Control Freak Session 2

Control Freak Small Groups PDF to PNG

Here is Session 2 of the current small groups series at Cornerstone Church Fort Worth.

 

Posted in Study Journal | Leave a comment

Control Freak Session 1

Control Freak Small Groups PDF to PNG

Here is Session 1 from the new small groups series currently being shared at Cornerstone Church Fort Worth.

 

Posted in Study Journal | Leave a comment

The War In Your Head

Here is a video from Bill Johnson that was a tremendous blessing to me this morning. Great insights on thinking thoughts the way God thinks them and knowing the truth as God knows it. Be blessed today!

 

Posted in Study Journal | Leave a comment

EAT. Developing a healthy spiritual diet

Here is a beta version of new small groups resources we are developing at Cornerstone Church. Still working to improve camera, lighting and sound. But other than that, it is perfect. Ha.

Seriously, if you care to offer feedback on the content and how we can better present helpful content to those seeking to grow as disciples of Jesus, let me know.

Posted in Study Journal | Leave a comment

Antidote for Anxiety

Do you ever feel anxious for no reason? We all know what it is to be anxious about an upcoming event or a bill that needs to be paid. But what do you do when anxiety seems to be a constant state of mind and there is no real reason for it?

As one who has lived with chronic anxiety, I have learned a few things about it. Let me share some of what I’ve learned.

1. It may be physical. I found out a few years ago that I had low thyroid. Taking regular thyroid medication helped. If you are battling persistent anxiety, talk to your doctor about it.

2. It is ALWAYS spiritual. Even if you do have a physical problem that causes anxiety, Satan will always exploit the weakness of your body to attack your mind. Recognizing that you are fighting a spiritual battle will make you feel less crazy, oddly enough, and better equip you to fight back.

3. Anxiety loves ambiguity. Anxiety flourishes in uncertainty. When you awake in the morning and face the rising panic of wild anxiety, stop–take a deep breath and ask yourself, “What exactly are you afraid of?” Make yourself list the things you are worried about. Most of the time forcing the anxiety out into the open and naming it will give you dominion over it. Name it and tame it!

4. Pray your anxieties. When you have identified your anxieties, call them out by name to God in prayer. Tattle on your anxieties!

Here is what Paul said:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6, 7)

Prayer is the answer. (No time here to develop the thought, but notice the move from “anything” to “everything,” from vague generality to clear specificity.) And the prayer that melts the fog of anxiety is a prayer of supplication that starts with thanksgiving prior to making any request.

Did you get that?! Anxiety is a fog of fear that melts away in the sun of thanksgiving. When you have listed your anxieties and named them one by one, you must stop and give thanks. This restores your perspective and quiets your fears. Things are not nearly as bad as you thought they were!

Once you have named your fears and put them in their place with thanksgiving, then you are ready to realistically present your requests to God. You have driven back the clouds of fear and now you can see clearly what you really DO need God to do for you. Prayers prayed in a panic are prayers that often miss the mark of the real need. Thanksgiving restores perspective.

5. Another thing I have learned is to pray in the Spirit. And I mean by that to pray in tongues. If you are a believer, prayer in the Spirit is a weapon of the Spirit that belongs to you. To ALL of you. As I once heard Chris Hodges, pastor of The Highlands Church in Birmingham, AL, say, “I pray in tongues more than I pray in English because the work I have to do is so great I cannot pray effectively out of my own mind.” Wow. Paul the apostle said that he prayed in tongues “more than you all.” And he said that prayer in tongues is “declaring mysteries.” (1 Co 14) When you pray in tongues, you are praying prayers that the mind cannot pray. Let the Spirit pray!

I have learned that I don’t have to be in an intense prayer meeting to let the Spirit pray. He will pray for me in a whisper early in the morning while everyone is still sleeping. He will pray for me while driving down the highway. He will pray for me while I work at the office. I have learned to combat anxiety by simply allowing the Spirit to pray in a heavenly language anytime, all the time. “Pray without ceasing!”

6. Journal. Writing has a way of clarifying your thoughts, which in itself clears away the uncertainty where anxiety thrives. Also, when you write things down–and I do this by actually journaling my prayers (yes, I write my prayers out as I pray them in the morning!)–it gives you a record of testimony to return to year after year to celebrate what God has done.

7. Anxiety thrives in loneliness. You need a partner, someone who will pray with you and will not dismiss your fears as irrational. Yes, they ARE irrational, but you don’t need someone to say so when you are in the grip of anxiety. You need someone to help you work through the process outlined above. They should ask you, “Have you named and tamed your fears? Have you prayed with thanksgiving? Have you sorted out what is actually a genuine request to present before God? Have you prayed in the Spirit? Are you journaling?” You need a partner.

Thankfully, my prayer partner is my wife, Jeana. She is simply the best. But if you do not have a prayer partner, get one. Jesus sent his disciples out two-by-two. Ask him to do the same for you. Ask him to give you a prayer partner. He will do it!

These are a few things I have learned. I could keep writing on this for days, for it is a battle that I face every day of my life. But I can tell you that battles are meant to be won and that victories are unbelievably sweet! You can live in peace.

May God give you strength, and may “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding…guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Steve

Posted in Study Journal | 3 Comments

Freedom

On this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I have been thinking a lot about freedom. Here are few random thoughts that floated to the surface of my mind. May turn this into a sermon series, who knows. Anyway, here you go:

God created man to rule over creation, not over other men.

It is not rebellion to resist the domination of control freaks.

Controllers often use “the will of God” to impose their own will on you. Refuse to bow at the altar of human self-will pretending to be righteousness.

There is no greater stronghold for demons than institutions that enshrine domination over free men created in the image of God.

People who fear responsibility choose slavery willingly. And those who surrender freedom are the fiercest enemies of those who would be free.

Those who fought for freedom often become the harshest slave masters once they are in charge. We must guarantee future generations the freedom we enjoyed.

Selah.

“The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over each other, but it shall not be so among you. Those who would be great among you must serve.” — Jesus.

“For freedom Christ has made you free. Stand fast in that freedom!” (Galatians 6:1)

Posted in Study Journal | 1 Comment

Decisions, Decisions: How decisions determine destiny

Good afternoon, everyone!

Here is a message I preached at Cornerstone a few weeks ago on making decisions. Wise decision-making is a topic that needs to be brought up again and again. So here it is.

The notes are below if you want to peruse at your leisure for your pleasure. *Read that with a British accent if you really want to appreciate the high-brow poetry going on here.

Many blessings!

Steve

 

 

Decisions determine destiny.

Multitudes, multitudes, in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. (Joel 3:14)

Decisions made in the valley of decision have eternal consequences. We often seem to think that destiny simply falls out of the sky, that divine favor and blessing will cover all our bad decisions. But God manifests destiny through decisions. From the first bad decision made by Adam until now, eternity is worked out through history—decisions determine destiny.

Decisions demand deliberation.

Many people in the valley of decision are unaware that wise decision-making requires a careful process. We must become intentional about decisions. We must develop a process for decision-making that over time will become instinct.

The mark of true maturity is wise decision-making.

…the mature…those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. (Hebrews 5:14)

We need to work out good decisions.

The Process:

  1. Seek the will of God. When we seek the will of God, we must NOT ask God just to validate what we already want to do (through mis-identification of our emotions with the Holy Spirit) OR ask him to simply give us our orders. God plans to teach us how to make good decisions by counsel and not command. Understand that the will of God is found in the wisdom of God.
  2. Search your heart. I must honestly evaluate myself subjectively and objectively. Subjectively: What do I want? Is that the best thing? “Not my will…” requires identifying my will. However, I must not ignore my gut feelings altogether. Objectively: What decision best aligns with who I am, with my values and principles and with my destiny?
  3. Look around you. I must look around me to evaluate my options. I must survey the terrain. Do the homework. What are the choices before me? What are the risks? What are the rewards? Which decision best aligns with my destiny? Who else is affected by my decision? Do I have buy-in from others who are affected by my decision?
  4. Get good advice. Good decisions are always made with the benefit of good counsel. The Holy Spirit often speaks to us through others. Counseling with others gives us the benefit of their hard-learned experience. But not all advice is good advice. I look for people who have experience. Then, I must look for people who are objective, people who are not agenda-driven. I must be careful that I do not listen to too many voices. And I must not “doctor-shop”!
  5. Decide. Sometimes the hardest part of a decision is deciding. But we must make an informed yet fallible decision and accept the consequences. Think remedially if necessary, but do not second-guess. Evaluate results and learn from the experience.

The ultimate decision: deciding to serve the Lord.

Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:14, 15)

You must make a decision today to follow Jesus. Then you must make a connection with his people, his body, the church of Jesus.

Posted in Study Journal | Leave a comment