Dare To Live The Life of Jesus Podcast, Episode 2
Updated: Jan 25
Join me with Michael Cooke author of Unpacking God for the 21st Century: A Guide for Growing Your Soul. In this podcast series, "Dare To Live The Life of Jesus", Michael and I explore what it means to be a Christian in the 21st century.
Click here to visit Michael's YouTube page.
Chris Templeton 0:02
And welcome to the Dare To Live The Life of Jesus podcast with author Michael cook, we are really pleased to have you on talking about our challenge is today's topic. Welcome, Michael.
Michael Cooke 0:15
Hi, thank you, Chris. And I'm gonna open up by saying many of us misunderstand what our challenge is all about, not just as a Christian, but as a human being. Because as a human being, we're given a world planet to live on, and make the most out of it, and make choices. Now, this planet is a harsh, climate harsh world that we're in. And so we're not given a rulebook or anything. So how do we make this planet work for us. And that becomes our greatest challenge is to use our gifts and talents to make this planet where to make it our home. And one of the things that we talk about when we say we dare to live the life of Jesus is taking that challenge, but upping the game of that challenge by saying, okay, we're in this together, what do we got to do? What are you going to become successful, not financial in this planet, but successful in making this planet our home, and that we have longevity on this planet? Now, one of the things is our life, our lifetime, is 50 to 80 years, let's say, upwards of 90. And during that time, every decision that we make counts, and it becomes our challenge to make decisions that will better this planet, and better our future.
Chris Templeton 1:43
So talk a little bit about when somebody Where do you think people fall down on understanding what it means to be successful and living on the planet?
Michael Cooke 1:54
I think we don't understand that life is temporary, we we really have this conception, that we're kind of invincible, and that our lifespan, although we know instinctively, it will come to an end. But we're not the originators of that life. And so therefore we don't value the life we've been given. And we squander it, we wasted away. We do all kinds of things with it. And we find that our times. But it is to use the life force that has been given to us wisely. And not just for this planet. And how we do that is living the life of Jesus, if you want to extract the most out of each other and work together as a team.
Chris Templeton 2:40
One of the things you just said that really struck me is is we've been given this life force. And it seems to me that one of the issues that we face is really discounting how important that is and how divine It is really.
Michael Cooke 3:02
Yes, it is because I've been thinking about this for a while. And I know some will disagree with this statement that that life itself could not be initiated by men. Or it could not be sprung from primordial ooze or dead matter without the existence of God. There is a dividing line between our faith in God, and actually our scientist and that strength and God is the acceptance that this life that we have originated beyond us, and that it just didn't spontaneously appear. Because if it did spontaneously, Pear, so would resurrection life after death, spontaneously appear on Earth. In other words, we would be able to cheat death. Mm hmm.
Chris Templeton 3:55
So how do we help people? What's the secret? What are the things that they should be thinking about? actually hate to frame it up as a secret? Because I think it's probably a little more obvious than we give it credit for just like recognizing that the life we've been given is divine. How do we help people to see that and to be more in tune with that?
Michael Cooke 4:17
I think if we're recognized that our life is divine, that we've got to go back to ask the basic question. If life originated beyond us, the planet is a few billion years old, and man has been around for a million just over a million years. If life itself originated before the planet was formed, what is the source of life? Where did it come from? I know some scientists do say that, you know, came floating in on a meteorite and then but where did that meteorite come from? Where does that life originated from? So we I think we've got to go back and last fundamental question. Why is it That life is given all planetary wide. Life is given. So, in the end, we say God is our spiritual father, because that is a source of life. But if we don't believe in God, so explain, then, how did life originate?
Chris Templeton 5:17
Or it's such a huge one, isn't it? And and I saw a video recently about all the conditions that would need to happen for life To begin, just to begin. And none of the conditions can be fulfilled spontaneously. In other words, the things that would need to happen just don't work that way. Scientifically. And so I, you know, I just feel like there's such a disconnect between people thinking that, you know, it's just a simple, Darwinian, you know, evolution. And yet, when we look at it, there's nothing that can explain the beginning of life, or consciousness is there?
Michael Cooke 6:08
No, there isn't. There's nothing that can explain it, that we will understand. Because even if I go back and look at dead inert matter of primordial ooze, and you look at the life of the person who's passed away, and you touch their skin, it is like wax. And 04, it's totally lifeless. And again, I come back to that question, if it was spontaneous, in in evolution, why is it that the dead never come back? Because that would be part of an evolutionary process? If evolution is the progression towards perfection? Why is it we have no control over life?
Chris Templeton 6:53
So, when we take on the idea of living the life of Christ, that begins to solve the dilemma, doesn't it?
Michael Cooke 7:05
It begins to solve the dilemma because then you have to ask the basic question again, if life originated not with man, not with animals, not with plants, not with vegetables, not with anything, if life is eternal, then who is the source of that eternal life? Who gave that divine spark? Or that spark? To initiate dead consciousness or dead matter? to spring to life? What becomes the source of it all?
Chris Templeton 7:39
And the answer to that is, simply put God, but how do I help people to wrap their arms around that and to really understand tha t and to, to really feel that?
Michael Cooke 7:56
Okay, there's something we can't do. And that's where it's gonna go free? Well, I'm gonna go back a little bit to what you're saying, How can we. And that's because in life itself, and the evolution of life itself from, from that perspective, man has been given, men and women have been given free will, in other words, to choose to recognize a creator or choose not to recognize a creator, to choose to go inward, and then find or feel inwardly, that spark of life, the origination of life, the source of life, communication with life. So our free will choice is the only way to do it intelligently is to go inside of and says, You know what, I want to make sure I'm feeling the right thing. And that's where active faith comes in. We can't prove the existence of God. But we certainly can be aware of the existence of God through our choices.
Chris Templeton 9:07
And so what are the ways that you look to to go inside because, you know, you and I have talked prior to this about, there's a pastor that recently left his faith and felt like, he was trying, I think, to do all the right things. And yet, for some reason, those things didn't actually end up having him have the connection with God that he thought he should.
Michael Cooke 9:37
And here's our dilemma as human beings. We're going to make mistakes as we discussed in the last podcast. And we're going to have to forgive ourselves because had we dare to live the life of Jesus and focused on the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and john, we would have no issues. Because in living the life of Jesus is actually not talking about it. But it's actually how did he live his life? How did he treat people? How did he respond to people? Where did that response take him? And yes, as a pastor or minister, we're focused on only three things. One is to connect people to God. Two is to help them grow their souls. And three is to facilitate service of one another. Those three things together makes up the bulk of what a pastor does. And if we get any one of those wrong, it's not to walk away because of faith is to go back and realize, we made a mistake, because we didn't follow the original plan, as Jesus has actually lived this life, so in dare to live the life of Jesus and in the book itself, unpacking God for the 21st century, we're going back to the basics, we'll go back to step one. And we're going to show you how to live the life of Jesus. Again, it's already there recorded. But I think we do tend to forget, Chris, that it's a simple thing, such as just following what Jesus did live by his example.
Chris Templeton 11:10
And I think that there for a lot of Christians, I don't think it's limited to Christianity, I think for most religions, you have a lot of people that feel like if I just look like I'm doing what, my, my God, and Lord tells me, I should do that they don't connect with it. And yet living it is a whole different place to be, isn't it?
Michael Cooke 11:39
Yes, it is. Because it actually takes not just an act of faith, but an act of courage that goes beyond that. It's an act of courage, as we said last time, to say, no, it's an act of courage to think about, would Jesus have actually done it this way? Would he actually exclude someone from the congregation, because of teenage pregnancy? We actually shun them, because they got married, got divorced, and out of wedlock, and and so we're gonna look at how did Jesus treat people in reality? And then says, Are we mirroring that, and I think a lot of times we're trying to coerce people, or force people or another word is to bring fear into it, that we're right, and they're wrong, as opposed to saying, you know what, Jesus would treat you with love. And even if you did something which offends us all, he would treat you in love. The thief on the cross is a perfect example. The betrayal of Jesus by Judas is another example, who did wash at Jesus's feet. And so are we willing to let go of our egos and to live as Jesus? You know, what
Chris Templeton 12:55
this really reminds me of Mike is, when the current Pope came in, almost immediately, I think he washed the feet of Muslim teenagers who were having a rough go, like, you know, may have been incarcerated or something like that. And one of his first acts was to wash their feet. And it struck me as Oh my god, that is exactly what Jesus would do. Am I on the right track,
Michael Cooke 13:29
you're on the right track. And now, we got to add one more thing here. how it's done. And the old the whole purpose of doing any act is with total sincerity and honesty of heart. Anytime we we walk that line, it must be in total sincerity and honesty of heart, then we're actually following Jesus, because it's an inward call. It's not something we're practicing externally. It's an inward call to do that. And as long as that is the way that we all have an example, that we can actually literally see and do, and says, I feel the call to be there for you. Spontaneous, but being spontaneous, is all about serving. And
Chris Templeton 14:15
I kind of wonder from the standpoint of sometimes I think, service needs to come before the the, the honesty of heart and sincerity in in that when you start to do some of those things. For a lot of people, what's going to happen is they're going to find that by doing those things, they find something in their heart that they didn't realize was there.
Michael Cooke 14:43
It is true. Now Now we're going to go to the next step, because there's a lot of people out there and there is a movement out there. random acts of kindness. But it isn't just a movement of random acts of kindness. That compassion feel at the time that drives you to do it. And that is what separates the followers from those who do it for show because Jesus spoke out strongly against those who do things for show, just to make an external show off that there are religious or pious, when when Jews acted, reacted totally with a sincerity that could not be questioned. You know, he did it spontaneously. But you know, this is who he was, and who he is. So, yes, sometimes we do act. But I think even unconsciously, we're acting because we're kind. And we know, kindness is in our nature,
Chris Templeton 15:47
which is a really great point. You know, I feel like so many people are lost on this idea of, if I just look at, then I'll feel it. And yet that for some reason, that doesn't tend to happen. And then what happens is, but I'm going to keep trying it. And I'm, and I'm going to keep, you know, doing these acts, and I don't feel it, and I don't feel it. There is a place that they're not letting themselves have access to Don't you think?
Michael Cooke 16:18
I Yes, it is, it's letting go of the ego. That's the place. We're actually Jesus spoke as it's called the widow's mite. And the rich came in, and the rich were giving all kinds of donations, she came with the last penny she had and she donated it. It's it's not so much your generosity that people see. But it's your intention of your generosity, you may see a person that's homeless on the street, and you may say, you know what, I know you're going to spend that money and alcohol or drugs or whatever it is. But then you see another person and you know, intuitively, they need a helping hand up. So you buy a cup of coffee or tea for them, you buy a sandwich for them. And that makes a difference in the world. Sometimes we have to be wise as serpents, and it does particularly in this case. And Jesus will get us out of this event too, when it is said Be wise as serpents know what you're getting involved with, and know the right way to do things.
Chris Templeton 17:28
So, somebody who's listening to this?
How do we help them to find that place and not misconstrue it for just a series of acts that? I kind of feel it, but not really how do we help them get to that authentic place where their acts really do create this incredible sense of? I almost think of it as a sense of well being for themselves. That first statement?
Michael Cooke 18:01
Yes, it is, it starts with becoming a community, it actually starts because an individual might go out and do a random act of kindness. But when it is community driven, it's reinforcing this is the way we ought to live. So you may have 10 people going out there doing 10 different things. But when you have those 10 people saying, You know what? We're community, and we want to make a difference to this. We want to make a difference to our, our community or to our neighborhood, it makes a difference, because you're not alone. And in that sense, it is better that if we want to do random acts of kindness, we do it both individually. And as a community, we do both.
Chris Templeton 18:49
And does that community always have to be thro ugh a church Mike?
Michael Cooke 18:54
No, it does not. It does not have to be a church. Now, the one distinct advantage of being in a religious organization is that you already have a plan of action already in place. They already have these things established. But no, you do not. You can form a community group to do it. But the heart must be in the place. It's got to be in the right place, not just a Community Action Group. Because they fall away, but for longevity. Everybody has to be on the same page.
Chris Templeton 19:31
And so for somebody listening, how do they How do they decide where to go to create that community? How do they begin that process from your standpoint?
Michael Cooke 19:46
Actually, Chris, it's a lot easier now than in the past. Because we do have social media, we do have outreach programs, we do have quite a bit of networking. And it's network. Working. And at its best, it's, it's becoming part of a team. The concepts that we can go with alone, I think is long dead and over with the world is too complex for us to go along. And the issues are too big for us to go along. So we have to connect up with a group of people group at all, which has the same beliefs and same values as you do. And now what I mean by beliefs and values, we're putting the highest beliefs and values First, the god centered beliefs and values, as opposed to just saying, you know what, I'm going to be part of a group that has 10 different values, but it has no meaning to me at all. So find some way that has meaning and value to you. And that is centered on the right things, the spirit and the soul.
Chris Templeton 20:51
And, and my sense of that, is that that common thread, going back almost to the beginning of the podcast is that there's a recognition that we all come from the same place from the same, that we're all made of the same stuff, and that we're all interconnected. And my sense is that, if you if that's foundational for what you're doing, and trying to create a community, that that's going to, that's going to drive a group of like minded people to do some really amazing things.
Michael Cooke 21:30
Yes, it will, Chris, because going back if you recognize that the source of life is God, and you recognize that you are sons and daughters of God, because that's the source of life. So we then the follow up, is what Jesus talks about the brotherhood of man, because it is that recognition that we've got one source of life given to us. So we're all related in spirit. And if we're all related in spirit, then we're going to look out for each other. And that's what it comes down to the beginning, what our challenges. That's our challenge of living on this planet, to look after each other. We are our brother's keeper. But we have to recognize first the source of life, given to us, and honor that source of life. And we do that recognizing also, that each of us is linked to that source of life. We're all brothers and sisters in spirit, no matter what race or color or creed you belong to. We're all one in spirit.
Chris Templeton 22:29
You know, it's, that is a huge statement. And it is, seems to be so lost on so many people, Mike, I just, you know, it's, and yet, I think that most people, if they take the time, and take a deep breath, and look at it can get there. But boy, boy, are we far away from that. Across religions, I'm the one true religion. And that's not that's not the teaching of Jesus, is it?
Michael Cooke 23:06
No, it's not. And when you go back to the book on packing God for the 21st century, is going to break it down into simple format. And, okay, some people might see, it may be hard to understand. But the simplicity of it is, is living the godly life following Jesus pattern. And that's all we've got to do. It's as simple as looking at Matthew, Mark, Luke, and john says, How did Jesus live his life. And if we dare to live the life of Jesus, you're going to find that a lot of misunderstandings is going to go away, because we're going to make the effort. And we're going to put our hearts and soul into doing it. And it can happen, it will change and transform society. But again, it's not an individual thing. It's a group thing.
Chris Templeton 23:55
But it has to start with an individual, each one of us individually, beginning to recognize that commonality. I mean, it's some level it is individual and that it needs to start that way. But for it to grow, then it needs to become a community. Is that what you mean?
Michael Cooke 24:13
Yes, it is an individual choice to live the life of Jesus. But then it becomes how do I integrate that Me, myself and I into a community then it becomes our choice. My choice is to live the life of Jesus. But I also want to connect other people to live the life of Jesus, then I do have a community who's willing to live the life of Jesus and do extraordinary things by doing it.
Chris Templeton 24:43
It almost seems like the daring to live the life The daring part of it, is to go up against a whole lot of dogma that's out there. That has stopped serving people Long, long ago. And has put us as victims of the other side at some level? Is that what daring is? Is it going against the grain of kind of common thought that's lost the underlying ideas of what it meant to live the life of Jesus?
Michael Cooke 25:19
Yes, Chris, it's exactly because in my own journey, I did that. I went back through the Bible, I threw out every single doctrine and dogma of how I grew up. And then I searched for the answers. That How did Jesus actually live his life. And once I begin to struggle, the doctrines and the dogmas I come down to a pure distilled form. And again, in the book, there's one part of the book that you'll come for, and you'll find out, and that is the search for God and the meaning of life. And, and, and that's, that's what we have to push the envelope. That's where we really have to begin to go beyond ourselves and to see is this teachings, right? Is this doctrine, right? It's this dogma, right? What do I believe? And if I let go of it, what am I losing? What am I missing? And I think what people don't let go off is because of fear, fear of reprisal. Fear to be an outcast, fear to be excommunicated. Fear. And that's what's really choking us, is because we want to belong to community. But fear is keeping us from actually searching and questioning, I'm going to answer that one. And I'm going to come right back to Martin Luther. The original Martin Luther, with his thesis, and it's posted on the, on the church door, we are afraid, in Christianity to challenge actually most religions are afraid to challenge and the reason why are afraid to challenge because it's going to ask us to go a step beyond. And maybe we'll get persecuted for it. And maybe we'll get blown up for it or cast out. Or we're gonna get bite back for it. And we're afraid to take it out. Because we don't want the criticism of being the only one or the lone wolf calling it out. And that's what I think people are afraid to question their doctrines and dogmas.
Chris Templeton 27:25
So let me just see if I've got this because i think i think i can tie it all together. Now. One of the things that defined who Jesus was, was his devotion to his life of not I don't get the sense of was being a holy man, but living a life that was holy. And he understood that that was going to take a tremendous amount of courage to go against the grain of so many people. And yet anybody who spent time with him, immediately felt exactly what it was that he was living. Is that right?
Michael Cooke 28:18
That is correct that that is exactly Of course, it is. Jesus went up against the Sanhedrin Council. He went up against the scribes and the Pharisees, because they were living a life of only external lights, but inwardly, they weren't living it. They weren't living a holy life inwardly. And he went up against them. And, and they fought back against it, and they pushed against it, and they pushed against it. But he stood for something of living an authentic life, and not the doctrines and dogmas, not the rules and regulations, not going back to tradition. But how do you actually honor God, and we honor God by serving each other.
Chris Templeton 29:03
And I also get the sense, and tell me if I'm wrong on this, but honoring God is in my estimation of what you're saying, versus kind of the dogmatic version of it, which is, you know, about the feet of God. I, I get the sense that what you're saying is, live in a way that celebrates God through your celebration of your spirit and of yourself being one of these beings that has that. In other words, it doesn't come without the infusion of God to give you consciousness, your soul, that sort of things. Is that right?
Michael Cooke 29:45
Yes, it is. It is correct. And I'm going to go one step further, is the celebration and the honoring of the life you've been given. Because you recognize that you're not the source of your own life and therefore that life is given as a gift to you. The only way you can give that gift back and respond back in kind, is to actually show love and compassion for those around you because you value that they have that same life in them, and the life of guiding them. So you're honoring them also to honor each other in the highest sense, because you recognize God in you and God in them.
Chris Templeton 30:24
It is so powerful, Mike, what you're talking about. And I just, I think that what we need to do is have a podcast just on getting to forgiveness, practicing appreciation, understanding judgment, and how to let it fall away. I mean, so much of what the core of the Bible teaches, is that very thing and yet, and, and what I hear you saying, is something that's very similar, and very different from what a lot of Christianity thinks it is, is that a first statement?
Michael Cooke 31:01
It is and and, and the reason why we've got to consider that. And I've heard this one. And actually psychologists will tell you the same thing. If you start a story, by the time we get down to the 10th person, the story has changed. When the times get down to 100%, you won't even recognize what the story is. It's been over 2000 years. So we forgot what the original story this was all about. And that's why we go back to the Gospels and stick to the Gospels, we comes close enough to recognize what the true story is, when we measure it, and we can statistically, we use the word statistically here, measure it internally. And we can prove it internally. Because when we're in sync with the message, we feel something in us to say, I am confirming that message. And that's in the Bible Jesus spoke about I will send you the spirit of truth. And that the Spirit of Truth, we call it the comforter. That's the Spirit of Christ in you confirming very much confirming that what you're going through what you're experiencing is real. And it is truthful. And we move away So far away from that internal recognition of truth, and put doctrines and dogmas around it. That we have to go back and feel it internally. This is the right way to do things.
Chris Templeton 32:34
Oil boy, and and when you get to that place, even though it may be fleeting, here and there initially. But when you get to that place where you feel that spirit of truth. It's, it is not even a question. There's no room for a question about Am I doing it? Right? It doesn't even come up does it? Like when I'm right there, uhh.
Michael Cooke 33:01
It's liberating. We go back and look at it says, The truth will set you free. And that is quite true. It's not a question of honesty, as many of us take truths or you know, for honesty, but its spiritual truth will set you free. It's not a question of are you an honest person or dishonest person? Or are you telling the truth today? No, that kind of Truth is, is not what we're talking about here. It's spiritual truth is universal truth was once recognized, must be lived. Because it's inwardly recognized, and only your soul can recognize it on the inward level. And when you become conscious of it, you're going to live your life by that example.
Chris Templeton 33:43
Because it feels so good. Because there's no judgement there. Because there's appreciation there. Because I can feel my connection to something that's so much greater than just myself.
Michael Cooke 34:02
That is correct.
Chris Templeton 34:04
Or that's a whole lot different than than just doing things the right way, isn't it?
Michael Cooke 34:09
It is because we're asking ourselves, are we connected to the source of life? Yeah. And and, and that's the individual choice. We'll touch on one thing here, before the podcast is over on that life itself now, because we're given a life. And it's just a matter of making choices. Nobody says I have to do is because you can't be forced to follow God. You just cannot be forced, or make to be following God. It's your individual choice, because that's how we've evolved. And God does. God wants you to come freely, of your own free choice and your decision your decision alone.
Chris Templeton 34:59
It is so powerful. And I think we really got to the heart of it, Mike, in terms of just understanding, it's that place, it's that feeling that, that there's no room for question, because it's so clear when I'm there. And I think people need to just keep in mind that it happens here and there it and as you grow in your faith, that those feelings become more and more common.
Michael Cooke 35:34
That is correct. And it's not the big connection, the big picture, is when you have several 1000 people or, or million people or more of a planet of 8 billion. And when you have that level of connection across a community across the country, we're gonna start seeing society change. Because now now we're allowing our Creator to be part of our life, our Creator, to be happy with decisions that we're making. And one of the things that had happened this week, is that I was speaking to someone, and they were asking, why is it that bad things happen? Why is it that God is allowing starving in Africa? Why is it God's allowing people to have Ebola and cancer. And I had to go back and think about it. But if we're given a choice, if we're given that choice, but God does not say, I'm going to interfere, because you have free will, which is our absolute, God will not interfere with our choices and our decision, because our free will is absolute, and is not going to take that away. We're not robots. And therefore every decision we make has a consequences, which is automatic. But if your right decision we make has also consequences, which is positively reinforced. So it's not that God does not care. But God will not intervene. Because our choice, our free will choice is whosoever will make. And then we transform society.
Chris Templeton 37:19
Michael cook, you are the author of unpacking God for the 21st century, which can be found on Amazon just search for unpacking God for the 21st century, and you'll find it there. Our topic today has been our challenge, and not only shown what the challenge is, but I think given people a really solid understanding of finding those feelings, through acts that are heart based and centered in the soul and the spirit, really have the ability to change not only our own lives, but the lives of the communities that we create. What's the last thing you want to wrap up with for today, Mike?
Michael Cooke 37:59
Okay, and the last thing I really want to wrap up with today is that I don't believe that we should be renouncing our faith, or walking away from our religion. When things get tough. And Jesus had that same choice. When he faced persecution, he had that same choice when he knew he was going to be betrayed. He had that same choice, when he knew he was going to go and die at the cross. He could have walked away. He didn't chose not to walk away. But he chose to live a life by example, indeed. One of the things I think we misunderstand is because we walk away from religion because we misunderstand it. We walk away from Christianity, because we misunderstand it. We want to go to church, because the church is not helping us. But then again, Dan to live the life of Jesus isn't about walking away. It's about continuing the journey, and doubling down on that journey, and says, You know what, I'm going to continue on. And 1000 mistakes I make already know God has forgiven me. But I will persist in my goal.
Chris Templeton 39:11
That's awesome. Well, well said, once again, Michael cook unpacking God for the 21st century. Check it out on Amazon, and I am looking forward to our next podcast, Mike. Oh my gosh, this is really, really powerful, what you've brought to the table.
Michael Cooke 39:27
Thank you, Chris.