Grand Opening
Posted: Sep 25, 2012 in Uncategorized | 1 Comment |

I cannot believe that we are now just 4 days away from the grand opening of our new church location on Del Prado.  There is not enough time in this day to begin to explain all of the ups and downs that have lead us to this moment.  There have been several moments during these last few months that I have felt like a buoy in the water.  There have been countless times during this process that I have had some rather candid conversations with God in regards to the process that have had to endure.  They have gone something like this:

“God, what is going on here?  We are trying to build a church.  Why isn’t this happening any faster?  Why is this costing more than we thought it would?  Why does it seem like we just can’t catch a break?  God, we need you to show up here because we literally don’t know what else to do.”

In a spirit of absolute transparency and honesty with you today, these last few months have been a bit of a challenge.  For the last several weeks, we have been in limbo waiting for clearance to move into this building knowing good and well that we had no back up plan.  Our lease at our previous building had expired.  We were officially, “All in.”

And when it seemed like nothing was going right and everything was a mess, God just simply showed up.  He showed up in a way we least expected.  He showed up at the last moment.  In the bottom of the 9th.  He showed up in a way that only He can.  I have learned a lot of lessons over the course of the last few months.  I have learned that no matter what happens in this life, God is most definitely still in control.  He never promised us that life would be easy.  We will experience loss at times.  We will experience grief, heartache, disappointment and building delays.  But one thing we will never be without is His presence in the middle of our storm.  No matter what your storm is today, trust me when I tell you that even though it may not seem like it now, God is still in control.  He will provide and come through for you.  Don’t quit.  Don’t stop rowing.  Don’t stop believing.

I believe with all of my heart that our church is going to be a rescue station for those far from God in our city.  I’m not sure I have ever been more excited about an upcoming weekend than I am for this one coming up.  As I said this past weekend at our “Sneak Peek,” make sure to bring someone with you to church for our grand opening.  This is a phenomenal way for you to potentially be a part of them meeting Jesus.  I cannot wait to see what God is going to do with this new location.  Thanks for being a part of this.

We’ll see you (and your guests :) ) this weekend on Saturday night at 6:30 or Sunday morning at 9:30 or 11:15.

With Expectancy!

Corey


Letter to West Family regarding Del Prado location launch
Posted: Sep 4, 2012 in Uncategorized | No Comments |

 

11/4/2012

Dear West Family,

I hope you had an absolutely wonderful Labor Day weekend with your family and friends.  We truly live in the most blessed country in the world.  These truly are exciting days and our church is getting ready to make a move that we believe will position us to reach more people in Cape Coral which is what it’s all about!

If you missed church this past weekend, I highly recommend logging on to our website (www.firstassemblywest.com) and listening.  The message was called, “When Life Throws a Curveball.”  We discussed what to do when things in life don’t go according to plan.  The “plan” for us as a church was for us to move in to our new facility on Del Prado this weekend (September 8-9.)  Unfortunately, we have not yet passed our fire inspection without which we cannot get our C/O.  We are feverishly working with the city to help remedy this situation.  We hope and pray these issues get resolved quickly as our lease at our current location on Pine Island Road will have expired after this coming weekend.

Our current plan is as follows.  We will be having church this coming weekend (September 8-9) at our current Pine Island location with service times the same as they have been which are Saturday night at 6:30 and Sunday Morning at 9:30 and 11:00.  After our 11:00 am service is over, we are in need of several people willing to help move the remainder of our supplies out of our current facility into the new one so that a different church can move into the Pine Island Rd. location.

Pending approval from the city, which we believe we will have, our first service at the new building will be September 15-16.  This will be a dedication service for us at West to celebrate what God has done with the opening of our building as well as praying for great things as we “Launch.”  If our building is not ready by the 15-16, we will be having services outside in a tent at the new property.  Our “Grand Opening” weekend will be September 22-23.  This is the weekend we will be inviting as many people in our communities to as possible.  As we go through this process over the course of the next few weeks, there are 3 things you can help us with.

  1. Pray that we have favor with our city and that our remaining inspections would go smoothly
  2. Be willing and ready to volunteer to help us get ready for our services once we receive our C/O as we will likely not have much time to get ready for our weekend service after receiving it
  3. Invite as many people to our opening weekend launch as you possibly can!

Thank you SO MUCH for your flexibility and understanding.  You are the absolute best in the world.  I know the reason we are experiencing a slight delay is because the enemy is trying to do anything he can to get us to lose focus because of how many people are going to find Christ as a result of this launch.  We will keep you updated as we know more.  Stay tuned to our church FB page as well as my blog www.withexpectancy.com for more updates.

If you have any questions or we can help in any way, please feel free to call the church at 239.458.0813 or email me at corey@firstassemblywest.com

With Expectancy!

Pastor Corey



Posted: Aug 2, 2012 in Uncategorized | No Comments |

I came across this post from a pastor that I follow in South Carolina named Perry Noble. He recently wrote a blog that was balanced, fair and very well said in regards to the chick fil a issue that has taken our communities by storm the last few days. I have attached it in this blog for you to read. It’s well worth a few minutes. I hope and pray that the unbelieving world would know us as Christ followers by our love. Enjoy!

Let me begin by saying I absolutely LOVE Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. (Gonna go ahead and tell you that Oatmeal Cookie Chunk is THE BEST flavor I’ve EVER had!!)

A few years ago I went to Wal Mart (the closest thing to hell I can imagine…that and the DMV), found my favorite flavor and decided to tweet that I was purchasing some Ben & Jerry’s ice cream…and doing so “unleashed the hounds” in a sense. Honestly, I’ve never experienced anything like it, “Christians” began @ replying me on twitter condemning me and scolding me for buying this product because apparently Ben & Jerry’s supported gay rights/same sex marriage.

Honestly, it bothered me. Because, first of all…I wasn’t trying to make a political statement I was simply trying to get some chunky monkey and some oatmeal cookie crunch. I like ice cream…I believe it will be served in heaven (with ZERO calories)! And second, it has broken my heart the way that many who claim to follow Christ have treated those who are homosexuals. We’ve yelled at them, ignored them and in some cases damned them to hell without EVER sitting down and actually having a conversation with someone who is gay.

“But Perry,” you say, “the Bible says that homosexuality is a sin.” Let me put my cards on the table and say that I agree; however, for too long the church has seemed to be obsessed with the sins that we do not struggle with; after all, if I am pointing out the sins of others I don’t have to deal with my own.

People have taken me to I Corinthians 6:9-11 before and said, “look, the Bible says that homosexuals will NOT inherit the kingdom of God.” I always try my best to point out that also included in that list are…

The sexually immoral (anyone been watching porn?)
Idolaters (anyone love anyone or anything more than Jesus?)
Adulterers (see Matthew 5:27-28)
Thieves
The greedy (uh oh!)
Drunkards (tailgating season is quickly approaching)
Slanderers (uh oh, a lot of bloggers and women’s Bible studies are in trouble!)
After looking at this list I would say we are all pretty much screwed unless Jesus intervenes.
And…while I am at it why don’t I just go ahead and throw out that gluttony is way more of a problem in the church today than homosexuality!!! (Please see Proverbs 23:2…pretty intense!!! ONLY in the church can people that are huge condemn people who are homosexual and somehow feel like that they are spiritually superior!)

Do I hate homosexuals or have a “homophobia?” Absolutely not! (And, let me be VERY clear that as a child I was molested…TWICE…by men who were older than me. I have no idea if they were or are practicing homosexuals…but I can honestly say that I have forgiven them and do not think that because of what they did to me that homosexuals are bad people!)

So, if a company or an organization wants to support gay rights/same sex marriage I don’t believe that Christians should boycott and/or protest them (come on people, has that REALLY worked for us in the past?) Jesus went after the hearts of people far from Him through conversation, not condemnation. Yes, sin must be called what it is, even at the risk of offending people: however, when it is done so with a hateful spirit then Jesus is NOT exalted, thus making the confrontation of sin sinful!

We live in America…and people have the right to say what they want to say…

Which brings me to Chick-fil-A…

I love Chick-fil-A…I probably eat there no less than five times a week (no, I am not making that up!) The fact that Truett Cathy has built a business from the ground up and has sought to honor Jesus every step of the way is an inspiration to me. Every Chick-fil-A I’ve ever been in has excellent food and excellent customer service…and I believe I read the other day that they made 4.1 billion dollars last year (not bad!)

Recently Dan Cathy (the current CEO) was asked about his stance on same sex marriage. He did not issue any inflammatory remarks. He did not attempt to call anyone by any derogatory names. He was not hateful in his comments. He did not say that people who are gay would not be hired and/or served at Chick-Fil-A restaurants. He simply stated that he holds to the traditional/biblical view of marriage (which is his right as an American citizen.) And it seemed the world lost its mind.

It’s quite sad really that those who scream for tolerance seem to be intolerant of anyone who does not hold to their particular view.

No one in the media screamed “foul” when corporations came out in support of same sex marriage; however, when one company spoke out against it in a non condemning tone people were calling for a boycott…even provoking the mayor of the city of Boston to say that Chick-Fil-A was not welcome in the city. (Uh…wow, talk about tolerance! Honestly, I believe the city of Boston needs Chick-fil-A way more than Chick-fil-A needs the city of Boston!)

All I am saying is this…I believe as an American everyone has the right to free speech. I also believe as a Christian we have the right to speak the truth in love as it applies to the Scriptures and should not fear doing so because we may be perceived as politically incorrect. Biblical truth (IN LOVE) always trumps political correctness. Honestly, I respect and admire Mr. Cathy as he took a very unpopular stand on one of the most controversial matters of our day. AND…as I’ve stated before, he did it with a non-condemning attitude.

It simply needs to be pointed out that people on both sides of this argument have been way less than civil with each other…which does nothing more than proves the insecurity in us if we feel like we have to “lower the boom” on people who do not see exactly as we see.

Honestly, it is my prayer that people on both sides of the argument would stop yelling at each other and talking about one another and actually sit down and talk to one another understanding that just because two people do not agree on an issue does not mean they have the right to hate one another for it. Conversation is NOT compromise…it’s actually Christ like! And our world would be a MUCH better place if those who called themselves Christians would step up and lead the way in this, understanding John 3:17 is the attitude that we are called to have!


Exciting times
Posted: Jul 23, 2012 in Uncategorized | No Comments |

We live in challenging times.  With this being an election year, the problems our country is facing are being brought to the forefront.  No matter which side of the aisle you find yourself politically, few would argue the point that our country is struggling.  I know that many politicians and citizens across this great country have different ideas as to how to get us out of the mess that we are in.  Some say bigger government and more control.  Some say less taxes and more freedom.  In the last week, we saw a young man go into a movie theater and open fire killing or wounding more than 70 people.  Our economy is hanging on by a thread if that.  Many are unemployed, uninsured and void of all sense of hope and purpose.

You read assessments like that and than compare it to the title of this blog, which is “Exciting Times,” and think, “Really?”  How in the world could these possibly be considered exciting times?  Maybe challenging times would be more appropriate.  Or stressful times.  Perhaps, Difficult times.  Yet, when I read God’s Word, I am over and over again reminded that in our weakness, He is made strong.  In the moments of our greatest challenge and need, Jesus shines brighter than ever before.

I once heard it said that the ones who usually find faith in Christ are the desperate ones.  Maybe the title of this article should be “Desperate Times.” If that is true; if we truly are living in desperate times than I believe we have the potential as followers of Christ to make a bigger impact in our communities than ever before.  We live in “Dark Times.”  Light is most useful in the dark.  We as Christ followers have been given an unbelievable responsibilities in the days.  We are to live our lives in such a way as to point people towards Jesus.  We are to love unconditionally.  Give unreservedly.  Pray unceasingly.

Our church is getting ready to move into a new facility that will give us the opportunity to reach more people than ever before.  There are desperate, hurting, broken, bitter and hungry people living in our community.  I am excited to be able to introduce them to hope.  The only hope that really matters in this life can not be found in a big white house on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C.  It can’t be found in a political affiliation.  Our hope truly is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and His righteousness.

May we as His followers today have the faith to stare straight in the face of these challenging, difficult, hopeless and dark times with the resolve to roll up our sleeves and get to work introducing our communities to the grace of the One who holds everything in the palms of His hands.

With Expectancy!

Corey

corey@firstassemblywest.com


21st Century Circumcision
Posted: Feb 29, 2012 in Uncategorized | No Comments |

So where does this rank on all time weird and awkward blog titles?  I know you probably didn’t walk up on this beautiful Monday morning and think to yourself, “I would love to hear a blog about circumcision today.”  One thing is for sure, reading the withexpectancy blog is kind of like watching the movie Forrest Gump; you never quite know what you’re gonna get.

I love reading about Peter and Paul’s adventures as they and others began the quest of spreading the gospel all around the world.  I really don’t think the early church was a lot different from ours today in some respects.  The early church was filled with imperfect people, which meant that they had an imperfect church.  Not much has changed over the last 2,000 years.  Our people are still imperfect and so are our churches.  The apostles were having a bit of a dispute with the early church leaders particularly from Jerusalem.  When Jesus ascended to Heaven after rising from the grave, He instructed the disciples to take the good news (gospel) and share it all over the world.  The disciples did just that.  Gentiles (non Jews) were finding Christ for the first time.  When the disciples came back from their journey to share the exciting news with the church leaders in Jerusalem, they were met with a bit of hesitation.

The early church leaders in Jerusalem said to the apostles something to the affect of, “that’s great the these people have met Christ, now when are they going to be circumcised?”

Circumcision was and still is a Jewish custom.  In the Old Testament, God mandated circumcision for the Jewish people as a way of setting them apart and making them different than any other people.  After a baby boy was 8 days old, they would be taken to have a circumcision ceremony done marking them as officially one of God’s chosen people.  When Jesus came and introduced the new covenant, it was a way of Him saying, “there is a new sheriff in town.”  In other words, no longer will you be set apart and be made right in God’s eyes because of a painful circumcision process that babies go through.  You are set apart and made right with God because of what I am about to do for you on the cross.

The first church battled some of the same things we still battle today.  Jews were trying to force circumcision on the new gentile converts as if to say, “you can’t be saved unless you do this.”  They were convinced that honoring this tradition was paramount to salvation.  The apostles intervened and explained that it is not a ritual that makes you right with God, it’s believing in Christ through faith.  Often, we in Christian circles try to add stipulations to following Christ out of our own tradition, not because Jesus commanded it.

Jesus called us to be fishers of men not cleaners of men.  He has promised that if we will focus on catching the fish, He will focus on cleaning them.  We need to focus on sharing the good news of grace and let the Holy Spirit go to work on all the other stuff.  In today’s church, we may not say to a new believer that they have to be circumcised before following Christ.  Our expectations have changed.  We now say things like, “when you come to church, you need to dress a certain way or sing a certain way or respond a certain way.”  I am so grateful that Jesus came and made all things new.

With Expectancy!

Corey

corey@firstassemblywest.com