Thank You! — by Kory

ThankYouThere are no words I can offer that could adequately express the feelings of gratitude and love that my family and I have for the people of Journey Church. Unfortunately, that is the way we humans have to communicate so I will do my best to convey our genuine thanks for who you’ve been to us and how much you mean to us.

When we first moved to Troy, we knew no one. Over the past five and a half years, though, we have not only built friendships that will endure the test of time, but we have met people who have become like family. We’ve been blessed to be a part of such a dynamic and unique group of people. I’m talking about people who have expressed their genuine care and concern for me, my wife, and our children; not out of any kind of obligation, but purely because we have meant something to you.

To the parents of any teenagers, the past four years or so, who allowed your kid(s) to spend time with us in our home, at a Wednesday night service or some other ministry event … thank you. To see God get ahold of young people, kick the lights on and witness transformation take place in their lives is an incredible privilege that we never took for granted. So thank you, parents.

Thank you to everyone we had the privilege to serve alongside with in youth ministry over the years. Your commitment to the students of Journey Church is so encouraging and inspiring. Sometimes it can feel mundane or fruitless, but trust me, these students see more than we give them credit for sometimes and your heart for them makes a difference. Keep loving them.

Thank you to everyone we’ve had the privilege to serve alongside with in the Connections ministries. Thank you for loving on everyone who has come through the doors of Journey Church in an effort to make them feel welcome and like they belong. Thank you for your obedience to the call to serve and willingness to be involved in the lives of others.

Thank you to everyone who has served our children, Zoe and Jaxon, through the ministry of Journey Kids. You have genuinely loved our kids as your own through the years and have gone above and beyond to show them that they matter to God, to you, and to others. Thank you.

Thank you to any and everyone who took the time to pray for us or offered words of encouragement or expressed to us a desire for us to know that you care; especially during this most recent time of preparation. Thank you for seeing past my outward appearance and my “unique” way of communicating, and trusting us to be your associate pastors. Most of all thank you for receiving us with open arms and allowing us to be your friends.

This doesn’t seem adequate and I wish there was more we could do, but, a million times, “Thank you.” Thank you for the honor and privilege it has been to be a part of your lives.

Blessings…

Kory

Friend Kory on Facebook or follow him on twitter @KoryKimbrell

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The Punches — by Kory

Punches_KimbrellTo quote the great prophet, Mike Tyson, “Everyone has a plan ‘til they get punched in the mouth.” Isn’t that true? The best laid plans and well devised strategies go straight out the window when you get punched in the mouth.

It causes us to question everything, completely re-think our movements, re-focus our efforts and reassess our situation. From boxing to MMA, I could name some heavy hitters. To avoid the debate, I won’t. Besides, there is no heavier hitter than life itself.

We like to play by rules, and rules are important. Life, on the other hand, doesn’t care about rules. Life will sneak up on you and attack before you even know you’re in a fight. We like safety and manageability; things we can handle. Life will shove you onto a tightrope stretched between two skyscrapers and no safety net or tether if you fall. No matter what kind of retirement plan, investments or education we have; no matter the specific calculations, preparation or contingencies we have made … we cannot control life.

Now to quote the great psalmist, David Lee Roth, “You’ve got to roll with the punches and get to what’s real.” Now, did he really know what he was saying or was it just something that rhymed with ‘feel?’? You have a couple of choices. You can either quit whatever it is that you’re doing or roll with the punches. Quitting doesn’t mean that life will stop hitting, it just guarantees failure. We have to roll with the punches.

I’m talking about obedience to God here. When we’re being obedient to God, and sometimes, especially WHEN we’re being obedient to God, life decides to throw us a one-two combination. Our obedience does NOT guarantee safety. Our obedience does NOT guarantee there won’t be struggle. Our obedience simply means whatever the risk or whatever the struggle, it is worth it if it is something God is calling us to.

Punches come in many forms. People can throw “punches” that can alter what we believe God wants us to do. Circumstances like loss, whether it’s a job or a loved one, are punches that are thrown at us. We may be tempted to believe that everything is ruined and will never work and be tempted to quit. We may think, “This is not what I had planned.” One of the things I’ve learned over time is, rarely does being obedient to God play out the way we think it should. Proverbs 16:9 tells us, “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.”

I’ll leave it to you to read God’s Word and rely on His Holy Spirit to show you what OUR purpose is here. One last scripture before I go though. I stared at this scripture for years on my desk as I was walking in obedience to God, and I pray it is a help to you as well. Proverbs 16:3: “Commit your work to the LORD and your plans will be established.”

Blessings.

Kory

Friend Kory on Facebook or follow him on twitter @KoryKimbrell
Follow Journey Church on Twitter @Journey_MO

The Blog to End All Blogs — by Kory

Flowbee_KimbrellThe title of this blog makes a pretty big claim, “The Blog to End All Blogs.” Do I really believe this blog will be the cause for all other bloggers to stop blogging? Not really, but you clicked on the link to see what it said anyway, right?

There are many people who make claims about things that just don’t live up to the hype. I mean, just over two years ago there was a portion of the population who believed that December 2012 was going to be the end of the world. There was a man in Florida by the name of Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda who claimed to be Jesus; he died, but unlike the real Jesus, Jose did not rise again, leaving many of his followers disappointed and confused.

Does anyone remember Y2K? That was the event where all technology was supposed to crash or something like that? It’s too bad for anyone who invested in any those claims. Let’s not forget all of the products out there promising all sorts of things to us. “The last (fill-in-the-blank) you’ll ever buy!” There’s the Slap Chop, Snuggie, Bedazzler, Sham Wow, Ginsu Knives, Chia Pet, The Clapper, and one of my favorites – The Flowbee.

Has anyone bought any of these items and then thought a year or two later: “I’m so glad I spent money on that.”? There have been many people, I’m sure, who have spent $100 on a pillow hoping to get some pain relief only to wake up with the same crick in their neck the very next morning. Buying this stuff isn’t wrong. It’s the hope we put in them.

So many of our hopes rest on people and products to deliver feelings of certainty, importance, value, worth, love and safety only to be left feeling disappointed and unfulfilled. This is because a promise is only as valuable as the ability of the one who makes it to carry it through. So let’s look at some of the promises God has made to us …

  1. He has promised to supply every need we have. (Philippians 4:19)
  2. He has promised that His grace is sufficient for us. (II Corinthians 12:9)
  3. He has promised that His children will not be overtaken with temptation. (I Corinthians 10:13)
  4. He has promised us victory over death. (I Corinthians 15:56-57)
  5. He has promised that all things work together for good to those who love and serve Him faithfully. (Romans 8:28)
  6. He has promised that those who believe in Jesus and are baptized for the forgiveness of sins will be saved. (Mark 16:16)
  7. He has promised His people eternal life. (John 10:27-28)

Let’s be encouraged and put our hope in the One who is not just a promise-maker, but the One who keeps His promises. Let’s this also be an appeal to us to live so that the promises of God will be ours.

Kory

Friend Kory on Facebook or follow him on twitter @KoryKimbrell
Follow Journey Church on Twitter @Journey_MO

Everything is Awesome — by Kory

awesomeAwesome! You’re awesome! He’s awesome! She’s awesome! This is awesome! That was awesome! Everything is awesome, right? Well, isn’t it? Awesome has to be one of the most overused words in our language. So much so that it has lost its meaning. According to Merriam-Webster dictionary “awesome” is defined as, “causing feelings of fear and wonder: causing feelings of awe” or “extremely good.”

Now, knowing the definition of awesome, can we say everything is awesome; or that anything we typically call awesome is actually awesome?

I mean, we can all kind of sense something is wrong, can’t we? One need only to scroll through the internet headlines, watch the evening news or even look out the front door to know something is just not quite right. We have kids killing kids, young boys and girls being sold into sex slavery, broken homes, drug use and abuse, domestic violence, suicide and self-harm. The list could go on and on for a long time and there is no shortage of finger-pointers when it comes to finding fault for why things are the way they are. There are issues going on, though, that are deeper than the symptoms most people are able to identify.

There is also no shortage of suggested solutions to fix all of these problems. We got gun-control, raise taxes, lower taxes, more government programs, we need this person or that person in this particular political office. It’s the environment, education, economy, immigration, law enforcement, etc. The suggested solutions are as numerous as the problems.

To truly begin taking steps toward the real remedy, we have to accurately identify the problem. The problem is us; by that I mean humanity. In a world that tells us how awesome we are and how we deserve to receive whatever we want or whatever makes us happy, we have forgotten or maybe never heard that the cause of all of “this” is us. So, if we are the problem, then we can’t be the solution.

What is the solution? The gospel is the solution. The solution provided by our God; our God Who IS AWESOME! Through Jesus, He fulfilled the law that we couldn’t. Through Jesus, He reversed the curse of sin and death. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, He provided a way that we, sinful, imperfect humanity, could have a shot at salvation and redemption.

We can have a relationship with our Creator and live out the purpose in which we were created; to know Him and make Him known and carry out the mission we were given; to make disciples who make disciples. And THAT is truly awesome!

Kory

Friend Kory on Facebook or follow him on twitter @KoryKimbrell
Follow Journey Church on Twitter @Journey_MO

More Than A Thousand Words … — by Kory

ThousandWords_Kimbrell_TitleImageIt is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. I thought about that and how sometimes words just get in the way. I wanted to use this opportunity to share some of my favorite moments from this year in the form of pictures and allow the thoughts on them to be your own.

Enjoy!

Kory

Chicago on Valentine's Day

Chicago on Valentine’s Day

Wentzville Parade

Wentzville Parade (Photo Credit: Jesse Quiroz)

Family Fun Day

Family Fun Day

 

 

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Prayer before baptism at Beach Baptism BBQ (photo credit: Nancy Lawrence Photography)

 

 

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View from the drummer’s seat at Journey One (photo credit: Jake Lawrence)

 

Worship at Youth Camp

 

 

Shenanigans on Outreach

Outreach at the STL Dream Center

 

An Incredible Group

The Walking Dead — by Kory

WalkingDead_Kimbrell“Ew! Really? Zombies?” If episodes of the show, “The Walking Dead,” were exclusively comprised of zombie smashing scenes, running around trying not to die and a sprinkle of dialogue here and there, then I wouldn’t watch it. If zombie fighting was the point and focus of the show, I don’t believe it would be on its fifth season with an average weekly viewership of 13.3 million people. There is an understanding among viewers who “get it” that there is a deeper message; a bigger story being told that goes beyond mindless entertainment.

The show focuses on one group of people in particular whose paths have crossed in the post-apocalyptic state of Georgia where the zombie-to-human ratio is tilted way in favor of the zombies. Together they fight to gather resources like food, water, fuel and transportation; all of which are highly sought after and treasured commodities. As they get to know and begin to trust each other, they encounter other people who are just as much of a threat as the undead, if not more so. Together they make every effort to not just survive, but maintain their humanity, a sense of morality, order, justice, and value of human life.

One re-occurring theme that most would not expect from a show like this is the importance of community and family. Each character we meet in the group has their own story. They have their own past and personal struggles they are trying to overcome; not to mention the uncertainty of their future. Together they face incredible adversity, loss of loved ones, exhaustion, and their own mortality. Through all of this, they manage to show grace, mercy, sacrificial love and forgiveness to one another because they realize they cannot make it without each other.

It’s not “Little House on the Prairie” by any stretch of the imagination. And I’m not suggesting that you should begin or continue to watch it. But, art imitates life and there is beauty in the pain and struggle of life just as there is in this show. There is example after example in God’s Word of beauty in the struggles of life and overcoming them and the way we do it is together … united … not divided. My favorite character in the show, Rick Grimes, says, “We survive this by pulling together, not apart.” That is so true. When we are divided, so is our focus and that’s all the enemy needs to take us down.

Let’s do this instead: Colossians 3:13-14

“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

Kory

Friend Kory on Facebook or follow him on twitter @KoryKimbrell

Follow Journey Church on Twitter @Journey_MO

There’s No Place Like Home — by Kory

RedSlippers_KimbrellThere is a place that most of us cannot wait to get back to; whether it’s at the end of our work day, after going out to dinner or even on vacation. There is a place in all of our hearts we look forward to returning. That place is called “home.”

Home is a place where we find acceptance. Home is a place where we are loved. Home is a place where we belong. Home is where we feel safe, welcome and comfortable; a place of refuge, strength and rest. Home is a place where positive change is possible.

My family and I have experienced positive change as a result of meeting so many people in the past five years that have made us feel at home. This is the reason why I believe so strongly in Fusion Groups, also known as Home Groups or Small Groups. It’s in these groups that people have an opportunity for their voice to be heard, to have their concerns validated and to feel connected to each other.

In the book of Acts we read about the early church and how they lived. They would meet in each others’ homes, share meals with each other, worship together, commit themselves to learning about Jesus and reach out to the communities in which they lived. This is how the church grew, not just numerically, but spiritually. I believe that deep down there is a majority of us who long for this kind of intimate interaction. This kind of expression of the church is beautiful and I believe it blesses the heart of our God in heaven when it is lived out.

Home is where our needs for community, acceptance and love are met. My prayer is that these needs are not just met in your home, but the homes of your church family. When we do this, we are living out the things we talk about during church services.

I cannot wait to hear the stories of what God is doing in our church because of it.

Kory

Friend Kory on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @KoryKimbrell

Follow Journey Church on Twitter @Journey_MO