Hello and thanks for stopping by my blog. If you’re looking for specific resources, be sure to check out the topics in the column to the right. Otherwise, feel free to look around! ~ Kerry

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

More on "Finding True Fulfillment"

Several years ago, I led a weekly Bible study for high school girls in Springfield, Missouri. We met together very faithfully for about three years. Many of the girls were young enough when we started the study that they were able to attend all three years. Needless to say, when you spend that much time together, strong connections are developed.

Mike and I moved from Springfield almost nine years ago. And saying good-bye to those girls was one of the more difficult parts of the move. It is always so much fun to hear from one of them. A few weeks ago, one of the girls sent me a Facebook message. She is engaged and recently signed up for a small group in her church called Secrets: Transforming Your Life and Marriage. When she got the book, she was surprised to see that I was the author.

After sending a few FB messages back and forth, we decided to get together for dinner last week when I was in Springfield. What a joy to see this grown woman serving God, finishing her master’s degree, getting married, caring about important things… It was awesome!

It was fun to hear her perspective of Secrets. She told me that as a group they were starting session two, but her mind was still on session one—“Finding True Fulfillment.” We discussed just how much there is to think about with the one concept of allowing God to meet your deepest needs. We talked a lot about the frustration of expecting someone else to meet those God-sized responsibilities and the strain it can put on relationships.

Later in the week, Lindsey, my assistant reminded me that there was a large portion of the original manuscript that wasn’t included in final version of session one. [The book was just getting too long. :)] So we’ve decided to include it in this blog. Hope this inspires even more thought…

Click here to download the Session One mini-study.

Friday, May 15, 2009


My good friend Karen Yancey recently quoted from John Ortberg’s book, Everybody’s Normal Till You Get to Know Them. He cites a study on relationships that tracked 7,000 people over nine years:
“Researchers found that the most isolated people were three times more likely to die than those with strong relational connections. People who lived an unhealthy lifestyle (i.e. smoking, poor eating habits, obesity, or alcohol use) but had strong social ties lived significantly longer than people who had great health habits but were isolated. In other words, it is better to eat Twinkies with good friends than to eat broccoli alone!”
I love that! I’ve been thinking a lot about relationships this morning. Today I’m having lunch with a close friend who is moving to Hawaii next Wednesday. And I’m weepy just thinking about it. . . Almost nine years ago, Michelle, her husband Kore, and their two children moved to Wichita a couple of weeks before we did. And we’ve shared a lot of life together since then. . .

When our boys were 12 years old, we stood together on the sidelines of their soccer games talking (and cheering them on, of course). Several years later, those two guys were college roommates. We had great fun helping them get settled in their apartment. Then we cried together over the “empty” feelings we were experiencing. Today our boys are 21!

Michelle is great with details (not my strength) and together we’ve planned many women’s events for our church. We’ve gone on a missionary trip to Warsaw, Poland. And I think Michelle has attended every Bible study I’ve led over the past nine years. So needless to say, we’ve laughed together, cried together, worked together, studied together, prayed together, and eaten together. . .

I don’t think we’ve ever eaten a “Twinkie”, but we’ve shared countless desserts! I couldn’t begin to count the meals we’ve shared. Michelle and I are in the same breakfast club and are great lunch buddies. (I don’t know who will go to Doc Green’s with me now, Michelle.) And she and her husband meet Mike and me for dinner fairly often—not to mention the monthly deacons’ dinners we've shared together. So when I think that today will be our last meal together for a while, it makes me want to cry.

But, even in the sorrow of saying goodbye, I want to thank the Lord for bringing such wonderful friends into our life nine years ago! Michelle and Kore, you have blessed our lives in more ways than we can possibly count! According to Ortberg, you may have added years to our life! :)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Can We Judge a Painting While the Artist Still Holds the Brush?

It seems that God always sends me the same message in several ways. This morning I was reading in Max Lucado’s daily devotional, Grace for the Moment. The devotion for May 8th is entitled, “Get Out of the Judgment Seat” (based on Matthew 7:2, “You will be judged in the same way you judge others.”)

Lucado, one of my favorite wordsmiths, says—“We condemn a man for stumbling this morning, but we didn’t see the blows he took yesterday. We judge a woman for the limp in her walk, but cannot see the tack in her shoe. . . . Not only are we ignorant about yesterday, we are ignorant about tomorrow. Dare we judge a book while chapters are yet unwritten? Should we pass a verdict on a painting while the artist still holds the brush? How can you dismiss a soul until God’s work is complete?”

What would the verdict look like if we judged Moses right after killing the Egyptian; or David immediately after his affair, murder, and cover-up; or the woman at the well before her encounter with Jesus; or Peter the moment after the rooster crowed? The list is endless. . .

Shortly after reading these words (still pondering Lucado’s challenge) I began preparing for my adult class. This Sunday we are taking a close look at James 2:1-13, a section titled “Favoritism Forbidden” in the New International Version. James tells us very clearly that judging a person by their outward appearance is the opposite of Christlike behavior.

One of the resources I’m reading to prepare for our study is Warren Wiersbe’s book, Be Mature, a study of the book of James. Wiersbe says that “Christ is the link between us and others”—not appearance, achievement, ability, or affluence. “When we encounter another Christian, we can accept them because Christ lives in them. When we encounter someone who is not a Christian, we can accept them because Christ died for them.”

We must learn to love (James 2:8) and to show mercy (James 2:13), for we are all law breakers in desperate need of God’s amazing grace. Eugene Peterson translates James 2: 13 this way, “For if you refuse to act kindly, you can hardly expect to be treated kindly. Kind mercy wins over harsh judgment every time.”

I am challenged today! I want to be known for my “kind mercy” not my “harsh judgment.”

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

If Your Husband Has Yet to Believe in Jesus

I’ve been asked—“Will Secrets work for a woman whose husband is not a believer in Jesus?” When I wrote Secrets, I kept in mind that many women reading it would be in that situation. And today I’ve written a few more "Insights and Questions" just for women whose husbands don't believe in Jesus.

If you are leading a group study for women whose husbands are not believers, you could use this document as an additional guide with each session. Or if your group is mixed, you could give this as a handout.

To download "Insights and Questions," click here.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Love Letter

Mortimer J. Adlerin his classic, How to Read a Book, makes this observation:

“The one time people read for all they are worth is when they are in love and are reading a love letter. They read every word three ways. They read between the lines and the margins… Then, if never before, or after, they read carefully and in depth.”
My son Blake has been out of the country since January 4th. He doesn’t have access to the Internet very often, so we are always excited to talk to him on Skype. Generally, the Internet connection isn’t strong enough for video chat, but we get to instant message. Sometimes he gets access to the Internet when we are unavailable, and he will send us a quick e-mail.

While these are not the kind of “love letters” Adlerin is referring to, I love and miss my son so much—I simply devour his notes. It would be embarrassing to admit how many times I read Blake’s e-mails. I read them at least three times immediately (not kidding) and will re-read them many times until we hear from him again. The first time, I read very quickly to make sure he is okay. Then I read slower, looking closely at the details. I examine every phrase, looking for the emotion behind the words—wondering if he is happy or overwhelmed. By the third time I read, I can hear him saying the words and imagine the look on his face.

After considering how I read Blake’s e-mails, I had to ask myself, Do I read God’s Word with the same intensity? Do I read every word—reflecting on what I learn about God and seeking to understand what He expects of me? Do I allow His Word to examine my motives and penetrate my thoughts and attitudes? Do I read it often enough to allow it to renew my mind?

Hmmm. . . what a challenge! I can only imagine what my spiritual life would be like if I read God’s Word like a love letter. . .