Inspiration for Your God Given Purpose

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In anything we do, there should be a purpose. In a grammar  lesson in eighth grade Mrs. O’Neill said, “Paul, give me a sentence with a direct object.” Paul replied, “Everyone thinks you are the best teacher in the school.” “Thank you, Paul,” responded Mrs. O’Neill, “but what is the object?” “To get the best mark possible,” said Paul.  When we have a purpose, it reduces frustration and keeps us on a steady course. It increases our enthusiasm by  making our life meaningful with a future and a hope. We are able to concentrate on a target and we are able to work better as a team because there is cooperation to proceed in the same direction.

All teams are made up of individuals. Think about it: if every individual on a team is getting a hit in baseball or softball, the team will score a lot of runs. In a similar way, an organization or business will be successful if every individual chooses to be enthusiastic about their company and has a drive to be the best they can at their job. The key then is to help individuals find their role on the team and develop a game plan using their God given talent.

Getting enthused about what you do has to come from within. For me, each day begins with a daily Bible reading and prayer. I’ve never gone to seminary but I’ve been a student of the Bible for nearly thirty years and a volunteer for my church tech team for over ten years now. Recently, I’ve set out to create a Bible study guide at This Day with God ; using my background in computers and business with ideas to help individuals get prepared for their day.

Repeated day in and day out, I believe reading the Bible can result in long-term, far-reaching benefits right now and of course for eternity. The power to change for the Christian is found in three tools that God gives us. The first is His Word. The Bible is useful to teach us what is right. As the athlete gains stamina and strength with exercise, the Christian gains faith by reading the Bible. Faith grows the more the Bible is read. The second tool is the Holy Spirit. Through prayer we can receive directions and develop plans to be more self-disciplined. The third is the church where we have the opportunity to develop teamwork by learning together, caring for others together, and enjoying the company of friends together.

There are three types of motivation most leaders use; fear, incentives, and empowerment. Fear would be like the threat of being demoted or fired. Incentives are like a salary increase or a bonus. Empowerment is more internal which results in motivation being sustained over long periods of time. While on earth, Jesus followed the empowerment type of leadership by selecting twelve disciples and giving them the authority to give sight to the blind, heal the sick, and feed the poor.

Empowerment is about letting people take ownership; building up the right thoughts over a period of time. Jimmy Johnson, the coach of the Dallas Cowboys football team who won two Super bowls in the 1990’s once said, “Give people enough guidance to make the decisions you want them to make. Don’t tell them what to do, but encourage them to do what is best”.

Doing something over and over again builds self-discipline. An athlete may run or lift weights to build stamina and strength. A sports team will practice so that they are disciplined to play at their best. A student studies so they understand the material and can do well on test. One tool to Self-discipline is looking at your daily routine. Members of a health club were having their first meeting. The director of the group said. “Now, I’d like each of you to give the facts of your daily routine.” Several people spoke, admitting their excesses, and then one obviously overweight member said, “I eat moderately, I drink moderately, and I exercise frequently.” “Hmm?” said the manager. “And are you sure you have nothing else to add?” “Well, yes, “said the member, “I lie extensively.”

What brings purpose to your life? Is it to live for God and do what He wants; to understand how things work and to share with others so that their path to understanding is made easier? Is it a desire to have spiritual communion and be strengthened each day? Are the things of God your treasure? Do you ask God for help and dream of the possibilities? In Acts 17:1-15, Paul found it to be much easier to share about Christ when the listener desired to believe. The lesson is to stimulate interest so one is eager to examine for themselves the priceless principles found in the scriptures.

To become purpose driven, here are a few tools that might help. In the previous series of writings, some ideas have been presented to lay the ground work for developing a purpose. Now we are starting to get into some specific plans of action or what I’m referring to as a game plan. Use the Purpose Tool Template to begin by going to the Game Plan tab at this link: Game Plan and use it like a compass to keep you going in the right direction.

Use the Game Plan to keep track of daily, weekly, monthly, and annual task. Also use it to log ideas, thoughts, and dreams for continual improvement. Ask for God’s help in prayer and seek a purpose for which He gives you. When He does, take action by writing it down and trying to  answer the following questions?

  • Is my God given purpose specific and can I write specific actions to take?
  • Is my purpose something I’ve talked to God about in prayer and not something someone else has pressured me into?
  • Can I write out my God given purpose in a positive way?
  • Am I willing to make some personality changes to fulfill the purpose God has given?

Once an idea or dream meets the requirements listed above, start taking action by using a God given purpose tool. Here is a link to an example I’ve done: Example. Here is also a generic template you can download and modify for your own God given purpose: Template. Remember this, your career or whatever you do throughout your day might be your God given purpose.

Be optimistic because God has plans for us all. His plans for us are magnificent in wisdom and it is His purpose that prevails. As recorded in Proverbs 16:3, commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. God has explained to us the reason for sending Christ, a plan he decided on long ago. The Bible teaches to plan our work and then carry those plans into action. Those that move by guesswork without a practical plan are like cars without steering wheels. Sooner or later there is going to be a crash.

We all wish to be thought of in a positive way. But the most important desire should be hearing Jesus say at the finish line, “Well done my good and faithful servant”. Wish for faith to overcome what competes with the things of God; long for hope and the patience to follow His will. Desire God’s love given through Christ and receive divine power. Then share with others this message with not only your words but your actions. Wish that your thoughts are dominated by the uplifting spirit of God and not controlled by stress and worry.

This day, be driven by the things of God; ask for help and think of the possibilities. There may need to be some adjustments as you go down the road but maintain that faith and look forward to the reward.

Here is the link to the first post of the “God’s Plan for Us” series with links to all ten posts: Link

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Empowerment to Fulfill the Dreams God has Given

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I want to tell you about a true success story. It’s about two farmers that developed something we all enjoy today. One farmer was good at producing eggs. He had it down to a science and was really good at it. Another farmer had focused on developing a great herd of dairy cows. They were both good at what they did but they were even better when they mixed their strengths together to make batches of ice cream – known as the best ice cream in the country, Blue Bell.

There are so many lessons to be learned from businesses, from sports, science, and other disciplines. It’s so important to know what your strengths are and be confident. To know what others strengths are and to complement them. But of most importance is to lay claim to the ONE who unites us all, Jesus Christ who gives us the advantage needed to have true success.

We should know where we stand and where we want to go. Some float through life doing things for which they have no passion. They are consumed by their weaknesses. They never discover the benefit they could provide to our society. We should Identify the strengths that reflect God’s creative activity and uniquely distinguishes as one set apart by Him. My pastor, Steve Ramsdell once said in a sermon that each of us should discover who we are as individuals and the spark that we can provide. Be willing to let that spark shine bright in the dark places and accomplish the mission that God has for us.

My Dad was a coach when I was a young boy, it was great because I was allowed to travel with the team and help with things like making sure the players had water or Gatorade to drink. There was a player on one of the teams that had always been a lineman until the coaches noticed something. The player was not only big and strong but was also fast. They ask the player to switch to running back before his junior year in high school. He went on to be an all American in both high school and college. He even played as a professional in the NFL. In one college game, Roosevelt Leaks ran for over 350 yards.

Sometimes we need help in knowing what our role should be and how our skills can best help the team. The Self-Evaluation Inventory worksheet at this link can help paint a clear picture of an individual’s present life and give them the empowerment to fulfill the dreams God has given.

Once we know what our priorities are, we can take action in a logical, reasonable, and organized fashion. Establishment of values and priorities helps to make decisions because we know where to go to next. In the Purpose Tool Template, there is a tab at the bottom of the worksheet called Game Plan. This can be used as a road map to keep track of the journey through life.

Each area of life (faith, family, finances & career, fitness, and fun) is like a system. To keep the system running efficiently, a few tasks are done on a daily basis, some are done weekly, others may be done monthly, and others may be done on a specific date. Each day, read a mission statement, highlight the task that needs to be done, and keep track of the time spent on each task. Every so often, think about each task and document any thoughts or ideas; continually looking for improvement.

When our eyes are clearly fixed on an objective, with intermediate points as guides, we follow an unswerving path to the goal line. I’ve read stories about Babe Ruth the great home run hitter for the New York Yankees. Sometimes he would point to the bleachers over the right field fence with his bat; letting everyone know where he planned to hit the ball. In the same way, we should be able to point to what we want to accomplish.

A football team studies the competition by looking at game film to know the upcoming opponents tendencies. We too face competition. It is anything that holds us back like fear, despair, or lack of time. So, study the film called life to come up with plans for tomorrow. Think accurately and make adjustments to get in a successful position.

As I was growing up, my Dad and I would spend time together in the back yard learning how to hit a baseball. My Dad taught me how to hit left handed first. He knew that lefties have the advantage over right-handed pitchers because the curve ball is not as effective. He knew it would be easier for me to naturally hit right-handed if I wanted to and be a switch hitter. This thinking helped tremendously throughout my career in little league, in high school, and in college.

Sharing wisdom is even more meaningful when we use it to connect our children and others to God. As my Pastor Steve Ramsdell has said before, the Bible is God’s game plan. We can read, study, memorize, and apply God’s word. By asking questions and seeking answers, we can discover lessons found in the Bible. By documenting these lessons, learning from each other, and collecting pictures to help us see the intangible qualities of Christ, we can be on the clear path of success.

In 1969 as a boy growing up, I loved space and science. Probably one reason was because it was on the news back then. Today, you turn on the news and all you see is stories about violence, crime, and other negatives. I wish news organizations would look for some positives every once in a while. Of course, it might help if our leaders produced a climate where some positives could occur so kids today could dream like we used to.

Take a look at this 1 minute 11 seconds video of the 1969 Apollo 11 mission which was the first manned mission to land on the moon Neil Armstrong One Small Step.

Throughout the next week, take a look at the Priorities tab within the Purpose Tool Template. Continue to record your assets (talents and skills) and the benefits you receive from them. Also, here is the first post in the series with links to all the other posts of this series: God’s Plan for Us.

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The Keys to Successfully Realizing Your God Given Purpose

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Thoughts

A lot of times the things we think look good end up not being so good. The things we don’t think will be good end up being what’s really good and useful. If the things of God are what we cherish, then we have all we need. Paraphrasing what my pastor, Steve Ramsdell once said in a sermon, “Over the course of life, most good things don’t happen magically or suddenly. They are the result of a predetermined request, an ongoing commitment to build momentum for life”. Here is a link to the Podcast player for inspiration at any time or any place: FUMC Sermon Podcast.

Vince Lombardi, the great football coach of the Green Bay Packers once said, “I firmly believe that a man’s finest hour – his greatest fulfillment to all he holds dear is the moment when he works his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle –victorious”. The great thing about sports is that goals are defined. Everyone on the team has one common goal. In football, it’s getting the ball across the goal line. In basketball, it’s getting the ball in the basket. In baseball or softball, it’s getting more teammates to home base than the other team. In sports and in life, there are keys to success and it all starts by planning to win.

Plans

A baseball coach once made the statement that hitting is about 90% mental. I remember a story my high school baseball coach told our team the day before a tournament. He gave a talk to the team about a golfer that was sick. He would lay in his bed dreaming about playing golf. In his dreams he would always see himself hitting the perfect shot. This went on for several weeks as he played rounds of golf in his head. When he got over his sickness several weeks later, he was able to go out to the golf course and shoot his best round of golf ever.

Many great Athletes practice in their minds before they compete in their sport. In baseball, a hitter might visualize the pitcher leaning, starting his windup, rocking back and seeing his arm whip over his head. They might see the seams of the ball. It is bigger than usual and they stride into the pitch. The bat comes around and they swing through the ball. Then they feel the ball hitting the sweet part of the bat and how the ball jumps off the bat. The lesson to remember is that your mind has to see it and believe it before it will achieve it.

No one wants to look back on life and have to say, “if only I had done this or that when I was younger”. To step ahead, there needs to be a plan that meets values and needs. A person can use the List of Dreams (tab at the bottom of spreadsheet) within the Purpose Tool Template at this link as a blueprint in building plans that match their values. Take a look at the Self-evaluation Inventory at this link and examine each evaluation item set up in the Purpose Tool Template worksheet. Then click on the tab at the bottom called WK1. You are welcome to click file, then save as, and then save to your own computer for personal use.

Like athletes planning out their victory, plan out activities. Write out quotes, Bible verses, points made in sermons, and links to videos. These will be used to inspire, support plans, and provide a map to staying on course. It’s also a good idea to plan out a timeline because deadlines are important. They act like the clock at a sporting event as the 4th quarter approaches and everyone becomes more focused before time runs out.

Desires

Desire is a force that leads champions.  One of the reasons I think sports is so popular is that you can see examples of the desire to win. Michael Jordan was voted ESPN’s athlete of the century in 1999. The teams he played on just won. He had a need to win and would find a way for his team to win. When Michael Jordan was in his early years of High School, he was told he was not tall enough and good enough to make the basketball team. Desire in him recognized no such word as impossible and accepted no such reality as failure. NCAA championship at North Carolina, All-American, Olympic gold medalist, perennial all-star, NBA most valuable player numerous times, and 6 NBA world championships are the result.

Confidence and Determination

By writing out plans, confidence will grow with each action step accomplished. For plans not accomplished, some adjustments may be needed. Either habits or attitudes need to be transformed or one has to ruffle some feathers to get teammates moving in the right direction. As written about in It Takes Courage, sometimes courage is needed to get everyone going in the same direction.

Determination is needed to stick to plans and continue to pursue them. The Declaration of Independence was a written statement to keep the United States on course. In the same way, personal written statements, favorite inspirational videos, sermon notes, favorite Bible verses, and photos can build determination. They can inspire and help individuals stay focused on their mission.

Be determined by going the extra mile to follow through on plans regardless of obstacles, criticism, or circumstances. In many cases, there is not much difference between 1st and 2nd place. The little extra effort makes a big difference. In success and in failure, we should not dwell on the past but should look at the present and future; always giving our best.

I once heard a story about a professor who gave an exam on English literature just before Christmas. One student handed in a very short paper reading, “God only knows the answer to this question; Merry Christmas!” The professor returned the paper after Christmas with this note: “God gets an A; you get an F. Happy New Year!”

In sports, there are certain points within a game when an individual or team either comes through or not. In baseball or softball, it’s when runners are in scoring position and all that is needed is a clutch hit. Some batters are good at getting a hit at the right time. They seem to be able to turn it up a notch when needed most. In football, it may be taking advantage of a fumble recovery or interception and then scoring a touchdown. It’s the same in business. There are times when an individual can make a big difference for their company by going the extra mile for a customer. That customer may be the one that gives a major contract for the company.

As individual’s, we are not selling a product, but we are selling ourselves. It’s our personal brand and if we do what’s right, we have a greater chance to be rewarded. Learn from stories like the Eric Liddell story (depicted in the Oscar-winning 1981 film Chariots of Fire) who was a sprinter for Great Britain in 1924. He made the finals in the Olympic 100 meters but had a problem because the race was on a Sunday morning. He didn’t run on Sundays because he believed that was a day to honor God. He made an adjustment and instead of running the 100 meters on Sunday, ran the 400 meters on Monday. He understood what was really important and what the real race in life was. He went the extra distance and won.

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