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As a retired pastor/teacher, author, actor and former singer in a gospel group  called "FourEver His!" - Lanny has been blessed to share thoughts and messages regarding the Gospel of Jesus Christ for much of his adult life. On occassion, some of those audio recordings will be posted on this page along with some of his other inspirational projects. Once again, everything shared on this page is for the glory of God Almighty.

 

 

Amazing Grace

Lanny Cook -June 2019

 

I grew up enjoying a wide variety of musical genres, from Country to Rock and Roll, and from Classic Instrumental to Jazz. I guess you could say I have a rather eclectic taste for music. As a baby boomer I grew up with some of the greatest music ever composed and better yet, some of the most legendary performers the world has ever known.  Of course, everybody loved the music of Glenn Miller, Mitch Miller and Lawrence Welk back in the big band era. These amazing bands served as the precursor to my arrival into this world in the mid 1950’s. I still remember sitting around with the folks and the grandparents watching Mitch’s bouncing ball or Lawrence Welk’s champagne music show on a Saturday evening.

There were extremely talented singers back in the 50’s and 60’s who knew how to sing and who also had the talent to put their heart and soul into every song they performed - Andy Williams, Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Jim Nabors, Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Tom Jones, and even Elvis. I was raised on legends like Eddie Arnold, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Slim Whitman, Hank Williams, Audie Murphy, Glen Campbell, Roy Rogers and the Sons of the Pioneers.

 

My love for music didn’t stop there as the show tunes from Broadway Musicals also provided hours of enjoyment throughout the years. I love many of the songs from a multitude of Broadway hits, and each song has a special place in my heart – Joseph and His Technicolor Dream Coat, Cats, Man of La Mancha, South Pacific, Lion King, Phantom of the Opera, West Side Story, Oklahoma, Fiddler on the Roof, Frozen, My Fair Lady and Jesus Christ Superstar. The point of all this is that music of all sorts has always been a big part of my life. I can’t imagine trying to live without great music to inspire, relax or soothe the savage heart.

As I look back on the wide variety of musical styles that have touched my heart, I have to say it is the gospel music that I grew up with and continue to listen to on a regular basis which has had the biggest and most consistent impact on my life. I remember so many Sunday evenings at the small community church where I grew up, sitting around singing the old gospel hymns with a piano accompaniment. That ole time gospel music somehow manages to go deeper than any other music. It doesn’t just inspire, or encourage, or even just touch my heart and mind, it speaks directly to my soul. It reaches down and touches the very essence of my being. Gospel music doesn’t just add to life! Through an encounter with Jesus you are given life. Gospel music is all about the gift of Life! It’s all about the Way!  It’s all about life transformed and forever changed!

 

Gospel music was born thru personal encounters with Jesus - like the woman with the issue of blood who reached out in faith to touch the hem of His garment, or the blind man who cried out to Jesus and his vision was restored; the woman at the well, the lepers who were healed from their affliction, or the dead who were raised from the grave. It was a personal encounter with Jesus that turned John Newton’s life around, causing him to pen the lyrics to one of the greatest hymns of all-time, “Amazing Grace.” Then of course there is Horatio Spafford, credited with penning the lyrics to “It is Well with My Soul” after the tragic loss of four daughters who drowned at sea. Gospel music is born in the valleys and through the tragedies of life.

At the darkest moments in life, when a soul cries out in desparation for a Savior, a melody of grace will fill the heart, mind and soul of the one in anguish. God’s grace resonates through anyone humble enough to admit they are too hurting or sick, too weak or broken; too sinful or lost to make it on their own. When anyone cries out to Jesus, miracles happen – when they do that excitement can’t be contained, it has to be shared; that’s what gospel music is all about – Jesus’ response to our cries.

To read the full article "Amazing Grace" click on the tab below:

Amazing Grace
Gospel Music and God's Amazing Grace
MyLoveForMusicAmazingGrace.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [247.5 KB]

I love this performance of Amazing Grace by Wintley Phipps. What an amazing singer and man of God! His version of Amazing Grace is one of my all-time favorites. Click on the image below to listen.

Another amazing example of the power of gospel music. This hymn is performed by Tiffany Coburn, one of the most talented sopranos to ever sing of her faith. She truly sings from the depths of her soul in honor of her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This song is from her album "Near to the Heart' and it's a Fanny Crosby hymn simply entitled "Jesus!" This song proclaims a timeless message "Trust my all to Jesus!" This has been my battle cry for the past 18 months and I have listened to Ms. Coburn's rendition of this song more than I can even count since its release. What an amazing follower of Jesus. Thank you Ms. Coburn for blessing the world with your gift to give glory and honor to our Lord!

The Magna Carta of Christian Liberty - Galatians 2

In Paul's letter to the Church in Galatia he shares the truth about the requirements for salvation as he confronts the legalistic practices of the Judaizers. Sadly, there are many in the church today who continue to blur the line between the Old Testament Laws and the grace of the Gospel. There is only one way to find salvation in this world, and it's not by your works. The forgiveness of sins, and the promise of eternal life in heaven can only be secured through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. There is no other way. You can't buy your way, pray your way, or work your way into heaven. Only by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ is that possible. 

 

Yet, the reality of being a Christian is you might believe Jesus died for your sins, then rose from the grave and is the Son of God Almighty, but it doesn't mean that you're a true follower of Jesus. There are many believers out there today who turn the free gift of salvation through grace, into something legalistic,. They fall into the trap of being religious, rather than being transformed by God's amazing grace. It's been happening in people's lives and even within the church for nearly 2,000 years. 

 

The second chapter of Galatians is often referred to as the Magna Carta of Christian Liberty.  In this chapter the Apostle Paul defines the truth about grace and puts legalistic practices  into perspective. Listen to this lesson as Lanny shares on a topic that every Christian battles throughout their daily walk with Jesus. 

The Magna Carta of Christian Liberty
Galatians Chapter 2
GalatiansChapter2PastorLanny11082015.mp3
MP3 audio file [41.8 MB]

 

In August of 2015 I shared a message at a new church plant where I was serving as an associate pastor. The message was entitled “The Trust Factor!” Little did I know at the time, this message was a word of prophesy God was revealing for my own life in the not-so-distant future. In this message, I shared the reality of numerous experiences which had impacted my ability to trust people, as well as, my ability to trust the local “Church.” Two and a half years later everything that I shared in this message came back to visit in a profound way.

Fast forward to early 2018. The “Trust Factor” came to pay a visit with a vengeance. In a matter of just a few months during the early parts of 2018, my father became sick and after several months of hospital stays, he eventually died at the age of 84. Five weeks later my wife of eleven years filed for divorce, because I was just too unhappy. A short time later, my senior pastor informed me that if I allowed my wife to proceed with the divorce, I would no longer be allowed to serve in the church as a pastor. A few weeks later, our dog died. Within a few weeks the church board placed me on a paid leave of absence, stating that in four months my situation would be re-evaluated to see if I could continue my employment with the church. It was made clear at the onset of the leave that I was to stay away from the church, as well as the church family.

A few weeks later, the divorce was final and I was facing the darkest time of my life without a pastor, a church or a church family for support. Move forward a few more months when I met with the senior pastor to receive official notification of my termination. The pastor then proceeded to invite me to come back to the church as a part of the congregation so they could “help” in my healing process. Literally, his proposal of conditional grace was more than five months too late. In fact, within the very context of his suggestion, he made it clear I would be forced to face correction through this process. Therefore, I declined his offer. Needless to say just a few weeks later, I was informed that my ex-wife, (the one who instigated the divorce) was returning to the church that had terminated me because of the situation.

Within a six-month time period, I lost my father, my wife, my job, my ministry and my church family, along with my furry-little companion of eleven years. Imagine the emotional damage of being told by your wife, your pastor, your boss, and your church that you were no longer worth keeping around. My spirit had been severely crushed as my life had been completely turned upside down. In addition, many of the relationships I had invested years of time, energy and effort had thrown me out like a piece of useless trash. My “Trust Factor” had taken a devastating hit once again. I seriously struggled for months. But God's hand never left me and I felt His peace and healing touch throughout the entire experience. As time went on I was engulfed in His grace and wrapped in His healing love. Nearly a year after this whole ordeal began, I came across this message from August, 2015. The irony of God's timing is astounding!

Out of my own mouth from an earlier date, God delivered a message speaking directly about what I needed to do to realize the final piece of His merciful healing. In that message I stated, “I will not be defined by my reality in life. But rather, my reality is defined by my relationship with Christ!” I realized that my emotional healing was completely intertwined within my spiritual well-being. I was reminded once again that God will never let a hurt go to waste! I had a boat load of hurts God was preparing to use for His purpose and glory! Only through Christ can you find victory over the challenges of life. That is where all Hope lives!

If you’re dealing with any “Trust” or “Forgiveness” issues this is a message you need to hear because it gives God the glory and praise He so richly deserves. This message is less than thirty minutes in length, and I believe it is well worth the investment of your time. I’m amazed at God’s divine mercy, grace and timing. As well as, His divine sense of humor as He sent a message, through my own mouth, as to how I need to respond to the betrayal, rejection, devastation and malice I experienced at the hands of people whom I had trusted. God is good! All the time! I pray you enjoy these thoughts regarding “The Trust Factor!”     

The Trust Factor!
You can either be defined by your reality in life, or else, choose to have your reality defined by your relationship with Jesus Christ!
Aug 13 2015TrustFactor PastorLanny.mp3
MP3 audio file [45.7 MB]

"FourEver His!" was a Southern Gospel group that performed locally in the Denver Metro area during the 1990's. Pictured left to right is Lanny, Sandy, Kathy and Jodee. While our time together was limited to a mere decade, the joy we experienced sharing the Gospel of Jesus through music will last a life time. Here's one of the selections we loved to present called "Yes, Lord, Yes!" by Shirley Caesar. My son Dennis is playing the drums on this selection. He was 12 years old when we recorded this arrangement.

Yes, Lord, Yes!
FourEver His! Kathy Johnson, Sandra Gimer, Lanny Cook, Dennis Cook on Drums, Jodee Grady on Piano
12 Yes, Lord, Yes!.wma
Windows Media music file [2.3 MB]
The Sermon on the Mount - The Narrow Gate
Sometimes in this modern world it is difficult to relate to the stories contained in the Bible. In this message, Pastor Lanny relates the story from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount regarding the "Narrow Way" into modern technical terms.
SermonMountPastorLannySept242017.mp3
MP3 audio file [50.4 MB]
What Will Your Answer Be?
This poem was written by Lanny's mother Clarice in the 1970's. It has been recorded over the sound track of Jack Hayford's song, Majesty and is performed by Lanny back in the day when he was the bass singer in a Gospel Group called FourEverHis!
MajestyPoem.wma
Windows Media music file [3.3 MB]
What Will Your Answer Be? Video Presentation
Here's a video presentation of Clarice Cook's poem, What Will Your Answer Be? Performed by Lanny, recorded over the sound track of Jack Hayford's song Majesty.
AnswerBeSPMPerformnceTrackEmail.WMV
WMV File [8.3 MB]
Morning Has Broken - Goode Centennial United Methodist Choir
This is a recording from the Goode Centennial United Methodist Church Choir back in the 1990's. For a small church we had an amazing group of talented singers and musicians. One of my fondest memories of this recording was being able to sing with one of the greatest men I've ever had the pleasure of calling friend, Lester Arnold. He was an amazing mentor, colleague and friend. His influence in my life ranks right up there with that of my father. In fact, his wife Mary always referred to me as their #2 son. These were by far some of the most memorable times of my life. Our version of this 1930's classic is one of my favorites.
MorningHasBroken.mp3
MP3 audio file [5.3 MB]

Gilligan's Island Cast - Faith Bible Chapel International -

Drama Presentation Written and Directed by Lanny

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