Stud Studebaker for Christmas

Before 3/4 ton pickups with Cummings diesel engines, there were Studebakers. They had no AC, broke down more often, came with no cup holders, and had limited ground clearance – but a man with a Studebaker was a man who could go anywhere and do most anything.

At least he thought he could.

It may be good that I have no memories of this vacation. Here is another picture of our studly Stude, this one hauling down a Christmas Tree from the mountains around Tucson. I’m sure all five of us kids were crammed in there with Mom and Dad. It’s amazing how many people a station wagon could hold before seat belts, shoulder straps, car seats, and air bags. I believe the average lifespan back in the 60s was 12.

studebaker christmas tree

My favorite Studebaker pic comes at the end of  the blog. First I am pasting in our Christmas letter for those who missed it. Scroll past the letter if you have already read it.

Yeah, it’s late. You can’t rush perfection. Here is the mostly true update on the Cooley’s.

JoLynn is working full time for a few months or a few years for Presbyterian Hospital. She’s piloting a Patient

Advocate program at a new hospital. The job is assisting patients in pain and their families in crisis who are attempting to work through a maze of medical misunderstandings while hoping and praying for healing.

It really is a great ministry where Jo gets to help many people on some of their most difficult days.

She can have it. It’s easier to write Christmas letters.

Megan, Jon, and mighty Memphis live here in Albuquerque, and as of October 11 have Indigo Rose to keep them up at night. We appreciate their kindness in giving us our first granddaughter. Memphis is my cookie-making buddy. Indigo is my nap buddy – who often naps when I get to hold her. Lucky Indi even has a daily naptime! I’m jealous.

Amanda, Jake, Oliver, Emerson, and Harrison (or Oli, Emmy, and Harry as we call them), live in Marble Falls TX. Amanda runs Camp Peniel’s weekend camping program, and Jake works for Overhead Door in Austin. After 7 summers and hundreds of weekends there, I always thought I’d work for Peniel, but the opportunity got passed down to Amanda. Not that I’m jealous. They were able to come in for Christmas, and we had enough snow to take the boys sledding in the back yard – my Christmas highlight.

Yes, that means we have a new back yard. We moved last January to a smaller one-story house on a half-acre with an amazing view and a perfect little sled hill in back. It’s beautiful. JoLynn is a sledding goddess, so that was the real reason for the move. Our new address is: 2112 San Pablo Rd NE, Rio Rancho NM 87144.

Micah has been with Air Guard Intelligence for over six years, and went full-time with them a couple months ago. They paid him well to go back full time, so he is the one with the nice new red Miata. Not that I’m jealous. We’re not sure how his English degree helps him to blow things up. I guess you wouldn’t want to miscommunicate. He comes to church with Starbucks for his sister – it’s great to have even half the family with us for worship.

Caleb is three semesters short of graduating from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. He spent the summer taking European Reformation classes in … Europe. Not that I’m jealous. He too was home for Christmas, so we had the entire clan here. It was great fun. A line by the bathroom door is such a good memory of old times.

Dan – Our new house is 20 years old, so it has plenty of fun projects to keep me out of trouble. I still enjoy a week or two in Haiti in the summer, and the church is rolling right along – the merger was a great move, the staff is terrific. The New City Catechism is our current study – great stuff. My sister Janice and I wrote a small stocking stuffer book, Bizarre Christmas Bible Stories, to hit store shelves in September 2019.

Mostly I’m just jealous of Indigo’s naps and Amanda’s camp and Micah’s Miata and Caleb’s summer and not at all of JoLynn’s job. God really has been gracious to us, and we are most grateful. My favorite verse for 2018 came from Ecclesiastes 12:13 in the Message.

Fear God. Do what he tells you. That’s it.

Happy 2019,

Dan for all

And my favorite for last. My dad the stud working on his Studebaker. Notice the lush Arizona grass. I believe the license plate says 64. I you have a spare Studebaker you want to sell, let me know. I’d love to surprise JoLynn with one for Valentines.

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2 Christmas Thoughts

scientific 16x20The picture is from Bizarre Christmas Bible Stories, unfortunately not being released till 2019. It’s our take on a Magi, and has nothing to do with 2 thoughts from 2 very different writers.

The first, from Caleb Cooley

This day we celebrate the Lord of creation taking on flesh without division, separation, confusion, or change. This day we celebrate the Logos, who willingly and vulnerably enters into the creation that He Himself spoke into being. This day we celebrate the very purpose and end of the whole cosmos, intimacy with God our father. We worship a good and powerful God. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” This is a Merry Christmas indeed.

The second, a poem from Meredith at AnchorPoint Church,

And the Word Became Flesh

And the Word became flesh showing us what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy
He did this so we could see and could know and could dwell upon these things

And the Word became flesh leaving a realm that was free from the limits of time
He entered our time in a cursed world that He did not cause, to free us from the worries of tomorrow

And the Word became flesh, blessing us with each new day as a gift to enjoy everything good from Him
Lavishing us with gift upon gift and the ability to enjoy each perfect gift from above

And the Word became flesh to take upon sin and know us in every way
Therefor hearing every prayer and petition, working everything for our good, the Good, causing thanksgiving for each redemption

And the Word became flesh, to overcome death for us, to restore us to Him
For we do not need to be afraid or discouraged, we are strong and courageous, for You are with us always

And the Word became flesh because what was once glorious and perfect was broken
He came to remake it anew for He who began a good work in us will surely carry it on to completion

7 Reasons to Start Christmas TODAY

 

christmas-in-october

  1. American Thanksgiving is on the wrong date.

The Canadians have it right, and celebrate Thanksgiving on the second Monday of OCTOBER, as the Pilgrims intended. President Lincoln got many things right, but was allowed by God to make this one glaring error to prove to the world that even he wasn’t omniscient.

Now you know the truth. The stores have it right.

Besides, there just isn’t enough time to enjoy the season if all your shopping, decorating, family meals, traveling, college exams, parties, and Christmas movie watching have to be done in a few weeks. That’s no fun. Start today and enjoy a slow, mellow, long, shockingly long Christmas season, as Costco intended.

 

  1. The music is better, so you can enjoy it longer

OK, it isn’t all better

 

music, Frosty the Snowman could gag a Shepherd. Still, after 10 months of Country divorces, Rap killings, Pop romance and Hillsongs oceans, aren’t you ready for a change?

 

  1. It’s easier on the budget, so you can ret 

    ire 10 years early.

If you wait to shop till December, when you are also paying for travel and party gifts and eating out, you will still be paying it off in July. Buying now will help keep you out of debt, allowing you to retire years early. Maybe.

santa pumpkin

  1. The life you save may be your own

How many kids are in danger of a tripping injury because they can’t find the way from the street to your house on Halloween? Could you be sued? GET THOSE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS UP NOW. Besides, better for kids to see an early Christmas tree than a pumpkin carved like a wormy skull with a spider crawling out.

 

  1. The decorations are better, so let’s just go with Christmas and skip the rest.

Easter has pastel colors. Yuck. Halloween is black and orange, great if you work for UHaul. The best Thanksgiving table will have a centerpiece of plastic pilgrims standing around vegetables you can’t eat. But Christmas? Christmas is deep red, green, gold, nativity scenes, camels, and reindeer. How does a plastic pilgrim compete?

 

  1. The food is best.

Thanksgiving has turkey. The reason we don’t eat it the rest of the year is that it isn’t that good. Christmas has eggnog, cookies, and Chex party mix. It’s no competition, really.

 

  1. Because putting lights on your snow-covered roof on November 30 is foolish.

And the only thing worse is NOT having lights on your roof for Christmas. That’s just wrong.

 

If you are shopping early, Bizarre Christmas Bible Stories comes out in November.

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A Dad’s Dilemma

DadCastWhat do you do when your kids are grown and gone, but you still hope to speak into their lives?

DadCast.

Clay Holderman, a dad from our church came up with this cool idea. He would get a question from one of his adulting kids. Then he would ask the dads in his small group Bible study to record their honest thoughts. Then he would ask a pastor to get a Biblical perspective.

After recording, he would cut and paste and edit the mess into a thoughtful, helpful, 15-minute DadCast, and send it back to his kids.

Brilliant.

Or it will be if any of our kids listen to it.

The first question came from his oldest son, Cole. Could he ever become someone his parents couldn’t love? What if he became the worst of the worst of humanity?

Listen to the first DadCast on an app below and sign up or share if you like it.

RadioPublic https://radiopublic.com/dadcast-6rOord

Breaker  https://www.breaker.audio/dadcast

Apple Podcasts https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/dadcast/id1437549968

Spotify https://open.spotify.com/show/0aztVwmk8Uo0mMzIAs215i

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Why Cancer?

child-cancer

In July of 2012 I was speaking at a 5th – 6th grade summer camp. The first night I asked all the kids to write down a question for God and to hand it in. One girl, Kristina Rae Barrett wrote, “Dear God, Why did you give me cancer?”

I knew Kristina’s dad since he was in my youth group back in ’85. Kristina inherited his spunk, love of life, and incomprehensibly deep faith. Actually, I think she passed dad up, telling him at one point, “If this is God’s plan for me, then I accept it.”

Kristina Rae Barrett, May 30, 2002 – June 21, 2014.

The book was also completed in June, 2014. Her question was the motivating factor for the book, and the focus of the first story. All profit (billions, I’m sure) from Bizarre Bible Stories 2! Go to the Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation – Helping Hands Fund. this fund. The fund was her dad’s suggestion, as it had helped them over the years.

There are endless names connected to childhood cancer, but I can’t leave this blog without also mentioning Macen Holderman, who went to be with Jesus on September 27, 2016, at the age of 17. He was a ton of fun, I am sure he still is, but one of my favorite stories is when he was waiting in the hospital. One of his legs had been amputated, and as usual he was playing with his prosthetic. A shocked younger kid came up and asked him what happened. Macen answered something like, “I can’t tell you. But I can tell you,  NEVER disobey your parents.”

Why Cancer? I don’t know. I do know the attack on children and their parents seems to be especially brutal.  I know it is the result of sin, and as such we need to fight it. I hope you can help.

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Wrong Worship

Slide1 newsletter

What is wrong with this chart?

Last week Ryan Prieb, our Youth Guru drew this illustration for me.

We go to a football game, a play, a concert, and there is a director, the participants playing on the field or on stage, and us in the stands.

So, we go to worship, and we feel like we are the audience, the people on stage  the performers, and God, of course is the director.

But what if we are wrong?

What is God is real the audience?

Then it would look like this.

Slide2 newsletter

That makes us in the congregation the participants.

Then the music is no longer picked for me to enjoy, but for God. The sermon length isn’t about my convenience, but about His glory. The parking space size and service time may no longer be the determining factor of a church that God loves.

It reminds me of a friend who was a worship leader at a small church in another town. She told me about the end of service one week, when someone leaving told her, “I got nothing out of that worship today.”

She shot back with, “That’s alright. We weren’t worshiping you today.”

He had the wrong chart. Sometimes I do too.

Hey – we were under 90 degrees here in New Mexico this week. It must be almost Christmas! If God is gracious, our below book comes out in October.

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Dangerous Calling: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

dangerous callingOnly love for Christ can defend our hearts against all other loves that can kidnap our hearts. Only worship of Christ, where He is the audience, can protect us from worship of ourselves. Only the glory of Christ can guard against self-glory. Only Christ can turn us arrogant long-time churchgoers into patient, humble givers of grace. Only deep gratitude for our suffering Savior can make us willing to suffer for others. Only a heart satisfied in Christ can be satisfied in the hardships of life. It is only in brokenness in the face of our sin that we can give grace to the fellow rebels God is adopting as our brothers and sisters.

I recently finished  Dangerous Calling, by David Tripp. I re-worded the above paragraph to be a bit shorter, and more generic in it’s application.

The Good: Paragraphs like the one above abound throughout the book. Not always easy reading, but always enlightening, thought-provoking, and often encouraging.

The Bad: Because this book is targeted at pastors, others won’t feel compelled to read it. I had to radically change the above paragraph to make it apply to all believers. That is a shame, as the teaching, and the way David words things, makes this a book for everyone.

The Ugly: I thought the cover was kinda ugly, not that I would ever self-promote, but doesn’t the cover of my Christmas book below look way better?

Pastor or not, I hope you will consider reading Dangerous Calling.

Dan

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Kids Devotion Idea

SavedbyaDonkeyLGI recently received this email from someone and thought it could be helpful.

Hello, I thought I would tell you that we got Bizarre Bible Stories, and I started doing our family devotions with it yesterday morning. The first story was about Balaam and the donkey, and after we read the devotion the kids asked if they could act it out. Our son Luke played the part of Balaam, and the girls took turns being the Angel of the Lord and the donkey. (Both girls wanted to be the donkey, so we did our little skit twice.) Luke enjoyed telling the girls that they would be supper if they didn’t straighten up, and the girls enjoyed playing the part of the donkey that talks. As a mom who sometimes gets the deer in the headlights look, when I am trying to do family Bible time with my young children, I wanted to share that I appreciate this resource…

Skit time for devotions, not a bad idea!

Harry the Angel below for the upcoming Christmas book. I love the artwork, hope they print it in color!

Harry the Angel

Never Use an Ax Unless You Are Relaxed

axThat great advice comes from Bruce Kugler, Ph.D. Clinical Psychology, The Wright Institute.

Confession of an idiot pastor #135: I should have listened to his advice before speaking last Sunday.

So, last week I’m telling l the church we will be going to two services on October 7. Churches max out at about 70% of their seating capacity here in America, due to lousy hygiene and inadequate deodorant application I suppose. Haiti can cram three people in a chair and believe there is still plenty of room.

But then all of Port-au-Prince has a bit of an odor, so who’s to know?

Anyway, we’ve been at 70% and above for a couple years now at AnchorPoint, and are way more full than that in our children’s classes, thus, the decision and the announcement.

So, I’m giving the talk, and I said 170% instead of 70%. And I did it again. And again. I was totally consistent in my perplexing presentation. An interesting side-note, when I was told about my mistake after church, there were two opposite responses.

The “Type A” people were confused. They just couldn’t do the math.

The “Type Z” people like myself had no problem with it. “I figured you must have meant 70%, or just that we were really full. I got it.” They said.

Type Z is so much more Godly, don’t you think? But to the main question – why did I do it?

I assume I kept making the mistake because I was stressed about not making a mistake. I hate it when I do that – wish I knew how to stop it. Had I been relaxed and trusted God, I’d have been OK. I need to remember that great advice.

Never use an ax unless you are relaxed.

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My Two Favorite, Opposite, Short Stories

mom at moodyTwo stories. One by my mother (on the right at college in the picture). The other by my son. Both well-written, with absolutely nothing else in common – except that they are both great fun to read. I hope you love them too. They would have made one creative writing team.

By Mom, Dorothy Cooley – from sometime in the ‘50s

One of the greatest blessings to me, years ago as a new student at MBI (Moody Bible Institute), and a comparatively new Christian was the challenge of the practical work assignments. One of the nurses approached me and told me of a young 14-year-old girl, Stephanie, who was dying from the effects of a malignant tumor. She was not in the ward, but had been moved into a room by herself. Both of her parents were with her.

 “She’s already received the last rights,” the nurse told me, “but she continually cries out both in pain and in fear. Please visit her. She has terrible nightmares because she is so afraid to die.”

 I prayed as I had never prayed before, and followed the nurse to her room. I had never yet led a soul to Christ. So many thoughts were rushing through my mind. What if her folks won’t let me speak to her? But there we were at the door.

 Both parents were seated by the window, looking so despondent. Stephanie was, of course, lying in bed, so thin, yet the area in which the tumor was located could clearly by seen as a large bulge under the bedspread.

 After asking the parents for permission to speak to their loved one about Christ, they quietly consulted together for a few moments and then decided it would be all right. Even though it has been many years, I still remember looking into the face of this frightened young girl who knew she didn’t have long to live and had such a fear of dying. The Lord, in His graciousness, used the verses that were quoted to Stephanie as it was explained to her very simply that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. That He loved her and had given His life for her and had risen with her in mind.

 As the question was put to her, “Won’t you trust in Him Who gave Himself for you as your own Savior?” Stephanie nodded yes. She could not speak. And as prayer was offered, I saw one pass from death unto life, from darkness to light. Her facial expression relaxed, and her eyes reflected an inner peace and trust in the Lord. She even attempted a smile.

 The visit was a very short one, and as the prayer was ended, the nurse returned, telling me it was time to leave. Saying goodbye to the parents and thanking them, I was able to tell them that the daughter they loved so much would, in the Lord’s time, be in heaven, and I was able to leave a gospel tract with them.

 The following week I literally rushed to her room – only to be told that Stephanie had passed away a few days before, and the nurse added, “After last week’s visit, she never cried out in fear again – she really seemed to be at peace.” As I rode back to school on the streetcar, many thoughts came to my mind. As a new Christian in Bible School I had met so many young people who seemed to have so many special talents that the Lord could use, a special ministry in music or in some other area, and I wondered why the Lord had led me there. So that afternoon the Lord taught me some very important lessons – He used His Word, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to bring a soul to Himself – and in His graciousness had allowed me to be an instrument. I did not need to wish I could do what some other young people could do – I just needed to let Him guide in the way in which He had planned for my life.

 Many times the Lord has brought the memory of that afternoon back to me, and reminded me of that lesson – for the message that we have to share is one for which there is absolutely no substitute – “But these are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing ye might have life through His name.” John 20:31

 

micah peniel-001By son, Micah Cooley, from sometime in 2018

 Frozen is a great analysis on how people with depression often push loved ones away, and how they often don’t know how to ask for help.

Tangled is a well written and nuanced look at toxic and abusive relationships between parents and children, as seen through the eyes of the victim.

Mulan is an excellent story that builds up a woman of conviction and character that doesn’t disrespect the authority placed over her, but defies it in order to be a positive change in the world.

Beauty and the Beast is about a woman who finds the beauty and love in pain, who strives to further her own education, and repeatedly saves her father.

Little Mermaid is about an idiot who wanted to make out with some dude who looks like the least attractive Jonas Brother.

What a stupid princess.

 

Would have been a dynamic writing duo, no?

New Book Cover and Back – coming out for Christmas 2018

BIZ XMas-Cover