Awaken This Heart ministry has officially become Corey Gibson Ministries as of March 6th, 2018. This came about after several months of prayer, trying to define my role in life, and legacy of kingdom work. I have traveled and done ministry under the name Awaken This Heart ministry for the past 10 years. Originally, it started out as my personal blog and traveling ministry for when I would speak at churches. I felt a shift to focus more on living and leaving a legacy that would not just impact my life but others. This has taken shape in the form of coaching, mentoring and developing leaders, the new book project forthcoming, and some other endeavors.
Corey Gibson Ministries or CGM is a non-profit ministry recognized by the state and IRS. This means that we are legalized as an incorporated non-profit organization to conduct ministry and business as such of a religious corporation with a 501(c)3 seal and a governing board of directors. This allows me to travel and preach the gospel under a legal entity as well be protected. We can accept and receive donations, do business as a tax-exempted corporation and provide needed resources to a hurting society. This Fall, CGM planned to launch two initiatives to reach local communities and give back. More about this as it draws near.
With this announcement, I will launch a new website – www.coreygibson.org or www.coreygibson.co. This site you will be able to book speakers, collaborate and work on projects/initiatives, join a network, and donate/give. This site will launch officially on my birthday, May 25th.
The current site www.mecoreyg.com as of today will turn into a social hub where you can get connected with me, have live interactive chats/videos and more. It will serve as a landing page for all my adventures God is leading me on. Lastly, my journals (aka blogs) will remain freshly updated on this site via the address journals.mecoreyg.com
A new app update will be made available this upcoming week. The update on iOS/Andriod stores will feature the new name, icon/logo, navigational change as well as a revamped journal section. You can still download (Awaken This Heart) the current app now, and be notified when the new update is available. Over the next month, I will be working with Pushpay to offer a fresh new app design, resources/content, mobile app giving, messages and interactive ways to connect with me and the ministry. We will have a seamless update and upgrade process once the fresh app is made available for the end-user. The planned launch of this fresh app will be mid-Summer.
New Ministry, New Website, New Book Project = Same Corey. SAME JESUS!
So those who know me, know that writing journals (aka blogs) are an outlet for me to express my feelings, wisdom, and thoughts. For the past 4-5 years, I’ve had friends come up to me saying that the Lord has a lot that he wants to release through me and give to his people. They would say things like, “there’s a book in you”, or “you should write a book about your experience.” This has happened several times when I lived in Georgia, Tennessee, Michigan, Alabama, and back in Tennessee again. This has been a dream of mine for about the last 4 years and it is finally coming together. I am already about 85% done with the manuscript and will start the edits soon.
I am pleased to announce that I have signed a deal with one of the largest Christian Publishing companies, Thomas Nelson & Zondervan to be a part of their self-publishing division WestBow Press. Both Thomas Nelson and Zondervan are a part of a larger Publishing House called HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc. Thomas Nelson and Zondervan have released books by Judah Smith, Chad Veach, Rich Wilkerson, Craig Groeschel and other popular pastors/communicators of the Gospel. I have agreed to self-publish under the Westbow Press name for my upcoming book.
While I can not release the name of the book yet due to legalities (awaiting copyrights and finalization) I can say that we are planning to release the book this Fall. The book will be available online as an ebook and in both Hardback and Paperback formats. I will be partnering with some locally-owned bookstores in key places once released to have them carry the book as well as some churches.
The book will be a short read that will focus on leadership and growing as a disciple that’s focused on Jesus. I want to help leaders fulfill their God-given purpose and live a life in pursuit of Jesus. Be on the lookout starting in early Summer for a big social media push and marketing campaigns.
I am very excited about this new writing project and the doors the Lord has been opening lately (announcements 2 & ##3 is coming soon).
It was a peaceful night outside… I laid in my bed at midnight listening to some worship music (Never Lost – Rita Springer & Catherine Mullins) on repeat. Anyone who truly knows me knows that I am a repeater – by accident and on purpose. This night, it was on purpose. I even jumped on Instagram to post a picture about the song. About 15 mins go by and something shift in my heart and mind. I was completely discontent with just about everything. I felt like I couldn’t breathe and that I needed to get away. For me, my favorite times with Jesus is when I drive and it’s just him and I. I jumped in my car and start driving while still listening to the worship song on repeat. As I started to drive from my house, it started to lightly rain and drizzle. I ended up at a Walmart. It was here that forever changed my night.
It was about 12:30 am, August 16th, 2017… and I screamed at God. In prayer, I began to explicitly and passionate scream about my situation and how I felt. I laid everything that was in and on my heart. Every feeling, emotion, doubt, brokenness, hurt and concern. I admitted my struggle with not feeling God near in times of uncertainty, lack of faith with seemingly unanswered prayers, feelings of tiredness (mentally, spiritually and physically). It was after this moment that I felt a nudge of the Spirit. I begin singing the song I was listening to as a declaration over my life. The chorus of the song says this:
Wind, listen to the sound of power on my lips
Jesus has broken the curse, He has never lost a battle
Who are you great mountain, that you should not bow low
Jesus defeated the darkness, He has never lost a battle
Immediately started to cry as I began to sing these words not just out of my mouth and heart… but from my spirit. My lamentation slowly became my praise. After about listening to the song all the way through in silence, I changed the song to King of My Heart. I started praising Jesus for the victory before it happens as well as thanking him for what he is doing in my life and what he has already done. I listened to this song two more times before changing the song to a Spontaneous Medley by Daniel Bashta. While leaving from the Walmart parking lot, I felt at peace and was able to go to sleep when I got home. It was probably the best night’s rest in a long time. Fast-forward to 6:30 pm that same day…
My pastor at the church calls an impromptu prayer meeting that he felt the Lord whispering for the church and what was next for our context of ministry. I went in, tired and hungry for the Spirit of God and natural food! I went to the altar just to kneel and sit as I soak in God’s presence. This song that I have never heard, Extravagant by Bethel Music came on. As I was praying and listening to the words I begin to get teary-eyed. One of my best friends came over and just passionately prayed over me hope, strength and fulfilled promises. The song changed to I Need You More by Kim Walker-Smith. I haven’t heard this song in years, so I started to sing it out loud. My pastor came over as I was just sitting down on the floor and laid hands on me. He asked if I would stand and begin to speak life into me. He prayed over me hope, fulfilled promises and endurance for the journey. While all of this was going on, I received text messages from two other best friends who responded to my earlier text about prayer and my experience the night before.
I said all this to say… this journey with Christ is not always easy or even pretty but it is worth it. We have to be vulnerable with Jesus and others we trust. God doesn’t grow apathetic or emotionally disconnected to our situations. God is not easily offended when we approach him with our cares, cries, laughter or even screams. He can take our issues! This was what made King David so near and dear to God, that God called him a man after his own heart. David gave everything to God – good, bad and ugly. In seasons of good & joy, seasons of weakness & failures and seasons of uncertainty, David honored God with being vulnerable and honest. This is what it means to be in an authentic relationship.
As I am writing this is what the Spirit of the Lord is saying:
The voice of fear, doubt, and hopelessness may be screaming loud in your mind but the voice of Jesus whispers a louder word in your heart and spirit. His voice says you are loved, not forgotten and filled with hope. His voice says “I have never lost a battle and I won’t lose one now. I will fight for you and you will overcome – just as I have overcome the world. Keep believing, keep enduring and keep declaring… my faithful son and daughter!”
I’ve had several people ask me what this hashtag (#tcgwky) meant in relation to my last social media post. The letters represent “The Comparison Game Will Kill You.” It comes from the thought based out of my 13 things in 13 years, specifically #13 – Comparison Kills. This journal is so important to me and to leadership, that I decided to have one of my best friends (Pastor Johnathan Key) co-write this subject with me. He is all too familiar with this subject and the impact it has on a spiritual and/or business leader. His portion will be featured in part 2 a.k.a “Round 2, Fight!” – which you can view here.
This is what I wrote during my last leadership journal…
#13 – Comparison Kills: Maybe one of the most dangerous things we can do in ministry is to allow the comparison game to get the best of us. This game is consumed with jealousy/envy, vanity, friendly fire and an unhealthy need for competition. The church/ministry, event, and leader are not in competition with me and what I am doing. We are on the same team. Yes, it is wise to see what others are doing & how they are doing it. Sure “borrow” an idea or fifty-two… but obsessing with their model, their size, their leadership focus/style and their arts/media is super unhealthy. I cannot help but wonder even in my own life how much this comparison shapes my thinking. Every time I get on Instagram or Facebook and see the latest, I wonder how damaging it is to my own soul seeing well-meaning people I admire doing things I want or dream of doing. If you and I aren’t careful, we will end up wishing we were someone else and lose focus on our calling, gifts, and purpose.We all have a race that we have to run, but I can’t run my race while watching yours in your lane. I think Robert Madu gives the best picture of this while ministering about Saul and David. Longevity in ministry is paved when we get our focus off of others and back on God and the WIN.
I want to expound on this a little more…
The comparison game is a killer to the health of a leader. It steals the joy and passion for the very purpose that leader has. Comparison is a constant nagger causing vision, purpose, and faith to continuously be called into question. It can destroy friendships and partnership. Lastly, it also seeks to eat at the mental health of a leader. This deadly game has become game over for a lot of people. In my honest opinion, it is the greatest threat to a spiritual leader. It is one of Satan’s favorite snare and tool to use in destroying a pastor and leader.One of the most dangerous things we can do in ministry is to allow comparison to get the best of us. Click To Tweet
When we begin to compare negatively… we are essentially telling God that what he is doing in us, is not better than what he is doing in someone else. We look at their status and position, their numbers/size, giving/sales, social media friends/followers, their likes/comments, and their every day and simply lose focus on the God-moments that is happening within our own lives. Often times, the clear indicator of being a character (player) in the comparison game is the unwillingness to celebrate others OR the feeling of not enough in relations to others. THE COMPARISON GAME IS A LOSING BATTLE THAT WILL LEAVE YOU WOUNDED, LONELY AND IN DISOBEDIENCE!
This played out too well in the life of King Saul, who was filled with unbridled jealousy and enviousness. He saw David as a threat simply hearing silly girls chant “Saul kills his thousands, and David his ten-thousands.” This little serenade started a saga of hatred and attempted murders. It snowballed and ultimately landed David as King and Saul dead.
Really think about your life and ministry… like really think about it. Are you seemingly playing in this game of negative comparison, losing sight of your identity, your vision, and your race? Are you more concern with what others are doing instead of what you are doing? How’s your motive when you look at others and that they are doing? Can you celebrate them without the “I wish that was me” or “I can do that, too?”THE COMPARISON GAME IS A LOSING BATTLE THAT WILL LEAVE YOU WOUNDED, LONELY AND IN DISOBEDIENCE! Click To Tweet
A moment of transparency… Lately, this comparison game and struggle has gotten the best of me. I see a lot of my friends I personally know succeeding at life, relationships, and ministry, while I feel stuck in a transitional holding pattern. Some days my heart aches to have a wonderful highlight reel of life, always on the go, traveling, speaking, being creative and simply enjoying. I came face to face with this comparison monster about a month ago and it has caused me to take close introspection, refocus on Jesus and pursue my callings. So I decided to get rid of what has caused most of this – SOCIAL MEDIA! I have currently been off of all social media for the 2 weeks now and it feels great. More time is spent worshipping, in prayer and doing intentional things for my life. I encourage anyone to take inventory of their life and remove the comparison between you and someone else. Find joy and hope in the thing that you are doing. Celebrate others wins, encourage when someone is down and embrace this journey of life.
Guest Blogger, Lucas Lash shares his thoughts on Worship…
What is worship? How and why should we even worship in the first place? Worship is a necessary part not only in church but in our very own relationships with God. Every day, each one of us worships something, whether you believe in God or not. Sometimes we don’t even intend to, but by how we think and how we use our time, we are always focused on something. It’s easy to get misled and worship those things, and by this I mean we tend to get distracted by so many things we come across in our daily lives. We go to school, we go to work, some of us have kids, or we are focusing all our attention on our boyfriend or girlfriend or even our spouses. Our schedules are so full and we cram so many things into our days that we don’t prioritize the time necessary to worship God and spend time with Him. That is crucial for our relationship with Jesus, and I’m guilty of the same thing sometimes. We fill our plate with work, sports, family or friends, and all those things are great and God blesses us with those things, but I think Jesus deserves a little more than the 5 or 10 minutes a day and then moving to the next thing on our schedule.
I wanted to spend some time pondering the question of why we should even worship God in the first place. It seems like such a small question in our faith, but it really is very significant to remember why you are worshipping God. I want to share a verse that has definitely been one of my favorites ever since I first heard it. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” If you’re a Christian, then you believe Jesus died for your sins, to take the full penalty and weight of your sin and endure the wrath of God so that we don’t have to. It’s very simple, but every time I spend time thinking about this truth it breaks me down and brings me back to the simplicity of why I am a Christian. I chose to follow Jesus because I have witnessed the love God has for all of us, and I want to share that with others and give back to God all that I have. That’s why I worship, and really it’s the only reason we should worship God. Not out of a state of fear or pressure, but out of a revelation of God’s faithfulness and love. Jesus came down to this earth and endured all the pain and suffering that we really can’t even imagine, and Philippians 2:8 says this, “And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” I think that is amazing. Jesus was God and He came down to this earth because He loves us, and died the death we deserve, all because He wanted to spend eternity with you and I. So again I come back to the question, “Why should we even worship God?” Well, because I believe He deserves it. He deserves every piece of me; my heart, and my life. And for what God has done for you and me, and what He is doing for us each day, I will worship Him and tell the world how awesome and great He is.I chose to follow Jesus because I've witnessed the love God has for all of us, and I want to share that with others... Click To Tweet
When you look around the world at different cultures and religions, you see different ideas of worship and what it looks like to worship. The question of how we should worship is a strange one, but I think it’s important to talk about. Each of us are very different people, but we all have the common goal and intention of worshipping a God who deeply loves us. How we worship Him will look totally and completely different. God created us to be unique individuals, He doesn’t want us all worshipping the same way and doing the exact same thing as the next guy. He doesn’t want us to raise our arms just because everyone else is doing it, or fall on our knees at the altar just because it looks like a more meaningful experience. God simply wants us to let our walls down and fully accept His love. Once we do that, we feel that incredible comfort and peace that only comes from Him. We let everything down, and open our heart to God, and in response to that, we worship. We thank Him. We praise Him and show Him how grateful and humbled we are. Showing God our gratitude and showing Him love can come in different forms, and as I said before, it will always look different for each of us. For me, my favorite ways to worship God and to praise Him is through playing music and playing drums. I’m one of the drummers for my church praise band, and I do it because I love God, want to make music for His glory, and of course, because I love playing drums! I love skateboarding and doing art, and those things are even considered worship when you do them with the intention of bringing God glory. Each of us has passions and things we love doing, and that’s great! God gives us these desires and fires us up to do things because He wants us to be happy and enjoy this life, but He also wants us to use those passions to grow the Kingdom, reach those around us, and glorify the God who made us.
Worship is such an integral part of our relationship with God. It’s a way for us to communicate back to Him our response to His love. I definitely think He is worthy of it. Worship looks different for each of us, and I believe that’s exactly what God wants. Worship isn’t always through music or singing but it’s the way we live our lives and what we choose to focus on or direct our attention to. Worship is an amazing thing, and God is always ecstatic to hear your voice, to see your heart and your actions bringing glory to the Kingdom. He is and always will be worthy of our praise.Worship isn't always through music/singing but it's the way we live our lives & what we focus on Click To Tweet
I believe I’ve found my anthem for the year…. absolutely LOVE THIS SONG, Set My Heart by Vertical Church Band! Nothing communicates my heart in this moment and season of life than this….
“Quiet the voice of doubt again,
Echo within me every promise,
Let your Word be louder than my fears.
Speak to the void when I can’t see,
Lift up my head in every valley,
Let your joy be greater than my grief.
I have set my heart,
Set my, set my heart on You.
You have every part of me,
I set my heart on You.
Nothing will ever break me, ever slay me, all my hope in you.
Nothing will ever shake me, overtake me, all my hope in you.”
Words cannot express what this song is ministering to me even now as I write this journal. My one focus this year is on Jesus and making his name and glory famous. So I will set my heart to pursue him more intently and fervently. I am eagerly excited to see what God does in me and through me as I continue to lean on his Spirit and draw closer to him. I am believing that 2017 will be a landmark year for me in ministry and in my personal life.
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