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

Monday, February 28, 2011

Hidden Exposure – Warrior Poetry

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This poem is part of The Warrior Poet Circle hosted by blogger, fellow warrior poet and friend Jason at Endless Impact. Read more great poems over there!

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Hidden Exposure

My fear

silenced by truth

My worry

hushed by compassion

The voice of my past

is speechless

All accusations

now without bite

I am hidden in Christ

exposed to His love

Jay Cookingham 2-28-11

Colossians 3: 1-3

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Gangsta Rap



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Gangsta Rap

I've got a dead gansta deep inside of me
A poison persona I don't want you to see
So I dress up smart and smile real big
Hoping you don't discover my fake out gig
I need some cross love and I have some on tap
Messiah Jesus, heals the soul of gangsta rap

2-27-11 Jay Cookingham ©

Based (loosely) on Colossians 2:13-15

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Friday, February 25, 2011

Bad Sheep Time – Trouble Brewin’

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It’s late on Friday night and I just had a Bad Sheep epiphany. So the Bad Boys of Wool emerge out of the shadows to give ya a chuckle…I hope! Blessings, Jay

bad sheep no. 33

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Shy Freedom



man Broken-Chains

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

Do you want to be free? Unshackled, unfettered and…unashamedly free? What does freedom…life changing, rock your world freedom, mean to you?

Why are we afraid to be free?

We peek at it (freedom) from around the corner, standing half hidden in the shadows of fear, only to divert our eyes when it turns to stare back at us…why?


“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36

Really…do we believe that?

If so, then why doesn’t more of my life shout out with the liberty
of a free man?

I suspect that I have made some agreements with lies made by the enemy (or myself) that fog up the truth. Lies that form doubts about deserving freedom and the availability of such a life. Don’t get me wrong…I walk in a whole bunch of freedom; so much of my life is filled with the benefits and fruit of that gift.

Yet…there is more. I grow tired of looking over my shoulder, peeking as through some veil at the absolute freedom that has been promised for me. I know it has to do with love…and the total surrender of myself to the Father. (read Dear God, a letter from my past).

There is a hunger growing in me and that is good…to be really free is to be more of His.

Take, O Lord, and receive my entire liberty, my memory, my understanding and my whole will. All that I am and all that I possess You have given me. I surrender it all to You to be disposed of according to Your will. Give me only Your love and Your grace; with these I will be rich enough, and will desire nothing more.
                                                   
St. Ignatius Loyola - 16th century

So…do you want to be free? How can I pray for you?

Blessings, Jay

 

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

It’s Heeeeere!


Vintage Microphone


Ok, it might not be as exciting to you all as it is to me, but I just finished my first professionally produced podcast last weekend! My friend and fellow crazy person, Tom Zahradnik and I recorded the first Strategic Fathering Podcast and had a blast doing so. Tom is creativeness on steroids and loves Jesus passionately, you can follow him on Twitter (here) or (here). Tom is a member of my Band of Brothers and we have been friends for over 20 years.

So I am asking you to listen and give me me feedback on this intro to my mission. The future podcast will cover some specific topics and I might ask (hint, hint) for some suggestions…maybe a phone interview with some of you.

So what did you think?

 

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Monday, February 21, 2011

God Is...Loving and Approachable

 

I have the cool honor of guest posting over at Making a Difference To One hosted by my Sister-nation member Ginny. I hope you’ll head on over and leave a few insightful comments! Bless ya! Jay

rembrandtprodigal The parable in Luke 15 shouts with the love and compassion the Father has towards us. See if you can spot the lessons He would love for us to learn from this story.

"So he got up and went to his father. "But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him."

See how the father was expecting his son’s return! (read the rest here)

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Prayer



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A prayer for you…have a blessed weekend!

I pray that no matter where you are today you would believe, know
and feel the awesome love of the Father.

That every decision, every relational interaction, every thought
would be washed by His love first.

I pray that your steps would be secure and bold, your prayers directed
and full of faith and your joy be outrageously abundant.

May the Shalom of Christ comfort any sorrow or doubt, and may the
overwhelming, extravagant love of God drive fear from you.
This I pray in Jesus name for you...and me. Amen.

Peace, Jay

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Dear God – A Letter from My Past



“God’s love is relentless in its determination that we be cured of our sins, at whatever the cost to us or to Him.” - C.S. Lewis

Inspired from a few new blogger friends (Moe and Dustin) who wrote a letter to their past selves I decide to do the same…well, that was my idea anyway. Until I came across an old letter from me (when I was 30) to God and I knew that I had to post it. So, it’s kinda like a letter from me to the present me (which would’ve been the future me then…but you get the idea). Yes, I know it’s addressed to God but does He really need a letter to know what I’m thinking? No, it sent a message to where I am today. The cool thing is that I read this a few days before I gave a sermon on Crazy Love (listen here) and it reminded me of God’s relentless love.

I was thirty, a young husband of 4 years and not yet a father…

Dear God, I see the danger of growing older. The newness of life can quickly rub off without one noticing. The newness o f the life you gave can become in our mind…common place and taken for granted. I guess that’s what you meant by being a child to enter your Kingdom. 30 years is not old by any means, yet I’m not sure if my faith in you is mature or just old. Praying is very difficult lately and so is reading your Word. Not because I believe less but the burning desire to know you seems to come and go with no real pattern. Remember the nights I prayed to you for protection from my dad…and yet the attacks continued? I never understood why you chose to deny those prayers but my desire to know never seemed to wane during those days. Is there no need? No, there is always need of you. I do have this inner trembling because of the place I chosen to stand. I fear you and what your power can do to me. Yet, you know I still don’t doubt (at least seriously) your great love for me.

Father God, lead me into your hands. I’m still a little boy searching for manhood. I laugh nervously at the life that surrounds me. A honest to goodness false bravado. What tremendous grace that allows me to question your authority with my silence. This 30 year old has a lot of growing up to do. This little boy needs a teacher…thanks for the love. Love, your son…Jay

I read this and was moved by the heart of that young man, although he spoke of being cold I sensed passion beneath the surface. A relentless God was pursuing me and that pursuit is still going on today. Father God is still hungry for my heart!

So, what is my response to a relentless God?

It’s not about doing more good stuff…working harder at being extra good. It’s all about being His. What is the 1st commandment? (You shall not have any other Gods before me) This means that God is more than just number 1 on a list…it means there are no other contenders for that spot…ever!

How do we go about being more….His?

By surrendering those parts of "us" that are not in love with Him totally.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30

Every part of our humanness is addressed isn’t it?

The good news here is that all these parts were designed to love God. It a multifaceted way to love Him, it’s loving Him on all the levels of our life. What we take in, what we give out…every part of us is packaged to love Him.  Every part of our being can express the fullness of our affection for God.

My goal is become a man who is madly in love with God…all the time.

Will you join me?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Stepping In Love



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 Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place. ~ Zora Neale Hurston

It’s amazing what God can do in one single step. 31 years ago I stepped off a bus and into my future…I just didn’t comprehend it at that moment. I was 23 at the time and traveled in a Christian Rock Band called Charistmata. We had this 3 night gig at Holy Name of Jesus Church in Valhalla, NY, about an hour from where I lived. When we got to the church packing lot there was a crowd of people waving signs and cheering for us (Christian groupies?). As I step off our bus I saw her…this beautiful blonde and God told me (yes He did) that she was going to be my wife. The next few days were a blur…and it would be months before I would tell her. That’s another story…

On March 16, 1980…my history (the crawling out of my hiding place part) and my future, all wrapped up together, changed. Two years later we married but our adventure together started way before then. Those two years before marriage built best friend-ness into us and that continues to today. Stepping into love that God had planned for me before the beginning of time still blows my mind.My wife completes me in ways that I didn’t know I needed.

Christine’s love for me points me to Christ…isn’t that what best friends are for? Thank you my love, for going on this adventure with me!

Love, Jay

PS. I wrote this poem a few years ago for my wife.

About Your Love

Speak to me about your love
And I will speak about
poems that happen
filling the unforgiving minutes
with tasty morsels
of delicious words
and satisfying moments

Speak to me about your love
and I will have a word
about the pendulum swing
of my heart
which whispers your name
in every beat

Speak to me about your love
And I focus on an
ageless journey
I kiss myself goodbye
and settle blissfully
in your love

Jay Cookingham © 12-30-03

 

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Monday, February 14, 2011

The Strings of My Heart

 

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This poem is part of The Warrior Poet Circle hosted by blogger, fellow warrior poet and friend Jason at Endless Impact. Read more great poems over there!

 

broken strings]

The Strings of My Heart

Many broken
Some strung too tight
The tune, violent to the ear
The strings of my heart, misplayed
Stripped both of veneer and music

An orchestrated love retunes
an empty shell
Each string vibrates with new life
Songs, heart songs
Fill the ears of the King.

Jay Cookingham © 2-11-11

 

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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Like So Much Sand – Poetic Promise


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Like So Much Sand

I dream cast on the shore of wishes.
Wading through a tidal pool
of desires.

Focused on the grains of memory,
like so much sand.
Kicked up by winds of change,
landing on the lids of my eyes.

Causing them to tear and
cleanse my face.
A window of my soul revealed
with grit removed.

Far from land’s end,I am carried.
Swells of vision move me,
I journey on a new current.

Far from drifting away
No, much closer to the harbor of His heart.

Jay Cookingham © January 2003

You may be in the middle a battle that seems as large as the Sahara and you right in the middle of it. I don’t know how big the Sahara is but I know that in the middle of it…there’s sand…lots of it. I love walking on the beach but it’s hard to walk on sand…it tires you out and if the sun is really hot that day (Yes I know the sun is always hot) the sand gets smoking hot and it can burn your feet.

That may be how your walk is today…but I have good news….and it’s found in this Scripture.

“Jehovah your God who goes before you shall fight for you, according to all that He did for you in Egypt before your eyes, 31 and in the wilderness where you have seen how Jehovah your God carried you, as a man carries his son, in all the way that you went until you came into this place.” Deuteronomy 1: 30-31

Do you realize just how valuable you are to Him?

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Poetry Pilgrimage


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

It is getting late here in the Cookingham house and I have been freelancing, playing some video games with boys and now going through some old poetry of mine. I’m listening to Divine Romance by Phil Wickham and trying to focus on this pilgrimage my heart is going on.

Yesterday I was a mess (on the inside), I ranted and raved as I drove home from work (yes, I was alone). After a while I heard a small still voice remind me of His love for me and my spirit became still as well. His pursuit of my heart is huge mystery to me and it reminded me of this poem. I hope you are blessed by reading it….there is more to come. Blessings, Jay

No Mere Mystery

Mind and spirit
Body and soul
Quieted and still
A deep worship flows
With the song of heaven
Devotion sounds
Echo across my
Own silence
I am known by
The One who knows
It is no mere mystery

Jay Cookingham © June 5, 2003

My question is this….Do you feel like God is missing you so much that He’s tugging on your heart?

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Pilgrimage

 


I wrote this poem a year ago during Lent, considering the pilgrimage I
am on right now...I believe it fits. I hope it blesses you.

ash
Pilgrimage

I bow my head in reverence,
not in shame.

I kneel humbly in homage,
not in fear.

What I give up in surrender
is small.

What I gain in surrender
is without measure.

Repentance sorrow is
met with mercy.

A heavy heart is caressed
with hope.

More than need or want,
is the desire for redemption

That makes an everyday pilgrimage
real in my heart.

Jay Cookingham 2010 ©

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew
a steadfast spirit within me.
Psalm 51:10


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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Love Like Crazy


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“Loving a holy God is beyond our moral power. The only kind of God we can love by our sinful nature is an unholy god, an idol made by our own hands. Unless we are born of the Spirit of God, unless God sheds His holy love in our hearts, unless He stoops in His grace to change our hearts, we will not love Him. To love a holy God requires grace, grace strong enough to pierce our hardened hearts and awaken our moribund souls” - R.C. Sproul

Soulfari has been quiet for a few days, mostly because I have so much on my plate right now. Regular work, freelance work, board meetings, family meetings…the list goes on and on. What I’m trying to finish up is my sermon for this coming Sunday called “A Crazy Little Thing Called Love”…catchy isn’t it?…sounds like  a song…hmmmm. Some of the thoughts I had here are part of what I intend to share.

So this small post is simply to remind you all that I’m still here…just hunkered down preparing my heart to talk about our love for God…by talking about my level of love for Him. I sense that this could be a huge moment as I express where I am in this leg of my journey with the Lord. I pulled this from the post I mentioned above.

“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.”

I am humbled by this thought and it has changed (is changing) my heart. I’m excited to find out that my heart is not as dead as I feared…

“And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.” Ezekiel 36:26 NLT

I will blog more about this subject but God is doing a work in me that requires time and stillness…both which are at a premium lately.

Still, I wonder…who has your heart?
Can I pray for you?
There is always time for that!

Bless you all,
Jay

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Friday, February 4, 2011

How Low Can You Go?


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“Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?”

(14) “Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.” Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?”

(15) The commander of the LORD’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.”
Joshua 5:13-15

“As worship begins in holy expectancy, it ends in holy obedience. Holy obedience saves worship from becoming an opiate, an escape from the pressing needs of modern life.” - Richard Foster

Today I’m wondering if I am low enough…if my face is truly planted on the ground of obedience and love before my King. You see, I’m still wrestling with thoughts and feelings that I shared in my post “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” and I think a little face planting might be in order. I want Him to have ALL of me.

I hear Jesus say…Jay, come follow me.

Do you?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Rest Area

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“So says Jehovah, Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths where the good way is, and walk in it, and you shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk in it.” Jeremiah 6:16

“Take My yoke on you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest to your souls.” Matthew 11:29

During my prayer time tonight God brought the word REST to mind. At first I got real excited since I am still not sleeping well and thought I might be headed for a great slumber session tonight. After I heard God chuckle ( I tend to make that happen a lot) I started to think about family vacations. After 29 years of vacations and other trips, I realized that we have visited a whole bunch of rest areas along the way. Some we had to look for or ask directions for (we get lost almost every trip we take) and some we passed on because we were in a hurry.

There were choices involved in every opportunity to stop…

In Jeremiah, the word for rest is margôa (mar-go’-ah) which means a resting place. In Matthew the word is anapausis (an-ap'-ow-sis) which means an intermission or refreshment. Both the Hebrew and Greek words speak of a personal involvement in choosing to rest.

Everyday the Lord gives opportunity for rest…

Who knows the ancient paths, the good way, better than Jesus? I believe rest comes from the journey with Him because we are WITH Him! May I encourage you to take a walk in His rest…to journey a bit closer to His heart. His yoke is much easier on the back than anything you’re carrying now.
                                                                                       

Almighty God,
you have made us for yourself,
and our hearts are restless
till they find their rest in you;
so lead us by your Spirit
that in this life we may live to your glory
and in the life to come enjoy you for ever;
through Jesus Christ our Lord
who is alive with with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God now and for ever.
Amen.
- St Augustine

 

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Fail Safe

 

“All our falls are useful if they strip us of a disastrous confidence in ourselves, while they do not take away a humble and saving trust in God.”
- Francois Fenelon (1651-1715), French Roman Catholic theologian

I am reminded tonight of failing but NOT in a “woe is me” sort of way. Rather, I am full of wonder as I remember those many moments of falling flat on my face. The wonder is in the goodness of Father God and His reaction to my epic failures.

"Though he fall, he shall not be cast down; for Jehovah upholds his hand."
Psalm 37:24

I know the voice of failure, it’s not a very kind one but not so with God…His voice carries a different tune and a distinct purpose.

"Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine." Isaiah 43:2

We are His…called by name and we have no reason to fear…not even our huge mongo falls.

Our hope is in Him…not ourselves!

Peace, Jay


My Hope

Matt Redman


My hope is built
On nothing less
Then Jesus’ blood and righteousness
I dare not trust
The sweetest frame
But wholly lean
On Jesus’ Name

When the mountains are falling
When the waters are rising
I shall be safe in You
Though the nations are quaking
Every kingdom be shaken
Still will rest in You

When darkness seems
To hide Your face
I rest on Your
Unchanging grace
In every high
And stormy gale
My anchor holds
Within the veil

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Remembering to Be Grateful


gratitude

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder. ~ G.K. Chesterton

Gratitude is an action word, a powerful muscle of expressing thanks and gratefulness. It is also, I believe, relational pursuit. The wonder and happiness that gratitude generates is because we recognize the power that it releases in us. It is the power to surrender and give ourselves to God in a deeper way. In Matthew 6:31-33 we read….

Today’s post is part of the Everyday Testimony Project hosted by friend and fellow blogger Jason of Connecting to Impact. You can read the rest of this post by going here!


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