Articles by Tony Cooke

When Weakness Turns to Strength

Scripture is full of examples of people who acknowledged their need and their dependence upon God. As long as they remembered that God was their source, and the strength they received was for his glory, all went well. Paul is a great example of this. When Paul was troubled over a messenger of Satan (which he called a thorn in the flesh), he cried out to God for help. Paul had come to the end of himself, and there he found strength from God. ... read more

What Does God Say About Our Bodies?

Some mistakenly think that God only cares about our spiritual well-being and the condition of our souls. In making this false assumption, they minimize or completely ignore the great significance Scripture places on God’s concern for and interest in our bodies. In New Testament times, many Greeks believed the body was evil—a type of prison from which death would bring welcome deliverance. Some concluded that since physical life on earth ... read more

Necessary Networks

We were designed to be in relationship and in fellowship with others. Our journey through life was never intended to be made in isolation, cut off from others. There is truth and value in having a “personal relationship with God.” We hear that phrase often. However, we also have the privilege and the necessity of being properly connected with others as well. Someone said, “Our navel is a constant reminder that we all started life connected to another human being. We spend all of our lives trying to get reconnected to someone. ... read more

Vulnerability and Leadership

Living in this world involves risk. It cannot be avoided. Helen Keller said, “Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” A study of Scripture reveals that Jesus and Paul both understood the risks and there were inherent in ministry and leadership, and that they wisely managed them. ... read more

Reclaiming Wonder!

Einstein once remarked that a person who no longer pauses to wonder is as good as dead. If there was ever a group of people who should take time to stand in wonder and amazement, it is followers of the Lord Jesus, and if there is ever a time to do so, it is when we consider Jesus’ coming to the earth, the Incarnation, when God took on flesh. more

All Sizzle and No Steak

As a young assistant pastor, I was assisting in various areas of the church, including helping with the coordination of our thirty-eight cell groups. My pastor was on Dr. Cho’s church growth board, and was also in the process of obtaining a doctor of ministry degree in church growth from Fuller Theological Seminar; his concentration was on cell groups. At that time, my pastor asked me to attend a church growth conference sponsored by another church, and one of the workshops I attended was called “Taking Your City Block by Block.” more

Emerging Heroes

Early last month, I read an interesting story involving Navy’s fourth-string quarterback. He didn’t dress for the game, but was in the bleachers watching his team play when he saw one of the managers running up the stairs of the bleachers in his direction. The regular quarterback had been injured during the game, and the third-string quarterback was out with an injury as well. more

Pray for America!

When Benjamin Franklin addressed the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787, he said: "I have lived, Sir, a long time and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth—that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings... Read this article by Tony Cooke

A Culture of Constant Improvement

One of the congregations I want to focus on in this letter is the church at Thyatira. Most who have a cursory knowledge of these locations will immediately identify the church in Thyatira with Jezebel, an individual who grievously taught a doctrine of compromise. This corrupt teaching facilitated immorality and idolatry among the believers in Thyatira—something Jesus hated. more

Are People Trash?

The denigration of people is nothing new. Paul experienced mistreatment by others, and spoke clearly about how it made him feel. “We bless those who curse us. We are patient with those who abuse us. We appeal gently when evil things are said about us. Yet we are treated like the world’s garbage, like everybody’s trash—right up to the present moment” (1 Cor 4:12-13, NLT). more

God’s Claim and Call on Our Lives

Mankind seems hell-bent on rebelling against God and His authority. Psalm 2:2-3 (NLT) paints a vivid picture of man’s insurgent and seditious attitude toward God’s rule: “The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the LORD and against his anointed one. ‘Let us break their chains,’ they cry, ‘and free ourselves from slavery to God.’” ... read more 

The Purpose of Pentecost

If a Spirit-filled believer can only quote one verse from that wonderful chapter, it is probably verse four, which reads: “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” As wonderful as that passage is, is what is described in that verse really the main purpose of Pentecost? We could also ask, “Was their speaking in tongues—in this particular situation—an end in itself, or was it a means to an end? more

Sit a Spell

Even if the Lord were only interested in our labor, He is wise enough to know that we do more work and better work when we’re rested and strong. But the Lord is not just interested in what we can do for Him. He offers us rest because He cares about us. Some of the old-time preachers were known to say, “I’d rather burn out than rust out.” Wisdom teaches us that we don’t have to do either.  ... read more

Ready! Aim! Fire!

Of the phrase, “Ready! Aim! Fire!” Brian Stolle writes, “This legendarily accepted process of operations works universally whether shooting a gun, a bow and arrow, playing golf, or leading a team to achieve an objective. Prepare or ready yourself for the intended action; take aim on the objective and goals; and then fire, or execute.”  ... read more

Two Kinds of Messages

Have you ever stopped to think about the different types of messages that are preached from pulpits? Certainly, all messages are not the same. I suppose there would be dozens of different ways to classify and categorize different kinds of sermons, but I want to look at two specific kinds in this letter. more

When People Don’t Get It

When People Don’t Get It Tony Cooke Years ago, I asked a number of pastors about the most fulfilling aspect of their work. While responses varied slightly, the majority of pastors said that they are most gratified and pleased when they see peoples’ lives changed through receiving and acting upon ... read more

The Person God Uses

The Person God Uses Tony Cooke We are living in amazing days. There are more people alive on the planet than at any other time in history, and the potential for the Church to impact a sighing, crying, and dying world with a life-giving message and life-changing power has never ... read more

A Night and a Day in the Deep

As we traveled the Mediterranean recently, I found myself periodically looking out at the water and imagining Paul on one of his voyages. During the day when the sun is shining, the Great Sea (as it was called by the ancients) is stunningly beautiful. But at night, especially if there are rough waters, the Sea is daunting, intimidating, and not at all inviting. more

Whatever It Takes

“Whatever it takes to get the job done” means that you are willing to roll up your sleeves, to get your hands dirty, to go the extra mile, and to go above-and-beyond the call of duty. It means that you are not a prima donna, that you are not too good to serve. It means that you are a person of resolve, determination, and conviction. ... read more

Who Will Rule Over You?

Something believers need to strongly consider these days is the issue of authority, and more specifically, God’s authority. A fundamental question every human being must answer has to do with whether or not they will submit their lives to God’s rule and reign. more

Why I No Longer Believe in Food

In the past I did, but I no longer believe in food. If you stop and think about it, there is no unity or agreement in the food industry, so how could food be true? All you have to do is drive down the street and you’ll see countless contradictions when it comes to food. One place has Italian food, another place offers Chinese food, while yet another place promotes Barbecue. If you keep driving, you’ll see pizza joints, fast food places, and Mexican restaurants, all of which claim to provide—you guessed it—food. more

Q & A – What Does the Bible Say About Preborn Children?

The Apostle Paul said, “...even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace” (Galatians 1:15 NLT). “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. more

Six Reasons Why You’re Not Necessarily Right (and Neither Am I)

In closing, let me reference something Abraham Lincoln said. He remarked, “Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.” The great president had it right! It’s not God’s job to validate us for our ego’s sake; it’s our job to represent God for the sake of His glory. With humble hearts, let us seek to exalt and to promote the One who is always right! more

Doing the Possible

After preaching a service this past May in Thonon-les-Bains, France, I was looking around the church bookstore as we waited for the pastor to finish visiting with the people. The titles were all in French, but I recognized some names of the various authors and one of the titles caught my attention. I don’t know exactly what it said, but I could tell it was something about trusting God for the impossible. more

No More Whack-a-Mole

Have you ever seen someone playing the game called Whack-a-Mole? They stand before the game board with a padded hammer, just waiting for one of the little critters to pop its head up, and they try to whack it before it goes back in the hole. The longer they play, the faster and more erratic the moles are in popping up their heads. more