stories we tell ourselves

20 Nov The Power of the Stories We Tell Ourselves

As humans, we are storytellers. We have a unique ability to create and imagine. This ability is what can help us turn horrible life events into a beautiful future. Through the stories we tell ourselves, we can reinterpret the past to create our present and future circumstances.  Throughout the course of the day, we are in a constant conversation with ourselves. We may not be fully conscious that a narrative is being formed, but our brains use it to make sense of the world around us and the circumstances that are unfolding.  Are The Stories Negative or Positive?  Just as we can use this creative and imaginative ability to benefit our lives, we can also subconsciously use it in a way that has a negative impact on our lives. Some of these negative stories might sound like:  “I can’t achieve this goal because I’ve failed too many times in the past.”  “I’m this...

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feeling hopeless - arms open in freedom

29 Oct When You Don’t Get What You Were Hoping For

Hope deferred makes the heart sick,     but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. ~Provb. 13:12   Have you ever hoped for something and faithfully believed that God would bring it about? But the months and years passed, and the object of your hope began to slip away. Every time you tried to renew your hope, it would be dashed as you saw someone else, yet again, obtain that thing you desired while you were left empty-handed. You were left feeling hopeless.  I’m willing to bet every single person on the planet has had this experience. And even if you’re extremely resilient, when hope is deferred for long enough, the heart gets sick.  Maybe it’s the lack of a loving partner, a house full of children, that dream job, a higher paying salary so you can pay the bills, close friends or good health. Whatever it happens to be, you’ve prayed for it, worked for...

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repent and believe - cherry blossom tree

14 Oct Repent and Believe a New Thing

The common, Biblical understanding of repentance is to turn away from sin. When a believer repents, they often experience feelings of regret or remorse followed by a sincere intention to behave as a Christ-follower should. It’s often combined with asking God for the forgiveness of wrongdoing or trespass.  This interpretation and understanding of repentance is certainly valid, but it’s common to get stuck in a feeling of guilt or shame that appears like “repentance” but is really just self-abuse.  However, when we look at the meaning of the word, there arises another way to view repentance that is more transformational—experiencing more and more wholeness; rather than transactional—”if I feel remorse, God will forgive me.” What Does it Mean to Repent?  Most etymological sources trace the origin of the English word repent to the Old French word repentir (re-, in response + Latin pentire, to be sorry), to feel regret for sins or crimes. Other...

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the bible positive thinking - girl sitting at a dock

26 Sep We Are What We Think

Another way to say it is: we become what we believe. If you’re not comfortable with modern ways of discussing the “power of positive thinking,” that’s ok. This concept is entirely Biblical and there are ways to go about it that can increase your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing without feeling like you aren’t staying true to scripture.  There’s no doubt that scientific studies of the brain have shown how dwelling on positive images, thoughts, phrases and states of being result in neural pathways lighting up and rewarding the mind and body with positive chemical reactions. We won’t discuss science in this blog post, but you can read one of those studies from Johns Hopkins University here. What Does the Bible Have to Say About Positive Thinking?  The answer is: “A LOT!” Here are just a few Bible verses that encourage us to dwell on things and actively choose positive states of...

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the fruit of the spirit - apple orchard

10 Sep Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” ~Glatians 5:22-23 (NIV) As we read this list, it’s quite clear that these traits should be descriptive of those who follow Christ. But living them out in daily life is much easier said than done. Unfortunately, it can be easy to put these qualities on our Christian-living “to-do” list without actually realizing that they flow from a deeper source: the Spirit. Now, that might seem obvious since they’re called “the fruit of the Spirit,” but sometimes the obvious is worth exploring.  The Water Cycle: Receive Imagine that your Christian life as similar to the cyclical pattern of water that connects the atmosphere, land, and oceans. Rain falls and fills bodies of water and runs off into the earth. Water then evaporates from the surface of the earth, rises into...

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freedom from sin - cross in the sunset

20 Aug Freedom in Christ: Part 2 – Sin

For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!  ~Romans 5:17 (All verses are in NIV) In Part 1 of this series, we discussed how one element of God’s plan in sending the Messiah, Jesus, was to free us from the law. This freedom from the law brought about freedom from sin at the same time.  The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, ~Romans 5:20 Out of context, this verse may be slightly confusing, but the point the Apostle Paul is making here is that sin existed before the law. However, when the law came about, it highlighted how much sin was rampant in their society.  While the...

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freedom in christ - wild horses runing free

02 Aug Freedom in Christ: Part 1 – The Law

“I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” ~Galatians 2:21 If you’ve been a Christian for very long, you’ve probably heard the phrase “Freedom in Christ” used often. But what does it really mean? In this two-part series we’ll look at what the Bible has to say about it and how we can fully live out our freedom in Christ.  Freedom from The Law In the early days of the expansion of Christianity, the apostle Paul made missionary trips to spread the gospel in different regions of the ancient world. One of those regions was Galatia, an area where Gentiles lived (non-Jewish people). Whenever Paul returned to his homeland of Israel, he would give testimony to the believers back home about his journeys. When he shared about these new believers in Galatia, some people in the new, Christ-following churches...

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what God thinks about you - woman sitting on a rock overlooking the Grand Canyon

18 Jul Do You Know What God Thinks about You?

At Agave Sozo in Chandler, AZ, we have the privilege of creating a space where people can encounter God and hear his voice. In our ministry, we’ve seen people set free from depression, fear, anxiety, unforgiveness, anger, and so much more. While every testimony and story is sweet, one of our favorite aspects of this ministry is when people get a chance to hear what God actually thinks about them, through revealing a special name, an identity or even an image.  When Sin Becomes Our Identity, We Shrink  Due to the guilt and shame culture that can (unfortunately) be present in the church, many people struggle with believing God thinks negatively about them—that He’s constantly judging their performance and keeping track of where they come up short. And while it’s important to have accountability in our lives, it’s also vital to not make an identity of our sins and shortcomings.  In addition, many...

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bible verses for depression, hopelessness and anxiety - gas lamp on brick path

27 Jun Bible Verses for Depression & Hopelessness

Mental illnesses in the United States are on the rise. 16.2 million adults (6.7%) in the U.S. have experienced a major depressive episode. And it’s not uncommon for those with depression to also deal with an anxiety disorder, which affects 40 million adults (18.1%) in the U.S. Those who wake up every morning to face their depression or anxiety often feel shame and self-hatred, which only serve to worsen their condition.  While the root cause behind these disorders can be important when seeking treatment, at Agave Sozo in Chandler, we believe that for the believer, God’s Word is an integral part of healing from these mental illnesses. In it, we can find hope and truth that set our minds and hearts free. In the Psalms, David declares God’s word is sweeter to him than honey and that it is a lamp unto his feet and a light unto his path. As a...

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sozo training in arizona - sozo basic training Christian Counseling Phoenix - macro closeup of cactus leaves

10 Jun Upcoming Sozo Training in Arizona (June 2019)

Have you ever had a deeply meaningful or poignant experience that led you to pursue training in how to offer to others that same experience? That’s what happened to us when we received Sozo prayer ministry: we wanted to be able to offer this powerful healing ministry to others. At Agave Sozo in Chandler, we’re a group of people whose passion and mission is in working to minister healing to others in the Phoenix Valley. If you've had a similar experience with Sozo prayer, or you're one who carries a passion to minister healing to others, we are excited to invite you to join us for our upcoming Basic Sozo training in Arizona. Who We Are Agave Sozo in Chandler is a partner of the Bethel Sozo Network across the United States. As a part of this network, we are under the covering of Bethel Church and the Transformation Center in...

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