[This post is simultaneously published on Loom & Wheel where I observe life in general. These “journal” entries are the type that hit the emphases of both this and my general blogs. If you enjoy what you see here, but would like to take a more microscopic look into my mind, click on the link to visit there.]

Craig Groeschel insists that your ultimate Life Vision, your Chazown, is tied indelibly to three areas of your life: your Core Values, your Spiritual Gifts, and your past experiences. Today we’ll deal with my response to the issue of Core Values. Core Values are those things that strike you at your heart (your core). They are the ideals that make you stand up and take notice. There are two questions which can help you arrive at what those core values might be.

First, what really angers me? What makes your righteousness get indignated? For me it amounts to three or four things (in no particular order, but even as I think about it to write these things, I begin to see red). Hurting children. When people take advantage of children in a way that God never intended, when children suffer needlessly because of government waste or parental ignorance, my dander flares.

Lying. So often I find that when people play on my good nature and then I find out they aren’t truthful with me, my head aches. Why would someone lie? To me or to anyone, why? I’ve known those people who would tell a lie when the truth would be more expedient, but lying—truthlessness—is their nature. Why?

False Pride. I think perhaps the one thing that makes me froth at the mouth most is this insane—inane—habit that especially believers in Christ exhibit. So many people are ready to offer prayer and advice for others in need, but then there are entire families filled with those who need (they really, really need) prayer or help and refuse to allow the Family of God to bear the burden with them. Who cares if it “looks like” you have a flaw? How presumptuous is that? That we might never ever need a friend.

And then, the second question: What brings me bliss? What shouts to you, “PARTEEE”? What gets your toes to tappin’, your mouth to rappin’ and your whole heart flappin’? Again, I found three standouts in the crowd. Presents. I suppose the reason that I love Christmas so much—aside from the fact that it’s when we celebrate the first coming of the Christ—is that our tradition suggests, no insists, no it outright requires, me to give gifts. I love giving gifts—especially those unexpected gifts that cost little, but mean a mint. One of my favorite things is to catch my beloved blushing bride off-guard with the perfect birthday, anniversary, or Christmas gift. But best yet was the time that I was able to sneak in the china cabinet when she was out of town. I even displayed the china for when she returned from her trip to Grandma’s.

Laughter. Nothing makes my chest (some would say my head) swell with self-satisfaction than to know that someone enjoyed my company because I made them smile. I first realized this as a freshman in college. Dorm life—that’s the ticket. Getting to know the other men on my hall was always fun. People would roam the hall and if a door was open, it meant social hour was in session in that room. On one of these occasions I finally had to leave a group of friends to go (I don’t know—study or sleep or something) and as I left the room I heard one of the friends still in the room comment, “I just love Benjie, he’s so funny.” I hadn’t even been trying to be funny.

Communication. I suppose you could say that communication is my life. One of the greatest drives that I have as a pastor, author, blogger is that people catch what I’m trying to say. Sometimes I fall short of this goal because I have a tendency to overuse egghead vocabulary when I should be speaking to the third-grader in the crowd. But still, I want him to understand.

Having assessed these questions, I turned to the list that Groeschel provides at http://www.chazown.com/ to line up what I feel are the core values that most closely match my heart’s cry. Here’s what I came up with:

  • Authenticity
  • Creativity
  • Discipleship
  • Faith
  • Godliness
  • Humor
  • Integrity

I think that’s a fair list.