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THIS SUNDAY, MY NEW E-BOOK WILL BE COMING OUT “TAKING OCD CAPTIVE: A Christian eBook on conquering Obsessive Compulsive Disorder”. In light of the launch, I have reposted an article with a few updates that was written five years ago. Please join the mailing list and purchase an ebook this Sunday. Visit http://www.takeocdcaptive.wordpress.com to stay updated!

You can find freedom from OCD! In January of 2013 I was diagnosed with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). This helped explain symptoms I had exhibited for a while that became so strong I felt maybe it was demonic and that is very possible. Most think of hand-washers or hoarders from pop-culture on TV when they think of OCD. My symptoms aren’t as obvious; intrusive inappropriate thoughts (not desires or even temptations), constant doubts on if I had done something wrong, doubting events in my past, false feelings portraying themselves as memories almost, etc. The compulsion was to confess any thought that came in my mind or to reanalyze situations for days, weeks, or months to see if I did something wrong and just missed it. I would analyze words to make sure I didn’t tell a lie and re-record voicemails over and over again.  The doubts would be so strong that I would feel strong anxiety to confess to things I know I never did or would even desire to do. I looked for reassurance from people to confirm I didn’t do certain things. These obsessions, intrusive thoughts, and compulsions began to affect my marriage, faith, and I was very confused. Sounds crazy doesn’t it? I thought so! As I studied out the symptoms it became clear I probably had OCD and that was confirmed when I was diagnosed officially with it after going to see someone. My ebook “Taking OCD Captive” contains the methods I discovered from research and practical biblical concepts necessary for victory.

Before coming back to God in July of 2011, I use to be someone who never learned from his mistakes. I was a compulsive liar, pornography/impurity addict, and would hide many of my sins from those who could help me. God delivered me from these demons as I confessed all known sins in my past (1 John 1:9) to the men God put into my life that would guide me to through the scriptures (James 5:16). As time went on I got married to the love of my life, got back into the full-time ministry, and was even recently appointed an evangelist in God’s church one of my life dreams! Although, God put my life back together and broke my bondage to habitual sin another torment came into my life immediately after my reunion with God…OCD.

1097977_10201210285355375_87842229_nMy dreams of being in the ministry with the woman I love had been given to me and here I was outside the place we were staying still newly married crying to God not understanding why I felt guilt, doubts, for things I didn’t even do but felt strong feelings I did. Someone with OCD for example might run over a pot hole while driving. They fear maybe they ran over a kid as they dwell on it. The mind races for days as they reanalyze the event. Did they actually see a kid? Didn’t the driver in the car next to them look at them funny thus maybe they saw them run over the kid!? They can even start creating memories of doing so. In some extreme cases I have heard people have actually turned themselves in for things they didn’t even do. They could even go back to check to see if they hit someone. I’m not ready to divulge all the details of how my symptoms work at this point, but it is very similar to the example above.  I wrestled with whether OCD was a physical issue or a spiritual one. I still do believe it could be a demon or demonic. Yet as I studied the scriptures I have found most things to be both physical and spiritual. OCD is physical as the part of the frontal orbital cortex of the brain that warns us of danger and deals with feelings is overactive in people with OCD. Yet the Bible says Satan and demons can put thoughts in our heads and teach us lessons (1 Timothy 4:1-2). They become sin when we listen to them. For example, Satan put the thought in David’s head to take a census and he sinned against God (1 Chronicles 21:1-3). David sinned because he attributed a false message that Satan put in his brain to himself and acted on the thought. If he would have just ignored it and focused on ruling Israel in righteousness this event never would have happened. God is sovereign and either makes things happen or allows them for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-9

The scripture above helped me come to a deep conviction. God could take this OCD away from me but has allowed it for a reason. Maybe after all the years of lying and indulgence in sin and rebellion towards God these are now the consequences. He forgave me and restored me but wants me to learn some things in his love. God is saying to me if I was to put his words down, “Mike, I’ll give you your dreams you are my son whom I love, but to keep you from becoming conceited again this thorn OCD will be given to you so it will be impossible for you to hide even the things that aren’t sin! You will feel the guilt you should have felt for sinning about things that aren’t even sin or your sin! This will teach you son that I am enough for you, my grace is sufficient for you. That true power comes in boasting about your weaknesses.” In effect God allowed this in my life to humble me and teach me to be open about weaknesses. To date I have been able to overcome many of the symptoms by God’s powerful grace and this huge revelation.

Maybe you have OCD or are wrestling with issues of the mind. My ebook “Taking OCD Captive” is a handbook giving you the steps I took to rid myself of the majority of the symptoms of OCD. OCD is my prisoner now and through these principles that are summarized from my ebook, I have been able to live out my calling in the ministry. These steps and scriptures have helped me in this battle:

1) Acceptance (2 Corinthians 12:7-9)

Meditate on the above passage. It is hard at times but I see my OCD as a grace of God. It causes me to run to Him more for strength. The more you try to fight OCD thoughts the bigger they will get. If I tell you to stop thinking about a red shoe, you immediately are thinking about a red shoe! You must allow the intrusive thoughts to be there identifying that it is not you, it is your OCD/brain disorder/Satan/etc. I recommend a book called “Brain Locke” by Jeffery Schwartz that helped me with this step. Jesus teaches evil thoughts are sin (Mark 7:21). Yet with OCD the intrusive thoughts are the result of a brain disorder or demons not your own thoughts. For example, someone who with OCD may constantly have thoughts about stabbing their family members with knives (a common form of OCD) or even worse doing something sexually inappropriate to them. Their compulsions may be dwelling on the thoughts, hiding knives, or staying away from their family out of fear.  It has been shown with OCD, these thoughts are not desires of them at all, in fact they are so morally disturbed by them that these thoughts don’t bring any sort of comfort to the person with OCD. OCD uses the very things you find morally wrong against you. These people are actually some of the safest people.  So these aren’t “evil thoughts” but misfires of the brain or evil spirits. Let me be clear, sinful desires/thoughts must be confessed and repented of. OCD is unwanted thoughts/desires that plague the person. It is important for my audience to understand the difference between an intrusive thought and an evil thought. Intrusive you don’t want it to be there so you will do whatever compulsion to make it go away but the compulsion just makes the intrusive thoughts stronger. With evil thoughts you desire the things you are thinking. Homosexual thoughts for example would be evil thoughts if the person is homosexual or aroused by such thinking. Some who have OCD are straight, happily married, attracted to the opposite sex, and yet they are tormented by doubts thoughts of if they are gay. Their compulsions may take the form of checking to see if they were aroused by the same-sex and looking into bodily reactions. This is a real form of OCD I have read about. Schwarts in his book says when they come to say “It’s not me, it’s my OCD”. This will help retrain your brain to normal. Accepting the anxiety that comes with OCD and paying no attention to the thoughts lessens their power.

2) Take Every Thought Captive (2 Corinthians 10:3-6)

The Bible teaches us we can control our thoughts. Having OCD myself, this has been hard for me at times to believe but this scripture contains the key to doing so! Notice we are called to demolish arguments that set itself up against the knowledge of God!  The brain of someone with OCD uses find sounding arguments to convince them to doubt or give into a compulsion. Did you really lock the door? Are you sure? Can you really remember doing it? When these doubts come we must demolish OCD’s arguments by the knowledge of God. This means bringing truth into the situation. As baptized disciples of Jesus we are God’s children blessed with every spiritual blessing. Just accept the thoughts as being there, and focus on who God says you are. Remember, with OCD thoughts this is not “trying to push the thoughts out of your head”, they will get bigger because you are still focused on them. Taking them captive is acceptance of the thorn and remembering the knowledge of God. In time this will demolish them!

3) Engage in the Present (Philippians 3:12-15)

Matt Sullivan who is my disciple (mentor) discipled me on something that was very key in helping me overcome OCD thinking. He noticed that sometimes I was not fully engaged in what I was doing at the moment but was in another world in my head. People with OCD give too much thought to their thoughts. Listen, the bible says the heart is deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9) so you are never going to figure it out by being mega introspective. Paul says in the verse above to forget what is behind and strain towards what is ahead. I believe we do this by focusing on the mission Christ gave us and what we can do now to strain towards that. When intrusive thoughts attack or your OCD is strong; accept the thoughts, remember who you are in Christ if you’re a baptized disciple, and fully engage into what you are doing in the moment mind, soul, heart, and strength. My wife suggested I download a game on my phone that I can play when the thoughts come. Remember, you aren’t trying to stop the thoughts, just engaging in something else. You will find in time you will renew your mind (Romans 12:1-3) and the OCD will continually get weaker. Some have said that there is no cure, but we know that through God all things are possible for him who believes.

OTHER SUGGESTED SCRIPTURES FOR STUDY:

Colossians 3:1-2 (We have power to choose what we set our thoughts on)

Proverbs 16:32 KJV (Must learn to rule our thoughts, not let them rule us)

1 Chronicles 28:9 (God knows what OCD is and what is your thoughts)

James 5:16-17 (Find someone who understands OCD and you can be open with about)

My prayer is that this article will encourage someone who felt as I did last year, alone, scared, and looking for answers. I pray it will help disciples of Jesus be equipped and understand those who may have brain disorders and feel out of control of their thought life. God has transformed me and I am now grateful as this continues to bring me closer to Him. If you are interested in transforming your life the same way I did, please order my ebook today (July 8th, 2018 is the release day- http://www.takeocdcaptive.wordpress.com): Taking OCD Captive. To God is the glory.

“Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4

Love is in the air at the Boston International Christian Church! Congratulations to our newest married couple Joe and Amelia Mack! Also to our engaged couples Peter Markarian and Jessica Polum and Andre Carreo and Mara Eagen! Finally, congratulations to the newest dating couples in the church Jackie Gomes and Aradhna Masih and Gianni DiFusco and Skyla Eastman. Do you feel the love?

 

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Joe proposes to Amelia at church!

 

With so many new dating, engaged, and now a married couple, it could be tempting as a single to ask “when is it going to be my turn?!” Certainly, disciples of Jesus have the conviction that disciples date and marry only disciples (2 Corinthians 6:14-18). Yet even in the church, we can struggle on how to spiritually go about pursuing an interest in someone we like and desire a dating relationship with. Satan can even take things further when we allow feelings of jealousy, impatience, and lust fill our hearts. The scripture above shows that God wants to give us the desires of our hearts. The condition is that we delight in the LORD! God needs to be first. God must be our ultimate desire. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. (Psalm 73:25). God must be our great reward (Genesis 15:1). Jesus commanded us to become like children to enter the kingdom of God. When you come into the kingdom, you must put away old worldly ways of dating and be completely humble to learn to date in a way that glorifies God. How do you begin a dating relationship in God’s kingdom? Here are a few biblical principles.

  1. Patience

“Love is patient…” 1 Corinthians 13:4

“So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.” Genesis 29:20

Biblical love is long-suffering, willing to wait, and patient. Patience is also a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). When someone is impatient, they are not qualified to date in God’s kingdom. Unspiritual impatience shows itself in many ways. It is not submissive to advice or input. Idolatry of dating itself or of the person is the root of impatience. The impatient brother or sister wants what they want right away. They are not at peace if someone tries to get in their way or encourages them to slow down. The question must be asked, why would someone not be willing to wait if advised to? The phrase “wait on the Lord” is used so many times in the Bible. Time allows what is in the heart to be revealed so that a proper foundation can be built. Are you willing to wait on God to make clear to you when it is time to start pursuing the brother or sister that you have an interest in dating? How does God do this?

  1. Advice and Community

“The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.” Proverbs 12:15

 

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Jackie & Aradhna start dating in God’s kingdom!

In Biblical times when someone desired to marry, they sought the blessing of the community. Usually, a bride price was paid. In 1 Samuel 18:24-29, Saul (God’s anointed and yet evil king at this point) conspires to get David killed by sending him out to fight the Philistines. He tells David he will give him his daughter Michal if he brings back 100 Philistine foreskins. David trusted his God was bigger than men’s motives and submitted to God’s anointed leader. He came back with 200 foreskins and married Michal! David could submit to Saul’s direction (though ill-motivated) because he was submitted to God. The story of Jacob serving fourteen years under Laban who lies to him and takes advantage of him serves as another example of this principle (Genesis 29). The point is, you cannot stop God’s plans. If God desires you to be with someone it will happen, but you must remain submitted to leadership (Hebrews 13:17) and seek tons of advice. In the church, we strive to follow the biblical principle of seeking the blessing of the community. Everyone has a discipling partner as commanded by Jesus (Matthew 28:20) and we should seek tons of advice when it comes to making moves in pursuing a dating relationship. This helps guard hearts (Proverbs 4:23). Can you make your own decisions without seeking and submitting to advice? Absolutely! Will God bless it? Probably not. Remember, the way of a fool seems right to him. What stops someone from getting advice? Pride, and we know pride always comes before the fall. Consider these verses if you need to gain deeper convictions on seeking advice: Proverbs 12:15, 13:10, 19:20,  and 20:18. Decide today to seek the blessing of the community by seeking advice and submitting to leadership (Ephesians 5:21).

 

  1. Absolute Purity

“Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.” 1 Timothy 5:1

“But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.” Ephesians 5:3

 

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Andre proposes to Mara!

 

The Bible teaches that we should treat our relationships as we would our own physical family, with absolute purity. If you are single in the congregation, do you in your interactions, physical touch, and in your heart, treat the opposite sex as your own physical sibling? I am very grateful to God that my first kiss and intimacy was with Chenelle (and in my life ever since I was baptized at 13 as a teen) when I was married! Maybe you can’t say that, but I want to encourage you; if you are in Christ, God sees you as a pure virgin! Chenelle’s white dress meant something since we strove for purity in our dating relationship and prior to dating. There were many shortcomings we had and times we were too close emotionally and physically but we would quickly confess and not allow it to go that far. It is complete foolishness to think you can handle being alone with the opposite sex. Paul admonished the church to make sure there is no hint of impurity. It doesn’t even have to be the act, but if it just smells or looks like it, it is a sin in God’s eyes. In the church, we encourage everyone to go on double dates. Singles should never be alone with the opposite sex to fulfill these verses. It isn’t about whether we trust each other or not, it is that we don’t trust Satan! He is a schemer and wants to take you out of the kingdom. More people fall away from God because of sexual sin. Emotional impurity can also be a huge challenge. Late night texting, flirting, talking about marriage, or spending undue amounts of time with someone does not produce a pure heart. We need to welcome correction and accountability in this area. Paul expected the church to hold each other to God’s standard of purity. Do you have absolute purity in your relationships with the opposite sex? God will only give his daughters and brothers to men or women of God he trusts.

  1. Date Often

“See to it, brothers and sisters that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” Hebrews 3:12-13

One of the most exciting parts of our church culture is “Kingdom Dates”. The Bible tells us that we need encouragement to prevent our hearts from becoming hardened by sin’s deceitfulness and eventually unbelieving! The brothers in the church are constantly tempted with the immodesty of the world and our sexualized culture. The sisters constantly get hit on and flirted with by men in the world. As brothers and sisters, we have a responsibility to encourage and protect one another. Kingdom dates are Saturday evening (or another convenient evening) where two brothers will ask two sisters on a date (or vice versa) and go out on a fun double date to encourage one another. There is nothing romantic about it or it doesn’t even mean there is a mutual romantic interest. The goal is to have an encouraging time and get to know the brothers and sisters in a pure environment. Christians need to learn to develop spiritual relationships with the opposite sex and unlearn the ways the world taught us to build relationships. Maybe you found a sister or brother that you want to start dating. Be patient, seek advice, be pure, and finally date often! That may seem strange if you like someone specifically, but love is totally selfless. Dating different brothers and sisters show you are concerned with all of God’s family being encouraged. I personally do not encourage my blessing to start dating in the church if the brother takes the same sister out that he likes every week. This shows a selfish heart which will hurt him later if things progress to marriage. If you have not wanted to go on kingdom dates with different brothers and sisters. I want to challenge you to repent and love your brothers and sisters. This also allows you to grow spiritually and see different qualities in different people to make a wise decision on who you want to date.

 

Gianni & Skyla started dating in the kingdom and powerfully lead our AMS ministry!

These are all just principles to delight in the LORD so that he will give you the desires of your heart. At the end of the day, you can make your own decisions and don’t need the blessing of the church to date if you take the unspiritual rout, but as the old saying goes, you will have to make your bed and sleep in it. After counseling many relationships and seeing the devastation that comes from not following these biblical principles, I encourage you to really consider the way you are going about pursuing a relationship in God’s kingdom. Talk to your discipler today and seek tons of advice and watch God give you the desire of your heart.  To God be the glory!

 

In Christ,

Mike Patterson

 

Taking OCD Captive

Posted: August 14, 2013 in Articles, OCD
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You can find freedom from OCD! In January of 2013 I was diagnosed with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). This helped explain symptoms I had exhibited for a while that became so strong I felt maybe it was demonic and that is very possible. Most think of hand-washers or hoarders from pop-culture on TV when they think of OCD. My symptoms aren’t as obvious; intrusive inappropriate thoughts (not desires or even temptations), constant doubts on if I had done something wrong, doubting events in my past, false feelings portraying themselves as memories almost, etc. The compulsion was to confess any thought that came in my mind or to reanalyze situations for days, weeks, or months to see if I did something wrong and just missed it. I would analyze words to make sure I didn’t tell a lie and re-record voicemails over and over again.  The doubts would be so strong that I would feel strong anxiety to confess to things I know I never did or would even desire to do. I looked for reassurance from people to confirm I didn’t do certain things. These obsessions, intrusive thoughts, and compulsions began to affect my marriage, faith, and I was very confused. Sounds crazy doesn’t it? I thought so! As I studied out the symptoms it became clear I probably had OCD and that was confirmed when I was diagnosed officially with it after going to see someone. My ebook “Taking OCD Captive” contains the methods I discovered from research and practical biblical concepts necessary for victory.

Before coming back to God in July of 2011, I use to be someone who never learned from his mistakes. I was a compulsive liar, pornography/impurity addict, and would hide many of my sins from those who could help me. God delivered me from these demons as I confessed all known sins in my past (1 John 1:9) to the men God put into my life that would guide me to through the scriptures (James 5:16). As time went on I got married to the love of my life, got back into the full-time ministry, and was even recently appointed an evangelist in God’s church one of my life dreams! Although, God put my life back together and broke my bondage to habitual sin another torment came into my life immediately after my reunion with God…OCD.

1097977_10201210285355375_87842229_nMy dreams of being in the ministry with the woman I love had been given to me and here I was outside the place we were staying still newly married crying to God not understanding why I felt guilt, doubts, for things I didn’t even do but felt strong feelings I did. Someone with OCD for example might run over a pot hole while driving. They fear maybe they ran over a kid as they dwell on it. The mind races for days as they reanalyze the event. Did they actually see a kid? Didn’t the driver in the car next to them look at them funny thus maybe they saw them run over the kid!? They can even start creating memories of doing so. In some extreme cases I have heard people have actually turned themselves in for things they didn’t even do. They could even go back to check to see if they hit someone. I’m not ready to divulge all the details of how my symptoms work at this point, but it is very similar to the example above.  I wrestled with whether OCD was a physical issue or a spiritual one. I still do believe it could be a demon or demonic. Yet as I studied the scriptures I have found most things to be both physical and spiritual. OCD is physical as the part of the frontal orbital cortex of the brain that warns us of danger and deals with feelings is overactive in people with OCD. Yet the Bible says Satan and demons can put thoughts in our heads and teach us lessons (1 Timothy 4:1-2). They become sin when we listen to them. For example, Satan put the thought in David’s head to take a census and he sinned against God (1 Chronicles 21:1-3). David sinned because he attributed a false message that Satan put in his brain to himself and acted on the thought. If he would have just ignored it and focused on ruling Israel in righteousness this event never would have happened. God is sovereign and either makes things happen or allows them for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-9

The scripture above helped me come to a deep conviction. God could take this OCD away from me but has allowed it for a reason. Maybe after all the years of lying and indulgence in sin and rebellion towards God these are now the consequences. He forgave me and restored me but wants me to learn some things in his love. God is saying to me if I was to put his words down, “Mike, I’ll give you your dreams you are my son whom I love, but to keep you from becoming conceited again this thorn OCD will be given to you so it will be impossible for you to hide even the things that aren’t sin! You will feel the guilt you should have felt for sinning about things that aren’t even sin or your sin! This will teach you son that I am enough for you, my grace is sufficient for you. That true power comes in boasting about your weaknesses.” In effect God allowed this in my life to humble me and teach me to be open about weaknesses. To date I have been able to overcome many of the symptoms by God’s powerful grace and this huge revelation.

Maybe you have OCD or are wrestling with issues of the mind. My ebook “Taking OCD Captive” is a handbook giving you the steps I took to rid myself of the majority of the symptoms of OCD. OCD is my prisoner now and through these principles that are summarized from my ebook, I have been able to live out my calling in the ministry. These steps and scriptures have helped me in this battle:

1) Acceptance (2 Corinthians 12:7-9)

Meditate on the above passage. It is hard at times but I see my OCD as a grace of God. It causes me to run to Him more for strength. The more you try to fight OCD thoughts the bigger they will get. If I tell you to stop thinking about a red shoe, you immediately are thinking about a red shoe! You must allow the intrusive thoughts to be there identifying that it is not you, it is your OCD/brain disorder/Satan/etc. I recommend a book called “Brain Locke” by Jeffery Schwartz that helped me with this step. Jesus teaches evil thoughts are sin (Mark 7:21). Yet with OCD the intrusive thoughts are the result of a brain disorder or demons not your own thoughts. For example, someone who with OCD may constantly have thoughts about stabbing their family members with knives (a common form of OCD) or even worse doing something sexually inappropriate to them. Their compulsions may be dwelling on the thoughts, hiding knives, or staying away from their family out of fear.  It has been shown with OCD, these thoughts are not desires of them at all, in fact they are so morally disturbed by them that these thoughts don’t bring any sort of comfort to the person with OCD. OCD uses the very things you find morally wrong against you. These people are actually some of the safest people.  So these aren’t “evil thoughts” but misfires of the brain or evil spirits. Let me be clear, sinful desires/thoughts must be confessed and repented of. OCD is unwanted thoughts/desires that plague the person. It is important for my audience to understand the difference between an intrusive thought and an evil thought. Intrusive you don’t want it to be there so you will do whatever compulsion to make it go away but the compulsion just makes the intrusive thoughts stronger. With evil thoughts you desire the things you are thinking. Homosexual thoughts for example would be evil thoughts if the person is homosexual or aroused by such thinking. Some who have OCD are straight, happily married, attracted to the opposite sex, and yet they are tormented by doubts thoughts of if they are gay. Their compulsions may take the form of checking to see if they were aroused by the same-sex and looking into bodily reactions. This is a real form of OCD I have read about. Schwarts in his book says when they come to say “It’s not me, it’s my OCD”. This will help retrain your brain to normal. Accepting the anxiety that comes with OCD and paying no attention to the thoughts lessens their power.

2) Take Every Thought Captive (2 Corinthians 10:3-6)

The Bible teaches us we can control our thoughts. Having OCD myself, this has been hard for me at times to believe but this scripture contains the key to doing so! Notice we are called to demolish arguments that set itself up against the knowledge of God!  The brain of someone with OCD uses find sounding arguments to convince them to doubt or give into a compulsion. Did you really lock the door? Are you sure? Can you really remember doing it? When these doubts come we must demolish OCD’s arguments by the knowledge of God. This means bringing truth into the situation. As baptized disciples of Jesus we are God’s children blessed with every spiritual blessing. Just accept the thoughts as being there, and focus on who God says you are. Remember, with OCD thoughts this is not “trying to push the thoughts out of your head”, they will get bigger because you are still focused on them. Taking them captive is acceptance of the thorn and remembering the knowledge of God. In time this will demolish them!

3) Engage in the Present (Philippians 3:12-15)

Matt Sullivan who is my disciple (mentor) discipled me on something that was very key in helping me overcome OCD thinking. He noticed that sometimes I was not fully engaged in what I was doing at the moment but was in another world in my head. People with OCD give too much thought to their thoughts. Listen, the bible says the heart is deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9) so you are never going to figure it out by being mega introspective. Paul says in the verse above to forget what is behind and strain towards what is ahead. I believe we do this by focusing on the mission Christ gave us and what we can do now to strain towards that. When intrusive thoughts attack or your OCD is strong; accept the thoughts, remember who you are in Christ if you’re a baptized disciple, and fully engage into what you are doing in the moment mind, soul, heart, and strength. My wife suggested I download a game on my phone that I can play when the thoughts come. Remember, you aren’t trying to stop the thoughts, just engaging in something else. You will find in time you will renew your mind (Romans 12:1-3) and the OCD will continually get weaker. Some have said that there is no cure, but we know that through God all things are possible for him who believes.

OTHER SUGGESTED SCRIPTURES FOR STUDY:

Colossians 3:1-2 (We have power to choose what we set our thoughts on)

Proverbs 16:32 KJV (Must learn to rule our thoughts, not let them rule us)

1 Chronicles 28:9 (God knows what OCD is and what is your thoughts)

James 5:16-17 (Find someone who understands OCD and you can be open with about)

My prayer is that this article will encourage someone who felt as I did last year, alone, scared, and looking for answers. I pray it will help disciples of Jesus be equipped and understand those who may have brain disorders and feel out of control of their thought life. God has transformed me and I am now grateful as this continues to bring me closer to Him. If you are interested in transforming your life the same way I did, please order my ebook today: Taking OCD Captive. To God is the glory.

UPDATE: YOU CAN NOW BUY THIS EBOOK “TAKING OCD CAPTIVE” BY SIMPLY CLICKING ON “BUY NOW” RIGHT HERE:

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My wife and I were very honored to be appointed Evangelist and Women’s Ministry Leader by Matt and Helen Sullivan on August 5th at this years Global Leadership Conference. We also received our bachelor’s degree (my second one) in ministry on August 4th being apart of the first graduating class of the ICCM (International College of Christian Ministry). Below are some pictures from this incredible milestone in our lives and a couple from us preaching.

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We serve a supernaturbiblestarsal God who wants to bring supernatural miracles through the salvation of souls on your campus! This is the first week of a quiet time series over different supernatural events were God did the miraculous and how they practically apply to our lives. It ends with a challenge to share with a certain amount of people and gives practical application for each day. Your entire campus ministry will be united having the same quiet times everyday. Unique to the series is it uses an acronym I had read about that helps teach your campus ministry to get the most out of their Bible reading. Enjoy! Click below.

SUPERNATURAL QUIET TIMES

The evangelization of the natioThe movement is coming to University of Florida once again! ns in our generation is dependent on the campus ministries. That may seem like a bold statement at first glance but tomorrow’s future leaders reside on college campuses. At one time there was a revolution on campuses around the nation to preach Christ all around the world. In the sixties and the seventies men and women stood behind a cause and truth was clear. This revolution began in Gainsville at the University of Florida! Many of our former fellowship’s top leaders were converted at UF including our own Kip McKean. Today truth has become subjective and many students are confused on what their purpose for living is. A kind of depression has swept the nation with the failures in the economy, failures in their heroes, and failures in their own families. Many are graduating finding that their degree barely gets them the life they dreamed. School shootings are at an all-time high. Atheism is on the rise, homosexuality is now normal, and the Bible is at best good fictional literature at worse a tool for “fundamental conservatives” to control people. The “Christian” groups on campus are predominately filled with students who grew up in their respective denominations. Statistics show that in the upcoming years these groups will cease to exist. False doctrine is common place in most “Christian” clubs on campus. There are pagan, gay, and occult clubs on campus yet starting a Christian club becomes very challenging. Many have become discouraged and felt that the college scene is no longer open to the gospel. Even amongst true disciples of Jesus there is a general feeling that we will convert students but it will be minimal at best. My proposal in this book is that this is simply just not true and that in fact students are more open to the gospel then they have ever been, in fact they are desperately crying out for it.

It is time for us to change our perspective on the current trends on our campuses. Acceptance and tolerance need to become positive words for us as disciples because they will now be more accepting of the truth! The perversion we see on our campuses is a cry out for love that only God can fill since God is love. Atheism needs to be seen through the eyes of love as people who have been deeply wounded by religion. God initiates a revolution dependent on his people’s faith. Satan has painted an illusion that today’s generation isn’t as open to the message as previous generations. This illusion has caused us to not have as much faith as our “fathers in the faith” had and the result “…According to your faith let it be done to you” (Matthew 9:29b). Less souls are saved because of our faith. What if we could change our perspective to see the hunger and thirst for God that is being shown in ways that repel us? To look with eyes of love as Jesus did the prostitutes and tax collectors. To see not the illusion, not the shadows, or the types, but the reality.

These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.” Colossians 2:17

In the Old Testament truth was only seen in its shadows. If I look at someone’s shadow I can kind of make out the figure and take guesses at who it may be but only upon seeing the person will I know who they are. The apostle Paul teaches the church in Colossae that it had been focused on making judgments off of festivals, regulations of the Old Testament law, what they ate etc. He had to remind them that these were just shadows but reality is found in Christ. Through the lens of Christ, the truth, we can now see the real meaning behind the Old Testament rites. It is time for us to stop looking at the shadows we see as un-openness on campus and to look at them through Christ who is reality. Jesus is the word (John 1:14) and only his word is truth (John 17:17). Students today are looking to the shadows of drugs, sex, the occult, philosophy, family, and so much more to fill the ache of their soul but only in Christ Jesus comes true life and life to the full (John 10:10). Jesus came into a time very similar to the one we face today. The Roman Empire was very diverse carrying with it the old Greek superstitions ideas with a new interest in philosophy and a cry for religion that left them empty (Acts 17). Jewish religion of the time of Jesus was dead and divided. Reality came crashing into this environment causing a radical revolution. Jesus saw through the shadows and preached the truth.

T.E. Lawrence has a quote that says, All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.” Jesus was a dangerous dreamer because he dreamed of a world that would be evangelized. His dream changed the hearts of men. Jesus was dangerous because he put his dream into the hearts of 12 others, who put their hearts into 72 others, who put their dream into the hearts of 120 others who put that dream into the world (Colossians 1:23). Church, are we passionate about bringing reality to the world in our generation? Then we will be equally passionate about campus ministry. How much time have you devoted in your congregation to building the campus ministry? Do you have the dream of Jesus? The “Reality” mind-set is radical, because Christ was radical!

The campus ministry is the center stage for the world’s future politicians, CEO’s, doctors, professors, and the window of opportunity to change the world is on campus. On the college campus in many cases is the most internationally diverse setting. Working as a campus minister at Arizona State University, one of the nation’s largest four-year universities boasting in over 60,000 students, I realized you could literally evangelize the planet from that one college campus! UCF where I currently minister is right up there with ASU. Most incoming students are trying to figure out how they will make their mark in this world and there is no other way to make true impact except through Jesus Christ! It is for these reasons that campus ministry is vital to reaching the world.

This mission team to Gainsville is for those who want to stand in the gap to see world-wide impact come from this college-town once again! In Ezekiel 22 the prophet is charged to deal with the sin of his day. Jerusalem was guilty of bloodshed and the priests did violence to God’s law not distinguishing between the holy and the common (Ezekiel 22:26). The world’s hands are stained with the blood of Jesus for his murder by their sins (Isaiah 59:1-3). The prophet Ezekiel says:

“I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one. So I will pour out my wrath on them and consume them with my fiery anger, bringing down on their own heads all they have done, declares the Sovereign Lord.” Ezekiel 22:30-31

Brother or sister, will you stand in the gap for our college campuses? God’s wrath has been pronounced against the godlessness of this generation’s youth. It is time to get on our knees and pray global, earth shaking, revolutionary prayers! To take on God’s very own heart to destroy the illusions and shadows students have fallen for and passionately bring the truth of God’s word to our colleges. Transformation is about to take place. We won’t just convert a couple of people here or there but thousands upon thousands! The way people talk on campus will be transformed, the way people dress on campus will be transformed, the way people treat each other will be transformed as reality meets a hungry and thirsty generation of souls who will build God’s mighty army! What are you waiting for, let’s stand in the gap! Please pray about coming on this church planting that will provide tons of leaders for our movement around the world.

In Christ,

Mike Patterson

PS: Please consider donating to my wife and I as we currently are facing some needs to get ready for this mission to Gainsville, then on to Kingston Jamaica! http://gofundme.org/supportmikechenelle

mikechenelle

During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10 and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.

11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about cleansing rites, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so.

It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.”

Hebrews 5:7-6:8

What is the first thing you think of when you hear the phrase “mature Christian”? Does a mature Christian know the Hebrew and Greek languages? Is the mature Christian the “older,” married brother or sister in the church that has been around the longest? Maybe it is the one speaking, teaching, or preaching up front since they are entrusted with telling us how to live. We judge maturity by different standards when it comes to looking at our brothers and sisters. When our former fellowship of churches crashed one of the plights from the people was that many sermons lacked a “depth” in the Bible. Indirectly saying that was one of the reasons or causes of the crash. Many of those churches started emphasizing psychology, family building, and even books written by evangelical “Christians” outside our fellowship (ie. Rick Warren’s “Purpose Driven Life”). These in and of themselves are not bad but is that what the Bible calls maturity? The writer of Hebrews told the church about a deep biblical concept on “Melchizedek” and immediately after he says it is hard to explain these things to them because they are slow to learn! Was it that they needed to get deep in their Bibles that made it slow for them to learn? The writer says they hadn’t become teachers of the first principles and fruitful at that thus lacking maturity. Biblically maturity is producing the fruit of disciples through teaching the first principles and thus God opens our hearts to understand deeper doctrines of the Bible.

Maturity by definition means to be “fully developed”. In one sense then we are constantly maturing physically as we grow. If a person stops growing physically something is wrong and death will ensue. If we are not maturing as disciples, then we are immature and in fact dying spiritually. A child can’t stay on “mother’s milk” forever or he will be malnourished and not grow. The biggest indicator of a spiritually immature Christian from the passage above is they are slow to learn. The writer wanted to discuss deeper spiritual truths that would enrich their faith but their lack of spiritual maturity made it impossible for them to learn or grasp them. They eventually fall away and may never return to God as the Spirit warns us above.

Before we get into what defines being a mature Christian biblically it is important to look at what biblical maturity is not. The Pharisees had knowledge of the Law better than anyone at the time. They could recite passages, prayers, tithed, and came to every synagogue meeting! Growing up in Judaism they would have a pretty impressive “spiritual resume” if you will. Jesus did not consider them mature in their faith though. In fact he said to them, “wisdom is proved right by her deeds”(Matthew 11:19). It didn’t matter how long they had been around, how much they did, or how much they knew; Jesus consider these guys immature and far from God! If maturity is proved by our actions what does a true mature Christian look like? When we carefully read the passage above five qualities of a mature Christian come to light:

1. Endure Suffering

Jesus had to be made perfect. Yes that is right, our Lord and Savior who never sinned had to learn obedience from what he suffered and be made perfect. How is this possible if Jesus never sinned? Like you and I, Jesus took on humankind and was maturing as he grew up physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Jesus was “despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.” (Isaiah 53:3). Coal placed under great pressure forms a diamond. Through the challenges, trials, sufferings, and ultimately death Jesus underwent our Lord was being made into a diamond who would bring salvation to all men. God uses suffering to bring you to maturity and make you fruitful. Do you go to God with loud cries and petitions like Jesus did in order to mature or do you give way to sin and become immature? “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” (Romans 5:3-4). Whatever you are going through right now God in his mercy is giving you a chance to mature in Christ.

2. Knowing Right from Wrong

In Hebrews 5:14 a mature disciple can distinguish good from evil. Jesus was very black and white. He said you will build your life on the rock or the sand; there is light and darkness, Heaven and Hell. Sadly, our culture loves to talk, think, and act in areas of gray. There is no longer right or wrong, it is whatever you think or feel or somewhere in the gray area. Even in the church we can like going into gray areas of faith even in the name of “maturity”. For example, someone may think they can handle as a single being with the opposite sex alone since they are “mature” and there isn’t a verse that says “thou shalt not be in a apartment alone with the opposite sex.” This person is far from mature! Even young Christians compromise sometimes putting themselves in dangerous spiritual circumstances because they can’t distinguish good from evil. Just as a child may run into the street not looking for cars because they don’t have the ability to determine what is safe and what is not so it is with many young Christians in our fellowship. Maturity considers our choices and distinguishes right from wrong.

3. Become Teachers of the First Principles

The mature Christian has the “elementary truths” or as the KJV says “first principles” of Christianity in their heart and is able to teach them to others. They don’t have to go back again and lay a foundation on the fundamentals of the faith but are actively teaching them to non-Christians and fellow disciples. Every disciple is to become a teacher. We are blessed to be in a movement of churches that has a study series based off these elementary truths in the Bible that we use world-wide to make disciples. Do you know the first principles? If not, you are not mature. That is ok, because as a church we have our First Principles Class beginning April 10th! Everyone has to start somewhere, so do not be discouraged if you are immature spiritually. This is a great opportunity to become quick to learn the first principles of Christianity!

4. Produce a Crop of Disciples

Hebrews 6:7-8 now makes sense in light of knowing the first principles. As we teach them to others we are planting and watering the gospel into non-Christians (1 Corinthians 3:6). The mature disciple is a teacher who baptizes disciples (aka produces a crop of disciples). If you aren’t mature you produce thorns and thistles (anxiety, worries of life, sin, etc.) and eventually this disciple falls away and in the end is burned in eternity. Many of us do not take seriously that to be mature means to bear the fruit of disciples (John 15). God in his infinite wisdom has given us the blessing of the first principles and being teachers to help keep us faithful! When I do a bible study with someone my faith is built seeing their life change and it helps keep me faithful. Only a disciple who is making disciples is a mature Christian, anything else is immature and in danger of being burned.

5. Understands Deeper Truths of the Scriptures

Remember the writer of Hebrews started off saying he had much more to say to them about Melchizedek but they were immature so they wouldn’t even understand it. When a disciple has endured suffering, become a teacher, and is bearing fruit the Bible comes alive in a way it never has before. Psalm 119:18 becomes a reality; “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.” Knowledge is part of maturity only when the prior steps are part of your life. If you just go after knowledge without being fruitful you get puffed up and pride causes you to become immature like the Pharisees (1 Corinthians 8:1). Remember, wisdom is proved right by her deeds. How deep are you into the Bible? Do you love the Old and New Testament? When a preacher is preaching do you understand what they are teaching? Excitingly, for those of us who already know the first principles, we are beginning a Second Principles Class to discover even deeper truths in God’s word that mature our faith. A deep love for God’s word and even the hidden nuggets of the Bible come into the heart of the mature Christian.

As a young disciple I dreamed of becoming a leader in God’s church and wanted to know the Bible so well. I even decided to go to Bible College and received my bachelors in Biblical Studies. Sadly, although not intentionally my knowledge puffed me up and I thought of myself as very “mature”. I knew theology but I had ceased to know Jesus. Hidden sin dominated my life so I did not choose to distinguish between good and evil falling away from God in my heart. Even though like the Pharisees I was at church, I was preaching, and I knew the Bible very well but biblical maturity was absent. I even knew intellectually what maturity was biblically but it wasn’t seen in my life. God brought men into my life who helped me to repent and I now see that true maturity is loving the lost by teaching them the first principles, and being fruitful, thus the knowledge of the scriptures rises in the heart (1 Peter 1:19-21) as we see Christ all throughout God’s word. Today, I am seeing so many wonderful nuggets in God’s word more than I ever had in all my years of Bible college combined. My prayer is that this article helps you determine where you are at and then where God needs you to go. Glory be to God!

Campus Minister,

Mike Patterson