categories: I'm curious, accountability, church, culture, leadership
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January 19th, 2012

by Craig Groeschel

ACCEPTABLE PRIDE?

We know God opposes the proud. But some forms of social media seem to have redefined what pride is and what it’s not.

For example: Imagine if I stood before our church and told everyone, “Joe Smith said, ‘Craig you are the best preacher ever! Your sermons changed my life.’ And Jill Denny said, ‘I loved your book. Everyone should read it. You are the best author I’ve ever read!’ Not only that, but Mike Mitchell said, ‘Craig, Life Church is the best church in the world! No church is as good as Life Church.’”

Chances are good most people would look at me funny and think I’m a little full of myself for saying such things.

But if I simply retweeted those exact same statements, my retweets would seem totally acceptable to most. Honestly, I’m wondering if that is acceptable to God, or if it’s just pride in disguise.

I believe we need to walk a very careful line in ministry (I am certain I have crossed this line at times). Sure we want to celebrate what God is doing in our churches. Of course we want to get the word out about a new series or a book we’ve written. Unquestionably we want to share more reasons to give praise to our God.

But at the same time, we need to be careful that we’re not drawing attention to ourselves.

Your thoughts?

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categories: I'm curious, encouragement, generosity, personal, sacrifice, spiritual development
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January 14th, 2010

by Craig Groeschel

Personal Generosity

Several pastors have complained to me that most people in their churches are not generous. I’m guessing that the churches are a reflection of its leaders. If our ministries aren’t generous, it is probably because we aren’t.

Several years ago, God started moving our family toward a much more intentional life of generosity. Not surprisingly, our church has followed.

Dave Ramsey is one of the best Christian financial teachers in the world. For years, we’ve embraced his teaching faithfully.

Dave has always encouraged people to “live like no one else, so one day you can live like no one else.” In other words, if you sacrifice, live beneath your means, save and invest, one day you’ll have the freedom to do far more than most.

In our family, we’ve altered the phrase slightly  (and I’m certain Dave would be supportive).

We will live like no one else, so we can give like no one else.

As God blesses us with more, instead of drastically increasing our standard of living, we’ve decided to drastically increase our standard of giving.

Why stop at giving 10%, 12%, 30% or 50%? Because God has given us more, we believe we’re called to give more.

And as we as leaders give more, our churches will reflect God’s heart of generosity.

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categories: I'm curious, accountability, development, encouragement, personal, priorities, spiritual development
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January 5th, 2010

by Craig Groeschel

One Thing You Lack

When it comes to your relationship with God…

  • What  one thing do you lack?

When a rich young man encountered Jesus, he wanted to know what he must do to receive eternal life. Jesus told him to obey all the commands. The confident up-and-comer believed that he’d been obedient since he was a child.

Mark 10:21-22 records what happened next. “Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

Unfortunately, there was one thing that stood in the way of this man and his pursuit of the fullness of God in Christ: his love of his stuff. Sadly, he was unwilling to address this one hindrance.

What about you? What one thing is keeping you from further serving Christ? Maybe you have drifted from your study of God’s word or from prayer? Maybe you lack true and strong accountability? Perhaps your life is void of close Christian friends. Maybe you’ve been gripped by the things of this world rather than God’s kingdom.

Be honest. When it comes to your relationship with God, what one thing do you lack?

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January 4th, 2010

by Craig Groeschel

“One Thing” Questions

For the new year, I’m asking myself four “one thing” questions. I’ll share one a day with you.

  • What one thing do you desire from God?

When David found himself afraid and on the run, he begged God for one thing.

He wrote in Psalm 27:4, One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.”

If you can name the one thing you desire God to do, it will bring laser focus to your prayers.

Maybe above all else, you desire a loved one to know Christ. Or you need to hear God’s voice. Or you need God’s healing in your marriage or body. Perhaps you crave the power of the Holy Spirit in your preaching. Or you need wisdom handling a rebellious child.

As you seek God in 2010, what is the number one thing you desire from God?

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categories: I'm curious, church, creativity
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December 9th, 2009

by Bobby Gruenewald

Christmas 2009

I hope you are already having a great holiday season!

If you are serving at a church, I imagine many of you are busy preparing for Christmas (Eve) Services or other Christmas events.  I’m always fascinated by the creativity and diversity of the Church surrounding the celebration of the birth of Jesus.  For some churches, it’s a time to return to long-standing traditions.  For others, it’s an opportunity to try to creatively grab the attention of their community with a large production or event.  Yet there are still others who approach Christmas like they would any other week of the year (just maybe with a few more decorations than normal).   One thing that is fairly consistent between churches is that church attendance will likely be higher at Christmas than normal.

One of the new things we will be doing this year is incorporating a unique short film our team developed into the message during our Christmas experiences.  It will definitely be something different for us.  I hope to be able to share it with you all soon.

I’m curious - what new (or traditional) things are your churches doing to celebrate Christmas in 2009?

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categories: I'm curious, church, global church, personal
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October 8th, 2009

by Craig Groeschel

I Love The Church

I love the church more than I can describe.

Bill Hybels has often said, “The local church is the hope of the world.” I believe those words with all my heart.

Many people today specialize in criticizing churches. While I acknowledge our (American) churches have a lot of room to improve, I see so many good things:

  • I love that many are becoming more missionally minded.
  • I love that churches are putting more emphasis on building people than on building buildings.
  • I love that churches are working together.
  • I love that many people really believe the Church can make a difference in the world.
  • I love that many churches are becoming more passionate about worship, holiness, and knowing God through His word.
  • I love that many churches are becoming passionate about reaching those far from God with the gospel of Christ.

While I applaud and support many parachurch ministries, to me, (and I believe to God), nothing replaces the power of what God wants to do through the local church.

I love the church!

What do you love about what God is doing through His church?

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categories: I'm curious, church, communication, hiring, leadership, preaching, volunteers
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August 19th, 2009

by Craig Groeschel

What I Didn’t Learn in Seminary

I’m writing from my perspective. Obviously many of you had much different experiences. Here’s a short list of what I didn’t learn in seminary.

  • Believe it or not, I never had a class on how to do a wedding or funeral.
  • We never looked at how to manage a budget, lead a board meeting, recruit volunteers, raise money, hire and fire staff, or design church facilities.
  • I only took one class on preaching. In my opinion, we should have been required to take at least three if we were hoping to be a senior pastor.
  • We didn’t study any thoughts on kids’ ministry, student ministry, missions, or small groups.
  • Although my time in seminary predated the need, I think all schools today should teach pastors how to leverage technology in the church.

For those of you that attended Bible School or Seminary, what skills were overlooked in your preparation?

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January 15th, 2009

by Craig Groeschel

Raising Your Kids in the Fishbowl

Ministry can be very hard on pastor’s children.

  • Your kids will hear you criticized.
  • Your kids will watch you hurt.
  • Your kids may see you wrongly strike back.
  • Your kids might see your hypocrisy up close.
  • Your kids might reject the church because you’re always there.
  • Your kids may enjoy the extra attention when they are young and despise it when they mature.

No matter how healthy your church is, a pastor’s kid will likely feel a different sort of pressure. Here are a few things we do to help our kids grow up in the fishbowl:

  • We put the kids’ activities ahead of the church calendar. If my girls have a piano recital on Saturday night, either I pre-produce the message or have someone else speak.
  • I rarely work evenings. The evenings are family time. I also try not to compromise my day off with church needs.
  • I don’t talk about my kids in a sermon without their permission.
  • Amy and I work hard not to talk negatively about the church.
  • We don’t make our kids go to church every week. Every now and then we let them stay home or do something else so going to church doesn’t become a legalistic chore.
  • We live our private lives with personal devotion to Christ. We pray and talk about spiritual things with our children regularly.

I’d love to hear what you do.

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