"I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands." - Psalm 143:5

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Marriage Encounter




This past weekend my son Matthew married his love Samantha, the first nuptials in the Cookingham clan. In the afterglow of a glorious day, I think of the lives connected, how the story mingles the past with the future, engraving its own verses into the narrative. Crossroads, cross sections… the powerful weaving of hearts, flowing with immense beauty and grace.

Such is the strength of marriage, what it adds to the storyline, its flavor, its spark and the complete wonder of oneness. The covenant of marriage dances with our spirit and marinates our heart with total abandonment to love’s call of freedom. It is a song that sings to the deepest part of who we are and woos us to surrender our heart to another.

This encounter, this wonderful exchange of wills, is designed by the Father to set us free. Oneness is not meant to separate us but to complete us and teach us how to love as completely as He does. For God so loved… He gave, and it is this precious gift He imparts into the covenant of marriage.

"Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate."
- Mark 10:9


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Thursday, October 15, 2015

How Sonship Shapes a Man's Identity


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The-Dr.-Vibe-Show-Info-For-Black-Men-And-Those-Who-Love-Them copyHad a great opportunity to be interviewed by my new friend and brother, Dr. Vibe last night on his very popular DR. Vibe Show. You have to check out his site and log on to one of his broadcasts, always engaging and informative and sure to bless.

The subject matter is one I'm passionate about, men discovering their true identity and the threats against them. When a man loses his identity he also loses his sense of purpose, he loses his way and surrenders his heart to lesser things. An orphan slave/mentality will lead us off course; we grow distant from the Father in every way imaginable. Moreover, IF we are distant to the Father’s heart then every heart entrusted to us will feel the same effect.

Father God did not battle for our hearts to turn us into slaves or worker drones. He didn’t leave us as orphans, no He sent Jesus to redeem us and make it possible to have a deep relationship with Him. Jesus shows us how it done…what sonship looks like.

1 John 3:1 says this….

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

What this Scripture says to me is that the world doesn’t have a clue what a son looks like but it doesn’t know the Father. So, it doesn’t matter what the world says, or our past, or the enemy says about our identity…God calls us (not merely a title, but a legal status) His sons!

Sonship continues to be God’s best strategy to rescue our identity.

We need to see ourselves as sons… and to understand the fullness of the love of the Father for us. It’s the transformation of the way we think, the renewing of our mindset and our hearts.

Sonship speaks this into a man… Identity and Purpose

Identity = Significance, value, worth, importance, answers the question of
“Who am I?”

This is the heart of who you are

Sonship solidifies that identity and freedom flows from the relationship we share with Father God.

Purpose = Direction, focus, motivation, design, answers the question
“Why am I here?”

This is the heart of your mission

Sonship corrects and directs the steps of a man; it aligns his spirit with Father God’s and prepares it for action. Sonship convinces a man that he was made for something greater than himself.

Your true identity is not what you project, not what you show off…our manhood, our masculinity is based on who God says we are

These are just some of the thoughts we touched on last night for more watch the replay of last night's Dr.Vibe show with me and cast of characters who love God and helping other men. https://blab.im/jjaylw

Follow Dr.Vibe on Twitter @drvibeshow


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Accidental Guest


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I was recently an "accidental" guest on a video podcast hosted by Dr. Vibe (see here). I was watching online because I'm due to be interviewed by Dr.Vibe this coming Friday and I wanted to check the show out. As I was listening I got invited into the conversation (around the 20 minute mark) about "Men and Power, can they handle it?". I had a blast and was honored that these men allowed me to put some of my thoughts into a fascinating topic.

The surprise invitation made me realize how important it is to be ready to tell your story of redemption...the story of how you came into the greatest story there is.

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. 1 Peter 3:15

It's amazing how Father God used this "accidental" invite as an opportunity for His name to be gloried and for people to hear the message of hope. For this I am thankful, humbled and reminded to be prepared.

Anyways, if you have an hour plus to kill, check this show out and let me know what you think....bless you all!


Thursday, September 3, 2015

From Problem Child To Pastor



This week I was honored to be interview (online) by Rodney Kellum from fatherpreneurship.com. Rodney is a new friend of mine who has a huge heart to see people set free and was kind enough to give me time to tell part of my story of freedom. If you have some time (it's about 45 minutes) and you don't mind the glare of my bald head (also I move around so much you  would think the chair I was sitting on was on fire) you'll get a deeper peek into how God rescued me from the darkness of abuse. Also check out Rodney's site, it's full of great content and he's an awesome dude!

Here's the link to the interview....


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Monday, August 10, 2015

What love is


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Hang with me today…this will be tough story at the beginning…

This was going to be easy, the knife was sharp and I was all alone deep in the woods, no one would find me for days. My time had run out and I couldn’t fight back anymore.

I was tired, so tired of being without… without having the right clothes, the right looks, the right friends, the right family and the right to be happy. So I filled my emptiness with the self-medicating drugs of the day, each drink, each toke a reminder of what a loser I was. I was looking for numbness and all I got was a double shot of awareness.

I was a deadman walking

My commitment to Christ at age seven seemed so distant to the heart that sat on rock waiting to for a blade to bleed out its life. The wondering of “where were you God” had long past me by, like a far-off dream tugging on my sleeve but easily ignored.

I drew the knife from its sheath, the chill of the blade giving me Goosebumps, and went to make the first cut…before I could; I heard a voice… it said…


It was as if the whole universe shook; my universe anyway, with the power that only a Messiah can speak with. I stood, my head spinning around like a crazy man, looking for someone…anyone…because I thought no one was watching.

He was…Messiah was

That seventeen-year-old started a new journey that day, it wasn’t easy but he faced the abuse, the mistakes, the false identity and the true enemy with renewed faith. For years after my suicide attempt, I thought “Wow, I should be dead”…how wrong I was. The truth was that I should be alive… for that is what Messiah wanted for me… life.

After all…This is love and 1 John 4:10 reminds us….

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
1 John 4:10

You are loved by a God who pursues you with a relentless love!


Friday, July 10, 2015

Core Mission

One of my core missions in life is to encourage men and help them see the Father as I have come to know Him. This mission is a passion of mine and I love sharing the message of sonship wherever I can, conferences, men's groups, social media and even better, one-on-one over some really great coffee. To be used by the Father this way is powerfully rewarding and equally as humbling.

Sometimes you get instant feedback, men sharing what God has done by revealing who He is to them, those are precious moments and ones I'm grateful for. However, most of the time you give/share/reveal and pray that men see the Father and the love He has for them...and you wonder...did your words have any impact.

For a guy who loves feedback and visible indicators that something I shared from Father's heart made a difference in your life, not hearing feedback can discourage my heart. I have learned (almost) that you never know the how far the reach, the influence and the sway you have when you yield your life to Him.

But...every once and a while, Father gives you a peek.

A year ago I commented on an excellent post by Morgan Snyder called Stranded with Flip Flops – A Case for a Generalist (you can read it here)

Below is my comment in case you don't have time to click and read Morgan's post (although I think you'll be blessed and will put my musing in context)

Such a powerful post and I loved it, the images of this mountain man coming to the rescue is inspiring. I do have some other thoughts and I believe they fit.
I consider myself a "generalist" a "jack of all trades" type of guy. Yet, I don't hunt, my home repair skills are suspect and if I judge myself against a list of "manly things" I may not qualify for a mancard anymore. At least that's what my dad thought...and for years I suffered from that failure to live up to his version of manhood. 
Thankfully Father God changed all that. He alone defines my masculinity and it is OK not to be good at any of those things...it really is. I don't feel castrated because I can't fix something or track down a wild animal in the deep woods. No, I a man because the Father says so...because He made me a son.
My older brother is one of the toughest men I know. An ex-Marine, can build anything, can hunt down (and has) anything, knows every construction tool and its use...but has two failed marriages and left a minefield of busted relationships along the way. 
Men are not defined but what they can and cannot do...they are defined by their Father and what He says about them. I am reminded about something my wife wrote about a few years ago. I was clearing out some old paperwork and came across a letter that my she wrote to honor me on one of my birthdays. I won’t bore you with the whole letter but there was this one section that grabbed me by the throat. (BTW…it still does) 
“Some men build massive skyscrapers, awesome bridges, complex computers, things which can be destroyed. My man builds lives.” 
His life, His power, His Spirit…through us…brings life. This is the rescue mission I am sent on everyday. Anyways, just a few thoughts from a 57 year-old father of seven, who has been married for 31 years and following Christ for 50...and who is still in process of becoming more like a son every day! God Bless ya!
Yesterday sitting in my church office I received an instant message from someone I didn't know inquiring about something I wrote. After some investigation and a few more text messages I found the above comment and forwarded to this brother, asking if this was what he was talking about...here is his reply:

"Men are not defined but what they can and cannot do...they are defined by their Father and what He says about them." THIS is what changed my life!! 

My heart was overwhelmed with thankfulness to my Father, that He spoke so clearly to this man's heart and impacted him so deeply. I share this to encourage you that your story matters, how the Father rescued you matters, spread this message whenever you can and wherever you go...you never know how Father will use what He has done in you!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


I am sharing a movie my son Joshua made on Lamentations 3. One of his favorite passages in Scriptures.
There's a powerful message in this...I hope it ministers to you.