All posts tagged: relationships

Are You Experiencing Community as it was Meant to be?

-written by Betsie Richards “Joe’s here.” That’s all the text from my sister said, but that’s all it took to calm my nerves for the moment. My mom’s IV pump wasn’t working correctly and it’s hard not to panic when the medication keeping your Mom’s heart going isn’t getting there. In all honesty, we had minimal training on the home equipment we were given. But I knew who to call, part of my “tribe” if you will. Joe beat me to my parents’ house with two of his kids in tow. He had everything working correctly before I even got there. This was in addition to answering the (likely) thousands of texts I had sent him in the previous six weeks. “Bets, you have good friends.” Mom said this to me repeatedly during her hospital stay. She knew this because they came and sat with us, prayed with us, brought food, rolls of quarters, offered their homes, slipped cash into my hand or purse, sent constant encouragement, and even came to the hospital to visit …

Your Story was Designed for Victory in Jesus!

-written by Matt Clotfelter Nearly 30 years later, I still remember the day like it was yesterday. I remember it was quite warm and it hadn’t rained for days. I remember the taste of the hot peppers and the feeling of the branches against my skin. It was the first time I was ever physically bullied. As a middle schooler, I was quite socially awkward. I was still trying to learn how to mesh with my peers. It had been a difficult few months. It was the end of the school day, and my friends were playing a game I had no desire to be involved in, seeing who could eat the most hot peppers. When they realized I was not going to participate willingly, they decided to ensure I did. Before I knew what was happening, I was being held down and force-fed hot peppers. This was not my idea of a good time. Amidst their laughing, I was able to push myself away and make a dash for my bike. I dove through …

Trust Me, It’s Better to Obey Now

Ok, God, what do you want me to write about for this blog? No… I’m not writing about that. What else you got? When I was fighting God on writing this blog, He reminded me what happened the last time I disobeyed Him. So here we go… The Holy Spirit had been prompting me to have a conversation with a friend, let’s call them Logan. I rationalized it wasn’t my place and I was being overly critical. The thought nagged me, but I continually pushed it away. Eventually I did something I thought Logan would never know about. Turns out they were well aware of it and my actions hurt their feelings. Is God calling you to have a difficult conversation? Take it from me, you don’t want want to ignore the Holy Spirit. Here are 3 things God showed me through this experience and I hope it encourages you to act in obedience. It is your place. Romans 12:5 says, “so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and …

Are You Choosing Love in Your Marriage?

Have you ever been to a wedding where 1 Corinthians 13 was not quoted? Every wedding I’ve attended the preacher or someone giving a toast quoted this scripture with a smile on their face and a desire to see love win for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death. For this love to win, couples must choose to endure all things. Choosing to love with a never-ending persistence can be hard, so keep these three truths in mind. Love, even when it’s not fair or you don’t feel it. There may be times when your commitment is tested. To everything, there is a season and right now you might need to persevere and choose love. Possibly the greatest example in scripture of love enduring all things is found in the story of Hosea and Gomer where Hosea commits to love, even when it’s not fair. Hosea 3:1 says, “Then the LORD said to me, ’Go and love your wife again, even though she commits adultery with another lover. This will illustrate that …

Is Your Love The Enduring Kind?

We recently started our third round of our in house Biblical counseling training called Equipped to Counsel. It is really exciting to spend nearly a year with people looking at how God’s truth changes people. I know His truth has changed me and I’m sure you can speak of how it has changed you, too. One of the things that we try to get across to our trainees is the idea of sacrificial love, or agape love. We’ve been looking at 1 Corinthians 13:7 as part of our sermon series. One of the parts of that verse says, “Love endures all things” (ESV). The NLT says, “endures through every circumstance.” To be honest, I think this is one of the truths hard for people to believe in counseling. On the surface we believe it. “I can endure anything,” we tell ourselves. “I’ve been through childbirth,” or “I survived (fill in the blank).” But real, sacrificial, agape love endures every situation, no matter how hard, or what the consequences may be. When someone comes for counsel …

Is Church More Than Entertainment for You?

Football games, movies, game nights, conferences, concerts, and other events tend to bring us together. We really like to sit back and watch, and it seems like whatever problems plagued us before take a back seat to the entertainment. Sometimes we allow the church to become this. We get up on Sunday mornings, come to a building, and watch “church” happen. We can watch the sermon like we watch Netflix. We review the service on a scale of our own personal preference. But when it’s over, our problems come flooding back and we are rarely changed. If your team wins or loses the big game, you will remember it for a few weeks. If you really enjoy a show on Netflix, you might binge-watch it, cry a few times, and even remember a few quotes—but next month you will have moved on to something else. Likewise, if you watch the church instead of being the church, don’t expect anything to change in your life. If you have been united to Christ through faith, God has …

Are You Moved to Action and Love?

When we think about our church, different pictures probably come to mind. Maybe the time you got baptized in front of our family comes to mind. Maybe you think about Andrew Hicks standing on his toes as he strums his guitar. Maybe you see the faces of those in your small group. Maybe your nose curls a little as you think of the smell of Wunder Way sneaking into the lobby. I hope when you think of the church, you also think of passion, compassion, love, and unity. The Greek word for passion means suffering, an undergoing, an enduring. In light of this definition, think how that impacts the picture of “The Passion of Christ.” It’s odd to think of the church in this way: suffering, enduring pain. You might not be struggling or in pain, but your brother or sister next to you most likely is. Compassion in the Greek means to be moved, to meet. As a church, we are called to love our neighbor, meeting and loving them where they are. Is …

Useful Advice From One Non-Parent to Another

Have you ever wanted to say something to a parent, but questioned how to go about it? Shannon recently reminded us that we belong to each other and have a responsibility to speak into each other’s lives (see Romans 12:4-5). It’s wise to accept biblical advice, but offering it to a parent can be tricky as a non-parent. So I asked a parent how I can give advice and it be received well. Here are 3 useful tips for us non-parents when it comes to talking to parents about parenting their kids. 1. First and foremost, offer support and often. Support can look like providing a meal or doing their laundry so they can focus on playing with their kids. Support is giving them a gift card to an activity they can do as a family. Support is watching the kids for an hour so the parents can have a break. Support is using your words to encourage and pray for them. How can you offer support to the parents in your life? So encourage each …

4 Ways to Improve Your Marriage in the Bedroom

  There have been countless blogs, articles, and books written on the subject of sex, a small portion of which I have even read. But interviewing these couples, there are four principles I think we all need to be reminded of and can start applying today. Start with friendship. These couples laughed a lot together. Like… a lot! Before we even “popped the question” they were goofing around together. The husband would crack a joke and the wife would giggle, often throwing a playful, flirty punch to the shoulder. Some of the couples referenced how they interact throughout the day, using their breaks at work to call each other or meeting for lunch. My intention for asking what they liked to do together was just to get them talking, but I learned a lot from their answers. Even in their busy lives, they made time for each other; their relationship was a priority. What about you? Are you continuing to build a friendship with your spouse? There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life …

Speaking the Truth Within Community

Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. – Ephesians 4:14-16, emphasis added One common issue our counselees express in Biblical counseling is the feeling of being stuck spiritually. These believers usually read their Bibles at least occasionally outside of Sunday morning and spend time in prayer, but still feel as if they are not growing. I have been in that place, and so have many of my friends and family members. Often times, the underlying problem is a lack of biblical …