LifeChurch.tv senior pastor Craig Groeschel insists that "normalcy" is ruining us. We're money-hungry, addicted to objects, oversexed, yet guilty; and our religion is a vague, once-a-week regimen of good intentions. To rise up from the mainstream we dying of, he charts a weird, yet completely fulfilling way out.
WEIRD DVD: Because Normal Isn't Workingby Craig Groeschel
In this small group Bible study DVD, WEIRD, pastor and bestselling author Craig Groeschel shatters ‘normal’ and turns ‘weird’ upside down.
Normal people are stressed, overwhelmed, and exhausted. Many of their relationships are, at best, strained and, in most cases, just surviving. Even though we live in one of the most prosperous/b>… See more details below
In this small group Bible study DVD, WEIRD, pastor and bestselling author Craig Groeschel shatters ‘normal’ and turns ‘weird’ upside down.
Normal people are stressed, overwhelmed, and exhausted. Many of their relationships are, at best, strained and, in most cases, just surviving. Even though we live in one of the most prosperous places on earth, normal is still living paycheck to paycheck and never getting ahead.
Lust and frequent “casual” sex are far more common than purity and a healthy married sex life. And when it comes to God, the many believe, but few practice the teachings of Scripture in their everyday lives.
Simply put, normal isn’t working. In this six-session, video-based study, Groeschel’s WEIRD views will help you break free from the norm to lead a radically abnormal (and endlessly more fulfilling) life.
This DVD features six, 10 to 15-minute vignettes of teaching from Craig Groeschel, and is designed for use together with the WEIRD Participant Guide (sold separately). When used together they provide you with a practical tool than can strengthen your faith.
1. The God Kind of Weird
2. It’s Time to Be Weird
3. Weird That Money Can’t Buy
4. Pleasing God is Weird
5. Weird Makes You Truly Sexy
6. The Weirdest Blessing Possible
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.30(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.60(d)
- Age Range:
- 18 Years
Read an Excerpt
WeirdBecause Normal Isn't Working
By Craig Groeschel
ZondervanCopyright © 2011 Craig Groeschel
All right reserved.
Chapter OneKILLING TIME
When you kill time, remember that it has no resurrection. — A. W. Tozer
Just before Christmas, my whole family piled into our kid-moving vehicle and rushed to the nearest mall to grab some last-minute Christmas presents before dashing to a holiday party. As usual, we were running late and were slightly on edge.
Entering the mall parking lot, I was overwhelmed by the traffic. Cars crawled bumper to bumper, inching along like a million ants trapped in a puddle of honey. Instinctively I prayed one of those selfish "God, please get me a parking space" prayers (as if God wants me to get one before all the other ants). Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted an old pickup truck near the mall entrance, leaving its space. God is so good. I punched the accelerator and sped toward my answered prayer, hoping to gain a few precious extra seconds.
I immediately staked my spot with eye-lock. (Eye-lock is the ancient practice of claiming a spot by looking directly at it. As long as you don't look away, the spot is yours.) Relieved that I might actually avoid the tedium of trolling up and down each aisle, I kept my eyes deadlocked on the spot and prepared for entry. Out of nowhere, a red sports car whipped in front of me — breaking my honorable eye-lock — and stole my parking space.
Frustrated beyond words, with the pressure mounting because of our tight schedule, I did something that I'm not proud of doing. While my wife pleaded with me and my kids prayed loudly, I backed up my vehicle, pointed it directly at the red sports car, shifted to neutral, then revved my engine.
The driver of the sports car glanced into his rearview mirror, only to see me glaring at him. Like a drag racer leaving the gate, I popped from neutral to drive, peeled out, and shot straight toward the rear of the enemy car.
It's hard to know what happened next. Maybe it was my wife threatening me. Perhaps God answered my kids' prayers. Maybe I realized that I was still in our minivan and not in a NASCAR race. Whatever the reason, right before impact, I slammed on the brakes and stopped just short of his car. With all the Christian love I had, I rolled down the window and shouted at the top of my lungs, "What do you think you're doing? You know I had eye-lock, you idiot! Now you're going to make me really late, you red-sports-car-driving loser!"
After rejoining the other ants, we searched for another twenty minutes and finally found a parking spot somewhere near the state line. Thanks to me, no one in my family had the Christmas spirit as we entered the mall (my wife barely speaking to me), running even more behind schedule. We dashed from store to store, breathing heavy in our rush. As we entered JC Penney, who should approach us but my old friend — the driver of the red car.
Just great. Images of my picture with the headline "Local Pastor Assaults Man over Parking Space" flashed through my mind.
"I can tell you're in a big hurry," he said, as my blood pressure continued to rise. "But it appears you have more going on in your life than you can handle." My wife gave me the remember-you're-a-pastor-and-better-behave look as the driver continued. "I'd like to tell you about someone who could really help — Jesus. I really believe you need him, and he could change your life."
WHEN MORE ISN'T BETTER
I can't blame my lack of self-control on our culture, but it surely doesn't help any of us manage our time well. We live in a time-starved society that relentlessly pushes us to the limits — and not just at the holidays. Buy more, do more, accomplish more, conquer more. Rush, rush. Hurry, hurry. More productive, more efficient, more expedient — more, more, more. It's insane what passes for the norm today. Most people work far more hours than they used to (who works only forty hours anymore?), trying to get ahead or simply survive. Our evenings or off times are crammed with activities — the kids' sports, music lessons, and, yes, church. Many families rarely have time to eat together. A typical family dinner now includes a round of Happy Meals from the drive-through in the fifteen minutes between dance and soccer practice.
Even kids are overwhelmed today. I know many families with seven- and eight-year-old kids who, on top of homework and school, are out four or five nights a week doing extracurriculars (not to mention the schedule they have to keep on the weekends). And in our culture this is normal — or even expected. We all want our kids to be well-rounded, don't we? We wouldn't want to deprive them of the lifestyle necessities that their friends have, would we?
For many of us, the schedules we impose on our children end up consuming us. If someone asked, "Are you really enjoying your life?" most of us would have to say, "No ... and I don't have time to talk about it!"
We're always rushed, always on the move, never having enough time. Almost everyone I know has little room for error in their schedule. Tragically, most people have little time for the things in life that they would say are the most important to them. When we overschedule ourselves in the belief that we can do everything, we stop being human and try to become godlike — not only impossible but also incredibly arrogant. Most of us are living at a pace that is not only unsustainable; it's also unbiblical.
Instead of our typical conclusion that we simply don't have enough time, what if we embraced the truth — no matter how weird or counterintuitive it might seem?
You have enough time to do everything God wants you to do.
God has given you everything you need to accomplish all that he wants you to do, including enough time (see 2 Peter 1:3). We don't need more time. We need to use the time we already have differently. You have time for what you choose to invest your time in. Every day most of us say, "I just don't have time to work out ... to read the Bible ... to go to church this week ... to meet for lunch ... to add one more thing." But the truth is, we find time for what's important to us. If golf is really a priority to us, we find time to play golf. If going to dinner with our friends matters, we make it happen. If tanning, working out, or getting our hair cut is a priority, we seem to find time. Catch yourself the next time you're about to say, "I don't have time" for something. Tell yourself the truth: either it's not a priority and you're guarding your time for good reason, or you simply aren't willing to choose to spend your time on it.
Normal people do normal things at a normal — breakneck — pace and never have enough time to do the most important things. This is why we are called to buck the trend of accelerating busyness and reset our race engines to God's speed. Fueled by faith and passion for our true priorities, we're going to drive against traffic in order to find rest, refreshment, and time for what matters most in life.
A TALE OF TWO SISTERS
Our constant busyness is causing us to miss more than just rest and refreshment. I'm convinced normal people miss the majority of God's blessings because they're too busy to notice them. Nowhere is this more apparent than in a scene of two women at odds over how they're each spending their time. One is convinced she doesn't have enough time; her sister, however, accepts an opportunity for a unique encounter and, as a result, receives a gift with literally eternal payoff: "As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made" (Luke 10:38—40).
Here's what's interesting: Mary and Martha are both presented with the same opportunity. Jesus, the very Son of God, has come to Martha's home. What would you do if you knew Jesus was coming over? Now, Mary probably had other things she needed to do, just like the rest of us. Maybe she had laundry that wasn't done. She might have needed to go buy some groceries (or kill the fatted calf — talk about a time drainer). Certainly she could have swept, cleaned, and tidied up. But she chose to create a moment instead. She said, "Right now, while we have this time, I'm not going to do any of that other stuff. I'm going to seize this moment and simply enjoy being with Jesus while I can."
Mary made a deliberate choice. She wasn't being lazy and using company as an excuse to get out of helping her sister with chores. She was choosing to focus on what mattered the most.
When's the last time you stopped long enough to embrace a matters-the-most moment?
If you're like me, it takes a few reminders. Just last night I was sitting in my home office replying to emails. My youngest daughter, Joy, bounced in to see me. With her long hair pulled back in pigtails and her mouth smudged with Oreo crumbs, she asked, "Dad, can we play a game?"
Lost in my work, I mumbled the Busy Parent's Creed: "In a minute, honey ... I'm doing something important ... Let me finish my work ... We'll see ... Maybe later."
Without missing a beat, Joy blurted out, "Daddy, look at me and never forget this. I'm only going to be six years old once! You don't want to miss it!"
I smiled at her negotiation tactic — kid guilt works every time. Nonetheless, my all-important work didn't seem so urgent anymore. I gladly closed the computer, stuffed an Oreo in my mouth, and sat down for an epic game of Go Fish.
It's so tempting to let these moments pass us by because we're overwhelmed by everything clamoring for our attention. The task-driven Martha knew this too well. While Mary embraced the moment, Martha, on the other hand, was like many of us: preoccupied, distracted, busy being busy. Martha was wigging out, she was freaking, she was losing it.
And here's the kicker: the distractions consuming Martha weren't bad things. She wasn't bent on doing evil. She wasn't enticed by the pursuit of something sinful. In fact, we might even say that her priorities were good and necessary. In all fairness to Martha, we might be thinking along the same lines if we were in her place: "Okay, I gotta think this through. This is Jesus coming over. The Jesus. Everybody's saying he's the Son of God, the Christ! I'd better get out the pretty Pottery Barn china with the little sparrows and fig leaves. I'm going to need new candles. I've got to make sure the toilet paper matches the shower curtain. I certainly want the Lord to have a good impression of our home and family — God forbid that we look like a bunch of pagans!"
Sound familiar? Just like Martha, we fall into the trap of being busy instead of being bigger than the tyranny of the urgent. I've heard it said, "If the Devil can't make us really bad, then he'll try to make us really busy." Absolutely true. What's most important is often not what seems most urgent. When something small loudly demands all our attention, its noise often drowns out the whisper of what's enormously important.
Martha becomes so intent on her mission that she can't imagine why anyone else wouldn't be doing the same things. Consider the urgency in her voice: "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!" (Luke 10:40). However, she's not hearing her own message. Martha tells Jesus with her lips that he's the most important thing ("Lord"), even as she's absolutely convinced that all this activity is the right thing to do. " Jesus, I'm doing all this work — making drinks with the little umbrellas, preparing special hors d'oeuvres (gluten free, with no bacon), unloading the dishwasher, staging the dinner table — and Mary's just lying around shooting the breeze! Are you kidding me?" Martha not only misses the opportunity before her; she feels more than justified in missing it.
Mary and Martha's dilemma is the challenge for all of us. Most of us are convinced that the way we're already living is absolutely necessary ... and right. Our culture, the world we live in, has brainwashed us: "This is the way we have to live! Being really busy means you're successful, important, and significant." We become convinced that this standard — lots of "important" activity, the business of busyness — is what truly matters, an indication of our talent, worth, and value. Anybody worth anything will always be busy, right?
In the introduction, I mentioned the eye-opening effect that Matthew 7:13 had on me at a crucial time in my life. Let's look at it again, from a different version of the Bible. "The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way" (NLT). Everybody's doing it! Well, if it seems like everybody's doing it, then clearly they're on a broad path. They're going through a wide gate. Many are choosing that way, because the bandwagon requires a huge exit ramp to accommodate all its passengers.
Notice that these verses start with "You can enter God's Kingdom only through the narrow gate," then continues, "The gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it" (Matt. 7:13 — 14 NLT). So if it seems like you're doing something different from what everyone else is doing, and if sometimes that feels hard, this is a good thing, not a bad thing.
When I compare the pace of my life with the rhythm of God's Word, it quickly becomes apparent I'm doing something wrong. Just because everyone else is doing something doesn't make it right. (Wow, I just said something my mom told me for years.) In fact, when everyone else is doing it, it begs for scrutiny. Instead of just naturally following the herd instinct and doing what everyone else is doing, what if we automatically questioned the majority rule? Again, like Martha wanting to present Jesus with a lovely meal in a beautiful setting, there may be nothing inherently wrong with popular behavior. It may even be a good thing. But is it the best thing?
Normal people allow good things to become the enemy of the best things.
Too many good (or acceptable) things quickly overwhelm the most important things in life. Too often our desire to fit in, to belong, to conform and be considered normal eclipses our desire to follow God and do what's best. We choose popular standards instead of the habits that lead to holiness.
In his letter to the Romans, Paul tells us exactly how we can counter this: "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Rom. 12:2). What makes us think that public opinion knows what's best? What gives the majority the authority to determine what's right?
If we follow Christ, we're not supposed to be like everyone else. The whole point of sanctification is to become more like him instead of who we are when left to our own devices and desires. So how do we discern the difference between a good choice and the best one?
Paul provides the answer with the second part of this verse. "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will" (emphasis mine).
YOUR TO-DON'T LIST
Imagine meeting someone for the first time, and after making small talk, you politely ask, "What kind of work do you do?" Your new acquaintance replies, "I don't do much at all; I usually just hang out at home and wait for friends to drop by." What would you think? Most of us tend to look down on people who don't produce visible results and demonstrate their accomplishments. Why? Because we usually equate busyness with importance. This isn't just about worldly accomplishments; it's about spiritual worth as well.
Excerpted from Weird by Craig Groeschel Copyright © 2011 by Craig Groeschel . Excerpted by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
New York Times bestselling author Craig Groeschel is the founding and senior pastor of LifeChurch.tv, a pacesetting multicampus church and creators of the popular and free YouVersion Bible App. He is the author of several books, including Fight, Altar Ego, Soul Detox, Weird, The Christian Atheist, and It. Craig, his wife, Amy, and their six children live in Edmond, Oklahoma.
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