“Renewing the Mind” in Rwanda

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In Rwanda, I was asked the morning of a pastor’s gathering if I would preach on “renewing the mind.” My leader had planned something different, but felt strongly that this message was for today. Having done an internship with Steve and Wendy Backlund (Igniting Hope Ministries), this topic was well-engrained into me and is one of my favorites to grow in and to share with others. In the room were around 30 Rwandan pastors and leaders from various churches. They were very attentive and the translator was brilliant. While I will be perfecting my communication of this message, for the rest of my life, I was pleased with my first time sharing on it.

You must know, almost every line is stolen from Steve and Wendy Backlund; I only arranged it unconventionally for the type of meeting we had before us. ūüôā¬†Follow them on Facebook if you like this.¬†

Below, it is transcribed –


The Kingdom of God is not moved forward by good conduct, it is moved forward by good beliefs. Our goal is not only to be like Jesus, it is to believe like Jesus. Our actions will always follow what we believe.

If I believe my friend will never change, I will not offer her advice. If I believe I am only a leader when others think that I am a leader and think well of me, I will try to control them. If I believe the devil is more powerful than God, I will fear his attacks all the time.

(Word for pastor) Mishael, during introductions, I heard that the Spirit of God is moving powerfully in your church. You have created a place for Him to be. Amen.

If I believe that the Spirit of God can only move powerfully at one church, I will resent that truth. But, I believe if the Spirit of God moves powerfully in one place, it is for all of us. So, I believe that is a powerful truth for you, and as I witness that word – I can say, ‘Amen for my city!’

Romans 12:12 says “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” It does not say, “Be transformed by trying harder, by praying longer, by punishing yourself.” It says, “Be transformed by renewing your mind,” by thinking like Jesus.

It is a law of the Kingdom of God that when we renew our mind, we will be transformed.

Even as I speak this, there is a spirit of breakthrough for things you have wanted to see change in. You have been working and trying, but we are going to begin to see these things like Jesus, and we will watch them change.

I see belief and faith as the same thing. Romans 10:17 says, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” So, in our journey to renew our mind, we want to hear the Word of God.

The words that we say will tell our mind what to think. The words out of our mouth will reveal to us what we are thinking. We know this by experience. If we say about a city, “This place is very dangerous. There is crime. The youth have no values. They are running crazy.” If we say that, we will begin to believe that, and I will not want to move there. The more we say it, the more it¬†will reinforce that that is true.

Proverbs 18:21 says “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” We often belief that death is in the power of the tongue, and we fear a curse. However, I want to say again, “Life is in the power of the tongue.” When I call a city blessed, as a daughter of God, I release grace for a city to be blessed. As I speak, I will train my mind what to think, and I will create change around me.

In Ezekiel 37, God asked Ezekiel, “Can these bones live?” He said, “Only you know God!” He said, “I don’t know what to think!” So, God gave him words to speak. God said, “Prophecy to them that they will live.” At the word, it happened. God created the world with a word. Everything in the Kingdom of God happens with a word. You do not receive something because you say a word, but for anything to happen in the Kingdom, there has to be a word.

James 3:1-5 speaks of this. ‘Our words will either be a rudder to direct our lives into our prophetic destiny or they will be fences to put walls around what is possible’ (taken from Igniting Faith in 40 Days, Steve Backlund).

But, how can I say something good when it looks bad? We must know that God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts. The angel came to Gideon in Judges 6, and He called him a ‘mighty man of valor.’ If we were there, we might say, “I know Gideon! That angel is too excited. That is not true about Gideon.” Because, we see each other sometimes through our experience, through our economic status, through what has happened in the past, and we put up walls.

As leaders, we have the opportunity to speak over people what God says about them, to have hope when it looks bad, and to see a different view, to speak a different view, and to give grace for that person to become that.

In Luke 1, God gave Zechariah a promise. He did not believe it, and God muted his mouth. God knows that our words can stop a promise. I say again, the power of life is in your words.

2 Corinthians 10:4 and 5 ¬†says, “The weapons we fight with¬†are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power¬†to demolish strongholds.¬†We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God,¬†and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”¬†The greatest spiritual warfare is to cast down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God.

If I am pointing my weapons North and the enemy is South, I will not win. This scripture is telling us that the battle is in our minds, and if I can get my mind to think like Him, His purposes can happen. Our challenge is to recognize any thoughts that are not from God.

How will we know when we believe truth? Romans 15:13 “Now, may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing.” We are believing like Jesus when we are filled with joy and peace. He is a God of hope, joy and peace. If our thoughts lead us to feel afraid, distressed or worried, there is a lie that has come in.

The verse says “Now, may the God of hope fill you.” Do we have to wait for that to happen? No. I release a grace right now that our minds are being renewed to think like Jesus thinks, and I just declare that as we think like Him, we will experience a rising level of joy and peace. I declare over us in the present tense on purpose, “Now, we have joy and peace for ourselves; we have joy and peace about those we lead; we have joy and peace about our city and about other churches in the city and about how God sees us.”

(Word for pastor) Helicopter – This message is important for you; you are a man who thinks with higher perspectives, as Jesus thinks. Your fellowship of pastors will be an example of unity for your nation; as people watch how you pastors meet, it will actually change how families relate to each other, and churches and businesses too.

Let’s declare now:

I have great hope.
God moves powerfully through me.
He is doing a new thing in this time.
We are the people who will see all of it come to pass. 

Amen – you spoke powerful things into the atmosphere now.

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