4 Keys to Living a Lifestyle of Thankfulness

4 Keys to Living a Lifestyle of Thankfulness

by Steve Backlund

Scripture regularly reminds us of the importance of thanksgiving. Here are 4 keys to jump start your thanksgiving today:

1. Thank God for past prayers prayed that you are still waiting for to see the answer manifest – It builds your faith toward that issue (Mark 11:24) and helps defeat worry (Philippians 4:6-7).

2. Thank God for impartations you have received (Deuteronomy 34:9 and Romans 1:11) – Be as specific as possible. This too will build your faith and help bring the impartation into your experience in a greater way.

3. Publicly thank at least one person in meetings you lead – It is amazing how gratefulness can positively affect lives.

4. Never leave a meeting without thanking someone for who they are and what they do – Those who participate in the specific thanksgiving of others will have a much easier time living a prophetic lifestyle of calling out the gold that is in people.


More Keys from the Backlunds


ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND

Steve 2016 2.jpg

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.

How to Access Your Spiritual Inheritance

How to Access Your Spiritual Inheritance

by Steve Backlund

 

Read this excerpt from Divine Strategies for Increase to learn more about accessing your spiritual inheritance. Learn how you can use the spiritual law of inheritance to work for you (or against you), and how it can cause us to enter into greater intimacy with God. 

“A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children” (Prov. 13:22) 

This law is revealed in the Bible in passages such as...

  • “...visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments,” (Exodus 20:5-6).
  • “Therefore the LORD said to Solomon...‘I will surely tear the kingdom away from you...Nevertheless I will not do it in your days, for the sake of your father David,” (1 Kings 11:11-12).
  • “Now Joshua...was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him,” (Deuteronomy 34:9).
  •  “I (Nehemiah) . . . confess the sins of the children of Israel which we have sinned against You,” (Nehemiah 1:6).
  • “He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward,” (Matthew 10:41).

This law will work for us to cause increase and blessing if...

we by faith “pull on” the good deposits made in the spirit realm by our ancestors. Honoring God’s laws creates blessings to “thousands” of generations (See Exodus 20:6). Generational blessings are more powerful and long lasting than generational curses. Renouncing generational curses may be a good step, but it’s more important to have the Spirit reveal to us the force of generational blessings.

We can also receive inheritances from key people who are in our lives now. Just as Joshua received wisdom because Moses laid his hands on him, we can receive things we have not worked for. Matthew 10:41 gives insight on how to receive this kind of inheritance: “He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet receives a prophet’s reward.” The inheritance (reward) comes when we do not allow offense to cause us to dishonor a person’s gift (See Mark 6:1-6).

This law will work against us to restrict and impoverish us if...

we don’t believe that Jesus became a curse for us so that we can be free from such things as generational curses. Yes, we may need to take specific actions (forgiving, seeking forgiveness, renouncing, restitution, etc.) to help eliminate the root of the curse in the spiritual realm, but believing in and receiving the finished work of the cross is the most important thing we can do to be free from generational curses.

This law will bring us into a greater intimacy with God because...

it causes us to discover that we are already joint heirs with Christ Jesus of all that He deserves as God’s only Son. (See Romans 8:17.) More importantly, we realize that God Himself is our inheritance. Jesus has opened up a way for us to be with Him in glorious intimacy forever!

I delight in this law by joyfully declaring: I receive right now my generational blessings from Jesus and from my ancestors.


More on strategies for Increase


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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.

Shout, for the Lord Has Given You the City!

Shout, for the Lord Has Given You the City!

by Steve Backlund

Read this excerpt from Steve Backlund's Higher Perspectives about the power of partnering your faith with prophetic acts (even creative or unorthodox ones) that the Lord has given you to step into your destiny.

But it came to pass that on the seventh day, they rose early...and marched around the city seven times in the same way. On that day only, they marched around the city seven times. And the seventh time it happened, when the priests blew the trumpets, that Joshua said to the people: 'Shout, for the Lord has give you the city!'...And it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat. Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city."
Joshua 6:15-20

LOWER PERSPECTIVES

Joshua could have concluded: 

  • Prophetic acts are only symbolic and have no physcical effect. 
  • God would never use a creative, unorthodox battle plan. 
  • They should wait for the walls to start crumbling before shouting. 
  • They should have a back-up plan ready with more men and better weapons because this was likely not to work. 
  • This was probably a test from God, and He would be more pleased if they circled the city 10 or 15 times instead of only seven. 
  • Joshua should not make this bold of a declaration because maybe nothing would happen. 

ELEVATING TRUTHS

  1. Prophetic acts are powerful – All through the Old and the New Testament, God instructed His people to do prophetic acts that brought a dramatic shift to the circumstance. In 2 Corinthians 10:3 it says, "For though we walk according to the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh." Often the real battle isn't what we see in front of us; the battle is in the spiritual realm.
  2. God will only lead you into battles He has positioned you to win – There isn't a single story in scripture where God sends His people into battle, and did not give them a strategy to win. Just like an earthly father wants to watch his kids succeed in life, how much more would God position His children for victory? 
  3. Revelation of what we already have in Christ will bring the shout of victory – Romans 8:37 tells us that we are "more than conquerors." Believing we are victorious is often the most important part of the battle. The essence of faith is to believe something is ours before we have actually experienced it. Let's believe now that we are victorious in Christ! 

GIVING GOD SOMETHING TO WORK WITH

  • Lead a group of people in a prophetic act. 
  • Approach an obstacle with a creative solution. 
  • Make a bold declaration over a seemingly impossible situation in your life. 
  • Speak up in a group of people with a bold declaration. 

DECLARATIONS TO CREATE HIGHER PERSPECTIVES

I am positioned for victory.

My prophetic acts shift circumstances.

My faith declarations demolish strongholds.


click for more "HIGHER PERSPECTIVES"


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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.

I Run at My Goliaths!

 

I Run At My Goliaths!

by Steve Backlund

 

Read this excerpt from Victorious Mindsets about running at your Goliaths (overcoming procrastination): 

“So it was, when the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, that David hurried and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine” (1 Samuel 17:48).

David’s passion was demonstrated when he ran at Goliath. He did not hesitate, but aggressively confronted the obstacle in his way. He ran at his problem and not away from it. He understood that procrastination would just make the problem bigger (and Goliath was pretty big already!).

I have a question for you: Are you running from things or to things? Those with victorious mindsets are learning to run at those things that are difficult to face. They know that procrastination drains power from life. They know that it usually won’t get easier later, so we must “bite the bullet” now and face our giants.

People who chronically procrastinate are more prone to depression because there is a constant awareness that responsibilities have not been met. This depression causes more things to go undone, which causes more depression and so on. Many would feel better (and have more strength for life) if they developed the habit of running at things that should be done.

There can be many different reasons and roots for procrastination (fear, distraction, etc). We thank God that there can be healing for all of them.

Some helpful ways to bring this healing and to move toward the fear and distraction include:

  1. Making lists of things that need to be done and getting in the habit of doing harder things early in the day.
  2. Communicating with people about things needing closure (for example, money owed, promises unfulfilled, thanks or apologies not given, etc.)
  3. Ask the Lord why you are procrastinating, and then get His perspective and strength to overcome it. 

"There is always a solution"

More messages on hope and joy from the Backlunds


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 Keys to Jump-Start the Prophetic in Your Life

5 Keys to Jump-Start the Prophetic in Your Life

by Steve Backlund

 

"Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy" (1 Corinthians 14:1). This is such an amazing verse. It tells us to pursue the relational love discussed in 1 Corinthians 13 for our lives, and then to desire spiritual gifts to operate through us. The word "desire" comes from the Greek word meaning "to burn with zeal." We are literally to have a fiery zeal for spiritual gifts to flow through us. (See 1 Corinthians 12:7-10 for a list of gifts to desire.) Why does God want us to desire these gifts? So we can be a super Saint? No, the best reason is so we can be a conduit for someone else's miracle. We are called to bring supernatural encounters to other people.

1 Corinthians 14:1 goes on to say we are to especially burn with zeal to see prophesy flow through us. Why is this the case? One reason is this: If something is going to happen, something must be spoken. This principle started when God said, "Let there be light" in Genesis 1. 

What can we do to see the prophetic flow through us in greater ways? Here are five ways to jump-start the prophetic in your life: 

1.  Be the most encouraging person you know – 

New Testament prophetic ministry is based on 1 Corinthians 14:3: "But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men." As we purpose to encourage people with the good things we see in their lives, we create a great foundation for healthy prophetic ministries. 

2.  Ask God to supernaturally anoint your encouragement to others – 

"If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!" (Luke 11:13). When we ask the Holy Spirit to enter into our encouragement, He will prompt us with thoughts directly from Him. 

3.  Be overflowing with the Bible – 

The strongest words we can speak are Bible promises and proclamations of biblical truths. "For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12). It is a powerful thing to share an encouraging truth from the scripture that is burning in our hearts for a person.

4.  Be natural in your delivery – 

Don't use King James language or become weird in your prophetic ministry. Simply say something like, "As I was thinking and praying about you, I heard something I believe will be a blessing to you." Avoid overly using "God told me to tell you this" or similar phrases. 

5.  Trust the impressions you get – 

Take note of unusual coincidences, pictures in your mind, feelings that you get, or Bible verses that come to mind. If you get something that seems a bit bizarre or too good to be true, you could preface what you say with, "This may sound a little crazy, but I am hearing this." 

Our prophetic words should never rebuke or expose the faults of someone, but it is to call out the gold we see inside of them. For more information on the prophetic ministry, we recommend Kris Vallotton's book Basic Training for the Prophetic Ministry.


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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.

Believing In Jesus Vs. Believing Like Jesus

Believing In Jesus Vs. Believing Like Jesus

by Steve Backlund

 

In preparation for Wendy and my upcoming School of Victorious Living, a powerful one-day conference in Redding, CA focused on renewing your mind with truth to live from victory, here's a powerful excerpt from my book Victorious Mindsets about John 8:31-32 – "The truth shall make you free":

“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free’” (John 8:31-32). There is a difference between believing in Jesus and believing like Jesus. Our Lord told those “who believed Him” that they needed to “know the truth” in order to be free in their life experience. Knowing the truth leads us to believe like Jesus. I desire and receive prayer from anointed people who can give me an impartation of power, miracles, integrity, blessing or breakthrough.

This is an important part of my personal growth plan. It accelerates my life in Christ. The benefits of such prayer, however, will only last if I believe truth in the area that I was prayed for. Ultimately, what I believe is more important than the beliefs of the one praying for me. Many experience freedom in a special meeting but cannot maintain it consistently in life because of wrong beliefs about God, others, themselves or their circumstances.

Many are hoping to be “zapped” by an anointed “Super Christian.” Again, there is great benefit in receiving prayer from stronger believers, but there must be greater emphasis placed on changing our mindsets in key areas. Unless we do this, we will be enslaved by lies – no matter how many great meetings we attend. 

Jesus said, “The truth shall make you free.” These words are revolutionary. Jesus was free because He believed truth in every area of His life (provision, identity, health, power, personal habits, relationships, etc.) We too are to renew our minds to believe truth in each aspect of our lives. As we do, we will take our freedom beyond a meeting and live it out consistently in our lives.

Truly, victorious mindsets will make us free.


pursue a life of inner victory!

Join Steve and Wendy Backlund on Saturday, November 4 for a one-day intensive in Redding, CA!


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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.

Healing From Hurts in the Church

Healing from Hurts in the Church

from The Culture of Empowerment by Steve Backlund

 

Many Christians have had negative experiences with church leaders. Instead of being empowered, they were not honored for who they were. These situations cover the spectrum of small irritations to major abuses. Whatever the situation may be, God’s love and power can “heal the brokenhearted” (Isaiah 61:1) to experience hope again, and His love can “restore our soul” (Psalm 23:3) to emotional wholeness.

If this has been the case for you, I would like to repent before you on behalf of any hurt you have experienced from church leaders. I have written a brief letter to you representing your past church leaders, expressing this repentance, and then asking for your forgiveness. I believe God will use it to bring healing to the hearts of many.

Before I share this letter, I want to clarify that some of the hurts that people believe leaders caused them actually could have resulted from their own wrong perceptions of what was actually happening. I have been a church leader for many years, and I have had various situations where people accused me of being unloving or controlling, but it was actually not the case at all. These perceptions of me resulted from the person’s own unresolved issues, and often from a lack of understanding concerning the many factors church leaders have to consider in making decisions or creating policies. With that said, in other situations, I realize that I was insensitive to the people around me.

Also, this letter is not meant to be a substitute for any needed personal interaction in dealing with offense and conflict, but for cases where that’s not possible, it can provide a powerful step in internal healing and give freedom from past hurts. Even if you’re able to meet in person with a leader who has hurt you, going through this forgiveness process will be very beneficial.

 

Dear Beloved,

I am so sorry that I hurt you. Please forgive me for not believing in you more, for being insensitive to your needs and feelings, for saying hurtful things, for not apologizing when I was wrong, for sending you the message that you were a failure, for making you not feel valued, for not trusting you, for not hearing your story, for being abusive in any way, for focusing more on what you could do for the church than on how I could help you thrive in every area of life, and for letting my fears and insecurities affect how I treated you. I’m sorry if any of these things caused you to live a life of feeling unsafe under leadership, caused you to believe you must perform well to be loved, caused fear in you, or caused you to be restricted in anyway from being fully you. I regret these things very much. Again, please forgive me.

Love,

Steve Backlund

 

Now it is your turn. We recommend taking some time with the Lord as you read through this letter. It is a powerful thing to acknowledge your pain with God in remembering the situation, the people involved, and how you felt. Let the words of the letter impact your heart as you read it. If there is forgiveness to release on your part, use the prayer of forgiveness below to help you release it. If you would like to, you can choose to imagine the person standing in front of you to assist in engaging your heart with the process.

Here is a prayer of forgiveness for you to pray concerning past leaders:

__________________ (Say the name of the leader you believe has hurt you in any way), I forgive you for hurts I experienced under your leadership. I release you from my judgments concerning this. I pray that you will be blessed in your relationship with God, in your family, and in your ministry.

In Jesus’ name,  Amen.

After you have completed this forgiveness process, ask God to fill you with His love for this leader. Ask God to reveal to you how He sees that person. Then release a prayer of blessing over them. We are also aware that one of the prevalent mindsets that can be established under apparent disempowering leadership is the victim mindset. This mindset believes we are the victims of another’s leadership, a victim of their choices, and that our future and destiny is determined by them. We can break free of victim thinking by renewing our minds with the truth. One way to do this is to make Biblically-based faith declarations.

We are so thankful when healing takes place through forgiveness. And we also rejoice that God not only heals, but also He powerfully turns all things for good in our lives. We are believing that for you on your journey to greater wholeness and increased influence. 


ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND

Steve and Wendy 2016.jpg

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 Common Lies Leaders Face

5 Common Lies Leaders Face

(and Declarations to Take Their Place)

by Steve Backlund

Enjoy this brief and powerful blog post written by Steve Backlund for church leaders on January 12th, 2015. 

1. I am the only leader in the world who feels dishonored by those they lead. ha ha!

This is a classic, "I'm the only one!" lie. Whatever you are facing, you can be sure you are not alone. In place of this lie, declare, "I live a life of great honor which causes the people of our church to honor everyone including me."

2.  Our church must not be a safe place if there is conflict. ha ha!

Here is a great declaration for a pastor facing a conflict with people in the church, "I consistently turn conflict into Kingdom growth for others and myself."

3.  The only way I can be respected is if my people think I do not have any weaknesses – Let's give an extra laugh at that! Ha ha!

Leaders say "My humility and transparency is a powerful aspect of my ministry. I have wisdom for what to share and what not to share."

4.  As long as a person is anointed in a church service, it does not matter what choices or attitudes they have outside of the ministry setting. Ha ha!

Here is a powerful belief: "I process information given to me about others in a healthy way. I have and give away keys for success in everyday life."

5.  If someone isn’t happy with my preaching, I must be doing something wrong. Ha ha!

Even though we always want to remain teachable and grow in our gifts, the only people who aren't criticized are those who are doing and saying nothing. Great leaders say: "I am confident in what God has called me to do and say.


Other Leadership Resources from Steve Backlund


ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND

Steve 2016 2.jpg

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.

Praying in Faith

Wendy wrote the following blog post on April 2015. In addition to the blog, we have also shared a testimony from Jessi about the power of renewing your mind. 

Praying in Faith

by Wendy Backlund

"Prayer...avails much" (James 5:16).

As we battle spiritual forces, it is important to distinguish between the burden of the Lord and the weight of unbelief. We must take inventory of our emotions as we pray. Is there a spirit of fear, anxiety, or hopelessness present? Do we feel under the circumstance that we are praying about? Are we consistently begging for God's help? If so, the heaviness we are feeling is probably not about the circumstance we are facing, but from our own beliefs about God and life. 

These emotions are not going to go away just by praying longer and harder or fasting. We also cannot pretend these emotions are not there. We need to confront them and rebuke spirits of unbelief, fear, and hopelessness. We can start this by repenting of wrong core beliefs that hinder confidence in the power of our prayers. Then we must turn our eyes to God's faithfulness and worship Jesus until we get a revelation of His goodness and love for us. The battle is first in us and then in our circumstances. 

Declare: Fear and doubt are my main enemies. I am not a victim to these emotions. I replace the lies fueling them with the promises of God. I trust in the goodness of God.

Here is a testimony written by Jessi on February 23rd, 2015:

Momentous Mind Renewal

"I grew up in an abusive home where all I knew was fear. I grew up hating myself and having no hope for my future, even to the point of harming myself. I was an alcoholic, drug abuser and diagnosed with bipolar, schizophrenia, severe depression, and chronic pain. I was in and out of psych wards with no life left in me. I had completely given up until God got a hold of me. I started reading Steve’s book ‘Lets Just Laugh at That’ and began the process of renewing my mind. I started fasting negativity and making powerful and truth-filled declarations over my life. I started to laugh more and experience a new freedom like never before. I am now completely set free from all my past struggles and continue to see myself the way God see’s me. I am so thankful for Steve and Wendy and the message they carry, It is such a breath of fresh air." – Jessi


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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:

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.

For more resources from Wendy, click the links below:

 

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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.

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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.