Join us today for the Saturday Night Special with Ben Cooper author of All Nature Sings...
In this episode Ben Cooper and I talk about his journey through cancer and faith...
In Tonight’s Saturday Night Special I interview Ben Cooper. Ben talks with you about how his cancer journey brought him to write All Nature Sings. Ben also shares why this journey through different animals and the natural world brought him closer to God. Ben also talks with you about his favorite tales from the book.
Join in on the Chat below.
SNS 166: Saturday Night Special - Interview with Ben Cooper author of All Nature Sings
[00:00:00] Scott Maderer: Welcome to tonight, Saturday Night special episode 166.
[00:00:05] Ben Cooper: Hi, I'm Ben Cooper. God has invested in you by providing you with your own unique gifts and talents. I challenge you to invest in yourself and in others to become an influencer that impacts the world with your time, your talent, and your treasures by living out your calling.
[00:00:24] The key is staying connected to. Especially during these challenging times. A great way to be inspired to do that is to listen to the Inspired Stewardship Podcast with my friend Scott Mader.
[00:00:40] Scott Maderer: Here's
[00:00:41] Ben Cooper: one little tidbit of how it's changed. If you go somewhere in a prayer, in a, at a prayer meeting or church or just out in public, and you hear that somebody's been diagnosed with cancer, I immediately have a bond with that person, even though I don't [00:01:00] know.
[00:01:00] Scott Maderer: Welcome and thank you for joining us on the Inspired Stewardship Podcast. If you truly desire to become the person who God wants you to be, then you must learn to use your time, your talent, and your treasures for your true calling. In the Inspired Stewardship Podcast, you will learn to invest in yourself, invest in others, and develop your I.
[00:01:23] So that you can impact the world.
[00:01:27] And tonight's Saturday Night special, I interview Ben Cooper. Ben talks with you about how his cancer journey brought him to write all nature sings. Ben also shares why this journey through the different animals in the natural world brought him closer to God. And Ben also talks with you about his favorite tales from the book.
[00:01:46] Now, one area that a lot of folks need. Some help with is around the area of productivity. Getting not just more things done, but actually getting the right things done [00:02:00] can be really tough. I've got a course called Productivity for Your Passion that's designed to help you do this and then to hold you accountable and walk with you so that you can tailor productivity, not just to be getting more.
[00:02:18] But actually getting the right things done. What's more, we take the approach of looking at your personality and how you actually look at things in the world and tailor the productivity system to your personality. Because the truth is, a lot of the systems that are out there are written really well for somebody with a particular personality type.
[00:02:38] But if you have a different approach to things, they just don't work. But there's tools and techniques and approaches that you can take that will work for anyone, and we help you do that and productivity for your passion. Check it out firstname.lastname@example.org slash launch. Ben grew up on a small family [00:03:00] farm in Western Pennsylvania where he was active in four H.
[00:03:03] He received his bachelor's degree in agricultural science from Penn State University in 1984, focusing on plant and animal science. He did a four month agricultural internship at Heffer International Livestock Ranch in Arkansas is part of his college experience and was a member of the Penn State Livestock Judging.
[00:03:21] Ben went on to work for 32 years for the Maryland Department of Agriculture as an agricultural resource conservation specialist as an avid beekeeper. He teaches beekeeping courses at Allegheny College of Maryland and mentors others. He graduated from the Cornerstone Bible Institute in 1996 and has been on multiple short-term mission trips to the Caribbean Islands of St.
[00:03:42] Lucia and St. Kits. Ben helps lead a week long family camp. Juman Bill where he is attended for over 50 years. Ben wrote this book, All Nature sings, in part as an answer to his faith in God being tested as a double cancer survivor. Welcome to the show [00:04:00] Ben.
[00:04:00] Ben Cooper: Thanks for having me, Scott. Absolutely.
[00:04:03] Scott Maderer: So Ben, you've had a little bit of a journey as we talked about in the intro with some cancer diagnosis, and then you've also written this book on all nature Sings the Animals in the Bible.
[00:04:17] Can you talk a little bit about how the intersection between your cancer journey and actually writing this
[00:04:24] Scott Maderer: came about?
[00:04:26] Ben Cooper: The, I guess the, in chronological order it would be that I felt like I wanted to write this book, and that was came to me about the mid 1990s and I jotted down some things.
[00:04:40] I'm one of those, I had a pastor tell me once that he really appreciated that I take good notes and I had to confess to him that sometimes my mind was going into another direction and I'm taking notes for. Things that I might use later down the road. And but I do take notes regularly on [00:05:00] Sundays, but I had all these clips and pieces of paper and notes to write this book, but never got around to it.
[00:05:08] Life with five kids young kids. And then actually my youngest was born the last day of the year, and. In December 31st, and then less than two months later, I was given a cancer diagnosis. And so that just stops everything that you had planned and wanted to do everything, and it just consumes you. Once you get a cancer diagnosis, you're consumed with a lot of things.
[00:05:37] And of course you want, you worry about whether you're gonna make it. And so that was the first cancer that I had. And then quite a few, 14 years later, I got a second diagnosis and that's when I chose to basically have a a pity party for myself for a couple days, and I [00:06:00] decided to get back to what God had called me to do to write a book.
[00:06:04] So that's how those two came together. When did you actually start writing it? Actually in the 1990s, I wrote a couple things a couple of the segments, but then just put it on the shelf. I'm one of those
[00:06:17] Scott Maderer: persons. When did you seriously start writing it? Let me ask it that way, three,
[00:06:21] Ben Cooper: three days after my second cancer diagnosis.
[00:06:26] Scott Maderer: what year was that? Is my question?
[00:06:28] Ben Cooper: That would've been in November, 2016. Okay. And I used it as, as therapy to focus my mind and my thoughts because God gives us all kinds of things to do. He gives us talents, he gives us all kinds of things. But whenever something big like cancer comes as a brick wall to you, you just kinda stop.
[00:06:55] And I already gone through that once and. [00:07:00] Just didn't feel comfortable of having to wait four months for my cancer surgery. And I knew that I wouldn't be able to handle that without being worried obsessed and trying to figure out, is this cancer growing? Is it getting faster, bigger? And I wanted out on my body, so I had to do something positive to, to redirect my own thought.
[00:07:26] And so that book came in and it allowed me to be able, I was still working at the time it was limited but I, middle of the night of kind of thing, pick up a pen and paper and write. And that's what I was getting to is because you'd had your first cancer diagnosis, but you didn't really start writing.
[00:07:49] Scott Maderer: Too seriously, It was the second one that actually kicked it in. What was different between the first and the second you think?
[00:07:55] Ben Cooper: Anytime a doctor says you have cancer, that just gives you. [00:08:00] You freeze and you go numb, and then you become a sponge. You bring, you wanna get all the information about what caused this cancer, why do I have it?
[00:08:09] All these questions flow to you and there's nobody that can answer them really well. And then you have the cancer surgery you go through, in my case. The treatments that were follow up and then that life that you had on hold. Gets busy real quick again, and then you shoot towards the goal of a five year cancer free.
[00:08:33] That's usually the main target. And so once I got that, I was back to my normal self after five years with some side effects because of the surgery, and I got back into the same life routine. It was that second, Whoa, wait a minute, cancer again. Moment that I took it as. God reminding me that I'm to write a book.
[00:08:59] Gotcha. [00:09:00] Okay,
[00:09:01] Scott Maderer: so speaking of that, cuz you've mentioned your faith a few times in here. How did the diagnosis and the act of writing the book how did that, how was it affected by your faith and how did it affect your faith journey?
[00:09:15] Ben Cooper: And I have to look at that at two different segments because of the first cancer.
[00:09:19] So overwhelmingly blessed, I was the therapy that I used in the second cancer was writing. The therapy I used in my first cancer was, and it sounds odd, Scott, but I was thankful that I had cancer. People say how can you say that? I had a young teenage girl say, Why aren't you shaking your fist at God and angry at him?
[00:09:44] And I said I'm thankful that it wasn't my wife or any of my five children. That was my therapy. I also used humor in it as well. I like humor and I played around with it and people say [00:10:00] this is a serious surgery. And I said, Yeah, but I have to handle it how I can.
[00:10:05] And I looked at it as not why me? Why not? And why would, or what would I change? Any parent that would have to see a kid go through cancer would obviously, if they were worth a grain assault at all, they would say I'd gladly change places. And so that was my therapy in First Cancer, second cancer.
[00:10:29] I had this mentality thinking again maybe I did my share, I did my time with First Cancer. And then maybe somebody else. And then I stop myself in, almost in mid-sentence, why would I ever wish cancer on anybody else? And God tells us we're to love. It's easy to love our family our friends, but we're to love our enemies as well.
[00:10:53] Depending on who
[00:10:54] Scott Maderer: your family friends are, , sometimes
[00:10:56] Ben Cooper: they, sometimes they are. I'm saying sometimes they are your enemies, . But we're to, we're called to [00:11:00] love our enemies as well. And there's you. People on Death Road that have cancer. There's two year old children that die of cancer and there's somebody that hates me or my Christian faith, or my fact that I'm an American, but I would not wish that on anybody because it is ugly.
[00:11:20] It is just it's just nasty and it's a nasty disease, non-discriminatory that My faith brought me through that first cancer at the time of surgery it was 10 and a half hours on the table surgery, including brain surgery and sinus surgery, eye surgery. And I had 12 people fasting and praying for me that day.
[00:11:46] Some of them I knew, some of them I did not know. I had people praying. Throughout the world for me and got messages back afterwards. And that was an amazing thing. And God allowed me to be [00:12:00] blessed by other people.
[00:12:01] Scott Maderer: And so do you think it deepened your relationship with God or you, Do you think it, it was, it didn't change it at all,
[00:12:09] Ben Cooper: or you can't go through cancer and not be changed some way positive or negatively, but.
[00:12:17] Here's one little tidbit of how it's changed. If you go somewhere in a prayer, in a, at a prayer meeting or church or just out in public, and you hear that somebody's been diagnosed with cancer I immediately. Have a bond with that person, even though I don't know them, and I can pray for them, I can encourage them if I know them and just maybe even if it's somebody that lives close by, I can call 'em up, talk to 'em and say, Hey, I've been through this twice and is there anything that I can help you with?
[00:12:50] And it's deep in my relationship with. Not just with God, but with people as well. And it's allowed me to [00:13:00] build that affinity with them. Absolutely.
[00:13:05] Scott Maderer: So let's talk a little bit about the book a again, the book is called All Nature Sings and it's about animals in the Bible. Why did you write this book?
[00:13:16] Who were you writing it for and why? Animals? Tell us a little bit about how you got there
[00:13:24] Ben Cooper: originally. My wife homeschooled all five of our kids. They're adults now. And what a great thing to do. We had it for not just because of the religious reason. It was the distance to the school.
[00:13:39] My, my kids that would be kindergartens would ride the bus with uh, with the senior. and that age gap would probably have given them a vocabulary that probably was quickly learned that I would not be excited about. But they were the first kids that would've been picked up on the bus and the last ones [00:14:00] de delivered home.
[00:14:01] So three hours unsupervised. Every day they would be on a bus. And we just decided we don't want to do that. And my wife agreed to, to raise them. And I wanted to write this book as a scientific book, but also that dovetails with scripture and through the experience of a lot of the animals that I worked with and had exposure to.
[00:14:25] And so that, Goal back in the nineties when the kids were young, it didn't happen until almost all of them were out of high school and my wife,
[00:14:34] Scott Maderer: Your kids missed out on the book .
[00:14:35] Ben Cooper: They actually did not because two of my kids did. The, did Some of the graphic sketches that are in. So they were included.
[00:14:45] And the good thing Scott, is someday we might have grandchildren and my grandchildren might be able to experience that if they're homeschooled or even if they're not. But I just wanted to going to a land grant college, getting [00:15:00] a degree in agriculture, growing up on a farm. I've just always been in my work involved around animals all the time and.
[00:15:08] Had exposure to some, quite a few different animals as well. And so it just become part of me and I never really saw a book that did a devotion with a lot of the animals that are found in the Bible.
[00:15:23] Scott Maderer: Okay. So when you were researching the book did you have a favorite animal story or favorite animal that you researched?
[00:15:31] Ben Cooper: Each one in its own is a favorite. But I was impressed with the fact that the one that I like is the example of the black bear. That the scripture were were called to train up our children in the ways of the Lord. And a female black bear or a sow will keep her young up to a year and a half.
[00:15:57] and she makes sure that [00:16:00] those babies that were, those cubs that were born the previous year learn how to make it through their first winter on their own as a one year old, and then they cut them loose. And what the opposite. I write about a nat that it's almost a na, are almost born pregnant and they're dead within a few weeks.
[00:16:20] There's no training, there's no anything. But seriously looking at the black bear of how long a whole year and almost a half the females last longer with mom than the males. The males get kicked out earlier after they're about a year, about 16 months old. And the females the young get out after about 18 months.
[00:16:42] But just fascinating as you'll research that and realize how. Sometimes points to scriptures that they need that training, how to get through and survive that first winter without starving to death. They need to get fat and that's probably one of my favorite. [00:17:00] Any that surprised
[00:17:01] Scott Maderer: you?
[00:17:01] Anything that you stumbled across that you were like, Okay, didn't expect that one to come? ?
[00:17:06] Ben Cooper: If you've looked at the book. The giraffe is in there. That was my surprise Animal. You will not find the giraffe in a bible in a book called that the subtitle is a Devotional Guide to Animals in the Bible and giraffe is in there.
[00:17:24] And that was a surprise. I didn't plan on putting that in there. And it's there because we don't have to just look at the animals in the Bible. The title tells us all, Nature sings God's praise. We're coming into understanding so much more and more as we get deeper in our science, but as science gets deeper, we, those that are believers, Realize that that doesn't take God by surprise what we just found out.
[00:17:56] And we've, God knew it all along, [00:18:00] so I added giraffe in there so that we can look at all aspects of nature. One's passage in scripture says for Palm Sunday that if the people didn't shout hallelu, that the rocks would cry out, or the Psalms talk about the trees would clap their hands.
[00:18:19] And God is all about nature. And even though the Bible's not a scientific book, All the scientific, all the things that are written in there are scientifically true. And just trying to pull science in the Bible together in a platform that came out in a devotional book is what that goal was.
[00:18:41] And so giraffe surprised me.
[00:18:45] Scott Maderer: I've always thought that giraffe proves that God has a sense of humor. If you've ever watched a baby giraffe being born Yeah. That kind of proves it because yeah, first thing that happens to a baby giraffe is they're dropped about four and a half, five feet onto their head.
[00:18:56] So buts actually beneficial to 'em. That's what. [00:19:00] Yeah. It's a
[00:19:00] Ben Cooper: moving and then they're kicked around and bed butted because they have to learn to get up real quick, real fast and learn how to run before they nurse, because there's lines and hyenas and other predators that are waiting for that young little draft to be
[00:19:17] Scott Maderer: born.
[00:19:17] Yeah. There's hyenas off to one side sharpening their knives and forks going. It's dinner time. . Yeah. So before I move on to a few questions that I like to ask every guest, is there anything else you'd like to share either about your book or your journey that maybe we didn't touch on?
[00:19:34] Ben Cooper: The interesting. Part, this was really the first book I've ever written. And you think the journey begins when you start writing and it doesn't the journey really truly begins when the publication comes out and then you get comments back from people. I love getting comments back from people.
[00:19:57] Especially people, some of them have [00:20:00] invited me to come speak at their church. God has blessed beyond. The book is in on Amazon in several different countries. And when you hear back from somebody from another country that impact When God calls you to do something, you feel something.
[00:20:17] We tend to, that's outside of my box, but what I really appreciate is the blessings are exponentially seen over and over When you finish a task that God has called you to do and people start responding and you build that connection with somebody else. .
[00:20:37] Scott Maderer: So the first question that I like to ask all of my guests is this one my brand has inspired stewardship and I run things through that lens of what stewardship is, but it's also one of those words that I've discovered, whether I'm talking to believers or non-believers, it means different things to different people.
[00:20:56] So for you, what does the word stewardship mean and what has its [00:21:00] impact been on your life?
[00:21:01] Ben Cooper: There's so many different facets that I could go into that I worked 32 years for a soil conservation office. And stewardship is making use, making wise use, like conservation, making wise use of what.
[00:21:19] Is available to you. And so I worked with farmers and landowners primarily with their soil and what they can do with that. But it can be in our own gifts and talents, stewardships as well, that whatever God has, God given you a great singing voice or a talent that, that you should be using rather than hoarding up and holding for yourself.
[00:21:41] I know so many people that have probably written a lot of letters that they never. And that's not stewardship. Stewardship is sharing that and expanding that, I think with the people and the world around us.
[00:21:56] Scott Maderer: So what has that understanding, what has that impact been on your
[00:21:59] Ben Cooper: life? [00:22:00] The more you become vulnerable, the more I think you become validated.
[00:22:06] If that makes. You put yourself out there at risk, I think of Moses saying, Hey, I can't talk. I don't have the gift of speaking. But then you use what God has given you your voice, your talents and God has allowed me to do that. I never saw myself writing children's books. And this first book has turned into now writing more and more.
[00:22:30] The reward. For people that do good work is more good work to do. That to me is what stewardship is keeping on and paying things forward.
[00:22:45] Scott Maderer: So this is my favorite question. Though I've been told by some of my guests that it's their least favorite question, . If I invented this magic machine and I could pluck you out of the chair where you set today and transport you into the future, maybe a hundred to [00:23:00] 150 years, and through the power of this machine, you were able to look back on your whole life and see all of the ripples and all of the connections and all of the impacts you've left behind, what impact do you hope you've left behind on the
[00:23:13] Ben Cooper: world?
[00:23:13] If that magical machine. Me to the future and allowed me to be able to see what my legacy of living my life, not just through the books that I write, but the way that I live my life. If that's passed down through my children and potentially grandchildren, then that is what I would consider success in.
[00:23:36] Being here on planet Earth during my timeline, it's not so much whether I got awards or accolades, it's that I've taught somebody the best way to live their life today. So what's coming next
[00:23:51] Scott Maderer: for Ben as you continue on this journey? What's on the roadmap?
[00:23:55] Ben Cooper: Soon to come out of? Is my [00:24:00] devotions that are part of guidepost.
[00:24:01] There's two different imprint, imprint imprints with guidepost and they reach a lot of people. And of course Scott, you wouldn't be surprised that they deal with animals. One deals with animals, one deals with plants. That's been my life. But God's dropped that in my lap in a unique way that I'm now part of the guidepost team.
[00:24:23] And 2023 will be able to see. Come forward and I continue to write some children's books as.
[00:24:30] You can find out
[00:24:31] Scott Maderer: more about Ben or his book by joining his Facebook group at Ben Cooper. Arthur slash speaker. Hi. His book is also available at Amazon, as he mentioned, and all other great book sellers. Of course, I'll have links to all of that over in my show notes as well. Ben, is there anything else you'd like to share with the lister?
[00:24:50] Ben Cooper: just encourage you to listen to whatever you think you're being called to do. Whatever your stewardship is. You might not [00:25:00] think that you might be able to do it, but pursue it and watch how that plays out. And I tell people when they asked me how are you doing, especially after being a double cancer survivor.
[00:25:13] Automatic in response is I'm living a dream and I'm not wanting to leave any stone unturned. I'm just wanting to basically be all in and live in the best life now.
[00:25:25] Scott Maderer: Thanks so much for listening to the Inspired Stewardship Podcast. As a subscriber and listener, we challenge you to not just sit back and passively. But act on what you've heard and find a way to live your calling. If you enjoyed this episode please do us a favor. Go over to inspired stewardship.com/itunes.
[00:25:52] Rate all one word. iTunes rate. It'll take you through how to leave a [00:26:00] rating and review, and how to make sure you're subscribed to the podcast so that you can get every episode as it comes out in your feed. Until next time, invest your time, your talent, and your treasures. Develop your influence and impact the world.
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If you go somewhere like at a prayer meeting and you hear that someone has been diagnosed with cancer, I immediately have a bond with that person even though I don’t know them. – Ben Cooper
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