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

Saturday, October 30, 2010

I Worship

 

I worship is a poem I wrote a few years ago while taking an early morning walk. The crisp air and the fog shrouded field I walked by drew me into a moment of worship unlike any I had experienced before. It was a quiet refrain of a soul song I found myself singing and it came from deep within.

Today I find myself in a similar place, a need to worship the world creator. May I encourage you to do the same? Praying for you all, Jay

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

 


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Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloweenie




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“Each year, the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch that he thinks is the most sincere. He's gotta pick this one. He's got to. I don't see how a pumpkin patch can be more sincere than this one. You can look around and there's not a sign of hypocrisy. Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see.” Linus - It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

I’m not a big fan of Halloween (and this is not going to be a rant against Halloween BTW). It’s hard for me to celebrate a holiday dedicated to giving sugar rushes and dental decay to children. Plus, there’s that whole “dark side” thingy, you know…witches, ghosts and demon possessed pumpkins. Nope, this “holiday’ doesn’t cut it in my book.

Believe or not, I wasn’t into it as a kid either. Oh, I liked the candy deal alright, that was cool but after a while, even that got boring. As I got older I didn’t even bother dressing up as anything…I just told the neighborhood candy dealers that I was dressed as a “teenager”…hey, that can be scary in some circles! Anyways, they didn’t buy it and I would end up with non-candy items like dental floss and used pencils. Did I mention how much I dislike this event? In my book Halloween sucks…no, that wasn’t a vampire pun.

These days, the Cookingham family sometimes gives candy out or goes to a Harvest Festival hosted by a local church…most of the time we hide in our house with the lights off, pretending not to be home (don’t judge me now!). However, a recent event has troubled the force in our neighborhood…that would be my new neighbor Fred (not his real name). Fred is a great guy and neighbor but he has rocked my world by the fact that He is a Halloween junkie. His front yard is decorated like an old Vincent Price monster movie set, complete with ghouls, tombstones, ghosts, smoke and eerie music. He usually hides in his bushes on Halloween night dressed as some scary creature to give the bigger kids a good scare (usually, the ones not dressed as anything, serves them right).

My family likes Fred a lot…so do I…but do I have to stand for Halloween-o-rama next door to me? After all, I hate Halloween…right? I debated if I should confront him and ask him to tone his enthusiasm down a bit…ok…A LOT!

I found myself walking over to him the other day; he was busy adding some more gore to his set and was having a blast. I jokingly called him Igor and told him how cool everything looked and listened to the details of his creativity. We had a great talk and some laughs about past Halloween experiences. No, I didn’t confront him…why?

Simply because the Father asked me to give it (my Halloween phobia/hate attitude), a rest and connect with my neighbor. You know, the whole love your neighbor deal.

“Religion is to do right. It is to love, it is to serve, it is to think, it is to be humble.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

There are moments when we need to connect outside of our comfort zones, our personal likes and how we like to hang. We are light, we are salt, and we are the ones God has chosen to love through. What an awesome privilege! It takes a humble spirit and a willingness to serve someone else besides ourselves.

“To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. (23) I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” 1 Corinthians 9:22-23

So, no Great Pumpkin worship at my house but I do want to have the most sincere “patch” in my neighborhood, one that helps lead people to the Kingdom.

Peace,
Jay

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Crash and Burn

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This post is a part of a weekly book discussion hosted by Jason Stasyszen of Connecting to Impact and Sarah Salter of Living Between the Lines. I encourage you to check out the other posts, on their sites. The Book we are discussing is The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns

. This week, Chapter Nine: One Hundred Crashing Jetliners.

“The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” Flannery O’Connor

“For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, (15) Whom every family in Heaven and on Earth is named.” Eph 3:14-15

I have a small nation of seven that I am ultimately responsible for, and they are my greatest challenge to father but they are not the only ones. I take my role of Daddy very seriously and know that I must succeed at home before all else. Josh, Sarah, Matt, Mike, Daniel, Isaac and Becky deserve the best dad that God can make of me. However, my influence as “Father” goes beyond that arena, not in importance but in need. I need to reach out to other children…ones I don’t even know. The Hole in our Gospel describes them as…

Somebody Else’s Kids, all 26,500 of them.

Everyday that awful number, that horrific number of somebody else’s children die, not from 100 jetliners crashing, but from poverty related causes. My heart crashes and burns when I read this, because I know that I have fallen short in caring about them.

“The righteous care about justice for the poor, the wicked have no such concern.” Proverbs 29:7

“He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses.” Proverbs 28:27

Millions of somebody else’s kids need fathers to rise up and give hope. This is the power given to us by Father God; we can supply hope. Webster defines a Father as:

He who creates, invents, makes or composes any thing; the author, former or contriver; a founder, director or instructor. God as creator is the father of all men.

Fathers are the authors of change that God uses to make an impact, to make a difference and change the course of someone’s life. That just may be somebody else’s kid. Many of you are way ahead of me on this and have positioned yourself as a hope provider and I am blessed and challenged by you all. Here are just two examples of what I mean, please visit these sites and pray.

Hope for Change My friend and brother, Paul Grimsland, who I written about before, (and a few other friends) have this tremendous ministry to the poor. Read the stories about the lives that are being touched by Hope for Change.

Thrive Church Pastor, blogger, friend…Herb Halstead is cool. Herb’s church has this terrific vision to supply clean water to a village, read more to see how you can partner with His church,

“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

Blessings,
Jay

Friday, October 22, 2010

2o Years of Dance

 

sarah - horse 2010 copy

Kids: they dance before they learn there is anything that isn't music.
~ William Stafford

It was a sunny, cold fall day and my life was about to change radically and powerfully. At 6:32 in the morning a little princess decided to dance into my life and basically ruin me (in a good way) for life. My daughter Sarah has ruined me for ordinary moments for there has been none with her. I was already a young father, her older brother Joshua born just 15 months prior, had already changed the man I was. This was different…I now have a daughter! Could a man like me raise a daughter? Will she even like me? (That seem unlikely at the beginning) It was too late, I was smitten and all I could do was love her.

Sarah’s wonderful gift of herself was deposited into my life to make me a better father. I became a gentler version of what I thought I should be, she helped me become more like Jesus. In her I sense the strength of her mom mingled with the stubbornness of her dad, all softened by her quiet spirit. Yet, it’s her love for life that I admire, her expression of worship towards her Father God that brings me to tears (even now as I'm writing this).

Sarah is a persistent beauty…she brings beauty into her relationships, her talents and abilities and how she loves us all. Her life is a dance, a wonderful blend of emotions, giftedness and love and I am blessed to see her spin every day.

There's something like a line of gold thread running through a man's words when he talks to his daughter, and gradually over the years it gets to be long enough for you to pick up in your hands and weave into a cloth that feels like love itself.  ~John Gregory Brown

Happy Birthday Princess!
Love, Daddy

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

I’m Back - The Discipline of Rest


yellowsunset 

Well, its been a week since my self imposed break and pause
(see last post).
I took the time off to reflect and think over some questions I was asking Father God about. Although I don’t think my time of reflection is over (is it ever?) I wanted to share some of my thoughts from my sermon from this past Sunday. During my time of reflection I discovered something about rest that surprised me and gave me hope…it’s that discovery I would like to share. I do apologize for its length! Blessings, Jay

When I mention the word REST, what do you think of?

Holidays, vacations, hobbies, naps…all provide some measure of rest and they’re good attempts at defining rest. When you talk about the discipline of rest…it sounds like a oxymoron like jumbo shrimp or pretty ugly…something seems off. Entering rest is a discipline and I think there is another way to describe rest…in this story from Luke I found something amazing.

It’s in Luke 10:38-42

(38)As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.

(39) She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said.

(40) But Martha was distracted (Greek means pulled or dragged away) by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"

(41)"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things,

(42) but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away (Greek means robbed or deprive of something) from her."

What I learned in that story, what I’m learning in this part of my journey with Christ is this…

I believe that Rest is…worship.

I believe that true rest is a posture of worship, a position of worship and an attitude of worship.

I cannot have perfect peace if I’m not at worship in my heart. I cannot be more than a conqueror without worshipping the King. Because it’s decision to worship despite circumstances, trials, temptations, hard things, hard times…struggles. We must choose to worship the King, the Sovereign one. With that worship, with that posture, with that position of worship…we can enter into rest. Because we recognize that there is only one King and it’s not us! Rest is placing ourselves in a posture of worship…and that involves a choice.

It’s what I believe that story we just read. Mary chose a position at the feet of her Lord and took a posture of worship by doing so. Her heart attitude spoke of wanting to know her Master further, this moment was not to be missed. His presence drew her into a life giving moment; she stopped everything to be at His feet.

Even though it was not culturally accepted for her to listen to a Rabbi teach, (because she was a woman) even though she was expected to serve the people in the house…Mary did not allow the culture, the distractions and the EXPECTATIONS of other people keep her from choosing the good part. She sat at Jesus feet in worship…she was at rest from all the other stuff crowding her life…she was in His presence… Mary knew she could be at His feet and never be pushed away…and neither will we.

When our attention is focused on the Master, that’s a
moment of worship and trust.

Trust is at the heart of worship, at the core of rest…for if we trust the God who is sovereign over us, who has authority over, we will trust that He has authority over our circumstances as well.

When my focus is on Him, on God, on His teachings, on what He is saying to me and what He is trying to teach me, when I’m there in that place…I realize that He is in control over all my life. Since I have no control anyways I should be at peace, knowing that He is in control. I can be at rest when I worships because my attention is off those things that trouble me and on the Father. It’s not pretending that they don’t exist, its realizing that there is someone worthy of my full attention.

The Dictionary defines REST is this way…

Freedom from everything which wearies or disturbs; peace; security.

Scriptures defines REST this way…

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:9

BTW the Greek means…."rest from weariness"

“Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the LORD has been good to you.”
Psalm 116:7

“This is what the LORD says: "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, 'We will not walk in it.' Jeremiah 6:16

“And he said, My presence shall go [with thee], and I will give thee rest.”
Exodus 33:14

All these Scriptures talk about choices and about His presence. God is a rewarder of those who seek Him…that reward is rest. Rest is more than ceasing from activities, although it is important to have hobbies to release tension, vacations and recreation…they can help us for sure. However, taking a break is not going to cut it, having some down time is not going to bring into a position of rest…its not going to make the difference in our lives. What is going to make a difference is be like Mary. She sat, she waited, she listened, and she participated in a worship moment with Her Lord. Her posture of worship enabled her to rest from all those things that pressed heavy on her to do or to be or act like.

So, what is a worship posture…what does it look like?

It’s a place of a disciple

A place of willingness to be taught…it’s a humble posture. Its accepting the invitation of Christ to learn from Him.

Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

Martha did invite Jesus in but she didn’t accept the invitation to take His yoke.

It’s a place to be still (not just activity wise) but a place of trust.

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

The Hebrew word for wait is means to gather or bind together and gives a picture of faith and patience working together. It’s not anxiously biting our nails but being on the alert, patiently trusting in the Father’s plans. Looking forward to what Father God will do.

Guarding the moment

Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. Psalm 86:11

Shifting our priorities is essential for worship, changing our focus is crucial for worship…for that we need an undivided heart. One that knows that listening to Jesus is huge, one that understands that all we need is found at His feet, in His presence…in worship.

“Worship does not satisfy our hunger for God, it whets our appetite.”
Eugene Peterson

Enter into His presence, take His Yoke…learn from Him…find rest.

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pause and Be Still


please_stand_by.

Be still, and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10

Soulfari will be quiet for a few days (hopefully I will be also). As I pause and reflect on some questions about my life I have, my blog being one of them. I write my blog hoping to be an encouraging presence in a very dark world. Sometimes I'm too transparent, maybe not enough at other times…I’m not sure.

It’s a good place I find myself in but I need clarity…so, for a few days (?) I’ll be quiet and so will Soulfari. Blessings, Jay

Each of us is here for a brief sojourn; for what purpose he knows not, though he senses it. But without deeper reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people. - Albert Einstein

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Unsticky

 


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This post is a part of a weekly book discussion hosted by Jason Stasyszen of Connecting to Impact and Sarah Salter of Living Between the Lines. I encourage you to check out the other posts which can be found on their sites. The Book we are discussing is The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns. This week is chapter seven, “The Stick in Your Hand”.

Chapter seven talks about the excuses we often use to avoid serving God, and the things we hold on to that interfere with our faith. Using the story of Moses and the excuses he tried to sway God with, the author makes a great point about how God wants our obedience to His call and trust that He (God) will take care of the rest. In my own life, that is what it always comes down to, an issue of trust. What is it that I’m holding onto that hinders my conviction in what He has asked me to do?

What I need is a lesson(s) on how to be Unsticky

The disciples did a lot of wacky things and made a lot of mistakes but they did something that impresses me every time I read it in the Scriptures. When Jesus said to follow him, their response leaves me in the dust.

“Immediately they left their nets and followed him.” Matthew 4:20

Talk about stop, drop and roll out into what the Master was calling them to! That’s the lesson of un-stickiness I need to study until it is no longer an issue. But, here’s the sticky part…there is a great risk in this…or is there? I know I feel there is risk involved and when I do I usually act accordingly, which is to hold tighter to the things I’m afraid of losing. During this extreme financial crunch my family finds itself in, fear sometimes gives me Spiderman qualities (sticky fingers) with money. Thankfully Father God used some modern day disciples (right in my house) to help me un-stick myself…

My son Dan (13) who gave the money he was saving up for a new NERF gun to a charity providing clean water in Third World nations…because he felt God’s tug on his heart.

My wife who paid for someone’s groceries at the supermarket because she felt that is what God wanted her to do and she saw the need in the person’s face.

With those “risks”, my wife and my son taught me a huge lesson about trust funds. It made me question just who was I banking on. Was my trust in my abilities or God’s willingness to provide what was needed? Will I drop the excuse of a poor household economy to give when He directs me too?

I’m learning that dropping whatever God ask of us is easier when you’re unsticky. Why? Because you realize there is no chance of rolling snake eyes with the Father, you can’t lose! Yes, there is risk in serving Him, but the rewards far outweigh that risk. The provision of the Father goes way beyond my bank account; it’s what He deposits in the life of my family that matters.

So, are you ready to gamble?

The early church had a group of people called the parabolani…the gamblers. The name came from the Greek word paraboleusethai, a gambling expression meaning to chance everything on the roll of the dice. Their primary call was to visit the prisoners and the sick, especially those who were ill with dangerous and infectious diseases. Their call put them at great risk but they were willing to trust God with the results. The world needs us to be like the parabolania, the gamblers, and the risk-takers…loving and serving with all we have. Willing to drop whatever is needed to follow the Master.

“Do not let any part of your body become a tool of wickedness, to be used for sinning. Instead, give yourselves completely to God since you have been given new life. And use your whole body as a tool to do what is right for the glory of God.” Romans 6:13(NLT)

What about you, are you a member of the parabolani?
Do you need lessons in un-stickiness?

Would love to hear your thoughts! God Bless, Jay

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Rise…Sir Jagger?


 retooled FRTCVR nrew 7 strip

Recently, I returned to my labor of love other wise know as my book about fathering. I had put it aside for many reasons, none of them good, when the Father moved on my heart to finish the project. My goal is to finish the final edits by the end of October…yikes! So, I wanted to share another small snippet (aren’t they all small?) from my book
RETOOLED: Shaping Your Fathering From The Inside Out. It’s from the chapter on faithfulness, I hope it speaks to you today.
I would love feedback! Blessings, Jay

Rise Sir…Jagger?

Mick Jagger -I’m not how many of you are aware of this…Queen Elizabeth II, the current reigning monarch of the United Kingdom has a curious and traditional title. Her Royal Majesty is known as the “Fountain of Honour”, a position that gives her the authority of presenting—on worthy individuals—titles and awards, such as knighthoods. She can appoint 1000 of these “knights” a year usually from recommendations of the Prime Minister (or other Government officials). Knighting people, keeps the Queen hopping.

Some of these knightly awards have just as curious titles—here are two of my favorites. First, there is the “The Most Noble Order of the Garter”, which I’m guessing that if you’re employed in the garment industry, bodes well for you. Second on my list is “The Most Ancient and Noble Order of (and I kid you not) the Thistle!” I never imagined the thistle was so noble but only 16 individuals each year may receive this particular honor, all of which must be Scottish. So all you Scottish gardeners out there, keep up the good work, there could be a knighthood in your future.

The fact the Queen has this power is a little unsettling to me, especially when I think of some of her choices for the honor of knighthood. A few years ago, Rolling Stones star Mick Jagger received the distinction of becoming Sir Jagger during the Queens Birthday celebration. I wonder if Her Majesty’s honor fountain went a little dry that day. Or perhaps someone spiked the royal birthday punch during the party. That could explain how the then 58 year-old rocker became a knight even despite the controversy raised because of his rather tarnished reputation. Womanizing and drugs usually don’t look good on the old knight application but hey; he wrote some cool songs, so let’s make him a knight! Sarcasm aside, Mr. Jagger, delighted at his appointment, deflected the criticism with some interesting quotes. A, “hey you get off my cloud” response. (Sorry, couldn’t resist)

“I'm delighted. I never expected to get a knighthood. You think 'This is great' and then are very surprised, thinking 'Why is this?” Sir Jagger continued: "Whether I deserve one or not is not my place. I'm happy to get one. It's great recognition of what the band's achievements have been.”

“I think the thing about honours is that you should never ask for them and you should never expect them, but I think you should accept them if they're given to you.”

That quote got me thinking, although one may doubt the sincerity of his words, Mister Jagger expressed something of great value. As unlikely as Mick Jagger was a choice for knighthood—even more so are we to be his God’s children. Yet the titles of sons and daughters are ours! These are undeserved honors, not earned, not based on reputation, or on merit, given only because of His faithful love for us.

“I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:18

This title of son is a huge gift, to question its value or my value because of this great gift diminishes the honor given to me. To wonder whether I deserve it or not, is unhealthy, as an adopted son I am accepted and welcomed into God’s Kingdom. My response should be something like Mick’s answer, not questioning the tribute but accepting it, humbly of course. The title takes me to a completely new level of relationship. I am no longer a slave but a son, with rights and responsibilities that aligns my heart with Father God.

In 1st Thessalonians there is a pretty good job description for a faithful son.

(5) “You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. (6) So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled.”

So, if not like others, how should we be?

(16) Be joyful always; (17) pray continually; (18) give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.”

A great recipe for faithfulness, don’t you think?

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Monday, October 11, 2010

Bad Sheep and Pastor Appreciation – I Hope!

 

preacher


October is Clergy or Pastor appreciation month and I have a huge respect for those of you who follow God's call and are walking it out daily. I have many friends who happen to be pastors, even my pastor is a friend, which is rare. I count it as a high privilege to have been able to stand along side and encourage pastors, in whatever small way I can. So, in my attempt to honor you all I have a few different angles to offer encouragement.

For a awesome list of how to bless your pastor (from a pastor's perspective) head on over to Jason Stasyszen's blog here.

Yes, the Bad Boys of Wool have something to offer, please realize they have the utmost respect for you all, they just can't behave sometimes...you know how sheep are!

First a prayer that I think reflects a pastor’s heart

Grant me, O Lord, to know what I ought to know,to love what I ought to love, to praise what delights Thee most, to value what is precious in Thy sight, to hate what is offensive to Thee. Do not suffer me to judge according to the sight of my eyes, nor to pass sentence according to the hearing of the ears of ignorant men; but to discern with a true judgment between things visible and spiritual, and above all, always to inquire what is the good pleasure of Thy will.
                                                                                     -Thomas a Kempis

A Scripture that should reflect our heart.

“The Lord commanded that those who preach the good news should be supported by those who benefit from it.”  1 Corinthians 9:14
(New Living Translation)

Now, the Bad Boys of Wool…

bad sheep no. 24

A Song that just may say it all!

You bless our Father by your service and your sacrifice for the Kingdom, I am honored to know you all. Praying for you and your families is a high priority for me.

Blessings,Jay

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Saturday, October 9, 2010

Saturday Evening Re-Post

 

Just pulling some randomness from past posts...
maybe even some new ones…hope you enjoy the ride!

DSC05351RANDOMNESS #1

A New Beckyism (My eight yr-old daughter) Today in church the pastor was talking about discipline and he asked the kids a question.



Pastor Tim:
“Kids, do your parents talk about discipline at home?
What words do they use?

Becky: (very loud) “Banishment”

Now we are are not talking about sending our children out in the wilderness to suffer but let’s say for example, that when they lose playing video game rights (because of poor behavior)…then they are “banished”. Of course my older kids starting yelling out things like floggings, mind control…I’ll get them later.

RANDOMNESS #2

My theory about what makes a good movie involves…chickens.

Every good movie has a chicken in it, mentions chickens or (in the case of Sci-Fi) chicken has some creature that resembles a chicken. Really bad movies will try to fool you into believing that you’re watching a good movie by randomly throwing a chicken in. However, the attempt is usually lame and obvious.

Now that you know the secret, you’ll never look at films the same way again. Watch for the chicken…it’s worth it.

RANDOMNESS #3

2474246 If I meet you in person and we become friends, I will probably call you bro’, dude or studhead…provided you’re a male that is. Actually, I’ve moved on…now I don’t even have to meet you in person for you to get that honor!

 

RANDOMNESS #4charismata

I once traveled in a Christian Band called Charismata…can you find me? Win a  valuable prize…well, no prizes but you’ll feel really important if you do!

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Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday Fest – Poster Giveaway

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Today I thought I give away a poster I designed for my Strategic Fathering site here on Soulfari. You may not know this but I have been a graphic designer for what seems all my life, if you are curious (and I hope you will be) you can see some of my work here. Anyways, here’s the poster, I hope it blesses you. Oh yeah, I also posted a poem from a few years ago…it re-spoke to me this morning!

Blessings, Jay

Pained Prize

I reach through the mist for
the hem of Heaven’s hope.
My hands, wet with the cold
lining of clouds.

There my dreams stare back
into closed eyes of unbelief.

I trade their moisture for a
drop more of things not seen.
Vision fills the dryness of sight
and eyes open once more.

I carry the pained prize of faith
with the sure steps of conviction.

© Jay Cookingham October 28, 2002

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Bad Sheep Time – Ice-Ice Baby!


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It’s time for Pleasantly Disturbed Thursdays over at Duane Scott’s blog and I’m doing my part to add to the…ummm…culture that Duane has started. The Bad Boys of Wool just love Duane so without further ado…Lambo and Chop!

 bad sheep no. 23

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Mad World

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This post is a part of a weekly book discussion hosted by Jason Stasyszen of Connecting to Impact and Sarah Salter of Living Between the Lines. I encourage you to check out the other posts which can be found on their sites. The Book we are discussing is The Hole in Our Gospel by
Richard Stearns…this week, Chapter 6 – The Hole in Me.

All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, worn out faces
Bright and early for their daily races
Going nowhere, going nowhere
Their tears are filling up their glasses
No expression, no expression
Hide my head I want to drown my sorrow
No tomorrow, no tomorrow
- Gary Jules, Mad World

I saw this chapter (The Hole in Me) in a different way than I thought I would when I first skimmed through it. The author’s journey out of a self-reliant mindset to a God-reliant one; is a reflection my life. His early life hardship forged this lifestyle and drove him to become a “self-made man”. He made an early decision concerning his parents…

“They can’t help me…not any more.”

I wonder how many have made similar choices, I know I did. Self-sufficiency becomes our MO, the way we cope with life. The problem with this decision is that there is no way we can cover all the bases…we develop holes…worn out places. We are turned inward instead of upward towards God… hide my head I want to drown my sorrow. Moments of pain poison the well of hopes and dreams. Trust becomes a word that you, well, can’t trust. It's a very, very mad world mad world.

That’s why I needed a Savior, to close up the leaks, someone to restore the well of living water inside me. Plugging the holes takes a Messiah.

Recently my oldest son Joshua sang the song Mad World by Gray Jules (the link is below) as a “pour his heart out in a Psalm sort of way” moment. It’s a way too depressing song but it got me thinking of the many hole-filled lives around us…familiar faces…that need a Savior. It’s a mad world, one that needs a people to step out of themselves and show the way to the Father. It needs us, his sons and daughters, living the Gospel in everyway the King asks us to do.

Plugging holes, mine, yours and the worlds…the Savior is ready
and willing…are we? Am I?

We know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 1 John 4:16

Joshua is a filmmaker, artist, actor, voice actor, and is trying his hand at singing. You can see/hear some of his creativity here.

 

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Settling for the Explainable – Guest Post by Ryan Tate


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Ryan Tate over at Doorframes of TaterHouse is a brother from another mother as I like to say!. His blog is on my "you must read daily list" and I'm always encouraged or challenge by his insight. Today he honored me by writing a guest post that I’m sure will bless you!

Since the Adam and Eve, people have been trying to find ways to save themselves. They’ve tried to enter the presence of God in ways that make sense to them, instead of listening to what God says. We’ve limited God to our finite senses and logical explanations that are easy for us to manage. But God doesn’t work within the confines of our senses or our logical explanations. He works within the unexplainable.

In his book Forgotten God, Francis Chan said he doesn’t want to live a life that is explainable without the Holy Spirit. If his life makes sense to him (or to others) than a red flag should go up. They same thing should true for us. Bells and whistles should ring loud when our lives start to become explainable.

Explainable means there is no difference between what your life looks like and what the world looks like. If our lives fit right into the patterns of the world we have ceased to be unexplainable. This includes everything: how we manage our money, how we raise our children, how we give, how we pray, how we are attractive and unattractive to others, how we choose a career, what we value, what we crave, what we say, how we worship, what we worship, everything. Nothing is off limits for God. Nothing about you is worthless to Him, so don’t let it be explainable without Him.

Jesus came preaching about a kingdom. Somewhere along the lines we replaced “kingdom” with “culture”. Kingdom seemed too militaristic and authoritative for us. It was too harsh of word for the language of our time to deal with. The switch seemed harmless to most. A culture of Christianity sounds nice, doesn’t it? We wouldn’t want to be offensive or judgmental by using the word kingdom too much. Christian culture is what we should be striving for right? But the real dilemma is that the central focus shifted along with the word change. You see, kingdom implies a “King” and culture implies a “people”. A culture of people is much easier to explain than a kingdom with a King. People can live inside a culture and be comfortable and explainable with everyone else around them. But to live inside in a kingdom with a reigning King is quite a different perspective.

Many don’t want to admit they follow a King and live Kingdom-minded. The Kingdom of God has an agenda, and it does not share the values and agendas of other kingdoms. The Kingdom of God is full of subjects that live unexplainable lives outside the realm of the world, yet fully in the world. The unexplainable happens when and where the Kingdom of God is on earth as it is in heaven (Matt 6:10). We have to commit ourselves to finding and creating those places where heaven overlaps with earth. That is where the Kingdom of God exists. That is where the unexplainable exists.

I’ll ask you this question: what is the mark of those who follow
Christ as their King?

I think it starts with regarding the voice of God as food. Man does not live by bread alone, right? But we live by every word of God. Try explaining that to your non-believing co-worker.

The Kingdom of God is not what we expect. It never was and it never will be. If we are not desperate for the voice of God we will settle for anything else. We will settle for the explainable.

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Monday, October 4, 2010

Get a Grip…please!

 

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"If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don't like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself."
— St. Augustine

 

I’m pointing my blog post today towards a friend’s site…because it’s that important. Pastor, blogger and friend, Herb Halstead hosts a blog called In His Grip and he has a heart breaking story to tell today, one that gives us all a chance to bring some hope to a desperate situation.

Please head over there and read his post “See Them” and then pray to see what God will have you to do.

                                                                           Bless you, Jay

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Friday, October 1, 2010

Bad Sheep Time – By Request

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Today the Bad Boys of Wool have been requested to make a appearance by none other than the Blogger extraordinaire Dusty Rayburn (read his blog here).
I had to think of something fast…So Dusty, if people boo me…this one is on you! Blessings, Jay

bad sheep no 23

 

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