Thirteen people dead. A massacre by any standard. More would die over the following decades. Hate, violence, bitterness, death passed on to generation after generation—the family line devastated by a rare disease, Von Hippel-Lindau. The family tree’s consequences were tumors of the eyes, ears, pancreas, and adrenal glands leading to death and brokenness between lovers, friends, and family. The plague haunting this family came known as ‘Madness Disease.’
What could cause generations of suffering? What hideous act leads to generations of early death and madness? What kind of sinister action could define a family line and produce books, movies, and television series watched worldwide? Hate? Violence? Suffering?
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The view was astounding! Blackcomb Peak (in British Columbia, Canada), and extreme skiers dream. I stood at the precipice of four vertical shutes. I'd never seen anything like it. All I had to do was stand in place and circle around to take one of the shutes. Spending the better part of a day hiking to the top, turning back was not an option. Fear swept through my body. My heartbeat increased speed and pounded in my chest. Altitude was not the cause of my shortened breaths, it was knowing if I fell at any point careening down the mountain, I was dead. But fear had never stopped me before, I lifted my skis and plummeted down, not touching the ground for nearly 15 feet. And yet, many of you listening right now feel more scared of mentoring other couples than I did on Blackcomb Peak. And that's a problem.
As a Marriage Mentor, you want your relationship healthy. Finishing this course and applying the knowledge and skills...
Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. John 14:1
This command is so important to our daily life and fellowship with God, that Jesus gave it twice during His last supper with His Disciples. In addition to His command, this statement gives three revelations about the “heart.” It’s important to realize that when Jesus talks about the heart, he’s not talking about the beating organ beneath our chest. He’s talking about the very core of our nature, the very essence of who we are. Jesus taught us that all of our natural behavior flows out of the heart. Solomon taught the same, and was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:35 NIV).
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How on earth can your selfishness ever contribute to the happiness of other people?
It was an ugly fight. I allowed myself to become flooded and I reacted meanly. But then the Holy Spirit stepped in and reminded me what I needed to do next. The next thing I remember is the wind in my hair, the sun warming my body, a sense of thrilling adventure building in my soul. This activity is one of the best things I do to protect my relationships and to love others when I am feeling flooded, enormously unloved by the actions of others.
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This one time at band camp...wait, the wrong story! It was 1991 and I was on a most excellent adventure...good grief, not that story either! It was 1994 and I was minding my own business on the campus of Baylor University when in the middle of the night my phone rang. One of those classic phones with the extra-long cord attached to the handle somehow impossibly tangled, even though the guy in the commercial clearly told me it was untangle-able.
The voice on the other end of the line was a girl's. This particular girl had won my attention in bible class, and it wasn't her personality! She invited me over to a party at her place, and before she hung up the phone I was knocking on her front door. What happened next will forever haunt me.
This moment is still one of the most embarrassing moments of my life, and I am not easily embarrassed. Her apartment was empty. I gently inquired about the..whereabouts of the party people. She said, "I lied about the...
The most dangerous place to find ourselves is believing, because of our actions, we are on the inside track to an eternity with Jesus. The unfortunate, terrifying truth is we are not if our actions are actually from a sanctimonious, self-satisfying, smug, pious, moralizing, superior, priggish, hypocritical, pharisaic heart. At 18-years-old, God broke me in one night after a profound and miraculous phone call I received in the middle of the night.
As Clark would say from Christmas Vacation, "Amen, hallelujah, holy %$$^&#@!" If this upsets you, or you are thinking, "Well thank the Lord this isn't me!" Or, "How dare Michael to hint at foul language!" Watch out. Jesus cares about you so overwhelmingly, he punched you straight in the face over and over again in the New Testament trying to wake you up to the reality of your heart.
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It was war and a threat to my life, eternal separation from God. It is no easy task to admit. But it is the truth. A destructive sin eating away at my chance of entering through the narrow door. I allowed the wolf to enter without a fight. I was asleep to something greater than defeat. Greater than pain. Greater than all the things easily grabbing my attention. Hurtful reactions from the people I loved most. People attacking my character and accusing me, all of which were lies.
The greatest threat to entering through the narrow door to salvation for me was success. My childhood was easy. My parents loved me and were encouraging. I excelled at athletics and was voted homecoming king and student body president. It was not difficult moments threatening my trust in Jesus. Rejection for standing up against the mob. A speech impediment or catastrophic near-death experiences and injuries. It was unequivocally successful moments distracting me from my savior....
Choice is the backbone of life. Choice gives us power over our circumstances. Choice takes you from despair to joy, from anger to forgiveness, from fear to faith, and on and on and on. It is the fuel powering the life you want most. Fulfillment, purpose, satisfaction, peace, calm, self-control, kindness, love, patience, goodness, and gentleness. We all want these things in our life, what is keeping us from them? Choice.
Today we learn about choosing joy when life is disappointing or hurtful. Welcome
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What are the two most important things in life? No, it is not food and shelter. It is not success at work or money. Obviously. The two most important things in life are to honor God and honor others. Are you are ready to take your marriage to the next level? Once you figure out how to love each other well, you might be fooled into believing you reached the pinnacle and there's nothing left to achieve. You would be wrong. A great marriage is wonderful. Helping other couples experience the kind of love and support you feel is something much bigger than your own marriage.
Helping others is the next step in your journey, and it may well end up being the greatest part of your life together! The next level is discovering how to mentor couples.
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What is the scariest movie, human, animal, or story for you? Me, it is Poltergeist reigning supreme at the top of my list. Perhaps tied with the freaking shark from Jaws, I still struggle swimming in open water when I cannot see the bottom...lakes, oceans, nighttime in pools, are all accompanied by the haunting sound, "da na, da na, da na, da na daaaaaaa"! Yes, the music from Jaws plays loudly in my head swimming in a pool at night. My brother convinced me at a tender age sharks can swim through the pipes of a pool. They hide during the day and hunt unsuspecting children at night.
But even scarier than giant sharks hiding out in a pool is the twisted clown devil, monster, destroyer of worlds from Poltergeist. It is the prolegomenon of my horrifying fear of clowns.
Today is about joy. I bet you did not see this coming! Your relationship can feel scary at times. Are we going to make it? Is...
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