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

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Do You See What I See?

 

Vision







“For the vision is still for an appointed time, but it speaks to the end, and it does not lie. Though it lingers, wait for it; because it will surely come. It will not tarry.” Habakkuk 2:3

“This vision-message is a witness pointing to what's coming. It aches for the coming--it can hardly wait! And it doesn't lie. If it seems slow in coming, wait. It's on its way. It will come right on time.” – The Message

Vision is all around us. Schools have vision for us, TV and movies do as well. Advertising, music all try to impose their vision on us. Sometimes, even the church will give it a try. Vision, to some, is a commodity…but not to God, its much more.

I have two thoughts I would l like to share…and I would love your feedback on them. Here they are.

The vision for your life goes way beyond what you do or where you go,
it’s all about who’ll you be for God.

Vision is imparted, but vision is also chosen. We often choose our paths by what we accept into our lives.

So, what do you think? What is vision to you? What do you see?


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Friday, January 28, 2011

Bad Sheep – Making a Memory

 

bad sheep spot ad 

I realize today that the Bad Boys of Wool have yet to make a appearance this year. Did you know that they have their own fan page on Facebook? (Check that out here) Well, with more snow coming down, it looks like a “Pity the Wool” type of day. So, without further ado…Lambo and Chop!

bad sheep no 32

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

It’s Personal


Wild-Horse



“Now you,brothers,like Isaac,are children of promise.”
GALATIANS 4:28

Lately my posts may not have seemed…well, cohesive or connected…but they were leading up to to this one. I have shared about love, picking a fight and even toast. Now I would like to share a very personal God moment with you, one that happened in March of 2000. During a time of deep soul searching I wrote down what I thought God was speaking to me…it was immensely powerful and so needed at the time.

About a week ago I revisited these words and found the Father still speaking through them to me. This new phase of my journey is really just a continuation of the promise He spoke to me eleven years ago. I was desperate for Him that night…I’m even more so today.

So I share this with you, because you are a child of promise and maybe there is something in this that may speak to where you are. I’m trusting the Father has purposed this for me to share with you…not because I wrote it but because it’s His heart towards us.

Blessings, Jay

I saw a great open prairie and a strong horse and the Lord said to me…

You are like this great horse and I have ridden you hard and the ride is not yet over. The Prairie is long and hot with few watering holes or green grass to eat. There have been gullies and prairie dog holes that have made your step unsure at times, but you have kept on. The dust has filled your nostrils and at times choked you. You have wondered what this journey was about.

But you have kept on. There were watering holes you passed by that I did not let you drink from, for the water was foul and unfit. And there were patches of green grass that I would not allow you to eat from, for it was not time to do so. There were times you wanted to slow the pace, but I urged you forward, there were times you rushed to end the journey, but I held you back. I have ridden you hard, not to the point of harm, but to the point of breaking. Just ahead, over a little knoll is a green place, with much water, good to drink. There, I will give you rest, but this is not the end of the journey. There your nostrils will clear and your parched throat be relieved. Your back will find rest and your mind think clearly. You will see the need of the prairie in your life as much as the green place. The green place is a place of preparation and resting. The prairie is a place of preparation and testing.
My people must learn to go without to go within. Not without my provision, for I will always provide. Not without my protection, for I will always protect. Not without my comfort, for I will always comfort my people. No. you must go without your pride, your willingness to go your own way, the trust you put in things that are not of me. You must go without the fear of what the journey holds, where the journey leads, the fear of what you have to leave behind. The fear of leaving green places.

When you go without these, you will not just see the prairie but the horizon ahead as well. I will give you purposeful vision. You will go into places you would have not gone before. Deep ravines, caves and hiding places where many are waiting to receive my light. You will tarry in places you had no desire to, laboring with those you did not see before. You will learn to go without to go within. Within green places, and in places you had no former desire. Yes, deeper within me, totally hidden and preserved. For in the green place, I am with you. For in the prairie, I am with you. And as you tarry with me and stay within me, the prairies will become lush and bring forth much life. Caves and dark, deep places will burst forth with light and be a place of captivity no more.

This is the purposeful vision I give. The journey and the ride is hard, but I will give you rest. The rest I will give is sweet and needed, but I will also place within you an urgency to begin again. I have called you to enter my rest but not to compliancy. Trust in the steps I lead you in, the time in which I send you. I give purposeful vision and my words will not be lost on you. Faithfulness, strength, and character, these I will bring out in your life. Roughed out in the wild of the prairie, smoothed and shaped in the green place. OH the things I will do on this journey, if you put your trust in me.

“I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living. (14) Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!”
Psalm 27:13-14

 

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Crazy Little Thing Called Love

 

“You can see God from anywhere if your mind is set to love and obey Him” -Tozer

I want you to Remember…

Remember the first time you realized that God, the creator of everything, was real and actually loved…you? Remember when the name of Jesus struck you so deep inside that you had to respond to His voice immediately? Did you weep? Did you laugh with joy? Were you silent as the shackles of sin and shame were removed from your life? Do those memories of your first love…move you still?

"And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them." 1 JOHN 4:16

This is where I find myself tonight…how much do I REALLY love my God, my Messiah? The past few months I thought my struggles, my challenges were about questions of faith. No, they were questions about love.

My friend and spiritual dad Frank (I’ve shared a few times about him here and here) wrote me today and shared a podcast he thought would speak to me…he was right. Here’s his note….

Jay, just a quick note to let you know that I am praying for you, for God’s clear directions, open doors for His glory.  I am sensing a new and holy boldness in Him to be His vessel as He sees fit.  You are a worthy vessel for His use because He has is and will continue to transform you into more of His image day by day, as you continue above all to come before Him, abide in Him and serve Him will all that He has given to you.  I would ask a favor of you my brother, more than that I would ask that you commit to listening to the short message on “Your First Love” (have attached the url).  As you step out, and as He opens doors and you see His marvelous working through your life keep this message in the core of your heart.  Love you and so excited to seeing all that He has planned for you and each of your family members.  All for His wonderful glory!!
Blessings, Frank

Frank was encouraging me that whatever service I do for the King needs to be driven by love…His love. The passion for my call fueled both by love for my Father and by the love of the Father. This is the question God has been asking of my heart…

Jay…do you love me? Do you remember?

So, I feel so strongly about this and I’m going to share this link with you. It’s called “Your First Love” and it’s about 30 minutes. Can I encourage you to listen and return to comment about it here? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Blessings,
Jay

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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Picking a Fight

 

swordhilt

“Sleep! I feel the need of it. Yet my axe is restless in my hand. Give me a row of orc-necks and room to swing and all weariness will fall from me!”
- Gimli (Lord of the Rings)

I'm tired (see my last post for why) and wondering when I’ll feel strong again…when I’ll feel dangerous again. Needing and waiting on some answers from the Father, I find myself restless and uneasy…near tears. I know what’s happening, I’m being stretched and challenged in my faith…pushed to the limit of my belief in what He’s doing in my life. At the same time I feel like something totally radical is running parallel to this part of my journey with Him…something with a powerful draw.

I feel the need to pick a fight…and join it.

I wish I could explain what that means to me but I’m not sure I can yet…at least not totally. There is in my heart a desire to see people set free, to see them in a vibrant and full relationship with Christ. In the battle for their hearts and souls is an enemy who is bent on their destruction…it is a battlefield on many fronts.

When I was seven and said “yes” to Christ…I picked a fight.

When I said “I do” 29 years ago…I picked a fight.

When I became a father…I picked a fight.

Every time I bend my heart in prayer, I’m picking a fight…when I encourage a brother in the Lord…I am reminding the enemy he is a loser. I’m also reminding myself that I can be a dangerous man.

“I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I'm just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then.” Numbers 14:11

That’s Caleb speaking, now that’s a dangerous man, 85 years old and still ready to kick some Anakims, who were some nasty old giants, off the land that God had promised them. Caleb believed his God for the victory and was ready to battle for what God said was his. It’s this kind of radical faith that we have been blessed with as well. The Father uses it to change us into a dangerous people, ready to battle and overcome the giants of this world.

“Whatever is born of God overcometh the world; and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5:4:

So, ready to pick a fight?

Blessings, Jay

 

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Friday, January 21, 2011

I’m Toast

 

toast (1) copy 

“Sleep! I feel the need of it. Yet my axe is restless in my hand. Give me a row of orc-necks and room to swing and all weariness will fall from me!”
- Gimli (Lord of the Rings)


Here is another raw and rambling post, are you ready? I have slept only about five hours in four days…my brain and body feel like petrified wood. This, as you can imagine, has a huge effect on my sanity and my spirit. I have bordered on going into a deep blue funk, which is no fun for anyone near me. My introspection has been intense and not exactly pleasant…this form of comparison “shopping” I fail at every time.

Some of this is tied to the season I find myself in and the step of faith I am taking. (Read Stepping out here) I know that God is working on me and that is a good thing. So, while I feel like toast at the moment…I know Father God will refresh me as I wade in the waters of His grace. So, I would love to share a poem I wrote a few years ago, I’m hoping it’ll encourage you as it did me today. Oh yeah, the quote above…interesting isn’t it? Seems like someone needs a fight….hmmmmm?

More on that tomorrow….

The Slow Rain of Promise

I roam a wasteland of desires
Seeking to plant heaven seeds
The dry and dust everywhere

A fresh breeze of Spirit choosing
disturbs the parchness with hope

Bitter crust gives up its hold
Fertile soil reveals its depth as
The slow rain of promise falls

Jay Cookingham © November 25, 2003

 

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Warrior Poet Time - Satisfied


wpc-button
Here is my entry for the Warrior Poet Circle on the theme: Jesus Feeds the 5,000. Go to Jason's blog to read the other entries!

 

 

Bread-and-Fish

Satisfied

I taste the dust of the crowd
but I long for the taste of bread

Hunger directs my senses

I pushed through the crowd

I listen to hope

On a hillside,words of life
become bread for my soul

A basket, full of bread and fish
pass almost unnoticed

I am satisfied

Jay Cookingham 2011 ©

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Friday, January 14, 2011

Prayer to Go


dinersign “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." Romans 8:15

What is prayer time to you? Is it a daily duty or a lifeline to get through the day? Is prayer time a powerful weapon? It can be all these and more, however for me it also looks like this. Prayer is just plain talking, discussing and sharing my heart with Abba Father.

We need to be men of prayer; for it nurtures the rich communion between the Father and us. It orchestrates our will and spirit with His, enabling us to stand firm, and act in a manner that honors the Father. That communion permeates every part of our life, strengthening relationships, values, judgments, and our willingness to obey. The closeness we can develop with the Father through our prayer life will be thick with His love; it becomes a shelter, and a refuge.

Although I sincerely believe all that, this is a still a major area of wrestling with consistency for me, and I suspect for other men as well. Sometimes we approach prayer like a fast-food drive through window. Oh man, we can get it the way we like it and we can get it to go! A prayer life that consistently does a drive by will never develop a deep relationship with the Father.

Ever been to a diner? Diners are fantastic places and only exist in their purest form in the NY metropolitan area, which makes me feel sorry for the rest of the USA. Some of the best times I’ve experienced were in a diner having breakfast with a brother. Man, it’s awesome, big plates of food, and they keep serving coffee until you’ve drunk gallons and look like Juan Valdez by the end of breakfast.

The best thing about the whole experience, and it is an experience, is that they don’t rush you out the door! You can spend hours talking, sharing, and learning more about the person you are with. For me it is a truly wonderful spiritual time, and I don’t even speak in tongues when I‘m there (although with mouths full of food, it can be a little difficult to tell the difference).

I have had prayer times just like the diner experience, where my plate is heaping full of God’s goodness and He keeps pouring joe (coffee, for those who are caffeine challenged) into my cup, simply because HE WANTS ME TO STAY. That’s a truth we need to chug like a rich dark roast. God, the creator of the universe who already knows you intimately (He made you), understands you completely (He made you), enjoys you thoroughly (He made you), and desires to be with you.

Let’s linger longer…

“I am of times driven to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I have
no where else to go. “ - Abraham Lincoln

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Epic Story


 

“O God you have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until they find rest in swordyou”. St Augustine

How many visiting here love a good story? So do I. Whether it’s a good book, an movie or someone telling it, a story moves us. They capture our imagination, draw us in and sometimes play havoc with our emotions. Stories help us discover, they can inspire us or sometimes (depending on who is telling them) just wear us out.

Know what I discovered? There is a yearning in all of us to be noticed, for our story to mean something. People have an intense longing for belonging, a deep need to know and be known. We desperately want someone to know our story…I know I do. Can I encourage you with this truth?

Your story is important… Because YOU are important to Him

There is a call on your life—whether you are a Christ follower or not—soon you will make a choice. To follow Christ and embrace all He created for you to fulfill or not. You may think about it, mull it over, ponder it, meditate on it, and even study it, but you will make a choice, either to accept or reject the invitation. This is the first call to us, the call of Salvation. From sin yes, but salvation is more of a call to become. We are called to be His sons and daughters, so we fulfill the destiny laid out for us. Salvation gives us legs for the journey.

“But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith Jehovah: I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people”
Jeremiah 31:33

God’s call to join the story is more than a calling to serve; it’s a call to be with Him. It’s the relationship that adds the meaning to the journey and we can’t escape the pull. The Father has woven His image into our DNA, each chromosome, evidence of His imprint.

It’s a pull that when resisted, frustrates and confuses us. Trying to write ourselves out of the story is like trying to unravel our genetic material and reverse its design. We were designed to be central parts of God’s story, characters destined for great deeds for His Kingdom.

There is no audition to take; this is an invitation to engage in a story line far greater than ever imagined. God is offering a dream role, a leading part in a story that changes the character we are and the character in us. The role creates a big picture vision that inspires, motivates and more importantly, connects us to the Father’s plan.

However, God’s story also invites questions. Will I adopt my Father’s will, His ways, the adjustments to my character and the radical life of being last to become first? Can I accept His desire to rewrite my story to fulfill His?

If we can say yes to those…we’re on our way.

Here is what I believe Father God desires you to know. He’s always been interested in your story, where you are in your story, and who you are in your story. There isn’t a part that escapes His focus…His plans.

“Looking to Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2

I grew up in an abusive home and it was a horrible beginning to my life story. In the middle of that dark chapter in my life Father God spoke life. Sure I endured abuse, pain and neglect but they did not author my story. God did, through His son Jesus! The Greek word here for author is archēgos (ar-khay-gos') which means captain or prince…that’s so cool to me that in our story, our prince did come!

The Father speaks hope in our story. Now that’s a page turner!

“But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.” Psalm 39:7

How is your story lately? How can I pray for you?

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Plus…a Beach Reflection


 hatteras2008 059

“Let Your hand be on the Man of Your right hand, on the Son of man whom You have made strong for Yourself.” Psalm 80:17

Maybe it’s the amount of snow we have gotten the past three storms or maybe just because I love the ocean so. Today I longed for sand underneath my feet and the sound of crashing waves. So I took a look into my beach journal and found something as warm as a day at the beach…it was His word for me.

Many of you have chosen a word for the year and I think that is really cool but I roll a little different. Every morning I ask Father to speak to me the word for today…through that exploration I discover more about His heart towards me. The word for that day at the beach was…

PLUS

The beach and the ocean of Hatteras remind me of change. For the 20 (plus years) I have been coming to this majestic place I have seen many changes. The Island has changed, the dunes have changed, the people have changed.

I have changed.

I first came as a young husband, barely recognizable as a man, and morphed into a 54-year-old father of seven. How did that happen?

I’m guessing it has something to do with the word “plus”…that’s the word the Father gave me this morning. At first I didn’t understand what it meant for me but it reminded me of another description for this place. It’s the word…discovery…that’s the fun part. The Scripture in Psalms 80 reads this way in the CEV translation (Contemporary English Version).

“But help the one who sits at your right side, the one you raised to
be your own.”

He has raised me to be His own…that’s the powerful change that has made my life what it is…blessed. My life “plus” His has relationally changed me forever.

That is a good word.

 

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Power of Transition – Part 2


 
faithYesterday I started to share some thoughts from a sermon I gave a while back. You can (if you really want to make me happy) read
part 1 here. I am quite aware that many of us are going through transitions, some planned, some not. I’m hoping that I can encourage you with the truth of God’s overwhelming love and goodness. Blessings, Jay

From Joshua 1: 3-9

Joshua is in transition…his mentor, his leader is gone, the pressures, the contractions of leadership are squeezing him. In this moment God speaks three things…Promise, direction and new life. Yesterday we started off with Promise…today is:

Direction (verses 7-8)
Straight ahead, right before you is the way. The Word of God is the path.
When you are squeezed…don’t turn away, observe my words and your path will be prosperous.

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, And light unto my path.”  Psalm 119:105

“So faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17


This is what will strengthen our faith and courage: attention to God's word. His Word brings perspective and focus. During my wife’s transitions I would speak to her, my words helped her to focus…even through the pain of the contractions.

New Life (verse 9)
Be strong and courageous…3 times God commands Joshua and (I believe) is speaking a new way of living life for Him. He adds…do not be afraid or be dismayed and here’s a really kool thing. The Hebrew word for dismayed means “to break down from fear”. The fact that God will not leave or forsake us produces life in us. The courage that springs from that helps us “not to break down from fear” and give up in time of transition. This is new life, not bound to fear but to a victorious walk.

What does it mean to be strong and courageous?

For me it’s to be strong in to be rooted in God’s truth and what God says
about us.

The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying, Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love: therefore with loving kindness have I drawn you.”
Jeremiah 31:3

To me courage is more the absence of me…than just the absence of fear. When we are set free from fear, we are finally free to lo live. We can gather courage from His promise that He will never leave or forsake us. It moves us beyond…well, US! And more importantly, towards the Father’s will. It’s this Scripture fleshed out.

“For freedom did Christ set us free: stand fast therefore, and be not entangled again in a yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5:1

Transitions are hard…the contractions of life will squeeze us…but faith will see us through. And in the midst of transitions, Jesus speaks shalom.

“Shalom I leave with you, my shalom I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not be afraid”
John. 14:27

May I pray for you…for us?

Father God,
Give us your shalom peace, walk through the walls of my heart where fear lives and put me at rest. Help me gain perspective in the middle of transition and difficult circumstances. I need your shalom to focus on your truths and walk in them. To trust in the promise, the direction and the new life you have for us.
Amen.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Power of Transition


Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

This post is taken from some notes from a sermon a year or two ago. I read them tonight and they spoke to me all over again. As I transition from one stage to MP900447713another ( read Stepping Out here) I believe hope and vision are key. The Greek word for substance in Hebrews eleven speaks of support, something underneath shoring up. And the word for evidence denotes conviction. In other words, faith supports our convictions in the area we have invested in…the things hoped for.
As you read this, I pray God speaks to you and where you might be in your transitional time.
                                                                                      Blessings, Jay



Read Exodus 17:1-7

At the core of Israel’s grumbling about the lack of water was simple, they doubted His goodness. Even after God had brought them out of slavery, led them through the Red Sea, drowned Pharaoh’s armies, and provided fast food in the desert. They still weren’t convinced that God would take care of them…imagine that! (Actually, I can…been there, done that…got the lousy T-shirt)

Huge transition moment! Notice what God did or in this case, didn’t do:

  • He didn’t lead them to an well stocked wet bar
  • He didn’t have them drill a well
  • He didn’t have them go to a river or oasis

Father God led them to a….rock.

God was going to act in their behalf in such a way that there could be no doubt that it was God who had done it. Sometimes God will use a hard place, a hard thing to show himself.

And that is what transition is all about…God taking us from one place to another, while changing our character in the process. Transitions are hard, difficult, but on the other side is the fruit we hope for.

Ask any mom about the birthing process and all will say that transition is the hardest, most painful phase of the birthing process. My wife Christine would tell you that it was “productive pain” because it helped deliver what she was hoping for and looking forward to for 9 months…a baby. My wife never took any pain medication because she felt it would dull the pain to such a point to make the contractions less productive and further delay the fruit of her…labor. I think there is a message in that for us.

Transitions birth something in us.

The force in transition is contractions, the muscle spasms that bring new life into a mom’s arms…painful? Yes! Fruitful?...without a doubt. In the same manner, Father God uses these moments in our lives to get us ready for new life…to step into new places. To help us understand, we need to look at Joshua.

Read Joshua 1: 3-9

Joshua is in transition…his mentor, his leader is gone, the pressures, the contractions of leadership are squeezing him. In this moment I think God speaks three things…Promise, direction and new life.

Promise (verses 3-6) 3 Parts

1st Part
Father God says “I will give you (I am reminded …that God so love he gave) every place you step on. That’s a promise of security, of progress and purpose.
There’s a going forward pledge here but Joshua had to step out and believe God and in His goodness. The promise is for us as well…There are great tracts of "land" God would give you that are now occupied by the enemy. They don't belong to the enemy. They belong to you. God has given them to you. It takes stepping out in faith.

2nd Part

God also promises “that no one is going to be able to stand up to you”. The promise is NOT that no one is going to mess with Joshua…they’re going to try but will not succeed. That’s a promise of victory and vision. God has assured victory but allows us to see the battle for what it is…so we can be prepared for the next contraction. How? Just like Joshua…Be strong and courageous. More on that later…

3rd Part

I will not fail you or forsake you…. This is a promise about God's help, but also a promise about relationship. Father God desires to be with us during times of transition. Yes, transitions birth something from deep inside us and that includes the knowledge that He will never leave or forsake us. That’s a rock solid promise of hope don’t you think?

Next time…Direction (verses 7-8)

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Everyday Testimony


Today’s post (actually yesterday’s) is part of the Everyday
Testimony Project hosted by friend and fellow blogger Jason
of Endless Impact.
Head on over and read the testimonies posted
and then share yours!

etp-button What is an everyday testimony? Do I need one? Do I even have one? I ponder these questions because they came to mind when I began to write this post. Everyday I face an internal power struggle between two kingdoms…the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of me. Which King has my allegiance? Which realm will I choose to live in?  It is my testimony, my awareness of what God has done for me; that helps me decide wisely.

Read the rest here…

Blessings, Jay

Friday, January 7, 2011

Friday – Friday – Friday


Just a random mix of news and announcements…a little bit of everything!

ITEM 1

etp-button My friend Jason of Endless Impact fame has started this outrageous new blog called Everyday Testimony, you have to check it out! Jason has this to say about the purpose of the blog…

“I believe if we would learn to be thankful in the everyday, dare I say, mundane things that our lives would reflect this grateful attitude. We would have a much harder time doubting God’s love and faithfulness when we have consistently reflected on it all the days leading up to the one day where things were more difficult.”

If you want to be encouragement, head on over and get a daily dose!

ITEM 2

SF PODCAST LOGO SML Tomorrow I record the first professionally produced podcast for Strategic Fathering. I am so looking forward to this for several reasons…first I get to hang with my good friend Tom Zahradnik (http://twitter.com/therealtmz) who will be my producer for the session. The second is because of what I announced a few posts ago (Read here). I’m looking forward to see what God is going to do with these podcasts…for His glory.

ITEM 3
Just because I felt like it….

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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Secret Agent Man

 

album-secret-agent-man-the-ultimate-johnny-rivers When I was a kid, I loved playing secret agents. My friends and I would put on our Sunday suits and pretend to be agents of her Majesty’s Secret Service. It could be well over 90 degrees outside, but there we were, dressed as cool as any 007 Bond character.

Eventually, we would be called in from the field by our superiors (our Moms) and questioned about our critical …umm, intelligence. We would emerge from the debriefing knowing that sadly, the only undercover work in our future was an early bedtime. Shaken, but not stirred to change the parameters of our daily mission, we would put our suits on under other clothes before leaving the house. After all, spies live dangerously don’t they?

Since those early days of high imaginative adventure, I have made this one dangerous and life challenging decision. It has fueled my life with high-octane radical risks and pushed the envelope of the man I am. That life changing decision was this; I decide to follow Christ with all that I am. My passion for loving my wife, for fathering, and all that I am, is powered by the fact that I am God’s son.

“What is our relationship to God? . . . The position that we stand in to him is that of a son. Adam is the father of our bodies, and God is the father of our spirits.” ~ John Taylor

This is the critical junction of one’s life—being able to identify and accept God’s vision for us—as sons first. This is where the doorway to fathering hinges, here is the thrust, and the sending off point of our lives. Here we taste of the goodness of God and become able and willing to make known that goodness to others.

When we find complete and undeniable dependence on Him, then we begin to understand our roles as sons. When we place ourselves and position our will under the Father’s authority, only then can we hope to be a father like Him. Like our Lord (and brother) Jesus who emptied himself to do the Father’s will, so must we. Everything Jesus did, every miracle He performed, each parable He shared, displayed the role of a son following His Father’s wishes. That purposed intimacy of father-son relationship showcased the deliberate and desired love affair God wants with all of us. A focused communion that delivers the orphan in us all, enabling sonship to take root.

See how very much our heavenly Father loves us, for He allows us to be called His children, and we really are!” I John 3:1 NLT

The first choice begins with God, He chooses us to become part of His family. The second choice rests with us, whether we will journey with Him. The Father calls our name to join in this passage to become like His son Jesus. I believe that our sense of purpose depends on how we answer that call. How completely we can wrap our senses, our understanding and our faith around that core decision will determine just how effective that transformation will be in our lives. The good news is that Father God is committed to His sons and daughters. He is determined to help us grow in to the “likeness” of Jesus.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
“Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” Rom 8:28-30

I like how the Message puts it:

“God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him.

“After God made that decision of what his children should be like, he followed it up by calling people by name. After he called them by name, he set them on a solid basis with himself. And then, after getting them established, he stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what he had begun.”

Called, named, and established, sounds like the Father’s handiwork to me.

Blessings, Jay

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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

10 Ways to be a Faithful Husband

 

“Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” Ephesians 5:33

chris me 08 5 I absolutely love being married, of course having the perfect wife helps but I am so thankful that Christine decided to accept my proposal 28 years ago. This awesome adventure we share is a constant reminder that God is good and that marriage is good for me.

For sure there are more than ten ways to be a faithful husband but this is a small list included in my book (Retooled). Ponder over them and see if they speak to you…many are not radical or new…but I believe they are huge in importance. I also believe that I need to review this list constantly and make sure that it’s more than a list.

10 Ways to be a faithful husband

  1. Love your wife
  2. Guard your marriage (emotionally and physically)
  3. Pray for your marriage
  4. Remember the special days (anniversaries,birthdays)
  5. Be the spiritual leader of the home
  6. Avoid criticism (in fact…don’t!)
  7. Have regular date times
  8. Speak well of your marriage (in public as well as private)
  9. Encourage your wife (in public as well as private)
  10. Show and tell (how grateful you are you married her)

So my brothers…what do you think of my list? Want to add anything?

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Stepping Out

 

euphoria_leap_of_faith “Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”
- Mother Teresa

For months now I’ve been hinting about a huge change in my life centering on the beginning of 2011. Today is the big reveal…are you ready?

Many of you know my passion about encouraging men and I have a website that goes into greater detail (here). The vision for Strategic Fathering was born in my heart a few years back (almost 10 years) and it burns stronger then ever. I have been promoting it quietly and kept it more of a local, hometown flavor ministry.

No longer…

strategic fathering logo black 2 copy I believe God has released me to take Strategic Fathering Ministries to a different level. I have prayed, sought and received counsel and confirmation…it is time. What do I mean by a different level? Well, I’m not completely clear on the full scope of that yet but it does involve me going full-time into it…eventually. The vision seems fluid and organic at the moment and I believe that is how God wants it to be.

What is clear to me is the cause…

Tonight, about 40 percent of American children will go to sleep in homes in which their fathers do not live.

That is far too many…

I feel the absolute need to encourage men to step up and be all God intends them to be. This is a powerful way to strengthen families, communities, churches, organizations and even the world. I believe this is God’s heart.

So…there it is in a nutshell…I’m stepping out. I will soon revamp the SF website to reflect the new direction. One change will be a big one…I will make myself available beyond my local borders to speak/go whenever the Father leads. I may never be asked to speak anywhere but my local church…but I will risk that step of faith. I’m not going to neglect my local area because I believe I am called there first but I will expand my borders as God directs. Also, this weekend I will record my first professional podcast, hopefully becoming a monthly gig. In all this I know Strategic Fathering is NOT the answer…God is…I’m not the one to change things…He is. I’m just surrendering my gifts to be used in a whole new manner.

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, (15) from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, (16) that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being.”  Ephesians 3:14-16

“Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed.Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” Isaiah 1:17

May I ask you to pray that as I step out in faith that this never become about me but only about the mission God is sending me on. This will cost me, I know…I will be blessed, I know…lives will be changed…I know.

Will you believe that with me?

Bless You, Jay

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Monday, January 3, 2011

New Day Calling


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This poem is part of The Warrior Poet Circle hosted by fellow warrior poet and friend Jason at Endless Impact. Head on over and read the all the warrior posts!
Blessings, Jay

 

 

New Day 
New Day Calling

Light fades from sight
All is dark and sightless
My eyes, burning to see the way
A step of faith changes the pitch of black
I hear a voice calling me to a new day

I find myself in fullness of light
My eyes relieved
Here, in the moisture of a new day
the calling remains

Jay Cookingham 2011 ©

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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Bad Sheep Time – Special Guest Artist


art for store I ’m taking a little break from artistic endeavors for awhile but the show must go on! So my 8-year old daughter Becky (that’s her in the Santa suit) has stepped in big time with this week’s strip. I hope you enjoy, but I’m a little nervous that she might replace me permanently in your hearts…;-).DSC06990


Becky is quite a creative personality…a lot like her Daddy. She loves to draw and I think she will surpass her father some day…which is a good thing! The Bad Boys of Wool got a huge chuckle this morning…I hope you do too. Blessings, Jay

becky badsheep-1 

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