All posts by David Cooke

Just do it

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Be Strong and Courageous

“Then David said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous and do it. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed, for the Lord God, even my God, is with you. He will not leave you or forsake you, until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord is finished.” (1 Chronicles 28:20, ESV)

Any great work of God is going to be much greater than what we are capable of accomplishing alone. To stand on the front side of the vision and the task is to be overwhelmed with what is before us. But God has a word to those he calls to do extraordinary things. “Be strong and courageous and do it. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed, for the Lord God…is with you.” These were David’s words to Solomon his son when passing on the task of building the temple.

A young man was given a daunting task. Be strong and courageous and do it. It should remind us to turn back to an earlier time in history. To turn back to the time of Moses who was given a daunting task and stood on the bank of a river looking into the fulfillment of the promise but knowing he would not cross over. But standing right next to him was another man, Moses’ assistant who had been walking with him. Joshua looked across the river to the promise and his heart was slightly stirred. There would be a voice from heaven that would speak to him about the insurmountable task ahead of God’s people that lay across that river. “I command you – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord our God is with you wherever you go.”

These are the words God spoke to Joshua when the mantle of leadership was laid upon his shoulders at the death of Moses. Joshua was going to be the one leading them into the promised land.

When God repeats himself, it is wise to pay attention because it is a clue we are getting a glimpse at the character of God. Such is the case here. God is the God who gives overwhelming tasks to ordinary people. And then he says, “Be strong and courageous and do it! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God – I AM – with you. Wherever you go. Do it.” No matter the task. He is – I AM – is enough.

Are you standing at the threshold of a great dream or task? Is it overwhelming to even consider what might be ahead of you? You are in good company. When David gave Solomon the task and the blessing to build the temple, Solomon didn’t move.

It took Solomon 4 years to start (1 Kings 6:1). He spent the next 7 years building the temple (1 Kings 6:38). It took him an additional 13 years to finish building his own house (1 Kings 7:1). 20 years after he started he was done building (1 Kings 9:10).

“Be strong and courageous and do it.”

Two small words from God make all the difference in the face of the insurmountable. They can set you apart from the vast majority of people in the world. Do it.

  • Do you need to restore your marriage? Do it.
  • Do you need to build a building? Do it.
  • Do you need to establish a ministry? Do it.
  • Do you need to love your child? Do it.
  • Do you need to conquer an addiction? Do it.
  • Do you need to run a marathon? Do it.
  • Every day wake up…and do it.

God is always going to do his part. “…for the Lord God, even my God, is with you. He will not leave you or forsake you…”
Are you going to do your part? Do it.

David Cooke

Leadership Catapult

David
DAVID COOKE
LEAD PASTOR

As the Lead Pastor of Cold Springs Church (CSC), one of the many things I love about us is the attitude it isn’t about us.  Jesus wants us to build his Kingdom first and CSC has shown radical generosity in our community, Mexico, Ethiopia, and across our nation.  We work to see that people all over the world know the love of Jesus – how awesome is that!

Leadership Catapult was started by David Cooke in 2003 to help leaders and organizations move from a focus on information to a focus on transformation.

There is a never ending list of great books, conferences, podcasts, videos, experts, seminars, webinars, gurus, etc. Information isn’t the problem – we’ve never had more access to information. The challenge is taking that information and being able to apply it and execute it in the unique context we find ourselves.

Leadership Catapult is all about recognizing your unique context, helping you take your next step forward and pursuing transformation resulting in living better and leading better.

David has been the Lead Pastor of Cold Springs Church, Placerville, CA since June of 1998. He has been engaged in ministry of various kinds for over 25 years, working at both the local church level and denominational level. He has also worked in the marketplace and has experience with developing business systems, personnel and organizational leadership. He loves to be outdoors, learn new things, work hard and be with his wife and four kids.

He is a graduate of Oregon State University (go Beavers!) with a BA and BS in Business Management and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Deerfield, IL) with a Masters of Divinity. He is currently pursuing a Doctor of Ministry in Leadership and Coaching from Western Seminary (Portland, OR).

David loves seeing people discover new pathways to accomplishing what is most important to them. He has coached pastors and leaders from multiple backgrounds including Baptist, Open Bible, Independent, Lutheran, Seventh Day Adventist, Wesleyan, Methodist, Ethiopian Kale Heywot Church and Australian Salvation Army denominations.

David values working with people and organizations who are committed to discovering their fullest potential. It is for this reason he started Leadership Catapult.

David served as a Mentoring Pastor with Growing Healthy Churches for 14 years. He was also been trained as a Capital Campaign Consultant and Church Consultant. He completed Gallup’s StrengthFinder Coaching training and On Purpose Ministry’s Coaching Training. He has the Global Certificate in Leadership Coaching credential from Internal Impact and is a member of the International Coach Federation. He also is certified in the Emotional Intelligence assessment tool, EQ-i 2.0. He has over 1,000 hours of experience coaching individuals and teams.

He started Leadership Catapult to help leaders focus on what was most important and facilitate the turnaround of their organizations and churches. He has worked with pastors and leaders throughout the United States, Ethiopia and Australia. He has been able to bring to the coaching and mentoring relationships not simply a theoretical basis but the personal reality of being a practitioner of what he is talking about. He has been through a number of personal and organizational transitions and continues to lead his church forward. Transitioning and change is not a theory, it is an on-going practical reality and challenge for him.

The mission of Leadership Catapult is “Encouraging People to Reach Higher, Go Further.”

David’s personal mission is “To equip men and women to love God passionately, know his Word deeply and minister effectively so that the world is won to Christ and God is glorified.” Galatians 2:20 and Colossians 1:28-29 are guiding verses for the way he seeks to live his life.

It’s About Technique

It’s About Technique:

I am going to compete in a triathlon in April 2013.  It is just one of those “bucket list” things (although I hope the bucket is a long way off!).  I’ve wanted to do this for a long time but one thing has kept me from moving forward – water.  I’ve been running for a while and I can do the 10K run.  I’ve not been riding my bike a ton but I do know how to ride and haven’t seen the 25 mile bike ride as a huge obstacle.  But that swimming thing…that has intimidated me.

I grew up with a swimming pool in my backyard.  I have done the mile swim in Boy Scouts (a loooooong time ago) and I’ve been qualified as a life guard a number of times.  But the least favorite way for me to pass from this life to the next is under water.  So swimming a mile in open water in April just seemed a little daunting.

Finally I just decided to go for it and begin swimming so I could get into shape.  I joined the local YMCA pool and started getting up at 5 AM three days a week to get into shape.  The first day was miserable.  I think I did one 25 yard lap and was spent.  In case you don’t know, a mile is 1,760 yards.  I had a long way to go!  So I swam more and harder.  I started doing push-ups to strengthen my upper body.  I ran sprints to increase my lung capacity.  I started to do a little better but I wasn’t anywhere near where I needed to be.  I thought to myself – “Self, there has to be a better way to do this!”

So, I begin to do some research on swimming and that is when I discovered that swimming better and father isn’t about swimming harder – i.e. kicking faster and swinging your arms through the water faster.  I was swimming harder and just getting tired faster.  It was depressing.

What I learned was I had to learn a whole new set of skills and change my mindset about how to swim.  I began to read books and watch videos of a different way of swimming.  I learned that being a better swimmer is all about technique.  I started practicing specific skills that would help me be more efficient in the water.  It made an amazing difference such that, when I’m doing it right, it feels like I’m swimming downhill.  It wasn’t about working harder, it was about working smarter.

Look what Paul wrote:

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8–9, ESV)   Paul’s words remind me that being better and going farther in my spiritual life is not about working harder.  Grace is a gift, not dependent upon me.  And grace is what I need to live in each day.  Grace gives me the strength to follow Jesus more deeply and be obedient to him.

Look what Jesus says:

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4–5, ESV)

I think a lot of people approach their spiritual life like I approached swimming.  Kick harder, paddle faster – but they are just getting worn out and coming to the conclusion it isn’t much fun nor effective.  But what if you changed your mindset and learned a whole new set of skills?  What if you focused on grace each day and abiding in Jesus?

The spiritual disciplines like reading the Bible, prayer, community and fasting are really good things but they are just means to an end.  The end is Jesus.  Our problem is we have made the means the end.  We have convinced ourselves that the measure of our spiritual life is how hard we work.  And we are tired and discouraged and ready to give up.

Jesus invited anyone who was weary and weighed down to the point of exhaustion to come to him.  Jesus said we would find rest in him.  Sort of like swimming downhill.  Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?  Sounds too easy to be the real thing, huh?  Well, Jesus said it so maybe we should believe it – and learn from him.

When we put Jesus back in the center, those good things of reading the Bible, praying, hanging with our friends, they become what we want to do, not what we have to do.

Abiding in Jesus starts with recognizing you aren’t and repenting.  Repenting means telling Jesus you have been wrong, you are sorry and you will stop.  It then requires a decision to start abiding in Jesus.  After that, each day and frequently throughout your day you remind yourself to walk with Jesus.  Your conversation with Jesus could look something like this:

“Jesus, I’m not quite sure how to do this but right now would you help me walk with you?  Help my thoughts to be your thoughts, my words be your words, my actions be your actions.  I feel quite weak and helpless but I know your strength is greatest when I am weak.  Thanks Jesus.  I know I can’t do anything without you.”

No doubt, this is going to take some time to get used to.  It is a new way of thinking, a new skill that only gets better with practice.  But when you start to get it, swimming downhill is fun!

Peace and grace,

David Cooke

Training Is Hard!

Training Is Hard!

Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” (1 Timothy 4:7–8, ESV)

A few weeks back I made it public knowledge that I was training for a triathlon.  There was method to my madness – I wanted to be accountable.  If nobody knows what your goals are, you can change them on a whim or quietly tuck them away when they become inconvenient.

Doing a triathlon has been a goal for a long time.  I’m not sure why, perhaps it is the challenge of doing the whole thing that has captured my attention. What has mostly held me back is the swimming portion.  I’ve been swimming my whole life.  I grew up with a swimming pool in my back yard.  I did the mile swim when I was in Boy Scouts as well as the Lifeguard training.  But that was a long time ago and let’s just say I grew up and out a bit since then.  But, I said I’m going to do a tri publicly so I better get the swimming thing down.

So, now I get up at about 5 AM to go swimming at the pool at Union Mine.  When I first went, I don’t think I could do a lap – I definitely know I couldn’t do two!  I found muscles that I never knew existed.  It was hard.  I felt like an elephant in the water.  It was discouraging and I began to think about giving up.  But I got up again and went again, and again, and again.  And I asked for help from friends who knew how to swim.  Then I got some books on triathlon training.  They all helped me begin to figure out the technique I needed to know to swim properly.  And it got a little easier.  And I was able to swim a little farther.

A couple of weeks ago a bunch of men went to the Iron Sharpens Iron event.  It was a great time and there were some really good speakers.  I know some of the guys came away challenged to change, to pursue God more fully, to read their Bible more faithfully.  But I wonder how many had the same experience I did when I started swimming?

Spiritual training is hard work.  And, when we begin, it feels really unnatural.  We find muscles we never knew we had that get sore, we want to quit because “it isn’t working” (whatever that means).  We get discouraged by how little we know or can do.  And then we start the negative self-talk:  “loser!”, “You don’t have time for this.”, “You can’t understand this.”, “It won’t make a difference.”

There are as many ready made excuses for not pursuing God as there are men out there.  What’s yours?

Just like gliding through the water with a powerful swim stroke doesn’t come naturally – it is something you train and work to perfect – so being like Jesus doesn’t come naturally.  Godliness, Paul reminds us, is something that is a result of training.  And when you first begin it is going to feel odd and uncomfortable.  Don’t quit.  If you will continue to train, you will experience the benefit of the training and at some point, it will draw you to it instead of always having to push yourself to do it.  Paul also tells us that there are benefits now (we start to experience a transformed life) and for eternity (heaven becomes a much more familiar place).

What’s your training plan?

Your Next Step:

  1. Write down your training plan-Set a goal for a minimum of 4 days a week reading the Bible.  Just read one chapter each day.  I’m reading through 1 and 2 Samuel right now.  There are some great stories.
  2. Tell someone what your plan is and ask them to ask you how you are doing.
  3. Join a men’s Life Group.  Don’t know when they are?  Ask Jim Nave – he’ll get you set up.

 

David Cooke

The Samson Code for Men

 

The Samson Code for Men

1. My attitude of strength will be: I want God, I deserve death, and I can’t handle anything without God.

2. I will not be driven by emotions, but be led by God.

3. I will not lose sight of the man I was created to be by taking steps toward God and away from destruction.

4. I will push down the pillars that are holding me back from being the man God created me to be.

 

Samson Key Thoughts

Week 1: Samson was an incredibly strong man with a dangerously weak will.

Week 2: Samson was emotion-driven, not spirit-led.

Week 3: Samson didn’t ruin his life all at once. He ruined it one step at a time.

Week 4: A man’s greatest fear is failure and greatest pain is regret.

Find personal and small group resources for men at http://resources.lifechurch.tv

Are You Going To Finish Well?

Many years ago, as I was reading the book of Daniel, the Holy Spirit highlighted one particular verse.  Has that ever happened to you?  You are reading along and there is a spiritual highlighter that has been used by God to tell you, “Pay attention!”

The context is the famous story of Daniel getting tossed into a den full of lions because he won’t compromise his worship of God by doing acts of worship toward the king of the day, Darius.  So Daniel’s enemies set him up to be discredited and removed.  Sounds like a modern day political tale, doesn’t it?

There was a problem though.  The problem was Daniel had lived an exemplary life.  And here is where the spiritual highlighter comes in.

At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent.” (Daniel 6:4, NIV) (emphasis mine)

Here is what stuck out to me those many years ago.  Daniel’s integrity was intact because of what he did and what he didn’t do.  First, Daniel had integrity in what he didn’t do – he wasn’t corrupt.  I like to view myself as a realistic optimist.  Stuff happens but I try to believe in the best.  In the world I primarily live, the ministry world, I believe the vast majority of people engaged in vocational ministry are good-intentioned, God-pursuing people.  There are some people who go for the corruption route – they usually make a really big splash when they crash.  For most, it is fairly easy for us to reject corruption.  We don’t lie, steal, cheat, etc as a way of life.

But what really struck me about this verse in Daniel’s story is the second part – “…nor negligent.”  Daniel not only didn’t do what was wrong, he didn’t shrink back from doing what was right.  And this is where I believe many of us can end up failing.  As I said, it is often easy to not do bad but it can be very difficult at times to do what is good when it is required.  And that is where Daniel’s life shone.  If I could put it another way, Daniel did the hard things.  Oh, and Daniel at this point in his life is probably about 70-80 years old.

This Holy Spirit highlight came back to my mind in response to the recent headlines about Joe Paterno and the horrendous accusations of child sex abuse by one of his long-time assistant coaches.  Some ten years ago an intern saw an act of abuse by this man, reported it to Joe Paterno and he pushed it on up the administrative chain.  By all appearances it was pushed under the rug by the administration, allowing the alleged abuse to continue on for years against other boys.

Paterno is a man of deep faith.  He is a man of honor.  His motto in his coaching was to “win with honor.”  He was the nation’s winningest and longest tenured major-college football coach.  He had the second highest graduation rate of players.  He has many, many awards and accolades to his name.  And he was fired.  Not for something he did.  But for something he didn’t do.  For most, the legacy Joe Paterno’s will be remembered for is what he didn’t do 10 years ago to hold someone accountable and protect young boys from a predator, not for his decades of coaching and leadership excellence, impacting literally thousands for good.

We are leaders.  And, as Andy Stanley once said: “Leadership is stewardship.  It is temporary and you’re accountable.”  We are accountable for what we do.  And we are accountable for what we don’t do.  Maybe you are wrestling right now with the corruption side of things.  You are being tempted with your besetting sins, you are being tempted to compromise your beliefs and values for temporary gain.  It’s time to talk with Jesus and a friend.  Get it into the light because when it is in the dark, Satan is winning and he is preparing his plan to crush you.

Perhaps more likely, there are some hard things you have been putting off doing.  You just don’t want to have the conflict, make the confrontation, take the time, be bothered with the details.  It is always easier to keep doing what we have always done than do something different.  Change is hard.  If this is the place you find yourself, it’s time to talk with Jesus and a friend.  You need a plan and you need some accountability.  In relationship with Jesus and others, you will have the strength to do the hard things – to do what is right.  One of my long-ago mentors, Bob Smith, would say to me over and over – “You do what is right because it is right.”

It is hard to finish well.  Daniel did.  Jesus is the greatest example.  Meditate on these words and finish well.  Do the hard things.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1–2, ESV)

David Cooke

davidecooke@gmail.com

November 10, 11

Who’s Afraid of the Dark?

Last night I couldn’t sleep.  It seems to be happening more and I think this age thing has something to do with it.  Anyway, I found myself at the dining room table at 11.30 PM paying bills – now there’s something to put you to sleep!  As I’m sitting there doing my on-line banking I switch over to check my email.  Mostly a bunch of junk – except for one.

“Hey Bro,

Just checking in and letting you know that you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers daily as you get through the rest of October.”

What a great email at a great time.  My friend wrote me at 10:58:13 PM and took the time to encourage me.  He remembered me in the dark and prayed I would stay in the light.

The dark is a dangerous time for men.  It is in the dark that we face our greatest battles with temptation, it is in the dark that we begin to believe the lie that no one knows what we are doing, it is in the dark we feel most alone, it is in the dark when we are most vulnerable.  When we get in the dark we begin to doubt, our knees shake and our mind grows weak.

Listen to what Paul says:

“But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night.

But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake [alive] or asleep [dead] we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:4–11, ESV)

As men of faith, we aren’t to dwell in the darkness but to walk in the light.  While in the light we are to armor up, get ready for battle because, undoubtedly, some darkness will come.  Will you be ready?

But there is another piece that is hugely important to what Paul says.  He challenges us to armor ourselves up so that we are ready for battle.  And we armor up so we can go to battle for our friends.  Read the last sentence of the words I quoted from his letter to the Thessalonian church.  Encourage one another.  Build up one another.  Those are battle maneuvers, my friends.

My friend was armored up so he could battle for himself and for me.  And he made a strategic, offensive maneuver when he prayed for me, driving the Kingdom of God forward and pushing back the darkness.

Whose friend are you that you are armoring up for?  Who is armoring up for you?  It’s never too late to start.  Don’t go alone into the darkness.

Peace and grace,

David Cooke

Who Are You Tied Into?

  I learned something new this week.  I learned how to tie a figure eight knot to tie in someone who is rock climbing.  Adam was my instructor down at Granite Arch and he did a great job.  In 30 minutes, he taught me how to hold someone’s life in my hands – literally.  From being able to tie the basic knot tying in the climber to the rope, to the proper hand position and motion on the belay device so the climber is held secure when he falls.  And, oh yeah, EVERY CLIMBER FALLS.

And sometimes, climber’s die.  People die primarily for two reasons – they didn’t have the skills needed for the climb or they became careless with the skills they knew and made a mistake.  A wrong knot, improper tie-in, distracted belaying, unsafe equipment that wasn’t checked…these are a few of the careless mistakes that get people killed.  Because every climber falls.


 
Climbing is one of those things that you have to do in order to learn.  You can read all the books you want, watch all the YouTube videos, watch others do it, but until you actually start climbing, you don’t know nothin’!  And the best way to learn is that have a mentor, to become an apprentice to a better climber who will show you the way, drill the skills, teach you the nuances.  Catch you when you fall – because everyone falls.


 

Life, well lived, takes knowledge, experience and practiced skills.  It is really easy to live a screwed up life.  Jesus said something about the path to destruction was like an 8-lane freeway – easy and fast.  And the path to life was like a hiking trail – narrow and full of challenge.  Awww, but the view when you get there…!

And life, well lived, should have a mentor, it should have men in our lives who have more knowledge, more experience, more practiced skills that will help us, guide us and catch us – becauseeverymanfalls.  But not every man has to die.  Who’s holding the rope can make all the difference.

So, here is where the rubber meets the road.  Here is the minimum you should have in your life:

  1. First and foremost, you need to be tied into Jesus.  He will NEVER fail you and he is always secure.  You are going to fall.  Jesus will hold you if you are tied into him.
  2. You need to be learning more about God – all the time.  Read your Bible, go to church, listen to talks about God, pray big prayers, read some of the classic devotional writers (AW Tozer, Oswald Chambers, Andrew Murray, Thomas a’ Kempis, Brother Lawrence are a few).
  3. You need to be living in such a way where you need God’s power to be evident in your life.  A life of faith requires God’s intervention.  Is your marriage struggling?  It is an opportunity to experience God’s power.  Are your kids driving you crazy?  It is an opportunity to experience God’s power.  Do you have an opportunity to make a big impact in another person’s life?  It is an opportunity to experience God’s power.  Is work shaky?  It is an opportunity to experience God’s power.  Are you feeling overcome by temptation?  It is an opportunity for God’s power.  Are you being generous?  It is an opportunity for God’s power.
  4. You need to be meeting regularly with at leastone other guy who will look you in the eye and ask you these questions:
    1. Have you been with a person this week that could be seen as compromising?
    2. Have any financial dealings lacked integrity?
    3. Have you exposed yourself to any sexually explicit material?
    4. Have you spent adequate time in Bible study and prayer?
    5. Have you give priority time to your family?
    6. Have you fulfilled the mandates of the calling of God on your life?
    7. Have you just lied to me?

 

These relationships don’t happen by accident, they happen because you want to make them happen, you work to make them happen and you believe they need to happen.  So, make it happen.

 

Peace,

David

Why Guys Need To Get A Check-up!

Guys have the reputation (well deserved, I think) of seeking to avoid Doctor’s offices at all costs.  The “snap” of the latex glove and the “pop” of the Vaseline jar lid and the command to “cough” are enough for most guys to say, “Nah, I’ve got better things to do!”  (Yep, some of you guys are cringing right now, I know it!)  The reality is however, most of us really do like being alive and most of us really like being healthy.  A friend of mine was faithful in going to his annual health check-up.  One year the Doctor noticed a slight change in what he heard through the stethoscope.  Shortly thereafter, my friend was in the hospital getting a new heart valve – saving and prolonging his life.

If we are going to stay alive and stay healthy spiritually, we need to have spiritual health check-ups as well.  Remember, Jesus said that he came to give us life – an overflowing life.  Many of us can struggle with spiritual sickness because we haven’t been having spiritual health check-ups and we find ourselves anything but feeling alive.  Or, we can be checking on the wrong thing, looking at symptoms instead of our vital signs.  “Vital” means “essential”.  So, what are the “essential” signs of life for us?

To be fully alive means being a Christ-follower and being a Christ-follower means to be fully alive.  There are three “vital” or “essential” signs of spiritual life.  If you can’t find one or more of them, you need to seriously look at some spiritual CPR – real quick.

1.   Know God.

Job, when confronted by God said this: “I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you.”  He knew of God before but through his trials and through his direct encounter with God, Job truly saw God for who he is.  He came to know God.

When is the last time you discovered something new about God?  Do you know about God or do you truly know God?

“Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. ” (1 Corinthians 2:12, ESV)

2.   Experience God

Being a Christ-follower requires us to know God but it is not just an intellectual faith.  Being a Christ-follower is a relationship and involves experiencing God.  Do you have personal God encounters?  God meets people in a myriad of ways.  Divine provision, gentle nudgings to do something, answers to prayers, spiritual wrestling matches, peace in the midst of chaos, insight and wisdom, overcoming obstacles…

When is the last time you felt God, you experienced the relationship with God?  Is your faith just a mental exercise or is it alive, full of regular encounters with God?

“[Watch out for spiritual posers] …having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. ” (2 Timothy 3:5, ESV)

 

3.    Do faith

The older I get, the more I see that life is less about what we say and more about what we do.  We live and act out of what is most important to us.  If you want to know what a man’s priorities are don’t listen to him, watch him.  You will see the truth long before you hear the truth about a man’s life.  Doing faith means doing life like Jesus. ““Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. ” (John 14:12, ESV)

What do people see in your life?  Do they see faith in action?  Are you doing good things that require love, sacrifice, integrity, grace?  What you do shows who you are.

Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. ” (1 John 3:18, ESV)

 

I’m glad my friend had the discipline to go to those check-ups.  I like having him around.  It was that commitment to diligently watch over his life that gave him the chance to make the corrections needed to still be alive.  Following are some questions you can begin to ask to diligently watch over your spiritual life.  I want you to be alive.

 

Check-up Questions:

  1. Which of the three Spiritual Vital Signs is strongest?  Which is weakest?
  2. Is there a Spiritual Vital Sign that is missing?  If so, what does that tell you about the state of your spiritual life?
  3. Which Spiritual Vital Sign is most critical to strengthen right now?  What is one thing you can do right now to begin to strengthen it?
  4. Spiritual life and health take place in community.  Who are you going to tell and how are you going to be accountable to doing something different?

 

David Cooke – August 5, 11