[Audio Podcast] Max Lucado: Overcoming Anxiousness with Gratitude

[Audio Podcast] Max Lucado: Overcoming Anxiousness with Gratitude


Welcome to the Jesus Calling Podcast. Today’s guests give us insight into a way
of living that God implores each of us to pursue: “being anxious for nothing.” Our first guest is Pastor and author Max Lucado. Max has written two books on this topic—one
for adults called “Anxious for Nothing,” and another one for children called “I’m
Not A Scaredy-Cat.” Max tells us about why it was important to
him to write on the topic of anxiety, which afflicts so many of us in a tense world. Now, here’s Max. Writing about the topic of anxiety is a pretty
easy call for somebody who’s involved in church work. All of my books come out of sermons. As you talk to people in this day and age,
you realize it’s a very, very anxious culture in which we live and statistics have borne
this out. The discovery that the United States is now
considered to be the land of stress and strife more than Stars and Stripes is no surprise. It’s just an anxious time in which we live. You sense that, I think. In talking with church members, even in the
span of my ministry, it seems like, especially young people, are more anxious today than
they were. So it’s just a topic. It’s just where people are. So that that’s what prompted me to delve
in. I differentiate between fear and anxiety. Fear is the emotion you feel when you see
a rattlesnake on the side of the trail. Anxiety is the emotion that says, “I’ll
never go on another trail for fear of a rattlesnake.” If fear is a God given, appropriate response
to danger, anxiety is the assumption that danger lurks around every corner. So I think fear has an important place in
our world. It keeps us safe. Anxiety–especially the perpetual sense of
anxiety–can be crippling, and it can paralyze us, and that’s why it must be dealt with. One psychologist, Philip Zimbardo, says that
the average high school student today feels the same amount of fear as a psychiatric patient
of the 1950s. There is a level of anxiety, and we touched
on the reason for that. One reason is we are in a fast changing society. The world is changing. We move fast, whereas our grandparents and
great grandparents moved at one pace. We move at a pace they can only imagine. A century and a half ago, you could only go
as far as your horse could take you; your camel could take you. Now, you can go travel as far as you want
into the night. It’s just an amazing pace in which we live,
so we try to cram more and more into it. Paul’s solution for anxiety is the same,
even though the manifestations of anxiety are different. You know you can make a case and say, “well,
Paul was writing in prison–he had a level of anxiety that none of us will ever have
to face.” Yet at the same time, the Apostle Paul wasn’t
barraged by news feeds and didn’t live in a generation that saw more transition and
change in it; more in 30 years than in the last 300 combined. So both situations are different. The two situations are different, but his
solution of trusting the sovereignty of God, taking your concerns to God to prayer, managing
your thoughts; all of these are trans-cultural. They are practical in whatever situation a
person might find themselves. Max looks at anxiousness as a problem that
we can be prone to at any age. He talks about the special challenges for
young people, and addresses this in his new book for kids called “I’m Not A Scaredy-Cat.” Every technology comes with its blessings
and its burdens. The burden is, it creates this pace–this
sense of “got to do more, got to go faster, gotta get more accomplished.” I think that’s especially impacted our young
people. Now, how you deal with it is the same way
that the Apostle Paul had to deal with it? What did he do? Well, he celebrated the sovereignty of the
Lord. He went quickly to the Lord with his concerns
and fears. He focused more on gratitude; what he had
more than what he didn’t have. He was careful to “pick what he pondered.” He managed what he thought about. So, some of these principles, though written
in a culture entirely different than ours, are amazingly appropriate and practical today. Writing the story was a lot of fun. The way we approached it was; we envision
this cat who really is a scaredy-cat even though he says he’s not one. He’s scared, he’s frightened of the most
innocent things–even the sprinkles on a donut, he’s afraid of. But how does he deal with his fears? He deals with his fear by saying a prayer. That’s what we’re hoping to help children. To help them learn to deal with their fears
early on, not by pretending that they’re not afraid; they’re not a scaredy-cat but
by taking those fears to God in prayer. Max goes on to talk about the scripture that
his new book “Anxious For Nothing,” is based upon; which specifically addresses how
we can conquer anxiety. He breaks it down into 4 simple principles
that we can all apply to our lives daily when facing anxious moments. The book is built around the Philippians 4
passage on anxiety, and that passage has four big ideas for dealing with anxiety. First, rejoice in the Lord always. So I call that celebrate; celebrate God’s
goodness, celebrate his sovereignty; make a big deal out of God. Then the Apostle says “be anxious for nothing
but in everything by prayer and supplication let your requests be made known to God with
Thanksgiving.” So the second thing we do, is we ask God for
help. We ask God for help. The second that anxiety enters your heart
is the second that you give it to God. You don’t tolerate it or indulge it for
a minute and then you leave it with God; you leave it with Him. You don’t for a second think that He’s
calling on you to fix it. You resign as ruler of the universe and you
let Him take over. I think that is part of what Paul meant when
he said “with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God with thanksgiving.” So you’re grateful. Say “Thank You, Lord. I’m giving this to You.” You turn your mind away from what the anxiety
is, and you turn your mind onto the things that you have, because anxiety and gratitude
never share the same heart. One has to leave. So if you want anxiety to leave, you get gracious. Get gratitude in your heart. Then lastly, meditate on good things. Paul gives us a long list of things to meditate
on, and none of those are negative things. All of them are positive, good, encouraging
things. So pick what you ponder, think about what
you think about, and practice thought management. Max’s writings around anxiety give practical
steps on how to approach a world that can often provoke fear and stress. He also talks about our need to engage with
God in a deeper way, and discusses how Jesus Calling can help people better understand
a loving Father who wishes to shelter them from harm. I came to understand the power of the Jesus
Calling book through some friends. Actually, a good friend of mine who owns a
bookstore kind of discovered the book before everybody else did–and his wife called his
attention to it before it was really a big seller. She urged him to place it front and center
in the bookstore. He was amazed at the stories he began to hear. He’s the one who called my attention to
it, and I found that its unique ability to speak to hearts from the perspective of Christ
is so deeply needed today. I think our culture is in need of a paternal
understanding of God. In many ways, even those of us who have had
good fathers, who have good fathers, still have a longing for a Fatherly presence. So when I pick up Jesus Calling, I feel like
a Father is talking to my heart. For me, if I focus on what I have rather than
what I don’t; if I attempt to cultivate a spirit of gratitude, then I think my heart
is more open to being reminded that God is near. My challenge is I can get on a spiral of assuming
something bad is going to happen quicker than quicksand, and I think it’s the devil. I’ll be in a meeting, or I’ll be in a
conversation, or I’ll just be in a thought process, and I’ll begin imagining all the
bad things that are about to happen. This is going to happen, then that’s going
to happen, and that’s going to happen. I’m terrible about envisioning conversations–awkward
conversations–and I’ll just go into this terribly awkward, painful, confronting conversation
that I know I’m eventually going to have with that person if I’m ever going to get
this sorted out. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked
back and thought, “I spent ten minutes imagining that conversation.” It never even appeared on the radar screen. But I just think that’s the devil–he likes
to stir up fear and stir up this anxiety. So I counter that by practicing what I wrote
about, and that’s celebrating God’s sovereignty; asking the Lord for help to change my mindset
and leave the problem with Him. Meditate on something good. To find out more about Max’s new books “Anxious
for Nothing” and “I’m Not a Scaredy-Cat,” please visit MaxLucado.com. We’ll be right back with more of the Jesus
Calling Podcast after this brief message from Audible. As a special offering to you, the listeners
of The Jesus Calling Podcast, Audible is offering a free audiobook download with a free 30-day
trial to give you the opportunity to check out their service. Find your favorite Sarah Young titles, including
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audiobook, featured at the end of this podcast. To download an entire free audiobook today,
go to audibletrial.com/JesusCalling. Again, that’s audibletrial.com/JesusCalling
for your full, free audiobook. Now, on to the second half of our program. Today we rebroadcast one of our most popular
episodes featuring Dr. David Jeremiah. Dr. Jeremiah is a writer, teacher and pastor
of Shadow Mountain Community Church. Dr. Jeremiah shares about his own life and
encourages listeners to trust God during fearful times. The Bible is filled with such great encouragement. I think often of our Lord’s words about
His ability. He’s able to do above and beyond all that
we ask or think. He’s able to save us to the uttermost. The ability of God against the disability
of the world is no match, it’s no contest, and God wins. God is in control. Welcome to the Experience Jesus Calling Podcast. Today, we speak with Dr. David Jeremiah, writer,
teacher and pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church. Dr. Jeremiah shares his personal story and
tells us about a new book he has written entitled: “People Are Asking, Is It The End? Signs of God’s Providence In a Disturbing
New World.” I’m David Jeremiah and for 35 years I’ve
been the pastor of the Shadow Mountain Community Church. I was born in Toledo, Ohio. I lived in the Midwest. My father was a pastor. I made a commitment when I was younger that
I would never do that. Then when I was a senior in college God got
ahold of my heart. Donna and I got married and went to Dallas
where I went to seminary, and came back to Fort Wayne and started a church in Indiana
and then in 1981 I moved to California, and that’s kind of where the journey that we’re
on right now began. The former pastor of Shadow Mountain Church
was Tim LaHaye, the author the the Left Behind series. I got to meet him when he came to the Midwest
to do an event at the church that I started. We had such a powerful event, he was doing
events back then of Family Life Seminars, I think they were called. He asked me if I would help him organize and
produce the other ones. For about a year or so, I was helping him
organize Family Life Seminars in other Midwestern towns and we become good friends. One day he told me he was going to go to Washington
and get more involved in the political end, and he announced to me that I was going to
be the pastor of the church that he was the pastor of, which was very interesting. Two years later it actually happened. It didn’t happen when he thought it would. Dr. Jeremiah began pastoring at Shadow Mountain
Church in 1981, and in 1982 he and his wife were inspired to start a radio and television
ministry that ultimately became Turning Point Ministries. Their mission was to “deliver the unchanging
Word of God to an ever-changing world.” Today, Turning Point is a multi-media network
featuring radio, television, online programming, magazines and books. Dr. Jeremiah’s radio messages reach over
480 million listeners around the globe and Turning Point Television reaches 2.7 billion
households worldwide. We started a radio and television ministry
shortly after I came here, and that’s really taken off to such a degree, it’s pretty
overwhelming every day to see what God does through the reach of this ministry. We started and it really wasn’t something
where I said, “Okay let’s have the largest Bible teaching ministry in America or let’s
be on more television stations or anything like that.” It all happened kind of like one station would
grab the program and then another station would hear about it and they would call. For many years when we started it, we didn’t
have an agency, we didn’t have anybody promoting it. God just allowed it to happen. Turning Point on the radio is released over
6,000 times a day in America, several times on some of the same stations. So, it’s really amazing to look back and
see what God has done. Did we plan this? Absolutely not. We had no idea what was going to happen. Donna has been my partner in all of this. When we first started it she handled all the
correspondence and the first year we were on the radio and on television we had a total
annual budget of $35,000 so it didn’t take much of her time to manage it. From the very beginning all the way through
to where we are right now she’s had a major role in encouraging and strengthening and
with all the people that we have now, she’s highly regarded and loved. In the early days of Dr. Jeremiah’s ministry
at Shadow Mountain, he was approached to begin writing books. As a writer, he eventually authored or co-authored
54 books, including his latest work – “People Are Asking, Is This the End?” Dr. Jeremiah remembers how it all got started. I came to San Diego in 1981 to take over the
leadership of what was then the Scott Memorial Baptist Church, which is now called Shadow
Mountain. I preached a series of messages on Daniel. Then I went to a summer Bible conference to
teach for a week, and I met a woman there named Carol Carlson. She had heard some of my teaching and she
came and asked if she and her husband could meet with me, and when I met with them she
said, “I think I might be able to help put some of your stuff in writing, would you be
interested in talking about that?” She began to tell me how she had helped write
the book, The Late Great Planet Earth, which was one of the first big books on prophecy
that ever was in public. The author of the book is Hal Lindsey. He’s the one who wrote that and to realize
that down at the bottom of that book it says “with CC Carlson.” It was a huge success. She was very good. She and her husband both are now in heaven,
but I always think that they still are bearing fruit on this earth because of those books
that she helped me get started. Writing is the best of worlds and the worst
of worlds all wrapped up into one. It’s very hard. It’s a very demanding discipline. I believe with all my heart that a person
who throws themselves in the writing of the book benefits more from the process than anybody
else. It’s just another way to reach out with
the truth of the Word of God. Many people would ask me as I moved around
the country, “Dr. Jeremiah, what in the world is going on? Do you think this is the end?” I would say, “What do you mean?” They would begin to cite all of the things
that have happened in the last ten years, for instance, and they’re unprecedented. There are things that have never happened
before and people didn’t understand where that was going. I began to listen to their questions and write
down once in awhile some of the things they asked. Before I wrote this book, I think I had a
list of about 20 questions that I was looking at. I couldn’t possibly have known the items
on the political agenda that’s being debated back and forth, I didn’t hit all of them
but I hit a bunch of them. I gave them the perspective that I think the
Bible gives to them and what God has to say about them. Perhaps for that reason this book has had
great traction out of the gate. God has a plan that lasts for eternity for
those who put their trust in Christ. We have a message of hope that’s so desperately
needed in this world. Wherever there’s hopelessness, the hunger
is always for the hope. The hope that we have in Christ should be,
and it is, a hot commodity. We ought to be sharing that hope with everything
we have. I believe that we try to do that in this book. We do tell the story in accurate reporting,
but we also remind everybody that God is still in control and we don’t have any right to
live with anxiety every day. People ask me, “Well, what if the election
doesn’t turn out?” I tell them, “Look. The day after that election the sun’s going
to come up, the birds are going to sing, and I’m going to go to work. It doesn’t really matter in regard to those
things what happens.” We all have our desires and our thoughts and
whatever they might be really isn’t important right now, but we have to be careful that
we don’t allow ourselves as Christians to be defined by an election. The day after that election the sun’s going
to come up, the birds are going to sing, and I’m going to go to work. It doesn’t really matter in regard to those
things what happens. I had non-Hodgkin’s large cell lymphoma. I got it 20 years ago and went through some
chemotherapy and got it into remission and then it came back and I had a stem cell transplant;
that at least up until this point has kept me cancer free. I don’t have it now. I get checkups every six months and scans
and all that sort of thing. People ask me why I continue to work as hard
as I do when I’m older than most people who’ve retired. I tell them, “When God gave me my life back,
He didn’t do it so I’d go sit on a beach somewhere. He gave me my life back to serve Him.” I feel such great joy in being able to do
what I do at this stage of my life and know that I have been preserved and granted these
extra days by a gracious, loving God and I’m so thankful. As a pastor and a teacher, Dr. Jeremiah advocates
daily prayer and scripture reading. He appreciates how Sarah Young has helped
many with their prayer lives through the words of Jesus Calling. When I read Sarah’s work, it’s pretty
obvious to me why it’s been so highly regarded and received. She makes prayer very personal. Sometimes prayer isn’t personal, sometimes
prayer can be very cold and empty. Maybe that’s why a lot of people have a
hard time sustaining any kind of a prayer ministry. What Sarah has done has made it possible for
people to say, “I talked to God today…I communicated with my Father.” That’s what prayer is supposed to be and
she has moved the ball down the field quite aggressively in that direction. In this world today an actual Christian who’s
sold out for Jesus Christ stands out. The backdrop against which we live our lives
is darker than before, but that just means the light is brighter than it’s ever been. So we should be encouraged; I believe this
is one of the greatest time for evangelism we’ve ever had. We are candidates for a revival if we will
just use our judgment properly and do what the Lord says which is confess our sins and
humbly ourselves before God and repent and God might come and visit us. In the book of Second Chronicles which is
the biblical handbook on revival, the most famous formula is in the seventh chapter of
the Second Book of Chronicles. It’s really interesting, it says “if My
people will humble themselves and pray…” Just stop the verse right there. If we want to see God work in the culture
in which we live, which we see going so rapidly and gaining momentum in the wrong direction,
that’s what we should do. If my people who are called by my name will
humble themselves and pray. We often think, I have people come to me and
say, “Well I tried everything else, I guess I’m just going to have to pray.” I remind them that they’re reducing themselves
to the most powerful influence in the world. Prayer can do what nothing else can do so
why should we make it a last resort? Why wouldn’t we make it a first resort? God says if you want something to change in
the culture in which you live, you better start with prayer. During a tumultuous and divided season in
our country, Dr. Jeremiah continues to spread God’s message of hope and encouragement
to those who are seeking answers during these difficult times. As we all learn how to cope with frightening
events that happen in our world today, he reiterates the truth that no matter what happens,
God’s purposes will ultimately prevail. One of the things I’d hoped to convey through
this book, even through the subtitle, is that in the midst of all of the decline in morality
and the fear of terrorism and all of the rest, God is still on the throne and He will accomplish
His purpose. I don’t know who originally said this, I
think I might have heard Chuck Swindoll say it, that God has a formula and that is unless
He crushes a person, He can’t use that person. I remember praying that I wanted to be used
but I would prefer not to be crushed. God just doesn’t answer that. When we decide that we want to serve the Lord,
He puts us through a training school and He shows himself to be sufficient for every need. When I came back from cancer after the stem
cell transplant and walked into the pulpit of my church, I didn’t know what to say. I know that I was being watched by everybody
and I just stood in the pulpit and looked at everybody for a moment and then I just
said, “God is enough.” And He is, God is enough. Next time on the Jesus Calling Podcast, we
speak with Chrystal Evans Hurst, a writer, speaker and worship leader. Chrystal loves to encourage other women to
fulfill their full potential in Christ and firmly believes God’s promise in Jeremiah
29:11, “I know the plans that I have for you…” and she desires to help other Christian
women believe and apply that truth to their lives. None of us are 100 percent living the life
we expected to live. Not one person. And if they say that then they haven’t lived
long and because life is life but we can learn. if we only focus on what we expected and hold
on to that at all costs, we may be missing the other beautiful things that are right
in front of us. Our featured passage for today’s show comes
from the December 28th entry of the Jesus Calling audiobook. I am your Refuge and Strength, an ever-present
Help in trouble. Therefore, you don’t need to be afraid of
anything—not even cataclysmic circumstances. The media are increasingly devoted to fear-inducing
subject matter: terrorism, serial killers, environmental catastrophes. If you focus on such dangers and forget that
I am your Refuge in all circumstances, you will become increasingly fearful. Every day I manifest My grace in countless
places and situations, but the media take no notice. I shower not only blessings but also outright
miracles on your planet. As you grow closer to Me, I open your eyes
to see more and more of My Presence all around you. Things that most people hardly notice, like
shifting shades of sunlight, fill you with heart-bursting Joy. You have eyes that see and ears that hear,
so proclaim My abiding Presence in the world. Hear more great stories about the impact Jesus
Calling is having all over the world. Be sure to subscribe to the Jesus Calling
podcast on iTunes. We value your reviews and comments so we can
reach even more people with the message of Jesus Calling. And if you have your own story to share, we’d
love to hear from you. Visit JesusCalling.com to share your story
today.

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