18,000+ weekly members, 7 different locations in the greater Miami Area, and their own phone app. Yep, that sounds like a megachurch, which means it’s time for another edition of Monday Morning Pastor. This week we review the sermon of Pastor Todd Mullins at Christ Fellowship Church. This is part 2 of a series titled, “Your Best Year Ever”. As always, I encourage you to watch the sermon first and form your own conclusions before you read mine.
Pastor Mullins addresses the President
Before Pastor Mullins began the sermon, he did something I don’t see most pastors do. He responded to recent comments reported to have been made by President Trump about immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador, and Africa. Mr. Mullins encouraged his audience that all Christians are to love one another no matter their background. He also encouraged his audience to pray for President Trump as they’re called to pray for their leaders. While I think that was a well-stated encouragement, I’m not quite sure how I feel about pastors addressing politics or news from the pulpit. How do you feel about it?
New alarm system story
Mr. Mullins then begins talking about giving the audience in getting their best year ever. He tells a story of when he bought a new alarm system. The alarm system went off one night and he struggled to turn it off. Him and his wife were freaking out about who might be in the house. They look for their son but remember he’s at the grandparent’s house to their relief. His wife tells him to go out and see what it is. He goes out and grabs a knife, checks the rooms, and no one’s there. He walks to the bathroom, pulls open the curtains and nothing was there but a blow-up whale which he stabs out of fear. Mr. Mullins details that he learned later the window had blown open setting off the alarm.
Story tied to thoughts
He ties this story to people struggling with their thoughts running away from them in situations . He suggests that this shapes the way people live. “Am I good enough?”, Mr. Mullin states. And then he states, ” If you change your thoughts you will change your life”. He cites Proverbs 4:23 to suggest, “Be careful how you think, your life is shaped by your thoughts. Every day thoughts shape your life.” This leads to his first point of the day.
Your thoughts are powerful
He expresses that negative thoughts release from your brain and cause toxic chemicals in your body that attack your immune system. Mr. Mullins goes on to say he saw a study that said 87% of all illnesses are based on thought life. I think it would have been helpful if he provided the source of that study. He uses this study to emphasize a mind-body connection. Pastor Mullins speaks about reading how changed thoughts can form new neuro pathways that can heal the body. He concludes this point by encouraging the audience that positive thoughts can heal you.
Your thoughts are your choice
Pastor Mullins next point was on one’s thoughts being their choice. He expresses that one gets to choose their thoughts. “Nobody can make you dwell on your thoughts. You can determine what others words and actions towards you affects you.”, Mr. Mullins expresses. He references Philippians 4:8 as the verse that suggests people’s thoughts are their choice. “Your thought life will change things this year.” “Your life moves in the direction of your strongest thoughts.”
He then offers two tips for the audience.
- Eliminate your stinking thinking.
Pastor Mullins suggests that all sin starts in the mind, believing lies. He references 2 Corinthian 10:4-5 in expressing that stronghold in the Greek means prisoner held by deception. Mr. Mullins emphasizes the part of the verse that states, “Demolish every pretention against the knowledge of God (gesturing to the scripture in his hand), and take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” (Context check: I looked at the verses around those verses and it seemed as if the passage was about Apostle Paul defending his apostolic authority.) But in referencing this verse, he advises that when he has a negative thought, he immediately thinks of verse that goes against it. Mr. Mullins expresses, “Worried about finances, or not getting a text back, or posts on Facebook, be determined not to be held captive against that and be guided in thinking by the word of God.”
- Meditate on the truth
In his second tip, Mr. Mullins states “If you don’t know the truth (places his hand on the scripture in his hand), you’ll believe a lie, and you won’t be able to replace a lie in your mind.” He references Jesus saying you will know the truth and the truth will set you free, joking Jesus came up with that and not Oprah. He suggests one knows the truth by holding on to teachings of Christ referencing John 8:31-32. Mullins expresses, “You’ll know the truth, walk in the truth, and live in the truth.” “If you don’t study God’s word you’ll never experience the power of His truth in your life.”
Pastor Mullins goes on to state, “When you know the Word you know Jesus, you know the language of heaven, and you understand how the Holy Spirit will guide you and lead you.” I was curious when he stated language of heaven if he believed in a heavenly language as some conclude 1 Corinthians 14:2 states. For the record, I don’t hold that conclusion. Mullins expresses that meditating on the Word is the most important spiritual discipline. He references Psalm 1:1-3 emphasizing the last verse that states, “whatever he does prospers”. He then offers three results that will happen from doing these tips.
- Your life will be fruitful (feeling refreshed and alive and full of purpose)
- Your life will be durable (you’ll produce even when everything around you is dry)
- Your life will prosper (financially, joy, peace, kindness in relationships)
He continues by stressing meditation is just focusing on something, and all one has to do is change the channel and focus on the Word of God. Mullins encourages the audience to get the Word of God stuck in their head like a song.
To do so he suggests that the audience open up the Bible more. He tells them do it at the start of one’s day suggesting their day will go better. He encourages the audience to write down things in their journal if God speaks to them through Mr. Mullins sermon or the scripture verses.
He then offers his SOAP Bible study method that he follows in reading scripture
S – Scripture – Write it out.
O – Observation – What jumps out to me?
A – Application – What is God saying to me?
P – Prayer – Talk to God about it.
Mullins used his method on Philippians 4:8. He expresses the observation is one needs to fix their thoughts on good things. The application is thinking about what thoughts God might want them to change. For the prayer one should write down what God points out to them and pray about it.
Pastor Mullins closes with a magnet for people to fill out that says I can and I will. He instructs the audience to believe God can do above and beyond referencing Ephesians 3:20. (Context check: The verses before this talk about being strengthened with power, knowing the love of Christ, and having the fullness of God. Could this perhaps be in relation with what Paul is referencing in God doing above and beyond what one asks or thinks?) Mullins encourages them on the basis of Ephesians 3:20 to write down things such as “I can have a great marriage, I can see my children come into faith, I can come out of debt”. Then he instructs the audience to write down what they will do to make this happen.
“I will study the Word of God, and I will put myself in a group to understand the Word better.” He suggests miracles happen when the natural and supernatural come together as one. I never quite understood the usage of this phrase “in the natural” or “in the supernatural”. I’m not aware of it in scripture. Mullins then tells the audience keep the magnet somewhere they can see it every day and believe God this will be the best year of their lives.
“Pray big prayers, pray for miraculous things, because God loves you and he’s a good Father. Believe big things, and then make it happen through meditating on the Word, memorize the Word.”
My Final Thoughts
I’ll be honest. I’m a bit conflicted on this one. I see a lot of good here, but then some things are a bit concerning. Let’s start with the good. It’s great to encourage people to have the right thoughts. Scripture encourages it as the pastor noted in pointing to Philippians 4. Thoughts can shape your emotions, which can shape your overall health and shape your actions. Psychologists have been teaching this for decades with Cognitive Behavior Therapy.
The thing that concerns me is the pastor may have put too much focus on people getting what they want. The thing is, while we can increase the likelihood that we’ll get good things we may desire in life, that doesn’t mean those things are going to happen. James 4:13-15 states this. “13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” 14 [a]Yet you do not know [b]what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. 15 [c]Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.”
The key phrase is if the Lord wills. We can’t be arrogant in our faith, which the next verse actually condemns. We’re guaranteed peace through life as Philippians 4:7 states. So whether good things or bad things happen in our life, we can be comforted in that. One other thing I would caution is this SOAP method. Particularly the “Application” portion. I think it’s dangerous to read a verse and think that’s God saying something to you when it could be about a specific situation. As I’ve noted before in previous posts, God seems to be against reading into the text whatever we want. What did you think of the sermon?
Peace to you all in Christ