A few weeks ago, I read the latest book by Craig Groeschel titled WEIRD: Because Normal Isn’t Working. When you look at what is considered normal in today’s society, maybe being weird isn’t so bad. Here’s a great quote about the theme of the book.
Normal infects our faith as well, both what we believe and how we live it out. When we consider how people relate to God, it’s normal to either reject God altogether or believe in him while living as if he doesn’t exist. In churches, normal is lukewarm Christianity, self-centered spiritual consumerism, and shallow, me-driven faith. God has become a means to an end, a tool in our toolbox to accomplish what we want. The majority of people claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. And all this is normal. But normal isn’t working.
This book reads like a sermon series, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It is challenging as Craig examines different areas of our lives to see if we are normal or if we are weird.
- Part one examines how we use our time
- Part two examines how we manage our money
- Part three examines our relationships
- Part four examines society’s view of sex
- Part five examines our values
One of the reasons that I liked this book was that it is grounded in real life problems of today’s society. I’m afraid that many pastors (and many books) are answering questions that no one is asking. This book tackles real life problems, and it handles them based on what the Bible teaches. Here are some of the passages in the book that I highlighted.
- 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!”
- 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.
- You have enough time to do everything God wants you to do.
- I’ve heard it said, “If the Devil can’t make us really bad, then he’ll try to make us really busy.”
- 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”
- God will often give you more than you can handle so you can learn to depend on him rather than on yourself.
- We don’t even know how to rest anymore. Most of us take vacations packed with traveling, activities, and money worries. Then we come back from our vacation needing a vacation.
- If your iPad is your iDol, it’s time to put it down. To be fully alive, you need time with God to recharge. Get weird. Normal is not working. You need to rest. You need deep rest. If you are like normal people, you can’t keep up this pace. It’s time to make a change. Don’t settle for a normal life. Not when you can enjoy the wonderful weirdness of being who God created you to be.
- The average Christian in the United States gives about 2 percent of his or her income toward helping people and advancing God’s kingdom on the earth. That means that the remaining 98 percent goes to the world. Which means that 98 percent of our hearts go toward the world. If you catch yourself wondering why you want more of the world and you’re not satisfied with God, it’s because you have a spiritual problem. We think that more is going to make us happy.
- And if we are not intentional about imparting a spiritual legacy to our children, I can promise you that our spiritual enemy is plotting full-time how he can divert our kids from God’s best to anything destructive. Unfortunately, his method often involves diverting us from our heart’s desire by getting us to settle for what’s normal instead of pursuing God’s best.
- Our goal is not to raise kids who can endure R-rated movies and still be productive teenagers, or sheltered children who think Britney Spears is a cuss word. Instead, we pray that our children will grow to not need us but instead need and intimately know God, then on their own — in his grace and truth — have the strength to say no to dangerous influences and temptation and live with the grace to love those who don’t live the truth they embrace.
- The vast majority of people today cross the line of sexual sin long before they’re married. I call it premarital adultery because when you commit sexual sin today, you’re cheating on the person you’re going to marry later. By choosing to live outside of God’s standards today, you’re conditioning yourself to be even more susceptible to failure later. You can’t build a foundation of sin now for a life of purity later.
- When a person commits adultery, there are biblical grounds for divorce. But don’t ever forget: adultery is also biblical grounds for forgiveness, healing, and restoration.
- You’ve purposefully chosen to leave the broad path. You’re gladly traveling the narrow road. Your journey may seem weird to others, but your destination will be infinitely better than anything a settle-for-normal world can offer. Because you can’t settle for normal any longer. You can’t be normal, because you are getting to know the loving, grace-filled, all-powerful God of the universe. And as you come to know him, you’re becoming like him. The more you are like him, the more different you will be. Weird.
This is definitely a book I recommend. The book is full of great quotes and thoughts that really make you examine your life. It is a book that is easy to read but much harder to apply to your everyday life. I’m looking forward to the small group DVD and study that will be centered around this book that is due to be released in September. I think this would make a great study for youth or college age students. Craig Groeschel also preached an entire sermon series on this at LifeChurch.tv and you can watch all 5 sermons on their website. I’ve told several people about this book, so I’m anxious to hear more feedback about what you learned from the book. Leave me a comment with something that really stood out to you.
from the publisher:
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. In our oversexed world, lust, premarital sex, guilt, and shame are far more common than purity, virginity, and a healthy married sex life. And when it comes to God, the majority believe in him, but the teachings of scripture rarely make it into their everyday lives. Simply put, normal isn’t working. Groeschel’s WEIRD views will help you break free from the norm to lead a radically abnormal (and endlessly more fulfilling) life.