< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: Good to Great In God’s Eyes

Friday, March 20, 2009

Good to Great In God’s Eyes

All the Sunday school classes in my church are studying Chip Ingram’s book Good to Great in God's Eyes at the same time. I’m teaching chapter 3 this Sunday on Pursuing Great People and thought I would share the lesson here. It’s a little long for a blog post, so I’ve edited it and will also post it in three parts.

Chip wrote “Who we choose to follow will determine, to a large degree, who we become.” And “If we want to become great Christians, we need to pursue great Christians.”

He gives examples in scripture:
Timothy learning from Paul
Solomon from his father David
Joshua from Moses
And he didn’t say this one, but Jesus was sent to earth and showed us the example of a perfect life. He led his disciples by showing and telling. And it was all passed down for us to know what He was like so we could become like Him too. Everyday, Christians should become more and more like Christ.

The idea of becoming like the people you associate with or follow is nothing new. It’s why parents worry about rap stars, celebrities and sports figures who are our kids’ role models. It’s why parenting is so important. Our kids pick up as much from our actions as what we tell them to do. Parenting is a huge responsibility. Kids are looking for role models – and they are finding them in what the world says is important. Money, fame, status, materialism, good looks. As Christians, we know we need to fight that! And one way is to surround ourselves with people we can look up to. And that our kids can look up to. Great Christians, upright human beings living Godly lives.

We begin to take on attributes of the people we spend the most time with. We are shaped by the company we keep. We all know this. Our parents wanted us to hang around with “good” kids. Not the trouble makers.

Hopefully if we get on the path to greatness as a Christian we’ll lead others, including our children.

Chip spends some time in this chapter talking about parental role models. How we didn’t choose our parents or our family and we get both positive and negative influences from them. But, I think the big message there is we can learn from the mistakes they made and not pass them on to another generation. And we can choose the people – people more like Christ - great Christians - to follow. That we can control. And we should.

So how do you know which great people to pursue? Chip says start by looking back on your life. See how and why God used certain people to develop your character. You’ll begin to see certain patterns and then begin to see your needs. Identify the people in your life whose influence on you is positive. They can be anyone: family, teachers, people in church, someone you only knew for a very short period of time… Think about who they are, what they taught you and what they continue to teach you. And you can develop your own spiritual Mount Rushmore.

I think you can put people you don’t know on that list too. I’ve been inspired by great Christian teachers and writers whose books I’ve read or who I listen to on the radio. Or what I’ve read about them. I’ve also been inspired by people who were dead before I was born!

This isn’t just a Christian idea. Or maybe the self-help books stole it from Christianity, but people in leadership roles often talk about reading biographies of other great people and how much you can learn from them that way.

The self-help books talk a lot about negative and positive people too .

Negative people can drain the life out of you!! Run!

This is an important idea in business success too - I had saved the following before I started this lesson and don’t know who wrote it:

The importance of a Black List

A black list consists of all those that you'd rather not meet. People who are negative. Who bring you down. Who sap your energy. These people need to be quickly put on a black list and removed from your life.

Isn't this chopping and slicing a bit dramatic? You ask.

Sure it's dramatic. And if you're wondering what all of this has got to do with business, let me tell you. Today, you're more busy than you've ever been. You've got more distractions than ever before. And it ain't getting much better, but you already know that. Your business depends on your focus. And if there's one thing that negative people do, it's take you off focus.

They make you believe the economy sucks

They complain about the weather. They complain about taxes. And just about everything under the sun. These people need to be taken out of your life, like you'd pluck a weed from the garden. One swift chop, and they're out. And in this list, you may often find relatives, or friends you've grown up with. Doesn't matter. It's time for you to move on. Don't let them onto your white list. Don't hang around them.

You can't fly with the eagles if you continue to scratch with the turkeys

If you really want to move ahead in life, choose people who are pro-active. Who give you energy. Who are willing to help instead of complain and whine all day. These are eagles. Move with them, and watch your world change pretty dramatically.

Get your pen and book out and make a list

One set of people go into your little black book. The rest go on your black list. The ones on the black list never need to know. They just never hear from you again. You're gone from their lives as far as possible. Gone, like a freight train. Gone like yesterday. And start putting the eagles in your black book. Your attitude and fortunes will change almost instantly, once you make this simple move.

Even George Washington said “Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation, for 'tis better to be alone than in bad company."

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