This week we took some time to interview a man who’s after God’s heart. We wanted to tell you his story, one that we think you will find deeply inspiring. Take some time to check out this week’s Man of the Week: Joey Hollingsworth
Name: Joey Hollingsworth
Occupation: Accountant & Graduate Student
Crazy fact about Joey: He has bowled a 300!
Q: Joey, tell us a little about yourself.
A: I enjoy spending my free time around family and friends, fitness, and discipling! I am currently in my final year at Bellarmine University, working towards a Bachelor’s in Accounting and Master of Business Administration. I attend Southeast Christian Church (Blankenbaker Campus) and am involved with the Connection’s Ministry, serving on Sunday’s, and bible studies. My favorite Bible verse is James 4:14, which says “You do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” I love this verse because it shows that this life is just a “mist” in the grand scheme of Eternity with our Heavenly Father.
Q: Okay, so tell us who you were before you met Jesus.
A: I grew up in a very close-knitted household with my mom, Angie and older brother, Mikey. My father disappeared and abandoned my mom when she was pregnant with me in 1997. Although I wouldn’t understand it, this is when the spirit of confusion entered my life. Divorce primarily yields negativity, but there was one thing that was positive that came out of this one – My mom, Mikey, and myself became very close. My mom made growing up without a father as transparent as possible through hard work and unconditional love. We weren’t active in a church but belonged to a local catholic congregation in Louisville. Fast forward to August 1st, 2009… one of my worst nightmares became a reality. I remember waking up at 3:30 AM to smoke surrounding the room and my mom shaking me and yelling for me to go outside. We had a house fire and Mikey wasn’t able to make it out. At 12 years old, I had no one else to blame except the God that I had no relationship with. This tragedy happening near my transition to high school had a significant impact on my mental and spiritual well-being. I went to a Catholic high school where I was exposed to the Catholic Doctrine. I was involved with athletics throughout my high school career; which is often times what I turned to deal with my struggles. High school is when I was first introduced to this man named Jesus. I still continued to have the seed of blame planted towards God for what he let happen to Mikey. Upon graduation, I was given the opportunity to share my story with a generous donor at Bellarmine University. I was blessed to receive a significant scholarship that would enable me to have the opportunity to become a first-generation college graduate. During my first semester of college, I looked in all the wrong places to find satisfaction – materialization, partying, etc. All of this would change when God worked through a friend that I would meet at Bellarmine.
Q: So at what point did you give your life to Christ?
A: I’ll never forget the sentence that would change my Eternal Destination – “Joey, if you can spend an hour and a half each day going to the gym, why can’t you spend an hour a week giving praise to the God who created you?” Although this seems very blunt, I am very hard headed and need to be told how it is at times. At first, my pride got in the way and I found myself getting extremely defensive. But, I swallowed my pride and gave it a shot. I had been introduced to Southeast Christian during my high school days by a friend, but I was going for the wrong reasons. It wasn’t until the Sunday after I was told this sentence that the love of Jesus would be poured into my soul. I remember going to service by myself and seeing the worship team singing with something inside of them that I wanted. I wasn’t sure what that looked like, but I knew I wanted it. After about a year of going to service at Southeast, I decided that it was time to surrender my life to Jesus. September 24, 2017 is when I was baptized and recognized Jesus as my Lord and Savior.
Q: And how did this change the way you live?
A: After accepting Jesus as the Lord of my life, there was something in me that felt different. The hurt and blame I had placed on God had been put to rest. I didn’t realize that there is good that comes out of our seasons of suffering. Instead of giving into my sinful nature, I noticed that I began turning to the Bible for advice. I noticed that my pursuit of happiness revolved around my love for Jesus. To make a love story short, Jesus has changed my life in every facet. In particular, my love for people has grown significantly. I like the way Pastor Dave Stone says it, “Love people where they are.” Not that I didn’t love people before, but it’s just different now. My motives, satisfaction, and heart have shifted from believing false earthly pleasures to genuine Eternal Promises. When I look at someone, my first thought is “I wonder if they have a relationship with Jesus.” The fulfillment that I have experienced through the love of Jesus has motivated me to lead others to feel that same fulfillment. By no means do I have it all figured out, I still struggle on a daily basis on things – fortunately, Jesus paid the price on the cross for us!
Q: So what do you feel like you are still working on today?
A: Throughout the bible, it is apparent that we will always struggle with sin in this journey called life, but that’s why God sent his one and only Son to die for all of our sins. With that said, I go through seasons when I am severely struggling and then others when I feel my relationship with God is on the forefront. In particular, I often times wrestle with giving up control. I am obsessive compulsive and want everything to be in a certain order, leading to anxiety and stress. Anyone that knows me understands this. A lot of this is rooted in fear and lack of faith. Fortunately, the bible offers a lot of advice regarding these seasons. I like the way the Apostle Paul puts it in his letter to Phillipi in Phillipians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” This is often times my daily prayer when struggling in seasons of control. One thing that I have found very beneficial in my walk is having a constant reminder that God is in control. One way I do this is through listening to worship music daily – whether that be in the car, at work, or at the gym.
Q: If you could encourage men today in three words what you say?
A: Be a light.
Note: Joey was so excited to share his story and hopes that if you felt touched, need prayer or a conversation, he would love for you to reach out to him. Feel free to contact our page if you want to reach him.
So there you have it, that is our Man of the Week and we hope that you too can be a light even when you have been dealt a bad hand at times