Seeing is believingliterally, for Duplantis, a rocker turned Christian preacher who is master of a multimedia ministry empire. Duplantis wants readers to "start using the mind of Christ" to create a mental map filled with "determined thoughts" that will help them first envision and then fulfill their idea of success. If readers can imagine it, it can happen. Nothing is impossible for Duplantis, who frequently turns to the Bible for advice and says that God is watching constantly (Duplantis's God keeps report cards on everyone). Though at times Duplantis offends, especially when discussing Muslims, he broad-mindedly claims that all people can become visionaries, "even nonbelievers." This claim falls apart as the book moves forward, however, since Duplantis's accounts of personal changes as well as his prose are all thoroughly Christian. The author's heavy use of exclamation points makes the pacing frenetic as he bellows at readers to shepherd their dreams into reality. While some Christians may be inspired by this aggressive approach to prosperity theology, others will prefer a softer sell. (July 8)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The Everyday Visionary: Focus Your Thoughts, Change Your Lifeby Jesse Duplantis
One of the world's most humorous and dynamic ministers inspires readers to realize their potential and fulfill their dreams using the power of "determined" thoughts.
Life is about dreaming, doing, and enjoying yourself in the process. Sometimes it might seem as if your dreams are just too wildly improbable, or there are too many obstacles standing in/b>… See more details below
One of the world's most humorous and dynamic ministers inspires readers to realize their potential and fulfill their dreams using the power of "determined" thoughts.
Life is about dreaming, doing, and enjoying yourself in the process. Sometimes it might seem as if your dreams are just too wildly improbable, or there are too many obstacles standing in your way, or you've missed your window of opportunity. But if those dreams are divinely inspired, hope is far from lost. You just need to know how to visualize the path to your dream to make it a reality.
Born a poor Cajun boy in south Louisiana, Jesse Duplantis was a rock musician in his early years and, after a life-changing experience with God, became one of the most candid, and popular, ministers of the Gospel today. For thirty years Jesse Duplantis has demonstrated what life can be when you focus on finding your personal path and nurturing a closer relationship with God and Jesus Christ. Jesse believes God can help anyone to succeed--no matter who you are or where you come from.
Weaving visionary-style thinking with powerful life principles and stories from his own life, Jesse shares what destiny really is, how to find yours, and how to avoid letting others kill your joy. You'll also learn about the "Greatest Weaknesses" and "Destiny Killers" that have prevented people from achieving their goals.
Other key topics Jesse explores include:
The amazing power of human imagination: God gave it to you for a reason!
The strategic power of "determined" thoughts: Learn to use them and see results.
What to do if you feel it's too late for your dream: God-given dreams have no expiration dates.
Why you can't have what you speak against: Use the magnetic power of words to draw in what you know is yours.
How to overcome discouragement: It's okay to shut the door on negativity.
The big picture: You are important to God, and your dreams and visionary-style thinking may affect future generations.
As Jesse says, "Somebody is going to succeed...why not you?" You can experience real joy, ful-fillment, and success by following God's path to your dreams!
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Read an Excerpt
Building Mental Maps to Destiny
Dreaming is wonderful. Doing is better. When I first began in ministry, the Lord told me that I was going to be preaching the Gospel on worldwide television one day. Now, at that time, that looked about as possible as seeing a pig fly over south Louisiana. I barely had enough money for gas to fill up my car. I felt blessed to preach in a church that sat fifty people. And, I sure didn't think that, with my accent and my Cajun heritage, that anyone would want to listen to me preach the Gospel on TV.
Still, I knew the voice of the Lord. My life had been completely turned around through another man's television ministry and I knew that God would use me to reach others through the same vehicle.
I grew up along the banks of the Mississippi River, in south Louisiana. I learned early that nobody was going to take care of me, but me. I saw a lot of poverty and a lot of hypocrisy. I experienced hardship from a young age and I had a pretty bad view of the church in general, but my mother was a strong believer and a strong woman, and she instilled the Scriptures in me from the time I was a young boy. Still, I didn't believe it and I just wanted to get out.
So, although I made my own choices and used my musical talent to get out of Louisiana and play rock music as a young man, when I came back around and gave my life to God, I knew that it meant change...change not only in my spirit and in my heart, but also in my mind.
Mental Changes, Mental Choices
When I decided to follow the teachings of Jesus and the Bible, it was also a decision to change my mental strategies. Before, I didn't understand spiritual concepts like faith. But after I accepted Christ and chose to go this way in my life, I began to get a clearer picture of what it meant to think God's way, to trust Him and start living by the teachings in His Word.
Years later, after I accepted God's call on my life and entered the ministry, God dropped the idea of preaching the Word on worldwide television into my mind. It was a big thought and, I knew, totally beyond my means.
It could have easily stayed in the realm of dreaming, but I decided to move that thought out of idleness into the realm of real faith. To even begin doing that, I had to "reboot" my mind, so to speak, and actually consider that the dream could come to pass. After all, everything around me told me that I couldn't do it. But, I knew that this was a "God-thought" -- a thought that was not about me, but about reaching more people for Him.
That day, I began developing a "mental map" -- a determined thought-life -- that I knew would be a key in reaching what I believed God had told me would be part of my destiny. I knew that this thought wasn't a pipe dream. It wasn't a thought that I wanted to dismiss with a "well, maybe one day" kind of attitude. I knew in my heart that I needed to go deeper with the idea that I considered to be "God-revealed."
Mental Maps Are Determined Thoughts
You see, daydreams are idle thoughts. They can be fun. They can be a form of escape. But mental maps are the kind of thoughts that have purpose and direction. They're the thoughts with intent, thoughts that are actually taking you somewhere that you want to go. You could call them "determined" thoughts.
You know the difference. Think about it. Have you ever been watching TV and a commercial for cake mix comes on the screen? Shot one, you're suddenly seeing close-ups of a butter-yellow cake with chocolate icing. The announcer is telling you how good it is as, shot two, that steaming cake comes sliding out of the oven.
Shot three, you watch a fork press down on the top of the cake and the cake just fluffs right back up, like the freshest thing ever made. Shot four, they get a tight angle on a knife sliding across the top of that cake with chocolate frosting so thick and so close that you can almost reach out and grab it.
Shot five, a big old slice of that cake sits on a plate as another fork cuts right down and lifts up quick to take the first bite -- the act of the fork coming up quick creates a perfect little twirl of chocolate icing. It looks like it's just waiting for that fork to come in and make that next bite...which the fork never does. Instead, the camera zooms in closer and closer to the cake. The name brand of the mix comes on the screen and it's all over. The TV is rolling on to something else.
Okay, now, here's where thoughts come in. You've just seen the commercial. You start wanting that cake. You sit there for a second and imagine tasting yellow cake with chocolate icing. It's just an idle thought, a passing thought.
A "determined" thought is different. It has intent and passion behind it. A determined thought isn't content to remain idle, it gives you an idea!
In this case, a determined thought gives you the idea of preheating the oven. Then, it is this kind of thought that actually gets your rear off the sofa at ten at night! It's the kind of thought that has you speeding to the grocery store to get that mix, the kind of thought that has you reading the back of the box in your kitchen and going through all the steps it takes to have that cake mixed, baked, and frosted, so that you can sit right back down where you were before in front of the TV...except with a hot slice of cake on a plate in your hand and a big smile of accomplishment on your face! My wife and I do this kind of thing once every few years. I know what I'm talking about!
Now, do you see the difference? An idle thought keeps you on the couch. A determined thought gets you inspired to move.
From Mental Maps to Reality
Here's how it goes. A mental map begins with determined thoughts. Those determined thoughts produce ideas. Those ideas produce actions. And those actions -- combined with faith in God, trust in His Word, and the tenacity to never give up -- are what will draw your dream into reality.
Many people wander through life with big dreams, but they don't have determined thoughts -- thoughts that will make them believe what it takes, say what it takes, and even change what it takes to start doing what it takes and moving that dream to reality.
Instead, they live in the world of idle thoughts, which may be entertaining, sure, but that's about as far as the thoughts ever go. Dreaming is good. It's a God-given gift to be able to imagine and to dream. Doing is better, because doing -- actually acting on your dreams -- is what moves your life forward and brings greater fulfillment.
It all starts with thoughts.
In this book, I hope to inspire you through biblical passages and stories, and my own personal experiences, to stop thinking idly and start thinking with intent and determination -- to start building "mental maps" that will get you moving in the right direction. Maps that will lead you to the good life and the good destiny that God has in store for you.
You Determine Where You Go in Life
Destiny isn't fate. It's not firm. It's not something that just happens to you or something that is going to happen no matter what.
No. You are the architect of your own life. You have free will. You have choices that you can make that will determine your future, and that puts you in the driver's seat. You may not have picked the car! You may not have picked the town you're in! But, you still have power because you still have free will and choice.
Sure, there are events that happen which might put you in the right place at the right time...but if you don't choose to do the right thing, in that moment, nothing is going to happen!
It's sort of like health and money. It doesn't matter how healthy you are. If you don't have any money, you ain't going anywhere! And, you can have all the money in the world, but if you're as sick as a dog, you ain't going anywhere either!
A God-given destiny is sort of like that. Certain things have to be in line for you to get the best result, but ultimately, you are going to determine where you go and what you do in this life.
Nobody is a puppet. God created this earth and the Bible says that He gave it to the children of men (Psalm 115:16), which is you and me. We have to take ownership over what is ours, or we will lose it. Our choices in this life make a difference, but nothing happens without thoughts, which is what mental mapping is all about.
What will we allow ourselves to believe that we can accomplish? What will we do with the good thoughts, good ideas, and good concepts that God has given us? Are these thoughts good? Are they worth pursuing? Do they make us feel passionate? Are they God's way of nudging us to fulfill His good plan, which is His will for our lives?
Can we take those good thoughts and build upon them day by day and reach the good life God has for us? Yes, we can. Abraham did it. Thousands of Christians do it every day, and even nonbelievers can use the principle and see some results.
Taking a thought that you believe is God-revealed and praying about it, focusing on it, and letting it develop into an idea, which produces an action, which leads to more actions on the path to God's good plan for your life...well, that's mental mapping, and anybody can do it and see results.
Mental Mapping Is a Spiritual Concept
Mental mapping is a spiritual concept, and spiritual concepts always apply to our lives in a real way, even if they don't appear to do so on the surface.
The Bible tells us that spiritual things, such as mental mapping, are foolish to those who only think naturally.
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.
1 Corinthians 2:14-16
So, our spirit can embrace our intellect, but our intellect cannot embrace our spirit. It takes the "mind of Christ" to think beyond the natural.
When Christ comes to live within our heart, we gain the ability to start thinking higher, to break free from our old habits, and start thinking new thoughts -- higher thoughts.
That verse above says that we have "the mind of Christ"...so, what's He thinking? Does it match up with your thoughts? "Christ" means anointed. It's a divine style of thinking that isn't bound to just regular old thoughts.
The mind of Christ is a mind full of faith. This may seem totally crazy in the "natural" way of thinking, but is in fact the way God works. Jesus Christ was a visionary in every way, including the way He thought, and He has a totally different visionary-style thinking that we can adopt and start to use today, right here and right now.
Let me warn you. When you start using the mind of Christ, people will think you're crazy. So what! They think I'm crazy! I don't care! If you want to do anything great for God or for this world, or even just for your family, you must get to the point where you don't care what other people think...you're going to do the right thing and follow your mental map anyway!
Remember, you'r enot living for people, you're living for God. If you have a big dream, you will have to think beyond natural thinking. Just figure that most of the people in history who have done phenomenal things were called crazy because others couldn't see what they saw. People will always attack what they don't understand.
Sometimes, though, the one you're going to have to fight the most is you!
Don't Focus on Your Shortcomings
Man, all those years ago, when God first dropped the idea of sharing the Gospel on worldwide television in my mind, I could have backed away from those thoughts and stayed right where I was. I could have let the thoughts about my shortcomings stay in my mind, because, believe me, they came in like a flood!
You see, your natural mind will work against you, if you let it. So you have to make a decision to fight off "natural thoughts" and think higher, which is God's way -- with the mind of Christ.
When God told me I would be on worldwide television preaching His Gospel, I could have said, "Oh, that's for somebody else to do, not me."
I could have looked at my stature -- I'm short.
I could have listened to my voice -- I'm Cajun.
I could have looked at my background -- I'm an ex-rocker who had a problem with booze, women, and drugs. Look, I drank enough whisky to float a few boats. I took trips and never left my house! My generation is the late 1960s and 1970s. I'm talking Led Zeppelin, Grand Funk, early ZZ Top days. I had chocolate-brown hair down the middle of my back and boozy breath that could have knocked down a house. Nobody was looking at me and thinking, Hey, that's a future preacher. No, they were looking at me thinking, That's a boy headed for cirrhosis of the liver!
If you knew me back then, you would have never in a million years thought that I'd accept Jesus as my Savior and one day be preaching His Gospel or talking about mental mapping...and I wouldn't have, either. But here I am! We'll get to that later on!
From Thinking to Saying
You see, once I became a minister and God gave me that thought about sharing His Word in a mass-media way, I made a quality decision to let the seedling of that God-given idea resonate in my mind. I knew what God had done for me and I knew that, if He could help me, He could help anyone.
The more I thought about worldwide television, the more I digested it as a possibility. The more I allowed that thought to stay, the more it became a part of my own vision for my future work for he Lord. I began to "see" myself doing it, in my own mind -- not to bring glory to myself, by no means, but to see others hearing the Gospel and coming into a new life with Christ, just as I had done. I was mental mapping and I didn't even know it.
Pretty soon the thought of sharing His Word on such a large scale became so real to me that I knew it would come to pass...even though, looking at my life at the time, it was as far away as the moon.
Then I made a step beyond thoughts. I started talking about it. To use a scripture, I started to "calleth those things which be not as though they were" (Romans 4:17).
So, not only did I picture what I believed was my destiny in my own mind, but I also began to speak out the dream with my mouth. It became part of my prayer life to touch more people for God. I quoted scripture to myself every day about Christ's command to "Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15). Even though I was chock-a-block full of shortcomings, I refused to speak little of myself. I chose to look ahead and speak about my future, as Romans 4:17 says, and decided to begin pushing myself toward my destiny.
Was I doing anything about it in the natural world? Not yet. I was still working in the area of thoughts and words. To put it in biblical terms, I was living by my faith and by what I could not see...because nothing was happening that I could see in the natural world. It was all still inside of me.
Now, unlike many things that God had told me to do in the past, when I got determined in my thoughts, I didn't get a lick of spiritual resistance about my future television ministry. In the past, whatever good thing I wanted to accomplish usually came with some kind of fight. It seemed like something would always jump up to try to steal away what I was praying and goaling for. But with this, there was none of that mess!
At first I couldn't figure out why nothing bad was happening. It was a huge vision for me and I wondered, Why isn't the devil fighting me on this? Why am I not having problems?
You see, I know a lot of people don't believe in the devil...but that doesn't change the fact that darkness most certainly exists in this world. That's a basic tenet of the Christian faith and one I'm not backing off of. There is a devil. The spiritual world is real. End of statement. Whether somebody believes it or not doesn't change anything. Think of it this way: I can choose not to believe that Paris really exists, but people are going to be eating baguettes there tomorrow nevertheless.
Ephesians 6:12 says it best when it says: "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." In other words, problems don't come from people. We don't wrestle or fight with people. We fight with principalities, powers, and the rulers of darkness in this world -- we fight against what is dark in the world. I like to say that principalities can work through personalities! Not that somebody giving me trouble is full of the devil, but am I saying that some people are motivated by dark thoughts, dark deeds, or dark whatever? Yeah! I am! Because that's a fact of life.
Now, I know how life works when it comes to ideas the Lord has given me. Problems usually are thrown at me, but I know that the purpose of the conflict is just to steer me off my course, to break me down, and make me give up. I also know that if I press through, believe God, and don't buckle to the pressure, I'm going to outlast the problems. That's the way it always is for me.
Well, I thought about TV, and then it hit me -- and it was pretty simple...the devil didn't fight me because he didn't believe it would ever happen!
You see, my goal was in the realm of the "unseen" and, as a flesh-devil, he couldn't fathom that a Cajun boy like me, who didn't have eloquent speech or the finances to make it across town, could be used by God in such a big way.
What's the key here? He didn't see how it could ever happen -- sight, one of the five senses.
God' s Idea, God's Ways, My Manifestation
Well, my faith progressed. I started making natural strides toward the goal. Because I was beginning to talk about going on worldwide television, people around me began to listen. Some scoffed. Some didn't. When I preached at different churches around southeast Louisiana, I shared what God had told me. Pretty soon, I found people wanting to help me with the vision.
Now, many times, I wouldn't even mention what God had told me. I'd just preach my message. After the services, I had people that would just come right up to me and tell me things like, "I really enjoyed the message. You know, you ought to be on TV." Or they'd say, "You have a television personality. You should go on. I think people would like you." If I heard that once, I heard that a hundred times. I knew God was confirming what He'd told me and He was using other people to encourage me. I'd respond to them by saying, "Thank you, I appreciate it, but I don't have the finances for that yet, but, I believe I one day will."
God began opening people's eyes to my calling. When I first started preaching, nobody saw that in me. But suddenly, after God dropped that idea in my heart, it was as if a light turned on. I began to say it and others began to see it. Then, without any provocation, people who came to see my services began asking me about being a partner with my ministry. At that time, I did not have a concept of partners -- which are regular givers to Christian work. People would just come up to me and say something like, "I want to partner with you and give toward you going on television."
What was happening? God was happening! My mental map started coming out of my mouth. The more I said, "I'm going on television," the more determination I was putting behind the idea and, in turn, the more others began to see it, too.
Now, I didn't have the money and I never once raised money for this goal either. But once people started telling me they wanted to be my partner, I began to accept them as partners in this ministry.
You see, I knew that they didn't just want to see my face on the tube...they wanted the same thing I wanted, which was and still is to see people's lives changed by the message of Christ. They wanted people to hear my take on the Gospel because, to them, I was real and plainspoken and even, sometimes, kind of funny!
Well, enough people started to give regularly to my ministry toward a future television ministry that I could move forward practically, too. I began to research my local area and see what options were open to me -- which was an action based on a belief that I, along with many others, were united about.
As I got enough finances into my ministry to make the first move, I called Cox Production Company in the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, and found out what it would cost to have them film me preaching straight to the camera. They told me, and I hired them for one week's worth of work to just shoot me preaching to the camera. I went in every day with my Bible and what God had put on my heart to preach on, and in a week I did about twenty-five shows. I hired a company to create an intro and exit to my program. All the while, people were still sending in their partnership toward this idea and I was still preaching at churches, as I still do today.
I bought some time on the local Cox Cable Company and began to air my program. I immediately began to get responses. On my show, I gave my ministry address and phone number, and people began to respond with prayer requests, questions, invitations for me to minister at other churches, requests to purchase messages on tape, and financial partnership, too. God was with me and He led more and more people to watch my program.
Well, one day at my office a fax came in. It was from Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), a Christian network seen all over the world. It was a contract. My wife, Cathy, and I thought there was some kind of mistake. We hadn't called TBN.
We read the contract and it offered us one year of free airtime on their worldwide network -- FREE. We called to ask if there was some kind of mistake since we hadn't called them and they hadn't called us. They said, "No, no mistake" and told us that they wanted my program. They saw something in me that they thought would help their network and wanted to just give me the time. Now, I shouted! That mental map -- those determined thoughts -- that had produced faith, ideas, and action had come straight into reality.
Within weeks, I was on worldwide television with TBN, who continued to give me airtime for about five years. During that time, my ministry exploded. I became one of the most popular programs on the network. More people watched, more people's lives were changed, and more praise reports came pouring in of people who were saved and helped by God. More people began attending my meetings and more people became partners toward my goal of world evangelism through television, which in turn helped me to buy time on secular stations like ABC, NBC, etc.
This is how God worked on my behalf. Did I have struggles during that beginning time? No. By the time I signed the contract with the local Cox Cable Company, that idiot devil was so taken off-guard that God could use somebody like me that there was practically no time for him to make trouble. That first deal was done -- quick and clean, a transaction as smooth as silk -- and before the devil knew it, the thing started snowballing and I was broadcasting the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ on worldwide television! My mental map became my reality. Copyright © 2008 by Jesse Duplantis
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