Joy To The World – The Dream – Part II

image.pngWe left off last week talking about the elements of the problem and the elements of the solution to the evil in the world and its effects on lives. The task of taking this good news to the world faces a challenge in distribution….

 

DISTRIBUTION

If we are able to develop an effective self-propagating recovery program, the best existing distribution system for global recovery would be the relational network created by the church. All over the world, most new converts to Christianity come from backgrounds of trauma and/or addiction. They enter into the Church having impaired maturity and relational skills. Simple conversion does not provide the missing brain skills they need for healthy relationships any more than salvation will make them suddenly literate.

Thus the Church faces the recovery problem both inside its congregations and in its mission. In the past the Church has shown a capacity to change cultures, although it lacks that vital function in most of the Western world at this time. In spite of this current state, we at Life Model Works are dreaming of a self-propagating recovery model that could change cultures through the ordinary life of the Church. We believe that we are on that path.

The Life Model shows promise as a solution that is both high-tech in its foundations and low-tech in its implementation that ordinary Christians without specialized education can use. Elements have already been shown to work in groups and the results demonstrate self-propagation. While self-propagating healing is easier to do through the Immanuel Process, self- propagating relational skills are not as easy to transfer. The relational skills take community, bonded relationships and time. Along with healing and improved relationships, Life Model Works staff believes this same model and the skills it teaches, could reduce, and even prevent, some trauma and addiction

History of Development

1971 – Shepherd’s House Inc. is founded with the primary purpose of using Christian counseling principles to help people with their emotional and spiritual needs.

1980s – Shepherd’s House provides nearly 1,200 monthly counseling appointments with women who had been sexually abused as children.

1990s – Insurance industry calculated the cost for recovery of one sexually abused child to be $15 million. Realizing a more affordable solution is needed, Counselor Jane Willard introduces healing prayer. Through these changes the Shepherd’s House staff began developing a new model that came to be called the Life Model.

2002 – Shepherd’s House staff identifies nineteen relational brain skills. The team developed ways for ordinary people to identify lacking skills and train others in these brain skills.

2008 – Shepherd’s House works with Dr. Karl Lehman of Chicago to develop the Immanuel Prayer Process, combining healing prayer and cutting-edge neuroscience and to facilitate trauma resolution in large-group settings. Initial tests in Colombia and Sri Lanka yield positive outcomes for self-propagating recovery. Further testing and research awaits funding.

2009 – Ed Khouri & Jim Wilder develop a trauma-&-addiction recovery program called Thriving: Recover Your Life. Thriving serves as a test program for self-propagating recovery as a normal function of the local church.

2011 – Shepherd’s House recently celebrated 40 years of helping people thrive.

2012 – Forming (for the strong) is added to Restarting (for the weak). Belonging runs after Forming and Restarting and brings the weak and the strong together, an essential ingredient for the Transformation Zone. Further development awaits additional funding. (This program is called CONNEXUS. It is the module based program for Churches to bring this joy based training home.)

2013 – Joy Starts Here: the transformation zone is published. Together with Connexus (Restarting, Forming and Belonging) and Thrive, this provides a complete solution for churches to create the transformation zone. Shepherd’s House begins operating as Life Model Works. This year the Lord arranged for the Life Model approach to be broadcast in Lima, Peru via television to a potential audience of 8 million! We are waiting to hear the results.

OUR HOPE

Our hope is to distribute these tools to as many existing networks as possible. We are planting seeds that will change whole cultures, alter generational heritages and equip people with the skills they need to thrive. Would you like to dream with us and get involved with Life Model Works to see self-propagating recovery become an everyday function of YOUR CHURCH as well as the church worldwide? Your support through prayer, finances and action is vital to making this dream a reality.

For more information on how churches can begin starting joy and their own “transformation zone,” contact Chris Coursey @ thrivingtoday@yahoo.com

We trust that your “JOY tank” was filled with family, fun and friends as you celebrated our Lord’s birth. May JOY motivate and sustain you as you look forward to the challenges of the new year.

Blessings,

Chris & Carol

Chris Coursey, MA Theology — Author, Speaker and Thrive Trainer, www.thrivetoday.org

Twitter – @coursey_chris

 

Carol Brown, Author of The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity and Highly Sensitive                            www.fromgodsheart.com

Bell photo courtesy of Microsoft Images

Joy To The World! – Part I

image.pngSince the focus of this season is JOY, Chris and I thought we would share with you the evolution of developing this unique but simple approach to dealing with trauma, addictions and missing relational brain skills and gaps in maturity. The staff at Shepherd’s House spent many years puzzling over why some people became well and stayed well while others did not. In studying these cases what they discovered was the presence or absence of joy in a person’s life made the difference. From that awareness the dream was born. We suspect that JOY was on the Father’s heart when He sent His son, and it is on our hearts as we work with you to take His JOY to the uttermost parts of the world!

OUR DREAM—that we would love to have become your dream as well.

Self propagating recovery as the normal function of the church.

Along with transferable training, Life Model Works is committed to self-propagating recovery that transforms cultures. The Christian Church is the only global force whose calling is to love and reach even those who see them as enemies.

THE CHALLENGE

As evil spreads through any community or group, it leaves behind signs such as trauma, but even more insidiously, it brings about the disappearance of relationships, trust and love. The basic skills necessary for joyful relationships weaken and disappear from one generation to the next. And the abuse, violence and damage spread from person to person without help. One in three abused children grows up to be an abuser. In the case of pedophiles, each one will abuse about 260 children. Two-thirds of addicts report being abused as children, and the children of addicts are three times more likely to be abused. At Life Model Works we have seen first-hand how, when this evil spreads, everyone suffers. Not only do trauma and addictions cause much suffering, they also produce damaging changes in the brain. We at Life Model Works have found solutions. http://www.childhelp.org/pages/statistics

2 SOLUTIONS

  1. The clinical solutions currently are expensive and cumbersome; they require extreme levels of education and do not spread on their own. Even those people who are able to benefit from modern treatments are not able to then help others without undergoing the same extensive training that therapists need. From a global perspective, factors such as wars, AIDS, societal disintegration, child abuse, violent crime, human trafficking, addictions, and terrorism have left about a quarter of the world’s population showing significant signs of trauma. Against such overwhelming circumstances, our current recovery systems end up looking like a Band-Aid on a volcano. Life Model Works solutions make it possible for ordinary people to pass on to others what they have learned, without extensive training.
  2. Along with transferable training, Shepherd’s House is committed to self- propagating recovery that transforms cultures. The Christian Church is the only global force whose calling is to love and reach even those who see them as enemies.

If we are able to develop an effective self-propagating recovery program, the best existing distribution system for global recovery would be the relational network created by the church. All over the world, most new converts to Christianity come from backgrounds of trauma and/or addiction. They enter into the Church having impaired maturity and relational skills. Simple conversion does not provide the missing brain skills they need for healthy relationships any more than salvation will make them suddenly literate.


Thus the Church faces the recovery problem both inside its congregations and in its mission. In the past the Church has shown a capacity to change cultures, although it lacks that vital function in most of the Western world at this time. In spite of this current state, we at Shepherd’s House are dreaming of a self-propagating recovery model that could change cultures through the ordinary life of the Church. We believe that we are on that path.

ELEMENTS OF THE PROBLEM/ELEMENTS OF THE SOLUTION

  • Trauma and addictions change our identities; therefore the solution must also change identities.
  • Trauma self-propagates; therefore the solution must self-propagate.
  • Trauma blocks the development of maturity and character; therefore the solution must restore maturity and Godly character.
  • Trauma encourages people to reject others, therefore the solution must create belonging.
  • Trauma and addictions spread without needing education; although the solution should be based on the best science, it should not require a Western education or medical model.
  • Violence and terrorism traumatize whole groups at once; therefore the solution must heal whole groups at once.
  • All human cultures, races and ethnicities have the same nervous systems and the same spiritual needs. A solution based on solid neurology and Biblical spirituality would be a solution as universal as the causes for trauma.
  • The recovery model must be high-tech design with a low-tech implementation.
  • Abuse usually spreads through unhealthy relationships. The 19 relational brain skills, taught through THRIVE materials in bonded relationships, train and encourage people towards joyful relating.
  • The identities formed by the solution must match God’s design for us.

If this resonates with you, here is where we begin: Click Here:

JSH_325     ShareImmanuel Ibooklet

CONNEXUS.png

We will share more of “The Dream” in next week’s blog. May your joy be full as you celebrate our Lord’s birth!

 

Chris & Carol

Chris Coursey, MA Theology — Author, Speaker and Thrive Trainer, www.thrivetoday.org 

Twitter – @coursey_chris

Carol Brown, Author of The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity and Highly Sensitive                            www.fromgodsheart.com

Bell photo courtesy of Microsoft Images.

How Do We Learn A Better Response?

Question MarkToday’s Question: Do sexual predators have specific deformities that require correction and training? What kind of preventative steps we can take to address our deformities?

Since everyone has deformities—not just the official sexual predators, you want to break this vicious cycle with some preventative steps—some training that builds on that instinctual base wiring.

talk openly1. First, be a little more open about the whole topic. One of the things that Christians have tried to do that is not working is to act like “if I am actually holy I will never have a predatory thought or reaction” which is impossible. It just is not going to happen. You are wired for that.

EquipEmpower2. Teach the young ladies how to go about being powerful young ladies that have a good effect on others so their desire to be a source of pleasure and a source of delight is going to be met appropriately.

If you don’t answer that question of how to become a powerful person in a way that really works, they are going to find other ways. Today’s culture is full of ways to make yourself feel powerful and delightful, including riding wrecking balls!

Teaching.png3. Provide alternatives. We need to have adults who delight in protecting others and teaching others the delight of protecting young women or young men, otherwise, Christians are not going to have anything that catches on.

The kind of training needed that will help you to see weaknesses, acknowledge weaknesses, be transparent about your own weaknesses and say,

Yeah, well anybody could have a predator thought here. But, how many know what to do to protect that weakness? What do you do to protect someone when you see their vulnerability, sexual or otherwise?

One answer in the Life Model is to develop the reflex of going to Jesus and asking to see the person the way Jesus seem them. Develop the reflex to say, “Here is a weakness, I feel like exploiting it. Lord, how do I see this person as one of Your daughters, one of my sisters, one of Your people that You want to have protected…how would I even do that?”

An interesting thing about the shalom that comes when you share minds with Jesus is when you see what Jesus is doing, it doesn’t give you some strange instruction to follow. You actually feel, “Wow, that would be good!” To see someone the way Jesus sees them changes your responses and it is something you ought then to share with others.

This is the kind of training you will receive at the Thrive Training events and in the Connexus Training (formerly called Thriving, Recover Your Life.– the training format for churches.)

Footprints_thumb.pngAction Steps:

  • Learn a better response – Purchase The Life Model, Share Immanuel and Joy Starts Here
  • Begin building a desire within leadership of your church to have a church sponsored Connexus group
  • Plan to attend a Thrive Event. Calendar of events. Click on Speaking Schedule

May your joy be full!

Chris & Carol

Chris Coursey, MA Theology — Author, Speaker and Thrive Trainer, www.thrivetoday.org

Twitter – @coursey_chris

 

Carol Brown, Author of The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity and Highly Sensitive                            www.fromgodsheart.com

Resources Mentioned in This Post:

All resources can be purchased from the Life Model Works website. Click the books and Literature Tab.

Life Model

Share Immanuel

Joy Starts Here

Thrive Training

Connexus

This post was developed from a talk by Dr. Jim Wilder for Pastor’s Weekly Oct. 31- 2013

From Ashes to Beauty – A Tornado Update

It’s been three weeks since an F4 tornado struck Central Illinois, shredding homes and destroying 20% of my hometown. One of the most devastating parts of this tragedy involves the reality that so many families have been uprooted. 1200 homes were damaged. Everybody knows somebody who was impacted. Every person seems to have a story from the morning of November 17th, what they were thinking or doing and how they responded. Sounds and images continue to sear minds and steer conversations. PTSD is far-reaching as people say things like, “I can’t sleep.” “My mind won’t stop.” “My daughter now cries for no reason.” “My son started throwing temper tantrums.” Some feel depressed and can’t get going while others are anxious and can’t seem to stop. 

tornado2_500x400

Many are simply overwhelmed by the gravity of it all. People feel uncertain about the future and dazed by the past. The effect of such a powerful storm, in November nonetheless, cannot be forgotten. Life as we know it is turned upside down. Piles of debris adorn streets that once were friendly neighborhoods where children used to run and play. The scene looks surreal, as though some invading army dropped a bomb which shattered homes across the state. tornado 3

I noticed my body tense up once I first entered the afflicted area hit the hardest. I quickly realized that I could not find my way around all the wreckage so I used a map program on my phone to figure out where I was and locate where I was going. “How strange,” I thought to myself. “I used to roam these streets with my high school buddies only now; all signs of familiarity are gone.” It took less than 30 seconds as 200+ mph winds cleared homes and threw cars and minivans like they were leaves.

The story continues and there is hope on the horizon. The community is pulling together like never before. Accounts of salvation and unexplainable intervention paint a picture of God’s hand that remarkably saved countless lives and families. One church packed full of praying congregants huddled on their knees were spared as the tornado struck the parking lot then miraculously changed course with a last second shift in its path. Families’ report how some went to church for the first time in years that morning – which saved their lives since their homes were lost. Others fled to their basements as the tornado hurled debris, vehicles and trees at their homes.

A father was holding his two infants safe in his arms as the tornado struck his house. Once he opened his eyes, he saw his two infants safe and sound nearby while his lap was full of bricks. The tornado was big. The tornado was bad. Yet, God was good. For many who are looking for God, peace is replacing tension and pain while others still feel trapped in despair. 

One of my friends lived just on the line of the tornado and was a first responder to many of the demolished homes in his neighborhood. He described the scene to me, running up the stairs from his basement then peering out at the devastation from his deck. He ran to piles of rubble then grabbed dazed children as they were lifted out of basement windows, he helped shocked families climb out of debris. When we prayed together, he experienced TornadoefriendpicsmImmanuel change for the first time since the tornado and his perception of God being with him brought much-needed peace and relief, even some new perspective. During prayer he noticed a new “God thought”, and described how he perceived God carefully guided the tornado through the town for the least possible casualties. “God was protecting us” he said as a smile broke loose and melted away tension and anxiety. “God was with my family” he said, and now he could breathe easier.

 Tornado ChrisJen and I knew we needed to reach out and serve our community. Here we are, sitting on a gold-mine of training and resources that equips people to thrive, to start joy and to recover when things go wrong. “We must do something! But what?” we asked ourselves. We turned to Immanuel for guidance and felt God’s quiet affirmation, “I will bring the opportunities to you.” He has.

This Sunday, December 15th we are offering Share Immanuel training for leaders to learn basic tools at New Life Christian Church in Morton, Illinois. The following Wednesday, December 18, we invite the community for a time of ministry and prayer to help families find comfort, peace and joy by having the awareness of God’s presence.

There is not much time before these events take place and we pray God will bring people to these scheduled meetings who need some peace. We will follow up with more training events after Christmas. Will you pray with us that God will restore the ashes to beauty for this region?

Thanking you for your faithful prayer support,

Chris Coursey, MA Theology — Author, Speaker and Thrive Trainer, www.thrivetoday.org 

Carol Brown, Author of The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity and Highly Sensitive                            www.fromgodsheart.com

Consume or Protect? Consume or Protect…Decisions.

Today we continue the discussion of Vol. 30 of JimTalks on the “Workers of Iniquity.”

Question MarkToday’s Question: Why do we want to consume other people instead of the good things God has provided for us. In our minds, our theology, we know sin is sin and sin is bad, but there is something else at work here that is very, very powerful. Very potent.

Jim’s response is that there are two ways of looking at that question.

First from a biological standpoint:

“If you go to the back of your head, on the left side down there toward the back there is a spot that is active and keeps you from eating your babies.”

My (Carol) take on this is that the “consuming software” seems to be the very baseline wiring upon which we are to build. The next layer is the specific neurological directives that hold us back from consuming our babies. Apparently that is the extent of the pre-installed relational wiring—we are tasked with building the rest of our the relational circuitry.

Gak! How awful to be wired to consume, and yet, that is also what gives us accuracy in spotting weakness. How gracious of God to also install a prohibition to not allow that to happen. God lays the foundation but expects us to build upon it.

Second from a maturation or developmental standpoint:

God wants each of us to mature and develop into “the fullness of the stature of Christ.” (Eph. 4:13) He wants you to be all you are designed to be. To accomplish that you must build on those two baseline neurological paths. You do that by learning the gentle protector skills.

Jim gave an example of the difference between consuming and protecting—how that looks on Monday morning—in the real world. In his position of visiting professor he noticed a lovely co-ed—delightful in every way. She admired her professor. It would have been easy to use his position to take advantage of her loneliness.

Jim heard her speak of wanting to improve her relationship with her father and desiring a closer relationship with her, he asked himself what he could do to help improve her relationships.

Taking advantage (consuming) would alienate her from fellow students, add nothing to her relationship with her father and would not result in an ongoing relationship between himself and said co-ed. It would also be sin and put a wedge in his relationship with his Lord.

tender responseJim chose to go in the opposite direction—instead of consuming, he protected. He found a way to improve her relationships so that by the time they were done talking she would feel closer to her father, have more joy and more chances to share joy with others than if he had not been there.

He concluded by saying, “It was sort of interesting…at the end of the trip the young lady said to me, ‘I don’t know how to say this, but it is as though when you came to visit it is sort of like Jesus came to visit me. I don’t know how to describe that.’ I took that as a good sign that she did not feel like she’d been chewed on.”

It is far more challenging, and is an evidence of maturity to see vulnerability, know how to take advantage of it for yourself, but choose to go the next step and protect that vulnerability. The end result of protecting and strengthening a weakness is greater closeness. Consuming someone creates closeness momentarily. Protecting and strengthening a weakness deepens and strengthens a relationship, ensuring closeness for the long term.

To learn more about the “Gentle Protector Skills,” click here. (www.thrivetoday.org)

Chris continues to work with the community around Peoria dealing with the PTSD that has become apparent in the aftermath of the tornado that tore through near Chris’s home. Their home was not touched but over 1,000 families were devastated. Please pray for these folk as they struggle to get their footing again. This is a time when people who do not know the Lord make that decision.

May your joy be full!

Chris & Carol

Chris Coursey, MA Theology — Author, Speaker and Thrive Trainer, www.thrivetoday.org 

Carol Brown, Author of The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity and Highly Sensitive                            www.fromgodsheart.com

This post was developed from a talk by Dr. Jim Wilder for Pastor’s Weekly, Oct. 31, 2013

Predator Impulses…How Common Are They?

Last week’s post laid a foundation for what iniquity means in the development of sexual predator impulses for men and women. This is where we are diving in today.

Jim Talks - Vol. 30Most readers would probably think the term “predator” only applies to people who are in San Quentin. Years back I remember reading an article that talked about a woman in the bus station. A man attempted to rape her but another man saved her from it. Then the writer commented, “They were the same man.”

Predatory impulses are not a rare and strange thing that happens to just a few people. Everyone is wired with sexual predator impulses; that is normal and automatic; it’s easy to do. No brains required. Anyone can feel this reaction.

Look at it this way: If you see somebody that you want to get close to and you are already of a sexual age, the least imaginative way is to think about having sexual contact with them. It is the first thing that presents itself to your mind. There is nothing creative about it. The predator impulses are wired into your brain to look for the easiest, simplest way to get something you want to consume.

Sex-TemptationSo, when you look at fruit on a tree, your little predator circuits are going to conclude that the stem is the easiest place to break and that is where you break it to get that fruit. You look for the weakness to exploit in order to get what you want. That is wired into everyone.

You look at situations; you see weakness and think, “I can exploit that weakness.” You see someone about to bend over at their desk and you think, “I could exploit that weakness to look at what they are doing.” You see someone is feeling lonely, “I could use that to get close to them.” You immediately go there. Humans are wired to look for the weakness and to see it as the way to get what they want.

The sexual predator impulses are in everyone. They look a little bit different for men than women. Cultures have shaped women to think, “For me to have power, I need to attract predators. If I can get people to look at me; if I can attract all those impulses to look at me I am going to be a very powerful woman.” That is normally how women think and what they expect. Clothing today is designed to make people think they are about to get a peek at something that normally should not be shown in public.

Men play the same game, just the other way around. “Since women have all the forbidden fruit, if I can somehow gain access to the thing that is being forbidden me or being hidden from me or almost hidden from me then that would make me powerful.” But both end up feeling that it should be pleasing to them and pleasing to the other person—that is the thing that makes us fool ourselves most easily. Men think “This will make us both happy if I let my predator responses find a way through your defenses and get what I want.”

While the predator response is wired in, the protector response is not—it is learned. It is acquired from more mature people who look at weakness and say, “Oh, I know how to protect that so it isn’t exploited.” It is very easy to see a weakness and exploit it; it is much more mature to see a weakness and while seeing it and seeing how to exploit it, you want to learn how to protect those conditions.

Why do sexual sin and its predatory attributes become so appealing for men and women? The answer to that is an odd answer. It is so appealing because we don’t have an alternative to it. If it is the only thing you know, you have no image, no sense that you want to protect somebody, and consequently, all you see is what you want.

The question comes up, “Why can’t I have what I want?” It is increasingly the case that just because the Bible says, or your pastor says, or Christians generally say you can’t have what you want, “What do I care what they have to say? That is their opinion and my opinion is that I should have what I want as long as I’m not hurting anybody and as long as it is tasty for everybody, then everybody should have what they want.” That is becoming the global mindset.

The interesting thing is that it never occurs to folks that the thing they really want is a permanent relationship. There is a blog titled, “Why should I not live with my boyfriend?” The answer is one of the more popular issues on the site. The reason to NOT live with the boyfriend is that it does not lead to permanence.

If what you are after is a permanent relationship, living with the boyfriend is a lousy plan. This is inevitably the case. If you want to have a long term relationship with someone…let’s say you want to have a long term relationship with your neighbor and his wife. However, you see your neighbor’s wife as “tasty.” As soon as your neighbor discovers this, that long term relationship with them and whatever closeness you were going to have is over.

The same is the case with the men who want to be close to their step-daughters. If the desire to be close to your step-daughter is a sexual one, that is not going to lead to a permanently good relationship. It will give you exactly the opposite result and a lot of misery. Many leaders have discovered a miserable outcome for what they thought was tasty to begin with because it never occurred to them at the time that what they really wanted was love that endures.

The more hopeless you feel about the desire for love that endures, the less you know about creating enduring relationships, the more likely you are to take what you can when you can get it. It is sort of a desperation response. No alternative. “I am the guy, or I’m the gal that is missing out on all the fun, all the power, all the appeal because I’m the only one who won’t.” That is kind of how they think about it rather than, “I am the one who is building for permanence here!”

If you are protective of other people, they will love to stay around you even if they have weaknesses. They have no reason to be afraid of you.

The same kind of thing would happen if we lived in a protective environment. This is what life should be like as we form churches and life together. We come together not because we are the odd people who don’t have predator impulses but we are the odd people who know something more than predator impulses—we know how to protect others. The mature answer is to learn a better response.

The Joy Starts Here book is trying to introduce how a lot of these iniquities, these deformities are not only getting into society, but are spreading in larger numbers. Deformities, when you are talking about sexuality, are not so much something wrong with us as it is something that is missing from us.

Christians need to reintroduce into culture some things that are badly missing. This is a wake-up call for us in this country because it doesn’t take much looking around to see that our society is quickly becoming predatory. We should be the ones who reintroduce that new way of life back into the culture around us starting with our own churches and families.

Resources — To order click here!

And that brings me to that Joy Starts Here book.

 Pastors, this is a great way to introduce this training (relational brain skills) into your church, staff and family. Joy Starts Here, the transformation zone, unpacks a lot more. I highly recommend this resource as a next step.

Jim Talks - Vol. 30

 

Vol. 30  of the JimTalks is a companion resource to The Joy Starts Here.

 

 

 

 

30daycover500.jpgThirty Days of Joy, exercises to build joy for busy married couples.

To learn the brain skills that buildenduring relationships, click here: http://www.thrivetoday.org/

 

Join us again next week for more insights and resources on starting joy in your family, church and community. If you have questions or comments please drop them in the comment box below and we will respond!

May your joy be full!

Chris & Carol

Chris Coursey, MA Theology — Author, Speaker and Thrive Trainer, www.thrivetoday.org 

Carol Brown, Author of The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity and Highly Sensitive                            www.fromgodsheart.com

This post was developed from a talk by Dr. Jim Wilder for Pastor’s Weekly, Oct. 31, 2013