Does Your Life Make Sense?

You know those nagging thoughts that dominate your mind in the morning? Those things that you absolutely know you can’t think about if you want to accomplish what you need to accomplish today? Well, I walked into the office this morning and I couldn’t get this passage out of my mind:

“Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”; and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.” – 1 Corinthians 3:18-20

This is such an important and practical passage to me. I can’t get the main question of this passage out of my head: “Does your life make sense to the people of this world?”

Have you ever taken the time to think about that? If I profess faith in Jesus Christ, my life should not make sense in accordance to the ways of this world. Every decision I make, every action I take, should make a person stop and consider why I am doing what I am doing.

See, I know that this can sound ridiculous, it can sound difficult, and ultimately, you may still say that this is impossible. But, I submit to you that, this is impossible to not be true for the believer that truly walks in faith. If a person continually takes the next step of faith in their life, if they continually walk toward Jesus on the water of life and trust Him to provide everything that they need, how can their life possibly make sense?! They’re walking on water!?

My point here is this: If we are walking in faith, then my life will never fail to boggle people’s minds. Faith is not something that comes from this world. It’s not something that I can just muster up. Faith comes from believing. Faith comes from God and God alone. That is a supernatural thing. That is a “foolish” thing in the eyes of men, but it is the only thing that makes sense for those who believe in Him.

So- Does your life make sense? If it does, what are you going to do today that is going to take the next step of not making sense. What is your faith worth to you?

Happy Birthday to Me?

Nick and I BirthdayYou know, I remember having a conversation with my college roommates about the validity of us having birthday celebrations for the people whose birthday it was. It seems kind of senseless considering all I had to do was make sure I was head first out the chute and my work was done on April 14, 1986.

Nate would always say something to the effect of, “Happy Birthday, tell your mom thanks.” And he was kind of right. See, we congratulate the one who was born on their birthday, but if we were really honest about our lives, we would probably have to stop and recognize the people that had gotten us to where we are today.

See, I don’t have a birthday without some hard work by my mom. And I don’t have many other birthdays after that without some more hard work by my dad. And I don’t have a spiritual birthday without some hard work from my Savior. And I don’t have an opportunity to help others have spiritual birthdays without the Holy Spirit continuing to tell a story through me. And NOBODY has birthdays without the work of God to create it all.

But, practically, there are so many people that have been with me and have played a part in the story to this point. As we were sitting at dinner last night, my mom handed me a card that I thought was from my grandparents. No, it was a handwritten card from Vicki Stevens, my fourth grade teacher at OxBow Elementary. Mrs. Stevens (used to be Mrs. Rupe) has sent me a birthday card ever since I was a fourth grader. Needless to say, she’s played a pretty important role.

There are countless others. People who have invested time, wisdom, money, life, to get me to where I am today. So, on this day, I say thank you: For the innumerable kind words, but more for the life that you have given me.

The question is: Have I grown up yet? Have you?

Changes are Coming to GeoffCocanower.com

In light of yesterday’s post about CHANGE, I’m pumped to announce a couple new things that are going to be happening at GeoffCocanower.com. These are changes, that I believe, will help focus some of my work, provide a better vehicle for me to express what I’m passionate about, and ultimately give this place a fresh look.

Soon, you will begin to see some new elements, some new names, and hopefully find something here for you. I have to thank Michael Yoder and Joel Runyon for their help, inspiration, and the resources to be able to create this new space and new, fresh vision.

I’m excited to see where this goes and hope that you will join me on this journey. Maybe even be a part of the fun along the way!

Get on the Change Train!

At Living Faith, we have been going through a lot of change. Since I have landed at LFMC, we have seen a number of physical changes to our building, to our people, and the places that God is sending us. For someone who has been living in what seemed like a constant state of change since leaving college, I know what this can feel like.

For some, this is exciting. It is invigorating to see all of the new things popping up around our church. The new Children’s Section, the Nursery update, the new sign, all of it could bring a sense of energy and excitement.

For others, the changes are a departing from some things that many have held near and dear. Not only that, but when a number of things get changed at the same time, it begs the question: “What will be the same?”

You know, I’m in the middle, as I suspect most of us are. We know we need to change some things, we know we need to move forward with the vision that God has given us, but we still aren’t too sure of the direction at every turn.

As I think about these things and apply it to my life, especially the message for this Sunday, I consider everything that changed so that I could be here. God had to start a rescue mission to rejoin his people to him. Jesus had to become a mere mortal man to save me from my sins. The Holy Spirit had to come to guide, direct and empower men and women to perpetuate the mission of the Church so I can know about God, His Love, and what He wants to do with me.

What is even more crazy is all the ways that God used to reach me. The places he took his people so that they would grow. The ways that he altered history so that I would know just how much he loved me. The people he decided to place in my life so that I would know which way to go when I didn’t know where I even was. It’s truly incredible just how much the Unchangeable One, changed so much to get to me.

I know this is slightly ego-centric right now, just slightly. But the reality is that God has done so much to make sure that His People know His Love in its most purest, holiest, and transformative form. It makes me wonder how much more change I can actually be a part of so that others might know that same love.

So, are you on the Change Train? It doesn’t have a set speed, sometimes you get bounced around, and sometimes you spill your drink a bit. But, in the end, there is so much that others have gone through to get me to this place. The least I want to do is get a bit more flexible, dig in a bit deeper, and press into whatever God has for me.

Who wants to join me on the Change Train? I think I hear the Conductor shouting… “All Aboard!!!”

See you on Sunday.

Middle Schoolers are Visionaries not Dreamers

Mission-Me MOTTOIf I am going to identify that we are short-changing middle schoolers, I probably better come up with some ways to encourage them. I am not even going to propose that I have this figured out. But I can tell you where we are going with things at Living Faith.

This month, we are engaging in a new series called “Mission:Me” where we are asking the question: “What am I Here For?” The promise in Ephesians 2:10 that has rocked my world for the past 5 years and is the basis for this first step is that God, in his infinite knowledge and grace, made each of us in a specific form, for a specific set of functions. The passage reads: “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

In Joel 2:28, God promises that he will pour out His Spirit on all people. That “your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.” So, the old men will have these dreams of what could be and the young men will have visions of how to see it come to fruition. What an amazing promise, especially when it comes to my context.

So, this month, we are going to ask “What are we going to do” and I’m having both Middle School and High School begin to ask that question. We are going to discover, discern, and then set a destination where God wants us to go and what he wants us to do. No restrictions. No pre-planned destination. Just an opportunity to dream dreams that produce visions.

It’s an incredible thing to dream of what is in front of us. When we dream, we may not have a concept of reality, or the burden of dealing with potential consequences; we just dream of what could be. And when we allow people to dream, we give those dreams the opportunity to become visions; Visions that change people’s lives.

So that’s where we are starting. What are you giving Middle Schoolers to do that is at their actual “pay grade” as visionaries?

Stop Counting Middle Schoolers Out

CLFL13One of the biggest things that I get frustrated with in ministry to students is how much we have short-changed middle schoolers. I was a high school pastor for about 4 years and really focused in on developing leaders and ministry in the life of high schoolers. Even then, I was guilty of expecting more from high schoolers than I did from middle schoolers.

The reality is this: Middle Schoolers, when engaged with an crazy idea, are more apt to jump at the opportunity to try and accomplish it than any other age group I have ever connected with.

It shouldn’t come at a surprise that the youngest of the “Next Generation” is ready to jump at the opportunity to change a world that they have not been so jaded and skewed by at their age. It also shouldn’t come as a surprise that a generation that will hear more messages about “what they are supposed to be” and “what they are like” will rise to the occasion to prove the rest of the world wrong.

As a pastor, I am convinced that some students can begin to find “who they are” by discovering what God has placed in them to do and accomplish. I can’t wait to see what happens in this group of students as they continue to pursue all that God is placing before them.

Your Words Could Have More Weight

I read a lot of words in one day. So many that I rarely remember even some of the most important ones that get said to me. But, I do remember a lot of what people do.

That’s ironic because we hear quotes of words that impressive people have uttered and cherish them. But do we cherish them because of what is said, or who said it? And why do we care who said it if we really aren’t affected by the words themselves.

The reason is, the people that are quoted, represent something; something deeper, something much more significant than a few catchy words put together to create a cliche’ of some sort.

The reason certain people have words that sink our hearts is because of how they lived. Most times, their words were only a representation of something they had already lived. These types of individuals understand one principal:

“Your words are a product of your life because lives are never the product of words.”

Think about it- the most significant words you have heard were ingrained into your life because of the person who said them.

So, instead of asking does my life line up with my words, maybe we should be asking: What is my life allowing me to say?

It’s time to turn the tables!