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

Monday, September 8, 2014

I Go to the Water


I go to the water 
Waves lapping 
Shore defining 
The water comes to me 
(c) 2014 Jay Cookingham 


When I need a Sabbath, I try to go to the water and today I am down by the Hudson River.

I need rest for a weary soul.

So I steal a few hours from a schedule thick of life, responsibilities and things to do. I drink in the power of the river and I ponder the Psalms...
He opened the rock, and water gushed out; it flowed through the desert like a river. Psalm 105:41
Restless like the river, I move to a few secluded spots I know, hoping to find the one that fits. I do and silence fills the gaps with peace. Then I notice my thirst.

You can can get a little dry when you pour out so much but the truth is that often it is our choices that make ourselves arid and parched.

So I pray...

Father...open the rock that is my heart and flood the desert with your life giving water. Drench me, saturate me and leave me wet with your presence. This and this alone bring me back to life... and I thank you for your current of love that flows through my heart.
Amen

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Current of Change


 

ocean-current-1 copy

Changes are one of those constants in life, like seasons they carry promises and challenges but with deadlines not of our choosing. Oh, we have choices to make for sure. We could turn and catch the wave of change and ride it for all its worth, attempting to tame the roar with our courage.

Or, we could plant our feet, letting the full force hit us and go spinning in the torrent, possibly drowning in our own failed expectations and imagined strength.

Changes are powerful waves…so are our choices

It seems every powerful wave of change begs a soul shaking question. How
much of my life is centered on living for me (and only me) then asking God to bless the mess I created…instead of laying my life down and passionately following after Him?

His Word supplies the answer(s)

Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, "This is the way you should go," whether to the right or to the left. Isaiah 30:21

"By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going." Hebrews 11:8

Arise, for it is your task, and we are with you; be strong and do it.” Ezra 10:4

Listen, walk by faith and do the thing that God asks of you…

Changes are surfing opportunities, they are meant, (designed, purposed) to take us somewhere. The current of change relocates us to the place God wants us to be…where we need to be. The ride may seem rough at times but if we ride it out, the shore ( our next place of our journey) is closer than we think.

I have caught a new wave, the current of change is moving fast and picking up speed… taking me to a new place…I’m going out, not knowing where I’m going.

Starting in September I will become the Lead Pastor of Bridge Builders Community Church (I have been serving as Associate Pastor for over a year now). Pastor Tim, who is the founding Pastor, will be taking a 6 month sabbatical (his own wave riding experience) to see what God has for him next. We had trusted leaders overseeing this transition process and guiding us to this decision...we all feel like this is the Father's plan.

I have been asked..."so, do you feel called to this position?" My answer is this...(and I am being sincere). I am called to be a son of the most High, I serve at the pleasure of the King...what my Father asks me to do...I will do. I don't feel called to a position but to deeper relationship with my Father, who asks me to serve in a different role that I ever dreamed for.

My wife Christine, our kids, all see (in different ways) God's hand in this...we know we are in this together, that is a blessing to me.

So, I ask you to pray for me, for us...I am overwhelmed with the responsibility and humbled by the fact that I have been asked to step into this role. It is WAY bigger than me and I know I will be hanging onto Christ in ways I never imagined before...that is a good thing.

Thank you and God Bless you all!

 

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Monday, June 23, 2014

Silencer

 

 

Silencer copy

I had coffee with Sam (not his real name) recently; Sam and I were trying to catch up after a few years of minimum contact with each other. As it often goes with life, our circles cease to cross or even touch. He went to his church and I went to mine, and there were no social events that overlapped both of our very separate lives.

I can’t say that we were deep friends when we attended the same church together but Sam was a very likeable guy, he invited friendship. We had coffee many times, talked in depth about marriage, family and work, the usual subjects of men drinking multiple cups of Java converse about. We connected and I liked getting to know him, even when he exposed a secret that he thought would scare me off. Sam wanted to talk about his addiction, one that didn’t go over well in the church men’s groups he tried to connect with.

Sam was addicted to porn.

He was brutally honest about this addiction, desiring help to beat this demon down and be free of it. Instead of scaring me off, it broke my heart that he seemed alone in his battle. Over the course of a few months we met over coffee, we talked, prayed and addressed issues connected to his addiction. We set up accountability checkpoints and attempted to enlist other men to draw along side him…but nothing seemed to click with other men and it frustrated me.

Where were the other brothers?

My family eventually left that church and settled in the church where I now pastor. As I said earlier, Sam and I drifted and lost contact. Eight years later and once again Sam is sitting across the table from me and his words hurt my heart. Sam tells me…

“Jay…I don’t have any friends”

Sam is in his early 50’s and he feels friendless…alone in his battle. This is the great tragedy of many men; their hearts are vacant and isolated. If nature abhors a vacuum, more so a man’s heart…it will try to fill it somehow. Sam fills his with porn.

He knows its sin, he knows it’s an addiction, he knows he needs help and he knows he can’t do it alone. He loves God, loves his family and feels absolutely horrible about his actions and yet 8 years later…he still can’t connect with men from his church. When he brings up his issue with them, the group grows quiet and unresponsive…no insight, no acknowledgement of similar struggles...nothing.

It is the great silencer… isolated even when in a group…and he retreats deeper in the sinkhole of addiction.

Sam and I have entered the fight together once again but my point is this. Look around your church, there is a “Sam” in your midst and he needs you to drop your guard and fight alongside him. Silence is a killer and destroys the brotherhood of our hearts. Your “Sam” needs a place where his voice doesn’t invoke shame but invites standing with him in his battle. Yeah, it just might expose your own wounds, your own issues… that my brother is a good thing. Men like Sam, when freedom comes, they will fight the gates of hell for yours. We all need a brother like that.

Back to back, shoulder to shoulder…no man gets left behind. Let’s do this.

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. Proverbs 17:17

 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Warriors


 

fathersday 2014 smaller-1

This past Sunday on Father's Day, our church decided to switch things up a bit. We decided to have a council of dads (3 to be exact) answer a few questions about fatherhood and being men in general. As I interviewed this men, in between the laughter and light heartedness, I discovered the richness of their stories and their grip on Father God's heart.

Their story is all our story, ordinary guys serving an God who wants to be Father God to us all. I hope you'll listen and ponder the questions for yourself...and leave an answer here if you would. It would be awesome to hear more of your story as well...God bless!

Listen Here: http://bbcchurch.sermon.net/main/main/20108033

Also...here is my Father's Day reflection, just a few quick thoughts!

 

 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Desperate for God


 

desperate1

For days I have been wrestling with this thought…

When desperate for God isn't desperate enough

Desperateness is a sense of urgency that lives on the edge of hope. It’s chock-full of risk, jammed tight with do-or-die thinking and flirts heavily with a sense of last-ditchness. Desperatus (Latin for deprived of hope), wrecks havoc on a human heart, exerting its influence and putting extreme stress on our ability to trust.

I wonder…is this a good way to approach a God of Hope…with a sense of desperatus?

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13

The truth is (at least for me) that I am more desperate than I realize. My heart has areas of numbness because I grew tired of caring and waiting for an answer…my heart of trust was compromised.

I grew less desperate…

And I gave way to self-sufficiency, which didn’t bring hope and just buried my heart deeper into the muck of settling for something far-less than God’s best. This, my friends, is no way for a human heart to live.

When desperate for God isn't desperate enough

My dependence, my desperate need of Father God is what causes me to run (not merely approach) to a God of hope who desires me to thrive/live/move/breathe in hope. Desperatus exposes my heart and reveals that deep desire for more of my Father.

That is the way for the human heart to live…it’s the only way it can

“Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” Psalm 73:26-26

What about you…are you desperate to live free?

 

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Obedience Part 1

Obedience is not a four letter word that makes us cringe (in fact, its nine!) but its related to another four letter word...that word is love...yep, love! Here is part 1 one my sermon on Obedience: Holding on to Love...the beautiful part of this is when the congregation gets involved...just beautiful!



http://strategicfathering.sermoncampus.info/main/main/20089937

Monday, May 12, 2014

Trust

 

 

momsday smaller-1

My wonderful bride is not a limelight seeker (or any other flavor), she prefers the background and the "behind the scenes" ministry. Unlike her husband, she's uncomfortable standing in front of a crowd and would rather share her heart over a cup of tea with someone. When I asked her if she would speak on Mother's Day she readily agreed and despite her unease, proceeded to expose part of the Father's heart yet seen to many of us. I can almost guarantee you will be blessed if you take the time to listen to this reflection on trust...I know I was.

http://bbcchurch.sermon.net/main/main/20076334

 

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