Audio from “She Is” – NOW AVAILABLE FOR FREE!

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It’s been several weeks since I had the privilege of teaching at She Is, our fall women’s ministry event. I had the blast of my life and I absolutely can’t wait for God to orchestrate another opportunity like it. If you want to watch the beautiful and captivating recap videohere it is!

Although we had a packed house, I know that some of you weren’t able to attend, whether because of schedule or distance. If you’re interested in listening to the message (three sessions), we have made it available on my church’s sound cloud account and the links are included in this blog post.

It is such a privilege to teach God’s word and I’m honored to be able to serve you through this recording. Lastly, I want to be sure to recognize and thank everyone who contributed to She Is in any possible way. Without all of your efforts, this opportunity would not have happened. I’m so blessed by each of you!

SESSION 1 (61 min)

SESSION 2 (51 min)

SESSION 3 (12 min)

Much love to you and please know that I’m praying for God to continue using his gorgeous message that he graciously gave me the privilege of delivering.

~Courtney ❤

**Any speaking requests/inquiries can be made via comment on this post or by sending details to We look forward to partnering with you!**


Why I’m Putting my Bible on the Shelf

When is the last time that you cracked open a brand new Bible? Have you been using the same Bible for more than two years? Five years? Ten years? I had been using my first ESV Study Bible since October 2009. My parents gave it to me for my birthday that year and it was love at first sight.

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It was my 29th birthday and I have opened up that same Bible nearly every day for the past eight years. This is the Bible in which every single bit of my personal in-depth Bible study has taken place (during all of my thirties). This Bible is the one through whose pages I found freedom from my works righteousness and deeper grace in Christ. This Bible has been opened up on my lap during more sermons and conference sessions than I can count. It’s been the Bible through which the Holy Spirit confirmed, tested, developed, and strengthened my desire and gifting to teach. I have taught topical messages out of this Bible; and I have taught verse-by-verse through several books in a small group setting. This is the Bible that I prayed in and from when both of my sisters got married and both of my nephews were born (and my third little dude is on the way). My best friend got married and had my niece (and my nephew is due in January) during my life with this Bible. It was on this Bible’s pages that I read, memorized, and declared powerful biblical truths over my life and the lives of my family and dear friends. It was this Bible through which the Lord confirmed my calling to serve at Mars Hill Church in Seattle and then to return back to family in Maryland and to serve at Grace Church. This beautiful Bible has caught many tears, heard much joyful laughter, and stopped me dead silent in my tracks. It also has a lot of dried sweet tea on its pages. It’s very special. I may or may not be crying…


I was feeling led to get a new one a few weeks ago but didn’t pursue it much (because I like my Bible all worn in and noted up.) Then earlier last week, I felt strongly that the She Is event (Sept. 30) was a beginning of a new season in my calling and ministry AND my 37th birthday is at the end of this month. So I went for it. I decided to start in a new study Bible this month and I’m putting this guy on the shelf for now. (Hopefully I will be able to pass it along to a child or nephew/niece someday–which is why I only buy genuine leather-bound Bibles, FYI. They last.)

A blank, bare, fresh slate of a Bible is so exciting, isn’t it?? I can’t wait to see all that God will teach me during this next season. I wrote a letter to God on the first couple pages dedicating my time in it to him and praying (among other things) that he’d allow me to love him more than I ever have through its pages.

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I’m really sorry if this just isn’t your thing, but c’mon! Look how gorgeous it is…and that has a lot to do with the calfskin leather (and I will not apologize: ALL Bibles should be calfskin…! Grin.).

When’s the last time you got a new Bible? Are you ending or beginning a certain notable life stage or season? During your Bible reading, have you begun to anticipate the next phrases of the sentence simply out of habit or familiarity? Have you stopped interacting with the text because this word is already circled or that phrase is already underlined? Has your sensitivity to learning new things lessened because you already have years-old notes jotted down next to a verse that take your mind and heart in a particular direction?

That was me. But I wanted newness. I wanted freshness. I wanted a blank page–one untouched by my former thoughts and leanings. Not to negate those lessons and moments, but simply to have new ones. Anybody else?

I have now spent a couple days breaking it in and it’s been absolutely glorious. The Lord has not stayed silent. I have heard his voice. The Word is alive and he lives in me!

May I ask: is it perhaps a good time for you to get a new Bible too?


My Response to White Supremacy

As I sat reading on my couch last night, I felt a deep, unexpected grief come over me. I don’t exactly know all the specifics of how and/or why it arrived, but it was noticeable nonetheless. After processing it for a while, I determined that it was a leading from the Spirit of Christ to write a simple yet clear response to white supremacy. I honestly hope that you knew what I was going to say when you read the title: absolute and dogmatic denouncement. Regardless however, I felt like I needed to say it publicly.

First of all though, let my admission preempt your accusation: yes, I am a pasty white, paid-for blonde, young-at-heart mid-thirties, Jesus-chasing single woman. I realize that I am wholly blind to the countless benefits of white privilege I encounter and receive every single day in our society. I know that I am treated differently/preferentially completely based on my whiteness, in ways that I don’t even recognize or consider consciously.

With that said, I cannot change the color of my skin nor do I feel inappropriate shame associated simply with being white. It’s how God chose to make me and there’s nothing I did to earn, deserve, or manipulate where, when, how, or what race I was born. I trust his sovereignty. However, I denounce ANY ideology, theology, notion, feeling, belief, judgement, or worldview that says my whiteness (or anyone else’s) makes me (or them) innately superior to a person of color whether black, brown, blue, or purple. White supremacy is wholly demonic (James 3). Every human being, regardless of race is made in the image of God and the imago Dei alone dictates all of mankind’s absolute equality in value, worth, and identity (Genesis 1:27). I believe the gospel of Jesus Christ.


The gospel of grace unequivocally refutes any race’s assumption of supremacy over another (Galatians 2). Hear me clearly: the foundation of our Bible’s gospel is that the One who is TOTALLY OTHER THAN, INFINITELY MORE SUPREME, COMPLETELY SUPERIOR TO US, “Christ Jesus…made himself NOTHING, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” For US. To know us. To be with us. To save us.  To redeem us. To make us alive. To reconcile us. To adopt all of us foreigners into his family.

The only One who could ever rightly claim supremacy, chose not to. While we were his enemies, Christ stumbled up a hill called Calvary to die for us. Because he loved us.

Because he loved the world – all of it (John 3:16, Titus 2:11).

The gospel also tells us that one day very soon, every knee (no matter its color) will bow down to Jesus. “God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

The gospel, the good news of Christ, stands directly against white supremacy – and I stand in complete agreement with that gloriously good news. 

My black and brown brothers and sisters, I stand with you.

~Courtney ❤


**These words are my very own. Any repetition from others’ statements is simply the natural similarities we possess by standing on the gospel together.

**If any statements in this blog are offensive somehow to you, please know that it was unintentional and out of complete ignorance. Please let me know so I can learn.

**If you have not yet embraced Jesus with your life, but would like to talk, please let me know. It would be my privilege to tell you more about the good news of Christ.

**Scripture passages above are from Philippians 2:5-11 unless otherwise noted.

5 Things I Need YOU to Pray for ME


I am currently 40,000 feet in the air on a plane flying to Houston, Texas, sitting in the window seat, staring out a window full of sparkling blue skies. We are soaring above a solid blanket of glowing white pillowy clouds as far as the eye can see. (And as a remarkable gift of God, I have an empty middle seat next to me on a “completely full flight.” Thanks, Southwest.)

I’m headed to Lit Conference, an event being offered by Living Proof Ministries and Bible teacher Beth Moore this weekend. It’s specifically catered for women in their twenties and thirties who believe that they have the spiritual gift of teaching. Ms. Beth released a Bible study on 2 Timothy called Entrusted last September focusing on the Paul-Timothy paradigm of mentorship. While writing it, she felt compelled to speak to those with a similar gifting but she knew she needed to keep the content of the study fairly general. Thus, the Holy Spirit birthed this event in her heart to give her an opportunity to pour into the younger generation of teachers/communicators.

The conference sold out in five minutes after going live at 9 a.m. CST on Black Friday morning and many women were left disappointed without a ticket. I say that to express that I am fully and acutely aware of the privilege, honor, and grace straight from Jesus to allow such an incredible opportunity to attend this event.

It has obviously been a frequent conversation piece between me and the Lord in the past several weeks and I’m praying for five specific things from him this weekend. Could I be so bold as to unashamedly ask for your prayers as well?

  1. For God to show up. Is there a much better prayer? Apart from him, we can do nothing. A single moment in his presence is worth a lifetime of learning. We are desperate for his Spirit to be active in that place and in our hearts.
  2. For protection from the enemy. That dude is hating what he knows can and will happen out of this gathering. He’s going to be working overtime. Pray against him, his workers, their schemes, and their effects.
  3. For retention of everything that is meant for my hearing and my ministry. I’m eager to hear a word from the Lord that he intended for me and the further development of my calling and gifting. Pray that I get it and grab it.
  4. For a FUN weekend. No explanation needed. Who doesn’t want fun? And if the Author of fun is there, I’m pretty sure he intends for it to be present too.
  5. For an opportunity to grow my network of Jesus-loving, call-pursuing, Bible-teaching women in my generation. Pray against any feeling of inadequacy, intimidation, or insecurity. Pray that I won’t desire anyone else’s calling, gifting, or ministry but will continue to embrace my own. 

Thank you for the opportunity to share this experience with you. And moreover thank you for any prayer that you are compelled to utter on my behalf. I don’t ask for it lightly and I certainly don’t take it for granted. I know you have many items of much greater weight on your prayer list and I will simply trust the Holy Spirit to bring me to your remembrance as he sees fit.

Well, we are starting our descent and look at that: the setting sun is now painting colors and shadows all over that smooth blanket of white. What a reminder that the Great Artist is still creating his masterpiece of grace that is this wretch’s life, and Lord-willing this weekend will add a few new magnificent strokes of color with his sovereign paint brush.

To God be all the glory, now and forever.

A Maid of Honor Speech

One of my best friends, my baby sister Jennifer, got married last night to my new brother Christian! Congrats to the Florys! I had the privilege of serving as her maid of honor. After months of work, one of my final opportunities was a speech to toast the new couple at the reception. Knowing that yesterday was a literal blur of mascara, hair spray, camera flashes, people and exhaustion, I wanted to write it out for them here.

If you’re interested too, here it is:

My name is Courtney and I have the privilege of being this beautiful bride’s older sister. I’m going to try to get through this speech without breaking down, so please allow me to stick to the script here to keep me on track.

Since I’ve never been married, I’m not going to try to offer cute advice to you two. I’d be speaking out of complete ignorance. However one plain thing I do know about marriage is that it is two sinners coming together to live under one roof. Two people who at the deepest, most natural and fleshly state of their heart want what’s best for THEM. So even this single girl knows without a doubt that there will be sin. There will be error. There will be fault. There will be hurt. There will be offense. There just will.

So, what I need to remind you two of today on this, the first day of your marriage, is that, Jennifer and Christian, because you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, there is nothing you can do to make God love you more and there’s nothing you can do to make him love you less. In Christ, you have complete and total acceptance and approval from God the Father, right here, right now, until the day you meet him face-to-face. Whether you’re the best spouse or the worst spouse, there is no chance of earning more or losing any of God’s affection. NO MATTER WHAT.

Your standing before God in Christ is completely righteous. For God made him who knew no sin to be sin for you, Christian and, for you, Jennifer, so that in him, you might become the righteousness of God. In Christ, through Christ, and because of Christ’s life, death, burial, and resurrection, God has set his affection –his love– on you. To quote my favorite kid’s Bible: “God loves you with a never-ending, never giving up, unstopping, always and forever love.”

In light of that, let me simply encourage you to love each other out of the knowledge of God’s love for you. When there is offense, remember that God in Christ gives you grace upon grace upon grace upon grace for your offenses (John 1:16). When there is hurt, remember that while we were yet still Christ’s enemies, he died for us (Rom. 5:10). When there is a lack of love between you two, remember that God pours down his love into your heart through the Holy Spirit (Rom. 5:5). When there is pain, remember that Jesus Christ himself endured the cross of excruciating pain, scorning its shame for the joy set before him. You were the joy set before Christ, Christian, my new brother. You were the joy set before Christ, Jen, my precious baby sister. The joy of being in a relationship with you was set before Jesus…and he pressed on.

So please, please, please don’t simply pursue a perfect marriage. It will exhaust you. It will frustrate you. It will make you an. absolute. CONTROL. FREAK. It’s simply out of reach.

Instead, pursue Perfection himself, Jesus Christ. He is the prize–not the perfect marriage. He is your fullest rest. He is your abundant joy. He is your ultimate freedom. He is your truest peace. He is your most extravagant love.

And then you two each just get to be the earthly icing on a heavenly cake…

…and who doesn’t love icing??!!


All my love to the happy couple and my best friend.

How ISIS Reveals What We REALLY Believe

The events, stories, and commentary surrounding the most recent ISIS attacks have bombarded us over the last week and have been overwhelming. I have struggled (like so many others) to know the biblical way to respond in thoughts, words, and actions. Unfortunately, I am nowhere near qualified to claim to have definitive answers for this incredibly complicated issue. So I won’t. Thus this blog is not going to serve in assisting you with the answers and in fact it will just be asking more questions. Let me explain.

Earlier this week, I was doing my Bible study and the author took us to Genesis 3: the serpent deceiving Eve. “Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God actually say…'” My Bible study’s focus is the book of Nehemiah and she was just making a minor point from the third chapter of the Bible, but the Holy Spirit stopped me dead in my tracks. Did God actually say…? My mind was immediately flooded with verses.

This past week, I have heard Christian after Christian explain their points. I have read article after article and have had conversation after conversation trying to drudge through this very real global and increasingly local situation. I kept going back and forth with different Scriptures in my mind praying through what the biblical response was to all of this. Again, this blog is not going to have your neat and tidy answers.

My intention today is to instead share a few of the Scriptures that the Holy Spirit revealed that some of us Christians don’t really believe–at least our responses are proving that we don’t (“out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks,” Luke 6:45). We have instead believed the words of the hater of our souls: God didn’t really say…

  1. Philippians 1:21, “For to me to live is Christ, and TO DIE IS GAIN.” If we truly believed that to die is GAIN, we wouldn’t be so scared. Paul screams to us from his jail cell: “IT’S BETTER TO BE WITH CHRIST!!” Maybe we have gotten too comfortable with this life that heaven doesn’t really seem that much better…May God open our eyes to the magnificent, unending joy that awaits us in the glorious presence of Jesus Christ himself. Christ is unexplainably better than anything this life can offer.
  2. Romans 5:10, “…while WE WERE ENEMIES we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son…” With a very imminent, obvious, and real life enemy in our midst, it has given me a new perspective on my relationship with God before Christ saved me. I was his enemy. I don’t think we as Christians really believe that. I think we don’t think we were that bad. I mean, we are thankful that Jesus saved us and all, but–come on–we weren’t killing anybody the day he showed up either! Right? Colossians 1 says that we were “hostile in mind” toward God. We hated him. We were his enemies and instead of running away from us, he ran toward us in the cross. Again, this is not a political commentary. Just a reminder that maybe we have heard the liar say to us, “did God really say you were all that bad?” and believed him. Kill any pride or self-righteousness in your soul. Or it will be killing you.
  3. Acts 9, the conversion of SAUL, THE CHRISTIAN KILLER. Terrorist. Do we really believe the words on the pages of Acts 8 that say that Saul oversaw the murder of Stephen? Do we really believe that he was going from house to house looking for Christian men and women to chain them up and drag them to Jerusalem? Have we entered into the reality of Saul’s terrorism–in the name of his religion? Then, we reach the blessed words of Acts 9 proclaiming Saul’s salvation for generations of mankind to read. Do we believe that God saves terrorists? Or was that a one-time deal just for Saul? Are you praying for ISIS? Do you think they’re unreachable? Unsaveable? Believe Jesus. His very name proclaims, “Yahweh saves!”
  4. Matthew 5:44-45a, “But I say to you, LOVE YOUR ENEMIES and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.” Honestly, this was the first verse that jumped into my mind after reading the words in Genesis. Did God really say….love your enemies. Yup, he did. Yes there are verses that say that God hates the wicked. God is all-together righteous and can do whatever he wants. But here’s the thing: we’re not God. Under the new covenant, I don’t believe we have the option to love or hate.
  5. Matthew 20:1-16, The Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard. Speaking out of my flesh, this is easily one of my least favorite passages in all of Scripture. You wanna know why? Because. It’s. Not. Fair. Here’s the thing: doing a full day’s work and getting paid the same amount as someone who does one hour?? Yeah, not fair. The words of the vineyard owner are piercing, “Friend, I am doing you no wrong…Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?” May we always remember that everything about our lives–even the very place we were born–is a grace from God (Acts 17:26). We haven’t earned anything apart from him allowing us to have it. The moment we begin to feel entitled to certain things, standards, and lifestyles, we have forgotten grace. Do we really believe that God has the right to show grace to whomever he wishes?
  6. Psalm 115:3, “Our God is in the heavens; he DOES ALL THAT PLEASES HIM.” God is in control. This is only one of many verses that tells us this. Do we really believe that ISIS could be wiped out with a single snap of God’s fingers? Yet, he chooses not to. Do we really believe that he knew about the Paris, 911, and countless other attacks? God’s permissive will is easily one of the most difficult theological doctrines to struggle through in this life, but God’s sovereignty is one of the bedrocks of our faith. Christ-followers should be displaying an unshakeable and irresistable peace to a terrified and watching world.
  7. 2 Corinthians 5:18-20a, “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, WE ARE AMBASSADORS FOR CHRIST, God making his appeal through us.” Christian, we have been given the blessed task of taking and preaching the gospel to everyone. As those who have been reconciled to God through Christ, we have the responsibility and privilege of sharing the best news on the planet with those who haven’t heard it yet. Do we really believe that God ordained the church as an integral part of his redemptive plan for the world? Do we really believe that we are all ambassadors for Christ? Or do we think that someone else will take care of it?

Again, I promise you that this is not a political statement, nor even a commentary on how I think we should respond as Christians, and I pray that you don’t read it as such. There are much better articles written by much smarter people about the details of the ISIS situation. But I’m more concerned about us, the church of Christ, believing, loving, and obeying Scripture–it is our very life (Deut. 32:47). No matter what situation we find ourselves struggling through, we need to always endeavor to have a biblical worldview.

I pray that the Holy Spirit would be gracious to reveal where you have allowed the enemy to whisper, “Did God really say….?” and believed him.

8 Things God Taught Me In Seattle….

Last Tuesday marked exactly two years since I moved across the country and started my new life in Seattle. Anniversaries have a way of making us reminisce. It obviously came up in my time with the Lord and I spent some time journaling a few specific things that he taught me first-hand during (and because of) the last two years.

Two more things before we jump in: (1) this list certainly isn’t exhaustive and (2) I can’t promise that you’ll read anything you didn’t already know. But there’s something about lessons taught through experience that takes knowledge to a new depth in our soul.


I will not bore you with Mars Hill’s stats when I came on staff in November 2013. I will not tell you our attendance numbers. I will not tell you how many people were on staff. I will not tell you how many locations we had or how many states we were in. I will not tell you our annual budget numbers. It’s unnecessary and honestly, I don’t know all those numbers. The point is this: no one, NO ONE, saw the close of Mars Hill Church coming. Ministry was thriving. Growth was happening. Mars Hill was known to be one of the most innovative and fastest-growing churches in America. Mark Driscoll was known (and loved) worldwide for his unmatched style of Bible-teaching. Mars Hill wasn’t going anywhere no matter what her critics were doing on the outside. She was too big. Or that’s what I and many others thought…

The close of Mars Hill will likely remain one of my most heart-breaking, most surreal, most shocking events in ministry. It taught me that God gives, and God takes away. No matter how unfathomable that might be or impossible that might seem. God is in control and he knows best…and his name is to be praised.


This is actually something that I heard Mark Driscoll preach time and time again. But I saw this proved true, as people in the church quickly turned from hurt to hate. Whenever a person is the source of our joy, security, peace, or acceptance, and then they inevitably fail us, they threaten (instead of provide) those things in our lives. They who were our perceived savior, quickly become our enemy.


Mark Driscoll definitely had his stuff–we all do. He preached often about his struggle with the sin of pride and anger. But God chose him–even in the midst of his stuff. God chose to save a 19-year old kid, gifted him mightily, and led him into ministry for the good of people and the glory of God.

Also, let me say this publicly here since I’ve been asked several times: I had the privilege of meeting weekly with Pastor Mark because of my role on staff. I had several casual encounters with him at staff meetings and other functions. I never, NEVER experienced anything other than grace, honor, humility, love, appreciation, and pastoral care from him. He has a pastor’s heart and loves people.


I have cried at the strangest times–one of those times being while writing this blogpost. But I’m thankful for the grief, because the current pain proves the previous joy. I loved everything about my time at Mars Hill: the people who became my family, leading worship at one of our locations, the work I got to do, my pastors, serving a church who had done so much for me for years.

If you find your grief stalling, give it to the Lord. He knows best how to allow your heart to heal.


I really struggled with feeling guilty for missing Mark’s preaching so much. I felt way less mature than the many people around me who kept saying, “Mars Hill isn’t about Mark. We are a family no matter who our pastor is!” Things like that–which were true. But through a lot of time journaling and praying, I realized that it was OK for me to miss Mark, his preaching, and his content. He is easily one of the top five most influential people regarding my spiritual formation. I needed to allow myself to grieve his preaching. The Holy Spirit had used him to teach me such life-changing truths that even the sound of his voice (having been a podcaster for 6-7 years) was comforting. It was peaceful for me. But just because I missed a man, did not mean that I idolized a man.

Having an earthly hero and grieving your loss of them is perfectly normal. Don’t let people try to tell you otherwise. Devastation, however, is another story.


No one can deny what God did through Mark Driscoll. No one. There are quite possibly hundreds of thousands of people who have heard the gospel of Jesus Christ through that man. The current situation does not negate any of God’s previous work. He is the first person who clearly told me, “There is nothing you can do to make God love you more, and there’s nothing you can do to make him love you less.” Freedom. Life-changing. Life. Changing. There is nothing that will ever discount my appreciation for his ministry in my life. Nothing.

Similarly, any current sin issue or consequences of past sin in your life does not demean or devalue what God has done through you in the past. If the enemy is attacking you this way, ask the Lord to remind you of his goodness to you and his grace through you to others.


I have no idea what God has planned for Mark Driscoll. But I know he has something for him because (a) God has prepared good works for him to do and (b) he’s still breathing. Yes, there is need for repentance, growth, healing, and restoration, but God is able to do abundantly more than all we can ask or imagine.

Likewise, if you find yourself in a current season of sin, rebuke, and consequences, do not let the enemy convince you that you’re out of the game. As long as there is repentance, it’s simply not true. Hold onto the precious truth of Romans 8:28 that he works all things together for good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose.


I write that sentence with tears welling up in my eyes. It’s true: his unbelievable favor blows my mind. He is the prize. He is my prize. If you find yourself in a tough, tough situation today, hold onto Jesus with all you have. He is your prize. He is enough. When ALL around your soul gives way, HE THEN is all your hope and stay.