(Journal entry written by Matt Cook on March 7, 2016)
(Journal entry written by Matt Cook on December of 2013)
I am tied up between a decision of faith and a decision of conventional wisdom. A normal guy, with a normal income trying to build a business that sustains myself and close family. With daydreams bigger than I can handle and passions greater than my sleep cycle, there is nothing I can do to escape myself. I am burdened with anticipation of things that are unannounced and have yet to be prescribed, though I know they are needed for my very basic survival. To do less than great things feels like a rebellion against my responsibility to harvest what I’ve been given.
What am I doing at this present time? There are some options on the table at this point, none of which I have clearly outlined and determined as the best directed probable outcomes. Today is December 1st. I promised myself that this coming New Years Day I would wake up in the Sierra Leone heat, in a continent that I lost my heart to – Africa. It was as if the read earth called me from a child, and waited for my return, though I had never set foot before. I declared the trip to be a spiritual investment and prophetic declaration for the coming year to produce in that region. I first visited Sierra Leone back in April of this year and felt my spirit more at peace with itself and the surroundings than ever before. Africa is a place where secret underworlds battle for spiritual domination and outsiders look to bridge the gaps that surface and manifest into the reality around them. I felt very much connected with this mysterious unknown. I became humbled and greatly empowered at the same time. After being acquainted I simply knew I would return again. What I didn’t know was when, and how much of myself I would bring and allow to give.
Here I am, after a year of growing in California and abroad, back in Edmonton, Canada with the newest vision of $2Million coming through my bank account within 12 months of graduation (Graduated May 2013). This is to come in whichever way necessary to fuel my passions to develop a global organization. There are three main opportunities which I have either partnered on or started on my own within the past 2 years and they are what I see at this point allowing the vision to come into fruition. Idea Vessel, a new marketing and advertising agency that serves small and large businesses alike. Travel by Dart, a television show produced by my partner Sorin and I. And iCan, the development of a sustainable third world foreign investment platform that creates scalable businesses and gives ownership to opportune locals who deserve it… amongst other things under iCan umbrella like better fundraising online for missionaries and divisions of volunteer and attainable ministry experiences globally.
My question herein lays, which of the three to run with? How fast to run with them and for how long of a season? Which can produce the greatest outcome while building my faith the strongest and impacting the world in the best way possible? And how, if at all should I spend time in the initial process of growth focusing on serving others while producing the building of myself financially? Some say treat your self to growth and then treat others. Some say treat others and you will be fine, while other say balance both and find ways to grow each goal simultaneously.
I struggle to find the perfect solution, while prioritizing what truly matters most and never imposing on that very thing. Bill Johnson of Bethel Church says bread is for eating and seeds are for planting. Don’t give away the seeds for your next seasons harvest, because you’ll have nothing and that helps no one.
Like many, I look to the core existence of myself and wonder which of the many reasons I am here on earth. I regularly conclude that it is in my free will to decide my worldly achievements and it is God’s duty to empower them, with the promise of not letting me take too much that I can’t handle. So with such belief, and a soft heart for change or the big stop sign if necessary I plow forwards. As expected things always happen, opportunities arise wherever I go, and it is to no doubt that my faith grows as with those around me during the process. As success remains inevitable in my mind, I wonder to what degree success is pendant on my current life choices.
Sure it is, right? But, to what degree should I think of the here and now affecting the future. One couldn’t stay in the present thinking forever. And one couldn’t possibly have total control, could they? That may be mistaken for self-idolatrous in some modern beliefs if one were to go for that. However, I do wonder if God sits above watching, happy that his people are brash and forward in their attempts to conquer and rule the land he gave them. I think of those who’ve led nations or movements, whether it is for the love of God and humanity or no reason at all other than attaining power and status, how much faith they must have had to get them to the levels that they achieved on earth. The God-less with no moral issues to worry about, only their undivided plan to conquer that which they desire may put them ahead of many others, naturally as there is no limitations to their approach. Pure rectified plowing of the fields with nothing to get in their way. How do they pan up against the spiritually conscious, guiding their movements precisely at each step of the way, carefully not stepping on toes to hurt anyone or cause infractions to the commandments, I wonder? Could faith in God in this social generation be wrongfully taught, with power taken away from the people of God for fear of disloyalty to their king by taking things into their own accord? Historically, whose faith is stronger, the self-questioning righteous or the un-Godly plowing enforcer. And who has done more in a lifetime, regardless of for better for worse? I say the latter of the two.
I ask this to myself only for the simple reason to find more boldness, while taking the best of both worlds and merging them together to produce greatness for the kingdom on earth. There is gold in everything, and to know our future is to know our past, both of the righteous and unjust. I believe every past action is prophetic for every future creation or unlocking of creation. Understanding history is key for breaking spiritual strongholds that passed down from generation to generation. Within the concept of God allowing no more than we can handle, I still believe those who push boundaries and ask God for more will be granted. Every prayer is heard, if not for us then for our future generations. Someone at some point must be granted access to the unlocking of mysteries and world betterment if a prayer has gone out. Our words bring life, and that is a promise of God. Could I be a piece of the lineage that creates a generational impact that lasts both physically and spiritually for hundreds, if not thousands of years to come? Why not? I concur.
Back to the cause of my writing: The decision of what to do with my current pallet of options. I like to wait for Sundays to decide bigger things, as I feel spiritually connected with God during my day of rest. Whether I sleep in for rest or get up early, eager to learn and grow, it is the expectation of Sunday that defines the special increase in revelation for one full day every week. I trust that Sunday is a good time to make critical choices, so here I am searching for deeper meanings of truth.
The current situation at hand is this:
I have a 46 day itinerary coming up in 4 days: Flights have been booked for the following – Edmonton to California Dec4 – 14th, and Africa December 14-Jan 20th
Ican: I had originally intended to go to Redding, CA to pray and seek revelation for 9 days, then leave empowered to Africa for 36 days and establish a foundation and growth plan for my planned organization called iCan. The plan was not to go and spend a bunch of money, but rather to go and find every opportunity possible for foreign investment during my stay, while filming and documenting my journey, to help better create multiple project portfolios for seeking out investors to give to the new business opportunities. I would set out to interview may of the top people of the country, including the president and take video proof of them supporting the iCan movement, which I could use to empower trust and faster built relationships with potential investors around the globe at a later time. I would create the ability to sell off private ownership of each individual opportunity (or project portfolio) until each reaches a profitable stage, then once a promised rate of return on investment has been reached all ownership would go to the locals. iCan would then take it’s percentage of profits from the back end to grow and function moving forwards to grow in size and better empower each end of the spectrum. With more cash flow, more Leoneans will have access to education and tools for success. I would use a portion of all profits to take on charity tasks and create even more businesses to boost economy.
There would be little to no risk, great management of each project, on-the-ground video diligence during each project’s progress, and creating a world of change and opportunity for the locals, while preserving their cultural heritage and giving aid to them in areas they most need (health care, benefits packages, employment at good wages, fairness and gender equality, and kingdom teachings and principles). All of this would be consistently built within a holdings company, and eventually an epicenter for all workings and aid to go in and out of would be built. Libraries, medical treatments, daycares, schools, food shops, distribution centers, water treatment facilities… we would start small and plan for large scale growth right from the beginning.
Idea Vessel Inc. was created October 1st to fuel my family’s future and mine financially, as well as to create the personal investment and wealth that would be needed to build iCan if nobody bought into what I was doing. This business is designed to broadcast creativity and positivity into businesses through marketing and design and campaign creation. This is my passion and best skillset that I bring to the table as a working-class individual. It is my one thing that separates me from the rest in terms of producing excellence. When I work, it gives me energy rather than taking, which is a must-need and key to success in any workplace. Everything from rebranding to website builds, copywriting, video production, social media, and connecting brands to the world in the best and most original ways possible is what Idea Vessel is all about.
I started the business originally anticipating to bring on a partner and brother to better empower his future by leaving his job, while aiming to increase the company skillsets and ability to sell to our local Edmonton markets, all the while hoping to lessen my absurd initial workloads. I now see the growth potential of this company, and a much anticipated heightened increase for work and diligence in the opening months is prevalent. The company has produced more than twenty thousand dollars in it’s first month and while away for 2-3 weeks in it’s second month in Russia it continued to grow and now has potential for much more revenues, upward of the $100,000 mark in the coming month if I play my cards right. Meetings are set from Dec6-14th to bring on some very large potential clients, all of which will prove to be time consuming if I take them on. This is a great opportunity to grow, but the system needs to be in place to handle the workload if I am to achieve my personal endeavors and convictions to set up iCan in Africa, which from a very rooted standpoint was a major reason for starting Idea Vessel in the first place. All things seem to be going according to plan, though there seems to be much more work than one can handle. I have yet to bring on my partner into the business, and I am struggling to fulfill the client workload as of now, let alone bringing on more. A change will need to take place. I am feeling the stretch! Exciting times… mixed with decisions, decisions.
Parents need: I have discovered my parents need for financial restoration and need of new jobs to produce an easier and much deserved life for them. I recently found out my parents were struggling with taxes on the purchase of their new home 5 or 6 months ago, and that their job earnings weren’t sufficient for the bills coming in, as they had to drive 200kms per day and were stuck at a rate of roughly $3000/monthly loss. They will soon lose their house, and even worse, potentially lose faith as this house was purchased with the notion that God wanted them to move out to the country and live simpler lives with freedom and beauty as the kids, myself and sister are “all grown up” (hardly the case) and out of the house. I will passionately now look to employ my mom full time with Idea Vessel and aim to give her the life she and my father deserve. Even at the very least provide a sustainable income over and above her job at a rate that allows her to pay the bills and empower my business at the same time. I have always envisioned my mother working with me on business, as she is a stunning employee and a creative genius. Only in recent months has things became a reality, and they will be soon ironed out with a systematic approach that will become fail-proof. Time and attention to need in this area is of the essence. This brings me to yet again a cross-roads for priority of time in the coming months.
New love: I met a woman who I believe may become my future wife and mother of my children. I met her on a train in Moscow while filming an episode of Travel by Dart. She became our translator and flew across the country in good faith to come and aid us in travelling out to bring gifts and inspiration to a Russian children’s foster home. Olga, pronounced “Olya”, currently lives in Russia and to see her requires an investment of time and finances to meet with her and have the time to experiment with each other and bring us closer together. As for the degree that my feelings are for her, and as serious and crazy as it is, on the first date I felt so compelled to tell her that I loved her that I just blurted it out and from that point on my entire life seemed to have shifted course. I thank God daily for bringing her into my world, and at the same time beg that I won’t be teased by my daily dreaming that now feels as if it is heavily dosed with steroids.
She is willing to partner on my projects and help empower me to achieve great things. As selfish as this sounds, this excites me very much because for the first time in my existence I feel bringing a woman that I’ve met into my life in this way will actually empower me and not take away from my lifetime of insane goals and visions. As her dreams are very similar to mine, I can now empower her dreams and shift to make many of hers my own. The value in this is unprecedented, as many other women before me were turn or burn mentality. It was always about my business or them, my dreams or theirs, my time for me or my time for them. I see marrying Olga as an amazing opportunity, for the both of us to work within the seasons of our lives and empower each other in amazing ways to get to the level we each desire, spiritually, physically and mentally.
Investing in us right now could a) be the best move of a lifetime or b) turn out to be a massive re-directing decision and dividing of my current passions, ultimately taking away from everything I’ve been thriving for and change my course of direction completely. For a man as passionate as myself about achieving what he has set out to do… this is a very scary and unpredictable thing to think about. I write to conclude many yesses in my life to be yes, and no’s to be no’s. There is much value in being 100%, fully reconciled in all areas, in faith and ability to accept a loss if need be, for the sake of potential gain and ultimately greatness. I know that none of these decisions can lead to disaster, and all of these decisions will grow me indefinitely, but nonetheless they are still scary and have deemed me many sleepless nights!
Family: The question of family constantly lingers on the mind of a man. At what age and season of a man’s life is he to bring a queen into the picture? Truly the best king is the most faithful servant, and much preparation is needed to become so. I believe ultimately love is a choice, and so is faith; both of which require utmost of preparation and care. I am left to wonder. Do the thoughts of creating a lifelong family place a higher value and importance than setting out to grow a business and create change in a distant country?
Rabbit trail: If asking God for opinion or influence, I believe the reality is that we would have the choice, and our faith in any choice made should not be divided regardless. A decision must be made out of free will and in my experience God likes to suddenly empower a decision, only for fun after it has already been made. This portion of the journey and unanswered questions at hand seem both cruel and fun, and can be so burdening at times. After each season comes to pass, the question remains, do I love myself enough to believe that everything will work in my favor and I am deserving of success on all levels? Or is the word ‘deserving’ in and of itself contradictory to the ideology that everything in life is comprised of inheritance? Some say you can only ever work hard to deal with what you’ve been given, and that amount is predetermined and out of your control. I teeter on all three sides of the coin and pray for more wisdom and understanding in the matter. Surely, I will uncover the truth and gold in this and be able to share with others.
My purpose of writing today and question to myself is this: Do I forgo Africa to a later date, while focusing on the betterment of my business and family life and hope to maintain passions for returning to Africa later? Or do I remain strong in faith and continue the journey that I already prayed into and planned for 6 months, while believing that all things work together for our good and that the natural course of outcome while in the midst of faith will take its rightful position?
The choice of Africa – Am I wise to cancel, or faithful to press onward? Is it simply better to go on with Africa and trust in confidence that my business will thrive not on my own accord but on God’s in the first place? It is my job to prepare the horse for battle and God will win it, but what horse am I to prepare?
The choice of Idea Vessel – Am I faithful if I sacrifice all other things for this? Will I reveal greater opportunities in the near future because of my early sacrifice and investment by not going to Africa, which is pulling on my heart? Or am I overall operating based on the sole faith of money to provide, and that is why Idea Vessel is considered a more lucrative and/or calculated safe choice?
I have been taught that to work from rest is better than strife, and that if one gives God the room for a miracle it can be expected to come. If things are too attainable by human standards and goals are such that we see how to complete them, perhaps they are not big enough for God to work within. A story comes to mind where God fills containers with unlimited flow of oil, but only to the capacity in which the people provided containers. He forewarns the people to bring as many containers as they wish, and to what degree people choose to accept and bring forth is the amount they receive. It’s like we all have the choice of how much we will receive. How great we will become. How much we will love ourselves and be able to grow. If we give God more room, he will fill us up.
Ending note: Forgetting what has been said to anyone about my plans, and the roller coaster that comes along with placing one’s vision on the line publicly, what is my true heart in the matter? What will make me happy and determine my own faith to bridge new gaps and empower me more in the future? What cannot fail? What is God’s heart in the matter? How can I remain loyal to all of those around me, while increasing faith in others and producing great testimony to spread God’s love inadvertently? I hope that it is in my actions, not my words that I speak loudly and I pray that the actions I chose are the best possible. The language I chose to speak will be one with love and care and attention to detail.
Though time is running short and I am merely days away, time will tell.
December 1, 2013