Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Drawing Lines

My five year old son really enjoys going to preschool.  He attends a Catholic school where his brother excelled and was well prepared for kindergarten and beyond.  We like the school and the teachers.  But we are Baptists, and we certainly don't adhere to all of the Catholic doctrine.  Being Baptist can we still support a Catholic school and send our kids there?  My feeling is that we can.  When did it become necessary to agree on everything for us to be friends?  If all our friends look and think and act like us, aren't we only being friends with ourselves?  Doesn't it then become a form of self love?  Scripture tells us to love those who don't like us, and even though who hate us and consider us enemies.  It's hard to imagine loving those who hate you.  We live in a culture where everyone wants to be liked.  There are people who get upset that not enough people, "like" their pictures on Facebook.  It's silly, but true.  We all want to be liked, but can we like people that are unlike us.  Can we like the person who abuses drugs and alcohol?  Can we be at least friendly to the person who made mistakes and hasn't learned from them?  Do we help someone whom we've helped before, but keeps coming back again?  Where do we draw the line?

This is why the gospel is so challenging.  Jesus didn't draw lines... but He was Jesus.  We all have our limits, Jesus was limitless.  My goal is to be more like Jesus and so what if I get taken advantage of.  Jesus says if we get persecuted for the Gospel, we are blessed.  Some people are quick to draw lines and exclude others.  We live in  an age where some want to exclude refugees, who don't want to help the poor, who will only compromise within their own political parties.  It's a sad day in America when we keep drawing lines to keep people out.    If we are serious about being more like Jesus, we need to erase the lines in our society.  We can't pigeon hold people, Catholic or Protestant, rich or poor, educated or not.  If we only love those who love us, what benefit is that for us?  I challenge you to erase the lines in your heart, erase the divisions in your mind.  Make friends with people you disagree with.  Be kind to those who upset you, and who you think are ignorant of the truth.  Pray for them yes, but come to terms with this concept of loving enemies.  Then consider this... we were enemies of God before Jesus.


Pastor Bunyan

Monday, November 4, 2013

It has been a whirlwind autumn for our family.  Starting in May I was offered the job to coach the varsity volleyball team at the high school.  I was not quite prepared for how time consuming that would be.  But through June and July I did some open gyms, and summer leagues.  Then in August we started pre-season and had our first game.  We had an up and down season.  We finished with a 16-19 record that could have been better.  We beat some good teams, which means we were pretty good ourselves.  I'm not sure how much coach had to do with it, but I was glad for the well wishes from other coaches and the administration was great.  But the reason I accepted the job was to promote the church, specifically Jesus.  I want people to be drawn to Him through my ministry.  I have no doubt that this will occur in the next few years.  But for now I have to accept that it is simply a job and I preach with my actions. 
With all the time away I feel like my study time has suffered, maybe not so much in time prep, but in the amount of time I think about the sermon.  I still prepare as much as I did before, but I don't feel like I deliver the sermon as well as I could because I didn't have time to process my thoughts like I want to, or should.  Next year, I'll be smarter and schedule more guest preachers during the fall.  But God has been so gracious with me, through all of this, I've had several compliments on the sermons, which lifts my spirits, even if it is just to be nice.  I love when the Holy Spirit allows the congregation to hear the message they need, even if it's not the message I am preaching.  But like always I preach deeper commitment to Christ, and we all need that reminder. 
So volleyball season is over, the banquet is left to organize, but after that I'll be taking a break from coaching and focusing on ministry like I need to.  I miss doing more in our clergy group, and have been reduced to a spectator rather than an organizer, which is not so bad.  I'm looking forward to Rachel getting more and more involved with the Community Praise Night at DHS next week.  She thrives when she is challenged musically.  The boys are great, James loves kindergarten and John is doing well talking and learning, being potty trained.  So life is GOOD, and GOD is GREAT!   
Thanks for reading the blog, feel free to find us on Facebook.  
Peace.    BC

Thursday, September 27, 2012


I realize that I am defying all of the known research on how to handle a blog.  They keep it updated, keep it fresh, keep people coming back, get more people to follow you.  My response is, I hope they follow Jesus and not me, but I will try to comply from now on.  Our last entry was from right after our sabbatical.  It was a good time to get away, our family had a good summer, although there were some bumpy roads coming back.  I realized our need for more lay leadership.  But God has been good, He is answering that prayer as we speak (or write). 

2012 has been a good year, somewhat unremarkable.  We began with a new members class that went better than expected, culminated by an Easter celebration with six people getting baptized.  It was certainly the highlight of my year.  Our music ministry has continued to flourish as has our community and denominational participation.

Our kids continue to grow and mature.  James (5) and John (2) are the light of our eyes.  They keep us perpetually tired, but always mindful of our blessings.  We are all healthy, praise the Lord, and we look forward to staying that way.  God has been good, what can I say.  The church continues to grow, little by little, and we continue right along with it.  We certainly are not perfect pastors, but we are trying to make a difference in the life of each person we come across. 

We were recently blessed to be able to officiate at the wedding of a dear couple in the church, who were wanting to get married for a while.  It was such a special day, and a joy for us to be a part of it.  This week we got a hand written letter (who writes hand written letters anymore) from a friend of theirs telling us how much they enjoyed our sermon at the wedding.  They concluded that they want to come to church sometime.  It's things like that which keep me going, keep me pressing on towards the goal. 

This year our church celebrates 170 years of ministry, and we are once again pleased to be a part of this great church.  We assume the role of leaders, but honestly the Holy Spirit is our leader and teacher, our encourager and healer.  We praise God for the 8 years in Dixon, and look forward to many more. 

Until our next entry.  May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ guide and protect you from all harm.  Amen. 

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Greetings folks,

Well, for those of you who weren't in church on Sunday, I officially preached my last sermon until September. We have started our Sabbatical, although it doesn't really seem like it. Sunday afternoon was the crazy day we like to call Baccaluareate at Dixon High School. I don't quite know how we started this trend, but we brought all of our sound equipment from the church to the high school, and assembled it all and provided the music for the Baccaluareate service. So church got out around noon, the praise team kids and friends started disassembling things right after church and loaded it into my car. Then we had pizza together so that they wouldn't be famished when they played. Then we got to the school around 1pm, with a steady downpour putting a damper on attendance. But we got all the sound stuff into the auditorium and got it set up, all within about 45 minutes, it was awesome. John Lightner who is our sound technician, did a fabulous job. We also managed to get Kevin Dagner from the Sauk Valley Comm. Church to play guitar and sing with the girls. He's a wonderful musician with a pastors heart, and added a lot to the group. It was a nice service, although someone said that one of the class officers is Bhuddist, which surprised me that she felt like she had to participate in a Christian service. I think we'll clarify that in the future. So that was the afternoon of our sabbatical kick off.

That night proved to be another challenge. James barely slept all night with an earache/ear infection. Then Monday we thought he was feeling better so we went to a Memorial Day picnic with friends. He did alright there, but we left early becuase John was pretty tired and James became lathargic as the day wore on. He had a better night, but still woke up a few times. John on the other hand, only woke up once. (good job). It's funny how our perspective changes about what is a good night.

So our Sabbatical has not started out as spiritual as I had hoped. I wanted to sit and read and rest most days, but being a parent, that's not possible. I think I might take the boys to day care, just so I can rest and read a few days. I have high hopes for my reading list, but it's not getting off to a good start. I also have the responsibility of doing VBS this next week. I'm not a VBS kind of guy, I enjoy doing camps and games, but I was stuck with this responsibility, and I know I'm not very good, I just hope it goes alright. We are joining forces with First Presbyterian so there are added challenges in combining resources and personel. We'll see how it goes.

Back to Sabbatical, I got the resgistration for the seminar and the different workshops that I can take. I'm very pleased and excited to be able to go to Princeton Seminary, even for only a week to study preaching and to be challenged and educated a little bit more about the craft of preaching. I've always known preaching was important, but then my preaching prof. at Northern Sem. said that he led a church through transformation and growth primarily through preaching. Which I saw my dad do, but it was good to have it re-enforced. So I desire to be a good preacher, but I have to balance that with being a good dad/husband/ and pastor. I don't just want to be an orator, but i want to be a shepherd of sheep. I feel that is my calling. So we'll see how God leads me during this time of rest and rejuvenation. I pray that this will lead my to deeper sermons, which will yield deep thinkers in the congregation, and hopefully a healthy and robust church.

I'll keep this post updated with Sabbatical happenings.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Love Thy Neighbor

Everyone shows shows love in different ways, but as Christians there is no question we must show, this most excellent virtue to neighbors and enemies and everyone in between. The question is how to does this play out in everyday life. Does love mean we give everyone a Valentines card or roses? No we need to redefine love according to Jesus' definition, and his definition (as evidenced by his actions) of love is desiring God's best for a person. When the woman who was accused of adultery was brought before Jesus in John 8 how did he demonstrate God's love? He not only saved her physical life, but he cared for her spirit in this famous phrase, "Go and sin no more." The question for me is, "Do we love people enough to tell them, go and sin no more?

In our permissive culture it seems that no one wants to stand up for truth, everyone is ok, everyone is a nice and good person. No one these days takes criticism well because in a post modern culture there is no authority save oneself. Yet for Christians our authority is Christ who calls us to obedience and to discipleship through discipline. No one likes discipline but endures it for a time because they trust that it will produce the desired results. No kid wants to give in to the discipline of his parents, but they trust the parents are acting in the kids best interests. Should we think any less of our relationship with Christ. Does God not discipline those He loves? Doesn't He tell us to go and sin no more? Should we not then do that same to the people we love?

I know this seems like a tall order, but imagine the alternative to tell somone you love them and let them destroy their life. How is that love? Too many parents have enables their kids to make bad choice in the name of love, which turned out to be anything but love. In fact it is laziness on the part of parents to correct their children, or ignorance on how to in fact to teach them to live a virtuous life. Parents cannot teach something they don't know. So my hope is that as Christians we can be a voice of love and salvation for our society, a voice that says, Go and sin no more. We need to hear Jesus say it to us each day, and at the right time in a spirit of humility and peace, with respect we should say it to others to save them, and truly demonstrate God's love to them.

One of my seminary professors was fond of defining love this way. "To love someone means that I am unwilling to wallpaper their jail cell for them." What a superb definition of love. We want someones best, we don't want to make them feel good about their addiciton, their oppression, their sinfulness. Hollywood would have you think that love means we all go about our business and not get involved, and not care what other people do. But loving someone demands action, demands involvement. To love our neighbor means that we care about their well being now, and also their eternal salvation.

So my question for you is, "How well do you love?"

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Hello world,

I have just a few minutes before John or J2 as he is sometimes refered to (thanks Emma) wakes up. Today was the first day that I had both boys by myself. Not a big deal, since I took James to day care, but I was at home with John and did all the Mr. Mom things, and he behaved well. I worked a bit while he slept. He didn't even wake up when I used the drill, which is way different than James. I just wanted to ask parents what they've learned through their kids. I have learned a lot about myself through the naughty stage that James has been going through. I learned that I jump too quickly to wanting to spank, I learned that I want my kids to be as close to perfect as possible, I learned that I can have patience and pity if I'm in the right frame of mind. But when I'm tired and stressed, I don't tolerate much. I used to think I was so easy going, and I am most of the time, but I take my kids discipline seriously, and I don't want them to be brats, or greedy, or inconsiderate kids and adults. But they are not my kids, they are Gods, and I have to keep praying for wisdom on how to raise them. I don't know if there will be unique challenges to raising two boys, but I suspect that they will fight, and compete, which is ok as long as they do it lovingly. :) I think i'm pretty naive here, but I can hope. In any case, God continues to teach me a lot through my journey as a parent. I think I'm becoming a better pastor because of them as well. Now if I can only make more time to visit people and work on my sermons more... that is my earnest prayer. Amen.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

John Bunyan Cocar

Greetings folks!

It's been a crazy few months at the Cocar household. This summer has been spent getting ready for the arrival of our new baby boy, John Bunyan Cocar. He finally came on August 27th at 3:25 AM. He was a bit of a surprise, not having him, but how early he was. We were thrilled to have such a healthy boy, he was 7lbs. 11oz. and 21 in. long. James is adjusting very well to his baby brother. Two days after we brought John home, James fell in the driveway and broke his collarbone. He was in a sling and ace bandage for a few days, which got him some more attention than usual, that has helped the transition. He is on the mend now and is without a bandage, we are looking forward to his birthday party this Saturday.
Rachel has been a doing remarkably well after the delivery. She was up and about a day after the surgery, and has not needed much pain medication. Thank you for all the prayers, God has certainly had mercy on us. Although, we don't sleep very well since John wakes up every 2 hours, we have been blessed.
I have felt a bit awkward not going to church for the past two weeks, but it's been good to spend time with the boys and Rachel. Also Jim and Arden Olsen, (Rachel's parents) have been here for the past two weeks. Life is getting back to normal, and now we just have to adjust to two boys. They say going from one to two is the hardest and I don't know if I want to find out if they are right or not. I think two boys is enough for us to handle. Praise the Lord they are healthy and we are doing well.
So that's where we're at, I promise my future posts will be more about theology and/or home improvement, but for now I have to catch up on my sleep.

Good Night.