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Friday, February 18, 2011

Day 18, 19 - Purpose Driven Life - The Melody of Life

How wonderful it is, how pleasant, for God's people to live together in harmony!" -- Psalm 133:1

I write about today and tomorrow because, in the morning, I fly all day to come home to you, my friends.

I love to sing. For many years, I sang with groups of people -- combining harmony to create a lovely song.

We practiced. At first, our notes sometimes clashed -- We had to learn the music to truly make the melody pleasing.

That's the way it is in life with the fellowship in our disfunctional family of God. We don't always get it right. We may strike a few sour notes. But, the important thing is to know God's music is there. When we seek Him, we learn the song. Harmony comes easier.

First of all, we stop looking to others to fulfill all our needs. It is impossible for man to do this. Only God can.

When we let go of our expectations of others, we can truly blend with them in song. -- No hard feelings. No unrealistic expectations -- Just glorious harmony to God.

By nature, I am a solitary person. But, as a Christian, God calls me to make melody with others.

Will you come, be part of my song?

To fellowship with you, I must be authentic.

I am a cracked pot. I am headstrong and by nature controlling. But God is working on this by striking me down with humility and heartbreak. That makes me more pliable for making music.

To sing with you, I should empathize with you --share your joy and experience your pain.

The Purpose Driven Life says we are often in so much of a hurry to fix things that we don't have time to sympathize with people.

To sing with you, I should humble myself.

The PDL says humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less. Humble people are so focused on servng others, they don't think of themselves.

To sing with you, I have to accept you

The PDL says community has nothing to do with compatibility. The truth is, we all have quirks annoying traits.

To sing with you, I might be called to forgive you.

The PDL says you will never be asked to forgive someone any more than God has already forgiven you.

So -- I would love to sing harmony with you. It will take practice however. I'm sorry - I will make mistakes.

It will take time and commitment, but the song will be worth it.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Purpose Driven Life - Day 17 - A Place To Belong

You are called to belong, not just believe.

In Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others." -- Romans 12:5

This chapter made some great points about getting along with the body of believers. Here are some that jumped out at me:

We must love the church and the people in it.

When we complain about the church, we are using it and not loving it.

Jesus called us to love the church.

Today's culture of independent individualism has created many spiritual orphans - "bunny believers" who hop from church to church without identity, accountability or commitment.

The problem is, there is no perfect church or perfect believer, for that matter. Our search will be an incredible waste of time.

It may seem easier to be holy when not one else is around to frustrate your preferences, but that is a false, untested holiness . Isolation breeds deceitfulness. It's easy to fool ourselve into thinking we are mature if there is no one to challenge us. Real maturity shows up in relatiionships.

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God wants you to love real people, not ideal people. You are called to love imperfect sinners just like God does.

Thought to ponder:

Does my level of involvement in my local church demonstrate that I love and am committed to God's family?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Purpose Driven Life - Days 15, 16 - Welcome to God´s Disfunctional Family

Welcome to God´s family!

Now, let´s get along.

We were designed to be together. When you commit your life to Christ, you become a part of a new family of believers.

This Chapter says we cannot hide out from the family.

GULP.

The members of our new family are not perfect (on this side of Heaven). We still have to join them. That is how we grow.

The interesting thing about this is -- we will experience a wonderful feeling of belonging when we reach out to others.

If you are lonely...know that, when you commit your life to Christ, you have a new FATHER (who is out of this world in love with you).

You also have new brothers and sisters. You are never alone. COOL.

I am half-way across the world. I have met a new sister. Her name is Romina.

She is from another country...another culture, yet Romina and I sat at the table in her tiny apartment in Vienna and talked about our Jesus -- our Father -- our faith.

How nice to be linked with this sister in a Father´s love.

I need to watch out for my brothers and sisters in Christ, also.

Even in hard times, I need to be present. We need to give love and love is often spelled T-I-M-E.

Ouch. I need to work on this.

The essence of love is not what we think or do or provide for others, but how much we give of ourselves.

Here is our point to ponder: Are relationships my first priority?

Here is our verse:

"The entire law is summed up in a single command: Love your neighbor as yourself." -- Gal 5:14

Purpose Driven Life Day 14 - Where are you, God?

Today is Valentine´s Day. It is a perfect day to talk about God´s love for you when you don´t feel it.

God´s love is real, no matter how you feel.

I know there is not one of us who has not felt lost in a gulf of numb pain.

Where are you, God?

I cry out to you and I don´t feel your presence.

Then there is another type of distance from God. It´s that numb feeling from the mundane days.

Are you in this day, Lord?

I don´t feel you near.

Or...Is it just me?

As Purpose Driven says, every relationship is sometimes tested with distance. If you have entered into a relationship with Jesus, your Lord and Savior, don´t be surprised or dismayed when you don´t feel His presence.

The Bible is full of people who have cried out to God in times when they felt separated.

Job knew the depths of despair, loss, grief and seeming separation from God, yet he said:

"I go east, but I cannot find Him. I go west, but I cannot find Him. I do not see Him in the north, for He is hidden. I turn to the south, but I cannot find Him."

"But He knows where I am going and when He has tested me like gold and fire, he will pronounce me innocent¨." -- Job 23:8-10


Job lost everything - his family, his wealth, his health. God seemed hidden, but Job trusted.

WOW! Job was like GOLD!

Gold is refined by heating multiple elements. As the refiner turns up the fire -- hotter -- hotter - the refiner eliminates the other metals.

The refiner knows when to stop turning up the heat. He knows when he has found gold.

How?

He sees His reflection in the metalic pool.

God may not feel near, but He is. Perhaps he gently turns up the fire in your life. That is not an easy time, but He will stop when He see His reflection in your life.

In those mundane moments - when there is no pain, no sorrow...just boredom, look around. Is God beckoning somewhere else?

Has it been your choice to pull far away to a safe place?

Go ahead and jump in the pool. You may become GOLD.

Worship....It is not based on feelings. Please don´t trapse from church to church in search of some "feeling".

Love, in life and in faith, is based on a choice, not a feeling.

God is there. Trust that. Choose to continue your walk in love (a good tip for marriages, also.)

Remember this verse:

"For God has said, I will never leave you. I will never abandon you." - Hebrews 13:5

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Purpose Driven Life This Sunday -- 9 a.m.

Come discuss Purpose Driven Life
9 a.m.
Faith Baptist Church
Corner of Alton & High
Freeburg, IL
539-3434

Day 13 - Worship that Pleases God

Many of us package our worship in that Church Package. You know the one -- wrapped up with Sunday best and choir singing -- taped with a sermon and ribboned with a here and there prayer.

God wants all of us. When we give God everything - we can truly worship Him.

"Offer your bodies a living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. This is your spiritual act of worship." -- Romans 12:1

Real worship costs.

Worship costs our self-centeredness.

Worship costs our dependency on emotions.

We worship God whether we feel his presence in our lives or not. Sometimes, we all struggle to feel near to God.

That does not change what He has done for us or His actual involvement with us. HE is there even when we don't feel like it.

So humble yourself and offer yourself, regardless of how you feel.

God will do His best work when we get out of the way and stand listening to, appreciating and thanking God. That is a private act of worship.

Purpose Driven Life -- Day 12

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

There's an interesting concept.

To be God's friend, we make a choice, as we have mentioned in other blogs. This takes time and effort on your part.

God wants you to communicate with him . This can come in the form of praying, listening, reading His Word and thinking aboutwhat He is saying through it.

When you pray and communicate with God, He wants you to be honest with Him.

God does not expect you to be perfect. He expects you to be honest.

You have to share your true feelings, not just what you think He wants to hear.

God can take your rotten stuff along with the good . Don't you realize He knows everything already? You will not surpriseGod. He created you and He knows what you're about.

What will delight Him is if you are transparent with Him. That takes practice.

So, don't just put on your "church self" when you communicate with God. Be honest. You and God will find it refreshing.

God wamts you to obey and act.

My favorite part of this is the concept thatwe are often called to do small things for God out of loving obedience. Our acts do not always have to be big.

Small things that go unnoticed by others are often the most significant actions to God.

This can make the mundane miraculous -- good stuff!

God wants us to value what he values.

Hmmmm - what does God value ?

God values relationships over religion.So -stop pushing activity over empathy. God wants us to relate to others and help others relate to Him.

Nothing is more important than a friendship with God. If you don't haveone -- don't be surprised if God puts you somewhere you will feel some pain and seek Him.

If you do have a relationship, God may draw you even closer in a painful place.

Be aware of God's presence, even in the hard spots. That's where He does His best work..

Friday, February 11, 2011

Day 11 – What a Friend we Have in Jesus

God wants to be your best friend. Friendship requires time. Friendship requires openness.

Keep connected to God in everything you do. Don’t be afraid to talk to Him.

The book suggests “breath prayers” – short phrases you can repeat through your day:

“Help me trust you.” “You are with me.” Or “I’m depending on you.”

These short phrases not only keep a connection to God, the remind us of our relationship and the important things.

You won’t always FEEL God’s presence, but you can count on it.

Here’s a good question:

“what can I do to remind myself to draw close to God?”

Purpose Driven Life – Day 10 – Worship and Surrender

I’m a very headstrong person. Ask my husband. The book says the heart of worship is surrender.

Surrender???!!!! That means I have to stop trying to run the show.

That means I’ve got to be humble and get out of the way.

That means I won’t always GET my way, but I better be ready to move where God tells me.

This could be a good thing. The book puts it this way:

God is a lover and a liberator, and surrendering to Him brings freedom, not bondage. When we completely surrender ourselves to Jesus, we discover that He is not a tyrant, but a savior; not a boss, but a brother; not a dictator, but a friend.

Unlike in a war (and we all battle life!), surrendering to Jesus does not mean LOSING anything. You actually gain.

Your personality does not have to be repressed – it becomes fine-tuned.

You can tell you’ve surrendered to God when you don’t feel the need to react to criticism with panic and rush to defend yourself.

I loved the story of Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ. When he was a young man, he literally wrote out a contract to God and signed the bottom:

“From this day forward, I am a slave of Jesus Christ.”

WOW! That’s surrender! He went on to be such a successful Christ follower!

So…maybe I should adjust this hard head of mine and think about surrender.

That will be the most powerful move I could ever make.

Day 9 – The Smile of God is the Goal of Your Life

I’m crammed in an airport terminal, squatting next to an electrical outlet. I’m watching people go by. They are talking to the air (there’s a phone tucked somewhere)

I’m trying to figure out how to make God smile right here.

The Purpose Driven Life says God smiles when we trust Him completely.

OK – This is a big trip. Less anxiety – more rest in Him. Who cares if I’m sitting on the floor? Smile at the people who are eyeing me curiously!

The Purpose Driven Life says God smiles when we praise Him and thank Him continually.

I want to give thanks in my circumstances. Thanks for this trip. Thanks for this electrical outlet and thanks for the people that crowd around.

They’re your people God. Goodness, you’ve made a variety! I thank you for them. Maybe I will pray for them from my obscure outlet.

God smiles when we use our abilities.

Hmmm – not sure what ability I’m using in this floor squat. Wait a minute, I’m writing.

May my writing glorify God. How about you?

May my nose wiping glorify God (that is part of a BIG mission of parenting!)

May my clothes washing glorify God.

May my number crunching glorify God.

May my listening glorify God.

May my _____________________(fill in the blank) glorify God!

The Lord is pleased with those who worship him and trust His love.” – Psalm 147:11

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Day 8 - Do You Make God Smile?

Do you know you made God smile when you were born?

He did not need to create you, but He chose to create you for his benefit, his glory, his purpose, his DELIGHT!

I love that last word! When I think of someone being delighted, I picture a sweet baby, laughing at the antics of a mommy or daddy.

That baby's eyes are filled with love, and...well....DELIGHT at seeing someone she loves trying to make her smile.

Do you make God smile?

God actually created you to experience pleasure, you know. He wants you to enjoy life, not just endure it.

It might be good to stop enduring and start enjoying.

In The Purpose Driven Life, Warren tells us that God laughs. I think He laughs at me A LOT!

"Lighten up,Laurie," I can hear God say, laughing and shaking His head at my melt downs :)

We make God smile (and sometimes, laugh) when we worship. Worship is more than music or any formal activity we host in church. Worship can be your life. That includes praise!

Praise should be the first activity when you open your eyes and the last activity when you close them at night.

"I will thank the Lord at all times. My mouth will always praise Him." -- Psalm 34:1

Sound tough? Try this: Do everything you do as if you were doing it for Jesus.

Radical, huh?!!!

Take all those ordinary things and make them an offering to the One you love and who loves you with all His heart.

Fall in love with Jesus and then act like you are in love. That will make God smile.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Purpose Driven Life - Day 7 - Glorify and Enjoy!

The news was getting to me. I was lamenting the state of the world. I was worrying.

"Are you just enjoying your Jesus?"

The questions caught me off guard.
After all, I'm a Christian. Am I not supposed to worry about the ugliness of the world? It's all so anti-God! I could feel my BP rising.

"So...what else is new?" I could almost hear God's reply. "Your worrying does not help."


Ahhh...so this is another clue to my purpose:

To Glorify God and Enjoy Him Forever!


How Can I bring Glory to God?

1. Worship -- Worship is a lifestyle of enjoying God, loving Him and giving ourselves to be used for His Purpose.

2. Loving Others. You are a part of a family, even if you live alone! When you commit your life to Christ, you join other believers.

3. Becoming like Christ. OK, so this may seem daunting. Here's where to start - read about Jesus in the New Testament. Did Jesus freak out? Was he aloof? Did he rush so much he didn't have time to talk to his father? Did he laugh and have fun (yes!)? Was he compassionate?

Ask Jesus to help you become like HIM. Slow your pace and walk with him:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” --Matt 11:28

4. Serving Others. Now don't go crazy with this. Be sure to get some down time! If you are yoked with Jesus (letting Him set the pace) you'll get a sense of where you should serve.

5. Telling others about Jesus. Don't be shy. Let people know what changed your life. Speak in personal terms.

Bottom line, however: You can't do any of this unless you have committed your life to Jesus.

Here's What That Looks Like:


BELIEVE - God loves you and made you for a purpose.
RECEIVE - Receive Jesus into your life as your Lord and Savior. This is the part where you admit you don't have it all together (c'mon - He already knows it anyway!) You ask for forgiveness and ask Him to take over your life.

Here is a simple prayer:

Jesus, I believe in you and I receive you. - Amen

Welcome to the family of your fellow imperfect, yet committed humans! You are NOT alone!

You can write to Rick Warren to receive the free booklet: "Your First Steps for Spiritual Growth" at free@purposedrivenlife.com

Also - Call us! You are welcome to come to Faith Baptist Church and talk to pastor or any member about this. 539-3434.

Drop by our Purpose Driven Class -- Every Sunday at 9 a.m. -- Faith Baptist in Freeburg, Illinois.

You're part of the family. We'd love to see you

Purpose Driven Life - Day 6 - Hang In There

This is just temporary.

I was sad and worried. One child struggled and, I, of course, took this upon myself.

This is just temporary.

That statement washed over me and gave me hope. How could I forget about the stages in life!

Everything moves on. Kids grow up. Sadness subsides. This is just temporary.

The sixth chapter of The Purpose Drive Life tells us that life is temporary. Momentary struggles will fade away in the light of heaven.

This is encouraging to me. This too shall pass and God has something better.

Warren writes:

The fact that earth is not our ultimate home explains why, as followers of Jesus, we experience difficulty, sorrow, and rejection in this world.

It also explains why some of God's promises seem unfulfilled, some prayers seem unanswered and some circumstances seem unfair. This is not the end of the story.


Maybe you are going through some tough times right now. Perhaps it seems tough times are forever!

Hang in there. When you trust in Jesus, something better is coming and we have NOOOOOO idea how great it will be!

This temporary tragedy is not where we park our life! So let's pray!!!

God - I don't understand all the things that happen around me. Sometimes, it seems like too much. Help me trust you. Help me fall into your arms Jesus. I trust you to lift me up...dust me off... and turn my eyes to yours. There I will find love, peace and hope in the understanding: This is just temporary.

I'm tramping on through the snow to Day 7. See you there!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Come to Faith Sunday for MORE Purpose Driven Life

You're invited:
The Purpose Driven Life
Featuring Writer Rick Warren's DVD
Sundays - 9 a.m.
Faith Baptist Church
Corner of Alton and High Streets
Freeburg, IL 539-3434
Come join us in our journey to PURPOSE!

*Worship featuring The Trio of Faith - 10:15 a.m.

Day 5 - Seeing Life from God's View

Have you ever taken a look at a satellite picture? At first glance, it's a mass of color and shapes ... kinda pretty, huh?

Guess what? All those colorful swirls are our dirty countries and frothy seas. Things look so much nicer when you don't get down to the nitty gritty details.

So...let's step back and look at the BIG picture. How do you see your life? I don't mean the nitty gritty: "I don't have time for anything" details. I'm talkin about your life from God's point of view:

There you are: you beautiful creation! I created you to do good things.

Your perspective on your life will influence how you invest your time, spend your money, use your talents and value your relationships.

Don't let the world shape your view of your life. That can be dangerous because our world is SOOOO off track right now. God has something to say about the world:

"Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God." - Romans 12:2

According to Rick Warren, the Bible offers three metaphors that teach us God's view of life:

1. Life is a Test
2. Life is a Trust
3. Life is a Temporary Assignment


1. Life is a Test

I didn't like this heading at first. One glance at those words and I started to sweat -- Who wants to take tests? - Yech! I get clammy just thinkin about it!

Then I read further -- Rick Warren said God watches our response to people, problems, success, conflict, illness, disappointment, even the weather (we've been tested with freezing lately!) .

Hmmm -- I can get into this. Suddenly, all this STUFF that seems to hit me is part of a development process. God's shaping my character! Good stuff!

I'm getting hit in the face and God is saying,

"What are you going to do with this?"

THAT is NEAT! This certainly gives misery meaning. God not only will watch how you react, but He'll help you respond in the right way.

God may be a teacher who gives you tests, but He also gives the ANSWERS!

How cool is that?

So... next time you are hit by major changes, delayed promises, impossible problems, unanswered prayers, undeserved criticism, and even senseless tragedy, go to God. He has the answers. He wants you to ace the test!

Also - remember - it's not about how you feel. It's about TRUTH. God is there, even when you don't feel Him near.

When you understand that life is a test, you realize that nothing is insignificant in your life. Even the smallest incident has significance for your character development.

Don't sweat the small stuff...but know it's part of your growing up.

Remember the GOOD NEWS:

God keeps His promise, and He will not allow you to be tested beyond your power to remain firm; at the time you are put to the test, He will give you the strength to endure it, and so provide you with a way out. - 1Corin10:13

2. Life on Earth is a TRUST

This second Biblical concept tells us to be good stewards of what God has given us.

Warren says: At the end of your life on earth you will be evaluated and rewarded according to how well you handled what God entrusted to you. That means everything you do, even simple daily chores, can be done to glorify God.

Kinda makes the mundane magnificent - right?

Here is our verse to remember:

"Unless you are faithful in small matters, you won't be faithful in large ones." - Luke 16:10a

Here are some good questions to consider before we plow through the snow right into Day 6:

What has happened to me that I now realize was a test from God?

What are the greatest matters God has entrusted to me?


Don't forget - Day 6 on 6 -- See you there!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Eternal Perspective - Purpose Driven Life Day 4

This life is not all there is.

WOW -- that can be a comforting thought! This chapter tells us about having an eternal perspective.

This reminds me of my reaction to 9/11 -- All of a sudden, things that seemed so important to me were no longer important.

I suddenly wanted to draw closer to my family and closer to God.

As The Purpose Driven Life says:

The closer you live to God, the smaller everything else appears.

I remember a time when my grandma was well into her 90s. She could not always hear us. She sometimes faded in and out of conversations.

But one day, when we asked her to pray over dinner -- her words were true and clear. She was in close touch with her Savior. It was beautiful to behold!

The Bible has a lot to say about Heaven. It is a place where there are no more tears and no more pain. Heaven is a place I want to be.

I'm thinkin I'll be dancin with Jesus!

With that delightful thought in mind, I should lighten up. After all, I'm just passin through this place.

So, with Chapter 4 I want to let go of some hangups.

Momentary troubles will fade...something better is coming!

If you have a relationship with God through Jesus, you don't need to fear death.

As we've talked about before, let's open up and let Jesus in:

Jesus, I don't understand everything about you, but I know you died for me. Thank you for that. I want to give you my life, my heart, my everything. I ask your forgiveness for the things I've done wrong. Basically, Lord, I'm falling into your arms. -- Amen

So, with that commitment...comes eternal life.
Let's live in the light of eternity.

When you live in light of eternity, your values change. You use your time and money more wisely. You place a higher premium on relationships and character instead of fame or wealth or achievements or even fun. Your priorities are reordered.


So, always remember: We're just passin through. Make sure you know where you are going next.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Purpose Driven Life - Day 3 - What Drives Your Life?

WOW! This chapter was tough and good! It is hinged on the question:

What drives your life?

Are you driven by guilt?

Blessed is the one whose guilts are forgiven,
whose sins are covered -Psalm 32:1


We are products of our past, but we don't have to be prisoners of it. How freeing! Mistakes, bad moves, mispoken words...we need to ask forgiveness and move forward!

This is a perfect parent thought. As a parent, I often camp on guilt. I've done the best I can for my children, but kids can make you feel guilty. (actually, WE take on the guilt!) We need to let go and focus on our purpose!

Are you driven by resentment and anger?

Those who have hurt you in the past can't continue to hurt you unless you hold on to the pain through resentment.

"Resentment kills a fool, and envy slays the simple" - Job 5 verse 2


Just take a look at that Job -- He knows what he's sayin!!!

Are you driven by fear?

"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love."
1 John 4:18


Are you driven by materialism?

Ouch! Doesn't that stuff get in the way of getting things done for God? Clutter is confining.

Self worth and net worth are not the same!

Are you driven by a need for approval?

This is where codependency often comes in. Often, we are so closely tied to friends or family or even acquaintances that we are devastated by any rejection.

One key to failure is to try to please everyone. As Jesus said:

"No one can serve two masters." Matthew 6:24

Lots to consider today. Don't be discouraged. We may have opened a wound, but only when a wound is opened can it truly heal.

Think about what drives you...say a prayer and put God in the driver seat:

God, I have to confess, for years I've let ___________________run my life. I don't have the strength to overcome my hangups, but YOU do. Take over, Jesus. I'm gonna sit next to you and rest a bit. Then I can do what you want me to do. Thanks for giving me new focus and energy. - Amen

Now, on to the GOOD STUFF:

It's OK to say, "No" !

Yeh!!!!!

When God leads you to your purpose, you don't have to do everything everyone asks you to do (or YOU think you have to do!!!)

Truth be told, I can be my biggest task-master at times.

Are the things I'm doing moving me toward God's goal for me?

Hmmmm....It's gonna take some prayer and quiet time with God to sort this out!

"Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Phil 3: 13-14


That Paul - what a guy! (he wrote that Bible Verse!) He had it all together...right? Nope! He struggled with distractions just like all of us.

It's neat to see how God used Paul, even with his hangups. Paul came back to God's purpose over and over again. So can we.

So...let's take a close look at what we are doing. Let's invite Jesus to be a part of every bit of it AND let's take care of what God's given us.

This is a good place to start...and we'll see where Chapter 4 leads!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Purpose Driven Life -- Day 2

OK - everyone from a disfunctional family raise your hand.

WOW, a lot of hands there!

Day 2 in the Purpose Driven Life tells us it really does not matter what family you come from...whether your mom and dad were great or rotten...whether you were born rich or poor...pretty or puny.

YOU are not an accident (even if your parents may have said you were!)

God had a plan for you long before you were born and God does not make mistakes.

If you want to be lifted up by God's involvement in your life, read Psalm 139. Good Stuff!

Basically, Psalm 139 says God knit you together in your mother's womb and HE will NEVER let go of those strands of yarn!

You are connected with God in an intimate and unbreakable way. You can run away, but He will find you.

You want to become unraveled? Just keep running away from the divine knitter!

So, let's stay close-knit! Read Psalm 139 a few times today. Take a gander at Romans 12 -- all Good STUFF for a God-given Purpose.

Here's our point to ponder: God uniquely created you. What areas of your personality, background, and physical appearance are you struggling to accept?

Write these things down read them to God with this prayer:

God, here's the stuff I don't like. Sorry about that. I'm giving this stuff back to you. I know you will use it. Let me know how. I love you and I want to let go of my hangups and get on with YOUR LIFE for ME! -- Amen



Bible Verse to remember: "I am your Creator. You were in my care even before you were born." - Isaiah 44:2

Here is a poem Warren shares in the book. It's a good way to end:

You are who your are for a reason
You're part of an intricate plan
You're a precious and 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's rod.
You are who you are, beloved.
Because there is a God.
-Russell Kelfer


See you in Day 3 !

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

More PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE! Come to Church Sunday!

Hey, folks! If you'd like to watch a DVD by Rick Warren and study the Purpose Driven Life a little more. Come to Faith Baptist Church in Freeburg, IL, Sundays at 9 a.m. -- Our Bible Study is taking a look at this very study! No need to call...just drop by. We'll even give you a book!

Day 1 - What on Earth Am I Here For?...It all starts with God

Welcome!

Today, amidst the ice and snow, We begin our journey into PURPOSE. I hope you have found a quiet corner (warm and safe!) to read the introduction and first Chapter of the Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren.

A group of us are tackling this book together. I am open to your comments and questions. I hope we can share what God is leading us to as we search for GOD'S PURPOSE for US!

Our Memory Verse: For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. Col. 1 verse 16

It's not all about YOU. Society screams at us to take care of ourselves ....find our way... give ourselves what we deserve...take a break...look out for #1!

Guess what? Society is wrong. Focusing on ourselves will never reveal our life's purpose.

This is such a FREEING concept! We can stop all that stressing and straining and planning and guilt tripping.... WE (I) cannot create a life of meaning apart from God.

Our purpose is not something "out there" to be strived for...It is inside, planted by a loving, awesome Father.

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to help you and not harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

We will find our purpose when we focus on HIM, not ourselves.
As God goes on to say in the Book of Jeremiah:

"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," Jeremiah 9:12,13

To discover your purpose in life, you must turn to God's Word, not the world's wisdom.

FYI you may find the packaging of your PURPOSE looks a little different than you dreamed in College days.

Don't worry. It's not about what your life looks like to others. It's about WHOSE love you reflect along the way.

Soooo.. Day 1 identity. You find it in Christ. Don't get scared. This not about religious mumbo jumbo. It's about a friendship which will last a lifetime. It's about hope and a future. It's about contentment with a companion for life....and afterlife.

WOWEE! Let's sit back and rest in that one. How about praying? It can be as simple as this:

Jesus, I don't know what my purpose is. Sometimes I'm confused and cranky, but I know you offer something better. Take my life Jesus. Here I am, warts and all. Help me rest in your day - to - day love. Envigorate me with YOUR strength and YOUR purpose. Amen

So kick back and rest and keep your feet warm. Perhaps today has a peaceful purpose of nesting with those you love. Maybe it's purpose is connecting with others in a stressful weather situation.

Whatever the situation...you are not alone.

See you in Day 2.