categories: encouragement, leadership
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June 30th, 2010

by Craig Groeschel

17 comments (+ Add)

Swerve Favorites: Fasting from Church Stuff

[Repost from August 12, 2008]

For years I tried to be like other ministers. I listened to messages, attended conferences, and devoured every Christian book I could.

Each time I learned from a new leader, I tried to become more like them.

God led me to do something very different. (I don’t recommend this for you. I’m just sharing the story of what God led me to do.)

For an extended season, I stopped attending conferences, reading ministry books, and listening to others’ sermons. Instead of becoming like others, my goal was to become who God wanted me to become.

It was very difficult to cut myself off from learning from other people. During this season, I felt like God wanted me to learn directly from Him.

I still love to study and learn from other leaders, but this journey of intensely seeking God freed me to be me.

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  1. Jun 30, 2010 at 6:17 am

    You hit on the right question here: am I trying to be like others or am I trying to allow Christ to simply BE through me?

    Thanks for sharing this. May God add to your life richly.

  2. Jun 30, 2010 at 6:45 am

    What an easy trap to fall into-to be so hungry for “success” that copying another’s ministry or approach is tempting beyond belief. I know…I have been there. I think it is especially hard on the younger guys who see so much ahead of them that the green-eyed monster creeps in. Or just the desire to make a difference. Taking a short cut seems so much better. Speaking to the heart on this one Craig with some good wisdom.

  3. Jun 30, 2010 at 8:06 am

    Weird, this exact idea hit me just yesterday. I sense God calling me to get rid of the noise and focus on Him. No filters, no books, no teachers…just Him.

  4. 4JohnB
    Jun 30, 2010 at 8:18 am

    Sometimes we, and yes everyone involved, lets other things get in the way of what God has for us. How’s the song go? ‘what happens when we take religion out of church”
    Great point!

  5. 5Bob
    Jun 30, 2010 at 8:41 am

    Oh, man. This is where I am right now. You hit the nail on the head. God is doing this. He took away (I sense, temporarily) my passion for these things so all I have left is Him. Cool, really. He is so Good!

    Thank you for posting. I am sure that’s what’s happening with me - but a message of the same thing happening to someone else is encouraging.

  6. 6Jeff Detwiler
    Jun 30, 2010 at 10:13 am

    Jesus spent much time in the wilderness. It is of this which you speak, albeit in a modern way. I find myself often retreating to the wilderness(literally), to truly hear from God. The millions of voices that seek to influence us every day must be silenced on a regular basis, to truly listen for that still, soft whisper that God promises us. I am so glad to be a part of Lifechurch’s mission. Craig, you lead us with unabashed passion, and I appreciate your spirit led wisdom more than you can know.

  7. Jun 30, 2010 at 10:33 am

    This is exactly what God was doing with me! I wanted to read commentaries, but God would always tell me, “No, Jared, I want to teach you first.”
    I had the amazing opportunity to be taught under an awesome Bible archaeologist who was wanting to teach me Coptic; I was excited, but God again said, “No, Jared, I want to teach you first.”
    And everytime I’ve found or tried to find a mentor, God would tell me again, “Jared, no, I (emphasis on the “I”) want to teach you first. I want to be your mentor!”
    Yet I’d often still try and God wouldn’t let it work out. Either the peopple I asked couldn’t mentor @ the time or if I did get a mentor, they’d always move states within 3-6 months!

    The more I think about it the more I thank God! It’s awesome to re-read this an realize God did the same thing with you!

    Thank you for the post!

  8. Jul 1, 2010 at 6:38 am

    Love your passion bro and I am on the journey with you. Let’s hear and learn from our Father…

  9. Jul 3, 2010 at 8:54 am

    Thats is exactly what God has had me do for the past 3 years…It has been both great, challenging and eye opening to see how religious I was…I learned allot about myself & God.

    He has had to filter me of the voices of expectation, replication, and just falsehood. I am amazed with God..

  10. Jul 9, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    Thanks Craig, great post. I think you are exactly right, and ultimately there needs to be a balance, what we can learn from others and what we can only learn from God. We can’t forget whose “disciples” we really are.

  11. 12piccobow
    Jul 11, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    Hey way to go! None of us should be a carbon copy of anyone else but just allow yourself to be you. That way you will always come across more honest rather than having a facade which is something I cant stand

  12. Jul 14, 2010 at 8:32 am

    Amen… Jesus… He’s the best teacher.

    John 6:45
    It is written in the prophets, And they shall be “ALL” taught of God.

    Deuteronomy 4:36
    Out of heaven he made thee to hear his voice,
    that “he might instruct thee:”

    John 14:26
    But the Comforter, [which is] the Holy Ghost,
    whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things…

    John 16:13
    Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth…

    Psalms 32:8
    I will *instruct thee and *teach thee
    in the way which thou shalt go: I will *guide thee with mine eye.

    1 John 2:26-27
    These [things] have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.
    But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you,
    and **ye need not that any man teach you:**
    but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie…

    Jesus… My Lord and My God…

  13. Jul 14, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    Thanks for posting this.

    I experienced the same thing on a recent trip to Israel…

    Eric Bruntmyer
    Twitter: @ericbruntmyer

  14. Jul 23, 2010 at 10:24 am

    I wonder if that’s a totally biblical way to walk with the Lord, or if it’s more of a product of independent, I can do it on my own, American culture. Just wondering.

  15. Aug 7, 2010 at 9:35 am

    When God is doing a work in His people, he calls them to be holy–to come away with Him to a separate place. Some times it’s a place of testing, as with the Lord Jesus. He calls us to listen closely to His Holy Spirit & His Word and obey promptly. He confirms His direction & His work in us by His peace, strengthens with His Joy, and protects by His amazing armor. To God be the glory!!

  16. Aug 14, 2010 at 6:33 am

    People only can do what they know and see, so we have to continually look to God to grow, and He led me to write The Three-Dimensional Leader: Negotiating Your Mission, Resources and Context to help people clearly see what they must know to lead effectively. My MRC system is based upon three leadership paradigms revealed in the book of Judges. Three-dimensional leaders achieve their missions by getting a team to coordinate a focused consensus that achieves peace in their lands (congregations, government programs, businesses, not-for-profit agencies). This peace (well-working relationships focused on a common mission) is what drives prosperity (the success of programs and initiatives that meets the needs of people, congregations and communities).

    Two-dimensional leaders fail to understand the context of to how to rally people-resources to the mission to achieve peace and a prosperous that changes the outcomes. This is the equivalent of how at times Israel was a nation, but was harassed by the enemy, so the nation could not be fully functional. One-dimensional leadership is all about “me” not the mission. These self-centered leaders ignore essential elements within their contexts or inappropriately impose their backgrounds, special interests, and pet-peeves upon the process, and thus frustrate followers.

    Three-dimensional leaders are SEM masters, meaning they submit ego to the mission (cause of Christ). Great leaders serve to organize, resource and equip, and empower others so they can serve and succeed at their jobs and ministries. An MRC focus assists senior executives to plot corporate strategy, division managers and department heads to organize the processes that achieve it, and supervisors to inspire employees to implement it with a dynamic team spirit and an amazing customer service focus! These principles propel organizations to achieve more effective collaboration and coordination from the boardroom to the mailroom.”