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The Elephant in the Marriage

One year ago, almost to the day, I penned my first word in what would become my first completed manuscript. I only shared this project with a few close friends as I was starting out, and each and every one of them has asked the same question that I have heard from almost everyone else when they learn that I have written a manuscript, “What is the book called?” Well, for the past year it has had a place-holder name that is a variation of my dissertation title, but as of February 24, 2015 the book formally known as The Marriage between Perception and Reality has a new name:

The Elephant in the Marriage: Discover what is trampling your marital satisfaction and how to enjoy a thriving marriage. Continue reading

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let me show you

Do You See What I See?

“Do you see what I see?” Isn’t it amazing how often we can be standing right next to someone, looking in the same direction, and see the same thing so differently. Henry David Thoreau​ famously quipped, “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”

We can be absolutely convinced that we know what we are looking at, but unaware of just how little we see. If there is a point of friction between you and a friend or a loved one, try looking at the issue from their perspective and be open to seeing what they see. You just might be surprised and strengthen a relationship in the process. Continue reading

footprints in the snow

Footprints in the Snow

Last night I had a dream. I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Across the sky flashed scenes from my life. For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the snow: one belonged to me, the other to the Lord.

After the last scene of my life flashed before me, I looked back at the footprints in the snow. I noticed that at many times along the path of my life, especially at the very lowest and saddest times, there was only one set of footprints.

This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.  “Lord, you said once I decided to follow you, You’d walk with me all the way. But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life, there was only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.”

The Lord replied, “My son, my precious child, I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of suffering, when you could see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.” Continue reading

Maybe I'll Work There Someday

I Cannot Do It

I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.” Genesis 41:16 (NIV)

Many of us reading this are familiar with the story of Joseph being called before Pharaoh to interpret his dream. It is a great story that teaches (and preaches) on so many different levels. Today I would like us to zero in on Joseph’s humble and accurate reply to Pharaoh when he was asked to interpret his dream; Joseph simply said, “I cannot do it.”. The NKJV translates it, “It is not in me.”. So many of us don’t like admitting that we can’t or are unable to do something. Perhaps for fear of what others might think of us, or what we might think of ourselves. We go on through life pretending to others that we can do it and at times we even succeed in convincing ourselves that we can do it. The honest truth is that we cannot, at least not without God. Continue reading

Advance Praise Erik Sundquist

Much-Needed Challenge

A Marriage between Perception and Reality is a treatise that carefully considers the theological, scientific, cultural, gender–unique, and psychological perspectives on marriage. Dr. Karampatsos provides a much-needed challenge to all of us to think beyond our own experience of the marriage dynamic and place a greater emphasis upon the experience of our spouse. One of my two biggest takeaways was to realize that my “gut feeling” is strongly influenced by subjective perceptions and perspectives within myself and therefore needs to be challenged. The other was that compromise is not at the core of a healthy marriage. Rather, marriages grow when each person practices the discipline of thinking in terms of what is best for the marriage, whether or not it is best for the individual. Continue reading

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Metrics of a Healthy Church?

In the January “Called to Serve” ministers letter L. Alton Garrison shared some interesting findings that I thought I would share here today:

Recently, Dr. Michael Clarensau has completed an intensive study of a decades’ worth of ACMRs to determine what metrics might help you determine the health of your church. Based on his research, he proposes five metrics:

First, missional effectiveness. The metric compares Sunday morning worship attendance (A) with the number of conversions or salvation decisions (C), measuring how many attendees it takes to produce a convert (the AC ratio). A healthy church will have a low AC ratio of attendees to converts each year. Dr. Clarensau estimates that the AC ratio should be 5:1 or lower. Continue reading

Advance Praise Nancy Wheeler

Theoretical and Practical Help

A Marriage between Perception and Reality offers married couples, from a Christian perspective, both theoretical and practical help to allow them to fulfill their goals for healthy relationships. Jason Karampatsos, Ph.D., has the insight to offer this help, based on his perspective as a licensed clinical professional counselor, ordained minister, husband and father. He draws on the wisdom of great thinkers ranging from Plato to Carl Rogers.  Then he offers very practical suggestions to his readers so they may develop communication skills that help them understand how their “perspectives inform” their perceptions, and how their “perceptions are greater than reality.” This book is a “must read” for newlyweds as well as those who have been married for many decades. Continue reading

Is Tried

Is Tried

Nobody is perfect. You and I both have heard that before, but some of us really struggle with wondering if our “good enough” is good enough. Those nagging doubts infect our relationship with our spouse, our children, our job, and even with God. The Bible helps us out on that last one and lets us know that “…all our righteous acts are like filthy rags…” (see Isaiah 64:6). So, no, you are not good enough, but that doesn’t stop God from loving you and choosing to use you and desiring a relationship with you. Continue reading

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