Survival Guide: Fend Off Depression, Part #1

30 04 2009

worst-case-scenarioWhat is so cool about the Bible is that there are people just like us who struggled with discouragement, doubt and depression. Elijah, a spokesperson for God in the Old Testament was seriously down, defeated and depressed. His story is told in 1 Kings 19.

1 When Ahab got home, he told Jezebel everything Elijah had done, including the way he had killed all the prophets of Baal. 2 So Jezebel sent this message to Elijah: “May the gods strike me and even kill me if by this time tomorrow I have not killed you just as you killed them.” 3 Elijah was afraid and fled for his life. He went to Beersheba, a town in Judah, and he left his servant there 4 Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died

Ever been there? Feeling like you would like your fed up and ready to give up? Elijah, like many of us was a the end of his rope. When I am feeling down, I start to at just like Elijah. We do these four things which only increases our depression.

1. Focus on Your Feelings
2. Push People Away
3. Compare Yourself to Others
4. Assume the Worst

Elijah did all of those things, but what is so amazing is God’s response. God doesn’t condemn him; He doesn’t criticize him. Elijah may have given up on God, but God hasn’t given up on Elijah. He offers a practical Survival Guide to help people like you and me fend off depression. He pulls Elijah up and restores his soul.

1. Take Care of Your Physical Needs
5 Then he lay down and slept under the broom tree. But as he was sleeping, an angel touched him and told him, “Get up and eat!” 6 He looked around and there beside his head was some bread baked on hot stones and a jar of water! So he ate and drank and lay down again. 7 Then the angel of the Lord came again and touched him and said, “Get up and eat some more, or the journey ahead will be too much for you.” 8 So he got up and ate and drank, and the food gave him enough strength.

2. Don’t Suppress Your Frustrations, Tell them to God
There he came to a cave, where he spent the night. But the Lord said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 10 Elijah replied, “I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”

3. Understand God’s Position and Power
“Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.

4. Start Again
15 The LORD said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram.


New Series @ Epic Church: Supernatural

28 04 2009

Starting May 17: NEW Summer Worship Time – 10:00 AM

NEW Summer Worship Time – 10:00 AMStarting May 17


What you see is not all there is. The Bible says, “We are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world…” (Eph 6:12). Join us as we study spiritual warfare, angels, demons and the Holy Spirit. Together we’ll uncover the Supernatural.

May 17 Spiritual Warfare
May 24 Satan and His Demons
May 31 Holy Spirit
June 7 Angels

Vid of the Week: Earth, Wind and Fire

27 04 2009

Nothing says 70’s disco like Boogie Wonderland by Earth, Wind and Fire. To check out a time when God goes earth, wind and fire on Elijah, read 1 Kings 19. It’s and awesome story!

30/30: Survive a Financial Freefall

21 04 2009

dollarimage2Whether it’s the fear of a layoff, the decreasing value of your home, your disappearing retirement funds or the loss of job, everyone is struggling right now. In James 1:2, it says,When you face trials.” It doesn’t say “if” but “when.” Financial trials are inevitable, and impartial. So where do we turn in this worst case scenario economy?

One of the main reasons we are in panic mode is that we believe the myth that money, a job or a career can make us secure. It’s not that bad things are happening; bad things are always happening in the world. The reason we panic because our myth of security is exposed. We freak out cause we feel we are now vulnerable. But the truth is…we were never in control and never secure. Every day our life is hanging by a thread. Now that is a hard truth to learn, but it’s liberating, because we realize that we have to build our life on something stronger than money or career. Jobs come and go. Housing goes up and down. Money is here one day and gone another.

We have to build our life on something that never changes. The only thing that never changes is the character of our God. The stock market may go up and down, but God never changes. If there was a ticker on the kingdom of God, it would read….God’s character today: Unchanged. God’s patience today: Unchanged. God’s commitment to justice: Unchanged. God’s heart of mercy and love: Unchanged. God’s care for you: Unchanged. God’s commitment to you: Unchanged.

The economy may be falling, but nothing in Heaven has changed today. Jesus still sits on the throne at the right hand of His Father. He is still in control. He is still our rock when things are shaky. He is still our anchor in the storm. He is still our North Star of hope in a dark world.

And by the way, the kingdom of God is not threatened with bankruptcy and doesn’t need a bailout from the U.S. Treasury. The kingdom of God doesn’t need restructuring. And by the way, the President doesn’t get to approve of the CEO and the Congress doesn’t get to vote on this.

The kingdom of God is doing real well. So don’t buy the myth that money or career can make you secure. Get your security someplace else…in the One who never changes.

SURVIVAL TOOL#1: You are God’s child, what do you have to fear? How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are. 1 John 3:1

SURVIVAL TOOL#2: Rejoice in what Christ has given you today. Who by worrying can add a single hour to his live? Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of it’s own. Matthew 6:25,34 This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

SURVIVAL TOOL#3: Trust that He will take care of you. And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:19

30/30: Lifelines. Worry. God’s Faithfulness

16 04 2009

worst-case-scenarioRecently I came across some pictures of Kathy and I when we were first married. Three things went through my mind: 1. This young guy was naive about life. 2. This guy was freak’n clueless about marriage. 3. This guy had no lines on his face. When I look in the mirror today, my face is now older, more worn and reflects a life half lived. In 17 years of marriage, life has Kathy and I around the country and around the world serving Christ and people,

During those years, we wondered if God would …

Provide financially our first five years of marriage; we were dirt poor (ever year we made less than the poverty line).

Protect us while we lived with gunshots and crackheads living in the inner city of Baltimore.

Keep our daughter safe from Malaria and sickness for two years in Ghana, West Africa (We got malaria, but she never did).

Really be there for us when we were lonely living on the other side of the world. (In the pre-internet days, the only contact we had with our family was a $2/minute phone call from a post office once or twice a month).

Comfort and strengthen us when our 2nd daughter was born premature, blue and not breathing. (The first week in intensive care, the doctors didn’t think she would make it, but she miraculously recovered).

Teach us how to love and forgive when our marriage was rocky, drifting apart and full of arguments (We’ve been through a lot and are closer today than ever before).

Pick us up when we were discouraged, frustrated, stressed, and burned out working in challenging church over the years (He didn’t always work things out the way we wanted, but he has always been there big time for us).

Support and provide for us when we took a crazy risk and started a church for people that don’t go to church (This was harder than going to Africa).

As I look at my face now…there are a lot more lifelines. But lifelines are more than just lines on my face. They are reminders of all the times Christ has come through in our life. Lifelines tell the story of all the Lifelines that Christ has sent to us to help pull us through when we felt like we were at the end of our rope.

One of the best ways to be encouraged when you feel like you are at the end of your rope is to remember all the times in the past where Christ has come through in your life. And here’s the deal…Christ has not changed. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Instead of worrying, start remembering.He was faithful then and He IS STILL FAITHFUL now.

And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:19

Starting on Easter: Worst Case Scenario

8 04 2009

worst-case-scenarioLAYOFFS. STRESS. ANXIETY.

When you feel like you are holding on for dear life, where do you turn? In this “worst case scenario” economy, faith can make all the difference between holding on and giving up. Starting this Easter at Epic, we’ll crack open God’s spiritual survival kit and take a fresh look at how Jesus can help you find the peace and strength you are looking for. You’ll learn practical ways God can help you stay determined and emerge from these circumstances stronger than before.

Apr. 12 EASTER CELEBRATION: Break Free From Your Doubts

Apr. 19 Survive a Financial Freefall

Apr. 26 Fend Off Depression

May 3 Hang on at the End of Your Rope

May 10 MOTHER’S DAY: Build a Foundation of Faith