The day I met Corey was the day he gave his testimony. He's given me a copy to post here:
My story begins as a small town Catholic in northeastern Ohio. By my mid twenties I had successfully become a fun loving, guilt ridden young adult. Drugs, alcohol, and the quest for money had overtaken me to a point I choose not to describe. If life was meant to be enjoyed, I had found a very unhealthy way of enjoying it! I am grateful that my religious upbringing helped to educate me on Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father. Although I rarely thought about this divinity at the time, my heart always knew who I had become was not who I wanted to be. In my late twenties, God sent me an angel in the form of the most perfect human being I have ever met (now my wife).
As I grew, the drug and alcohol ambitions morphed into a modern day “Corporate America” quest for success. You see, I never went to College as a traditional student right out of high school. During the 90’s there was plenty of prosperity for a young aggressive salesperson willing to work the system. Luckily for me, working a system had always been my specialty!
In July 2000 we moved to Cincinnati. Both with a job & what appeared to be a bright future. Everything seemed to be moving forward just as planned. Then 9-11 struck and for the first time in a very short career I experienced being laid off. This was not a good situation for an ego driven, money hungry, young salesman with little more than the ability to convince other people that I really am everything I say!
So I decided to attend UC and got an accounting degree. Why accounting? Years later I realized that decisions in Corporate America are based in “economic” theory. I thought, if I could understand this aspect of business, perhaps my ability to sell myself would improve! Through all of this selling I had spent 15 years building an image that wasn’t really me at all. Many times I questioned this fact and tried to change these patterns, but I always seemed to steer myself back into the hierarchy of success. Success as I had defined it…more money!
The years between 2005 & 2008 had been a very prosperous time for me and my family. Although I was employed by a proclaimed Christian company, ethics and decisions that were made were far from Christian. The money was good; but I asked myself at what cost? Pastor Tim has said, “God wants your heart. Doesn’t it stand to reason that he will use money to get it?”
Last October, things began to get bad in the economy. In fact, many people had expected the worst economic downturn since the great depression. Having been laid off before, I was intent this wasn’t going to happen to me! So I began to work harder. The more I worked and the more I gave and the more I took from my family, the more I continued to be unfulfilled. I felt stepped on by those working beside me; within my own company! This was a major disappointment to me.
The image that I had spent so many years building didn’t amount to anything. Work became an environment of deception and perception. It became an environment of fear and lies. It was no longer about what people brought to the organization. I saw many good people losing their jobs as superiors painted fraudulent pictures to save themselves. Through the first quarter of this year, I began to be moved to do what was right. Not from a spiritual motivator, but because there were so many people in the world doing so much wrong. I thought, if I could successfully do what was right, I could make more money. Obviously, I was still driven by the dollar!
The layoffs continued and I seemed to be able to keep producing and avoid being included on the latest list. But I wasn’t happy with any of it…and most unhappy with myself. Then it happened. One Thursday in April, while consulting a fellow co-worker my boss overheard me say referring to him “we will never be on the same page as long as he is leading us.” How could I continue to navigate this unhealthy environment? Something took over inside me. There I was…a non religious man…a sinner; saying: “God, it’s in your hands now!”
From Thursday to Sunday was like a rebirth. My wife and daughter had attended Vineyard Westside the weekend before for the first time, and loved it. My wife had a vision a couple of weeks earlier about this little church we passed on our way around town. In her search to “know God” she had come across this wonderful community of people we now call family. Of course, the services are WAY different than those of a traditional Catholic mass so she thought I probably wouldn’t like it. I told her; hey if you both like it I will go with an open mind. I am grateful I did, it changed my life. For the first time, I heard God speaking to me!
As I sat in the pew and listened to the words coming out of Tim’s mouth, it became clear what I needed to do. I needed to resign my position and move my life in a direction that was healthier. As I looked at my wife, she knew something had struck a chord in me. As the service ended, I approached Tim and thanked him for helping put some clarity on a major issue weighing on me. Tim said, “It wasn’t me, it was God.” He was right!
Then he asked, what is it? Perhaps I can pray to help you. I explained that I was going to quit my job the next day because I didn’t like the way my boss treated people. I don’t clearly remember his reaction but I am fairly certain both he and my wife had to pick their jaws up off the floor. What I do clearly remember is the light I saw in my 6 year old daughter’s eyes as she said “you’re quitting your job! Does this mean you can pick me up early from school?” Tim & Traci, I apologize…Cali, Thank you!
The last three months have truly been the best summer of my life. I have enjoyed being in my world with all the gifts God has given me. I have turned my life over to God and he has made an amazing change in me. I have a thirst to understand the word. I have spent the entire summer with the two people who are most important to me. On our eighth wedding anniversary, Ryan was able to accommodate a rare request to renew our wedding vows. Rare because we asked him on Sunday for a Tuesday evening affair. As we listened to the words of God spoken through Ryan we began to internalize Ecclesiastes 4:9, two are better off than one…a rope made of three cords is hard to break. Thank you Ryan. And the best part of the summer happened two weeks ago as I publically pronounced the acceptance of Christ as my savior through baptism.
Although the search for my purpose has just begun, I am much more content waiting for God to show me the way. And he has. Two weeks ago I interviewed with a company that appeared to be everything I was looking for. The company is a small manufacturing business in a specialized industry. There was one problem; the position was originally presented as a job that would involve a lot of travel. I am no longer interested in taking any more time away from my family for money and my career. God did his magic, last week I received a call stating they redesigned the position and it will be based here in Cincinnati…NO TRAVEL! I start Monday August 10!
I can’t wait to see what God has in store for us next; I wait patiently. I look forward to building my relationship with him and his son, Jesus Christ. Recently I read something that stuck with me. The past is history, the future is a mystery, but the present is a gift. Thank you Lord for all the gifts you have given me. God is good!