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

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Flat Out


.flat-out-like-a-lizard

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” Psalm 51:17

flat-out (-out′) – adjective
at full speed, with maximum effort, etc.
absolute; thorough; definite

‘Flat out’ is a phrase suggesting maximum effort and speed, but in Australia it usually means flat out on your face as in the expression “He’s flat out, like a lizard drinking.”

I feel flat-out…

There are days where I feel like a colossal (huge, massive, large, enormous, gigantic) failure. Days when I can’t think of one good thing I’ve accomplished…yesterday and today are those days. Without going into major details, let’s just say that my financial planning could use some more finances and even more planning.

I feel flat-out…and a little green and scaly.

Broken? Yep…I think so. I am worshiping, I am trusting and I am struggling. I am not sure Father God will answer my prayer the way I want but I know He will answer it…and with my best interest in mind. He is good no matter the answer…that I know. His goodness came in the form of an email and it brought encouragement along with it.

I got this email from Frank (who I consider to be my spiritual father), I’ve mentioned Frank before in my blog (here)

Good Morning Bro,

I am writing to you via e-mail knowing that what I am writing to you is for the Father’s glory and do not want to put a stumbling block in your way. Jay, I am so delighted in seeing what God our Father has been doing in and through your life, as you have laid yourself out on His alter. Man, you are such an encouragement to all of us. Look brother, I know from where God has taken you from, and He has and will continue to do might things in your yielded-ness, submission and obedience to Him and His Holy Spirit.

Thanks so much for helping to set an example and model for families, all that God can and is doing in yielded vessels. Both you and Chris have laid it all on the line for Him, setting aside all for His glory. Brother I know this is the work of the Holy Spirit and God receives all the glory and honor, but I want to encourage you for being the earthen vessel that show His transcendent power!! It is a blessing and honor to see His mighty hand working, it is an encouragement for all of us to continue to seek Him and become all that He has for each of His children.

Be blessed my brother,
Frank

That was a much needed word and it has me thinking. In the middle of any struggle God’s goodness gives strength and boldness. God’s goodness not only makes knowing Him a reality but give us access on a much deeper level. The boldness comes in a position of security not pride of a position.

Do you know the old saying, “It’s who you know” ? Well, knowing the Father changes everything. There is approval when the Father calls our name, not shame. There is loving correction when He calls our name, not condemnation. There is acceptance when He calls our name, never rejection. That’s relational boldness, what better security is there?

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace; that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

I feel flat-out…relying on Him

“Oh that men would praise Jehovah for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the sons of man!” Psalms 107:8

Thanks for listening to my ramblings!

Blessings,
Jay

Sunday, August 29, 2010

I Worship

 

iworship"Faith is the heroic effort of your life. You fling yourself in reckless confidence on God. God has ventured all in Jesus Christ to save us. Now he wants us to venture our all in a life that can face anything it has to face without wavering....Again and  again, you will get up to what Jesus Christ wants, and every time, you turn back when it comes to that point until you abandon resolutely....Jesus Christ demands that you risk everything you hold by common sense--and leap into what He says....Christ demands of the man who trust Him the same reckless spirit....that is daring enough to step out of the crowd and bank his faith on the character of God." - Oswald Chambers


I Worship

I dance a simple step
of devotion
The celebration fresh
as morning dew

I waltz with a
world creator and
lend my voice to
the refrain of heaven

The painter of songs
echoes deep in
my soul chambers

There, from the twilight
of transformation

I worship

Jay Cookingham © July 2, 2003

I am a tired but proud father tonight; I am writing on fumes so I hope this post makes sense. After a round-trip of over 1400 miles (and 24 hrs on the road) my son Josh is at Huntington University in Indiana, it was quite a trip…in fact, 21 years in the making.

Huntington is a unique Christian School for it allows nonbelievers to attend there, even though it unashamedly promotes Christ as the only way. I find this fascinating since Josh has a gift for making friends and standing up for the truth of the Gospel…this part of his journey should be a daring adventure for sure. The adventure for his parents is letting go and trusting Father God in ways we never dreamed of. For me the process of letting go starts (and ends) with worship.

Faith is a huge part of worship in my estimation…trust, confidence, assurance…yep, they’re all in there. Worship is a wonderful expression of relational power…inviting us deeper into His presence to connect us with Himself. There is no one like our God and no greater adventure than pursuing that relationship.

We sang this powerful song at a dedication ceremony for the incoming students at Huntington and it’s a declaration of faith in our God. It’s a releasing type of song for me as well.

Enjoy the adventure, Jay


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Thursday, August 26, 2010

This is the Way


MP900427767 (1) 

“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21

Tonight's the night. After a 13 hour trek to Indiana my son Josh will be officially launched. His new adventure begins and my own personal one continues. I want my blog and my simple musings to be an encouragement and a blessing. My heart's desire is to present God's love and truth through my journey as husband, father and son...the three pillars of my life.

What I don't want; is to present myself as a perfect dad or any one of those pillars. I have made many mistakes as a dad, some I have revealed through this blog.
(see here for proof) What has kept me moving forward in my journey is hearing (and obeying) that small still voice saying...This is the way...walk here…

When I have not known the way...He has been there and continues to be there for me. I cannot love my family the way they NEED to be loved without Father God...it just not possible. I need someone to show me the way…His way.

"In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:6

Thou will show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. Psalm 16:1

Now you've got my feet on the life path, all radiant from the shining of your face.
Ever since you took my hand, I'm on the right way. Psalm 16:11 – The Message

Here is a poem I wrote a few years back…it describes my heart position right now.

This is the Way

I listen to my steps
The cadence familiar
By faith I have reasoned
my way here
The sureness of paths
made known

This is the way

My view changes
The way does not
I am woven into a timeless
expression of purpose

This is the way

© Jay Cookingham 2-10-05

Soulfari will be quiet for a few days as we travel to Indiana and back, please pray for safe travel and for Josh’s start. I appreciate you all, God Bless!
Jay

 

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Monday, August 23, 2010

A Quiver Full (minus one)


 

450px-Fullquiverofarrows

Wasn’t going to post today but I saw that Bridget’s Blog Carnival theme was “children” (be sure to check out the other great posts there) and I started to muse. So, here it is raw and free flowing…

Lo, children are a heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.  - Psalm 127:3

I have seven wonderful children, my quiver is full, packed you might say. 21 years becky-isaac 2010a of fatherhood has morphed me into a better human being and for that, I am thankful. At times that quiver seems so heavy, almost too much to bear. There have been times in my life when I wonder at the wisdom of God in making me the father of these children.

dan 2010 copyHowever, there continues to be many what I like to call “bull’s-eye” moments, one took place on this past Sunday. Soon my quiver will be one shy of full. Joshua, my oldest, is leaving for college in Indiana this Friday (August 27). Josh wants (actually, is called) to be a film maker and will continue his studies at Huntington University. His leaving signifies that his great adventure begins in full-throttled mode. But, I’m rambling now…

So, back to Sunday…mike-me 2010 copy

Josh and I went to the Hudson River to spend a few hours alone together, just to talk about future stuff and share hearts. I didn’t really have a “going away speech” about dos and don’ts…although I hinted at one. I really just wanted to be with my son. Josh and I are tight, friends even and I was looking forward to this time all week. I told him how proud I was of him and as I was talking I realized  that I must ask him a tough question.

“Josh…is there anything I need to ask forgiveness for. Something that has hurt you or make you think I wasn’t for you?”

matt 2010 copyMy question took him by surprise and he paused for a bit…then he said. sarah - horse 2010 copy


Dad, you are the most amazing man I know. I don’t need to forgive you; I need to be more like you. I wish I was half the man you are.”

I replied quickly (before I lost it)

“Josh, my desire is that you become twice the man I am…and with the Father’s help, I know you will.”

josh 2010 copy With that…I apostello-ed my son…
I released an arrow.

(4) “As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.”

(5) “Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.”  - KJV

(4) “Like a warrior's fistful of arrows are the children of a vigorous youth.”

(5) “Oh, how blessed are you parents, with your quivers full of children! Your enemies don't stand a chance against you; you'll sweep them right off your doorstep.”  - The Message Bible

When I read this I have this thought run trough my head over after over—arrows are not truly arrows unless they are shot—unless they are released. They can’t stay in the quiver.

The Hebrew word for mighty man is gibbor (ghip-pore) and means warrior. However, another meaning for gibbor is a word I love; it’s the word champion. A champion is one who is a defender or supporter of a cause or another person. That means you and me!

We are champion arrow releasers, empting our quivers and letting them fly! If there are any bow hunters reading this, you know what it means to string one up and letting it rip. You have to aim of course, adjusting for wind, distance and obstacles in the way, all to hit the intended target. We are champions for our children and we will release them someday, one-way or another. The deeper our relationship with God the more precise our aim will be. Let’s send out them with purpose, power and encouragement.

When the archer misses the mark, he turns and looks for the fault within himself. Failure to hit the bull's eye is never the fault of the target. To improve your aim -- improve yourself. - Gilbert Arland

Father help our aim to be true…Amen

Blessings,
Jay
beckybeach 2

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Saturday Evening Re-post

matt 1_Page_1



Trying to make his a new feature of my blog…a Saturday collection of the posts that challenged me, encouraged me or made me laugh this week. I may include a previous post of my own from time to time but tonight is for those wonderful and talented bloggers out there. Blessings, Jay

 

Duane - Scribing the Journey
The nameless

Michael - Untitled
I will give up for you

Jason - Endless Impact
Let it Be Said

Bill- CYCLEGUY'S SPIN
“Come As You Are” Culture

Karen - Flickers of a Faithful FireFly
Unwrapped

Dusty - Reflections on the Life of a Christian
Missionary

Sandra - Sandra Heska King
He Reigns

Glynn - Faith Fiction Friends
Two Gifts

Jonathan Pearson - {Un}Common
Watch your mouth


And know I leave you with this final thought!

"I would not have thought it possible... to love a Romulan." Worf

"But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." Matthew 5:44

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Soul Songs


I used to write a lot of poetry…it was soul therapy for me. It’s is something I’m trying to bring back into my life and I’m revisiting many of the poems God has given me over the years. Today I am facing many financial shortfalls and the weight is heavy but I know that God is good. Here is what I read early this morning.

“But the word is very near to you, in your mouth, and in your heart, that you may do it.” Deuteronomy 30:14

I’m been praying for wisdom and direction…thinking my Father was far off….

He’s not…He’s near

His WORD is near, deep in my heart and ready to speak words of encouragement…and worship. So, here is my poem and a song that always ministers to me. Bless you all!

120-2077_img
Soul Songs

Small hurried moments
surrender precious heartbeats.
Shallow whispers walk,
where life words once danced.
Prayers muted by the rush,
give up in the flight of distance.
All is vanity, a mirror of pride.
until sacrificial love pours out
and retells a life story.
Time itself is stilled,
by a Holy pace.
Verbal sacraments,
once held close,
boldly lift and take wing.
Soul songs give breath
to supplications deep,
inhaling the depth of God’s love.

Jay Cookingham 06/23/03

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Chase of a Lifetime

 

swiming young man Poised for exodus

from a dryness of spirit

I thirst for a wellspring

A challenge, a call

a horizon to fill my gaze

with hope

I thirst for deep waters

A journey, a call

a mission to join

passion and purpose

It is the chase of a lifetime

Jay Cookingham © November 11, 2003

    

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bad Sheep Time - Ram-some us from Disturbing Puns

 

cheetosbutton3002 It's time for more disturbing puns from the Bad Boys of Wool! Go on over to Duane Scott's Scribing the Journey blog for more disturbed people and their disturbing posts! It won't bother Duane, He likes that kind of stuff! Hmmmm, should we be encouraging him?

 

bad sheep no. 19

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Passage – Dan’s Ceremony Intro



“Even if you're on the right track, you'll
get run over if you just sit there.” 
       - Will Rogers

DSC04346 I have come to understand that in the study of my children there needs to be daily lessons in spiritual genealogy, it goes like this. My Heavenly Father identifies me as His son, which speaks loudly of relationship, purpose and direction. First, I must understand who God says I am and father out of that sacred place.

Second, I must help my kids discover and know deep inside how the Father God sees them. Most of this is discovered in the every day steps of life, where the life of Christ is fleshed out in the “ordinary” things. Where failures and mistakes become learning modules and victories in Him accelerate our relational growth. In this “school” my fathering is immensely more effective and all the extra-credit work brings glory to the Father.

This is where the Passage ceremony comes in. It comes at the end of the discipleship work we have done together (the year before) and is  a celebration of accomplishment and expectation.The power of ceremony gives room for a community of believers to support and affirm one another. I believe that this “rite of passage” will help my children identify their place in God’s Kingdom and continue the vision of this Scripture.

“He will turn the hearts of the fathers toward their children, and the hearts of the children towards their fathers….” Malachi 4:6

Here is a short video of the beginning of Dan’s ceremony. It’s my greeting and introduction (yes, I move my hands a lot) to the men who gathered that night. We had some video issues and had to use backup cameras. So the quality is not that great but I think you’ll start to feel part of what we felt that night. I plan on posting some of the men’s impartations in the days ahead, so stay tuned. Oh, if I haven’t mentioned this before, this is my fifth ceremony for the Cookingham clan (and I’ve been involved in two others)…it always gets me pumped!

If you like you can read the beginning of all these ceremonial shenanigans
by clicking on….

The Power of Ceremony – Dan’s Turn and
Passage – Dan’s Ceremony

Blessings,
Jay

Monday, August 16, 2010

Passage – Dan’s Ceremony


DSC04146


In my last post The Power of Ceremony – Dan’s Turn I described how we celebrate a rite of passage” ceremony and how it was now my son’s Daniel’s turn. Dan is actually turning 13 in September but we had the ceremony early because his older brother, Josh, is leaving for college in two weeks. We couldn’t (and Dan wouldn’t) have the ceremony without him.

Last Saturday night (Aug. 14th) 14 men gathered in support of my son and what an awesome God thing it was. In the days ahead I will be posting audio and video clips from the ceremony but I wanted to start with something that blew me away. Dan’s older brothers Josh (21), Matt (18) and Mike (15) totally owned the moment and shared words that Dan will remember all his life. Here is what they shared, starting with Josh.

DSC05339Daniel,

Tonight is a night that is unlike any other in your life. It is the night that you become a man. Where you take your first steps into a new journey of life.

This journey is very difficult. Having “officially” been a man for 8 years now, I can safely say that it is a journey that is filled with mistakes, failures and setbacks. But it is also a journey filled with adventure, hope and blessing. As a son of the Most High, you are under the sovereign will of God. No matter the challenge, God WILL help you rise to meet it. No matter the failure, God will give you the strength to come back to Him.

I was trying to think of what to say to you, this special night. At first I thought I would take a verse from the book of Daniel and make it applicable to your life. But no verse seemed appropriate. At first I wondered about this, not having a word from the Bible to speak to you. Then I felt God lay something on my heart. The words of a children's song:

Dare to be like Daniel,
Dare to Stand Alone.
Dare to Have a purpose firm,
Dare to make it known.

Daniel, it may seem silly, but I think that song describes you perfectly. There have been so many times where you have shown your willingness to stand for what you believe in, no matter how ridiculous it may have seemed at the time. Even if the entire family was against you, and even if you were wrong, you were unafraid to stand alone.

As I've seen you mature over the years, I've grown more confident that you have this trait for a reason. I've seen the way you stand firm for what is right, and I'm proud of the fact that you are committed to the Lord's will in your life.

I pray that you never lose that. Never lose the part of you that dares to stand against the world. I'm proud of you, and I'm honored to be your brother.
                                                                                       - Joshua

Now from Matthew

Dan, the words of one of my favorite songs come to mind…

Be strong in the Lord, never give up hope. You are going to do great things in God. God has got his hand on you so never live you life in fear. Forgive and forget but don’t forget why you’re here, to serve Him. Take your time to pray, thank God for each day. His love will find DSC04156a way in everything you do.
- The Words I Would Say - Sidewalk Prophets

Dan you have matured as a young man so much over the past year. You take care of your younger siblings and your mom. I am proud of you and I love you bro.

Psalms 46: 1-3   God is our refuge and strength an ever present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

…and from Mike

DSC04720 Dan

I can’t believe that you’re thirteen all ready, well you’re not really thirteen yet little brother. Over the years I’ve seen you mature greatly spiritually and physically. One of the ways you’ve matured is you help so much around the house. When mom tells you what to do you do it and most of the time you do it with a great attitude. One of the ways you can tell that you’ve matured is how well you get along with Becky and Isaac you encourage them and play with them. You’re a great big and little brother and friend. I’m proud and glad that you’re my brother. I’ll be praying for you and your future wife. I hope you never forget this night and always follow God with all your heart. I love you Dan.

Ecclesiastes 12.13
Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.

I think I received the biggest blessings watching my sons honor their brother in such a manner. Dan stood a little taller when his brothers were speaking into him, it was huge! That, is the power of ceremony…that is the power of Holy Spirit powered brotherhood.

Blessings,
Jay

 

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Power of Ceremony – Dan’s Turn


danpack

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, all your might, and these words which I am commanding you today shall be on your heart, and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and daughters, and you shall teach them when you sit down in your house, and when you walk by the way and when you lay down and when you rise up" Deut. 6:5-7

See this young man above? That’s my son Daniel, who will be 13 in September and trust me when I tell you, he’s a terrific guy! Dan is son number four of my five sons and Saturday, August 14th is a special day for him. That night he will be going through an awesome experience involving swords, fire and friends. Like his brothers Josh, Matt and Mike and his sister Sarah, he will have his Passage ceremony.

Passage is a “rite of passage” ceremony marking a step from childhood towards adulthood for my children when they reach their teenage years. (You can read more about it here if you want) I look forward to these ceremonies as much as my kids do; it marks something for me as well.

Ceremonies are like stepping-stones, not only setting a direction in which to go but leaving a path to follow as well. When God is in the ceremony, it creates a stream of change that carries beyond the event itself. It places within us a marker of remembrance, one that pulsates with memory waves. These waves ripple through our lives and lap at the shore of discouragement and remind us that the Father will always encourage and affirm us.

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah. 29:11

These waves roll over us with a saturation of significance, carrying us forward in its current and our history is fashioned along the way. Ceremony of this kind declares God's faithfulness and helps our faith to grow. We can use it to help establish both a "stake in the ground" and a forward reference point for us to follow. It helps us pass on heritage and vision to our children.

"And when your children ask you, what does this ceremony mean to you?"
Exodus 12:26

A ceremony can nourish dreams, fuel our call and help define the road ahead. It can inspire action and motivate us to further submit to all the Father has for us. Ultimately, it should be a vivid reminder of all He is and our great need of Him. That is what Passage is all about, releasing dreams and purpose in my children.

So, if you think of Dan this weekend, please pray that he will hear God speak, we both would appreciate that!

Blessings,
Jay

 

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Bad Sheep Time - Ram-Dom Laughter

 
It's blog carnival time at Bridget Chumbley’s Blog where the topic is laughter. Be sure to head on over there for a few laughs! I'm not sure if Bad Sheep qualifies, but of course, the Bad Boys of Wool have their own opinion of what constitutes laughter. This particular one has a hidden joke between me and my wife which she takes great pride in the fact that she zinged me (usually she's the victim).
Enjoy!

bad sheep no. 18

 

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Saturday, August 7, 2010

Saturday Evening Re-Post


I don’t usually post over the weekend but I wanted to repost something I wrote in March of this year. The post is called “Stepping into Beauty” which is a short post about my wife Christine. I hope you enjoy it and are blessed. – Jay

wedding-flowers
Stepping into Beauty

Beauty: the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind

“In every man's heart there is a secret nerve that answers to the vibrations of beauty.” ~ Christopher Morley

Meeting my wife at a local flower show today, I stepped out of a cold drizzle into a chorus of color. I was walking out of dull grayness and stepping into beauty. Seeing my wife among all those flowers reminded me that marriage is all about beauty, the adventurous, passionate beauty of two people becoming one. Men need that beauty, that sense of wonder; it answers a longing deep within us. That secret nerve vibrates with a desire that can only sync with a heart made to beat for us, a woman’s heart.

I sometimes think that we (men) are afraid of beauty, thinking it makes us soft and “girly”. The truth is that appreciating beauty does not make us soft; it helps us understand softness. Part of my wife’s beauty, her strength and what makes her captivating is her softness. Beauty doesn’t tame me but it does calm me and fosters growth in my marriage.

Beauty connects me with my wife and that is a good thing.

“Whosoever findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.” Proverbs 18:22

Now that’s beautiful…

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Friday, August 6, 2010

We Stand Alone Together – Part 4 Replacements

To read the other posts in this series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

band-of-brothers[8] “That night, I thanked God for seeing me through that day of days and prayed I would make it through D plus 1. I also promised that if some way I could get home again, I would find a nice peaceful town and spend the rest of my life in peace.”
- Richard Winters

The Band of Brothers episode “Replacements” tells the story when replacements (New, younger soldiers) join Easy Company and the 506th Regiment to replace those soldiers killed in the Normandy and France. The new members struggle for acceptance by the veterans who have already fought on D-day and beyond. Many of the seasoned men talk freely of how they didn’t want to get to know the newcomers because they seemed the first to die. For the new guys, the effort to be accepted, to fit, and to prove oneself was a battle in it’s own right.

I told you in previous post that my in my company of men we have logged many years together, most relationships are 20 years or more. However, there are a few “replacements”, recently grafted brothers within the past few years. Their friendship has been as valuable as the “veterans” and thankfully; they have not felt the need to prove themselves to me.

I learn a long time ago that there will be men who leave your company. Brothers will be transferred out of your circle, by life or by God. There will be “casualties”; friends that will stop being friends for various reasons. How you deal with that will determine how your band of brothers moves forward. Your circle of men must breathe; it must make room for replacements…you must be willing to grow despite past loses.

Having a band of brothers is not easy, not for me any way; it takes vulnerability and a willingness to serve one another. Sometimes, it’s looking into the eyes of a brother and telling him what he doesn’t want to hear but needs to. Other times, it’s listening to a brother telling you to man-up and do it now. Its dealing with tough stuff, praying and working alongside for a common cause…it is simply a joint discipleship operation.

“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”  John 13:35

In my circle there are 2 IBM engineers, a musician, a radio exec, a UPS driver, a construction guy, a Utility worker, a local government worker, a salesman, a recruiter, a life coach and a retired security guard. Quite a varied group wouldn’t you say? The shared and separate experiences touch me deeply and give me insight to the Father’s heart. We share “battle plans” and “Intel” that we couldn’t get anywhere else, together we are stronger men. The way they fight for their King, for their families and their brothers inspire me. I think I serve in a company of heroes.

Some of you have mentioned that you wish you had a company of men, maybe just one man who would be this kind of brother for you and you for him. I’m praying for you that you’ll find such a group…soon. When you do, be ready…God will change you forever through it.

If you need a distant brother’s prayer or someone to talk to…I like to offer myself. I be honored to pray for you or listen as the case may be. Send me a email at: jcdude56@gmail.com

I included this small clip of the actual men of Easy company…sharing about each other. See if this speaks to you.

Yours in Brotherhood,
Jay


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Are You Game? Disturbed Edition

cheetosbutton300-150x150 I have posted part of this before (read more spiritual version here) Today's post is part of Duane Scott's madness he affectingly  calls: Pleasantly Disturbed Thursdays. Head on over and read some really disturbed stuff.

nohunting

Growing up in a rural area in upper NY State, I was exposed to rare culinary…uhm, treats. One of the more common entrées was the fuzzy gray speed bump known as the squirrel. My father hunted for them often, which never seemed much of a challenge to me since our cat had no problem catching one in our backyard. However, my father would come back from hunting with a few and act like it was from some dangerous safari expedition. Our cat would just drop one at the front door and be done with it, all the while looking at my father with pity. No, eating them would prove to be a far greater challenge.

Since we were quite poor, squirrel graced our table frequently, along with rabbit, pheasants and venison. My Mom’s squirrel stew was enough to place the little gray rodent on the endangered species list. That is, your species was very much in danger if you ate too much of it.

I have learned through the years that there are some disturbing side-affects for eating so much game meat. Here are just a few that I have observed.

Squirrel:
A great desire to raid neighbors bird feeders and to run back and
forth in front of passing cars.

Rabbit:
I have seven kids, enough said.

Pheasant:
A deep fear of being under glass enclosures.

Venison:
The phrase, “Passing the buck” brings up past feelings of rejection.
Don’t even bring up Bambi.

Blessings,
Jay

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Bad Sheep Time – Leaving the Flock?

This post is part of a discussion on Craig Groeschel’s book, The Christian Atheist hosted by Jason over at Endless Impact. You can also check out his co-facilitator and friend, Sarah Salter’s post over on her blog. it’s such a great discussion that the Bad Boys of Wool just had to get in on the action...hope you enjoy their "viewpoint"!

bad sheep no. 17

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

We Stand Alone Together – Part 3 Man-up

 

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I jotted down some thoughts while watching Band of Brothers series…I believe they are at the core of brotherhood. You can also read Part 1 and Part 2.

Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.
Proverbs 27:17 KJV

"If God is thy father, man is thy brother." – Lamartine

Around 15 years ago I walked into a major iron sharpening iron moment…it wasn’t pleasant (but it was needed). Married, a young father of two, my life and hands were full (little did I know about the five kids that would be following). My wife and I went to Vermont visit some friends we consider to be our spiritual parents. We arrived at their house, kids in tow, looking forward to some much needed rest and fellowship.

Frank and Jill are some of the best people on the planet, I can’t begin to tell you of the importance they have played in our lives…we are better people because of how God has used them to teach us. We love them dearly and spending time with them is like being at a spiritual spa, a retreat for your spirit and your heart. Christine and the kids greeted them first and then came little old me carrying all the gear, exhaling a sigh of relief as I entered their house…but not for long.

I wasn’t in the house two minutes before Frank confronted me, remember, he saw my wife first, and he hit me with this.

“Brother…this visit can’t continue unless we deal with this right now. I see in your wife’s eyes that she hurting. My question for you is…are you loving her how she needs to be loved?”

The Jackie Gleason ShowI’m standing there in a Jackie Gleason moment (you know, HUMANA-HUMANA-HUMANA, right in the kisser!)…realizing he was right and I broke, my wife broke…and God used Frank and Jill to help us heal together.

Frank was right, I needed to man-up in the way I loved my bride. He challenged me (in love) and entered a battle zone to bring Godly insight. Frank is one of those in my company of men, for a long time he has been there and I’m so thankful for him. The Father has used many of my Band of Brothers to sharpen me and lift my countenance (my face) so I can see where I need to go. Having such a company is not easy; it takes vulnerability and a willingness to serve each other…and at least one other thing…humility.

He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God? MICAH 6:8

Do justly (do what is right), love mercy (show compassion) and walk humbly (not worrying about me)…are these the weapons of a warrior? Yeah, I think they are…because God calls them good and He requires them of His sons. Frank humbly confronted me to do what was right with compassion…that was sharp and (thankfully) cut right to the heart of the matter. I’m a better man and my marriage is stronger because of it.

Do you have an iron sharpening, man-up moment?
Please, I would love to hear it.

In and for Him,
Jay

Next Time: Part 4 - The Replacements

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Sunday, August 1, 2010

We Stand Alone Together – Part 2

 

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You can read Part 1 here.

“You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.” - Winston Churchill

“When brothers agree, no fortress is so strong as their common life.”
- Antisthenes

Watching the Band of Brothers series moves me every time, I get carried away by the stories of those brave men of Easy Company. I watch in admiration of their dedication to the cause even though they hated the war. My heart aches with them as they recalled the friends (the real heroes, as they described them) they watch die along the war into Germany. I celebrate with them as they see their brothers at annual reunions and for that moment, they are young again. These are good men, I wish I knew them.

I do know the men in my company, here’s what I seen.

One stood with his wife as she went through a dark depression, she’s a joyful woman today because of his faithfulness.

One has traveled to the Philippines for years ministering to the poorest of the poor. Many are in the Kingdom because of his sacrifice.

One believed in a friend when no one else would. That devotion helped restore a man’s confidence…I know, I was that man.

We have shared money, talents, prayers and even homes. It is in these shared experiences (and many more) that I feel some of the same connections the men of Easy Company described for one another. They mentioned words like unity, honor and focus, demonstrating brotherly love in extreme conditions. They understood the battle and what had to be done…they fought together.

Here is what came to mind when musing on that Band of Brothers
and mine.

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”  Psalm 133:1

“Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.”
2 Peter 2:17

In my company of men there have been disagreements, sometimes strong ones. Unity doesn’t mean there won’t be disagreements, unity means there can be togetherness in spite of differences. Brotherly love is the glue, the strength to stay focus on defeating the enemy together.

“There is a war going on. All talk of a Christian's right to live luxuriously "as a child of the King" in this atmosphere sounds hollow -- especially since the King himself is stripped for battle.” - John Piper

In the movie Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers comes one of my favorite exchanges.

King Theoden: I will not risk open war

Aragorn: Open war is upon you whether you risk it or not.

Open war is upon us; we must engage and fight to win this battle. The battle may seem like a skirmish, too distant to be a threat but don’t be fooled by where your frontline might be. King Theoden tells Aragorn that he “would not risk open war.” Perhaps a wise position, most rational people agree that open war is a huge, scary risk. Aragorn’s answer is to remind the king of the truth, open war is already in his kingdom.There is open war in our territories…trying to destroy our families and our brotherhood. So my questions are these:

What struggles have you observed your brothers battle through?
What did you learn from them?
Did you battle together?
Did it strengthen your relationship?

Yours in Brotherhood,
Jay

Next time, Part 3 - It’s time to man-up!

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