Sermon Series: Many Gifts, One Spirit. Discerning Our Calling From God
Message 5 of 5: The Purpose Puzzle
Scripture: Luke 4:42-44
Notes from a message offered Sunday, 10/27/19 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida. This message was inspired by the Network Curriculum by Bugbee, Cousins, and Hybels.
The two most important days in your life
are the day you are born and the day you find out why. -Mark Twain
Why was I born? Why am I here? What’s my purpose? If you’re a follower of Jesus Christ, you have a purpose, a mission, a calling from God. It isn’t a secret. God wants you to know your calling and God fills you with the Holy Spirit so you may fulfill it.
Jesus knew his purpose. It gave his life focus, intention, clarity, movement, and boundaries. The same is true for us.
At daybreak, he departed and went into a deserted place. And the crowds were looking for him; and when they reached him, they wanted to prevent him from leaving them. But he said to them, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose.” So he continued proclaiming the message in the synagogues of Judea.
For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.
For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.
Jesus didn’t just say, “Follow me.” Jesus said, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19) Come follow me and join me in the great adventure of saving the world. Salvation and service.
We’re thinking, “Of course Jesus knew his purpose, Jesus was Jesus! So how do I figure out my purpose?” Three things we can do immediately.
- We ask the Holy Spirit to reveal it.
- We ask trusted, faithful friends to help us discern what we are hearing. We may have blind spots where they can see.
- We look and listen for where Christ is already at work and join him in that work.
We can dive deeper into knowing our calling from God by understanding our God-given preferences, spiritual gifts, and passion.
THE POWER OF PREFERENCES
Click Here for the worksheet
In line 1, write your name as you usually do. In line 2, write your name with your other hand. How does that feel?
Cross your arms. Now cross your arms with the other arm on top. How does that feel?
Your usual way of doing things is a preference. You could learn how to write with your other hand and cross your arms a new way, but you currently prefer to do it the way you do it. It’s what feels natural.
Preferences are neither good nor bad, they’re just preferences.
What energizes you? Reflect for a moment on how you serve others or see yourself serving others. Are you serving from a place of preference, something that feels natural to you?
A classic editorial cartoon– Which animal will climb the tree best? On your football team, which is going to be the best wide receiver? The best lineman?
Imagine someone teaching preschool Sunday school. It’s a disaster. The teacher is miserable and the kids are miserable. Why is this so? Could be many reasons.
- Is it that they’re serving in a place they’re not called to serve, not wired for it? They’re doing it out of duty. “Someone has to do it.”
- Is it because of a lack of training or confidence or help? Serving even in a way that is natural isn’t necessarily easy.
- Has it become a chore, uninspired? They’re serving in a way that is too safe or too comfortable when they’ve called to do something else that stretches them beyond their comfort zone.
Our calling can change season after season in our life. Just because we’ve served in one way for a time, it doesn’t mean its still our calling. We can have a new calling in a new season.
Your preferred place of service should be a clear, intentional discernment of how God wired you coupled with the truth of your season of life.
Let’s look at the worksheet again. Ask the Spirit to reveal the truth and speak clearly. Each is a faithful choice. You’re choosing the best choices for you from among all the good choices, the best choice for this season of life.
Check all which energize you.
- Working within the congregation
- Working out in the community
- Being upfront
- Working behind the scenes
- Working with people
- Accomplishing tasks
- Working with objects
- Strategic planning
- Visioning for the future
- Being part of a team
- Working on my own
- Consistent schedule
- Flexible schedule
Your season of life- Given this season of life, what commitment to serving is God calling you to make? What is both challenging and sustainable for you right now? This will change over time. A parent of two small children is in a very different season than a recent retiree.
- 6 times per year
- One big project a year
Putting Together the Purpose Puzzle- Holy Spirit + Spiritual Gifts + Passion + Preferences = My calling from God in this season of life
- Holy Spirit – God with us now, our Guide and Guardian. Distributes and empowers our spiritual gifts
- Spiritual Gifts – what God designed me to do
- Passion- where God invites me to do it
- Preferences- How I will do it
Examples of persons who have put together their purpose puzzle.
The litmus test for your calling from God? Does this glorify God and/or build up others?
- Discover my spiritual gifts
- Clarify my passions
- Put my purpose puzzle together with a trustworthy spiritual friend
The Purpose Puzzle © 2019 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
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