EP 202 – MINDFULNESS, NEGATIVITY AND REPLANTING
Greetings Bootcampers, we hope you are staying cool, hydrated and ready for a next episode. This time the guys take up the subject of dispensing with negative thoughts. We get it, there are a lot of things that can go wrong as you are leading church renewal. And one of the most difficult aspects of leadership is keeping a positive outlook.
Let’s ground this in scripture: 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 6 being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete. 1 Corinthians 10:3-6
Mindfulness is a research-based practice that involves both dedicated meditation time and present-moment awareness in everyday life. It’s been shown to be helpful for reducing stress, calming anxiety, and improving overall mental and physical wellness.
However, most modern mindfulness research comes from a secular point of view. So our faith in Christ can both enrich and deepen our use of mindfulness. Also, learning to live mindfully will give us more peace, joy, and gratitude in our walk with God.
Here are some suggestions from the guys for keeping your mind centered on God and healthy:
12 I appeal to you therefore, brothers,[a] by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.[b] 2 Do not be conformed to this world,[c] but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.[d]
- Regularly present yourself before the Lord – living sacrifice (devotional time, meditation time)
- Perform a spiritual audit – “do not be conformed to this world.”
- What are my concerns, worries, anxieties?
- What is driving me right now?
- What is underneath my frustration?
- Apply the scripture to the things that God reveals.
- Test your attitudes and actions by the truth of God’s word
Recommended Resource: The Other Half of Church by Jim Wilder
Fun Link: Poor Pitiful Me by Linda Rondstadt
Well Bootcampers, we love our sponsor, One Eighty Digital. We recommend you connect with them to get the inside scoop about revamping your website, digital branding and online presence. Tell them you are a Bootcamper.
JimBo Stewart: [00:00:00] Here we are, back at the bootcamp. Back at it again, Bob. I hope you’re ready for the next episode. 2 0 2. pushing on through, keeping it going, keeping the train running, and delivering amazing content, uh, from the longest running Replant podcast in the world.
Bob Bickford: Do you think we are the longest running We might be. I
JimBo Stewart: I mean, for replanting, I, I think the replant, I mean, it depends on whether you count the new iteration or revitalize and replant as a replanted new podcast or as a continuation of what it used to be. ’cause they have outlasted us If you continue, if you counted as one whole thing. But with the reiteration of revitalize and replant, if, if it’s a new thing, then we are the longest lasting on replanting, not on revitalization, but on replanting.
Bob Bickford: Yeah, that’s good. I, I think we might have to invoke the, Southern Baptist, unofficial historian Luke Holmes to, make a call on that. Luke was a great guest a couple episodes [00:01:00]back,
and, uh, may maybe he can, maybe he can, uh, be the deciding voice on whether we’re the longest or whether the reboot of revitalizing or replant with Mark Clifton.
And Mark Hallick and Dan Hurst and various assorted guests is actually a new thing. It seems like a new thing
JimBo Stewart: Yeah. It feels like a.
Bob Bickford: so I, I’m happy to take that title and wrestle it from anybody who claims it.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, I mean, let’s be honest, there aren’t very many podcasts about replanting. so it’s not a, it’s not a big pond. We’re swimming in here, but.
Bob Bickford: It’s more like a puddle, but Jimbo, it’s enough to be a refreshing dip of cool water in the replant world.
JimBo Stewart: Absolutely. Absolutely. I think so. You know, the, the, the dozen people that listen to this podcast, contact us regularly and let us know how much they appreciate [00:02:00] it.
Bob Bickford: Yeah. And you know what, Jimbo, I, I think it’s, I don’t know that we’ve ever gotten criticism. I can’t, I mean, surely we have, but I, I mean, maybe we only have fans. So
JimBo Stewart: Oh yeah. I mean, surely only, only supportive fans.
Bob Bickford: Yeah. Now that I say that, we’ll probably have somebody that gets ticked off and writes us a letter.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, something like that. Well, last week, we talked about brain fog and fatigue, and my daughter’s homemade stress ball blew up all over me and got flour all over me. and so we come back this week and kind of continue the theme. I. Of, the brain, the mind, how to think about things, and really talk about the, the disconnect, between what professing Christians know about the Bible’s content and what they do about the Bible’s content, and how do we, how do we get ourselves sometimes locked in a way of thinking and, [00:03:00] and our perpetuity of negativity, and how do we unlock that and, and get back on what we’re supposed to be focused on.
Bob Bickford: Yeah. this reminds me of, a, a story that is part of the bickford lore. Like Christmas is Ruined. and I don’t know if I’ve ever told it on this, podcast. Maybe I have, maybe I haven’t, but it, it’s.
JimBo Stewart: Even if you have, I’m just gonna pretend like it’s brand new.
Bob Bickford: All right, great. So, uh, my brother-in-law was getting married and I was serving at a church in Texas and I had a conference to go to. And so Barb and the kids were gonna have to fly from Corpus Christi to Kansas City with a stop over in Dallas. So the kids are probably six and four at the time. The big kids.
So, Barb was a little nervous about flying by herself with other kids. The kids were a little bit nervous. I think they could feel it from mom. [00:04:00] so Barb gets ’em from Corpus to Dallas, and the D f W airport is not necessarily an easy airport to navigate. it’s not my favorite airport. It’s probably one of my least favorite airports, by the way.
So anyway, back in the day, she rolled in there and she thought, well, We we’re here plenty of time. They found their gate. Let’s go to McDonald’s. Let’s get the kids some happy meals. Let’s, you know, feed ’em before the flight and then we’ll get on our flight. Well, the gate changed and Jimbo, when you have a gate changed at D F W, you’re usually pretty far away.
So she had to run with the kids, dragging them through the terminal, and she had to go all the way to, to, uh, almost the opposite end and. As they were about to embark on their foot race, my son dropped his bag and his happy meal, and he said this and exclaimed it very loudly. I knew this would happen. I knew we shouldn’t have come,[00:05:00] and then he just melted down.
And so we often will say, back in the day, we used to call him Mr. Doomsday because he would just, man, he would. He would doomsday on stuff and Jimbo, that’s us. Sometimes we get in our minds this is how it’s gonna be. I knew this would happen. I knew I shouldn’t have come, I knew I shouldn’t have done this.
You know, so maybe a re planter’s out there going, he probably says this, I didn’t know this would happen, but, but I’m done.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, look, it’s, it, they’re, I’m, I’m a pretty naturally optimistic guy, even at times, overly optimistic. but you get into enough of a funk. With circumstances just continuously not going the way you thought they were gonna go. And it can become really easy to kinda get trapped in that and just assume, the worst about everything.
and then, you know, and that’s a hard place to, that’s [00:06:00] like. When I was in that season for a little while, man, it was hard to like show up on Sunday. it was hard on, on, you know, Wednesdays, on outreach days, on any day where I knew I had to interact with our people. I. it, was just really hard to be motivated because I, I couldn’t get myself in a mindset that things were gonna be not horrible, like, and mind every interaction.
I thought, this is gonna be horrible. This is gonna be a horrible sermon, horrible day. I’m gonna get another complaints and critiques and, I mean, and nothing, God’s not even moving here and I don’t even know why we’re here. And, you know it as, what is it? Clifton says, you know, where you’ve wanted to pull the fire alarm so that you didn’t have to
Bob Bickford: I know. Oh my gosh. Yeah. And so that has to deal with your state of mind,
right. A lot of revitalizer and renewal pastors and re planters have been taking it on the chin for so long, maybe weeks, months, maybe even years, that [00:07:00] they’re just in a mindset of, I don’t know that I can take another shot. I don’t know if I want to even talk to people or be around people.
I just kind want to do my sermon. And get outta here, right? So you get locked in that mindset. So I think we’re gonna talk about this subject called mindfulness. Now, mindfulness is not a term that you’re gonna find in the New Testament or the Old Testament. Uh, it’s actually sort of a secular term. but the idea behind it is that you pay attention to the thoughts that are in your mind.
You pay attention to what you are thinking. And oftentimes what you will, will discover is that, Your thinking could be informed by emotion.
JimBo Stewart: Mm-hmm.
Bob Bickford: Negative emotion on the opposite side could be over optimism or your thinking could be based on lies that you believe or untruths that run counter to scripture. Or it could be just Jimbo that you, your thinking has, uh, drifted into a place that is dark and discouraging because it’s just the [00:08:00] culmination of taking a lot of hits and being really fatigued.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, I mean, I think, you know, while you might not see the, the word, mindfulness, I think I think about second Corinthians chapter 10, where it tells us to take
take every thought captive. and, you know, one of the things that I’ve learned in studying the way the brain works is, there are a lot of parts of the brain.
But largely there’s a limbic part of the brain that is emotion and trauma and some other things. And then there’s the frontal lobe, which is logic and, decision making and, strategy and. They don’t typically work very well at the same time together, and congruent. So you’re typically primarily operating out of one part and not the other.
and when we can get so attached into the limbic brain and emotions and the like, man, it can just be so overwhelming and we’re not even really [00:09:00] thinking logically. And, and when you think about that, you know, your frontal lobe isn’t fully developed till you’re like 20, 25 years old, right? And so, it’s like reverting back to being 15 years old and now trying to make, you know, good, wise, rational, logical decisions, which most 15 year olds are not, very good at.
And so we, we have to really make sure we’re in the right mindset and literally right part of our brain and take our thoughts captive and stop and evaluate where is this thought process coming from?
Bob Bickford: Yeah. Yeah. I just, I was, as you were saying, all that, I was thinking about what was 15 year old Jimbo like,
and yeah, that would’ve been, that’s pre-Jesus Jimbo, right. I
JimBo Stewart: Yes.
Bob Bickford: That would’ve been that, that’s a Jimbo I would like to have, uh, some videotape on and maybe see
JimBo Stewart: that cell phones and social media were not a a thing.
Bob Bickford: Yeah. So [00:10:00] if, if you get in that mindset, if you are trapped in that mindset and you need to, know, there’s a lot about brain science that’s been super helpful for us in terms of how do you. Chart a new, what’s called a neural pathway. And I think we might have done some, a podcast on that before.
If I’m, if I don’t recall. I know we’ve talked about it and I’ve done a presentation about it. you know, the church, uh, what the other half of church I think talks about that some, which is a good resource. But, when we think about pastors, and we think about getting a negative mindset, one of the things I just wanna draw us back to, you talked about the Corinthians passage.
I wanna bring us to Romans. And Paul writes, he says, I appeal to you, therefore brothers, by the mercies of God to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. And then here we go, and he talks about the mind. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, so that by testing you may discern what the will of God is, what is good and acceptable and perfect.[00:11:00]
So Paul points out some things here for us as we think about this idea of mindfulness, and we don’t really specifically want to talk about Christian mindfulness and letting God have our minds and presenting our minds before him. So I think the, one of the first things that I would say is if you’re in a brain fog, if you’re stuck in a rutt and you’re thinking if you’re in a negative place, a good question to ask is, have you been regularly presenting yourself before the Lord as an, as a, a worshiper?
As a living sacrifice to say, Lord, here I am in my weakness, and here I am in my sin and Lord, you have saved me in Christ and I’m asking you to transform me. And I’m here saying that I want to be a useful servant in your hands for your purposes. And right now my mind is not in a position to do that
right. And so Paul’s helping us see that part of our followership is regularly being a sacrifice or, or placing a, it’s like placing, [00:12:00] placing a sacrifice on an altar, an it doesn’t get up, it doesn’t leave. It stays there it is. It’s before the Lord. It’s, it’s to the Lord to use as, to use up for his glory and for his honor.
And so in many ways we might be able to, to, we might find ourselves in a position where we might be saying, Lord, I’m gonna have to lay myself on the altar and specifically my thinking, and I’m gonna have to, to offer my heart and my mind as a sacrifice and ask that you receive it
JimBo Stewart: Yeah.
Bob Bickford: right.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah. I think, just being able to recognize that your thinking is not headed in the right direction, taking that to the Lord and surrendering that, it’s just a phenomenal first step. I think another thing is, is getting outside perspective. so one you can do that through. I mean, have talk to somebody and just be like, Hey man, I just need to vent.
And, can you, can you gimme some perspective here on, I. I’m missing what? I’m not like, here’s, here’s how I’m [00:13:00] interpreting what’s going on right now. And, and somebody that is gonna help you normalize the emotions, but also analyze what’s actually going on and help you see some real perspective. another thing that’s good perspective, just see that like things probably aren’t as bad as you think they are.
and, and not in the trite, like, well, other people have it worse, but like, Truly get outside of yourself a little bit? I think so. My wife deals with anxiety and depression and she calls it, uh, a disease of self focusness or something like that.
And we get so self, we get turned in so much on ourselves, that we, we really can’t see what’s going on with other people.
And so we had a, Sunday school teacher early in our marriage that was a medical doctor, and my wife went to him and was talking about some depression she was experiencing at the time. And he literally wrote on a prescription pad, go sit in an I C u, waiting room and pray for the
Bob Bickford: Wow.
JimBo Stewart: and the idea being [00:14:00] like, I.
Man, that’s, you wanna talk about real hardship and like, go sit in an I C U waiting room and watch his families. Don’t, you know, I’ve been in that waiting room for loved ones and that’s, that’s the hardest, deepest, heaviest moments of your life. and, and just gives you perspective. Just if you could just pull yourself outta yourself for a little bit, and, and get some outside perspective of what’s actually going on.
It can be helpful as you surrender that to the Lord.
Bob Bickford: Man, I love that advice. And it, it reminds me there’s a really old song and I, your parents probably rocked out to this song and, you may have heard it, but there was a, a song that I, I can’t even remember who, who, who it’s by, we’ll have to Spotify it, but Poor Pitiful Me. You remember that? Poor, poor Pitiful Me.
There’s this song that just talks about, when we do become so absorbed in our own situation, we take pity, we start taking pity on our ourselves for our situ, for our situation. And, and that’s a hard, hard place to.
There you go. Yeah. Linda Ronstadt. Yep. Yep. That was back in the, uh, late [00:15:00] seventies, early eighties.
I think. Probably something along along.
JimBo Stewart: 1977.
Bob Bickford: go, man. The bicentennial year almost, I guess a little after that.
So good times. so anyway, here’s another thing. I think that that will be helpful and, Paul writes, do not be conformed to this world. Be transformed, by the renewal of your mind. So he, he’s saying there are two categories here that we need to be aware of.
The, the world or the world is, category. That is the, some people used to use the old King James word, carnal, right? The fleshly world and then the spiritual world. And so there’s a. A pull on our mind to be conformed to the way that our flesh or the world thinks, right? So a renewal pastor can think sometimes I’m not successful because they look at the world, the world’s markers of success in terms of resources, size, notoriety.
Influence all [00:16:00] those sorts of things, right? There’s a whole number of things that we could begin to give our mind to and think that would be more characteristic of the world. They could be negative things, they could be, overinflated things, all of these sorts of things. And so one of the things I think is, is important is if we could just sit down and perform a spiritual audit about our thinking, right?
And ask ourselves, is this biblical thinking or is this carnal, fleshly, sinful world? Thinking. Right? And that’s what you talk about holding, taking your thoughts captive. And I would often do that, Jimbo, and have often done that. When I talk to myself, you ever, and here’s the reality, most of us talk to ourselves, right?
You’ve probably had an encounter and you walked away from it and you said, man, I, that was stupid of me to say this, this, and this. Right? Or man, if I had just redone that, like, I, I wish I could have that conversation back. Or, these people are out for me, or, you know, whatever it is. Like you, you have all these thoughts that are going and so I think you [00:17:00] just have to ask yourself, what am I telling myself?
And is it, faithful to the scripture? Is it honoring to God? And is it true or is it condemning? Is it, self. Gratifying or satisfying to think these thoughts and are these things that I could put before the Lord and have him be pleased with me? And so like, do my, doing a spiritual audit is taking, taking into account the things that I’m telling myself about me or about the situation or the circumstances that I find myself in.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, I think part of a spiritual audit is, know, I always like to go back to the fruit of the spirit.
And look at like where, you know, where am I in the fruit of the spirit? Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control. Like am I, am I slipping on those? Am I, am I still kind of holding fast on those or, uh, you know, if I’m slipping on ’em, like, where is that?
Why is that what’s going on? And I think probably, Part of that for a lot of pastors is gonna go back to what we [00:18:00] talked about last week, and that you have a frazzled schedule. You’re over committed. you’re overworked, you’re under rested. you are not resting in Christ, you are not abiding in Christ.
You are, frantically trying to get an insane amount of things done, because you have some sort of pressure that you feel like you have to live up to something that. That really the, maybe, maybe somebody is making you try to live up to something, but the Lord is not.
and so you’re not taking time to rest.
and I’m not just talking about taking a nap like rest in the Lord, like abide in Jesus, letting him be a refuge, a rest in the scriptures and and in worship, and and really let the Lord, be your strength in a time of trouble.
Bob Bickford: Yeah, it’s a good segue for me to talk about the third thing I think we, we can do when we’re, in this. Difficult space in terms of our thinking and our mind is really apply scripture to the things that God reveals. So we’ve done the spiritual audit, we’ve sat down, we’ve [00:19:00] talked about to ourselves, we’ve maybe even journaled.
Here’s what I’m thinking. Here’s what I’m dealing with. Here’s what I’m struggling with. We’ve named it and something specific has come up. I think we need to then, like the, the Lord does often is, is to go to the scriptures and let the Lord apply the, the truth of scripture to whatever it is that God reveals.
Whether it be pride or worry or bitterness or doubt, whatever those things are, whether it’s condemning ourselves, we just need to let the, the words speak to us to tell us truth, because that’s what transforms our thinking in our
mind. Right. Not just identifying it and going, oh yeah, I’m thinking about this.
Right. Well, we’ve gotta replace that, right? You gotta clean it out. You’ve gotta move the old out and move the truth of God’s word in so that you can live a vital, a vital and sustained life where the Lord is, is speaking and the Lord is equipping and the Lord is healing and the Lord is giving hope. and so this what renews our mind, not just looking and doing an audit, but bringing in the word of God to speak to the, [00:20:00] speak the truth, to the places that we need to hear it.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, I mean, I, think for me, and I’ve mentioned this on here before podcast, before praying to the Psalms, daily, you know, the five Psalms of the day, pray, you know, I. Reading through Proverbs, things like that, that just consistently take you to the hope of the Lord and the Lord is your refuge, and, focus you on him and his greatness and not on yourself.
and not throwing a, a pity party. we’ve also talked on here at times, like sometimes when we throw pity parties, it’s really good, kind of like the ICU I c u waiting room prescription, Read. people who went through like legit crazy suffering.
For, the Lord. you know, read Nick Ripkin’s books, insanity of God or Insanity of Obedience.
Read Dietrich Bonhoeffer, read Corey Tin. Boom. Read, read some people who have real, and, and read how in those times, they had to really turn and find their hope in the Lord. ’cause there wasn’t, there was no hope anywhere else. and, let the Lord use their witness and their [00:21:00] testimony to teach you how to take your thoughts captive.
Renew your mind. I. Focused on scripture, focused on his faithfulness, and find your hope in him again.
Bob Bickford: Love it. Jimbo. I, I think that, you know, we’ve wrapped up the. Some good, helpful suggestions. And I, I think maybe a good application point for our listeners, to do even right now as this podcast is closing, is just for them to maybe set a, a loan somewhere in silence and just ask the Lord to say, Hey, Jesus, would you reveal my thinking, to me?
And would you show me where it is unhelpful and unholy and not honoring to you and untrue? And would you lead me to the truth? I might understand you be healed, be whole and walk with you, in, faith experiencing fruitfulness, regardless of my circumstances.
JimBo Stewart: Absolutely. you know, I think Psalm 46 is a great psalm for a moment like this where it starts out, Psalm 46 starts out. With David talking about the Lord being the refuge. But then you get to verse 10 and [00:22:00] it’s, you know, we most of us know verse 10, be still and know that I am God. And that that phrase be still is best translated some version of stop fighting or see striving.
and, kind of, kind of let go, stop. And, and let the Lord, and just sit, just sit in the goodness of the Lord and, talk to him. Share with him what’s going on and, he really is there and he really is there for you, and he really is your refuge.