Bible Study Lesson- Purpose Driven- Reality Check (week 1) & Made To Last (week 2)

I.  Introduction   (Week 1)

 

What Is My Purpose On Earth?

 

 

 

It All Starts With God (Chapter 1)

 

     IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU! (Reality check)

 

     The purpose of you life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by His purpose and for His purpose.

     You can’t discover your life’s meaning by looking within yourself. You’ve probably tried that already. You didn’t create yourself, so there is no way you can tell yourself what you were created for!

    You must begin with God, your Creator. You exist only because God wills that you exist. You were made by God and for God-and until you understand that, life will never make sense. It is only in God that we discover our origin, our identity, our meaning, our purpose, our significance, and our destiny. Every other path leads to a dead end. You could reach all your personal goals, becoming a raving success by the world’s standard, and still miss the purpose for which God created you. It is about becoming what God created you to be.

     Here are three points to consider when seeking your purpose.

  1. You discover your identity and purpose through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
  2. God was thinking of you long before you ever thought about him. His purpose for your life predates your conception.
  3. The purpose of your life fits into a much larger, cosmic purpose that God has designed for eternity.

 

WITHOUT GOD LIFE MAKES NO SENSE!

 

 

(Chapter 2)       You Are Not an Accident

 

     You are not an accident! Your parents may not have planned you, but God did. God prescribed ever single detail of your body. He deliberately chose your race, the color of your skin, your hair, and every other feature. He custom-made your body just the way he wanted it. He determined your natural talents, and your uniqueness of your personality.

     God decided how you would be born. Regardless of the circumstances of your birth or who your parents are, God had a plan in creating you. It doesn’t matter whether your parents were good, bad, or indifferent. God knew that those two individuals possessed exactly the right genetic makeup to create the custom “you” he had in mind. They had the DNA God wanted to make you. While there are illegitimate parents, there are no illegitimate children.

     God motive for creating you was his love. God made you so he could love you. This is a truth to build your life on. God is love. Love is the essence of God’s character.

This poem by Russell Kelfer sums it up:

 

You are who you are for a reason

You’re part of an intricate plan.

You’re a precious an perfect unique design,

Called God’s special woman or man.

 

You look like you look for a reason.

Our God made no mistake.

He knit you together within the womb,

You’re just what he wanted to make.

 

The parents you had were the ones he chose,

And no matter how you may feel,

They were custom-designed with God’s plan in mind,

And they bear the Master’s seal.

 

No, that trauma you faced was not easy.

And God wept that it hurt you so;

But it was allowed to shape your heart

So that into his likeness you’d grow.

 

You are who you are for a reason,

You’ve been formed by the Master’ rod.

You are who you are, beloved,

Because there is a God!

 

 

 

 

What Drives Your Life? (Chapter 3)

 

     Everyone’s life is driven by something. Right now you may be driven by a problem, a pressure, or a deadline. You may be driven by a painful memory, a haunting fear, or an unconscious belief. Here are five of the most common ones:

 

Many people are driven by guilt. Guilt driven people are manipulated by memories. They allow their past to control their future. Remember, we are product of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.

 

Many people are driven by resentment and anger.  They hold on to hurts and never get over them. Instead of releasing their pain through forgiveness, they rehearse it over and over in their minds. Some resentment-driven people “clam up” and internalize it their anger, while others “blow up” and explode it onto others.

 

Many people are driven by fear.  Regardless of the cause, fear-driven people often miss great opportunities because they’re afraid to venture out. Instead they play it safe, avoiding risks and trying to maintain the status quo. Fear is a self-imposed prison that will keep you from becoming what God intends for you to be. You must move against it with the weapons of faith and love.

 

Many people are driven by materialism. This drive to always want more is based on the misconceptions that having more will make me more happy, more important, and more secure, but all three ideas are untrue. Possessions only provide temporary happiness. Because things do not change, we eventually become bored with them and then want newer, bigger, better versions. Your value is not determined by your valuables.

 

Many people are driven by the need for approval. Many adults are still trying to earn the approval of unpleasable parents. Others are driven by peer pressure, always worried by what others might think. Unfortunately, those who follow the crowd usually get lost in it. I don’t know all the keys to success, but one key to failure is to try to please everyone

 

THE BENEFITS OF PURPOSE-DRIVEN LIVING

     There are five great benefits of living a purpose-driven life:

 

  1. Knowing your purpose gives meaning to your life. When life has meaning, you can bear almost anything; without it, nothing is bearable. The greatest tragedy is not death, but life without purpose. Hope comes from having a purpose. If you have felt hopeless, hold on! Wonderful changes are going to happen in your life as you begin to live it on purpose.

 

  1. Knowing your purpose simplifies your life. Your purpose becomes the standard you use to evaluate which activities are essential and which aren’t. You simply ask, “Does this activity help me fulfill one of God’s purposes for my life?” People who don’t know their purpose try to do too much-and that causes stress, fatigue, and conflict.

 

  1. Knowing your purpose focuses your life. It concentrates your effort and energy on what’s important. You become effective by being selective. Without a clear purpose, you will keep changing directions. If you want your life to have impact, focus it! Stop trying to do it all. Do less. Prune away even good activities and do only that which matters mot. Never confuse activity with productivity. You can be busy without a purpose, but what’s the point?

 

  1. Knowing your purpose motivates your life. Purpose produces passion. Nothing energizes like a clear purpose. On the other hand, passion dissipates when you lack a purpose. Just getting out of bed becomes a major chore.

 

  1. Knowing your purpose prepares you for eternity. Many people spend their lives trying to create a lasting legacy on earth. They want to be remembered when they’re gone. Yet, what ultimately matters most will not be what others say about your life but what God says. Living to create an earthly legacy is a short-sighted goal. A wiser use of time is to build an eternal legacy.

 

 

 

Discussion Questions

 

  1. In spite of all the advertising around me, how can I remind myself that life is really about living for God, not myself?

 

  1. I know that God uniquely created me. What areas of my personality, background, and physical appearance am I struggling to accept?

 

  1. What would my family and friends say is the driving force of my life? What do I want it to be?

 

 

 

 

Made To Last Forever (Chapter 4)

 

 

This life is not all there is.

     Life on earth is just the dress rehearsal before the real production. Your earthly body is just a temporary residence for your spirit. The Bible calls your earthly body a “tent,” but refers to your future body as a “house.”

 

     When you fully comprehend that there is more to life than just here and now, and you realize that life is just preparation for eternity, you will begin to live differently. You place a higher premium on relationships and character instead of fame or wealth or achievements or even fun. Your priorities are reordered.

 

Death is not the end of you!

     Death is not your termination, but your transition into eternity, so there are eternal consequences to everything you do on earth.

 

God’s Word has given us a glimpse of eternity:

  • Eternal home for us.
  • Reunited with love ones who are believers.
  • Released from pain and suffering.
  • Rewarded for faithfulness.
  • Reassigned to do work that we will enjoy doing.
  • We will enjoy unbroken fellowship with God.
  • He will enjoy us for an unlimited, endless forever.

 

God has a purpose for your life on earth, but it doesn’t end here.

     Just as the nine months you spent in your mother’s womb were not an end in themselves but preparation for life, so this life is preparation for eternity.

 

 

 

 

Seeing Life From God’s View (chapter 5)

 

The Way You See Your Life Shapes Your Life

     How you define life determines your destiny. Your perspective will influence how you invest your time, spend your money, use your talents, and value your relationships.

 

To Fulfill The Purpose God Made You For

     You will have to challenge conventional wisdom and replace it with the biblical metaphors of life.

 

 

 

 

God’s View of Life: Life is a test, life is a trust, and life is a temporary assignment.

 

  • Life on earth is a Test. Character is both developed and revealed by tests, and all of life is a test. A very important test is how you act when you can’t feel God’s presence in your life. Some tests seem overwhelming, while others you don’t even notice. But all of them have eternal implications. Good news is that God wants you to pass the test, so that he can reward you in eternity.

 

  • Life on earth is a Trust. We are stewards of whatever God gives us. Everything we enjoy is to be treated as a trust that God has placed in our hands. If you treat everything as a trust, God promises three rewards in eternity. First, God’s affirmation: He will say, “Good job! Well done!” Second, a promotion and be given greater responsibility in eternity. Finally, a celebration: “Come and share your Master’s happiness.”

 

 

 

 

 

Life Is a Temporary Assignment (chapter 6)

 

Life on earth is a temporary assignment.

     To make the best use of your life, you must never forget two truths: First, compared with eternity, life is extremely brief. Second, earth is only a temporary residence.

 

Christians should carry spiritual green cards to remind us that our citizenship is in heaven.

     Your identity is in eternity, and your homeland is heaven. When you grasp this truth, you will stop worrying about “having it all” on earth. God is very blunt about the danger of living for the here and now and adopting the values, priorities, and lifestyles of the world around us. When we flirt with the temptations of this world, God calls it spiritual adultery.

 

We’re not completely happy here because we’re not supposed to be!

     You will have happy moments here, but nothing compared with what God has planned for you.

 

     It is a fatal mistake to assume that God’s goal for your life is material prosperity or popular success, as the world defines it. The abundant life has nothing to do with material abundance, and faithfulness to God does not guarantee success in a career or even in ministry. Never focus on temporary crowns.

 

     When life gets tough, when you’re overwhelmed with doubt, or when you wonder if living for Christ is worth the effort, remember that you are not home yet. At death you won’t leave home-you’ll go home.

 

The Reason for Everything (chapter 7)

 

It’s All For Him!

     The ultimate goal of the universe is to show the glory of God. It is the reason for everything that exits, including you. God made it all for His glory. God’s glory is the expression of His goodness and all His other intrinsic, eternal qualities.

 

Creation reveals our Creator’s glory.

  • The heavens declare the glory of God.
  • God reveals His glory through His people.
  • God’s glory is best seen in Jesus Christ.

 

God’s inherent glory is what He possesses because He is God.

     We are commanded to:

  • Recognize His glory
  • Honor His glory
  • Declare His glory
  • Praise His glory
  • Reflect His glory
  • Live for His glory

Why? Because God deserves it!

 

Only two of God’s creations fail to bring glory to Him:

  1. Fallen angels (demons)
  2. Us (people)

 

How Can I Bring Glory to God?

     Jesus honored God by fulfilling His purpose on earth. We honor God the same way. When anything in creation fulfills its purpose, it brings glory to God.

 

     There are many ways to bring glory to God, but they can be summarized in God’s five purposes for your life.

 

  1. We bring God glory by worshiping him. Worship is our first responsibility to God. God wants our worship to be motivated by love, thanksgiving, and delight, not duty. Worship is a lifestyle of enjoying God, loving him, giving ourselves to be used for his purpose. When you use your life for God’s glory, everything you do can become an act of worship.

 

  1. We bring God glory by loving other believers. When you were born again, you became a part of God’s family. It is your responsibility to learn how to love as God does, because God is love, and it honors him.

 

 

 

  1. We bring God glory by becoming like Christ. He wants us to grow to spiritual maturity. Spiritual maturity is becoming like Jesus in the way we think, feel, and act. The more you develop Christlike character, the more you will bring glory to God.

 

  1. We bring God glory by serving others with our gifts. Each of us was uniquely designed by God with talents, gifts, skills, and abilities. God didn’t give you your abilities for selfish purposes. They were given to benefit others, just as others were given abilities for your benefit.

 

  1. We bring God glory by telling others about Him. God doesn’t want his love and purposes kept a secret. Once we know the truth, he expects us to share it with others.

 

What Will You Live For?

     It’s time to settle the issue. Who are you going to live for-yourself or God? You may hesitate, wondering whether you will have strength to live for God. Real life begins by committing yourself completely to Jesus Christ. All you need to do is receive and believe.

  1. Believe. Believe God loves you and made you for His purpose.
  2. Receive. Receive Jesus, His spirit, His forgiveness, His and His power to fulfill your life purpose.

 

 

 

 

Discussion Questions

 

  1. 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?

 

  1. What has happened to me recently that I now realize was a test from God? What are the greatest matters God has entrusted to me?

 

  1. How should the fact that life on earth is just a temporary assignment change the way I am living right now?

 

  1. Where in my daily routine can I become more aware of God’s glory?

 

Theme: Your Were Planned For God’s Pleasure

 

Planned For God’s Pleasure (chapter 8)

 

You were planned for God’s pleasure.

  • God did not need to create you, but he chose to create you for his enjoyment.
  • This proves your worth.
  • He wants you to enjoy life, not just endure it.

 

Bring pleasure to God is called “worship.”

     Anything you do that brings pleasure to God is an act of worship. It connects us to God. The reason God made us with this desire is that he desires worshipers!

Worship is a lifestyle.

 

Worship is far more than music.

     Every part of a church service is an act of worship. If Worship were just music, then all who are nonmusical could never worship. “Worship” is often misused to refer to a particular style of music. Slow, quiet and intimate we call worship music. However, anything that is offered to God in spirit and truth, it is an act of worship. In addition, there is no such thing as “Christian” music; there are only Christian lyrics. it is the words that make a song sacred, not the tune.

 

Worship is not for your benefit.

     We worship for God’s benefit. When we worship, our goal is to bring pleasure to God, not ourselves. God’s heart is not touched by tradition in worship, but by passion and commitment.

 

Worship is not a part of your life; it is your life.

     Every activity can be transformed into an act of worship when you do it for the praise, glory, and pleasure of God. This is the secret to a lifestyle of worship-doing everything as if you were doing it for Jesus. Work becomes worship when you dedicate it to God and perform it with an awareness of his presence. This is what real worship is all about-falling in love with Jesus.

 

 

 

What Makes God Smile? (chapter 9)

 

The smile of God is the goal of your life.

     There are five acts of worship that make God smile.

 

  1. God smiles when we love him supremely. Noah loved God more than anything else in the world. This is what God wants most from you: a relationship! God made you to love you, and he longs for you to love him back.

 

  1. God smiles when we trust him completely. Secondly, Noah pleased God was that he trusted God, even when it didn’t make sense. Trusting God completely means having faith that he knows what is best for your life. Trusting is an act of worship.

 

  1. God smiles when we obey him wholeheartedly. Noah obeyed completely, and he obeyed exactly. That is wholeheartedness. Delayed obedience is really disobedience. Obedience unlocks understanding. Obedience is an act of worship.

 

  1. God smiles when we praise and thank him continually. He smiles when we express our adoration and gratitude to him. An amazing thing happens when we offer praise and thanksgiving to God. When we give God enjoyment, our own hearts are filled with joy!

 

  1. God smiles when we use our abilities. Every human activity, except sin, can be done for god’s pleasure if you do it with an attitude of praise. God especially enjoys watching you use the talents and abilities he has given you. Every act of enjoyment becomes an act of worship when you thank God for it.

 

Closing thoughts    

    • God doesn’t wait for you to reach maturity before he starts liking you. He loves and enjoys you at every stage of your spiritual development.

 


    • He knows you are incapable of being perfect or sinless.

 


    • What God looks at is the attitude of your heart: Is pleasing him your deepest desire?

 


    • How much pleasure is God getting out of your life?

 

 

 

The Heart Of Worship (chapter 10)

 

The heart of worship is surrender.

     Surrender is an unpopular word, disliked almost as much as the word submission. But surrendering to God is the heart of worship. We give ourselves to him, not out of fear or duty, but in love.

   

True Worship.

     True worship-brings God pleasure-happens when you give yourself completely to God.

 

Three barriers that block our total surrender to God: fear, pride, and confusion.

 

Can I Trust God? (Fear)  Trust is an essential ingredient to surrender, but you can’t trust him until you know him better. Fear keeps us from surrendering, but love casts out all fear.

 

Admitting our limitations. (pride) We don’t want to admit that we’re just creatures and not in charge of everything. That desire-to have complete control-is the cause of so much stress in our lives.

 

What it means to surrender. (confusion) Surrendering to God is not passive resignation, fatalism, or an excuse for laziness. It means sacrificing your life or suffering in order to change what needs to be changed. The more we let God take us over, the more truly ourselves we become-because he made us.

 

Surrendering is best demonstrated in obedience.

 

The blessing of surrender. A fully surrendered life to God experience peace, freedom, and God’s power.

 

The best way to live. Everybody eventually surrenders to something or someone. If not God, you will surrender to the opinions or expectations of others, to money, to resentment, to fear, or to your own pride, lusts, or ego.

 

Your wisest moments will be those when you say yes to God.

 

 

Becoming Best Friends with God (chapter 11)

 

God wants to be your best friend.

     Friendship with God is possible only because of the grace of God and the sacrifice of Jesus. What does it mean when God wants a friend? There are two secrets in this chapter.

 

Becoming A Best Friend of God

 

Through constant conversation.

     Friendship with God is built by sharing all your life experiences with him. To develop a constant conversation with God is Practicing the Presence of God. Through breath prayers, “You are with me.” “I receive your grace.” “I’m depending on you.” You can use short scriptures also.

 

Through continual meditation.

     Meditation is simply focused thinking-a skill anyone can learn and use anywhere. When you think about God’s Word over and over in your mind, that’s meditation.

 

     Prayer lets you speak to God; meditation lets God speak to you. Both are essential to becoming a friend of God.

    

 

 Discussion Questions

 

  1. What common task could I start doing as if I were doing it directly for Jesus?

 

  1. Since God knows what is best, in what areas of my life do I need to trust him most?

 

  1. What area of my life am I holding back from God?

 

  1. What can I do to remind myself to think about God and talk to him more often throughout the day?


 

Developing Your Friendship with God (Chapter 12)

 

You are as close to God as you choose to be.

     If you want a deeper, more intimate connection with God you must learn to honestly share your feelings with him, trust him when he asks you to do something, learn to care about what he cares about, and desire his friendship more than anything else.

 

I must choose to be honest with God.

     The first building block of a deeper friendship with God is complete honesty-about your faults and your feelings. “Genuine friendship is built on disclosure.”

 

“Your hidden rifts with God.”

     It is likely that you need to confess some hidden anger and resentment at God for certain areas of your life where you have felt cheated or disappointed. Until we mature enough to understand that God uses everything for good in our lives, we harbor resentment toward God over our appearance, background, unanswered prayers, past hurts, and other things we would change if we were God.

 

I must choose to obey God in faith.

     Every time you trust God’s wisdom and do whatever he says, even when you don’t understand it, you deepen your friendship with God. Jesus made it clear that obedience is a condition of intimacy with God.

 

We are friends with God, but we are not his equals.

     We obey God, not out of duty or fear or compulsion, but because we love him and trust that he knows what is best for us. We obey him because we have been forgiven and set free, we obey out of love-and our obedience brings great joy!

 

I must choose to value what God values.

     The more you become God’s friend, the more you will care about the things he cares about, grieve over the things he grieves over, and rejoice over the things that bring pleasure to him.

     What does God care about most? The redemption of his people. He wants all his lost children found! Friends of God tell their friends about God.

 

I must desire friendship with God more than anything else.

     God isn’t offended when we “wrestle” with him, because wrestling requires personal contact and brings us close to him! It is also a passionate activity, and God loves it when we are passionate with him.

 

The truth is-you are close to God as you choose to be.

     Intimate friendship with God is a choice, not an accident. You must intentionally seek it. If you’ve just been going through the motions spiritually, don’t be surprised when God allows pain in your life.

 

 

Worship That Pleases God (chapter 13)

 

God wants all of you.

     He desires your full devotion, not little bits of your life. Where you worship is not as important as why you worship and how much of yourself you offer to God when you worship. The kind of worship that pleases God has four characteristics:

 

  1. God is pleased when our worship is accurate. To “worship in truth” means to worship God as he is truly revealed in the Bible.

 

  1. God is pleased when our worship is authentic. “Worship in spirit,” he wasn’t referring to the Holy Spirit, but to your spirit. Worship is your spirit responding to God’s spirit. When we worship, God looks past our words to see the attitude of our hearts.

 

  1. God is pleased when our worship is thoughtful. If worship is mindless, it is meaningless. You must engage your mind. Jesus called thoughtless worship “vain repetitions.” Build a worship vocabulary other than just praise, hallelujah, thanks, or amen. Use fresh words like admire, respect, value, revere, honor, and appreciate.

 

  1. God is pleased when our worship is practical. “Offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship.” God says, “Give me what you’ve got!” He’s just being practical about worship. In worship we are to “offer our bodies as living sacrifices.” Real worship costs. One thing worship costs us is our self-centeredness. You cannot exalt God and yourself at the same time.

 

“The Heat of Worship” by Matt Redman

I’ll bring You more than a song,

Because the song itself is not what You’ve required.

You search much deeper within

Than the way things appear.

You’re looking into my heart.

 

The heart of the matter is a matter of the heart.

 

 

When God Seems Distant (chapter 14)

 

God is real, no matter how you feel.

     The deepest level of worship is praising God in spite of pain, thanking God during a trial, trusting him when tempted, surrendering while suffering, and loving him when he seems distant.

 

To mature your friendship.

     God will test your friendship with periods of seeming separation-times when it feels as if he has abandoned or forgotten you. God feels a million miles away. He has promised repeatedly, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” But God has not promised “you will always feel my presence.”

 

The most common mistake Christians make in worship today.

     That is seeking an experience rather than seeking God. They look for a feeling, and if it happens, they conclude that they have worshiped. Wrong! In fact, God often removes our feelings so we won’t depend on them. Seeking a feeling, even the feeling of closeness to Christ, is not worship.

 

Faith, not feelings, pleases God.

     Yes, he wants you to sense his presence, but he’s more concerned that you trust him than that you feel him.

 

     How do you praise God when you don’t understand what’s happening in your life and God is silent? You do what Job did:

 

  1. Tell God exactly how you feel. Pour out your heart to God. Unload every emotion that you’re feeling.

 

  1. Focus on who God is-his unchanging nature. Regardless of circumstances and how you feel, hang on to God’s unchanging character. V. Raymond Edman said, “Never doubt in the dark what God told you in the light.”

 

  1. Trust God to keep his promises. During times of spiritual dryness you must patiently rely on the promises of God, not your emotions, and realize that he is taking you to a deeper level of maturity. So don’t be troubled by trouble.

 

  1. Remember what God has already done for you. If God never did anything else for you, he would still deserve you continual praise for the rest of your life because of what Jesus did for you on the cross. Jesus gave up everything so you could have everything.

 

 

Discussion Questions

 

  1. Point to Ponder: I’m as close to God as “I” choose to be.

 

  1. What practical choices will I make today in order to grow closer to God?

 

  1. Which is more pleasing to God right now-my public worship or my private worship? What will I do about this?

 

  1. Point to Ponder: God is real, no matter how I feel.

 

  1. How can I stay focused on God’s presence, especially when he feels distant?



Purpose #2: You were Formed For God’s Family

Formed For God’s Family  (Chapter 15)

 

You were formed for God’s Family.

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 who will love him, honor him, and reign with him forever.

 

Because God is love, he treasures relationships. The Trinity is God’s relationship to himself. It’s the perfect pattern for relational harmony, and we should study its implications.

 

When we place our faith in Christ, God becomes our Father, we become his children, other believes become our brother and sisters, and the church becomes our spiritual family. The only way to get into God’s family is being born again into it. You become part of the human family by your first birth, but you become a member of God’s family by your second birth.

 

The invitation to be part of God’s family is universal, but there is one condition: Faith in Jesus.

Your spiritual family is even more important than your physical family because it will last forever.

 

Benefits of Being In God’s Family

The moment you were spiritually born into God’s family, you were given some astounding birthday gifts: the family name, the family likeness, family privileges, family intimate access, and the family inheritance!

 

What exactly does that inheritance include? First, we will get to be with God forever. Second, we will be completely changed to be like Christ. Third, we will be freed from all pain, death and suffering. Fourth, we will be rewarded and reassigned positions of service. Fifth, we will get to share in Christ’s glory. What an inheritance! You are far richer than you realize.

 

This means that your eternal inheritance is priceless, pure, permanent, and protected. This eternal inheritance, not retirement, is what you should be looking forward to and working for.

 

Baptism: Identifying With God’s Family

Baptism is not an optional ritual, to be delayed or postponed. It signifies your inclusion in God’s family. It publically announces to the world, “I am not ashamed to be a part of God’s family.

Baptism is pregnant with meaning. Your baptism declares your faith, shares Christ’s burial and resurrection, symbolizes your death to your old life, and announces your new life in Christ. It is also a celebration of your inclusion in God’s family.

 

Your baptism is a physical picture of a spiritual truth.

 

Baptism doesn’t make you a member of God’s family; only faith in Christ does that. Baptism shows you are part of God’s family. Like a wedding ring, it is a visible reminder of an inward commitment made in your heart. It is an act of initiation, not something you put off until you are spiritually mature. The only biblical condition is that you believe.

 

Life’s Greatest Privilege

Let this amazing truth sink in. You are part of God’s family, and because Jesus makes you holy, God is proud of you!

 

Being included in God’s family is the highest honor and the greatest privilege you will ever receive. Nothing else comes close. Whenever you feel unimportant, unloved, or insecure, remember to whom you belong.

 

 

What Matters Most (Chapter 16)

Life Is All About 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 has 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 for your life.

 

Why does God insist that we give special love and attention to other believers? Because God wants his family to be known for its love more than anything else. Our family love for each other is our greatest witness to the world.

 

God trains us by giving us “family responsibilities,” and the foremost of these is to practice loving each other.

 

God wants you to be in constant fellowship with other believers so you can develop the skill of loving. Love cannot be learned in isolation. You have to be around people- irritating, imperfect, frustrating people. Through fellowship we learn three important truths.

 

1. The Best Use Of Life Is Love

Love should be your top priority, primary objective, and greatest ambition. Love is not a good part of your life; it’s the most important part.

 

  1. Life without love is really worthless. God says relationships are what life is about. To the point that Four of the Ten Commandments deal with our relationship to God while the other six deal with our relationships with people. But all ten are about relationships. The point is that life is learning to love- God and people. Life minus love equals zero.

 

  1. Love will last forever. Love is eternal. Love leaves a legacy. How you treat other people, not your wealth or accomplishments, is the most enduring impact you can leave on earth. When life on earth is ending, people don’t surround themselves with objects. What we want around us is people- people we love and have relationships with.

 

  1. We will be evaluated on our love. One of the ways God measures spiritual maturity is by the quality of your relationships. In heaven God will review how you treated other people, particularly those in need. When you transfer into eternity, you will leave everything behind. All you’re taking with you is your character.

2. The Best Expression Of Love Is Time

The importance of things can be measured by how much time we are willing to invest in them. Time is your most precious gift because you only have a set amount of it. When you give someone your time, you are giving them a portion of your life that you’ll never get back.

 

Relationships take time and effort, and the best way to spell love is “T-I-M-E.” You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.

 

3. The Best Time To Love Is Now

Sometimes procrastination is a legitimate response to a trivial task. But because love is what matters most, it takes top priority. If you want to express love, you had better do it now.

 

The best use of life is love. The best expression of love is time. The best time to love is now.

 

 

A Place to Belong (Chapter 17)

 

You are called to belong, not just believe.

We are created for community, fashioned for fellowship, and formed for a family, and none of us can fulfill God’s purpose by ourselves.

 

While your relationship to Christ is personal, God never intended it to be private. We are all members of his Body- The Church. You were created for a specific role, but you will miss this second purpose of your life if you’re not attached to a living, local church. You discover your role in life through your relationships with others.

 

The church is God’s agenda for the world. The church is indestructible and will exist for eternity. It will outlive this universe, and so will your role in it. The church is so significant that Jesus died on the cross for it.

 

YOUR LOCAL FELLOWSHIP

The Bible says a Christian without a church home is like an organ without a body, a sheep without a flock, or a child without a family (Eph. 2:19). It is an unnatural state.

 

Today’s culture of independence individualism has created many spiritual orphans- “bunny believer” who hop around from one church to another without any identity, accountability, or commitment.

 

WHY YOU NEED A CHURCH FAMILY

  1. A church family identifies you as a genuine believer. I can’t claim to be a follower of Christ if I’m not committed to any specific group of disciples. In addition, when we come together in love as a church family from different backgrounds, race, and social status, it is a powerful witness to the world.

 

  1. A church family moves you out of self-centered isolation. The local church is the classroom for learning how to get along in God’s family. It is a lab for practicing unselfish, sympathetic love. As a participating member you learn to care about others and share experiences of others.

 

  1. A church family helps you develop spiritual muscles. You will never grow to maturity just by attending worship services and being a passive spectator. Only participation in the full life of a local church builds spiritual muscle. We grow faster and stronger by learning from each other and being accountable to each other.

 

The Body Of Christ Needs You

God has a unique role for you to play in his family. This is called your “ministry,” and God has gifted you for this assignment. Your local fellowship is the place God designed for you to discover, develop, and use your gifts.

 

You will share in Christ’s mission in the world.

The church is God’s instrument on earth. As members of Christ’s body, we are his hands, his feet, his eyes, and his heart. He works through us in the world. We each have a contribution to make.

 

A church family will help keep you from backsliding.

None of us are immune to temptation. Given the right situation, you and I are capable of any sin. God knows this, so he has assigned us as individuals the responsibility of keeping each other on track.

 

Satan loves detached believers, isolated from God’s family, because he knows they are defenseless and powerless against his tactics.

 

IT’S ALL IN THE CHURCH

God created the church to meet your five deepest needs: a purpose to live for, people to live with, principles to live by, a profession to live out, and power to live on. There is no other place on earth where you can find all five of these benefits in one place.

 

YOUR CHOICE

Every born again Christian needs to become a member of a local expression of God’s family. The difference between being a church attender and a church member is commitment. Attenders want the benefits of a church without sharing the responsibility.

 

You become a Christian by committing yourself to Christ, ut you become a church member by committing yourself to a specific group of believers. The first decision brings salvation; the second brings fellowship.

 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. How can I start treating other believers like members of my own family?
  2. Honestly, are relationships my first priority? How can I ensure that they are?
  3. Does my level of involvement at my local church demonstrate that I love and am committed to God’s family?


 

Purpose #2

You Were Formed For God’s Family (Part 2)

 

 

Experiencing life together (chapter 18)

 

Love is meant to be shared

     Real fellowship is so much more than just showing up at services. It is experiencing life together. It includes unselfish loving, honest sharing, practical serving, sacrificial giving, sympathetic comforting, and all the other “one another” commands found in the New Testament.

 

When it comes to fellowship, size matters: Smaller is better.

     Every Christian should be involved within a small group at their church. The group should be ten people or less.

 

What is the difference between real and fake fellowship?
  1. In real fellowship people experience authenticity- It is genuine, heart-to-heart, sometimes gut-level, sharing. It happens when people get honest about who they are and what is happening in their lives.

 

  1. In real fellowship people experience mutuality-Mutuality is the art of giving and receiving. It is the heart of fellowship: building reciprocal relationships, sharing responsibilities, and helping each other.

 

  1. In real fellowship people experience sympathy-Sympathy is not giving advice or offering quick, cosmetic help; sympathy is entering in and sharing the pain of others. “I understand what you are going through.” There are different levels of fellowship:  

 


    1. Fellowship of sharing
    2. Fellowship of studying God’s word together
    3. Fellowship of serving (this is a deeper level) when we minister together
    4. Fellowship of suffering (the deepest and most intense level) this is when we enter into each other’s pain and grief and carry each other’s burdens.

 

 

       4.    In real fellowship people experience mercy-Fellowship is a place of grace,

                    where mistakes aren’t rubbed in but rubbed out.

 

 

Cultivating community (chapter 19)

 

 

Community requires commitment.

     It takes both God’s power and our effort to produce a loving Christian community.

 

Cultivating community takes honesty.

     You will have to care enough to lovingly speak the truth, even when you would rather gloss over a problem or ignore an issue. Often we know what needs to be said to someone, but our fears prevent us from saying anything.

 

Cultivating community takes humility.

     Self-importance, smugness, and stubborn pride destroy fellowship faster than anything else. Pride builds walls between people; humility builds bridges. Humility is the oil that smoothes and soothes.

 

Cultivating community takes courtesy.

     Courtesy is respecting our differences, being considerate of each other’s feelings, and being patient with people who irritate us.

 

Cultivating community takes confidentiality.

     Only in the safe environment of warm acceptance and trusted confidentiality will people open up and share their deepest hurts, needs, and mistakes. What is shared in the group, must stay in the group.

 

Cultivating community takes frequency.

     You must have frequent, regular contact with your group in order to build genuine fellowship. Relationships take time.

 

The nine characteristics of biblical Fellowship:

  1. True feelings (authenticity)
  2. Encourage each other (mutuality)
  3. Support each other (sympathy)
  4. Forgive each other (mercy)
  5. Speak the truth in love (honesty)
  6. Admit our weakness (humility)
  7. Respect our differences (courtesy)
  8. Do not gossip (confidentiality)
  9. Make group a priority (frequency)

 

 

 

 

 

Restoring broken fellowship (chapter 20)

 

 

Relationships are always worth restoring.

     Because life is all about learning how to love, God wants us to value relationships and make the effort to maintain them instead of discarding them whenever there is a rift, a hurt, or a conflict.

 

Blessed are those who work for peace.

     Those who actively seek to resolve conflict.

  • Peacemakers are rare because peacemaking is hard work.
  • Peacemaking is not avoiding conflict.
  • Peacemaking is also not appeasement.

 

HOW TO RESTORE A RELATIONSHIP

Here are seven biblical steps to restoring fellowship:

 

  1. Talk to God before talking to the person.

 

  1. Always take the initiative.

 

  1. Sympathize with “their” feelings.

 

  1. Confess your part of the conflict.

 

  1. Attack the problem, not the person.

 

  1. Cooperate as much as possible.

 

  1. Emphasize reconciliation, not resolution.

 

 

 

Protecting your church (chapter 21)

 

 

It is your job to protect the unity of your church.

     God deeply desires that we experience oneness and harmony with each other. Unity is the soul of fellowship. Our supreme model for unity is the Trinity.


How do we protect the unity where you fellowship?

The Bible gives us practical advice.

 

  1. Focus on what we have in common, not our differences. We must stay focused on what matters most-learning to love each other as Christ has loved us.

 

  1. Be realistic in your expectations. Once you discover what God intends real fellowship to be, it is easy to become discouraged by the gap between the ideal and the real in your church. Yet we must passionately love the church in spite of its imperfections. Maturity is living with the tension.

 

  1. Choose to encourage rather than criticize. When you criticize what another believer is doing in faith and from sincere conviction, you are interfering with God’s business.

 

  1. Refuse to listen to gossip. Listening to gossip is like accepting stolen property, and it makes you just as guilty of the crime. People who gossip to you will also gossip about you.

 

  1. Practice God’s method for conflict resolution. It’s a three-step process:
    1. Private confrontation- work things out between the two of you.
    2. Take witnesses to help confirm the problem and reconcile the relationship.
    3. Lastly, take it to the church.

 

  1. Support your pastor and leaders. There are no perfect leaders, but God gives leaders the responsibility and the authority to maintain the unity of the church.

 

Closing

     What are you doing personally to make your church family more warm and loving? There are many people in your community who are looking for love and a place to belong. The truth is, everyone needs and wants to be loved, and when people find a church where members genuinely love and care for each other, you would have to lock the doors to keep them away.

 

Discussion Questions

 

  1. What one step can I take today to connect with another believer at a more genuine, heart-to-heart level?

 

  1. How can I help cultivate today the characteristics of real community in my small group and my church?

 

  1. Who do I need to restore a broken relationship with today?

  1. What am I personally doing to protect unity in my church family right now?



Purpose #3

You Were Created to Become Like Christ

 

 

 

Created to become like Christ (chapter 22)

 

You were created to become like Christ.

     God’s plan has been to make you like his Son, Jesus. This is your destiny and the third purpose of your life.

 

Like God we are spiritual beings

     Our spirits are immortal and will outlast our earthly bodies. We possess part of the image of God, but the image is incomplete and has been damaged and distorted by sin. so God sent Jesus on a mission to restore the full image that we have lost.

 

You will never become God

     He wants you to become godly-taking on his values, attitudes, and character. God ultimate goal for your life on earth is not comfort, but character development.

 

GOD’S SPIRIT WORKING IN YOU

     It is the Holy Spirit’s job to produce Christlike character in you. The process of changing us to be more like Jesus is called sanctification, and its third purpose of your life on earth.

  • We must cooperate with the Holy Spirit’s work. The Holy Spirit releases his power the moment you take a step of faith. There are three responsibilities in becoming like Christ. 1) Choose to let go of the old ways of acting. 2) We must change the way we think. 3) We must “put on” the character of Christ by developing new, godly habits.
  • God uses his Word, people, and circumstances to mold us. God’s word provides the truth to grow, God’s people provide the support, and circumstances provide the environment we need to practice Christlikeness.
  • Becoming like Christ is a long, slow process of growth. Spiritual maturity is neither instant nor automatic; it is a gradual, progressive development that will take the rest of your life.

 

 

 

How we grow (chapter 23)

 

God wants you to grow up.

     Your heavenly Father’s goal is for you to mature and develop the characteristics of Jesus Christ. Discipleship-the process of becoming like Christ-always begins with a decision.

 

  • God’s part and your part. Christlikeness is the result of making Christlike choices and depending on his Spirit to help you fulfill those choices. Spiritual growth is a collaborative effort between you and the Holy Spirit.

 

  • Changing your autopilot. To change your life, you must change the way you think. Change always starts first in the mind. The way you think determines the way you feel, and the way you feel influences the way you act.

 

     The Christian life is far more than creeds and convictions; it includes conduct and character. Our deeds must be consistent with our creeds, and our beliefs must be backed up with Christlike behavior. Christianity is not a religion or a philosophy, but a relationship and a lifestyle.

 

 

 

Transformed by truth (chapter 24)

 

The truth transforms us.

     Spiritual growth is the process of replacing lies with truth. Sanctification requires revelation. The Spirit of God uses the Word of God to make us like the Son of God.

 

God’s Word is unlike any other word. It is alive.

     When God speaks, things change. Everything around you-all of creation-exists because “God said it.”

 

ABIDING IN GOD’S WORD

     Millions of believers are plagued with spiritual anorexia, starving to death from spiritual malnutrition. To be healthy disciple of Jesus, feeding on God’s Word must be your first priority. Jesus called it “abiding.” In day-to-day living, abiding in God’s Word includes three activities.

 

  1. I must accept its authority. The Bible must become the authoritative standard for my life. The Bible must always have the first and last word in my life.

 

  1. I must assimilate its truth. I must fill my mind with it so that the Holy Spirit can transform me with the truth. There are five ways to do this: You can receive it, read it, research it, remember it, and reflect on it.

 

  1. I must apply its principles. Receiving, reading, researching, remembering, and reflecting on the Word are all useless if we fail to put them into practice. We must become “doers of the word.”

 

     The best way to become a “doer of the Word” is to always write out an action step as a result of your reading or studying or reflecting on God’s Word. Develop the habit of writing down exactly what you intend to do. This action step should personal, practical, and provable.

 

As D.L. Moody said, “The Bible was not given to increase our knowledge but to change our lives.”

 

 

Transformed by trouble (chapter 25)

 

God has a purpose behind every problem.

     He uses circumstances to develop our character. Not all of them are big, but all are significant in God’s growth process for you.

 

  • God uses problems to draw you closer to himself.
  • Problems force us to look to God instead of ourselves.
  • You’ll never know that God is all you need until God is all you’ve got.

 

UNDERSTANDING ROMANS 8:28-29

To fully understand Romans 8:28-29 you must consider it phrase by phrase.

  • “We know”: God is in complete control of our universe and that he loves us.

 

  • “that God causes”: There is a master  plan. History is His story. God is pulling the strings.

 

  • “everything”: God’s plan for your life involves all that happens to you. God can bring good out of the worst evil.

 

  • “to work together”: The events in your life work together in God’s plan. They are not isolated acts, but interdependent parts of the process to make you like Christ.

 

  • “for the good”: Much of what happens in our world is evil and bad, but God specializes in bringing good out of it.

 

  • “of those who love God and are called”: This promise is only for God’s children. It is not for everyone.

 

  • “according to his purpose”: What is that purpose? It is that we “become like his Son.” Everything God allows to happen in your life is permitted for that purpose!

 

BUILDING CHRISTLIKE CHARACTER

We are like jewels, shaped with the hammer and chisel of adversity.

 

RESPONDING TO PROBLEMS AS JESUS WOULD

Problems don’t automatically produce what God intends.

 

Remember that God’s plan is good. God knows what is best for you and has your best interests at heart.

 

Rejoice and give thanks. Notice that God tells us to give thanks “in all circumstances” not “for all circumstances.” God wants you to thank him that he will use your problems to fulfill his purposes.

 

Refuse to give up. Be patient and persistent.

 

 

 

 

Discussion Questions

 

  1. In what area of my life do I need to ask for the Spirit’s power to be like Christ today?

 

  1. What is one area where I need to stop thinking my way and start thinking God’s way?

 

  1. What has God already told me in his Word that I haven’t started doing yet?

 

  1. What problem in my life has caused the greatest growth in me?



Growing through temptation (chapter 26)

 

 

Every temptation is an opportunity to do good.

     Temptation becomes a stepping stone rather than a stumbling block when you realize that it is just as much an occasion to do the right thing as it is to do the wrong thing.

 

Temptation simply provides the choice.

     While temptation is Satan’s primary weapon to destroy you, God wants to use it to develop you.

 

The character qualities of Jesus is the fruit of the Spirit.

     God develops the fruit of the Spirit in your life by allowing you to experience circumstances in which you’re tempted to express the exact opposite quality!

  • God teaches us love by putting some unlovely people around us.
  • God teaches real joy in the midst of sorrow.
  • God develops real peace within us, by allowing times of chaos and confusion.
  • Patience is developed in circumstances in which we’re forced to wait.

 

HOW TEMPTATION WORKS

     We learned temptation follows a four-step process, which Satan used both on Adam and Eve and on Jesus.

  1. Satan identifies a Desire inside of you. (Temptation starts with a thought.)
  2. DOUBT! (Is it really wrong?)
  3. Deception. (Satan is incapable of telling the truth. Anything he tells you will be untrue or just half-true.)
  4. Disobedience. You finally act on the thought. What began as an idea gets birthed into behavior.

 

OVERCOMING TEMPTATION

     There are specific steps you need to take to overcome it.

  • Refuse to be intimidated. Temptation is a sign that Satan hates you, not a sign of weakness or worldliness.
  • Recognize your pattern of temptation and be prepared for it. There are certain situations that make you more vulnerable to temptation than others.
  • Request God’s help. God wants you to ask him for assistance in overcoming temptation.

 

     Temptations keep us dependent upon God. Every time you stand up to a temptation you become more like Jesus.



Defeating Temptation (chapter 27)

 

There is always a way out.

     You may sometimes feel that a temptation is too overpowering for you to bear, but that’s a lie from Satan. Go has promises never to allow more on you he puts within you to handle it.

 

Four biblical keys to defeating temptation.

 

  1. Refocus your attention on something else. The more you think about something, the stronger it takes hold of you.

 

  1. Reveal your struggle to a godly friend or support group. You don’t have to broadcast it to the whole world, but you need at least one person you can honestly share your struggles with.

 

  1. Resist the Devil. After we have humbled ourselves and submitted to God, we are then told to defy the Devil. We are to fight back. How can we resist the Devil? 1) accept God’s salvation. 2) Use the Word of God as your weapon against Satan.

 

  1. Realize your vulnerability. God warns us never to get cocky and overconfident; that is the recipe for disaster.

 

 

 

 

 

It Takes time (chapter 28)

 

There are no shortcuts to maturity.

     The development of Christlike character cannot be rushed. Spiritual growth, like physical growth, takes time. When you try to ripen fruit quickly, it loses its flavor. While you worry about how fast you grow, God is concerned about how strong we grow.

 

Discipleship is the process of conforming to Christ.

 

WHY DOES IT TAKE SO LONG?

 

  • We are slow learners. We often have to relearn a lesson forty or fifty times to really get it.

 

  • We have a lot to unlearn. Since our problems and bad habits didn’t develop overnight, it’s unrealistic to expect them to go away immediately.

 

  • We are afraid to humbly face the truth about ourselves. The fear of what we might discover if we honestly faced character defects keeps us living in the prison of denial.

 

  • Growth is often painful and scary. There is no growth without change; there is no change without fear or loss; and there is no loss without pain.

 

  • Habits take time to develop. Remember that your character is the sum total of your habits.

 

DON’T GET IN A HURRY

 

  1. Believe God is working in your life even when you don’t feel it.

 

  1. Keep a notebook or journal of lessons learned.

 

  1. Be patient with God and with yourself.

 

  1. Don’t get discouraged.

 

     Remember how far you’ve come, not just how far you have to go. You are not where you want to be, but neither are you where you used to be. God isn’t finished with you, either, so keep on moving forward. Even the snail reached the ark by persevering!

 

 

 

Discussion Questions

 

  1. What Christlike character quality can I develop by defeating the most common temptation I face?

 

  1. Who could I ask to be a spiritual partner to help me defeat a persistent temptation by praying for me?

 

In what area of my spiritual growth do I need to be more patient and persistent?


Purpose #4

  YOU WERE SHAPED FOR SERVING GOD

 

 

Accepting your assignment (chapter 29)

 

You were put on earth to make a contribution.

     God designed you to make a difference with your life. You were created to add to life on earth, not just take from it. This is God’s fourth purpose for your life, and it is called your “ministry,” or service.

 

You were created to serve God.

     Whenever you serve others in any way, you are actually serving God. You were placed on this planet for a special assignment.

 

You were saved to serve God.

     God redeemed you so you could do his “holy work.” You’re not saved by service, but you are saved for service. In God’s kingdom, you have a place, a purpose, a role, and a function to fulfill. When you are serving you are ministering.


You are called to serve God.

     Every Christian is called to service. Your call to salvation included your call to service. There is no small service (ministry) to God; it all matters. Every ministry matters because we are all dependent on each other to function.

 

You are commanded to serve God.

     Jesus came “to serve” and “to give”-and those two verbs should define your life on earth, too. Maturity is for ministry! We grow up in order to give out. As we mature in Christ, the focus of our lives should increasingly shift to living a life of service.

 

PREPARING FOR ETERNITY

     One day God will compare how much time and energy we spent on ourselves compared with what we invested in serving others. If you aren’t serving, you’re just existing, because life is meant for ministry.

 

SERVICE AND SIGNIFICANCE

     Service is the pathway to real significance. God wants to use you to make a difference in his world. He wants to work through you. What matters is not the duration of your life, but the donation of it. Not how long you lived, but how you lived.

 

 

 

Shaped for serving god (chapter 30)

 

You were shaped to serve God.

     God formed every creature on this planet with a special area of expertise. You are 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.

 

God planned everyday of your life to support his shaping process.

     Nothing happens in your life is insignificant. God uses it all to mold you for ministry. God never wastes anything.

 

HOW GOD SHAPES YOU FOR YOUR MINISTRY

            Spiritual gifts

            Heart

            Abilities

            Personality

            Experience

 

UNWRAPPING YOUR SPIRITUAL GIFTS

     Your spiritual gifts were not given for your own benefit but for the benefit of others, just as others people were given gifts for your benefit.

 

LISTENING TO YOUR HEART

     Your heart reveals the real you-what you truly are, not what others think you are or what circumstances force you to be. Figure out what you love to do-what God gave you a heart to do-and then do it for his glory.

 

 

 

Understanding Your Shape (chapter 31)

 

Only you can be you.

     No one else on earth will ever be able to play the role God planned for you.

 

APPLYING YOUR ABILITIES

     Your abilities are the natural talents you were born with.

  1. All of our abilities come from God. Even abilities used to sin are God-given; they are just being misused or abused.
  2. Every ability can be used for God’s glory.
  3. What I’m able to do, God wants me to do.

 

USING YOUR PERSONALITY

     When God made you, he broke the mold. There never has been, and never will be, anybody exactly like you. We need all kinds of personalities to balance the church and give it flavor.

 

EMPLOYING YOUR EXPERIENCES

     You have been shaped by your experiences in life, most of which were beyond your control. God allowed them for his purpose of molding you. There are six kinds of experiences:

  1. Family- What did you learn growing up in your family?
  2. Educational- What were your favorite subjects in school?
  3. Vocational- What jobs have you been most effective in and enjoyed most?
  4. Spiritual- What have been your most meaningful times with God?
  5. Ministry- How have you served God in the past?
  6. Painful- What problems, hurts, thorns, and trials have you learned from?

 

 

 

Using what god gave you (chapter 32)

 

God deserves your best.

     God expects you to make the most of what you have been given.

 

DISCOVER YOUR SHAPE

           

  1. Begin by assessing your gifts and abilities. Take a long look at what you are good at and what you’re not good at. The best way to discover your gifts and abilities is to experiment with different areas of service.

 

  1. Consider your heart and your personality. Get feedback from those who know you best. Ask yourself: What do I really enjoy?

 

  1. Examine your experiences and extract the lessons you have learned. Review your life and think about how it has shaped you.

 

ACCEPT AND ENJOY YOUR SHAPE

     Your shape was sovereignty determined by God for his purpose, so you shouldn’t resent it or reject it. Instead of trying to reshape yourself to be like someone else, you should celebrate the shape God has given only to you.

 

KEEP DEVELOPING YOUR SHAPE

     God expects us to make the most of what he gives us. We are to cultivate our gifts and abilities, keep our hearts aflame, grow our character and personality, and broaden our experiences so we will be increasingly more effective in our service.

 

Discussion Questions
  1. What is holding me back from accepting God’s call to serve him?
  2. In what way can I see myself passionately serving others and loving it?
  3. What God-given ability or personal experience can I offer to my church?
  4. How can I make the best use of what God has given me?



Purpose #4 (cont.)

 

How real servants act (chapter 33)

 

We serve God by serving others.

 

  • Real servants make themselves available to serve
  • Real servants pay attention to needs
  • Real servants do their best with what they have
  • Real servants do every task with equal dedication
  • Real servants are faithful to their ministry
  • Real servants maintain a low profile

 

 

 

Thinking like a servant (chapter 34)

 

Service starts in your mind.

 

  1. Servants think more about others than about themselves.
  2. Servants think like stewards, not owners.
  3. Servants think about their work, not what others are doing.
  4. Servants base their identity in Christ.
  5. Servants think of ministry as an opportunity, not an obligation.

 

 

 

God’s power in your weakness (chapter 35)

 

God loves to use weak people.

 

  1. Admit your weaknesses.
  2. Be content with your weaknesses.
  3. Honestly share your weaknesses.
  4. Glory in your weaknesses.

 

 Purpose #5

You were made for a mission

 

Made for a mission (chapter 36)

 

 

You were made for a mission.

      The work you do in the world for God is your assignment called your mission. God wants you to have both a ministry in the Body of Christ and a mission in the world. Your ministry is your service to believers, and your mission is your service to unbelievers.

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF YOUR MISSION

 

  • Your mission is a continuation of Jesus’ mission on earth.
  • Your mission is wonderful privilege.
  • Telling others how they can have eternal life is the greatest thing you can do for them.
  • Your mission has eternal significance.
  • Your mission gives your life meaning.
  • God’s timetable for history’s conclusion is connected to the completion of our commission.

 

WHAT IT COST TO FULFILL YOUR MISSION

     To fulfill your mission will require that you abandon your agenda and accept God’s agenda for your life.

 

 

Sharing your life message (chapter 37)

 

God has given you a Life Message to share.

     God wants to speak to the world through you. Your Life Message has four parts to it:

  • Your testimony: the story of how you begin a relationship with Jesus
  • Your life lessons: the most important lessons God has taught you
  • Your godly passions: the issues God shaped you to care about most
  • The Good News: the message of salvation

 

 

Becoming a world-class Christian (chapter 38)

 

The Great Commission is your commission.

    You have a choice to make. You will be either a world-class Christian or a worldly Christian. Worldly Christians look to God primarily for personal fulfillment. They are saved, but self-centered. World-class Christians know they were saved to serve and made for mission.

 

HOW TO THINK LIKE A WORLD-CLASS CHRISTIAN

  • Shift from self-centered thinking to other-centered thinking.
  • Shift from local thinking to global thinking.
  • Shift from “here and now” thinking to eternal thinking.
  • Shift from thinking of excuses to thinking of creative ways to fulfill your commission.

 

 

Balancing your life (chapter 39)

 

Blessed are the balanced; they shall outlast everyone.

God’s five purposes for your life:

  1. “Love God with all your heart”- Love God thru worship.
  2. “Love your neighbor as yourself”-show love for others thru ministry.
  3. “Go and make disciples”-Share God’s message thru evangelism.
  4. “baptize them into…”-Identify with his church thru fellowship.
  5. “teach them to do all things…”-grow to maturity thru discipleship.

 

*Talk it thru with a spiritual partner or small group.

 

*Give yourself a regular spiritual check-up.

 

*Write down your progress in a journal.

 

*Pass on what you know to others.

 

IT’S ALL FOR GOD’S GLORY

     The reason we pass on what we learn is for the glory of God and the growth of his kingdom.

 

 

Living with purpose (chapter 40)

 

Living on purpose is the only way to really live. Everything else is just existing.

The three basic issues in life

  1. Identity: “Who am I?”
  2. Importance: “Do I matter?”
  3. Impact: “What is my place in life?”

 

WHAT IS A LIFE PURPOSE STATEMENT?

  1. It’s a statement that summarizes God’s purposes for your life.
  2. It’s a statement that points the direction of your life.
  3. It’s a statement that defines “success” for you.
  4. It’s a statement that clarifies your roles.
  5. It’s a statement that expresses your shape.

 

LIFE’S FIVE GREATEST QUESTIONS


    1. What will be the center of my life? This is the question of worship. Who are you going to live for?
    2. What will be the character of my life? This is the question of discipleship? What kind of person will you be?

 


    1. What will be the contribution of my life? This is the question of service. What will be your ministry in the Body of Christ?

 


    1. What will be the communication of my life? This is the question of your mission to unbelievers.

 


    1. What will be the community of my life? This is the question of fellowship. How do you demonstrate your commitment to other believers and connection to the family of God?

 

GOD WANTS TO USE YOU!

 

 

 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

 

  1. Which of the six characteristics of real servants offers the greatest challenge to me?
  2. Am I usually more concerned about being served or finding ways to serve others?
  3. Am I limiting God’s power in my life by trying to hide my weaknesses? What do I need to be honest about in order to help others?
  4. What fears have kept me from fulfilling the mission God made me to accomplish? What keeps me from telling others the Good News?
  5. As I reflect on my personal story, who does God want me to share it with?
  6. What steps can I take to prepare to go on a short-term missions experience in the next year?
  7. Which of the four activities will I begin in order to stay on track and balance God’s five purposes for my life?
  8. 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?