Browse > Home / Archive: June 2016

| Subscribe via RSS

To Servants of Jesus in Your 30s & 40s

June 1st, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle

carebaldwin_2016colour“I found this great article from Beth Moore (I found it re-Tweeted by Candace Cameron-Bure) that I can totally relate to as someone in my 30’s who is serving in ministry. Beth calls it the “coming of age” in our calling: the point when we’re doing what we need to do, we’re over-booked and stretched thin doing life-giving work, but we’re not exactly sure how we got here and we sometimes find it tough. Here are her great, encouraging words of wisdom:”

Beth_MooreSpectacular joys come to older ones in the faith as we get to witness the next generation coming of age. By coming of age I don’t mean numerically. There will always be individuals in Christ who hardly grow beyond their salvation and will wonder to the grave why God never came through with that meaningful life they thought they were supposed to receive. But the distractions of the world are enormous, demanding and titillating and, well, the phone and all. That we can be in Christ and immersed in a community of faith but never fulfill our calling is clear from places in Scripture like Colossians 4:17 where Paul told the brothers at Colossae,

And say to Archippus, “See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord.”

No need to exhort somebody to fulfill a ministry if it’s not possible to leave it unfulfilled.

There will always be those who are enormously gifted and hold tremendous potential to impact community and globe for the kingdom of God but, like the unfaithful steward in Matthew 25, will bury what they’ve been given until Jesus returns at which point they’ll hand it back to Him looking pretty much like it did when they got it. They lost interest. But they are not my concern today as I write this article. These words are to those of you who are doing what it takes. Who are in the thing up to your necks. You, who are coming of age in your calling, though God knows that, most of the time, if you’re like me, you’re not even sure how you got there. Oh, you could try to tell someone younger what steps you took. You could write a blog post about it. You could do a very effective Q&A on a panel about it. You could even write a book about it but you know dang well deep in your heart that you really had no earthly idea what you were doing. All you can say at the end of the day is that you kept doing something – the next thing – however awkwardly, and perhaps even embarrassingly as you look back on it, to somehow serve Jesus. And, lo and behold, something finally started working. Not all the time, of course, but often enough to realize you might be onto something. You might be onto your calling. This season of your calling. Your works are producing fruit. You have this sense that you are where you are supposed to be for now.

That’s what I mean by coming of age. Though it’s not about chronological age, it often corresponds enough for most of you to be in your thirties and forties.

Man, it’s a gorgeous thing for your older brothers and sisters to behold. To get to cheer you on cheers me in a way I find ridiculously exhilarating. Right here on the spot I could list one hundred different names off the top of my head of men and women doing the thing. Some of you I get the chance to watch close up. Hands on. You delight me to no end. First and foremost, my daughters. My son-in-law. My spiritual sons and daughters. Others from across the room at church and others by phone and face-to-face as often as possible, like my beloved Priscilla Shirer. Good Lord, how I love her. Others of you on social media, which I love, by the way, and on which I’ve made some connections that really do have an ounce of substance to them. Jefferson Bethke, for instance. So many like him. Men and women. These relationships mean something to me. Their names are in my prayer journal. About eight young women communicators and Bible teachers are on my mind almost every day and jotted down regularly in a square in my prayer journal.

And I get to see you prosper in the Holy Spirit. I get to see your life bear fruit. I get to celebrate what God is doing through you. And I get to squirm, rub my forehead and groan – often audibly – as I watch you awaken to the war. That is why I’m writing today.

You didn’t know it was going to be like this.

You had no idea what you’d stepped into.

You think you must have done something wrong to make it this hard. When you started out, it wasn’t like this.

You haven’t really told anyone. Or not very many. Mainly because you’re too embarrassed.

You have no idea that every other person worth his/her salt in the kingdom of the living Christ is either going to go through their own version of the same thing or they are enduring it that very minute.

And it is hellacious.

The enemy comes for you. Of course, some of you aren’t calling it spiritual warfare yet because that’s what the older generation called it and you want to be cooler than that. You had sort-of become convinced that the devil was not that real. Not that specific. Not that personal. Not that aware. And surely God would not allow him to mess with your kids.

And it’s not just the enemy. Your own vulnerabilities erupt into liabilities. Life’s taking a crowbar to every crack in your armor. You are tempted to things you swore you’d never do. That you judged ________________ for doing. Your past comes calling. If you’re married, your marriage, which you’d boasted about publicly, looks like it could go humiliatingly belly-up. Your kids are going nuts. Or maybe it’s you losing your mind. Half the time, you think you are going crazy. You’re getting criticized. You’re getting a lot of opposition. You daydream sometimes that you quit and moved to a remote island with your family, wore loin cloths and drank milk out of coconuts and swam with dolphins. You night-dream that you hung in there in your calling and it slaughtered you.

You have come of age.

What you’re going through is how it goes. I don’t know why on earth we older ones are not telling you more often and with more volume. Maybe it’s because we don’t want to discourage you but it’s so ridiculous because you’re already discouraged. Or maybe it’s that you won’t listen to us anyway.

But this is my shot at it today. You have come of age. You have come of notice to the devil. At the same time, your very faithful God who loves you has made a covenant through the cross of Christ not only to save you but to conform you to the image of His Son. His obligation out of His wonderful grace is to grow you up. And there is suffering in growing up. Among other things, you are forced to face the deceiver and pretender in your mirror.

I’m here to say to you today that it will not always be this hellacious. Oh, trust me. It will ALWAYS be hard. It will at times be horrific. But this season of eyeball-bulging nobody-ever-said-it would-be-like-this coming of age will not last forever. Mine lasted about seven years. Yours could last one. Or ten. That’s all up to God. Well, and you. Your cooperation is required.

It’s all about whether or not you’ll quit. Or whether or not you’ll get sloppy. Whether or not you’ll hang onto the first things that so drove you in the beginning. Jesus. The Scriptures. Holy passion. Holiness. And not just hang onto them but press further and further and further into them. Or will you slip into the black hole of busy-ness and business, of name-making, marketing, position, notoriety, self-importance, celebrity and Instacrap? Now that you are no longer naïve, what will you do with all of this? Will you fight for a pure heart that the world and your own flesh have so polluted that you think you no longer have what it takes or will you just go with it and figure this is how it happens?

And, in the words of Galatians 3:3, what you’d begun in the Spirit, you’ll just do from now on mostly in the flesh. You’ll  get prayer warriors to pray for you instead of also scrapping it out yourself on the floor, fighting with everything you’ve got in the heavenlies, hacking it through, bloody and bruised, defending the ground God entrusted to you.

You’re at the most critical place in your calling. The place of slaughter. The place where either the devil’s going to all but kill you, your flesh is going to destroy you or God is going to crucify with Christ that ego and fear and, truth-told, laziness and raise you MIGHTY.

Fight it out. Do not quit. If you’ve gotten sloppy, stop it. If you’re messing around in sin, repent. Go back to your face. Get that Bible open and plant your nose in it. Memorize Scripture. Learn how to fast and pray. Quit talking about Jesus more than you actually talk to Him. Quit letting your mouth overshoot your character. Become that person you’ve made fun of for taking it too seriously and being so dramatic about it.

You have what it takes. Do it. And I’m going to tell you something. What it will get you is Jesus. JESUS HIMSELF. Pre-eminent in all things. He is the joy. He is the prize in the fight. He is what makes getting hit by the debris in the hurricane worth it. Jesus Himself. He is everything.

I’m writing you today because I’m so proud of you. You’re out there doing the thing. And I don’t want you to quit.

Pay the price.


Lauren Daigle: Evolution of the Millennial Christian from ‘American Idol’ Days to Billboard No. 1

June 1st, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Artist Spotlight
By Jeannie Law

Centricity Records’ newest female sensation, Lauren Daigle, released the deluxe edition of her hit album How Can It Be on May 6, and the young singer is defending her generation as she quickly becomes one of the hardest working millennials in the Christian music industry.

Daigle recently received her first Grammy nomination for “Best Contemporary Christian Music Album” at the 58th Grammy Awards and has been reigning at the top of the charts. Her album has spent more than five weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Christian Albums chart and debuted in the Top 30 on the Billboard 200. She earned her first No. 1 single spot on Billboard’s Hot Christian Songs chart with “Trust in You” in March.

Now on the Hillsong UNITED Empires tour, Daigle is the fastest selling new artist in Contemporary Christian music in the last decade. Her unique sound and eclectic taste in music has made her who she is today.

ldDeluxe300As a child, her father played a game with her and her siblings called “the dollar game,” in which they would have to listen to classic rock songs and guess the person singing the song to win a dollar. That served as a training method for Daigle and she soon was able to pick up certain nuances in voices, training her ear to understand music differently than most people.

“I grew up in south Louisiana [where] there’s a lot of soul, and blues, and zydeco music that is deeply connected to my heart into my spirit,” Daigle told The Christian Post of her other musical influences in addition to the years of listening to classic rock.

For the making of her record, the Southern belle teamed up with producer Paul Mabury (Brooke Fraser, Hillsong, One Sonic Society) because she wanted to collaborate with someone that understood the type of music that was so dear to her.

Daigle first started her musical journey by auditioning for “American Idol” and since then says she has found true identity.

“When I was at ‘American Idol,’ I loved to do that type of music just because it is what we grew up with, but my appreciation has definitely changed the older I got [by] learning who I was in the midst of ‘American Idol.’ When I auditioned I was 17 years old, that was seven years ago, so it was quite a different stage in life,” she admitted.

While on the hit television show, the chart topper made it to Hollywood and then was sent home right before America had the chance to vote for her but it was then that she claims God got a hold of her.

“The Lord just started speaking to me right then about my identity, ‘Are you going to live on the approval of men or are you going to live by my word?’ I had to learn right in that moment, ‘Okay Lord I know the promises that you have spoken into my heart – I’m going to trust you in this,” she recalled.

Shortly after hearing from God and making a decision to rely on Him, she began leading worship at her church and joined a band at Louisiana State University. It was then she blossomed into the songstress that so many people have grown to love.

“Amazingly enough as I’m learning identity and one door closes, God opens up another one to teach and craft my heart for different sounds and brings out what I truly love,” Daigle gushed.

On How Can It Be the Deluxe Edition, Daigle says that she has many favorite songs but confessed that her current favorite song is “Wordless.”

“I am just watching the way God is moving through that song and the way that He’s moving through the hearts of people, it’s super impacting to me,” she explained. “It brings me to that place of awe and wonder of who God is. I love the vulnerability in the verses, the little subtleties and I love how the chorus is a little bit unexpected.”

At just 24-years-old, Daigle is successful and commented on the view that millennials are part of a selfie/selfish generation.

“I just had a conversation with a couple of friends the other day that this generation is a generation that’s driven,” the “First” singer stated. “It’s interesting to me – the older generation put into us to reach for the top and you see this competitiveness in our generation and some of it is healthy and some of it is unhealthy, but there’s this drive to excel in our generation.”

“Because of technology and the way things have developed there is this idea that we can actually achieve it, that we can go to the top and use our resources and work with what we have,” she continued. “So it is super interesting to me to see our differences, but I would say that this generation is completely driven, it interest me to see the way our perception of drive has changed.”

Daigle noted that in her grandmother’s generation when they wanted milk they had to go out on their farm and milk a cow, but times have changed and people can simply get milk from a store. Convenience and time saving advances in society allow people to focus their drive on something else, mostly “the work place.”

“The shift and the focus has changed and the method has changed. but I would say that there is still drive in our generation,” she said.

Daigle says she’s very excited about the new songs and it’s just an honor for her to have another opportunity to share her ministry with the world.

“I get so full off of stories that people send in of encouragement. When I’m struggling through a season or really tired or feeling overwhelmed, it’s those stories that I go to and I look for. People say, ‘Don’t stop making music it’s transforming our lives.’ The Lord uses the body of Christ to pour right back into me and it’s those stories that impact my heart to keep writing,” she concluded. “I’m super grateful for the outpouring and I hope the deluxe version ministers even greater to all of your hearts.”

For more information on Daigle and her new deluxe release visit

Summer Travel Tips from Our Friends at Lifeway Women

June 1st, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle


Between events across the country, Bible study tapings around the world, and much-needed vacation, the LifeWay Women team is on-the-go all year long. Since many of you are planning summer trips, we want to share our favorite travel secrets before you hit the road (or sky).

Planning Your Trip

  1. I use private browsing when searching for flights to ensure I get the best rate no matter how many times I look online for the same flight. —Larissa Roach
  2. This is an excellent, thorough checklist to use before leaving the country or being away for a while. —Larissa Roach
  3. Take advantage of having friends who live in fun cities—go for a visit! Stay for free and spend time with someone you don’t get to see face-to-face very often. —Elizabeth Hyndman
  4. Make a schedule so the family will know in advance what to expect each day.  This will cut down on a lot of questions and frustrations.  It will also involve your family in the planning. —Terri Atkins
  5. Before booking hotels, check into the local AirBNB scene. On a recent trip to Iceland, my friends and I were able to sleep in adorable houses with scenic vistas for less than the price of a hostel. —Elizabeth Hudson
  6. Plan loosely. Nothing sucks the joy out of a vacation faster than overly structured plans. Be spontaneous—you never know what you’ll stumble upon. —Elizabeth Hudson
  7. Be sure to stop papers and mail or ask a neighbor to gather these for you. —Chris Adams
  8. Leave contact and travel info with someone in your family. It never hurts to prepare for emergencies. —Chris Adams

Packing Your Suitcase

  1. Always make a packing list. It takes all the stress out of packing. Also make a packing list for each child who is old enough. It gives them some control & excitement for the coming trip.  —Terri Atkins
  2. Take with you what makes you comfortable. I used to think I didn’t need all the things I normally use at home. But due to continual travel, I found I do want what helps on the road. One bag stays packed with those things I always take (with duplicate, travel-size versions) for easy packing. Add fresh clothes and shoes and I’m ready to go. —Chris Adams
  3. Because my bag stays packed with duplicate toiletries and makeup, when I run out of something on a trip, I toss the empty container into my dirty clothes bag with my other clothes. That way, when I dump them out at home, I remember to replace that item. —Chris Adams
  4. For a 2 to 3 day trip, I always try to carry my luggage on the plane. This saves lots of time at airports, and you always have what you need. No lost luggage. Since I need a computer bag and my roller bag, I take a small purse that fits into my roller bag so that when I arrive at my destination, I still have a purse. —Chris Adams
  5. After you pack, take a few things out of your suitcase. It sounds funny, but it’s true! I always tend to overpack, and I never end up wearing everything in my suitcase. —Mary Margaret Collingsworth
  6. Use travel-sized bottles and containers for your toiletries. It saves a ton of space and trouble. The Container Store is one of my favorite places to shop for travel goodies. —Mary Margaret Collingsworth
  7. My best discovery was to put lotions, eye cream, face wash, etc. into contact lens cases. It’s the perfect amount for about 5 days and takes up minimal space. —Betsy Langmade
  8. Include an expandable spray bottle in your suitcase.  You can spritz away wrinkles from most fabric in seconds. Just spray, shake, and smooth the fabric. Voila—the wrinkles are gone! You can buy one for under $5 on Amazon. —Betsy Langmade
  9. Forgo the big fluffy beach towel and pack a Turkish beach towel or blanket. It’s the perfect weight and absorbency and won’t take up as much space in your suitcase. —Darilynn Keith
  10. I don’t bother ironing before a trip; I always iron before I wear the outfit while on my trip. Why iron twice? —Tammy Slayton
  11. I wear my bulkiest shoes, put on my heaviest clothing, and layer up on my flight so I have more room in my suitcase.  This also allows me to adjust if I get too cold or too hot on the airplane. —Tammy Slayton
  12. Know what accessories you have to take off at the metal detectors in the airport (like belts and jackets). Just pack them straight into your carry-on bag and put them on after you clear security. —Tammy Slayton
  13. I pretty much always pack a jacket, a pair of jeans, and a swimsuit, no matter my destination or time of year. —Elizabeth Hyndman

Don’t Leave Home Without

  1. I never leave home without my Kindle and an audiobook downloaded to my phone. By using the OverDrive library app, I was able to read or listen to 52 books last year while on the road—all for FREE! —Larissa Roach
  2. Always bring snacks. —Elizabeth Hyndman
  3. Packing high-protein, healthy snacks for international trips has helped me save countless dollars on airport food and quick meals when I’d rather splurge on one big meal a day. Also, saving money on food means I can extend my trip and delay reality just a little bit longer. —Elizabeth Hudson
  4. For airline trips, always have some healthy snacks and water in your bag. You never know what will happen with delays, cancellations, etc. —Betsy Langmade
  5. Headphones—you never know how you might use them. As a parent, they help plug your ears from lots of kid noise or that movie you’ve seen repeatedly on every trip for the last 3 years. You really don’t have to listen to anything. Just close your eyes and everyone in the car thinks you are listening to music or asleep. Note: Don’t do this if you are driving! —Michelle Hicks
  6. Trim your wallet. I like to downsize my wallet to just the essentials. Credit cards, insurance cards, frequent flyer numbers—just the things you’ll really use on the trip. —Betsy Langmade
  7. I never travel without my car mount for my iPhone and car charger. I use my phone for my GPS (Waze is the best app for real time traffic and fastest routes), so having a place to put it while I drive is so much safer than trying to hold it or setting it in my lap—especially in a rental car that’s already unfamiliar. —Darilynn Keith
  8. Keep all of your cell phone accessories readily accessible, you never know when solitaire will drain your battery. External battery power packs are great too. —Tammy Slayton

Enjoying the Journey

  1. Put down your phone and camera on vacation! A waterfall is always more breathtaking through your own eyes than through the lens of your iPhone camera. —Elizabeth Hudson
  2. On a road trip, give everyone in the car 1 hour to play songs from their playlists.  It’s fun to hear everyone’s favorites and sing along. —Betsy Langmade
  3. I always find a Starbuck’s for a pit stop and time to stretch. —Tammy Slayton
  4. Always try to pick a day in the middle of your travels to rest & relax, so often we overbook ourselves and our children while on vacation. —Terri Atkins
  5. On a road trip with family, we call out things we see along the road. Hawk spotting is one of our favorite things. We also stop when we see a farm. We get out and look at the crops along the road and try to identity them. Last year we stopped and picked some cotton. —Leigh Ann Dans
  6. Engage with the locals! Ask them where they would go to have dinner or what their favorite thing is to do in town. You might just make a new Facebook friend in the process. —Larissa Roach

International Travel

  1. Switch out your usual wallet for a larger travel organizer while traveling. It may not be as chic, but you’re not left fumbling for your passport, money, tickets, or even lipstick at any point in the trip. —Elizabeth Hudson
  2. Eat local and weird! Even if it’s not your usual fare, be willing to try a bite of anything at least once. —Elizabeth Hudson
  3. Make multiple copies of your passport and put a copy in each bag you are taking. —Becky Loyd
  4. Always have a set of clothes in your carry on bag. If your luggage gets lost, you never know how long it might be before your luggage finds you again —Becky Loyd
  5. Learn some key phrases in the local language, and try to talk with people. It’s amazing how much you can communicate with just a few simple phrases and vocabulary words. DuoLingo is a great app to help you practice. —Larissa Roach
  6. Download and WhatsApp before traveling internationally. can be used without cell service or WiFi, which is a life saver when navigating abroad whether on foot or by car. I use WhatsApp to communicate internationally. It’s like texting but over WiFi instead of paying for international cell service. —Larissa Roach
  7. Screenshots are your best friend! Take pictures of all confirmation numbers, addresses, metro maps, and anything else you might need to reference on your phone. You can access photos whether or not you have the Internet, plus this helps you blend in (no bulky maps) and avoid being targeted as a tourist. —Larissa Roach

Traveling with Kids

  1. If you are road tripping, bring an atlas. While this is a throwback for those of us with maps on our phones, it’s great for elementary-aged kids. Let them to help you map the trip and learn how to use an atlas. They can highlight the route and you can ask questions, “What city or town is next?” “Are we near any rivers, lakes, or mountains?” If they ask, “How much longer?” encourage them to check the map and see. Whoever guesses closest to the correct answer wins! —Michelle Hicks
  2. Pack a family travel basket. Fill it with a box of tissues, hand sanitizer, stain remover wipes, chapstick, water bottles, scissors, pens, paper, plastic forks, spoons, knives, yarn or string, hair ties, lotion, and other random things. I’m not sure how you will use some of this, but my family always does! —Michelle Hicks
  3. If the kids have any summer reading to accomplish, I download a couple as audiobooks to play in the car. —Leigh Ann Dans
  4. I usually get a new game or two on the iPad and some new travel coloring books/activity books so that the ride will be fun with new things to occupy the littles. —Amy Lowe
  5. Fun travel games to play with the kids on the drive are always handy. —Amy Lowe
    • Pick a color and spot cars that are that color. Whoever gets to 20 first wins!
    • License plate game. See if you can find all 50 license plates (or some other number you think is attainable).
    • I spy is always a good one. We mix it up by saying, “I spy something that starts with the letter __” instead of colors.

Apps You Need

  1. By using the OverDrive library app, I was able to read or listen to 52 books last year while on the road—all for FREE! —Larissa Roach
  2. Tasting Table has lots of city guides to help you find great restaurants in the area. —Larissa Roach
  3. Tripit gives you up-to-the-minute info on your flight, gate, etc., and sometimes before your airline does. —Paige Greene
  4. Gate-Guru has most major airport maps and lists of food options in each terminal. This is so handy for big airports like O’Hare and Atlanta. —Paige Greene
  5. Yelp is handy for finding coffee and restaurants in an area you are unfamiliar with. Put in the category “new American” for new and different yummy cuisine. —Paige Greene
  6. Waze and Gas Buddy are two great apps for road travel! —Paige Greene
  7. Transit App helps you navigate sometimes confusing subway, train, and bus travel in major metropolitan cities. —Paige Greene
  8. allows you to download maps and use on your phone when you are traveling internationally and don’t have phone service or WiFi. —Paige Greene

Survivalist & TV Star Bear Grylls on How to Make Your Marriage Stronger

June 1st, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Artist Spotlight

Survivalist and TV star Bear Grylls recently wrote what he called “the most difficult” and “most important” column that he’s penned for the UK’s GQ, where he is a regular contributor. And no, it’s not about how to survive in an isolated forest by foraging for slugs. It’s about marriage.

The entire column is worth reading and full of practical advice (like going to counseling, making date nights a priority, communicating well), but he also says that balancing priorities as both a parent and a partner is essential. Especially, not putting our kids before our spouses:
We must prioritize our partners above everything else: even our kids. Couples often think that the kids should always come first, but smart couples know that the best foundation for the family is their relationship. In protecting that, they can then best love their children.

Even though he’s recognized for wild TV exploits, Grylls is also known for being a down to earth guy, who is vocal about this faith. Back in 2010, he explained his own philosophy of Christianity RELEVANT.

I remember having one moment when some really good friends turned their back on me in a really nasty way. And I remember praying a simple prayer up a tree one evening and saying, ‘God, if you’re like I knew you as a kid, would you be that friend again?’ And it was no more complicated than that. And actually the amazing thing is that all God asks is that we sort of open the door and He’ll do the rest. So often we kinda hide behind our yearning for love and acceptance with loads of complicated theological questions, and actually once that’s stripped away what we really are is just somebody who wants to have that relationship with your Father.

RUNNING WILD WITH BEAR GRYLLS -- "Kate Winslet" Episode 204 -- Pictured: (l-r) Bear Grylls, Kate Winslet -- (Photo by: Mark Challender/NBC)

RUNNING WILD WITH BEAR GRYLLS — “Kate Winslet” Episode 204 — Pictured: (l-r) Bear Grylls, Kate Winslet — (Photo by: Mark Challender/NBC)

Of all the columns I have written for GQ, this is the most difficult. But it’s also the most important. Because if you really want to be happy, your closest relationships have to be good. And there is no relationship more important than your marriage.

Now, I definitely don’t get this stuff right all the time. But I do really want to get it right and I have learnt a lot about what’s smart and what’s not. These are the conclusions I’ve come to.

The vicar who married Shara and me told us that marriage is like making a piece of precious glass. Do it right and you’ll create something beautiful and lasting. But glass, like a marriage, is fragile. They are both very easy to break if you take your eye off the ball.

So how do we take care of this precious and fragile thing? First off, remember that there’s no such thing as a “perfect” partner. Marriage is about finding someone whose values and character you love, and then doing everything you can to affirm, encourage and match them.

Marriages comes with an emotional bank account, and you have to ensure that your investments exceed your withdrawals. Sometimes we have to work late, be away, or we get angry or act selfishly. These are all withdrawals from our emotional bank account.

So how do we make good emotional investments?

The year that Shara and I got married, we enrolled on a marriage course. People thought we were nuts. Surely a marriage course was to help those whose marriages were in trouble? But we figured that if this was the most important thing we were ever going to do, we should do everything we could to stop it breaking in the first place.

A great tip we took away was to plan date nights, once a week if possible. It doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy. Go for a walk in the rain together, or for dinner, or even the cinema or a picnic. We need to put time aside to spend with one another and focus on what brought us together in the first place. Because togetherness is what it’s all about.

bear-grylls_2We must prioritize our partners above everything else: even our kids. Couples often think that the kids should always come first, but smart couples know that the best foundation for the family is their relationship. In protecting that, they can then best love their children.

If we’re to prioritize our partners, it’s important that we also reserve our “best” for them. How many people come back from work in a bad mood, kick the cat, are grumpy with the kids, then put on their best face because they’ve got people coming for dinner? The smart man does it the other way round: if you’re having a terrible day, maybe cancel that dinner and give the best of yourself to your partner. There’s no better investment into your emotional bank account. It shows your partner that they’re number one.

We men are often terrible at communicating. Marriage counsellors are quite clear that the main cause of marriage breakdown is not infidelity or disagreements. It’s lack of communication. When we have concerns, we need to talk about them. Otherwise they fester and grow.

Communication is the cement that binds the bricks of marriage together. Before getting married, you should be open with each other about your attitude to the issues that all families encounter – in-laws, finances, children, schools. And sex, of course. That can be a difficult one for us to discuss, as that road will have its ups and downs for sure. But if you communicate well, sex should get better with age.

The greatest part of communication lies in the art of listening. In this respect, men often make a fundamental mistake (myself included): when we listen, we try to solve, rather than try to understand. Countless times, Shara’s told me she’s annoyed at something and I suggest solutions. But she doesn’t want solutions; she just wants to be listened to and understood. When I finally learned to listen carefully, and to show that I understood her concerns (without always trying to “fix” them), our marriage became much stronger.

At our wedding, we asked our guests for their best marriage advice. We got some gems of replies but the best came from a couple who had been married for 50 years. It was also the simplest: “Never stop holding hands.” That’s what Shara and I have always tried to do, both physically and metaphorically.

Great marriages rarely just happen. And as someone once said to me: If you ever think the grass is greener on the other side of the hill… it’s time to start watering your own.

Listen to New Music from Skillet

June 1st, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Artist Spotlight


New York, NY—GRAMMY-nominated rockers Skillet will release Unleashed, their new studio album and follow up to their 2013 release Rise, which bowed at #4 on the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart. The 12-track album, a year in the making, is currently available for pre-order via all digital retailers including iTunes and Pre-orders will include an instant download of the debut Active Rock single “Feel Invincible,” a lyric video which can be seen below. Skillet can also be found on Google Play and streaming on Spotify. Beginning Thursday, May 26th, Air 1 Network will be the World Premiere broadcast partner for the album’s debut Christian single “Stars,” while featuring the track in their Spotify playlist.

From the bombastic opening riff of “Feel Invincible” to the memorable closing of the album finale “The Resistance,” it is clear the band has created an album that lets their music speak loudest, while still delivering some of their most personal and heartfelt collections of songs to date. “I wanted to make an album that could make people feel the music,” said Skillet’s John Cooper. “I always aim to write songs to which people can relate, but this time I wanted to see not only how the songs would connect lyrically, but also how they’d connect musically.”

Songs like “Back From The Dead,” “Stars” and “Out Of Hell” showcase the musicianship and songwriting that has garnered the band a rabid worldwide fan base, a platinum selling album and multiple GRAMMY nominations. Comprised of husband and wife John (lead vocals, bass) and Korey Cooper (rhythm guitar, keyboards, programming, backing vocals), Seth Morrison (lead guitar) and Jen Ledger (drums, vocals), the band collaborated with Brian Howes, (Daughtry, Halestorm, Nickelback), as well as, Kevin Churko (Ozzy Osbourne, Disturbed,Five Finger Death Punch), Neal Avron (Twenty One Pilots, Walk The Moon, Fall Out Boy, Linkin Park) and Seth Mosley (Newsboys, TobyMac) to create Unleashed.

Skillet, CCM Magazine - imageThe track listing for Unleashed is:
1) Feel Invincible
2) Back From The Dead
3) Stars
4) I Want To Live
5) Undefeated
6) Famous
7) Lions
8) Out Of Hell
9) Burn It Down
10) Watching For Comets
11) Saviors Of The World
12) The Resistance


No Sandwich Lunches

June 1st, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Family

Only a couple more weeks of lunches left to pack before school is out! Dan Adam’s wife shared this great link to give you some inspiration for these last few weeks. “Some of these dishes and containers really make portioning and packing a lot easier… dare I say fun!  If you suspect you’ll be needing a lunch bag makeover in September, consider looking for sales now instead of at the end of summer when the store’s selection can get low.”

So let’s just say no to the boring old sandwich, and mix things up a bit!

Here is a whole page for you with lunch after lunch after lunch with no sandwiches! These are my favorite kinds of lunches to make. And while you may see some similarities, if you look closely you’ll see that the lunches are never the same twice.

What a Real Man Looks Like

June 1st, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Artist Spotlight

– Bonus Video –