Sunday, July 27, 2014

Hope through Jesus

Good Monday Morning To You!
It is always good to visit with you. It is especially nice when you talk back. From time to time someone writes in with a question. It never ceases to amaze me how many people ask about Johnny and Vic. I received a question this past week where the reader wrote, “I enjoy reading the adventures of Johnny and Vic. My question is, was Johnny and Vic good boys, or bad boys? I hope you answer my letter.

Thank you for your question. Writing about Johnny and Vic allows me revisit the best time of my life. Johnny and Vic were good boys. We spoke respectfully to adults and obeyed the law. We used words like please, thank you, and you’re welcome. We never called an adult by their first name. In our house, you did not simply finish your meal then get up to leave. You said, “May I be excused please?” You then waited until you were told it was alright to leave the table.

Johnny and Vic were normal little boys. We were adventurous, and a bit bold, but were normal boys from the late 50’s and early 60’s. I remember one time we built parachutes out of bed sheets. Johnny had a wall in his back yard, so we planned to jump off. I do not remember how high the wall was, but to eight year olds, it was monstrous. The parachute idea did not work out as we wanted, but that gives you a good idea of what Johnny and Vic were like; just normal, precocious, but good little guys who were the best of friends and who rode their bikes all over town.

Yesterday was a good day at Friendship Harmony. We have been blessed to have visitors coming, and coming regularly. That is an encouraging sign. I concluded the series on “hope.” The notes from last week are enclosed. Yesterday’s notes were simply a wrap up of the preceeding two weeks. The video will be ready by Tuesday morning, so be sure you watch it. I’m proud. This week I was under 10 minutes by 25 seconds. We try to keep them about 10 minutes long. You can see it, or past videos by going to Let us know what you think of our video ministry. Here are the notes from July 20.

Here’s Hope: Jesus©
Romans 5:1-8
Hope Series 2 of 2 By Victor Cooper

Intro: Today from Romans chapter 5 we learn that Paul had much to say about hope.

I. Hope is an end result. expectation v 3,4
A. Experience --- the ability to endure
B. Patience --- constancy
C. Tribulation --- pressure
Pressure worketh constancy; constancy, the ability to endure; enduring, expectation.

II. Hope indicates grace v5.
A. …maketh not ashamed… disappointed
Romans 5:5 (NLT) And this expectation will not disappoint us. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
1. It is God’s gift; ie grace.
(a) Grace: receiving from God that which you do not deserve.
2. Jewish people viewed the Holy Spirit especially as the Spirit who had enabled the prophets to hear and speak for God. In this context, Paul means that the Spirit points to the cross (Romans 5:6-8) and so enables Christians to hear God’s love for them. In many Jewish traditions, the Spirit was available only to those most worthy; here he is bestowed as a gift.
[Bible Background Commrntary]
III. Hope is for sinners v6-8
A. Without strength; the inability to save one’s self; hence the inability to find favor, fellowship, or festivity with God.
1. Festivity is agape.
B. Good man?
1. The Greeks believed a good man was a rare thing, and to die for one was heroic, yet extremely uncommon.
2. To the Jews, dying for someone else was not even praised.

IV. There is hope for believers.
A. As I said in last week’s message, “For a child of God, there is no such thing as “no hope.”
B. Romans 4:18 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations; according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.
1. When there was no hope, Abraham had hope -- God had promised.

Conclusion: Are you in a situation where it seems as if there is no hope? What has God told you? How has He treated you in the past? Remember the words of Pastor Adrienne Rodgers, “Never doubt in the darkness what God has shown you in the dark.”
My wish for you is that you sense the real hope you have in Jesus Christ. If you have no relationship with Jesus, or you are unsure or have questions, please contact me at Have a really good week, and I’ll see you next Monday Morning With Pastor Vic!


Monday, July 14, 2014

Good Monday Morning To You!!

Have you had a good week since we last visited? I hope you have, and I hope this blog finds you in good health. You will notice in my last sentence I used the word hope twice. Later in the blog we will talk about hope. For the time being, I want you to consider which is better: false hope or no hope. As you read on, think on that.

On my past two blogs, I have told you about my childhood in Elmwood Place, and my best friend, Johnny Miller. Someone asked me did I not grow up in Norwood? The answer is I grew up in both. We moved to Elmwood from Carthage (two blocks) in 1959, and moved in June of 1966. These were the best seven years of my life. As I said, we moved to Norwood in 1966, and as of the date of this writing, my brother, Greg, still lives in our house on Hunter Avenue. Dad has been gone since March of 2003, and Mom left us in January of 2013. I lived in that house from June of 1966, until I married in September of 1976. Many of my happiest memories are at that home. However, it wasn’t always so.

Our house on Oak Street in Elmwood was right behind the school. To get to school, all I had to do was jump the fence, which I regularly did. The fence was only three feet tall, so it was quite simple. I started Kindergarten there, and stayed until the end of my sixth grade year. The school was the reason my parents moved to Elmwood. Our house (rented) in Carthage was inside Cincinnati city limits, while Elmwood was not. My parents preferred I be schooled anywhere except Cincinnati Public Schools. From the day I started in Elmwood, I had this unspoken feeling that it was my school. The kids were my friends. I felt comfortable and at home in the Elmwood Place Public School. Then what I had always counted as a blessing turned into a catastrophe. The school took our house. This was the first house my parents ever owned, and I’m sure it was hard for them too.

Dad and Mom were paid a fair price, thanks to Johnny Miller’s Dad, John, who was on the school board. Mr. Miller fought to save our home, but his was the lone vote in our favor. Mom and Dad found a house on Hunter Avenue in Norwood. It was a nice house on a dead end street, with a public park four doors from our house. During the summer there were park leaders who had crafts, movies, and lots of fun things to do. It was a kid’s dream, but I hated every minute of it. I wanted no part of it. I spent as much time as I could inside watching television. I was away from my school, my friends, and my best friend Johnny.

Norwood Public Schools were like Elmwood, in that neither were part of the Cincinnati School system. Norwood had great schools, but the problem was they were not my school. When I entered seventh grade, I felt alone and vulnerable. I was not in my school, I was in “their” school. For the next two years I floundered because I simply could not make the adjustment. To their credit, the Norwood kids did offer me friendship, and I did make friends, but it wasn’t the same. I was miserable! I became withdrawn, moody, and quite surly. In 1968, something happened that would make a profound change in my outlook, and my life.

In September of 1968, I went to Norwood High School. All Norwood kids attended the same High School. Suddenly it was not “my” school, or “their” school; it was “our” school. I fit in again! I was relaxed, happy, contented, and nice again. Norwood High School probably saved me from a life of misery; possibly even delinquency. I had a teacher at Norwood, Mr. J. R. Phillips, who instilled qualities in me that have made me the man I am today. If I could go back in time and re-live any part of my life, it would be my Elmwood days, but I thank God I spent four memorable years at Norwood High School. Believe it or not, back in February, I was able to attend a high school reunion right here in Ft. Myers. What a treat it was!

What a great day we experienced at Friendship Harmony yesterday!! For this time of year, the attendance was good, and it was a pure joy to be at our church. The song service was excellent. We sang some familiar hymns, and it was a treat to hear people singing the different parts. Friendship Harmony might not be the biggest church on the planet, but she sure does have some mighty fine singers.

The morning message was on the topic “hope.” Earlier I asked you which is better, false house or no hope. I conducted a survey on Facebook where I asked that very question. I had eleven people respond, and eight said false hope was better. Before I began this study, I would have answered that same way. I polled the people at church and one third said false hope was better, one third said no hope was better, and one third did not respond. Below are the sermon notes. I think they are pretty much self explanatory, plus on Tuesday morning, you can watch our 10 minute video on this message. I want you to watch the video, but let me let you in on a glorious fact: for a born again child of God, there is no such thing as “no hope.” You will also find that according to Scriptures, false hope “…makes the heart sick." You can find the video at If you feel as if you are trapped in a hopeless, helpless situation, please watch the video. The notes are below, and they too should be most helpful.

Here’s Hope: Jesus
Romans 15:4
Hope series: Part 1 Victor Cooper

Intro: Do you have hope? Do you even know what it is? Which is better, false hope, no hope, or what you define as hope? Do Scriptures speak of hope?

I. My Facebook survey question #!. Which is better false hope, or no hope?
A. Eight of eleven people said false hope was better.
1. Those answering false hope agreed that as My daughter, Amanda Cooper Nooner, said, “False hope is at least motivation to keep going.
2. My high school friend, Steve Brennecke responded, “With false hope, you are still in there fighting, even though it’s hopeless.
B. Three of eleven said no hope is better.
1. Two people simply responded no hope is the better of the two.
2. Bess’s and my friend in Ohio, Linn Ash,
Said, “It depends on the circumstances the hope is applied to.
3. Before I began this study, I would have said
False hope was better because at least you had something.
4. False hope is a lie --- you think you have something, but you are simply ignoring the fact of hopelessness.
5. The Bible says in Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.

Ii. The fact of no hope sounds bleak and debilitating.
A. Thompson’s Chain reference Bible defines no hope as, “state of despair, having no expectation of a favorable outcome.”
B. Jonah felt the full weight of despair and
hopelessness. Jonah 4:8 And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live.
C. For a believer no hope and false hope is swallowed up by hope!

III. My Facebook survey question #2 was, What is hope?
A. Amanda Nooner responded, “Hope is the feeling and belief that things can change. It’s knowing that there is more.”
B. A friend from my high school band days Linda Craycraft Albos, wrote, “A dream of something good. A belief that if you do something right, your hopes will come true.”
C. In the OT, several words are translated hope.
1. A place of refuge
2. Expectation.
3. A cord.
D. In the NT the Greek word is elpis, and means

IV. The world is full of hope, but it is a hope with the potential to fail.
A. Failed hope is worse than false hope or no hope.
1. We have a good team this year. We have the hope of winning it all.
2. I’m desperate, I sure hope these lottery numbers hit.
B. In both examples the potential to succeed or fail is present. The chance of failure is greater.

V. The hope in Christ is totally dependable, without the possibility of failure.
A. Paul said Jesus was his hope. 1 Tim. 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and the Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope.
B. The writer of Hebrews calls our hope an anchor.
Hebrews 6:19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which
Entereth into that within the vail.

Conclusion: Which kind of hope is predominant in your life:
False hope, no hope, or the hope this world
Offers? Do you prefer these, or what Christ

Thanks for reading the blog and for watching the video. My prayer is that they are a blessing to you. Have a good week, and I’ll see you tomorrow on the video, and again next Monday Morning With Pastor Vic.


Monday, July 7, 2014

Precious Sounds From The Past

Good Monday Morning To You!!!

Last week I told you about more of the adventures of Johnny and Vic. I told you about the different smells we experienced and their origin. This week I want to reminisce a bit more as I take you back with me to Elmwood Place located in southwest Ohio. Elmwood Place is a Cincinnati suburb, but is not part of the Cincinnati City limits.

There were three distinct sounds that I remember: the trains, the Carthage Mills whistle, and the nine o’clock siren.

Johnny and I lived next door to each other, and our houses were sandwiched in the middle of two railroads; the C&O a block and a half to the west, and the L&N a block and a half to the east. Our street, Oak Street ran east to west. When we road our bikes to the C&O tracks, at the next block from ours, just past the second house, we were inside Cincinnati. In order to get down to the Mill Creek, we had to cross these tracks. We very rarely played on these tracks. I don’t know why we didn’t, we just didn’t. Maybe it was because we just chose to stay inside our own little village and not to cross into Cincinnati. On either the north, or the west of us, we were about a block from the city.

To the west, about the same distance as the C&O, were the L&N tracks. We did play on these from time to time. I remember one time putting rocks on the tracks to see what would happen. These rocks were small, not much bigger than a marble. That night we heard an awful sound: an L&N train had derailed. I knew I was going to jail! Those rocks had forced that locomotive off the tracks, and I was headed to prison. As much as I feared jail, I feared Howard Cooper even more. I knew that by the time he was finished with me, there would be nothing left to jail. I imagine the same thoughts were running through Johnny’s mind. We decided to keep quiet and only breathed again when we heard that the derailment was caused by a more serious problem, but not our rocks. My dad explained to me that a train’s wheel were made to throw debris off the track. He probably never suspected why I would ask a question about things on tracks.

The train’s sounds were wonderful. At night you could hear the trains roar past, and up at the L&N tracks, the engineer blew his horn when he crossed our street. Back then a train went by nearly every fifteen minutes. For the most part, we were so used to them, we rarely heard them. However, even now in my mind I can hear the horn and the train passing by. I’d love to hear that sound again, but I now live on an island in the Gulf of Mexico, and there are no trains here.

Two other sounds were the Carthage Mills whistle, and the siren located at the fire station. My dad worked at Carthage Mills, so I was always proud of that whistle. Its sound was a low, deep sound that could be heard for miles. The whistle sounded at 7:00am, 8:00am, and 3:30pm. Although its primary purpose was for signaling the beginning of work, and the ending later that day, the people in both Elmwood, and Carthage depended on that whistle. It helped moms know when to get the kids ready for school, and when it was time for them to go home. Years later I would bowl on the Carthage Mills bowling team, and one of our bowlers was John Smallwood. John was the factory’s boiler engineer; the man who so faithfully blew that whistle. That whistle is silent now, and Carthage Mills is gone, but I can still hear it if I really concentrate. It said, “AOOOOOOOOHH! AOOOOOOOOHH!”

The nine o’clock siren was also an unmistakable sound, and one that you’d better not ignore. It had a twofold purpose. The first was to call the volunteer fireman or the life squad people to the station. If it sounded one time, the ambulance was needed. If it sounded multiple times, it was for a fire. Whenever the fire alarm was sounded, we’d run up the street to the station and follow the truck to the fire. Elmwood Place was a small village, so seeing where they went was not too difficult. Even back then, you could see what they were doing, but the police wouldn’t let you get too close.

The second purpose was to signal the nine o’clock curfew. When it sounded it meant kids needed to be at home. You could play out past nine, and we often did, but you needed to be in front of your house. For most moms, it was the “time to go to bed” signal. I honestly do not know if today’s Elmwood citizens get to hear the siren. I doubt it, but I am not sure.

Even though these memories were fifty years ago, I still count them as some of my most precious. What I wouldn’t give to be able to reset the hands of time and go back to those days! Maybe one night soon the LORD will allow me to go back, even if only in a dream.

We had a good service at Friendship Harmony yesterday. What was really encouraging was our visitors. Our church is always so honored when people come. All three visitors have visited before, so I hope they continue to come. Who knows --- one day the LORD might direct them to become members. I hope so.

I’ll not tell you about the morning message, but I will invite you to hear it over the internet. It is at I will say it is about the transfiguration of Christ, and its significance for us today. You do not have to have a Facebook account to see the video. This week’s message is 12 minutes in length. We try to keep them at ten minutes, but I missed my signal and went over. I hope you will enjoy the videos.

Thanks for sharing this time with me. I really appreciate each of you. Stay safe and well, and I’ll see you this Tuesday with the video, and again next Monday Morning With Pastor Vic!!!