• Breaking Free From Fear

    By Salina Iavarone

    I almost quit my job this week.  I was walking to the office entrance, getting ready to swipe my key fob at the door and there it was.  Staring at me.  With its eight thousand eyes.  Ok…maybe it wasn’t exactly eight thousand…maybe it was just eight. Whatever.  Right below the key fob pad was a spider in all its hairy legged glory.  Like the ugly old troll who lives under the bridge (bonus points if you sang that in your head), there would be no avoiding it if I wanted to get through that door. My first thought- Well, it’s been nice working here. In no way was I willing to get my hand in close enough proximity to that creature to swipe the fob and go through the door.  So, I stood there for a moment weighing the idea …

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  • Navigating the Discipleship Pathway

    By Salina Iavarone

    If you’ve attended GT for more than a week, I’m sure you’ve heard the buzzwords “Discipleship Pathway” and I’m sure at some point you’ve thought, What the heck is that? Well good news! I’m going to debunk the mystery for you today! The Discipleship Pathway came out of a felt need for clear steps to connection and spiritual growth at GT. Church can be a very lonely place if you don’t know anyone, and EVERYONE wants to know and be known. And I think we can all agree that it would be super awkward to raise your hand in the middle of Sunday morning service and say, “Pastor, I don’t get it?!”  when you come across a passage of scripture you don’t understand. We want you to know and to grow and it was with this in mind that the Pathway was carefully …

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  • When God Seems Asleep at the Wheel

    By Salina Iavarone

    My husband has what he calls “a vast array of useless knowledge”.  Let the record show that he calls it that, not me.  I swear he knows a little bit about almost everything, and the rest he knows ALL about. It’s both amazing and annoying at the same time.  Which is why if we ever play Trivial Pursuit (which we love to play) we must be on the same team or the competition and trash talking can get fierce. All in good fun of course. Mostly. We are also firm believers that if you’re not willing to risk family relationships for a good board game then you’re playing it wrong.  The Spongebob Life game nearly ended us once…I kid.  Kinda. But inevitably when we’re playing something like Trivial Pursuit where he has to draw on some of that vast array …

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  • Why Every Marriage Needs a Little Coaching

    By Salina Iavarone

    My husband Frank and I started dating when we were 18. We have literally been together now for more than half our lives and that means a few things: We have a lot of really embarrassing pictures of each other from our college years. And, That’s a whole lot of nights of me listening to him snore. I would NEVER snore. We were Christians from the day we said “I do” which I believe has helped our marriage tremendously, but it doesn’t mean we’re perfect. And it certainly doesn’t mean our marriage is perfect. After so many years together, with kids, and jobs and mortgages, it’s easy to put the marriage on auto pilot and go on with life. It’s the whole attitude of if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But just like a car needs maintenance so do …

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  • What is the Holy Spirit?

    By Salina Iavarone

    What is the Holy Spirit? Umm…that’s kind of a big question!  A much bigger question than can be adequately addressed in a blog post, so consider this more of a small introduction to the Holy Spirit rather than an exhaustive explanation. Here’s the good news for both of us, you don’t need to have a PhD or be a pastor to understand the role of the Holy Spirit in your life! Let’s start with some background and talk about what the Holy Spirit is not. The Holy Spirit is not an “it”, the Holy Spirit is a “He”. The Holy Spirit is part of the trinity- Father God, Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Just as equally God as the Father and Son. The Holy Spirit is not an angel or created being. Just as God aways was and is …

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  • How to Love Your Family Through Conflict During the Holidays

    By Salina Iavarone

    Aahhh, the holidays. The tree is beautifully glistening. There is Christmas music merrily playing in the background of your life. There are cookies everywhere you turn. The atmosphere literally smells of candy canes and chocolate.  There’s a car with a bow on it in your driveway that’s been lightly coated with freshly fallen snow.  You find out that indeed, every kiss DOES begin with Kay.  And your Instagram stories of oh-so-much family togetherness… well…make you want to throw up a little because your uncle is getting on your LAST NERVE and if he brings up politics at the dinner table one. more. time. you may actually strangle him with the garland.  And while you’re at it, if you’re really being honest, half your family is getting on your last nerve and that is NOTHING NEW. Reality check and mate. Conflict …

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  • Stellar Constellations

    By Salina Iavarone

    I am a raging, off-the-charts extrovert. Shocking, I know. What that means is simply this- I recharge my batteries by being around other people. Because my husband is also an extrovert, we often have a very full house. There is nothing that feeds my soul more than a house full of friends and laughter. And food. We can’t forget the food.  My daughter is a chip off the old block in more frightening ways than one which means she loves this, but my son, on the other hand, is an introvert which means he recharges his batteries with solitude. This is completely foreign to the rest of the household, so consequently we have had to learn a few things: That when we have guests over and he’d rather retreat to another room after having been at school all day, that’s …

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  • In God We Trust

    By Salina Iavarone

    Despite my best efforts, my son Alex turned 15 this year. I’ve tried desperately to stop time and keep him little forever but life doesn’t seem to work that way…sigh.  He’s so tall, so strong, so handsome. He has an amazing sense of humor and is so laid back and go-with-the-flow that we occasionally check him for a pulse. I am head over heels in love with this kid. I catch myself making google-y eyes at him from across the room and wonder what exactly is the process God uses for choosing what kid goes with what parent, and how I got so blessed to be his mom. It’s a mystery. He wasn’t always this big and strong though. When he was born he was very small and often sick as a result of being brought into this world a …

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  • Permission to Speak Freely

    By Salina Iavarone

    As soon as I saw we were doing a series called “Permission to Speak Freely” I eagerly raised my hand in a meeting and said, “Can I just please write ALL the blog posts for this series? PUH-LEE-SSUUHH?? Seriously, just give them all to me. It’ll be so good. I promise!”  There’s something about that phrase “permission to speak freely” that just excites the heck out of me. I have so. many. words. (just ask my husband) and I get absolutely tickled by the idea of being able to speak them all freely with permission.  But then as I thought about it a bit I remembered what it is like to be on the receiving end of those words. If someone walks up to me and starts a conversation by saying, “Permission to speak freely?” I want to run. Far. …

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  • People Making An Impact

    By Salina Iavarone

    I posted two things on Facebook recently that won’t leave me alone.  Needless to say neither of them were cat videos. (I’m not down on you cat lovers. I promise. But everyone knows that dogs rule.) One was a reminiscent conversation with a friend about a time she packed up her young kids and drove the ten minutes to my house to kill a spider. I may or may not have a problem. She ended one of her comments by saying, “I just offer up my little cup to the Lord and serve whenever possible!” Too funny. The other was a quote from pastor, author, and speaker Francis Chan that said, “Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.” Ouch. I have wrestled with this quote since the first …

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