Archive for the ‘Good To Great in God’s Eyes’ Category

Chapter 1: Think Great Thoughts

In 2004 Morgan Spurlock filmed a documentary called Supersize Me, where he lived off only McDonald’s fastfood for thirty days. Over the course of one month Spurlock gained eighteen pounds, suffered from depression, moods swings and dealt with chest palpitations. Even worse than all this is that by the time he finished his documentary, he suffered from the early stages of liver failure. All of this was because he decided to consistently fill his body with several thousand empty calories each day from one of America’s most beloved restaurant chains.

This young film maker became the living example of a statement we have all heard many times: you are what you eat. In his book, Good to Great in God’s Eyes, Chip Ingram says that this axiom “is true not only physically but also psychologically and spiritually.” That statement deeply resonated with me. But enough about Chip, I did not start reading his book to learn about him but rather to learn about my heavenly Father and myself. It is a tool to help me further align myself with the truths of Scripture that I claim to follow.

I know many Christians who wonder what is wrong with them. They want to know why God has seemingly removed His blessing from their lives and why He appears to be so distant. Many times the answer can be found in the statement, “You are what you eat.”

I believe that most Christians would be amazed with the amount of promises that God is not obligated to fulfill. No I am not saying God makes a promise and then can lie if He so chooses. What I am saying is that many of the Bible’s promises are conditional. I am saying that if you want God’s blessing you need to live according to God’s Word just like if Spurlock wanted to pursue becoming healthy his diet to needed to follow his desires.

Many times God’s blessing is removed due to poor choices of an individual not because God is out to get them. Just last night, I battled with my daughter over whether or not she could have a piece of candy after dinner. She wanted the candy but she did not want to eat her vegetables. Until she finished her broccoli and cauliflower I withheld the candy that she wanted so badly. Just like Kaitlyn needed to fulfill my expectation in order to receive the candy so must we fulfill God’s expectations (read the Bible to learn them) in order to live a life filled with blessing. For it is only through obedient living that we can experience abundant living!

So what does all this have to do with thinking great thoughts? I am glad you asked.

In the last chapter of his book to the Philippian church Paul writes, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these thing.” (Philippians 4.8 NASB)

The concept of thinking great thoughts is not an option for believers. In fact it would appear to me that is a command. Many people I know live lives that are wrought with pain because that is all they can see. They fail to grasp this concept. It is a dangerous path to travel. If we choose only to focus on the negative we accomplish nothing for Christ. How could we? After all everything about our mission as believers is positive! Sharing Christ’s compassion, love, peace, hope, forgiveness and grace is amazing! ( and no, my list is not exhaustive)

We must learn to see Christ during all situations because He is at work even when we do not see Him. Andy Andrews a humorist, writer, and motivational speaker has a set of three books entitled Storms of Perfection. These books include articles on painful experiences that great men and women and in history encountered. They show the necessity of the pain and how without it, these people never would have experienced greatness. When we get down to it, these books just illustrate the concept found in James 1.2-4 that says, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete lacking in nothing.” Even in the trial God is at work.

My take away from Think Great Thoughts is simple really: I choose to focus on the positive. When I choose to focus there, I realize how blessed I truly am. I realize that I have a reason to praise my God everyday. I realize that I have nothing to complain about.

So I would challenge you to do the same. Fix your focus on the Author and Finisher of our faith. If we choose to live with an eternal perspective we also choose to live with a changed life. After all, according to my Bible it is commanded.

Let me close with a statement that I made already once. I would encourage you to memorize this and maybe write it down and hang it where you can look at it everyday.

It is only through obedient living that we can experience abundant living!


Today I am embarking on ten day spiritual exercise. I hope that it is fruitful and not a vain waste of my time and effort.

I will be using the book by Chip Ingram that is entitled “Good to Great in God’s Eyes” as my textbook for this journey. I plan to spend time during each of the next ten days to examine the ten topics that Chip has laid down in his book.

I have a statement that I regularly say to the students that I minister to, it is “the great people in history were not great by accident”. In order to become highly effective world changes for Christ the same is true. We do not wake up one day and all of a sudden become super spiritual. Time, work, and effort are all required.

In the introduction to this book, Chip made an observation about Luke 22 that intrigued me. In Luke 22 we find a very interesting dialogue on greatness. I call it a dialogue but actually it is more like a heated argument amongst the disciples.

The statement that Chip made was as follows “Jesus never rebuked them for their longing to be great. He gave them a completely new paradigm about what greatness is, but he didn’t condemn their desire.” He then adds, “I was intrigued by that.”

Nobody wants mediocrity but few strive for excellance. I don’t know about you but I desire to be all I can be as a believer and a pastor. I know I can do better and be used by God to impact many more people for Christ. It isn’t so Jon Goodwin can be great in the world’s eyes. It is so Christ can receive more glory.

So I ask that you join me as I study this book and share my thoughts on the ten topics found in this book in the next ten days.