Joe Thorn

A Word for Self-Professing Christian Leadership Goo-Roos

Over the last five years of pastoral ministry I cannot count the number of times a man with a card passed his information to me about coaching me in leadership. As a pastor who pulls his Bible out in a public place — for instance a cafe like Starbucks or Panera — I’m an instant target for those who are looking to coach others. But rarely have these people ever met the litmus test I give for Christian Leadership Goo-Roos.

It’s a five question process that I use to measure whether the person is qualified to lead not just me but also others. On more than one occasion, I’ve asked this person: how long have you been doing this? Usually, I hear that they just started. That’s a red flag, but it’s a common one.

Let me tell you, if you can’t answer these five questions for the person you wish to coach, then you probably shouldn’t coach that person. If you can’t answer these questions at all, then you might want to rethink being a self-proclaimed Christian leadership goo-roo. They really are few and far between.

Here are my five questions with explanations:

1) Have You Led Longer Than I?

Though I’ve only been a full-time pastor for five years, I’ve served in Christian Leadership for fifteen years over all. I’ve served in a number of capacities. I served as the GM of Campus Dining Services at Dallas Seminary for five years while putting myself through seminary. Meanwhile, I functioned as a ministry head of a Jr. High Youth Ministry for five years and completed a number of internships now over my career.

I’m not trying to toot my own horn. Though Christian leadership is part of my DNA, I know I’m a limping leader. So much so that I wouldn’t pretend to say that I’m a goo-roo in leadership. I look to men like Al Mohler — who served as an editorial director and now as the President of the largest seminary in the world — to mentor me in leadership. I look for people with much greater capacity to lead, like Matt Perman, who is an expert in productivity.

If that’s the case for a guy who’s been leading at some capacity for fifteen years, then I think any person who intends to create a career out of Christian leadership consultation should think long and carefully about this commitment.

Age really doesn’t have anything to do with this. Perman is much younger, maybe only a few years older than I, whereas, Mohler is much more mature than either Perman or I. What counts is how long you’ve been leading and at what capacity.

If you’ve been a Christian Leader for fewer than five years and have not led a large organization, then you might not be the leadership goo-roo you think you are.

2) Are You Educated?

If you’re coaching someone in leadership, I’d like to think you have a Master of Arts or maybe even a Doctorate of Ministry in this discipline. That seems to be a reasonable expectation. These days seminaries have leadership tracks in their graduate programs. I still don’t really know what that means, and if I ever would have studied that track in graduate level education. But these leadership tracks exist; those who think that leadership is their gig should consider pursuing these educational tracks.

Regardless of proper education, leadership goo-roos should be widely read and studied in the area of leadership. If they don’t know who Robert Clinton is, I’d be concerned. At the same time, reading John Maxwell, Bill Hybels, Andy Stanley, Al Mohler, and Matt Perman does not necessarily make you a leader. I’ve read all those books, and like I said, I’m a limping leader at best. Longevity and presence in leadership is far more critical than reading a few books.

3) Are You Still Leading?

Leading longer and being more educated is big, but nothing is bigger than still leading. I’m always leary of consultants who are not presently leading. You have to be exceptional as a leader or in a unique transition to successfully make a long or short-term career as a leadership coach. If coaching is not something you are doing on the side, but it is your full-time gig, then you might be out of the leadership game. This, in my mind, makes you not qualified to coach leaders.

However, if you’re like my pastor, who is committed to coaching young leaders, while he pastors, then you might be the right kind of coach. That’s exactly why I’m I am doing my church planting internship where I’m doing it; Joe Thorn is the right kind of leader for me.

4) Are You Asking for a Fee?

I think coaching leaders is something leaders do, and charging a fee is not the way to do it. Older pastors should just lead younger pastors. Older non-for-prof leaders should just lead younger non-for-prof leaders. Leadership training needs to be more organic and less mechanic.

If someone walked up to me tomorrow and said, “Hey you served in youth ministry for a baker’s dozen years. Would you coach me in youth ministry?” I wouldn’t hesitate to exuberantly say, “Yes!”, and to do it for free. Of course, I’ve only got time to do one or two of those, which is precisely what my pastor does himself.

Few people have the time to sit down with a leadership coach let alone write a check to one as well. Most of us can build in a little margin to read a $10 book like Leaders Who Last by Dave Craft, Conviction to Lead by Al Mohler, or What’s Best Next by Matt Perman. Not many of us have $50-100 to cough up for a half-hour coffee with someone, especially if that person spends more time just chatting it up then focusing on leadership development.

5) What Is Your Leadership Presence?

Are you known publicly for leadership. Do you have a thriving, active multi-platform social media network? Do you have a written presence? Do you blog? Do you contribute to recognized Christian print or digital media? Do you go to conferences and keep up with what is going on not just in your niche of leadership but also the wider evangelical cultural environ? If I went to conferences and talked to my friends about you, would you be a known commodity? What would people say?

These are important considerations to ascertain whether a person is a qualified Christian leadership goo-roo.


Quite honestly, anyone can walk into a room or sit across the table from you with sticky notes, a marker board, and help you chart out your leadership or organizational vision. Anyone who has read a book or two can do this. It doesn’t take much to be a self-proclaimed leadership goo-roo.

Obviously, these metrics that I’ve used for myself are pretty superficial. But that’s how it goes at first. A leader’s character and credibility is measured over time. Up until that time passes, I have to lean on other’s words. But I’m just warning you, very few people are truly qualified to make a career out of being a Christian leadership consultant. Anyone can print up some business cards on Vista Print and start a wordpress site, few can make it last.

In 2013, during my year of transition from youth ministry into church planting, I met Dave Jewitt. Dave is a local Christian leader and coach in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He met all of my criteria.

He coached me through his curriculum, Your One Degree. He’s created a network of coaches, men who volunteer to lead other men to develop biblical purpose. Jewitt, though not so much trying to help people lead, as he helps people find their one purpose, played an invaluable role in my life for a few months. I’m forever grateful for him, and his generosity to give time and interest in a young leader.

Dave is able to do what he does because he has a board of directors that fully fund his ministry. He’s been elevated to his role of leadership because he selflessly helped many men over the course of twenty years. Those men give him the freedom to shine at what he does.

Those kind of leadership coaches are rare. There is certainly a place for them in Christian culture. But for the most part, all us other limping leaders need to create margin and capacity to develop leaders as we go. That’s the best way that we’ll help the next generation of Christian leaders.

012: Cochran4Chicago Update

Cochrans4Chicago is the e-mail update from the Cochran Family. These e-mails share about the transition process for the Cochrans as they relocate to Chicago. These e-mails include prayer requests, praise reports, and updates on the support status of the Cochran family. E-mail not displaying correctly?
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1 John 3:1 “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.”

Dear Friends,

We have innumerable reasons to praise God right now, so I begin by giving thanks to him on behalf of our family for life, love, and the grace to minister the gospel to the heavy-hearted sinner and joy-filled Christian alike.

As we gear up for the holiday season, my prayer for you and your family is that you will rejoice in remembering the advent of our savior. If you’re looking for a devotional resource for your family this year, I recommend Scott James’s, The Expected One: Anticipating All of Jesus in the Advent.

Winter has approached in Chicago. Most days from here on out will not likely see 40 degrees. The flu/cold just passed through our home. It started with Adalie and I making an unexpected visit to urgent care on Chloe’s birthday to restock on albuterol for her nebulizer. From there each of our kids caved to congestion. Both Kendall and I on different days of the last two weeks spent a couple days in bed while the other took care of the kiddos. Fortunately, we’re just nursing coughs at this point and praying that illness will not visit our home again this season.

This will be the first year in countless years that we will not be traveling to see friends and family during the Christmas season. We’re looking forward to spending the time not busying about but enjoying the holiday cheer with our new friends in Chicagoland. Yet, we miss you all very much and regret not getting to pass through Tulsa or spend time with family and friends in the DFW.

Below are important updates on ministry, work, and partnership.


Pray that the Lord would continue to train and equip our family for gospel ministry and give us plentiful gospel conversations to build his Church here in the Fox Valley area. Likewise, please pray for us as we plan to plant a church.

Lord willing, I am preparing for the residency stage of church planting. Please pray that I am accepted as a resident for 2015 with the North American Mission Board.

Since our last update, Kendall, I, and the kids had the privilege of joining in fellowship with Mercy Hill Church in West Chicago. Mercy Hill is a church plant less than a year old in the neighboring village of West Chicago. West Chicago is adjacent to the East of Batavia, Geneva, and St. Charles in the West Suburbs. It’s nowhere near the city of Chicago. We had a great morning of worship with the folks there as we saw a blossoming church plant in action.

I’ve been in the process of setting up a number of meetings with pastors and individuals in the Libertyville area. I’m doing this partly to learn about the history and culture of the city and to discern the need for a new church plant there. In the process I stumbled across comforting quotes from Timothy Keller in Center Church.

Keller says:

“You see, church planting is not only for frontier regions or pagan societies that we are trying to help become Christian. Churched societies will have to maintain vigorous, extensive church planting simply to stay Christian…New church planting is the best way to increase the number of believers in a city, and one of the best ways to renew the whole body of Christ. The evidence for this statement is strong — biblically, sociologically, and historically. Nothing else has the consistent impact of dynamic, extensive church planting” (362, 365).

These words have helped reaffirm my desire to see a new church planted in Libertyville for the glory of God and the spread of the gospel.


Praise God for his provision of part-time employment.

This past month Kendall and I secured part-time employment. Kendall has returned to Chickfila for the third time in our marriage. She’s really excited to use her gifts in hospitality and service yet again for Chickfila. At the same time, she misses being with me and the kiddos in the evening.

I, likewise, am working at Starbucks. My experience managing a licensed Starbucks for Dallas Seminary for five years, made this a sensible part-time role for me. I’m already in the rhythm of making 1/2 Decaf Tall Triple Soy Upside-down Caramel Machiatos.

Though the two of us working these two jobs only supplies about 1/4 of our need to provide for a family of five, we found this necessary during this season. Until the Lord confirms our mission to plant, this is what we must do to provide for our family.


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

The Lord continues to graciously provide abundantly for us, and he has provided only exactly what we need. We’re thankful for this because it demonstrates his faithfulness.

Right now we have funding through November. Kendall and I hope that our part-time work for the months of November and December will meet our needs for this year. Yet, we ask that you might remember us as you consider your year-end giving.

If you would like to make a one-time gift or join in partnering us, please let us know. We need ministry partners now more than ever.

At this time, we’d like to thank the following people for faithfully giving and supplying the ministry that we are doing in Chicago. 

Bryan and Judy Lapo
Heath and Shea Casey
Jeff and Monica Puckett
Curtis and Cheryl Nelson

Your gifts have eternal value!

Here’s a brief outline of our need:

1. We will need to raise $4,000 for the month of December.

2. If accepted as a Resident with NAMB for 2015, then we will receive $3000/month from NAMB. For 2015 we only need to enlist $2000/month in partnerships. Right now if all our current partners give through 2015, then we are already at 20%.

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,

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:

Attention: Accounting – MSC                       
PO Box 116543
Atlanta, Georgia 30368-6543


The Cochran Family

Joey Cochran
t: @joeycochran

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Copyright © 2014 Cochrans4Chicago, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Joey and Kendall Cochran
3163 Riverbirch Dr #107
Aurora IL 60502

Being a Non-Conventional Intern (GCD Guest Contribution)

I had the pleasure of contributing to Gospel Centered Discipleship this past Friday. The article is about my internship experience with Joe Thorn at Redeemer Fellowship in St. Charles. I’m not your normal intern. A new trend indicates that there will be more men like me who have pastoral experience, sense a call to plant a church, and are expected to complete an internship and a residence before doing so. Many men probably feel hesitant about doing so, not wanting to “take a step back” in their ministry. This article gives reasons to go ahead and do this anyway, what to expect, and how to handle this transition.

Most guys who finish seminary either intern or land their first ministry position in pastoral ministry; that or they continue cleaning pools, painting, or selling insurance. Either way there is this natural progression forward in pastoral ministry: seminary graduate, intern, youth pastor, associate pastor, then senior pastor. Sure enough, some people fill multiple roles at the same time—like seminary student and pastor. But for the most part this is the progression.

Not for me. I’m a non-conventional intern. I graduated with my Th.M. from Dallas Seminary in 2009, then entered my first pastorate in Tulsa as a High School Pastor. After four years, I departed as an associate pastor and have been a church planting intern with Joe Thorn at Redeemer Fellowship in St. Charles, Illinois for the past year.

I remember one of the first times I shared this story with another pastor. They asked: “Aren’t you taking a step back?” Well, yes, and at the same time, no.

I’m kind of a trendsetter—a trend that no doubt others will adopt as well and already are adopting. Still, I imagine many probably wonder what’s wrong with me. Could you not get another position in pastoral ministry? Actually, I did. I had a number of churches asking me to candidate, some of them pretty notable too. I almost accepted an offer from one to be an associate pastor, but God drew us to Chicago, and we’re still discerning exactly why.

Many pastors will discover that if they wish to get involved in church planting then they will likely step back and serve in an internship and/or a residency first. It’s becoming a normal expectation for guys, wishing to church plant. This is wise, as I’m discovering, because it helps assess fit for this unique ministry.

Why should an experienced pastor be willing to intern? What should an experienced pastor expect from an internship? And how does an experienced pastor handle this transition? Let’s take these questions head on.

You may read the full article over at Gospel Centered Discipleship…

View-Worthy: 8.12.14


Lifeway Pulls Driscoll, Character is King, John Own & Prayer, The Lord’s Supper.


Ruth Moon. Lifeway Stops Selling Mark Driscoll’s Books at 180 Christian Stores. (CT)

[Updated with past Tyndale defense of Driscoll and Publishers Weekly report]

LifeWay Christian Resources, which bills itself as “one of the world’s largest providers of Christian products and services,” has pulled Mark Driscoll’s books from its website and more than 180 stores nationwide.

The action by the publishing arm of America’s largest Protestant denomination, the nearly 16-million-member Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), comes one day after Matt Chandler’s Acts 29 church planting network removed membership from Mars Hill churches and their popular pastor. Driscoll has authored 15 books and amassed a following of 13,000 weekly worshipers at 15 locations in five states.

Deal of the Day

The Finished Work of Christ: The Truth of Romans 1-8 by Francis Schaeffer $1.99

Book Review

Jonathan Dodson. Raised?: Finding Jesus By Doubting the Resurrection. Reviewed by David Young. (TGC)


Tim Challies. Character Is King.

Gallons of virtual ink have been spilled over the weekend as people have discussed the latest news in the ongoing saga of Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church: both he and his church have been removed from Acts 29, the church-planting network he helped establish. This is only the latest incident in a long, steep, and very public decline. The news has been reported in Christian outlets, all over the local Seattle media, and as far afield as Huffington PostTIME, and theWashington Post.

Brian Hedges. John Owen on the Work of the Spirit in Prayer. (Servants of Grace)

In the double interests of going deeper in some of my favorite theologians and trying to strengthen my own prayer life, I’ve recently been reading John Owen’s The Work of the Holy Spirit in Prayer. This 116 page treatise is actually the seventh out of nine “books” in Owen’s magnum opus Pneumatologia: A Discourse Concerning the Holy Spirit. 

Because it is situated within the larger framework of Owen’s pneumatology, it has a fairly narrow focus as far as prayer is concerned. 

Joe Thorn. The Lord’s Supper: For Sinners.

This week I’ll be posting some thoughts on the Lord’s Supper as an encouragement ourRedeemer Fellowship family and anyone else wanting to think with us through the issues.

The Lord’s Supper, or communion, is a sacred tradition given to us by Jesus Christ. During the Passover meal with his disciples he blessed us with an ordinance that, through the elements of bread and wine, the gospel is preached, our faith is encouraged, and and the church is united as brothers and sisters.


2 Thessalonians 3:1 “Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you.”

“Pure prayers have pure blessings.” Thomas Goodwin

10 Marks of What Pastors Do

IMG_2312You might be wondering if you are called to ministry. You might be wondering if the pastor at your church is called to ministry. You might be wondering how do I find a church that has a qualified pastor. Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum, you’ll find this article helpful.

As I drafted this article, I couldn’t help but think of the Sr. Pastor at Redeemer Fellowship St. Charles, Joe Thorn. He fits this criteria really well. I have the pleasure of calling him my friend, mentor for pastoral ministry, and coach for church planting. But above all those things, he’s my pastor. I say this keeping in mind that Joe is also an elder among elders; these marks are all found in the other elders of Redeemer Fellowship as well: Pat, Brian, Jeff, and our elder candidate, Rob.

Now as you look over these 10 marks, I don’t want you to think, “Well, he didn’t put holiness, humility, or integrity down.” You’re right, I didn’t put those characteristics down and there are still others unsaid that should be conveyed. There will be a post to come where I talk about those things. These marks are not about who a pastor is but what a pastor does. In other words, these are the actions that mark a pastor. This is how a shepherd acts as he cares for the flock God has given him.

If you read and enjoy this article, then I encourage you to share it. If your pastor fits the bill for this description, then tell him. Share this article with him. Say, “Hey pastor, this is you! Thank you for how you do what you do.”

And if you’re a pastor, you might see these marks as daunting. More than anyone, you will feel unworthy of these marks. I’ve pastored for 5 years now, and I know that is the case for me. I feel like I have a ways to go. Yet, day by day, I see the Lord faithfully shaping me into the pastor I am to be.

1. He loves.

1 Timothy 1:5 “The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”

2. He prays.

Acts 6:4 But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”

3. He learns.

2 Timothy 3:14 “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”

4. He preaches.

Acts 6:4 But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”

2 Timothy 4:1 “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom:  2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.”

5. He counsels.

1 Peter 5:2 “Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly.”

6. He disciples.

2 Timothy 2:2 “And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”

7. He leads.

1 Peter 5:2 “Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly.”

8. He cares for the suffering.

James 5:14 “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.”

9. He confronts sin.

1 Timothy 5:20As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear.”

10. He confronts false doctrine.

Titus 1:9 “He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.”


View-Worthy: 7.16.14


Free to Be a Christian College, Female Modesty, Earnest Preaching, Biblical Theology/Identity/Discipleship.


Denny Burk. Are Christian Colleges Free to Be Christian?

Are Christian colleges still free to be Christian in this country? You may think that an unserious question, but if you’ve been paying attention to recent events surrounding Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts, you know it’s a very pressing question indeed.

Deal of the Day

The Gospel and Personal Evangelism by Mark Dever $0.99

Book Review

Nate Larkin. Samson and the Pirate Monks. Reviewed by Tim Challies.


Jani Ortlund. Modesty, Beauty, and Men. Why Should We Care? (True Woman)

We live in a day of exhibitionism, and summer exaggerates the desire for more skin to be shown. Yet, our appearance is one of the most powerful ways we have of sending a message about the condition of our hearts. Do we ever ask ourselves, “What message am I sending?” We hear exhortations to be modest in the way we dress. With different opinions swirling around about necklines and skirt length, how should we understand biblical modesty?

Joe Thorn. 4 Characteristics of Earnest Preaching. (Christward Collective)

I have always been drawn to those who can speak with creativity and with conviction. This was true before my conversion, and is especially true today. Since my conversion, I find myself hungering to hear the word preached. When it comes to preaching, there are two basic things that I want to hear from a preacher: the word of God andearnestness. If he doesn’t bring the word of God, he has nothing to say. If he isn’t earnest, I’m tempted to not believe him. As I evaluate my own preaching, and coach other preachers, I find that earnestness is one of the areas that needs the most attention. A man’s earnestness in preaching is often the hand that grips the hearer and brings him along side the preacher to the truth proclaimed.

Michael Lawrence. Biblical Theology, Identity, and Discipling. (9 Marks)

Identity matters. It matters in our culture, which is awash in identity politics and the unimpeachable claims that identity provides. And it matters among Christians. We call people to live up to and live out the reality of who they are in Christ: an alien and stranger, salt and light, a member of the body of Christ or bride of Christ, a temple of the Spirit, a new creation, and so on.  We encourage one another to put on the new self.


1 Timothy 2:9 “Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control.”

“Modesty is the lifeguard of chastity.” Thomas Fuller

View-Worthy: 7.11.14


Theology Proper & Moral Witness, Should Christians Take Vacation?, Pastor’s Kid Interview, Mystery & Contradiction.


Derek Rishmawy. Recovering an Engaging Doctrine of God for the Church’s Moral Witness. (Canon and Culture)

Kevin Vanhoozer opines that while a number of theologians have gotten around to speaking of God himself, for the most part there’s a bit of a theological famine on the subject. “Theologies” of sex, art, dance, money, literature, and so forth abound, but God gets the short shrift (Remythologizing Theology: Divine Action, Passion, and Authorship, pg. xii). From where I’m sitting, the same thing could easily be said of the Evangelical pulpit–God gets plenty of mention, but usually it’s to suggest parishioners consider casting him in a (major!) supporting role within the drama of their own self-improvement.

If I may temporarily adopt the English penchant for understatement, I’d like to suggest that the contemporary loss of the doctrine of God is a bit of a problem, particularly for the Church’s public, moral witness.

Deal of the Day

Four Views on Moving Beyond the Bible to Theology (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology) $3.79

Book Review

Kelly Bean. How to Be a Christian Without Going to Church. Reviewed by Gavin Ortlund. (TGC)


Joe Thorn. Should Christians Take Vacation. (

Summer is here and I hope you are planning on taking a vacation. I have read several reports thatclaim Americans work more hours, take fewer vacations, and retire later, than those in any other industrialized country. And anecdotally I can see what the men and women in our church are doing. We are always working, and seldom resting. As a pastor I encourage the church to take vacation seriously, not because it is directly commanded in Scripture, but because it is a means by which we are prepared to do what God calls us to. To get the most out of your vacation three things must be known and embraced.

Brandon Smith. The Pastor’s Kid: An Interview w/Barnabas Piper. (GCD)

Barnabas Piper has written a book, The Pastor’s Kid: Finding Your Own Faith and Identity, hoping to use his experience to encourage PKs to trust in Christ and to seek community in the midst of public and private struggle. It is also an instructive book for those of us who want to love our pastor’s kid better.

Barnabas was kind enough to answer a few questions for GCD, and I hope it will encourage you to buy the book.

Douglas Wilson. Mystery and Contradiction.

The other day I said this about logic: “if it is a wooly-mindedness that is embraced on purpose, it is heresy. This is because denying the law of non-contradiction is the royal gateway to every heresy imaginable.” Given the incoherent nature of the days we live in, I thought it was neccessary to unpack this a bit.

The law of non-contradiction says — and you would think says uncontroversially — that A cannot be not A in the same way, and in the same respect. It is not violated when Smith is a boy and then later is not a boy. That is not a contradiction because he is first a boy and then not a boy at different times. It is no contradiction.


Romans 5:3 “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance.”

“Suffering so unbolts the door of the heart that the Word hath easier entrance.” Richard Baxter


View-Worthy: 6.16.14


Jonathan Parnell. Would You Tackle the Gunman? (DG)

On Thursday, June 5, shortly after 3:30 in the afternoon, inside a building on the campus of Seattle Pacific University, a student named Jon Meis pepper-sprayed a stranger and tackled him to the floor.

An unknown gunman had opened fire in the building, and in a moment of complete chaos, as the gunman reloaded a shotgun that had already killed one person and wounded two others, Jon Meis stepped up to stop him. Without doubt, as many witnesses and authorities close to the scene have said, Meis’s heroic act saved several lives.

I was watching the story unfold, asking myself the same question that many of us have probably asked at some point throughout the wake of tragedies like this.Could I have stopped the shooter? If I found myself in a similar situation — and now we start imagining the scenario — if someone walked through that door armed to hurt people, which direction would I go? Would I be willing to risk my own life in an attempt to impede the attacker?

Deal of the Day

Risky Gospel by Owen Strachan $0.99

Book Review

Marvin Jones. Basil of Caesarea: His Life and Impact. Reviewed by Coleman Ford.


Eugene Merrill. Jesus and Atonement in the Old Testament.

The word “atonement” occurs frequently in the Old Testament (OT) and represents a key concept of OT theology. Christians maintain that Jesus is the fulfillment of the OT, especially the human need for atonement from sins. But what is atonement, and what does Jesus have to do with it?

Joe Thorn. Wisdom I learned in Dad’s Pickup Truck. (

As a boy I spent a lot of time in my dad’s truck— a mobile office/workshop that smelled of oil, metal, and Doublemint gum. He would take me with him to various jobs, and I went as his assistant. This usually meant I carried his tools and he installed water heaters or retiled bathrooms. But the truck. That’s where we talked in depth about life. I had a lot of questions and he had a lot of thoughts. In the truck was where I thought out loud with my dad and pondered his wisdom. In light of Father’s Day, I wanted to share four pieces of fatherly wisdom that he passed on to me.

Dan Darling. 5 Mistakes Parents Make. (Servants of Grace)

My wife and I are in the throes of parenting and are surrounded, in our church and among friends, with other couples in the throes of parenting. So my parenting radar is hot. I’m learning, growing and repenting every day as I ask the Lord to make me a faithful dad.

It’s often easier to learn how to be a better parent by observing and owning our mistakes. So as I’ve observed parenting (my own and others’) and tried to admit and learn from my mistakes, I’ve compiled a list of five tendencies Christian parents have. I hope it helps you think through your own parenting journey.


Psalm 25:9 “He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.”

“Humility is the ornament of angels and the deformity of devils.” William Jenkyn

View-Worthy: 5.8.14


Carl Trueman. More Questions Than Answers On Protestant’s Future?

Anyone who claims to want to end world poverty or child abuse has seized the rhetorical high ground in a manner which makes any response beyond ‘Amen, so may it be!’ seem somewhat curmudgeonly. Thus, when Peter Leithart opened last week’s discussion on the future of Protestantism by lamenting ecclesiastical disunity and expressing a desire for a visibly united church, there was an audible murmur of support and appreciation from the audience. I knew immediately I would emerge over the course of the evening as the nay-sayer.

Deal of the Day

The Final Days of Jesus by Andreas Kostenberger and Justin Taylor

Book Review

Justin Holcomb. Know the Heretics. Reviewed by Aaron Armstrong.


N T Wright at Lanier Theological Library. HT Charles Savelle.

Lecture by N.T. Wright from Lanier Theological Library on Vimeo.

Joe Thorn. 4 Ways to Find God’s Grace in Our Failures. (

If you haven’t figured it out yet let me encourage you to see something that will greatly help you. Not all of your ideas are good. Some of them are bad. And God will often let you flail and fail out there for very good purposes. And when you fail do not lose the opportunity to find grace in the midst of it.

I believe this is especially important for pastors to understand. It’s one of the most important lessons I have learned in 16 years of pastoral ministry: failure is to be expected and learned from. I have misspoke, misstepped, and missed the mark in more ways than I can explain here. And failing hurts. Most of us of are afraid of it. Leaders in particular are afraid of failure since it’s always a bit more of a public spectacle.

I’m not talking about moral failure that disqualifies someone from the ministry, but ministerial failure. It may sometimes involve sin, but more often it’s poor judgment or simply the bad execution of an idea. And while we must always take ownership for our failures, we don’t have to be defeated by them. In fact, I have found that there is much grace to be found in failure if I will seek the Lord through it.

Mike Leake. A Thirst for Knowledge, A Thirst for Porn. (Servants of Grace)

Many young men are introduced to pornography out of curiosity. They simply want to know what those forbidden parts look like. And then that curiosity gets more pointed. They want to know what certain celebrities look like naked. It never satisfies.

It’s not only young men that I have been caught in this snare. It’s trapped many good and seemingly faithful men. They don’t begin on a quest to view porn for sexual pleasure. It’s a quest to view forbidden images for the sake of knowledge. 


Ephesians 1:5 “[He] predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.”

“Adoption gives us the privilege of sons, regeneration the nature of sons.” Stephen Charnock


7 Writing Lessons from Excellent Christian Bloggers

Last week we wrapped up our second series of Christian blogger interviews. In this round we interviewed Jason BruecknerChristina Fox, Dave JenkinsDavid MurrayBarnabas PiperMathew SimsJoe Thorn, and Jared Wilson. In our previous series we interviewed Stephen AltroggeAaron ArmstrongNate ClaiborneGloria FurmanMike Leake, and Trevin Wax. From each of these interviews I gleaned profitable lessons about writing.

Here are 7 lessons I have learned from excellent writers during these two series.

1. Good writing flows from the furnace of affliction and the product of exploration.

2. Writing energizes and serves as God’s creative outlet for people to express His image.

3. Writing is a source of therapy and an expression of increasing joy in God.

4. Writing is used by many to sharpen one self, internalize God’s truth, and think aloud.

5. Many writers write under compulsion. They cannot not write.

6. Many bloggers started blogging out of pragmatic purposes: sharing with family, updating friends. But then God launched their ministry into great purposes for His end.

7. Writers who simply write with no interest in tracking statistical blog traffic, write with least encumbrance.

Thank you to each blogger who accepted my interview invitation. I benefit from your ministry and so do so many others. Keep writing!

This series will return again this Summer. If you are a Christian blogger and you would like to be a part of this series, please contact me: jtcochran82 AT gmail DOT com.