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we're about to start a new series called

fix your thoughts fix your thoughts many

times the problems that we think we have

with our lives are actually problems

with our thoughts and in the coming

weeks are going to talk about our

thoughts we're gonna talk about anxious

thoughts critical thoughts

self-destructive thoughts but today I

want to talk about overcoming negative

thoughts just in general overcoming

negative thoughts so I was on vacation

recently and me and my wife we went to

Yellowstone National Park and it was

beautiful I'd never been there before

and I'll be honest when we drove in the

park like a little boy I pray to heaven

I said God please help me to see a bear

I really want to see a bear I really

really want to see a bear like I've

never seen a bear in the wild so we're

driving them through the park and it's

beautiful everywhere you look

but because there was still snow on the

ground at some places certain parts of

the park were not open yet I remember at

one point we drove down this road it

turned out the place we wanted to go the

road was closed and in that moment I'll

be honest with you just being real I

started to think some negative thoughts

I thought I mean that's not fair the

roads closed I wanted to go that way now

I've got a backtrack I'll never get to

see that part of the park and I was

upset in that moment I had these

negative thoughts going through my head

have you ever been there where you

started to think negative thoughts like

this it turned out you know we turned

around we went back the way we came and

going back the way we came I saw not one

but two bears yeah and if you follow my

social media because you like me we we

saw this mama grizzly bear with like

three little baby bears it was the

cutest most awesome thing ever

and here I was complaining thinking that

you know my life was hard and unfair and

God was in the middle of answering my

prayers proverbs 4:23 says you've got to

carefully guard your thoughts because

they are the source of true life you are

the narrator of your life and you get to

decide if your life story is an epic

adventure or a tragic

story and you determine that based on

the kind of thoughts that you think your

thoughts will become your functional

reality psychologists describe some of

the common negative thinking patterns

that we experience I want to give you a

couple examples one negative thinking

pattern is called all-or-nothing

thinking it's like saying Mondays are

always terrible nobody cares about me

you always leave your clothes on the

floor right always and never are words

that generally aren't good for

relationships and they're usually not

good for your thoughts

another thought pattern is called


thinking that a one-time event is part

of a greater pattern like you know um

that one guy he let me down and so all

men are untrustworthy or you know one

Christian was mean to me so all

Christians are me that's over

generalizing like sometimes I send out

an email to our church and it'll go out

to like three thousand plus people and

usually whenever I send one of these

emails out I'll get like two or three

replies that are basically hate mail

like you could go take this email and

stick it where the Sun don't shine and

I'm like what what's going on like these

people like their meat it'd be so easy

for me to start over generalizing in

that moment like my whole church hates

me and nobody wants my stupid emails but

I would say if only three out of 3000

people hate you you're doing really good


another negative pattern is called

having a mental filter and this is where

you only see the negative parts of a

situation your brain filters out all the

positive things you know if you have

someone in your family who might be like

that it's Thanksgiving dinner but all

she can think about is the turkeys dry

he got a new car

but all he's thinking about is now his

registration is gonna cost more this is

this negative thinking there are some

Christians like that they come to church

with a mental filter all that you see is

the negative I don't like that music the

coffee's too strong there's no such

thing as coffee that's too strong in my

opinion it

did you see any of the good things or

are you only looking at the negative

things so did any of us they do us

struggle with negative thinking ever or

is it just me anybody it's not negative

to admit it you can admit it

some people sound like Eeyore you know

life is so hard nobody cares about me

I'm tired I'm broke I'm so busy the

world's a terrible place right like like

Eeyore and the thing with negative

thinking is that it leads to things like

anxiety and depression and anger and


now some people I'll just throw this

disclaimer and some people experience

depression because of you know chemical

imbalances and hormonal reasons and I

have no problem with people taking

medication there are some people I wish

would take medication but a lot of the

depression and anxiety that we wrestle

with is the slow build-up the

accumulation of negative thoughts in our

minds and we don't even notice it

building up until it's too late it's

like a cancer growing inside of us we

don't feel that cancer growing in the

early stages until something is suddenly

really wrong

most people who end up anxious and

depressed it comes on gradually and then

all of a sudden so we have to fix our

thoughts mate to fix our thoughts Jesus

wants to change your pattern of thinking

and give you a new pattern amen so I

romans 12:2 says do not conform to the

pattern of this world but be transformed

by the renewing of your minds then you

will learn to know God's will for you

which is good and pleasing and perfect

so it's about the pattern if you think

negative thoughts you'll become a

negative person but if you think like

God you'll become like Jesus Christ I

don't know what about you does anyone

here say I want to be a negative person

no nobody okay does anyone say I want to

be like Jesus Christ come on give God

praise if you want to be like Jesus

it's about our pattern of thinking we

have to fix our thoughts so we want to

get ourselves thinking like God so we

can be like Jesus man if you're taking

notes I'm gonna give you some things

that will help you to do that here's the

first thing you have to fix your focus

say fix your focus

okay so occasionally um my phone will

signal me that it's ready for a software

update and I'll download the software

update and you know I'll enjoy some of

the new features that come out when a

new operating system comes out for my

phone and and I've had these times where

I'm sitting on the couch and I'm playing

with my phone and Amy will look over at

me on my phone and she'll say like oh

how did you do that

my phone can't do that and she's not as

techie as me so so I was like honey you

got to update your software like she has

the same phone as me practically it's

powered up but it can't do the things

that that my phone can do because it

needs a software update and there are

some Christians that they love the same

God they have the same spirit inside of

them so they've got power they have the

same brain they have the same hardware

but they haven't experienced a system

update yet so their thoughts are not yet

operating the way that God intended if

that's you you need a system update

there's a system update available for

your thoughts amen

you need this system up day I'll show

you what it looks like it's like for

your brain but it looks like the update

on your phone on some of you right this

is what you need the Philippians 4:8

update it's known to fix an issue where

some people are depressed and only see

impending doom yeah it fixes an issue

with judgmental and critical thinking

yeah yeah it fixes self-destructive

thought patterns that cause pain this is

the update you need

I love the Parsis for more info see the


yes it's the Philippians 4:8 update if

you struggle with stinking thinking you

need this update Philippians 4:8 says

this and now dear brothers and sisters

one final thing fix your thoughts on

what is true and honorable and right and

pure and lovely and admirable think

about things that are excellent and

worthy of praise so to fix can mean to

focus on to hold steady to lock on to

you will likely become whatever you fix

your focus on it's like the difference

between a hummingbird and a vulture a

hummingbird goes out looking for sweet

nectar and so what is it fine sweet

things a vulture goes out looking for

decaying flesh so what is if I dead

things you will likely find whatever you

fix your focus on if you decide to look

for what's good in life you'll find the

good if you decide to always look for

what's bad about any given situation

you'll find the bad and some people

would say I never really thought about

my thoughts well you need to because I

would explain that nature abhors a

vacuum and if you don't decide in

advance to fill your brain with godly

positive thoughts your human nature will

be more than happy to revert to its

default setting which is looking for

what's negative whenever Christians talk

about positive thinking I'll admit

there's a part of me that just gets a

little bit nervous and I worry sometimes

as a pastor that it could sound like

we're promoting new ageism or mysticism

or the same kinds of things you hear

from Eastern religious ideas like karma

that if I put out positive vibes into

the universe all attract positive things

into my life

you'll hear Oprah talking about this

when she talks about the book the secret

and that's not the way it works you

don't attract positive

things into your life by putting

positive vibes into the universe you do

receive God's gift of grace by

surrendering your life to Jesus Christ


that's not the way it works so positive

thinking was not invented by New Age

pagans humanists Hindus or Buddhists

those are all false religions concocted

by Satan and the devil has never had an

original idea do you realize that all of

his most effective strategies to deceive

humans come through twisting God's good

ideas so here's an example pornography

is the devil

twisting God's gift of sex between a man

and a woman in marriage he didn't invent

sex God invented sex he just twisted the

idea positive thinking was originally

God's idea he teaches us how to think

the right way throughout all of

Scripture and we see that when we read

in Philippians 4:8 fix your thoughts on

what is true and honorable and right and

pure and lovely and admirable think

about things that are excellent and

worthy of praise for lack of better

words right that sounds very positive

now I love what it says notice that it

says on what is true on what is right

God does not want us just thinking about

any old thing that makes us feel good he

wants us to think about what is true

what is right and you know where we

learn such things through the Bible

through the Bible today there's a

problem in Christianity I think some of

us might be more influenced by humanism

and Eastern religion and popular culture

than we even realize especially if we

haven't read God's Word saw here

Christians sometimes saying seemingly

positive things that are not actually

biblically true I'll give you some

examples like I heard some Christians at

a funeral recently and one of them said

well you know heaven gains another angel

and that's positive but it's not

biblical right that's not where angels

come from is it right you can be

positive but also be positively wrong

Bible does say in John chapter 11 Jesus

said anyone who believes in me

never die so when a loved one dies I can

celebrate if their name was written in

the book of life that they'll be with

Jesus forever that there they are in a

better place that is not just positive

it's also right right I'll hear

Christians say things like this like

everything happens for a reason

okay that's positive but it's not true

some things happen because people have

free will and they occasionally choose

to do evil things so if you just think

positive thoughts that aren't true those

positive thoughts will only be as

helpful as a cloud of smoke you can't

even grasp it you can't hold on to it

Romans 8 does say that God works all

things together for good for those who

love him

that's positive and true that's right

it's hopeful and true not so much better

so you got to make sure that when you

think positive thoughts that they're

pure as Philippians 4:8 says they're not

corrupted they're honorable and lovely

admirable excellent thoughts and as you

study God's Word you'll find so many

excellent things to fix your focus on

for example God says in his word that

you are called and chosen by him that

Jesus Christ died and rose again for you

that you've been filled with the Holy

Spirit and empowered to live for Christ

that God is your provider

he's your defender he is your source

he's worthy of praise he we can fix our

thoughts on things like that and we can

give God praise now here's the thing

even though you decide to fix your focus

on what is true occasionally we all get

focused drift and we'll start having

moments where we slip back into our old

habits and we'll start thinking about

negative things so this is the second

thing the first thing was fix your focus

the second thing is this you got to fix

your focus

you're like you already said that I know

I already said that but I mean something

different this time I mean to fix your

focus in this sense you got to repair it

you've got to correct it you have to

restore it back you got to fix it back

to the where it's supposed to be you got

to readjust it I love how Philippians 4

9 the next verse the Apostle Paul wrote

keep putting into practice all you learn

and receive for me everything you heard

for me and saw me doing then the God of

peace will be with you you got to keep

putting it into practice practice

practice it makes perfect practice

fixing your thoughts on what is true and

then the God of peace will lead you into

the peace of God it's not a one-time

decision to fix your focus it's an

ongoing decision to fix your focus and

at times you're going to get off-track

we all do I do you will get off-track so

you've got to fix your focus and in

those moments when you start getting

negative again you can say wait wait

stop I need to fix my focus right now

I've got to train my brain to get back

where it's supposed to be on what is

admirable and excellent and worthy of

praise you do you have to train your

brain because when you're under stress

when you're emotional your thoughts will

lean towards the positive or the

negative based on how you've trained

your mind to think so you've got to

train yourself and I want to give you

now practically four steps my top four

steps to overcoming negative thoughts do

you get practical these are things you

can actually do it does take practice

and you can repeat these steps which

will train your brain to think the way

that God wants you to think

especially when you're tempted to get

negative here's the first thing I want

to talk about number 4 run a

self-diagnostic run a self-diagnostic

you're thinking negative thoughts well

it makes me think about how sometimes

your car starts making weird noises and

so you look at the

- board for a warning signal that

something is wrong with your engine well

when you start to think negative

thoughts with your brain you got to look

for the warning signals that there could

be something wrong with your engine run

a self-diagnostic I think this is

important so ask yourself questions like

this am I just tired right now like

sometimes when we get tired we start to

think all kinds of negative thoughts

last week I started getting really upset

about something I'll be honest and then

I took a nap and when I woke up I felt

so much better I was like why was I even

mad about that it doesn't matter right a

nap is so much cheaper than counselling

you might just need a nap or ask myself

this honestly am i hungry I might just

be hungry which makes me angry like

you've seen so much like little babies

crying their brains out mom pulls out

some puffy snacks and that little demon

child turns into a sweet cherub you

might just be hangry think about the

children of Israel wandering around in

the wilderness complaining about God we

have nothing to eat are you hungry you

might need a snack give those boys a

snack ask yourself this am i just

stressed out right now if I'm stressed

out it can cause me to start be negative

right so maybe I need to go for a walk

or or work out or do something if you're

married you can get with your spouse and

find some ways to relieve stress do a

self-diagnostic number 3 purge negative

influences this is your homework from

this Sunday is to consider the top 3

sources of negativity in your life

here are some common ones one is social

media research shows that the more time

we spend on social media actually the

more likely we are to be to be depressed

to become depressed and it's because of

things like comparison you know you'll

be feeling pretty good about your life

and then you start comparing your real

life to someone else's highlight reel so

you might have to close out social media


one is watching the news research shows

it's factually proving that the more

that you watch the news the more likely

you are to become angry and anxious and

sad you might have to just turn off the

news I know a lot of you have told me I

stopped watching the news altogether I

have no idea what's going on and I'm

happy some of you might have some

negative people in your life who are

just always negative and I think about

proverbs 22 verse 24 says don't befriend

angry people or you will learn to be

like them and endanger your soul bad

company corrupts good character and if

you hang out with Negative Nancy you

will be more likely to become negative

yourself so you might have to close the

app and turn off the news and turn down

some invitations to hang out with

negative people number 2 challenge

negative thoughts I'm counting down here

challenge negative thoughts you might

occasionally think some things that are

wacked and one thing I've learned is

just because I think it does not make it

true ask yourself and you start thinking

negative thoughts is this real life am i

over generalizing well this even bad or

in three years or even in three weeks or

even in three days or am I just being

negative the second Corinthians 10 verse

5 it says we take captive every thought

to make it obedient to Christ listen

your thoughts are not in control of you

you are in control of your thoughts you

can take every thought captive that

means you put it in a headlock and give

it a noogie right it's like no I'm not

gonna think negative thoughts you will

submit to Christ number 1 and this is

the best one give thanks if you start

thinking negative thoughts the best

thing you can do is find something to be

grateful for I believe that in every

situation you can find something to be

grateful for and listen

Church it's impossible to be grateful

and negative at the same time the 1st

Thessalonians 5:18 it says be thankful

in all circumstances for this is God's

will for you who belong to Christ Jesus

so how can I feel sorry for myself when

I'm thinking about all the good things

in my life when negative thoughts creep

into your mind ask yourself what is at

least one good thing about my life what

is one good thing about my situation I

promise that if you really look you can

find something no I can't

yes you can no I can't yes you can you

can find something that is good if you

get a speeding ticket you could spend

the next couple of days thinking about

the money that you lost or you can give

thanks that you have a car and you're

not walking to work if your boss is a

jerk you can dread going to work or you

can give thanks you have a job right if

your husband makes terrible smells you

can complain about your husband or you

can give thanks that sometimes he takes

the garbage out so he makes bad smells

but he also takes them out right if your

kids are exhausting sometimes you can

complain about how hard it is to be a

parent or you can give thanks that you

have kids right a roof that's leaking is

better than having no roof over your

head like you might have a headache but

at least you don't have hemorrhoids to

find something to give thanks for what

are you grateful for right now just

think about like what are you grateful

for maybe you came to church today to be

reminded there's something to give

thanks for what are you thankful for so

here I'm gonna close by addressing two

of the biggest concerns I think people

will have with a message like this okay

there's the first concern pastor but I'm

around a lot of negative people and I

can't get away from them so what should

I do

and so here's where I want to equip you

to do ministry not just be ministered to

so you will find yourself around

negative people at times and maybe

can't get away from them and you can't

always just take out your generation

Church app and pull up this sermon back

here listen to this sermon you can't

always do that okay but you can do some

things and you have to be careful if

you're around negative people because if

you're not on guard like proverbs says

guard your thoughts if you're not on

guard those negative thoughts can start

to creep into your own mind

can't they so here's some things you can

do the first I would say don't just go

with the flow we sometimes have this

pattern this habit of going with the

flow because none of us like to be

confrontational so when someone's like

man our boss is a jerk it's so easy to

like yeah it's so hot outside isn't it

yeah don't just go with the flow instead

I would say challenge those negative

thoughts like I know you think our boss

is a jerk but you don't know what he's

dealing with he might be doing the best

that he can right I know it's hot

outside but where I used to live we

never saw the Sun and I had to shovel

snow all the time I'm not just

challenging those thoughts but I'm being

grateful for the good things in my life

and you'll find that if you do this it

will automatically start to purge some

of the negative influences from your

life because some of the most negative

people will stop wanting to be around

you they'll say we can't be around her

we can't have a good gripe session when

she's around but then what's awesome is

you'll also start to attract some people

to you they'll say I love being around

you cuz you're so positive why are you

so positive all the time and then you'll

get to tell them yeah but I wasn't

always this way

until I met God and Jesus changed me and

when he changed me it changed the way I

see life that's something we all deal

with here's another big concern a big

concern pet people will say pastor I

want to be more positive I want to fix

my focus on what's excellent and worthy

of praise but sometimes I just get stuck

in a funk I'm just stuck I get stuck and

next thing you know I feel depressed

or I feel anxious feel overwhelmed so

first I would say remember to use your

tools right do a self-diagnostic do you

need to take a break from social media

have you challenged your negative

thoughts have you thought of things to

be grateful for and some people would

say yeah I try it all that but it's not

working I'm stuck and the truth is that

sometimes we all get stuck so here's the

last thing if you get stuck and

sometimes you will this is where you

need to use your emergency override okay

you got to use your emergency override

on my laptop there's a power button and

if the system freezes up if it crashes

on me what do we all do hold down the

power button and do a hard reset it's a

physical override to a faulty software

system glitch well guess what you have a

physical override system it's right here

your mouth it's your mouth have you

heard the story there was a dad who took

his toddler to a grocery store and the

little guy was crying and having a

really hard time and so the dads there

pushing the car talking they're there


it'll be okay Bobby don't cry Bobby it's

okay Bobby and this woman stops him she

says sir I really admired so sweet how

how patient you are with little Bobby he

says ma'am I'm Bobby

correctly sometimes you got to encourage

yourself sometimes you got to talk to

yourself that's why that's why Psalm 109

says with my mouth I will thank the Lord

profusely I will praise him in the

presence of many for he stands at the

right hand of the needy one to save him

from the condemned err of his soul so so

I'm the condemned one sometimes

sometimes we're the condemned one

there's a condemned er this this Psalm

Psalm 109 actually uses the the Hebrew

name for Satan the accuser the condemned

er of God's people and the enemy wants

to accuse you he wants to put negative

thoughts in your minds he wants to

discourage you with depression and

anxiety but then what is psalm say I'm

gonna praise the Lord with my mouth I

will thank him profusely okay because

your mouth is powerful your mouth is

powerful that's why we sing worship

songs we don't just read the lyrics and

think about them your mouth is powerful

and your mouth can actually override

your thoughts it can override and

overwrite your thoughts you can actually

replace negative thoughts with

honourable pure lovely thoughts by

speaking those things with your mouth

like how does that work or how do you do

that well let's say you get stuck and

you just keep you just keep thinking

negative thoughts just keep seeing the

worst in people

everyone I see is like I just see the

worst I just assumed they're gonna hurt


now you got to start to speak the right

way you got to use your emergency

override you got a physically override

the negative thoughts by activating your

mouth and just talk different like okay

I don't even think it yet but I'm saying

it I love people

because Christ loved me first

I keep thinking my situation is hopeless

okay well I'm gonna use my mouth and I'm

gonna speak the

way no no God has a plan to give me a

hope and a future I can't get over these

thoughts that I'm alone I'm always gonna

be alone I'm gonna use my mouth and

declare God will never leave me nor

forsake me see when I change the way I

talk it changes the way I think which

changes the way I feel I can start to

talk differently

I'm blessed my life is awesome people

like me I'm good looking God is on my

side and next thing you know I start to

think that way it changes the way I

think I'm not just overriding my

thoughts but I'm over writing them with

godly thoughts next thing you know

you're not just saying God is good but

you're worshiping him and feeling

confident because he is with you you're

not just talking about loving people but

you're thinking about ways to show love

to people be transformed by the renewing

of your mind as you set your thoughts on

Jesus Christ amen but here's the thing

you can't be transformed in your

thoughts until you're transformed in

your spirit and the way we're

transformed in our spirit is by

surrendering our life to Jesus Christ

and you say I'm not in control of my

life any longer I can't win on my own I

can't save myself

I can't work my way out of the spiritual

debt that I've accumulated through sins

and by doing wrong I need a Savior to

save me I need a king to be in control

of my life

I need Jesus to be my Lord and when you

believe that when you say that when you

think that we become saved by believing

that Jesus died on the cross for our

sins rising again and by putting our

trust in him to save us we're saved

we're transformed spiritually and that's

the first step in being transformed in

all things in our thoughts and our

actions it's by surrendering our lives

to Jesus so I want to give everyone a

chance to do that at our church right

now let's just bow our heads really

quick just close your eyes to have a

moment of privacy between you and God

and maybe you're in our atsuki right now

maybe you're in Mesa or watching online

even and you'd say I need to surrender


life to Jesus I want to be transformed

in every way from the inside out

I need his forgiveness I want him to be

the Lord of my life if that's you then

I'm just gonna invite you to pray this

prayer with me and say God I need you I

surrender my life to you I believe that

Jesus died for my sins and I believe

that he rose again I'm trusting Jesus to

save me thank you for loving me

thank you for always being with me I'm

gonna follow you from this day forward

in Jesus name Amen