How to Challenge the Process?

I often get asked by frustrated parishioners, “I would like our church to be more _______. How do I get my pastor to change?”

That’s a great question. How do we challenge the process?

Here are a few suggestions:

Are You Serving as Your Own Saviour?

In his play Amadeus, Peter Shaffer tells the story of Antonio Saleri, a young musical prodigy who prayed this prayer to God:

“Lord make me a great composer! Let me celebrate your glory through music – and be celebrated myself! Make me famous through the world, dear God! Make me immortal! After I die let people speak my name forever with love for what I wrote! In return I vow I will give you my chastity, my industry, my deepest humility, every hour of my life. And I will help my fellow man all I can. Amen and amen!”

In his younger years he strictly kept his vow to God. He kept his hands off women, he worked diligently at his music teaching many musicians for free, and he tirelessly helped the poor. His career began to blossom and he was thrilled that God was keeping His end of the bargain. All was going well for him until Mozart appeared with musical gifts far above Salieri’s. His genius had obviously been bestowed on him by God. Amadeus, Mozart’s middle name, means “beloved by God,” and yet he is vulgar and self-indulgent. The talent God lavished so prodigally on Mozart begins a crisis of faith in the heart of Salieri. And he pens these words:


There are two kinds of thinking: conscience thinking and sub-conscience thinking. The Bible refers to your sub-conscience thinking as your “heart”. King Solomon said in Proverbs 23:7, “as a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” It’s another way of saying that your heart (sub-conscience thinking) will determine who you are and who you become.


In last week’s blog entitled, “What Are Your Set Points?” I made the statement that your heart thinking will determine the path your life will take and that it will create the boundaries for your future. Solomon gave plain instructions to “guard our hearts above all else” in Proverbs 4:23 or in other words, it is of most importance to be aware of your sub-conscience thinking.  That is easier said than done. After all, sub-conscience thinking is beneath our conscience thinking, that why it’s called sub-conscience. Most of us were not even aware of another level of thinking or that our ‘heart’ thinks, never mind now being told that one of the most important things we should do is to be aware of what it is thinking. So, how can we know what our heart is thinking? And how can we ensure that it is creating a good and prosperous future for us?

It’s really not as complicated as one might think. Plato said, “Thinking is the talk of the soul with itself.” That is a profound statement. And, as most profound thoughts are, it is remarkably simple. Thinking = self-talk. “As a man talks to himself in his heart, so is he.” So, how is your self-talk? What is your self-talk focused on?

Healthy people are very aware of their self-talk. Until you are aware of your self-talk, it will control your life. What you focus on, you give power to. If you focus on the problems, you empower the problems. If you choose to focus on the solutions, you will empower the solutions. King Saul and the rest of his Israelite army focused on the enormity of Goliath. David, on the other hand, chose to focus on the power of his God. The one with positive self-talk was able to seize an opportunity that set him up for life.

Charles T. Brown said, “Feelings are simply what we say to ourselves about our experiences.” We all have feelings but we all don’t need to be led by them. Your focus determines your feelings. To lead our feelings, we simply need change our focus.

The Apostle Paul said in Romans 12:2, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Plainly put, if you really want to discover what God’s full will is for your life and want to see a real change, then you must renew your self-talk. That starts by being aware of what it is. Jesus was. He made numerous “I am” statements. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” He said, “I am the resurrection and the life.” He also said, “I am the bread of life.” What are your “I am” statements?

If I were to be honest, a majority of my “I am” statements are negative. I am tired. I am too busy. I am not able. I am too young, etc. Our self-talk is rarely accurate, but everybody believes their self-talk. The good new is that it is a learned language and therefore it can be unlearned.

I believe the most important thing you can do beyond giving your life to Jesus is to change your self-talk. Begin by becoming aware of your current self-talk and then change you declarations.

I would highly recommend using Joel Osteen’s latest book, I Declare, as a resource to help you change your self-talk.

What Are Your Set Points?

A thermostat is designed to establish a temperature set point. If you desire the room to be at a comfortable 20°C (68°F), and the room heats up to 26°C the thermostat will kick in the air conditioning and regulate the room temperature to 20°C again. If the room temperature drops below the desired temperature then the thermostat would trigger the furnace to reheat the room back to the desired set point. But you already knew that.


What you might not know is that King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, said that your heart is a type of thermostat over your life. He said in Proverbs 23:7 says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” He’s not referring to your physical organ, but instead is using the heart as a metaphor for your sub-conscience thinking. He is boldly stating that your heart determines your life’s set-points.

Maybe this is why Solomon wrote in Proverbs 4:23, Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” When the wisest man who ever lived says “Above all else,” I pay attention. Plainly put, this verse is Solomon telling us that the most important thing we could do in life is to watch over our “heart” thinking. Why? Because your heart will determine everything you do in the future, good or bad.

In the original Hebrew language Solomon used the words totz’ot chaiyim which means the “issues” of life. The word totz’ot is mainly used to refer to the borders of territories or the boundaries of a city. This verse is literally saying that the heart of a person will build boundaries, or set-points in your life.

The state of your life right now was birthed from your heart thinking. The amount of money you make per year will be close to what your heart thinks you deserve or expect to earn. The state of your marriage or relationships can all be determined by your sub-conscience “heart” thoughts. The amount of success or failures you have, all flow from your heart. What your heart expects, your life gets. Albert Einstein once said, “Your imaginations are a preview of your life’s coming attractions.” In other words, how you think, how you dream, is very important.

Have you ever been turned down from something you really wanted and said to someone, “I knew I wouldn’t get it anyway.” Or, “I knew it was too good to be true?” Of course you have. We all have. And you know what? We were right. Because no matter how badly we want something in our conscience mind, if our heart thinks another way, our heart is right every time.

The question then is, how do we “guard our heart?” How do we change our heart thinking? I believe there is a way. The Bible never tells us to do something that is impossible to do. It always gives us the answer. I want to spend the next number of weeks blogging on this topic, hoping to uncover answers for you and for me, so that we can direct our futures and change our heart thinking.

Solomon said this in Proverbs 20:5, “The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.” Plainly put, you can’t see what’s beneath the surface in your heart unless you dive in and search it out. So, I encourage you to go digging by asking yourself, “What are my set points? What do I imagine my future will look like? What does my heart really think?”