A "Reminder Note" of Purpose
I was looking through one of my personal journals today, when I came across a couple of notes that my wife had written to me three years ago. I was struck by the words of the notes, as I read and re-read them again. Her messages were encouraging, loving and supportive. She spoke of her love for me and acknowledged the blessings of God on our lives and marriage. Her words rejoiced in all of our years together and expressed her vision for our future. What a wonderful source of love and encouragement! However, there was something even deeper in those notes that has stuck with me (and it's not the first time I've thought about this). Those notes serve to remind me of something very important...it reminds me of who I am (husband and best friend to my wife) and the vision of my future (continuing our journey and enjoying our future together). While it shouldn't be necessary to have such a message to keep one grounded in who they are and with whom they are meant to be, it does reinforce and encourage one in that purpose and relationship. It serves to strengthen the love and commitment that we have. My notes and messages to her do the same.
When You Need a Reboot
I used to write curriculum for a publisher who provided Bible study resources. I wrote for teens, adults and teachers of these age groups. It was something I enjoyed, as it allowed me to exercise my creativity while producing resources that impacted people with the powerful truth of God’s Word.
This work was not an easy endeavor, because I was doing it as a "side hustle" while conducting my full-time career in education and ministry. So, there were many late nights, or weekends, that I would be working hard to meet a publication deadline. It always felt good to hit the “save” button and complete a project…send it off to the publisher and rest until the next assignment came.
I learned a vital lesson, however, on one occasion, as I was working hard to complete an assignment. Nearing the end of the particular series I was writing, I was just about to call it quits for the night. In the process of shutting down my computer...and I can't tell you what I did wrong...I lost all of the work I had spent hours creating. I don’t need to tell you, I was all kinds of crazy at that moment...in disbelief, angry, flabbergasted, sad, frustrated...it was a flood of emotions. The bad news...there was no option to recover the lost material. I searched for recovery methods, I sought advice, I googled advice. I found no rescue. The only choice I had, was to reboot and start over. All of that work…study, development of the studies, teaching methods and ideas…all of it was gone. I just turned off the computer and went to bed. However, the lesson I learned?...save your work often...I discovered auto-save and that never happened again.
19th Century Evangelist, D.L. Moody, told of a ship making its way into Cleveland Harbor by night. The harbor pilot was at the wheel as the captain looked on. Looking toward the harbor, the captain saw the light of the harbor lighthouse, but he saw none of the shore lights that normally serve to guide the vessels safely into port.
The captain asked the pilot, "Are you sure this is Cleveland Harbor?" The pilot assured him that it was. The captain inquired:
"Where are the lower lights, then?" To which the pilot replied, "Gone out, sir."
"Can you make the harbor, then?", asked the captain.
The pilot's response was, "We must, or perish."
Perish, they did. For that night, the pilot missed the channel of the harbor, struck the rocks along the mouth of the harbor entrance and the ship sank, losing a number of lives.
There is said to be a harbor in Italy which requires the navigation of a narrow and treacherous channel for ships to pass safely from the Mediterranean Sea into the harbor to dock. At night, especially, these lights are used to help the pilot and/or captain find his way to safe port. In this port, there are three lights that are said to need to be aligned, to appear as one, in order to assure the ship's helmsman that he is safely on the correct course to the intended destination. There is a reason those lights are there...and that reason is a matter of life and death.
A Rested Development
Long before it was an American hit sitcom, or a rap music group, the term "arrested development" was used to describe a condition in which the individual ceases normal psychological development (or is stuck in a particular psychological development stage) due to trauma, lacking some aspect of nurturance, or a chemical addiction. Though no longer used in that manner among psychological professionals, the concept crossed my mind as I thought about the topic of this post. I thought of it as a play on words, but nevertheless, to drive home a point.
In an earlier post, I wrote about the importance of the rhythms of life. The final point of that post was the importance of the "Rhythm of Rest and Self-Care." As we consider the drive of living our purpose in life, one of the first considerations is not usually taking a rest. Understandably, our drive and desire to live purposefully may also be a drive to think only of activity and neglect the balance that our lives need. How may our development of a purposeful life be arrested if we neglect our rest?
Jesus gave us the example of a balanced life. He was fully committed to His purpose...the most important mission in all the world. He led a very busy life of ministry leading up to His ultimate sacrifice as Messiah. Yet, he always made sure to find time for rest and for solitude. When God set the example for us in His acts of creation, he established the Sabbath rest. The regular rhythm of rest is what we need...God knows that.
And I gave them my Sabbath days of rest as a sign between them and me. It was to remind them that I am the LORD, who had set them apart to be holy.
And He said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.
The Apostle Peter reminds us that a relationship with Jesus actually promotes rest...for the soul.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:6-7
Jesus put it this way...
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
So...what does rest look like for you...daily rest, weekly rest, times of retreat and solitude? These are all important in the rhythm of life. Rest can include many things...each person is unique in how they find rest and refreshment. Think about what it is that is life-giving for you. What is it that, when you have engaged it, you emerge energized, fulfilled and prepared for the challenges of life? Consider some suggestions:
Universal Elements of Rest
For the follower of Christ, there are some elements of rest that can be incorporated into any rest experience we find rejuvenating. Consider how these fit your unique choices.
So, there you have it...my thoughts on the importance of incorporating rest into your life. God, the Father, instructed it; Jesus, His Son, modeled it; and, through His Spirit, enables it. Now, it is our responsibility to plan it. If you do, you will find "a rested development" of a well-balanced life.
How do you find rest in the midst of the busyness of life? What are your favorite modes of rest? Have you experienced the negative effects of a lack of adequate rest? If so, how did you deal with it? Please share your thoughts in the comments. Like and share the post on social media. We really do want to have a conversation about living our purpose well...sharing your story may be just the thing someone else needs to hear.
Purpose in Community
Have you noticed how basic home design has transformed in the last 10-20 years? Front porches have gotten smaller and patios and fenced-in back yards have grown larger. It is possible to come home from a day out in the world, remotely open your garage door, pull in, and close the door behind you...all without interacting with your neighbors next door, or across the street. It is a growing trend...notably, more significant among Millennials in their 30s. A survey by the Ownerly Team revealed some interesting results:
What is the significance? People have a decreasing sense of community in our culture. At the writing of this post, we are emerging (hopefully) from a worldwide pandemic that has kept people in lockdown for months...isolating us from neighbors, friends and family. This survey was done just prior to the beginning of the pandemic...I wonder what the numbers would look like after a year of isolation and social distancing?
There was a day when the sense of community was woven into the fabric of our lives. Neighbors would sit together on their porches and share stories of the day. Kids would play in the street or gather in a neighbor's yard for a friendly game of baseball or hide-n-seek. It was not unusual for a family to leave their doors unlocked when they left home for a few hours, because they trusted one another and everyone looked out for their neighbors. Any parent in the neighborhood could parent, correct and guide any child in their yard or home...everyone felt they were a part of a community.
God has created us for community. Think about His nature and character, as reflected in who He is and how he has worked to accomplish His plan.
This only scratches the surface, but I think it is clear that God values relationship and community. He is a God of relationship and He has called us to enjoy and thrive in community. We are at our best when we are together...better together. Many of the struggles of our world can be traced to the division that comes through hatred, distrust and fear. The opposite is also true. When the people of God come together and selflessly love one another and those around them, God does some amazing things to heal and redeem his fallen creation. It only stands to reason that God would use community in our lives to help us understand and pursue His purpose for us. That is the reason we have established Purposed 365 as a community of encouragement and inspiration! We are better together! Here are a few reasons why we believe engaging in relational community is valuable in living our purpose.
The Value of Relationship in Living Our Purpose
Maybe tonight, as you drive in from your long day at work, park in the driveway. Get out of the car and walk across the street...introduce yourself to your name, and start working on learning those names. You never know when you may meet a friend that will become your Paul, Barnabas or Timothy. So, go ahead...step into community...into relationships that will enhance and facilitate your pursuit of your God-given purpose. Allow the voice and partnership of others help you fulfill a life that you may never know otherwise. Live purposed in community!
Who is speaking into your life? Where do you find partnerships in pursuing your purpose? How have you benefitted from community? Like, share and start a conversation in the comments...we need one another!
What do you get when you cross a cognitive psychologist, a neuroscientist, saxophone player and record producer? You get Daniel Levitin, a American-Canadian university Dean of Social Sciences and Professor Emeritus. Levitin has written extensively on the impact and integral thread of music in our lives. In an interview on NPR's Morning Edition, he talks about how he fed over 500 musical scores into a computer and discovered that musical compositions that spanned centuries actually reflect a rhythm we find in nature. He says, "You can see it in a snowflake or the leaf of a fern, where the smallest part of an object repeats itself over and over again to create the whole. Scientists call these patterns fractals, and that kind of pattern is buried in the music's rhythms, whether it's Bach or Chopin."
Think about it. Rhythms are so imbedded in our experience that we may not give it a lot of thought at first glance. However, consider how rhythms permeate our daily lives. There is the cardiogram that assesses the rhythm of our hearts. Biological rhythms manage and coordinate the functions of our bodies (Circadian Rhythm and REM cycles of sleep), the behavior of animals (bird migration, salmon spawning), and marine life that reacts to the lunar tidal cycles of the oceans.
We also have the seasonal rhythm of our year. For those of us in the mid-latitudes of the earth, we experience four distinct seasons: spring, summer, fall and winter. Those who are in areas closer to the equator, experience less variation and have the rainy season and dry season. The latitudes near the poles, generally have colder, less variable seasons that are more discernable by the amount of daylight and darkness they have. Regardless, however, of where you live on the globe, you can see a rhythm of the seasons that creates a predictable cycle...therefore, a sense of cohesion and continuity.
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.
God inspired King Solomon to write about the seasons of life when he stated, "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens." He goes on to talk about all the varying "seasons" that we experience in life. While he lists a vast array of "opposites" in our life experiences, the purpose is simply to teach us that things change in various seasons of our lives and to assure us that it is natural. Whatever those varying seasons, God remains the constant through them all. That gives us peace. When we see that creation is replete with the rhythms that reflect God's design, that gives us security and a sense of the bigger picture of His Plan. That is the perfect context in which to pursue our purpose...fitting into God's big plan and depending upon His faithfulness.
Reflecting the Rhythms in Our Daily Lives
God has designed rhythms into His creation. Doesn't it make sense that developing rhythms in our daily lives, reflecting the rhythms in creation, would create a sense of cohesion and security? The more in touch with God's plan that we are, the more potential we have for understanding how to live out our purpose.
Life feels more balanced when we develop rhythms that support our wellbeing. God's rhythms in creation make things operate in concert. When something gets out of sync, the operation of the system is thrown off. We all know when our life gets out of sync. It shows up in a lack of peace, feeling incompetent in fulfilling our purpose and experiencing dissatisfaction in general. On the other hand, living our purpose is enhanced as we develop certain rhythms, because a balanced life is an effective life.
Worship is the act of giving ourselves to the One who has redeemed us through his gift of love, and Who's Spirit lives in us and draws us into relationship with Him. We thrive as we develop a rhythm of daily personal worship and weekly corporate worship. In doing so, we maintain our relationship and intimacy with our heavenly Father through His Son...we commune in the quiet place that we set aside for that connection. Through praise and prayer, we practice the presence of our God. Starting the day with Him, seeking Him throughout the day and ending the day with Him creates a rhythm that keeps us connected to the One who loves us radically.
Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning, For in You do I trust; Cause me to know the way in which I should walk, For I lift up my soul to You.
Reading after others, studying in groups, taking courses, whatever fits your lifestyle and circumstance, incorporate growth rhythms in your life. In our information-saturated age, take advantage of the myriad options to read, learn and grow. Do it regularly.
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path...I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your word. My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises.
Psalm 119:105, 147-148
H - hungry
A - angry
L - lonely
T - tired
All of these signs of vulnerability to temptation are addressed through self care. Whether it is the rhythm of getting enough rest daily, or taking a break to rejuvenate weekly, or a "sabbatical" of vacation annually (or semi-annually), rest and recharging is essential to healthy living, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Give yourself permission to rest! Don't buy into the lie that the successful and fruitful life is the one that is lived non-stop. If you crash from fatigue or from a failure in sin, your ability to live your purpose will be limited or damaged.
Take care of yourself...your family will appreciate you, your Father will affirm you, and your future self will thank you.
And I gave them my Sabbath days of rest as a sign between them and me. It was to remind them that I am the LORD, who had set them apart to be holy.
And He said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.
What are the rhythms you have developed in your life? How have rhythms of worship, growth or self care made a difference in your life? What rhythms do you want to create? Share your thoughts in the comments...our community is eager to engage!
Have you ever found yourself in a moment where God had so orchestrated every aspect of your experience that it became a profound milestone in your life? I'm not talking about an experience like the Apostle Paul had on the road to Damascus...hearing the audible voice of God. However, not unlike that experience of the apostle, it was a moment that created a new awareness for you, or opened a door, or changed the course of your life. One of those moments for me occurred in January 2010.
That cold January day, I found my self sitting in the midst of 21,000 college students and workers, at Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. I had taken a group of college students from our campus ministry at Arkansas Tech University to Passion Conference...a gathering of students from 37 countries and all across the United States, along with ministry leaders, speakers, and musicians. This gathering was for the purpose of challenging the next generation of world changers...to make an impact upon our world with the gospel of Jesus Christ. The conference was an amazing experience as we were challenged by speakers to embrace the gospel, live out our faith in real ways and to give ourselves to make a difference in a dark world that desperately needs the light of Jesus Christ. The messages were inspired by the Holy Spirit and there were many, on the last day of the conference, who stood as a testimony to how the Spirit had worked in their lives...some, to accept Christ as Savior, others who had wounds healed, and still others who's eyes were opened to the need for a generation to bring the love and good news of Jesus Christ to the world. In amazement, I saw this group respond to a challenge to give financially with $668,000 to fund 12 global causes (a couple in attendance matched this giving to total $1.3M)! That's college students giving over half a million dollars! Wow! What a move of the Spirit upon their hearts.
A Time of Awakening
These causes included things such as digging wells and sponsoring children in developing countries, building an education center for the Dalit people in India, sending men to seminary in Muslim countries and rescuing women from human trafficking. And that...that last thing...human trafficking...that grabbed my attention.
Woven throughout the three days of the conference was a series of video clips that followed a particular young woman's story. The videos chronicled her situation of living in poverty. Her family told of their desperate need and the promise that came from people from the city, that their daughter could go and work for a family there, doing domestic work, so that she could send money back to support them with food and other necessities. However, as the story unfolded, they lost contact with her and, to their horror, heard stories that she may have been taken into a sex slave trade industry. As these vignettes continued throughout the conference, information about the proliferation and immensity of human trafficking was shared...helping us to understand just how enormous this tragic situation is and what has to be done to combat it around the world...even right here at home. As these series of video presentations came to a climax on the third day of the conference, it was revealed that this particular young woman had been rescued from her captors and, in that moment, she was introduced to the gathering, standing in person on the stage. You can imagine the response of the conference attendees as they erupted in applause and celebration...even now, as I write this, my eyes fill with tears at the memory of that moment. And at that moment, something else happened...I began to ask myself (maybe it was the voice of the Spirit asking)..."What if that were my daughter? Or my wife? Or any other of the women I know personally in my life? What would I do to go and find them and rescue them?" I immediately realized that I would stop at nothing to do whatever was in my power to find them and bring them to safety. That was my awakening!
Awakening Leads to Seeking
It was at that moment that I began to ask, "What can I do?" I wanted to know how I could make a difference. I prayed for God to show me His plan...open doors...give me opportunities.
Fast-forward two years. In the two intervening years, I never lost sight of this thing God had placed in my heart...I educated myself, I had conversations, I contacted people and organizations who were doing the work of fighting against human trafficking. Then, my opportunity to go to the Philippines in 2012, as part of a humanitarian aid team, opened the process of making connections and giving me experiences in developing countries. I was being exposed to life in the culture of Southeast Asia, where much of the world's trafficking takes place. This would eventually lead to the opportunity to go to Thailand and be involved in researching the need, searching for actual evidence of human trafficking and consulting with one of the leaders of an organization that is rescuing, educating, and bringing to justice, the perpetrators. I had the opportunity to assist a daycare that provides childcare for mothers who are in aftercare and to consult with two foster care missionaries who care for children who are rescued from trafficking situations. It was only a scratch of the surface, but it was a way for me to be involved and to use my experience to highlight and promote the need. Putting a spotlight on support and action to reach those who are enslaved and feel hopeless. Below, you can see a video that I did to share some of what I had learned and what we can do to make a difference (the email address at the end is no longer valid).
Social Justice is at the Heart of the Father
As followers of Christ, who are seeking to pursue our purpose daily, we find that what is at the core of the Father's heart becomes the core of our heart...it is a process, and we must be willing to let Him do the work of transforming our hearts and shaping them to look like the heart of Christ.
This past year (2020) has been a challenging year...a worldwide pandemic, social isolation, fear of health crises, racial tension, political unrest, public vitriol and division. There is no shortage of needs when it comes to caring for the hurting, advocating for the oppressed and disenfranchised, and speaking against injustice. These needs are as old as humanity and they have always been at the heart of God's plan for all people. His heart and mission is the redemption of all, through the message of his gospel.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
A part of this mission to redeem all who will come to Him, is His concern for justice and care for the hurting.
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
As people who are seeking to live out our purpose in this life and for our world, that purpose will have at the heart of it, the passion for people to know the redemptive work of Jesus Christ and for them to experience the love of a God who knows where they are and desires to administer healing and hope to their situation. Let's ask ourselves, how does my purpose incorporate and live out that core mission of the Father?
A Process of Being a Purposeful Change Agent
When it comes to the idea of social justice and caring for, and doing something about, injustices and oppression in our world, I have been thinking through the process that is involved...at least how I am experiencing it. When things came to a head with the death of George Floyd and the focus on many other similar situations...there are many other names I could list, like Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery...I began a process to understand, respond and be intentional as a person who wants to live my life with purpose. I will share with you, my process and, perhaps, it will be a catalyst for others to consider the same path of growth and purpose as well. I have developed a graphic that helps to describe this process that I am pursuing. The pyramid suggests two things about the process.
This is foundational to the process. We can't hope to make any real difference, if we don't start here. I realized very quickly as I was pondering the issues of social justice, that I have to look at my own heart and thinking first. I had to face the perspectives, prejudices, blind spots and ways that I had abdicated my responsibility to advocate for change. I needed to listen to those who were suffering. I needed to re-examine what I viewed as normal and consider whether I was seeing through eyes of reality, or through a perspective that was skewed or tainted by years of injustice and was accepted as the way it should be. I needed to be educated and I needed to be honest with myself. This isn't a pleasant process, but it is a necessary one. Frankly, it is one that continues.
This is where interactional change begins to take place. While I was experiencing internal change in the first step, this is where I would begin to make a difference through the relationships of influence that I have. Through conversations with my family members, friends, and people of color, I began to speak words that confronted ingrained racism, made myself vulnerable to listen and learn, and speak some small measure of healing to those who have experienced oppression and prejudice themselves...whether in overt ways, or in their identification with those who were very public victims. Because of the love of God in my life, I want to express that love to others in real and concrete ways. That will continue to be a process.
This is the step where we move into the realm of advocating for change in our culture. Whether it is through social media, public protest, or influencing political leaders, at this step we begin to take measures to speak for those who experience injustice. For instance, in the issue of human trafficking; communicating the need, supporting the organizations that address the need, and partnering with those who are on the forefront of the effort to make change, are all ways that we engage in social advocacy. A life of purpose looks for ways to make a difference through the avenues that we are afforded in our culture.
Frankly, this is the level at which many people may not have the opportunity to effect change in the world. We are not all pastors, politicians or social media influencers. However, if God gives us a platform with a public voice, our purpose calls us to speak the heart of the mission to the world: God wants to redeem every person and He wants that redemption to include the demolition of that which oppresses, kills, marginalizes or discounts the value of even one life...from the womb to the tomb. If God chooses to give you that platform, be a voice of love, truth and healing to a world that uses people as stepping stones for success, wealth and power.
What did the prophet Micah tells us in his message from God?
That is a great description of a person who is pursuing their God-given purpose 365 days a year.
What was an awakening moment for you? What organizations have you partnered with to make a difference in supporting justice and healing? Have you had conversations with people about your response to the needs of those who are voiceless? Share in the comments below...we are excited to hear your thoughts!
No More Auto-Pilot
It was a near miss! A sunny summer afternoon on I-40, my family and I were heading east on vacation. My wife and daughter were whiling away the time, napping, as the radio played softly and I was clicking off the miles toward our destination. Not realizing it, I had succumbed to what has been called highway hypnosis. Also called "white line fever," it is the mental state in which a driver can operate a vehicle for extended distances, responding to external events in the normal, safe and expected manner, without having recollection of doing so. Perhaps you have experienced this...you're driving along on the interstate and suddenly you realize, "I can't remember anything about the last 30 miles I've driven." It's a little unnerving when you recognize it. Most of the time, things are okay, and we don't experience this state for long. On this particular day, however, it didn't take long for the situation to turn critical in a matter or seconds. As I crested a rise in the highway, I suddenly saw the rear of a travel trailer at what appeared to be a dead stop, directly in my lane. Without thought, as a spontaneous response, I swerved the vehicle into an adjacent lane to avoid a collision. Thankfully, there were no other vehicles in the lane beside us, and we avoided a very critical situation. God's angels of protection were on their toes that day!
This is an example of how operating on "auto-pilot" can be a dangerous thing to do. While airliners rely on computer assisted navigation every day with high levels of safety, and we now have self-driving and self-parking cars that amaze us, living our lives on auto-pilot is not the best way to go! At best, it can lead us to undesired circumstances. At worst, it can lead to a crisis. Think about it, regardless of the good that auto-pilot, self-driving cars and artificial intelligence serve, they are limited in their usefulness. At some point, a human must intervene. Otherwise, there is going to be a crash!
In life, it is easy to live on auto-pilot. We've probably all been there. At some point, we look back and ask ourselves, "Where did that time go?" We wonder what happened to all that time...with our education, career, leisure time, family? We can sometimes live life with "highway hypnosis."
Turning off the Auto-Pilot
In contrast, the person who is living a life of purpose, recognizes that we do so by choosing to live life with intentionality. Simply put, the "why" that we are discovering, is informing the "what" of our daily lives so that there is meaning for all that we do. It's almost like a roadmap that helps us navigate our journey...remember the days when we used those? Roadmaps? That was before GPS and smart phone navigation apps. We had to plan out a trip by reading a roadmap and determining the best route to take to our destination. Sometimes, there would be an obstacle or situation that required us to re-route our journey in order to make the best possible time, or avoid unnecessary delays or, even worse, getting lost! Of course that never happened to me. *wink.
When we speak of living with intentionality, we aren't referring to time management. Though that is a worthwhile topic to consider, that is a discussion for another day. Intentionality actually comes out of the uniqueness of our Creator and our design as His creation.
Our Creator is the most intentional being in existence. Think about it, the Scripture tells us that, even before time began, He had a plan that would transcend time (1 Peter 1:10-21), and that plan was blowing the minds of His angelic host (1 Peter 1:12). Consider, for a moment, just a few examples of the intentionality of God:
Intentional in his Creation
So God created man
in his own image;
he created him in the image of God;
he created them male and female.
God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth. Genesis 1:27-28
Intentional in His Plans
For I know the plans I have for you" --this is the Lord's declaration-- "plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
Intentional in His Timing
But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law. Galatians 4:4
Intentional in His Sacrificial Gift
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:9-10
Like Father; Like Child
We are unique, in that, we are created in the image of God. No other member of God's creation can claim that distinction. He invites us into relationship with himself, through his Son, Jesus Christ. In so doing, out of that relationship, comes our opportunity to live with intentionality like our Creator. Intentionality is essential to the understanding and pursuit of our purpose. The greatest expression of ourselves and, in turn, expression of God's glory, is to reflect the Father's intentionality. It brings us fulfillment, peace, joy and, most of all, brings the presence of God to a world that desperately needs Him. I love what the Apostle Peter wrote:
Since we are approaching the end of all things, be intentional, purposeful, and self-controlled so that you can be given to prayer. 1 Peter 4:7
He places an urgency on our calling to be intentional and purposeful. It seems to say that we don't have time to waste. We can't afford to live on auto-pilot...risking white line fever. The time is now...to care about how we live, to prayerfully pursue our purpose and to make a difference in the lives of others. The Apostle Paul put it this way:
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Ephesians 4:15-17
In other words...
It matters that you choose to live your life intentionally.
Make the most of your time.
Make an impact on others as a result.
We always ask, what does it mean for me? What does it mean to live my life with intentionality? The answer to that question is as unique as you are. But there are three things that will help you figure it out.
Think Intentionally - develop the mindset that daily values and seeks to know why you are here on this earth.
Plan Intentionally - make your plans in the context of understanding your purpose and filtering them through the truth of God's Word and the leadership of His Spirit (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Act Intentionally - Ask yourself, "Is what I am doing, fulfilling God's purpose in me?" (Micah 6:8)
What is one thing you will do intentionally this week to pursue your purpose and make a difference in our world?
New Year, New Beginnings
Ahhh...the smell of freshly laundered linens coming from the dryer!. There is something about that feeling of fresh, clean linens on the bed when you crawl in at night for that long winter's nap...it feels so good! Speaking of winter, It makes me think of a fresh covering of new-fallen snow that settles over the ground, especially beautiful at night, when the moonlight reflects a blue glow on the smooth winter blanket. It's still fun, even as an adult, to be the first to make the footprints through the smooth covering and, if I've a mind to, fall back into the soft cushion of marshmallow-like powder and make a snow angel. It's almost like, for a moment, there is a blank canvas in that snowfall that awaits my input to create whatever I want.
Fresh...new...blank canvas...create--these are the words that give us such hope at the beginning of a new year. I'm not much on resolutions, but I do believe that when we stand at the threshold of a new year, we have an opportunity that is unique and intentional. When God created time, he designed into the concept, rhythms and cycles that are healthy for us as humans. The 24-hour day, 7-day week, months and the year are all markers of time that help us have a sense of cycle and continuity, with increments that give us context as well as grounding. He knew this would be needed for us to have a sense of the journey we are on, and our unique place in His grander scheme of things. As the wise man, Solomon, wrote,
For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven...Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart... (Ecclesiastes 3)
The cycle of the seasons provides us with the opportunity to take assessment and consider where we are and where we want to go. This is a gift from our Creator. Consider what it means for you!
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
In order to live out our purpose, it's not enough to read a blog or day dream about the future, we have to take the next steps and put our dreams into action...to step out into that new fallen snow and make tracks. So, what does all of this mean for you? What are the next steps you can take to realize your purpose more fully?
Secondly, find those people who are on that Purposed trajectory and learning what it means to live it 24/7/365. Listen to their stories, note their successes and failures, hear what they've learned. These may be friends, colleagues or acquaintances. They will also be the people who are sharing their stories here in our community, particularly on the PURPOSED 365 Podcast. Each episode will reveal insights, inspiration, principles and perspectives that will be invaluable to you, on your own journey of fulfillment and purpose.
New Beginnings Start with First Steps
A new year is the ideal time to start new habits that lead to those first steps of realizing whatever is next for you in fulfilling your purposed life! Start listening, writing and stepping out on this adventure and see what God does!
What will be your next step? Identify one thing you're going to do to take the next step in realizing your purpose this year...share with us in the comments! We are excited to see your thoughts!
As a 10-year-old, I remember sitting on my bed in the darkness and peering out the window of my bedroom at the headlights of the cars on the distant highway. Even at that age, I had a sense that there was a big world out there, as I imagined where those cars were going. I would even picture in my mind, traveling on that highway for as far as I could remember the lay of the road, and then letting my imagination take over to create a journey into new places that were just waiting for me to explore. It was both an escape, and an excitement, to consider the possibilities that I may one day be able to experience. The curiosity and imagination, I think, was somehow linked to wanting to figure out how I fit into that big world that lay beyond my bedroom window.
It is an intrinsic characteristic of the human heart to want to understand one's purpose and place in the world. Someone has said that every person is created with a God-sized hole inside, that only He can fill. However that meshes with theology, the reality rings true. We want to know why we are here. This has sent explorers on adventures for centuries, led thinkers to fill books with volumes of philosophical writings and driven heroes to pay the ultimate sacrifice for what they believe in. You, my friend, are no different...and, the fact that you are reading this may mean that either you are searching too, or you are on this exciting journey and want to expand your horizons even further as you travel that highway into all that God has in store for you.
So...What can you expect from the PURPOSE 365 Blog?
As my 10-year-old self lay back on my bed and I looked up at the stars at night, I thought about how those same stars (or others like them), would be seen by millions of other people around the world...somehow tying us all together on this terrestrial ball on which we live. Somehow it made me feel a connection to something bigger than myself. Now, as a grown man, when I walk out onto my patio at night and look up into that starry sky, I'm reminded of the journey I've traveled since those days of innocent childhood and the amazing things God has done for, in, and through me over these years...all because I set out on a highway to discover meaning in life...His PURPOSE for 365 days a year.
Won't you join us? The conversation in each podcast, the interaction in this community around the blog posts...these are opportunities to connect, share and grow in our pursuit of purpose. It's an exciting adventure and there's never a dull moment. Our amazing Creator makes sure of that!
Continue the Journey...Go the the latest blog post here
With over forty years of ministry experience, Randy Kinnick continues to live a life of pursuing the purpose for which he was created. Whether teaching God's Word to adults, coaching youth and young adults in finding their purpose, or caring for the hurting and abused in Southeast Asia, the adventure has taken him around the world in ways he could have never dreamed. The adventure continues!