Corey's Personal Testimony

When I was a very young boy—a Baptist “Preacher’s Kid”—I believed in my personal need of Jesus Christ and His death for my sin on the cross. I accepted His gifts of eternal life and salvation from the consequences of my sin. I struggled with confidence in my relationship with God until two events occurred. First, I claimed Philippians 1.6 as my life verse—“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Second, I began reading my Bible regularly. I soon realized that I had the potential for a vibrant relationship with my heavenly Father—a relationship that truly existed since I was a youngster but that I had rarely fostered. Romans 12.1-8 offers a great outline for the rest of my story. 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. 3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; 7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; 8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness. I began asking myself, “What can I do after high school?” I can only say that I was interested in what God might want for my life. This was my response to Romans 12.1-2. Although I was interested in what God might want for my life, I never felt like I was a super-Christian. I guess that this was a good attitude after all—Paul said in verse 3 that a Christian should not “think of himself more highly than he ought to think.” As I think about it now, the remainder of the Romans 12 passage could have led me to ask: “What gift or gifts has God given me that should be directing my career choices? What could I do after high school?
  • Could I prophesy? (preach?) I had no interest in it.
  • Could I minister (serve)? Yes, but as a PK I had always done this even as a child—this was no new “career” for me.
  • Could I teach? I really had no mentor or teacher who might have inspired me to pursue what he or she was doing.
  • Could I exhort? I sure didn’t think so—I was probably the shiest boy in my high school. This would have been the last thing I would have thought that I could do after high school.
  • Could I give? Yes, I had learned to give beginning with my first job as a 10-year old paperboy. But giving isn’t a career choice!
  • Could I rule (lead)? Maybe. I did have a desire to lead. I didn’t like the idea of being a follower—most of my peers were unsaved teens who would only lead me down the wrong path.
  • Could I show mercy? Certainly, but mercifulness isn’t a career choice either.

As it has turned out, I’ve done all of these things in my career. But I’ve done them in God’s timing. In high school, I took a bookkeeping class. I liked it. I did well in it. This led me to investigate further training in pursuit of an accounting career. Information has always been my friend. God has used information many times to open or close doors of opportunity or interest in order to direct me into His will. I’ve learned to read God’s word and meditate upon it. Shortly after I passed the exam for Certified Public Accountants I had an urge to lead. Paul called it the gift of “ruling.” I wanted to lead a business of my own. In my personal time alone with God, He directed me to Proverbs 3.6—“In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.” I began to acknowledge God’s right to rule and reign in every area of my life and I prayed earnestly that God would honor His promise to direct my career. About the same time, I heard a Sunday School lesson on Psalm 37.23—“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord.” I began to ask God to order my steps. Within a few months I had been directed by the Lord to purchase my employer’s CPA business. Three years later, God led me to sell the firm and come to what was then called Maranatha Baptist Bible College (now called Maranatha Baptist University) in Watertown, Wisconsin, again, based on a daily personal time alone with God. Comparing the list of gifts in Romans 12 again, since coming to Maranatha, I’ve been involved in preaching, teaching, and exhorting. I’ve even shown mercy once in a great while when my students were stressed out!