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Awake & Alive to Truth with John Cooper

Foundational Truths   

When John was five years old, he remembers seeing a figure in his bedroom. He raced downstairs to tell his mom and dad. Frustrated that he kept getting out of bed, they told John no one was in his room and to go back to bed. When he returned to his room, he saw the figure again and these words came into his mind, “You need to give your heart to Jesus.” In his bedroom that night John gave his heart to Jesus. His life changed that evening because Jesus became his Savior and his boss. During his teenage years John entered some of the hardest and loneliest years of his life when his mom, the spiritual leader of their family, died after a three-year battle with cancer. John prayed to God and asked Him to take away the hurt and loneliness he felt, but nothing changed. Then one day he asked Jesus if he could know Him in a different way. He asked to know Jesus as his friend. In that moment he felt God became not only his friend but his dad. Through the years, John has grown to understand God more and know Him better which has kept his faith strong while being in the entertainment industry. 

Finding Truth

In 2011, before Skillet had sold 12 million albums, they were on tour as the opening act for some very successful bands. After a show one night, John was approached by a man who was a mover and shaker in the music industry. He recognized how good Skillet was and how they could even become the biggest rock band in the world if John stopped talking about Jesus, stopped playing Christian shows and doing Christian radio interviews. “The Jesus stuff hurts your brand,” said the man. He reminded John how many poor people he could help in the world if he was rich and famous. His lie sounded almost like the truth. John and his wife, Korey, discussed it, but decided that not talking about Jesus was not an option. 

When John called God his boss it was his way of saying he would trust and obey whatever He says. God calls us to obey Him and the truth He gave us through Jesus. Unfortunately, today there is much confusion in the world, “Lies have become truth, truth has become emotion, and emotion has become God and God has become whatever one desires (self-worship, sexual desire, dreams of fame and fortune),” shares John. Twenty years ago, those who did not believe in Christianity would not claim to have their own version of truth. They didn’t believe in the God of the Bible, but held a different truth claim. Sadly, today our society has moved away from a belief in absolute objective truth based on the following philosophies of our culture:

  • Post-Modernism – philosophical stew, a little bit of this, a little dash of that. The belief that reality is nothing more than a conceptual construct. Post modernists believe there is no absolute truth, no absolute morality, and no absolute reality. 
  • Relativism – Although similar to post-modernism the main difference is that according to relativists truth is not absolute, but it can be true for now or truer than something else. Many churches have adopted the relativistic thoughts of the day. For example, some believe morality is subjective. 

When a society shares the truth or has shared goals it will become more united. On the other hand, when a society does not believe in absolute truth or morality people will quickly offend one another. John says, “We live in a culture more concerned with tone than honesty, emotion rather than critical thinking, and empathy rather than truth. I believe truth is revealed by God and God alone. The identity you belong to – the color of your skin, your gender, or your economic status – cannot be a prerequisite for understanding the truth.”

Choose Self or Truth

There are absolute truths in life which can be found in God’s Word. In the modern culture we live it is important not to fall victim to some of the following pitfalls:

  • Emotions - John cautions that emotions can be our biggest obstacle in the search for truth. Since humans are inherently selfish our emotions drive convictions that are not aligned with the truth. John says, “We must put our emotions and feelings under the Lordship of Jesus and the truth of His word.”
  • Love – Much of the chaos and confusion in the world and in the Church is because the world is self-consumed and focused on their own desires. It is important to remember that love is not god, God is love. The modern Church often believes that God’s love must mean that He cannot judge us. For example, God wouldn’t allow anyone to go to hell.
  • Adding/Subtracting – When we manipulate the scriptures to read how we want them to we are not worshipping Him as He is. A true follower of Jesus means accepting Him as He is. When we are elevating a false view of God, we’re not truly loving Him. We are loving an imposter. 

John's Career

John is the lead vocalist, bassist and songwriter/producer for Skillet, one of the best-selling rock bands of the 21st century. The two-time GRAMMY Award-nominated 12x platinum band was recently invited into Pandora’s Billionaire club after garnering 2 billion streams, sold over 12 million albums worldwide, and taken home a Billboard Music Award. Their breakout single Monster remains “one of the most-streamed rock songs of all-time” with 285 million global audio streams. Between selling out arenas on four continents, John has found time to launch his own podcast, Cooper Stuff Podcast. He has also written two graphic novels called Eden and Eden II.

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