Archive for ‘Craig Groeschel’

October 30, 2013

Book Review Of Craig Groeschel’s New Book, ALTAR EGO

I just finished Craig Groeschel’s new book, “Altar Ego” and wanted to do a review for the blog. If you’re not familiar with Craig he’s a pastor out in Oklahoma City, OK. He first gained popularity as the pastor of his mega church in OKC, but has in recent years seen his profile rise significantly as a popular conference speaker and subsequent author. I  first got to hear him speak at Catalyst Conference in Atlanta, GA. He’s a great speaker and while I’d consider myself a fan, I’d never actually read any of his books before so I was really looking forward to reading his latest release.  And to be frank, I enjoyed it more than I expected. So below is my review:

Summary Of Content: In his book Groeschel invites readers to lay down the labels and destructive self-perceptions that have prevented them from being all that God wants them to be. And instead presents them with who God says we are: that we are his masterpiece, that we are overcomers etc. Then for the second half of the book he lays out the values, qualities and behaviors that should instead describe our lives, among these are, living with patience, becoming people of integrity, being bold, etc.

Overall Thoughts/Impressions:  I really liked the book.  I thought his writing style was easy and not difficult or convoluted.  Also Craig writes with a kind of transparency that really enriches the reading experience.

The Thing I Loved Most About The Book:  My favorite parts of the book were when Craig shared from his own life, I really loved that, whether its sharing his own struggles in these areas or telling us stories of how God did things in his life that just blew him away.  Like I mentioned before, Craig writes with a lot of transparency and I think this elevated the book considerably.

Biggest Surprise About The Book/Reading Experience:  The biggest surprise of all for me about this book is just how funny Craig is.  I found myself laughing out loud a number of times.  It was really a pleasant surprise.  For example, he tells the story of how he got a tennis scholarship to play tennis at college, but when he got there he was just horrible.  And he was surprised the coach never cut him, so one day he asked the coach how come you didn’t cut me and the coach said, “you were the only one with a car, and I needed you to take the others to practice.”  Or how before each match he would pray on the tennis court and one time he played against a guy Jeremy from Oral Roberts University and as Craig was praying he looked up and saw Jeremy praying too and yelled over, “hey, you can’t pray that’s my thing!”

Favorite Chapter: I think my favorite chapter was chapter 5 “Living With Patience” I was kinda surprised to realized that, but for some reason that chapter really resonated with me.  The idea of not sacrificing the ultimate for the immediate.  Really a sober call to not just live for immediate gratification.

Favorite Line/Statement From The Book:  “Integrity is living in full accordance with your beliefs.” (Honorable Mention: “Boldness is behavior born out of belief”)

Final Thoughts:

It was great just being reminded of what God says we are, because I think for many of us bad labels and self-beliefs creep up on us over time, so much so that we don’t even realize just how much it affects out lives, and so the book served a great tool for self-examination. Also, I really loved his final section on “Passionate Obedience” it was refreshing reminder and exhortation to live with boldness and to let that boldness infuse our prayers and our obedience.

Here is a picture of Craig Groeschel for those who aren’t familiar with him.

February 9, 2012

Friday Morning Round Up: The Best Of Blogosphere You May Have Missed, Featuring Craig Groeschel, Donald Miller, Mark Batterson

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Craig Groeschel On The Hidden Danger Of Pride On Social Media Outlets.

The popular Oklahoma pastor and author recently talked about the subtle temptation of pride on social media platforms that we have accepted as normal.

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Donald Miller On How Jesus Inspired The Most Loyal Devotion In Men, Unlike Any Other Leader In History.

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Carlos Whitaker On The Challenge Of Cleaning Out Our Internal Worlds

Pete Wilson On Maddonna, Tom Brady And His New Book

Mark Batterson On How God Used His Book Powerfully In Someone’s Life.

February 8, 2012

Craig Groeschel Guest Post: A New Form Of 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?

December 30, 2011

Christian Leaders And Pastors Craig Groeschel And Matt Carter Share Pics Of Christmas Presents (PHOTOS)

Popular speaker, author and Pastor of the uber-popular Lifechurch.tv which according to CNN boasts more than 4 million members, Craig Groeschel shared a picture of his Christmas present via twitter a few days ago.  Groeschel posted this picture below with a caption that read:

 

 

If I gain weight, this is why. Thx@tomdfrench!http://pic.twitter.com/2jt1vbBm

 

Also Pastor Matt Carter, pastor of the Austin Stone Church in Austin, TX and former pastor of Chris Tomlin’s home church and pastor of NFL Cleveland Browns quarterback, Colt McCoy, posted a picture of his Christmas present with a caption that read:

 

@_Matt_CarterMatt Carter
Got this as a Christmas present from my mother in law. It would be very useful if I start a church…..in Alaska.pic.twitter.com/u9w2VlVI

 

 

 

I don’t know which one got the coolest gift.

August 28, 2011

CRAIG GROESCHEL Guest Post: ‘MISSION NOT ACCOMPLISHED’

 

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My First Great Awakening

When I was a junior in high school, my church youth group voted me to be their president. Apparently the qualifications for office had nothing to do with living like a Christian, and before I knew it, my one-year term “earned” me a partial scholarship to a Christian university. With athletics covering the rest of my room and board, I embarked on what I hoped would become a new, God-pleasing beginning.

I set off with a carload of clothes, Bic pens, my Cindy Crawford poster, and lofty dreams. Instead of being surrounded by young Billy Grahams and Mother Teresas, however, I was bombarded by miniature Lindsay Lohans and Kanye Wests and quickly pulled into the party scene.

Sin is fun — at least for a while. But it never fails to come back to haunt you, usually when you least expect it. Like a sneeze, sin feels good at first, but it leaves a huge mess. By my sophomore year, several of my fraternity brothers got busted for grand larceny, putting our whole fraternity at risk of being kicked off campus. Around the same time, because of a major hangover, I slept through tennis practice, which placed me exactly one mistake away from losing my athletic scholarship. And many people on campus despised me because of how I had treated a few girls.

Feeling lower and lower by the second, I decided to look up toward God — again.

I decided to start a Bible study in our fraternity house. I sold this unusual idea to my frat brothers by explaining that it would be great PR to help our sullied reputation. Truthfully, I wanted to learn about God. Since church hadn’t really helped me in that department, I thought I might as well go straight to the Bible to see what I could discover for myself.

On the Tuesday morning before our first Bible study, I was strolling across campus between classes when it dawned on me that I didn’t have a Bible. (I left the family’s gold Bible at home.) On my way to my world literature class, an older gentleman introduced himself to me, saying he was a Gideon. He asked me if I wanted a free Bible. I wasn’t sure what a Gideon was, but as
far as I was concerned, he might as well have been one of God’s angels.

That night, a handful of us started reading the Bible in a small, sweat-soaked, party-stained room in the Lamba Chi Alpha house. We started reading in Matthew, chapter one, and once we moved past who begat whom, the pace picked up. At the end of our rookie Bible studies, we prayed the only prayers we knew: “God, protect us as we party. God, keep Joe’s girlfriend from getting pregnant. God, don’t let us get caught cheating on the American history test.” They weren’t the typical prayers prayed at Baptist student unions, but they were honest.

We were a bunch of guys who believed in God but didn’t have a clue who God really is.

Although we didn’t know what we were doing, our little Bible study started to grow. Apparently many of our party friends bore a similar spiritual curiosity. The more Bible we read and the more prayers we prayed, the more people showed up and the more God seemed to do.

After finishing Matthew, we discovered that Mark, Luke, and John had several of the same stories. Three chapters into Acts, we got bored and skipped to Romans. Midway through Romans, I got so excited that I started reading ahead. When I reached Ephesians, I encountered two verses that would forever change my life: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.” Could this be true? We’re saved by God’s grace and his grace alone? It’s not by our works? Why didn’t anyone tell me?

I felt like a caged animal and had to escape that tiny room. Someone was sitting in front of the only door, so I slipped out the closest window and dropped to the ground. Sensing something important, I dashed to a nearby softball field, needing to be alone with God. What happened next is hard to explain and even harder for me to believe. The presence of God became real to me.

I always thought that only wackos actually hear from God. Sure, you heard God. And there’s a teeny angel on your shoulder right now telling you what to do next, right?

Well, that evening I became a wacko. Kneeling on the grass, I heard a voice. It wasn’t audible — it was actually way too loud to be audible, too present inside me. “Without me, you have nothing. With me, you have everything.” I knelt and prayed the shortest, most power-packed, faith-filled prayer of my life.

Not so much whispering as mouthing the words, I said to God, “Take my life.”

That was it. I had knelt down in the field as one person, and I stood up as a completely different person. I had the same body, the same voice, and the same mind, but I wasn’t the same. I’d later learn that I’d become what the Bible calls a “new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17). The old was gone; the new had come. I had finally transformed from a Christian Atheist into a Christian.

For the first time in my life, I believed in God and began to live like he is real.

Mission Not Accomplished
Since I was a new person, I became aware of a new mission: to spread the gospel into all the earth — starting with my roommate. No one was immune from my infectious faith. Not my fellow athletes, not my fraternity brothers, not my party friends, not my professors. To say I became a fanatic would be an understatement. I started collecting converts to Christianity like Michael Phelps collects gold medals. The more that God did, the more I began to understand that God was calling me to give him my whole life in full-time, vocational ministry.

As if on cue, when I was twenty-three, God opened a door for me to work at a historic downtown church. My dreamcome-true slowly turned into a spiritual nightmare. What started out as a good thing quickly became an obsession. My service was never enough. And as my love for ministry burned hotter, my passion for Christ cooled.

My mission had become a job. Instead of studying God’s Word out of personal devotion, I studied only to preach. Instead of preaching messages to bring glory to God, I preached to bring people to church. I promised hurting people I would pray for them, but I usually didn’t follow through.

At the age of twenty-five, I was a full-time pastor and a part-time follower of Christ.

An Invitation
Does any of this resonate with your experience? Was there a time in your life that you were closer to God than you are today? If you’re like me, your spiritual drift didn’t happen on purpose. Like a tiny leak in a tire, slowly but surely, your spiritual passion quietly slipped away. Maybe it has just become clear to you. Instead of a fully devoted follower of Christ, you’ve unintentionally become a full-time mom or full-time student or a full-time bank clerk — and a part-time follower of Christ.

Maybe like so many, you’re a member of a church, but you’re secretly still ashamed of your past. Perhaps you’ve heard about the love of God, but you’re still not convinced that God totally loves you. Or though you’re convinced God exists, your prayer life isn’t what you know it should be. Perhaps like many other well-meaning Christians, you know what God wants you to do, but you still do whatever you want. Or you genuinely want to trust God as your provider, but you find it so hard to actually do. Possibly you believe in heaven and hell, but sharing your faith with others is still foreign or simply way too intimidating for you. Or you may believe in God but don’t see much need for the church.

I’ll be honest with you about my struggles, and I hope you’ll be honest as well. And together, with God’s help, perhaps we can learn to know and walk with God more intimately.

Craig Groeschel is the founder and senior pastor of LifeChurch.tv, an evangelical Christian multi-site church with multiple locations in Arizona, Oklahoma, and Texas that feature live satellite video services. His new book, The Christian Atheist, was released March 23rd, 2011.

June 17, 2011

Craig Groeschel Busting Barriers with Mindset Changes

 

Craig Groeschel.jpg

 

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. – Romans 12:2

  • One of the big momentum killers is wrong mindsets.
  • Mindsets can propel you forward or hinder what God wants to do.
  • When LifeChurch.tv when multisite, one of the challenges that came up was keeping their team unified.
  • Sometimes it’s easy to miss things that are small and very obvious.
  • Organizations love to settle.
  • Asking people to leave with compassion is one of the most important things you can do.
  • Start having the right conversations early.
  • Give defined, specific expectations with a timeline.
  • In the church world we are too blunt… we don’t have the right conversations early.
  • Churches are no exception.
  • People like what is known, predictable, and what used to be.
  • Known in comfortable.
  • What you did last year is safe.
  • Doing what you did is easy.
  • Doing something new is hard. It takes faith and risk
  • The longer your ministry is flat, the more aggressive moves it will take to break out.
  • Objects at rest stay at rest.
  • You don’t need something better, you need something totally different.
  • We need to think differently.
  • No matter what you are doing, where you are isn’t where God wants you to go.
  • The more successful you are the harder it is to do something different.
  • We have to think differently.

Think differently about your church cultureWhat people do, what they think and how they behave.

  • Change the mindset: Our people won’t ___________. Fill in your own blank.
  • To: We haven’t LED them to ___________.
  • Are you practicing what you want your people want to model?
  • What our church won’t, we don’t.
  • Have you modeled and worked toward what you want your people to do?
  • It’s not that are people won’t, it’s that we haven’t led them.
  • Whenever you say they can’t or they don’t, ask yourself if you’ve led them.
  • You can lead up if you serve well under.
  • You can gain permission to lead over.
  • Step into the authority and gift of leadership God has given you.

Think differently about programming.

  • We’ve been trained to think: We have to do MORE to reach more.
  • The truth is: We can reach more by doing LESS.
  • Rate of increased activity was proportional to the decreased rate of life transformation.
  • Look at the places you do not have momentum and ask, “why do we keep doing those things?”
  • Look at places where you don’t have momentum and STOP doing them!
  • When you remove something that’s dying, you release life, energy, and resources to do new things that can build momentum.
  • One of the greatest things the church in America can do is to start doing less.
  • To reach people no one is reaching, you have to do things no one else is doing.
  • In order to do what no one’s doing you have to stop doing what everyone else is doing.

Think differently about the mission.

  • Rethink what God is calling you to do.
  • Think about Christ, who He is, and what knowing Him means and what not knowing Him means.
  • The most important thing is people… not buildings, programs, etc.
  • We think: We can’t hurt someone’s feelings.
  • The truth is: We can’t allow someone to hold back the mission of the church.
  • We leave the wrong people in the wrong places.
  • It’s not fair to them, it’s not fair to the organization.
  • Hire and recruit for the future, not the present.
  • Getting the right person in the right place could be one of the most important parts of gaining momentum.
  • You have to be willing to make painful decisions.
  • If you’re not hurting you’re not leading.
  • You’re going to hurt if you are leading well.
  • The mission is more important than people’s feelings.

Think differently about people leaving the church.

  • We tend to think: We can’t let anyone leave.
  • But in reality: We can grow when people leave.
  • Churches can be like “The Firm”
  • Sometimes churches seem soooo needy.
  • When you come off needy, you get people who are there for the wrong reason.
  • One of the best things you can do is bless the wrong people to leave.
  • We are full of spiritual consumers… we need spiritual contributors.

Think differently about limitations.

  • We tend to say all the time in the church: We can’t because we don’t _______________.
  • The truth is: We can because we don’t ____________.
  • Limitation is the breeding ground for innovation.
  • One of the best things God did for us is not giving us what we wanted.
  • God guides by what He withholds.
  • There are times God will not give us what we think we need so we can otherwise see something we would have never seen before.
  • Ask God what He’s trying to show you through your greatest limitation.
  • You do not have what you want because you don’t need it, there’s something greater.
  • God guides by what He withholds, not just with what He provides.
  • A struggling economy can be a catalyst for one of the greatest streaks in the church.
  • We don’t need more money… we need more volunteers, creativity, innovation, and how he does more with less..

Three Assignments

1. Find someone one or two steps ahead of you and learn how they. Most want to learn what they – not how they think.

  • Most people want to learn what they do – not how they think.
  • When you copy the what, you miss the why.
  • Get inside people’s minds… ask them what they think, what they see coming, etc.
  • Don’t look at the what, look at the why behind it.

2. Identify one wrong mindset and ask God to renew your mind with truth.

  • Quit whining and do something about it.
  • Change your mindset and watch what God will do.

3. Identify one painful decision you’ve been avoiding and commit to make the decision no matter what the short-term pain.

  • The difference between where you are and where you want to be is the decision you don’t want to make.

Q&A

  • A struggling economy gives you permission to make decisions you needed to make but didn’t have the equity to make.
  • Creates opportunities for partnership.
  • In order for the church to survive we need to work together.
  • It forces you to be wiser.
  • When we pull back and tighten up, God sends blessings on the other side.
  • When you are faithful with little, God will give you more.
  • We often underestimate what God wants to do in the short term and overestimate what God wants to do in the future.
  • We need to create a culture that allows for failure.
  • In most places we evaluate too late and let things go on too long.
  • The longer you let something go, the harder it is to eliminate.
  • Longevity can lead to personalizing ministries/programs, where you aren’t cutting something, you’re cutting an identity.
  • Pastors are called to lead and shepherd, not just care for people.
  • Pastors can model symbolic leadership… not doing everything, but doing some.
  • We want to create a culture of entrepreneurial ministry and mission.
  • You have permission to go and do what you feel God calling you to do, but we don’t have to pay for it.
  • God gives you everything you need to reach the people you need to reach.
  • Don’t ask what you don’t have, look at what you’ve got.
February 6, 2011

CRAIG GROESCHEL PASTOR LIFECHURCH.TV EDMOND OKLAHOMA AUTHOR THE CHRISTIAN ATHEIST & IT GIVES INCREDIBLE ADVICE TO YOUNG PASTORS & PREACHERS: BE TRANSPARENT

 

Craig

Craig Groeschel best-selling author and pastor of Lifechurch.tv had some profound for pastors and preachers on his blog recently.

In a post entitled, ‘Authentic And Transparent Communication’ Groeschel implored speakers to make themselves more transparent and vulnerable in their messages and sermons.

“Most of the communicators I see struggle to bringall of themselves to a message,” Groeschel lamented.

 

It was really interesting reading this because I just thought about this last week.  In fact this is the one thing I think that sets Francis Chan apart as a speaker from everyone else.  He is transparent and authentic to a fault.  So in my mind Groeschel’s words were very wise.

“Bring You” Groeschel pleads with leaders.

 

Here’s More From The Post:

 

When you preach or teach, you must bring you. Without you in, around, and through the message, you will not impact today’s listener.

The younger audience today has a built in authenticity-meter. You can preach with passion, humor, clever points, or heart-wrenching stories. But if the scriptures haven’t touched your life, the listener will know it—and ignore your well-crafted message.

People want to know:

  • How has the text affected you?
  • How have you failed in the area the Scripture addresses?
  • What about the text makes you uncomfortable?
  • What do you feel about what Scripture is saying? (I know our feelings don’t trump scriptural truth, but talking about how we feel about the text can help engage others at a deeper level.)
  • How are you becoming different because of your study in God’s word?

Which preachers do you listen to that do a good job of brining themselves into the message? How are you learning to “bring you” as a communicator?

 

Do you think Groeschel’s right or wrong?  Would love to hear your thoughts