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Love can be dangerous

Written by Darren Hewer

Do you crave intimacy? Has love betrayed you? Often, our lives begin with a need for love, and our life stories consist of searching for it.

Love can be dangerous. One reason is that it’s volatile. A passionless relationship may not have much excitement, but neither does it have much capacity for failure. When you aim low, for mere companionship, you don’t have far to fall. But searching for love is trickier: When you aim high, and love lets you down, you have much farther to fall.

In this video (part 1 of 2), author Erwin McManus explores some of the ideas found in his book, Soul Cravings. Here he focuses on why it is that our quest for intimacy so often painful, and why it’s so important to continue searching and not give up. We encourage you to watch, and explore our Soul Cravings website if you’re interested in learning more.


>> Click here to watch part 2 of the video

Do you identify with longing for intimacy? Have you experienced disappointment in love, and now wonder if finding real intimacy is even possible? Feel free to contact us by email or comment below if you’d like to share your thoughts.

Go deeper: Explore what this video means to you through our “Soul Cravings” interactive online study series.

Do you crave destiny? (Part 1)

Written by Darren Hewer

Do you crave destiny? Have you experienced failure in the last month? The last week? Today?

Sometimes you know deep down God has something amazing He wants to do in your life … but it still seems elusive. Your life seems to lack destiny … and aimlessness can sometimes lead to apathy and lack of purpose. But you were not made for these things; you were made for hope.

In this video author Erwin McManus explores some of the ideas found in his book, Soul Cravings. Here he focuses on what destiny is all about, and how you have been designed for hope. We encourage you to watch, and explore our Soul Cravings website if you’re interested in learning more.


>> Watch part 2 of this video here

Do you identify with longing for destiny? Have you ever considered that God created you for a purpose, and wants you to discover and live out that purpose? Feel free to contact us by email or comment below if you’d like to share your thoughts.

Do you crave meaning? (Part 1)

Written by Darren Hewer

Everyone has “cravings” … desires and needs that must be fulfilled. We can try to ignore them, deny them by calling them illusions, or fill them with meaningless things, but ultimately that won’t satisfy us.

Maybe these cravings, which can’t be satisfied adequately by any of the things in this world, aren’t there by accident. Maybe they are there to encourage us to look for something even greater. In fact, God has created you for meaning. If you go through life unable to connect the meaning of life to the one who gives life meaning, you will always be in a state of disconnect.

In this video (part 1 of 2), author Erwin McManus explores some of the ideas found in his book, Soul Cravings. Here he focuses on making meaningful things the central part of our lives. We encourage you to watch, and explore our Soul Cravings website if you’re interested in learning more.


Watch part 2 here

Do you identify with longing for meaning in life? Have you felt frustrated as you tried to ignore them, deny them, or fill them with ultimately meaningless things? Feel free to contact us by email or comment below if you’d like to share your thoughts.

Do you crave destiny? (Part 2)

Written by Darren Hewer

Do you crave destiny? Destiny doesn’t mean passively entering into tomorrow, to be a victim of the cruel and unchangeable fate of the universe. Rather, it is becoming actively engaged in the creation of tomorrow, and discovering the purposes you were always meant for.

In this video (this is part 2, watch part 1 here) author Erwin McManus explores some of the ideas found in his book, Soul Cravings. Here he focuses on what destiny is all about, and how God has called you accomplish something bigger than you ever thought possible.

When God gives you a glimpse of the potential he has for you, it can be scary. You may even wonder, is God talking to the right person? Is this really me? I was born for great things? It will take courage to accept this invitation, but courage grounded on a firm foundation.

We encourage you to watch, and explore our Soul Cravings website if you’re interested in learning more.

Do you identify with longing for destiny? Have you ever considered that God created you for a purpose? If you’d like to discuss this video, please contact us by email or comment below if you’d like to share your thoughts.

Do you crave meaning? (Part 2)

Written by Darren Hewer

How do we understand our world? When we experience things, do we base our understanding on ourselves?

If our meaning in life is based on our emotions, this meaning will always change. If our life is going well, life will seem great. If it’s not, it’ll seem terrible. This is why finding real meaning in life requires more than just me. It has to be grounded in something or someone else; and this “something” must be entirely, totally, 100% trustworthy. Otherwise, with nothing to ground us, we’re constantly trying to stand firm in mid-air.

In this video (part 2 of 2, see the first part here), author Erwin McManus explores some of the ideas found in his book, Soul Cravings. Here he focuses on how to have a firm foundation on which to be confident, even when our experience in the world doesn’t seem to make sense. We encourage you to watch, and explore our Soul Cravings website if you’re interested in learning more.


Watch part 1 here.

Do you identify with longing for meaning in life? Have you been searching for a way to feel grounded, only to discover the things of this world are more like shifting sand than solid ground? Feel free to contact us by email if you’d like to share your thoughts.

Love Calls God to You

Written by Darren Hewer

Do you crave intimacy? Has love betrayed you? Often, our lives begin with a need for love, and our life stories consist of searching for it.

Regardless of what you’ve been through, no matter how far you’ve wandered away from God (or how often you’ve shrugged with indifference), love moves God to you. And there’s nothing this world needs more than people who have been changed by love.

In this video (part 2 of 2, watch part 1 here), author Erwin McManus explores some of the ideas found in his book, Soul Cravings. Here he focuses on how and why God loves us, and what it means when we choose to love God back. We encourage you to watch, and explore our Soul Cravings website if you’re interested in learning more.

Do you identify with longing for intimacy? Have you ever considered that God is actively seeking after you, waiting for you to return His love? Feel free to contact us by email or comment below if you’d like to share your thoughts.

Help! My Wife Doesn’t Want Sex part2

Written by Neal Black

Part1:  Help! My Wife Doesn’t Want Sex

There’s a love that can fill the void of a sexless life.

Making the connection

Then there is the difference of what our minds are thinking about. She walks in the room looks at you a certain way and you are thinking, “All right, I know what is on her mind!” Actually you don’t. Guys, we can compartmentalize our thoughts and in an instant switch to the “sex” compartment just by looking at our wife’s body. For women everything is connected, meaning:  that look she gave you might not  even about you. Guys can focus and cut out distractions. Women usually have a more difficult time doing that. Because sex is so high in our thought processes we go there quickly. Women have a myriad of thoughts with sex being a lot lower especially when there are distractions around like kids needing attention, a deadline at work and the realization that there’s no milk in the fridge.

The challenge is that often women feel disconnected and distracted. One of the top reasons women give for not wanting sex is fatigue. As one woman said, “When I arrive home late from a busy day and then deal with my family’s demands the last thing on my mind is sex. I am just too pooped to party.” Plain and simple women are often just too tired.

Your wife desires you but demonstrates it in a very different way than you think it should be. We want sex, she wants to have you take notice of her, listen to her, snuggle with her,  help her with the dishes, and tell her she is beautiful, before her brain makes a transition into thinking sex. Meeting her bonding needs is huge for a woman. Does this mean if you do these things tonight she will be all over you? Doesn’t work that way. It’s not a switch you flip in your wife’s brain but here is the good news:

“We sure work hard to get good sex, and even then there are no promises. But I can promise you this: if you work hard to win your wife’s heart as you once did when she said “I do,” her emotional need for closeness, connection, and love will bring her back into your arms. There your chance of sparking a fire is most promising.”  Secrets of Happily Married Men P. 227  

Growing together

So now what? Tackle the real issues in your way. The obstacles to connecting with your wife have little (if anything) to do with your desirability.  You need to move past your incorrect thinking, “she does not desire me”.  Women are wired differently so most likely you have a connection issue.

Here is what I suggest: take a renewed interest in her and her needs. If you haven’t read the book the Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman do it now and start the fun. I discovered that men are good at observation, even better than women. It has something to do with our ability to focus, so the challenge is to see what works. How does she best like you to express love to her?

I realized that I tried to love my wife the way I liked to receive love so I wrote her really nice cards with well thought-out wording.  Those were OK but I remember it dawning on me that if I cleared out the dishwasher I was really talking her language! I like words of affirmation and she likes acts of service. It has made a major difference in how I express love. I need to make sure I am meeting her need for bonding with me the way she wants it to occur. That means away from the bedroom and not just when I want sex.

Distractions is a big one and we have to realize women need a lot more time to get in the mood. It takes me 30 seconds and I’m sure you can beat that time but your wife is different. I discovered my wife had a huge distraction in that we had no lock on our bedroom door and she thought one on the kids might walk in on having sex. The very next day I put a lock on the door. My wife still calls this the fastest home improvement project I ever did! Eliminating distractions isn’t easy or always successful but there is often a lot we CAN do.

Fatigue. This is a no brainer.  What could you do to help more? Each time I do something I don’t really enjoy I usually tell myself (yes I talk to myself) that I am expressing love whether she sees it or not. Encourage her to get the rest she needs.  Your encouragement may help overcome guilt at taking a nap or going to bed early.

By the way when observation doesn’t get you the info you need you can always ask her. It took some time when I asked my wife how I could best express love and what her needs were but over time we have had a much clearer idea of how it works.

One more heads up with taking an interest in your wife, find out what she really enjoys in the bedroom.  Just because you enjoy something does not mean your wife loves it.  Communication is really important.  She is unique and no matter what the books, movies or internet says, you need to discover what she likes. Then become better at it. I know we all think we are hot in bed but there is always room for improvement. Make it a goal that when you are having sex, she enjoys it.

Is porn creating a wall between you? Read “Hardcore Betrayal.”
devo-interact-icon-42x42So, how’s your love life? Do you need to talk? Either contact us privately by filling out this form and one of our mentors will contact you or make a comment about this article below the form.

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What is Advent?

Written by Darren Hewer

adventhouseOne of my fondest childhood memories of the Christmas season is the Advent calendars my brother and I would receive every year. If you’re unfamiliar with this tradition, the particular version my family enjoyed consisted of a nearly flat decorated cardboard box, with tiny doors on it, numbered from 1 to 24 representing the days leading up to Christmas Eve.

Every day we would open one of the cardboard doors and behind each one we’d find a tiny chocolate. Every one of the chocolates was uniquely molded in a Christmas related shape. It was a fun diversion for us as kids as we impatiently awaited the arrival of Christmas day. But it doesn’t tell us much about the actual season of Advent. What is Advent?

The season of Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, somewhere between November 27 and December 3, depending on the year.  Advent is the period leading up to Christmas, which celebrates the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, also known as Jesus Christ. It is unknown when this tradition first began, but this period of waiting is often seen in the Christian tradition as a reminder that the world remains waiting for Jesus’ return.

The traditional color of Advent is purple, the color often associated with royalty, although today blue and red are also used. Modern day celebrations of Advent include  Advent calendars, Advent wreaths, lighting special Advent candles, and a series of themed Sunday messages leading up to Christmas day.

Take the next step:

Was Jesus born on December 25th?
Take a lesson: Discovering Advent
Home Alone for the Holidays – When the most joyous time of year … isn’t.

Do you or your family have Advent traditions? Share them with us in the comments!

Image credit: tollens, used with permission, Creative Commons 2.0 License.

When Christmas doesn’t look like Christmas

Written by Claire Colvin

How do you face the Christmas season when it doesn’t look the way it used to? I’ve been thinking about this a lot this year.  A friend of mine will face his first Christmas in over 20 years without his wife.  Another will celebrate without the child she waited so long for and held so briefly.  They had both had plans for Christmas.  They knew what was coming and now, this year, Christmas doesn’t look like Christmas at all.

Heartbreak and loss, loneliness and disappointment stand out in sharp contrast to the sparkly excitement of Christmas. An article I was reading earlier quoted Kate O’Dwyer Randall, a Chaplin, who said,

“Holidays in our culture are often about families, and families are not always happy institutions.  I think that particularly if you’re facing a death or a divorce, the ’empty chair syndrome’ becomes very real at this time of year.”

The article went on to say that many churches now have “Longest Night” or “Blue Christmas” services.  These services offer a more subdued atmosphere to welcome those who want to acknowledge Christmas, but can’t face the ebullient joy of a well intentioned “Joy to the World!”

Christmas gets all glammed up, but at the heart of it all, it celebrates a very quiet moment.   Christmas began with a little baby in a stable.  It started with two parents who were tired from a long journey and caught off guard that the baby would choose this particular moment to be born.  It wasn’t glamorous, and it wasn’t shiny but it did mark the moment that hope came to the world.  (If you’re rusty on the details, you can read the Christmas story from the book of Luke.)

As I was reading about the Longest Night services, I found this poem by Ann Weems from her book Kneeling in Bethlehem.  Her poem sums it up perfectly:

The Christmas Spirit
Is that hope
Which tenaciously clings
To the hearts of the faithful
And announces
In the face
Of any Herod the world can produce
And all the inn doors slammed in our faces
And all the dark nights of our souls
That with God
All things are possible,
That even now
Unto us
A child is born!
~ Ann Weems

If you would like someone to talk to, we are here waiting to talk and listen. May you continue to cling tenaciously to the hope that we celebrate, even now.

Take the next step:

Read the Christmas story from the book of Luke
How to celebrate when you’re not together
Home alone for the holidays 

Give a Gift to Your Relationship

Written by Doris Douma Born

couplegiftMy early morning jog seemed colder than normal. I felt chilled to the bone, so I stayed in the hot shower a bit longer than usual.  I had almost exhausted the hot water supply when I finally turned off the taps.

Through the curtains my husband handed me a towel.  As I wrapped the fresh white towel around my shivering shoulders, deep warmth wrapped itself all around my thawing frame.  My husband had warmed the towel in the dryer!  I cannot describe how magical it felt.

The warmth of the towel seeped into my skin as my husband’s thoughtfulness saturated my soul.  I felt loved.  What a gift! It was a simple act of kindness that warmed my body and heart.

Now… before you start thinking that this kind of romance naturally occurs within the Born household, can I set the record straight?  This wasn’t my hubby’s own idea.  Nope.  He didn’t come up with this on his own. He got it from a book.  But… who cares? As I enshrouded my body with that warm towel, I didn’t give a hoot where the idea came from.  I was relishing in his implementation of the idea. That was the gift.

Have you got a Christmas gift for your spouse yet?  According to the guy on the radio, if you don’t have your gifts by now… it’s too late.  But I don’t believe him.  Come on, they’ve been playing Christmas music for months already.  The pressure tactics of consumerism are little over the top.

For Christmas this year, my husband and I are giving each other the gift of attending a marriage conference together.  Now, marriage conferences aren’t cheap, so we’ll be saving up for it. But I’m thinking it’ll be more like an investment. One of the greatest gifts you can give your spouse is the desire to learn new ways of saying “I love you” – whether the ideas come from a book, a marriage seminar or from your own creativity.  No matter what stage a marriage is at (and we’ve been through ebbs and flows of our own) there is always hope for a deeper and more meaningful relationship.

So with the warm towel in mind, think about giving a gift that will change your relationship.  Find out new ways to say I love you.  Pick up a marriage book.  Plan to attend a marriage seminar.  Go for coffee with a friend and share some ideas.  Choosing to learn new ways to love your spouse is a life-changing gift. Now that’s a real gift.

Listen to Toby and Lori’s story about their Weekend to Remember

To find out more about:

A Weekend to Remember in Canada

A Weekend to Remember in the USA
Do you have questions about marriage? Come talk to a mentor

Originally posted on dorisdoumaborn.wordpress.com . Used with permission.

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