Parenting isn’t about you

The goal is that parents would understand that they must be willing to start with their own hearts if they want to be used by God to help transform the hearts of their teenagers



In his book, “An Age of Opportunity: Paul David Tripp identified 5 idols that parents must reject to be effective parents. Here’s a sample of what he shares:

Core Principle

The anger, frustration, discouragement, irritation, impatience, and fear that parents feelduring the teen years not only reveal that the teen is struggling, but that the parents are aswell.

If our hearts are controlled by something other than God, the great opportunities ofthe teen years will not be viewed as opportunities at all, but as a constant stream ofhassles brought on by a selfish, immature person who upsets our otherwise comfortablelife.

Failure to deal with our idolatry will mean we will turn God-given moments ofministry into moments of anger. We will personalize what is not personal, becomeadversarial in our approach to our teen, and settle for quick, situational solutions that donot focus on the teenager’s heart.

The goal of this…

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A great message from a good friend

Don’t miss his four closing points!


I was in the audience to hear this message from Crawford Loritts. After the message, we spent the entire afternoon enjoying deep and rich fellowship. Crawford and I met when we shared pulpit ministry at Sandy Cove Conference Center. He was later our guest speaker at the 20th anniversary of our Church. While golfing one afternoon (on that occasion), he shared with me his new direction to become the senior pastor of Fellowship Bible Church in Roswell, GA. 

I heard many great teachers at the conference, but Crawford’s message was the best — by far! Don’t miss his four closing points!

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Responses to my book

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

After speaking to the staff, counselors, and social workers at one organization, the feedback was encouraging and humbling.

Check out the responses

  • “I would definitely appreciate if we did some kind of full day study with Steve Cornell on the 18 Year Factor!”
  • “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 presentations of the 18 Year Factor!

Interested in scheduling a speaking engagement?

Contact me @ –

Thank you!

Steve Cornell

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We are glorious ruins

We are glorious ruins, bent glory. And it shows up in every moment of our existence…


Our lives are lived between the complexity of both dignity and depravity.

“We are made in the image of God – glorious. We have taken on Adam and Eve’s hiding and blaming – ruin.  We are glorious ruins, bent glory. And it shows up in every moment of our existence until we one day we see Jesus as he is and become pure as he is pure.

To grow character, we must not deny or hide from the reality of our unique dignity.  We are made in the image of God, and we are uniquely woven with awesome beauty.  We may be remarkably handsome or bright, possess great musical ability or a hysterical sense of humor.  We may possess remarkable abilities to encourage others or to read the nuances of relationships.  Whatever marks us with glory, we are meant to prize it and use it for the sake of others.

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Room for sadness

Do we have unrealistic expectations of gregariousness?


Do we have room in our lives for normal sadness? Do we have unrealistic expectations of gregariousness? Are we too quick to identify normal sadness as a biologically based depressive disorder?

These are questions explored in the helpful book, “The Loss of Sadness: How Psychiatry Transformed Normal Sadness Into Depressive Disorder,” by Alan V. Horwitz and Jerome C. Wakelfield. The authors suggest that standard criteria for diagnosing depressive disorder does not adequately distinguish intense normal sadness from biologically disordered sadness.

Out of concern over what they view as “over-expansive psychiatric definitions of disorder,” they offer helpful insight for distinguishing “sadness due to internal dysfunction” from “sadness that is a biologically designed response to external events.” The chapters exploring the anatomy of normal sadness and the failure of social sciences to distinguish this kind of sadness from depressive disorder should be required reading for all medical and psychiatric professionals — as well…

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What does it mean to be gospel-centered?

Gospel-centered living is based on three tenses and two confessions…


The gospel is the great news about what God has done to make it possible for us to be forgiven and restored to fellowship with Him. This good news is centered in Jesus Christ.

A summary of the gospel is outlined inII Corinthians 5:17-21. 

Gospel-centered living happens when three tenses are kept in view…

  1. What we were apart from Christ (past)
  2. What we already have in Christ (present)
  3. What we will have through Christ (future)


  • Titus 3:5-6 – “He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior.”
  • Galatians 2:21 – ”if right standing with God could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”
  • Colossians 3:1-4 – “Since you have been raised to…

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We must all appear before God

Truth with eternal significance ahead…


words-and-wisdom-logoTwo Scriptures (90 sec onAudio clip)

1. II Corinthians 5:9-10

“So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”

Second Corinthians five not only establishes the fact of future accountability before God, it also sheds light on the nature of that accountability.

Here we learn of a future evaluation of our present lives focused on “the deeds done while in the body.” These deeds will prove to be either “good” or “bad” (bad means “worthless” or “of no enduring value”). This will happen at our “appearing” or “being made manifest” before Christ’s judgment seat.

What does this involve?

“To be made manifest means…

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The ways of God with a wayward servant

  • Do you tend to think of the book of Jonah as a story about a man and a great fish?
  • If you do, let me challenge you to see it differently.

This book offers four deeply insightful chapters on the ways of God with a wayward servant.

I am honored to be able to make these messages available for you.

I am privileged to have a large number of leaders who frequent Wisdomforlife. If you are one of them, I especially encourage you to invest some time listening to these messages. Perhaps it will inspire you to teach through the book.

Jonah’s decision to reject God’s call to warn Nineveh about coming judgment was made long before God called him. He allowed his heart to be conditioned with growing resentment toward the people God called him to reach.

When a man flees or falls, he rarely falls far. He was already there.

Instead of giving up on Jonah, God patiently and graciously pursues his servant with a variety of intriguing means.

God put Jonah through an aquatic school of discipleship to get him ready to hear the call of God a second time.

Was Jonah all in when God gave him a second opportunity? No. Chapter four makes that clear. So why did God use him?

Listen and learn with me as we meet God in the book of Jonah

Steve Cornell

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Why keep on praying (4 reasons)

  • Should we keep on praying when it seems that God is not answering? 
  • Why persevere in such praying? 
  • Do other significant things happen in seasons of persevering  prayer? 

Jesus told his disciples to “always pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1). 

This kind of prayer seems confusing so allow me to share some insights on persistent prayer from a good teacher. 

Start with a question

Why do we need to engage in persistent prayer if God is our loving heavenly Father and truly wants to give us His good gifts?

J. I. Packer responds

“Here is a question that is not always well answered.  It is not, as some seem to suppose, that passionate petition twists God’s arm, so to speak, and thereby coaxes out of him what he had not originally wished to give. Nor is it that passionate petition, working itself up to an inner certainty that the gift requested will be given, induces God to give what he would not have given had it been asked for in a more low-key style. 

According to the teaching of Jesus, “we should pray insistently and persistently about crucial needs, not because God will not meet them unless we do but as if he would not.” (see: Luke 11:5-12; 18:1-8). Why does Jesus teach us, and therefore clearly want us, to do this?  

Four reasons, at least, may be given.

  • First, God the Father loves to be petitioned in a way that shows he is appreciated as the source of all that is good.  This glorifies him.
  • Second, the Father wants to see that we are taking both our acuteness of need and his greatness as the one who can meet it with absolute seriousness.  This takes us beyond superficiality in the way we think, feel and live, and binds us closer to him because of the clarity with which we realize that he is really our only hope.
  • Third, the Father knows that the more earnestly we have asked for a particular gift and the longer we have waited for it, the more we will value it when it is given, and the more wholeheartedly we will thank him for it.  This will lead to increased joy.
  • Fourth, the Father’s larger plans for blessing us and others may require him to delay giving us what we ask for until the best time and circumstances for its bestowal are reached.  To keep asking with patient persistence and to wait with expectation for the answer is thus sometimes necessary, and is always the reverent way to go.  This strengthens the muscles of our faith, as constant walking strengthens the muscles of heart and legs.

The fact to focus on for encouragement, however, when we seek to express the persistence of our faith in the prayers we go on making as we face short-term disappointment and desolation, is that there is a covenanted family bond that unites us to God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, and unites the Three-in-One to us forever and ever.  

Paul describes universal Christian experience when he writes: ‘The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ’ (Rom. 8:16-17).  

Professed Christians who neither testify to this testimony nor rejoice in the identity that it confirms are, to say the least, very much out of sorts.  Being children of God is our supreme privilege and security—and is at all times the supreme incentive to us to pray.” (From: Praying: Finding Our Way Through Duty to Delight)

“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1). Go HERE to understand what Jesus meant in this parable.

Steve Cornell

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The line dividing good and evil

The absence of peace runs like a fault-line through history and through every human heart.


Hamlet breaks into eulogy:

“What a piece of work is man!” “How noble in reason! How infinite in faculty! In form, in moving, how express and admirable! In action, how like an angel! In apprehension, how like a god! The beauty of the world, the paragon of animals.”

Is there truth in this? Yes! As beings made in the image of God, human dignity is one side to our story. Yet honest people know all too well that it doesn’t tell our whole story. It doesn’t address the uglier side to the beings we call human.

Terms of contrast

Telling the story of humanity requires contrasting terms. It includes narratives of goodness and evil; love and hate; beauty and cruelty;  life and death. Themes of human dignity and human depravity are relentlessly recurrent in all cultures – at all times

Why do we need words of sharp contrast to explain…

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