Monday, November 30, 2009

What Matters at Fifty?

Character Qualities and Attitudes that Matter Most in a Life Partner
Bethany -

Youthful beauty lasts only a short while.  The strength of a young man fades with age.  Yet the strength and beauty drawn from the wellspring of God's life will last a lifetime.  Therefore, we should be looking for strength and beauty coming from the heart.  Look at character, look for things that last.  This is true beauty.

Then when looking for qualities in a future spouse, try asking yourself......'How will they look at 50?'

Jenna -

There was so much encouragement in this chapter, I don't even know where to begin. However, I was most encouraged about TRUE beauty. Beauty on the outside is pretty, but means nothing - it is the inward beauty that I as a young lady, need to focus on and cultivate a heart of compassion and love for others. I think that the quote below goes for guy's as well...when my future husband is 50, I want to be even more in love with his heart than I am at 25 or 30. What truly matters at fifty? For me it is that my husband's heart is ever drawing closer to Jesus Christ, that he is still the strong, spiritual leader in our home....and that he loves my wrinkles, right?!

"One of these days, and this is the moment for which I'm hoping and praying, I'm going to meet a girl, and when I imagine her at fifty she'll be even more beautiful than she is today. They years won't detract; they'll only sharpen and mature her. Because with a woman who fears God, whose inner strength draws from the wellspring of His life, time can only add to her true beauty."

Josh -

Many times we get caught up in the moment and we look at the outward appearance, but do we even think about the future? Do we look for things that last? What is truly important?

"Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the Lord shall be praised." Proverbs 31:30

"We're too easily impressed by image; God wants us to value qualities that will last. Wisely choosing a marriage partner requires that we get back to the persons essentials of a person's character and attitude." pg. 176

What about you?  What is going to matter to you at fifty?

God's blessings to you all,
Bethany, Josh and Jenna

***Go to the top right side bar to see the new book that we're going to go through on Beyond The Cover. We're almost finished with IKDG and will be starting with the next book shortly after that!!***

***Also, please take a moment to vote on the polls on our side bar. We need to hear from you!***

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Ready for the Sack but Not for the Sacrifice

How to Have a Biblical and Realistic Vision of Marriage


Many times we get caught up in the moment and we look at the outward appearance, but do we even think about the future? Do we look for things that last? What is truly important?

"Charm is decitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the Lord shall be praised." Proverbs 31:30

"We're too easily impressed by image; God wants us to value qualities that will last. Wisely choosing a marriage partner requires that we get back to the persons essentials of a person's character and attitude." pg. 176


In this chapter, I was blessed especially by the quote below; encouraging us to cultivate qualities and disciplines for marriage. To be very honest with you, I day dream about the day that I'm married...making dinner for my husband, keeping the house clean for him, and serving him at his side. But am I cultivating qualities and disciplines for when I am married, or am I wasting my preparation time dreaming??

"In our daydreams about marriage, we too often forget what a drastic course of action marriage really is. We read the captivating headlines but neglect to read the exacting fine print. What does the fine print say? That good marriages require work, patience, self-disciplines, sacrifice, and submission. That successful marriages take "guts and maturity" and, we should add, a biblical undedrstanding of God's purpose and plan for it. Only when we cultivate these qualities and disciplines can we carry out our responsibilities and experience true joy and fulfillment in marriage." Pg. 172

You and I can work on patience, self-discipline, sacrifice and submission right now, if we're married or not. Are you ready to work at it?!


Marriage is a big word. It is not an act to be taken lightly. Sure, we all love weddings that are beautiful and romantic, but really, what is marriage? It is a sanctified union between a man and woman that should never end unless in case of death.
Noting this, it doesn't sound like we should exactly take it lightly. In our single years, we should be preparing ourselves for marriage so that we will be prepared to take on the real life of such a union.
How about you? Do you find yourself concentrating on one aspect of marriage to the exclusion of all others? Or can you maintain the big picture and prepare yourself for all that marriage will be??

In Christ,
Josh, Bethany and Jenna

***Go to the top right side bar to see the new book that we're going to go through on Beyond The Cover. We're almost finished with IKDG and will be starting with the next book shortly after that!!***

***Also, please take a moment to vote on the polls on our side bar. We need to hear from you!***

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Redeeming the Time...

~Making the most of your Singleness~

Bethany -

So we don't date.....and we get to be 18,19,20, etc. What are we supposed to do, sit around doing nothing till that "special someone" comes into your life? NO WAY! We have a huge responsibility to help other and opportunity to serve God and learn so as to be prepared for the future.

Mr. Harris gave a list of things that we can currently work on in our single life:

1. Practice intimacy (build family/friend relationships)

2. Practice seeking God with others

3. Practice financial responsibility.

4. Practice parenthood (on siblings or other little ones around you!)

5. Practice practical life skills (shopping, cooking, laundry, etc.)

"When we focus on "redeeming the time," we'll not only make the most of each moment, we'll also prepare ourselves for the next season of our lives. Our faithfulness in small things today earns us the right to handle bigger responsibilities down the road."

Jenna -

"We cannot ignore our current responsibilities and expect to magically gain the strength of character and virtue that will make us good husbands and wives. If we aren't faithful and growing in the relationships we have now, we won't be prepared to pursue faithfulness and growth in marriage later." Pg. 157

Things don't happen magically...even if we want them too. Like Mr. Josh Harris said, we need to practice our skills and train for the future! For me, I can train for a future relationship by honoring my dad, serving my brothers, helping my mom with life skills, and interacting/teaching my sisters...

Are you fulfilling the responsibilities that God gave you right now?

Josh -

" Marriage won't transform us into new people, it will only act as a mirror, showing what we already are. We have to practice now what we want to be in the future." pg. 158
Well many of us are impatient to find a spouse, and waste time pining away or wondering: "Where is that person God?", there are many things that we can do redeem the time and prepare for the day that God will bring the two together.
Problems and bad habits do not disappear over night, and likewise, neither do good habits and positive character traits spring up over night. We can (and should) spend our single years preparing for marriage.
What are you doing to redeem the time and prepare for marriage?
Bethany, Jenna and Josh

Monday, November 23, 2009

Guard Your Heart

Jenna -
"You and I are the Keepers of Our Hearts. We need to constantly evaluate the purity of our hearts in prayer, asking God to reveal the little things that contaminate us. As God reveals our wrong attitudes, longings, and desires, we must remove them from our hearts." Pg 143
The little things that contaminate me may be so small that I don't realize or admit them. I am so thankful that by asking God, He lovingly points my weaknesses out to me, and by HIS grace I remove them. This goes for more than romantic can be applied to anything in my life and yours!
Josh -
" God is righteously jealous for our hearts; After all, He created us and redeemed us. He wants us to focus our thoughts, longings, and desires on him. He lovingly blessed us with human relationships, but He first calls us to find our heart's delight in Him." pg.144 
 God should be our first love. If we are distracted from God through the influence of things such as dating, relationships and other fleshly desires, something needs to change. These "pollutants" should go! They should be eliminated from our hearts so we can find total focus on God.
Bethany - 

"The job of guarding our hearts is a big responsibility.  It takes place in the secret places of devotion.  In honest prayer and meditation in god's Word, we scrape the film of infatuation, lust and self-pity for our hearts.  ....the work is never done."

It can be easy to be like Jessica and get sucked into the desire to have a boyfriend/girlfriend because of peer pressure, personal desires or maybe because you've "fallen in love".  We can't let ourselves go that easily, we need to focus on God.  He is the one who has promised to never leave you nor forsake you and will stick closer than a brother....and He never breaks His promises...unlike many "romantic relationships".  Keep close to Him that truly loves you. 

Please share your thoughts!  Your comments mean the world to us.  :)

~Bethany, Josh and Jenna~

Friday, November 20, 2009

Just Friends In a Just-Do-It World


Friendships. It can be hard to keep them pure without any hint of any romance included. They can be such a blessing though, so work on those friendships. I have several non-romantic relationships that you could call girl/guy friendships with me being the "girl" party. They are all such a blessing to me.

"Being just friends with members of the opposite sex doesn't happen by accident. We have to fight for a guard our friendships. Like magnets, men and women are designed to attract each other, But until we're ready to be "stuck for life", we need to avoid premature intimacy. How do we do that? By respecting the limitations of guy-girl friendships and relating to other within the framework given by God's Word." Pg. 132


"God wants us to neither run from each other [the opposite gender] nor use each other in an indulgent pursuit of short term romance. He's calling us to be firmly committed to biblical friendships. In brother-sister relationships, men and women spur each other on to godliness - they stand against wickedness together, they seek God together, they honor one another and grow in grace side by side." Pg 131

"What's our relationship to each other? We're brothers and sisters in Christ. How do we treat each other? With honor. And what's the secret to our zeal? Service - side by side for God's glory. Guided by this attitude, being "just friends" can be just plain awesome." Pg. 136

Being just friends is plain awesome...this chapter helped me remember how important it is to have "just friends" and what a blessing we can be to each other, encouraging one another in the Word of God, our daily walks, and maintaining our purity! Now I am asking myself if I treat my brothers in Christ with honor? Am I serving side by side for GOD'S glory? And am I encouraging my friends?? I feel like I have alot to work on in the "just friends" relationships. I often let my brother do the talking to the "guy friends" and I just listen:) But this chapter reminds me that it's okay to talk with brothers in Christ and to encourage and honor them and serve along with them, because we are Just Friends learning and striving to walk on the Straight and Narrow Path.


" I do believe that guys and girls can have life-enriching, non-romantic relationships. In fact, it's important that we do." pg. 128

" Brothers and sisters look out for each other. They comfort each other. They find ways to serve each other. And at times they have to gently challenge and rebuke each other in love. It's all part of genuine care." pg. 130

I completely agree that guys and girls can have very uplifting and encouraging relationships without being romantic. Only, I think it's important that we really understand the second quote, and love the opposite sex like brothers and sisters in Christ. Without a proper understanding of pure, Christ-like love for the opposite sex, it can be dangerous and a great opportunity to stumble.

In Christ Alone,
Josh, Jenna, and Bethany

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Starting With a Clean Slate

Building a Godly Lifestyle isn't as easy as it sounds...
Here are the 5 steps that Josh Harris suggests to buiding a Godly Lifestyle:

1. Start With a Clean Slate
2. Make Your Parents Your Teammates
3. Estabish Clear Guidelines
4. Check to See Who's Whispering In Your Ear (Influences, who and what you listen to/watch etc.)
5. Season Your Conviction With Humility

Of course, none of the above can truly transform to your life until you ask Jesus to help you. Only HE can wipe our slates clean. Talk with your parents, be honest and open with them...they have much wisdom to share with us! Make sure that your guidlines are very clear, and hold on to your convictions!! Be careful who your friends are and how they influence you, what you listen to, watch and meditate on...this helps form your convictions. You want them to be strong and focused on God. Last but not least, make sure that you're not proud of your convictions, but humble!

A relationship that is focused on Jesus Christ is one that will prosper.

"When the time comes to share why you don't date, what should you say? Whatever words you use, remember that the goal of your communication is not winning a debate or convincing your hearers of your view. If your friends agree, great! But your main goal is to humbly communicate what you feel God has shown you, to encourage your friends, and to contribute to their growth."

"Be humble and honest about how you're trying to be obedient. If you maintain this humble spirit, you'll often find your listener wiling to share his or her own struggles and questions." Pg. 119

It seems like I get the question more and more often - "Do you have a boyfriend" or "Why don't you date?". The quote above helps me to share my thoughts humbly and's not always easy to communicate that you want to save your whole self for your future husband/wife. Somebody asked my brother Josh last week if he wasn't going to get married because he wasn't dating? Their mindset was that you have to date in order to know someone and then possibly get married. Josh tried to explain a little, and then he let the subject slide...he wasn't trying to win and argument, but instead humbly explain what the Lord has taught him~


I think there is a really good point that Mr. Harris makes in this chapter. When you are breaking up an ungodly relationship, don't forget to apologize. This is so important, and will set a wonderful example to individual in the relationship and to others around you.

"Whether you're haven't to break up to refocus a relationship, approach the other person humbly, stressing your desire to please God. If you've wronged that person, confess your guilt and ask for forgiveness. Don't rationalize or make excuses. Just apologize." Pg. 114


As far as starting with a clean slate, I really appreciated the story of Emily and how she wasn't actually convicted of her sin, but rather, didn't like the consequences of losing her virginity, or having guys break up with her. It is important to be truly sorry and broken over something you've done, come to the foot of the cross and ask Jesus to forgive you and make you clean. If you only wish you didn't have the consequences that come from bad desisions, you will never truly change, but instead, resort to old habits...

"Worldly sorrow is self-centered and leads to shame, but not to change. Godly sorrow recognizes sin as an offense against God, turns to Christ for forgiveness, and leads to a transformed life. This is what it means to truly 'clean the slate' and start afresh." Pg. 113

Monday, November 16, 2009

"A Cleansed Past: The Room. How Jesus can Redeem your Past."

Today we just copied the whole chapter since it was quite short and has some wonderful stuff in it.  :) 

"In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in the room. There were no distinguishing features save for the one wall covered with small index-card files. They were like the ones in libraries that list titles by author or subject in alphabetical order. But these files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly endlessly in either direction, had very different headings. As I drew near the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one that read "Girls I Have Liked." I opened itr and began flipping through the cards. I quickly shut it, shocked to realize that I recognized the names written on each one. And then without being told, I knew exactly where I was. This lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalog system for my life. Here were written the actions of my every moment, big and small, in a detail my memory couldn't match. A sense of wonder and curiosity, coupled with horror, stirred within me as I began randomly opening files and exploring their contents. Some brought joy and sweet memories; others a sense of shame and regret so intense that I would look over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching. A file named "Friends" was next to one marked "Friends I Have Betrayed." The titles ranged from the mundane to the outright weird: "Books I Have Read," "Lies I have Told," "Comfort I Have Given,'' "Jokes I Have Laughted At." Some were almost hilarious in their exactness: "Things I've Yelled at My Brothers." Others I couldn't laugh at: "THings I Have Done in Anger," "Things I Have Muttered under My Breath at My Parents." I never ceased to be suprised by the contents. Often there were many more cards than I expected. Sometimes there were fewer than I hoped. I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the life I had lived. Could it be possible that I had the time in my twenty years to write each of these thousands, possibly millions, of cards? But each card confirmed this truth. Each was written in my own handwriting. Each signed with my signature. When I pulled out the file marked "Songs I Have Listened To," I realized the files grew to contain their contents. The cards were packed tightly, and yet after two or three yards, I hadn't found the end of the file. I shut it, shamed, not so much by the quality of music, but more by the vast amount of time I knew that file represented. When I cam to a file marked "Lustful Thoughts," I felt a chill run through my body. I pulled the file out only an inch, not willing to test its size, and drew out a card. I shuddered at its detailed contents. I felt sick to think that such a moment had been recorded. Suddenly I felt an almost animal rage. One thought dominated my mind: "No one must ever see these cards! No one must ever see this room! I have to destroy them!" In an insane frenzy I yanked the file out. Its size didn't matter now. I had to empty it and burn the cards. But as I took the file at one end and began pounding it on the floor, I could not dislodge a single card. I became desperate and pulled out a card, only to find it as strong as steel when I tried to tear it. Defeated and utterly helpless, I returned the file to its slot. Leaning my forehead against the wall, I let out a long, slef-pitying sigh. And then I saw it. The title bore "People I Have Shared the Gospel With." The handle was brighter than those around it, newer, almost unused. I pulled on its handle and a small box not more than three inches long fell into my hands. I could count the cards it contained on one hand. And then the tears came. I began to weep. Sobs so deep that the hurt in my my stomach shook through me. I fell on my knees and cried. I cried out in shame, from the overwhelming shame of it all. The rows of file shelves swirled in my tear-filled eyes. No one must ever, ever know of this room. I must lock it up and hide the key. But then as I pushed away the tears, I saw Him. No, please, not Him. Not here. Oh, anyone but Jesus.
I watched helplessly as He began to open the files and read the cards. I couldn't bear to watch His response. And in the moments I could bring myself to look at His face, I saw a sorrow deeper than my own. He seemed to intuitively go to the worst boxes. Why did He have to read every one? Finally He turned and looked at me from across the room. He looked at me with pity in His eyes. But this was a pity that didn't anger me. I dropped my head, covered my face with my hands, and began to cry again. HE walked over and put His arm around me. He could have said so many things. But He didn't say a word. He just cried with me. Then He got up and walked back to the wall of files. Starting at one end of the room, He took out a file and, one by one, began to sign His name over mine on each card. "No!" I shouted, rushing to Him. All I could find to say was "No, no," as I pulled the card from Him. His name shouldn't be on those cards. But there it was, written in red so rich, so dark, so alive. The name of Jesus covered mine. It was written with His blood. He gently took the card back. He smiled a sad smile and continued to sign the cards. I don't think I'll ever understand how He did it so quickly, but the next instant it seemed I heard Him close the last file and walk back to my side. He placed His hand on my shoulder and said, "It is finished." I stood up, and He led me out of the room. There was no lock on its door. There were still cards to be written." Pg. 104-106 By Josh Harris.

"Here is what's important to understand" It is only by repenting of our sins and putting our faith in Christ that this substitution can take place. We each have a "room" containing all our sinful deeds and thoughts. But just because we admit this or feel bad about it doesn't mean we're forgiven. Remorse can't save anyone. Only faith in Christ can. Only trust in His death and resurrection for us." Is Jesus name on your cards? God has promised to remember your sins no more (Hebrews 8:12), so move one! " A lifetime of Purity awaits you!"

God's blessings,
~Bethany, Josh and Jenna~

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Direction Of Purity

This chapter is completely full of thoughts about the subject of purity. And while I was reading it I was thinking to myself: "How on earth am I supposed to choose just one quote?". There is so much in here! This morning Bethany suggested, because it's very explanatory, that we all just pull out some quotes that spoke to us....


"True purity, however, is a direction, a persistent, determined pursuit of righteousness. This direction starts in the heart, and we express it in a lifestyle that flees opportunities for compromise." pg. 88

So many people say: "Oh, yeah, I'm a virgin." but really what they mean is: " I just haven't went all the way and had sex ". Purity is often relative. But, the quote above sums up true purity. (sorry, I just wanted to comment on that quote quickly!)

"One of the best ways to maintain a pure life is to watch out for the purity of others. What can you do to protect your brothers and sisters in the Lord form Impurity? What can you say to encourage them to keep their hearts set in the direction of righteousness?"p97

"If we truly seek to live pure lives, we can't allow ourselves to detour from the pursuit of righteousness for even a second." p.88

"If we truly want to pursue purity, then we need to point ourselves in God's direction. We cannot simultaneously explore the boundaries of purity and purse pursue righteousness-they point us in opposite directions. True purity flees as fast and as far as it can from sin and compromise."p.91

"If we desire purity, we have to fight for it. This means adjusting our attitudes and changing our lifestyles." p.92

"We can only attain righteousness by doing two things - destroying sin in its' embryonic stage and fleeing temptation." p.93

" If we want to lead pure lives, then we must realize that purity does not happen by accident. Rather, we must constantly pursue the direction of purity." pg. 91

"Respect for the institution of marriage should motivate us to protect it from violation while we're single." pg.94
As a side note: We should be protecting ourselves both physically and emotionally.

"Purity requires obedience to God. But this obedience is not burdensome or over bearing. We have only to consider the alternatives to impurity to see the beauty of walking in God's will." pg.100

" Do you see the beauty and power and protection of purity? Do you want all this? Are you ready to deny yourself the pleasures of the moment to live a pure, God focused life?" pg. 101

Remember to respect the deep significance of physical intimacy, to set your standards too high, and to make the purity of others a priority.

Would you like to share a quote(s) that spoke to you? Leave them in a comment

Blessings to you all,
Josh, Jenna and Bethany

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I Kissed Dating Goodbye; The Right Thing at the Wrong Time is the Wrong Thing


So has Joshua Harris been saying that Dating is wrong? I don't think so. Not if it is a committed, true love based relationship....and if it comes at the right time. Today, dating begins way too early in life. When my then 5 year old foster brother came home on the first day of school, one of the first things he says...."I've got a girlfriend". Kindergarten, and they are already using that term. Sure, at that age they aren't really "dating", but it makes them begin to think about it and prepares them for "the real thing" later on. The paragraph I am quoting, (I thought), was very thought provoking.

"Our "do it all now" mentality has tremendously affected the timing of today's dating relationships. Kids involve themselves in dating and even sexual relationships at an increasingly young age. As young people rusy prematurely into these adults activities, most of their elders to little to correct them. After all, what can adults say when they live by the same "grab it all now" attitude?"


The last 2 paragraphs in this chapter really stuck out to me today.

"Do you believe that God knows best? Then place your life's calendar at His feet and allow Him to handle the scheduling of your relationships. Trust Him even if it means not dating when other people think you should. When God knows you're ready for the responsibility of commitment, He'll reveal the right person under the right circumstances.
"For I know the plans I have for you," God says, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11"
Let's live our today's for His kingdom and entrust our tomorrows to His providence.
We couldn't lay our futures in better hands. All we have to do is trust."

Yes, I believe that God knows best and I also believe that HE has my life all planned out for me in a most wonderful way that I could never imagine...trusting HIM with timing is hard, but HIS plan is perfect and the best way for us. Imagine for a moment that you were impatient and rushed a relationship that wasn't God's will for awful. Let's all trust God and His plan! Let's remember to live today for His kingdom and leave the tomorrows to Him!!


"God has a perfect plan for your life. More than likely, that plan includes marriage, if so, somewhere in this world God has the perfect plan for you. You may or may not know this person right now. If you spend all your time and energy trying to hunt this person down or (if you have already found this person) trying to contain him or her until you can marry, you might actually do that person a disservice." Pg. 79

It is true! God HAS a plan for all of our lives. We need to trust that He will, in His timing, reveal it to us. Also, if we spend all our time dreaming about Prince Charming(girls) or our Princess(guys), first, are we trusting God to bring things together, or are we discontent with where God has us at the moment? Second, When we fill our head with longings for a future lover, we become sidetracked from serving God and trusting in Him to guide us.

What were you blessed by out of this chapter?

Monday, November 9, 2009

I Kissed Dating Goodbye; Looking up "Love" in God's Dictionary

Looking up "Love" in God's Dictionary

The world's definition of love:

Love is primarily for the fulfillment and comfort of self........and is primarily a feeling.

God's definition of love:

Love is not for the fulfillment of self, but for the good of others and the glory of God......and true love is not measured or governed by feeling.


In the beginning of this chapter, we see two very different couples, Jeff & Gloria and Eric and Leslie. They exhibit two very different kinds of "love", one selfish and sensual, the other committed, sincere, selfless and responsible. Today's society is telling us that 'love' is sexual, but how many couples do we see breaking up constantly? I personally have always admired the approach Leslie and Eric took. I personally know a couple who did something similar, a "hands-off courtship". I was only 10 at their wedding, but I can still feel the joy when they clasped hands for the first time. Every time I've seen them since.....they are still holding hands and are still deeply in love. They are committed, sincere, selfless and responsible. I quote the closing statement of this chapter....

"If dating causes us to practice selfish, feeling-governed love, that's contrary to God's love, we must kiss dating goodbye. We must stop trying to fit God's ideas into what the lifestyles society has defined for us and allow His values and attitudes to redefine the way we live."

"The love we practice in dating not only shows the world Christ's love; it also prepares us for our future relationships. As we relate to others today, we form patterns that we'll take with us into our marriages. For this reason, we must practice not only sincere love but also commitment-based love." Pg 71

I was encouraged to set my commitment of Purity and Love to a high level. Not to be legalistic, but because it's from my heart. I don't want to walk into marriage with a bag of trash on my back, filled with all kinds of bad dating habits, and bad choices. Instead, I seek to glorify God with my future marriage relationship and keep myself pure for then. Can you imagine how much easier that would be, and the amount of trust that you could build if you don't have the bag of trash?! We must practice Sincere love and also Commitment based Love.

"In the same way, as Christians, we model God's love, whether or not we realize it. People watch us, and what they see affects God's reputation for loving His creation. If we claim to follow Christ then wear the worlds twisted style of love, we drag the name and character of our Lord in the dirt.
For this reason, we must ask ourselves, "Am I modeling the Love of Christ? Do my motivations and actions in this relationship reflect the perfect love God has shown me?" How would you answer those questions right now?"
Pg. 66

I totally agree with this. If we call ourselves Christians, people begin to asess our actions and life as a picture to describe a Christian. If we call ourselves Christians, but act in the same way of the world, people see no difference in us and we have no testimony for the Lord.

Please share your thoughts!

In Christ,
~Bethany, Josh and Jenna~

Friday, November 6, 2009

I Kissed Dating Goodbye; The Seven Habits of Highly Defective Dating

Today we will be discussing The Seven Habits of Highly Defective Dating.

#1. Dating leads to intimacy but not necessarily commitment.

"Intimacy without commitment awakens desires-emotional and physical...(and) is like icing without cake, can be sweet, but it ends up making us sick."

2. Dating tends to skip the "friendship" stage of a relationship.

"Intimacy without commitment is defrauding. Intimacy without friendship is superficial. A relationship based only on physical attraction and romantic feelings will last only as long as the feelings last."

3. Dating often isolates a couple from other vital relationships.

"By it's very definition, dating is about two people focusing on each other. Unfortunately, in most cases the rest of the world fades into the background. If you've ever felt like a third wheel when hanging out with two friends who are dating each other, you know how true this is." Pg. 41

4. Dating can distract young adults from their primary responsibility of preparing for the future.

"Being distracted by love is not such a bad thing, unless God wants you to do something else." Pg. 43

5. Dating can cause discontentment with God's gift of singleness.

"God gives this singleness, a season of our lives unmatched in it's boundless opportunities for growth, learning, and service." pg. 44

6. Dating can create an artificial environment for evaluating another person's character.

"On a date, a person can charm his or her way into a dates heart. He drives a nice car, and pays for everything; she looks great. But who cares? Being fun on a date doesn't say anything about a person's character or ability to be a good husband or wife." Pg. 45

7. Dating often becomes and end in itself.

" Because they can experience many of the emotional and, sadly, even physical privileges of marriage in their dating relationships, many people (men in particular) find little motivation for committing themselves to marriage." pg. 46

Like Mr. Josh Harris says, "the seven habits of highly defective dating reveal that we can't fix many of dating's problems by merely "dating right". The pastor in Eric and Jenny's story encouraged saving sex for marriage, but, advice like this is like the person trying to keep the swerving cart on course in the shop with expensive china, it doesn't work.

"We see the failed attempts around us, but we refuse to replace this "cart" called dating. We want to stay on the straight and narrow path and serve God, yet we continue a practice that often pulls us in the wrong direction(pg. 31).......Let's not waste any more time battling the swerving cart of dating. It's time for a new attitude."(pg. 43)

In my many dreams of being a wife and mother, I often forget that singleness is a gift from God, a time to serve others, to grow, and to prepare for my future marriage and serving my future spouse. I don't need to wish away my single years (even if I want to) but instead, treasure them and use them for preparation and service. I need to step up and take ahold of the gift that God has placed in my lap, using it for HIS glory.

"God gives us singleness - a season of our lives unmatched in its boundless opportunities for growth, learning and service." Pg. 44

"No, dating doesn't make us sin. And no, getting rid of it wouldn't solve all our problems in relationships. But it would be foolish to pretend that dating itself isn't at least part of the problem." Pg. 36

Like Josh says, dating doesn't "make us sin" but it's an environment that encourages us to give in to selfishness and temptation. If you have a certain weakness, the last thing you want to do is place yourself in a situation that will support compromising.

If you have any thoughts on this chapter, please share!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I Kissed Dating Goodbye; Chapter 2

We realized this morning that Bethany has the Original copy (1997) of IKDG and we have the Updated copy of IKDG (2003). Bethany just posted a schedule to follow down on the side bar so that you know what to read for whichever copy that you have.
For today we're going to comment on:
Chapter 2 ~ The Little Relationship Principle in the Updated Version.
The Joy of Intimacy is the Reward of Commitment

"Deepening intimacy without defining a level of commitment is dangerous. It's like going mountain climbing with a partner who isn't sure she wants the responsibility of holding your rope. When you've climbed 2000 feet up a mountain face, you don't want to have a conversation about how she feels "tied down" by your relationship. In the same way, many people experience deep hurt when they open themselves up emotionally and physically only to be abandoned by someone who proclaims he's not ready for a "serious commitment".

Why would you want to give yourself and your emotions to someone who isn't seriously commited? So many people give themselves away for temporary "pleasure" of intimacy, but result in being hurt and scarred - for life, by a mutual lack of commitment. I don't have alot to say on this quote, but I think that it speaks for itself. "The Joy of Intimacy is the Reward of Commitment".


Like Josh Harris said, recreational dating is selfishness. Commitment isn't there, but the selfishness is. What is good for me, what gives me "thrills" and pleasure? What gives me the kind of intimacy that I want? Yes, dating is [usually] all about self (me, me, me) and worldly pleasure. There is no regarding purity and looking out for others needs.

"We pursue romantic relationships for the sake of romance, for a good time, for the sake of the experience, for the sake of figuring out what we'll one day want when we got around to actually committing to one person." pg. 31

"The issue is whether the intimacy in your relationship is appropriate to your current level of commitment".

Does our intimacy match our level of commitment?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I Kissed Dating Goodbye; Chapter 1

Okay some of our thoughts on Chapter 1:

"I've come to realize that I have no business asking for a girl's heart and affections if I'm not ready to back up my request with a lifelong commitment. Until I can do that , I'd only be using that woman to meet my short term needs, not seeking to bless her for the long term." Pg. 19
How awesomely true, for both male and female alike. A lack of true commitment, true agape love is the problem in most dating relationships today. Most adolescents (and many don't grow up which is why it is so spread out into adults today) are selfish, thinking only of themselves and what they can get out of it.

"Waiting until I'm ready for commitment before pursuing romance is just one example of letting Christ's love control my relationships with the opposite gender." Pg. 20

I like what you quoted alot, there is a general lack of commitment. When someone shows that they are committed, that shows shows that they're not just going to back out on you. Relationships can be so selfish these days, just being about lusts and wanting somebody to hang on to.

"Every relationship for a Christian is an opportunity to love another person like God has loved us. To lay down our desires and do what's in his or her best interest. To care for him or her when there's nothing in it for us. To want that persons purity and holiness because it pleases God and protects him or her." Pg. 19

I think it's important to love people like Christ verses a selfish, "what can I get out of this" relationship. Helping the other people maintain purity and protect them is what I want to do.

Our conclusion of the chapter?? We need to hold our commitment high and love others as Christ loves us...not compromising our purity.