Book Review: Christian Atheist by Craig Groeschel

Lets cut to the chase. You should read this book. Especially if you have been a Christian for some time. That’s when the ‘honeymoon’ is well and truly over and the habits of life and stuff can start to bring distractions, cause us to have belief in God but maybe not always live like we mean it.

Reading this book acted as a checkpoint for me.
Am I full-time in my job but part-time in following God?

I could see myself in some of the areas that Craig Groeschel discusses. It is easy to drift from knowing God personally & just believe in Him. It is easy to say I believe but that maybe aspects of my life and how I deal with them might make those looking on question that belief.

For example…
…praying but not really expecting anything to change
…wondering where God is when life isn’t fair and forgetting that he truly cares for me
…worrying about stuff and not fully trusting God
…trusting in stuff and not focusing on the things that are important to God

There is a lot packed in these pages. Some honest stories. Some challenging thoughts. For someone who wants to do his best for God, it was a friendly kick. A push of encouragement to stay on track with God and to make sure that my actions match what I believe.

A recommended read. Get your copy here

What Are You Reading At The Moment?

Went to Borders the other day. Love going there. Never really get to fully appreciate it when the girls are with me but I did get the opportunity to browse and checked out a few books that look interesting even alllowing for the pile I still have left over from last year!

Leaders are readers. You want to gain some knowledge then you need to be reading and I don’t mean just general fiction. You need to read stuff that will challenge you, inspire you, stretch you, teach you something. Start small. Don’t be intimidated by how much others read – have your own plan, set your own goal and go for it!

This is the last 10 books I have read – what do you think?
Vintage Jesus
Turning Points
Starving Jesus
Wake Up Dead Man
Sticky Church
Moving in the Spirit
Meatball Sundae
Holy Discontent

After any good recommendations. Come July I will be switching my emphasis from reading my Bible in BIG CHUNKS to reading from an ever increasing pile of books.


Book Review: Chazown by Craig Groeschel

9781590525470-11If you have read my recent posts – fresh year, fresh ideas & fresh goals then you are seeing how this book has influenced me. For anyone moving into 2009 with questions about what the future could look like, God’s calling, destiny and purpose then this book is highly recommended.

Love the way Craig Groeschel writes, very easy to read, lots of honesty. However, if you want to change then the journey Craig Groeschel takes you on, will not be as easy. The questions to challenge you, taking your intentions and transforming them into values, making difficult decisions that will help you achieve more.

Take the 5 areas and do a little check up. Honesty is never easy. Think about what you want it to look like and set some goals to move towards. Done properly, the rewards might be life-changing. To you, and to those around you too.

Get your copy here and make a choice today to have a go at making this year your best one yet.

Don’t Lose IT!!

In his book IT, Craig Groeschel talks about how people can lose IT. He states that it’s normally through getting comfortable in your relationship with God that the problems start – he says the big culprits are laziness, complacency and distraction. These are the challenges of living in the world. The answer is being strong in your daily disciplines, keeping the main thing the main thing.

Here are some things that I am discovering as I continue on my journey as a Pastor…

I don’t want to lose IT. Thinking about this always reminds me of the scripture where Paul writes that all things are lawful but not all things are helpful. In my opinion this is a good check for me.

The disciplines for keeping IT are not easy. Every day I have an opportunity to get distracted from the purpose that I believe God has for my life by spending too much time on other stuff – they are not wrong but they are not always helpful for my destiny.

God keeps giving me a friendly reminder that what ever I do as a Pastor it probably will never happen unless I keep praying, keep reading and keep believing God for it. I’m a great believer that you need to be passionate about it enough to get on your knees for it. I can talk a good game but what about what I do in private!!

I choose to follow IT. Every day when the alarm goes off I know that I don’t have a choice. The new day ahead, I have already determined that the most important thing I must do is to get up and pray. It is part of my non-negotiables now. Staying in bed is not wrong – in fact it seems to be the most beautiful thing in the world some mornings but I know praying is worth the sacrifice.

Lifestyle habits shape what IT looks like to others.
If I am to be a model of what a Christian is then my habits are important. The shape of my life shapes their view of God. My lifestyle habits then are reflective of how I want God to be seen. John Maxwell says that ‘Leaders give up to go up’. Some are not willing to rise to that challenge and maintain that they can have rights and responsibility. I don’t think it works like that.

I am learning to warn others if I think they are losing IT
People do drift from their true north, the ultimate cause of living for Jesus by convincing themselves that their lifestyle is acceptable when they probably know its not really. Why do good Christians get wrapped up in their own world and compromise so easily? Big letters coming up: ITS NOT ABOUT US!

For example (an I know this might raise a few comments) getting drunk is NOT okay…and some of you are. Feel like Paul writing to the Church at Ephesus saying ‘Don’t get drunk with wine (or other stuff); but be filled with the Holy Spirit’. Don’t allow yourselves to take second best.

[Am I being too hard? What are your views on this? Have you lost IT? Have you got IT back?]

Questions We Don’t Like Asking

Craig Groeschel has been posting about the power of questions. All good stuff. These ones listed are probably the hardest ones though for team leaders to ask of team members.

So Xcel Church team leaders be ready…I might just ask you!

1. How is your relationship with God?
2. When is the last time you failed?
3. What faith risk are you currently taking?
4. What hard decision have you been postponing?
5. Who is speaking into your life and what are you learning?
6. What is your biggest vulnerability?
7. What are you dreaming about that you haven’t told anyone about yet?
8. If God would bless anything you did, what would you attempt?
9. Do you have any ongoing sin issues? What are you doing about it?
10. Are you doing what God has called you to do? If not, what can we do to help you to find the right fit?

Wow. Maybe if we did ask these difficult questions and then answered them honestly we would save a lot of problems. You would definitely know where your team is at!

Book Review: IT by Craig Groeschel

I would recommend this book to any Pastors and leaders, whether you think you have IT or not. It is a very easy read, written by someone who is on the same journey.

I always approach books I am reading with an attitude of wanting to learn, be reminded, to be poked in some way about how I am leading. This book did not disappoint. Some of the thoughts will doubtless come through in future posts…

Craig talks about an effective vision. It struck an accord with me…an effective vision is memorable, portable and motivational. It should capture attention, stir hearts and be irresistibly moving. It should cause agitation, ambition, ignition, even competition. Certainly something to aim for when talking vision for Xcel Church Darlington.

When you increase your focus, you decrease your options. That’s the power of great vision.

All of Chapter 9 hit me round the head. It’s smack bang in the middle of where I am at the moment. ‘You want others to have IT’ It’s not about you.

As the leader ‘you must have IT’…the rare combination of passion, integrity, focus, faith, expectation, drive, hunger and God’s anointing…

As a leader what we need is: raw passion for God and for people.

Your relationship with God is only as good as you want it to be – that is so simple it’s incredible. Easy to forget. The walk with God is a daily determination to not lose IT. This is a challenge for me, probably lessons for everyone in that statement.

Big reminder…when you become comfortable in your relationship with God you will lose IT. By comfortable Craig says he means complacent, lazy and distracted. Going to post about these in the future – it’s the biggest let down for most Christians who lose their drive for God.

Having read the book I am reminded that my relationship with God is so important. I must work to keep IT. God, stretch me, ruin me, heal me.

Get your copy here.

Why We Don’t Ask

This is the other half to the post previously mentioned by Craig Groeschel. Having listed 10 reasons why we should invite he now lists 10 reasons why we don’t invite people to become Christians. Interesting stuff.

No excuses…I am not embarrassed to ask people if they want to accept Jesus as their Saviour when they come to Xcel Church. How about you?

Keep Providing an Opportunity

Don’t ever forget that this applies to everyone in our worlds that don’t know Jesus as their Saviour, so keep asking. Read this great post from Craig Groeschel.

We will build a thriving congregation in Darlington, that is welcoming, inclusive, with an atmosphere of faith and expectation of meeting with God. At Xcel Church I promise to give people an opportunity more often to accept Jesus into their world. Let’s see what God can do!