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Good to Great in God's Eyes - Empower Great People, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
August 12, 2022 6:00 am

Good to Great in God's Eyes - Empower Great People, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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August 12, 2022 6:00 am

Chip answers the question: “Who is the greatest?” It may be surprising to learn that scripture actually advocates pursuing greatness. But as you’ll hear, desiring greatness is something that will help you go from good to great in God’s eyes

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Do you long to make a difference? Would you like to make a difference?

We're kind of moving toward the end of this series, and I have a question for you. How do you measure true greatness? I mean, if you're Forbes magazine, you measure true greatness by a big dollar sign and how much either people or a business produce, right? If you're People magazine, you measure true greatness by either how popular people are or how pretty they are, correct? If you're the NBA or the NFL or the NHL, you measure true greatness by what? Who makes the All-Star team or who's the MVP?

I suggest from the moment that you can talk and walk to the moment that you die, that we in the human species have one crucial question that we're always asking. And the question is, who's the greatest? Who's the greatest? I mean, two little boys, right? They're six years old.

My dad can beat up your dad, right? We're always comparing about greatness. And so it doesn't surprise us as we jump into this session that even after three years of walking with Jesus, after seeing miracles, after hearing the greatest sermons in the world, after having informal conversations, right when we see that Jesus is about to come into his kingdom or so they perceive, we're going to listen in on a conversation among his most faithful followers, his most godly followers, the people that have seen the greatest miracles. And we're going to listen in on what's on their heart toward the very end of Jesus' ministry. We pick up the story in Mark chapter 10. There is a bold request beginning in verse 35.

Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. Teacher, they said, we want you to do for us whatever we ask. That's that's pretty bold, isn't it? Yes.

Dear Mom and Dad, could you just sign the bottom of the check and I'll go cash it and write in the rest, right? You know, what do you want me to do for you? He asked. They replied, let one of us sit at your right and the other on your left in your glory.

Plain and simple. They wanted to be famous. They wanted acclaim. They wanted respect. They wanted glory. They wanted personal exaltation. They had the sense that you're going to come into your kingdom and their mindset was a political kingdom at this point.

And Rome is going to fall and you're going to be the new king. And they kind of had pictured in their mind, I'm on the right, you're on the left. That's a pretty bold request. This is followed by an indignant response in verse 41. When the 10 other disciples heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. I mean, indignant is a strong word. I mean, this ticked off. I can't believe you do that.

How the shame of that. Why are they so indignant? Because those two guys asked first. That's why. Right? I mean, they're ticked off like, you know what? You got to him first.

Of course, they probably hit it behind. Pious, righteous. How terrible of you two. And then what we have is a radical redefinition by Jesus about greatness. Jesus called them together and he said, you know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentile lorded over them and their high officials exercise authority over them.

Not so with you. Instead, now notice this, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant. And whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. And then he gives this amazing illustration using himself for even the son of man did not come to be served, but to serve and give his life a ransom for many. Notice very carefully, he didn't reprove John and James for wanting to be great. Notice he didn't reprove the 10 for being indignant. He pulls them all together and he says there's an issue. And by the way, if you read the gospels carefully, this is not the first time this issue has come up. And as you read them very carefully, you find they argue about something on the very last night.

Remember the very last night he's with them. They're still arguing about who's the greatest. But what he does is he shifts the paradigm and he said the desire to be great is not wrong. It's how you get there. If you want to be great in man's eyes, you've got to lord it over people.

You know, you've got to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated or Forbes. You've got to have power and position and prestige and beauty and all what the world says. But if you want to be great in God's eyes, you need to be the servant of all. If you want to be first, you need to be the slave. You need to understand. In fact, I love that the summary of this for me is true greatness is serving others for the glory of God.

That's really what he's saying. I was in this study for two or three years and out of the blue, I had a book sent to me. Does this ever happen to you? Someone just drops a book in the mail. And I'm sure I met this person because it had a little inscription, you know, to Chip with appreciation, CJ.

And so I'm sure I kind of met him at one of those, you know, like Christian bookseller type things or something. And it was a thin little book, which always attracts me because I can read it quickly. And but the name of the book was Humility. And then the subtitle was True Greatness. And I thought, you know, that's what I've been teaching.

Maybe God sent me this book. CJ Mahaney writes on page 44 of his little book, Humility. In each of our lives, if we're to have any possibility of becoming truly great in God's eyes, it means turning upside down the entrenched worldly ideas of our own definition of greatness.

The difference couldn't be more stark, he writes. As sinfully and culturally defined, pursuing greatness looks like this. Individuals motivated by self-interest, self-indulgence, and a false sense of self-sufficiency pursue selfish ambition for the purpose of self-glorification.

Did anyone pick up a little common denominator in any of that? Contrast that with the pursuit of true greatness as biblically defined. And then I love this line.

I thought, wow, I must be on track. Serving others for the glory of God. This is the genuine expression of humility. This is true greatness as our Savior defines it. Conclusion then is we become great in God's eyes by helping others become greater than ourselves.

Isn't that interesting? We become great in God's eyes by helping others become greater than ourselves. The apostle Paul would put it this way to Timothy. Timothy's got a new assignment. Paul's invested his life in Timothy. Timothy, I want you to really become great. And so the things that you've heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, I want you to entrust to faithful or reliable men who can teach others also. Do you get it? Great Christians empower great people.

That's the summary. If you want to be great in God's eyes, it's going about life trying to figure out how can I help other people literally become greater than me? And if you want to put a little note just right in the corner of your notes, John the Baptist. No one says it better than John. When John meets Jesus, when Jesus popularity eclipses his and his disciples are concerned about, you know, hey, hey, John, you know, your market share is going down in the spiritual community. And remember what John says? I must decrease and he must increase.

And then I don't know. Have you ever kind of done a little study about what Jesus says about John the Baptist? He says of those born among women, you know, no one is what than John? Greater.

Why? Because John's sole purpose was to make other people greater than himself. True greatness in God's eyes is empowering other great Christians. And so the Apostle Paul said you want to invest wisely and you see four generations. The Apostle Paul wants to help Timothy be great in God's eyes. So he serves him and teaches him and loves him. Timothy, I want you to help reliable, faithful, a select group of people that really have a heart for God. I want you to help them become great in God's eyes so that they in turn can help other people become great in God's eyes.

Generation four, generation three, generation two, generation one. Four spiritual generations of impact is what the Apostle Paul did. In the Old Testament, you have some great examples of this where Moses is, I mean, great, right? And Joshua is outside his tent. Moses gets the law. Joshua conquers the land.

Even greater impact. Or you have Elijah and Elisha. You know, Elisha boldly prays for a double portion of his spirit. And we see Elisha doing even greater miracles than Elijah.

Or you have a situation where Eli is the one that mentors Samuel. In the New Testament, you have Jesus, of course, doing what? Helping 12 other people, 11 of 12, and then they get a substitute. He has an impact in this kind of a geographical area.

And by the end of the first century, those 12 multiply their life to literally reach almost the whole known world. You have Paul investing in Timothy. You have Barnabas reclaiming John Mark so that by the end of Paul's life, he'll say, you know, John Mark is of great use for me. Please ask him to bring the parchments in my cloak. And here was a lost cause, but someone saw potential and took someone who had fallen away, who had failed, who had really struggled, and Barnabas found him and made him greater than himself.

How in the world can we empower great people? Let me give you, in terms of this whole session, I think it's the most, if you don't get anything else, if you ever open these notes up again, if you ever look at this again, if you ever think about, you know, greatness in God's eyes, the next phrase is what I'd want you to circle and say, this is what matters most. My summary here is that good Christians live the life. I mean, good Christians live the life. I mean, they love God. They walk in integrity. They're faithful to their marriage partners.

They're in the scriptures because they want to hear from God. They're caring. They discover their spiritual gift. They're involved in their local church. They give the first portion of their finances and then proportionally out of a heart of love and care. They're the kind of parents that really are concerned about their kids and do all they can to help their kids grow up and be men and women. They're single people that live pure lives.

They go on short term mission trips. Good Christians live the life and it's wonderful and you have to and you need to and God expects it. But the difference between good Christians and great Christians is good Christians really live the life. Great Christians leave a legacy. Great Christians leave a legacy. So you can be a good Christian and you can walk with God and you can do what God wants you to do. And you can love people and you can obey him.

And then when your life is over or my life is over and they take that little square of dirt and they drop you in it or they drop you and burn you and put you in one of those urns, however it works these days. If there's a period after the end of your life instead of a dash, then you are a good Christian. If there's a dash where your life because you poured it into the lives of others who poured into the lives of others who poured in life to the others, you are a great Christian. Great Christians leave a legacy. Great Christians don't just live the life. Great Christians live the life in such a way that they become like a Paul to a Timothy, a Timothy to a faithful person, a faithful person to others. So that the impact of the grace of God in their life multiplies and multiplies and multiplies and multiplies. When God sees that, that's the difference between good Christians and great Christians.

Great Christians empower great people. And so what I would want to ask and answer is how can you and how can I leave a legacy for God's glory? And that's what I want to talk about in our time together. First of all, let's get very, very practical. And I don't mean this tritely, but let's get clear on what we're talking about.

Dawson Trotman, who was the founder of the Navigators, amazing man, high school education. He said, activity is no substitute for productivity. Productivity is no substitute for reproduction. So there's a lot of Christians that are active, active, active, active, active, doing a lot of things, going to a lot of meetings. And there's even a lot of Christians that are very productive. They produce things.

There's fruit. There's very few Christians that are reproducing their life where a legacy, a chain, a spiritual lineage is being developed. And so the first thing you need to do is you want to pray. You know, God, God, God wants this to happen. It's in, it's commanded. It's in his will.

It's on his heart. Jesus modeled it. The apostle Paul did it. Elijah did it.

Moses did it. I mean, the great Christian, they leave a legacy. And so James 1 5 says, if any of you lack wisdom, in other words, you don't know how to live life skillfully. You don't know exactly how to do what God's called you to do. If anybody lacks wisdom, let him ask of God who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and he'll give it to you. And so the first and foremost thing is to seriously pray and say, Lord, yes, I want to be a good Christian, but Father, I know you want me to be a great Christian. I would like to leave a legacy, so I need to be discerning. I want to help many people, but I want to train a few. I want to spread a lot of grace around a lot of people, but I want to focus and invest my life.

I want to train and build into a few. And so the first thing I think is to pray. The second thing I think is very important is look under your own roof.

1 Timothy 3 4. I mean, it's not about who are these people out there that I ought to invest my life in. I ought to start with who lives under my roof that I'm morally responsible for, that I'm spiritually responsible for.

There's an amazing correlation that we're not doing well here. I mean, how many of us have met pastors' kids or missionaries' kids that you go, whoa, right? And you think to yourself, I'm not sure what they were doing, but their kids didn't get it at home. Or they were so busy helping other people that their kids rebelled. And I'll tell you, the other area, the group of people that only the poorest of the poor do worse with their children than executives, according to Forbes magazine. What it takes to be a high-powered executive, the drive, the focus, are all the kind of things that makes it very difficult to be a very good parent. And often people are very successful with their ladder leaning against the wrong wall. The percentage of children that are in counseling, the percentage of children that struggle with depression, the percentage of children that have attempted suicide, the percentage of children who have major issues with drug and rehab. You go among America's top executives and they've done studies on, because they have to pay insurance on all those things.

And only the poorest of the poor have a worse track record. And so my thing is, you know what, where are we going to start? You want to leave a legacy, start under your own roof. I watched my wife model this in our home. She is actually a good communicator. She doesn't like to get up in front of people much, but she did it for about 300 women and there was an amazing response.

And it happened that part of it got on the radio. And so pretty soon people all over the country were asking her to come and speak at their church. And she said, no, no, no, no. You know, I'm her husband going, yeah, yeah.

I mean, you know, I mean, I'll watch the kids for a weekend. She goes, Chip, you don't understand. She's really good. Everything that I'm not really good at, she's really good at. You know, I bring some strengths to help her out. But I mean, like this whole focus and boundary issue, she just looked at me and she goes, Chip, I can go and speak at these weekends and encourage women and sprinkle a little bit of grace here and there. She said, when we get to heaven, our greatest impact will not be who we talk to and impact a 16th of an inch thick. Our greatest impact will be the kids in our home. And she said, you know what, if God wants me to do that when our kids are a little older and they're grown, fine.

But I'll tell you what I'm going to do. And I mean, my kids watch my wife pray early in the morning. She read to them. And when my kids were younger, I thought, what issues do they have in their life? And, you know, you know, early on, very structured family time, older. I had each of my kids learn to spend time with God on their own. Then I looked at struggling areas and yes, yes, I confess. I'll give you 10 bucks if you read this book on worldviews.

I'll give you 15 bucks if you read mere Christianity and write me a report on it. But we had a very strategic plan to build in and disciple our children, knowing that that is what mattered most. I wrote in my schedule and when I wrote in my schedule, I wrote in personal time to spend with my kids. And it all wasn't just spiritual.

Some of it was just having fun. But I wanted to invest in my kids. The greatest legacy we'll ever leave starts under our roof. Good Christians live the life. Great Christians leave a legacy.

Leaving a legacy means you help many, you train a few. It starts with prayer. Second, you look under your own roof. And then beyond that, you look for fat people.

And these are from my old parachurch days and this is not, you know, I'm not trying to be negative toward, you know, body issues, okay? This is an acronym, F-A-T. Faithful, available, teachable. That's the kind of people you want to invest in. Faithful, available, teachable. Proverbs 20 says, many a man or many a person proclaims his own faithfulness. But a faithful man who can find.

So that's why when you're helping people, you know, people get all about hype. Faithful people show up when they say they're going to show up. Faithful people are the people in the Bible study that actually do the assignment. You know, they fill it out. Faithful people will say, you know, I'll take care of that. They actually take care of it. Faithful people will say, I'll call you tomorrow afternoon.

They actually call. See, we've gotten enamored with sharp people. Oh, that so-and-so's got this role in this company and boy, if they were ever a really growing Christian. I've heard people, she would make a great Christian someday because, I mean, she has this personality and she has this position in this company and this, you know, maybe God's looking for faithful people. Man looks on the outward appearance. God looks on the heart.

So I'm looking for who do I want to invest in? I want to invest my life in people who do what they say. Not who get all emotional, not who get all excited. And that's why I always, whenever I start helping or discipling anyone, I give assignments. And then I don't listen too much to what people say. I watch what they do. And the people that follow up and follow through and do are the people that I want to invest my life in. The second is availability.

There's some people that are faithful, but man, their lives are going, you know, 70 miles an hour, 46 directions. And, you know, you talk, oh, I want to grow. I want to grow.

Oh, I'm out of town that weekend. I really want to grow. But I wish I could.

I want to grow. And you know what? It doesn't mean they're not great people. I'm not going to invest my life in people.

They're not available. First thing I did when I was pastoring, I didn't know a lot about leadership, but what I knew was I had this little picture of an equilateral triangle. And we had about 800 or maybe 900 people at the time and almost no structure. And what I knew is there was vast potential in that church, but no organization grows. If you want a triangle to get bigger, what are you going to do?

You got to increase the base. And so what I knew was we got to figure out, we got to find who the leaders are. And we got to invest in the leaders before we get any programs or small groups or anything else going. And so I got all the elders in the staff.

There's only three other staff members and about five elders. And we went away and we talked through philosophy and vision. And I said, we need to find out who the top 50 leaders are in this church who are faithful, available, and teachable. And then we had an NFL draft. And we listed all of them. And then I said, based on relationship, you choose. And, you know, draft, okay, I'll take Bob.

I know him. And we went around till everyone had five or six people on their list. And then I told these guys and they just thought I was nuts. I didn't have written what I was going to have them do, but I figured I'll make that up later. It's sort of, you know, that book about, you know, ready, shoot, aim. I was doing that way before that book came out because I found, you know, getting things going and movement. You know, a lot of people have, you know, seven years of plans and seven minutes of activity.

And so I kind of err on the other side. And so I came up with a plan about them telling about their life and getting Bible study and vision in the church. And so I knew what I was going to figure out generally.

But then I told all the guys, here's the only rule. All these groups have to start before six thirty in the morning. Five o'clock, four thirty is okay, five thirty is okay, six is okay. Because here's what I know.

Of these leaders, they've got wherewithal, they've got capacity, and they've got spiritual maturity. I want to know if they're really available. And what I know is at six o'clock on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday morning, most of them aren't doing anything.

Now we say different nights, well I'd like to, but I'm doing this, I'm doing that. And it's only eight weeks. I want to ask them for eight weeks.

And I want to find out who's in the game or who's not. Forty-five out of the fifty signed up. We had about ninety percent retention rate. And I look back about three years later, our future elders, our future staff.

And I mean, I cannot tell you what came out of that group. People want to be challenged, but you evaluate them not just on gift, not on their career, not on their financial capacity, not on what other people say. You invest in people that are faithful, people are available, and then finally people that are teachable. You know, they want to grow, they want to learn.

How do they respond when you have to say hard things? According to Jesus, you want to look for humility, character, surrender, and perseverance. Those are teachable people.

I think there's a real, real danger of kind of evaluating people the way the world does. And the people that have impacted me, I'll just tell you, I think of, as I read through this book, you know something? God, at least according to 1 Corinthians chapter one, he says, most of you were are nots.

It's an interesting phrase. He says there weren't many wise among you. And then he says you were the are nots of the world. And then he makes this list of, wow, I mean, you know, former prostitutes and former homosexuals and idol worshipers and adulterers and stealers and drunkards.

And he says, and such were some of you. See, we don't want to look at people's history. We want to look at their heart. We want to look at their faithfulness. We want to look at their availability. And we want to look at their teachability to really be who God wants them to be.

And you test that out. And that's who you invest your life in because those people will pass it on to the next generation. So not only do you want to train a few to leave a legacy, but if we're going to leave a long-term legacy, we've got to understand Jesus' fourfold process for empowering great people. I mean, if this is the will of God, if he wants us to leave a legacy, doesn't it make sense that you could, like with a movie camera, watch Jesus' life through the Gospels for four years and say to yourself, well, what did he do?

Right? I mean, how did he do it? Because his worked.

Did he leave a legacy? I mean, is this amazing? I mean, even to unbelievers, even before I was a Christian, I mean, I'm just kind of logical. I thought one guy in one little town traveling less than 30 to 50 or 80 miles from his home with no media potential attracts 12 guys.

You know, he's 11 for 12. He's got 120 people that are loosely committed and I'm 2,000 years later and every time anyone writes a check or writes a date, they declare this was the most important person in the world because the demarcation of history is before Christ. And then what's occurred afterwards? Whole concepts, whole countries, more books. I mean, the power of this one life.

Why? He passed that life into the life of others, who passed it into the life of others, who passed it into the life of others, and there are literally billions of people who have a personal relationship with Jesus because someone empowered great people. So doesn't it make sense that we should back it up and say, how did Jesus do it? Chip will be back in just a minute with his application. You've been listening to the first part of his message, Empower Great People, from his series Good to Great in God's Eyes. Are you tired of living the status quo Christian life? Are you looking to get a fresh infusion of faith and spiritual passion? Well, join Chip in this 10-part series as he shares 10 specific practices every great Christian has in common and how you can put these attitudes and routines into action. If you're ready for a genuine spiritual breakthrough, then don't miss a single message. For more information about this series or our resources, go to, the Chip Ingram app, or call us at 888-333-6003. Well, Chip's with me in studio now, and Chip, in your book Good to Great in God's Eyes, you provide some very specific steps to help us grow in our spiritual walk day by day.

Why don't you take a few minutes, if you would, and unpack some of those practices, because we all want our relationship with Jesus to be better. Well, Dave, absolutely. I think we all, you know, we want to be great, and maybe even more importantly for those of us that are parents or grandparents or those involved in ministry, we want others to be great. You know, the greatest joy in life, real success, is not what you accomplish. It's how you help others be successful. And what I love about this book, it's nothing really very original. I think I'm an arranger, but this talks about thinking great thoughts. Everything begins with our thinking, and then you move to reading great books.

And I kind of give the top 10 or 12 different books that impacted my life and different kinds of books. And then it's pursuing great people. And I think a lot of people think, oh, I want a mentor, or gosh, if I could just rub up next to someone, I've heard that more is caught than taught.

And that's really true. And so in the book, I help people understand, here's how you get connected with those kind of people, and here's how you even get mentored by really, really great people that you'll never get to meet. And then it moves on through that to, you know, dreaming great dreams and praying great prayers, and even later for some of the driven sort of workaholic type people, how to enjoy great moments.

This isn't just about, you know, the few, the proud, the marine type Christians. There's a rhythm, there are practices in life that as you do them, fueled by the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, in the context of community, there are certain practices that, by God's grace, result in a kind of mom, a kind of dad, a kind of Christian, a kind of worker that receives from God, well done, thou good and faithful servant, and receives from men. I'm so glad I got to know that person.

That person really shaped my life, that grandparent, my dad, my mom. And when someone asks me to mentor them, I use this book, and I go slow, and I meet with them, and we do a chapter, and sometimes it takes a couple, even three weeks to go through a chapter, because it's not about reading the chapter, it's about how do we get this practice little by little in our life. So I'm a big fan of what I've learned from others, and Good to Great in God's Eyes is the practices that we can pass that on to others, and that's my dream and my hope.

Thanks, Chip. Well, to order your copy of Good to Great in God's Eyes, go to or call us at 888-333-6003. This is the perfect tool to jumpstart your faith and help you live a more authentic, purpose-filled life. Now, during this series, Chip's book, Good to Great in God's Eyes, is discounted, so let me encourage you to order yours today.

Simply go to or give us a call at 888-333-6003. App listeners, tap Special Offers. Chip, as we wrap up, you know this idea of investing in and empowering others is somewhat of a lost art nowadays. Why do you think that is? Dave, I think it's just the instant environment of our culture of now, fame, make it happen, you need to be the center of attention, and God made us to personally want to be great. What I would say to people is you've got to define greatness more than just the moment, and true greatness really is helping other people become greater than yourself.

So let me give you this. One, view the long haul. Ask yourself, what am I doing today that really is going to make a difference, not just in the next 10 or 20 or 30 years, but when I'm dead? Two, who are the people that God for sure wants me to invest in to help them become great?

So you've got to start, if you're married, with who you're married to, and then you've got to think about your kids. And you know what, it's slow, it's frustrating, you wonder if it's ever going to make any difference, but we are at that stage with four adult kids that I will say the greatest joy in my life and Teresa's is nothing that we've ever accomplished. It is absolutely what we see them doing and then see them doing in the lives of other people. I have a story next broadcast I'll share with you that will really give you some spiritual ammunition to live for the long haul. Just before we close, I want to thank those of you who regularly give to the ministry of Living on the Edge. You're making a big difference in helping Christians live like Christians. If you're enjoying the benefits of Living on the Edge but aren't yet on the team, would you do that today? You can set up a recurring donation by visiting us at or by texting the word DONATE to 74141.

It's that easy. Text the word DONATE to 74141 or visit App listeners, tap DONATE. Thanks for doing whatever the Lord leads you to do. For all of us here, this is Dave Druey saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-12 17:26:43 / 2023-03-12 17:40:21 / 14

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