The importance of having integrity and defining one's identity through Christ are some of the topics discussed in a new book by Craig Groeschel, senior pastor of an Edmond-based megachurch with multiple satellite sites.
Groeschel, 45, is founder of LifeChurch.tv, which now includes numerous satellite campuses across Oklahoma and in other states. He recently talked with The Oklahoman about his book “Altar Ego: Becoming Who God Says You Are.”
The text of the interview has been edited for space purposes.
Q: What does it mean for someone to have an “altar ego”?
A: Obviously the word “alter” is spelled “a-l-t-a-r,” so what we're trying to do is recognize that our ego is our belief system about ourselves. So many of us have an inaccurate view of ourselves. What we're trying to do is lay down who we think are on the altar — to sacrifice who we think we are — to become what God says we are. I'm really trying to help people learn what their identity is in Christ, not their identity based on what other people say or how they feel but on who God says they are.
Q: What made you decided to write this book at this particular time?
A: You know, in so many ways this book is about my own internal struggles. Before I was a Christian, I really didn't like myself. I know so many people who just really struggle with low self-esteem, so rather than just make them feel better about themselves, I want to help them replace the lies they believe with the truth of God's word, so they can live a life that really matters and be fulfilled in all they do.
Q: What are some of the labels you had to overcome years ago in order to have more of an “altar ego”?
A: A bunch of them. One, I was a party guy and wild, so to believe that God could use me to do something significant, that was a big step of faith. I had to unlearn and overcome what others thought of me. The first time someone called me pastor, I almost fell over and said I'm not worthy — don't call me that.
I talked to my pastor and he said something I love. He said one day you'll grow into that name. That meant a lot to me. Also in the book, I tell some funny stories about being a tightwad, just being scared to death of not having enough and not being generous at all. God empowered us as a church to give away as much as we can. That overflowed into my life personally to try to live well below our means to try and give sacrificially to make a difference in different places in the world.