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Posts Tagged ‘Bible Study’

Everything For His Glory: Chapt. 7 Purpose Driven Life

Posted by infinitygoods on February 13, 2008

Green Tree HDR by dontoto1 from Flickr public files“Everything comes from God alone. Everything lives by His power, and everything is for His glory.” Romans 11:36

Everything. Absolutely everything comes from God. So isn’t it appropriate that we should praise Him, thank Him, and Glorify Him?

Rick Warren writes “Living for God’s glory is the greatest achievement we can accomplish with our lives.” I can testify that working directly for God is the greatest feeling. When I worked for our church, I did not feel I was working for my earthly employers. I felt I was working for God.

While working for the church, people came to our staff, myself included, to be served and people came to hear about God, Jesus and religion. People even came to be loved and some had no one else to love them so they became a close part of the community. And if you love God, how can you not worship Him when you are on church grounds all day long? It is indescribable the amount of joy and energy one receives from even just attempting to glorify God. I fall so short of being like Jesus Christ, but God still rewarded me, and us, with joy and energy and all the gifts needed to serve and love and speak about Him.

Our Deacon had the most amazing gift to say the most glorious things to make grieving people find hope. He would say it was not him, but the Holy Spirit speaking through him. He would say that he struggled to speak and every once in a while we saw that. But when someone needed to be served and loved, the most amazing words flowed out of his mouth like the softest, most comforting breeze enveloping in a blanket of love. It was the Holy Spirit. We witnessed it time and again.

Warren says “God will give you what you need if you will just make the choice to live for him.” I would even say if you will just make the choice to TRY to live for him. If you just take that first step with all of your heart and soul, God will carry you the rest of the way.

Now most reading this, I’m sure do not have the privilege and opportunity to work directly for God in a church, but you have families, neighbors, coworkers. You can serve them for God’s glory. Much of our staff’s work was completely mundane, but we did it all for God’s glory. When you answer that telephone at work, do it for God. When you dust a table, praise God that you have a table to dust. When you water a plant do it to keep one of God’s creations alive. When you clean a child’s throw up, do it because God trusts you.

Your entire life, your very breath can be dedicated to God’s glory. You can even say as suggested in the Purpose Driven Life, “Jesus, I believe in you and I receive you.” It sounds a lot like communion and you can glorify God — you can do this in remembrance of Jesus.

If you truly meant the words “Jesus, I believe in you and I receive you,” Warren urges that you tell someone. You can even e-mail him, you can comment here, you can tell a Christian friend, you could even tell a complete stranger, but tell someone.

Today, we finished the first section of the book to find out what we were put on this earth for. For the next seven days, we will look at the second section which describes our first purpose: we were planned for God’s pleasure. Keep thinking about what we read and discussed this week and I’ll be back tomorrow to discuss Chapt. 8. Blessings to you and yours.

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I Am Here On Earth For Just A Little While: Chapt. 6 Purpose Driven Life

Posted by infinitygoods on February 12, 2008

15 Min. Loading and Unloading Zone

Previous chapters can be found on the Purpose Driven Life page.

“The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.” “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

This chapter reminds me of the section Rick Warren discussed in Chapt. 3 on materialism. My grandmother used to say in a nice, easy to say and remember rhyme in French that eventually everything passes, everything breaks and everything bores. In other words everything is temporary. She thought we shouldn’t get too attached to things because their appeal was temporary, and even our lives on earth were temporary. Why bother making ourselves too comfortable if this is just a camping trip, after all? We are just passing through.

At this moment when we are looking at how temporary or fleeting everything is, especially in contrast with all of eternity, does it make us reflect about how we are living? Do we need to change the way we are living right now? While we are still of this world for now and must live here for now, what preparations should we make right now for our permanent destination?

We need to consider what we are attached to which could prevent us from fulfilling our purposes. It is more important to take care of our eternal souls. Warren gives us this other bible quote to think about, “Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul.”

Tomorrow we’ll look at Chapt. 7 on The Reason For Everything. May God help all of us understand and be enlightened as we keep reading. See you tomorrow!

As I was typing the two quotes at the very top from 2 Corinthians 4:18, I thought that perhaps it might seem a bit confusing. Warren uses many different translations as he discusses the bible. He picks and choses from the various translations for the best nuances or to better explain what he is trying to convey. If you haven’t done so yet, read Appendix 3: “Why use so many translations?”

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Will You Graduate Or Flunk Out From God’s University? Chapt. 5 Purpose Driven Life

Posted by infinitygoods on February 11, 2008

Palm Tree Crown by KC England from Flickr Public Files

Previous chapters can be found on the Purpose Driven Life page.

“Blessed are those who endure when they are tested. When they pass the test, they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12

God tests us all through our lives, but he also trusts us. The way we see ourselves and our lives affects how we pass these tests and how we use the God-given gifts He has entrusted us with. How do you view your life? Are your metaphors positive or are they negative?

Rick Warren tells us that these ideas and “temporary assignment” discussed in the next chapter are the foundation of the purpose driven life and that he will use them to help us learn about God’s view on life.

Warren counted more than 200 tests described in the bible like Abraham with Isaiac, Jacob with Rachel or even His own son in the desert and in the Garden of Gethemene. We are tested all the time in small ways, but from time to time we get a midterm and we can feel it. How have you felt God testing you over the years? Or recently?

God also trusts us. We are given gifts. Like the tests, some are small, but some are very important. We need to use these gifts for God’s purpose and be good stewards of what he has entrusted us with. We need to be good and faithful servants. As we pass our tests and use our gifts, the bible tells us God will entrust us with more gifts and more responsibilities and we will eventually be called to celebrate and share our Master’s happiness.

Think about your gifts and talents and how you are using them for good. Ask yourself whether you have gifts you are neglecting or gifts you are struggling with and unwilling to use for God.

Warren quotes from the bible: “Unless you are faithful in small matters, you won’t be faithful in large ones. If you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven.” Luke 16:10-11.

Tomorrow we will look at the third aspect, “temporary assignment,” when we look at Chapt. 6. Wishing peace to all.

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A Camping Trip In Preparation For All Of Eternity: Chapt. 4 Purpose Driven Life

Posted by infinitygoods on February 10, 2008

Tentglow by Erik Lawrence from Flickr public files

Previous chapters can be found on the Purpose Driven Life page.

“When this tent we live in — our body here on earth — is torn down, God will have a house in heaven for us to live in, a home he himself has made, which will last forever.” 2 Corinthians 5:1

Our lives are as short as the blink of an eye when we compare it to eternity. Time is short and we should make haste to prepare for heaven because we never know when we will take our last breath. Death is not only for the old. While I was working for our church I saw several hundred families lose loved ones of all ages. The majority were not that old. The old were even the exceptions. I saw newborn babies die, preschoolers, young children, teenagers, men and women in every decade of their lives.

It doesn’t really matter if your earthly affairs are in order. Yes, you’ll be making life more difficult for those you leave behind, but in the great big scheme of things, it just doesn’tMatthew Henry (1662-1714) matter in the least. But are your affairs for eternal life in order? Your entire eternity depends on it. You’ll either be going up, or you’ll be going down. In one split second it will be too late. Your time to prepare will be over. Warren reminds us we should live as if it were the last day of our lives. He quotes Matthew Henry, “It ought to be the business of every day to prepare for our final day.” Thinking about death or funerals is difficult for many people. But living in oblivion like a bunch of ostriches with our heads buried in the sand will do us no good.

Warren asks us these two questions. “If everyone understood that life on earth is really preparation for eternity, how would we act differently? Since I was made to last forever, what is the one thing I should stop doing and the one thing I should start doing today?”

Don’t forget to leave some of your thoughts. Tomorrow we will look at Chapt. 5. Blessings to you and yours.

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Purposeful Living Is The Path To Peace — Chapt. 3 — Purpose Driven Life

Posted by infinitygoods on February 9, 2008

Green Tree Fae Scotland by idg from Flickr public files

Previous chapters can be found on the Purpose Driven Life page.

“You, Lord, give perfect peace to those who keep their purpose firm and put their trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3

What has been the driving force in your life? Rick Warren introduces 5 main categories which often drive our lives. Which do you fall into?

Are you ready for a purpose driven life?

Warren speaks of hope. I remember my father telling me that “as long as there is life, there is hope.” Life is given to us by God and with it, He gives us hope. With hope, he gives us life.

Warren reminds us once again to simplify our lives, to focus on God’s purposes for us. Do you try to do it all? Not too long ago was the Christmas season. It is often a time of stress because we try to do too much. We attempt to go to all the parties, pack too many activities, shop for too many people, eat too many traditional foods, and we lose our focus. We lose “the reason for the season” as some like to say. We forget to focus on God. Do we do the same with the rest of our life?

Not having a purpose is like trying to pack a suitcase without knowing where you’re going. Do you pack the high heels or do you pack the hiking boots? Do you pack your winter coat or your swimsuit?

Similarly, we try to do it all, but knowing our purpose will help us find time for what is truly important. We won’t waste time with peripheral activities when we can go straight for the goal. We will do fewer things, but our life will be full and we will find peace of mind because we will be doing what matters for this life and the next.

Now think about the last two questions Warren asks in this chapter. He says the purpose of his book is to help us answer them. So keep them in mind as you keep reading.

Tomorrow we will discuss Chapt. 4 on eternity. Peace be with you.

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God Knitted And Embroidered All Of Us — Chapt. 2 — Purpose Driven Life

Posted by infinitygoods on February 8, 2008

Three Green Trees With Stripes by idg in Flickr Public Files

Previous chapters can be found on the Purpose Driven Life page.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I was fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from Thee, when I was made in secret, and skillfully embroidered in the depths of the earth.” Psalms 139:13-15

Isn’t it horrible when some parents tell their children they were accidents? What does that tell them? Not only did the parents not plan them, but they didn’t want them and even after they were born they are still thought of as something that should not be around. That’s enough to hurt someone forever. Even if logically, as adults, they know full well that they are good people and that they are loved, needed and that they do have a purpose in life, in the back of their mind there will always be that tiny little dark corner that tells them that they ARE, not were, an accident.

But God knitted and embroidered us (or wrought in some translations). I like those terms. They are from Psalms 139:13-15. It wasn’t “POOF,” just like magic. God gave thought and time and patience to create each one of us. You don’t knit a sweater by accident. You don’t embroider delicate details by accident. And none of us were knit and embroidered by accident. God purposely created us. God is Our Father.

Just as a sweater has a purpose, we have a purpose. We were meant to be on this earth.

Remember from yesterday, we discussed that everything was made by God? Then everything has a purpose. Nothing is arbitrary. Nothing and no one is an accident.

God created this earth and the whole universe, just as loving parents prepare a baby’s room and created a small universe for their child in their home, with well-chosen play dates and friends, well chosen schools, well chosen activities and vacations.

And why do parents do that? Because they love their babies. A couple in love has a baby to express their love. God loves us and wants to express his love for us. In Isaiah 46:3-4, God says he will take care of us even when we are old. It reminds me of each time I call our son “my baby.” Although he has long left the days of babyhood, to me he will always be my baby. I tell him that even when he is 70 years old, he will still be my baby. Isn’t that what God is telling us as well?

We are God’s children. He created us purposefully, took care of us since conception and will continue to care for us into old age.

Can we accept that? Or are we struggling to accept that we were never an accident? Are we struggling to accept that we have a purpose?

Just like those hand-knit sweaters, we have a purpose. Some sweaters are meant to keep us warm, some sweaters are meant to make us look good, some sweaters are meant to bring us money, some sweaters are meant to be gifts.

What kind of sweater are you meant to be? What is God’s purpose for you?

Until tomorrow, I bid you peace.

Chapt. 3

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We Must Focus On God — Chapt. 1 — Purpose Driven Life

Posted by infinitygoods on February 7, 2008

Cool Green Tree by idg from Flickr’s public files

The introduction can be found on the Purpose Driven Life page.

“For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.” Matthew 16:25

We must focus on God. I loved two of the quotes Rick Warren found for this first chapter because they are quotes from atheists. Atheists! Yet, even these well-known atheists talk about God and what life would be without God.

Bertrand Russell says “Unless you assume a God, the question of life’s purpose is meaningless.”

And Andrei Bitov, a novelist who lived in Russia’s atheistic communist regime, suddenly received this revelation: “Without God, life makes no sense.”

Was there a quote in Chapter 1 which spoke out to you more than the others?

God has given us life and he is the source of everything glorious. Life would be nothing without God so God is everything. “For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, everything got started in Him and finds it’s purpose in Him.” Colossians 1:16.

If everything was made by God, then we should see God in everything. If God is glorious, the life is glorious.

I especially see God in nature, in little children, in art and vibrant colors and in anything beautiful. Where do you see God most?

Warren also brings up self-denial which reminded me of Mathew 16:25. “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.”

We must lose our life to God and His purposes because God is what matters most. If we focus our time and efforts on what matters most and forget all the other things in our busy lives which try to draw and quarter in all directions, then suddenly we will have time to do what is important. Instead of spinning our wheels trying to do it all, we need to focus and specialize on what is important for our purpose.

How will you live for God? What did you see in this chapter? What else came to mind as you were reading?

Tomorrow, we will discuss Chapter 2. May God bless you always.

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Growth Is Never An Isolated Pursuit — Introduction — Purpose Driven Life

Posted by infinitygoods on February 6, 2008

From Flickr’s Public Files By Heaven’s Gate (John Dalkin)
“Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do.” Romans 12:20
“Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.”
2 Timothy 2:7

We all have a purpose. Sometimes we hope it were not so. Even Jesus said in the garden of Gethsemene, “Father, Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me.” Mk 14:36.

Yet it is not what we want, but what God wants.

Before Jesus started his ministry, he spent 40 days in the desert as preparation. Forty days is a recurring amount of time in the Bible. It gives us a glimpse that 40 days have significance for God. Noah had to withstand 40 days of rain, Moses spent 40 days on Mount Sinai, David defeated Goliath after 40 days of his taunting the Jews, Elijah fasted for 40 days, God gave Nineveh 40 days to reform and Jesus spent 40 days on Earth after his resurrection.

There are 40 days of Lent in preparation for Easter.

For this 40-day spiritual journey, let us be guided by the bible and by Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life to go through the dark hours of lent and into the glorious resurrection that is Easter.

At the end of the 40 days of reflection may we all live to our fullest purpose not as our will, but as God’s will be done.

Tomorrow will start Day One of our journey. So go ahead and read the book’s introduction, commit to the journey, sign the contract, and then read Chapter One. Together we will discuss the first chapter.

Rick Warren says “Real spiritual growth is never an isolated, individualistic pursuit. Maturity is produced through relationship and community.”

So for all our sakes I hope you will all join in through the comments. I know statistics show that less than 1% of people ever comment and the rest of us just lurk and that’s fine, but in this particular instance, the more you comment and become part of this community rather than a passive observer, the more you will get out of this experience.

Tomorrow we will look at chapter 1.  Until tomorrow, and may God always be with you.

I find the above photo to be very interesting. Here’s what the photographer, John Dalkin (Heaven’s Gate of Flickr) posted in the public files.

” Doorway, flanked by two old tree-trunks,The Parish Church of St Edward, Stow on the Wold, England.
The Church of St Edward was built between the 11th and the 15th centuries. It stands on the site of the original Saxon church, believed to have been of wood. The tower, completed in 1447, is 88′ high and houses the heaviest peal of bells, eight in all, in Gloucestershire. A clock with chimes has existed there since 1580. The present clock was made in 1926. The painting of the Crucifixion in the south aisle was painted by Gaspar de Craeyer (1582-1669), a contemporary of Reubens and Van Dyck. Many features of this outstanding Cotswold Church may be attributed to the town’s prosperity as a centre of the wool trade.”

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Are You Willing To Live Purposefully For God?

Posted by infinitygoods on January 21, 2008

The Green Tree Trail by ((IANB)) posted on Flickr’s public files
God, I have given up my own plans and purposes, my own desires and hopes. Give me strength to accept your will for my life. Help me give myself, my life, my talents, my all to you to be used for your purposes, your plan, your desires and your wishes. Help me become your worthy instrument. Help me accept and recognize your will. With haste, let me follow you without looking back. Let me say no good-byes. Let me not bury the dead. Help me follow you.

I came across a prayer I wrote a few years ago for a bible study class at my church. I was also working for the church and therefore working directly for God at the time. It was one of those spur of the moment things we have to write, off the cuff, while everybody else is also writing and all are self-consciously looking at the people in the room.

It seemed appropriate though that I should happen to find it. It just fell out of a notebook while I was looking for something entirely different, but for the upcoming discussion I will be posting here on this blog during lent about The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. It’s one of those things that some people consider mere coincidence while others like me consider it a sign or communication from God. The prayer is about giving up our own plans and purposes to do God’s will. How is that for timeliness?

If you’re interested in The Purpose Driven Life, please join me for the 40 days of lent as we go through each of the 4o short chapters one day at a time. Get ready by buying your own book or making sure your local library has a copy for you.

For more information about this book, check my other post.

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