Corey Tabor serves as the Founder of III Coaching, a coaching firm that informs, instructs and inspires through speaking, coaching, and publishing. He also serves as Founder and C.E.O. of the History in the Making Community Development Center, a nonprofit focused on education, economic development, and family development. He has been married to April Tabor since 2003 and they have two daughters Anaia and Charis.
Corey has a B.S. in Communication Studies / Human Relations from the University of Texas at Austin and completed a Masters of Ministry Leadership at Rockbridge Seminary. He is pursuing a Doctorate of Transformational Leadership from Bakke University. He is also a Certified Professional Life Coach with the Wainwright Fowler International Institute, Certified Human Behavior Consultant with Uniquely You, Certified Sexual Risk Avoidance Specialist, and Certified Building Family Connections Presenter.
This Saturday; May 23, 2020 I will eulogize my mom’s oldest sister Alma L. Perry. A faithful wife, loving mother, and dedicated educator. This is the third family funeral I will have preached in 6 months. I preached my cousin’s funeral who was misdeed at 24 years old and my uncle who died right after the new year. In the past, I’ve preached my wife’s great-grand mother’s funeral and my father-in-law’s funeral. The most challenging was my own mother’s funeral.
As a pastor, you learn to marry and bury. You learn to be there for birth and death but when it’s family, it takes an extra dose of the Holy Spirit to know what to say to comfort your family and most importantly point people to Jesus. I’ve found three keys to performing that challenging but significant task.
1. It’s Not About You
Rick Warren in his best-selling book The Purpose Driven Life, starts the book with this line because it’s so true. The purpose of life is not about us, it’s about God. The same is true when we preach a funeral for a family member. This is not the time to grow your influence; build your church, or get followers on social media. It’s about pointing people to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Do what you are called, gifted, and asked to do with passion and purpose but focused on ministering to the family and those who’s life have been impacted by the person who has passed on.
2. Let Their Life Speak
Each of us has a birth date and a death date. Scripture teaches us before we were formed in our mother’s womb, Scripture also teaches us it’s appointed unto man once to die then the judgment. That dash is all we can control. The life we’re given is God’s gift to us, how we live it is our gift to him! Find out what they did to make people smile, cry, laugh, and think. Find out the impact they made and share it. Let others know how much they’re life impacted family, friends and colleagues. Find out the story that few others know. Let their life speak.
3. Let Scripture Speak
The Bible says the word is powerful and active, sharper than a double-edged sword. The Bible says his word will not return void and will accomplish the purpose for which it is sent. All of our creative words and thoughts pale in comparison to the power of God’s word. Let it do the work. Read it in context. Preach it context. Don’t try to be cute, be true. It’s timeless and will never lose its power.
4. Invite them to follow Jesus.
We will all have to meet our maker one day and knowing him is eternal life. They will miss their loved one, but the only relationship that will last forever is one with our savior. He hung, bled and died to be in relationship with us. He was separated from his father and humiliated so we could know him. He squeezed all of his “godness” into a human body coming through the womb of a virgin and lived 33 years so we could live forever. He is the resurrection and the life. He needs to be the feature of the sermon; beginning, middle, and end. If we preach and we don’t invite people to know him, we’ve failed.
I consider it an honor to preach a family members funeral but it’s even more of an honor to be used by God and called by God to preach his word. Take that honor seriously and remember our faith was made for moments like this.
As we are home this week for what would have been our Spring Break in my current city, we are making adjustments to our schedule and patterns based on the coronavirus or covad-19. It is easy to complain about the challenges of washing our hands every 30-60 minutes, not having any toilet paper in the store, and having to stay home from school, work, church, etc.
It’s easy to complain about having to stay home with your kids watching Netflix on one of your color televisions until you remember the time when there was only one television in the house that was black and white with a foil wrapped antenna and plier turned knob to change channels. It’s easy to complain about internet interruptions until you remember a time when we typed on a blind typewriter or word processor. It’s easy to complain about eating chicken three days in a row, until you remember eating fried bologna sandwiches or mayonnaise sandwiches. I hope you are getting my point.
When the people of Israel were free from Egyptian bondage, they wandered in the desert for 40 years. God provided manna and quail from heaven daily but they wanted to go back to Egypt where they had food and shelter but were enslaved. They were free in bodies but still enslaved in they’re minds. The key to avoiding this desert wandering mindset is to remember. In the Old Testament he kept telling the people of God to remember. Remembering allows us to be grateful for our past, content with our present, and hopeful for our future trusting that God is in control.
Slavery was not good and did not feel good, but through it they used their skills to build a nation and saw God as a deliverer. As they remember they’re past of being slaves in Egypt, practice contentment with their manna and quail, and look forward to the hope of the Promiseland. In the end, an entire generation died off in the desert because they struggled to remember the past, be content with the present, and hope for the future. When 10 of the 12 spies peeked into the Promiseland, they said, “We look like grasshoppers in our own eyes.” They did not understand how you look in your eyes isn’t as important as how you look in God’s eyes. God promised them they would make it the Promiseland. God promised Abraham he would be the father of many nations. God promised them they would have good success if they kept the book of the law.
I challenge you today, to remember where God has brought you from as an encouragement for where he can take you in the future.
One year ago this week, my wife April and I shared with the small group of partners remaining in Full Life Community Church, that we were closing the church. Our youngest daughter Charis was less than one month old and April was still on maternity leave. After nine years of planting Full Life Community Church, collectively reaching over 400 people but never amassing more than 60 people in one season, we discovered that God had a unique purpose for our church and it had been fulfilled. Full Life Community Church became a safe place for people to heal from however they’d been hurt. Some came to the church having been hurt by previous church leaders in their former church. Some came to the church having been hurt by their former spouse or significant other. Some came to the church having been hurt by their parents or extended family. In retrospect, we were the safe place for hurting people.
The reality of being an emergency room, hospital, or rehabilitation center; however you may want to phrase it is, hurting people struggle to invest in others because they are in crisis mode fighting for their lives. We would never expect a person in emergency surgery for a lacerated liver to get off the operating table and assist in a surgery in the next operating room. In retrospect, those who came hurting, struggled to give as much of themselves to assist in ministry as they would had they been healthy.
God in his sovereignty, gave us the gift of hurting people knowing we would know how to love them through hurt. God in his wisdom, allowed us to steward hurting people because he knew when they healed, they would be more impactful in the kingdom. For professional and personal courtesy, I will not mention the names of former members who are doing amazing work in the city, state, and nation. I’ll just say thank you for the gift of your presence, your belief in the vision, and entrusting your spiritual care to us in the season you were there.
Yesterday, I cleared the last of what has been four different storage units since 2009.
The bible says in Malachi 3:10, ‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.’
Honestly from early on in our church life, we were given items that needed to be stored including high level executive desks and military grade bookshelves. We were constantly looking for ways to give things away because God had kept his promise of pouring blessings we could not completely store.
The final storage unit number was 2020 which happens to be this year but is also the measurement used to validate perfect vision. As I packed up contact cards, offering envelopes, Discover Full Life Partnership Manuals, children’s toys, sound equipment, music stands, HDMI cables, and computer monitors; my mind start flashing back to Sunday morning finishing a sermon (because I was bi-vocationally pastoring), loading equipment in our two family cars, driving to the meeting location, unloading equipment, leading prayer for our leaders, setting up, leading worship, preaching a message, and then breaking it all down, loading it all up and bringing it all home to do it again the next week.
As I cleared storage unit #2020, I treasured the many memories that are now stored in my heart of marriages that were restored, children that accepted Jesus, businesses that were built, and babies that were dedicated.
On February 21, 2014, Anaia Naomi Tabor was born to us our first child, after having had a miscarriage in 2011 and finding out we were pregnant on June 6, 2013, our 10th wedding anniversary. The next day, February 22, 2014, was the first Sunday we were hosting our services in a newly leased spaced. God used gifted leaders to support us in our time of transitioning into parenthood.
A little over a month later on March 30, 2014, we dedicated the worship space and we dedicated our daughter back to God. I had no idea that this would be one of the last times I would worship with my mother who transitioned to heaven on April 4, 2015 or that it would be the place where I would complete my Master of Ministry Leadership degree in 2017.
I also cherished the challenging seasons of trying to monthly pay rent as it increased and annually. I cherished the seasons of depression and disappointment. I treasured the seasons of movement and transition of those who were there in the beginning, the middle and ultimately the end. As I reflected, all I could say was, “Thank you Jesus for 9 years of meaningful ministry. Thank you for the ways to challenged me to trust you when I could not trace you. Thank you for the ways you taught me to repent when I made mistakes and the ways you challenged me to love my wife as Christ loved the church and laid down his life for her. Thank you for entrusting this flock to me for this season. Thank you that I know you’re pleased and are saying well done good and faithful servant, not because I was a perfect pastor but because I was willing to do what he asked me to do. Obedience was and is my standard of success. In Genesis 6:22, the Bible says, “Noah did everything God commanded him.”
I did not pastor perfectly, but no one can say I did not pastor passionately, persistently, and purposefully. I know with all my heart, I did my best and God was honored.
Today, as members of Celebration Central Austin, we will dedicate our youngest daughter Charis Dawn who was our grace baby. She’s the gift that God brought out of losing my mother-in-law and father-in-law to cancer within 6 months in 2017. She’s the gift of my wife completing her second master’s degree in school administration and become an assistant principal. She the gift that reminds me, we cannot nor do we need to earn God’s love.
I always encouraged our members to mark milestones in their lives like weddings and wedding anniversaries, births and birthdays, graduations and home sales. Because as we mark milestones, we build virtual Ebenezer milestones or reminders of who God is, what he has said, and what he has done. He has been faithful in the past to complete what he began and he will do the same in this season.
So, now as I transition into ministering as a primarily speaker, author, and coach to schools, nonprofits and churches, I am looking through the windshield of amazing opportunities while glancing in my rearview mirror to remember that God can do it and he will do it again!
If I can be of service to you or your organization, don’t hesitate to contact me at www.coreytabor.com/booking or call me at (512) 710-8410, my business number or (512) 535-8672, my personal number. I am excited to be fulfilling my purpose of continuing to inform, instruct and inspire people to fulfill their purpose.
Yesterday, I was on my way to Daddy / Daughter Haircare Event sponsored by The Man in Me with whom I serve as the Development Director. This event was so empowering for me because I learned from a professional how to retwist my daughter’s locs. While I was doing my daughter’s hair, Kobe Bryant, one of the greatest basketball players in the history of the world was dying with his daughter in a helicopter crash.
At 41 years old, Kobe Bryant has won 5 world championships, 2 Finals MVP’s and 20 years with the same organization the Los Angeles Lakers. He was building a production company where he’d just won an Oscar for a documentary about his life in basketball. He was married to his wife Vanessa and had 4 children including 13-year old Giana who died in the helicopter crash with him. He is undoubtedly a first ballot hall of famer and one of the top 10 players in NBA history.
I want to share three things I’ve learned from Kobe’s life and subsequent death.
1.Leadership is Born and Bred
Leadership is the ability to influence others to do what needs to be done to move themselves or an organization towards their mission, vision and values. In the game of basketball, the team goal is always to win the game, win the division, win the conference, and then the NBA World Championship. Individual goals can include winning the scoring championship, being selected to the All-Star team or winning league MVP. No can accomplish team or individual goals without leadership.
Kobe was born as a basketball leader to a father who played professional basketball. Kobe was gifted enough to be a leader in high school based primarily based on his skills. As he was drafted to the NBA as a 17-year old, his skills were not enough to get him where he wanted to go. He had to breed leadership through learning his teammates and influencing them to play to their highest level. After 3 straight championships, Shaquille O’Neal his partner in crime left the team and he was left to lead alone. The next two championships meant so much to him because he helped his teammates be their best selves. Yes he was born with leadership abilities but he grew those skills to become a better leader.
2. Maturity – Mistakes Don’t Define You
I define maturity as not making the same mistakes over and over again. All of us make mistakes, we’re human. But if we continue making the same mistakes, that is lack of maturity. Kobe made a mistake in 2003. He engaged in a sexual relationship with a woman in Colorado. He was charged but not convicted. He later gave his wife a multi carat ring and apologized to her, the NBA, and his team.
He continued counseling and together he and his wife rebuilt their marriage and expanded their family with 4 children. He became a man who was known as a husband and father. He coached his daughter’s basketball team and was taking her to a basketball experience on this trip when they’re lives ended together. Kobe owned his mistakes and made different decisions in the future. Today, he is being remembered as a great basketball prayer but just as much as a husband and father.
3.Family First | Legacy over Liability
Our family is our ultimate legacy in this world. Our relationships with our parents and siblings are an investment that we build on through our future endeavors. If we’re blessed to have a spouse and / or children we are gifted with to steward, it is our responsibility to leave a good legacy.
Invest in experiences not just items.
Forgive quickly because bitterness kills.
Ask questions instead of making statements.
Never leave your family without saying I love upon
Leave a legacy faith – introduce your children to Jesus not just the joys of toys.
Kobe will be missed. He finished well. He worked hard, he amassed a great deal of income and influence but he would give it all back to be here with his family. So, I say treat everyday as a present because it is, love God and love people.
The other morning, I opened my computer and began opening many files that I would need to write. I opened the Mac program Pages to type my notes; I opened Google Chrome for access to the internet to do additional research; I opened my Logos bible software program to research scriptures in various versions and Spotify so I would have some music to listen to as I wrote. I thought about opening the Mail app for e-mail abilities and iCal to have my schedule for the day easily acceptable. While I was opening all of these files, the computer began to process information slowly. I was ready to move forward to accomplish my purpose for the day, but I had too many windows opened. Some of the programs had a phrase listed next to the title of the document or program that I hate. The phrase is, “Not Responding”. I had too many programs open for my operating system to operate. If I didn’t close some files, my hard drive could ultimately crash.
This is what is happening in many of our lives; we have opened so many files that our spiritual operating system is crashing because the files we opened first took up too much processing space to get the spiritual priorities in there. This Saturday, January 18th we are going to share tools that will help you, “Prioritize for your Purpose”. My hope is that by the time you leave the workshop, you will have a better idea of what your purpose is in life. My hope is that you will begin to recognize the many roles and relationships you have and learn to prioritize those based on your purpose. My hope is that you will discover the invaluable resource of money and time that you have and use those to move towards the purpose God has for you. Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”
The key to seeing your plans succeed is having your plans line up with God’s purpose for your life.
This weekend we will provide you with the tools you need to begin prioritizing for your purpose. Most people just let life happen to them as they react to circumstances but once you discover why you’re on the planet and begin making intentional choices to accomplish that purpose, you will move from being ordinary to extraordinary. Don’t miss this moment to change the trajectory of your life.
January 18, 2020, Corey Tabor of III Coaching and Ronny Washington of Higher Ed Path will be presenting the Prioritize for Your Purpose Workshop. During this dynamic workshop, you will learn steps to discovering your purpose in life. Everyone is looking for why they are here, we give you a process to begin discovering the answer to this question.
After moving towards your purpose, we teach you how to prioritize your roles which are many, your relationships which are diverse, your time which is limited and your money which is significant. In just 4-hours, you will leave with practical tips and tools to live out your purpose at a higher level in 2020. You don’t want to miss this life-changing workshop.
This Sunday I will be preaching about two of our seven values at Full Life Community Church, “Racial Reconciliation and Reaching the World”. Our nonprofit community development center is hosting a conference to address this issue March 23-24, 2018 called, “The 5:18 Reconciliation Conference”. I am passionate about this issue and I will tell you why.
Many who know my story know that I grew up in Abilene, Texas which as of 2015 was 61% White, 25% Hispanic, 10% Black and 2% Asian. I know it’s more diverse today than it was when I was there from 1978 – 1995. My two best friends Brett Coe and Paul Matta were white and hispanic respectively.
We did everything together but go to church because none of our churches were sensitive to the racial communities we came from.
We would pray together, study the bible together and hold each other accountable to living out our faith but we could not worship together because still to this day, Sunday morning is the most segregated time in our nation. We, like my friends, work together, live in the same neighborhoods, attend the same schools, shop at the same grocery stores and yet we don’t worship together.
WHY is Sunday Morning the most segregated time in our nation? Listen to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther the King’s perspective.
This question is a “million dollar question”. There are so many historical, sociological and honestly spiritual reasons why we don’t worship together. I could prophetically (meaning speaking the truth in love) simplify it to selfishness and pride. We selfishly want a worship service that reflects us and our preferences more than one that reflects the full image of God (all of us are created in God’s image so when worship only reflects us we are missing a part of the image of God). We often in pride think “our way of worship” that affirms us ethnically and often disaffirms others ethnically is better than “their way of worship.” Contemplative worship compared to Celebratory worship is one comparison. One is quiet, liturgical and linear, the other is loud, unscheduled and nonlinear. Neither are wrong but they are different.
I have been doing reconciliation work for nearly 20 years now through organizations like InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, III Coaching and now The Republican Party of Texas. One of the principles I consistently communicate is we are not looking for nor should we seek sameness (colorblind, all one race of people) but we should according to our faith and our values a national seek for oneness (unified despite our differences).
A nation divided against itself cannot stand. This statement can be attributed to Jesus in the Bible located in Matthew 12:25 and Abraham Lincoln in his 1858 speech entitled, “A House Divided”
In Genesis, we read Moses write about marriage and he says, “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” The man and the woman are one but they are not the same. They are equal in human value but not the same. The problem many have is they want to “whitewash” or wash out race in america and make us all the same which limits us from being the great nation we can be. Our diversity is a strength but we have allowed it to be a weakness, especially in the church. We have kept women who are gifted by God to speak from being preachers. We have kept youth who are gifted by God to lead from being pastors. We have kept people who are in a lower socioeconomic status from serving in significant leadership roles and we have allowed people who look and think just like us to dawn the entire leadership structures of our church.
We as a church and a nation need to do as Jesus did and “power down” so God “power up” and get maximum glory out of our lives. Think about it, Jesus left the opulent “suburbs of heaven” and relocated to the dirty “hood projects of earth” navigating through the streets of a woman’s womb so he could relate to us and be the ultimate sacrifice for us. He could have come as a rich influential majority culture adult male who was a king and had earthly authority but he decided to come as a member of a blended family, the son of single mother who was engaged to be married to a blue collar worker. He would ultimately become a refugee, homeless leader of a nonprofit or nongovernmental organization called the “Kingdom of God”. Later he became a convicted felon and was sentenced to the death penalty.
The question of the church and our nation which was founded on principles of Christianity and religious freedom should be the following:
How many blended families are we willing to serve and place in leadership?
How many single mothers are we willing to serve and place in leadership?
How many blue collar workers are we willing to serve and place in leadership?
How many refugees are we willing to serve and place in leadership?
How many homeless people are we willing to serve and place in leadership?
How many nonprofit or nongovernmental leaders are we willing to serve and place in leadership?
How many convicted felons are we willing to serve and place in leadership?
If we were open to serving these populations, instead of mostly pursuing white collar, high dollar, tithe paying unit families, diversity would be more accessible.
Later this year, we will be launching a separate blog, podcast and virtual book reading club to equip the church and our nation to be reconciled. Join me this Sunday at 10:10am at Full Life Community Church, a missional, maturing, multicultural church that lives to reconcile people to God and one another.
I found this article linked to the image below from the Southern Baptist Church about praying for reconciliation. We will provide others throughout the year.
Share this blog with others who you want to join the conversation.
Sign up here if you want to be a part of the 5:18 Reconciliation Movement
In 1992, Mary J. Blige released the song, “Real Love” with lyrics like:
I’m searchin’ for a real love
Someone to set my heart free
I’m searchin’ for a real love
I was in high school when this song came out and was always looking for love. I was looking for a girlfriend that would affirm me and accept me for who I was. I found myself looking for the love of my parents who were always accepting and affirming. I also looked for love from my peers as I was being nominated for class favorite or student government. All of the issues I had with low self-esteem from being a nerd and being stuck in the friend zone were based on how people viewed me.
As a college student, I finally embraced that God created me to be me and I needed to live as the unique person he created me to be. According to Psalm 139:14, I am fearfully and wonderfully made. According to Ephesians 2:10, I am God’s handiwork. According to Genesis 1:31 as a person that is created by God, his view of me as his creation is very good. This perspective allowed me to begin living life to the fullest because I was no longer basing my value on who people said I was, I based my value on who God said I was. People change, God doesn’t! So now I can live a life where I am constantly loved and valued by God. So if things are rocky at work, home, the world; I can still make good decisions out of the foundation of being loved by God.
So as this Valentine’s Day continues, many who are single (not married or dating), dating (not married), engaged (not married), or married struggle to accept the real love that will be the foundation for all the love they experience in life.
John 3:16 is the most famous verse in the world and is a descriptive verse about the love God has for us.
It says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
So when asking about the Valentine’s, the day of love, we should not have to ask what did we receive as much as we focus on what we have given. Because real love gives. Keep giving and you will keep feeling the love of God flowing through you to others.