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:

Readers, Start Reading About Reading

This is going to sound ridiculous. And right now, you may just be wondering if you’ve walked into a devolving downward spiral of discussion. But bear with me as I lead you into a ploy of inception, get your token ready, and let me plant this idea in your mind.

Right now you are reading. And not only are you reading, but you are reading about reading. But how well are you reading this reading on reading? Have you ever thought about what you do as a reader? Do you consider the breadth of your reading? Do you consider the techniques you employ as a reader?

If you don’t do so, then you should start. Right now. You should start thinking about how you pore over texts and look for better ways to read. Don’t waste another word on negligent reading. Hang on each word and get ready to hone this salient skill. The best way to accomplish this is to read about reading.

Most of us don’t read well. Possibly this is because of the bum writing our brains are bogged by incessantly. However, it also could be that we have overcrowded, muddled, and diluted lives. Other forms of media contend for our attention. They contend and win out attention so that literature is neglected altogether. Tony Reinke in Lit: A Christian Guide to Reading says:

This trend is troubling because the immediate appeal of visual entertainment is at odds with the gradual unveiling of literary treasure. Entertainment is passive and easy; books require an active mind and diligence. Book typically get ignored. (40)

So it’s evident that we don’t employ our reading time judiciously, and we permit distractions to creep into our reading world, preventing us from reading at all. As Mortimer J Adler and Charles Van Doren in How to Read a Book says, “There is no other way of forming a habit of operation than by operating” (53). In other words, if you want to read well, well, you should start by reading. Something. Anything. Even if it’s a reading merely about reading.

Perhaps, we have no idea how to scrutinize certain writings. With many genres of writing, each deserves a certain kind of engagement or approach. Likewise, there are divers levels at which to engage writing.

Adler and Van Doren’s classic guide to reading, How to Read a Book, refers to four levels of reading: elementary (21), inspectional (31), analytical (59), and synoptical (309). Did you know that? Likely not, unless you are already acquainted with Adler’s composition on reading.

So, you see, there is a lot to consider when deciphering any text, more than you’ve probably perused. Now’s the time to commence upping the game on reading. Cornelius Plantiga in Reading for Preachers writes, “I am convinced that the preacher whose work is supported by wide exposure to great writing will be significantly improved by it” (6). Now I know that you may not be a preacher, so just substitute that word for person. Because that’s just how it is, you will be significantly improved upon if only you are exposed widely to great writing.

If this peaks your interest, then I encourage you to subject yourself to the works I’ve already mentioned. These are readings that you’ll fancy. You’ll surely want to give Tony Reinke’s book Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books a close study. You’ll also want to absorb Cornelius Plantiga’s Reading for PreachersOne is for every Christian and the other is specifically directed to preachers. Still, anyone will profit from the later. But before you read either of these books, you must read Mortimer J Adler and Charles Van Doren’s, How to Read a Book.

So get after it. Get to reading about reading; stop reading this dribble. Otherwise, I might just have to send you to Zoolander’s Center for Kids Who Can’t Read Good.

This article is inspired by “Writers, Stop Writing About Writing” written by Barnabas Piper who occasionally writes for Stephen Altrogge’s web blog, the Blazing Center.

 

View-Worthy: 4.23.14

Headliner

Ed Stetzer. When Pastors Fall: Why Full and Public Repentance Matters. (CT)

Pastor scandals happen.

Needless to say, I don’t say that with any enthusiasm. In fact, it is greatly discouraging to me, but it’s true nonetheless.

Furthermore, this is not just a recent phenomenon, though the evangelical world has been filled with reports over the last few months.

It’s just disheartening.

Deal of the Day

The Church: The Gospel Made Visible by Mark Dever $0.99

Book Review

Jordan Ballor. Get Your Hands Dirty. Reviewed by Micah Watson. (TGC)

Links

Justin Taylor. Why Book-Length Responses to Other Books Can Be Helpful.

Should Christians ever take the time to assemble an entire book in response to another book? It depends on the significance of the book, the impact it could have, and the value of the response.

Sally Quinn. A Conversation with Bill O’Reilly. (Washington Post)

As one of the most visible and boisterous voices on cable news as host of “The O’Reilly Factor,” Bill O’Reilly has a reputation that is defined by his personality and politics more than his faith convictions. But I’ve long known O’Reilly apart from his public persona, and I’ve known there’s more to him than meets the eye.

Tim Challies. A Cost of All This Preaching.

I travel a fair bit these days and often enjoy worshipping in other churches, and here is something I’ve noticed: We tend to be far more committed to the second part of that command than to the first. We love our preaching, but what about the public reading of Scripture?

Edify

Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”

“Hope is never ill when faith is well.” John Bunyan

Five Books to Read on Justification by Faith

Finding the best books to read on a subject of theology can be a challenge. This is a new series that provides suggested resources for hot topics of Theology. Each title is linked to Kindle. If you have another title to suggest for this area of study, please comment. I’m always happy to add another work to my library.

Here are 5 books that will launch you into studies on the subject of justification by faith.

1. By Faith, Not by Sight: Paul and the Order of Salvation by Richard Gaffin

2. The Future of Justification: A Response to N. T. Wright by John Piper

3. Justification Reconsidered by Stephen Westerholm

4. Iustitia Dei: A History of the Christian Doctrine of Justification by Alister McGrath

5. Justification and Variegated Nomism (Vol 1) edited by Carson, O’Brien & Seifrid and Justification and Variegated Nomism (Vol 2) edited by Carson, O’Brien, Seifrid

 

The Art of Prophesying by William Perkins

ArtOfProphesyingBibliography

William Perkins. The Art of Prophesying. Edinburgh, Scotland: Banner of Truth, printing 1996. 191 pp. $8.00.

Category

Expositional

Summary

The Art of Prophesying is perfect for young preachers to peruse when introduced to the subject of preaching. This book, first published in 1607, offers clarity to being God’s megaphone to God’s people. As the author, William Perkins, puts it, “Thus every prophet’s task is to speak partly as the voice of God (in preaching), and partly as the voice of the people (in praying).”

Therefore, this book does not just examine style. It looks first and foremost at what the preacher does with Scripture. This means that Perkins first tells us what Scripture is, how the preacher should study it, and then finally how we might take this study and preach it to the ears of our congregation. Quite honestly, this is not just an antiquarian homiletics book, it is also a bible study methods book as well.

Furthermore, the final chapter on prayer comes as an unexpected surprise. This chapter delineates the pastor’s role – not in any way that usurps Christ’s role — as mediator for the people. Just as the pastor functions as the voice of God to his people, the pastor functions as the voice of the people calling upon God.

Benefit for Pastoral Ministry

The chapter on “Use and Application” is essential reading from this book. Here Perkins contrasts law and gospel, and how it is essential to preach both to congregations. “The law exposes the disease of sin…the gospel not only teaches us what is to be done, it also has the power of the Holy Spirit Joined to it…The law is, therefore, first in the order of teaching; then comes the gospel.

Do you do this in your preaching? If not, you must. Until people come to sorrow over sin, they will see no need for the gospel you preach to them. In order to arouse sorrow, according to Perkins, you must “use some choice section of the law.” If you haven’t picked up on it yet, you’re seeing glimpses of Bryan Chapell’s “fallen condition focus.” This chapter also provides a helpful rundown of the categories of hearers. This helps preachers consider their audience and preach with that audience in mind.

But the “Use and Application” chapter is not by far all that is helpful about The Art of Prophesying. The chapter on “Varieties of Application” stimulates thought on the manner in which preachers indoctrinate, correct, rebuke, and instruct his congregation, and “The Use of the Memory” chapter is inestimably practical.

Rating

Essential            Recommended            Helpful            Pass It By

Recommendation

If you haven’t read the Puritans on proclaiming God’s Word, The Art of Prophesying is where to start. It enflames preachers with a burning passion to preach the Word.

View-Worthy: 4.23.14

Headliner

Albert Mohler. God, the Gospel, and the Gay Challenge.

Evangelical Christians in the United States now face an inevitable moment of decision. While Christians in other movements and in other nations face similar questions, the question of homosexuality now presents evangelicals in the United States with a decision that cannot be avoided. Within a very short time, we will know where everyone stands on this question. There will be no place to hide, and there will be no way to remain silent. To be silent will answer the question.

Deal of the Day

A Treatise On Earthly-Mindedness by Jeremiah Burroughs $1.99


Book Review

James N Anderson. What’s Your Worldview. Reviewed by David Steele.

Links

Eric Geiger. Three Small Ways to Initiate Roving Leadership.

Instead of leading and executing everything, wise and biblically motivated leaders equip others to lead and execute. Here are three small ways to elevate current leaders on your team and let them run.

Dan Darling. A Subtle but Powerful Way to Love Your Spouse.

There are all sorts of big and small ways to show love to your spouse. One of the easiest, but powerful ways to demonstrate this is to talk about them positively in public.

Jodi Ware. What if I’m Frustrated with My Husband. (CBMW)

Recently I was asked how to encourage a wife who is frustrated with the way her husband leads her. This is a situation that occurs regularly and, when it does, I seek to encourage them in several ways.

Edify

Psalm 85:9 “Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him, that glory may dwell in our land.”

“If we have not quiet in our minds, outward comfort will do no more for us than a golden slipper on a gouty foot.” John Bunyan

Awake from Gospel Slumber

Isaiah 26:19 “Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise. You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy! For your dew is a dew of light, and the earth will give birth to the dead.”

There are pivotal points of the day when my soul wakes from gospel slumber. One of those moments happened just before I started this post. I bowed my head and prayed, “Lord, how will you use me for your gospel and your purpose today.”

Up to that moment, I went through the motions of a new day. I awoke from physical sleep, showered, and readied for the day. I got my sons dump truck off a high shelf for him. I fed my 10 month daughter a bottle while my wife showered and got a therapeutic start to her long day ahead. With each of those activities, I responded as an active listener to other’s needs.

I also read my Bible and my devotional. I got in my vehicle and drove to the coffee shop where I study, write, and meet people. As I traveled I listened to D A Carson, Jesus the Son of God. But all the while, I remained in gospel slumber. I listened but did not respond.

My soul had not sung to God yet. I had not communed with him. For whatever reason, I did not even whisper a word to him. I whispered goodbye to each member of my family and kissed them farewell as I started my day. Yet, though I listened to God this morning, I had not actively responded yet. I did not whisper back to him in gratitude or affection.

Prayer is a gift that God gives us to awaken our soul to him. It is a cry of helplessness. I can’t do this day without you. I walk by faith, not by sight. I lean upon you for help and hope. Awaken me to you, your ways, and your will. Through out the Psalms, psalmists pray to God, crying to him, and requesting his peace. They would not do so, unless he offers peace. Psalm 85:8 says, “Le me hear what God the Lord will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints, but let them not turn back to folly.” He gives peace.

The beauty of waking from Gospel slumber is that when we whisper, “Hello” to God he kisses us with peace. “Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other” (Psalm 85:10).

Prayer is a glimpse to what will be. A day will come when a trump will sound. Dead bodies will wake. And all those in slumber will sing for joy. When we pray, we practice that song of joy. We sing looking forward to that future song.

The Christian in Complete Armour: Reflection One

The Christian in Complete Armour is sectioned in two parts. And I’ve already read part one. Woohoo! Well, Puritans sectioned their books different than we do today. Part one took up forty-four pages. Part two is the greater body of the writing and takes up nearly 1200 more pages.

Each week following this one, we will reflect on one of the twelve directions given in part two of this tour de force on spiritual warfare. We will likely divide direction eleven into two weeks since it covers over 250 pages.

Obviously, these will be broadly sweeping reflections. I’m not trying to review this fine work, nor am I trying to elaborate on it. I am merely sharing how I am responding to this work. To do so, I will briefly summarize each section and share how it struck me.

You’re invited to read along in this work and share as well. You can find the Christian in Complete Armour by William Gurnall at Banner of Truth’s website.

Summary

Part one is an exposition of the following verse:

Ephesians 6:10 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.”

William Gurnall refers to this exposition as “a sweet and powerful encouragement to the war.” We must war both against our sin, our enemy, and the world in which he wreaks havoc. The world around us looks at us as ridiculous. We are seen as fools. It requires strength and courage to face it without quivering in fear or caving convictions. Furthermore, Christians face opposition from false teachers. In the midst of this, a Christian may not always experience God’s presence. He or she will experience withdrawings from God. Nonetheless, he or she must carry on to the end of life.

Strength and courage to face all these prospects is not derived within but without. It is derived from the Lord. Gurnall surmises, “[In] the army of saints, the strength of every saint, yea, of the whole hosts of saints, lies in the Lord of hosts” (18). God uses the Holy Spirit through prayer and his very Word as vehicles to strengthen his own. This presses us into full dependence upon God as weak creatures. He conquers our hearts and invigorates us towards war. He does this because he dearly loves us and seeks our greater happiness.

God is more than mighty enough to accomplish this, and we should expect to be confident in this. This confidence comes through faith. We must trust his almightiness. This frees us from being dependent upon our strength. As Gurnall says, “For that is the apostle’s drift, as to beat us off from leaning on our own strength” (25). This is our aim when we face temptation: trust the almightiness of God.

Gurnall expounds on God’s attribute of almightiness. His almightiness conveys how he is enough to defend and destroy our enemies. And it is also ours. It is there for our protection. “God himself enfolds him in the arm of his everlasting strength” (28). Because he loves us he empowers us with his strength. His Son was given to gain us, thus his power will keep us. Our union with Christ invokes God’s love and becomes a point of strengthening. We will not be forgotten.

Yet, God’s might as a defense against Satan and sin is dependent upon repentance. Christless people can’t have Christ’s power. But for those that know Christ, sin shall not have power over the might of God. “One almighty is more than many mighties” (35).

One objection is addressed. What if a sincere Christian is not being strengthened? To which Gurnall responds that perhaps the Christian is not eager in prayer, is weak in faith, is great in pride, or is not grateful for the little bit of strengthening God has graced that Christian. What most stands out is Gurnall’s comment that it is risky to reproach God foolishly. He is more than able, the question is whether he has for some unforeseen reason willingly withdrawn his grace, or perhaps the time of strength will yet come.

Reflection

Part One left me longing to learn more of God’s purpose and way in strengthening and armoring his people against Satan’s wiles and sin’s beckon.  I had not tied God’s attribute of almightiness to my union with Christ and my access to that power. Though I’ve seen the practical implications and have been encouraged much in the past that God’s “power [is] at work within us…” (Eph. 3:20), I had not made this connection to his attribute, which empowers.

I’m certain that I devote too much of my life to my own techniques or worldly methods to deflect the enemies varied arrows. Whether I have been told to “bounce my eyes” or “to use envelopes” for spending, I think too often I have not depended on God and accessed His strength through prayer and the Word. Then when I experience failure, I get bogged into philosophies such as “well that’s just the way it is for sinners like me.” But no! God is more than able to rescue me and gird me for war against temptation and spiritual forces.

I’m soundly certain that the pivotal section in part one for me was the exposition that connects God’s love and desire for us to his desire to empower us with his strength and might. Any normal human has at one point or another doubted their worthiness of God’s love or questioned, based on circumstances, whether God loves them at all. This exposes chinks in the Christian’s armor to Satan’s arrows. The assurance of God’s love presses upon the heart hope and assurance of being clothed in his might. And so we put on Christ, for he is our armor against the present darkness that attacks.

These posts are made possible by my friends at BannerofTruth.org. You’ll find the Christian in Complete Armour and other classic Puritan works that have withstood the test of time at his wonderful website.

View-Worthy: 4.22.14

Headliner

Ryan Brymer. Find ‘Rivers in the Wasteland’ Interview with NEEDTOBREATHE.

FaithVillage contributor Ryan Brymer recently had the chance to interview Bo Reinhart of the band NEEDTOBREATHE. The band’s new record, Rivers in the Wasteland, is already generating plenty of buzz and Ryan asked Bo about the band’s spirituality, music and much more.

Deal of the Day

Ten Who Changed the World by Daniel Akin $2.99

Book Review

Jared Wilson. The Storytelling God. Reviewed by Chris Hennessey.

Links

Gloria Furman. Why Motherhood is Only for the Faint of Heart.

Grace can turn burnout into a blessing.

Barnabas Piper. Writers, Stop Writing About Writing.

This might be hypocritical. It’s likely a bit odd and possibly (probably) pretentious. Some might refer to it as Meta. I prefer to think of it as Inception-like. As a writer, I have some things to write about writers writing about writing.

Erik Raymond. Are We Expecting Too Much or Too Little from the Church.

As a pastor I meet a lot of people who are looking for a church. One of the most helpful questions I can ask is, “What are you looking for in a church?” In one sense I hate this question because of the way it can reinforce our American consumer mindset. At the same time it gets right to the point. They are looking for something.

Edify

Ephesians 6:10 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.”

“[Every] exploit your faith does against sin and Satan causes a shout in heaven.” William Gurnall

D A Carson on the Cross and Christian Ministry

TheCrossandChristianMinistryIn the preface to D A Carson’s classic 5 chapter exposition of 1 Corinthians, The Cross and Christian Ministry, Professor Carson highlights these central points regarding the cross of Jesus Christ.

[The] cross stands as the test and the standard of all vital Christian ministry. The cross not only establishes what we are to preach, but how we are to preach. It prescribes what Christian leaders must be and how Christians must view Christian leaders. It tells us how to serve and draws us onward in discipleship until we understand what it means to be world Christians…

It is now commonplace to confess that evangelicalism is fragmenting. To the extent that this is true, it is utterly imperative that we self-consciously focus on what is central — on the gospel of Jesus christ. That means we must resolve “to know nothing … except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2), in exactly the same way that Paul made that resolution. This will shape our vision of ministry as much as it will shape our grasp of the centrality of the gospel.

Truth Matters by Kostenberger, Bock, and Chatraw

The Truth Matters Pastor’s Library post first appeared at Lifeway’s Pastors Today web blog.

Bibliography
TruthMattersAndreas Kostenberger, Darrell Bock, and Josh Chatraw. Truth Matters. Nashville, Tennessee: B&H, 2014. 211 pp. $12.99.

Category

Church and Ministry

Summary

Skeptics, like Bart Ehrman, callously throw objections at Christians on a day-to-day basis. But let’s be honest, our faith is not always under fire from without. Sometimes the questions and doubts come from within. And whether you are a pastor, barber, housewife, or teen each of us face objections, from within or without, at one time or another. Enter Truth Matters, a book that readies Christians to face today’s most commonly propagated objections to the Christian faith.

Kostenberger, Bock and Chatraw deftly field six common objections Christians face: Does God exist and care? How’d we get our Bible? Is the Bible filled with mistakes? Can I trust the copy of copies of the Bible? Who decided the stuff Christians believe? Is the resurrection true?

Each contributor offers his own touch to this resource. Kostenberger and Bock bring scholastic clout. Bock, with his knack for cultural engagement, is in tune to the spirit of the age. And Chatraw’s pastoral mindedness anchors this resource for accessibility.

When I came across Truth Matters, I immediately asked myself, “What does this resource offer that Lee Strobel, Hank Hannegraaff, Josh McDowell, Ravi Zacharias, or others have not?”

First, this resource is not an exhaustive apologetic. It focuses on key concerns of bibliology, canonicity, and the historicity of Jesus’s person and work. All of these are defenses for Christianity’s historiography. This counters a specialized area of skepticism, one that is popularized and advanced by Bart Ehrman, making this a current and timely read.

Second, Truth Matters introduces us to the skeptics, their works, arguments, and approach. Thus, readers will be prepared and cushioned for what’s coming and not just anchored with answers, though anchored they will be. It’s the difference between an airbag and a seatbelt.

Finally, this resource is manageable. It trims the fat, so you don’t have to read thousands of pages from skeptics, nor need you wade through a thousand pages of apologetic material.

Benefit for Pastoral Ministry

Pastors will want to read Truth Matters and keep it close. It is a quick reference guide for that time just before a meeting with a teen or adult struggling with an objection addressed in this book.

More than that, pastors will want to pass Truth Matters on to others. It makes a great gift for seniors and the discussion questions make it useful for Sunday school or small group. The chapters are brief, which means a study group could read together and discuss in one sitting.

Rating

Essential — Recommended — Helpful — Pass It By

Recommendation

Truth Matters is what you need to shield the crud that skeptics fling. Get Truth Matters, stay clean, and remain confident in the One who keeps you.