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Aug 10

Chazown | Craig Groeschel

Chazown160_1No, it’s not an item on a menu at Macaroni Grill.  It’s "Chazown," a Hebrew word for "vision."  Craig Groeschel, pastor of LifeChurch.tv in Oklahoma, wants to help people get off the sidelines and get involved in the action of ministry, and has written this book to help them do so.

Without a doubt, Americans seem to struggle with this idea of figuring out what God wants you to do with your life.  The myriad of choices available is, at times, paralyzing.  While some do nothing but wonder what they are supposed to do, others wander through life enjoying trivialities and essentially wasting their life.  As one who has written and spoken on this subject more than perhaps any other, it is a topic close to my heart and one that evokes considerable passion and emotion.

"Chazown" is a workbook and a program as much as anything.  Groeschel’s point, which mirrors closely that of others who have written on the subject, is that God gifted each of us uniquely and wants us to use those gifts in His Service.  Writes Groeschel:

"The decisions you are making today are actually making the bed you will lie in as you wait to die….which is why I wrote this book.  To help you see your life differently, to see it the way your Creator saw it before you were born.  And to live it with purpose and passion."

Groeschel seeks to help people identify the sweet spot in their life, where their Core Values, Spiritual Gifts, and Past Experiences intersect.  Following an introduction of the concept, the second section of the book is devoted to the exploration of these topics in more detail, both in terms of their importance and definition in one’s life. 

The next section moves into an action plan (one section titled "God Loves You–and everyone else has a wonderful plan for your life" cautions against living to satisfy the expectations of others).  Groeschel walks the reader through the first section and helps draft a Mission Statement that clarifies and crystallizes the the type of life one believes God is calling him or her to.

From there the book goes into more detail regarding five critical areas of life that need to be brought under the submission of Christ–Groeschel calls them "spokes", as they are key to keeping the wheel in place and moving forward.  Without them, your ability to achieve "Chazown" is unlikely:

  • Relationship with God
  • Relationships with People
  • Finances
  • Health and Fitness
  • Work

The final section discusses the importance of getting help from other people as one goes through this process.

The book includes some good questions to get you thinking, and readers (and non-readers) have access to several valuable diagnostics online at chazown.com to help them learn what their true values and spiritual gifts might be.  One can also journal and use the online tool to chronicle their journey through the material.

Early in the book, Groeschel writes that his goal is to help people grow with "passion and purpose."  I would have liked to see a third "P" mentioned…purity…because in our self-help society we tend to gravitate towards tips and techniques to help us make decisions, whereas the Bible talks first about pursuing God with a whole heart and living lives of purity first and foremost.  Only then can the passion and purpose flow from God…otherwise we are at risk of only magnifying our own gifts, making them idols and worshiping them in the name of Jesus.  I think Groeschel knows this, as the topic gets attention in the chapter on "Relationships with God," but our natures are such that we need to be constantly reminded that God’s direction comes to us intuitively only when we are walking with Him with lives of holiness and service.

To the hordes of young people who don’t have a clue about what to do with their lives, this book will be a helpful steppingstone along the way.  Read John Piper’s Don’t Waste Your Life and Os Guinness’s The Call for a macro-view of "purpose" and "calling," then take a look at Groeschel’s material to help work out the specific applications for you. 

There are other good books out there that help with this subject.  Max Lucado, Chuck Colson, David Jeremiah, Bob Buford, and Bob Reccord have all written similar tomes.  However, Groeschel’s comes together in a workbook format that encourages the reader to work through the process over time rather than coast through a book in one or two settings. 

If you choose to do this in a group–and this material is well suited for group studies–there are some companion DVD’s available for additional purchase.  Each one only lasts about eleven minutes and they don’t really cover any new ground (they really should have all been burned on one DVD and included with the book), but they do add a measure of value in a group setting as introductions to each of the five spokes referenced earlier. 

—Josh Riley, Worship.com

525477: Chazown: A Different Way to See Your Life Purchase Chazown: A Different Way to See Your Life

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