Author: Jeff McClung

About Jeff McClung

Jeff McClung is a husband, a dad to two kids, and an Associate Pastor at K-Love and Air1 Radio in Rocklin, California. He has been a full-time pastor since 2003. He writes about how you can grow in faith and thrive in life.

One Helpful Tip to Deal with Anxiety

 

I couldn’t believe how bad I did on the test.

I had been practicing for weeks. I read through the handbook cover to cover. When I pulled up to the DMV there wasn’t a doubt in my mind I would be pulling out of there with my driver’s license.

So I was pretty surprised when the instructor told me I failed. I was devastated. It wasn’t just that I had failed. It was that I failed for the second time.

I didn’t say a word on the drive home. When I got back, I sat in my room and just stared out the window.

How am I going to explain this to all my friends? Am I ever going to pass the test, or am I going to grow up to be the only 40 year-old man who has to have his mom and dad drive him to work every morning?

How Helping Someone Else Helped Me

Later that day, my youth pastor called and asked how the test went. I told him how badly I bombed. He asked how I was holding up. “Fine,” I said, but I wasn’t fooling anyone.

He asked if he could swing by and buy me a burger. Since I’ve never been one to turn down a free meal, I said sure. We talked about the test and how I was feeling about it. We talked about what I did well on it and what the instructor said I needed to work on for next time.

Then he did something I wasn’t expecting. He asked for a favor.

There was a lot of stuff that needed to be cleaned up at church. He had a couple of other students who signed up to help that Saturday, but said he could use some more help and asked if I could lend a hand.

I reluctantly agreed.

So, a few days later, I was at church pulling weeds, hauling trash to the dumpster, and organizing closets and classrooms. At first I was pretty ticked. I mean, here I was, still down about my driver’s test and worried I was going to have my parents drive me around the rest of my life, and he was asking me to do a favor for him. What’s up with that?

But the more I began to dig in to the work, the less I felt sorry for myself and the less I worried about becoming the world’s oldest man without a driver’s license. I started coming alive, joking around with everyone, having fun, and taking pride in my work.

What To Do When You’re Dealing With Anxiety

Anxiety, like a car, requires fuel. The more we dwell on the pain of our past, or worrying about what might go wrong in the future, the more fuel we give our anxiety to run on. But when we turn our attention to what we’re grateful for, helping others, exercise, the people we care about and our dreams for the future, the more we starve our anxiety and feed the thing we need most: hope.

The Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 4:8, “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” (NLT).


If you’re anxious about something bad, give your time and attention to something good. (Tweet This)


Spending time working at the church that day didn’t solve my problem, but it did help me feel better about it. In hindsight, I believe that’s the reason my youth pastor asked me to help him that day.

As I left for home that night, I was able to put my failure in its proper context. I had failed my driving test, like so many before me, but I was not a failure. I realized I was capable of good work and having good relationships with great people.

A while later I retook by driver’s test and passed. I was so excited to finally drive on my own. Looking back, I think I’m more excited about what I got from those two failed tests than I am about the license I got from passing the third.

When you’re worried about something bad, what are some good things you can give your time and attention to? Let us know in the comments by clicking here.

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One Way to Understand The Bible Better

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Photo by Benjamin Voros on Unsplash

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with swimming.

As a kid, I loved to swim. If my parents let me, I would’ve spend all day, every day at the pool. It was, and still is, one of my favorite activities.

The part I never look forward to is adjusting to how cold the water is. I used to take forever to get all the way in.

One day, when I was a kid, my teacher saw how long it was taking me to get in the pool. She pulled me aside and gave me some advice. The best way to get used to the water, she said, was to just dive in.

I think what’s true of swimming is true of the Scriptures.

In order to truly UNDERSTAND the Bible you must dive IN to the Bible. (Tweet This)

The Bible can be a pretty intimidating book. It’s thick, it’s got lots of chapters, and has more than a few passages that are hard to understand. It’s easy to understand why most people limit their Bible intake to pithy quotes on social media and what they hear at church on the weekend.

But God wants more for you than these spiritual appetizers. The Bible says in Joshua 1:8, “Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do” (NLT).

Our Heavenly Father wants you to feast off His Word. We can’t have a healthy body if all we live off are snacks. Likewise, we won’t become spiritually healthy if all we do is “nibble” on God’s Word.

If you want to get the most OUT of the Bible, spend time each day IN the Bible. (Tweet This)

Find a devotional or a Bible reading plan to guide you through. If you’re new to reading God’s Word on your own, start in the New Testament. Read through the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) and the Epistles (pretty much everything in the Bible after John). Then, go back and read the Old Testament.

I know it’s a little weird to start reading a book in the middle. The Bible isn’t like any other book, so you shouldn’t read it like any other book.

You don’t have to read a book of the Bible a day. You won’t make it if you gorge yourself, but like any good workout, you won’t see any improvement if you don’t push yourself.

When you come across something you don’t understand, sit with it for a while. Pray about it. Ask wise Christians in your relational world for their insight. Do some research online. You may not find the answers to all your questions, but you’ll learn something important along the way.

Question: What’s God been showing you in His Word? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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What to Do When You’re Waiting on God

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I’ve never been very good at waiting. Whether it was waiting for Christmas morning as a kid, waiting in line at the DMV, or as I found myself suddenly without a job waiting has always been hard for me.

For years my wife and I struggled with infertility. When my wife decided to adopt we had no idea how long the wait in the adoption process was going to be for us. We spent the first six months attending classes, filling out paperwork, meeting with social workers, completing background checks, and getting our home ready. Then we waited twelve months before we were placed with her. After that we had to wait ANOTHER twelve months before her adoption was finalized.

What are you waiting for right now? Maybe you’re waiting to meet the person you’re going to marry, or for the person you married to come back to you. Maybe you’re hoping to have children but, for some reason, it just hasn’t happened yet. Or maybe your waiting for your prodigal son or daughter to come home. Perhaps your waiting for a job, your business to take off, or the economy to turn around.

What do you do when you find yourself in the waiting room of life? How do you wait on God in a way that honors Him and doesn’t jeopardize your chances of experiencing His blessings in your life? The Bible give us four crucial actions to take while we W.A.I.T. on God. Here they are:

Watch for God’s instructions. 

The Bible says in Psalm 32:8, “…I will guide you along the best pathway for your life” (NLT). God always has a reason when He has us wait. Rick Warren says there are three reasons why God causes us to wait on Him:

  1. When my request is not right, God says NO.
  2. When I am not right, God says GROW.
  3. When the timing is not right, God says SLOW.

If you’re in a season of waiting right now, which one of these reasons is causing it? Spend some time searching God’s Word for answers, asking God in prayer for guidance, spending time in silence listening for His voice, and asking wise and mature Christians for their input. You owe it to yourself to discover what it is He wants you to learn and do.

Ask Him in faith and with a heart of surrender.

Jesus said in Matthew 7:7, “Keep on asking…Keep on seeking…Keep on knocking…” (NLT). We need to pray persistently, but hold loosely. Jesus modeled this for us in the Garden of Gethsemane when he prayed in Mark 14:36, “Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine” (NLT).

Do you believe that God is going to answer you and take care of you? Are you’re desires fully surrendered to God? He won’t give you everything you want, because then we would become spoiled children. But He will give you everything you need if you trust and obey Him.

Invest yourself in doing what God has already asked you to do.

What has God already asked us to do? Jesus summed it up in Matthew 22:37-40: ” ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments” (NLT).

Loving God and loving others are God’s ultimate purposes for everyone. Spend your time getting to know and love God more, learning how to love others better, and showing people love in your words and actions. That is the purpose of your life.

Thank God in your circumstances.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 the Apostle Paul instructs believers to, “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” (NLT). Notice Paul doesn’t say to be thankful FOR all circumstances, but to be thankful IN all circumstances.

What are some things you can be thankful for right now? If you’re reading this online chances are good you are in the top 10% of the richest people in the world. There are MILLIONS of people who would kill to have the problems many of us take for granted.

Author and speaker Jon Gordon suggests taking a simple ten minute walk each day and saying out loud what you are thankful for. Not only will this set you up for a positive day, but it will help you to become the kind of person God WANTS to bless.

Waiting for God is rarely easy, but it is always worth it.
(Click to Tweet)

Imagine how much regret you could avoid if you were watching for God’s instructions and then actually followed them?

Imagine how much peace you would experience if you let go of what you wanted and embraced what God wants for you?

Imagine how much more meaningful your life would be if you spent your time and energy focused on your creator’s purposes for you?

Imagine how much happier you would be if you decided to look for things to be thankful for instead of looking for things to complain about?

This is what God does for you when you watch for His instructions, ask Him in faith and a heart of surrender, invest your time and energy doing what He has already asked you to do, and thank Him in all your circumstances.

Question: What is it that you are waiting on God for right now? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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4 Keys to Praying For a Miracle

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As a kid I looked forward to what Bible Story my Sunday School Teacher would teach us at church. I loved when they shared one of the “big ones.” You know the ones I’m talking about. Where God would do something epic in the narrative of history. Like when he parted the Red Sea for Moses and the Israelites, or when Jesus would heal someone of a disease or bring them back to life.

Growing up I was always captivated by these passages, and more than a little jealous of the people who got to experience them. I always wondered if God was still in the “miracle business” or if he had retired.

Have you ever wondered if God still does miracles today?

I don’t mean the kind of miracle where the Sun would stand still, an angel would appear, or God himself would speak audibly (as cool as that would be).

I mean the kind of miracle where God would do something radical in your life, like bringing restoration to a broken relationship, healing you or a loved one from an incurable illness, landing that dream job you’ve been longing for since you were a kid, for your son or daughter to finally kick their addiction, or for you husband or wife to come home.

I believe that God is still in the miracle business. I believe that He still does big things like he did when his followers of old recorded their eye-witness accounts in The Scriptures.

In Mark 11:22-25 Jesus gives us four keys to praying for a miracle in our life. Here they are:

1. Pray in faith. 

“…Have faith in God.” – Mark 11:22 (NLT).

We can’t expect a miracle from God if we don’t have faith in God.

The author of Hebrews wrote, “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him” (Hebrews 11:6 NLT).

We must depend on God for a miracle.

2. Be specific when your pray.

“I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen…” – Mark 11:23 (NLT)

Don’t pray general prayers like, “God, help me to find a great job” or, “God, please help my friend.” What kind of job do you want God to give you? How do you want God to help your friend?

Rick Warren says, “If you want specific answers to prayer, then make specific requests. If your prayers consist of general requests, how will you know if they’re answered?”

3. Believe you will receive.

“…But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.” – Mark 11:23-24 (NLT)

We will receive anything we ask for, provided it is in-line with God’s Will. 1 John 5:14 says, “And we are sure of this, that he will listen to us whenever we ask him for anything in line with his will” (TLB).

You won’t get what you ask for, no matter how much you believe, if you ask with the wrong motives. James 4:2 says, “Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure” (NLT).

4. Forgive those who’ve hurt you.

“But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.” – Mark 11:25 (NLT)

God won’t answer our prayers if we’re holding a grudge against someone. We have to forgive those who hurt us and ask forgiveness from those we’ve hurt in order to experience God’s blessings in our life.

“Prayer is not a button to be pushed. It’s a relationship to be pursued.” – Carey Nieuwhof (Click to Tweet)

God wants you to reach out to him, but he doesn’t want you to take him for granted. He’s not a cosmic vending machine. When you’re praying for a miracle, make sure to express love and gratitude to him, whether he provides the miracle you want or not.

Question: What miracle are praying for in your life right now? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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