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Personal Reflections & Inspirational Prose

I wrote my first poem in 1993 to go along with a special song that our Gospel group had added to their performance repertoire. The poem is "A Father's Prayer!" (It can be found toward the bottom of this page.) From that point on, the words began to flow through my fingers onto the keyboard and into the computer with a consistent fury. Poems, books, messages, curriculum, dramas, skits, ministry projects and even a dissertation freely flowed through my high-tech pen of the 20th century. As you peruse this site, you might notice that nearly everything I share is based on my faith in Jesus Christ. There’s a reason for that. You see the voice I share exists exclusively because I was inspired, mentored, forgiven by grace and called to share the impact of God's mercy in this life. It all started when I accepted God's gift of salvation, offered through the life, death and resurrection of the greatest Author the world has ever known, Jesus Christ!

 

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”                                                                Hebrews 12:2 KJV

The Cross in the Floor

The anniversary of my dad's passing from this world is drawing close. As I pondered the life of my earthly father, and the impact he had on me personally,  I was reminded of a poem my mother had written for him nearly thirty years ago. It provides a profound reminder of the call God places on each of our lives in order to share the Gospel message of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  Each of us have a gift to share with the world. Each of us are called to use those unique and special gifts to point others to a relationship with Christ. My dad lived his life as a personal example of how to share the love of Jesus in meaningful ways. This poem was written after dad crafted a wooden cross into the tile floor of the entry way of their church. Dad truly was a quiet witness to the love of his Savior. He lived his life as an example of his faith.

 

 

A Tribute to Pastor Dennis and Cindy

 

For nearly twenty years I had the extreme pleasure of serving under the guidance, mentorship and oversight of two of the most amazing individuals you could ever meet. Pastor Dennis and Cindy were the leaders of a rather large entourage of actors, performers, writers, stage hands, set-builders, singers and musicians associated with a troupe of the Lord’s servants often referred to as Faith On Stage. This married couple humbly persevered for over thirty years to share the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through drama and music. The productions they wrote, directed and brought to life were as professional and dynamic as any you would ever encounter on a public stage.

 

Magnificent is one of the best words to describe their divinely inspired presentations. From an annual Easter production with casts of hundreds, to a delightfully inspired, musical rendition of Scrooge during the Christmas season, their entire ministry was focused on presenting the story of Jesus through dynamic, tangible and stirring productions. These presentations touched the hearts and souls of tens-of-thousands of individuals through the years, not only in the audience, but also those involved within the cast and crew of each production. However, the ministry of this couple didn’t end with drama presentations. There were multitudes of sermon illustrations brought to life on the stage along with hundreds of skits and presentations included within the Children’s ministry of the church.

 

Dennis and Cindy’s quarterly Gospel Sing-a-longs also included dramas and readings, all of which were deeply touching and inspirational for everyone in attendance. Their decades of service in the praise and worship ministry, as well as, their oversight of the annual Christmas float for the city’s Parade of Lights were just a few more examples of their commitment to share the Gospel in tangible ways. Add to that their continued hand in a multitude of presentations for the annual Israel Awareness events, along with a host of special services each year in which they played significant roles; and you begin to catch a glimpse of the impact they’ve had within their personal realm of influence in the ministry to which they’ve devoted their lives.

 

Recently this amazing couple announced that the time had come to retire from their respective positions within the church. As they look forward to their next phase of life, I must publically state: I have been deeply blessed and profoundly touched by these two servants of the Lord. They humbly put their hand to the plow of sharing the Gospel message and in the process built an amazing fellowship of individuals devoted to their mission of sharing Christ.

 

By allowing me to help out in small ways and serve alongside them in various capacities within their quest to share this love of Jesus, my life has been forever impacted. In fact, I am the first to admit that these two wonderful mentors had a huge impact on my gift and purpose for writing. As they provided me a multitude of opportunities to serve on their writing team throughout the years, my ability to share the Gospel through the written word, developed, matured and became more refined. The influence Dennis and Cindy have had on my faith and my life, as well as my writing is significant. I am forever grateful to have been able to help in but a small way within their ministry of sharing Christ through drama and music. Truly, by the grace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, I can say that I have been touched and I have grown through this precious gift of their friendship, leadership and mentoring. They are the embodiment of what Christian service is all about as they answered the call proclaimed by Jesus when He declared:

 

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”                                                                           Matthew 28:19-20 NIV

 

God bless you both, Dennis and Cindy, as you move on to the next chapter of your lives and as you continue to follow the lead of the One we call Lord and Master. Thank you my dear friends! Praise the Lord for His goodness and grace! To Him be the glory, forever and ever! Amen!

 

In 1994 I wrote a Christmas poem to share with family and friends for the very first time. From that very first holiday poem came a quarter of a century of sharing my personal prose through poetry. Twenty five years later, I felt like it was time to bring this profound piece of inspiration out of my personal archive to share it once again during the Christmas season.

 

Over the past several decades so many close family and friends have taken the journey to heaven and are no longer physically present to share in this most joyous time of the year. But that doesn’t diminish the sweet memories I shared with each of them throughout the holiday gatherings and celebrations. Each year as I prepare for this special season, I take the time to remember so many loved ones; my dad, grandparents, numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins along with several very close friends who have left the confines of this physical world. Each of these dear ones have taken the journey home and now celebrate in the presence of the One who lived and died to set us free.

 

After all the challenges of great personal loss that I’ve endured throughout the past couple of years, this poem has never been more relevant in my life. It brings out two of the most important blessings we can cherish within the confines of this world. The greatest gifts from God Almighty are encompassed within the relationship of family and faith. At this time of year, as we celebrate the story of Jesus, the real reason for the season, I pray you take a moment to not only reflect on your relationship with Jesus, but also, embrace and savor the blessings you have been granted through the gift of dear family and friends. God bless you as you celebrate the birth of the Savior throughout this Christmas season.  I pray you enjoy this particular poem from my past collection.

 

O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O Lord, You know it all. You have enclosed me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.  If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me.   Psalm 139: 1-10 NASB

 

     One of the most unforgettable pastors that I’ve ever known was an avid mountain climber. His name was Vince Bousselaire. Pastor Vince was an amazing man of God, as well as, a little dynamo. Nothing seemed to ever slow him down. He was like an energizer bunny who would just keep going when everybody else was drained. I went on a short-term mission trip to Alaska which was led by Vince in the early 2000’s. I was a last minute replacement for someone who had to bow out of the trip just weeks before it was scheduled to leave Denver. During that trip, I learned a lot about the man Vince, along with the motivating factors that kept him focused on serving his Lord. He shared with me a vision quest for placing the Word of God on the highest peak on each of the seven continents. In preparation of his quest, he trained by climbing all 53 of the fourteeners in the state of Colorado. On each of those peaks He placed a Bible. It was his undying belief that the word of God needed to be proclaimed from the highest mountains throughout the world. Vince completed his initial goal of placing a Bible on the highest peak of each of the 7 continents, including Mt. Everest. Vince attempted to climb Everest twice, but due to altitude sickness he had to hand his dream off to a fellow climber who reached the summit, placing the Word of God on the highest peak in all of the world. The irony of this tag team approach on the highest and most deadly mountain top on all the earth had to do with the colleague Vince choice to share in this venture. The man that completed Vince’s quest was Jewish.

 

     Not too long after the Bible was placed on the highest peak in the world, Vince continued his calling by making a trip to Switzerland. His objective was to place a Bible on the top of the Matterhorn, a mountain that borders Italy and Switzerland. Vince had reached the summit of this majestic piece of real estate and placed a Bible, securely wrapped in plastic at the pinnacle of this magnificent part of God’s creation. As the team made its descent from this adventure, Vince and another climber were blown over the edge of a cliff by a treacherous gust of wind. This happened on a non-technical part of the descent, so neither of the climbers were tethered with safety ropes. The 1,000 foot fall claimed the precious life of Vince and a fellow climber.

 

     Just a week before Vince had left for this mission trip, he had shown me some pictures he had taken on a training climb on a local fourteener called Longs Peak. After showing me a picture of what is referred to as the chute he shared a profound thought with me. The chute is a place on this particular mountain that has a very narrow path going from one side of the chute to the other. Off of one side of this path, the chute drops nearly straight down for a thousand feet. Vince mentioned how eerie that would be to lose your footing, causing you to plummet a thousand feet to your death. Just a few weeks later, his prophetic thought became a reality.  But I know, that he didn’t make his descent alone. His Lord was with him all the way and was there to carry him home at that very moment when he took his final breath.

 

     When I heard the devastating news about Vince, this poem came to my mind. It didn’t take too long before it appeared on the computer screen as you see it now. God in his infinite wisdom took Vince home to his eternal reward. We can’t understand why and those that cared for Vince will always have questions. None of us will find the answers to those questions until we too stand before our Lord and are reunited with our loved ones who have gone before us. Maybe at that moment in the eternal timetable of heaven, we won’t even care. We’ll forget all of our questions because we will be overwhelmed by the love, grace and mercy of finally being in the presence of our Lord and Savior.  

Old Fashioned Nights ~ Clarence Peterson

 

This poem was one my great-uncle Clarence Peterson composed in the later years of his life. He never wrote any of his poems on paper, but instead, would recite them if the occassion presented itself at either a church function or family gathering. This one was transcribed from one of his recitations recorded on an old, cassette tape. He was born in the early 1900's and lived through most of the Twentieth Century. This poem is one that I think all of us can relate to as we reflect back to our younger years. I hope you enjoy this particular piece from my uncle Clarence's personal prose.

Here's another poem recited by my Uncle Clarence at a church event. He never wrote it down, but rather, just recited it when requested by a friend or family member.

"All The World's His Stage" was written in memory of my friend Jack Oden. For many years I was involved in a drama ministry referred to as Faith on Stage at Faith Bible Chapel in Arvada, Colorado.

During that time I became friends with some amazing people. Amazing in regards to their relationship with Christ, as well as, their gifts and talents in the field of creative arts. One of those individuals was a man named Jack. He was the most gifted actor I had ever been around. In fact, his acting and creative abilities could best be described as "brilliant!" His ability to define the characters in each of the roles he would perform were magnificent. For many years he would play one of the disciples in the annual Easter production. Often his role would be Judas Iscariot, probably one of the most difficult characters a Christian could be called upon to perform.

 

The role that left the biggest impression on me was the year he played the blind beggar who had an encounter with Jesus. Jack's ability to get into character for a role and stay in character from the moment a rehearsal began until it ended never ceased to amaze me. But the most endearing characteristic of Jack is best described as he was truly "a man after God's own heart." His faith in Jesus Christ was truly inspirational. With his recent passing the Lord placed this poem on my heart. I know where Jack is at this very moment. He has left the confines of this world, but he is rejoicing like never before as he has entered into eternity to forever dwell in the house of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

 

I felt compelled to share this poem in memory of my dear friend, Jack. I pray it provides you with a bit of encouragement and hope for the drama you encounter in your own personal world. May God bless you, forever and always!

Hiding in the Shadows - Peter's Song was written back in 2005 as a means to try to understand what Peter must have experienced after denying knowing Jesus just hours before the crucifixion. The guilt and shame of denying his Teacher must have been nearly unbearable. The grief of Jesus' death, compounded by the reality of his denial of associating with this mighty Prophet of God would have been haunting to Peter. Fear, guilt, remorse, anguish and unbridled shame would have all been part of Peter's emotional roller coaster associated with the execution of his closest friend. How could he ever live with himself knowing what he had done to Jesus? Not only did Peter deny Jesus three times, but he abandoned His Lord through the darkest of days. His denial was a form of betrayal making him as guilty as Judas for rejecting the One he followed for three years. For several days Peter would wallow in numbing agony has he cried out to God, begging for forgiveness - groveling for mercy. But then on the third day, the miracle of all miracles happened as Jesus' followers heard the news that the grave stone had been rolled away and Jesus was alive! The Son of God claimed victory over death and sin on the third day just as He had predicted! Peter's agony instantly turned to joy and celebration. Jesus is alive! He lives forevermore! To God be the glory!  Happy Easter! 

I would like to share a short tribute to my father, Gordon, as the one year anniversary of his death has just recently past.

 

Gordon S. Cook

                                         August 1933 - February 2018

I can never put into words the love, admiration and gratitude I possess for this remarkable man of God! As a friend recently shared, "he was a quiet witness" to his faith in Jesus Christ. I owe so much to both of my parents who not only lived a life of faith but also instilled in me a profound realization that all  hope and trust can only be found in a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. I am eternally grateful to both of them. In honor of my father, I would like to share this excerpt from the acknowledgement page of my book, "The Mystery of Zion."

"As a teenager, I had a deep interest and profound curiosity for the nation of Israel and the Jewish people. Much of this can be contributed to the Bible studies my parents regularly attended. They would continue their discussions at home, discussing a multitude of prophetic topics in everyday conversation with our family. Their Bible studies weren’t the typical, run-of-the-mill expository lessons. Instead, they were in-depth prophetic studies of the end times, intricately woven into a format of dispensational examinations.

My parent’s conversations involving these topics created an extreme curiosity that has stayed with me for more than fifty years. They have stirred within my heart for decades, as many of those divine prophecies discussed at the dinner table of my youth have unfolded in miraculous ways throughout my life into profound reality. Therefore, I want to express a special thanks and eternal gratitude to my parents, Gordon and Clarice, for instilling in me a hunger and thirst to continually pursue greater understanding for the times in which we live and for God’s future plan for all humanity."

Thank you Dad, for all your love, devotion, sacrifice and commitment that you willingly shared with all of your family. You will be greatly missed. I rest in the assurance that comes through faith in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ that provides eternal life for all who believe in Him. I have no doubt that we will be reunited one day soon in that great heavenly expanse which you are now experiencing with the Savior of your soul and our loved ones who have gone before us! I look forward to that great and glorious day when the last trump shall sound!

 

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.         2 Timothy 4:7 NIV

Nothing to Prove is a song that could have been written about my dad. He was a father of unassuming love and grace. I miss him dearly. Here's Mark Lowry's version of this song by Phillips, Craig and Dean. It's from Mark's album Unplugged and Unplanned. I pray it brings back sweet memories of your own dad!

Way back in the day, circa 1990's. The Cook family! Randy, Danny, Lanny, Gordon & Clarice.

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