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Beyond Sex & Salvation – Part 1 addresses three critical life lessons you want to learn before you fall in love. Preferably before you even date!

Keep in mind, life lessons take a lifetime to learn. You’re not going to have them all sewed up in eight weeks, but you’ll be miles ahead of most people just because you’re pursuing them.

These are deceptively hard lessons, but they only get harder to learn the older you get. Indeed, many choose not to learn them, but their relationships pay the price. Then when they get married, their marriage pays the price. Sometimes that price is divorce. At the very least, it’s major marital dissatisfaction.

If you don’t wish to join the disappointed and disillusioned, determine to pursue maturity in these areas now and set yourself up for relational success:

  • with family members
  • with co-workers
  • in friendship
  • in dating
  • in your future marriage

What are the 3 Lessons?

We share all three life lessons in an extremely abbreviated form in our LoveEd YouTube series beginning with this episode.

Book Excerpts:

Still need more convincing that Beyond Sex & Salvation offers juicy, wholesome goodness that can empower you to succeed in relationships?

Want to read a little bit first?

Check out these blog posts from our Date Night Advice (DNA) which are taken right out of the book itself.

The Truth about Happily Ever After

We’ve got to stop blaming everyone and everything for our lack of contentment. It’s time we own up to the fact that we’ve chosen not to be content.

Unless, of course, these words are being read by a small group of starving, homeless orphans in an isolated, undeveloped country. Ravaged by civil war. In the middle of a drought or flood. Or both.

Actually, even people in situations like that learn contentment. For real.

Here’s the hard truth:

Contentment isn’t someone you’re going to meet.

“I finally found ‘The One!’ We’re matched up in 29 different areas of compatibility!”

 It’s not something you’re going to get.

“I’m getting married! ’Happily ever after’ – here I come!”

Contentment is something you have to learn. [Read more.]

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Set Your Expectations Accordingly

But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. – 1 Tim 6:6-8 (NAS)

Paul appeals to us to change our expectations. Instead of determining that we will only be content once we find the trophy spouse, achieve financial independence and live in perfect health (or have 1.5 kids, buy a home or whatever else you may want), He says lower your expectations. Be content with food and clothing.

As we consider this, we can’t ignore the fact that the goals we strive to obtain in our Western civilization – things like financial independence and perfect health – are completely out of reach of the vast majority of the world’s population. [read more]

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 What Are You HANKerin’ For?

Ever seen the Starbucks’ Double-shot Espresso “Hank” commercial? (If not, watch it below.) In it, some hapless-looking 20-something named Hank partakes of the Starbucks’ canned beverage and winds up with an actual cheering section chanting his name wherever he goes.

Now, what does a double-shot of espresso really promise you? Perhaps your favorite coffee flavor? Certainly some energy? What about a cheering section? Would you expect fans to follow you just because you drank a double-shot? No.

But imagine if someone did. Imagine if some naïve individual saw that ad and really expected that. He buys a beverage, pops the top and… nothing happens. He takes a sip. Nothing. He finishes his drink and still hears no music, no cheers, no sound at all. Then imagine him exploding in anger, “WHERE’S MY CHEERING SECTION!?!?! I’VE BEEN RIPPED OFF!!!”

See where wrong expectations leave you? [read more]

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If You had that Special Someone…

I only recognized how much I had bought into our culture’s pervasive false romance meta-narrative after 12 years of marriage. My self discovery came courtesy of Michael Knight and his tricked-out Trans Am, KITT.

For those who were living in a nuclear bomb shelter throughout the 80s – or who weren’t yet born – Knight Rider was the family television drama to watch, or so I thought at age 11. It starred Baywatch’s David Hasselhoff as high-tech crime fighter.

When I got the first season on DVD a couple years ago, I thought I had died and gone to 80s heaven, but then I put the first disc in the player. [read more]

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Waiting for ‘The One’?

In light of your desire to find a life partner sometime before you die (or even just your first girlfriend or boyfriend), let me ask this question: what if the needs you’d like God to meet through an intimate human relationship, God wants to meet some other way?

Have you given God the freedom to meet your needs His way?

We talk about asking God to meet our needs, but what we often wind up doing with our prayer life is telling God to meet our needs; and even better, how to do it. We may call them prayer requests, but they’re really prayer commands.

Here’s an example. [read more]

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When God doesn’t Make Sense

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. – Proverbs 3:5-8 (ESV)

You know what I want to do?

I want to trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean on my own understanding. Doesn’t that sound like a more balanced approach?

I mean, come on. God knows a lot, but it’s not like He knows everything!

Oh wait. He does. [read more]

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God Will Never Leave You, But…

Another reason you might find it difficult to trust God is probably because He’s let you down so many times.

(Did I really just write that?)

Yes, I did. God has let me down more times than I can count. I’ve felt forgotten by Him, tricked by Him and ripped off by Him.

At this point, you might be thinking, “But God promised to never leave or forsake us!” And you’re absolutely right.

The writer of Hebrews says that in chapter 13, verse 5, but let’s take that in context. [read more]

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Stop Hurting Yourself!

One of my favorite exhibits at our local zoo is the aviary where they keep the Rainbow Lorikeets. As the name would lead you to suspect, these birds display all the colors of the rainbow in their multicolored plumage. They are remarkably beautiful.

Except for Igor.

(Yes, the zookeepers have named each bird.)

Igor actually has the same exact coloring as all the others, except around his neck. There, instead of his fine-looking feathers, Igor sports a ring of naked pale skin.

Mandy, the zookeeper (yes, the animals have named each of them too), explained that months ago, Igor came down with a sore throat. Determined to address the problem, he began to pick at his throat with his beak.

Now these birds are constantly using their beaks to pick at their own feathers. And when they’re not doing that, they’re picking at the feathers of their fellow birds. In this way, they meticulously groom themselves and each other. It’s what keeps them looking so lovely.

Except for Igor. In this instance Igor wasn’t trying to gently groom his neck as would be natural. He was trying to attack his throat problem. [read more]

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Do You Know what Your Problem Really Is?

Case 1: You have watery eyes and runny nose. That’s a problem so you take medicine to fix it.

Wait! If you read the packaging of the medication it lists “watery eyes and runny nose” as symptoms. So is your excess fluid production a problem or a symptom? Well, both, but if you only treat the symptoms you may never fix the problem. If you fix the problem the symptoms disappear.

Let’s say your overflowing eyes and nose are the result of a cat allergy, aggravated by your new cube mate at the office who happens to moonlight as a pet therapist in her free time. Every square inch of every piece of clothing she owns is covered in feline fur. Now you’ve discovered the problem, you move to another cube, with a fellow parakeet lover, and your runny nose woes are over. No medication needed. [read more]

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Are you Already Cheating?

Consider the following scenarios:

Situation #1: You’re in class taking a test. You’re stumped on question two (quite the auspicious beginning). However, you know the brainiac next to you always has the right answer.

They’ve also left that right answer uncovered when you glance over.
And question three and question four and…

Hopefully we don’t need a college level course on ethics to determine whether this is cheating.

Situation #2: The night before the test you get a hold of the answer key and memorize it.

Is that cheating? Of course!

Cheating is cheating whether it’s before, during or after the test. Why would it be different with sex? [read more]

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Still Wanting More?

That’s why I wrote the discipleship series, so why not buy the book?!

You can walk through it on your own, but it’s more fun with friends, so consider putting together an FMU LoveEd small group study. Even better?  And ask a married couple you respect to lead it!

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