A father's love for his child.

A father's love for his child.

It's hard to believe my daughter turned 6 months old yesterday. It still feels surreal that I'm a father in the first place. The joy I feel when I look at her is almost overwhelming. I love this new little life with every part of my being.  The amazing thing is, she didn’t have to do anything to earn my love and there's absolutely nothing she can do to stop it. She is loved simply because she is my child. For me, it feels completely natural, even instinctual.  A pastor friend of mine said to me right after Magnolia was born, "It’s amazing isn’t it? It is the only love you don't choose or cultivate.  Instant love!"  I find it truly unexplainable.

‘See what a great love the Father has lavished on us, that we might be called children of God!’  1 John 3:1 

A father’s love is impossible to accurately describe, but this new love that I have for my daughter and the way I look at her, I believe, is exactly how God looks at each of us.  Just as my heart wells up with affection when I walk into a room where she is playing, God joyfully comes to us where we are. He desires to be with us. The Creator of the universe wants to be with me! How awesome is that?

Over the past 6 months I have gained a better understanding of God’s love for me, I am compelled to love Him more than ever. Love requires action though. It may begin in our hearts as a feeling of affection, but it doesn’t mean much until it is shared. As we are shown love we become more compelled to reciprocate that love to others. As my daughter grows she will learn to love. The love she receives from her mother and I will serve as her example of how to love and compel her to love us and others.  God’s love for us should cause us to be overcome with a desire to return that love to Him. How do we do that?  Jesus says, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40.

As a Christ follower I am called to love.  Through love, songs are written, relationships are built, walls are broken down, and hearts are mended. Through each act of love, hate is diminished.  Love binds us together and shines a light into the darkness. God is the perfect picture of love. Let’s live by His example.

Love - A commandment

Love - A commandment

I had the opportunity last week to sit down with the rest of the band to reflect on 2016 and set some goals for 2017.  We had coffee and discused where we'd like to be, as a band, at the end of the year.  God provided us so many amazing opportunities in 2016 and we are looking forward to was He has in store for 2017.  I enjoyed getting to spend a little time with the guys and having the chance to share what we desire for the ministry this upcoming year.  

It's so easy to get caught up in life and ministry that we forget about the people we care about. Sometimes it's just a phone call or a quick cup of coffee together that goes a long way. A vital part of any relationship is making an effort to spend quality time together. I care about each of the guys in RtH a lot and desire deeper relationships with each of them.   

I'm reminded of a verse in John 13 where Jesus, speaking to His diciples, commands them to love one another.  He even takes it a step further and says "just as I have loved you."  Think about that, that's some pretty incredible love.  Jesus went on to die to pay the sin debt of those men and the rest of world.  If we are commanded to love as Jesus loved us, I believe it is a small price to pay to take a few moments each week to appreciate the people we care about. Our families, close friends, ministry teams, small groups, band members, etc.  Relationships that we desire to continue to grow and flourish require effort.

I believe if we, as Christians, truly love and care for those around us, we will begin to shed a positive light on the church.  It begins with those closest to us, then moves to our outer circle of friends, other church members, co-workers, etc. After that we move outside of the people we are in contact with each week including strangers and even our enemies.

This week, let's take a look at our relationships. Are we putting in the effort needed to not only keep the relationships alive, but cultivate them to grow? 

 

-Mike

New Year - New Resolutions - Old Results

New Year - New Resolutions - Old Results

I sat down a few weeks ago and began thinking about the new year. 

2016 has come and gone. This has been such a big year for my band and my family.  We recorded and released our 1st full-length album "Run to Love", played over 60 dates, and had the opportunity to open for Jeremy Camp, We are Messengers, and Among the Thirsty.  My wife, Sonny Jo and I found out that we will be having a baby girl in April and couldn't be more excited.  In short, God used the opportunities in 2016 to show me that He still has a plan for me and this ministry.

Despite all of the great things the past year brought, there have been many negative things as well. It can be safely stated, with over 40 celebrity deaths, that 2016 was one of the most tragic years to date for loss of stars. Unfortunately, the presidential election added to the dismay of the year. The negativity within the media seemed to bring nothing than more than a greater divide in our country and abroad.  All of this only deepened my desire to pursue and promote the message of Run to Love!

I know that 2017 will be a big year for me.  I'll be welcoming my 1st child into the world in just a few months.  I honestly have no idea what to expect.  We will need a lot of prayer as we move into a new role as parents.  Our two dogs, Treble and Opus, have helped us unknowingly prepare our poop cleanup skills over the past few years, so we at least have a start on parenting 101.

I don't really like to do New Year's Resolutions, but I want to move forward in the new year. I want to be able to say at the end of the year that I am a better Christ follower, a better husband, and a good dad!  What will that mean for myself, my family, and my ministry?  This idea of moving forward doesn't mean that I am unhappy with my life, it only means that I never want to become complacent with where I am.  I want to serve God better.  I want to serve my wife (and daughter) better. I want to serve my community better.  2017 will not be just another year for me.  I cannot just "keep on keepin' on" as an old friend of mine used to say.

I want to start this new year with a new plan that won't produce old results.  Over the next few weeks I am going to take a look at what God's word calls me to be.  I am embarking on a journey, an adventure if you will.  I'm not sure exactly where it will lead. Will you join me?  Check here often for updates on my journey.  Let's make 2017 the best year of our lives.

-Mike Cochran