COCHREN: HOPE AND SECOND CHANCES

Michael Cochren of Cochren & Company is a singer, songwriter, and worship leader. It’s been said that his music represents hope, grace, and second chances.

One of his songs speaks to those who are in a common place. It’s a place from where they need to return… to church. If these lyrics don’t speak to you, then they may to your brother, sister, or neighbor. Make the opportunity to share it.

If you’re not in church, then I pray Cochren’s song will lead you there whether for the first time or the first time in a long time. You may find it’s right where you belong!

Listen to “Church (Take Me Back)” by Michael Cochren, Bryan Fowler, and Micah Kuiper. Lyrics are included below.

See ya in church!

CHURCH (TAKE ME BACK)

There was a time that I swore I would never go back.
I was blind to the truth; didn’t know what I had.
I was running, I was searching,
But every place I turned for healing
Left me more broken than the last.

Take me back
To the place that feels like home
To the people I can depend on
To the faith that’s in my bones.
Take me back
To a preacher and a verse,
Where they’ve seen me at my worst
To the love I had at first.
Oh, I want to go to church.

Tried to walk on my own, but I wound up lost. Now I’m making my way to the foot of the cross.
It’s not a trophy for the winners.
It’s a shelter for the sinners,
And it’s right where I belong.

Take me back
To the place that feels like home
To the people I can depend on
To the faith that’s in my bones.
Take me back
To a preacher and a verse
Where they’ve seen me at my worst
To the love I had at first.
Oh, I want to go to church.
I want to go to church.

Oh, more than an obligation,
It’s our foundation,
The family of God.
I know it’s hard,
But we need each other.
We’re sisters and brothers.

Oh, take me back
To the place that feels like home
To the people I can depend on
To the faith that’s in my bones.
Take me back
To a preacher and a verse
Where they’ve seen me at my worst
To the love I had at first.
Oh, I want to go to church.

Yeah, I want to go to church.
Oh, I want to go, want to go, I want to go.
Oh, I want to go to church.
Oh, I want to go to church.

(Cochren, Fowler, Kuiper)

“And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24, 25)

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1)

LGBT: HOPE FOR TRANSFORMATION

Although the percentage of people identifying themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender is relatively low (according to Gallup Poll), they receive frequent press in both positive and negative ways. It is a sensitive topic to consider since many of us are impacted by at least one LGBT individual that we know, love, or identify with.

I think most Christian believers agree with a biblical view of sexuality. Brian Hobbs, Editor of “The Baptist Messenger,” wrote that it’s important that Christians are prepared “to uphold biblical sexuality but also minister with the Gospel.” *

Hobbs recently interviewed Laura Perry of Oklahoma, who lived almost 10 years as a transgender male before becoming a born-again Christian. You may go to www.baptistmessenger.com to hear that interview.

Laura also shares her story of redemption in her new book, TRANSGENDER to TRANSFORMED. She shares her past struggles and confusion, and she admits she did not find peace in the transgender life. What Laura did find was that only Christ brought her peace.

Laura shares that while her parents did not compromise biblical teaching, they maintained a loving attitude toward her. By sharing God’s grace and truth, Laura’s family was an example of Jesus Christ, Who is “full of grace and truth.” **

Her parents’ attitude helped make it easier for Laura to choose new life in Christ and freedom from the transgender lifestyle. When Laura came to Christ she came spiritually and physically and found the Peace she had been looking for all along.

If you are tempted to think that I’m a hater, notice I’m only sharing what the Bible says and sharing a real person’s transformation experience. Laura’s conversion brought her real peace and a healthier lifestyle (according to statistics). Where’s the hate in that?

God offers redemption in Christ for all, because He loves and not because He hates. I write this blog post not condemning but confessing I am “a sinner saved by grace.” ***

I find great hope in God’s power to transform any of us when we come to Him just as we are.

* The Gospel is the good news in the Bible that tells of our Hope in Jesus Christ that saves souls and transforms lives.

** “And the Word  became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)

*** “Sinner Saved by Grace” (lyrics by Gloria Gaither; music by William Gaither and Mitch Humphries).

“You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.” (Leviticus 18:22)

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolators, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals.” (1 Corinthians 6:9)

“Therefore if any man is in Christ,  he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

FREEDOM INITIATIVE: HOPE FOR RELIGIOUS PERSECUTED

You may think it’s rare to see a hopeful event in our world especially in the political realm. When it does happen, I want to be thankful and be hopeful. Maybe you, too, will respond with thankfulness and hope. Today I’m glad to share the following info.

Last month US President Trump took a stand at the United Nations to promote an initiative to protect workplace religious freedom.

“This initiative will encourage the private sector to protect people of all faiths…. True tolerance means respecting the right if all people to express their deeply held  religious beliefs,” said Trump.

He shared statistics of less than 20% of people in the world live in countries with religious freedom. He also pledged funds to protect religious sites and relics from  criminal attacks.

Trump also declared, “These evil attacks are a wound on all humanity. We must all work together to protect communities of every faith…. Today with one clear voice the United States of America calls upon the nations of the world to end religious persecution; to stop the crimes against people of faith; release prisoners of conscience; repeal laws restricting freedom  of religion and belief; protect the vulnerable, the defenseless, and the oppressed. America stands with believers in every country who ask only for the freedom to live according to the faith that is within their own hearts.”

It gives me hope that religious liberty is a priority for this President. I think these initiatives are worthy of his time and attention. May other nations follow his urging to increase prosecution and punishment of crimes against religious communities.

May we remember to pray for those in power who can lead us toward unity and peace.

 

“First of all then I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority on order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior.”

(1 Timothy 2: 1-3)

“Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21)

FOOTPRINTS POEM: HOPE IN FOOTPRINTS

You may know the  poem entitled  “FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND.” It is beloved by many and has offered hope during past decades.  It likely inspired the song, “FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND.”

Whether I hear the poem, sing the song, or read Scriptures that remind me that I have a comforting Presence with me always, I find that His footprints fill me with hope. May they do the same for you.

FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND (the poem):

“One night a man had a dream…. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the LORD. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand: one belonging to him and the other to the LORD.

When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life.

This really bothered him and he questioned the LORD about it: ‘LORD, You said that once I decided to follow You, You’d walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why when I needed You most You would leave me.’

The LORD replied: ‘My son, My precious child, I love you, and I would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.'”

(Author Unknown)

Even if His footprints are unseen, His presence is felt, and it gives me hope to trust in the Omnipresence of One Who never leaves nor forsakes me. He is also omnipotent (all-powerful) and omniscient (all-knowing), so I can totally rest in Him and trust His unfailing grace to carry me through life’s greatest difficulties.

I think the FOOTPRINTS poet understood this truth well and expressed it beautifully. Because of my own experiences I can add a sincere “Amen.”

“Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen.” (Psalm 77:19)