal from 10 years ago was realizing how far I have come in my walk with Christ.  At 21, I had been saved for several years but had still not grown into a mature follower of Christ.  I found myself questioning a lot of things about life, about myself and even about God.  That year was a real desert time for me.  I am so glad that I didn’t quit.  I’m glad that I didn’t give in to the feelings of loneliness, bitterness and anger that I felt inside.  I didn’t really have any outward reason to feel those things.  I had a good life.  On the outside I was put together but on the inside I clearly wasn’t.  God had allowed me to go through a dry season in my life so that I could find Him in the center of my storm.  I am reminded of a quote that says, “Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of a desert.  And sometimes in the middle of a desert, you find yourself.” 

I found myself in the middle of a desert about 10 years ago.  God proved to me that He is faithful.  God has given me an incredible life.  I have a great wife, a beautiful daughter, a fulfilling job, and amazing friends.  I am so glad that I didn’t throw in the towel when I had the chance to.  To be honest with you, I haven’t been that great of a “journaler” over the past several years.  After reading through yesterday’s journal however, I think that may change.  I was so encouraged to see that God is still in the business of changing people.  I know because He changed me.  Trust me, if God can take an empty, self conscious, hurting and scared 21 year old kid and use him for His ultimate purpose, he can do the same with you. 

Pick up a notebook today.  Allow yourself to be authentic and real with who you really are.  Not who everyone thinks you are.  Who you really are.  Write down your fears and worries.  Write down your victories and defeats.  Write down your honest thoughts about God.  Did you know that God doesn’t mind it when we question Him?  Read the Psalms.  But at the end of the day, in spite of my questions, He is still God and is worthy of every ounce of passion and energy that I have.  I guarantee that if you can learn the spiritual discipline of journaling, you will find  yourself looking back at old entries thanking God that He is still in the business of changing people’s lives.  He changed mine and I am certain He can change yours. 

With Expectancy!

Corey

corey@firstassemblywest.com


moving
Posted: Jun 15, 2010 in Uncategorized | No Comments |

People like a lot of weird things.  Think of the thing that you hate the most in this life and there is probably someone out there who loves it.  There are people out there who love spiders, heights, skunks, Fords, Chevy’s, red meat, vegetables and black jelly beans.  Anything you hate you can rest assured there is somebody out there who loves it.  Moving, however is something that I think all of us would say that we hate.  I have never in my life met someone who loves to move.  They make like the idea of a new start and moving to a new place or a new city but I can promise you they despise the packing part of it.  Think of the worst job in the world.  Port-o-potty cleaner?  Window washer at a high rise?  Garbage man?  Anything having to do with working for the St. Louis Cardinals organization?  Ok that was a cheap shot.  As bad or challenging as any of those jobs may be, I would choose any of them save working for the Cardinals over being a professional mover.  Have you ever helped someone move before that has a ridiculous amount of stuff?  My wife and I are in the process of moving to Cape Coral which means packing up our house in Fort Myers.  I never knew it was possible to have that much stuff in a 1200 foot house!  I guess we really didn’t have all that much stuff that is until my daughter Addison came into the picture. 

There is nothing fun about moving.  From packing to cleaning to loading to unloading and reorganizing, moving is extremely exhausting and seems to take forever.  I guess one good thing about moving is that it forces you to reevaluate why you have the things that you have.  Almost everyone that moves has a yard sale or sells stuff on eBay or at the very least fills up a dumpster full of stuff that at one time you thought you couldn’t live without.  Moving helps us to evaluate what really matters.  It’s a way to take inventory, hit the reset button and start over.

We need to do that in our own personal lives.  Like moving, taking inventory of your life won’t be fun.  You will put off attempting to get started with it.  You will find things that you probably don’t like and need to get rid of.  And you will have the chance to start over.  Every day when the sun rises, it’s God’s way of hitting the reset button.  Yesterday is gone.  Today is here and you can make it into whatever you want.  Although moving is a challenging and sometimes draining process, the end result is almost always worth it.  You are in a new house (at least new to you) that is ready for you and your family to make new memories in.

Take some time today to do an inventory of your life.  Are there things there that don’t belong?  Maybe things you have been holding onto for a long time that you just don’t have room for anymore?  Maybe unforgiveness or a controlling sin or a negative attitude.  Life is too short to hold onto those types of things.  Let them go.  Do a yard sale.  Sell those bad boys on eBay.  Throw them in the trash.  You don’t need to carry those things around anymore.  Jesus promises us that He came to make all things new.  That means that He can make you new.  And the process of making you new starts with moving.  Pack it up, move it out, it’s time for a fresh start.

With Expectancy!

Corey

corey@firstassemblywest.com


change it up
Posted: Jun 1, 2010 in Uncategorized | 3 Comments |

I was not a huge hockey fan growing up. When I came down to Fort Myers, some friends of mine took me to my first game. It was a minor league hockey game that was being played by Fort Myers local team the Florida Everblades. I was hooked after the first fight! What an intense game! I can honestly say now after being at a live hockey game that of all the sports I have ever seen in person, hockey by far is the most exciting to watch. There is so much action, expectation, and energy when your team scores or the others teams bully finally gets that check into the boards that they so readily deserve. I have recently renewed my secret love affair with hockey because my hometown Chicago Blackhawks are now 2 wins away from their first Stanley Cup since 1962! We Chicago fans know what it is like to go without a title for a long period of time……..{cough…..cough…….Chicago Cubs…..1908 last world series title…….cough} Before moving to Fort Myers and attending my first game, I had no idea what the rules to hockey were. My only experience with hockey came from the movie the Mighty Ducks. Is there a person alive who didn’t like the movie the Mighty Ducks? Emilio Estevez, Joshua Jackson, the flying V, the knuckle puck? That movie should have won an Oscar for sure! One of the lines from the 2nd Mighty Ducks movie that has stuck with me was the phrase “Change it up.” Change it up is what the coach of a team says when substitutions need to be made. Hockey is a very tiring sport and multiple substitutions are very common. While only 6 players can be on the ice at one time, many hockey teams have between 15-20 players ready for each game.

I got to thinking about the “change it up,” concept while in devotions a few days ago. When I read the Bible, I love reading through the New Living Translation. Most people that read the Bible with any regularity have their translation of choice. Whether it’s NIV, Amplified, King James, New Century Version, etc. A few years ago, a new translation of the Bible was introduced that was called “The Message.” To be truthfully honest with you, I didn’t jump on the bandwagon. Not that I had anything against the message translation. I just didn’t feel like it suited me. The New Living Translation was what I felt helped the Bible make the most sense to me. I just finished a Bible reading plan in which I read through the Bible in 90 days. I decided that for my next reading plan, I would try to read the the message translation of the Bible. Wow! The Bible has come alive in new ways for me in the past week. Sometimes, you just need to change it up. Switch up your routine, try something new, think out of the box. Often times, we try to be creative to impress a person of the opposite sex yet out devotional lives are bore-fests. Read a different translation. Pray at a different time of the day. Take a walk in the woods. Your relationship with God is the most important thing in your life. Take some time to invest into it and if need be, think about “changing it up.”

With Expectancy!

Corey

corey@firstassemblywest.com