About Joey Cochran

http://www.jtcochran.com

I was raised in Texas and graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with a Bachelors of Business Administration in 2004 and completed my Master of Theology from Dallas Seminary in 2009. I served as the General Manager of Campus Dining Services for Dallas Seminary during my seminary years. I currently serve as the High School Pastor at Fellowship Bible Church Tulsa. Before joining the Fellowship Bible Church staff, I volunteered in youth ministry for ten years. I am married to Kendall, the most amazing woman I've ever met. She is a graduate of Dallas Baptist University with a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology. We are blessed with one daughter, Chloe born October 2008 and one son Asher born June 2011. I enjoy analyzing music and movies, and I also enjoy making social and cultural observations and commentary. I have an incredible passion for youth ministry, and I have a scholars heart. I really enjoy reading and studying about the New Testament, Old Testament, Theology, Pastoral Ministry, and Youth Ministry.

Posts by Joey Cochran:

9 Marks Chicago Workshop

9Marks9 Marks is holding a two day conference this coming Monday and Tuesday, March 23-24. This workshop will have nine sessions, one on each of the 9 Marks of a healthy church.

Speakers:

Mark Dever, Senior Pastor, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington, DC
Phil Howell, Pastor for Preaching, Embassy Church, Mt. Prospect, IL
Mike McKinley, Senior Pastor, Sterling Park Baptist Church, Sterling, VA
Zach Schlegel, Assistant Pastor, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington, DC

Registration Price:

Adult: $45

Student: $25

If you’re available to go to this conference, I encourage you to do so. I’ll be there most of the day on Monday. This will be a time of nourishing food for pastoral reflection. Likewise, this will be great for those not in pastoral ministry. Church members will learn what it means to be a member and what a healthy church should look like. They will be able to better partner with their church in fostering the culture of a healthy church.

President Ryken of Wheaton College shares why you should come to this workshop:

Jonathan Edwards: An Interview with Dane C. Ortlund

the-works-of-jonathan-edwardsTo commemorate Logos’s release of Yale University Press’s 26 Volume definitive set of Jonathan Edwards’ works, I am hosting a series of interviews with pastors and scholars with whom Edwards and his works has had massive influence.

If you’d like to read a summary on the importance of Edwards’ works, along with the significance of the Yale Edition of Edwards’ works, and three ways to access this edition, you may do so here where I introduced this series.

Here are other interviews in this series:

Today we sit and listen to Dane Ortlund as he shares about Jonathan Edwards.

1. What originally drew your interest to study Jonathan Edwards? What about him, his preaching, and his writing caught your attention?

Reading Jonathan Edwards walks me through the wardrobe into Narnia. He pulls the curtain back on my small imagination and shows me the breathtaking beauty of the gentleness and grace of God. He talks as if God actually exists. I feel like I get saved all over again when I read him.

2. What academic work have you done on Jonathan Edwards? Would you summarize it briefly?

I’ve done nothing academic on Edwards except for an article or two. My focus on Edwards, as far as writing, has been aimed at a lay audience. Edwards on the Christian Life (2014) gives a comprehensive but crisply moving summary of his theology of the Christian life, for everyday Christians. A New Inner Relish (2008) is a study in his understanding of what motivates Christians to obey God.

3. Is there a sermon or work of Edwards that many might not know, which has had a significant impact on you? In what way did it affect you?

Preaching was his central labor over the course of his ministry. ‘A Divine and Supernatural Light,’ ‘God Glorified in Man’s Dependence,’ and ‘Heaven Is a World of Love’ are classics, wonderful, and hard to beat, but my favorite Edwards sermon so far is ‘The Spirit of the True Saints Is a Spirit of Divine Love,’ based on 1 John 4:16, a deeply moving sermon, igniting all sorts of longings and joys. The sermon expresses, as well as any, the couple of themes most central to the heart of Edwards’ theology and ministry: love, light, real happiness, communion with God, Christ’s delight in saving sinners, the joy of heaven versus the misery of hell. This sermon has affected me most deeply.

4. What does Edwards’ works offer to today’s pastors? Why should they read widely from his works?

Glimpsing heaven’s reality and our mortality, apprehending God’s loveliness in welcoming us into the communion of the Trinity, and understanding authentic spiritual experience are all offerings of Edwards’ works. And a hundred other things. Just give him a try. Don’t believe what the American history textbooks tell you about him, and don’t be intimidated by his genius. Just read a few sermons. You’ll taste and see why so many go back to him to get saved all over again, time and again.

5. Why would you recommend the Yale edition of Edwards over other editions that are in print?

It’s the critical edition that hasn’t been messed with theologically by the generations immediately following Edwards, so that’s good. But they’re expensive. If money is an issue, get the two-volume Hendrickson or Banner of Truth editions. Unless you’re doing academic work in Edwards, this is all you need, and it’s a lot of Jonathan Edwards in two big fat volumes. And remember, you can always search and read (for free) the full Yale set online at edwards.yale.edu.

 

ortlund-daneDane Ortlund (Ph.D., Wheaton College) is Senior VP for Bible Publishing at Crossway in Wheaton, Illinois, where he lives with his wife, Stacey, and their four kids. He is the author of several books, most recently Edwards on the Christian Life: Alive to the Beauty of God. Dane blogs at Strawberry-Rhubarb Theology. You can follow him on Twitter.

Edwards on the Christian Life by Dane C. Ortlund

edwards-christian-life

This review first appeared at Lifeway’s Pastors Today web blog.

Bibliography

Dane C. Ortlund. Edwards on the Christian Life: Alive to the Beauty of God. Wheaton: Crossway, 2014. 208 pp. $18.99.

Category

Theology

Summary

You cannot complete high school without hearing about Jonathan Edwards in an American History class. Regardless of whether your teacher called him a fire and brimstone Northampton preacher of judgment, a pious and reflective missionary to Native Americans, or a theological giant who led as the first President of Princeton, you’ve heard something about Jonathan Edwards. He is a looming figure over the hallowed history of Colonial America. A great mind, a great shepherd, and a great leader are all apt ascriptions for this man.

Many argue that Edwards is the greatest theologian that America has seen and may ever see. The opening words of Doug Sweeney’s preface to Jonathan Edwards and the Ministry of the Word: A Model of Faith and Thought say, “Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) is the most influential thinker in all evangelical history” (17). In Jonathan Edwards: A Life, George Marsden says, “Edwards was extraordinary. By many estimates, he was the most acute early American philosopher and the most brilliant of all American theologians” (1).

There are numerous biographies that portray Edwards the man. There is also a swathe of academic literature on his works. But too few accessible works are available that aim at a popular lay audience while also fulfilling the lofty target of encapsulating the center of Edwards’s vision for the Christian life. Edwards on the Christian Life by Dane C. Ortlund fills this void. Ortlund displays a savvy grasp on Edwards’s 26 Volume corpus of literature best studied from Yale University Press’s set of Jonathan Edwards Works; chapter by chapter of Edwards on the Christ Life models this savviness for readers.

Edwards on the Christian Life’s thirteen chapters survey Edwards’s perspective on a  dozen themes related to the Christian Life. The unifying theme for all of Edwards’s thought, according to Ortlund, is his understanding of beauty; this is the first chapter. “Divine loveliness, enjoyed and reflected in his creatures: this is Edwards’s legacy” (24).

Ultimately, the creatures seeing the beauty of God in turn are beautified:

“A Christian is the one who is being beautified. This is because Christian living is fundamentally participation in the unceasing explosion of delighted intratrinitarian joy and love” (31).

This is just the beginning of what awaits in Edwards on the Christian Life. Among my other favorite chapters include New Birth (chapter two), Gentleness (chapter five), Prayer (chapter seven), and Heaven (chapter twelve). Edwards on the Christian Life concludes with four thoughtful and tactful criticisms on Edwards’s views (chapter thirteen).

Benefit for Pastoral Ministry

Edwards on the Christian Life is a delightful primer that introduces readers to Jonathan Edwards and most noticeably his thought. Ortlund’s careful research unearths treasures from the primary works of Edwards. Meanwhile, Ortlund also benefits from the companion secondary literature from the likes of Doug Sweeney, George Marsden, Gerald McDermott, and Stephen Nichols. Yet, curation of primary and secondary sources to dialogue together on a person and his thought is not enough. It’s the personal engagement and furthering of the conversation that makes any work a fine addition for study and re-study. Ortlund’s thoughtful interaction at this level is what sets Edwards on the Christian Life apart. We find this to be the case throughout this book.

A simple example from Ortlund’s chapter on joy may suffice to demonstrate this (chapter four). After seriously engaging and illuminating Edwards’s thought on joy, while also pointing the reader to another great mind, Cornelius Plantinga. Ortlund reminds us: “If a Christian leader wants believers to feel joy in Christ, he doesn’t mainly tell them about joy. He shows them Christ. Joy sneaks unbidden in the back door” (77). What a profound and devotional thought for any reader!

If you’re not aware, Edwards on the Christian Life is part of a series from Crossway. This series includes books on Francis Schaeffer, Martin Luther, John Wesley, and others. One thing that Ortlund intentionally does is he interacts with some of these other great figures in Christianity — and still others not part of the series. He compares and contrasts these people to Edwards.

For instance, in the final chapter on four criticisms, Ortlund compares Edwards preoccupation with introspection to both Martin Luther’s and C. S. Lewis’s intentional move away from introspection. Ortlund maintains: “Each coaches us away from unhealthy Edwardsian introspection” (183). This exercise not just allows us to have a more round understanding of Edwards, but it also helps us to discover and process the fruit of looking at a collection of Christian exemplars — though truly only Christ may be found to fulfill the role of exemplar par excellence.

Rating

Essential    Recommended    Helpful    Pass It By

Recommendation

Edwards on the Christian Life doesn’t just help us understand beauty; it helps us view Christ as beautiful, the one who beautifies his bride.

Faith Speaking Understanding by Kevin J. Vanhoozer

vanhoozerThis review first appeared at Lifeway’s Pastors Today web blog.

Bibliography

Kevin J. Vanhoozer. Faith Speaking Understanding: Performing the Drama of Doctrine. Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 2014. 280 pp. $30.00.

Category

Theology

Summary

The extended metaphor: sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t; eventually it breaks down. Yet, when rightly applied, the extended metaphor is an effective tool to refresh stale concepts with an effervescent surge of life.

Kevin Vanhoozer’s recent release, Faith Speaking Understanding, is one such exceedingly successful attempt. This work is designed to stimulate a fresh take on “living to God” as the Puritan, William Ames, one of Vanhoozer’s many dialogue partners, so aptly called the study/practice of theology (Ames, 77-78). In Faith Speaking Understanding, Vanhoozer — research professor of Systematic Theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School — builds on his previous work, the 2006 Best Theology Book of the year by Christianity Today, The Drama of Doctrine.

Vanhoozer, gears this one, Faith Speaking Understanding, to be more reader friendly from his previous work, The Drama of Doctrine. He says, “Faith Speaking Understanding is, by contrast, written for everyday Christians, serious students of theology, and pastors. It is a root vegetable for the salt of the earth; not a Great Pumpkin but a Lesser Parsnip” (xv).

Faith Speaking Understanding introduces readers to the Theodrama (25), as Vanhoozer calls it. Taking cues from Hans Urs von Balthasar, and others enamored by the theatrical depiction of doctrine — both systematically and canonically studied — the author presents his own construct of a five act drama: creation, election, sending of the Son Jesus, sending of the Spirit and Church, and return of the King (98). This construct is presented in a theatre, on a stage, with lighting, by a company of actors who wish to honor the cosmic playwright. Why does Vanhoozer painstakingly go to such extremes to foster a theatrical model for theology? From Vanhoozer’s perspective: “Theatrical theology serves the project of gospel exhibition” (25).

Each chapter of Faith Speaking Understanding encapsulates a distinct element of this drama and how it is presented. Part one sets the stage by providing overview of the theater of the gospel, explaining the already and not yet element of a kingdom on earth as in heaven, and an interactive apology between stage performers and audience, because ever church member is a performer enacting the role as “little Christs” who are in Christ. Part two furthers the argument by developing the setting, 21st century worldview (chapter 3); the gospel theatre, a triune drama (chapter 4); our parts, “little Christs” (chapter 5); the company, the church (chapter six); the tour, mission (chapter seven); the curtain, future and present suffering (chapter eight).

Benefit for Pastoral Ministry

Like I said above, extended metaphors are risky business. There is a gamble with them. One is that critique or further exploration causes the rhetorical messenger to adapt his metaphor. For instance, Vanhoozer, in The Drama of Doctrine, calls the Scripture the script (Drama, 114), but in Faith Speaking Understanding he opts to refer to it as the lighting (63). For this reader, it’s difficult to disagree with either: the Scripture seems to both be a script, or at minimum, a stage performers manual, and lighting that illuminates the performance. Having an intellectually honest rhetorical messenger is essential. Like Jesus, one to one correspondence to the parables was never guaranteed or employed and the correspondence often changed from parable to parable and from setting to setting (c.f. Craig Blomberg, The Parables of Jesus, 1.1) . I offer Vanhoozer the same latitude.

Overall, I found Vanhoozer’s discussion to be thoroughly scintillating and satisfying. As a skilled systematician, he demonstrates prowess with both primary and secondary sources. His concise summaries of other 21st century stage setting readers (Alan Wolfe, Christian Smith, David Wells, and Harvey Cox) are informative and engaging (53-56). His interaction with others: Wright, Wells, Bartholomew and Goheen, who attempt to break the biblical narrative into acts of theatrical drama, assist readers to differentiate and extrapolate what exactly Vanhoozer illuminates in his portrayal of a five-act drama (96-98).

When it comes to pastoral leadership, pastors profit much from the whole work, especially chapters 5-7, where Vanhoozer’s doctrine of discipleship conveys that each Christ follower demonstrates in living to God his union with God through Christ. Borrowing from C. S. Lewis’s excellent quote in Mere Christianity, we’re “little Christs” imaging and enacting to a watching world God’s unfolding drama of redemption. This means that when we come together to celebrate catechesis through baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and the preaching of the Word from the pastor theologian — the dramaturge, the worker of drama — we become a company of performers, recapitulating the drama of the kingdom of heaven breaking into earth.

As Vanhoozer presents:

“We now see that the company of the baptized gathers not only to do God’s will together but also, precisely in and through its life together, to witness to God’s kingdom come. Stated differently: the church is not simply to do God’s will on earth as it is in heaven but also to exist as God’s will, as the embodiment of God’s will-to-communion” (151-152).

Pastor, simply put, Faith Speaking Understanding is a work that needs to be on your shelf, and, more importantly, worked slowly into the way you read God’s drama of creation to restoration and visibly lead others to enact the theodrama.

Rating

Essential    Recommended    Helpful    Pass It By

Recommendation

Faith Speaking Understanding is a superb stage performers manual for every pastor to consult.

Jonathan Edwards: An Interview with Professor Oliver Crisp

the-works-of-jonathan-edwardsTo commemorate Logos’s release of Yale University Press’s 26 Volume definitive set of Jonathan Edwards’ works, I am hosting a series of interviews with pastors and scholars with whom Edwards and his works has had massive influence.

If you’d like to read a summary on the importance of Edwards’ works, along with the significance of the Yale Edition of Edwards’ works, and three ways to access this edition, you may do so here where I introduced this series.

Here are other interviews in this series:

Today we sit and listen to Professor Oliver Crisp as he shares about Jonathan Edwards.

1. What originally drew your interest to study Jonathan Edwards? What about him, his preaching, and his writing caught your attention? 

I was given Iain Murray’s hagiography of Edwards by a minister-friend of mine when I was going up to the University of Aberdeen to study Divinity in the early 1990s. It electrified me. I was struck by Edwards’s passion for God’s glory, by his uncompromising puritan spirituality, by his fastidious habits, his mental energy, and by the profundity and expansiveness of his intellectual interests. I did a short undergraduate dissertation on Edwards’s Freedom of the Will, and then decided (after doing a Masters degree in another area of philosophical theology) that I would return to Edwards and write my PhD dissertation on his thought under the tutelage of Paul Helm. At that time Paul was the Professor of the History and Philosophy of Religion at King’s College, London. I never regretted that decision. Studying Edwards with Paul has shaped my intellectual trajectory and my mental life in profound ways for which I remain extremely grateful.

2. What academic work have you done on Jonathan Edwards? Would you summarize it briefly? 

My work on Edwards started with a PhD dissertation on the metaphysical issues underpinning his doctrine of sin (with Paul Helm as previously mentioned). This was published in a couple of journal articles and a book, Jonathan Edwards and the Metaphysics of Sin (Ashgate, 2005), which sounds a bit too much like the title of a Harry Potter book. Around the same time I co-edited a volume of essays for the tercentenary of Edwards’ birth with Paul Helm. This was called Jonathan Edwards: Philosophical Theologian (Ashgate, 2003), and I think several of the essays in that collection have been widely cited in the literature. After some time spent doing other things (e.g. Christology, work on other theologians, and the development of analytic theology) I returned to Edwards with a collection of essays on the relationship between him and the New England Theology his work spawned. This was co-edited with my friend Doug Sweeney, and entitled After Jonathan Edwards: The Courses of the New England Theology (Oxford University Press, 2012). In the same year I also published a substantial monograph that tried to give a revisionist account of Edwards’s theology entitled Jonathan Edwards on God and Creation (Oxford University Press, 2012). I have just completed a volume of studies on Edwards, entitled Jonathan Edwards Among the Theologians (Eerdmans, forthcoming in 2015). I am currently contracted to co-write an Introduction to Jonathan Edwards with Kyle Strobel of Biola University, also with Eerdmans. I am also co-editing the Oxford Handbook of Jonathan Edwards with Doug Sweeney, which will be a massive state-of-the-art textbook on his work. I have also contributed essays to the forthcoming Jonathan Edwards Encyclopedia that should be out soon.

3. Is there a sermon or work of Edwards that many might not know, which has had a significant impact on you? In what way did it affect you?

The sermon “The Excellency of Jesus Christ” is a terrific piece of work that really made me think again about who Christ is—no small feat! He speaks of the “admirable conjunction of diverse excellencies” in Christ in such a beautiful and winsome way that you can’t help but be delighted by what he says.

4. What does Edwards’ works offer to today’s pastors? Why should they read widely from his works?

Here is the work of a man who was a pastor, an evangelist, instrumental in the Great Awakening, a scholar and thinker, someone who reflected deeply on Scripture, the Christian tradition, and core theological questions all his life.  He also possessed one of the greatest Christian minds. The way in which this combination worked out in his corpus is unique, and uniquely helpful to pastors wanting to engage with serious theology — theology that is also heart-warming and written by someone familiar with the ups and downs of pastoral life. He should be read because he has important things to say that are still relevant to pastoral ministry and Christian experience today.

5. Why would you recommend the Yale edition of Edwards over other editions that are in print?

It is simply the definitive edition. Here is an example of what I mean. The popular nineteenth century two-volume edition that is reprinted by Hendrickson and Banner of Truth has a corrupted text of Charity and its Fruits. Tryon Edwards, the editor of this text and Edwards’s descendant, “amended” and “improved” the text in various places. This meant that he changed what Edwards wrote where what he said sounded too “catholic,” e.g. on Edwards’s views about infused grace. Such things have been corrected in the Yale Edition. Moreover, the Yale edition has terrific editorial introductions, is clearly printed (not the crabbed printing of the widely used two-volume edition), and contains more material (on the web-version, at least) than any previous edition of the Works of Edwards. In short, it has simply rendered all previous editions obsolete.

 

 

Crisp_Oliver_WEBOliver Crisp (PhD, King’s College, London) is Professor of Systematic Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA. Previously, he taught at the Universities of St Andrews and Bristol in the UK, and Regent College, Vancouver, B.C. He has also held postdoctoral fellowships at Notre Dame and the Center of Theological Inquiry, Princeton. He is the author and editor of a number of books on Jonathan Edwards, including Jonathan Edwards on God and Creation (OUP, 2012), and Jonathan Edwards Among the Theologians (Eerdmans, forthcoming in 2015).

Reconciliation from Valley of Vision

An excerpt from the Puritan Prayer Reconciliation from The Valley of Vision:

Thous hast taught me the necessity of a Mediator, a Messiah,

to be embraced in love with all my heart,

as king to rule me,

as prophet to guide me,

as priest to take away my sin and death,

and this by faith in thy beloved Son

who teaches me

not to guide myself,

not to obey myself,

not to try to rule and conquer sin,

but to cleave to the one who will do all for me.

Thou has made know to me

that to save me is Christ’s work,

but to cleave to him by faith is my work,

and with this faith is the necessity of my daily repentance

as a mourning for the sin which Christ by grace has removed.

Some Temporary Changes with jtcochran.com

Hey Friends,

Many of you read my recent church planting update. Thank you so much for doing so and praying for our family as we take the next steps towards this end.

There are some things apparent from that update that have a direct ramification for jtcochran.com. I need to flesh out those things concerning my priorities for the next season. Right now my number one priority is providing for my family. This means that I need to forego those things that do not contribute to providing for my family for now.

Blogging and guest contributing has been somewhat my hobby for the last few years. It’s what I do with my free time. Unfortunately, I’m now short on free time until the Lord provides steady streams of income both through mission support or more fitting work for my skills and better compensation.

So, I’m really going to scale back on my writing for this season of time.

Here are three changes that you will see:

1. View-Worthy is going to stop for now.

I love curating view-worthy and, I know, since it is a popular element of this website, that many of you enjoy it as well. This will likely be the first element to return as writing elements return in the future. For now, please visit some of my friend’s blogs for article curation.

Here are four excellent suggestions:

1. Aaron Armstrong’s “Links I Like”

2. Tim Challies’s “A La Carte”

3. Mike Leake’s “Today in Blogworld”

4. Trevin Wax’s “Worth a Look”

2. You’ll see one unique article a week for now.

You and I are both used to seeing me blog Monday through Friday. For now, I just can’t get that done. I’m going to finish out this series on interviews with Jonathan Edwards. This week is my interview with Oliver Crisp. Next week is my interview with Dane Ortlund. Then I’ll continue to offer one unique article a week.

3. I’m really scaling back on my guest contributions.

I have a couple outstanding (by that I mean late articles) to turn in to a couple websites. I’m committed to fulfilling those obligations. But for now I’m not going to be able to write any more guest contributions.

I’ll be writing reviews for Pastors Today through the rest of March, but, unfortunately, I’m going to scale that back for a time. Jonathan Howe is curating some dependable pastors to review books for this site during this next season until I can get back into the swing of things.

Thanks for Reading and Prayer Request

Friends, thanks so much for reading. I’ve learned a lot in the last three years since I began taking this whole blogging thing seriously. I hope you have gleaned a thing or two here as well. I hope to return to it full steam as soon as possible.

In the meanwhile, pray for our family:

Pray that I would obediently walk towards the calling that God has given me to reproduce a gospel-centered church much like the one the Lord has given me to intern and lead at as I’ve been mentored and led by the godly leadership at Redeemer Fellowship.

Pray that I would do so as a repentant, humble, faith-filled man.

Pray that I would encourage and focus on loving and providing for my wife and children as I take these next steps.

Pray that I would center myself around the gospel of Jesus Christ, that I would focus my trust on the Lord, and not on my own gifting or skills.

God bless you brothers and sisters!

013: Cochrans4Chicago Update

Isaiah 12:2 “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.”

Dear Friends,

It’s been quite a journey for the Cochran family since February 2013 when we began this step by step walk with God towards Chicagoland. Every step has been a step of faith, boldness, and faithful obedience to seeing God’s glory made visible through our family.

This winter doesn’t seem as long and as hard as last year’s. The kids have enjoyed getting out into the snowy world and playing more this year than last. Earlier this week, I ventured out with them and got in an epic snowball fight at our apartment complex. Chloe is skilled at deftly sneaking up behind you and dropping handfuls of snow down your back: Asher and I can attest.

Kendall enjoys working at Chickfila, volunteering in the children’s ministry, and serving with the women’s ministry at Redeemer. When she has free time she loves doing crafts with the kids and exploring livable options in the Libertyville area.

I enjoy my work and ministry at Starbucks. Every shift is a new gospel conversation and display of visibly enacting the gospel through service. Likewise, the Lord supplies time to study and write, in preparation for further studies and gospel ministry in Libertyville.

MINISTRY UPDATE

Pray that the Lord would continue to train and equip our family for gospel ministry as we make the next steps to planting in Libertyville.

God has placed a burden within my soul to see a gospel-centered church planted in Libertyville, Illinois. During the last four months, I have prayed in solitude, with my family, and with my church family to test the veracity of this burden. I find my thoughts and waking moments gravitating to what a church plant might look like in this community and many nights I wake up in the early morning hours praying for the city. Meanwhile, I’ve taken numerous, often multiple trips a week, to the Libertyville area for meetings, prayer walks, study times, and scouting missions to understand the culture and the need of this pivotal community in Lake County, Illinois.

During this time, the Lord continues to add more contacts that would love to play a part in prayer, partnership, or participation in a Libertyville church plant. All of this is truly encouraging and affirming for us as we unswervingly continue down this path.

In addition to this, the Lord appears to be opening up an opportunity for me to study a Ph.D. at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS). On Friday, February 20th I received a phone call informing me of my acceptance into their Ph.D. program. This is exciting because it poses both new opportunities in present ministry and future ministry.

One of my visions for the Libertyville church plant is for the church to be a sending center for seminarians at TEDS who have a likeminded vision for ministry. Having a terminal degree would be very helpful in training and leading these men. Furthermore, TEDS is in close proximity to Libertyville. As I study at TEDS, I will have the opportunity to meet plenty of students that attend both the college, Trinity International University, and the seminary, TEDS, and offer them a church home to plug into and serve.

Though we do not know the financial feasibility of attending TEDS (scholarships haven’t been awarded yet), I am truly interested in how the Lord might use this to grow his church in Libertyville.

Our current plan is to relocate our lives to Libertyville this Summer after our children let out of school. Please pray for us as we look for affordable living in or very near to Libertyville.

WORK UPDATE

Praise God for his provision of part-time employment.

As you know, Kendall and I are both working part-time. We know that our return to part-time work will not return void. I’ve had numerous opportunities to share the gospel with my co-workers and provide counsel. Kendall, likewise has seen similar fruit. The hospitality industry is a wonderful place to exercise the humility and service necessary in ministry. This is probably why the two of us have always gravitated to this kind of work.

I walk to work most days from our apartment so that Kendall has the van to drop off and pick up the kids from school. It’s a half-mile walk in the cold temperature and snow. Yet, it passes quickly as its another opportunity to pray and prepare my mind and heart for how I might be used to serve the Lord there.

At the same time, sufficient family provision is not available in this kind of work long-term. Please pray for us as we have urgent need for me to find work that will sufficiently provide for our family as we faithfully take the next steps to planting in Libertyville. I’ve been pursuing full-time and contractual options to provide for our family until I can fully give my attention to the Libertyville church plant.

PARTNERING UPDATE

Pray that the Lord will provide partners with both churches and individuals, so we may continue forward with Church Planting.

Here’s a brief outline of our need:

  1. Right now we have a few families committed to giving $350 a month.
  2. I currently serve in the office at Redeemer as the pastoral assistant for 8-12 hours a week. Kendall does childcare for a family friend’s child on Thursdays and Wednesdays and babysits for the Naperville Church Plants core group. We both work 20-25 hours a week. Altogether that nets maybe $1500 a month.
  3. Thus, our need is approximately $2150 per month to meet our budget.
  4. Right now the earliest I could partner with NAMB to be a resident is June 2015. Redeemer let me know recently that they are not in a position to send me and sponsor a church plant in 2015, though they feel confident about doing so in 2016. I’m entertaining the possibility of partnering with other SBC sponsor churches so that I might be an apprentice in 2015 still, but I’m cautiously proceeding down this path. Redeemer has been such a wonderful and supportive church home that I’m inclined to wait until 2016 for their sponsorship. Right now we’re looking to outside funding through ministry partners and vocational work to provide while we carry forward the plans of church planting in Libertyville.

If the Lord is stirring you to partner with us, you may do so through the North American Mission Board.

All funding may be securely given through the North American Mission Board. Gifts may be given through Electronic Funds Transfer, or AutoPay with your Debit or Credit Card. To set up automatic giving on-line go to our NAMB Webpage, http://msc.kintera.org/cochranfamily2005.

If you wish to mail in an Electronic Funds Transfer request, you may do so. Fill out the form below and mail it to the address for NAMB below. When you fill out the form indicate my name JOEY COCHRAN and Account 10138 on the form.

EFT Request Form.

Here is a helpful document about giving online with the North American Mission Board.

Q&A Sheet for Partnering with NAMB Missionaries.

If you wish to send a monthly check, you may still do so. Please be sure to memo JOEY COCHRAN ACCT 10138 on your check.

Mail your check to:

NAMB

Attention: Accounting – MSC                       

PO Box 116543

Atlanta, Georgia 30368-6543

Sincerely,

The Cochran Family

cochranfamily2005@gmail.com

Jonathan Edwards: An Interview with Pastor Josh Moody

the-works-of-jonathan-edwardsTo commemorate Logos’s release of Yale University Press’s 26 Volume definitive set of Jonathan Edwards’ works, I am hosting a series of interviews with pastors and scholars with whom Edwards and his works has had massive influence.

If you’d like to read a summary on the importance of Edwards’ works, along with the significance of the Yale Edition of Edwards’ works, and three ways to access this edition, you may do so here where I introduced this series.

Here are other interviews in this series:

Today we sit and listen to Pastor Josh Moody as he shares about Jonathan Edwards.

1. What originally drew your interest to study Jonathan Edwards? What about him, his preaching, and his writing caught your attention?

It was really quite random! I was studying the birth of modern western secularism, studying in particular the French Philosophies and other Enlightenment thinkers, and I was trying to find someone writing at the same time who could act as a foil to their secularistic propositions and assumptions. Wandering down the university “stacks” in the library where I was studying, I was thinking about this, praying about it, when I “happened” to pull out a book at random. I opened a page at random and it was Edwards’ well-known (not well-known to me at the time) drawing of how spiders look like they are apparently flying through the air. It looked Newton-esque; I checked the date, it was early Enlightenment period. Fascinated, I picked out another volume at random. It was a Puritan sermon. I wondered right then whether I had found the person who could help me construct an intellectual response to the birth of modern western secularism.

2. What academic work have you done on Jonathan Edwards? Would you summarize it briefly? 

My Ph.D. is published as Jonathan Edwards and the Enlightenment: Knowing the Presence of God. My other more scholarly writing, though not quite academic level in the high-end sense of that word, is called Jonathan Edwards and Justification. It’s a book that I edited in collaboration with some friends and colleagues.

3. Is there a sermon or work of Edwards that many might not know, which has had a significant impact on you? In what way did it affect you? 

It’s fairly familiar to Edwards scholars, I think, but the sermon that has probably had the biggest impact on me is “God Glorified in Man’s Dependence.” It’s Edwards’ early attempt to set out his theological agenda. It was preached before an audience of learned pastors in Boston. It was published afterwards. I think it has all the elements of Edwards’ theology in it.

Other than that, rifling through Edwards’ sermon manuscripts at the Beinecke hour after hour was a privilege. I did it for the research, and would often find I was stopped in my tracks to think through personal matters, or be driven to worship Christ. Not many people preach with the kind of depth and rigor that Edwards did then – and you probably can’t get away with that sort of style in most churches anymore – so I found I had never really been exposed to the sort of theological juice that Edwards pumped into me as I studied him.

Really obscure, I loved coming across little bits of handwritten notes asking for pastoral prayer from people in Edwards’ congregation. I think that pastoral side of Edwards is often overshadowed by his intellectual genius, and by the later conflict in his church, but given his happy family life I have an inkling that in heaven we will discover many people who felt shepherded by Edwards.

4. What does Edwards’ works offer to today’s pastors? Why should they read widely from his works?

Ah, well that could enlist a long answer from me! I suppose three or four areas come to mind. First, I think Edwards is in some ways the American Augustine. So if you really want to understand contemporary American Evangelicalism you need to have some familiarity with Edwards. Second, I think Edwards’ works on assessing revival, and in particular “The Religious Affections” are a brilliant handbook for doing soul work in congregations. Edwards helps you see how to discern spiritual life and how to encourage it. Third, Edwards’ works on promoting revival, in particular “The History of the Work of Redemption,” make you long for greater spiritual fervor and passion in your own life and in the lives of others, and by and large I think in a healthy way. Fourth, because Edwards was clearly not perfect, and made mistakes, it also is helpful to read his material to learn from him, as in learning what not to do. In particular, I wouldn’t copy my pastoral approach on what at least appears to have been Edwards’ model!

5. Why would you recommend the Yale edition of Edwards over other editions that are in print?

Yale is the major scholarly work in print.

 

joshmoodyJosh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, Illinois. His books include Journey to JoyJonathan Edwards and Justification, No Other Gospel, and The God-Centered Life. He is also the president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries. Follow @godcenteredlife on Twitter.

Living as Awakened Sinners (Servants of Grace Guest Contribution)

In the Valley of Vision there is a prayer called “The Awakened Sinner.” This prayer has two movements. First, it is a reproof to forgetful souls, who chase vanity and forget the creaturely need for the Creator. The second movement is a confession to the Creator for forgetfulness of Him. People forget, neglect, and overlook His greatness and His goodness in that He created them and made them His possession for His purpose.

The good news is He is not forgetful — except of our sin. More than that, not only does He not forget, but He is faithful to wrench His children out of slumber, awakening them to sin and His holiness.

It’s interesting when I share with others about the gospel. They either have two responses. They are either asleep to sin or in despair of sin. It’s easier to help someone in despair to see that Jesus death is sufficient to cover his or her sin than it is to help the one who is asleep to sin. Those asleep to sin assume innocence of sin or obsoleteness of sin. The Holiness of God has no value with this person and personal holiness is inconsequential.

Unfortunately, it does not help these people when God’s people are asleep to sin too.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE AT SERVANTS OF GRACE…