It All Starts With God
“For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible …everything got started in Him and finds its purpose in him.” Colossians 1:16
“The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It’s far greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest dreams and ambitions.”
Point to Ponder: It’s not about me.
Question to Consider: How can I remind myself today that life is really about living for God, not myself?
You Are Not an Accident
“I am your Creator. You were in my care even before you were born,” says the LORD. Isaiah 44:2
“Long before you were conceived by your parents you were conceived in the mind of God. It is not fate, nor chance, nor luck, nor coincidence that you are breathing at this very moment. You are alive because God wanted to create you!”
Point to Ponder: I am not an accident.
Question to Consider: Knowing that God created me for a purpose, what areas of my personality, background, and appearance do I need to accept
What Drives Your Life?
“You, LORD, give perfect peace to those who keep their purpose firm and put their trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3
Everyone’s life is driven by something. Most dictionaries define the verb drive as “to guide, to control, or to direct.” Whether you are driving a car, a nail, or a golf ball you are guiding, controlling and directing it at that moment. What is the driving force in your life?
Point to Ponder: Living on purpose is the path to peace.
Question to Consider: What would my family and friends say is the driving force of my life? What do I want it to be?
Made To Last
This world is fading away, along with everything it craves. But if you do the will of God, you will live forever. 1 John 2:17
You have an inborn instinct that longs for immortality. This is because God designed you, in His image, to live for eternity. The reason we feel we should live forever is because God wired our brains with that desire!
Point to Ponder: There’s more to life than just here and now.
Question to Consider: Since everything has eternal consequences, what is one thing I should stop doing and one thing I should start doing. God has planted eternity in the human heart Ecclesiastes 3:11
Seeing Life from God’s View
Unless you are faithful in small matters, you won’t be faithful in large ones. Luke 16:10
The Bible says life is a test, life is a trust, and life is a temporary assignment. These ideas are the foundation of purpose driven living. To fulfill the purposes God created you for, you’ll have to challenge conventional wisdom and replace it with the biblical metaphors of life.
Point to Ponder: Life is a test and a trust.
Question to Consider: What has happened to me recently that I now realize was a test from God? What are the greatest trusts God has entrusted to me?
Life Is a Temporary Assignment
We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18
To make the best use of your life you must never forget two truths: First, compared to eternity, life is brief. Second, earth is only a temporary residence for you. You won’t be here long, so don’t get too attached. Ask God to help you see life on earth as He sees it. With all the fascinating attractions, mesmerizing media, and enjoyable experiences available today, it’s easy to forget that the pursuit of happiness is not what life is about. Only as we remember that life is a test, a trust, and a temporary assignment will the appeal of these things lose their grip on our lives.
Point to Ponder: This world is not my home.
Question to Consider: Since life on earth is just a temporary assignment, how should that change the way I live today?
The Reason for Everything
For everything comes from God alone. Everything lives by His power, and everything is for His glory. Romans 11:36
The ultimate goal of the universe is to show the glory of God. It is the reason for everything that exists, including you. God make it all for His glory. Living for God’s glory is the greatest achievement you can accomplish with your life. God says, “They are my own people, and I created them to bring Me glory.”
Point to Ponder: It’s all for Him.
Question to Consider: How in my daily routine could I become more aware of God’s glory around me?
Planned for God’s Pleasure
The Lord takes pleasure in His people. Psalm 149:4
Bringing pleasure to God is called worship. It is the first and primary purpose of your life. Anything you do that brings pleasure to God is an act of worship. Like a diamond, worship is multifaceted. Worship is a lifestyle.
Point to Ponder: I was planned for God’s pleasure.
Question to Consider: What could I start doing today as if I was doing it for Jesus?
What Makes God Smile?
The Lord is pleased with those who worship Him and trust His love. Psalm 147:11
Since bringing pleasure to God is the first purpose of your life, your most important task is to discover how to do that. Fortunately, the Bible gives us a clear example of a life that gives pleasure to God. The man’s name was Noah. From his life, we learn the five acts of worship that make God smile.
God smiles when we love Him supremely.
God smiles when we trust Him completely.
God smiles when we obey Him wholeheartedly.
God smiles when we praise and thank Him.
God smiles when we fulfill His purposes.
Point to Ponder: God smiles when I trust Him.
Question to Consider: Since God knows what’s best, in what areas of my life do I need to trust him more?
The Heart of Worship
Give yourselves to God…surrender your whole being to Him to be used for righteous purposes. Romans 6:13
Surrendering to God is the heart of worship. True worship—bringing God pleasure—happens when you give yourself completely to God. Offering yourself to God is what worship is all about. This act of personal surrender is called many things: consecration, making Jesus Lord, taking up your cross, dying to self, yielding to the Spirit. What matters is that you do it, not what you call it. God wants your life. All of it. 95% is not enough.
Point to Ponder: The heart of worship is surrender.
Question to Consider: What area of my life am I holding back from God? What am I afraid of?
Becoming Best Friends with God
Friendship with God is reserved for those who reverence Him. Psalm 25:14
Adam and Eve enjoyed an intimate friendship with God. Unhindered by guilt or fear, they delighted in God and he delighted in them. We were made to live in the environment of God’s continual presence, but after the Fall that ideal relationship was lost. Yet because Jesus secured our salvation and left His Holy Spirit in us, we all can become friends of God now. Since we were restored to friendship with God by the death of His Son while we were still His enemies, we will certainly be delivered from eternal punishment by His life. (Romans 5:10)
Point to Ponder: God wants to be my best friend.
Question to Consider: How could I remind myself to talk to God more often throughout my day?
Developing Your Friendship with God
Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you. James 4:8
To instruct us in candid honesty, God gave us the book of Psalms—worship manual, full of ranting, raving, doubts, fears, resentments, and deep passions combined with thanksgiving, praise, and statements of faith. Every possible emotion is catalogued in the Psalms. When you read the emotional confessions of David and others, realize this is how God wants you to worship Him—holding back nothing of what you feel.
Point to Ponder: I’m as close to God as I choose to be
Question to Consider: What choices will I make today in order to grow closer to God?
Worship That Pleases God
Love the Lord your God with all you heart and with all you should and with all your mind and with all your strength. Mark
God-pleasing worship is based on Scripture. Real worship is rooted in the Word; it’s based on truth, not our imagination. God-pleasing worship is also from the heart. Made in God’s image, you are a spirit that resides in a body, and God designed your spirit to communicate with Him. Worship is our spirit responding to God’s Spirit.
Point to Ponder: God wants all of me.
Question to Consider: Which is more pleasing to God right now my public worship or my private worship? What will I do about this?
When God Seems Distant
God said, I will never leave you, I will never abandon you.” Hebrews 13:5
Friendships are often tested by separation and silence. In your friendship with God, you won’t always feel close to Him. The deepest level of worship is praising God in spite of pain, thanking God during a trial, trusting God when tempted, surrendering while suffering, and loving God when He seems distant.
Point to Ponder: God is real, no matter how I feel.
Question to Consider: How do I intend to stay focused on God even when He feels distant?
Formed for God’s Family
His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. Ephesians 1:5
God wants a family, and He created you to be a part of it. This is God’s second purpose for your life, which He planned before you were born. The entire Bible is the story of God building a family who will love Him, honor Him, and reign with Him forever.
Point to Ponder: I was formed for God’s family.
Question to Consider: How can I start treating other believers like members of my own family? What could I do today?
What Matters Most
The entire law is summed up in a single command, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:14
Since God is love, the most important lesson He wants you to learn on earth is how to love. It is in loving that we are most like Him, so love is the foundation of every command He’s given us. God wants us to love everyone, but He is particularly concerned that we learn to love others in His family. This is the second purpose of your life and it’s called fellowship. Jesus said our love for each other is our greatest witness to the world.
Point to Ponder: Life is all about love
Question to Consider: Honestly, are relationships the top priority in my life? How could I insure that they are?
In Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. Romans 12:5
Even in the perfect, sinless environment of Eden God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” (Genesis 2:18). We’re created for community, fashioned for fellowship, formed for a family, and none of us can fulfill God’s purposes by ourselves. While your relationship to Christ is personal, God never intends it to be private. In God’s family you’re connected to every other believer, and we’ll belong to each other for eternity. You are members of God’s very own family, citizens of God’s country, and you belong in God’s household with every other Christian (Ephesians )
Point to Ponder: I’m called to belong, not just believe.
Question to Consider: Does my level of involvement in my church demonstrate that I love and am committed to God’s family?
Experiencing Life Together
Share each other’s troubles and problems, and in this way obey the law of Christ.
God intends for us to weave our lives together. The Bible calls this fellowship. Fellowship is experiencing life together. That includes unselfish loving, honest sharing, practical serving, sacrificial giving, sympathetic comforting, and all the other “one another” commands found in the New Testaments. When it comes to fellowship size matters; smaller is better. Every Christian needs to be involved in a small group within your church, whether it is a home fellowship group, Sunday school class, or a small Bible study. This is where real community takes place.
Point to Ponder: I need others in my life.
Question to Consider: What one step could I take today to connect with another believer at a more genuine, heart-to-heart level?
We understand what love is when we realize that Christ gave His life for us. That means we must give our lives for other believers. 1 John 3:16
To help build genuine fellowship in your church or small group, you must make the effort to do five things: be hones, be humble, be courteous, respect confidentiality, and have frequent, regular contact with others. Relationships take time and effort, but the benefits far outweigh the costs and Jesus expects us to love each other the way he loves us.
Point to Point: Community requires Commitment
Question to Consider: How could I help cultivate the characteristics of real community in my small group and church?
Restoring Broken Fellowship
Do everything possible on your part to live in peace with everybody. Romans 12:18
Jesus said, “God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God” (Matthew 5:9). If you want God’s blessing on your life, and you want to be known as a child of God, you must learn to be a peace maker. Since you were formed to be a apart of God’s family and the third purpose of your life on earth is to learn how to love and relate to others, peacemaking is one of the most important skills you can develop. God has restored our relationship with Him through Christ, and has given us the ministry of restoring relationships (2 Corinthians )
Point to Ponder: Relationships are always worth restoring.
Question to Consider: Who do I need to restore a broken relationship with today?
Protecting Your Church
God loves unity. God desires us to experience oneness and harmony with each other. The Trinity is unified and God wants us to be unified, too. Our heavenly Father, like every parent, enjoys watching His children get along with each other. Jesus, in His final moments before being arrested, prayed passionately for our unity. And the Holy Spirit is the one who unites us in love.
Let us concentrate on the things which make for harmony and the growth of our fellowship together. Romans 14:19
Point to Ponder: It’s my responsibility to protect the unity of my church.
Question to Consider: What am I personally doing to protect the unity in my church family right now?
Created To Become Like Christ
As the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like Him and reflect His glory even more. 2 Corinthians 3:18
From the very beginning, God’s plan has been to make you like His Son, Jesus. This is your destiny, and the third purpose of your life. What does the full image and likeness of God look like? It looks like Jesus Christ! On earth, God’s ultimate goal for your life is not comfort, but Christ-like character.
Point to Ponder: I was created to become like Christ.
Question to Consider: In what area of my life do I need to ask for the Spirit’s power to be like Christ today
How We Grow
Let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God—what is good and is pleasing to Him and is perfect. Romans 12:2
Your heavenly Father’s goal is for you to mature and develop the characteristics of Jesus Christ, living a life of love and humble service. Spiritual growth is not automatic. It takes an intentional commitment. You must want to grow, decide to grow, make an effort to grow, and persist in growing. Discipleship—the process of becoming like Christ—always begins with a decision.
Point to Ponder: It’s never too late to start growing.
Question to Consider: What is one area where I need to stop thinking my way and start thinking God’s way?
Transformed By Truth
Jesus said, “If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:31-32
The Spirit of God uses the Word of God to make us like the Son of God. To become like Jesus, we must fill our lives with His Word. God’s Word is the essential spiritual nourishment you must have to fulfill your purpose. The Bible is called our milk, bread, solid food, and sweet dessert. This four-course meal is the Spirit’s menu for spiritual strength and growth. To be a healthy disciple of Jesus, feeding on God’s Word must be your first priority Jesus called it “abiding.”
Point to Ponder: The truth transforms me.
Question to Consider: What has God already told me to do in His Word that I haven’t started doing yet?
Transformed By Trouble
We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, and are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
God has a purpose behind every problem. You should expect four kinds of problems in life:
· Trials are designed by God to draw us closer to Him and build our character. Temptations are designed by the Devil to draw us away from God and destroy our character.
· Trespasses are hurts caused by the sins of others.
· Troubles are usually, but not always, the consequences of our own sinful choices.
Point to Ponder: There is a purpose behind every problem.
Question to Consider: What problem in my life has caused the greatest growth in me?
Growing Through Temptation
God blesses the people who patiently endure testing. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him. James 1:12
To have the fruit of the Spirit is to be like Christ. How then does the Holy Spirit produce His fruit in your life? Instantly? No. Fruit matures and ripens slowly. God develops the fruit of the Spirit in your life by allowing you to experience circumstances where you are tempted to express the exact opposite quality! Character development always involves a choice, and temptation provides that opportunity. Every time you defeat a temptation, you become more like Jesus!
Point to Ponder: Every temptation is an opportunity to do good.
Question to Consider: What Christ-like character quality could I develop by defeating the most common temptation I face?
God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it. 1 Corinthians 10:13
Refocus your attention on something else. Ignoring a temptation is far more effective than fighting it. Once your mind is on something else, the temptation loses its power. So when temptation calls you on the phone, don’t argue with it; just drop the receiver. To reduce temptation, keep your mind occupied with God’s Word and other good thoughts. You defeat bad thoughts by thinking of something better. This is the principle of replacement. You overcome evil with good.
Point to Ponder: There’s always a way out.
Question to Consider: Who could I ask to be a spiritual partner to help me defeat a persistent temptation by praying for me?
It Takes Time
God began doing a good work in you, and I am sure He will continue it until it is finished when Jesus Christ comes again. Philippians 1:6
Spiritual growth, like physical growth, takes time. While we worry about how fast we grow, God is concerned about how strong we grow. God views our lives from and for eternity so He is never in a hurry. Discipleship is the process of conforming to Christ. Christ-likeness is the destination where you’ll eventually arrive, but your journey will last a lifetime. So far we’ve seen that this journey involves believing (through worship), belonging (through fellowship), and includes becoming (through discipleship). Every day God wants you to become a little more like Him.
Point to Ponder: There are no shortcuts to maturity.
Question to Consider: In what area of my spiritual growth do I need to be patient and persistent?
Accepting Your Assignment
We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10
You are here to make a difference by serving God and others. This is God’s fourth purpose for your life. Whenever you serve others, in any way, you are actually serving God, and fulfilling one of His purposes for creating you. We weren’t placed on earth just to breathe, eat, take up space, and have fun. God fashioned each of us to make a unique contribution with our lives.
Point to Ponder: Service is not optional.
Question to Consider: What’s holding me back from accepting God’s call to serve Him?
Shaped For Serving God
God works through different people in different ways, but it is the same God who achieves His purpose through them all. 1 Corinthians 12:6
You are God’s hand crafted work of art. You are not an assembly-line product, mass produced without thought. You are a custom designed, one-of-a-kind, original masterpiece. God deliberately shaped and formed you to serve Him in a way that makes your ministry unique. Not only did God shape you before your birth, He planned every day of your life to support His shaping process. This means nothing that happens in your life is insignificant. God uses all of it to mold you for your ministry to others, and shape you for your service to Him.
Point to Ponder: I was shaped for serving God.
Question to Consider: In what way could I see myself passionately serving others and loving it?
Understanding Your Shape
God has given each of you some special abilities: be sure to use them to help each other, passing on to others God’s many kinds of blessings. 1 Peter 4:10
Your abilities are the natural talents that you were born with. Some people have a natural ability with words. Other people have natural athletic abilities, excelling in physical coordination. Still others are good at mathematics or music or mechanics. To apply your abilities in service, you need to understand four truths:
All of our abilities came from God.
Every ability can be used for God’s glory.
What I’m able to do, God wants me to do.
If I don’t use them, I’ll lose them.
Point to Ponder: Nobody else can be me.
Question to Consider: What God given ability or personal experience could I offer to my church?
Using What God Gave You
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 2 Tim. 2:15
The best use of your life is to serve God out of your shape. To do this you must discover, accept, enjoy, and develop the shape He’s given you.
God Wants You To Discover Your Unique Shape. Start finding out and clarifying what God intends for you to be and do. First, assess your gifts and abilities. Next, consider your heart and your personality. Third, examine your experiences and extract the lessons you’ve learned.
Point to Ponder: God deserves my best.
Question to Consider: How could I make the best use of what God has given me?
How Real Servants Act
While knowing your shape is important for serving God, having the heart of a servant is even more important. Real servants make themselves available to serve. A servant must always be standing by for duty. Being a servant means giving up the right to control your schedule, and allowing God to interrupt it whenever He needs to. Real servants pay attention to needs. They are always on the lookout for ways to help others. When they see a need, they seize the moment to meet it. Since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be (Romans 12:5)
Point to Ponder: I serve God by serving others.
Question to Consider: Real servants make themselves available to serve; pay attention to needs; do their best with what they have; do every task with equal dedication; and are faithful to the task they have been given. Which of the five characteristics of real servants is the most challenging for me?
Thinking like A Servant
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:5
To be a servant you must think like a servant. God is always more interested in why we do something than in what we do. Real servants are self-forgetful. They focus on others. Jesus emptied himself by taking on the form of a servant (Philippians 2:7). You can’t be a servant if you’re full of yourself. It’s only when we forget ourselves that we do the thing that deserve to be remembered.
Point to Ponder: To be a servant I must think like a servant.
Question to Consider: Am I usually more concerned about being served or finding ways to serve others?
God’s Power in Your Weakness
The Lord said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
God will use us if we allow Him to work through our weaknesses. For that to happen, we must follow the model of Paul:
Admit your weaknesses. Own up to your imperfections. Be honest about yourself. There are two great confessions in the New Testament: The first was Peter’s, who said to Jesus, “you are the Christ, the Son of the living God”(Matthew ) The second was Paul’s, who said to an idolizing crowd, “We are only human beings like you” (Acts )
Point to Ponder: God works best in weakness.
Question to Consider: Am I limiting God’s power in my life by trying to hide my weakness? What do I need to be honest about in order to help others.
Made For a
Your mission—introducing people to God—is the fifth purpose of your life. There are a number of reasons why you need to take this mission seriously. Jesus commands us to continue His mission. The Great Commission was not given to pastors but to every follower of Jesus. You are the only Christian some people will ever know and your mission is to share Jesus with them. Your mission is a great privilege. Although it is a profound responsibility, it is also an incredible honor to be used by God.
Point to Ponder: I was made for a mission.
Question to Consider: What fears have kept me from fulfilling the mission God made me to accomplish? What keeps me from telling others the Good News?
Sharing Your Life Message
Be ready at all times to answer anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have in you, but do it with gentleness and respect. 1 Peter 3:15
There are four parts to the life message God has put within you: God wants you to share your testimony. The essence of witnessing is simply reporting your personal experiences with the Lord. In a courtroom, a witness isn’t expected to argue the case, prove the truth, or press for a verdict: that is the job of attorneys. Witnesses just tell what happened to them. Jesus said, “you will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8), not “You must be my attorney.” Those who believe in the Son of God have the testimony of God in them. (1 John 5:10)
Point to Ponder: God wants to say something to the world through me.
Question to Consider: As I reflect on my personal story, who would God want me to share it with?
Becoming a World Class Christian
Send us around the world with the news of your saving power and your eternal plan for all mankind.” Psalm 67:2
World-class Christians know they were saved to serve, and made for a mission. They’re eager to receive a personal assignment and excited about the privilege of being used by God. Their joy, confidence, and enthusiasm is contagious because they know they’re making a difference.
Point to Ponder: The Great Commission is my commission.
Question to Consider: What Steps could I take to prepare to go on a short-term mission experience in the next year?
Balancing Your Life
Live life with a due sense of responsibility, not as those who do not know the meaning of life but as those who do. Ephesians 5:15
Living with purpose takes balance and commitment. You can keep the five purposes of your life balanced and on track with four simple activities:
Expression: Talk it through with a spiritual partner or small group. The best way to internalize the principles of purpose-driven living is to discuss them with others in a small group setting. The Bible says, As iron sharpens iron, so people can improve each other (Proverbs 27:17). We learn best in community. Talk through the implications and the applications of each chapter.
Point to Ponder: Blessed are the balanced.
Question to Consider: Which of the four activities will I use to stay on track and balance God’s five purposes in my life?
Living with Purpose
David…served the purpose of God in His own generation…Acts 13:36
There are many good things you can do with your life, but God’s purposes are the five essentials you must do. You should commit the rest of your life to doing them. Unfortunately, it’s easy to get distracted and forget what matters most. This is why it is important to develop a purpose statement for your life, one that you can review regularly. A life purpose statement states the direction of your life, summarizes God’s purposes for your life, defines success for you, expresses your shape, and clarifies your roles.
Point to Ponder: Living with purpose is the only way to really live.
Question to Consider: When will I take the time to write down my answers to life’s five great questions? When will I put my purpose on paper?