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As the pastor of Lifechurch.tv, a booming multi-site church headquartered in Oklahoma City, Craig Groeschel knows a thing or two about being weird. You don’t become the pastor of one of the largest and most influential churches in America without doing things a little differently.
In his new book titled Weird, Craig talks about how to move past the stress and exhaustion of our normal lives into something more…weird. As Part 2 of our interview with him, he gives us a glimpse into the book. Check out Part 1 here.
Explain how you have changed the way in which you do your New Year’s resolutions.
Craig Groeschel: I had a weird thought. What if, instead of a list, I focused all of my attention on just one singular goal? If I worked on it a little over time, maybe it wouldn’t become so overwhelming. But that presented another problem: with so many areas I wanted to change, how could I pick just one? So I started by praying, asking God, “What’s the one thing you want to be different in my life next year?”
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That’s what I do every year now, and you know what? He always tells me something. One thing will emerge that’s the obvious one part of my life—one part of my heart—that he’s after. Instead of spreading my good intentions all over a huge list, I focus on just that one thing.
It’s weird how this works. When you focus on just one thing with singular intensity, with will and intentionality, that one thing actually changes. In five years, you’ve completely changed five big chunks of your life. In a decade, the landscape of your life looks dramatically different. I’m convinced now that if you’ll ask God to give you each of your “one things,” then in 10 years, you’ll be 10 huge steps closer to the person He wants you to be.
What does it take to be a “weird” parent?
Craig Groeschel: Six kids. Joking (Sort of.)
Normal parent’s goal: Raise well-rounded, well-educated, happy kids.
This is not a bad place to start, but it shouldn’t be our end goal. What if we succeed and raise well-rounded, well-educated happy people? But what if our children don’t know Christ? If that’s what happens, we’ve failed. We aimed at all kinds of things except the one target that matters.
A weird parent’s ambition shouldn’t be to raise kids who are normal. A weird parent focuses on the most important things, and allows those other things to take care of themselves. Sure, teach your kids to ride bikes and throw footballs, and get them dance and guitar lessons—just don’t elevate those things above the things that are most important. Teach them how to set realistic goals for themselves, but most importantly, teach them how to frame those goals in the context of eternity.
A weird parent intentionally sets long-term goals around gradually transferring a child’s dependence on the parents to dependence on God.
You talk about a paradox that Dave also discusses—that the more you give, the richer you become. Can you explain that?
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Craig Groeschel: I call this developing “a generous eye.” Proverbs 22:9 says, “He who has a generous eye will be blessed.”
Luke 6:38 makes it clear that there’s a cause-effect relationship between what we are willing to give and how God will bless us in response: “with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
What I’m talking about is not some kind of strategy to try to “game God’s system.” I’d also like to make clear that it would be a horrible, cheapening mistake to misinterpret these passages as being just about money. While certainly God may choose to bless us with material things (and of course many passages in scripture offer evidence of this), that’s only one tiny fraction of how he might choose to engage with us.
I tell a story in the book about an amazing group of people in Ecuador. We had gone there to serve these people living in profound poverty, where one of their only means of income is making formal dresses to sell. On our last day there, they wanted to bless one of my daughters with the gift of one of these extremely nice dresses. I felt horribly guilty because we already have everything we need, and honestly, we have more than enough.
But our translator helped me understand that it would hurt these precious people deeply if we wouldn’t accept it, and only as a gift. They saw the opportunity to give as an act of worship to the God who had given them so much. Through that experience, God demonstrated to all of us that he has plenty, and he loves to lavish it on us.
This was not a material gift to anyone in our family, either from them or from God. Instead, it was an extravagant expression of love that has forever bonded my entire family to those who gave it. It has become genuinely priceless to us as a family heirloom, one we will pass down for generations, not because of what it’s “worth” in terms of dollars, but because of its story.
Ready to ditch normal and live a life of weird?