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Redefining Life: Purpose: My Purpose

(Paperback - May 2005)
$9.99 - Online Price
Parable recommended!

Overview

Tough questions for college gradsDo you know people who truly believe their life matters? If so, you probably notice that this belief affects everything they do. These individuals have a grasp, however faint or obvious it might be, of why they're really here. This raises a deep question for the rest of us: What makes the difference between merely being alive and really living? In this discussion guide you will be challenged to ask yourself some tough questions about your significance-and where you find it. (series statement - to be set off somehow) With unflinching honesty and challenge, the REDEFINING LIFE series helps young adults in their early to mid twenties ask essential, life-defining questions that will characterize their lives from this point forward. Each of these practical studies includes readings from books, magazines, and The Message Bible designed to spark lively discussion and self-reflection.

Details

  • SKU: 9781576838273
  • SKU10: 1576838277
  • Title: Redefining Life: Purpose: My Purpose
  • Series: Redefining Life
  • Qty Remaining Online: 2
  • Publisher: Th1nk Books
  • Date Published: May 2005
  • Pages: 144
  • Weight lbs: 0.39
  • Dimensions: 8.42" L x 6.20" W x 0.39" H
  • Features: Price on Product, Concordance, Bibliography
  • Category: BIBLICAL STUDIES
  • Subject: Biblical Studies - General

Chapter Excerpt


Chapter One

LESSON 1

the compelling

God, your God, is above all a compassionate God. In the end he will not abandon you, he won't bring you to ruin, he won't forget the covenant with your ancestors which he swore to them. Ask questions. Find out what has been going on all these years before you were born. Deuteronomy 4:31-32

the defining line

We start every lesson by asking you to do a sometimes-difficult thing: define the core truths about the study topic as it relates to you right now. Use this "beginning place" to set the foundation for the lesson. You can then build, change, adjust, and otherwise redefine your life from here.

You can travel along a set of train tracks for a long time without knowing much about the journey. You may be able to tell someone the place where you started, and you can read the destination off your ticket stub. But there's no guarantee that you'll be able to tell someone much about the train itself or the wonder of travel.

How about your life journey? You know the beginning (it's likely chronicled in embarrassing baby pictures), and the ending is the same for everyone: death. But the wonder of it . do you know that? Can you articulate the experience of this life path you're traveling? Do you know what cities you'll pass through - where the tracks will take you before that ultimate destination?

Think for a moment about why you're engaged in this study. What compelled you to pick up this book? Why were you willing to join with other spiritual pilgrims? Record your answers.

Now dig a little deeper. What motivates you to grow in your life and in your faith? What compels you to go to work or class every day? What gets you out of bed? Use the space below to describe what really drives you to move forward.

Consider sharing your responses with your group when you meet.

read The Buy-In

Genesis 3:1-5

The serpent was clever, more clever than any wild animal GOD had made. He spoke to the Woman: "Do I understand that God told you not to eat from any tree in the garden?"

The Woman said to the serpent, "Not at all. We can eat from the trees in the garden. It's only about the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, 'Don't eat from it; don't even touch it or you'll die.'"

The serpent told the Woman, "You won't die. God knows that the moment you eat from that tree, you'll see what's really going on. You'll be just like God, knowing everything, ranging all the way from good to evil."

think

Why do you think the serpent's words were so enticing to Eve? Do you think they're still enticing today?

Would you be tempted to "see what's really going on"? Why or why not?

What prompts people (include yourself here) to want to know God's plans? Do you think you'd live life differently if you knew God's plans for you? Or is the discovery of those plans part of the plan itself ?

In what ways do you battle the desire to be like God?

pray

read Building Purpose Apart from God

Genesis 11:2-8

It so happened that as they moved out of the east, they came upon a plain in the land of Shinar and settled down.

They said to one another, "Come, let's make bricks and fire them well." They used brick for stone and tar for mortar.

Then they said, "Come, let's build ourselves a city and a tower that reaches Heaven. Let's make ourselves famous so we won't be scattered here and there across the Earth."

God came down to look over the city and the tower those people had built.

God took one look and said, "One people, one language; why, this is only a first step. No telling what they'll come up with next - they'll stop at nothing! Come, we'll go down and garble their speech so they won't understand each other." Then GOD scattered them from there all over the world. And they had to quit building the city.

think

What does this passage suggest happens when people try to find their purpose apart from God?

Why do you think there is a tendency for humans to develop a purpose that doesn't involve God? In what ways do you wrestle with this tendency?

Where do you find your purpose most easily? Is this something you'd like to change? Explain.

Why do you think it's so easy for people to find their purpose in their work?

How do you separate your work from your value and purpose?

pray

read Compelling Love

From "Finding Yourself in 'Love'" by Myles Werntz

Over the course of that year, I fell for a girl that was too hot for Texas itself. I wrote short, pithy emails that waxed eloquently about my life and what I was thinking and reading, and too little about things that made any difference. I forgot my friends. I did a lot of dumb things that, four years later, I try to remember with any sense of dignity.

Like falling in love

In retrospect, I wish I could say that I had listened to the still small voice that was saying in no uncertain terms, "THIS IS A REALLY BAD IDEA." Not bad on the level of putting our car into reverse in mid-traffic - more bad along the lines of attaching my hungry little heart to situations I knew would never answer my yearnings. Always obey these little impulses; they're more than retrograde evolutionary leftovers - they are the pinprick of God, the still small voice and the .re in the bush. Ignore them at your own risk.

As Augustine points out, we do a lot of things for love, stupid and otherwise. But isn't it just like God, Augustine says, to use the one thing we cherish, the one thing that burns us like terror, to draw us to God. We pursue and are pursued by God, out of love. We do it for love.

In his Confessions, Augustine reveals something very simple about this whole matter that levels my silliness about love: that, at the same time it is readily available, it is also the hardest thing to come by in all creation. Above all desires of the human heart, love renders us unable to speak about anything and everything. It levels the male verbally illiterate, a sponge with legs. From birth, we crawl towards it, toddle towards it, walk, run, stride, and hobble towards the one force in the universe that God compels all creation to respond by: love.

But here's the trick: love, when it's real, is hot as summer asphalt. It makes no promise to coddle or always reaffirm us. Rather, it makes the solemn oath to never leave and to burn the hell out of us - to make us real, to leave us without illusions about ourselves or the world.

In all their glory, all other forces in life are nothing more than the heat without the fire. They are the reflection of the sun off of the windowpane, inviting us to stick our dirty paws up to the glass, warming our hands, but come sundown, leaving us cold and wanting. And like dogs, we keep forgetting the trick and coming back every day, hoping that maybe this will be the day that the glass will be warmer, maybe warm enough to hold onto the heat through the night. But love, love burns bright enough to compel us, but hot enough to keep us humble, drawn to it in awe, but humbled by its magnitude. It makes no offers of safety; in fact, it offers to level us to the ground.

think

Respond to this quote: "Love burns bright enough to compel us, but hot enough to keep us humble."

Why do people crave love? What do you think drives that craving? What role does God have in this human craving for love?

List three crazy things love has compelled you to do. (Share at least one with the group.)

How are loving and being loved tied into your purpose? How do they shape your decisions?

pray

read Love Actually

From You Didn't Complete Me: When "the One" Turns Out to Be Just Someone by JoAnna Harris

Singles Bible studies are always the same it seems - full of sideways glances and awkward introductions. Everyone acting as if they are there to study God's Word, not to meet someone interesting. And maybe it's both. We were told to cluster into groups of five and answer an age-old question: What drives you? Lots of people jumped to say money, and I agreed. Some said power. Career. Fame. After further discussion, we decided there's one main thing that drives us. Acceptance. We want money to be rich to be accepted. We want power to gain respect to gain acceptance. We want fame to be known to be accepted. We want to be prettier or thinner to be accepted. To be loved. And maybe that's the root of it all. We want to be loved.

When you have a boyfriend or a husband, strangers know that someone loves you. You don't have to prove to anyone that you are lovable because it's evident when you arrive at parties as part of a pair. Everyone knows. The movie ticket seller knows. The waiter knows. Your coworkers know. Someone loves you. You have been accepted. And if you don't have some visible badge of acceptance, people simply ask, trying to figure out if you're okay. How's your love life? Do you have a girlfriend? Are you dating anyone? Is there anyone special in your life? If you say no, people either feel sorry for you or look you up and down wondering what you should fix. And it doesn't end if you are actually dating someone. Then there's, When are you getting engaged? When's the wedding? When do you think he'll ask? Do you think she'll say yes? I don't know about you, but these statements can tend to sound like, Does anyone love you? Are you acceptable? Are you worth anything?

think

What drives you? Do you agree with Harris that acceptance is the core issue, or do you think there is something more?

Whether or not you are married, consider this question: What impact do you think marriage has on purpose? In what ways does a person's purpose change in marriage? In what ways does it stay the same? How does that affect how you're living now?

How does feeling accepted impact the decisions you make in life? At work? Among friends? With family? With God?

Do you ever wrestle with God's acceptance of you? How so?

pray

read A Purpose for Everything?

2 Corinthians 7:5-11

When we arrived in Macedonia province, we couldn't settle down. The fights in the church and the fears in our hearts kept us on pins and needles. We couldn't relax because we didn't know how it would turn out. Then the God who lifts up the downcast lifted our heads and our hearts with the arrival of Titus. We were glad just to see him, but the true reassurance came in what he told us about you: how much you cared, how much you grieved, how concerned you were for me. I went from worry to tranquility in no time!

I know I distressed you greatly with my letter. Although I felt awful at the time, I don't feel at all bad now that I see how it turned out. The letter upset you, but only for a while. Now I'm glad - not that you were upset, but that you were jarred into turning things around. You let the distress bring you to God, not drive you from him. The result was all gain, no loss.

Distress that drives us to God does that. It turns us around. It gets us back in the way of salvation. We never regret that kind of pain. But those who let distress drive them away from God are full of regrets, end up on a deathbed of regrets.

And now, isn't it wonderful all the ways in which this distress has goaded you closer to God? You're more alive, more concerned, more sensitive, more reverent, more human, more passionate, more responsible. Looked at from any angle, you've come out of this with purity of heart.

think

The passage says, "Distress that drives us to God does that. It turns us around." In what ways has distress brought you closer to God? In what ways has it taken you further away from Him?

Do you think everything has a purpose? Explain.

In your experience, what purpose does pain have? How can pain have a redemptive purpose?

How does pain - or an aversion to pain - motivate you?

pray

live The Redefining

Take a few moments to skim through the notes you've made in these readings. What do they tell you about the things that compel you, that define your purpose? Based on what you've read and discussed, is there anything you want to change? Describe this below.

What, if anything, is stopping you from making this change?

Why is knowing your purpose so important? Where are you in the journey of knowing your purpose? Is your purpose tangible? Is it something you're still trying to discover? Do you find yourself wrestling with your purpose indirectly through other circumstances and decisions? Explain.

In the space below, write a statement of your purpose as you understand it. Remember that it's just a rough draft.

Talk with a close friend about all of the above. Brainstorm together about what it might take to move toward God in this area of your life. Determine what this looks like in a practical sense and then list any measurable goals you want to shoot for here. Review these goals each week to see how you're doing.

(Continues.)

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