15 Powerful Beliefs About Others

15 Powerful Beliefs About Others

by Steve Backlund from The Culture of Empowerment

 

Here are fifteen biblical beliefs that will radically impact your thinking about others and then ultimately radically impact the people in your life from the chapter "Empowering Beliefs" from The Culture of Empowerment:

  1. Vision Beliefs About Others – “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead” (Philippians 3:13). The people in our lives have “things” to reach forward to. Every person is significant in God and has an important assignment from Him. Our vision for the future gives us purpose for the present. It means we are being prepared for something bigger (greater influence) in the days ahead. As we recognize this about those we are leading, we will find ourselves saying things like, “Where you are going, you can’t take that with you” (whether it be a tendency, attitude, or something else). We will focus on training them to be ready for this greater opportunity, instead of only trying to get them to be a good employee, a good Christian, or less of a problem to us.

  2. Hope Beliefs About Others – “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:23-25). We are told not to let go of our confession of hope. This directive is linked to the relationships in our lives – “consider one another,” “assembling together,” and “exhorting one another.” “Exhorting” is translated as “encourage” in some Bible versions. Verse 25 tells us we are to increase encouragement as we “see the Day approaching.” Instead of becoming more cynical as we grow older, we are to become more hopeful of the good things in people around us. We are to believe they are one encouragement away from a tipping point in their lives – and we won’t encourage those we are hopeless about. It is important to know this: Our hopelessness for people we lead is usually a bigger problem than what the people are doing.

  3. Love and Compassion Beliefs About Others – “Then Jesus went about … healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd” (Matthew 9:35- 36). Compassion and true concern for people is foundational to influence. We are not simply to get things done for people or through people, but we are called to emotionally connect with the dreams and needs of those in our lives. “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love” (Galatians 5:7). Outward accomplishments are meaningless without it. In fact, 1 Corinthians 13 says we are “nothing” if relational love does not manifest through us, even if we are doing supernatural exploits. This “love chapter” of the Bible is about how we interact with people, and one of the highest ways we interact with them is what we believe about them. “[Love] believes all things, hopes all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7).

  4. Solution Beliefs About Others – “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). This is one of the biggest hope verses in the Bible. It is an anchor verse to set others and us free from hopelessness. Two great truths are revealed that will radically upgrade our beliefs about the people we influence: 1) They will not face anything God has not equipped them to overcome, and 2) There is always “the way of escape” from where they are and into where they need to be. Say this out loud: “THERE IS ALWAYS A SOLUTION!” The people in our lives have a pathway to get out of crisis/dysfunction and a way to get into dreams/radical influence. This creates hope for them, which is a catalytic force for their empowerment.

  5. Encouragement Beliefs About Others – “Say to those who are fearful-hearted, ‘Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God; He will come and save you.’ Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped …” (Isaiah 35:4-5). A well-timed encouragement from a person who believes his or her words are powerful can set off a chain reaction of supernaturally infused events.

  6. Prophetic Beliefs About Others – “As it is written, ‘I have made you a father of many nations’ in the presence of Him whom he believed – God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did” (Romans 4:17). God called Abraham by his future and invited Abraham to come into agreement with his future. Similarly, the angel unlocked Gideon’s destiny by calling him by his future – “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!” (Judges 6:12). Gideon, at the time, was certainly not living in a mighty man of valor experience, but his past didn’t define who he was. Empowering leaders become like the angel in the lives of the “Gideons” who are all around them. They learn how to not lock the people they lead into their past. They see them prophetically.

  7. “Benefit of the Doubt” Beliefs About Others – “Now John answered and said, ‘Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow with us.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘Do not forbid him, for he who is not against us is on our side’” (Luke 9:49-50). “The first one to plead his cause seems right, until his neighbor comes and examines him” (Proverbs 18:17). One way to decrease our empowerment of others is by jumping to negative conclusions about them – whether it is hearsay information we hear or a judgment we have about their motives. We tend to judge ourselves by our motives and others by their actions. It will serve us well in life and leadership if we give people the benefit of doubt and ask good questions before making a conclusion that might not be true.

  8. Association Beliefs About Others – “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13). A culture of empowerment has the potential of bringing a marvelous upgrade to the people who associate with it. The disciples astounded the elite people of their day because of their having “been with Jesus.” Catalytic influencers will develop the belief system that it is impossible for people not to be changed when they associate with them.

  9. “Faith Comes by Hearing” Beliefs About Others – “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). If people are going to live at a higher level, they must believe at a higher level. If the are going to believe at a higher level, they must hear truth at a higher level. Empowering leaders know speaking God’s promises will increase the faith of the people in their lives. There is no such thing as a strong, silent-type leader.

  10. Forgiveness Beliefs About Others – “Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do’” (Luke 23:34). Jesus spoke forgiveness on the cross. Stephen did the same in Acts 7:59 when he was being stoned. Their forgiveness created an open Heaven over others to become saved (the 3,000 in Acts 2 and Saul of Tarsus in Acts 9). Our intentional forgiveness is a mighty spiritual weapon, which increases the likelihood of advancement and breakthrough in the lives of those we influence.

  11. Restoration Beliefs About Others – “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted” (Galatians 6:1). Empowering leaders see beyond people’s failures and sins, and see who they really are. They have a heart and skill set that restores people back to wholeness and influence. They believe that under their leadership, people regularly get restored to their original design and purpose.

  12. Saint Beliefs About Others – “Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh… Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new … For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (1 Corinthians 5:16-21). The Christians we are leading are saints, not sinners. We are not to regard them “according to the flesh.” If we believe those in our life are sinners (prone to sin), then our beliefs about them will be less empowering. If we believe they are saints (prone to do right), then these positive beliefs will create empowerment for them.

  13. Testimony Beliefs About Others – “For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:10). Somebody else has overcome the same situations that those around us are facing. As we focus on and share the testimonies of these victories, our hope of victory for ourselves and those we influence increases. This hope ultimately brings greater empowerment in our relationships.

  14. Nothing is impossible” Beliefs About Others – “So He asked his father, ‘How long has this been happening to him?’ And he said, ‘From childhood. And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.’ Jesus said to him, ‘If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.’ Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, ‘Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!’” (Mark 9:21-24). The boy’s healing and deliverance was not dependent on God’s willingness (He’s willing), but the father’s beliefs had a lot to do with whether the son would be empowered into freedom. The father “got it” and asked for divine help in believing for a “nothing is impossible” belief system. Our beliefs in a supernatural empowerment to freedom for those we influence will have a bigger influence than we might think.

  15. “Golden Rule” Beliefs About Others – “And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise” (Luke 6:31). How do you want others to treat you? How do you want leaders to think about you? How do you want the influencers in your life to treat you? Do this for others, and you will most likely be a very empowering leader.

The above beliefs are not just about the people in our lives, but they are also how God sees us. We suggest you take each of these beliefs and meditate on them as the way God believes in you. We cannot consistently do what we don’t believe we are, so renewing our minds with these truths will empower us to do what we never thought we could do.


About The Culture of Empowerment

 
 

ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND

Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.

For more, check out Steve's iTunes podcast, YouTube Channel, Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram.

3 Things Not to Do When Feeling Like a Failure

3 Things Not to Do When Feeling Like a Failure

 

We all, at times, feel like we ARE a failure. Whether we have experienced a setback in life, or whether we seem to consistently not measure up to society's standard of "success," there are moments and even seasons in life where we battle discouragement about who we are and how we are doing. The emotional response to this can range from mild discouragement to full blown depression. What should we do in these times?

There certainly are many positive things to do, but I am going to share three things - not to do - when you feel like a failure:

  1. Don't Make Failure Your Identity – You may have experienced a failing, but you are not a failure. We don't deny our experience, we just cannot get our identity from it. One of the greatest keys to victory in life is to maintain a solid belief in who God says you are no matter what your experience says. Certainly, having healthy beliefs about ourselves is not the only thing we do to triumph in life, but it is the most important thing. "Let the weak say 'I am strong'" (Joel 3:10). Keep saying you are a success, even when you seem like a failure.  
  2. Don't Quit – Winston Churchill was asked to speak at a graduation commencement after World War II. He stood up and said, "Never give up. Never give up. Never give up." Then he sat down. His life was the message. This is a speech we all need to hear over and over again. Galatians 6:9 says we will reap a good harvest "if we do not lose heart." Wow, what a promise!
  3. Don't Become Lazy – When we seem to fail, there is a tendency to want to hide and withdraw. Yes, we will at times need to rest and be alone to regroup and recharge, but withdrawal and escapism cannot become a pattern for us after we experience disappointment. No matter where you are in life, there is a forward-step that you can take now. As you move forward in that one thing, more light will be given to see where to go from there. Remember, your response to something is almost always more important than the something that happened. As we maintain our commitments in discouraging times, we will build a victorious living "muscle" that will increase our load bearing capacity for the days ahead.

You are NOT a failure. You are "more than a conqueror " (Romans 8:37). There is grace on you TODAY to shake off feelings of being a failure. And you are called to encourage others who are battling this as well. It is indeed a new day of increased hope and victory for you and those in your life.


recommended REsources 


About Steve Backlund

Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.

For more, check out Steve's iTunes podcast, YouTube Channel, Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram.

Why Christians Need a Book on Emotional Health

Why Christians Need a Book on

Emotional Victory

 

This July, we're thrilled to release Wendy Backlund's latest book, Victorious Emotions! Not only has gaining victory in emotions been a life-changing journey in Wendy's personal life, but we believe renewing our minds to thrive in our emotional health is a key to lasting joy and increased influence for the Lord. Wendy's friend and senior leader of Bethel Church, Candace Johnson, wrote the following foreword for Wendy's new book on why she believes this is a vital message for the Body of Christ, and why Wendy is the woman to release it. If you're interested in learning more about Victorious Emotions, click here to download chapter one of the book.

 

Foreword for Victorious Emotions

by Candace Johnson, Senior Leader and Pastor of Bethel Church

Wendy’s story and message are extremely powerful and timely in this landscape where people are battling depression at epidemic levels. And while we know it’s not limited to depression, it’s crazy how many of us struggle to have our emotional and mental world match what are wanting to do in life. I consistently encounter people who are trying their hardest to live the good Christian life, but who can’t figure out how to get traction internally. We have great aims for who we want to be and how we want to live, but are often stopped by the disparity of what we are experiencing. That’s what makes this book brilliant! 

I am so proud of Wendy! I had the privilege of being on leadership with her and Steve at Mountain Chapel in Weaverville for four years and now at Bethel in Redding. They are great leaders whom I deeply respect. Watching her message develop as she presses into God and all that the Bible says we have access to, inspires me. Wendy is a woman of deep faith, courage, and perseverance.

Wendy’s message has the transformational power to revolutionize our world. If we can get it, I believe we will be able to step into all that God has created us to be. We aren’t meant to live under our experiences or to live trapped by our thoughts and feelings. Jesus came to give us abundant life. That’s more than enough life! It’s living above our past and our experiences; it’s living in full hope, peace, and joy.

I am inspired and encouraged as I read this book because there is life in its pages. It’s a comprehensive and holistic guide to living with victorious emotions and I’m confident people will get their lives back through reading and implementing the truth in it. It is filled with personal stories, examples, truths, and declarations that empower us to change. Wendy takes us a layer deeper than our emotions, where we usually focus, and targets our hope and belief systems. Why? Because, as she writes, “Emotion is always attached to belief systems.” This link is a game changer in knowing where to start the process of change. Her writing gives a brilliant context for the struggles we face in our emotional world, while creating a solid pathway to step into new realms of health.

Wendy has an authority in this area because she has journeyed through it and has figured out how to partner with truth to change the way she thinks. Each of the chapters provide truth to stand on and implement on your journey to breakthrough. You will be infused with hope and will be given keys to living victorious and free. What I love about keys is they help to unlock doors. I believe that there are keys in this book to unlock greater freedom in your life. So get ready to never be the same again.


download chapter 1 of Victorious Emotions! 

 
 

 

Click below to sign up for Wendy's newsletter and receive a free chapter download of Victorious Emotions, coming July 2017!


More by Wendy Backlund


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About Wendy

Wendy Backlund, along with her husband Steve, is from Bethel Church in Redding, CA. Wendy and Steve have a unique ministry that ignites hope, passion, joy, victorious mindsets and healthy relationships. They were senior leaders of renewal churches from 1991 to 2008 (Round Mountain, Nevada, and Weaverville, CA). The Backlunds travel regularly ministering to churches and leadership teams. Wendy has a passion for setting Christians free from their past and empowering them in their walk with Christ. She is a revelatory speaker, author, and teacher, enabling people to see life from a supernatural perspective.

Learn more about Wendy and her teaching at wendybacklund.com.

For more resources from Wendy, click the links below:

Seeding the Clouds of Your Future

Seeding the Clouds of Your Future

from You're Crazy If You Don't Talk to Yourself by Steve Backlund

The Holy Spirit once said to me, “Steve, you often seed the clouds of your future in a negative way and then cry out to me to stop the storm that you have created.” God has mercifully answered my prayer many times, but there is a higher way of living. Imagine with me a cloud over every aspect of your future. It can hover over events coming soon (meetings, ministry opportunities, special occasions or just normal life), or it can be over things years ahead. We have the great opportunity to proactively seed the clouds over these happenings in our lives.  

Unfortunately, many plant “stormy seeds” and then wonder, “How could God have allowed this to happen to me?” The spirit of foreboding contributes to this seeding with substances that will attract difficulty instead of victory. (Foreboding is the confident expectation that bad things are coming.) This apprehension causes many to speak word curses and to have harmful belief systems that sow trouble into the clouds of the days and years ahead. That is a bummer. It is unnecessary, and it needs to stop.

In 2 Corinthians 9 we read, “God loves a cheerful (hilarious) giver.” This cheerfulness comes from knowing that generosity will seed the clouds of our future. “But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully . . . God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:6-8). Luke 6:37-38 takes this farther. “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” Incredibly, we can proactively seed our clouds to whatever measure we want, which will bring future “rain” in proportion to our sowing. Now that is something to get cheerful about. 

Seeding our future is also powerful in dispelling wrong beliefs (lies) from our lives. A first step in warring against these lies in our thinking is to capture them and replace them with God’s promises. Every overcoming Christian has to develop this habit, but it needs to be understood that changing our thinking (repenting) is not just done mentally. It is speeded up by getting into the habit of proactively speaking truth and faith into our lives and into our future. 

We seed the clouds over our future through our beliefs, our words, our prayers and our actions. Our thoughts (beliefs) primarily will be the cause of spiritual rain or drought. That is why we vigilantly replace thoughts and belief systems that lead to hopelessness, worry and unloving attitudes. Most people, though, find that simply warring in the mind is not enough to uproot old mindsets and to establish new strongholds of hope, joy, love and faith. This is why speaking truth is a key to breaking old mental struggles. We cannot think a lie when speaking the truth, and speaking truth ultimately helps create new thoughts and attitudes.

 Here is something powerful to do: Take different areas of your future (i.e. ministry, health, finances, family, vocation, protection, evangelism, your nation, your church, miracles, etc.) and spend specific time seeding the cloud over this aspect of life. For instance, choose your vocation and for two minutes say things like:

“Thank you, God, that I am blessed in my employment. Thank you that my honesty, creativity, dependability, enthusiasm, and personal blessing create great success for this business and in every business that I will ever be a part of. I will never lack a good job because of how big my God is in me. Jesus has made me successful, and I continually make others successful.” Then take additional areas of life and do the same thing. It will ultimately create a “storm” of blessing and godly influence. Wow, we might be crazy if we don’t talk to ourselves and to the things in our lives. 


ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND

Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.

For more, check out Steve's iTunes podcast, YouTube Channel, Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram.

100 Biblical Declarations to Speak Over Yourself

100 Biblical Declarations to Speak Over Yourself

Many thanks to Jeanette Cameron for contributing this to Igniting Hope Ministries a few years ago. As we enter the second week of the 30 Day Declarations Experiment, we encourage you to take a few minutes and speak these 100 declarations over yourself in faith today. Whether you're part of this 30-day challenge or not, we believe there's great breakthrough available to incessant life-speakers!

  1. As I live in God, my love grows more perfect. I can face Him with confidence on the day of judgment because I live like Jesus here in this world (I John 4:17 NLT).

  2. I receive an abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness. I reign in life through Jesus Christ (Romans 5:17).

  3. Wives: As a wife, I submit myself to my husband as is fitting in the Lord. My husband loves me like Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her (Colossians 3:18 and Ephesians 5:25). Husbands: As a husband, I love my wife as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.

  4. I look out not only for my own interests but also for the interests of others (Philippians 2:4).

  5. Wives: The heart of my husband trusts in me. He has no lack of gain (Proverbs 31:11). Husbands: I express belief in my wife and encourage her. I have no lack of gain (Proverbs 31:11, 28-29).

  6. Wives: I do my husband good and not evil all the days of my life (Proverbs 31:12). Husbands: I cover my wife with the Word to present her holy and blameless before the Lord (Ephesians 5:26).

  7. I am kind and tenderhearted to others. I forgive them as God in Christ has forgiven me (Ephesians 4:32).

  8. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).

  9. I ask God to set a guard over my mouth. He keeps watch over the door of my lips (Psalm 141:3).

  10. I let the peace of Christ rule in my heart. As a member of one body, I am called to peace and I am thankful (Colossians 3:15 NIV).

  11. I walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, pleasing Him in all respects. I bear fruit in every good work and I am increasing in the knowledge of God (Colossians 1:10 NAS).

  12. I am being strengthened with all power according to His might. I have great endurance and patience (Colossians 1:11 NIV).

  13. God has not given me a spirit of fear. He gives me power, love, and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7 ESV).

  14. God loads me daily with benefits. He is my salvation (Psalm 68:19).

  15. I am God’s servant and He takes pleasure in my prosperity (Psalm 35:27).

  16. I meditate on God’s word day and night. I am successful and prosperous (Psalm 1:2-3, Joshua 1:8).

  17. God makes all grace abound toward me so that I always have all sufficiency and an abundance for every good work (2 Corinthians 9:8).

  18. I honor the Lord with my wealth and the first fruits of all my produce. Then, my barns will be filled with plenty. My vats will overflow with new wine (Proverbs 3:9-10).

  19. I bring the whole tithe into the storehouse. He opens the windows of heaven for me and pours out a blessing so great that I don’t have enough room for it (Malachi 3:10).

  20. I prosper in all things. I remain in health just as my soul prospers (3 John 1:3).

  21. God abundantly blesses my provision (Psalm 132:15).

  22. I give and I receive. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will it be put into my lap (Luke 6:38).

  23. Jesus Christ is generous in grace. Though He was rich, yet for my sake he became poor, so that by His poverty He could make me rich (2 Corinthians 8:9).

  24. Christ redeemed me from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for me (Galations 3:13 NIV).

  25. I experience all blessings as I obey the Lord my God (Deuteronomy 28:2 NLT).

  26. I am blessed in the city and blessed in the country (Deuteronomy 28:3).

  27. I am blessed from the fruit of my body. I am blessed with today’s equivalent of the produce of the ground, the increase of my herds, my cattle, and the offspring of my flock (Deuteronomy 28:4).

  28. My kneading bowl and basket are blessed. It is the means by which I am tangibly increasing (Deuteronomy 28:5).

  29. I am blessed when I come in and blessed when I go out (Deuteronomy 28:6).

  30. The LORD causes my enemies who rise against me to be defeated before my face; they come out against me one way and flee before me seven ways (Deuteronomy 28:7).

  31. The LORD commands His blessing on my storehouses and in all that I set my hand to do, and He blesses me in the land that He is giving me (Deuteronomy 28:8).

  32. The Lord has established me as a holy person to Himself. I keep His commandments and walk in His ways (Deuteronomy 28:9).

  33. All the people of the earth see that I am called by the name of the LORD. Deut 28:10

  34. The LORD grants me plenty of goods, in the fruit of my body, in the increase of my livestock, and in the produce of my ground (Deuteronomy 28:11).

  35. The LORD opens to me His good treasure, the heavens to give the rain to my land in its season and to bless all the work of my hand (Deuteronomy 28:12).

  36. I lend to many nations but I will not borrow (Deuteronomy 28:12).

  37. The Lord makes me the head and not the tail, above and not beneath (Deuteronomy 28:13).

  38. I am my Father’s daughter. I am always with Him and all that He has is mine (Luke 15:31).

  39. God blesses me and surrounds me with favour as a shield (Psalm 5:12).

  40. My ways please the LORD and He makes even my enemies to be at peace with me (Proverbs 16:7).

  41. But by God’s doing I am in Christ Jesus. He became to me wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption (I Corinthians 1:30).

  42. The God of hope fills me with all joy and peace in believing so that I abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13).

  43. The Lord of peace is peace. In every way, He always gives me His peace (2 Thessalonians 3:16). 

  44. I always rejoice and pray without ceasing. In everything, I give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for me (I Thessalonians 5:16-18).

  45. I am steadfast of mind. He keeps me in perfect peace because I trust in Him (Isaiah 26:3).

  46. The joy of the LORD is my strength (Nehemiah 8:10).

  47. I am confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in me will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6).

  48. God works in me both to will and to do His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13).

  49. I do all things without grumbling or complaining so that I will prove myself to be blameless and innocent. I am a child of God who is above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom I appear as lights in the world (Philippians 2:14-15).

  50. I hold fast to the word of life. In the day of Christ’s return, I will have reason to glory because I did not run or labor in vain (Philippians 2:16).

  51. I always rejoice in the Lord and my gentleness (graciousness or forbearance) is known to all people (Philippians 4:4,5).

  52. I am anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving I let my requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard my hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).

  53. I choose to meditate on anything that has virtue or is praiseworthy. I think about things are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, and of good report (Philippians 4:8).

  54. I press on, that I may lay hold of that which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:12-14).

  55. The Lord is my God! He is mighty to save. He rejoices over me with gladness and singing. I am quieted by His love (Zephaniah 3:17).

  56. God instructs me and keeps me as the apple of His eye (Zechariah 2:8).

  57. I am a crown of glory and a royal diadem in the hand of the LORD (Isaiah 62:3).

  58. I am no longer called, Forsaken or Desolate. My new names are Hepbzibah (my delight is in her) and Beulah (married). He delights in me and I am married to Him (Isaiah 62:4)!

  59. God rejoices over me as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride (Isaiah 62:5).

  60. The LORD has chosen me for Himself as His special treasure (Psalm 135:4).

  61. I speak God’s word and hearing the word increases my faith (Romans 10:17).

  62. I declare God’s word about who I am, what I have, and what I can do in Christ Jesus who gives me strength. I am established as His daughter in all ways and I shine in His light (Job 22:8, Isaiah 60:1).

  63. I speak God’s word and His angels do the voice of His word (Psalm 103:20).

  64. I speak God’s word and it does not return to Him void. His word accomplishes what He pleases and it prospers in the thing for which He sends it (Isaiah 55:11).

  65. I persist in speaking God’s word until it accomplishes its purpose. It is like fire. It is like a hammer that shatters a rock (Jeremiah 23:29).

  66. The Lord has given me the tongue of the disciples. I know how to speak a word in due season to those who are weary (Isaiah 50:4).

  67. The Lord God awakens me every morning to fellowship with Him, and He opens my ears to hear as the learned (Isaiah 50:4).

  68. I speak pleasant words that are sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. I am wise and I bring healing (Proverbs 16:24, Proverbs 12:18).

  69. I have a wholesome tongue which is a tree of life to myself and others (Proverbs 15:4, Proverbs 11:30, Proverbs 18:21).

  70. I speak words of life. I am satisfied with the good by the fruit produced by my words (Proverbs 12:14, Proverbs 18:20).

  71. As I speak God’s word, He sends it to heal and deliver me from my destruction (Psalm 107:20). 

  72. God forgives all my iniquities and heals all of my diseases (Psalm 103:3).

  73. God redeems my life from the pit. He crowns me with lovingkindness and compassion (Psalm 103:4).

  74. God satisfies my mouth with good things and renews my youth like the eagles’ (Psalm 103:5).

  75. Christ bore my sins in His own body on the cross and I am healed by His stripes (1 Peter 2:24). 

  76. I am blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 1:3).

  77. I am chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world that I may be holy and blameless before the Father (Ephesians 1:4).

  78. I am predestined to adoption as a son or daughter by the Father through Jesus Christ according to the good pleasure of His will (Ephesians 1:5).

  79. The Father has accepted me in the beloved (Ephesians 1:6).

  80. I have redemption through Jesus Christ’s blood and the forgiveness of sins (Ephesians 1:7, Colossians 1:14).

  81. I have obtained an inheritance in Christ (Ephesians 1:11).

  82. I am sealed with the Holy Spirit who is the guarantee of my inheritance (Ephesians 1:13-14).

  83. God raised me up in heavenly places to sit with Him in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:6).

  84. I am saved by grace through faith. I am not saved by my own works (Ephesians 2:8-9).

  85. I am God's masterpiece. He created me anew in Christ Jesus, so I can do the good things He planned for me long ago (Ephesians 2:10 NLT).

  86. I have been brought to Father by the blood of Christ (Ephesians 2:13).

  87. For He Himself is my peace. He made the Gentiles and the Jews into one by breaking down the barrier of the dividing wall (Ephesians 2:14 NAS).

  88. I have access by one Spirit to the Father through Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:18).

  89. I am strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man according to the riches of His glory (Ephesians 3:16).

  90. Christ dwells in my heart by faith. I am rooted and grounded in love (Ephesians 3:17).

  91. God does exceedingly abundantly above all that I could ask or think according to His power that works in me (Ephesians 3:20).

  92. God gives me the victory through Jesus Christ my Lord (1 Corinthians 15:57).

  93. I thank God! He always leads me triumphantly by the Messiah and through me spreads everywhere the fragrance of knowing Him (2 Corinthians 2:14 ISV).

  94. I have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).

  95. He made Christ who knew no sin to be sin for me that I might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).

  96. I am in Christ Jesus and therefore I am a new creation. Old things have passed away and all things have become new (2 Corinthians 5:17).

  97. If I sin, I have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (1 John 2:1 ESV).

  98. All of God’s promises are yes and amen for me because I am in Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20).

  99. I am qualified in Christ to be a partaker of the inheritance of the saints (Colossians 1:12).

  100. God my Father has delivered me from the power of darkness and transferred me into the kingdom of His beloved Son (Colossians 1:13). 


It's not too late to join us!


More Declarations Tools


Steve 2016 2.jpg

ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND

Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.

For more, check out Steve's iTunes podcast, YouTube Channel, Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram.

Four Key Areas to Declare Truth Over 

Four Key Areas to Declare Truth Over

by Steve Backlund

 

We just started our Igniting Hope, 30-Day Declaration Experiment on June 1. (More info on this here.) This is an exciting event where we challenge people to make at least 100 declarations per day for a month and see what happens. There are four important themes we'll mention (amongst others)  throughout the experiment. These areas are important aspects of our lives for us to believe truths, even beyond our 30-day experiment. They are as follows:

1) Declarations Over Past Prayers (overcoming vain repetition in prayer) - "Be anxious for nothing, 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 minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7). The key phrase in this passage is "with thanksgiving." The moment we add thanksgiving to our prayers, we move from begging into faith. Using the words "thank you" concerning past prayers creates some of the strongest declarations. "Thank you, Father, You are touching the hearts of my family with your love." "Thank you, Lord, that you are meeting all my financial needs abundantly." "Thank you that miracles are increasing for me and through me."

2) Declarations Over Tomorrow (overcoming pessimism or passivity about the future) – There are three ways to approach the future. First, we can have foreboding, which is the confident expectation bad is coming. Second, we can be passive, where we neither have a negative nor a positive expectation. Third, we can have faith that good things will happen because of God's promises, God's goodness, and because of what we have prayed in the past. It is this third approach that causes us to be catalytic in our environments, and it is making declarations today that will increase our faith for tomorrow. "Tomorrow will be a tremendous day. Every meeting I have will be kingdom advancing. My family interactions will be blessed. I will move forward in my life in significant ways, and I will release life-changing encounters with God wherever I go."

3) Declarations Of Our True Identity (overcoming getting our beliefs from our past experience) – We cannot consistently do what we don't believe we are. For instance, if we try to act like we are righteous while still believing we are sinners, we will not have long lasting success. Gideon had to hear he was a mighty warrior before it started to manifest in him (Judges 6). We, too, need to hear who we really are. Declarations are the main way to do this. "I am righteous, anointed, loving, joy-filled, wise, prosperous, protected evangelistic, and blessed."

4) Declarations About the People In Our Life (overcoming a lack of hope about others) – Just as we are not who our past says we are, neither are the people in our lives. Certainly, we don't discount the past when it comes to how much access a person will have to me or the people I love, but highly influential people actually believe in others even more than they believe in themselves. Declarations are a powerful way to upgrade our beliefs about those in our lives and to believe that our prayers for others are working. "Susie is a strong lover of people. She is a revivalist who makes greats decisions. She is the righteousness of Christ, and she is a person of increasing protection and blessing."

If this stirred your hunger, you can listen to my podcasts here.

My books You're Crazy If You Don't Talk to Yourself and Declarations give more content on this subject. 

Also check out Stephen & Dawna De Silva’s teachings:  “Praying it Forward” and “Praying from Power.”  Chris Overstreet’s message called: “The Supernatural Power of Thanksgiving.”  And Fred & Sharon Wright’s book called “The Power of Thanksgiving.”


ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND

Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.

For more, check out Steve's iTunes podcast, YouTube Channel, Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram.

5 Lies Not to Believe About 2017 World Events

5 Lies Not to Believe About 2017 World Events

by Steve Backlund

In I Kings 19, Elijah ended up in a cave (both physically and spiritually). He was in a spiritual cave due to tiredness, disappointment, and spiritual warfare. The main symptom of a spiritual cave is this: what you feel is true is not actually true, even though it feels very true. Elijah felt and believed he was the only godly one left, but God gave him a perspective upgrade by telling him there were 7,000 others who had not "bowed the knee to Baal" (I Kings 19:18). In other words, there was 7,000 times more positive things going on than what Elijah thought. (Even prophets do not always perceive things correctly).

God is extracting multitudes of people from spiritual caves right now. People are being healed of disappointment and are seeing that things are not as bad as they feel to be. I believe even today God is doing 7,000 times more in the situations we’re facing than we think He is.

Remember, most spiritual heaviness, discouragement, and depression comes from believing lies, not from circumstances or physical ailments. As we replace lies with truth, we will increase in both hope and influence.

As we approach the midpoint of 2017, here are five lies not to believe about 2017 world events:

  1. I am a victim of what is happening around the world – A victim mindset believes we are powerless to bring change unless circumstances around us change first. Those with this belief system will be hindered greatly in forward movement and influence. The promises of God obliterate victim thinking. "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful" (Hebrews 10:23).

  2. There is no hope for our future – There is always hope. "Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit" (Romans 15:13). My wife, Wendy, once asked the Lord, "Aren't some circumstances hopeless?" She heard this response, "Wendy, I will give you permission to be hopeless about anything I am hopeless about." Ha, we have never heard God say about anything, "I am hopeless about that." Truly, there are no hopeless circumstances, only hopeless people. Once people get true hope, it is impossible for circumstances to stay the same.

  3. I need to withdraw from society and just wait for Jesus to return – One of the reasons Christians do not have hope for the future is because of an "end times” view that things are supposed to get worse. This expectation is in contradiction to what we should believe will be the result of our praying, "Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10). We are not called to withdraw, but we are called to believe our prayers are working and that we are to "do business until (He) comes,” (Luke 19:13). This "doing business" is becoming engaged in society and causing improvements wherever we go.

  4. The devil is winning – We may believe the devil is winning if we feed on the secular news more than on testimonies of what God is doing around the world. It may feel true that the devil is winning, but it is not true. Jesus said, "I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail," (Matthew 16:18). Jesus gave assurance the devil will not win. If you want to be convinced more about this and that good things are coming, I suggest you read Kingdom Horizon: Eight Reasons Why Earth's Greatest Days Are Unfolding by Robert Fraser.

  5. I cannot thrive in life now – Paul said, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13). In the previous verses he said he would be content no matter what happens. In other words, he is supernaturally empowered by God to be inwardly successful in all of life's circumstances. He says he will supernaturally thrive in every situation. Those who believe they will thrive no matter what happens will thrive no matter what happens. Those who are waiting for better circumstances before coming alive and moving forward will probably never have the ideal time appear.

For more teaching like this, read my book Let's Just Laugh at That or participate in our annual 40 Day Negativity Fast and Positivity Feast which occurs during Lent each year.


ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND

Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.

For more, check out Steve's iTunes podcast, YouTube Channel, Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram.

5 Powerful Outcomes of Doing June's Declarations Experiment

5 Powerful Outcomes of Doing June's Declarations Experiment

by Steve Backlund

Our annual 30 Day Declarations Experiment is starting on June 1. We have received some of our strongest testimonies from this event where we challenge people to do an "experiment" of making at least 100 declarations a day for a month.

Here are five powerful outcomes we believe you will experience from participating in this event:

1) You will learn how to inspire yourself more – Good sports coaches energize their teams with zeal and confidence through what they say. They cause their players to rise above past defeats, apathy, fear, and many other disabling attitudes. We too have the privilege of infusing ourselves with victorious tenacity through coaching ourselves with declarations. As we learn to inspire ourselves, we will have greater ability to inspire others. (To learn more about inspiring yourself, read my recent blog “Can You Inspire Others If You Cannot Inspire Yourself?”, here: http://ignitinghope.com/blog/inspiring-yourself).

2) You will become more convinced of the value of speaking life – "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit" (Proverbs 18:21). Those who love what? Those who love the revelation that “life is in the power of the tongue” will eat the fruit of their past words. When we believe our words actually create life, we will increasingly and purposely declare life-giving words to our circumstances, to others, and to ourselves.

3) You will increase your influence of others – There are many reasons this will happen. First, your favor will enlarge because you will walk more in your true identity as a child of God. Secondly, your declarations will increase your hope for others, which will ultimately expand your influence. (Remember, our hope level determines our influence level.) Lastly, you will further the Ezekiel 37 anointing of bringing life to dead-looking situations through declarative prophesy.

4) True strongholds will be demolished in your life – The greatest strongholds blocking the purposes of God are belief systems in the minds of Christians (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). In Judges 6, the future of the nation of Israel was locked up in the thinking in Gideon's mind. As his strongholds of victimhood, pessimism, and insignificance were pulled down, the nation ultimately was saved. The beginning point of this demolition was when Gideon heard the angel's declaration that he was mighty warrior (Judges 6:12). We are not to wait for an angel or anyone else to speak to us, but through declarations we can begin and sustain the process Gideon experienced – witnessing true strongholds crumble.

5) It will break you out of spiritual routine – Too often we don't intentionally explore new aspects of Christian living. We do the same things every day, year after year, and wonder why things are not changing. You most likely have heard that the definition of insanity is to do the same thing continually and expecting a different result. The 30 Day Declarations Experiment is a great opportunity to break out of spiritual ruts and experience a new opportunity in your life.

We trust you will be blessed by this year's Declarations' Experiment and declare “freedom” over you. Please feel free to pass this blog on to others who would benefit from it.


The Declarations Experiment starts June 1! 

Registration is FREE!


ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND

Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.


For more, check out Steve's iTunes podcast, YouTube Channel, Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram.

Can You Inspire Others If You Cannot Inspire Yourself?

Can You Inspire Others If You Cannot Inspire Yourself?

by Steve Backlund

In 1 Samuel 30, David inspired himself when his men were wanting to kill him. This is a great example of David’s ability to positively influence himself, which was the foundation that enabled  him to inspire the problematic men who gathered to him – men  who ultimately became his mighty men (“everyone who was in distress . . .  debt . . . and discontented gathered to him…” 1 Sam 22:2).

I believe the key to radically inspiring others is to be able to radically inspire yourself. If I am not excited about me, then why should other people be inspired by me? And if I cannot inspire myself and others, then I will most likely need to use negative motivational tools like guilt, condemnation, manipulation, withholding love, and other such non-empowering leadership techniques in order to “lead” and influence people.

So how do I inspire myself? Here are four keys to become the most self-inspired person you know:

  1. Use the power of declarations – It’s impossible to think a lie when you’re speaking the truth. Romans 10:17 says, “Faith comes by hearing.” Speaking life is the greatest way to move from apathy and passivity to enthusiasm and energetic forward movement. Begin to prophetically declare truth over yourself, your circumstances, and the into the atmospheres around you on a regular basis; you’ll be astounded at how powerfully things will change as inner-unity is established in what you are believing through the words you are declaring!

  2. Feed on motivational speakers – I have noticed that I can transform my emotional state almost instantaneously by listening to someone like Joel Osteen or Joyce Meyers. These aren’t the only speakers I listen to, but I’ve identified them and others as vital voices to keep me inspired. Your thinking, and consequently your emotions, create powerful signals that change the landscape of your brain. Igniting Hope Ministries is committed to being a high-level motivational ministry for you. And we believe as you feed on our content and allow it to transform the landscape of your brain, it will inspire you in great ways as well.

  3. Learn to act more enthusiastic than you feel – Enthusiasm is an emotional muscle that we can strengthen through "exercising" it. As we intentionally bring ourselves more fully into the environments we are a part of, we will find enthusiasm increasingly becoming a habit, and thus we will feel more inspired. Make a point of engaging fully in all that you have going on today, choose enthusiasm and the higher perspective when presented with the option to think negatively, and see how quickly inspiration levels increase – not only for you but for those around you also!

  4. See passivity and apathy as great enemies – Much of the Body of Christ is passive and fatalistic because of bad doctrines that believe if God wants something to happen, He’ll make it happen apart from us. It also results from a false humility that shrinks back because of a fear of pride and a fear of failure. This creates an uninspiring lifestyle that will not motivate people to the level we would hope for. Remember, faithfulness is not just showing up, but it is  how we think before we show up and how we think when we show up. What does it look like to actively partner with what the Lord is doing in and around you in this season? So often we hear people quote the phrase, “More of God and less of me,” but what if we embraced our God-given identities in His image and began declaring, “All of God and all of me”?  Something tells me we would change the world in great and mighty ways!

Our own lives are the training ground for being a person of great inspiration. This is the season to inspire ourselves so we can stir passion in others like never before!


Steve 2016.jpg

ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND

Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.

For more, check out Steve's iTunes podcast, YouTube Channel, Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram.

Should We Expect Things to Get Worse on Earth?

Should We Expect Things to Get Worse on Earth?

by Steve Backlund

 

Years ago I sensed the Lord tell me, "Steve, your prayers and your beliefs are opposed to each other. You believe for great kingdom advancement in the prayer meeting, but believe the devil will advance his purposes on earth more than God is advancing His. You are positive during the time of prayer, but pessimistic after prayer. You actually expect things to get worse on earth. Why is this?"

"Lord, that is a good question. Let me think about this."

After pondering this through the years, I have come to the conclusion these are the reasons why I expected things to get worse on earth as time moved forward:

  1. Not Understanding the Fruits of Kingdom Advancement – Jesus instructed us to pray, "Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10). Our assignment is to believe for heaven's benefits to invade earth,  lessening the curses being experienced on earth! As the kingdom advances, these things will decrease: poverty, sickness, disasters, mental disease, divorce, infant mortality, racism, addictions, accidents, etc. Deuteronomy 28:1-14 gives us great insight on what to expect as we see the kingdom advance.

  2. Believing Things Are Supposed to Get Worse on Earth in the End Times – If we believe this, we will be neutralized to pray "on earth as it is in heaven"  prayers of faith. Most Christians in my generation have been negatively impacted by an "escape from earth" eschatology concerning the end times. This has worked against us understanding kingdom perspectives in significant ways. If you want to establish yourself in a more hopeful end-time theology, I suggest you start with the book Kingdom Horizon by Robert Fraser.

  3. Overemphasizing the Power of the Devil – Many Christians have beliefs that actually attract unnecessary spiritual warfare. "If I am not under attack, I must not be a threat to the devil," "Higher levels, higher devils." Remember, kingdom advancement will bring greater peace and safety (I Timothy 2:1-4). Certainly martyrs, who are at the beginning point of kingdom advancement experience the ultimate persecution, but it will get less and less from that point on. We are to believe for increased protection as our spiritual journey continues. If, however, we are believing for demonic attack, we will experience it at levels never intended for us.

  4. Not Believing Things Are Actually Getting Better on Earth – Only those who take a very short term view of history would actually believe things have been getting worse. During the last few hundred years, the major indicators for kingdom advancement have been improving. In our next blog, we will share some of these.

Should we expect things to get worse on earth? No! If we do, we will actually be part of the problem by unwittingly prophesying problems that kingdom advancers will have to work against.

Expect more on this topic in  coming weeks.

 

Unreasonably Optimistic,

Steve


Recommended Resource:

Divine Strategies for Increase


ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND

Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.

For more, check out Steve's iTunes podcast, YouTube Channel, Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram.

12 Phrases That Empower Others

12 Phrases That Empower Others

from The Culture of Empowerment: How to Champion Others
by Steve Backlund

 

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21). It is true that death is in the power of our words, but the greater truth is that there is the power of life in our words. Here is a list of words that will create great life around us:

  1. Encouraging words – “You are making a difference around here.” 
  2. Positive identity words – “You are a person of great strategic insight. This gifting is taking our organization to higher levels.” 
  3. Specific thanksgiving words – “Here are three reasons I appreciate you: 1) You make people feel valued in your presence, 2) Your belief in me has been a great strength to me, and 3) Your prayer and worship life inspires me.” 
  4. “I understand you” words – “I know it’s important to you that I keep my room clean so here is my plan to do this more consistently.” 
  5. “I see you” words – “I notice how you always make new people feel welcome and included.” 
  6. “I need you” words – “I just wanted to let you know that we really need you here. You make us so much more successful.” 
  7. “Win-win” language – “You help me so much. What are the two most important things I can do to help you see your life dreams fulfilled?” 
  8. “I am proud of you” words – “I was thinking today of how proud I am of you. You are reliable, you do things with excellence, and you represent us so well.” 
  9. “You are significant and important” words – “You are important. What you do is connected to a bigger purpose and plan. We would not be nearly as successful without you.” 
  10. Prophetic destiny language – “You are being prepared for bigger influence in the days ahead. This position you have now is training you for those things.” 
  11. “You’ve got what it takes” words – “You can do it! Nothing is impossible for you!” 
  12. Hope-filled words – “There is always a solution. I don’t know what it is, but God has one for this situation.” 

The Culture of Empowerment

"My goal is not to build a big church, but build big people." – Bill Johnson

 
 

Steve 2016 2.jpg

ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND

Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.

For more, check out Steve's iTunes podcast, YouTube Channel, Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram.

7 Ways to Walk and Live Confidently

  7 Ways to Walk and Live Confidently

by Steve Backlund

 

“Now this is the confidence that we have in him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him” (1 John 5:14-15).

God has called us to walk in spiritual confidence. Even so, at times we all have situations where we don’t feel as confident as we would like to be. Here are seven keys for you to increase the confidence that you have in Him:

1) Get your identity from God, not your past!

If we don’t know who God says we are, we are going to have a difficult time having confidence in this life. If we get our identity from our past, we will be plagued by doubt and inner weakness. God does not define us by our worst day, the worst thing that has happened to us, or our worst mistake. Corrie ten Boom put it well when she said, "God has taken our sin. He has thrown it into the sea of forgetfulness, and He has posted a sign that says, 'No fishing allowed’" (Micah 7:19). We are not who our past says we are, we are who God says we are – no longer slaves, but children and heirs! (Galatians 4:7).

2) Realize everyone battles some level of insecurity.

Have you ever thought about the fact that God does not hide the insecurities of those he used in the Bible? He doesn’t just play us the ‘highlight’ reel, but He delights in every part of their story and journey with Him. Every great person has battled, or is battling, some level of inner doubt about who they are and what they can do. How encouraging it is to know we are not alone, even though it may feel like we are the only one dealing with insecurity sometimes. The enemy uses insecurity and comparison to have us focus on who and what we’re not; imagine how differently our outlooks and responses to situations would be if we took those opportunities as a challenge to discover and declare who and what we actually are!

3) Understand perfect love casts out all fear.

1 John 4:18 reveals that God’s love is the antidote to fear and insecurity. This is a twofold process: first, as we experience God’s love in our own life, we naturally become more confident in life;  secondly, as we focus on whole-heartedly loving and meeting the needs of those around us, we will be less prone to shrink back in introspection.  Introspection is a very ‘me-centered’ way of life, marked with comparison, shame, and continual critiquing. Self-awareness, on the other hand, makes for an ‘us-centered’ way of life – a lifestyle marked with an awareness of our needs and the needs of those around us, confidence, and intentionality in what we have to offer that adds value to the relationship.

4) Deal with legitimate guilt in your life.

It’s safe to assume that most of you, our readers, are absolutely sincere in your heart to please God and to love people, but I do want to mention that it is difficult to walk in confidence if we are running from God in our lives and doing our own thing. With that said, it is important to also realise that many lack confidence because they haven’t learned how to deal with the devil’s accusations about things Jesus has already forgiven us for. Do we, at times, need to walk out the consequences of poor choices, or address bad fruit that we have allowed to develop in our lives? Of course. Does that mean we need to isolate ourselves out of guilt and shame? Definitely not! God does not ‘bench’ us until He deems us perfect enough to get back in the game (although that’s what the enemy would like us to think); He wants us on the team, always! God dealing with legitimate guilt in our lives is never from a place of punishment, but from a heart of restoration and empowerment – it’s Him coaching us from the sidelines, calling out, “You can do this! You were born for this! I am with you every step of the way!”

5) Be filled with the Holy Spirit – He gives confidence!

Consider Peter: an unconfident fisherman, who denied Christ three times who was then baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts. It was after this powerful experience that he became one of the most bold, confident people who has ever walked on the planet! Holy Spirit is the greatest encourager, continually working in and through us to become who we were created to be in all its fullness. As we pursue deeper encounters in the Spirit and believe for fresh fillings, we too will walk in greater confidence – living a vibrant life with hope, boldness and purpose!

6) Understand your assignment.

Negative comparison with others greatly hinders spiritual confidence. No one else will ever be a better you than you. Do you want to know what the great news about that is? It means we aren’t called to be like everyone else! The gifts that you carry, the way that you think, how you communicate, your personality – they’re all purposefully created and endorsed by God in fulfilling unique assignments only you can carry out in touching people’s lives and reaching hearts.  Take time to discover what your unique assignment is: for this week, for this season, for your life. Once we have clarity on what our assignment is, as well as what it isn’t, confidence will naturally follow because we will be doing what we’re supposed to be doing – living in the heart of God’s will.

7) Believe your past prayers are working!

“Now this is the confidence that we have in him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.

And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him” (1 John 5:14-15). If we actually believe that our prayers are working, we will have greater confidence. It is impossible for us to pray and have nothing happen; God is always working on our behalf, whether it is seemingly ‘behind the scenes’ or in overtly obvious ways. He is continually narrating ‘God stories’ in our lives, weaving His faithfulness, covering, and love into a tapestry of splendor. When we look at circumstances through the lens of our past prayers, then we will have confidence God is moving powerfully in the seeming uncertainties that we are facing.

In closing, I have a word for those who are reading this blog: I see you are entering a new season of confidence. I see God is touching you and healing you of insecurities and releasing boldness over you for the days ahead. You are important in what he is doing around the world!

Abounding in confident joy,

Steve


ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND

Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.

For more, check out Steve's iTunes podcast, YouTube Channel, Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram.

Four Key Ways To Connect With God

Four Key Ways To Connect With God

Hearing God's Voice and Cultivating Friendship with God

by Sarah Gerber, Igniting Hope Team


As a child, I always wanted the most wonderful best friend. Someone I could play with all the time, who would understand me, and who I could have a lot of fun with! And as someone who loves quality time, I wanted someone there who I could always talk to. The reality is we are all wired and created for deep connection – and God loves to have that with us.

While I was blessed with some beautifully close friends growing up, my dream for a best friend began to be fulfilled in the most satisfying way when I really gave my life to Jesus. He became the “most wonderful best friend” I always dreamed of as a kid. The difficulty along the way though, came with communication. I knew He was drawing me close to Him but I didn’t always know how to relate to or understand what He was communicating to me. How could I really connect with God? How do I know when He is speaking? Are the ideas in my head mine or the Lord talking? These are questions that we’ve all asked at one point or another in our relationship with God. The truth is God loves to communicate; His relationship with us is His number one priority. And the best part? We get to have lots of fun with Him in the process!

My quest for connection with God really exploded when I was introduced to the teachings and writings of Mark Virkler in the late nineties. This new tool called journaling revolutionized my time with God. I practiced tuning in to the “spontaneous flow of thoughts” that came into my mind when I asked God an open ended question, and engaged with my imagination with the eyes of my heart.

For instance, I would envision myself walking on a beach with Jesus – this gave my mind something to focus on as I listened. During this time, I learned about the significance of the sanctified imagination God intended for us to engage with, and while it can be used by the devil, that was never its original intent. The teaching was solid, with the checks and balances of submitting your journaling to spiritual oversight and the guideline that what you received was in line with Biblical truth and the heart of God displayed in His word. Fear was replaced with faith as I journeyed on this new adventure. It was like someone opened the curtains to a window of communion with God that I never knew existed before. My spiritual life took off and I never looked back.

Throughout my journey in communicating with the Lord, I have found four vital ways to connect with Him:

1) Hearing

There are two avenues in hearing God; one is from the outside and the other is from the inside. Though I have never heard God audibly with my physical ears, this is a legitimate way that God speaks to people. More commonly though, He speaks through the thoughts of our minds. One of the simplest ways to discern if what you are receiving is from the Lord is when the words are encouraging, affirming, full of love, and delivered with the Spirit and heart of God that is displayed throughout the Bible. Many times you will hear something you know you would never have thought of on your own. What you hear may bring you conviction but it will NEVER bring condemnation (Romans 8:1).

Jesus said, “My sheep HEAR my voice” (John 10:27). For a little fun, try this exercise to help familiarize yourself with what “hearing” could seem like: Sing the “Birthday Song” in your mind without any physical utterance or motion. Easy, right? Just as you can hear your own voice in your mind, you can just as easily hear the voice of the Lord speaking. People often ask, “How do I know it’s the Lord and not my own thoughts?” Great question! We believe that when we are seeking and asking God to speak to us, He will (Jeremiah 29:13-14, Matthew 7:9-11). We believe more in who God is and His desire and ability to speak to us, than we do our own weakness or in the devil deceiving us. As with anything, the more you practice the more you “hear”!

2) Seeing

There are seers and there are those that see. Seers have a gift to see the spiritual realm like others see the physical realm. They can see angels, demons, colors and atmospheres. They are very aware of what is unseen and it seems natural to them because they’ve always been that way. Then there are those that see. All of God’s children have eyes to see, and our ability to see increases with trusting and believing, and of course, practice! Everyone can “see” because we all have an imagination given to us by our creator God and we have the Holy Spirit who communicates through the “eyes of our heart” (Ephesians 1:18). With the Holy Spirit, we can see with our spiritual eyes using our sanctified imagination.

Try this exercise with me: Close your eyes and imagine your bedroom at home. See your bed, your closet. Now imagine walking to your bathroom; can you see the shower, the sink, your towels? Now ask Jesus to show you what the Holy Spirit is doing in your room. Write it down. This is a great exercise which allows you to use your imagination and then give the Holy Spirit the opportunity to reveal Himself to you.

3) Feeling

When I was a child, I was sensitive to spiritual and emotional atmospheres but I didn’t know it. Being an “atmosphere sponge” was so normal and a part of who I was in my everyday life that I couldn’t discern if what I was feeling was me or the environment around me. Because I was focused more on “hearing” and “seeing” in the beginning of my journey in connecting with the Lord, those are the muscles that have been strengthened in me the most. Intrinsically, I am a feeler which I’ve come to realize was a main connection point to God as a child, although at the time I didn’t realize it. Now, as an adult, I have found connecting to God in this way to be invaluable.

After I learned about spiritual sensitivity and discernment, it provided a grid through which I could process my experiences. Now I can look back on much of my history and realize how significantly the various atmospheres I was in impacted me. Have you ever been in a room where you felt agitated or anxious and you weren’t feeling that way before you entered that room? People who are “feelers” may be easily affected by their environment, but through the Holy Spirit, you don’t have to be victims to them. Instead, you can learn to victoriously shift atmospheres in partnership with the Spirit of God.

People who carry and steward this gift of discernment also often connect with God through sensing His presence and acknowledging whatever it is He is doing in a room, a home, a city, region, or country (1 Kings 8:10-11, Luke 1:41). If you want to grow in this area, next time you are in a church service, pay attention to the spiritual atmosphere in the room before and after worship. Take note of the specific thing the Lord is doing in the room by feeling and sensing what has been accomplished during worship.

4) Inner Knowing

Ever had that feeling where you just know that you know? My dad has a strong “inner knowing” gift. I've seen him many times working on a project where he’ll run into a problem he doesn't know the solution to when, all of a sudden, he’ll get a strong impression or have an idea in his spirit; before you know it, the problem is resolved and everything comes together beautifully! People who have this inner knowing often know things are going to happen before they do. They can’t explain how they know but they just do. And it happens just as they knew it would.

People who major in “inner knowing” often have a hard time realizing that it’s God’s way of speaking to them and through them because it’s such a normal thing for them that’s always been that way. This connection with God  may not always come in a moment of worship or prayer either, but at random times throughout life. This can sometimes make people feel that it is disconnected or unrelated to God, but the truth is that this is a very legitimate spiritual language that one can grow in, steward, and strengthen as your relationship with the Lord continues to develop. Your spirit will bear witness with God’s Spirit in you as He communicates (Romans 8:16).

AN Example of Each

Here is an example of how all of these ways to perceive God work together: I might be spending time with God and the first thing I see is a picture, which is then accompanied with thoughts that fill my mind as I’m seeking the Lord about what He wants to say to me. As I’m writing these ideas, I may then be filled with the feeling of faith and hope over what He is communicating to me. This then could be coupled with an idea or an inner knowing about what God is going to do with this area in my life. These are common ways that God speaks to us and we can use them all in one moment.

We may find that we are stronger in one of these areas more than another, but the goal is to increase our capacity in each of the four areas so that our language and connection to God is fluent and fluid in our everyday lives.

God loves connecting with you! I bless you to enjoy a deeper and clearer connection with God than you’ve ever had before. May you experience fun, friendship and His deep love as you explore the realms of connecting with your Best Friend – the one who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).


Recommended Resources

Book, workbook, and DVD series by Wendy Backlund

Book, workbook, and DVD series by Wendy Backlund

Devotional book by Steve Backlund

Devotional book by Steve Backlund

 
Soaking CD by Wendy Backlund

Soaking CD by Wendy Backlund

 

Nobody Wants Flabby Beliefs

Nobody Wants Flabby Beliefs

A Post About Beliefs Training

by Steve Backlund

Think about the belief systems you’re carrying around and operating out of right now. The good, the bad, the indifferent. Now I want you to imagine them as a person – your very own “pseudo-YOU”. What would they look like? What countenance would they have? Do they draw people in with their radiating hope and healthy physique, or are they hiding in the corner, overwhelmed, negative, out of breath, and more than a little “squidgy” around the edges?

Nobody wants “flabby” beliefs. In fact, I have a dream that beliefs training will become more popular than physical fitness training. In reality, working out our beliefs is more important than working out our bodies. Why? Because our future experience will largely result from our current beliefs!

Every Lent we choose to fast negative and un-biblical beliefs we have about ourselves, God, circumstances, and others, while feasting on God’s truth in these areas of our lives. This is the basis for our annual Negativity Fast and Positivity Feast (many of you likely have already joined us for this powerful time!). You can strengthen your plan for a fantastic 2017 with this 40-day, online “renewing the mind school” and watch what happens when you accelerate transformation by believing truth instead of lies (Romans 12:2).

As part of Level 4 of the Negativity Fast and Positivity Feast (NFPF), we offer Beliefs Training help people develop strong, fit, healthy beliefs, though there are very limited spots left for this year's fast in Level 4. If you're interested in receiving beliefs training sessions from the Igniting Hope team, click the button below. Please note that Beliefs Training sessions won't begin until after the fast finishes on April 9. 

Here’s five things to know about Beliefs Training:

1) It utilizes the Beliefs Assessment to help identify faulty beliefs.

If we don’t diagnose where we are at, it’s difficult to know how to get to where we’re going. The Beliefs Assessment is designed to help you identify faulty beliefs so you can develop a great plan of attack in replacing lies with truth.

The Assessment includes questions to assess the beliefs you have about yourself, God, your circumstances, and others. We've set these up as four education modules for this year's NFPF, enabling you to not only measure your “success” and progress in establishing more healthy, godly beliefs in these areas throughout the forty days, but also in the months and years to come as you continue to receive more teaching and grow in this life-changing way of renewing your mind.

2) It provides a prescription for you personally.

Just as doctors prescribe different remedies to different patients based on their individual needs, the Beliefs Trainer also provides those participating in the Negativity Fast and Positivity Feast with different prescriptions.

We’ve developed Beliefs Trainers who will partner with you to create a plan to work out your beliefs, much like a physical trainer would. Beliefs Trainers will help you become proactive in your thinking and identify specific biblical beliefs to work on throughout the NFPF. They will not "fix" your life or respond to every crisis, but they will be there to help target consistent negative beliefs in your life and replace them with positive, biblical ones. They will also equip you with various tools to renew your mind, with the ultimate goal of coaching you into achieving breakthrough in a key area in your life.

3) It connects you with a rhema word from God for you.

There are two primary Greek words that describe Scripture which are translated “word” in the New Testament; one is logos and the other is rhema. The Logos is the overall Word of God in our lives, while rhema refers to the spoken word. Rhema literally means an utterance (individually, collectively or specifically). God often “speaks” to us through specific scriptures or parts of the Bible, making them real to us so that we use them as a sword to advance and get victory in our lives (Ephesians 6:17).

I used to renew my mind with feelings and my past experiences because that’s what I thought truth was. Now, I renew my mind with the truth of God’s Word as He continues to upgrade my thinking year after year. The Beliefs Trainer will also help you to identify rhema words in your life, words that will be keys in opening the doors to personal victory!

4) It utilizes the content of the Fast and Feast at its highest level.

Increased hope is the evidence that we’re believing truth. Our hope level, then, determines our influence level – he who has the most hope has the most influence. The 40 Day Negativity Fast and Positivity Feast is full of powerful truths and resources to transform your life, no matter which level you sign up for. The benefit of having a Beliefs Trainer as a level 4 participant, however, means that you will be equipped to utilize this material at its highest level, thus radically increasing the benefit of the NFPF.  

In addition to the incredible tools offered in the Fast and Feast, those who sign up for levels 3 and 4 of the NFPF will also have access to new videos and some of our best mind renewal tools, as well as the opportunity to participate in a live webinar with me.  

5) It gives God a lot to “work with” in your life.

Signing up for a Beliefs Trainer does not guarantee a life changing experience, but it dramatically increases the likelihood that it’s going to happen! “Getting in the ring” and being willing to learn is often all God needs in order for us to see the transformation we’ve been longing to experience in our lives. He can work with a little, and He can work with a lot – we just need to be willing to give Him what’s in our hand (or, in this case, our mind).

Here’s what I know: we get saved because we believe in Jesus, but we’ll have transformation because we believe like Jesus. We want to partner with you to go on a radical renewing the mind journey! Let’s work together to see “flabby” beliefs become a thing of the past and, in turn, live out strong, fit, healthy beliefs that not only transform our lives, but the lives of those around us.


ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND

Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.

For more, check out Steve's iTunes podcast, YouTube Channel, Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram.

Spiritual Strength Training, Part 3: Working Out Our Spiritual Muscles

Spiritual Strength Training, Part 3

Wendy Backlund

 

“Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing, and complete” (Romans 12:2).

PART THREE: Working Out our Spiritual Muscles

As I inched my way further along in my weight loss journey, God ended up saying, “I want you to stop dieting and for the next three or four months I want you to begin to make declarations that it’s easy for you to lose weight.” I would imagine and declare things like, “My body’s a fat burning machine,” and, “It’s easy for me to lose weight.” As much as I’d like to report that He just magically made it disappear, I did have this divine convergence where I discovered, after my daughter suggested I see a holistic doctor, that I was allergic to so many of the foods I was eating which was a large contributing factor in why I couldn’t lose weight. He put me on a special diet. And it worked! My success didn’t mean I didn’t have to do something different (often, we still need to partner with God by changing our actions), it just meant that before I did it, I had to actually imagine and believe something different. Hope began to rise up and a confident, joyful expectation that good was coming soon became my renewed belief system – and that is when the change happened.

God told me once that I was no longer to create my identity from my past but from my future. I was to be like children who looked to their parents for their potential and abilities. So instead of getting my identity from my current state, I had to focus on what I was becoming. In order to live from our future and receive the full benefit of how God created us, we need to take advantage of the power of imagination. We can do this by allowing God to paint a picture of our future as a supernatural being. See yourself enslaved to righteousness, successful in everything you do, full of favor, wisdom, power, and confidence. Imagine yourself able to change atmospheres and seeing sickness flee from the glory of God that you carry. In other words, look at your Heavenly Father and “see” your future.

We all say, "Amen" when someone starts taking care of themselves, going to the gym, and lifting weights because they want to strengthen their body. Yet God says, “The joy of the Lord is our strength,” (Nehemiah 8:10). We need to have a discipline of joy in our lives. If you want longevity and health, spiritually and emotionally, you have to make joy a priority.

When you first learn to lift weights you don’t say, “This feels fake! I tried to lift 300 pounds and it didn’t work!” And yet we tend to think, “When I laugh at lies, it feels fake.” No, it’s just rusty! It’s a muscle to build. I know this because I had to work it out in my own heart first. When I was laughing, I would often laugh on the inside until God said to me, “Wendy, there’s no health benefits to laughing on the inside. That’s why you’re weak and tired all the time.” So, I got serious about it, and still to this day when I catch myself laughing on the inside, He will remind me, “Laugh out loud!”

Renewing our mind isn’t optional when it comes to living a victorious, powerful life. It’s spiritual strength training that tears down strongholds and develops the discipline needed to continually walk in the truth of who God has called each and every one of us to be!


Steve&Wendy090.jpg

ABOUT WENDY BACKLUND

Wendy Backlund, along with her husband Steve, is from Bethel Church in Redding, CA. Wendy and Steve have a unique ministry that ignites hope, passion, joy, victorious mindsets and healthy relationships. They were senior leaders of renewal churches from 1991 to 2008 (Round Mountain, Nevada, and Weaverville, CA). The Backlunds travel regularly ministering to churches and leadership teams. Wendy has a passion for setting Christians free from their past and empowering them in their walk with Christ. She is a revelatory speaker, author, and teacher, enabling people to see life from a supernatural perspective.

Learn more about Wendy and her teaching at wendybacklund.com.

For more resources from Wendy, click the links below:

Three Ways to Approach Your Days Ahead

Three Ways to Approach Your Days Ahead

by Steve Backlund

It’s that time again. We’re all too familiar with it – the Christmas festivities are over; the New Year has been ushered in; and now momentum is being built and schedules are ramping up to see our goals for the year established. Each of us has things to do in the days and weeks ahead. There are meetings to attend, assignments to fulfill, secret place times with the Lord to be prioritized, and various other happenings. How we think and talk about these future events will dramatically impact the quality of our experience and our capacity to bring our best in every situation.

Here are three alternative ways we can approach our schedules in the coming days, weeks, and months:

1) With Foreboding and Worry – Hope is the confident, joyful expectation that good is coming. Foreboding is an expectation that bad is coming. Worry is imagining life without God, rehearsing a future without expecting God’s promises to manifest themselves in powerful ways.

Just as meteorologists seed clouds to bring about rain, I used to seed the clouds of my future with pessimism. I would think and say things that reflected inferior beliefs. For instance, if I had a meeting with a challenging person, I would release dread into the spiritual clouds concerning that meeting. This lack of victorious thinking hindered how much God could do.

The truth is, God is always bigger than any circumstance, He always turns up, and He is continually looking to establish His grace and power in every context. When we align our beliefs with this powerful reality, it not only enables us to partner with His higher perspectives but it also makes a way for us to influence and empower those around us to do the same.

2) With Passivity – When we are passive, we have a “whatever will be, will be” attitude. We are basically emotionally neutral to an event, meeting, or to a new day. We don’t have any big expectations in the positive or negative. We believe faithfulness is simply showing up.

When we allow ourselves to passively approach our days ahead, it’s not long before we often find ourselves established in a cycle of allowing life to “happen to us,” rather than positioning ourselves in a way where we “happen to life.” We are God’s empowered people. He wants us engaged and proactive in everything we do. Having high expectations isn’t simply wishful thinking – it’s taking dominion over every circumstance, taking ground where the Lord has given us influence, and joining our “Yes” with heaven’s to see His Kingdom established in mighty ways.

3) With Hope and Faith – This is the highest level of preparation and approach to engaging with what is in front of us to accomplish. Just as I mentioned earlier, hope is the confident, joyful expectation that good is coming. Faith believes something is happening in the positive, even when it is not seen. Those who function in these mindsets understand that faithfulness is not a matter of simply showing up, but in how we think before we show up (and how we think while we’re there). They positively seed the clouds of their future through thoughts and declarations like, “Tomorrow is going to be a great day,” or “This meeting is going to change the world.”

Expectation is another word for faith. When Jesus said in Matthew 9:29, “According to your faith, let it be to you,” it could be translated, “According to your expectation, let it be to you.” I don’t want to be in the habit of expecting negative things to happen, or even nothing at all – I want to stir up the expectation to believe great things will occur in the days ahead. Diligently establishing this as our automatic approach to life will create greater inner victory in us, and will bring increasing breakthrough to those around us.

Join with me in declaring these higher truths over the next 30 days and see how powerfully hope, faith, and expectancy can transform your mind, heart and circumstances:

  1. God always shows up!

  2. Great things are happening even when I can’t see it!

  3. As I engage with God’s higher perspectives, difficult circumstances are being transformed!

  4. I make great decisions!

  5. I experience victory and God’s goodness every day – in my life and in the lives of those around me!

ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND

Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.

For more, check out Steve's iTunes podcast, YouTube Channel, Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram.

Spiritual Strength Training, Part Two: Process, Progress, and Motivation

Spiritual Strength Training, Part Two

by Wendy Backlund

“Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing, and complete” (Romans 12:2).

Click here to read Part One of this three part series from Wendy Backlund on training your spirit.

Part two: Process, Progress, and Motivation

Upon embarking on this journey of renewing my mind with truth, God began to show me how often I was doing things in the wrong spirit, with no faith. In fact, I was operating out of the opposite of faith. I would continually live a life of sacrifice and obedience to what God was saying to do, but my belief system was never at work. I worked for God, but I wasn’t partnering with Him. I would say things like, “Okay, you want me to be a teacher and speak, but I’ll just prove to you that it won’t work, that I can’t speak,” instead of attaching faith to it. Now don’t assume I’m telling you this is always easy – we’ve been working on our belief systems for twenty years! Some strongholds that need to be broken down will crumble as quickly as they were erected, others may need much more time, and that’s okay. Be okay with the process; God’s okay with process. Just notice the milestones, notice the improvement, and keep going!

Renewing your mind is a lifelong commitment. You never stop learning when it comes to discovering and walking out God’s truth for your life. Even a year ago – after preaching this message all over the world, all the time – I still had strongholds to do with a particular belief system that needed breaking down. When we first started traveling, I put on a lot of weight. It finally got to the point where I decided, “I’m going to lose this weight!” I’m naturally a researcher, so I looked up women my age and how to lose weight, and all it did was convince me that women my age can’t lose weight. The “experts” all said it was partly because of our lifestyle, and partly because of a metabolism issue, mixed in with what seemed like a million other reasons! But even then I would say, “I’m determined – I’m going to lose weight,” so I started dieting and was hardly eating anything and still not losing an ounce. I was totally frustrated and felt like I should be dead from lack of food, when finally God said, “Wendy, why are you trying to do something you don’t believe you can do?” And that’s when the penny dropped.

He said, “When you try to do something you don't believe you can, you are actually opposing yourself.” Our subconscious can actually cause resistance and we end up sabotaging ourselves with our belief systems. He said, “The more inner unity you have, the more powerful you are.”  Think about what it’s like when you hear a note that has such perfect frequency that it touches your heart and resounds throughout your entire being. That’s what we want to do with the Word of God; we want every promise, everything He says, to come into such inner unity that it continually resounds within us. Years ago when Bill Johnson used to come to Nevada in the 90s and speak, people would come up to Steve and me and say, “Did you hear what Bill said? That was so powerful; it rocked my world!” And I would think to myself, “We said that! How come it didn’t rock your world when we said it?!” It wasn’t until years later when God started speaking to me about inner unity that He brought that to my mind and said, “Remember when that happened? It was because Bill had greater inner unity with what he was saying, and the more inner unity you have with a promise the greater weight and authority it carries when you speak it.” That’s the goal of the Word – we don’t want to memorize it, we want to have inner unity with it.

One of the greatest tools that helped me to establish greater inner unity was learning how to celebrate my progress. God had me focus on what my thoughts were doing to my body which made me realize I would lose motivation every time I entertained condemning thoughts like, “Oh no, I’m back to where I started. I knew I hadn’t changed.” You can literally feel the energy draining out of your body when you think like that, but when you look at it differently and say, “Oh wow, I did stumble and fall, but I didn’t stay down as long this time!” and you celebrate your progress, it actually motivates you to keep changing! In response, God said, “I only want you to have thoughts that motivate you to keep changing. Get rid of all the thoughts that make you want to quit.” Our thoughts are meant to be motivators, and when we allow them to do just that, they become our greatest friend rather than our biggest foe.


Recommended Resources by wendy


ABOUT WENDY BACKLUND

Wendy Backlund, along with her husband Steve, is from Bethel Church in Redding, CA. Wendy and Steve have a unique ministry that ignites hope, passion, joy, victorious mindsets and healthy relationships. They were senior leaders of renewal churches from 1991 to 2008 (Round Mountain, Nevada, and Weaverville, CA). The Backlunds travel regularly ministering to churches and leadership teams. Wendy has a passion for setting Christians free from their past and empowering them in their walk with Christ. She is a revelatory speaker, author, and teacher, enabling people to see life from a supernatural perspective.

Learn more about Wendy and her teaching at wendybacklund.com.

For more resources from Wendy, click the links below:

5 Reasons to Cut Negativity Out of Your Life

5 Reasons to Cut Negativity Out of Your Life

by Steve Backlund

Igniting Hope’s annual Lent 40 Day Negativity Fast and Positivity Feast begins on March 1. Can you believe this is already our fourth year hosting this life-changing event?! Add to that an exciting new format, and we know this is going to be the best Negativity Fast yet. Our team can’t wait to see the breakthrough and momentum that will be established in your lives, simply because of your willingness to say “Yes” to this exciting process of exchanging negativity for positivity!

Here are five reasons why we believe embarking on a negativity fast is going to be the best decision you make all year:

It Gives God Something Powerful to Work With in Your Life –

Few things are guaranteed in life, including the promise that your life will be radically changed by doing the fast/feast, but what I can tell you is your choice to participate in it exponentially increases the chances of it happening! As we give God something like this to work with in our lives, He has the habit of supernaturally multiplying it for His glory and our benefit. Rest assured, God will use your yes even if you initially feel ill-equipped to succeed. He is the great empower-er; He’s not waiting on us to impress Him, He’s simply looking for surrendered hearts and minds through which He can do His best work.

It is An Investment in Your Future –

Any partnership entered into with God, and any investment made in bettering ourselves, will always attract a positive return. Maybe the option of attending a ministry school is off the table in this season in your life. Maybe you aren’t able to sign up for those workshops or conferences you’ve been wanting to attend. No matter the reasons, whether it be financial, time, or various other constraints, you can treat the Negativity Fast and Positivity Feast as a “mini school” that will equip you with truths and tools you need to impact your future in a positive way. Even if you are in such a school or season of intentional equipping, our fast/feast will only serve to bless, reinforce, and add value to what God is already doing in your life!

It Will Address the Primary Root of Your Negative Emotions and Negative Circumstances –

What we believe ultimately impacts what we experience. If we try to change our circumstances without changing our beliefs, the chances of experiencing long lasting change will be unlikely. As we address the lies contributing to our negative emotions, we increase our inner victory, and ultimately see greater breakthrough in our circumstances (Romans 12:2; 3 John 2).

It Will Give You an Opportunity to Transform the Beliefs of Others –

Inviting others to engage in rising to new levels of freedom and transformation, and seeing that played out in their lives in ways big and small, is one of the most rewarding roles we could ever play. Over the past four years, we have seen many people embark on the fast/feast together; some even lead entire groups in fasting negativity and pessimism, and then feast on truth and biblical optimism. As you seek to draw others into this experience, you will be helping people to address the real issues in their lives, significantly impacting the trajectory of their futures. You will also strengthen your own experience by learning to communicate the fast’s truths to different types of people.

It’s A Small Commitment With a Big Return –

Whether you choose to make the most of the free level or you take advantage of the highest level with video appointments with one of our beliefs trainers, we believe you will find that the small time commitment every day will make a big impact! We have received countless testimonies over the years from people who found breakthrough in self worth and love, walking by faith, and even in employment and finances (click here to read testimonies from years past). Your breakthrough is closer than you think! In fact, it’s waiting on the other side of negativity and fear. Accelerated transformation by the renewing of your mind is yours for the taking. Fast lies, feast on truth, and ignite hope in 2017, and experience for yourself all that God can do with your yes!

You can learn more about this year's fast here, or sign up by clicking the level images below.


ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND

Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.

For more, check out Steve's iTunes podcast, YouTube Channel, Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram.

Spiritual Strength Training, Part 1: Change Your Beliefs, Change Your Circumstances

Spiritual Strength Training, Part One

by Wendy Backlund

“Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing, and complete” (Romans 12:2).

Change Your Beliefs, Change Your Circumstances

I used to assume that because I was a Christian, it automatically meant I operated out of hope. I was wrong; it was really just a theology of hope. Then, when Steve and I realized the connection between hope and the renewing of our minds, after years of thinking we were powerless victims to our circumstances, our lives literally began to transform before our eyes. Fast forward two decades and we can unequivocally say Romans 12:2 actually works – it transforms you, it transforms your circumstances! Developing a lifestyle of uncovering lies that have become strongholds in your life and replacing them with God’s truth about those circumstances is one of the most valuable processes you will ever invest in.

If the truth sets you free, then a lie will restrict you. Truth empowers you. So the question is, is what you’re believing empowering you? Or do you constantly feel like a mouse on a wheel, always running yourself ragged but never feeling like you’re getting anywhere? We were never supposed to be victims to our circumstances; our role is to create a mindset where we actually begin to do the works of God, naturally. Don’t try to do the works of God without changing what you believe, because you’ll get tired. I’ve tried it as a leader, I’ve tried to look like a good Christian and it was hard work!  But when I started  focusing on what I believed, I did something different. The first question most of us ask when something isn’t working is, “What am I doing wrong?”  The bigger question we should be asking ourselves though is, “What am I believing when I’m doing it?”

Is it possible that life is more than survival, performance, or whatever we have narrowed it down to in order to feel like we are successfully living? Yes, it is! God wants us to take every thought captive that exalts a person, circumstance, or emotion over God’s promises. He isn’t against our hopeless thoughts because they disgust Him, but because He knows that our thoughts become fortresses and carry a force in the unseen realm that affect our everyday lives.

God isn’t against our hopeless thoughts because they disgust Him, but because He knows that our thoughts become fortresses and carry a force in the unseen realm that affect our everyday lives.
— Wendy

I used to work up the emotion of hope for hopeless circumstances because I thought it would prove that I trusted God. Every time I felt hopeless, I would try to subdue the emotion and take it captive. It was a never-ending battle of forcefully trying to subdue hopelessness. If we continue to force ourselves to have hope or “feel loved” without first changing what we truly believe, we will live in a constant battle within ourselves. We will be in a perpetual state of subduing ourselves because “forcing” the emotions of hope and faith is temporary! We do not want to subdue emotions, but we want to change the thoughts (strongholds) that are producing our emotions. We must change the beliefs that govern our emotions.

If we can build negative strongholds that exalt themselves against the truths of God, then we can build positive strongholds around the knowledge of His goodness, power, and love. We can intentionally develop healthy inner strongholds for our identity, acceptance, and abilities. How do we do this? The answer is simple. Let’s take the belief that we are “favored by God and man” as an example. To build this belief as a “stronghold” in our minds, we first need to ask God to reveal every thought that would resist this belief and ask Him to reveal the truth in each of those areas. Then, we need to consciously look for scripture and circumstantial proof that indicates we do have favor. We need to rehearse and declare them until a new stronghold is erected.

By taking truths that we intellectually believe, and making them into strongholds through declaring, meditating and receiving revelation, we can be sure that new, healthy responses and emotions will automatically follow!

Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3 of this Spiritual Strength Training series with Wendy.


spiritually strength train with steve & wendy –

The Negativity Fast & Positivity Feast


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ABOUT WENDY BACKLUND

Wendy Backlund, along with her husband Steve, is from Bethel Church in Redding, CA. Wendy and Steve have a unique ministry that ignites hope, passion, joy, victorious mindsets and healthy relationships. They were senior leaders of renewal churches from 1991 to 2008 (Round Mountain, Nevada, and Weaverville, CA). The Backlunds travel regularly ministering to churches and leadership teams. Wendy has a passion for setting Christians free from their past and empowering them in their walk with Christ. She is a revelatory speaker, author, and teacher, enabling people to see life from a supernatural perspective.

Learn more about Wendy and her teaching at wendybacklund.com.

For more resources from Wendy, click the links below:

Four Overrated Attributes of Success

Four Overrated Attributes of "Success"

by Steve Backlund

"So it was, when they came, that (Samuel) looked at Eliab and said, 'Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him!' But the Lord said to Samuel, 'Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart'” (1 Samuel 16:6-7).

Consider this: Society is often relentless in setting the standard for what "success" looks like in our culture. Beauty, popularity, and wealth are three standards that automatically come to mind, and the monumental influx of social media that streams into our daily lives on a moment-by-moment basis not only supports but also perpetuates these standards at an unprecedented rate. But what if there was another way to define success? God's measurement for success is different than man's. This week at Igniting Hope, we have decided to unpack four attributes that seem to define success in our culture, but all too often miss the mark:

Good Looks –

Our society's worship of beauty and the value it places on being handsome or sexy creates unhealthy emotional stumbling blocks and mindsets for many. Comparison begins to creep in and soon our worth begins to get wrapped up in conforming to counterfeit versions of other people. Certainly it is not wrong to want to look our best, but being obsessively consumed or preoccupied by our appearance will rob us of committing time and energy to our spirituality, character, and relationships. When we prioritize these as primary focuses in our lives, they become keys for us to live as fulfilled people where true beauty radiates from the inside out. That is the ultimate success!

Number of Followers –

Whether it is the size of our churches, how many Facebook friends we have, or the number of Instagram followers we are connected to, know that these are not infallible measurements of success. God isn't as interested in the quantity of our influence, as He is in the quality of our influence!  If we operate out of excellence and integrity, and continually trade in mediocrity for high quality, our impact will last through generations, no matter how many people we are reaching today.

Owning Fancy Things –

There is nothing wrong with having nice, expensive possessions, but if we are using them to prove something to ourselves and to others, then we have a problem. Success is not a goal to be attained, but rather a state of being. If we need something outward to validate us, then we have fallen prey to the wrong definition of success. Wisely guarding our hearts and faithfully stewarding what God has placed in our hands, no matter how big or small, valuable or invaluable it may seem to the world, will always result in success in God’s eyes.

Being a Recognized Speaker or Leader –

In my book, Let's Just Laugh at That, one lie we laugh at is this: "Heaven's best places are reserved for speakers and worship leaders." When we read that, it does seem ridiculous, but too often we overemphasize the importance of leaders and underemphasize the importance of those who faithfully and diligently work behind the scenes. Lasting success is rarely accomplished in isolation. It takes vision, unity, humility, and a willingness to contribute our best in every context and application in order to see the goal accomplished. Seen or unseen, your role matters!

People tend to look at the outer appearance, but God looks at the heart. Let's be faithful to steward our own hearts well, and let's celebrate and encourage those who so often find themselves devalued by our culture's priorities. Set a new standard of success in the lives of those around you!


Welcome to a 40 Day School for Renewing Your Mind

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ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND

Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.

For more, check out Steve's iTunes podcast, YouTube Channel, Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram.