- Dealing with Suffering
- Searching for Meaning
- Misplaced Identity
- The World’s Solution
- Biblical View of Calling / Purpose
- It’s About God’s Purpose...Not Yours
- God does not call the prepared, He prepares the called
- I am what I am because of I AM WHO I AM
- God’s calling on my life cannot be accomplished without Him
- Purpose in the Pain
- Ecclesiastes 2: 3-8
- Ecclesiastes 2:15-17
- 2 Timothy 3: 1-5
- Romans 8:28
- Exodus 3:7-10
- Jeremiah 1:5
- Exodus 4: 1-5
- Exodus 4:10-15
- Exodus 33:14-15
- Luke 22:31-32
One of the main reasons people want to hear from God is to discover their:
- Purpose in Life
The greatest tragedy in life is not death, but a life without purpose
– – Dr. Myles Munroe
Part 1 of 2
- What is a calling?
- Finding Your Calling
Dealing with Suffering
Example: car accident
- you’re stuck in traffic
- “There wasn’t even an accident!”
If people understand the reason for something it makes it more bearable
People don’t hate pain as much if it has a purpose
People will willingly go through pain if there is a reason
- Going to the gym
- running a marathon
Losing Your Faith in God
Many people lose their faith when they suffer and don’t see a purpose
- Death of loved one
- Loss of job
- Fatal disease
- Global pandemic
How could a loving God allow this to happen?
- If I can’t think of a reason God can’t have one
- If God had a reason He would’ve told me
As Christians we believe
- God is in control
- God can use anything for good
Our Culture and Suffering
Our culture tells us our purpose is to enjoy life and avoid suffering and to do whatever makes you happy.
Do whatever makes you happy
If you don’t believe in God there is a problem with meaning because the meaning you create for yourself will be too thin to handle suffering.
The secular culture makes you find your meaning in life based on something here which will be taken away by suffering
But if you are a secular person suffering will destroy your meaning in life.
Are we evolved to be happy?
According to evolution, we are the result of ancestors that won the fight for survival and replication.
- We killed other stuff before it killed us
There are limitations to evolutionary psychology. You are not evolved to be happy. You are evolved to survive and replicate. Happiness and fulfillment is not part of that process.
- Meaning is outside of this life
Almost every religion helps you locate your meaning of life outside of this life therefore the suffering can help you accomplish your meaning in life
Searching for Meaning
Ecclesiastes 2: 3-8
3I explored with my mind how to stimulate my body with wine while my mind was guiding me wisely, and how to take hold of folly, until I could see what good there is for the sons of men to do under heaven the few years of their lives. 4I enlarged my works: I built houses for myself, I planted vineyards for myself; 5I made gardens and parks for myself and I planted in them all kinds of fruit trees; 6I made ponds of water for myself from which to irrigate a forest of growing trees. 7I bought male and female slaves and I had homeborn slaves. Also I possessed flocks and herds larger than all who preceded me in Jerusalem. 8Also, I collected for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces. I provided for myself male and female singers and the pleasures of men—many concubines.
- Solomon had all of the desires of the world
- Solomon had it all
I was dying
- To get out of high school and get to college
- To get to finish college and start my career
- To get married and start a family
- For the kids to move out and go to college
- To retire now I’m just dying
15Then I said to myself, “As is the fate of the fool, it will also befall me. Why then have I been extremely wise?” So I said to myself, “This too is vanity.” 16 For there is no lasting remembrance of the wise man as with the fool, inasmuch as in the coming days all will be forgotten. And how the wise man and the fool alike die! 17 So I hated life, for the work which had been done under the sun was grievous to me; because everything is futility and striving after wind.
What’s the Point?
What is the point of it all?
The search for your calling generally comes when you are dissatisfied with your life
When you get to the point that you’re thinking...there has to be more to life than this.
You achieved your goal, but it wasn’t rewarding
Scenario 1: Self Focused Victim
If they’re not succeeding they know exactly why:
- They’re a woman in a patriarchal society
- They’re a black man in a white male dominated world
- They didn’t have a father
- They came from the wrong neighborhood
- They were raped as a child
- They’re overweight
- They’re not a good communicator
- They’re short
- They’re tall
- They’re too attractive
- They're not rich
- They had a child at a young age
- Men are dogs
- Women can’t be satisfied
He thinks that if he had it he would get the
- Significance / status
What they look like
- They don’t know that you can control your emotions
- Have addictions or compulsions to cope with the world
When you suggest some action that they can take to fix it..
“ well you don’t understand my case is unique because I…“
“Life is not fair, so therefore it’s meaningless”
Scenario 2: Driven
They have all of the same issues, but they feel like they can do something to fix it
They know that
- They have to work twice as hard as a white man
- Get up 2 hours earlier and go to the gym
- Sleep 4 hours a day and get that degree
- First one into work and last one to leave
- Get an extra degree to catch up
- Make $100K more than everyone else
That means I have to:
- Work harder than everyone else
Can often achieve worldly success
- Manager at the company / CEO
- Top sales person
- Fit person posting gym selfies everyday “if I can do it anyone can do it”
- Entrepreneur starting their second business after the first one failed
- Kid from the ghetto that went to the NBA / NFL
Example: Tim Lydon - got books to learn
Still Not Happy
- Climbed the ladder but it was leaning against the wrong building
- Celebrity who overdoses on drugs
- NFL players who always has run ins with the laws
They achieved that thing that was keeping them from being happy, but
… they’re still not happy
They used their drive to get
- Admiration / respect of others
But they’re still empty and unfulfilled
Scenario 3: White Picket Fence
Followed society’s blueprint
- Went to school
- Got good grades
- Started a family
- Had 2 1/2 kids
Live through Kids
- Kids on the honor roll
- Identity is in their kids sports
Live through work
- Coworker who has a family but works late every night when they don’t really need to
In a passionless relationship where they get their significance from what they do outside the relationship
Society tells them that they should be happy, so they silently wonder if there’s more to life
Scenario 4 : Self Aware
Fulfil their own need for:
Able to give and receive love
They’ve been healed of most of their wounds from
- Childhood trauma
- Past relationships
They’ve discovered their true selves.
They’ve discovered that true happiness comes from inside
Quote : Madonna
- Sad is the man whose happiness is dependent upon the permission of another
- You need to learn to water your spiritual garden
Others look at him and say that he’s found true happiness within himself
Song: J Cole
The Bentley is dirty
My sneakers is dirty
But that's how I like it
Story: - dirty sneakers
- Comedian said Scared of black man with dirty sneakers
People base their identity in
- Your achievement
- Your title
- Your possessions (clothes, car, brands, neighborhood)
- Opinions of others
- Kids achievement
That kind of identity makes you desperately seek for recognition from others.
Story: Chinese Co-worker - suit at night
Most religions say you find your source of identity from something that is greater than you and is outside of you.
Having a purpose outside of yourself allows for a more fulfilling life
The World’s Solution
2 Timothy 3: 1-5
1But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.
- A form of godliness but denying its power
A Form of Godliness
Our current culture actually acknowledges the issue with identity as a problem.
Story: 3 workers breaking up rocks
- I’m making little rocks out of big rocks
- Making a living for my family
- Building a cathedral
Work that aligns with your purpose and matters to you to make the world better
people want their work to give them a pathway for expressing their purpose in ways that makes the world better … a calling
- 21% of people are searching for their calling as it applies to their career
- 31% said they are currently living a calling in their job right now
The religion of millennials is service
Passion vs Capability
What is your passion?
Everyone has driving forces that get them up in the morning and dictate their decisions and motivate our behavior.
What would you do if you knew you were going to die in three months?
What would you do if fear was not a factor?
What would you do if money was not a factor?
Do what you’re good at
What makes us happy is the feeling of capability.
Economics says that a society functions best when everyone does what they’re best at
Biblical View of Calling / Purpose
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
If you don’t know the purpose of something you will likely use it wrong
story: kid misusing something
You don’t see biblical examples of people going around looking for their calling.
It’s About God’s Purpose...Not Yours
7 The LORD said, “I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and have given heed to their cry because of their taskmasters, for I am aware of their sufferings.
8 “So I have come down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite.
9 “Now, behold, the cry of the sons of Israel has come to Me; furthermore, I have seen the oppression with which the Egyptians are oppressing them.
10 “Therefore, come now, and I will send you to Pharaoh, so that you may bring My people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt.”
- Without a creator there is no design
- Without design there is proof the purpose of the design
- Without purpose you get rid of accountability to that purpose
5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
And before you were born I consecrated you;
I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
God has a plan for you.
God does not call the prepared, he prepares the called
Exodus 4: 1-5
1Then Moses said, “What if they will not believe me or listen to what I say? For they may say, ‘The LORD has not appeared to you.’” 2The LORD said to him, “What is that in your hand?” And he said, “A staff.” 3Then He said, “Throw it on the ground.” So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it. 4 But the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand and grasp it by its tail”—so he stretched out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand— 5“that they may believe that the LORD, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.”
Moses had a passion for the Israelites
- He killed an Egyptian who was mistreating an Israelite
God is patient with me despite my lack of faith
- Strong faith wasn’t a prerequisite for Moses
I am what I am because of I AM WHO I AM
Is the sender powerful not the sendee
10Then Moses said to the LORD, “Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” 11The LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes him mute or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? 12“Now then go, and I, even I, will be with your mouth, and teach you what you are to say.” 13 But he said, “Please, Lord, now send the message by whomever You will.”14 Then the anger of the LORD burned against Moses, and He said, “Is there not your brother Aaron the Levite? I know that he speaks fluently. And moreover, behold, he is coming out to meet you; when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart.
15 “You are to speak to him and put the words in his mouth; and I, even I, will be with your mouth and his mouth, and I will teach you what you are to do.
It is not about how capable you are
God’s calling on my life cannot be accomplished without him.
14And He said, “My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.” 15Then he said to Him, “If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here.
Moses could not have freed the Israelites without God
You just surrender your body to the Lord and see what he does.
It is my role to obey it is dad‘s role to provide.
If you can do it without God then it’s not your calling
Purpose in the Pain
31 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat;
32 but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”
- Jesus gave Satan permission
- He says he will be praying for him
- He wasn’t qualified to strengthen his brothers yet
Sometimes God preparation packaged in pain
During Shelter-in-place people are complaining
- Lost jobs
- lost a lot of money
- lost a loved one to corona
- I had so many travel plans
- I can’t stop eating
- I can’t work with these kids running around
- I may be doing more harm educating my child than good
- I’m lonely
- Mad at Trump
- Mad at Lysol
- Mad at Obama
- Government is taking our rights
- 5G towers
- Are afraid of dying
I See God Working in Me
I’m not as disturbed during this season
- because I see exactly what God is working on in me
- Healing me
- Making me into a leader
- Preparing me
Realize the God may be doing something to you before he does something through you
some things that only pain can teach you
Maybe what brings you pain is what God is using to develop you for his purpose
you as an example to suffer well
strengthen brothers and sisters
Instructor: Michael Leadon
I’m Confused About My Calling | Maybe: God | Pastor Steven Furtick
Tim Keller: "Making Sense of God: An Invitation to the Skeptical" | Talks At Google
Encounters With God Series Part 4 - Burning Bush
There is a reason part three: stop complaining
How to Find and Live Your Calling | Bryan Dik | TEDxCSU
There is a purpose in your pain
How to Find your Calling
4 Questions to Help You Find Your Calling | SuperSoul Sunday | Oprah Winfrey Network
I will cry to God Most High,
To God who accomplishes all things for me.