19 skills that change lives!

19 skills that change lives!

Learning relational brain skills, like the ones we’ll introduce in our upcoming Thrive JOYStream, can completely change your life! Just ask Chris Coursey, a former slave to fear and alcohol and now a director at Life Model Works.

A Life Controlled by Fear

Getting cussed out by his alcohol counselor was a turning point for Chris Coursey. It came after he received his second DUI within a year. His counselor “hoped to never see me again after my first round of counseling. Now I faced jail time and hefty fines. I had stopped trying and was dying.”

Chris’s story is about a descent from a life of promise to one completely controlled by fear. He purposely flunked a test for entrance into an elite school. He dropped out of sports his senior year, despite promising opportunities in college.

“I have a lot of examples in my life where I quit trying because I figured I would fail anyhow. This is a common theme since I can remember. Sadly, many of the things I quit were actually things I was good at. ‘At least if I quit it doesn’t look like I failed. Quitting gives me control,’ I told myself.

chrisThis controlling approach to life began to affect his relationships. “I hurt many girls because of my fear of rejection and failure. I often ended dating relationships and friendships because of underlying fears and trust issues. A girl would start to really care for me and I would bail.”
Chris spent a lot of his time in high school and college drinking. “I drank excessively. I smoked and partied incessantly. Blackouts, drinking and driving and self-destructive actions were routine. I ended up in scary places. I daydreamed about my funeral and wondered if death would be a relief.”

The turning point when Chris encountered a prayer-infused approach to counseling in college. Chris felt totally overwhelmed and even told God “you’ve got the wrong guy!”

The Turning Point

Then one night, he woke up suddenly, with a sense that he should immediately read Isaiah 61. He didn’t know what it meant, but had the sense it was in the Bible.

He looked it up, and was overwhelmed by what he read “The chapter’s theme was what I saw the previous three days – counselors “preaching good news to the poor… binding up the broken-hearted… proclaiming freedom for the captives.”

“I found myself doing what I had not done in a long time. I bowed in prayer and worshiped the God who hears.”

Life-Changing Brain Skills

Chris became more involved with counseling, which eventually led him to the concepts being written about and explored by Dr. Jim Wilder. They partnered together, with Chris developing practical training experiences.

He quickly found himself overwhelmed with new opportunities and experiences. One of those was leading Thrive Training events, which required public speaking. Speaking had been one of the triggers that had always filled Chris with fear.

It was the actual brain skills that Chris learned at Thrive that allowed him to speak and lead Thrive Training events. “I had been learning the THRIVE brain skill of returning to joy from fear and the other five negative feelings. I had learned how fear affects the brain’s control center and how to quiet myself.

“I was learning the “God-sight” skill – how to see things as God sees. ”

Chris used an approach to prayer taught at Thrive called the Immanuel Process. This helped him unearth painful memories, and recognize how Jesus had been with him the entire time.

“Thrive and the 19 relational brain skills radically transformed me and my relationships. I felt hopeful. I learned that attachment pain drove my deadly behavior and depression…I resolved old wounds that hindered my growth… I grew up.”

Chris Coursey doesn’t just teach how the 19 Relational Skills can affect your life. He’s living proof!

The next Thrive Training is July 14-18. Hope to see you there.

May Your Joy Be Full,

Chris & Carol,

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

Twitter – @coursey_chris

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


Used with permission from http://www.joystartshere.com/lmwblog/19-skills-that-change-lives/

5 Reasons For Pastors to Grow Joy!


Have you wondered if taking the time to learn how to grow joy would benefit you as a pastor? Here are five ways it does!

It Clarifies Communications, Improves Your Marriage, Repairs Ruptured Relationships, Restores Energy, and You Become a Model.

 1. Growing joy clarifies communication. When you learn how to share joyful times with friends, staff members and family, a bond develops between you; your brains learn to synch with each other. It is like growing a relational synapse over which messages can travel—much like a telephone line.

Sharing joy moments exercises your “empathy muscles” so that you “know” each other better and are less likely to impute motivations that are not there or make erroneous assumptions about intentions. Joy also creates an ease between people that makes it easier and less costly to ask clarifying questions. There is no longer the fear of rejection, name calling or judgment for not understanding in the first go round.


How would you grow joy that improves communication? An easy and fun way is to tell glory stories—stories that clearly demonstrate God’s fingerprint in your day. This is also an excellent exercise for the family at dinner time! It changes the dinner time atmosphere. You can find directions for telling 4+ stories on the Thrive website see below.


2. Growing joy improves your marriage. Joy is a very good feeling; in fact your brain is designed to run on joy so you intuitively seek it. It is much healthier for your brain to run on true joy then to substitute BEEPS or pseudo-joy. Pseudo-joy is like putting regular into the gas tank of a car designed to run on high octane. The real thing is always better than the substitute, right?

Experiencing true joy moments together strengthens the marriage bond and makes it more fulfilling. This is the testimony of Jen and Chris Coursey as they tested various strategies for growing joy in the midst of the hectic life of raising two active boys and developing a ministry. You can get the manual they developed below. These exercises work! Learning and using these joy building exercises will also make your marriage even more attractive to your people. They will want what you have.

 3. Growing joy can repair ruptured relationships.


Really? How would you do that? Very carefully. You could begin by some simple acts of appreciation…a “thank you,” “that was very thoughtful.” Or, “I appreciate ___________.” Or, it could be biting your tongue to prevent a smart retort that adds nothing positive to the mix. Then as communication is slowly restored, expand the topics you talk about, keeping the Lord central in it all.

Growing joy in ruptured relationships is like growing moss on the north side of the house. Keep it sheltered from “hot topics.” Start slowly and don’t stir things up by periodically checking on the root system by asking “How am I doing?” It starts to slowly form along the edges and then it takes over. It is a beautiful thing to see joy take over a ruptured relationship. Now, moss on the north side of the house is something else, but to grow it requires shelter from the heat!

 4. Growing joy develops strength, energy and resiliency. If you have been exhausted physically, spiritually and mentally, growing joy will fill your tank again. That scripture “the joy of the Lord is my strength” is not just a nice metaphor. It is reality!

 5. Bonus Reason: You become a joy starter, a model as others want what you have. You can spark little joy outbreaks which can become a flame within your congregation! If you would like to see one or more of these effects of growing joy in your life personally…

1. Download the directions for telling 4+ Stories (Glory Stories)       click here. 

Four Plus

2.And the joy building exercises for married couples click here


3. The Joy Starts Here small group study book to help create the joy outbreak in your church, click here


And then get back to us and let us know what is working for you!

 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 


How Do You Start Transformation? (Helpful ideas…)


Round Table Talks

The Round Table talks are about how to begin starting joy in your church and community—about asking questions and sharing what works. This is a time when those who have been there and done that can help those who would like to begin building joy. It is an idea sharing time so the following are various ideas and approaches from our April 1, 2014 conversations:

1. Just begin. Grab the Joy Start Here book, gather some friends who would be willing to study it with you and just begin. This approach doesn’t require any “permission” per se. It’s friends meeting over coffee. When joy builds, word of mouth will supply the next study. When you have repeated this process a few times you would have enough “graduates” to be ready for the Connexus materials and official sanction of the materials.

Simultaneously work on establishing relationships with a leader(s), either a pastor or Sunday School teacher or counselor who would be in a position to recommend Joy Starts Here and the Connexus material to the Education Committee within your church. The more voices echoing the same sentiments the better.

2. You might ask to run a “beta group” or a “pilot project.”

3. At this point you would need to get the license to teach the Connexus materials from Shepherd’s House and begin the facilitator training. You are launched.

4. Perceptions: Another tip is that if you begin under the auspices of the counseling ministry there may be a perception that joy is just for “those recovery people.” The truth is, we all need healing, but unfortunately, sometimes those who are fairly functional don’t feel a need!

5. Share Immanuel—One powerful key that several people have used is the Immanuel process. Learning to hear God’s voice is transforming. One individual found that when people experienced God’s presence, they wanted more. You can purchase Share Immanuel below in the Resources section. Beginning or ending each session with a time of practicing the Immanuel process builds joy such that people want to continue the practice.

As people practice the Immanuel process,they come to understand that it takes 2 to create joy. The two can be just “Jesus and me!” Or it can be you and another person, but it takes two!

6. Skepticism—If your community is rather low joy but composed of “good people” who want to “do the right thing” you may encounter skepticism. Joy may be perceived to be a luxury, not a necessity.

The person who talked about this shared that the way they are approaching the right brain problem is to take a left brain approach. They make the case that “something” is missing developmentally; there are gaps in maturity—and what’s with that?

The next step would be to have a maturity workshop with Chris. During the workshop people experience joy building and when they can see the link between joy and closing those gaps in maturity, then it begins to make logical, left-brained, good sense to use the right brain solution!

Should we include the graphic for each book? Thinking so…

Resources Mentioned: Click here to purchase

Joy Starts Here


Share Immanuel

ShareImmanuel Ibooklet

Joy Exercises for Busy Couples

30 days Joy Exercises








If you have questions on how to start joy in your church/community please join us for the next round table Tuesday, April 15th, 3pm EST. West Coast Roundtable. Register.

If you would like to share your experiences of starting some of the Life Model classes/groups in your church we would love to have you join in and share what worked for you!

We are hoping to see this material in 1,000 churches across America by the end of this year. Help us restore lost relational brain skills and reach that goal.

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