Love & Kindness – Quote

We’ve spoken about being children of God and of living a life of purpose. And, we’ve spoken about our how our purpose is to Love. 1 Corinthians 13:4 says…Love is patient, Love is kind. Mother Teresa had this to say about kindness:

Quote

Three things in Human Life are important:
The first is to be kind.
The second is to be kind.
The thirds is to be kind.

Join us on Sunday as we examine some biblical principles around kindness.

Why Am I Here? – Teaching

For many, their goals in life get confused with their purpose. Making a million dollars, being the best athlete, making it to the top of their field, buying a bigger home, taking the best vacations, obtaining power and prestige -0 all begin to be what they live for. While they may be wonderful goals, they don’t bring purpose into one’s life. As we discussed last week, “things” are temporary. They’re here today, and could be gone tomorrow. And, we can’t take them with us. So, if our goals aren’t our purpose – what is?

Our quote this week provides us with a starting point.

Quote

The purpose of life is a life of purpose.
~Robert Byrne

Message

His Purpose

So, what does it mean to live a life of purpose? For those of us who have a belief in God, we can turn to Him for help in answering our questions. First, God has a purpose for us. Romans 8:238 teaches us, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” So, God had a purpose in mind when He created us.

What’s His purpose? Isaiah 43:7 tells us the God created us for His glory. And John 17 speaks to how Jesus lived to glorify God. As Christians, we strive to be Christ-like. We can conclude, then, that our purpose is to glorify God, just as Jesus lived to glorify Him.

Glorify Him

However, this poses yet another question…”How do I glorify God?” To answer this one, we turn to John 4:34, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me…” Christ lived to do the will of God; and, in so doing, glorified Him. In striving to be Christ-like, we, too, can glorify God by doing His will.

His Will

Now, you might be thinking, “Oh great, another question…what is the will of God?” Well, 1 John 4:8 tells us, “God is love.” 1 Corinthians 14:1 says, “Follow the way of love” or “Pursue love,” depending on the translation. And, 1 Corinthians 13:2 says, “…if I have not love, I am nothing.” Finally, Galatians 5:14 teaches us, “For all the law is fulfilled in one word…you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

God’s will, then, is that we follow the way of love; for without love, we are nothing. And, when we live a life of love, we are fulfilling His command. His will is simple – live a life of love.

Our Purpose

Love, then, is the answer to everything. God is love. If we have not love, we have not God. When we follow the way of love, we are following the way of God. When we pursue love, we are pursuing God. Love is the fulfillment of God’s will; in loving, we glorify God. And thus, love is the reason for our existence – our purpose.

Closing Thoughts

Having goals and dreams is wonderful, and necessary. They are not, however, our purpose. Our purpose is much greater than self. Our purpose is simple – to love. Is it always easy? No. Will we stumble along the way? Yes. The good news is that God loves us completely and unconditionally. All He asks is that we keep trying. He is glorified when we keep trying, even when we stumble. And remember, 1 Corinthians 13:13 tells us, “And now abide faith, hope, and love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

yes, figuring out our purpose was fairly simple. How we manifest that in our lives, well that’s another story. Ove rthe next few weeks we’ll take a look at the different ways we can live a life of love, and what that might mean. I invite you to join us on this journey.

Scripture

  • Romans 8:28
  • Isaiah 43:7
  • John 17
  • John 4:34
  • 1 Corinthians 14:1
  • 1 Corinthians 13:2
  • Galatians 5:14
  • 1 Corinthians 13:13

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Why Am I Here? – Quote

In our discussion last week, we spoke about the question, “Who Am I?”. During that discussion, the next question came up…”Why Am I Here?”. This week’s quote sums it up pretty darn well.

Quote

The purpose of life is a life of purpose.

~Robert Byrne

Join us this Sunday for worship and fellowship!

Who Am I? – Teaching

At first blush, our quote this week appears quite simple. Upon examination, however, I find it to be quite complex.

Quote

Find out who you are.
And do it on purpose.
~Dolly Parton

Opening

On the surface, it seems pretty straight forward. Proverbs 3:5&6 says, “Trust in the Lord…And He shall direct your paths. OK – so to find out who I am, I start in prayer. But, as I began to research and write, I discovered this is where the simplicity ends. The question – who am I? – is much more complex that it seemed on the surface.

How We Define Ourselves

What’s In A Name?

I started thinking about the ways in which we tend to define ourselves. The most obvious answer to “who am I?” is, “Alan.” But, that’s just a name. It doesn’t define who I am. I could go to court tomorrow and change my name to Murgatroid. But, that would not change the core of who I am; it would only change what people call me.

Now, it’s true that names have meanings. And, in ancient times, names were often used to describe the person. Great importance was placed on the name. This is why God changed Abram’s name to Abraham, and Sarai’s name to Sarah. In today’s society, though, we don’t place such importance on a name.

For instance, my first name, Brett, means “a Breton, someone from Brittany.” My middle name, which I go by, is Alan. It means “rock.” I doubt very much that my parents gave any thought to this at all when they named me “Brett Alan.”

I guess I’ll have to dig deeper to find out who I am.

Many of us tend to define ourselves by our successes, possessions, power, and position. A closer look, however, reveals that these don’t lead me any closer to answering the question.

Possessions

Basing who I am on how much “stuff” I’ve accumulated doesn’t really work. What happens to “me” if there is a fire and all my “stuff” goes away? Possessions don’t last. 1 Timothy 6:7 reminds us, “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.” Or, to put it another way, a saying I’ve heard before is, “When was the last time you saw a hearse with a luggage rack?”

Position & Power

My name doesn’t define me, and basing my identity on my stuff doesn’t work. How about position or power? Upon examination, I found this, too, is fleeting. In the corporate world I was an Instructional Designer. When my job was outsourced, my position went away.

And, for those who identify themselves by the level of status they’ve achieved or the power they hold, this, too, can change in an instant. Matthew 19:30 reminds us, “…many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

A Child of God

None of the transitory things on which we tend to place so much importance, i.e. name, occupation, title, status, position, etc., can come remotely close to discovering who I am. The only thing I can claim with certainty, however, is that I am a faithful child of God. This, to me, is the place to start. The place on which to begin to “do it on purpose.”

Ephesians 1:5 states, “having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself…,” and John 1:12 says, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” And, as a child of God, I am a member of His household. In Ephesians 2:19 we read, “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.” As a member of His household, I am also His co-worker. 2 Corinthians 6:1 tells us, “We then, as workers together with Him….”

Closing Thoughts

Now that I’ve identified, “who I am,” – a child of God – I get to decide what that means. I’ve begun the quest. Now I must prayerfully think about the type of person I wish to be…and, more importantly, the type of person God wants me to be. What does it mean to be a child of God? What do I want my life to mean? What legacy do I want to leave behind?

These are all much deeper questions that will help me to discover “who I am” – and doing it on purpose.

Scripture

  • Proverbs 3:5&6
  • 1 Timothy 6:7
  • Matthew 19:30
  • Ephesians 1:5
  • John 1:12
  • 2 Corinthians 6:1
  • Ephesians 2:19

Join the Discussion

Have you figured out who you are yet? Join the discussion and share your thoughts. And, if this message resonates with you, feel free to share it.

Who Am I? – Quote

Many times we wonder, “who am I?”. When we seek to find the answer, we must do it with purpose. Our quote this week states this concept very clearly…

Quote

Find out who you are…
And do it on purpose.
~Dolly Parton

Join us this Sunday for worship and fellowship – where everyone is welcome!

Thoughts & God Guide Us – Teaching

Quote

Our quote this week speaks to our thoughts guiding our journey.

You are today where your thoughts have brought you.
You will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.

~James Allen

Opening

Over the last couple of weeks we’ve discussed how our thoughts shape our lives. Proverbs 23:7 reminds us, “for as he thinks in his heart, so is he…” We’ve also talked about how our past has brought us to our today, that today is one of the greatest gifts from God, and that, though tomorrow is yet a dream, we must plan for our tomorrows so that when they come, they’ll be the today we desire.

The question becomes – how? The answer is simple – start with God.

Our Journey

Our lives are a journey – we’re at a certain point today, and we eventually want to reach a certain destination. So, if life is a journey, we need a road map. Think of a vacation. Say we want to travel by car from San Francisco, CA to New York City, NY via the most direct route. We wouldn’t just get in the car and start heading south on Highway 101 – we’d end up in Los Angeles. No, we’d pull out maps and plan the route – probably heading east on Highway 80. We might also research stops along the way, hotels, weather patterns, etc. Our life’s journey is no different. We need a clear vision of what it is we want, and how we’re going to go about making it happen.

We must remember, though, that God has a vision for our lives, too. Ephesians 2:10 tells us, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” What we must do is make sure our vision is in alignment with God’s plan for us. And, when we pray, we shouldn’t just jump into “I want.” We should start with something like, “Lord, if this is what you want for my life (fill in the blank)…” If our vision is in alignment with God’s vision, He will provide the way. Proverbs 3: 5&6 tells us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

My Example

Let me give you an example. The vision of this church and spiritual center was planted in my heart and mind over 10 years ago. I didn’t know when, or how; but I always knew it would someday come to be. I kept praying, “Lord, when the time is right for me to leave my corporate job, and if this ministry is what you have planned for me, then provide the opportunity and the means.” It took many years, but a year ago my corporate job was outsourced to India and I was force retired = Opportunity. Between my separation settlement and one of my pension accounts, the finances have been covered, both at home and at the church = Means.

Another factor that came into play was patience. Now, I freely admit this is one area that the Lord and I continue to work on. As the planning for the center progressed, we needed a location. I found many locations that I liked very much. When they didn’t work out, of course, I was disappointed. I realized I had been asking in terms of what I wanted, not necessarily what God had in mind. When I remembered to ask in prayer, “Lord, let the right and perfect location become available”, things fell into place. I had to change my thinking from what I wanted to that which God wanted. It took several months, but the location we’re sitting in now became available. And, with very little hassle or negotiation, we secured the lease = Patience.

Scriptural Example

The story of Nehemiah is a scriptural example of vision and fulfilling God’s plan. Nehemiah was a common man, who went to work in the king’s palace. With God working in the background, he was elevated through the ranks because of his loyalty and trustworthiness. Ultimately, he became Cup-Bearer to the King.

In Chapter 1 we read how God planted a vision in Nehemiah to rebuild the city of Jerusalem. In Chapter 2 we read that through prayer and patience, Nehemiah waited for the right time to approach the king – about 4 months. The king granted his request and he traveled to Jerusalem.

Once in Jerusalem, did Nehemiah run around shouting, “I’ve arrived! Let’s rebuild the city. I’m on a mission from God!”? No. He investigated and researched. And, only after due diligence, did he reveal his plan and the work began.

In Chapters 4 & 5, Nehemiah hits road blocks. The people in power in the city weren’t at all happy with the Jews fortifying the city. Even some of the people turned against their brethren. They didn’t want to turn from the pagan ways they had adopted. God’s plan, however, would not be thwarted. The city was rebuilt and Nehemiah was made governor.

The story goes on to list the lineages of the people, and Nehemiah fulfilled his promise to return to the king. The people, once again, began to turn back to their pagan ways. Then, in Chapter 13 we read how, after returning to the king, he was given leave and he returned to Jerusalem. Through his prayers, he worked diligently to return the people to God, and the city of Jerusalem was, indeed, rebuilt.

By prayerfully following God’s plan, Nehemiah, a simple Cup-Bearer, became the driving force in rebuilding Jerusalem and returning the people to God.

Closing Thoughts

So it is with us and planning for our future. If we begin our journey in prayer, and if we’re in alignment with God’s plan, He will guide us – and, regardless of the time it may take, it will come to pass. We may even hit some obstacles along the way. In our road trip, for instance, we could get a flat tire, hotels could lose our reservations, we could have engine trouble, we may even take a wrong turn and get a little lost. But, because of our planning and our patience, we will make it to NY. Remember Paul’s words to the Philippians – “…being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

Scripture

  • Proverbs 23:7
  • Ephesians 2;10
  • Proverbs 3:5 & 6
  • Nehemiah
  • Philippians 1:6

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Our Gift to God – Teaching

Last week we talked about one of God’s greatest gifts to us – the gift of today. We also talked about the fact that our past has brought us to who we are today; and, since the future is yet a dream, we can make of it what we will.

Our quote this week reminds us that God’s gifts and blessings have shaped our today, and what we do with those gifts and blessings will shape our tomorrow – what and who we will become.

Quote

What you are is God’s gift to you.
What you become is your gift to God.
~Unknown

 Using Our Gifts

As we spoke about last week, we’ve all been given different gifts. Doctors, nurses, massage therapists, dentists, chiropractors, acupuncturists, etc. have the gift of healing. Lawyers, bankers, mortgage brokers, insurance agents, etc. have the gift of knowledge in their industries. Musicians, artists, and the like have all been given certain talents. The question becomes – “what do we do with the gifts God has given us?”

What we do with the gifts today is a huge factor in who we become tomorrow. The “who” we become is then our gift back to God. And, it becomes cyclical. God gives gifts, we use the gifts in a way that helps others and honors God, God blesses us with more gifts, and the cycle continues.

Scriptural Basis

Receiving gifts from God, and honoring God by using those gifts to the best of our ability to help others is stated in 1 Peter 4:10&11: “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.”

We’re All Ministers

Notice that Peter mentions ministering. You may be thinking, “but, I’m not a minister.” In actuality – you are. We all are. Being a minister goes way beyond the clergy and the title. One of the definitions of minister is: “To attend to the wants and needs of others.”

In this respect, each and every one of us is called to be a minister. And, as Peter reminds us, we are to use our talents and gifts to help others, and thus, we are using our gifts to honor God.

Closing Thoughts

Last week, we talked about how today is God’s gift to us all. We plan for tomorrow however, we must make the today we’ve been given count. How do we do that? By using the gifts God has given us, ministering to others and, in turn, honoring God. I invite you to take stock of your gifts and talents, and give careful thought to how you might use them to help others. In so doing, you will begin to shape who will become and, as a result, your gift to God.

Scripture

Continuing from last week:

  • Romans 12:6-8
  • 1 Corinthians 12:8-10

This week:

  • 1 Peter 4:10&11

Join the Discussion

What are your thoughts? What are your talents/gifts? How can you use them to help others and to honor God? Feel free to share your thoughts and comments and, if this message resonates with you, feel free to share it!