categories: LifeChurch.tv, books, church, spiritual development
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February 26th, 2013

by Bobby Gruenewald

Altar Ego Book Release

ae-cover1

I’m really excited about the release of Craig’s newest book, Altar Ego: Becoming Who God Says You Are. We are wrapping up a series by the same name at LifeChurch.tv and have heard incredible stories about how God is using these messages to change lives. Together, we’re learning how to sacrifice our false identities, which are rooted in our egos, to find our true identities in Christ.

If you have missed a week of this message series, I encourage you to go to  http://www.lifechurch.tv/watch/altar-ego/1 and get caught up! You can find Altar Ego online and in your local bookstore starting today. Here’s a quick link for your convenience: http://go2.lc/aebook.

If you’d like to order a case of books for your staff or church, you can contact lori.tapp@lifechurch.tv for a discounted rate.

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categories: creativity, personal, recommendations, spiritual development
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June 16th, 2010

by Bobby Gruenewald

Swerve Favorites: Strategic Disruptions - Disrupt Your Rhythms

[Repost from May 19, 2008]

The longer you do ministry, the easier it becomes to minister from memory. You tend to do what you used to do. It is safe, comfortable, and convenient.

To stay spiritually and creatively fresh, I suggest “strategic disruptions.” Today we’ll talk about disrupting life’s rhythms.

Because people can be creatures of habits, life often looks relatively similar from day to day, week to week, and year to year.

I suggest defining your rhythms—then disrupting them.

  • If you drive the same way to work, take a different road.
  • If you study the Bible the same way, try a different approach.
  • If you listen to the same type of music, tune into something entirely different.
  • If you read the same books, stretch yourself. Read out of your comfort zone.
  • If you order the same thing off the menu, venture out and try something you’ve never had.

By disrupting your rhythms, you may experience just enough to change your perspective slightly. Suddenly, you could be more sensitive to hear something new from God.

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categories: communication, development, encouragement, relationships, spiritual development
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February 4th, 2010

by Craig Groeschel

The Other Side of the Betrayal

Let me say first of all that I would never recommend that anyone betray another person in any way.

Yet I’ve seen how God often uses what Satan meant for harm, a betrayal, to make a relationship better on the other side.

For example, I can’t count the number of times I’ve counseled a couple through an affair. Although many times this will cause an unstable marriage to break down, often times the opposite is true. When both people are truly seeking Christ, the power of forgiveness and healing overcomes the power of the evil one.

Amy and I watched as a betrayed wife accepted her wayward husband back. Through tears she told him she was choosing to forgive him as freely as Christ had forgiven her.

Stunned, he returned a bold promise that he’d devote the rest of his life to serving Christ and serving her. So far he’s delivered on his promise. Their marriage is better today than it ever has been.

If you’ve been hurt by someone or by a church, maybe your relationship—with God’s help—can be even better on the other side.

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categories: accountability, communication, community, development, encouragement, leadership, relationships, spiritual development
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February 2nd, 2010

by Craig Groeschel

The Other Side of Brokenness

A few years ago, I sat on my back porch with one of our campus pastors who was struggling in his role. It was clear that he may not make it as a campus pastor.

It wasn’t because he wasn’t trying. This guy was bringing his best. And it wasn’t because he didn’t care. No one cared more than he did. This guy simply wasn’t succeeding at producing the right outcomes through his people.

When he asked my advice, I told him that God needed to break him. That obviously wasn’t what he wanted to hear. Through tears he told me that he was pretty sure that he was broken.

I explained that if he was “pretty sure,” then he wasn’t broken. When you are broken, you know for sure you are broken.

Over a series of other painful events, this campus pastor finally reached a place of deep brokenness before God. When many parts of his life fell apart, God started putting them back together. Almost overnight, this pastor became an infinitely better spiritual leader and is leading a campus in a way that truly honors God.

Recently he told a group of people, “You won’t really know the goodness of God until you are totally broken.”

If you are hurting deeply right now, God’s love and power are even more evident on the other side of brokenness.

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categories: development, encouragement, leadership, personal, recommendations, spiritual development
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January 19th, 2010

by Craig Groeschel

Don’t Fight Back

Some criticism of our ministries will be valid. Others will come from partially informed people who will not likely ever understand or like our philosophy of ministry.

With the explosion of online critics, it is tempting to jump into a conversation to tell your side of the story. While there might be an appropriate time, usually, defending your ministry only pours gas on the fire.

Some ministry leaders seem to lead and preach from a defensive stance. They’ll rally their crowd in support of what they are doing in the face of criticism. While this may occasionally be wise, if it becomes a habit, it will build a defensive ministry rather than an offensive one.

If you’re confident in what God has called you to do, you won’t need to spend more time defending it rather than just doing it.

I am hopeful that the people in our ministry are confident and secure in what God is calling us to do. With training, they’ll acknowledge that many won’t understand our style or philosophy of ministry. We can be okay with that.

Rather than being distracted by other battles, we’ll try to keep focused on the most important one.

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categories: development, leadership, personal, spiritual development
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January 18th, 2010

by Craig Groeschel

How Do You Handle Criticism?

One of the most common questions that I’m asked by young pastors is, “How do you handle the critics?” While I’ve written on this some in the past, this week I want to tackle it from a different angle.

First of all, I’ve realized that no matter what a leader does, he or she will be criticized. For example, I’ve been criticized a lot for building the church around my preaching. When I started using more teachers, I received equal criticism for not preaching enough. Criticism comes with the territory.

This week I’ll talk about a few ways I’ve changed in handling criticism.

Learn what you can from criticism.

In the early years, I reacted negatively to all criticism. I spent my energy defending rather than learning. Over time, rather than dismissing all critics, I opened my heart to learn from them. God has used several constructive and a few not-so-constructive critics to help me grow and improve as a spiritual shepherd and leader.

Rather than reacting defensively, it’s helpful to ask if there is anything truthful or helpful in criticism.

How have you learned and grown after receiving criticism?

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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: accountability, development, future, personal, recommendations, spiritual development
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January 7th, 2010

by Craig Groeschel

One Thing to Claim

As you strive to please God in 2010…

  • What is one promise you need to claim?

Even though Samuel had anointed young David as the future King of Israel, for years it looked like it would never come to pass.

When David found himself again on the run from King Saul, he tried to find safety among the Philistines. Deciding his best play was to act crazy, he found himself awkwardly caught between a rock and a hard place.

That’s when David implied that there were many things he didn’t know. But there is one thing he did know for sure. Psalm 56:9-10 in TLB says, “This one thing I know: God is for me! I am trusting God-oh, praise his promises! I am not afraid of anything mere man can do to me! Yes, praise his promises.”

Although David didn’t know much, he knew that God was with him.

Scripture is full of God’s promises. Here are a few.

God promises:

  • To meet every need you have from his riches. (Phil 4:19)
  • You won’t be tempted beyond what you can handle. (1 Cor 10:13)
  • To forgive all your sins. (Eph. 1:7; 1 Jn. 1:9)
  • To make everything work for your good. (Rom 8:28)
  • He’d never leave you or forsake you. (Heb 13:5)
  • To be your ever present help in trouble. (Ps. 46:1)
  • To give strength to the weary and power to the weak. (Isa 40:29)
  • To guide you and give you direction. (Ps. 32:8)
  • To give you a peace that goes beyond your understanding. (Phil 4:7)
  • To give you power to defeat Satan (James 4:7)
  • Nothing would separate you from God’s love. (Rom. 8:39)
  • You are more than conquerors. (Rom. 8:37)
  • Eternal life through Christ (John 10:27-28)

What one promise (not limited to this list) do you need to claim?

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