Transformation: FROM Woodstock TO Eternity

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.


From the old ways

The one question radio interviewers seem to want answered concerning the book, From Woodstock to Eternity is:  “In one word, what would you say the main message of this book is?”

The answer is – Transformation

But not just any old transformation.  Dustin Morgan doesn’t go down easily.  His transformation is not a simple makeover like a visit to a make up artist or a plastic surgeon.  No, the reason this story can touch any one of us, is he fights tooth and nail to keep going his own way before he slowly makes the change from old to new.

Dustin has to come to a point where he realizes that the partying, drug dealing lifestyle, which he thought was the right way to go, was in fact destroying his life.  So, even though

New Man - New Wife

New Man – New Wife

he resisted giving up his old ways, God stayed with him and ultimately brought him out of that lifestyle.

When God did finally bring him out of that lifestyle, what did He transform?  Just his heart?  Just his mind?  Did he change on the inside only to stay the same on the outside?  Did he insist that nobody judge him, but value him for what he truly was inwardly?

No.  Like the Scripture says, ALL things had to become new.  His heart AND his clothes.  His mind AND his speech.  Jesus doesn’t just transform one little bit of us – He transforms ALL of us, and every bit of our being should radiate the light of his glory.

The Cadet and the Water Fountain

Excerpt:  From Woodstock To Eternity:  Culture Wars

From Woodstock To Eternity

From Woodstock To Eternity

Blam!!  The door right in front of him slams open and spits out a skin headed kid in a gray ROTC uniform, his back ram rod straight, his arms fixed at his sides – slightly bent at the elbow, his neck locked in place in line with his back, his eyes straight ahead.  He takes two steps straight out of his room in front of Morgan.  Morgan jumps back, startled out of his fog, and fixes his eyes in amazement on the cadet.

He stops at attention for half a second, then brings his right foot back behind his left foot and performs a flawless right face.  He marches down the hallway with perfect precision, not flinching, not wavering, exactly two inches from the wall.  He marches right up to the water fountain sticking out from the wall, does a sharp left face for two steps, a sharp right face for two steps, another sharp right face for two steps, then a sharp left face to continue marching down the hall, exactly two inches from the wall.

Freedom That Brings Victory

Freedom That Brings Victory

Morgan stands transfixed with his mouth open.  He has never seen anything like it. He’s blown away by the precision and discipline the cadet just displayed walking down the hall…

“What must it be like to be under such control?”  Morgan asks himself.  “That was so strange!  He looks like a robot, but he’s a man. …They have sucked all the life and freedom out of this guy and made him into an automated, mechanical, brain dead, machine! I can’t believe anyone would allow themselves to be subjected to this.”

That’s what it was, it was subjugation.  That cadet, and everyone like him might as well have had their minds wrapped a thousand times with bands and chains until they had no will of their own.  Then their heads were opened up, and they poured in the instructions, the rules, the involuntary servitude, like a bizarre, science fiction nightmare. …

Later in life, …  He could now see the value of discipline and training for success.  It takes discipline to wake up and get to work on time.  You have to follow instructions to do your job right.  If your job is highly intricate, or carries a lot of responsibility, your degree of discipline and your ability to stay under authority could make the difference between success and failure, maybe between life and death.  One day he was reading in Psalm 2,

Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing?  The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying,

“Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us.”

Psalm 2 Freedom

Psalm 2 Freedom

He coined the phrase for this so-called freedom from the disciplines of God’s direction:


Copyright © 2015 John D. Cooper

Bondage to Freedom Part 1

The World’s Freedom Brings Bondage

The world says, “It is not good to be restrained, all things are permissible, there is no right or wrong, no one should judge you.”  This is their “freedom” from the limitations of

Unrestrained free spirits

Unrestrained free spirits

righteousness.  However, this kind of freedom brings bondage to all those “permissible” things.

Romans 6:20  For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness

This says that when we were slaves of sin, we were free.  This is what the term “In Bondage to Freedom” means.  The people in this picture certainly think they are free.  The so-called freedom of breaking away from limitations and constraints that God puts on us feels good and makes us think we are “free spirits”.  However, the compulsion to reject all things that would restrain us makes us bound to do the opposite – be unrestrained and uninhibited.

The underlying power behind “bondage” and “slavery” is law – the concept of an outside

A controlling force

A controlling force

force compelling you to do something – whatever it is.  To be a slave of sin would therefore mean that sin somehow is a force of law that compels you to behave a certain way.  The compulsion is more subtle than that, however.  A sinful perspective on life directs every thought and attitude – not just isolated sinful acts.

While the average person may not think they are in bondage to anything, the test comes when an alternative is presented.  Do you do the righteous thing and refrain from doing such and so, or does your sense of “freedom” tell you to go ahead and do it anyway?  This is when “freedom” becomes the force that compels you to do something you should not do.

Romans 7:19-20  For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.  Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

Copyright © 2015 John D. Cooper

Coming Next:  The Cadet and the Water Fountain

New Beginnings 2015 – Walking in Eternity

2015  New Beginnings – Walking in Eternity

2 Corinthians 4:16 – 5:2

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

5:1 For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven,


In a New Year, we like to put away the old and look forward to the new.  We usually think of what will be new in our earthly lives, but God wants us to see a new beginning as to how we can walk in his eternal life.  He wants us to “earnestly desire to be clothed with our habitation from heaven.”


Mansion in Heaven

This does not mean waiting for our mansion in the sky – as if it is some tangible thing in heaven that we get to inherit.  The phrase, “a house becomes a home” is about all the house represents and exemplifies.  The memories, the victories, the emotions, the love, the decorations that set the tone.  The same is true for our heavenly home.

Strangers and Pilgrims

Hebrews 11:13-16

13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. 15 And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.


To earnestly desire our habitation from heaven is to desire less out habitation here.  The first requirement is to change our perspective to see with eyes of faith that we have a city prepared for us.  Our job is to transform our earthly lives so that the ways of the heavenly country become our ways on earth.

My grandparents came into this country through Ellis Island from France.  When they set up residence, they made themselves “strangers and pilgrims” as far as France was

Ellis Island

Ellis Island

concerned.  They no longer acted as though they were from there.  They stopped speaking French and doing French things, would not teach them to their kids, and put all their soul into living like Americans.

Press Toward the Goal

This is not to say we should disavow our ancestors, or our good earthly upbringing, but it is an analogy to show that while we are walking on this earth as representatives of Christ, we should do all we can to shun the ways of the world and put on the character qualities of Jesus.  He laid hold of us to live His life through us.  We are to press on to make that happen on a daily basis.

May He give all of us the wisdom and power to do this in this coming year.

Philippians 3:7-14

7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain  to the resurrection from the dead.

 12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus

Copyright © 2015 John D. Cooper