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

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Give Away




This past Sunday was one of those moments when something magical and mysterious happens. The Christmas season makes it happen I believe, the hearts of people encounter the Heart of God and wonder covers us all. The small chapel was filled, a nice treat for a festive day, with a cozy mix of regulars, family and wide-eyed first timers. Our gathering was a Christmas celebration consisting of a worship dance by the young ladies of our church, their youthful expressions of joy deepening wonder in all our hearts. We followed with the carols of the season, the congregation joining voices together in worship… singing “glory to the newborn King” as if we were actually there in a lowly stable watching the story unfold. Each chorus, crystallizing the miracle of new birth in our spirits… yes, something special was in the air.

One of our elders gave a message of hope about our Wonderful Counselor and the power in that title our Lord carries. The message led us to share Communion together; a pause to remember what Jesus came to give away for us. After sharing the Lord’s Table, we closed our gathering with a chorus of Silent Night.

As the service ended I thought about all the wonderful God moments to look back on. It was in the post celebration haze that my wife told me that God was working His wonder on us before the service had begun.

God showed Himself during the excited meet and greet mosh pit of friendly handshakes and hugs that filled our aisles as people were ushered in the sanctuary. In that crowd we saw that some of our neighbors decided to come, prodded on by the friendship between my youngest daughter and theirs, who urged them all to come and see “Becky’s dance”.

Her younger brother came with a different agenda; he came with a wonderful mission to give something away. As my wife greeted him, he held out his small hand and offered a chocolate from his treasure of three to her.
“I bought these in case someone felt stressed.” He said, his eyes displaying the conviction of his quest.
That small gift, which my wife gladly received, was an expression of a heart that came to give. That is the miracle of Christmas, that we understand the blessing we have received and we go on mission to deliver a message of “good tidings of great joy”…and yes, that rescues us from the stress of sin.
Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God which he has given you.
Deuteronomy 16:17
God has made giving possible, He so loved…He gave! The blessing of His live through us gives us all “give away” power. My little neighbor came prepared to give…that’s how I want to live my life.


Merry Christmas Everyone!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Table Setting

 

 

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We opened the doors and they came, nearly 120 of them, entering the brightly lit venue in the small town of Staatsburg, NY. They came for a feast, they came out of curiosity and they came for company, as one lone elderly woman said to my son Isaac as he held the door open for her…

“It will be nice to sit at a table and talk to someone.” She said with a smile on her face.

Some were dressed as if they were dining at a fancy restaurant, others in business casual attire and more people than I could count, in clothes that had seen better days. The beauty of all this was that they came through the same doors and shared dinner at the same tables.

Several local churches, businesses, and civic organizations banded together to serve a Thanksgiving meal to our community. The fact that we all were humble and compassionate enough to drop egos at the door to work alongside each other was the first miracle. The meal itself… well, that was a delight to behold.

"For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me." Matthew 25:35

The dinner was a sit down meal; the tables (beautifully decorated) had name tags and place settings. Each person was welcomed and escorted to their seats by smiling faces and warm hearts. The seating was prearranged to have a mixture of people; inviting lively conversations among folks who may never had opportunity to talk to each other before. Remember the lady looking for one less lonely night? Well, she got her wish.

The night had the Father’s heart written all over it. One lady told me that prior to this meal, her dinner was going to be a peanut butter sandwich, now her eyes beamed with gratefulness over a plate overflowing with good food. Yet, there was more to it, she was surrounded by community, a community sharing goodness together.

Everybody’s spirit was feasting as well…the Father knows
the power of community.

There are so many enemies to community building, so many foes trying to keep us all apart. When we share our hearts, we share the best part of ourselves, the part the Father has redeemed and set free. Free people have no hesitation opening their heart and sharing because they are imitating their Heavenly Father.

“Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor.” Proverbs 22:9

The art of thanksgiving is contagious! What we (all those who volunteered to serve) got to see was the look of blessing on people’s faces. We shared in the stories of hearts willing to express their thankfulness for being treated with special grace and kindness.

That’s quite a powerful table setting!

I will praise the name of God with song, And shall magnify Him with thanksgiving. Psalm 69:30

Ed. Note

The planning for the first Hyde Park Community Thanksgiving Dinner began many months ago, but you’ll have to ask Kregg Gabor when the vision for this event began in his heart to know the true beginning. Kregg serves as pastor for the Hyde Park Methodist Church, this dinner, this blessed event came from a God birth vision deep inside him, one he was all too happy to include whoever willing to serve the community in on. He will humbly take no credit but he deserves a lot for obeying God and spearheading this event…thanks Kregg!

 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Marriage Encounter

 

 

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This past weekend my son Matthew married his love Samantha, the first nuptials in the Cookingham clan. In the afterglow of a glorious day, I think of the lives connected, how the story mingles the past with the future, engraving its own verses into the narrative. Crossroads, cross sections… the powerful weaving of hearts, flowing with immense beauty and grace.

Such is the strength of marriage, what it adds to the storyline, its flavor, its spark and the complete wonder of oneness. The covenant of marriage dances with our spirit and marinates our heart with total abandonment to love’s call of freedom. It is a song that sings to the deepest part of who we are and woos us to surrender our heart to another.

This encounter, this wonderful exchange of wills, is designed by the Father to set us free. Oneness is not meant to separate us but to complete us and teach us how to love as completely as He does. For God so loved… He gave, and it is this precious gift He imparts into the covenant of marriage.

"Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate."
- Mark 10:9

 

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Thursday, October 15, 2015

How Sonship Shapes a Man's Identity


 

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The-Dr.-Vibe-Show-Info-For-Black-Men-And-Those-Who-Love-Them copyHad a great opportunity to be interviewed by my new friend and brother, Dr. Vibe last night on his very popular DR. Vibe Show. You have to check out his site and log on to one of his broadcasts, always engaging and informative and sure to bless.

The subject matter is one I'm passionate about, men discovering their true identity and the threats against them. When a man loses his identity he also loses his sense of purpose, he loses his way and surrenders his heart to lesser things. An orphan slave/mentality will lead us off course; we grow distant from the Father in every way imaginable. Moreover, IF we are distant to the Father’s heart then every heart entrusted to us will feel the same effect.

Father God did not battle for our hearts to turn us into slaves or worker drones. He didn’t leave us as orphans, no He sent Jesus to redeem us and make it possible to have a deep relationship with Him. Jesus shows us how it done…what sonship looks like.

1 John 3:1 says this….

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

What this Scripture says to me is that the world doesn’t have a clue what a son looks like but it doesn’t know the Father. So, it doesn’t matter what the world says, or our past, or the enemy says about our identity…God calls us (not merely a title, but a legal status) His sons!

Sonship continues to be God’s best strategy to rescue our identity.

We need to see ourselves as sons… and to understand the fullness of the love of the Father for us. It’s the transformation of the way we think, the renewing of our mindset and our hearts.

Sonship speaks this into a man… Identity and Purpose

Identity = Significance, value, worth, importance, answers the question of
“Who am I?”

This is the heart of who you are

Sonship solidifies that identity and freedom flows from the relationship we share with Father God.

Purpose = Direction, focus, motivation, design, answers the question
“Why am I here?”

This is the heart of your mission

Sonship corrects and directs the steps of a man; it aligns his spirit with Father God’s and prepares it for action. Sonship convinces a man that he was made for something greater than himself.

Your true identity is not what you project, not what you show off…our manhood, our masculinity is based on who God says we are

These are just some of the thoughts we touched on last night for more watch the replay of last night's Dr.Vibe show with me and cast of characters who love God and helping other men. https://blab.im/jjaylw

Follow Dr.Vibe on Twitter @drvibeshow

 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Accidental Guest

 

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I was recently an "accidental" guest on a video podcast hosted by Dr. Vibe (see here). I was watching online because I'm due to be interviewed by Dr.Vibe this coming Friday and I wanted to check the show out. As I was listening I got invited into the conversation (around the 20 minute mark) about "Men and Power, can they handle it?". I had a blast and was honored that these men allowed me to put some of my thoughts into a fascinating topic.

The surprise invitation made me realize how important it is to be ready to tell your story of redemption...the story of how you came into the greatest story there is.

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. 1 Peter 3:15

It's amazing how Father God used this "accidental" invite as an opportunity for His name to be gloried and for people to hear the message of hope. For this I am thankful, humbled and reminded to be prepared.

Anyways, if you have an hour plus to kill, check this show out and let me know what you think....bless you all!

 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

From Problem Child To Pastor

 

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This week I was honored to be interview (online) by Rodney Kellum from fatherpreneurship.com. Rodney is a new friend of mine who has a huge heart to see people set free and was kind enough to give me time to tell part of my story of freedom. If you have some time (it's about 45 minutes) and you don't mind the glare of my bald head (also I move around so much you  would think the chair I was sitting on was on fire) you'll get a deeper peek into how God rescued me from the darkness of abuse. Also check out Rodney's site, it's full of great content and he's an awesome dude!

Here's the link to the interview....
http://www.fatherpreneurship.com/from-problem-child-to-pastor-the-story-of-jay-cookingham/

 

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Monday, August 10, 2015

What love is


 

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Hang with me today…this will be tough story at the beginning…

This was going to be easy, the knife was sharp and I was all alone deep in the woods, no one would find me for days. My time had run out and I couldn’t fight back anymore.

I was tired, so tired of being without… without having the right clothes, the right looks, the right friends, the right family and the right to be happy. So I filled my emptiness with the self-medicating drugs of the day, each drink, each toke a reminder of what a loser I was. I was looking for numbness and all I got was a double shot of awareness.

I was a deadman walking

My commitment to Christ at age seven seemed so distant to the heart that sat on rock waiting to for a blade to bleed out its life. The wondering of “where were you God” had long past me by, like a far-off dream tugging on my sleeve but easily ignored.

I drew the knife from its sheath, the chill of the blade giving me Goosebumps, and went to make the first cut…before I could; I heard a voice… it said…

NO

It was as if the whole universe shook; my universe anyway, with the power that only a Messiah can speak with. I stood, my head spinning around like a crazy man, looking for someone…anyone…because I thought no one was watching.

He was…Messiah was

That seventeen-year-old started a new journey that day, it wasn’t easy but he faced the abuse, the mistakes, the false identity and the true enemy with renewed faith. For years after my suicide attempt, I thought “Wow, I should be dead”…how wrong I was. The truth was that I should be alive… for that is what Messiah wanted for me… life.

After all…This is love and 1 John 4:10 reminds us….

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
1 John 4:10

You are loved by a God who pursues you with a relentless love!

 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Core Mission




One of my core missions in life is to encourage men and help them see the Father as I have come to know Him. This mission is a passion of mine and I love sharing the message of sonship wherever I can, conferences, men's groups, social media and even better, one-on-one over some really great coffee. To be used by the Father this way is powerfully rewarding and equally as humbling.

Sometimes you get instant feedback, men sharing what God has done by revealing who He is to them, those are precious moments and ones I'm grateful for. However, most of the time you give/share/reveal and pray that men see the Father and the love He has for them...and you wonder...did your words have any impact.

For a guy who loves feedback and visible indicators that something I shared from Father's heart made a difference in your life, not hearing feedback can discourage my heart. I have learned (almost) that you never know the how far the reach, the influence and the sway you have when you yield your life to Him.

But...every once and a while, Father gives you a peek.

A year ago I commented on an excellent post by Morgan Snyder called Stranded with Flip Flops – A Case for a Generalist (you can read it here)

Below is my comment in case you don't have time to click and read Morgan's post (although I think you'll be blessed and will put my musing in context)

Such a powerful post and I loved it, the images of this mountain man coming to the rescue is inspiring. I do have some other thoughts and I believe they fit.
I consider myself a "generalist" a "jack of all trades" type of guy. Yet, I don't hunt, my home repair skills are suspect and if I judge myself against a list of "manly things" I may not qualify for a mancard anymore. At least that's what my dad thought...and for years I suffered from that failure to live up to his version of manhood. 
Thankfully Father God changed all that. He alone defines my masculinity and it is OK not to be good at any of those things...it really is. I don't feel castrated because I can't fix something or track down a wild animal in the deep woods. No, I a man because the Father says so...because He made me a son.
My older brother is one of the toughest men I know. An ex-Marine, can build anything, can hunt down (and has) anything, knows every construction tool and its use...but has two failed marriages and left a minefield of busted relationships along the way. 
Men are not defined but what they can and cannot do...they are defined by their Father and what He says about them. I am reminded about something my wife wrote about a few years ago. I was clearing out some old paperwork and came across a letter that my she wrote to honor me on one of my birthdays. I won’t bore you with the whole letter but there was this one section that grabbed me by the throat. (BTW…it still does) 
“Some men build massive skyscrapers, awesome bridges, complex computers, things which can be destroyed. My man builds lives.” 
His life, His power, His Spirit…through us…brings life. This is the rescue mission I am sent on everyday. Anyways, just a few thoughts from a 57 year-old father of seven, who has been married for 31 years and following Christ for 50...and who is still in process of becoming more like a son every day! God Bless ya!
Yesterday sitting in my church office I received an instant message from someone I didn't know inquiring about something I wrote. After some investigation and a few more text messages I found the above comment and forwarded to this brother, asking if this was what he was talking about...here is his reply:

"Men are not defined but what they can and cannot do...they are defined by their Father and what He says about them." THIS is what changed my life!! 

My heart was overwhelmed with thankfulness to my Father, that He spoke so clearly to this man's heart and impacted him so deeply. I share this to encourage you that your story matters, how the Father rescued you matters, spread this message whenever you can and wherever you go...you never know how Father will use what He has done in you!


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Affliction



I am sharing a movie my son Joshua made on Lamentations 3. One of his favorite passages in Scriptures.
There's a powerful message in this...I hope it ministers to you.




Friday, June 5, 2015

What Life Does





Its funny what life does to a man’s heart, the twists and turns of living on this planet places you in jeopardy by asking a simple question.

Why am I here?

The answer—not simple at all—challenges me on a daily basis, causing moments of deep panic because I have no response and then intoxicating me with thrilling moments when I “get” the intent of the question.

The question is an invitation

“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

Following Messiah helps me with the “why am I here” question and the light of life He provides helps me see where I must invest my heart, changing the question into a proclamation.

Here’s why I’m here

For 33 years (55.93% of my life) I have walked with the most captivating heart I have ever known, my wife Christine. The God ordained, planned rescue of my heart involves being one with my bride, and learning how to love her as Christ loved the church.

A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.”-Mignon McLaughlin

Our marriage being the message, the song, the declaration that covenant love flows through us from Father’s heart. An anniversary celebration is only a momentary display of what a daily life of covenant love produces… the ability to fall in love over and over.

What life does then is stretch me to uncomfortable and seemingly impossible limits and present opportunities of giving myself away. Each stretch offers me a life moment, a window, a gift of time, allowing me to devote my heart to my bride, making us more one than the moment before.

I am here to love this precious heart… that’s what life does.





Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Big Question





I've share my testimony in blog posts, sermons, men's events and one-on-one counseling sessions... it is time for something new.

At the encouragement of my wife and much prayer, I started a new writing project. "My Story of Freedom: Forgiveness and Letting Go" is the story/testimony of how God transformed my life. How does one recover from growing up in an abusive home? This book will chronicle all the life events that Father God used to set me free and help answer that question.

And it's a big question.

Approximately 1.8 million adolescents in the United States have been the victims of sexual assault. These are the reported or discovered ones... each number a person... each one a story of pain. I see such overwhelming stats my heart spins and I wonder if my story will make a difference in theirs. Perhaps if I was a famous athlete, actor, rock star, or politician, my reach would go further... impact more.

But because I am free... I must share His work of freedom.
"God's work is freedom. Freedom is dear to his heart. He wishes to make man's will free, and at the same time wishes it to be pure, majestic, and holy." - E. H. CHAPIN, Living Words
The cover is a pre-design to just keep me motivated. Please pray for me as I work hard to complete this project and hopefully help others with my story!

I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free. Psalm 119:32 (NIV)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Gain of Losing


 

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For over a month now my spirit seems unsettled and living on the edge of something I can't quite understand. This particular discomfort is like looking over your shoulder and expecting something or someone to be behind you but finding only your imagination at work. Not creepy but puzzling just the same. It seems to be a mixture of anticipation and uncertainty... throwing in a dash of curiosity and you have a hint of what I'm feeling lately. Not "bad" but uncomfortable, not anxious but so "not sure" of why I'm feeling this way.

And I'm OK with that.

It could be connected to being husband, father, brother, pastor and the array of different responsibilities they all contain. Combine responsibilities with difficulties, struggles and worries and you might just have the right cocktail mix to intoxicate a spirit with un-ease.

Yet, I don't think so... it's deeper than that... maybe I'm just disturbed.

I feel dragged in a different direction than what I'm accustomed to, pulled away from the mechanical and self-driven pistoned responses (the things that revolve around me) to life. These eroding forces combine their efforts to expose the deepest part of who I am... quite effectively I may add.

Say what?

When God messes with me, He reveals stuff! This may not be good for keeping my ego intact but it's crucial for growing as a human being and more importantly, growing closer to Him.

A covenant relationship with God requires disclosure, a transparency that He is already acquainted with, since He knows my frame. The disclosure is for my sake, I need to see through myself and allow the Holy Spirit to lead me in that discovery. This disturbance pilgrimage yields hidden places that need surrender, a holy sacrifice offering my heart up in new ways. His love purifies and refines my heart and helps me re-find the lost treasure my heart is.

Finding my heart again is one reason I believe God messes with me. My heart is valuable to Father God, He fought for it, and He redeemed it and made it alive again. This search and rescue mission proves the value of my heart and helps make sense of the time when I feel so restless.

My heart is restless because it is hungry. I am losing (thankfully) my grip on the things that cause my heart to drift and lose it's appetite for more of God. The disruption of my life by a Holy God, messes with me... this shaking, a sacred disturbance of what I thought was important only to discover the shallowness of that mindset. When my "normal" is challenged by the Father, the false harmony of my life is revealed, the tune unrecognizable from the arrangement God had intended my life to sound like.

We have a God who grants us independence —free will— but asks and desires that we depend on Him, so that we can experience life with Him. For me, restlessness is a craving for His order in my life, a hunger for more of Him and for my Father to re-tune my heart to resonant with His. It's this huge opportunity to lose myself in the wonder of His love and gain the freedom my soul desperately needs to.

This is what we gain by losing.

Jesus has a different vision of maturity: It is the ability and willingness to be led where you would rather not go. - Henri Nouwen

And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?
Matthew 16:26

I wonder…what do you think we gain by losing?

 

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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Unrecognizable?

 

Unrecognizable_thumb[4] This is a post from last year but I felt I should share it again, it helped me refocus on the power and the and severity of the story of our Messiah. I hope it touches you. – Jay Cookingham

Unrecognizable?

My neighbors shouted for me to hurry, to drop what I was doing and follow them. They ran ahead, their excited voices forcibly joining the crowd we were running towards. The last thing I heard clearly was…

He was coming.

The air was filled with dust and anger, and in fear, I almost turned back. Instead, I jostled for position against the mob that lined the street. I flexed my broad shoulders and squeezed my way to the front, not caring about the bruises I gave or received by doing so. I wiped my eyes, trying to free them from the dust assaulting them. I wanted to hush the people around me, gather my bearings and find him in the crowd. I followed their pointed fingers and their jeers to the person walking down the street… he was coming.

My neighbors lied…this couldn’t be him…it was hardly a man. This was a walking, bloody mass of sorrow. Who could do that to such a man like him? It just couldn’t be him!

I followed, weaving through the families, the merchants and soldiers, struggling to keep pace with a man weighed down by a tree. The pointed fingers turned to clenched fists and the anger grew into hatred, cold and brutal, such like I’ve never witnessed before. The grotesqueness of the crowd mirrored this man’s wounds… raw and unforgiving. They eagerly spewed insults and spit with vicious accuracy. I wondered what hurt the man more, these vile words, or the punishment covering his body.

No way would they do this to…HIM! This can’t be him. Could it?

I lost count how many times he fell hard on the street of stones. The blood, the pain and the weight of his burden, all conspiring to trip him. The forced march continued only after the soldiers made a man, randomly plucked from the crowd, carry the heavy load.

My Tears became a guttural sob, the tension ramming grief down my throat. I almost turned back, wanting to run away from the figure struggling to walk, even without the tree to carry. The mocking crowd shouted curses mixed with the name of Jesus…trying to blend them into one.

It just couldn’t be him…why would he let them do this to him?

On the mountain of skulls they nailed this battered pulp of a man to a cross. He looked un-human, torn, battered…and finished. He was unrecognizable…until I heard him speak.

“Father forgive them…they know not what they do!”

I was wrong all along…he was recognizable…

HE was Jesus.

© Jay Cookingham

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Father's Plan


 

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I like to share some quick stories about some men I recently met.

One man has been dealing with abandonment issues for most of his life...he is now 75 years old.

One man grew up in a worse abuse situation than I did (if you know my story (Freedom Story) that's saying something!

One young man described himself as "Boring Brian", he struggles with self-worth.

One young man desperately wants an older man to help "father" him on his journey and walk with Jesus

They all came (along with about 40 others) to hear me speak about "Manhunt: God's Search for Sons" at my seminar at the Iron Sharpens Iron Conference in Carlise, PA (March 14th). The father wound is real, I've experienced first-hand and seen it revealed in the eyes of many brothers. When I start to share about how God wants to be their Father, no matter their age, I see a whole range of emotions cover their faces. Some wipe their eyes, some stare down at the floor with one hand wrestling for control of the other, and then there are the ones with a look of wonder as if they have heard the best news since they were forgiven of their sins... the smile gives it away.

It is for these faces... these hearts I do this. This is the message, that God is my Father, your Father, their Father, that drives me to speak, to share and to give hope.

“The child asks of the Father whom he knows. Thus, the essence of Christian prayer is not general adoration, but definite, concrete petition. The right way to approach God is to stretch out our hands and ask of One who we know has the heart of a Father.” 
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

To help men stretch out their hands towards Father God is a privilege, to witness the connection happen is a blessing beyond words...even now as I write the emotion of it all swallows me in its richness and my eyes moisten with gratitude.

The stories continue...

The 75 year young brother received confirmation about a life-changing decision. He and his wife recently applied to become foster parents (at 75!), releasing the champion in them both. He will fight abandonment with acceptance.

The brother with an abuse story worse than my own sat down with me as we shared the restoring power of the love of the Father. We talked for 30 mins (after all had left) marveling about the goodness of God. Further healing was cemented.

I renamed "Boring Brian" to "Bold Brian" reminding him of who he was in Christ and that nothing is boring about a revealed son of the Father. The light in his eyes was priceless.

As for the young man seeking a spiritual dad...he had one of the biggest smiles in the room, he received hope that that man would be stepping up soon in his life. Such is the Father's love.

Fatherlessness is poison, it almost consumed me with its devastation, but the love of the Father pulled me out of darkness into His marvelous light.

I want to help Him do the same for others…to follow His plan.

His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. And this gave him great pleasure. Ephesians 1:5

 

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Freelance Knight

 

 

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Iron In a few days I'll be heading to Carlisle PA to speak at the Iron Sharpens Iron Men's Conference. This will be my second round of ISI conferences (I spoke at 2 last year) and each one is an awesome and humbling event. The fact that I am invited surprises me when you considered the heavy hitters of men ministry that are usually gathered there. As a speaker I pay my own way there (thankfully my church covers all costs) so in some ways, I feel like a freelance knight.

A lightweight spear is also called a lance. In the middle ages, a knight who could be hired to fight in different battles was referred to as a free lance. Later this word play came to mean anyone who did work for hire.

The “Iron Sharpening Iron” process is indeed the work of knights in the service of the King, I am "hired" by the Father and sent on a mission to help rescue the hearts of men. I am a FREE lance knight...freed by the sacrifice of my King to become a son.

"But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God' John 1:12,13

Everyday the Father is asking us to do the same...be His FREE agents and introduce lost sons to the Messiah…it’s our Father’s will.

I'll be speaking Saturday afternoon around 1:00 PM. Please pray that men's hearts are touch by the Father as I share His heart with them.

 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Braveheart


 

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The bravest person I know entered my life Thirty-five years ago. March 16 started out as a snowy day, a winter mix that almost kept us from meeting, but the snow stopped and the sun melted what was left and I was on my way to Valhalla (New York that is, not the enormous hall of heroes located in Asgard). Although I am sharing a story about a hero, it is not the Norse kind.

When I first saw this person it was in the middle of a crowd, one that was there to meet an unassuming Christian rock band schedule to sing at their church that weekend. As I got off the bus the band traveled in, this person seemed to stand out from all the rest. Although surrounded by many people, it appeared she was singled out for me to notice her. This moment hung in the crisp air inviting me with a warmth and urgency I never felt before. Today two strangers would meet and only one was aware of the story playing out before his eyes. My Father chooses this moment to speak promise deep inside of me and give me a taste of what forever looks like.

I could not imagine the deep work that was unfolding before me, it seemed too neat, too orchestrated but I have long accepted the fact that God has a far larger imagination than mine. Still, this revelation unnerved me and took my breath away… it left me without words and I’m sure God was chuckling at that particular miracle. I was seeing past, present and future collide and all of the pieces falling unnoticed by the people around me. It was a private showing of a scene, a frame by frame exposure of rescue plan played out in my Heavenly Father’s heart. It was a love story that only He could have written.

He was asking this person of interest to embark on a crazy adventure. This journey would be life changing for them as well, for He was introducing them to the challenge of loving me, every part of me. There would be no off-limits place, no secrets, everything would be exposed and bared for their eyes only. They would see the man as he is and have the privilege, if they dared, to see him as the Father saw him. This wonderful brave heart not only agreed but embraced the challenge, giving all to the journey Father God had laid out for them. In a small church parking lot, in a little hamlet in New York, I met the braveheart that would become my wife.

Three decades and a half ago I would come face-to-face with the person God would use to rescue my heart. The intricate weave of a story that mended the torn and ragged fabric of my life. This beauty would rescue the prince and help vanquish the beast within forever. Dramatic? Yes of course, everything the Father does is full of the power of who He is. His storytelling is full of drama because He’s full of life and He lavished life on me when He introduced me to Christine.

The courtship was an acceptance of a story far greater than who we were and the acknowledgement that this path was good and perfect for us. Here we saw the sacred and were invited into the Holy place, where two became one, never to be separated.

I love this woman…I always will.

"But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female.' 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." Mark 10:6-9

Thursday, February 5, 2015

A Review...I Believe

 

 

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Believe, NIV: Living the Story of the Bible to Become Like Jesus and it's companion book, Think, Act, Be Like Jesus (both by Pastor and author Randy Frazee) are two new discipleship tools that some churches may want to use to help new followers of Jesus to deepen their walk.

Believe, NIV is divided into 30 chapter readings that address one of the following three questions: “What do I believe?”, “What should I do?” and “Who am I becoming?” and is read more like a story than a typical Bible. I would suggest using it along with a tradition translation so that context connections can be made. Still,this can help someone who has had no previous exposure to the Bible gain a solid understanding of what a walk with Jesus is all about. The book is divided into three ten-week sections that are divided as follows:

10 Key Beliefs of Christian Faith (What Do I Believe?)
10 Key Practices of a Follower of Jesus (What Should I Do?)
10 Key Virtues that Assist in Becoming More Like Jesus
(Who Am I Becoming?)

The Companion book, Think, Act, Be Like Jesus works hand-in-hand with the Believe, NIV . It includes the same key verse and key idea as Believe, NIV. But Think, Act, Be Like Jesus also includes a key question and key application for each subject.

For instance, the key question in the chapter “God” is “Who is God?”

The key application is “What difference does this make in the
way I live?”

I think using both of these resources together, reading one chapter in one and the corresponding chapter in the other, will effectively challenge and educate the reader. The goal is to engage the reader and encourage thought and prayer about these key elements...extremely important for all disciples of Christ, new or otherwise.

Good tools, good resource...you should check them out.

Jay Cookingham

I receive these book from Zondervan, a world-leading Bible publisher and provider of Christian communications. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Leap of Faith


 

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For the past two Sunday’s at BBCC I've shared on “A Leap of Faith: Where Fear and Faith Collide”. The subject of faith is a lifelong study I believe…one that continues to become clearer as we walk closer to our Messiah.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • When we think of the word collide, words like….crash, violent, conflict, pain come to mind. A collision will shape you or misshape you…possibly both. No doubt, you will feel the impact and be changed. Our response to a collision between faith and fear can reveal our heart…our fault lines and our view of Father God. That revelation can free us or freeze us.
  • I believe this because faith and fear both require a choice, a buy in into the power of each. The question is what we will choose to believe? Faith helps us stick the landing…the other sticks it to us.
  • In the collision between faith and fear…faith steps out and lands on God. Faith is active…it pursues the Father’s heart and plan with fierce loyalty. It sees the path and it hears the Master’s voice saying this is the way and it leaps, confident it’s landing just where God wants it to.
  • Having faith does not mean you have no fear….It means you deal with fear with the truth of who God is. You surrender to God, not the fear.
  • God is faith, just like He is love…faithfulness that encourages us to be the same .
  • Faith is not based on what God might do... It based on who he is!

The two sermons include physics, Impalas, Jonathan and his armor bearer and much more! If you would like to hear more, listen here

God bless you all!

 

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