Hey guys,

It has been a couple of weeks since I posted on my blog site. A number of you already know that my brother Donnie had a stroke in the early morning hours of Monday, June 1st and was rushed to a hospital in Charlotte. 

These past two weeks we have been back and forth to the Queen City in North Carolina to be with Donnie’s wife Pam and daughter Laura. It has been what you might expect – days that ebb and flow with hope followed by despair. Currently we are feeling the former – HOPE! While pushing back against despair that hijacks your minutes and hours as if you have no other choice. You do, we all do.

As a Pastor I decided a long time ago to share with my friends at Life Community this truth; there are times when despair seems to have my phone on speed dial. (Just made myself a note to spend two or three posts on why that can happen to a pastor or anyone else and why it makes perfect sense.)

This past weekend has been one of HOPE! I love hope. I crave hope. I am ME when hope comes knockin. Just as you are you when hope knocks at your door.

Permission to speak frankly? Thanks. Donnie’s stroke, which has about three medical science words attached to it, came as many of these matters of life do – UNEXPECTED. Living in the midst of a pandemic and a nation filled with hate following the killing of George Floyd already had me, and perhaps you too, unavailable for anything else being dropped into my LIFE.

Stuff happens. Things pile on. That’s life. Where do we find the ability to juggle multiple crises while maintaining some degree of sanity? The Psalmist gave an answer to this much asked question in his 121st chapter. The poet writes; I lift my eyes up to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Help can come from a variety of outlets. According to the writer, the psalmist insists that it comes from the Lord. The Hebrew counterpart being Jehovah, or for us, God. At times of hope or despair this is where help comes from, where help is brought into our lives. It’s where someone beyond us steps into our life in order to overcome the latest uninvited guest that has taken refuge in and around us.

I like the sound of that. Help being brought into my life. Over these past several years I hav learned the real value in trusting my stuff with the Lord. Recently our family was gifted a book entitled Guerrillas of Grace with this sub-title:  Prayers For The Battle. It was written by Ted Loder whom I believe to be one of the most imaginative writers in this genre that I have ever read.

This past Sunday at Life Community I read this poetic prayer in my opening comments. I recommend it to all who happen upon it, with hope that can pull you out of despair. Find it below.

Let me know what you think. I’d love to hear from you.


Two Years Later

Fifty Three days into 2020 and I feel and find my way moving forward. I hope you too are sensing that this year can be special as you make the decisions to grow healthier in a holistic way by paying attention to the journey you have chosen. 

Tomorrow, February 23, 2020 will be exactly two years since Bryan and I were shot by a couple of young men who were looking for…..looking for…..looking for…..God knows what. And whatever their intention beyond armed robbery, they left my son Bryan lifeless and me with four bullet holes in my body with little hope of surviving. 

Thanks to an awesome Trauma Emergency Team under the direction of Dr. Douglass Norcross at the Medical University of South Carolina, I physically survived and am alive today to tell the story not only about the event itself but the aftermath of ongoing recovery which continues 729 days since the shooting.

People tell me that Friday, February 23, 2018 was not my day to die. But they cannot with certainty tell me the reason why. In the New Testament of the Christian Bible we are told in Hebrews 9:27 It is appointed unto man, once to die. We’ve all figured that out but how we die and when we die remains forever hidden from us  this side of heaven.

Guns and violence are a common occurrence in America. According to everytownresearch.org, each day in our country 100 Americans are killed by guns and 200 are shot and wounded. Fifty eight percent of adults, or someone they care for, have experienced gun violence in their lifetime. I have kept up with these statistic on gun violence ever since the shootings At Sandy Hook. I never imagined I would become a statistic inside of this topic. But now that both Bryan and I are statistics, it seems my responsibility to add to the truth of just how violent this type of assault on human beings actually is.

I hope to engage on this subject through a couple of posts blended in with of course other topical matters each month on my blog. For now, today, just one day in the life of Mike Cooke, I wanted you, my friends to know a little bit about tomorrow, because tomorrow @ Life Community is a day to remember my son and to thank our friends who have stood with us through this tragedy.

The courage to move forward through even the difficulty of grief and suffering is not only a matter of our will, but it is as well a matter of ones will being acted upon by Grace. I like to think of grace as a fascinating relational concept which originated with the God who is more deeply in love with us than we have imagined. It is a lot like oxygen. We didn’t invent it, but we’ll need it if we’re going to go on living. And that, by the way, would be exactly what Bryan would want you and me to be doing.

If you knew Bryan at all, you know that he held on to life through his trust in his God. I’ll highlight more in upcoming posts of how Bryan did this in his day to day living in spite of how that day turned out. He inspired me and I know hearing more of his story, his struggles, and his life will do the same for you.

I also want to share more about the community which has surrounded our family. They have been under us, ahead of us, behind us and within us when the ambushes of grief and trauma attack. Community isn’t what most people have in mind. Community is where people really matter and others take the time even when it isn’t convenient to be present. Those stories need to be told as well, and  will be in future blog posts.

I’ve said enough for now. I‘m about to get ready to go meet some family and friends to share today with. To find strength in our relationships as together we remember the life of Bryan Cooke which is someone worth talking about inside of this community that he helped put together.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post. I would love to hear any and all thoughts and comments you may have. And if you have tomorrow morning free why not drop by Life Community Church at 10:15 and join us in celebration of Bryan, We’re at the Musical Theater Center @ 547 Long Point Rd. in Mt. Pleasant, 29464.


The Pace and Space of our Lives (Part 3)

This is the third and final post inside of the mini series; The Pace and Space of our Lives. We are seeking to open a door to a conversation around this idea that the Pace of our lives has begun to greatly influence the Space in our lives. 

If you are feeling as if you are moving at the speed of light some days perhaps that is a warning that your current speed of life, at times is impossible to maintain. If we cannot maintain then we need help, we need maintenance as it were to recalibrate the pace of living.

In the past couple of years I have had many, many conversations with friends who admit they are way out over their skis in specific areas of life and don’t know how to throttle back. So it seems to me, that in this case, our Pace becomes an arbiter of or to our Space – the parts of our lives we are or are not paying attention to. 

James K. A. Smith in his fine book You Are What You Love writes – “If you are what you love, and if love is a virtue, then love is a habit. This means that our most fundamental orientation to the world (our primarySpace) is shaped by imitation and practice.”

When Smith speaks of love here, he is not speaking of love in the emotive or romantic sense many of us may be thinking of. What I understand Smith to be saying here is that if you are truly going to give your life tolove, you will immediately set your Pace of each day so that you can move from love as a noun into love as a verb. When we act upon that which moves us toward others we should quite naturally begin to see a new rhythm (Pace) in our living.

Smith also notes that; “The center of gravity of the human person is located not in the intellect but in the heart. Why? Because the heart is the existential chamber of our love”

Thus the author of Proverbs cautions us with these words; Above all else guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life.” 

So, here’s why the Pace (daily rhythm) and the Space (what matters) in your life and mine deserves an ongoing conversation. Oh, and by the way, we practice this all the time with the trivial distractions of life. How can we begin to apply that to the deeper interior matters of life? 

Who has an idea, who has a thought, who cares that life can and does get stolen from us each day? I have a few that we will begin unpacking in the next post later this week. In the meantime, seek truth and inspire change. Your life was created to breathe life into others. Let’s go do it!



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!