Leon Fontaine - Dealing with Stress
We hear a lot about stress today and when people begin to get stress out, they always make the same mistake. They begin to back out of the things that stress them out. They begin to, you know, simplify their lives. I'm not saying that any of these things are bad. But they tend to get stress and their life's going kind of crazy and they don't know what to do. So if I'm stressed, I've gotta lessen what I'm involved in. They almost always choose church to ditch first. You know, they'll stop going to church, stop volunteering at church. Get the family ready Sunday morning. We need a morning to chill out rather than get to church and all this language.
And I begin to look at this and realize that people don't know how to deal with stress in their lives. And so, I'm gonna entitle this message today, "Be Stressed or Be Bigger". Be Stressed or Be Bigger. You see, God has built you to continue to grow. And when you begin to spin your wheels and when you begin to get stress out and you begin to get a little bit emotional and you begin to get a little bit fearful, stuff pushes you. We keep backing off, shutting down, slowing down. We quit things. We get sick. We get to financial crisis. We have relationship issues. But stress or there's so many different definitions of it, but as you begin to find yourself spinning your wheels and going at high RPMs, it's not the time to just kind of figure out a way to stay where you are.
I learned to drive on a Strato Chief three on the three clutch. And so when I got my learners, you know, I had to learn really quick and there wasn't a tachometer on it, so it didn't tell you when to shift. You could just listen to it. And when that old Strato Chief, I'd be in first gear and just, and when I first knew, well, you know. This thing is just, in first gear the pistons were almost going to the hood as this car go, then you gotta shift gear because if you don't and you keep that car going, you're gonna start blowing stuff and people live that way. They live with themselves ramp up and their world, their relationships, their jobs.
I have news for you. You have limitless gears. And then cool thing happened when you push the clutch in and you learn to just touch off the gas for a second and you pull that baby into second. It goes and way down it. It's already going faster than first gear. So I'm on second gear now, and in second gear I'm doing two times faster, three times faster. I'm covering way more distance going way quicker. And then second gear is going, so what do I do? Ah, I'm stressed the motor is still going. I mean, there's a little bit of smoke coming to the dash. What do we do? Oh, I just back off a little bit. No. You don't back off. You actually move quicker. By what? Clutch shift.
And then you're in third gear and when you're going in third you're doing twice as fast in second. Life, so many people stay in first gear. They're just stressed. They're maxed. The engine is going like crazy. That they're probably gonna blow a piston. They're gonna blow something. This engine is gonna shutdown. It's gonna do -, and life gets like that. Listen, when we go through life and you begin to increase, you begin to be blessed. You begin to stress or this ability to feel maxed. This feeling of, I don't know if I can handle anymore, makes people back off. And when you back off, you just stay in first gear.
So what you gonna do? You have to make a decision that you can get bigger. You can go faster. But the enemy has an amazing strategy that works on so many people. He begins to whisper lies. He begins to shoot thoughts into your head. And it's, you're tired. He does it on the first person the thought will come, "Oh, I'm so tired. No one knows how much stress I'm going through. There's so many things I gotta look after. I'm responsible for so much stuff". And I call it weariness. Weariness. Weariness is of the mind. Tiredness is of the body. In Galatians chapter 6, it says let us not be weary in well doing, for in due season you'll reap, if you don't faint.
So for you to go on in life, to have the blessings that God wants you to have relationally, financially. I mean, you know, in every area of your life. Then, you gonna have to recognize you can handle it. You'll be okay. You're gonna make it. But what the enemy is doing is, "You're so stressed. You're so stressed. You're so stressed. No one puts up with that kind of spouse you gonna put up with. No one's kids are as bad as your kids are and no one understand them". And he just knows how to make you begin to accept this bit that you're weary. But the Bible says let us not be weary. Now, if God tells you to do something, it's because you got the ability to do it. Weariness is a lie. Weariness is a lie that comes at the brain and tells you, you can't go any further. I can't keep doing this! Biggest lie on the planet.
I see Christians bailing on marriages, bailing on careers, bailing on church. Stop in giving. Stop volunteering. We gotta, we gotta. And so the enemy who is literally, all he can really do is shoot thoughts at you and hope to turn your own power against you. He has become good at making people its weariness. But we just call it stress. It is all forms of fear. Grumpiness is based in fear. Stress is based in fear. Weariness is based in fear. There's some kind of a fearful thought that is owning you. Weariness will might be something like, "Nothings ever gonna change". You know how awful that thought if you're going through hell.
If you're in a relationship that needs to change, and every relationship needs to change. Regularly, all the time. But he did get you with this thought, "Nothing ever changes". The weariness begins to set in. And what God is telling us in Galatian is don't be weary. Don't allow weary thoughts in. Don't let things come in that begins to get you. You ever meet a sigher? How you doing? I'm doing good. Or if you're a supervisor over a team and you happen to walk on to the floor and all of a sudden, the guys haven't done anything like for three hours but he sees you coming and, you know, he's sighing. People for some reason always have to put on that they're so busy or they're so stressed and it's as though we get an award for it. But when you show a stressful sigh, you're giving in to the lies of the enemy.
And I'm promising you. You will never get bigger and better and go places in life with that attitude stress out weary. You have to choose that God's gonna guide me. I've got a mind that can be renewed. I've got a body that's healthy and I'm gonna take control of my life and my appointments and what's going on and I'm gonna enjoy life. This is an attitude. That's where you start. If you don't start there, no one's gonna want to work with you or for you or around you. And you're gonna stressed yourself out and your body's gonna start listening to you. Then you wonder why all of a sudden you got joint problems and heart problems and arrhythmias. It's because of the words and the way you act. You act stressed. If I want to right now just standing here, I can make my heart raise. If I want to right now I could raise my blood pressure to a really high level.
If I want to right now I could make myself pass out. You know, just try breathing really heavy. You got about 60 seconds. You gonna pass out. And so, and I can make my blood pressure by making myself stressed out and breathing heavy and hard. Like, we have got to make a decision. I'm gonna walk in the peace of God, the blessing of God, the joy of God. I'm gonna handle anything that comes my way. I'm gonna rise up and be blessed. And every blessing that I get I'm gonna manage, I'm gonna handle, I'm gonna administrate my life. And the people around me, I'm gonna enjoy. I'm gonna be right in the moment. These are decisions you have to make about your life or you're just gonna be another statistic. It's a weary stressed out dude walking around and going, "What is wrong"? The Bible's got some incredible things we need to be aware of.
Isaiah 40:28, listen to this verse and listen to it as though God is saying it to you right now. "Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, faints not and He is not weary. There is no searching His understanding and He gives power to the faint and to them that have no might he increases their strength. Even the youth shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall. But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They're gonna mount up with wings as eagles. They're gonna run and not be weary. They shall walk, and not faint". One of my favorite verses in the Bible. That wherever I need energy, wherever I've allowed myself to get weary. Weariness of the mind, tiredness of the body. If you got both going on and you're spiritually at the same time not feeding yourself. You're in trouble. But I found many times in life, it is literally a three-second fix for me. I'm going somewhere. I'm going okay, well.
And I realized I'm letting weariness thinking get into my head. I'm getting myself begin to, and all of a sudden I go, "No, no. I am not". I'm walking in there and the joy of the Lord is my strength. The peace of God passes understanding and I am not getting under this thing. Now, I'm not talking the people who avoid making a decision, okay? Like, you're an abused, physically abused woman in a marriage. And you're telling me not to be weary. I'm telling you walk, make a decision. I'm not saying don't make any decision in life. You should be problem solving all the time. You should be confronting problems, relationships, finances, making changes, make your life better. But in this process of doing that, the enemy wants you weary.
Now, here is what's interesting. The enemy wants you weary of what you've got and God's ready to shift the gear and gets you going twice as fast. "Leon, how does that work"? I don't know but it happened to my life. I ended up in the hospital the first time I started pastoring Springs Church. I think we're running about 1.500 people. I was the only pastor on staff. I hadn't hire anybody yet and I was maxed, so maxed. I didn't know what to do and I was freaking out. I ended up in the hospital and they gave me all these checkups. Then we can't find a single thing wrong with you. And I went, "Thank you. Okay, that's good to know".
Then it's just, and I began to get up and speak the Word of God over my body and over my mind and declare that I walk in the joy of the Lord. Declare that the peace of God that passes any kind of mental understanding governs my life and I would get in to the Word of God and I would begin to change the way I thought. I want to change the way I am because our culture admires stress out, max out people for some reason. I'm not living that way. I'm gonna be happy and blessed. And you're gonna have to make a decision about your life.
In Isaiah 54:2-3, it says, "Enlarge the place of thy tent". Enlarge it? Enlarge your life. It says, "And let them stretch forth the curtains of your habitations, spare not, lengthen the cords, strengthen the stakes". When you're tenting. If you've got a tent and you wanna go bigger, you have to have longer cords and you gotta have deeper stakes. And the bigger that tent gets, the longer those cords and the deeper those stakes. This is how they lived in that agricultural kind of tribal society. And to get bigger meant you had, and so I love the way it says this, strengthen your stakes, lengthen your cords. For you're gonna break forth on the right hand and on the left. It's talking about blessing and increase and bigger.
And you're going, "Okay, I don't know Leon". No, no. You're just in your first gear going, What's the clutch for your life? What's the next gear? I don't know. Maybe it's just changing the way you think. Maybe it's renewing your mind like Romans 12 says that you'll never gonna fulfill God's perfect role for your life until you change the way you think and renew your mind. Maybe you have never put on the armor of a prayer warrior. In Ephesians 6:10, it says, "Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might". And then it talks about this armor that you gotta put on. The breastplate, the helmet, and every piece of the armor is a teaching from God's Word. And your mind which protects your heart, your mind is the walls of your heart. Like in the old days the walls protected the city inhabitants. Your mind is what protects your heart. The beliefs of your mind is what allows or does not allow the presence of God to be released in your life.
Your mind makes that decision. Spirit or flesh? And you don't have two natures, but your body's been trained to get whatever it wants. So when it screams at something which we call the flesh, then it's gonna get what it wants or the spirit of God. And it's your mind, the renewing of your mind that makes the difference. So even the armor that goes on, it is actually talking about the renewing of the mind. You're gonna understand righteousness, understand salvation, understand truth, understand prayer, understand faith. When you know these teachings, you're gonna find that the enemy will come at you and you're just confident. I'm going through and I'm gonna win.
I was chatting with some guys the other day. We're talking about going to new levels. He said to me, "New levels, new devils. You better have a new anointing. You go that new place in life. And I'm telling you, the devil's gonna mess with you. All of us who try to go down the level and the enemy he just comes along, and he nails you and you better be having an intercessory prayer group who's working on your behalf and you better be ready. Are you ready? Is there an anointing upon you to go to that next level"? And I've never in my life done any of that. What do you mean Leon? I'm not worried about a new anointing because the anointed One, Jesus, is in me. In the Old Testament there were three anointings, the prophet, the priest, and the king. In the New Testament, if you're a born again believer, we're all anointed with Jesus. The anointed One is inside of us.
I think when we use the word anointing like maybe once or twice in the entire New Testament because it's no longer about specific unique anointings. You have a prophetic anointing and you have a kingly anointing. No, we all have God in us. Now, we might have different functions, but the presence of God is in me. I don't have to go back to the well for a second level of the anointing in my life. He's never left me. And so I've never treated every change in life has, "Oh, boy! This gonna be a big transition. The devil's gonna be messing with me. God might be holding me back. He might be slapping me upside the head with sickness, diseases, or poverty to teach me something. We're gonna go through it". It's never been like that. For instance, let's go to the next level. Come on. What you gonna do? I change some systems and make the decisions. Let's go.
Now, for all of you super spiritual people who are deeper than me, when I talked to many different denominations of pastors or just people who've been raised in this kind of a teaching. They would look at me and they would see the breadth of the ministry, how many languages this message is gonna go into around the world. And the fact that we're gonna run it a television network station as well as churches, as well as well. And they look at me go, "You must be stressed, or you must have gone through great suffering to get where you are today". I go, "No, nothing I can't take of. No". And they just don't know what to do with that because the prevailing doctrine is to do anything great means you gotta through great suffering and they'll pull a few verses out of.
Everybody goes through suffering, everybody. A mom suffers when her little boy goes to Grade One. That little boy suffers when he falls off the teeter-totter. He needs four stitches in his knee and he's in pain. Life's got stuff. The Bible wasn't saying that begin to believe for a whole bunch of new suffering. It's just saying life's got stuff. Someone say, "Well, pastoring is hard. They stab you in the back. They talk about you. They blog about you. They get better and they leave you". And I said, "That's not any different than any business person. You raise your business up. People gonna lie about you, stab you in the back. They're gonna take business from you. Someone's gonna come work for you and then steal your clientele and go raise up the company down the street".
Like, why do we think as spiritual pastors are just Christians that the devils are on our tail. Deal with that doctrine or you will forever be tethered to that doctrine. Here's what scary. The Bible says according to your faith so be it done to you. That's a scary verse. It's basically said be careful what you believe because what you believed will happen. What are you focus on? What are you believing for? Be careful. Because if you start to believe something is wrong, even though it's wrong it will begin to affect your life. So that's why when you come to this church and you hear me messing with doctrine.
Someone said to me today, "Leon, when you preached, I gotta go home listen to it seven times to get something out of it". I said, I mean, to get everything that's in there. I said, "Good. You know, you should listen to it more than that. The Word of God we've got to change what we believed, or nothing will change in the exterior until you change the interior. Don't look at your life right now and go, "We gotta back off. I guess more kids aren't for us. We can't handle the one we got". Just get in second gear already. Learn something. Grow in something. Get some advice.
Well, right now, I'm trying to handle three staff Leon in our company. We got a new company. We got three staff. It's driving me nuts. I'm trying to control those three staff. I'm trying to make a payroll. I'm gonna make the money to make the payroll. Everybody goes through that. Just keep learning. Just keep growing. By the way, God's taking you bigger. And it's amazing how in life has things happen. What you believe begins to affect what happens in your world. So all I want you to get of this message today is, you've been created for more. You've been created to go bigger. You've been created to enjoy higher. You've been created to lead, to go. Don't get into a place where your wah-wah, "Yeah, I'm unhappy here".
Well, the Bible says Leon that whatever level of life we're to be satisfied. We're to be content. The contentment Paul is talking about in context is not, "Okay, I've reached seven people for Jesus. I'm content. I'm gonna just stop there". No. He's going for the whole world. He's not content as far as production of His ministry. He's not content as far as rising. Oh, no. He's just saying he's not driven trying to prove himself to people with this need. Nah, I'm serving God. I'm blessed. I'm happy. But I'm going on with new great things for God with my life. I'm challenging you. You got gifts. You got ability. When you come to church, don't allow stress to shut you down and go, "I can't handle anymore". You don't know that.
When you were two tying up your shoes, you were stressed. When you were five trying to get your coat on, you were stressed. When you were in Grade-One and you're trying to learn to write, you were stressed. When you were in Grade-Five and you saw that cute little girl and you had this little crush with, some other guy like her, too. You were stressed. When you're 12 and you had your first crush, it was stress, Come on! Wherever you are right now, it's just difficult. Let God guide you. Let His presence helped you. Wherever you are in relationships, finances, careers, your relationship with God. There's more and that more is not harder.
Remember, and if you've never driven a clutch, maybe you don't know what I'm talking about. But if you're driving a four speed or a three on the three and that RPM is gonna, on an automatic it changes automatic. You can hear the car going -, But on a standard, you got to put a clutch in and pull it there. Let God give you whatever that is. The next clutch in shift for your life and have you going twice as fast, twice as big, with less RPM's, less stress. "Leon, that doesn't make sense". Yeah, welcome to God grace. Amen?