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Welcome!

Welcome to my blog site! I am thankful you are here and hopeful you will find the content engaging. 

That word life says it all. I realize it is broad but if we place the adjective real ahead of the noun life it really can change the conversation. 

So, let’s try to do just that and let’s invite others to join in the discussion with us. 

You and me, we can make a difference, real life awaits!

MC

Third Sunday of January

Greetings to each of you,

So grateful for you joining us through the Life Community Church weekly E-Letter. We appreciate not only you taking the time to read it, but we also encourage you to respond to the content if you’d like. We always love hearing from you gals and guys!

Pastor Thomas and I spent some time yesterday afternoon discussing our opening series of Sunday messages in 2021 – One Day At A Time. In the first two messages we used two questions as our titles: Who Are You? and Why Are We Here?

These baseline examinations are meant to challenge as well as encourage those of us tuning into the livestream each week. We believe this series is setting up the groundwork needed to support anyone who has a desire to pursue the life God has given them.

In the middle of the Bible there is this awesome Book of Psalms. When you begin reading this book of poems, prayers, and purpose you’ll immediately sense something of the depth of real life coming through the pages.

This week I’ve been considering just ONE statement from the Psalms in the 90th chapter. So teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Read that over several times and give it some thought.

So teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

For me, the word that stands out here is heart. The word heart occurs over one thousand times in the Bible. To the ancients it’s not about that vital organ in the center of your chest, it’s about our will, our mind, our emotions, our understanding, and our memory. Dallas Willard called it – the executive center of a human being.

If we are interested in building a life One Day At A Time, this verse from the Psalms is critical to that lifestyle. The word wisdom is all about foresight, something we’d need God to bestow upon our day to day living. Or, as another author in the Bible named Samuel wrote; Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

Hey, this weekend we celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King. MLK was a man of the heart, a man of wisdom, a man who probably prayed that Psalm 90 verse over and over One Day At A Time.

Pastor Thomas will be speaking to us Sunday about “You May Say I’m A Dreamer, But I’m Not The Only One.” We’re looking forward to what this message will add to our series but that’s not all we’ve got for you.

Kelsey and Maggie will be leading us in Worship. Eric will be back with announcements, and it’s a Third Sunday Celebration of COMMUNION which I’ll be leading. Prepare for this sacrament by having bread/cracker and wine/juice on hand.

I’m getting on the phone today to invite some people to join us at 10:15 Sunday. I want to challenge you to do the same and to feel the encouragement in just reaching out to others during this pandemic. And don’t forget, you can’t be a part of Life Community without BEING LOVED!!!

Blessings to you all,

Pastor Mike

WHO ARE YOU?

I chose to take a month and a half hiatus from writing in order to find my voice again during these days of pandemic.

I didn’t want to stop writing. I wasn’t bored by writing. It wasn’t that I had run out of topics to write about. It seemed like jumping out of a plane without a parachute…just curious if anyone else had done this and survived? 

Having said that, I must confess, is either stupid or sublime. It’s either meaningful or maddening. Or, it’s quite possible that it is the long, slow, creeping each of us experiences as first timers inside of a real pandemic.

During my walkabout I discovered some things about me that I’ll need to write about in my Talk Ain’t Cheap blog posts…………..

This series of posts, Who Are You? was birthed by a couple of old books I reread and a couple of new books (to me) I uncovered. I’ll introduce those books over the writing of these upcoming posts and if there is one thing I could praise about this self quarantining, it would be the return of lost hours of simply reading.

One of the books I read was published sixteen years ago. Lynda had read it then and later encouraged me to read it. “Good advice Lynda.”

The book was written by Laurie Beth Jones. It’s title; Jesus Life Coach. Everybody needs a little or a lot of notorious JLC! The dive into the ubiquitous InTrOdUcTiOn reminded me why I had read this book years  and years ago. Why? Because it’s an “8” on a scale of “10”.

JLC is about four words; Focus, Balance, Productivity, and Fulfillment. These themes include sixty chapters with an average of five pages each followed up with two or three questions. While one could literally read this book in a day, in doing that they’d be missing the point of reading it at all.

JLC is about you and me and others, many others…like everyone that has an interest in Who They Are becoming. And here’s the cool thing: my last uncompleted series; Doing Vs. Being, gets absorbed into the Who Are You posts. In my 3rd post on DvB I asked the question; Who Are You? We spent a couple of pages considering that question in a broad based way. 

Here’s part of what we considered:

Do I prioritize time over people or productivity over relationships?

Do I fail to express myself openly?

Do you see the complexities in life as a gift?

Does who you are becoming fulfill the role our world needs?

Do you have a deepening sense of where life comes from?

Each of those five questions would be a challenge to the vast majority of humanity today. In two of those questions you will encounter the act of DOING. In three of those questions you will find the words which reveal the essence of a person… their BEING.

Our next post inside this series we will be examining how to Redefine Reality. It’s a piece which calls us to become more specific about the life we’re living. Is it the life you expected? Is there room for honesty? I hope there is.

And as I close, I want to ask you if you have a Mission Statement for your life? Now, don’t check out on me here. It’s just a question. I want to share mine with you and encourage you to work on one for your own life. It’s the FIRST requirement for living a life of FOCUS.

We’ve got a lot to talk about. Think about it like this; we’ve all got a lot to look forward to in this pursuit of a life of Being Who We Are.

Thanks for your interest,

MC

Fourth Sunday of December

Greetings All,

How bout this lovely freezing cold Christmas Day 2020? Seriously, it has been a beautiful day especially inside where we’ve been able to comfort ourselves by elevating the temp 25 degrees!

Over the past four Sundays we have celebrated Advent, the coming of Jesus into our World, by sharing four words:  

Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love.

While these words may remind us of this season of Christmas, I pray that you and yours are applying them, in your life, each and every day to experience the nearness of this God who is forever faithful to do more than we can imagine.

This Christmas, YOU helped Life Community in so many ways to give more than she ever has to two families in Charleston County. Two families God had called on us to give a GIFT of Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love to.

But you didn’t stop there! Through your giving we were able to send a check over to One80 Place to help underwrite the cost of helping those looking for a new life!

I have to say, Lynda and I have always loved LCC, but never more than right now! There is something about a year like this, that God chose to challenge LCC to bring more Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. In spite of this pandemic, God is opening doors for us to move well beyond where we have ever been. I am so grateful for each of you who have stepped up and it’s amazing to see what God is doing to reach this area.

Day after tomorrow we’ll wrap up our last Worship Service for 2020. Pastor Thomas is going to be sharing with us some words God has given him to share. This is the climax to a year the likes of which we have never seen before in our lives. 

As we continue to pray against the loss of life, the loss of income, and the loss of civility, we nonetheless have heard four words that can change this WORLD.

Don’t let go of them. Draw them into your heart. Pray them to our Father in Heaven and keep living that life of giving so that others are cared for.

“Jesus’ mission was not simply to save individuals. He came to bring enduring light, truth, and goodness into all the world. ” (Dr. Scott McKnight)

Romans 12:18 “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

See you Sunday @ 10:15 and in the meantime, stay warm!

Pastor Mike

Fifth Sunday in November

Hey Friends,


Yesterday was an awesome time for our family as we celebrated Thanksgiving with family and friends. As the day moved on into evening I recall being grateful for how Life Community Church has stepped up during this Season where this Pandemic has created an increase in needs both locally as well as throughout the World we live in. You guys have come through with your prayers, donations, and time as LCC has filled in the gaps for individuals, families, and Christian organizations.


A couple of weeks ago we considered the question Jesus was asked; Who is my neighbor? Our neighbor can be anyone and everyone. 


LCC has discovered that statement to be true and that is because we have all suffered, in some way, through these last 9 months. In my reading this past week I ran across this simple quote:  There is Hope in the Struggle. I find in those 6 words, something to hang onto for today and tomorrow, as well as the upcoming months we face. 


Here’s what Isaiah 40:31 says to us about hope. But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. This Sunday we will be closing our Conversations With God series by talking about Vital Signs. When it comes to vitality, it looks like we have 3 options available to us.

Join us as we begin @ 10:15 with worship and don’t forget that we will be opening the Season of Advent, the anticipation of Christ’s birth in this time leading up to Christmas. It all begins with the lighting of that first candle on the wreath, the candle of HOPE!


God’s peace to each of you,
Pastor Mike 

Fourth Sunday in November

Greetings Dear Friends,


Everyday we are hearing this phrase, Pandemic Fatigue. Nine or Ten months of uncertainty can result in one becoming fatigued. Words like: weary, exhausted, tired, bored, spent, depleted begin to creep into our minds.


Do you ever ask yourself:  How am I going to get through this? The cynics or detractors among us would never admit to having asked themselves such a question. Stephen Colbert once said: Cynics always say no. But saying yes begins things.Getting through this pandemic, an obvious reality you and I live in, will require a YES if we are to overcome what is ahead. To say YES is not simply about you or me, it’s about others, as Jesus often said; love your neighbor as yourself.


In the Gospel of Luke 10:25-42, one guy actually asks Jesus,And who is my neighbor? Jesus, the consummate storyteller, answered with a story because stories are about PEOPLE! If you have a Bible, take time to read the story Jesus shared and see what you think a neighbor is. The read will take you about 2 minutes.

The point here is that everyone must answer; who is my neighbor. And in so doing, I believe you and I will find an answer to overcoming the fatigue of this pandemic because reaching out to others changes your heart toward humankind. Hope is a choice, It’s a Jesus thing! Say YES and see what will happen in your life.


Every Wednesday morning I reach out to a dozen people who gather for Prayer Component.

PC is literally one of the top 5 best decisions Life Community has fallen into. Inside of this group I have been drawn back from fatigue many times. I experience newness of life being with this group each Wednesday and it has made the difference in my life between choosing Joy or Despair during these last nine months. Everyone is welcome regardless of how much time you may have on a Wednesday morning @ 9am, come try PC.


This Sunday Pastor Thomas is sharing a message in our Conversations With God series. He’s going to lead with a challenging question. Check it out:  Are your conversations with God being heard or does your call go straight to voicemail? I can’t wait to hear this talk and I’m hoping you’ll be a part of the online audience attending.


The Lord bless you and keep you, The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be graciousto you.

Pastor Mike

First Sunday in November

Good Friday Morning Everyone,


We’re moving our LCC E-Letter up from Saturdays to Fridays so that you’ll have an extra day to read and contemplate your options for the weekend. 
We know you have a lot going on and we’re hopeful that, if we can get out front with you then you may find that 10:15-11:30 on Sundays can be more than just another option. It just might become an hour+ that internally changes your perspective of life itself.

Life Community has weathered the Pandemic as well as any Micro Church East of the Cooper. Tomorrow I am sending you an update on where we are and on how we want to move FORWARD over these next several months as we transition into 2021. Check out that correspondence and let me hear from you because You and Your opinion matter to LCC!


This Sunday we begin a new series of talks entitled Conversations With God. Pastor Thomas and I will be playing “tag team” every other week so that you get a broader understanding of our perspective on connecting with who we believe to be THE GOD of the Universe as well as THE GOD of your LIFE. 
If you’ve been with us from the beginning or if this is your first look at a different approach in pursuing the life of God be assured of this baseline truth:  when it comes to living, everything begins with a 

Conversation.These next 5 Sundays can become a renewed approach to life itself. In each of our messages throughout the month of November, Thomas and I will promise you this – Conversations With God can draw you into a Connection With God.


So here’s my challenge to you and to meduring this season of Thanksgiving, commit to allowing God to show us HOW a conversation can change WHO we are.


I pray you will join us as together, in Community With God, we locate a deepening faith.


Let me close with this from Philip Yancey, “Though my needs may drive me to prayer, there I come face-to-face with my greatest need: an encounter with God’s own self.”That, dear friends, changes everything!


Blessings to you and may the peace of the Lord be always with you,


Pastor Mike

FIRST THINGS FIRST – PART 3

In our second installment I began by listing the 6 questions we all must deal with as we develop our lives.

Blogger Jonathan Cottrell in his article entitled; Who Before Why – Reconsidering which comes first, notes for us that while organizations would choose Why, the individual should always begin with Who. Sounds right for me, how bout you?

Cottrell comments that; While our personal Whats and Hows will frequently change with time (that’s cool, glad to read that), how we live our lives will invariably be built upon our identity.

What is identity? It’s about you, it’s about me, and any others we’ll let into our orbits. An individual identity is the distinguishing character or personality of that individual. Essentially it seems to be about our uniqueness. Which might end up in the arena of our uncommonness.

I love our language, how simply it can turn on a dime and challenge our sensibilities.

So, Who Are You?

Someone once said that each of us are both more than we are and less than we are. While that doesn’t fully answer the question of life it at least gives us all a common denominator. Living isn’t about building, so much as it is about becoming. And before we conclude this post I’ll attempt to explain why I believe that becoming always will always trump building.

For now I want to return to the book I mentioned in my last post; The Second Mountain (TSM) by the journalist and author David Brooks. TSM is another metaphor for the second half of life which, given the days, many among us will eventually face. In the introduction, Brooks takes a couple of pages to unpack the question; Why are we here?

Those of us who are writers work out our stuff in public, even under the guise of pretending to write about someone else. In other words, we try to teach what it is that we really need to learn. My first mountain was an insanely lucky one. I achieved far more professional success than I ever expected to. But that climb turned me into a certain sort of person…..I sidestepped the responsibilities of relationships…..When I look back on the errors and failures and sins of my life, they tend to be failures of omission, failures to truly show up for the people I should have been close to. They tend to be the sins of withdrawal, evasion, workaholism, conflict avoidance, failure to empathize, and a failure to express myself openly…..I prioritized time over people and productivity over relationships which became a recurring motif in my life.

We could say that Brooks’ unpacking of his first mountain to climb focused on building without proper depth on becoming. Perhaps all of us can see through Brooks’ confession a similar approach to the first half of our own lives? My guess is we probably do. How about you? Have you always and in every way put First Things First?

Back to Jonathan Cottrell. “Unfortunately, who we are is complicated. Self -discovery is a long process, arguably a lifelong process.” Those complications are there with purpose. They have within them the ability to challenge us. Think of them as you would think of a Coach not a Cheerleader, if you get my point. The complexity of life is a gift in many ways. We should embrace them as we scale the First Mountain of Life for they are the tests and examinations which must be proven in our lives in order for us to move with confidence on to the Base Camp at the bottom of that Second Mountain.

Even as we scale that First Mountain, what Richard Rohr in his book Falling Upward calls The First Half Of Life, we must be aware that in many ways we are not prepared for what we are about to undertake. As Rohr notes; “We are better at rushing to judgment and demanding a complete resolution to things before we have learned what they have to teach us.” This is a huge problem in the Western world today, especially for men. I’ll introduce why it is so in my next post early next week

For now, we will move to some closure with two points worth considering.

First, each and every human being is individually called upon to become who she or he is created to be. There’s only one of YOU! Imagine what this world would be missing if YOU were not here to fulfill that role?

I like this from Eugene Peterson who reminds us that – We’re here to give witness to where life comes from, how it develops, and how we enter it. Give these 18 words a serious look this weekend. Do it now if you are like me, a procrastinator.

Second: Who we are, and hopefully, who we are becoming, has taken on a new meaning for living the life we have been given.

Take time this weekend to list 3 ways in which you have found “new meaning for living life” from either your First or Second Mountain.

I’d love to hear from some of you who will take up this work of contemplating what the pieces and parts are of a life well lived.

See you early next week!

MC

4th Sunday in October

Greetings all,


Last week we spent some time sharing how to get the most out of our Holy Communion services @ Life Community with those who were online Sunday morning live and those who joined us later through our Facebook page. I received some encouraging responses to what we talked about and how helpful it was in understanding the importance of this Sacrament which we observe twice a month @ LCC. 


Many of you guys know how much Communion means to this church. Without it, we would miss the  opportunity to Receive what God longs to Provide. So I wanted to remind all of us to recall two words that can make a difference in experiencing a more power filled memory in Communion. Those words: Adapt and Accommodate. Jesus said in John’s Gospel: The Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you. Jesus’ point here redounds to you and me. God has, inside of Communion, given us the possibility of a new life (even with this pandemic) which we can fully see through the Sacrament of Holy Communion. 


This Sunday we have Pastor Thomas back in the spotlight and I’m looking forward to his message as I know you guys are as well. 


And I’m going to take a few minutes to introduce our November speaking series on Conversations With God. As a part of that series, you’ll get to hear from some of the people who have been a part of our Wednesday Prayer Component gathering!


One last important item and I’ll let you go. During this Pandemic we have missed the opportunity to connect with one another in person, in real time, with real people. This coming week I will be sending out an update on where we are currently as we look at the options of reopening @ MTC. Once you receive this email I would appreciate each of you responding with your own feelings and questions. You are a part of LCC and your opinion is always welcome in this church.


Have a blessed weekend and we hope to see you online this Sunday beginning at 10:15 am.


Pastor Mike

3rd Sunday in October

Greetings all,


About seven years ago I wrote an article in which I shared this sentence:


“All that is worthy of our being and our doing begins with our Attention and moves forward through God’s Intention.”Consider those two words. First, the word 

Attention which requires consideration – which is driven by our mindfulness. Second, the word Intention reminds us of a God who is constantly scheming, designing, putting together the best plan for his creation.


Proverbs 16:9 In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.Think about this, How often have we been ready to Receive what God is ready to Provide? This Sunday we will once again be Celebrating Communion together even while we’re apart! Ahead of that Sacrament I’ll be sharing a message on How and Why Communion is so much more than we have yet to consider and imagine. So get your Bread and Wine ready for a dynamic experience together.


Pastor Thomas and Vanessa are celebrating her birthday and their anniversary down in Hilton Head and if they have had enough celebrating before next Sunday we’ll get to hear Thomas as we close out October! (Just kidding…Thomas is definitely speaking a week from Sunday.)
In November there will be a 5 Sunday series entitled Conversations With God. We’ll kick that off on November 1st by talking about the 14 most DANGEROUS words you’ll ever speak.

Also, right now I’m writing four blog posts entitled First Things First. The opening post is already on my blog site mikecooke.life By this evening I hope to have the second installment. I’d love for even more of you to read and comment as some of you already have. The feedback and engagement really helps and leads to great conversation!


It is, in my opinion, critical that we engage in conversations as a church which can connect us in community with others who may be looking for exactly who we are here at Life Community. These upcoming posts between now and the end of the year can make a real difference when shared with others in your concentric circle of influence. So, please share the link from above to my blog site via an email to a friend OR by sharing the it on Facebook with your circle of friends. 

I’m looking forward to this Sunday and hopeful that you choose to join us online @ 10:15


God’s peace to each of you.


Pastor Mike

FIRST THINGS FIRST – PART 2

There are 6 great questions you and I undertake as we wrestle with the development of our lives; Who, What, When, Where, How, and Why.

Last week I opened a new thread entitled; First Things First. In that post I suggested there seems to be an intentional way for you and me to live our lives. An order, if you will, to discover our deliberate design.

Now before you pushback on this working theory of mine, allow me to share several thoughts for our consideration. 

The FIRST one is a question. Is life more about WHAT you DO or more about WHO you ARE? Doing vs. Being has been a question every generation has to deal with. And in America, doing usually prevails. Because in America what we have, what we accomplish, and what we desire defines life. While that is true of many Western countries, there is little argument that Americans matriculate summa cum laud!

The SECOND thought I have is that we believe our Being (we’ll define this word shortly) will change as we grow… so in the first half of life, we gotta get all we can. There’s a great book by David Brooks of the New York Times entitled The Second Mountain. I’ll be using some out takes from Brooks in the next couple of posts so stay tuned. You will want to follow this guy’s voice on finding life.

Now, I have to admit that in my twenties I bought into the, “gotta get all you can.” In fact I may have added to that a secondary warning; “before someone else gets it all”. Material STUFF mattered to me just as it mattered to almost everyone I was hanging out with. If you had the STUFF you would make it in life. If you didn’t, you lost at life. 

Finally, the THIRD idea is a compilation taken from the FIRST question and the SECOND thought.  

WHAT IF we’ve answered the first question wrong and the STUFF we amassed never really brought us LIFE itself.

Is it possible that we can DO a lot of things in life and gather lots of stuff in life while at the same time be empty as a person? From my perspective, the answer is YES!

From the book – The Seasons of Life by Chuck Swindoll :

“DOING is usually connected with a vocation or career – how we make a living. BEING is much deeper. It relates to character – who we are and how we make a life. DOING is tied in closely with activity, accomplishments, and tangible things like salary, prestige, involvements, roles, and trophies. BEING, on the other hand, has more to do with intangibles – the kind of people we become inside, much of which we cannot measure by objective yardsticks and immersive awards. But of the two, BEING will ultimately outdistance DOING every time. It may take half a lifetime to perfect, but ends down, it’s far more valuable. And lasting. And inspiring.”

WHO ARE YOU? You’re a lot more than you probably have imagined. Finding the courage to place First Things First each day will soon begin to change WHO YOU ARE!

Check back in mid week for the third installment along with some wisdom from David Brooks.

And please share your opinion through any and all comments you might have. I look froward to reading them.

MC