Article: Enjoying the Gift of Sex in Your Marriage

When my husband and I moved to Dallas five years ago, we joined a church that stressed the importance of living in authentic community. We plugged into a small group that consisted of couples who’d been married 1-3 years. Our mentor couple paved the way for us to be open and accountable in all areas of our marriage, including the often-taboo topic of sex.

One evening around the table in confidentiality

Head on over to StartMarriageRight.com to read my latest article on enjoying the gift of sex in marriage.

 

 

 

Are you a trader?

SGT_LogoThe term “trader” has infused where I work for quite a while. In 2000, my boss Brian Mosley founded the RightNow Campaign to help 20s and 30s connect to opportunities here and abroad to put their faith into action. The mission of RightNow is simple: To help our generation trade in the pursuit of the American Dream for a world that desperately needs Christ.

Every year, we put on the Rightnow Conference and it’s coming up in less than two weeks. This year’s theme is The Mission of the Church Matters. The line up includes pastors and authors Donald Miller, Francis Chan, Mark Batterson, Kay Warren, Matt Chandler, George Barna, and more.

I’ll be working at the conference, scribbling away on my note pad to prepare to write the curriculum for our upcoming RightNow Leadership Kit we’re producing. I absolutely cannot wait to soak in what these guys have to say.

Bluefish TV, the RightNow conference, and our new site SmallGroupTrader.com all stand under the umbrella of the RightNow Campaign’s mission of trading in the pursuit of the American Dream. Every thing we produce is to help others put their faith into action.

So that’s a little background info you may or may not have wanted! Now that leads me to expound a little more on Small Group Trader.

Our name was originally called Small Group Exchange but we decided to narrow our focus more to the idea of being a trader because Small groups aren’t an end to themselves- we’re calling small groups to battle against the “me-centered” way of thinking (that we all struggle with at times) by trading it in for the the missional call of Jesus – to care for the homeless, minister to the sick, and share Christ’s love with our neighbors.

I’m super excited about this change as it gives us a more clarified mission to strive for as a ministry, calling others to live out Jesus’ command. A nice home, car, clothes, savings account, etc. are good things that God wants me to enjoy, but it’s the pursuit and striving for them that I have to question. I have to constantly ask myself: Am I living for the dream or pursuing what really matters for eternity?

As the Content Editor for Small Group Trader, I can’t wait to see where this site goes and how small groups across the country will be impacted by this mission. If you’re a small group leader, small groups or community pastor, have thoughts you want to share on leadership, or have been impacted at all by being in a small group, let me know.

Step out and share your story. Be an encouragement to others who are trying to fulfill God’s mission for their lives.

You can email me at editor [at] smallgrouptrader [dot] [com]

How are you being a trader with your time, talents, and treasures? Are you willing to give up the pursuit of the American Dream for a world that desperately needs Christ?

Don’t Be Afraid

FearlessHB_LThe economy, global warming, finances, job losses, health care, swine flu… Behind these issues often comes the word FEAR. A lot of us are living lives in fear and can’t seem to tackle it. I’ve definitely had fears and struggles when it comes to those things.

But God has been showing me more of his love lately and it’s been casting shadows on the fears I’ve had inside. When I go to his word, I’m strengthened because he addresses my very fears (amazing how He knows them all) and gives me such indescribable love and peace.

1 John 4:18 says it beautifully: There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

I love how John says that perfect love drives out fear. If we live lives constantly overwhelmed by fear, we’ll never have the life God wants for us. We’ll never experience the depths of his love. Our goal is to be made perfect in love, and not fear. The way to do this is to cast our cares, worries, and concerns upon Him. To literally throw them on him. And he will take care of our burdens for us.

A few months back, I had the opportunity to meet mega bestselling author and master storyteller, Max Lucado. I absolutely loved meeting him and talking with him for a little bit. He just had this great peace about him. You just wanted to be around him. He barely answered the questions I had for him. He just wanted to know more about me and my family and what I did.

My work was interviewing him for some small group training videos to help leaders across the country. We asked him some questions about fear, keeping in mind he was writing a book called Fearless. Max’s clip has been edited and you can check it out here at SmallGroupExchange.com.

If fear is something you really struggle with, in addition to finding all you will ever need in God’s word, be sure to pre-order Max’s book to get another glimpse on the topic of fear.

Get out Your Gifts

tightropeWhat would be the one thing you would do if you knew you wouldn’t fail? I was challenged with this question in college and for some reason I was reminded about it yesterday.

I think this question ties in with the gifts God has given us and how we choose to use them. So maybe it would better read, “What gifts that God has given you would you use, if you knew you wouldn’t fail?”

I’ve seen different gifts really shine in my community  group for example. There are five of us girls including me.

Ashley T.- She works as an Admin. Asst. for Josh McDowell and she’s gifted in administrative work. Yet she also has another side of her that explodes with creativity. She loves photography and has an eye for capturing life and beauty. She’s humble when she relates to people and easily makes friends.

Jen- is highly hospitable- she brightens days with home-made desserts and dishes. She put on a home-made spa night for us once with edible (yes!) spa treatments. She’s gifted in organization and at performing tasks. She works as a children’s nurse and has a heart for kids. She’s truly one of a kind.

Julia- You would never guess by meeting her that she makes six figures! She’s a Physician’s Assistant who spends a lot of solitude time in serious heart surgeries, yet she’s bubbly and loves meeting people. She’s an amazing artist, painter, and is skilled in crafts. She has a way of putting “life” into people with her contagious joy.

Ashley C.- She’s our world traveler as a flight-attendant for Southwest Airlines. She frequents Italy and other amazing places around the world. With the resources God has given her, she’s blessed our group with a free Time Share together, gifts from her travels, and free plane tickets. Ashley has the sweetest heart and is just plain fun to be around.

I’m so humbled to see my friend’s gifts at work and how they’re  being used for God’s glory. So my question to you and that I’m asking myself is, How are you using your gifts now to further God’s kingdom and what gift would you start using if you knew you wouldn’t fail?

Time with Max Lucado, Randy Alcorn, Andy Crouch, and more

cast-1On Friday, I’ve been given the opportunity to assist in interviewing Max Lucado, Randy Alcorn, Alex and Brett Harris, Andy Crouch, Sue Edwards, and Dawn Herzog Jewell at the Christian book expo here in Dallas. We’re shooting the interviews in a private room which makes it all the more exciting. The day will probably be crazy and really fast paced but I hope to interject some good questions and take some pictures. We’ll be asking questions specifically related to who they are, what they’re doing, and how it relates to small groups and twenty and thirty-somethings.

Max Lucado and Randy Alcorn specifically have impacted me through their writing when I was in high school. I was given Lucado’s book Just Like Jesus from a friend and it radically changed my view towards what it means to look like Christ. He is a master-storyteller. In college, Alcorn’s fiction book The Ishbane Conspiracy, couldn’t be put down by mom, sister, or I. It reminded me a lot about the C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters in that Satan is real and will do anything he can to destroy us even in the tiniest every day things.

The Harris boys are doing great things in their ministry with their blog TheRebelution.com and their book Do Hard Things is influencing teens and young adults everywhere. I am so proud of them.

As for Andy Crouch, Sue Edwards, and Dawn Herzog Jewell, I look forward to learning even more about them.

SmallGroupExchange.com: The Place for Small Group lovers

PrintIt’s hard to believe it’s been a year since Scott (our Director of Operations) and I got on the phones and started calling small group pastors and leaders across the country to see how they might contribute to SmallGroupExchange.com.

I like to say that SmallGroupExchange.com is the place for small group lovers. It’s our desire for small group leaders, pastors, volunteers, and more to exchange their ideas about small groups and to share from their own wisdom and experience. My role in the site is communicating with all the contributors and collecting their articles and editing them. I love my role because I too, am passionate about the life-change that occurs within the small group setting.

I was immediately plugged into a small group of 6 women at Liberty as a freshman on the dorms. My leader, Kristie, had a tremendous impact in my life (still today). Her love and devotion to our group made me want to become a leader. So I did the next year and the next. Jeremiah and I were leaders earlier in our marriage. And today, we’re involved in one focused on young married couples. Our leaders John and Pam mentor us and take us through key issues in marriage like communication, finances, sex, past/present baggage, and more. We just love getting together with them. I think all of us in our group can say our marriages are stronger because of the haven it provides to reveal life struggles and the accountability to help overcome them.

If your church presently does not have a small group model, I would encourage you to be the catalyst to help usher them in. If you have them, are a leader, or interested in becoming one, please check out our site’s plethora of free video training, resources, reviews, and articles. You’ll also find that this is an unbiased resource so we have quite a variety when it comes to the teachers, authors, and writers you’ll see.

You can also become a fan on facebook.

Community for the Soul

walk_with_flowersYesterday our best friends, Jay and Julia came over for a surprise visit. They brought John a Valentine’s gift- two really cute t-shirts for his little body. Julia and I catched up on life and the guys talked about finances and you know, guy stuff. Our relationship with them is so wonderful because we both get along so well as a couple and separately: me and Julia and Jeremiah and Jay. Through them and our community group at Watermark, we’ve learned so much about authentic community.

Being in real community where struggles are revealed, sin issues, hurts, habits, hang-ups and the like is a real rarity in our culture today and especially in the church. We’ve become more isolated. I think the Baptist church I went to as a teen meant well, but there were some issues when it came to being honest. I don’t remember feeling the freedom as a teen to share my problems for fear of rejection. That kind of fear is a tragedy in the church because real healing comes from being real and not pretending to have it all together.

What I also love about authentic community is that friendships are taken to a deeper level and accountability becomes a must. The meaning of unconditional love really becomes reality as well. No matter where you’ve been or what you’ve done, you’re loved regardless and you’re spurred on by someone else who really cares.

When Jay and Julia left, Julia texted me and said “So good to see you. Those visits are SO good for the soul.” I couldn’t agree more.

So how has being in community been good for your soul?

For Small Group Leaders and Pastors

 Are you currently leading a small group or community group at your church? Or are you the Community Groups Pastor? If you’d like to take a part in a huge project that will impact leaders across the nation, feel free to comment and I will contact you and give more details about how you can contribute to what is going on at Bluefish TV.

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