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Archive for the ‘Purpose’ Category

The Super Bowl is this Sunday, and it will feature the New England Patriots — a franchise that has had an extended run of greatness, unlike any in team sports over the past quarter-century.  The owner of the team is Robert Kraft – who took a losing team and made it a winning one.

“Winning football games has been more important to me than making money. Winning is what turns me on. Money is pretty good, but a shroud has no pockets.” – Robert Kraft
There is great wisdom here. No, not winning football games, but rather, the realization that you can’t take it with you — “a shroud has no pockets.” So, what turns you on?  Is it something that you can’t take with you — or is it something of eternal value.
“Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life…” – Jesus

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“When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter…..God led the people around by the way of the wilderness….”  Exodus 13:17-18

This Scripture tells us Israel was going from Point A (Egypt) to Point B (the edge of the Red Sea/Sea of Reeds).   Now, we all learned in geometry that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.  And, generally, we all like to get where we’re going in the least amount of time/distance as possible.

What is true in travel, is true in life.  We make our plans and we think we know the best way to achieve them – the “straight line” to getting there.  But sometimes, God gives us a detour.  A life detour is an unexpected event that changes your life’s course.

The election of 2016 represents a detour for many in the country today.  For some, it is a devastating detour; for others, a detour pointing to promise and validation.  For most of us, regardless of who we voted for, the 2016 election is a detour we will be coming to terms with, and impacted by, for some time to come.

But God may be using this detour for good to get us to the right destination.  I suspect God could be at work bringing better unity to the church in this detour.  Better unity by using this detour to cause us to see differing, valid perspectives; to be transformed individually and as a whole as a result in order to bring about positive impact for eternity.  For our Point B is not “to make America great again,”  but to “seek and save the lost”.

Can we make a difference?  Does your life matter?  Absolutely.  If we are willing to take the way of Romans 12:2 and take Philippians 2:1-8 to heart, we will leave a lasting legacy and impact.

 

 

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This is Living!

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I recall a vacation Mary and I took many years ago.  We “splurged” and stayed at a fine hotel/spa. It had the best of everything — the best food, the best golf, the best massages, the best pool, the best hot tub.  I recall at one point saying to her as we entered the spa — “This is living!”

And while the vacation was wonderful, if that was living, then we’d really missed out on life.  If we really want to live, we can’t look to the world (and thus it’s values) as the source and purpose of life.

Henri Nouwen in his book, Life of the Beloved points out that one of the great struggles facing believers in Jesus is not to isolate ourselves from the world — not to reject our ambitions and aspirations, or to despise money, prestige, or success — but to live in the world as someone who doesn’t belong to it.

And how do we do that?  May I suggest John 20:20-21 provides insight to the answer?

We have been sent!  Sent by God into the world!  Why?  Read John 3:17.  As God sent Jesus, so He sends us!  Not that the world will be saved through us — but that we will reveal Jesus, through whom salvation comes, to those around us.  Read 2 Corinthians 5: 17-20.  This is why we are sent!

Everything will begin to change radically for you when you know yourself as being sent into this world.  YOU have a purpose!

“When we realize that our few years on this earth are part of a much larger eternity that stretches out far beyond our birth and death, life will cease to be a “losing battle”, a hopeless struggle, a journey of despair.”  (Nouwen, Life of the Beloved)

When we live our lives as beloved ones of God sent into this world, then we live life with a mission, a purpose.   And we live a life that cannot be conquered by this world or by death.

To paraphrase from Nouwen:  The world may consider our lives little and insignificant.  BUT when we realize that God has chosen us from all eternity and sent us into the world with His blessings and that we are His beloved ones, we can then begin to imagine and trust that our “little lives” will multiply and fulfill the needs of many people — will have real impact for and in God’s Kingdom.

Imagine, imagine, imagine — imagine that in dying to self, in giving of yourself, you will have impact that far exceeds your life — there will be ever-widening ripples like that of a stone thrown in a still pond.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant …” Philippians 2:3-7

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