Dare To Live The Life of Jesus Podcast, Episode 3
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 dare to live the life of Jesus podcast. I'm your host, Chris Templeton. And I'm here with the author Mike cook of unpacking God for the 21st century, a guide for growing your soul. Welcome, Mike, thank you for being here.
Michael Cooke 0:16
I thank you, Chris. And good morning to you. Today, we're going to be talking about the return of Jesus. And it's a topic that's been around for the last 2000 years. And this one is going to be different though, in this approach that I'm taking. It's not so much that the New Testament writers and the talk about the return of Jesus, but we're going to focus more on what's our expectation of the return of Jesus? And what do we anticipate. So I'm just going to switch it up a little bit and just give a little bit of background on this matter. So people have been expecting us to return for 2000 plus years. The difference in today, it's not about the date, because there is no date or time given was to win. But it's our attitude of mind of expectation. It's what we do generationally, before Jesus returned.
Chris Templeton 1:23
And so what does that mean? What do you mean by what we do generally, generationally.
Michael Cooke 1:28
Okay. In the olden days, there was always this tradition of generation to generation, we pass on our knowledge, our knowledge of Jesus has been diminished. Over the centuries, our knowledge of expectation, faeces return, has been diminished. By generational, we teach each other, to love to live, and to grow and spirit, with the expectation that one day, one generation will see the return of Jesus. Now, the Bible also made clear that his return, may or may not be specifically to unbelievers, but it may specifically to be believers, only those who have the eyes to hear, and the sorry, those who have the ears to hear and the eyes to see that Jesus returned, I'm just going to broaden that base a little bit. Now. Jesus often spoke of my sheep knows my voice. And many times, he said, he was here to hear let him hear he was eyes to see them see, this expected return of Jesus is for believers only. In the New Testament, after the resurrection of Jesus, he appeared up to 500 people at once. But it was only those who could take advantage of his of his resurrection. Those are the ones that saw him. And that has been a bone of contention for generations. And for 1000s of years. Was it real? Right? If they have a massive nation? And the answer that question, no, it's not a massive nation, but it is to the believers only.
Chris Templeton 3:18
And when you look at that now, so in terms of becoming a believer, for somebody who's not, what does that look like? And I imagine there are a lot of people that think they're believers, and aren't in the right frame of mind, to be able to witness that when it happens, is that a fair statement?
Michael Cooke 3:43
It is a fair statement. Now we can come back over to the book, unpacking God for the 21st century and growing your soul is for that very reason why the book is his roadmap. It is a guidebook that allows us to grow our soul, and to allow us to be transformed to that point, where we will be able to recognize the call of Jesus in His voice. It is a progressive, it isn't going to happen overnight. But for those who are have sincere heart and sincere believers, they will have the opportunity in their day and in their generation, when it happens, to hear his voice, a Masters voice and to respond accordingly. And he will appear to them.
Chris Templeton 4:34
So in regards to that, to be able to hear his voice and to, you know, be of like heart, how do you get there and are there signs that you're there or on the right track to getting to that place where you're able to actually hear him and see him in Heart.
Michael Cooke 5:01
In earlier podcast, we talk about actually daring to live the life of Jesus. And that's exactly what it is living the life of Jesus today, each generation, practicing and living the life of Jesus, you will instinctively know and hear the call, because you're actually in the moment, living that life. So there is no ambiguity about it. It is internal to you. And it's instinctive to you. And you will hear now there is one other issue that many is going to raise. But isn't this leading to false prophets? And is coming about? The answer is, yes, there are some people who will look at us and says, that's a false messiah, and then follow that false messiah. but inwardly, if you're following the teachings of Jesus, He will automatically know who he is, and where he's from, because there'll be no one else like him, and you'll have that recognition.
Chris Templeton 6:01
And and Won't it be also that there is almost this match in terms of the way I feel? And what all see? Does that make sense? In other words, you know, I think of this as being getting to this place where I have this almost peaceful, super grounded place of living. And then when I see that in somebody else, I recognize it, is that what we're looking at?
Michael Cooke 6:37
We're looking at that one component. But the other component of that is that, and this is going to be very, very hard to explain, but I will try. Sometimes when we get that fourth feeling, and we get that aha moment, it's an internal thing. First, it's internal, that you've got the ha moment, the return of Jesus will be Aha, Mm hmm. So you are him, you are Jesus, who has returned, all of a sudden it will click, because not only is it natural to expect his return, but it'd be natural to live the life of Jesus, and anyone you see living that life, except for one thing. He would be so far ahead in terms of progressiveness, so far ahead, in terms of perfection, that you will recognize perfection, because we're imperfect.
Chris Templeton 7:37
And and at some level, I guess what I'm asking is, is that beginning place of I guess, moving towards perfection, is that is that the prerequisite that allows me to see something that's that much more perfect?
Michael Cooke 7:59
Yes, it is. Yes, it is, because there's going to be an instinct municode a parent to a child, a mother has been set that must always know their own children. Yep. And you can hear that, right? We as children will recognize our own parents call. And that's about the best way to put it is we will recognize internally, our parents call, because we will recognize their voice. That is the only human way to explain it. It's a bit more complicated. But if we take the parent child relationship, we all can understand that in a crowded mall, I can call for my child and my child will my voice and hear my voice. It's the same way.
Chris Templeton 8:49
It's a really, I think it's an elegant, comparison. Really, I mean, I know, it's not the perfect comparison, but boy, it really helps to kind of put it into into place and so. So again, I think it just worth repeating the whole part about daring to live the life of Jesus, and helping people to understand how I get there. And how to get rid of all the things that say that are that are counter to that, like we know that the ego is going to say, Oh, well, I could never dare to live the life of Jesus. That's not even something I would. It's that's too sacred or whatever the case may be. So talk a little bit more, Mike about what it means for people to live the life of Jesus because I think what you're saying is when I actually get to that place where I'm naturally living the life of Jesus, then I'm in a position to recognize him when I see them.
Michael Cooke 9:50
That That is correct. And it's to simplify this in living the life of Jesus. The best example that is given to us is Love your neighbor as you love yourself and treat your neighbor as you would treat yourself. Which means that you have to think of yourself in a respectful way. First, you have to see your stuff and respect who you are, you have to be accepting of your mistakes and accept who you are as a human being faults and all. In that way, not only are you accepting your neighbor, as your brother, but you'll be there for them. Because you expect that someone would be there for you, you expect that if you need help, help will be given, you expect that if you need kindness, kindness will be given. So in essence, we're turning the cards in ourselves and pointing to ourselves and says, Can I do this? Can I actually give love to others? Can I be kind to others, because that's what I expect from others to treat me. So I've got it to it, to say, I see the game. And I'm going to be part of this game. It's the only clear example, which we can follow today. And take stock today and says yes, that I can do. I can treat my neighbor as how I would like to be treated.
Chris Templeton 11:28
You know, one of the things that I think people really, really struggle with Mike is this idea of loving yourself. And so are you saying that the path to loving yourself is through loving your neighbor is that the idea is that I find that self love as a result of that unconditional love I have for others?
Michael Cooke 11:55
Yes, yes, it is. But it goes one step further. And that is the true respect that you have for yourself. Because you have to have respect before love kicks in. And that respect only begins with you drawing a circle to say, this is me. How do I expect others around me to treat me? What kind of what do I want from others. And I'm going to give the same not negatively. But positively, if I expect others to love me and care for me, then I must show love and compassion for another person. If I expect mercy, that I must show mercy to another person. So we go back to the Beatitudes. And it's basically living those cats simple nest off. I'm going to treat my neighbor, my friend, and everyone around me the same. Because I would like to be treated fat good. If goodness first.
Chris Templeton 12:59
I think that what you're saying is so powerful. And at the same time, I think there are so many people who don't know how to do that authentically. Like how do you get to a point in your life where you're able to authentically do that? I think that there's a lot of people that try their hardest they try so so hard Mike and they just can't can't find that place. Do you think that that some of this is about trying too hard maybe?
Michael Cooke 13:35
Chris, the problem with trying too hard, is trying too hard. We cannot do it on our own, we get to a place of point to say, God, I need you to help me to do this. Because it's not humanly possible for me to do it. And it's it's a letting go and saying Okay, you know what? God will help me to get through this stage. And yes, it does begin with me by saying, you know, you're nasty to me, but I won't be nasty back to you. Right? I'm going to be nasty and God helped me and it also begins with we talked about before forgiveness. Somebody slashes your tire, you're gonna get a revenge. No, you know, you can I'm gonna forgive you for slashing my tire. I don't know who you are, and why you did it. But I don't understand your motives. But I'm going to forgive you. So again, it begins with forgiveness for ourselves. And we extend that and goodness follows.
Chris Templeton 14:36
And one of the things that occurs to me about forgiveness is that in a big way, this is really about taking the time to appreciate what it is that's happened to somebody that would have them In a place where slashing your tires was something that they would want to do. In other words, it's not condoning it. And I think that's where a lot of people get stuck is this idea? Well, if I'm forgiving them, then I'm condoning them doing what they did. And I don't think that's what you're saying. But isn't it? Isn't it about having that understanding of whatever this person has been through to get to this place, that that's an option to look at that at some level, so that you can understand not approve, not condone, but understand that, gee, there are things here that go beyond how this has impacted me.
Michael Cooke 15:40
That is quite true, Chris, because it is not about as you're seeing, it's not about condoning bad behavior. In fact, we do not condone that behavior. We look at that behavior, call it out and says, you know, this is bad behavior. But I want to understand, do you want me to what are you going through? What state were you when, and the more we begin to understand our complexities of our neighbor, the more we can have compassion for them, because maybe this something happened to them. And you just happened to be the person in the pathway for them to take it out on. But when somebody takes anger out of you, it's not at you, they're taking the anger out, it's at themselves first, and they're reacting to it in a negative way. But if we go back and react in a negative way, we just escalate the situation, rather than de escalating the situation. So if our thoughts are, Hey, what's going on with you. And if they're, and again, I'm not going to excuse anybody's behavior, because it's some genuinely bad people. And we call them out on that. And if you do see a generally bad people call them out on it. But for the majority of people, they're not bad people.
Chris Templeton 16:54
And also, the people that really are bad, almost to a tee, every one of them has had something that has gotten them to where they are. In other words, I don't think there are many people on the face of the planet that just said, I'm going to be the worst person ever I and and I think this is part of that process of forgiveness. And what we're talking about is this idea of how do I find a forgiving place in my heart for somebody who's done something that's bad? And and a lot of times, I think that these bad people are people that came from really tough circumstances, and being able to find a place of forgiveness for them.
Isn't? Isn't that a huge move in the right direction?
Michael Cooke 17:44
It is, but then we look at our own society, which has an attitude of condemned, condemned, condemned first, then ask questions later, without genuinely looking at that person wondering what triggered this reaction in them? Because it is a reaction. And if we looked for their motives first, then we then we build a more caring and compassionate society. But again, we have to look at the two sides of the coin, which is why revenge is never personal. It's up to the state. And, and and if you really look at it that way, then for us, it's not to take a personal action. It is to say, if there's any intent here, then the state should decide what that is. Because that's who's best capable off group setting. But for most human beings, were genuine. And we're careful. And we love each other for most human beings. Right? That's what we've got to consider first, on that human level.
Chris Templeton 18:53
Yep. Absolutely. And I think, don't you think that even the worst of the worst, have some capacity for that, even though they may not have the ability to get there the capacity to find love in very, you know, maybe small moment moments, but don't you think that that part of this is that we're connecting with the place that's in everybody?
Michael Cooke 19:22
We are and, to your point, Chris. Everything comes my example. And if we have given an example of why we can teach others, then yes. And there was a book I once read it was by Leo Tolstoy short story. And in that short story, there's this man that lived basically as a hermit and the Robert calm Robert would walk by every day. But he didn't said nothing and after 20 years He said, You've broken me down, not because you've beaten me up by looking at me or by seeing him evil. But by your goodness, you've broken me down. And I'm paraphrasing, because I have to go back and read that story, again. But that's what it's all about. It's all about showing an example over and over again. And that gives an opportunity to change and to show remorse.
Chris Templeton 20:30
It's practice, isn't it? Mike I this is something that requires tremendous practice. As a matter of fact, one of the things that strikes me about your book, the opening of your book of about the Prophet is how long it takes the prophet to get to a place where he is a prophet. And it's about practice, isn't it?
Michael Cooke 20:49
Yes, it is. But it's also perfecting your craft. And we don't talk too much about that, that a religious person is one who's practicing their craft. It becomes a profession, in living the art of living. But we really don't mention that you know what it is, this is a craft that I'm practicing this is a craft, than trying to become perfect that this is a craft with God's help, that I'm going to get there. But it is like a master craftsman. He once you get once you walk away from the business, you walk away from doing it, you become rusty. Mm hmm.
Chris Templeton 21:28
So let's we're getting close to having to wrap up. But I want to get a couple of really big questions out of the way that I think are important. And I think you do too. Why does Jesus want to come back? What is the what is the reason that Jesus wants to come back? It's especially now it seems like we're as divided and unhappy with each other as we could possibly be. What, what's what is that reason?
Michael Cooke 22:01
Okay, and we talked about the Bible talks about this, the harvest time to seize the harvest, when you plant a crop, the farmer may lend out his farm for the season. But at some point, the farmer is going to be turned to see how that crop is doing.
Chris Templeton 22:17
Unknown Speaker 22:18
Why would he want to return? He wants to see how we, how we've grown since he last came. He wants to see have we taken those lessons to heart, have we actually moved forward have we progressed is is what he left us? Have we use the talents wisely. And again, he's coming again for another reason to instruct us. And that's a part that we miss out a lot on. You and I were not around 2000 years ago, but another generation will have first hand instructions again. And that's also a hands on approach. But he'll return and instruct those, again, we say believers, but he'll instruct them further, and teach them further. And again, it's like planting a crop. It grows, you watch it grows first season. And then what you have to do is to trim it down, replant it, restock it, and watch it grow again.
Chris Templeton 23:22
And so I think what I hear you saying is the reason he's coming back as people are going to be ready for it and ready to go. And be instructed more is that be more.
Michael Cooke 23:37
That's part of the reason but but if you look at the bigger picture he's returning. It's like how I'm trying to find the right words. And the farmer is the only portrayal I have the right words, that you lend out your farm for four years. And you allow it to grow the fields to grow, and you allow everything to come in. Now, if they're good at management, you're gonna learn about it when you return. If they're bad management, you learn about it when you return. And so the return then is full, to see how well we've established his teachings in our hearts. And how well and how managed we have become, and to give further instructions to grow to the next level.
Chris Templeton 24:28
One of the things that I think is really important to touch on is when we did our first podcast, you talked a lot about how what the Word of God through the Bible 2000 years ago, and how it's changed dramatically from from then until now. And as a matter of fact, for those who don't know, basically what you've done, is you've rewritten a number of pieces of the Bible to bring it current So one of the things that I think it's interesting to talk about is this idea of understanding his teachings. And I think that what I hear you saying is, the teachings that he wants you to understand, are the ones of forgiveness of not being judgmental of loving the neighbor, your neighbor, like you love yourself. Those are the core teachings, aren't they?
Michael Cooke 25:27
Yes, they are. And it's like with anything else, we take a look at these a modern phraseology, now, we call it quality control. And the ultimate in quality control is how well we've adapted the teachings in generations after generation after generations, and how well we've progressed each generation by adapting those teachings to the next generation. So if I look at Jesus return as a quality control master or someone that's coming back, to make sure that we keep on track to stay on track, and to give us further instructions that we can handle at that time, then yes, his returns is a foregone conclusion. But it's going to be at a time when we can manage it.
Chris Templeton 26:16
I almost wonder if all of this division is almost a call to practice? In other words, I don't think there could be right now, especially a time that's more difficult for people who are on one side of a spectrum or the other, and very in general, victimized, feel victimized by the other side. And I almost wonder if this isn't that call to say, hey, it's time to try a way that will work for you from your heart?
Michael Cooke 26:53
Yes, it is. Because the two ways to go Chris is either going to be up or down, forward or backwards. And because we've now been called to go forward through the book, and once once again, once you begin to go through the book, you can see the call, to take action and to move forward. And as a society as a civilization. Our choices are quite clear, progress, or regress. And the call is for progression, not regression.
Chris Templeton 27:24
And progression is about fulfillment, isn't it?
Michael Cooke 27:28
Exactly. It is the fulfillment of the Scriptures itself. So nothing has changed. Except me now we need to show our a game with the expectation that one generation will see Jesus returned. So what kind of civilization will he encounter? What kind of culture will we encounter when he returns? Boy,
Chris Templeton 27:54
it's powerful, powerful stuff, isn't it? When when you think about this, in terms of wrapping up our podcast today, what do you think the two or three things are, that your listeners you want your listeners to take away?
Michael Cooke 28:10
The first thing is, be authentic to who you are. And do not be follower but be a leader. That is one point. The other point is give it a try sincerity, honesty, give it a try. build a better community, because he will return one day, but he's going to return to that community that thrives more in spirit than we are now. So with the expectation to build spiritual communities, that should be our first goal. Let's start building spiritual communities communities of light. So when he does return, he's returning to community waiting and ready to accept them. And I'm going backwards to 2000 years ago when he was rejected. And he was rejected because all those instructions were encoded, and given to live a spirit of light, to live that truth. They were ready to live the spiritual life when he had when he came. And that's where we are now is do we want to repeat the same thing again, that we won't recognize it because we won't recognize divinity because divinity is asking us to live a high spiritual life
Chris Templeton 29:29
and to see that divinity you have to live that divinity ECD and, and I almost, I almost don't like phrasing it that way. It's it's finding it's practicing. It's it's, it's not about having to it's about wanting to be that person that thrives in that community because of that inner divinity. And so I guess My point is I want people to hear the beauty of it, not the half to have it. Does that make sense? Yeah, exactly.
Michael Cooke 30:07
You're right, because it can't be forced. I mean, in part of the section of the books called pushing the envelope to find God, it is, what do we desire for ourselves. If we desire to live a godly life, then that becomes a way of life. We push our desire forward, if I desire Ferrari, I'm going to go get it. But if I desire God in life, then I'm going to go get it still. And the final analysis is, it's up to us. It's not up to God, it's up to us to make that difference.
Chris Templeton 30:41
Why God, why God gave us freedom of choice, isn't it?
Michael Cooke 30:45
It is, and if we're looking for a prophet, to come and teach us read the book, I love it.
Chris Templeton 30:53
Michael cook unpacking God for the 21st century, a guide for growing your soul can be found on Amazon, just search for unpacking God for the 21st century and you're in for a real treat, an updated way of looking at the teachings of the Bible in ways that are far, far easier, I think, to relate to based on today's environment. fair statement.
Michael Cooke 31:22
Yes, Chris, and thank you very much.
Chris Templeton 31:24
Thanks, Mike. We will see you on the next dare to live the life of Jesus podcast. Thanks for listening.