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HONOR UP, DOWN AND ALL AROUND
FINDING HAPPINESS MIND MONSTERS
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recognizing the great, grand and glorious in your life
SO IN EVERYTHING, DO TO OTHERS WHAT YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO TO YOU.”
— MATTHEW 7:12
8 HONOR UP, DOWN AND ALL AROUND BY KEVIN GERALD
1 4 FINDING HAPPINESS BY NICOLE CRANK
1 8 MIND MONSTERS BY KEVIN GERALD
IN THE KNOW 6 CHAMPIONS FOUNDATION
IN EVERY ISSUE 3
4 YOU TO US 13
REAL LIFE CHAMPIONS
8 18 ABOUT US Champion Life Magazine purposes to equip people to live successful Christian lives.
E xecu ti ve Pu b lishers Kevin Gerald & Sheila Gerald
E DITO R-IN-CH IE F Jodi Gerald-Cameron
S enior P roje c t Man ager Art Direc tor
Dallas Drotz, Drotz Design
Contri b u ting E ditors
Abbie Buck, Corianne Burton,
Andrea Dashiell, Kim Ludwick, Stephanie Jannsen, Raelynn Poulin, Leslie Powell, Judi Shackett, Mark Stewart Contri b u ting P hotograph y
Tawnya Hood, Beauty of Life
Photography, BJ & Kathy Garcia, Ardorlit Photography Contri b u ting Gr aphi c Design Contri b u ting Writers
Venessa Koehn & Mickey Elliott
Kevin Gerald, Jodi Gerald-Cameron,
Nicole Crank, Brandon Stewart Distrib u tion
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LET’S TALK. EXPECT GREAT THINGS FROM GOD, AND ATTEMPT GREAT THINGS FOR GOD! This is the year we are declaring “Greater Things” over our churches, cities, nations and world! To put it simply, greater things is not always about doing something that has never been done, it’s about doing the simple things greatly. What is inside of you is always greater than what is around you! One of the greatest things in life is honor. Life is better with honor, God is all about honor, and the truth is, honor begins with us. We all wake up with the same ability to either take our surroundings for granted, or to recognize the great, grand, and glorious in and around us. Understanding this choice is just the beginning to living a life of honor. Join with me to Honor Up, Honor Down, and Honor All Around on page 8. We had a great time welcoming David and Nicole Crank to our Mesh Relationship Conference this year. They shared with us some great insight to relationships, balance, and purpose. In this issue of Champion Life Magazine, Nicole talks to us about “Finding Happiness” on page 14. Mesh your thoughts with God’s way of thinking! It’s impossible to live a positive life with a negative mind. We’re going to show you how to get back on track, and help you to understand the reason behind these wayward thoughts. We’re all susceptible, but understanding how these negative invaders work, and recognizing them in your life, is the first step to defeating them. You can find an excerpt from the new hardback release of our Mind Monsters book on page 18. We can drive out fear with God’s perfect love. In our Champions Foundation Update on page 6, we talk about ways that you can partner with us to bring God’s perfect love to our world. And, find a moving story of Real Life Champions from our very own church family on page 22.
P.S. Throughout the different CLM Issues this year, we invite you to let us know how you have been encouraged, inspired and challenged through this ministry by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
2012 is off to a great start, but greater things are still to be done—We’re focused on living a life of honor, we’re pursuing happiness, we’re aligning our thoughts with God’s, and speaking life into our world...the best we’ve done is not the best we can do!
YOU TO US Thank you for your wisdom and leadership. Champions Centre is one place you can bring anyone and they feel at home. My dad has started coming with the kids and I now (and he’s no church-goer) but he loves it. He doesn’t get it yet, but after church I find him calling people and telling them about it! — Chris S. Yesterday’s service on Honor was so powerful. The electricity in the room was amazing. People don’t just show up at Champions Centre by chance. I tell everyone that I drove all the way across town and landed in the parking lot. God wanted me there to hear the message on that very first day. This January was my 1-year anniversary at Champions Centre. You gave me back my life, thank you! — Gloria L. We are so honored to be part of an amazing church that we call our home. We have grown so much in the last few years attending Champions Centre and feel blessed to be a part of greater things in the Northwest. We’re honored to serve at Champions Centre. — Shauna R.
TWITTER / FACEBOOK POLL:
At the beginning of this year we issued an 8-day photo challenge on social networks. We asked our church family to post a photo that represented our Champions Centre values. Here are some of the responses: Commitment: going strong on 30 years of marriage! — Richard C.
Leaders are readers. — Rachel B.
Making God relevant to every generation. — Jodi C.
WATCH THE #PHOTOADAY HIGHLIGHT VIDEO HERE
These guys are making great life decisions to be baptized… Future leaders of Champions Centre! — Andy M.
Excellence! Excellent wife, excellent mom, excellent servant, excellent daughter, excellent student, just plain-ol’ excellent! — Ricky H.
Wisdom! My Oma! One of the wisest women I’ve ever known! Not a day goes by when I don’t think of her! — Stef J.
“Honor your father and mother— that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Eph. 6:2-3...They make it easy! — Carissa D.
CHAMPION LIFE MAGAZINE
WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!
DO YOU HAVE FEEDBACK OR A STORY TO SHARE? CLM WELCOMES YOUR COMMENTS. PLEASE WRITE US AT: email@example.com MAIL: Champion Life Editorial 1819 E. 72nd St. Tacoma, WA 98404
without Love where would you be? “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear...” 1 John 4:18 In 2012, we want to replace fear in people’s lives with a strong sense of God’s perfect love. You can partner with us to make this a reality. Here’s how Champions Foundation can help you show love in the Pacific Northwest and around the world:
Reaching out to our local community (Western Washington) through a variety of means. Our partnership with other groups and organizations, as well as our children’s and youth events and activities, combine to offer support to families throughout the year. If you live near either our Tacoma or Bellevue campus you can get involved with outreach projects or community events with us. We have teams who serve the homeless once a month in either Tacoma or Seattle, do yard work or home cleaning for someone in need, or partner with other community projects.
education: Providing assistance globally through schools, scholarships, and sponsorships. Funding education is an investment into the future. You can donate funds to help advance education in organizations we partner with locally in Washington State and around the world like Bulgaria, Philippines and South Africa.
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Partnering with other organizations locally, nationally and internationally to provide assistance through a variety of practical measures in times of disaster and need, Champions Forever Home for HIV/AIDS orphans in Africa. You can stay in touch for opportunities to serve in disaster relief projects locally and abroad. Donate funds to support ongoing disaster relief projects as well as donate funds to support our Champions Forever Home in South Africa for HIV/AIDS orphans.
faith: Reaching out locally and globally to in-
spire, uplift and encourage people through relevant, practical means. You can partner with us to fulfill the great commission and cast out fear by getting the message of Jesus Christ into our communities in 2012 by donating funds to encourage people through television and media. God’s love works in each of us, and He can work through us to reach our local community and the world with his message. Become a partner with us in 2012.
forever home update:
It is such a blessing to see God’s hand work such healing in the lives of children! The last year and half have been very rough for little Rojas, as he’s been in and out of the hospital with multiple surgeries, and having a trachea tube inserted to help him breath. It wasn’t until this last summer that he finally seemed to be out of the dark and could settle in at home. This fall, he has finally been able to live as a normal little boy, without extended hospital stays being an ordinary part of his life. And with that normalcy, he’s beginning to reach those developmental milestones that had taken a backseat to his health over the last couple years. We are so excited to share that one of those big milestones has been reached…Rojas has finally started walking! What a great way to start the New Year!
get involved: [like Champions Foundation on Facebook] [to give text ‘champions’ to 80888]
CHAMPION LIFE MAGAZINE
HONOR UP, DOWN AND ALL AROUND
BY KEVIN GERALD
few years ago in Washington D.C., a man quietly took his place up against a metro wall, pulled out his violin, placed his hat on the ground, and began to play. For this day he had chosen six selections from Bach. During his “performance,” several thousand people walked by. Some stopped to listen briefly, some gave sympathy money. On several occasions, little children would stop to listen, but every time they did, the parent would pull them on. Maybe it was just child-like curiosity…or maybe, the children sensed something. The “beggar” on the street that morning was the world renowned Joshua Bell. The instrument that sang in his hands was a violin valued at $3.5 million dollars. Just a couple days earlier, people had packed a Boston theater to hear him, paying an average of $100 per seat. Today, his concert netted a mere 32 bucks, mostly from sympathy. When he finished there was no applause, no standing ovation, nothing to acknowledge the magnificent talent that had just been on display. Then the music stopped, the violin went back into its case, and the master walked away. For nearly an hour, there had been grandeur there. But no one noticed it, recognized it, or valued it. If we had been on the sidewalk it would have been easy to flow with the blindness and naivety of the crowd. But if someone knew or someone found out who was playing the violin that day it would have naturally elevated awareness. If just one person spoke up and showed honor it would have no doubt served as a tipping point of information. As the word spread, it would have been followed by a cascading rush of awareness spilling out on that city sidewalk and resulting in a contagious celebration of honor. What if that same sidewalk scenario is playing out everyday of our lives? What if the pace of our lives coupled with a naivety towards greatness is causing us to unknowingly pass by honor worthy moments every day? On the other hand, what if a new generation of “knowers” and “seers” consistently paused on the sidewalks of life to appreciate and celebrate what most don’t yet recognize? What if this generation released a tidal wave of uncensored, uninhibited honor? What if we were able to create a catalyst of unprecedented exchanges of authentic value and recognition? Unfortunately, there is a lack of awareness, and even a hesitation, when it comes to handing out honor. It definitely doesn’t seem trendy to show honor. Maybe because some people misunderstand its purpose. Maybe because traditional honor talks didn’t do much besides leave a bittersweet taste in a listener’s ear. What I know for sure is that American pop culture is filled with sarcasm, cynicism, complaining, blaming and criticism. From one TV network to the next, one rap artist to the next, one politician
to the next—from Christians—the popular dialogue is laced with innuendos of dishonor. Honor may not be trendy—maybe it’s not vogue, maybe it’s more popular to be anti-establishment—but it’s time to vote for honor! We all wake up with the same ability to either take our surroundings for granted or recognize the great, grand, and glorious. Understanding this choice is the beginning to living a life of honor. The reality is that people don’t know what people don’t know. When awareness is raised, it changes the mindset of people.
LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT A COUPLE THINGS ABOUT HONOR: HONOR IS A BIBLE WORD: HERE ARE A FEW EXAMPLES... » HONOR your father and your mother… Exodus 20:12 » Those who HONOR me I will HONOR… 1 Samuel 2:30 » The God of our fathers has put it in the king’s heart to bring HONOR to the house of the Lord in Jerusalem. Ezra 7:27 » You (God) crowned him (man) with glory and HONOR… Psalm 8:5 » HONOR the Lord with your wealth… Proverbs 3:9 » Its is an HONOR for a man to avoid strife… Proverbs 20:3 » Let marriage be held in HONOR… Hebrews 13:4 » HONOR everyone!... 1 Peter 2:17
A FEW DIFFERENCES BETWEEN HONOR AND DISHONOR: » Dishonor = causes everything around it to deteriorate. Honor = causes everything around it to elevate. » Dishonor = brings everything down Honor = builds everything up » Dishonor = to treat something as common Honor = to place value on something » Dishonor = entropy in relationships Honor = builder of relationships
I’m convinced that God is all about honor. The God we serve is all about uncensored honor, abundant honor, and extravagant honor. Probably because He created the world to function in such a way that everything is better with honor… » Business is better » Families are better » Marriages are better » People serve better » Neighborhoods are better
» Preachers preach better » Church is better » Nations are better
HONOR UP, DOWN AND ALL AROUND
Honor has a way of elevating everything. So, we can’t expect our family or business or relationships to go to the next level unless we take the first step to lead a culture of honor. The truth is, honor begins with us. We all have to make a conscious choice. I hope you will choose to honor. Here are a couple keys that help me to stay on the track of honor that I believe can help you:
1) HONOR FIRST
Is your first impulse to think about those who should honor you? Maybe you’re thinking of all the people you wish would read this article so they could have the epiphany that they haven’t been showing you honor. It is human nature. Common rationale on the downward stairs of dishonor sounds something like, “Well, they don’t honor me… why would I honor them…” or “Why do I need to treat anyone as “special”?...They are no better than me.” It’s true that most people simply exchange honor, which means they give it back to specific others in the measure that specific others give it to them, and usually withhold it from the rest! But there are some strong questions that Jesus asked in the gospel of Matthew: “If you love those who love you ...what reward will you get?...If you greet only your brothers...what are you doing more than others? Don’t even pagans do that?” (Matthew 5:46).
Most people seek to receive honor before giving honor. But let’s not be most people! Let’s choose not to concentrate on the honor we’re receiving and instead concentrate on the honor you and I are sowing into others. The concept of honoring first is seeing the honor you put out into your world as seeds you are sowing that will create a harvest of honor in your life. Don’t wait to be honored— go out and honor first!
HONOR WITH NO STRINGS ATTACHED
2) HONOR WITH NO STRINGS ATTACHED
When you turn your awareness up on honor, it is easy to fall into the trap of keeping score. In the Bible we see David said to Saul, “As surely as I have honored you…may the Lord honor me” (1 Samuel 26:24 MSG). He’s not assuming honor will
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IT’S A MISTAKE TO HONOR WITH EXPECTATIONS OF RECEIVING HONOR DIRECTLY BACK FROM THE PEOPLE YOU SHOW HONOR TO. come back to him from Saul, but he’s confident it will come back to him. “Strings-attached honor” is when a person honors someone with his or her own idea of how that person will reciprocate the honor. Maybe it’s the honor they show a boss, spouse or friend. An employee could say to herself, “I’m going to try this honor thing out and show honor to my boss. Maybe that will get me the promotion I’ve been waiting for!” On the other hand, “no-strings-attached honor” is to honor without an agenda or motive. It really comes down to managing your own expectations in the honoring process. It’s better to live a life of honor knowing that it will come back to you one way or another than to try to dictate where it will come from to you. Look at it like this: It’s a mistake to honor with expectations of receiving honor directly back from the people you show honor to. Don’t assume or expect that when you honor a person it will come back from the same person. I believe that when we honor we are sowing seeds that will return a harvest back into our lives. But most of the time, your harvest of honor may not fit into the nice and neat box that you create in your own imagination. Just like David didn’t expect King Saul to give honor back—let God make up the difference back to you. Allow Him the creativity to hook you up however He wants to!
HONOR IN AGREEMENT AND DISAGREEMENT
3) HONOR IN AGREEMENT AND DISAGREEMENT.
It is so much easier to honor someone when you agree with them. It gets tougher as personalities or opinions begin to clash. However, in order for us to live a life of honor, it’s important for us to honor in agreement and in disagreement. Or another way to say it is to honor outside of agreement. I think this is where God pays exceptional attention and rewards lavishly.
HONOR UP, DOWN AND ALL AROUND
There is a simple example we use often in leadership trainings about this very topic. When it comes to painting a wall color, we may gather a few people together and get some opinions or feedback. Someone may want a gray wall or an orange wall, or another person may have their heart set on a blue wall. But once the decision is made to paint the wall a certain color that is the end of personal opinions and feedback. It is important for all the people who had a different color in mind to not broadcast it, or to discuss how much better it would have been strategically for the wall to be beige instead of gray. Instead, we use this simple example to illustrate that once a decision is made by a leader, we all honor the decision whether it lines up with our individual preferences and opinions or not. You see, there are times to offer input, but once a decision is made it becomes a collective “our” idea instead of “that person’s” or “their idea.” Can you agree to be in agreement even when you disagree? Yes, you can. It takes effort, and it’s not always easy, but it’s worth it. In Philippians 2:2 it says, “fulfill my joy by being like minded...having the same spirit...” There is power in unity! I believe the greatest unity comes out of a heart to honor in and out of agreement.
4) HONOR FREELY
remember that random honor, frequent honor, free-flowing and plentiful honor lifts all our lives and makes all of us better! There is a realization that is essential to living a life of honor: you choose. We all have the same ability to either take our surroundings for granted or recognize the great, grand, and glorious that is around us each and every day. You choose daily whether or not you will be a carrier and communicator of honor. In other words, you can decide to be the kind of person who realizes that honor is not silent—honor expresses itself. Use your voice to honor people, places, God’s purpose, potential, and the list could go on. Next time, instead of starting with negative feedback, find something that is honoring to say first. It’s not about bias honor or doses of honor, but rather it’s about people becoming carriers and communicators of honor. Become an advocate for honor and take it with you wherever you go. It’s not always trendy, fashionable or easy, but I’m hoping you’re signed up to help bring honor back! I encourage you to push back against the trends and general attitude of people. Be courageous and don’t give in to the critics. Ascend the staircase of honor and bring others with you to places of better relationships and better life!
You may end up giving some undeserved honor when your goal is to honor up, honor down and honor all around—but that’s not to be feared.
HONOR UP = HONOR PEOPLE IN LEADERSHIP OVER YOU HONOR DOWN = HONOR PEOPLE WHO YOU ARE LEADING
DON’T WAIT TO BE HONORED—GO OUT AND HONOR FIRST!
HONOR ALL AROUND = HONOR PEERS, STRANGERS, EVEN UNFAMILIARITY
It’s much better to honor freely than to honor with inhibition. If you try to legitimize all the honor you give, you will end up missing many opportunities to honor others. Being indiscriminate with honor is better because it’s not as much about people deserving honor as it is about us living a life of honor and creating a culture of honor. When you live or work in a culture of honor, you will probably receive more honor than you feel you deserve. If you sometimes feel like that, try to
KEVIN GERALD IS THE LEAD PASTOR OF CHAMPIONS CENTRE IN TACOMA AND BELLEVUE, WA. FOR GREAT RESOURCES FROM KEVIN, VISIT KEVINGERALD.TV.
HONOR UP, DOWN AND ALL AROUND
BY BRANDON STEWART
REAL LIFE APPLICATION
I can see honor like a tidal wave, flowing out of our lives, into our communities this season. Imagine what it could do for good. HERE ARE A FEW EASY WAYS WE CAN DO THIS:
❶ Honor someone through social networks. Tweet it. Facebook it.
Honor people, and tag them (or @reply to them for Twitter) in it so it goes on their page.
❷ Blog it. Tell the world how you feel about honor. Let’s bring honor back!
❸ Do something this week to honor your parents. Start there…it’s in the Bible and is a great starting ground for honor in your life.
❹ Buy coffee or food for someone. Consider paying for someone’s order, even anonymously.
❺ Pick a co-worker, and write them a note, buy them lunch, or
praise them in front of other peers. Remind them why you are honored to work with them.
❻ Write a note to someone who has been a spiritual leader in your
life. Think of someone who strongly impacted your life for Christ, and let them know. Those words are priceless to the reader. If corrected this week (or even pulled over by a police officer),
❼ use the following response: “Thank you for correcting me and making me better.”
Honor God by reclaiming some time this week to read His word,
❽ worship and even give an offering. Remember everything He’s done for you, and thank Him for it.
Here’s my final and favorite suggestion…do this as often as possible: Find someone with whom you have a disagreement, or a particularly hard time getting along with. You know who I’m talking about…that person who can always get under your skin. Go out of your way to honor them this week. You will be amazed at the healing work it does in you and them. 12
CHAMPION LIFE MAGAZINE
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brandon is part of the leadership team at Champions Centre. He is passionate about leadership, team and community development. He believes that the greatest need facing local churches today is stronger and better leaders. Reach Brandon at brandonstewartcommunications. com
Local 253.475.6454 ext. 361 Toll free 888.935.6914
GREATER THINGS(4 CDS, DVD)
Greater things originate when we continue to do the right things at a higher level of commitment, diligence and passion. Think at a higher level, embrace your core values and let them become part of who you are, which will launch you toward greater things!
BRINGING HONOR BACK (3 CDS, DVD)
HONOR REVOLUTION (2 CDS, DVD) God called His people to lead a revolution of honor— beginning with, and flowing from the house of God. You too, can be a carrier and communicator of honor: Honor up, honor down and honor all around!
Honor can do a lot of things: it can encourage, build up, applaud… but one thing it should never do is disappear. In this timely message, Pastor Kevin challenges us to bring honor back, and offers us practical ways to incorporate it into our everyday lives.
HONOR (1 CD, DVD)
Do you live outside the US? Save on shipping and download the MP3 straight from our kevingerald.tv.
It’s easy to get caught up in defining greatness on achievements, fame and fortune. But the Bible says in Matthew 20:28, “Whoever wants to be great must become a servant.” We value honoring those who serve our community and country.
CHAMPION LIFE MAGAZINE
BY NICOLE CRANK
was in my office the other day talking to a trio of the brightest young single people that I can imagine being in the same room together. They are young, thin, good-looking professionals with great personalities and an even better social life. Somehow the conversation drifted to one person mentioning how lonely being single can be at times. Then the other two singles chimed in immediately that they had the same experience! I was pretty shocked that these high caliber singles with very ‘together’ lives felt this way. I mean, from the outside it looks as if the world is their oyster, foot loose!, fancy free, and ready to pick up and go at a moment’s notice. It never occurred to me that they were looking for a reason to pick up and go. Being married for 14 years with two kids, I don’t really remember that feeling of loneliness. I know there were times. I remember that vaguely, like in a dream. But at this point in my life, juggling my schedule, my husband’s schedule, two social kids in more activities than I can count on two hands—life is fast paced and a I dream of a few moments to myself to do what I want to do, when I want to do it, in peace and quiet. Talk about a dream—like the title of that children’s book, Just Five Minutes of Peace.
O nce your r el at io n s hip w i t h H i m i s r i g h t, every t hing else will mesh . It’s funny how we desire what we don’t have. No matter what it is, lonely single people, married people dreaming of alone time. You would figure that one of the two scenarios would make you happy. That’s just the thing… The scenario that we live in, the place we are in life, our mate (or lack of one), will never make us happy. Yes, I said it, having a mate won’t make us happy. Actually, if we have a spouse, it is not up to them to make us happy, because they can’t. It is up to us to find our happiness in Christ. Paul said in the Bible, “Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.” Philippians 4:11-13 MSG (emphasis mine).
The secret to every relationship is our relationship with the Greater One. If we want any other relationship to mesh, including our relationship with ourselves, we have to develop a relationship with God. Without trust in Him, we can doubt the purpose of our existence. Without knowing who He is, we aren’t assured that His plans for us are to give us a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11). Without relationship with Him, we have no faith that we can do all things through Him. Without talking to Him and hearing His voice, we don’t have access to the encouragement that assures us that the victory is ours and the battle is the Lord’s (2 Chronicles 20:15). When I look back on my life, I wonder how I ever made it through some of the times that I strayed from Him. No wonder those times in my life weren’t pretty. I had left the relationship with Him. That may be where you are today. A little lost in life. Not certain if the decisions that you have made were the right ones or not. Wondering if you are in the right place, with the right person at the right time. I have good news for you…God never denies us relationship with Him. We can turn back to Him in repentance and He accepts us instantly and relationship restoration has begun. He never leaves us. He is faithful. Let’s commit our lives to Him right now. Say this aloud, “God, every day I need you. Sometimes I fall away, get distracted or purposefully do my own thing instead of doing what I know You want me to do. I’m sorry! Right now I recommit my life to You and realign my purpose with the destiny that You created me for. I know You love me and God I love you. I will serve You! Speak to my heart the way that I should go and Lord I will listen and obey. Amen.” Once your relationship with Him is right, everything else will mesh. It is folded back together in such a way that He can’t see the separation any longer. We have taken that first step toward… happy.
Happiness • • •
Happiness is having something to eat when I am hungry. (preferably sushi, but it is amazing that I have a choice). Happiness is my home that has heat and air condition. (and the indoor plumbing is a major bonus, especially in a Midwest winter). Happiness is knowing that God has purpose for my life. (and the more I follow Him the more it becomes clear).
Happiness is possible wherever w e a r e i n l i f e. • • •
Happiness is having two healthy children. (even though they leave a trail like a tornado in the house). Happiness is my daughter falling asleep with her head on my shoulder. (I’m even fond of the drool stain she leaves on my sleeve). Happiness is my husband asleep in the bed next to me. (we will leave out the snoring and interesting smells here).
A key to happiness in life, marriage, single life, relationships, our job…is thankfulness for the things that are good. It all might not be good, I can promise you, a whole lot is good no matter what is going on in your life right now. Mesh your thoughts with God’s way of thinking. He is a happy God. He sits in the heavens and laughs—and it is not even at us!
Want to be happy Let’s do it!
Here is a challenge for you. Write down 10 things that are good in your life right now regardless of what is going on in your life. There are many more than 10, but that is a good start. 1. God thought enough of your happiness to run this article by you today. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.
CHAMPION LIFE MAGAZINE
MIND MONSTE RS
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N IT WHE ? It’s as if S T d N o m in OM E G HT ” SE M NKING RI ng a voice t O H T i I E OF e n g iv N TH D ON EN’T BEE you’ve be A H : AV alize V ER OU E YOU, “I H and you re t come and Y E V , a N n h o O HA st omes N ED va d e r DAW suddenly c negative in
BY KEVIN GERALD
“I t k in g , E ACE a ligh ers, those I FE e thin t have N D P SHIP S L t b A s y N n I Y a o ’ N T m m UR JO o ul d n ATIO M EN , you book hrist. I sh ruth is, a AL YO YOUR REL ONTENT s E i T h t S C C • nd ad et to OUR RU P T ou re ven a ? ” Th y life • DIS E AWAY Y . As y e given m ters, right ay to hea e m i t w ’v a ns • TAK rch. I ay at on his d mo one d attend chu l with min aved and onsters. , e f i l s a your posito de on can be tle mind m steal to be ith e c pers ve to bat They n ie w a exp e r owing still h ur life nd over fl ssful Chris c o y t n a ti e , a l s c w u a c su ou joyf fa nt So if y bundant, nt to live a ge and a to take a a tive, a ; if you wa eat marri , you have e mind. r peace e with a g your kids ders of th ith a a f h tian li nship wit gative inv itive life w e o i n t st a p os rela again le to live d n a t b i s they p os s fa c t , n I . It ’s im ive mind. w way g ne othin ble, all the can n eg at n e r ters a as the Bi where we had to m o ns ld o s, Mind least as o of Judge ideon wh way to k t G o a d o h e e B r n is a n nam ters o to the b a c k b o u t a m a in d m o n s a read er some m idianites. u conq ting the M e f e d a
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he Israelites were in trouble. Their land had been taken over by the Midianites, and they were feeling the weight of oppression. In the middle of this was a lowly farmhand named Gideon. In Judges 6:14, God appears to Gideon and tells him, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”
Pretty strong words to hear directly from God Himself. And yet Gideon immediately let a mind monster jump between him and God. In the very next verse, he replies, “Pardon me, my Lord, but how can I save Israel? My clan is weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family” (v. 15). Can you believe it? God just gave Gideon a job, and Gideon refuses, saying he isn’t strong enough. Fortunately, when God chooses you, you stay chosen. Gideon essentially spends the rest of the chapter disbelieving God, and God spends the rest of the chapter convincing Gideon that he is, in fact, the one chosen to rescue Israel from their captivity. And from then on, Gideon finally accepts his role and kicks the invaders out (it’s a great story—read Judges 6-8 for all of it). There’s also the New Testament story of Joseph, where a mind monster almost kept him from marrying the mother of Jesus. When we read the story of Jesus’s birth, it’s easy to see how close Joseph came to messing up God’s plan. The Bible records in the first chapter of Matthew that Mary and Joseph were engaged to be married. Back in those days, if you were engaged, you were committed; it took a divorce to become unengaged. But then the unthinkable happened, which we read about in verse 18: “Before [Joseph and Mary] came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.” When Joseph found out Mary was pregnant, he knew it wasn’t his child. He also knew Mary’s penalty could be death—it was a horrible disgrace for a woman to be pregnant out of wedlock. His decision? “He had in mind to divorce her quietly” (Matthew 1:19). He had in mind! Notice how his thinking had gone off course. His mind was on a completely different track than the plan of God. An angel came along and pointed this out to Joseph. I imagine the conversation went something like this: “Joseph, you’ve got the wrong thing in mind. God’s got a plan going on here, and you’re not thinking right. You’ve got to get the right thing in your mind” (see Matthew 1:20-23). If you want to live a successful Christian life, you have to take a stand against the negative invaders of your mind.
Have you ever felt sad the moment you woke up? Your mind is whining, “Oh boy, another day! Oh
my, a blue Monday! A terrible Tuesday! A weird Wednesday! A tough Thursday! A frightening Friday! A stinking Saturday!” These wayward thoughts cause you to turn on your country western music and sing, “It’s raining outside, and it’s raining inside too. I’ve got trouble on my mind, and I don’t know what to do.” What happened to “This is the day the Lord has made; [I will] rejoice and be glad in it”? (Psalm 118:24). It went out when sadness came in. The sadness created wayward thoughts, and the mind monster of sadness started jumping around inside your mind wreaking havoc! It said, “Let’s go claim Monday as a day of sadness. Let’s go ahead and move into Tuesday and call it terrible.” When the mind monster is at work, everything is sad, everything’s gloomy—but there’s really no reason for it to be that way. The negative invader of your mind came in and created wayward thoughts—thoughts that would get you off course. God had an assignment for you that day. You were supposed to go to work happy. You were supposed to walk in and smile at the folks in the office, greeting them with good cheer.
If you want to live a successful Christian life, you have to take a stand against the negative invaders of your mind. You were supposed to let your light shine before men so they could see your good works, and then honor and glorify God (see Matthew 5:16). That was God’s plan before sadness—the monster—invaded your mind. Now you’re on a completely different track, feeling bad and walking into the office with your head hanging low. When your coworker asks, “Did you have a good weekend?” you can barely respond. You’re moping around and sacrificing influence with your poor attitude. You’ve just been taken over by a mind monster. Get back on assignment and live out the purpose God has for you by understanding that these wayward thoughts are really mind monsters trying to hijack your day and your destiny. SPRING 2012
The Trains of Thoughts
A few years ago, my wife and I celebrated our wedding anniversary with a trip to Europe. Most of the time we were away we were transported between cities and countries by train. It was an experience that turned out to be much more difficult than we imagined. The signage was insufficient, and finding someone to help us with directions seemed impossible. We ended up being confused for a good portion of the trip. It wasn’t until the end of our time in Europe that we began to understand the routing system and train-car assignments. Have you ever taken a train? If so, you know you don’t get on one without knowing where it’s going. After all, that’s the whole point; you’re on board to get somewhere. In my book Forces That Form Your Future, I wrote about the way thoughts are like trains—they take you somewhere. But so often we jump on these trains of thought without knowing our destination! So many people end up in places they don’t want to be and then wonder how they got there. But it only makes sense that they boarded a train of thought to Self-Pity City, Anger Town, or Lonesomeville without even realizing it. Many times, they assume God put them there. I’ve heard people say, “You know, God put me in this wilderness. I’m hungry, and I can’t feed my kids, but God put me here.” That usually is not the case. More often than not, God is saying, “I didn’t put you there. You boarded the wrong train of thought.” The wrong train carries: • thoughts of worry • thoughts that create guilt • thoughts that cause you to feel insecure and question yourself • thoughts that bring sadness • thoughts that cause suspicion of others’ motives • thoughts that bring doubt of God and His Word • thoughts of inaccurate assumptions For example, have you ever met a person who assumed something about you that wasn’t true? I remember a day when I left church quickly to catch a plane for a speaking engagement. My assistant had picked up a sandwich from Subway for me because I didn’t have time to eat lunch. I raced to the airport with no time to spare. When I arrived, I jumped out of the car, hurried to the check-in counter, and said, “Is there any way you can get me on the plane? Can you get my baggage checked through? I have a speaking engagement tonight, and I’ve got to get on this plane.” I remember watching the attendant work slowly. I was wondering, “What’s bothering him? Why is he treating me this way?” Finally, he blurted out, “The next time you’re running late to the airport, don’t take the time to stop at Subway and pick up a sandwich.” Now, in that moment I didn’t have to be a great man of God to recognize the mind monster of anger that jumped into my thoughts. 20
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Longing to leap over the counter and grab the attendant by the neck, I saw a flash, a picture of that negative imagination. I rebuked that thought. I cast it down. I brought my thoughts into captivity and kindly responded with something like, “I really didn’t get the sandwich myself, but that’s okay. Would you just please let me on the airplane?” Everyone makes inaccurate assumptions from time to time. The man at the ticket counter put two and two together and assumed I stopped and hung out at Subway, and as a result was late for my flight. He concluded that he shouldn’t have had to rush. He probably told himself, “This tardy customer isn’t going to create an emergency for me! I’ve been here all day waiting for him to get here. He obviously stopped at Subway, and now he wants to fire me up and get me going. I’m not hurrying for him, because I know what happened. I see the bag in his hand!” I have to admit, I’m not immune to making inaccurate assumptions myself. As a Pentecostal preacher’s kid, I grew up assuming certain things about people who weren’t part of our specific brand of Christianity. It seemed to me that those in other denominations were less informed, less sincere, and just all-around less spiritual than those of us in my dad’s church. I stereotyped them as not being on “our side.” But then along came Reggie. We met during football camp while we were in high school and hit it off right away. We saw eye-toeye on a lot of things and had many of the same interests, including several classes together. He was a fun, good-natured guy and a terrific athlete, so we became friends. Then I discovered the worst: he was not only one of “them”—his dad was the pastor of one of those “other” churches! Yet here we were: two preachers’ kids in a large, secular high school. I began to realize that our commonalities were so great they rendered our differences irrelevant, and I stopped making all those negative, incorrect assumptions. Looking back, I can see that God had a bigger plan for me, and that even then He was beginning to free me from false assumptions. He was preparing me for what I enjoy now: friendships and camaraderie with pastors and leaders of various doctrinal and denominational backgrounds. My world is so much bigger today than it ever could have been had I held on to my “us and them” mentality. I had to change my mind to change my world. Every day, you’re going to be bombarded with mind monsters coming to steal your joy, take away your confidence, mess up your relationships, tempt you to doubt God’s Word, keep you focused on your flaws and shortcomings, and create chaos and havoc. There’s no condemnation in the fact that mind monsters are lurking in your life—everyone has them. But you have a choice: Will you allow them to stay, affecting who you are and God’s plan for your life, or will you conquer them?
Now Available Mind Monsters are those negative thoughts we all battle, the creeping shadows in the corners of our minds that feed our insecurities, worries, and fears. They will steal your life…if you let them. But there is good news! You can take control. In Mind Monsters Kevin Gerald shows you how to recognize destructive thoughts, take them captive, and use biblical truths to overcome them.
EXCLUSIVE HARD BACK EDITION available through kevingerald.tv (also available at Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble, Christianbook.com)
Without a doubt Mind Monsters should be required reading for every Christian. If we can learn to think right everything else often follows. This is one of the best books on the subject of the mind I have read and one I personally have on my bookshelf and refer to frequently. Kevin Gerald has a profound ability to make God’s word practical and applicable to all of us. Don’t think about reading this book—do it.” —Christine Caine, Equip & Empower Ministries
REAL LIFE ur story began when we met in college in 1996 as a freshmen and a sophomore. What we did not expect was to be parents in January of 1997 after placing ourselves in a compromising situation one night and becoming pregnant. We came from two similar but also very different backgrounds. Marcus grew up on the south side of Chicago, and Laura was from Tacoma. Our families were both Christian but with dissimilar beliefs on how to live the Christian life. With the news of the pregnancy our families were disappointed with us, and embarrassment followed with Laura standing before her parent’s church and asking for public forgiveness. At the same time we were faced with big decisions like adoption or parenting as well as marriage to someone that we barely knew.
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After support from our parents and some outside help, we made the decision to parent our daughter, Kendra. Laura returned home and transferred to Pacific Lutheran University while Marcus finished up his Bachelor’s in Michigan at Calvin College. Looking back, we can see that God always had a plan for us and that even when we got off track He was still willing to direct our steps and take care of us and our new family. We later committed to each other and got married when our daughter was a year and a half. Although painful and trying, we know this was a pivotal experience that led to spiritual growth and maturity. Growing up in a somewhat “traditional religious” church, we were looking for a church that we felt was growing and that we could grow and flourish. We found Champions Centre through asking a church in Michigan for a great Bible teaching church in Tacoma. We also wanted a church that we could be comfortable in as a multicultural family. We found this at Champions Centre and have loved being here for the last 13 years.
MARCUS AND L AUR A WINDHAM
OUR FAMILIES WERE BOTH CHRISTIAN BUT WITH DISSIMILAR BELIEFS ON HOW TO LIVE THE CHRISTIAN LIFE.
Even though we were regular attendees at church, privately we were not the couple that many thought we were. We were living life married but not together and not committed to one another. During the ninth year of our marriage events brought us head to head with divorce. From a series of bad choices we came to a place where we were faced with going through the grueling process of forgiveness or moving on. The ultimate forgiveness occurred and we chose climbing the mountain. We are certain that God placed us in Champions Centre for a reason. Without the messages from Pastor Kevin of Outrageous Grace and Closing the Door on Divorce, our friends, such as Pastor Larry and Katie Ward, and other friends’ support, we would not have per-
severed through this difficult time. Through counseling, small group involvement, and taking every opportunity to resource ourselves, we are approaching our 13th anniversary. The last four years have been blessed and we continue to be amazed with what God does with the broken. We have three amazing, healthy and God-loving children. Our marriage has continued to grow stronger and we are more involved in church than ever before. It is such a blessing to have such life relevant teachings that we receive at Champions Centre. Psalms 92:13 says, “Planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God”. We can truly say we know what that means since becoming planted in Champions Centre so many years back.
K. WISE The Silent Killer of Unforgiveness Unforgiveness is a metastatic disease of the soul. Metastasis is the spread of a disease from one organ to another until it overtakes the body. Unforgiveness doesn’t just stay in a small corner of your life, it can start to infiltrate your attitude towards yourself, other people... even God. Unforgiveness causes you to see life differently, not because it is, but because you have a negative perspective and outlook on life. It may show up in petty arguments, jealousy, and strife. It shows up in mood swings and in over sensitivity towards people. It may even cause you to keep your distance, over-protect yourself, and constantly feel like you have to defend yourself. The unforgiveness will spread into our relationships, which ultimately affects every aspect of our lives. The good news is, unlike some physical diseases, unforgiveness is completely curable. Do you want to take back control of your life? As overwhelming as it may sound, you have to activate the power of radical forgiveness. Here is the cure:
Make Jesus your example.
He was betrayed, falsely accused, mistreated, violently punished and completely innocent. You may say, but I’m not Jesus. True, but the same grace God gave Him can be given to you.
Embrace the place where you are.
It may not be what you would have wanted, but it’s your story complete with all of the pain. Life’s not fair; we live in a fallen world—embrace your place in the human race and allow God’s grace to liberate you from your sin and the after effects of those who sinned against you.
Take a “no entitlement” approach to life.
Don’t try to seek retribution or assume that the world owes you something because of what you’ve been through.
When we who are forgiven much, forgive much, we free ourselves from the deadly, devastating, destructive nature of unforgiveness!
You don’t have to be a victim no matter what happened to you.
Victim is a label for those who choose to remain under the power of what has happened to them, but you can rise up today and choose to not let your past determine your future.
Forgiveness means you can move on.
It closes the door on that chapter, begins the healing process, and starts a new chapter in your life. 24
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You will never do anything in this world without
c o u r a g e.
It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor. â€“ Aristotle
CLM's Purpose is to Equip People To Live Successful Christian Lives. The Spring 2012 issue features: Honor Up, Down & All Around by Kevin Ge...