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I skipped out of Craig Groeschel’s session at Catalyst ’10 this year to have lunch with one of my best buds, Jay, in Atlanta.  I bought the recording, though, and finally got around to listening to it this past week during a workout. I have to admit I kinda of love Craig Groeschel. He is one of those leaders in his mid-forties to mid-fifties that doesn’t make his church a big deal when he’s in the public forum, even though he could. He gives away all of their work (their videos, their artwork, their sermons, etc.) to help other churches. He actually didn’t report’s attendance this past year to Outreach magazine, as to not be ranked among the most influential churches. I’ve heard him several times at conferences, read his books, and even watched him interact back stage this past year at Catalyst.

He’s the genuine deal. Craig’s talk at Catalyst addressed generational tension; a portion of the talk was addressed to the older folks and portion focused on the younger generation. (On Processing Talks/Sermons – I don’t understand it when people say they “enjoyed” a sermon. Sermons are truth. Sometimes truth is encouraging … encouragment is more than “enjoyable”.  Sometimes truth is convicting … convicting is anything but “enjoyable”.) I really enjoyed this message. (just kidding) At one point Groeschel is addressing the issues in the “younger” generation and makes this statement:

“Honor is given, respect is earned.”

At that moment he is addressing a tendency in younger ministers to not honor the authorities that have been placed over them. I’ve had a problem with “____ is given, and ______ is earned” statements before but this one is solid. Jesus entered his home town in Matthew 13 (v. 53-58), where He was NOT given the honor and scripture records that the Son of God’s power was limited by the peoples “lack of faith”. Honoring gives power. Groeschel shared a story of him and his wife counseling a young couple.  The young wife began the session by complaining for an extended period of time about her husband. Groeschel’s wife, Amy, stopped the young wife and told her “You’re just tearing down and dishonoring your husband.” The young wife replied, “If I had a husband who was one-tenth the man that your husband is I could honor him.” Amy replied, “Maybe my husband is who he is because I’ve honored him.” Our ability to honor is directly related to our ability to empower others and motivate change in our lives. I decided to examine the scriptures and see what God directs us to give honor to.  Here’s a small list:

Our Leaders: It’s pretty easy to play arm-chair quarterback, to judge the people leading you from the sideline, and it’s a pretty dangerous behavior to make habit of. Dishonoring leaders robs them of the authority they need to lead.  By honoring our leaders, we empower them to be better than they can be on their own. It’s not an issue of respect; it’s an issue of authority. (read Romans 13)

Other People: One of the most significant criticisms of the gospel is that is has little affect on the way that professed Christians act. Mahatma Gandhi (a Hindu) once said: “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” If the church doesn’t wake up to the fact that the world now SEES us in much more complete way (social networking, etc.) … we will render the gospel ineffective by our inability to treat others with honor. (read Romans 12:9-15)

Our Spouses: By honoring our spouses, not just publicly but privately – when it’s just you two, we empower them to become something greater than they could ever be on their own. Husbands should love, honor, and humbly lead their wives.  Wives should humbly love, honor, submit to their husbands. This isn’t an issue of respect, it’s an issue of obedience. (read Ephesians 5)

Our Parents: You’re never asked in scripture to “respect” your parents as a child; you are given the directive to “honor” them. As a child you rarely understand the intentions of your parents, and it is this understanding that leads to respect. Most of us respect our parents as we grow older because we gain this understanding. The critical lesson here is that we will not ALWAYS understand, and if we learn to honor in the midst of not understanding as a child … following Jesus will be a lot easier. (read Deuteronomy 5)

Our Bodies: All throughout scripture there is a direct correlation made between the discipline we show in our eating habits and our pervasive habits of discipline.  Fasting is such an important spiritual discipline for that reason.  In every area of life we live with this tension: God has a plan; I have a plan. God’s plan is right; my plan is sinful. Following Jesus is a life-long process of learning to honor God’s plan for our lives. (read 1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

The Poor: The rest of the world looks at American Christianity with an amazement … they have very limited resources and minister to extremely large numbers of people. I’ve stood in churches in remote parts of the world that were frail in their construction, barren in technology, but vibrant in the presence of Jesus. We tend to be captivated by our stuff and think the bigger, the better, the more glitter & bling … the better. We’re wrong. We’re blessed, no doubt. But … we’re blessed to honor others in the midst of their struggles. (read 1 Timonthy 5:3-8)

Jesus: How we honor ultimately is an issue of our relationship with Jesus. Martin Luther famously said “If you can honor the first commandment, then there is no need for the rest of them.”  The first commandment is to have no other gods. When we live lives of dishonor, we are basically choosing to honor another god before Jesus. I am going to post the Craig Groeschel’s session at Catalyst ’10 in two sections later. Take a listen when I do … It’s that good.

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