Unresolved, pushed around, and burdened

  • Do you feel unresolved, pushed around, and burdened?
  • Are you carrying and reliving painful memories from the past?
  • Do you struggle to look normal when you feel that everything inside of you is chaotic?

Many people identify with these experiences because they share in common the ongoing effects of a troubled upbringing. I call this the 18-year Factor. The 18-Year Factor is a way of referring to the first 18 years of life — the most impressionable years.

Clear voices are making it known that “Adverse childhood experiences are the single greatest unaddressed public health threat facing our nation today” (Dr. Robert Block, the former President of the American Academy of Paediatrics).

Our 18-year Factor forms a kind of template for the way we think, how we feel, and how we act—especially in adult relationships. We all benefit from looking more closely at our upbringing —no matter what kind of home we experienced.

Perhaps you ask, “What good will it do to look back?” “If we can’t go back and change it, why bother thinking about it?” “Why get stuck in the past?” “Isn’t it better to forget it and move on?” These questions often serve as deflective clichés for denying the ongoing effects of a painful past. Yes. The only thing you can change about your past is how it affects you in your future. But a better understanding of our history will help us improve the way it affects our future.

A story behind your story

Most people recall positive and negative experiences from their upbringing. If you had an overall healthy 18-year factor, you are part of a rapidly diminishing number of people. But even if you fall in that category, it doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from looking more closely at the influences that shaped the way you see yourself and relate to others.

For those who are married or planning to marry, this benefit is especially valid. Marriage is one of the primary contexts where 18-year-factor issues emerge. Differences in upbringings are a familiar source of marital disagreements. We are wise to engage in conversations about these differences before they become a source of conflict. I would argue that these conversations should be a required part of preparation for marriage.

The way we communicate, resolve conflict, process anger, and many other essential parts of life arise from our 18-year Factor, the most impressionable years of our lives.

Exploring the 18-year Factor takes us on a journey back to our childhood home. That journey allows us to look closely at how the people, circumstances, and experiences of the past continue to affect our lives and relationships.

After almost 20 years of speaking on this subject and 35 years of counseling experience, I finally wrote my book, “The 18-Year Factor – How our upbringing affects our lives & relationships.” The 18 Year Factor consists of 13 chapters, each with discussion points. For better application and discussion,

I’ve included many real-life stories in The 18 Year Factor. I hope that you could not get through two pages without wanting to highlight or underline something helpful and insightful (see key lines below).

I wrote the 18-year factor by applying my years of experience in counseling to the latest findings in the field of psychology. I did not, however, write it as an explicitly Christian book. I aim to reach the broadest possible audience and to influence public school teachers, counselors, and social workers who are required to understand the ACE study (Adverse Childhood Experiences). Most states in the USA are also committing themselves to be trauma-informed states regarding adverse childhood experiences.

At the end of my book, I focus on restoring the whole person. This is where I address the spiritual dimension of restoration and explain why I chose Christianity as the most realistic and plausible understanding of spirituality.

Key lines from The 18-Year Factor

  •      Attachments to a painful past make it difficult to do well in the present.
  •       Yesterday’s loss doesn’t have to control the way you see your future.
  •      Don’t let the diagnosis define your destiny.
  •      Where you’ve been doesn’t have to define who you become.
  •      Include the past in who you become instead of letting it define who you are.
  •      Overcoming a problem involves understanding where and how it originated.
  •      The only thing you can change about the past is how it affects the future.
  •      What you focus on is what will become your reality.
  •      The only person you can change is you. Get started!

The 18 Year Factor is Available on AMAZON 

Steve Cornell, President of 18 Year Factor (LLC) Box 118, Millersville, Pa. 17551


Posted in 18 Year factor, Wisdom | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Do this in remembrance of your sins?

When I was a young boy, two main things entered my mind on Sundays when our Church gathered around the communion table.

First, I knew it would be a long service because the pastor was not about to give up sermon time. So Church would end no earlier than 12:15 — instead of noon.

Secondly, I recall a strange sense of fear. The pastor would always read and make a strong point from I Corinthians 11:27-30 (in the King James Version) – especially the part about eating and drinking damnation to yourself and the many who are weak and sickly among you, and many who died.

  • “Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause, many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.”

Who wants to get sick or die?

Like most protestant pastors (following the lead of most commentaries on I Corinthians), he stressed the need to be careful not to participate at the table with unconfessed sin. Thus the call to “examine ourselves” lest we eat and drink “unworthily.” With this emphasis, each person’s focus turned inward in a search for unconfessed sins.

The stated purpose for communion: “In remembrance of me,” easily got lost in a self-preserving concern of protection from “damnation” (whatever that meant). And who wants to get sick or die?

If you identify with my experience, let me assure you that the apostle Paul would be deeply troubled by such a misunderstanding and misapplication of his teaching in I Corinthians 11.

Many years later, I was studying this text and noticed that most commentators went right to this widely held misapplication instead of hearing the warning in the actual context. A little help from the context quickly clarifies the real intention of the text read by my pastor. The widespread misreading of the text has led to a strange kind of protestant confessional booth.

A protestant confessional booth

Walk with me through a few translational points.

Translation problem

The old translations of I Corinthians 11:27 go with the KJV: “Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily...” Most newer translations, however, capture the intended meaning much better. The ESV, for example, makes the needed correction, “So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner…”

Small difference? Not really. Focus on the worthiness of the participant has turned the table into a protestant confessional. “Let a man examine himself” then becomes the opportunity to engage in a strange kind of introspection that promotes the very individualistic attitude the apostle was opposing in I Corinthians 11.

An unworthy manner

The “unworthy manner” was the individualistic focus involving behavior that sinfully violated both the unity of the body and care for the needy. It was a particular issue addressed in context – the fellowship meal they shared at the time of remembrance. The verses surrounding the portion recited at communion (vv.23-32) provide the key to why Paul wanted them to examine themselves and why some among them were weak, sick, and dead.

Paul wrote, “When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat. For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, and another gets drunk. What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the Church of God and humiliate those who have nothing?” (vv. 20-22).

The important connection is between the words used in I Corinthians 11:23-32 and the final exhortation:

“So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another— if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home—so that when you come together it will not be for judgment.” (vv. 33-34).

Communion was never intended to be what the protestant Church has made it over the years. We have turned it into an intense soul-searching effort to find and name unconfessed sin lest we partake as one unworthy. This facilitates the individualism that was at the root of the sinful division of the Church. When Paul warns, “For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself” (v. 29), the body is the Church, the people of God. Failure to discern the body had to do with sinful disregard for the needs of others.

The focus was meant to be on others, not oneself. 

I must come to the meal and remembrance in a way that promotes love and unity toward the body of believers. When I make it about me and my needs, I sin against the Lord. His sacrificial death brings us together in unity. To celebrate its remembrance in a divisive manner offends the sacrificial love of our Savior.

Final question

But you might ask, “Should we be unconcerned about celebrating with unconfessed sin?” We should always and immediately confess our sins. Confess them, preferably before gathering with other believers. The bread and the cup are in remembrance of Him, not in remembrance of our sin and not about protecting me from judgment. What I remember about Jesus is how he took away my sin as the lamb of God and how he sealed my standing with God for eternity. More importantly, I remember this with my fellow believers who share in Christ with me.

This is not to say that there are not other ways we could eat in an unworthy manner. Forbidding husbands and wives who are not living in harmony would be a closer example of an application of the warning. The violation of the unity of the Church and care for the less fortunate was “the unworthy manner” of the warning.

Steve Cornell


Posted in Church Leadership, Church membership, Communion, Community, elders in the Church, Local Church, Table of the Lord, Wisdom | Tagged , | Leave a comment

A closer look at repentance

One of the most misunderstood words in Scripture.


The call to repentance is prominent in the message of Jesus and the early Church

  • Jesus said, “The time has come, the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the gospel!” (Mark 1:15).
  • Jesus’ mission was not “to call the righteous but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32).
  • • “After he had risen from the dead, Jesus said, “It is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem” (Luke 24:46-47).
  • Peter said, “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out…” (Acts 3:19).
  • The apostle Paul said,   “I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus” (Acts 20:21).
  • The apostle Paul declared to…

View original post 707 more words

Posted in Wisdom | Leave a comment

Making a case for Christ among us

be-the-church--blue_2265_1024x768How does a Church or small group or family make a case for Christ among them?

I answer this question briefly in a few of my 90 second daily radio features.

Check it out and share it!

Christ is visible among us when our fellowship is based on humble, loving, truth-telling relationships of mutual affection and honor.

Steve Cornell

Posted in Apologetics, attitudes of unity, Christianity, Church, Church Leadership, Church membership, Community, Ecclesiology 101, Elders, elders in the Church, Wisdom, Witness | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Response to the 18 Year Factor

The impact of my book, (The 18 Year Factor – How our upbringing affects our lives and relationships), has been encouraging!

I recently spoke on the 18 Year Factor to the staff, counselors, and social workers at Tabor Community Services of Lancaster, Pennsylvania!

Check out the response collected from this event

  • “I would definitely appreciate if we did some kind of full day study with Steve Cornell on the 18 Year Factor! If he has Audio books available, I would love to buy one of those!”
  • “I am interested in a book. … it is always good to reflect on these topics in relation to our clients, but also for ourselves to be more aware of how we may look at or approach different situations.”
  • I would be interested in the book and if there are any workshops I would participate. Thank you!
  • “I would be interested in doing a small group book study.”
  • “I would like a book and would be happy to pay. I think it could be great self-care.”
  • “I very much enjoyed Steve Cornell’s discussion and would be interested in having him come back. I would like a copy of the book.”.
  • “I would love for him to come back and speak! Being totally honest, he by far has been one of the best speakers we’ve had in a long time. I think he can not only help us as employees in our personal lives but to also get a better understanding of how our clients upbringing plays a part in their lives now.”
  • “I could have listened to Steve Cornell all day.”
  • “Thank you for bringing him in! I found it very intriguing and relatable to everyone/humans. I want a book! Please.
  • “He was the most interesting speaker we’ve ever had here!!!! I do want the book.”

These are the kinds of responses we’ve consistently heard after I’ve given presentations of the 18 Year Factor!

Interested in scheduling a speaking engagement in 2020?

Contact me @ –  18yearfactor@gmail.com)

Thank you!

Steve Cornell


Posted in 18 Year factor, Wisdom | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Expect the unexpected with God

Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown…


Imagine this…

Imagine the looks on the faces of early Church leaders if God had told them that Saul of Tarsus was the one He chose to spread the gospel, plant many churches throughout the Roman empire and write most of the New Testament letters.

I could hear the response: “Lord, we don’t mean to question your judgment, but have you heard about how this man has been opposing you and persecuting believers in Christ?”

We actually know about their hesitation and fear. After his dramatic conversion to Christ, Paul came to Jerusalem and tried to join the disciples, but, “they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple” (Acts 9:26).

It’s not surprising that there was confusion and doubt about Saul’s conversion? He was (on the human level) the least likely man for the calling! So how could it be that God would choose this…

View original post 659 more words

Posted in Wisdom | Leave a comment

Seven considerations before talking about marriage, sexuality and gender

Important review…



  1. It is possible to disagree with someone’s opinion about marriage, sexuality and gender without rejecting his person.
  2. Tolerance on these matters is only a virtue when there is disagreement. Tolerance is most evident when we strongly disagree but treat each other with respect.
  3. Tolerance is unnecessary where there is forced agreement on ways of thinking and talking about marriage, sexuality and gender. Coercion removes the need for tolerance because it is intolerant of different opinions.
  4. If there is a Creator who has revealed His purpose and will for us, we should pursue that will in humble confidence that we flourish best in it.
  5. Humans are beings of dignity made in the image and likeness of God and capable of making choices about morality and lifestyle.
  6. Beliefs on marriage, sexuality, and gender should be formed by seeking the best understanding our Creator’s will.
  7. Living consistently with the Creator’s will on marriage…

View original post 26 more words

Posted in Wisdom | Leave a comment