Ministry Update | September 2017

Dear Igniting Hope Family,

Welcome to those who are new to our Igniting Hope newsletter.

As I pray for you today, I am hearing these words: GREAT IS HIS FAITHFULNESS OVER YOU. Hebrew 10:23 is one of my favorite verses. "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful." We at Igniting Hope are not into positive thinking, but we are proponents of biblical optimism, and it our prayer that this hope-filled perspective will influence you to do what you never thought you could do. We bless you with increased hope today. 

Igniting Hope Team Update

A lot has been happening on our team. Here is an update:

  • We said good-bye to two Igniting Hope employees – Heidi O'Brien (our daughter) and Julia Graham (a spiritual daughter) both left us in August. Heidi has worked for us for three years and has done a tremendous job as our business manager. She is now working for an accounting office in Redding so we will still see her a lot. Julia, who has served Wendy as her project manager for two years, just got married and has moved to the Seattle, Washington, area. She took Wendy to new levels and will be missed. 
  • Welcome Sarah Gerber and Connie Jones – They are both Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry graduates and are now staff members of Igniting Hope. Sarah works for both Bethel's Global Legacy and Igniting Hope to oversee our calendar and the eleven third year Bethel students who serve our ministry. Connie will oversee travel and our resources They join long standing employee Megan Cotton (IH project manager) as the staff who serves you and our ministry. It is a great team. 

Personal Updates

  • We took a lot of time off in July and did a staycation in Redding. It was so good. 
  • We have had some good family time (especially with our grandchildren).
  • Duncan, our dog, got sprayed by a skunk recently (third time that has happened)
  • Steve has golfed a lot this summer (13 times in July alone). It has been therapeutic. He now seems fully recovered.
  • Wendy has been doing some improvements to the interior of our house (something she loves to do).

Ministry Notes and Happenings

  • Wendy's book Victorious Emotions has been the most popular book we have ever released (according to initial sales).
  • Steve's July trip to Turkey was so impactful to him as he interacted with the people there and got to experience places where great Bible events took place. 
  • We are working on a new website. It should be done in a few months. 
  • Upcoming travel includes: Nevada, Texas, Colorado, Alberta, Toronto, Connecticut, Oregon, South Africa, and Kansas. 

Upcoming Events

More info will be coming on these:

  • Wendy's Feasting on the Spirit will happen again this November. 
  • Redding's Steve and Wendy School of Victorious Living – It will be an all day event on Saturday, November 4. 
  • Annual Negativity Fast + Positivity Feast starts on February 14. Many individuals and groups have done this each year. 
  • Culture of Empowerment event – Join Steve Backlund, Phil Backlund and Melissa Amato (authors of The Culture of Empowerment) for a two hour teaching session on Thursday night October 12 at Bethel Church. 

Did You Know?

  • Most of the Backlunds' books are on Kindle. 
  • You can order books, clickers and other products at bulk prices by emailing connie.jones@team.ibethel.org
  • Igniting Faith in 40 Days is available as an audiobook
  • Steve releases a weekly podcast message (5 to 10 minutes) that will ignite hope, joy, and increase your influence. 
  • Let's Just Laugh at That for Kids 2 is being completed now and should be available in November. Check out our first children's book here.

Thank you so much for you love and support to us. 

Love, 
Steve and Wendy


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About Steve & Wendy Backlund

Steve and Wendy were senior pastors for seventeen years (including at Mountain Chapel in Weaverville, CA) before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. They are developers of leaders, authors, joy activists, and train people in the power of biblical mind renewal. They travel extensively throughout the world through Bethel's Global Legacy and through their own ministry, Igniting Hope Ministries. Steve and Wendy have three children, six grandchildren, a dog named Duncan, and cat named Mr. Mittens.

 

 

5 Kingdom Responses to Natural Disasters

5 Kingdom Responses to Natural Disasters

by Steve Backlund

 

In response to the flooding in Houston and Hurricane Irma touching down in Florida, Igniting Hope Ministries is praying for supernatural healing, provision, and restoration over the communities, families, and businesses affected by these terrible natural disasters. We pray in this time of grieving, those affected would experience the love of the Father, the comfort of the Comforter, the healing of the Healer, and the power of our mighty God who restores all things. 

We pray this blog strengthens the spirits of those affected with great hope as you rebuild, and encourages the Body of Christ to express God's love in their support of these communities, and to give insights into how to decrease natural disasters in the future. 

1.  Weep with Those Who Weep – Jesus wept. He wept with Lazarus' family even though He knew He would raise Lazarus from the dead in three days. Death and destruction is not from God. He can resurrect life and redeem the effects of loss.  Job had only 6 months of intense loss, yet hundreds of years of intense abundance. The 6 months of loss were from the enemy's attacks, the hundreds of years of abundance were from God's goodness & recompense toward a righteous man and his family line.  Let us not be like Job's friends who tried to find any fault in Job that could have brought the destruction upon him. God rebuked them sharply, but gave recompense to Job. 

2.  Go to the Depths and Invite Holy Spirit In – Do not run from pain or turn to false comforts. Give God the fullness of your pain, and He will give you the fullness of His goodness INSTEAD. Isaiah 61 promises that Holy Spirit comforts those who mourn and gives them both personal comfort AND the keys to rebuild In their cities and families after devastation.  If we want to know how to access the miracles of God, it is through asking for His supernatural compassion.  He will let you experience His very heart for His people, which often manifests with a miracle to break through any walls between Himself and His people.  Let Him set a feast of His goodness before you, in the midst of the enemy's attacks on our loved ones and our land.

3.  Jesus Was Not Passive About the Storms He Faced, Neither Should We Be Passive – “Then (Jesus) arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace, be still!’ And the wind ceased and there was a great calm” (Mark 4:39). In John 14, Jesus said we would do what He did, and even greater things. He protected life by using His spiritual authority, so must we. 

4.  We Cannot Use Experience to Create Our Doctrines or Identity Beliefs – “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says” (Matthew 11:23). If we conclude that seemingly unanswered prayer is because God actually wanted there to be a hurricane, then we will become fatalistic and passive in our spiritual lives, and not make the difference we are called to make. We are all growing into the place where our words and faith cause disasters to cease (and lives and property to be protected).

5.  As the Kingdom Advances, There Will Be Fewer Disasters Such as Hurricanes – Jesus instructed us to pray, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). There are no disasters in heaven, so we are to expect a decrease of them as we pray this prayer (just as there will be a decrease in crime, sickness, family dysfunction, etc.)

It is challenging to speak to the topic of disasters in a short blog like this, but I trust this has been helpful. My books Divine Strategies for Increase and Cracks in the Foundation will give greater insight to the thoughts I share here. 



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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.

Four Higher Levels of Thinking

Four Higher Levels of Thinking

by Steve Backlund

 

"Set your mind on things above" (Colossians 3:1). We are not to be conformed to the thinking of this world (Romans 12:2), but we are to pursue higher thoughts about God, ourselves, others, and our circumstances. When we understand we cannot trust any thought or conclusion that does not have hope attached to it, we are ready for elevated thinking and the transformation it brings. 

James 1:2-12 gives great insight into how to change our thought lives from fixating on problems to focusing on advancing the kingdom. Here are four higher spiritual realities revealed in these verses.

1) A Higher Perspective – "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing" (James 1:2-4). Our response to something is almost always more important than the something. When we choose to rejoice in the Lord, incredible forward movement in our lives begins. 

2) A Higher Strategy – "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways." (James 1:5-8). There is always a solution for every situation we face (I Corinthians 10:13). God has supernatural wisdom (strategies, ideas, etc.) for breakthrough in us and around us. As we believe God will give us these higher strategies, He will. Start thanking Him right now the divine insight being revealed to you.

3) A Higher Identity – "Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation" (James 1:9). Negatively comparing ourselves to others is a lower way of thinking. We may not be as gifted or outwardly blessed as some others, but we are unique and have greatness in us. In Christ, we are a new creation. As we think higher about ourselves by believing who God says we are, it propels us to greater influence. In Numbers 13 the ten spies believed they were like grasshoppers in their own sight. Their interpretation of themselves created their beliefs about the world around them. If we don't embrace our higher identity, then we will perceive ourselves as victims - and thus believe we are powerless to bring change. 

4) A Higher Purpose – "Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him" (James 1:12). A crown of life indicates authority has been given us. Whatever area we have overcome in our lives is an area where we have authority to bring life to others. Most people's greatest anointing comes from something they battled; therefore, your current struggle is not just about you, but it is about the people you will influence as you overcome. Your purpose in life is not just to fix yourself, but to be a life-releaser and a great influencer. 

God loves to take people from crisis to radical influence. These four higher things will help you get there. 

If you like this blog, then you will like my book Higher Perspectives. It is probably my best devotional to help in practically setting your mind on things above. 


Set Your Mind On Things Above


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.

Change Your Self-Talk With These Four Phrases

Change Your Self-Talk With These Four Phrases

by Wendy Backlund

 

Whether we’re aware of it or not, we’re continually communicating to ourselves. We’re internally and verbally relaying messages to our spirits of hope and encouragement, or even death and discouragement all day long through our self-talk. Proverbs 18:21 says “Life and death is in the power of the tongue.” It’s amazing how we can shift and bring life to our emotions and the state of our physical bodies just by speaking something Truth-filled and different (which also causes us to think something different). Take time today to notice your self-talk and how it affects you.

For instance, one poor phrase we often tell ourselves is, "I have to do X today.” Without realizing it, you will probably feel a heaviness or dread attached to that task because you’re communicating it as something you’re begrudgingly required to do. Instead, trying switching it up from “I have to” and say "I get to do X today.” Speak it out loud and your body will respond with increased anticipation and energy towards that task.

Another poor, energy-draining phrase we commonly tell ourselves is "This is hard." When we say this and agree with this idea, our bodies and our emotions respond negatively with overwhelmed feelings and the desire to quit. In these instances, instead, say out loud, "This is easy and fun!" Say it like you mean it, and you will begin to feel a shift occur within you. Your creativity and confidence will begin to flow again.

Here are a two more phrases that are great to say to yourself everyday to help your body function at its best and to help you maintain your joy:

  • "My best is more than enough." This is one of my favorites phrases. I try to keep these words dancing in my head all day so I am less likely to feel self-doubt or fear of failure. I use this declaration to remind myself that I am co-laboring with God and the unseen realm, so therefore everything I do is touched by the supernatural.

  • "I love moving my body." I use this when I don't get a good parking space near the door, or when my body feels tired or achy, and wants to give up. And parents, it’s also when you’ve just sat down for a moment and one of the kids needs you to do something for them again.

We all have self-talk continually running in our minds. Begin to become aware of how your own thoughts affect your emotions and your body. Intentionally creating new, life-giving phases in your self-talk will guide you towards a healthier and happier you.


Live From Victory In Your Emotions


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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:

Morning Declarations to Bless Your Day

Morning Declarations to Bless Your Day

by Steve Backlund

 

  1. This will be a great day. This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24)
  2. I am a person of great hope and optimism. In every situation I face today, I will be confident and know what I am to do. (James 1:5)
  3. Because I believe there is a solution for every difficulty, I will see solutions manifest in incredible ways, even in the most difficult situations. (2 Kings 4:1-7)
  4. My past prayers are powerfully working today. My thanksgiving concerning these petitions is key for me to live worry free and in peace today. (Philippians 4:6-7)
  5. Because I have vision for my future, I realize today is a day of training for my prophetic destiny. Everything I face is an opportunity to build spiritual "muscles" for my increasingly influential days ahead. (Philippians 3:12-14)
  6. My soul will prosper today. My response to what happens today will be more important than what happens. (3 John 2)
  7. I am significant and what I will do today will be significant for Kingdom advancement. (Mark 9:24)
  8. I will positively impact every location, every meeting, and every person I encounter today. (Acts 5:15)
  9. Everything in my past is working for good today. (Romans 8:28)
  10. I will walk in the joy of the Lord today because it is my strength. I choose to be glad today even though there are unresolved situations and uncertainties in my life. My joy is a catalytic force that advances the Kingdom. (Nehemiah 8:10; Romans 14:17)
  11. Today I will be supernaturally propelled by God's grace to walk in personal victory, prosper in my relationships, and impact the world mightily for Him. (Psalm 1:2-3)
  12. I will not lose heart today because I believe I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living (Ps 27:13).

More Resources on Declarations


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 Phrases for Parents

5 Powerful Phrases for Parents

by Steve Backlund from Let's Just Laugh at That for Kids

 

One way we help create a culture where kids easily recognize the enemy's lies and combat them with truth is to have common and recognizable language. Here are five powerful phrases to make common-place as you walk with children on the journey of hope-filled believing.

1) “WHO TOLD YOU THAT?”

Many times, our past is speaking to us things that are not true. When we hear phrases that cause hopelessness about our future, we have to ask ourselves, “Who told you that?” If Jesus told you, through the Bible or by speaking it directly to you, you can trust it is the truth. If you learned to believe it another way and it isn’t what God says, then it’s a lie. If what you believe isn’t what you would encourage your friend with, and if it doesn’t bring hope, then it is a lie.

Click here to hear Steve talk about the phrase, "Who Told You That?"

2) “THERE IS ALWAYS A SOLUTION.”

Sometimes, especially as a child, it seems like there is no way out of a hard situation. No matter what we try to do, nothing seems to change. The truth is that there is always a way through it. Luke 1:37 says that nothing is impossible with God. When we choose to believe that there is a solution, we are in the right place to find that solution with God.

3) “THE JOY OF THE LORD IS MY STRENGTH!”

No one can steal our joy. It comes from God, and He gives it freely to us. Joy is God’s way of giving us strength. There are always going to be hard days. The good news is that we get to choose how werespond to them. When we choose joy, strength is released to us to deal with the hard times. We get to choose to be joyful.

Click here for more joy-related blog posts.

4) “WHAT DOES GOD’S WORD SAY?”

Just because something feels true does not make it the truth. Sometimes I feel like my friend doesn’t like me because they didn’t smile at me. It feels like they stopped being my friend but the truth is that they are just having a bad day because their dog died or someone yelled at them. Lies can often feel really true, especially when we have believed them for a long time. When we become great lie detectives, we know that feelings don’t make something true. The Word of God is the truth that we can live our lives by.

5) “LOOK WHAT GOD HAS DONE!”

There is always something to celebrate. While we are still on a journey, celebrating our growth is a key tool in defeating the enemy’s lies. Look intentionally for areas where you have already grown. The goal in fighting lies is not to be perfect, but to keep growing. 


Let's Just Laugh at That for Kids

 
 

Click the button below to learn more about Steve Backlund's kids book.


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.

Three Simple Ways to Increase Your Influence

Three Simple Ways to Increase Your Influence

by Steve Backlund

I am currently reading through the book of Acts, and I was struck again by the Apostle Paul's journey into influence when he was a prisoner on a ship. In the beginning of this voyage, Paul's opinion was not valued (as expected, since he was a prisoner), but by the end of Acts 27, amazingly, he rose to become the greatest influencer in his environment. What can we learn from Paul's journey into influence, particularly as someone in circumstances that made his ability to influence others highly unlikely?

Here are three simple, yet profound things we can gain from Paul's journey to help us increase our influence: 

  1. Stay Connected in Relationships – Even though Paul's initial warning about impending disaster was not heard, he still "stayed on the ship" both physically and in his attitude. He did not become bitter and withdraw. We need to do the same. As we love people, and as we seek to be a strength in relationships (even with those who are not listening to us), we will build trust which increases the likelihood of greater influence in the days ahead. 
  2. Stay Connected to God – In verses 23 and 24 of Acts 27, Paul shared, "Last night an angel of the God to who I belong . . . stood beside me and said, 'Do not be afraid.'" He continued pressing into God and receiving fresh encounters and revelation, even in the midst of adverse circumstances. His "God connection" was the anchor of hope everyone eventually attached themselves to. As we experience situations where our influence seems to be little or non-existent, our ongoing choice to press into God through prayer, the Word, and fellowship will infuse us with divine favor and solutions for those in our lives. 
  3. Stay Connected to Hope – Our hopelessness about a problem is a bigger problem than the problem. If something is going to change, someone must have hope. Someone must become unreasonably optimistic in challenging times, locations, or relationships. Paul's hope was rooted in a word he knew he received from the Lord: "Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar" (Acts 27:24). As you and I focus more on what God has said, and less on what does not appear to be happening, then we will stay in hope and attract supernatural solutions to us and around us. 

I suggest you read Acts 27 and let this incredible story speak to you. It is one of my favorites in the Bible. 


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.

10 Things Successful People Do

10 Things Successful People Do

by Steve Backlund

 

  1. They work hard – They have learned and developed a habit of taking care of responsibilities before they have fun. "A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich" (Proverbs 10:4).

  2. They have identified their greatest strengths and function primarily from them – We each have unique gifts to offer the world. The wise person will discover what they are (even if it takes a while to do so) and actively seek opportunities to utilize them. "Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them" (Romans 12:6).

  3. They develop a perspective of hope – After love, hope is the most powerful force to create positive transformation in us, through us, and around us. There are no hopeless circumstances, just hopeless people. Once people get true hope, circumstances cannot stay the same. "Let us hold fast our confession of hope without wavering for He who promised is faithful" (Hebrews 10:23). We encourage you to explore our blog and resources throughout the Igniting Hope website if you’re looking to grow in hope. Strengthening people in hope and joy is our calling!

  4. They value and cultivate healthy relationships – Perhaps the greatest measurement of success is the degree of positive influence we have upon the people in our lives. We cannot be successful if we leave a trail of relational pain behind us. I Corinthians 13 teaches us if we have not love, the great things we do will profit nothing.

  5. They overcome obstacles and failures – Those who succeed most seem to fail most. Every person must overcome obstacles, setbacks, disappointments, and failures on the road to success. If we refuse to quit or give up, we will succeed. In fact, let’s rename failure “learning”, viewing each failed attempt as an opportunity to learn and grow closer to achieving our goals. "And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart" (Galatians 6:9).

  6. They focus more on what is happening in them than what is happening through them – Success is not a goal to be obtained but a state of being. This counter-cultural statement is often hard for many to receive, but true success is an inside job. God's pathway for us to become people of great influence is for us to first learn how to become internally successful when we don't appear to be externally successful. "Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers" (3 John 2).

  7. They understand big things always start out small – As we do small things in a great way, they will become great. Even God’s big solution for salvation and reuniting His children to Himself started small in Jesus coming as a baby. "For who has despised the day of small things?" (Zechariah 4:10).

  8. They take risks – Certainly we need a good process to help us in decision making, but if we always play it safe, we will never reach our full potential. "Now the Lord had said to Abram: 'Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you" (Romans 12:1).

  9. They understand the reality of spiritual laws – Just as natural laws like the law of gravity work for everyone, so do spiritual laws like generosity, honor, and honesty. God's laws are not rules simply to be obeyed, but powerful principles to access increase and blessing in and through our lives. "But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night...and whatever he does shall prosper" (Psalm 1:2-3).

  10. They honor Jesus Christ – True success begins with proper spiritual alignment in our lives, and Jesus is "the way, the truth and the life" (John 14:6). As we align and surrender our spirits and souls to Him, we immediately position ourselves to prosper. Jesus said, "I have come to give you life, and life more abundantly" (John 10:10).

This is not a complete list of things successful people do, but if you implement these, it will dramatically increase the inward and outward expression of success 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.

Creating Pathways in the Brain, Part 2

Creating Pathways in the Brain, Part 2

by Wendy Backlund

(Chapter excerpt from Wendy’s new book, Victorious Emotions.) 

Click to read Creating Pathways in the Brain, Part 1!

While on this journey to take every thought captive, I discovered that often it is harder to sacrifice our beliefs than our actions. For instance, when God told me I was powerful and an overcomer, I argued with Him. I was inadequate, shy, and timid. I tried to tell Him who I really was, but then one day He said, “Wendy you do not know who you are. You only know that’s not who you really are. You are powerful. You are an overcomer.”

Who I had become was based on false conclusions I had drawn about myself from a few negative emotional experiences I had rehearsed until they created deep pathways of beliefs in my brain. My identity as someone who was inadequate came because it seemed that everyone had more talent, more understanding, more confidence, and more resources than me.

Who I had become was based on false conclusions I had drawn about myself from a few negative emotional experiences I had rehearsed until they created deep pathways of beliefs in my brain.

I believe I developed this false identity by being the youngest of six children. I was always less able in everything I did because I was comparing myself to my older siblings. My identity as an inadequate person was based on the outside realm of my experience. But when God started talking to me about my feelings of inadequacy, He said, “You can either get your identity from your past experience or from the Word. In which of these will you have more faith?” To make that choice, I realized I needed to know what the Word said about my identity. It says I am a new creation and that I can do all things through Christ. God said I had to believe with my whole spirit, soul, and body that those words were true. I had to anchor my new beliefs in the unseen reality of God’s realm and live to live from that truth.

In actuality, our brains do not know who we are. Our brains can only create a sense of identity based on what they have been told, what they have imagined, or what they have experienced. It is crucial that we teach our brains to not get our identity out of our experiences. Children do not initially get their identity from experience. If they did, we would have a lot of very depressed babies all around us because for the first year of life, babies seemingly do nothing but fail. They try to grab things and fail, they try to talk and fail, they try to crawl or walk and fail. Why are they not stressed out and depressed? Because they are totally convinced they can do whatever their parents can do! They are getting their potential and identity from their parents, not from their experience.

Tragically, most of us move from this correct stance to the devastating belief that we are what we experience. It happens when someone first calls us by our actions Instead of saying that was a bad action, we are called bad. Instead of being told we are a brilliant child who just did a stupid thing, we are called stupid.

Tragically, most of us move from this correct stance to the devastating belief that we are what we experience.

It is time to take our identity back. As it says in Genesis 1:26, we are created in His image and that is where we must get our potential and identity. We must renew our minds and convince ourselves of this new identity. To do this, it is helpful to think of our negative beliefs and emotions as results of incorrect data that was fed into our computer-like brains that failed to correctly process life. We need to teach our brains to process everything through the truth of God’s Word. Let’s learn how to create emotional beliefs on purpose.

One of the reasons I had failed to build any positive strongholds was the false belief that rehearsing positive experiences would result in pride. Therefore, I had a very unhappy mind because I only rehearsed negative events with emotionally charged thoughts. I never rehearsed positive experiences with emotionally-charged thoughts because I thought it was prideful or wrong. I hardly ever celebrated myself, so I never built positive emotions about myself. My brain had become a negatively-charged computer looking for negativity. I had to look for something different to see something different. I am still in the process of learning to celebrate things I do well so I can build more positive, happy, hope-filled strongholds (or pathways) about my identity and life. My goal is to build a happy brain!


Get Your Copy of Victorious Emotions

by Wendy Backlund


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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.

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Creating Pathways in the Brain, Part 1

Creating Pathways in the Brain, Part 1

by Wendy Backlund

(Chapter excerpt from Wendy’s new book, Victorious Emotions)

 

“... casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ”

– 2 Corinthians 10:5

 

It has always bothered me that it was so easy to naturally produce negative emotions. I never had to exert myself to be negative – negative emotions seemingly just materialized! But when I began to study the brain, I discovered they did not just randomly materialize. Most of those negative emotions that came so easily were the result of a stronghold developed when I was younger.

Let me explain what I mean by a stronghold. We all have thoughts or events that produce a recurring emotion. Mentally reviewing and re-imagining them will create even stronger emotions about those thoughts or events. We give significance and authority to whatever we meditate or focus on. The more we focus on and experience the emotions produced by those thoughts, the greater the neural pathway we will develop in our brain. The more we can re-create the original emotion with the memory, the more deeply entrenched the neural pathway becomes. We cannot build a path in the forest by walking through it once. But if we walk it every day, a pathway will be created. It will become the easiest route through the forest, although it may not be the quickest. Deep neural pathways, or emotional beliefs, are not built by a single event or spoken word. In fact, if we are neutral about an event or thought, we are more likely to just forget the event or thought. It is as if the emotional re-enactment enhances the likelihood of a neural pathway being produced.

A stronghold is a place that has already been taken and has prepared itself to defend its right to remain.

This rehearsing usually develops into a conclusion about ourselves, others, or a circumstance. These conclusions may or may not be correct, but because they were made while under pathway in the brain, which I call a stronghold. In the natural, a stronghold is a place that has already been taken and has prepared itself to defend its right to remain. A stronghold will always build up its resources and strength to remain in control of what it has possessed. The strongholds of our minds are very similar. They will cause our brains to constantly look for proof to defend the existing beliefs. These deeply-held beliefs are actually protected by the emotional response that helped create the belief. The brain will even feel compelled to repeatedly rehearse the event and the emotion to build up its strength against opposition. The reason the brain can use emotion to protect its conclusion or belief is because most of us tend to use emotion to validate whether something is true or not.

The reason the brain can use emotion to protect its conclusion or belief is because most of us tend to use emotion to validate whether something is true or not.

I am fascinated by how often science catches up with the truths in the Bible. An example of this is found in 2 Corinthians 10:4-5. These verses talk about pulling down strongholds and taking thoughts captive. It is inferring that the stronghold is caused by our thoughts! Experts on the brain, like Dr. Caroline Leaf, have proven that our brains do indeed have strongholds or pathways that are built by belief systems. The reason that scripture says to take thoughts captive is because they will not just surrender. They are trying to defend themselves. God knew how our brains would work, so He gave keys in the Bible to help us experience the victorious life He intended for us to live.

At first I thought if God was so good, why did He create our brains with this instinctive characteristic that seems to work against us as Christians? Then He began to reveal to me that He gave us this ability so we could build positive strongholds in our thinking that would cause happy, peaceful emotions without striving or effort. It is possible for victorious emotions to seem to randomly materialize just as negative emotions do.

The problem is that many of us tend to rehearse negative experiences more than positive ones, and they create emotionally-charged, negative strongholds. If we tend to only rehearse negative events in our lives, we are setting ourselves up for daily emotional tidal waves that will hinder us from having prosperous, happy lives.

If we tend to only rehearse negative events in our lives, we are setting ourselves up for daily emotional tidal waves that will hinder us from having prosperous, happy lives.

I have noticed that although we may succeed at many things during the day, we will often use the one failure we had to determine our identity. We will begin to see ourselves as a failure, although it makes more sense to see ourselves as a success since that is what we experience more often. Some people will disagree and argue that they do not succeed at anything, but in reality people unknowingly succeed hundreds of times a day. Did you successfully walk, read, eat, or talk today? Did you push through tiredness and get out of bed this morning? Did you successfully resist responding in anger many times before you finally succumbed? Even reading this book means you successfully decided to grow in your life.

My point is that we tend to rehearse the negative events rather than the positive events. This means we build more negative emotional-inducing beliefs than positive ones. The more negative beliefs we have, the more emotional turmoil we will experience. And the more we dwell on those beliefs, the harder it becomes to take those thoughts or beliefs captive as 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 commands. It is mainly harder because we have built a strong emotional attachment to guard those wrong beliefs.

Because negative strongholds exist, I realized that I needed to commit to waging war against them. I knew the battle was to take every thought into captivity to the agreement of Christ. The conclusions I had developed about myself, the world, and others had to be sacrificed until they agreed with God and His Word.

Follow along next week, when Wendy will share part two of this chapter on "Creating Pathways in the Brain." For more on Victorious Emotions, scroll below to purchase your copy of the book and corresponding journal. 


Victorious Emotions – Now Available!


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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:

 

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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.