UPDATED: Pastor Andrew Stoecklein Takes His Life After Battle With Depression, Anxiety

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We continue to be in prayer for the family, friends and congregation and also all Pastors……….we are so very heartbroken……..

Inland Hills Church in California lost its lead pastor Andrew Stoecklein Saturday after he took his own life. 

His wife, Kayla, shared the devastating loss on Instagram saying her husband struggled with depression and anxiety.

In a recent post, Kayla shares a letter to her husband she wrote on their shared blog “God’s Got This.” Their blog was originally started by Pastor Andrew when his dad was battling leukemia.

CBN News Story

Anxiety is a growing problem in our present day society….it breaks my heart…..the current situation in American creates anxiety…I feel it at times….I see what is happening to our Country, what my children and grandchildren are facing….I am spending more time in the Word of God……I am closer to God than I ever have been and that is my prayer for all. We love you all. Pastors are under so much stress in these times.

Many Pastors carry a heavy weight, more than you may ever know. Many Pastors carry the burdens of many, including their own. They care so very much for people.

Take care of your Pastor.

When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. Psalm 94:19

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

We are in prayer for the Pastor Andrew’s family, friends and congregation…..my heart breaks at this news……

Members of Inland Hills Church in Chino, California, are now grappling with grief after their lead pastor, Andrew Stoecklein, succumbed to self-inflicted injuries Saturday after a battle with depression and anxiety, his church said. He was 30.

“Inland Hills Church grieves with heavy hearts as our Lead Pastor Andrew Stoecklein was welcomed into Heaven on Saturday night after battling depression and anxiety. It’s not the outcome we hoped and prayed for, and today we grieve as a church family,” the megachurch said in an announcement on Facebook late Sunday.

Story Here

 

 9 Things You May Do Because Of Anxiety — That You Should Never Have To Apologize For
Bustle

If you experience certain symptoms or behaviors because of your anxiety, know that you’re not alone. People with anxiety never have to apologize for living with what is actually a really common medical condition, just like diabetes or high blood… Read the full story

 

Shared from Apple News

From Dr. Michelle Bengtson:

After receiving a diagnosis of depression, the very next question my patients want answered is “What do I do about it?”

Perhaps the two most common recommendations to manage depression are psychotherapy and medication. Both of those can be very helpful for an individual suffering from depression. But there are also other things that are within an individual’s direct control that can have a positive impact on mood and emotional functioning.

Be Aware of Your Body’s Needs

Many medical conditions (including thyroid disease, heart disease, stroke, and vitamin deficiencies among others) can cause mood changes. Getting a general medical physical is important, to ensure that there isn’t something medically causing depression.

It’s generally good advice for anyone to ensure that you aren’t skimping on your vitamins. It’s important to ensure that your body doesn’t become deficient in vitamins which adversely affects our immune system, mood and our thinking. For example, a deficiency in vitamin D can negatively impact mood, while a deficiency in vitamin B can negatively impact energy.

Staying hydrated is also very important. Even mild levels of dehydration can increase anxiety, adversely impact mood, deplete motivation, and decrease attention and concentration.

Get Regular Physical Exercise

Research shows that as little as 15 minutes of exercise a day can impact our brain chemistry and improve our mood. Individuals who are depressed often lack energy and motivation. While it takes energy to make ourselves exercise, exercising will actually increase our energy level, and increase the production of mood-stabilizing chemicals in our brains.

Exercising outdoors has the added bonus of increasing our exposure to sunlight which helps increase the production of Vitamin D. Sufficient vitamin D can improve our mood, ward off feelings of weariness, and help ward off physical illnesses and ailments. Getting outdoors for exercise also provides uninterrupted time to converse with God which can allow for an infusion of His peace and joy despite our circumstances.

Maintain a Consistent Sleep Schedule

Rest is referred to in the Bible over 100 times. We are given a Godly example of the importance of rest in Genesis 2:2 which tells us that God rested on the seventh day.

A consistent sleep schedule – going to bed about the same time every night and getting up about the same time every morning – helps our brains repair themselves. This is the time when the brain reproduces the chemicals (neurotransmitters, hormones) which directly impact our mood.

Sleep allows the perfect opportunity for us to trust God and allow Him to take care of us and sustain us. Psalm 3:5 tells us, “I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.”

Engage In Social Activities

Frequently, one of the hardest things to do when we are suffering through depression is to get out and socialize. It’s important, however, because socializing helps us ward off isolation and withdrawal, both of which make depression worse.

Getting out and being around others also allows others the chance to help meet your needs and share your burdens. We are called to help carry each others burdens as believers, but when we become withdrawn others often don’t know we are either in pain or in need.

Recite God’s Word

During a particularly difficult and emotionally painful time in my life it did not help to have others spout scripture to me. Yet in my desperation I found that by reciting God’s word, especially His promises, I gained strength to keep going. Faith comes by hearing, and by reciting God’s promises, we bolster our own faith.

By reciting His promises, we also come into agreement with God about our situation. Agreeing with God is the first step to surrender. It is in our times of surrender to God, that He has the greatest freedom to intervene on our behalf.

Prayer

Have you ever experienced a time when others couldn’t relate to you or your situation because they hadn’t gone through it themselves? In the midst of depression our pain is magnified when we feel like no one understands. But the Word tells us in Isaiah 53:3 that He is acquainted with our grief. God understands and He is near to the broken hearted (Psalm 34:18). He’s just waiting for you to share your pain with Him.

The wonderful thing is that God created prayer. Because of prayer, we always have someone to talk to who will not only listen, but who has the answers we need. Prayer brings us into the Father’s presence, which helps mitigate any loneliness we may feel. And prayer opens the door to allow God to comfort us in our sorrow.

Journal

The Bible says that “out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). That is frequently what happens when we journal. Depression often begins because we push down our thoughts and feelings without adequately expressing them. Journaling at times is like a process of bleeding onto paper…letting our emotions out, so that together, you and the Lord can deal with them.

Journaling also offers an additional advantage. When we journal, we have a record of our past experiences that we can refer to at a later time. This offers an opportunity to look back and see just how far you’ve come, and how faithful the Lord has been. This then serves as an encouragement from which we can draw strength.

Try New Activities

Trying new activities offers us an opportunity to experience pleasure, which helps fight off the blues. When you open yourself up to trying new things, you never know when a new activity will bring you joy and delight during an otherwise down time.

Trying new activities doesn’t necessarily have to be something major like mountain climbing or pursuing a degree. It might be something as simple as learning to play a new game, reading a book from a new author, or trying a new recipe.

Laugh and Play

It’s important, especially during a period of depression, to intentionally seek out the opportunities to experience pleasure. Have you ever noticed how much young children laugh? I have to wonder if that’s part of the reason we rarely see depressed young children?

When we put ourselves in situations where we remind our brain and body what it feels like to experience joy and pleasure, we actually begin to crave more of that sensation. As we crave it more, we will seek it out more and thus combat the inertia that often accompanies depression. Maybe it’s playing a silly game, or climbing a tree, or having coffee with a friend. The point is, explore what brings you pleasure.

Practice gratitude

In being intentionally grateful, you come to appreciate the expanding opportunities to be grateful. Being grateful opens our eyes to all we have to be grateful for.

In truth, it’s hard to stay down when we’re practicing gratitude. Intentionally practicing gratitude helps us stay focused on the positive, and allows us to remember the good things in life, while de-emphasizing the negative.

I’ve offered you several tips to help ward off depression. I do not want you to feel like you have to do all of these things at once. Choose one, then another, until eventually perhaps you will be incorporating all of them in your regular schedule and enjoying the abundant life Christ came to give.

Tips to Cope With Depression

 

(For more hope and posts like this, visit Dr. Bengtson’s website: www.DrMichelleBengtson.com or follow her on Facebook: www.Facebook.com/DrMichelleBengtson)

Posts from ther past on that you should read on depression and anxiety…….

Chip Gaines has solved the anxiety of our age
Dr. Jim Denison | October 20, 2017
Chip and Joanna Gaines are back in the news. Critics continue to look for reasons why they would step away from their very profitable television show, but Chip’s explanation is simple: “That’s not what motivates us: more money, more fame, more things. We didn’t really want all of this stuff to begin with.”Yesterday was the thirtieth anniversary of Black Monday, the worst day in Wall Street history. While experts believe our economy is safer now than it was then, 85 percent of US adults nonetheless experiencesome form of financial anxiety. Roughly two-thirds admit that their financial anxiety is negatively affecting their health; 70 percent say it is adversely impacting their home life.

More Americans than ever before are stressed, depressed, and anxiety-ridden. A perceptive commentator noted that “the epidemic of anxiety is not just a mental health issue, but it is also cultural pathology. Our way of life promotes anxiety and its consequences.”

Ministers are not immune from the anxiety of our age. A third of pastors admit that they battle discouragement, fear of inadequacy, or depression. Consider this observation:

“Perhaps the ministry was never busier than it is now. Hundreds of men are hoarse from continual speaking, and are wearied out with running here and running there. If things slow down, we evolve yet another type of meeting. And when this new and added wheel is spinning merrily with all the other wheels, there may be no spiritual outcome whatsoever, but there is a wind blowing in our faces; and we hot and sticky engineers have a comfortable feeling that something is going on.”

Arthur John Gossip wrote these words in 1952. What would he say of our frenzied, over-scheduled church culture today?

By contrast, Oswald Chambers notes: “In our Lord’s life there was none of the press and rush of tremendous activity that we regard so highly, and the disciple is to be as his Master. The central thing about the kingdom of Jesus Christ is a personal relationship to himself, not public usefulness to men.”

Craig Denison adds: “You’ll find no greater joy, peace, or purpose than in serving Jesus alone. There is no greater life than one lived in full devotion to the King of all the earth.”

I have found that I experience sustained peace and joy in direct proportion to the degree that I am in love with Jesus. When the living Christ is just part of my life rather than the focus of my life, the spokes detach from the hub and the wheel breaks down. When I walk with Jesus through the day, worshiping him and thanking him and asking for his wisdom and depending on his power, I experience a centeredness and deep delight that words cannot express.

Henri Nouwen describes our Lord as the God “who sent his Son to become God-with-us and . . . sent his Spirit to become God-within-us.” Think of it: the God who rules the universe now inhabits your body.

Should we love anyone or anything more than him? Should we work in our power or his?

NOTE: For more on working in the power of God’s Spirit, see Ryan Denison’s A crucial lesson from the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry.

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Jim Denison, Ph.D., speaks and writes on cultural and contemporary issues. He produces a daily column which is distributed to more than 113,000 subscribers in 203 countries. He also writes for The Dallas Morning NewsThe Christian PostCommon Call, and other publications.
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october appreciationPastors and their families live under incredible pressures. Their lives are played out in a fishbowl, with the entire congregation and community watching their every move. They are expected to have ideal families, to be perfect people, to always be available, to never be down and to have all the answers we need to keep our own lives stable and moving forward. Those are unrealistic expectations to place on anyone, yet most of us are disappointed when a pastor becomes overwhelmed, seems depressed, lets us down or completely burns out.

That’s why God has instructed us to recognize His servants.

“The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching” (1 Timothy 5:17).

Please pray for your Pastor and the family.

Show the love of Jesus Christ to your Pastor and the family.

Encourage your Pastor and the family.

pastors month 2pastors 3In Jesus name, Amen!

 

 

 

 

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A Cheerleading Story

“We’ve got spirit, yes we do. We’ve got spirit, how bout you?”

To be a spirit girl would be so cool. Therefore, I tried out for cheerleader in high school.

After the first round, it came down to three of us vying for two available spots. They nixed Yours truly. While disappointed, honestly, the other two girls proved far better at rah-rah stuff—flips, jumps, and everything.

And my sister, Wendi, ten years younger, grew up blossoming in dance and gymnastics classes. So she was a shoo-in for cheerleader.

But, guess what? I am cheering these days, just in a different way and for a new cause.

I’m my husband Mike’s biggest cheerleader. His cool-spirit-girl. It’s a place I’m blossoming and it rocks!

Appreciating as a Wife

It’s no secret. I’m a pastor’s wife. As duly noted on my blog site and in my author and speaker biographies. The title graces the pages of my story. I use the hashtag often, #pastorswife, on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

And the role has become more important to me the last few years. The Lord is stirring a sense of awareness in my heart for the sanctity of callings.

Still, God’s call to ministry isn’t to be taken lightly. My calling or my husband’s. There was a time I downplayed the awe of it. My life was consumed with life. Cares and duties. Responsibilities and activities. Mostly secular in nature, they lobbied for my precious time and attention.

All that to say I’ve bid farewell to the world’s constant distractions. Actually, I tried before, unsuccessfully. Now my life is more about ministry.

A busy schedule is OK with me if it has kingdom purpose. And when it brings my heart and the hearts of others closer to Jesus.

I’ve resolved to stop and smell the roses. Yet when there aren’t roses, I will stop regardless.

And cease the insanity of the hustle and bustle in life. There is a point it needs to stop or we never have the pleasure of smelling roses along the way…to appreciate.

Pastor Appreciation Shout Out 

Sunday, October 8, is Pastor Appreciation Day (Also known as Clergy Appreciation Day). But we set aside the entire month as Pastor Appreciation Month to say, Thank you. A time to honor our pastors and ministers.

For almost 20 years Mike served as a youth pastor. Currently he shepherds as a lead pastor. Here’s my new cheer, “I have a pastor, yes I do. I have a pastor, how bout you?”

So I’m speaking up on behalf of my husband, no matter how many social manners it breaks. Giving a shout out to Mike, and to pastors and ministers everywhere.

Appreciating the Duty of Care

One of the meanings for “appreciating” is to be aware of someone’s value. I appreciate my pastor, Mike, who happens to be my husband. I am fully aware of his value as my spiritual leader and the spiritual leader of Believers Church in Tennessee.

You see, pastors provide spiritual direction and care for the church body. Pastors give us valuable leadership and teaching in the ministry of the Word.

And pastors set the example of obedience to the mission of Christ and His Church. “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith” Hebrews 13:7 ESV.

Verse 17 in Hebrews goes on to implore the body of Christ to submit to our spiritual leaders for “they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account.” That’s some heavy-duty responsibility. One to appreciate.

Appreciating Our Shepherds

Called to shepherd the flock of God, pastors exercise oversight knowing that when the Chief Shepherd appears, they will be rewarded (1 Peter 5:2-4).

Pastors tenderly watch over us as a shepherd watches over his sheep. Shepherds always keep a sheep’s best interest in mind, looking out for the sheep’s well-being.

Do you appreciate your pastor? The duty of care? The valuable leadership? Your pastor’s teaching and ministry of the Word? The shepherding?

I have a pastor, yes I do. A pastor I appreciate. How bout you?

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