Quick update!

I just wanted to update you on Chris’s condition. The shot for pain has been having the desired effect! It has reduced the pain and make it possible for more benefit from the chiropractic treatments and the physical therapy. The combination of therapies is having a synergistic effect. The doctor says that he can have a total of four shots…two closer together to sort of front load and then maybe a third six months later.

Courseys are encouraged! Thank you for your prayers…please continue to pull down from heaven the reality of restored health and vitality! Praise and glory to God!

Gleanings from The Round Table:

Be encouraged if at first your introduction of the joy materials is not met with resounding success! That bit about not despising small beginnings…yeah, that one!

The process of having a small group go through Joy Starts Here — may have to be repeated 2-3 times to build a pool of people ready and wanting to take the Connexus course.

A couple times through the course and you will have made a T-Zone (transformation zone) of joy in your church! And it is contagious!

These results were common to the folks who shared their experiences. It may take more time than you are comfortable with, but God knows about time so rest assured that He will complete what He starts!

Blessings, Chris & Carol

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

Twitter – @coursey_chris

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

Carol’s email – godsheart@comcast.net

Attachments — Life’s Connections (Part 4 of 5)


No, that’s not Rudholf’s red nose. It is your attachment light. Previously we explored what happens when a bond becomes fear based, known as an avoidant/dismissive attachment.

  • Unlike secure bonds, which develop when attachment signals are shared in a timely fashion, insecure bonds develop through bad timing and missed signals.  You will develop an avoidant/dismissive attachment when mom or caregiver fails to respond correctly to your attachment light (cues and signals).
  • Pain arises and you feel you are about to die when your attachment light fails to provoke a response.  Lonely and afraid, you suffer tremendous pain that resounds throughout your body, telling you you are going to die when your signals are not met and shared.
  • A child whose signals are not reciprocated learns to mask attachment pain by hiding attachment cues and signals.  A child’s light comes on; the parent’s light is off.  When a child’s light goes off, parent’s light is still off, so the child wants to avoid anything that will set off the resulting painful outcome.  He will wear a mask that reveals no particular need or desire to bond. He is “just fine.”
  • Dismissive parents produce dismissive children, who grow up and rear dismissive children.  You hurt when your familiar face fails to synchronize and respond with you.

Ambivalent/Distracted Attachment is another form of insecure attachment. Ambivalent/distracted attachments develop through mom imposing her mental state onto her child’s state.  On the surface, the interaction looks healthy and secure.  Careful observation reveals a failure to synchronize.  In other words, mom does not synchronize to child’s needs, rather mom pushes child to synchronize with her needs.

Toddler or a baby child playing with puzzle in a nursery.

Photo credit © Pavla Zakova – Fotolia.com

For example:  Child may be playing with toys (attachment light off) and insecure mother wants someone to bond with (attachment light on).  She looks at her child, who seems distracted and busily playing.  Mom comes over and joyfully picks up her child.  This move interrupts the child’s behavior.  Mom plays, tickles, and interacts with child.  The interaction looks good, sounds good, and may even be enjoyable to watch.  For the infant, however the effects are harmful.

A distorted existence develops for the child because mom failed to attune to her child.  Mom’s intrusion pushed her mental state onto child’s mental state, thus producing disarray for her child’s attachment center.  Failure to match attachment lights with her child results in confusion and attachment pain for her child.


As a result, the child’s attachment light will always be ready, and stay on, resulting in an ambivalent/distracted attachment.  Ambivalent children take care of parents’ feelings rather than parents taking care of children’s feelings.  Children feel responsible and must always be available and on guard for mom and dad. (Photo courtesy of Microsoft Images)

Time to bond becomes uncertain, signals are not synchronized, and the child never knows when signals will be met on time, so his/her light stays on.  Developing from this unhealthy dynamic is a “parentified child”—one who feels responsible for parents, and never knows time to quiet from time to play.

This child becomes vigilant.  Not wanting to miss an opportunity, child prepares to bond at any given moment.  An inconsistent parent produces a confused child.  The child’s attachment center never knows when parent’s light will be on or off and will leave his/her light on just in case parent responds.

Junge, Kind, Schulkind, erschrocken

Research studies with 18 month-old infants show most intrusions by a parent are positive in nature.  Positive in the sense that parent wants to play or interact positively – according to parental need, not child.  Untimely interaction produces clingy children who beg for mom’s attention, and are not easily soothed when upset.


(Photo credit – © Christine Wulf – Fotolia.com

These children are confused and have to guess when mom or dad will be prepared to bond and connect again.  Not wanting to miss out on something good becomes the child’s primary motivation.  A child is stuck unable to discern time to bond from time to rest.  This produces highly sensitive and over vigilant children.

The solution, of course, is for the parent(s) to learn how to relate to the child in a way that produces secure bonds. Parents must learn to synchronize to their child’s needs rather than their own.

You can talk, research and learn a head full of knowledge but it will only make minimal difference. The benefit of learning (left hemisphere function) is that you understand the need for brain training (right hemisphere function.) The bonding styles are housed in the right hemisphere of the brain and are learned through modeling. Your brain needs to SEE how it is done. Your brain needs a model to copy. To change your relational style you need to imitate someone who knows how to have and make secure bonds.


Learning to quiet one’s self and develop secure, joyful bonds is what happens in Track One of Thrive Training. You also learn this in the Connexus classes. We cannot think of anything more helpful in “the equipping of the saints”[1] than shoring up these kinds of “breaches” in relational skills and strengthening God’s people.

[1] Ephesians 4:12–Prepare/Equip/Mend

12 to equip (G2677) his people (perfecting of the saints-KJV) for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up-NIV

[1] The greek word καταρτισμός (G2677) translated as “equip” in NIV and “perfecting” in KJV is a masculine noun from a greek verb καταρτίζω (G2675).

The noun means literally “complete furnishing”.  Looking at its parent verb, we see more of the essence of how people are to be equipped or furnished.

This parent or root word means[1];

1. to render, i.e. to fit, sound, complete, to mend (what has been broken or rent), to repair, to complete, to fit out, equip, put in order, arrange, adjust to fit or frame for one’s self, prepare ethically: to strengthen, perfect, complete, make one what he ought to be

This same word is what the fisherman were doing with the nets.

Mt 4:21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing (mending-KJV)(G2675) their nets. Jesus called them, NIVMk 1:19 When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing (mending-KJV) their nets. NIV
This helps us understand that when the Lord gave us “11 … apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service”,  this equipping people for works of service is the same as the fishermen “mending” their nets.  Church leadership is to mend what was broken or torn, to repair, to complete, to equip, to make fit, strengthen, complete, prepare us to be what we ought to be.

Thrive Registration Reminder 

Feb. 23-27, in Austin, Texas

July 26-31, 2015 in Grand Rapids, Michigan 

Registration Information here.

 As we once again celebrate the coming of our Savior, may your joy be full,

Chris & Carol

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

Twitter – @coursey_chris

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

Carol’s email – godsheart@comcast.net



Sin & Not Acting Like Yourself!

It is so easy to become so consumed with Thanks- giving and Christmas activities at church, school and home that you lose track of who you are and what it is like to be you. Sunday School dinners, class plays, decorating, shopping and holiday baking, gift making and wrapping …you become driven by your list until your spouse asks who you are and what you’ve done with the real you!

Miserly, greedy christmas man possessive of money

(Photo courtesy of Fotolia)

The book of Proverbs says that a deceitful heart keeps people from finding and doing good. (Proverbs 17:20) Someone not synchronized with God becomes vulnerable for perversion, deceit, and distortedness. All of these characteristics obviously are unhealthy and do not promote life. Paul helps us understand more on keeping an open connection to God and acting the way you are designed.

Writing to a group of believers, Paul says sin impedes your ability to act like yourself. He explains that everyone is capable of sinning, or failing to act like themselves–we all sin and fall short of God’s glory. Romans 3:23

  • You are not justified by your works or through your deeds.
  • You receive justification from a holy God through faith alone in the atonement of Jesus Christ.
  • You require and need atonement to pay for your sins.

However, a struggle still rages as you discover how to act like yourself and stay synchronized with God.

Paul’s struggle with not acting like himselfIn Romans chapter 7, he shares his discontentment and frustration with how sin caused him to do things he did not desire to do. Sin, the deadly gene passed down from Adam and Eve caused Paul to fail at acting like himself.

Paul concludes the problem is sin and the flesh. Who Paul really is desires to please and serve God. As a Christian you are no different than Paul. A battle still rages in your members as you wrestle with sin (death) and acting like yourself, which is life.

PowerPoint PresentationYou draw on right hemispheric experience when upset.  Left hemispheric activity–words, explanations and information–do little to help you when you undergo intense distress.

Your well-intentioned and prearranged strategies are not enough to enable you to act like yourself. You require practice with experienced people to be examples and models. You need people who remember who they are when upset and act like it.

When you remember who you are when upset you are motivated by love rather than fear.

Love and desire are motivations that result from the frontal centers of your brain.

Fear and problem solving activities result from the back of our brain.

Desire enables while fear disables your ability to act like yourself amidst distress.

The disciples learned the difference of operating from desire and from fear during their time with Jesus. All of them endured hands-on training and gained experience, especially during the distress of having their Teacher taken away.

For example, Peter experienced enough distress to interfere with his well-intentioned (desire driven) plans. In Mark 14:27a, Jesus prepares and informs His disciples about His impending death, Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night…” 

Peter speaks up and professes his utmost devotion, desire, and loyalty to follow his Lord – even if the others leave Him. After Jesus prophesies his denial, Peter speaks up again, recorded in Mark 14:31, But he (Peter) spoke more vehemently, “If I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” And they all said likewise. You know what happens, and can speculate Peter’s fear overran his plans, desires and hopes to be able to stand firm next to his Savior to the very end.

Had Peter acted like himself while feeling terrified, he would have fulfilled his hope to not deny his Lord and possibly died. Thankfully, God had a plan full of redemption and reconciliation for Peter. After Jesus rose from the grave, He not only restored Peter but replaced Peter’s three denials with three commands – to feed His lambs, tend and feed His sheep.

All of these activities are desire driven functions that Peter would do throughout his ministry. However, the Lord informs Peter He would ultimately fulfill Peter’s pledge to join his Lord and prophesies about the type of death Peter will undergo. Church tradition holds a remarkable account that says Peter acted like himself all the way to his death. Supposedly, Peter went to his death still motivated by desire rather than fear. Peter, finding himself unworthy to die the same death as his Lord, asked to be crucified upside down.

Whether you feel shame, terror, hopeless despair, rage, sadness or disgust, you fare well when you remember who you are and act like it. You stay flexible and your ability to recover improves when you act like yourself.

If you would like to learn how to live from the front of your brain and be yourself in good times and bad, consider starting to prepare for Thrive Training or bring Connexus to your church.


Go here for information on Joy Starts Here groups, Thrive and Connexus.

Thrive Training Reminder…

Feb. 23-27, in Austin, Texas

July 26-31, 2015 in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Registration Information here.

May your Christmas joy be full,

Chris & Carol

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

Twitter – @coursey_chris

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

Carol’s email – godsheart@comcast.net


Acting Like Yourself


“What is the matter with you? Behave. Act like yourself!”

Remember being told to “act like yourself” when you were a kid? It is not always easy to do. But you find relief and enjoy peace when you act like yourself. This means you stay relational throughout hardship and trials. Staying relational helps you:

  • Recover from distress
  • Avoid regret, disappointment and guilt.
  • Be flexible and recuperate from hardship rather than deteriorate and stay stuck.

Staying relational means you continue to interact with other people and remember who you are in the midst of distress. Whether you are cut off on the highway, stuck in long lines at the grocery store or trapped in an elevator you can remain yourself rather than crumble and say or do things you normally would not. You bless others who curse you, walk an extra mile and even turn the other cheek when you remain yourself.

Often, especially during distress, you forget who you are and how it is like you to act.

Some people act out:

  • Become angry, then curse and swear
  • Throw temper tantrums
  • Hurt other people.

Others, when they feel hopeless or ashamed, turn to coping mechanisms such as:

  • Alcohol
  • Drugs
  • Destructive and immoral behavior

You end up with regret, remorse, and disappointment when you do and say things that do not portray your heart. You become ensnared when you forget who you are and fail to act like yourself.

Return To Joy 

You have an infinite number of coping mechanisms to choose from when you fail to handle distress. Thankfully, there are only six basic emotions to conquer in order to return to joy. We thrive when we stay relational in each of the…

…two sympathetic emotions (rage and terror-action) and the

…four parasympathetic emotions (disgust, shame, hopeless despair and sadness-shutdown).

When you have no people or past experience to draw on, these emotions jolt you into a tailspin—which can easily happen during holiday busyness.

Good Works

You act like yourself when you stay relational, suffer well, perform good works, and synchronize with God and the people around you. Because you are created for good works in Jesus Christ, you fail when you lack performing the good works that result from who God made you to be. Ephesians 2:10 declares,

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” NKJV

These good works stem from who God made you to be. They result from knowing Him. Good works are not hoops to jump through or formulas to perform in order to be close to God.

Good works are the by-product of salvation, not the other way around. “Good works” can have several implications, based on your perceptions, experience, or culture. So rather than speculate, let’s see what the words of Scripture meant to the people to whom they were addressed.

In Ephesians 2:10, good in Greek is agathos, a primary word for good, which means ‘benefit’, or ‘well’. Agathos derives its meaning from another Greek word, kalos. Kalos can mean properly, beautiful, but chiefly good, valuable, or virtuous, honest, and worthy.

Works derives its name from the Greek word ergon, which means toil, deed, doing, and labor. 1 In other words, we are new creations in Christ Jesus for honest, worthy, virtuous, and valuable deeds.

The result of your actions, behavior, thoughts, words and lives should reflect these qualities, because this is what you are fashioned to do. When you fail to accomplish this, you are not acting like yourself.

Kalos is the same Greek word Jesus uses in Matthew 5:16 to describe the kind of works we will do as good witnesses for Him. He explains as we let our light shine before others, people can see our good (kalos) works then glorify God. (Paraphrase mine)

Jesus used this term when rebuking the disciples for judging the woman who poured a flask of expensive oil on his head. Jesus said her action for Him was kalos. We can rest knowing good works flow from us when we stay connected to God and act like ourselves, the way He made us.

For help with learning to act like yourself, seriously consider attending Thrive or bring the local version (Connexus) to your church. Go here for information on how to do that.

We will continue this then next week. Look for “Sin and Not Acting Like Yourself!”

Thrive Training Reminder…

Feb. 23-27, in Austin, Texas

July 26-31, 2015 in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Registration Information here.

May your Christmas joy be full,

Chris & Carol

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

Twitter – @coursey_chris

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

Carol’s email – godsheart@comcast.net





Say It, Don’t Just Think It

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image18019901Expressing your sense of joy, appreciation, thankfulness or gratitude has a greater effect than simply making a relationship work more smoothly. Think about this: God “spoke” and creation was the result. He spoke and there was light, the planets and stars, living things in the sea, the air and on land.

What happens when you speak joy?

One researcher looking into sound and its effects upon substances is Dr. Masaru Emoto. To view some of his research, click here70% – 80% of your body is water and water vibrates to sound…even sound that is below or above your hearing threshold. Your thoughts and intents create sound frequencies that you cannot hear but they have an effect upon your own body as well as the bodies of those around you.

The photo of the effects of “thank you” versus “I hate you, I’m going to kill you”and the photo of the effects of heavy metal were all very dramatic. Many times we say nothing, even though we feel gratitude and thankfulness. Doubtless, that is not without effect, but I would think, to speak would set an even stronger sound frequency into motion.

Imagine the beauty you could create in your family, friends and colleagues, or the damage you could do with hateful thoughts and words. It is no wonder the Psalmist asked the Lord to put a watch upon his lips! Psalm 141:3

I was struck by another comment in this video (click here) Please view past the beginning to the presentation. (David Lee in not really my favorite!) The comment was that “particles are held in formation as long as the frequency remains the same.” If you remove the frequency it essentially falls apart. Is this so different from  Act 17:28, “In Him we live and move and have our being.” We are here because God called us into being and sustains us. Pretty amazing.

I want to align, spirit, soul and body, with the creative power of blessing that comes constantly from God so that I might reflect His purposes into my family, church and community. How about you?


Action  Step:  This week don’t be shy and keep your feelings and thoughts inside. Bless someone out loud and set up a strong positive frequency they can vibrate to for a long time!

We would love to hear what you created by your expressions of thankfulness and appreciation.

May your joy be full, Chris & Carol


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

Twitter – @coursey_chris

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

Carol’s email – godsheart@comcast.net


Got your license yet?

Greetings all! I have been off-line far too long…but the Lord has brought me a beautiful new (to me) computer with one of those screens that doesn’t hurt my eyes! It’s wonderful, but now comes the learning curve. So if we have some strange occurrences on the blog, you know why!

1,000 churches on JOY in 2014!

This is the challenge we have given ourselves. Can we do it? With your help…yes! On the last Round Table one item that surfaced was, how do you go about becoming a facilitator for Connexus. I thought it would be helpful to post the process:

  • Begin with a Joy Starts Here study group. It does not have to be very big and can be in your home or the church. Just a few friends getting together. There is no advanced training needed.


To purchase click here: http://www.joystartshere.com/shop/

  • If you do not have a developed relationship with leadership (new to the community) work on building relationships with influencers within the church. It may be the pastor but do not limit yourself to just talking to him about starting Joy Starts Here group. A Sunday School teacher already has credibility with leadership and it might be easier to establish trust with them or a deacon, etc. while continuing to build relationship with the pastor.
  • As you work through the book, taking the evaluations as you go, people get a taste of joy and begin to self assign themselves to the appropriate next step…either Restarting or Foundations. They realize that they live in a low joy environment and might be lacking in skills, so Restarting seems the way to go. Or, they realize they are pretty comfortable in their environments and want to pursue intimacy with the Lord, which means they would fit better in Forming.

JSH Assessment Scales 2

  • Obtain a license to run Connexus classes. For information on facilitator training go to http://www.joystartshere.com/connexus-plus/
  • Begin Restarting and Forming from those who completed Joy Starts Here.
  • Bring the two groups together in Belonging and build a joy filled community with the weak and strong together.


  • Celebrate and repeat! We can infect our communities with joy. Let’s do it!

If your church would like to have an event to introduce the concept of joy in our lives, be sure to contact our office (below)—and talk to us. We’d also enjoy meeting you at the Round Tables. You can find the schedule here.



Surprise Announcement–Watch for it in the coming in the November newsletter! Jim Martini has a secret…and he isn’t telling anyone!

October Events–Chris will be traveling and ministering through the rest of this month. Your prayers a much appreciated for his health issues. Sitting and standing are challenging, and that is most of what he is doing this month. Chiropractic therapy is helping. We are praising God.

November Round Tables–Tuesday, November 4th, 12pm EST. East Coast Roundtable. Tuesday, November 18th, 3pm EST. West Coast Roundtable. Register.

May your joy be full,  Chris & Carol

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

Twitter – @coursey_chris

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

Carol’s email – godsheart@comcast.net


Quieting…why? (how do you do that?)

The latest news is that Chris has a herniated disk. It remains to be seen how this will play out. Let’s hold him in prayer as he walks through this pain filled time.

I wanted to share with you this week about quieting, brain skill #2. How well this skill is mastered is a predictor of an individual’s lifelong mental health. And remember, that ideally, these 19 skills are mastered by age 3 1/2!

With national and world events as they are, these are difficult times and the temptation is to fear. Fear is one of “The Big Six Negative Emotions” that we need to learn how to return to joy from. This skill of quieting will be essential in the days ahead.


Skill Two – Soothe Myself


Why is Quieting important? Simple Quiet – Quieting (shalom) after both joyful and upsetting emotions is the strongest predictor of life-long mental health.

Can you identify a time in your life when you were wrought with worry and dread? Intrusive thoughts robbed your peace. Maybe you felt misunderstood, even wrongly accused. Possibly you were concerned about paying the bills or worried about health issues. Your shallow breathing and tense body gripped you. You wondered if this riptide would ever end. When Skill Two is missing you do not effectively quiet your thoughts or body. You feel exhausted.

Another reason you need to learn this skill is that relationships require a rhythm of joy and rest. You rest then cycle back to joy. You build joy and return to rest. This moment by moment interaction leaves us satisfied. Short moments of rest provide strength and stamina for more joy. You see this in infants who reflexively look away from interactions once they reach a peak of joy. They quickly return for more face to face joy, and the dance continues.

When synchronized, energy levels mutually climb and drop. Your brain knows these patterns and the fun feels natural. The lack of rest makes you feel overwhelmed. Alternating joy with rest prevents relational casualties.

Just think about a time you enjoyed a tasty meal with a friend. Each bite is savored as you synchronize your breathing, eating, tasting, swallowing and speaking. Your senses are pleased. Much like the result of your good meal and fellowship, Skill Two is a primary commodity that keeps relationships balanced. Skill Two releases serotonin on an “as needed” basis to recharge your relational battery. Serotonin leaves you content and peaceful. As a sunrise leads to a sunset, Skill Two follows Skill One to soothe your body and calm your mind. Joy and quiet are cyclical, each compliments the other.

A third reason to learn and practice quieting is that memories, language, talent, muscles and skills that are not used will atrophy. When it comes to relational skills, every generation can only transmit what they learn and use. As skills drop out of family lines, generations spread undesirable traits such as abuse, pain, addictions and distortions. Regardless of intention and determination, you cannot give what you do not have. Skill Two diminishes when families and communities either do not allow or have not learned to rest. Without Skill Two you overwork, burn out, feel depressed, become lost in your devices, avoid states of quiet and push yourself until something gives. You pass this deformity on and call it normal.

Skill Two is difficult to identify because replacement patterns are socially acceptable. You replace quiet and rest with BEEPS in the form of busyness, work, sex, music, iPhones, television and sugar. Who you are may be based on the things you do, the items you buy, the cars you drive, the places you work or clothes you wear. Synthetically calming your emotions and ignoring rest signals create strain and deregulate the brain. BEEPS replace the natural ebb and flow families rely on.

The inability to down-regulate emotions to rest and up-regulate positive emotions to joy lead to the largest risk of developing a mental illness in a lifetime. Skill Two, when absent, leaves you vulnerable to depression, anxiety, addictions, ADD, ADHD and a myriad of behavioral and personality disorders. You recognize the need for Skill Two when you fear slowing down, resist rest and surrender to the urge to disconnect in non-relational ways.

Skill Two is best learned by spending time with people who rest. Like all of the nineteen skills, Skill Two is relationally transmitted. With practice you may be pleasantly surprised to discover that rest and quiet feels enjoyable, even restorative. Small steps of quieting create a positive link that extends into relationships. Rest is rewarding. Over time quieting begins to replace previously learned behaviors that replaced a genuine need for rest. Racing thoughts can be slowed. To-do lists can be written down instead of finished right now. Impulsive responses can be tamed. To varying degrees, yoga, silent retreats, the Sabbath and mindfulness exercises are some of the ways our culture embraces Skill Two.

Rest is a gift you give other people. As you demonstrate this skill you become expert at recognizing the need for rest. You allow others the freedom to rest. Breaking eye contact, low or high energy levels, overwhelm, loss of a relational mode, rising tension levels, even yawning can be signs that a breather is needed. With a bit of practice, quiet no longer threatens your busy lives, rather rest enriches productivity. Rest is one of the most productive skills you can practice.

Resources for Skill Two: How to learn to quiet

  • Joy Starts Here: The Transformation Zone – the book
  • JoyQ Assessment – online (free)
  • 30 Days of Joy for Busy Married Couples – a book of joy growing exercises each requiring only 10-15 minutes
  • Jesus In Mind: Talks on Kingdom Life  – CDs
  • THRIVE Skill Guides 52 weeks of training exercises


Training Opportunities: Where to learn


Joy Rekindled marriage retreat in Morton, IL from September 19th and 20th.

Joy Starts Here in Edmonton, AB Canada for October 3rd and 4th.


Thrive Training in Austin, TX from Feb 23 – 27th.

Annual Gathering on Sustained Relationship in Chicago, IL from April 9th – 11th.

Thrive Training in Grand Rapids, MI from July 27th – 31st.

More info on these events can be found here:


We always encourage you to begin study groups with the Joy Starts Here  book which will lead to Connexus classes where you can begin to learn these skills. You can look in our past posts to see an explanation of Connexus classes.

Another excellent idea is to take the online Joy-Q assessment of joy levels to gauge your joy levels and to help jumpstart seed-planting in your communities.

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 Carol’s email — godsheart@comcast.net

The Lifeboat in Your Brain–Part I

…19 Relational Skills that revolutionize your life, revitalize your marriage and reshape the world.

Imagine you are on a ship at sea when, suddenly, piercing sirens jolt you. A blaring voice over the loud speaker announces there is an emergency. Directions ensue: Passengers must quickly reach the deck for a life-saving exit strategy. Lifeboats are available to save you from the soon demise of the damaged vessel. Would you want a lifeboat?

Each of us has a lifeboat between our ears. The human brain is a three-pound, magnificent work of art that directs everything you say, think and do. In all its grandeur the brain dictates your decisions, runs relationships, and produces personal preferences. The brain tells you what to eat, when to go to bed and what to post on Facebook. Your brain is busily working at this very moment to keep you alive and interpret letters on this page.

When trained, the brain is a God-given instrument to sustain relationships, improve marriages, further friendships and create churches that change the world. Your brain is a personal lifeboat that works best with joyful relationships when people are glad to be together. This efficient little lifeboat relies on a select set of learned relational skills that enable you to respond to shifting, moment-by-moment circumstances in the best possible manner.

Life Model Works has identified nineteen relational brain skills that must be learned for optimal relational, personal, emotional, spiritual and mental health. Everyone, ideally, develops these skills by the age of 3 years.

When the nineteen are not fully mastered, you will feel inadequate. You cope with life in a painfully stunted sort of way. Something is missing. You may respond to people and circumstances rigidly. You make decisions out of fear and, deep down, believe there must be more out there, just beyond your reach. You feel comfortably numb or relentlessly pursue activities to make you feel better, calmer and more secure. You feel distracted and discontent. Relationships are confusing or worse, abrasive.

Who you are on the inside does not match your outside appearance. You do not express the life you dreamed was possible. You end up feeling empty, a shell of who you want to be.

At some point along the way your “relational ship” lost momentum, taking in water. For many, you believe your current conditions are about as good as it’s going to be. You have lost hope and live each day as though getting by is the best you can do.

There is hope. The lifeboat between your ears can transform you to a confident, brilliant cruiser that sails the high relational seas with efficiency, style and grace. Young or old, you can train your brain to learn the nineteen skills. Whether you need a tune up or a makeover, there is no better time to start than today.

Relational brain skills may be the best investment you make in your lifetime. If you are wondering about your joy levels, you can go to http://joyq.joystartshere.com/account/welcome.php and take the Joy-Q. This little test will not tell you which skills may need some repair but it can give you an idea of the current joy level in your life.

If you know that you are missing a skill (s) or some could use a tune up, the last 5-day Thrive Training of 2014 will be in Peoria, Ill this coming July.

Date: July 14th – 18th, 2014

Location: Holiday Inn, East Peoria, IL. USA

Registration: Is now open! Click here to register. Find Out More

Join us again next week for the conclusion of The Lifeboat.

May your joy be full,

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

Twitter – @coursey_chris

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

Carol’s email — godsheart@comcast.net

 p.s. We are working on  an explanation of the 19 Skills! Be watching for that.

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

Making These 3 Mistakes With Joy And Missing Benefits?

Are you missing the benefits of joy in family life and ministry because of these three mistakes?

Mistake #1Thinking joy is something it’s not. I made this mistake too. I thought it was some kind of “floaty” elevated experience only seldom experienced by mere mortals such as myself. I learned from Dr. Jim Wilder[1] that it does not have to be a huge ecstatic experience. Instead, joy is…

…produced when someone is glad to see me. [2] And I would add, and “you are/were glad to be with them!”

sharing joy

Joy can have many levels of intensity. It can be the feeling you had as a child when your mother made chocolate pudding and let you lick the spoon. Everything within you and about you enjoyed licking the bits of pudding from the pan and the spoon. Your delight and appreciation brought a smile to her face as her eyes danced with delight at your delight.

Joy can be the wave of appreciation that washes over you when you call a trustee to come help fix a problem with the heating system…on his day off and he comes cheerfully.

Joy can be the feeling you have when you hear your favorite singer, favorite instrumental piece, or the voice of a loved one. It can be the quiet contentment of snuggles with your spouse or another family member.

It can also be the fun of a family get together with stories flying, a conference well executed or your favorite kind of adrenaline rush that leaves your body vibrating and blood pulsing.


Joy is like that—it has a rhythm of rising and falling from intensity to quietly resting calm. It is all joy and our bodies are built for that rhythm. Our brains need both the intensity and the rest from intensity in the same way that our muscles need vigorous exercise and then rest.

Another hallmark of joy is the smiles, the face lighting up and the eyes sparkling. Joy lights you up.

Mistake #2Substitute pseudo-joy for the real thing. If some of the 19 relational brain skills dropped out of your family, you never had the opportunity to learn them. You may have learned that BEEPS [i]provide a brain chemistry mix that is similar to joy. Your body craves joy; it runs on joy but if pseudo-joy is all you know, then that is where you turn. Do you self-medicate to calm your cravings? Instead of following the addictive directive, use your craving as a trigger to remind you to do something different. For example:

  • Crave coffee? On your way to the coffee pot, practice appreciating the person who makes it.
  •  Crave a nap? Start something that requires movement. Movement itself can refresh you.cravingsm
  • Crave sweets? Let the desire for sweetness remind you to text or phone your spouse.
  • Crave unconditional love? Cravings

Practice appreciating your spouse, a family member or difficult person for something he/she does well, and watch the difference it makes.

Mistake #3Blame God for not coming through for you. Feel like He doesn’t have your back? Or that He is ignoring you? Instead of being angry with God, ask to see your situation through His eyes. This is called “having an Immanuel moment.”

Share Immanuel - Click Image to Close

You can be so thoroughly absorbed with circumstances that you cannot see what God is accomplishing through them. Allowing circumstances to chew on you or drive you is a way to become intensely restless, develop tension problems or ulcers. When you give your best and nothing changes, you are tempted to discouragement, feel that you must be defective in some way, to self medicate or to quit.

Anger at God that seethes below the surface spoils relationships, with leaders and volunteers, but is especially corrosive to relationships at home. Seeing from God’s perspective changes attitudes; feelings come into alignment with His will and emotions settle.

Low joy in life can take you on a downward spiral of depression, addiction, low self-esteem and discouragement.

Benefits of Joy — Joy keeps relationships bigger than the problems. It can rebuild relationships at work and home; bring freedom from addictions and cravings. It renews relationship with God.

Joy is powerful medicine!

FootprintsNext Steps:

Order a copy of Share Immanuel and learn more about how to have an Immanuel Lifestyle, click here.

Learn the 19 Thrive skills. Attend the Thrive Training Register here:




July 14th to July 18, 2014
THRIVE training in East Peoria, IL.
Relational brain skills give you the edge.
Fewer ideas and MORE solutions.
Hands-on training in the 19 skills.
Joy changes everything.

Attend Connexus classes or bring a Connexus class to your church. For more information on Connexus go here.



[1] Wilder, E. James PhD., Khouri, Edward M., Coursey, Chris M., Sutton, Shelia D.,  Joy Starts Here, Shepherd’s House, Peroia, Il, 2013. ISBN 978-1-935629-10-8.

[2] Wilder, E. James, PhD, Living From The Heart Jesus Gave You, Revised, Shepherd’s House, 2,000, p. 11.

[3] BEEPS are Behaviors, Experiences, Events, People and Substances. For more information on BEEPS click here. See also Ed Khori’s YouTube channel.

If you have comments or questions be sure to pop them into the comment box. We are happy to reply!

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