Monday, August 22, 2016

The Golden Rule in Marriage

We stood before a minister, taking those sacred wedding vows, but five months later we were beginning to feel like this was not going to work.  Our marriage was in the first stages of disintegration. No matter how sincerely we were trying to communicate, we could not connect. Words, phrases and actions said something different to one than what the other was meaning. We didn’t have the same language because we didn’t have the same words.  We didn’t even have the same alphabet.

Chris’ A was not the same as Carol’s A. Chris’ B was not the same as Carol’s B. Chris’ C was not the same as Carol’s C. If our letters were not the same, then certainly our spelling wasn’t the same. If our spelling wasn’t the same, then our words were not the same.

We had to find a way to stay connected with one another while we engaged in this process of understanding one another.

We cannot recall the exact date and time, but following another one of those frustrating and futile moments of trying to communicate, we sat down together to try to reach some agreed place from which we could deal with one another.  It was really out of desperation that we came up with an agreement.  We weren’t trying to be deep or super spiritual. We were just trying to find some common ground.

So we made a PACT and it went something like this:

“I choose to believe that no matter how you say, what you say to me, that you are not intentionally trying to hurt me. I choose to believe that no matter how you say, what you say to me, that you meant it for my good. I choose to believe that no matter how you say, what you say to me, that you love me.”

Our pact was simply the golden rule being applied to our relationship. When we made this pact, we had no idea how significant it was going to be. We just felt a new sense of peace. It was like we were finally, really married. We had slowly moved beyond the soaring emotional connections of love and advanced to a solid unconditional acceptance of one another.

We had forged the Golden Rule into our marriage. We had each said, “I will treat you the way that I want to be treated. I will trust you the way that I want to be trusted.”

We had a new security. We had tapped into a secret place from which we could begin learning one another’s alphabet; and thus begin to piece together words and sentences.  Simultaneously, we could build a stronger connection between us. It was like working on our health while working on an injury at the same time.

The golden rule has been a huge part of the foundation of our marriage for more than 35 years. For many years we have been teaching it as a healing prescription for the couples that we coach.

Sometimes our family and friends comment on our present ability to communicate in a manner that seems almost telepathic. We can just say one word or give a brief glance across a room and we are able to conduct an entire conversation in a few seconds.

This new level of communication began when a couple that had only been married for six months, in a moment of desperation, made a golden rule choice for their relationship.

Marriage Coaches Chris and Carol Green

World Peace Ambassador, Dr. Clyde Rivers calls Chris and Carol Green the leading skilled experts in rebuilding, restoring and renewing hearts and homes. The Greens are certified master life coaches who founded the Fruitful Life Network, Inc. an innovative community care and coaching outreach. They are international columnist/writers with the award winning team of Dr. Clyde Rivers and iChange Nations Social Media News™.  


Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Creative Download

Countless mornings I have awakened with all kinds of wonderful thoughts and ideas. Sometimes it’s a single idea or it might be lyrics to a new song. It’s amazing how you can wake up with fresh new thoughts. Then as you become even more awake, all those wonderful ideas fade away with the realization of the bills, the deadlines and the various struggles you may be having with the people. Then you spend the rest of the morning simply rehearsing the monotonous movie that can sometimes be your life. 

I have written 14 books and well over 100 songs. I’ve produced 70 online video channels (1100+ videos), I’m a blogger, and I write for a Global Journalist award winning team. 

How can I possibly keep my creative flow when, at the same time, were running life coaching initiatives through our NPO (Fruitful Life Network) and our business (C & C Connections, LLC).  We have the constant pressure of fundraising and seeking customers, so that our work can do more than survive, but actually thrive.  

I have learned to pay attention to the overnight download.  Those first thoughts that come to me as I wake up, are usually pure creativity. It’s as if though my brain was given a total reset while I slept. Often the thoughts have nothing to do with what I dreamed. Many times they are simply ideas, images, impressions that just come in the very first seconds and minutes when I wake up or in the early hours of the morning while the house is quiet and the sun is just peeking over the horizon. I learned, through the years, to get up and write what’s coming to me.

I don’t try to organize the thoughts. I just write them down. I don’t know if it’s going to be an article, a song, a poem, or an idea for our business. That’s not the point. I’m not trying to edit, organize or categorize. That will come later. The only thing that’s important in the moment is to get the overnight download on to paper.   

Most of our best articles, songs, or business strategies have come from last night’s download. So I encourage you to do the same. Before you let all the cares and concerns of your life drive away that creative flow that fills your first-awakening thoughts, pay attention to the download. Exercise the discipline of getting up and writing it down.    

I realize the wonderful, rapturous feeling of enjoying the last seconds of the snooze. You may want to simply roll over and go back to sleep. I’ve lost some million-dollar ideas when I did that. I always assumed I would remember it later, but it never came back.   I discovered that hidden within those downloads, were solutions to my problems. When I was actively trying to come up with a solution, many times I simply could not find it. But many of those overnight downloads had answers buried within the thoughts. It was amazing.   

Besides, it is far better to get up and continue in the creative flow, than to allow yourself to just lay there drowning in worry, fear and all the negativity that you can’t change anyway. Why waste the moment with worry, when you could have seized the creative download and released ideas that can often times, provide the solution to many of our problems.  

It may not happen every time you wake up, but when it does, it’s important that you recognize it and get up immediately to write it down. You could be on the verge of the greatest breakthrough in your life.  

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Damaged Goods

Carol L. Green (D.Hon.Causa)

Best Practice Principles from Dr. Chris Thurman's Book: The Lies We Believe

Did you ever stop to think that God purchased mankind "As Is"?

When someone purchases a house, car or furniture "As Is" that always means that they see something of value in spite of the obvious damage. When God looks at human beings, He sees His greatest creation; that He loves more than we can imagine. He doesn’t love us because we’re good. He loves us because He sees His image in us. And His image is good, although it is marred and distorted because of our fallen nature.

When we bring our life coaching foundational teaching to individuals and groups, we tell them that they were created in the image of God. We tell them that they were created to do more than just work, pay bills and die. We tell them that they have a purpose in life. We tell them that each person has a part of God’s dream locked within them. We tell them that each and every life was brought forth to make a contribution to the world.

However, we also let them know that every person needs to be connected with God in order to bring forth all of that potential. This divine connection is necessary because we all have a propensity toward selfishness and self-destruction.

I have been sharing with you, some of the ways we are helping people to identify the worldly lies that have held them back. This week, as we continue in our discussion about worldly lies,
I want to discuss the lie that says, “People are basically good!” 

All we have to do is watch the daily news reporting of people murdering other people simply because of their skin color, religion, ethnicity or nationality, and we know that people are not basically good. They can have good intentions and good potential.  If we are honest with ourselves, we know that we daily fight our baser instincts of selfishness, self centeredness, dishonesty, greed, etc.

The idea that we are imperfect human beings bothers those who don’t want to look at themselves or their motives too closely. They would prefer to think of themselves as decent human beings who always have pure motives.

In his book, The Lies We Believe, Dr. Chris Thurman quotes a view held by noted humanistic psychologist Abraham Maslow:

"This inner nature, as much as we know of it so far, seems not to be intrinsically or primarily or necessarily evil {but rather} neutral…or positively 'good." …Since this inner nature is good or neutral rather than bad, it is best to bring it out and to encourage it rather than to suppress it.
If it is permitted to guide our life, we grow healthy, fruitful, and happy.”

Dr. Thurman goes on to say, (It always annoys me when people who have no children and was never married, come up with these theories that they have never put into practice in their own lives first, before making them public to be put into practice.)

I agree with Dr. Thurman!

This perspective of human nature can’t be true in the light of human history. If humans are the saintly creatures some would like us to believe, then we wouldn’t have experienced all of the horrors of human-on-human crimes.  Our history has shown the murderous heart of man, his greed, hatred, subjugation of the helpless, and the subsequent establishment of systems that have been put in place, and made to be self-perpetuating, in order to keep various people groups imprisoned in various forms of slavery all over the world. 

If humanity was basically good, this could never have happened. We would be able to live peacefully with any people group, without any malice or wanting to be in control of others. We would actually be able to enjoy the diversity of others instead of being insecure and threatened by it.

Humanity is usually not as selfless as we would like to think. We tend to be more self-destructive than healthy in our lifestyles and discontented than happy with what we have.

We are not only out of shape physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well.  If we were basically good people, we would be physically fit, emotionally whole, and spiritually strong.

From this self-centered perspective, mankind wants to decide what is good and what is bad.

Therefore, we find it easy to kill an unborn child and call it a choice. We find it easy to bully people (in the name of tolerance) into submission to the majority, even if the majority's rule is wrong. We find it easy to defy the laws of nature and nature's God. We find it easy to call these ways of thinking, good.

Now that’s not to say that humanity has no value and is without any redeeming qualities.

In fact, we know that mankind was created in the very image of God. We also know that mankind was so important to God that HE sacrificed His only begotten Son to reconcile mankind back to Himself. You might say that man’s worth is the price paid by Jesus Christ.

However, we cannot confuse the image of God within man, with the fallen nature of man. Although man has the potential for good, man needs the power of God to bring forth that goodness.

Think of it this way: God purchased damaged goods.

In our early years of marriage, I was so disappointed with myself because of my own selfish tendencies.  I knew that I had to fight those tendencies in order to have a healthy marriage.

It was a part of my growing in my thinking from “me” to “we” and becoming one with my husband.

Most of us have a desire to be better than we are, and we strive to be so. To believe that we are all intrinsically good is just not true.  We have to see ourselves for who we really are, look at our responses to daily life and tell ourselves the truth.

Refusing to recognize our own short comings and horrible potential for adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like,
is a sign of pride.   

If people were basically good, God wouldn’t have needed to send His only Son to die on the cross for our sins.  In Isaiah 53:6 it says, “All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all."

Iniquity is a weakness toward a particular sin or a harmful habit. For example, any kind of addiction is an iniquity. However, iniquity has an even deeper meaning. Iniquity is more than just wrong acts and deeds. The deeper meaning of iniquity is lawlessness. It’s a mindset that there are no rules and it is the belief that we can do whatever we want to do because there is no right or wrong.  That’s why we say that man is not basically good. The Bible says that man is basically lawless. And that’s not good.

The way to see that divine image come forth in a human being is for that person to come into relationship with God the Father through His Son. As citizens of the Kingdom of God, which means God is ruling in one's heart, we must develop a lifestyle of walking in the Spirit. This new lifestyle will exemplify the fruits of the Spirit, which are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. This is the potential God saw inside of us.

So, we don’t tell our clients that they are already good. We tell them that they are already loved, valued and extremely important to God. We have found that these declarations plant a seed of desire within people to not only want to BE good, but to know the God who will make them good.

We Listen, We Lift, We Launch,

Coach Carol Green

Monday, August 15, 2016

They are Still Just Lost Souls

As the election draws closer and the lines of division increase, we have found ourselves privy to a wide variety of views and opinions concerning Black and Brown people in the cities of America. With their often-times violent responses to police actions, reactions from many Christians have ranged from “Shoot to kill” to “They’re just getting what they deserve.”

In this era of very low social media IQ, I won’t waste time trying to explain the negative history that has led to the explosions of violence and the eruptions of protests that we have watched on our televisions and mobile devices from the comfort of our homes and offices.

A couple of years ago, a brother in the Lord asked Chris if it was true that Blacks get stopped by police officers for no reasons. Tears filled this man's eyes when Chris told him that it was just a normal part of our lives. He was one of the few who have actually tried to understand what was happening beyond the headlines, sound-byes and the 10-second video clips of riots.

For the record, Chris grew up in the city where the Black Lives Matter movement got its launch, following the shooting of Michael Brown in the same St. Louis suburb and apartment complex where we lived as a young couple trying to make our way in the world. Although we do not agree with all of the ideologies of the movement, you need to know that in some cities in America, these terms are synonymous: KKK, Christian, Republican, Conservative, Racists. Chris' home town is such a place. Following the shooting of Michael Brown, the KKK was passing out flyers that read: Be a Good Christian Brother and Join the Klan.

Our personal history there is very, very negative. It is nearly impossible to describe what it is like to live in a city where the following words were spoken from its downtown historic courthouse: “The black man has no rights, that a white man is bound to respect.” And the spiritual powers and influences of that statement dominate all aspects of society there; be it business, education, media, government, family, law enforcement, etc.

Just last month, a black employee came in to work, in a major downtown corporate office, to find a noose hanging over his cubicle. That just happened in 2016!  So there are many pockets in America where many things have not changed since the 1960’s. So we simply cannot sit in judgment of people’s reactions, basing our verdicts solely upon our own personal experiences from our small parts of the world. 

It was the late 1980’s, when we lived in Ferguson, and police pull-overs were regularly part of life. It was frustrating. It was humiliating. Did you hear me? It was humiliating. What do you think happens to a person who has to endure constant and persistent moments of humiliation?

It's easy to judge from the outside and say,"All you have to do is just comply." But you don't know what happens to you over months and years of this type of humiliation. And somehow, you’re supposed to try to maintain your composure and not give any officer, any reason to mistake your actions as aggressive or threatening, because in all fairness, he or she does not know if you are carrying a weapon or not.

Now we fast forward thirty years and from our perspective, things are far worse for everyone. Another generation of young adults has come forth and they are not like us at all. Many of them are not optimistic and hopeful for the future like we were at that time. The systems have failed and they have been raised on a steady diet of fatalism and despair.  They have grown weary of the stories of their parents, grandparents and great grandparents. We’re the ones who were alive in the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80, and 90’s; and we have passed on that history to them. 

Special note* - the phrase, “Slavery and racism was a long time ago.” - has no meaning in our communities. It wasn’t a long time ago. It was yesterday. It’s today. It’s tomorrow.

Many of our family members, since they were not necessarily Believers, could not pass on any spiritual understanding regarding the future. So we must stop expecting a Godly, biblical, or spiritual response from desperate, hurting people.

And that’s what many don’t understand or choose to ignore. The historical disconnect is REAL. There is a reason for the unrest. It’s not just a bunch of lawless, wild and out of control animals. This is a multi-generational outcry of lost and hurting souls, who are desperately searching for peace and justice. We are not condoning their methods, but we are asking for TRUE Believers to stop this ungodly reaction where there is no compassion, love, or mercy for lost souls. 

Do you see them as lost souls, or have you allowed the media and your personal prejudice to make you hardened and indifferent? 

When you blast away at what is happening in our community, you are talking about OUR people and OUR families; the same people God called us to reach with His love and power. We do not and cannot see them as a problem in society. We feel like Moses did about his people, who were under the heavy hand of Pharaoh. Our people are under the heavy hand of satan, and true followers of Christ must see it that way or else, they will become just another st of religious executioners. 

When we hear Believers say that a kid deserved to be shot because they talked back to a cop, ran from a cop, or was disrespectful to law enforcement, then I wonder if that’s the way God responded to you when you were rebellious against Him.  Did the Holy Spirit take on the role as Judge, Jury and Executioner when you lashed out against Him in your moment of hurt, anger, rage and despair?

As long as Believers see the emotional responses of people of color as merely acts of lawless rebellion, instead of an agonizing cry for help in the midst of unimaginable despair, then they are no different than the religious folks who wanted to stone (execute) the woman who was caught in adultery. 

Jesus saw a woman who was so desperate for love that she was willing to risk death, just to be with a man who was not her husband. Do you see hurting people who are willing to risk death, just to experience what it is like to have peace and justice?

Many Believers say they live by the Golden Rule; wherein we are supposed to treat others the way we want to be treated. That does not mean you wait until people of color respond to life in the same way that you do. It means just what Jesus said. In fact He actually gave Believers a new commandment under the golden rule. He said we are to love others in the same way He loved us. 

If we actually live by the Golden Rule, we will realize that we’re called to reach the lost. Why is it so easy to reach across the globe and help the less fortunate on the other side of the world, and yet remain callous and unfeeling with those who are trying to survive only a couple miles away?

After all, they are still just lost souls.

For the least of these, 

Chris and Carol Green (doctors honoris causa)

World Peace Ambassador, Dr. Clyde Rivers calls Drs. Chris and Carol Green the leading skilled experts in rebuilding, restoring and renewing hearts and homes. The Greens are certified master life coaches who founded the Fruitful Life Network, Inc. an innovative community care and coaching outreach. They are international columnist/writers with the award winning team of Dr. Clyde Rivers and iChange Nations Social Media News™.  

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Worth the Wait

Carol L. Green (D.Hon.Causa)

Best Practice Principles from Dr. Chris Thurman's Book: The Lies We Believe

As most of you know, we are ministering on the front lines in Harrisburg, PA as community life coaches.  God has been using this aspect of our ministry to provide practical tools for people who are trying to rebuild their lives in the midst of great devastation.  Part of that recovery process involves helping them see past five categories of lies, according to Dr. Chris Thurman who wrote a book called, The Lies We Believe. The five categories are the self-lies, worldly-lies, marital-lies, distortion-lies, and religious-lies that have been received and believed by millions of people.

I have been sharing with you, some of the ways Chris and I are helping people to identify the lies that have held them back. This week, as we continue in our discussion about worldly lies, I want to discuss the lie that says, “You shouldn’t have to wait for what you want.”

In my last letter I talked about the ‘You can have it all’ lie. The ‘You don’t have to wait’ lie is a similar version of last week’s theme.

There are many who feel they don’t have to wait until they actually have the money to buy what they want. We have an entire financial system that allows us to just use plastic money.

I have noticed that in social media, we don’t spend the time researching an issue before we try to speak authoritatively about it.

If we arrive at school to pick up our children and see a teacher scolding one of them, instead of finding out what’s really happening, parents tend to go charging in to let the teacher have it, for correcting their child. 

Being able to have the job you want, buy the things you want, or eat the food you like is very gratifying, especially when we can do these things without having to wait. We don’t want to take the time to think about the consequences of these quick decisions. We don’t want to think about the bills we have to pay after those impulse purchases or the calories associated with the foods we love to eat at any time of day or night.  I don’t know about you, but just thinking about exercise makes me tired!  The way many people live is, “Eat, drink and be merry, but don’t think about tomorrow.”

No one likes to face the reality that it takes time to accomplish the most important things in life and that we must resist the strong urges for instant gratification.

As life coaches, we are often asked for answers that would quickly solve the client’s problems. They often want instant solutions without having to endure a process of healing or restoration. Some clients, when they understand that it took a long, long time to get into their present situation and that it will also take a while to heal and correct the issue, will sometimes choose not to come back to complete the process.

Dr. Chris Thurman states in his book The Lies We Believe:

“Waiting is a lost art in our country today. Far too many consumers aren’t waiting until they actually have the money before they buy something, far too many couples aren’t waiting to give their relationship time to grow, far too many teenagers aren’t waiting until marriage to have sex, far too many people don’t wait until someone is finished speaking before they start saying their piece, and far too many drivers don’t wait to merge.  It is an ‘I shouldn’t have to wait’ culture, and credit card debt, divorce, unwanted pregnancies (or unwanted children), rudeness, and highway deaths are just part of the price tag.”

In our unwillingness to wait on the things we want, we do ourselves harm and we harm others around us.  A man and woman, or boy and girl can become parents, but because they don’t want the responsibility, they may abandon the child. if fact, they might choose to abort the baby before it is even born.  A teenage boy or girl seduces the other person to satiate a desire without thinking about the other person. Their only concern is with fulfilling their desire with no thought about how this decision will affect the other person (pregnancy, STDs, emotional soul tie, etc.).

We can hear part of a conversation, assume we know what was being discussed, and assume we understand the positions of the people talking.  We can jump into the conversation and create a huge and unnecessary argument.

In this impatient, impulsive culture, people think of themselves as being far more important than those around them. That’s certainly true when they feel they must text while driving; putting everyone around them at risk.

The truth is that the most important people and things in life are worth waiting for. In order to be more sure about the decisions we are making, we need to take the time to not only do some external research, but take the time to do some internal research.

Find out what is at the core of your impatience. We must stop and deal with this very strong urge for instant gratification and its accompanying desire for that which is forbidden.  It’s a powerful drive that we’re born with. No one has to teach us this response to life. Just delay the feeding of an infant and you’ll see it. Just tell a toddler to wait and you’ll see it.

For many people, they never matured in learning how to curb or control this basic instinct.  Now we live in a society that encourages everyone to give in to and indulge their cravings.

I encourage you to pay attention to your own behavior and see if you have believed and received this lie. Do you actually take time to get to know the people you choose to be in relationship with? Do you stop and reconsider the consequences before you make a purchase or respond to another person’s words and actions?

From my position as a coach, I believe we need to ask questions and receive counsel from those who have demonstrated discipline and success in this area of their lives. Talk with people who have healthy spending habits and healthy relationships. You’ll discover that they have learned to resist the lie that you don’t have to wait for what you want. They know the value of those things that are worth waiting for.

We Listen, We Lift, We Launch,

Coach Carol Green