How many of you are fans of superhero movies? Marvel movies? DC?
I’ve always been more of a sci-fi guy, or Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of the Rings stuff myself.
But the one superhero franchise I’ve liked more than others is The X-Men.
Where the mutants have special powers.
And there always seems to be one character who can read minds.
And listen, this is NOT a friend that you want in your life. ☺
Think about this…what if you had a friend, or a family member, that could read your mind anytime they wanted to?
What would they find? What would they hear?
For many of us, our minds are in worse shape than they have been in a long time.
…Our mental health, what we think about, has been disrupted.
Which is the name of the teaching series we’re in.
We’re talking about how a number of key things in our lives that have been disrupted by the virus…and are having a negative effect on us spiritually.
And so today, I want to talk about how our MINDS have been disrupted, and how we can get them back focused on Christ.
THE BATTLE GROUND OF THE MIND
This is SO critical.
What you spend your day thinking about…really affects you.
Some have said it this way: Where the mind goes, the person follows.
So I want you to spend some time today thinking about…what you’re thinking about.
What has your thought-life been like these past few months?
Have your thoughts about the world, or your own life, or your future been positive or negative?
Do you think about God? Or has He been absent from your thoughts?
Another way to get at this is to ask, When you get together with close friends or family and share your thoughts, what are they about?
As our lives have been disrupted, I fear that too many of us (myself included) have let anxiety, fear, anger, hatred, and worry have free reign in our minds.
Thankfully, the Bible has much to say about getting your mind back on track.
(Outdoor services – Weekly Verses)
We’re going to cover a number of different verses, so get out the app
In a few weeks, we’ll have the screen again, which I’m really excited about! ☺
Take a look at this teaching from Jesus.
(Matthew 12:35) – NIV
A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.
And how do things get stored up in us? Through our minds!
See, your mind is like a factory.
You’re putting Godly thoughts in your mind, but you also sometimes let evil (non-Godly thoughts) in your mind.
And the result of those thoughts bouncing around in your “Mind Factory” are your actions…the way you live your life.
Jesus speaks on this “inside-out” principle OFTEN in the New Testament
This is why controlling your mind is so important.
And this is why I think the disruption of our minds over the last 6 months is such a serious issue.
We’ve been knocked off kilter, and it’s resulted in our minds focusing on other things.
And this is serious because your mind…is a battle ground for your life.
I’m not overstating that.
Think about this:
When the devil undertook a plan to draw Eve away from God, he didn’t hit her with a stick, but with an idea.
And so you must be prepared to battle
And honestly, even though Bible speaks often about the mind, most Christians aren’t even in the fight.
They almost never think about what they think about.
Their minds are just running wild and unrestrained.
They’re going, “Oh man, what if this pandemic gets worse in the Fall…what if I lose my job…what if when my kids go back to school…what if they…and ugh, I wish this was all over, and I can’t stand…and I….”
And these ideas are just bouncing around in your mind, and meanwhile they’ve got your soul in a choke-hold…and you’re not even fighting back.
It’s time to fight back.
And thankfully, God tells us how to do that.
(2 Corinthians 10:3-5) – NIV
3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
i. I love the imagery: We are to “take our thoughts captive”
To Grab ‘em! Stop letting them roam around your mind and control your thinking!
Take them captive, box ‘em up, and hand them over to Jesus!
If we’re going to grow in Christ, we need to do a much better job of policing our own minds.
It’s shocking what we let exist up there isn’t it?
So how do you battle? What does it look like to actually pull off this Scripture passage?
I’m going to give you 3 steps on how to do this.
If you feel like your mind has been disrupted by everything going on, and you’re losing the battle, I want you to write these down somewhere…even if it’s just in your phone.
Step #1: Take your thought captive
You grab it. You say, “I’m going to stop that thought. It’s not true. It’s not helpful. It’s just increasing fear or bitterness in my life.
Say, “I’m not gonna keep dwelling on it”
To take it captive is to lock it up, put it out of your mind.
BUT…you’re going to find that really difficult to do…especially if these thoughts have just had free reign in your mind the past few months.
So you’re going to need help. Cue Step #2:
Step #2: Surrender it to God in prayer
Say, “God, take these thoughts from me. Help me change my attitude and focus on you. I NEED your help with this. I can’t fix my mind on this. Change my heart. Change my mind!
Step #3: Refocus your mind on God’s Truth
This is important.
If you’re going to stop thinking about something, you need to think about something else.
It doesn’t work if you ONLY try and stop thinking about it.
Like, what if I told you, “STOP thinking about purple unicorns”
What did you just think about?
That’s why just saying to yourself, “Stop stressing out…stop worrying” will never work.
You have to refocus your mind from lies to truth.
This process is described elsewhere in Scripture as well:
(Ephesians 4:22-24) – NIV
22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
That’s essentially the same process.
So let’s talk through the 3 steps with a real-life example
About 75% of you have school-aged kids…and we have an ENORMOUS amount of teachers that attend our church as well.
So as an example, let’s say your mind keeps going to the upcoming school year…
And your mind is playing feelings of fear, frustration, and worry on repeat…
And now, let’s say tonight, you, for the first time in months, you actually NOTICE yourself thinking about these things.
Because…you’re thinking about what you’re thinking about…policing your mind.
And you realize, “oh man, this isn’t even good for me…it’s raising my blood pressure…I can’t even do anything about what’s going to happen anyway…it’s taking me away from Christ…it’s just not good”
So walk through the steps:
So Step #1: you take your thought captive
You notice it and stop worrying about school.
But that’s hard, so immediately you gotta go to step #2:
Step #2: You surrender it to God in prayer
“God, I’m doing it again…I’m worrying about all these things I can’t control”
“God, take these thoughts from me. I surrender them to you”
And Step #3: Refocus your mind on God’s truth
So, something like: “God, your Word says that you are in control of all things. I trust you. I will let go and trust you”
Now, you might go through these steps, and then 60 seconds later, have to go through them again.
You might have to do it 20 times a day.
For some, the battle might be so difficult, that it would be helpful to see a Christian counselor to help you better process some of your chronic thoughts and mental health.
If you think you might need that, reach out to your House Group leader or to a staff member…we can get you help get hooked up w/ somebody
And for everyone, it’s okay to go through these 3 steps 20 times a day.
I don’t think most Christians realize that the battle for holiness almost exclusively takes place in your mind.
Your actions are just results of what you’ve already decided in your mind.
And you might even be aware of this process…but don’t write me off just because you know about it.
Knowledge and mastery aren’t the same thing.
And please, don’t be afraid to be honest with God…
Don’t be afraid to say, “God, here’s what I’m thinking about…I know it’s not good, but here it is…I need your help”
Remember, God is no ordinary friend.
For most of us, if our close friends could hear our thoughts for even one day, I wonder if they would even be our friend anymore?
But here’s a great truth for you: Jesus already lives in your mind…every day…
Psalm 139:2 says God “knows our thoughts”
And YET, God loves you so much that He came to earth to die in your place.
He is FOR you, not against you.
Work with Him on this.
THE IMPORTANCE OF KNOWING GOD’S TRUTH
You might have noticed though that in order to do step #3 (Refocusing your mind on God’s truth), you’re going to need to know God’s truth.
And the more you know of it, the easier it is to do!
This takes us back to last week when we talked about the importance of daily spiritual habits…like reading the Bible.
Learn God’s word. It’s paramount to the battle your mind faces every day.
I would even challenge you to start memorizing more Scripture.
So you can pull it out when you need to!
Could you memorize a verse this month?
If you did one a month that would be twelve verses a year…that’s great!
Better than zero!
And the more of God’s Word you know, the more swords you have in your arsenal
In Ephesians 6, when Paul tells us to put on the “Armor of God,” he calls the Bible the Sword of the Spirit.
IT’s how we fight the battle for our minds.
Psalm 119 says it this way
(Psalm 119:11) – NIV
I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.
THE BLESSING OF IT
And friends, I want you to know that there is such a blessing in working this process.
Since this disruption occurred, WAY too many of us are over-stressed, anxious, or angry.
It’s time to give your mind back to God again.
And the Bible gives you great promises if you do this.
And God’s promises always come true.
One of my favorite verses is Isaiah 26:3
(Isaiah 26:3) – NIV
You will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in you.
If you keep your mind steadfast, focused on God, He will keep you in peace.
We need God’s peace don’t we??
That’s the “Mind Factory” at work again.
You’ll be amazed at what the outputs are in your life when your mind is focused on God.
So refocus your mind on God this week
And listen, once you start to get a few victories in this, and when you experience the “Fruit of the obedience of your mind,” you’ll be even to trust even more.
Because you’ll see it working!
So start thinking about what you’re thinking about…and let God’s truth back into your mind.
You’re going to do great.
Hey, before I step down, would you give me just 3 minutes to talk about something pressing in our church right now?
You will? Great. ☺
As you all know, in just 21 days, we’re moving our services back inside.
However, there’s a problem.
We don’t have enough volunteers.
And it’s because too many of our people that used to serve have informed us that they won’t be serving this Fall.
At this point, we’re at the risk of cancelling our services
If you’re vulnerable, or you have virus concerns, and you’ll be watching from home…just tune me out for a second.
If you’re new around here, and you’ve never served before, just tune me out for a second.
But I’m talking to the many of you who have served with us for years, and you’re planning on coming in 3 weeks, but you informed your leader you won’t be serving.
If you’re a long-time attender at this church, and you’re coming inside with us, then serve with us.
What’s happening right now…is not who we are.
For a decade now, we’ve called ourselves the anti-consumerism church.
We say this all the time: We’re not a cruise ship, we’re a row boat… you know that.
We all pick up an oar together…even when the waves are big.
That’s what the BODY of Christ does.
Each and every single one of us is a part of the body…has a job to do…a role to play…a place to serve.
We serve each other and our guests that are coming to hear.
For years now, 80% of our church has served. 80%!!
But if we now flip that around, and now the vast majority of us just come and listen…for our own sakes, this church will sink under the weight of our own consumerism.
This is what disciples of Jesus do…they serve…even when it’s hard.
Let me ask you a question: For the 40-50 million Christians in China who attend the underground church, do you think they stopped serving as things have gotten ever worse there the past few years?
Do you think they said, “You know, it’s a little tougher now, let’s just go and hear the message?”
No, that’s not what a disciple does.
That’s not what a part of the body does.
And so before your head hits the pillow tonight, maybe before you even leave here today, I want you to talk to your ministry leader and tell them, “Hey I blocked out my dates, but you can schedule me” you’re coming back.
If you’re nervous about your particular role, then serve somewhere else.
Join the cleaning team (we need a ton of help there still)
Join the A/V Team, the greeting team
You can find that info on the connect tab of our app.
But please, if Renovation Church is your home and has been for a while, don’t just come and consume.
We’re not a cruise ship, and we never will be.
We’re a church on a mission to change the world.
There are thousands of lost people in our midst.
They are crying out to God, now more than ever, in this pandemic, “God are you there, are you real?”
They’re coming to churches, looking for answers.
May they not come to ours and find the doors closed because we weren’t there to serve them.
Pick up an oar.
Let me pray.
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
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