My writing has always been about what is deepest within us – the liberation of it, the revelation of God through it. I think that my current writing on narcissism is deeply connected to this, but it’s so hard for me because it’s about the absence of this deep connection and the damage that causes. When people live from an illusory self – whether that looks like an angry addict or a manipulative narcissist or a spiritual optimist – they are living a counterfeit life. The profound tragedy is that they are somehow cut off from the deep wellspring of the heart, the ever-present intimacy of Love. We swim in cultural waters that reward this cutoff. I’ve never seen anyone reconnect without a fierce intention to do so, and a commitment to practices of vulnerable community and contemplative kenosis. My life’s commitment is to this reconnection, and it’s grounded in the Augustinian truth that God never, ever leaves us – it’s we that leave. God’s always up for your return, ready to welcome, eager to engage the hard work of dying and rising into freedom. My books, each in their own way, point to this. Leaving Egypt is about going on this journey through it’s challenging stages. Toughest People is about psychological obstacles to this union. Wholeheartedness is about enlargening our imagination for and practices of oneness and worthiness in Jesus. Falling into Goodness is about simply becoming present to what’s already, unfathomably yours. I hope they can be helpful guides on your journey.
Leaving Egypt: Finding God in the Wilderness Places
The Exodus story is your story.
The Israelites’ liberation from Egypt and journey to the promised land is one the Bible’s most compelling stories a breathtaking account of competing wills, freedom and slavery, faith and doubt.
But the Exodus isn’t just a long-ago Bible story. It’s the overarching theme of every person’s life. We each find ourselves enslaved: to work, to destructive relationships, to food, to spending . . . but beyond our personal Egypt lies God’s promised land.
In Leaving Egypt, Chuck DeGroat shows how our wilderness journey helps us face our fears, receive our new identity, experience transformation, and live into our new found freedom.
Discussion questions for personal or small group use follow each chapter.
“Leaving Egypt is a welcome roadmap for anyone who is tired of taking two steps forward, three steps back whether you are lost in addiction, doubt, fear, shame, or religiosity. This book is a guide filled with directions not to a destination, but to stay on the path, because this journey is the Promised Land.” –Sharon Hersh, M.A., LPC, speaker, adjunct professor in several graduate schools including Reformed Theological Seminary, author of “The Last Addiction” and “Begin Again, Believe Again”
“It’s a long and sometimes painful journey out of “Egypt,” the place of fear, enslavement, and distrust. I know–I’ve been there, and still visit on occasion. If you’re trapped in “Egypt” and know there should be something far better, this book will change your life. With profound biblical and theological insight, Chuck DeGroat has written a “travel guide” for human and flawed travelers who want to be free.” –Steve Brown, professor at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, author, and teacher on the nationally syndicated radio program Key Life.
Toughest People to Love
People — frustrating, confusing, disappointing, complicated — are the most difficult part of leadership, and they challenge leaders everywhere, from leaders of many to managers of a few. In this book Chuck DeGroat addresses the flawed nature of people and offers wisdom for leaders of all types in dealing with just about anyone who is difficult to lead and to love.
Toughest People to Love explores the basics of how people “tick,” encouraging leaders to examine and take care of themselves so that they can better understand and care for others. Based on DeGroat’s wealth of experience as a pastor, professor, and therapist, this book — both wise and practical — is one that countless leaders will go back to time and again for valuable insights and renewed vision.
–author of Who Is This Man? and The Me I Want to Be
“Chuck DeGroat combines thoughtful reflection with psychological learning and spiritual vision. This book will give wise guidance to anybody who is called to lead.”
— author of Three Free Sins: God Isn’t Mad at You
“Sometimes one discovers a book so helpful and profound that it never collects dust on one’s bookshelf. Toughest People to Love is that kind of book, and I will refer to it often. Here you will find accurate, insightful diagnosis and practical, biblical remedy. As a difficult person who deals often with difficult people, I find this to be a wonderful and life-changing book. Read it and be glad!”
Justin S. Holcomb
–Episcopal priest, seminary professor, author
“Toughest People to Love is overflowing with wisdom and compassion. This is a book that I need personally, that I will assign in my seminary courses, and that will be an important resource as I develop leaders for the diocese in which I serve. . . . It is part self-awareness guide, part handbook on soul care, part leadership treatise, and part consultation on dealing with difficult people in the church.”
Dan B. Allender
–author of The Wounded Heart and Leading with a Limp
“This brilliant book is a road map through the morass of convoluted relationships we all face in our families, neighborhoods, work, and ministries. . . . I wish I’d had this indispensable resource — a life-giving well — much earlier in my life. I will return often to it.”
–senior pastor of City Church San Francisco
“Toughest People to Love will make you a better leader, pastor, parent, and friend. But more than anything else, this book will guide you down a path of personal renewal and give you a new trajectory in your own journey to wholeness and integration. This is a book to read again and again as we seek to love the beautiful and broken people in our lives, including the person we see when we look in the mirror.”
–director of the Society for Christian Psychology
“This wise and winsome book on leadership takes us on a journey into the challenges and complexities of difficult relationships – with others and with ourselves. Reflecting the Christian wisdom that suffering can lead to human flourishing, DeGroat points us to the rest beyond bodily rest found paradoxically in the solitude and the deepening community with others that together center us in God.”
–lead pastor of Redemption Gateway Church, Mesa, Arizona
“Chuck DeGroat clearly understands the realities of pastoral ministry. This book is both theologically robust and practical and therefore takes a well-rounded approach to human formation. It will substantially help those who want to understand what Christian leadership, counseling, and friendship really mean.”
Wholeheartedness: Busyness, Exhaustion, and Healing the Divided Life
In this book Chuck DeGroat invites readers to admit the exhaustion and fragmentation they experience on a daily basis even as he casts a vision for wholeheartedness. With wisdom gained through his years of pastoral care and counseling, he explores the phenomenon of human dividedness and wholeness through the Christian story, examines how others have experienced it, and looks at how psychologists and researchers suggest addressing it.
With insights derived from a rich diversity of sources, including poets, scientists, philosophers, psychologists, and the Christian tradition, DeGroat’s Wholeheartedness will enable readers to discover the remedy for their frenzied lives.
– author of “Found: A Story of Questions, Grace, and Everyday Prayer”
“Chuck DeGroat blends psychology, theology, and poetry in a way that embraces the wisdom of both ancient and contemporary spiritual teachers. I believe his writing will do for you what it has done for me provoke and encourage and push you past the scarcity of anxiety and performance, and into a fuller, more beautiful life of faith.”
-author of”Three Free Sins: God s Not Mad at You”
“Another great book from Chuck. His other books have made a difference in my life; this one came just in time to salvage this old cynical preacher from almost giving up on ever finding healing in this busy world. It will do the same for you. Read it and rejoice!”
– author of “All the Places to Go …How Will You Know?”
“Chuck DeGroat has a deep commitment to living a life of wholeness. … There is life in his words.”
Falling Into Goodness: Lenten Reflections
Jesus said, “Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” Lent is from the Old English Lencten, meaning Springtime, that season in which we experience rebirth, growth, and goodness. Yet, we often view Lent as a morbid season, a season when we give up our favorite things. Instead, Lent is an invitation back to ourselves, back to the ground of our being as image-bearers, created “very good” even in our creaturely limitations. We are “enough” precisely because we’re God-breathed and God-imaged. And even when we sabotage our original goodness, hiding behind our fig-leaved and false-selved control strategies, God pursues us in Jesus, becoming human not to overcome humanness but to redeem and ennoble it.
INTRODUCTION – RETURN TO YOUR GROUND
WEEK 1 – DWELL WITH GOD
WEEK 2 – LIVE FROM YOUR TRUE SELF
WEEK 3 – IMAGINE THE KINGDOM
WEEK 4 – TAKE THE HUMBLE PATH
WEEK 5 – WRESTLE WITH GOD
WEEK 6 – FOLLOW JESUS
Whether they are used for Lent or in another season, these reflections will invite you into deeper union and communion with the One who is “more near to you than you are to yourselves” (Augustine).