27 February 2022
Leadership 101: The Central Way
https://www.life.church/chazown/ (Here is the link to the videos, study guide, and book for you to find your won Chazown)
“Chazown” Spiritual Autobiography
“The definition of identity is who you are, the way you think about yourself, the way you are viewed bAy the world and the characteristics that define you” (www.yourdictionary.com). The key is that it is in Christ alone that we find our true identity. Chazown is a Hebrew word that means dream, revelation or vision. The author explains it is my driving force. In the book, one key thought is “everyone ends up somewhere. But few people end up somewhere on purpose” (Groeschel, 6). Jesus knew his vision which was to seek and save the lost by laying his life down as it was not taken or stolen, but given. God provides me with my unique vision to fulfill the purpose of my life. He works in me to develop a realistic plan so I work toward living out that purpose. My chazown gives me direction so that my passions and desires become purposeful with time. It brings my past and future into my present so I live an intentional life. Groeschel had me search deeply into three areas of my life: my core values, my spiritual gifts, and my past experiences. It is where these areas intersect that I found my chazown. Core values are the truths that are hardwired inside of me found deep within my soul. This was difficult process because the author has you look at what stirs inside of me that I would lay down my lift for.
Top 5 Core Values
My 1st core value is authenticity because regardless of pressure I cannot deny that I am a child of God. I would not be able to compromise in my faith or keep my belief in Jesus hidden. I struggled for many years with needing the approval of people, but today I believe God has softened my heart to truly value myself as I do others because of the relationship I have gained through accepting Jesus as my personal savior. “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls” (Life Application Study Bible, 1 Peter 1: 8). Peter’s faith was refined through persecution and he set himself as an example to others how to take up the cross by living a holy lifestyle. Not filled with laws and rituals but sincere love for one another. God’s love and forgiveness was freely given so they needed to take their eyes off themselves and start being selfless, self-centered, and instead meet the needs of others. This was the true sacrifice when a man lays down his life for others. Peter saw great joy in persecution “as you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him” (1 Peter 2:4). Jesus was the foundation and new believers were now the building stones of the church. Peter tells his flock to humbly obey God regardless of present circumstances and in good time he will lift them up, so to carry each other’s burdens and struggles together so when the attacks come they can be “alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings” (Peter 1: 8-9).
My 2nd core value is education. One question that the author asked is what makes me righteously angry. Nothing gets me angrier than what our education system has done to corrupt the minds of our next generation. When identity is fully erased can you have a true identity? To be inclusive is to be unidentifiable as an individual. Individual identity is confining. Stability only comes from acceptance of one’s fluidity. One must move toward a self-defined, fluid identity that reflects the worldview of group conformity that gender shouldn’t exist. This new world evolution is the most powerful catalysts of the inadequacy of what defines a male and female. As with the student example, he expresses his misery and an inability to connect with himself or his family. He redefines his name as a way to attain some sense of control, but it is a false sense of security. His identity becomes an excuse for his behavior instead of having personal responsibility for his own actions. He is conforming himself to the emptiness of the worldview that man doesn’t need God physically, mentally, or spiritually. Conformity demands control over behaviors and responses which reprograms people into a new morality. “The new morality aims at those who have not solidly established their values and who are therefore vulnerable to a time of questioning as they seek to develop their own identity” (Feazel & Swain, 23). Even those who didn’t grow up with the Bible or religion still innately know right from wrong and have a sense of good vs. bad. This push of new morality is that man is the “ruler of his own domain with his experience and knowledge” (Feazel & Swain, 36). The world view promotes that there is no natural moral law inside of a person. People can be devoted to their own selfish desires, lacking boundaries, no concern for others, and willing to trample on others to get to what they want. The worldview has influenced students through indoctrination where the belief system is not supported by any evidence and the receiver is supposed to just accept as truth without question or critical thinking discussions. It is the act of forcing ideas and opinions and no one is allowed to question or voice an object. My hope and prayer is that I can reveal God’s character through my own behavior and how I respond to others. “Do not conform 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. For by grace given me I say to every one of you; Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you” (Romans 12: 2-3).
My 3rd core value is unity. The church has a responsibility to equip its congregation with the spiritual tools and weaponry to give them courage to proclaim the gospel but to also not compromise truth. Refutation is recognizing and taking action against what is not right in the culture of this world. “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete” (2 Corinthians 10:3-6).
My 4th core value is purposeful. It is important to understand that groups tried to box Jesus in politically and socially, but he would not allow it. Jesus never swayed from his purpose which was to bring the gospel and share with people the Kingdom of God not liberalism or socialism or Marxism. Jesus wouldn’t permit his character to be defined by socio-political ideologies. Jesus told his disciples to feed his sheep because Jesus himself was the shepherd willing to lay down his life for his flock. The -isms are moving society away from Christianity to many forms of secular religions. These -isms entice people who “want to belong to groups, including ethnic, racial, religious, and economic groups. People find identity, commonality,
My 5th core value is exhortation. The purpose of the church is to stand firm in God’s words in truth ready to battle against the darkness that wants to eliminate freedom. The freedom that Jesus provided on the cross when he gave a path for us to have the courage to not compromise his truth. “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, it it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil” (1 Peter 3: 15-17). It is time to take for the church to take on the armor of God. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his might power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6:10-11).
3 Spiritual Gifts
“The body of Christ is also universal. All ethnic and social barriers have been removed” (Erickson, 396). Paul addressed this by announcing that “in this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric uncivilized, slave or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us” (Colossians 3:11). The heart of ministry must be actively proclaiming the gospel. The apostle Paul insisted that the gospel was absolute, therefore nothing should be added or removed from it so Paul was determined to defend it. This is especially important today as the church must prepare its congregation to confirm the gospel and give reasoned arguments of its truths. The church has a responsibility to love and show compassion to believers and non-believers. “Social concern includes condemning unrighteousness as well” Erickson, 403). The church should show concern and take action to condemn evil, wrong-dong, and call out corruption. “Amos and several Old Testament prophets spoke out emphatically against the evil and corruption of their day” (Erickson, 403).
Living out a Christian worldview can be difficult when it is challenged with the world view where there is no clear identity to form the morals and values of those around you. Just remember each of us are part of that creation story. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2: 10). The consequences of living a life with a world view is an eternal separation from God, so in the midst of that frustration remember there is a soul yearning to be quenched. Jesus spoke of himself as the living water so “whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4: 14).
The mission of the church works through the hearts of men, but world ideologies are at war with Christianity with falsehood and lies that are “reprehensible because they not only harm those to and/or about whom they are told, but they also blaspheme the vary character of God who is truth” (Baucham, 41). False ideologies the church must confront are: Critical Race Theory, Intersectionality, Social Justice, Conflict Theory, and Gender Theory. These sociological, psychological, and political theories have permeating our culture and making its way into Christ’s church. The teachings of the gospel is threatened and scriptures are being misrepresented. This leads people away from God’s grace and true salvation in Jesus Christ. “Values borrowed from secular culture are currently undermining Scripture in areas of race and ethnicity, manhood and womanhood, and human sexuality.” (Baucham, 235). These dangerous ideologies corrupt moral values. The challenge for churches is to not allow their influence to spread through biblical doctrines and principals.
Top 3 Strengths
Trustworthy, engaged, and personal are my top three strengths. I spoke to friends and family and one thing I am not good at is receiving positive feedback such as compliments. One of my friends from high school told me that I was his “1st buddy” and that choosing him that year changed his life. It brought him out of his shell and gave him an identity that led him to become a pilot in the Air force. Even today, he still will make comments about that day I chose to sit next to him on the bus in 9th grade. It was not that I just sat next to him but it is where that one conversation led to over a thirty year friendship. When you are in my life I am very engaged in your life. I celebrate and mourn side by side people as I am engaged in my relationships.
One thing I am not is a gossip, so my family and co-workers will share their experiences knowing that I will not reveal to anyone about who or what we talked about. I will make suggestions on how to deal with a situation, but I always say this is not my story but yours. I do get a lot of thank you for just listening as that helps me think through it. My family has a bad habit of talking about each other, but I do not like playing games, so they can trust I will not open my mouth unless I have something of value to contribute. People know I will speak truth that encourages but will not go against my belief and faith in God. I always tell people they are in my prayers and they can trust that I will bring their circumstances to the foot of the cross. Even those who are not believers seem comforted by my words as I strive to live out my life reflecting Jesus and that means I hold myself to a standard of being trustworthy.
My identity is enveloped by my personal relationship with Jesus Christ. When I write my blogs they are personal. I shared many stories of my life such as my journey through recovery of shingles. I am part of a support group for those in recovery. I strive to help ease people’s pain and how to deal with nerve damage. I personally hand write postcards, usually 500, with MyFaithVotes encouraging Christian to get out and vote. Voting is personal to me as 1 out 3 Christians don’t vote, so it matters to me. I have been in education for twenty-five years. The families I deal with on a daily basis is personal to me. When a parent is crying over their child who is self-harming and tell me they have no one to talk to I am there, so it is personal. The struggles of families are real so I am there in the middle of their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual journeys.
My relationships with my grandmothers shaped much of who I am today, so they take up two positive experiences. They could not have been more opposite, but I spent my school days with my mother’s mom and summers with my father’s mom. I do not remember my parents being in my life much before my middle school age and what I do remember is that my experiences were not good times. My grandmother, Edna, always read her Bible just before bed and I would see that Bible laying on her chest and I am still comforted by that memory. I remember the smell of her sheets, gardening, and the many hours she spent just watching me act out skits in her driveway. My grandmother, Helen, was not the hugging type, but she showed her love by letting us get coins from her tin and get candy. She walked with us cousins, took us to work with her, and watched us at the pool even though she couldn’t swim. These two women showed me that actions speak louder than words because I don’t remember either ever telling me they loved me, but I do know what love looks like.
The most significant positive experience is the birth of my son. Dylan healed so many wounds in my heart than I can count. The great losses of my past washed away the day he was born. My focus changed. I spent the last twenty years striving to give him all that I felt was missing in my childhood. I sacrificed so he could participate in his love of karate. I taught him to drive. I gave him my time and valued the time we shared. I was present a his mom everyday and his interests became mine. Even at twenty, he still wanted me to go with him to his favorite convention. We have gone to this convention since he was in 5th grade. He told me how much he loves the tradition. We have lunches and chat. I just appreciate him and that God has used him to help me heal and grow in my own walk with God.
The most traumatic experience in my life was when I was in elementary school. My mother married an abusive alcoholic who took us to a small town where abuse was deemed a family issue so even the police returned us home every time we tried to escape. When we finally did get out my mom took him back. He took my little brother and me in one of his drunken binges. I was sexually abused and even through the trauma God was there. He could have left us out in the desert to die. But for some unknown reason he returned us where I was in the hospital. I had to testify against him in court. He was sentenced to fourteen years. He was my brother’s father so the negative experience has hung over our family even in today. I see the hardship the brother has with his own identity knowing what his father did to me even though he was just a baby when it happened. As a family, we never went to counseling and my mom has never owned up to her part in putting us in that situation in the first place. It took a long time for me to forgive her for not protecting us from harm.
Middle school was so rough that it was the path to my eating disorders. I was chunky and had no self-esteem or any identity. I was ridiculed and when I think back I remember not having one person to sit at lunch with. I hid in the library and I dreaded days it was closed. Book were my friends. I remember failing PE because I refused to undress. I was easy prey for bullies who tormented me everyday. Then in 8th grade I saw some Oprah show about anorexia and bulimia. I thought yes I could eat what I want and lose weight, so my battle over my body image began. I did lose the weight, but I didn’t lose the bitterness or anger of those who had taunted me. I became very mean and when I did finally unleash I found myself suspended for fighting. I just could not harness all those negative emotions productively.
Finally, I am torn because I have taken responsibility for my own decisions, but up through my twenties I stayed in a very emotionally abusive relationship. Seventeen years of him breaking my soul down to the point that I felt is was my fault he cheated. I was never good enough and when I finally did get my degree in teaching and was an accomplished student I still felt worthless. My identity was set in how he saw and treated me. I believed the lies and was so co-dependent that I could not break away from that relationship even though eventually it would have destroyed me. I had so much to live for but tried to take my life twice. The pain of that relationship seemed to become normal and even comfortable. I was seventeen when I became pregnant and thought having a baby would fix it all, but a week before my eighteenth birthday she died of crib death. It was the most devastating moment in my life. I was a shell of a person for many years until I was able to break away from him and walk away into God’s saving grace.
Working through the steps to find my chazown I discovered my identity is in my faith as I know God is my only constant. Life changes, but God does not. I found this statement to be true, “where there is no vision to follow Jesus fully, good dreams perish” (Groeschel, 101). I looked at the spokes of my wheel outlined in the book. I looked at my relationship with God, people, financial health, physical health, and my life’s work.
Building relationships is not natural to me. Making conversation is not easy for me so I plan on making myself more approachable and just be more friendly so people feel welcomed so that is one I do need to work on is making connections with people that matter. During this pandemic I focused on walking and then running, so I took time to work through my food issues and how to balance eating and exercising. I removed alcohol, coke, and energy drinks. Hard habits to break, but I am working on making sure my body is healthy. As for financial health, I just stopped spending and paid off my credit cards. Then reduced my credit cards to two. I have built a small savings and a retirement fund, so I will continue to watch my spending and making sure my tithing matters.
The two biggest areas is what I need to work on for my future. What and where does God want me to serve for the rest of my life. To keep my faith on fire for God. It took me a long to walk in faith in accepting Jesus as my personal savior. “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me” (Revelation 3:20). I am in Central Academy to find my purpose in working in leadership within the church. I do see myself leading a program, but I am still working on the path God has laid out for me. I will continue to work on my chazown. I still feel at my core is my identity with Jesus first. Then all other areas of my life will fall into place as I rely on God to guide me to where I will be the most satisfied in my work and relationship with God.
To help others find their identity in Christ with heart and purpose to impact the world and reshape lives.
God could only say she was fierce in her passion for winning souls for my kingdom.
Bauchman Jr., Voddie T. Fault Lines;the Social Justice Movement and Evangelicalism's Looming
Catastrophe. SALEM BOOKS, 2021.
Erickson, Millard J., and L. Arnold Hustad. Introducing Christian Doctrine. Baker Publishing Group, 2015.
Feazel, Steve, and Carol M. Swain. Abduction: How Liberalism Steals Our Children's Hearts and Minds. Christian Faith Publishing, 2016.
Groeschel, Craig. Chazown: Define Your Vision, Pursue Your Passion, Live Your Life on Purpose. Multnomah Books, 2010.
Life Application Study Bible: NIV. Zondervan, 2019.