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Washington pastor, husband and father reveals 24 things he’s learned by 2024

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A Washington-based pastor, husband and father is sharing 24 things he believes he’s learned in life as he takes a few moments in this summer of 2024 to reflect.

“I wanted to share these insights because they have shaped me,” he told Fox News Digital. “My prayer is that others will be encouraged and empowered to live full of purpose and passion.”

A professional soccer player earlier on in his life, Bradley saw his sports career end tragically due to a serious medical issue that was connected to medication prescribed to him while competing overseas.

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“I was fighting for my life for one year,” said Bradley. “It took me 10 years to fully recover. These things are what I learned in the deep, dark valley that I never wanted to walk through and couldn’t on my own.”

He said, “We are made to receive and give hope daily. That’s why we must reject the narrative of hopelessness. The best is yet to come.” 

split, Jesse Bradley and cross

Jesse Bradley is pastor of Grace Community Church outside Seattle, Washington. He and his wife are the parents of four children. “These insights,” he said, “have shaped me,” he told Fox News Digital.  (Pastor Jesse Bradley/iStock)

Bradley is pastor of Grace Community Church outside Seattle. He and his wife have six children. He is creator of the “Ignite Hope in 7 Days” series and is also a motivational speaker. 

He said, “God is the only one who fully knows and loves us. Let that sink in deeply.” 

Here are his 24 insights as shared with Fox News Digital. 

1. God renews our minds and ignites our souls. Our hearts are not content until we drink deeply from the well of living water that Jesus offers. There is refreshment in God’s presence. 

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2. Hope is a confident and joyful trust. Because God is faithful, we have an anchor for the soul in Jesus. 

3. Hope is habitual. Intentionally cultivate daily habits that increase hope. Reject hope thieves. Make room for God in your life as you pray, meditate, read Scripture, give and forgive. 

4. Hope is relational. Life is primarily about relationships. Love God and love people. We are designed to be connected, not isolated.  

Jesse Bradley family

Pastor Jesse Bradley is pictured with his wife and their four children. “The God of hope always overflows and never runs out,” he says.  (Wayne Jackson)

5. Hope is available to everyone at all times. God loves people in all nations and situations. The God of hope always overflows and never runs out.

6. You might not find hope until you lose it. God will meet you at your lowest point. Every day is a gift — and we can always choose hope and gratitude.  

“What you do is not who you are.”

7. Real hope is not a “maybe” or a wish. It is a yes and a certain and indestructible hope. God keeps all of His promises. Because Jesus overcame death, despair and darkness, we face today and the future with confidence in God. 

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8. Shift from a performance-based identity to a grace-based identity. What you do is not who you are. The deepest security includes peace with God through Jesus. Our ultimate identity is that we are in God‘s family forever as His sons and daughters. 

woman praying

“You will never regret seeking God and savoring time in His presence.” (iStock)

9. Pray more and scroll less. In a culture that is very distracted, it is incredibly easy to waste your time and energy on what does not matter. You will never regret seeking God and savoring time in His presence. 

10. Read or listen to the Bible every day. It is your spiritual nourishment. We overfocus on our stomachs and undervalue our souls. God’s word will transform your life. 

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11. Listen to others with the goal of understanding. Ask questions. When you are able to hear the other person’s story and perspective, it will free you from unnecessary conflicts. 

12. Love your neighbors. Don’t just drive home and close the door. Find a way to bless them. Pray for them. Start a conversation. Meet one of their needs. Bring them a gift.

Pastor Jesse Bradley in a split with a parent praying with their child

“Pray before a game. Pray about school and work. Pray for other people together,” said Pastor Bradley.  (Fox News/ iStock)

13. Carry an eternal perspective. The trials you’re going through will pass. Heaven is our home. Tell people about the reality of heaven and lead them to God.

14. Pray with your family. Yes, it’s a great habit before meals. Pray together before bedtime. Pray in the car. Pray before a game. Pray about school and work. Pray for other people together. Remember and celebrate how God is answering your prayers.

“Buy a nice bed and sleep well. Listen to your body and don’t ignore symptoms when something is not working.”

15. Take care of your body and don’t take your health for granted. The food you eat is your physical fuel. Choose wisely. Enjoy exercise. Go on vacation. Establish healthy routines. Buy a nice bed and sleep well. Listen to your body and don’t ignore symptoms when something is not working. Find physicians who are competent and caring. 

happy family with flag

“Enjoy exercise. Go on vacation. Establish healthy routines.” (iStock)

16. Forgive everyone fully. The basis for this is how Jesus forgives all of us. Get rid of bitterness and resentment. Trust God with justice and the final say. Forgiveness is a decision, but healing takes time. Make sure you’re not holding any grudges when you go to bed at night.

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17. When you gather at church, be eager to serve. Step out of a consumer mindset and passivity. Be part of the solution. Make it better because you were there. Let God work through your talents and be humble. 

“Take responsibility and own your stuff as you walk from the darkness into the light.”

18. Think about what you are thinking about. If your first thought is selfish, impure, inaccurate or fearful — recognize and reject it. The power of the second thought is when you intentionally choose to think about what is true, noble, right and good. 

19. We need God and we need each other. You will become like the One who you follow. You will never find anyone greater than Jesus. He is God, sinless, faithful in all His promises. He died for our sins, rose and returned in glory. If you’ve never made the decision, decide today that you want Him to be your Lord and Savior. You will never regret it.

Boy clasping hands, saying prayers in first grade class at St. Gertrude's elementary school.

“Every child is a gift from God. Protect kids. Mentor a teenager … Connect at the deepest levels.” (Steve Liss/Getty Images)

20. When you make a bad decision, apologize and change. Repentance brings refreshment. It is a 180° U-turn. Don’t live in denial. Don’t make excuses. Don’t play the blame game. Take responsibility and own your stuff as you walk from the darkness into the light.

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21. Know what mountains you are willing to die on. The cost is high for the best causes. 

22. Know your purpose. This way, you can clearly say “no” to many opportunities that are sideways energy. Know your calling so you can run with all your heart and with God’s strength. God doesn’t give you a spirit of timidity — but power, love and a sound mind.

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23. Find ways to bless the next generation. Every child is a gift from God. Protect kids. Mentor a teenager. When you come home from work, don’t just bring the leftovers of your energy and passion. Connect at the deepest levels. Take care of orphans. Be the mom or dad you never had. 

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24. Choose a gritty gratitude. Learn how to give thanks to God, even when you don’t feel like it. Don’t give a problem too much power. God is with you, and He goes ahead of you. If you feel dry spiritually, make a list of 10 blessings — and praise God for all of them.

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