Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Finding Your Calling

How does the world's view of purpose differ from the Bible's?


  • 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:

  • Calling
  • 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
  • Childbirth

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

Ecclesiastes 2:15-17

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

  • Complain

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

  • Security
  • Connection
  • Significance / status
  • Love

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:

  • Sacrifice
  • Work harder than everyone else

Can often achieve worldly success

  • Manager at the company / CEO
  • Valedictorian
  • 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

  • Programming
  • Tennis
  • Dating

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

  • Significance
  • Security
  • Admiration / respect of others
  • Love

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:

  • Significance
  • Love
  • Security

Able to give and receive love


  • Centered
  • Grounded

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

Misplaced Identity

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)
  • School
  • Company
  • 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

  1. I’m making little rocks out of big rocks
  2. Making a living for my family
  3. 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

--Noel Jones

Passion vs Capability

Your Passion

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

God’s Calling

Romans 8:28

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

Exodus 3:7-10

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

Jeremiah 1:5

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

Exodus 4:10-15

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.

Exodus 33:14-15

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

Luke 22:31-32

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

God is:

  • 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



Psalms 57:2

I will cry to God Most High,

To God who accomplishes all things for me.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

How to Know God is Speaking - Part 6

How to discern if a message/plan/thought is from God or not.


  • @Exodus 20:4
  • Philipians 4:6-7
  • John 14:27
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:16
  • Acts 24:24-25
  • John 16:7-11


  • Review
  • The Voice of Religion
  • God’s Voice (Review)
    • Does it Agree With the Bible?
    • Get Counsel from Wise Christians
    • God Uses Other People to Confirm His Word
    • Ask God for Confirmation
    • Does it align with a Previous Word from God?
    • Does it Align With Your Purpose?
    • Things Effortlessly Fall Into Place
    • Your Heart Burns
  • Does it Bring Peace?
  • Conviction of the Holy Spirit
  • Summary

What would you do if you walked into my house and saw that I had an altar set up for Trump?

  • I had his photo
  • I had candles
  • I pray to him 3 times a day


In the series Hearing From God

How God “Speaks”

We previously discussed that God communicates with us through:

  1. Bible
  2. Prayer
  3. Voice
  4. Pastors / teachers
  5. Prophetic words
  6. Tongues / Interpretations
  7. Dreams / Visions
  8. Peace
  9. Unusual circumstances / coincidences
  10. Fleece
  11. Opening / Closing doors
  12. Bringing things to your memory
  13. Inspired thoughts
  14. Prompting of the Holy Spirit
  15. Draw your Attention to something
  16. Nature / creation
  17. Worship / music
  18. Emotions
  19. Writing
  20. Angels

How God Responds to Prayer

God responds in 5 ways

  1. Yes
  2. No
  3. Wait
  4. Confirmation / Direction / Clarity
  5. Silence

Voices We Hear

Voices / thoughts / impressions that we get aren’t necessarily all from God

The voices can originate from

  • God
  • Your Mind
  • Voice of Your Flesh
  • Your Gut
  • Voice of The World
  • Voice of The enemy
  • Voice of Religion

Your Mind

Your Own Voice

  • Your own plan
  • Your opinion 

Your Emotions

  • How you feel
  • Fear
  • Embarrassment
  • Unhappiness
  • What will people think?

Your Flesh

Lust of the Flesh

  • To want something because it feels good
  • Your physical desires and sinful tendencies

Lust of the Eyes

Desire for

  • Material goods
  • Status

Pride of Life

Desire for

  • Power
  • Significance
  • Respect

Your Gut

  • Bacteria
  • Viruses

They influence your desires

  • Cravings and addictions
  • Sweets
  • Alcoholism
  • Sexual desires
  • Obesity 

Voice of the World

  • Cares of the world

The systems that promote non-Christian perspectives

  • Science
  • Media
  • Popular opinion


  • Republican / Democrat
  • Feminists
  • Environmentalism

I am a good person because I follow these values

  • Because I follow these values and deserving of happiness

Secular beliefs are usually based on:

  • Culture / society
  • Historical context
  • Your emotions

Example: South Park Museum of tolerance

Voice of the Enemy

  1. Strongholds
  2. Temptation
  3. Fear
  4. Isolation
  5. Attacks When You’re Vulnerable
  6. Condemnation
  7. Deception
  8. Distraction
  9. The Enemy Can Influence Your Thoughts
  10. He Uses Other People

The Voice of Religion

False Doctrine 

The Popular Doctrine Isn't Always Right

Throughout the whole Bible there are many times when the majority of the people are following a wrong belief.

  • Baal worship
  • Pharisees

God would then have someone go to the people and tell them that they are wrong.

  • Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jesus

Example: God doesn’t speak anymore

  • The bible is closed
  • New Testament speaks often of The Holy Spirit communicating with you

Idol Worship

What if I had a statue of God?

@Exodus 20:4

"You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.

Praying to:

  • Mary
  • Saints

Who has heard of Warner Sallman?

Example: Warner Sallman

  • Best known artist of the Century —NY Times
  • 1940 “Head of Christ”
  • 500 million copies were sold

What if I had an altar with his painting on it?

God said not to make any idols or likeness of Him

  • That was one of the key differentiators between Jehovah and the other gods
  • Jesus is God

God’s Voice (Review)

You can’t just judge based on your personal experience or by what your church does.

How do we “test the spirit”?

Does it Agree With the Bible?

How do you know what God is going to say unless you know what He already said

How do you know how God is going to speak unless you know how he has already spoken

Get Counsel from Wise Christians

God Uses Other People to Confirm His Word

  • Pastors
  • Bible teachers
  • Fellow Christians
  • Prophets

Ask God for Confirmation

Confirmation can be through any of the ways God speaks

Does it align with a Previous Word from God?

Does it Align With Your Purpose?

Purpose vs. season 

Things Effortlessly Fall Into Place

Don’t expect this to be the normal scenario.

Your Heart Burns

You feel a deep emotion or burning pull for something. 

Does it Bring Peace?

Philippians 4:6-7

6Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


completeness, soundness, welfare, peace


Usage: peace, peace of mind; invocation of peace a common Jewish farewell, in the Hebraistic sense of the health (welfare) of an individual.

  • Strong’s Concordance

Natural / Worldly Peace

John 14:27

27“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful

The world defines  peace as to be without trouble.

  • To be free for a conflict
  • To have no stress
  • Being free of what caused you to be anxious or stressed

It is a temporary escape from an otherwise troubled existence.  

Some historians describe peace as the lul in the battle when everyone stops to reload

Example: Calgon take me away

The world pursues peace by

  • Distraction
  • Recreation
  • Drugs
  • Shopping
  • Massage
  • Yoga
  • Meditation

We’re not talking about a natural peace

You Got What You Want

Example: international tasting job

We’re not talking about a peace that comes from getting what you want

You will have a peace if it is the decision the world would obviously suggest

Sometimes Used to Justify

Some people justify bad choices by saying… I am at peace about it.

Example: move in with your side chick

  • Wife was nagging and complaining
  • Now You can play video games all day and don’t have to work
  • Now you’re at peace

Example: God told me he was going to be my husband

  • He’s the fine pastor
  • 5 other women said that
  • His wife is not at peace with that word

Supernatural Peace

What is the peace of God  that surpasses understanding?

  • Not worried
  • Not anxious
  • Not stressing

2 Thessalonians 3:16

16 Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all!

Supernatural peace is a sign when when you have peace when you don’t get what your want

  • It is not the peace you get after everything works out the way you wanted
  • That’s natural peace

Example: stop looking for a job

  • Didn’t solve the problem

Supernatural peace is not based on your circumstances

  • Natural peace  - based on things outside of you
  • Supernatural peace - based on things inside of you

Fireproof Faith

  • 3 Hebrew boys

Sometimes God will deliver you from the fire; sometimes he will make you fireproof.

Supernatural peace is usually about you not getting what you want

  • The storm doesn’t go away
  • The solution doesn’t get presented
  • You don’t get what you want

When you get a word from God and you get a supernatural peace, that’s confirmation that it’s God

You Don’t Always Get Peace

Just because it’s God doesn’t mean you’ll always have peace

Those who didn’t feel peace about the Word God gave them:

  • Jonah
  • The Israelites to go into Canaan
  • Told Hezekiah he was going to die
  • Samuel told Saul he would be king
  • Nathan told David his child would die (Bathsheba) 

Not at Peace

Acts 24:24-25

24But some days later Felix arrived with Drusilla, his wife who was a Jewess, and sent for Paul and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus. 25But as he was discussing righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix became frightened and said, “Go away for the present, and when I find time I will summon you.”

Does his lack of peace mean that God wasn’t at work?

Why was Felix afraid?

It was the conviction of the Holy Spirit

Conviction of the Holy Spirit

John 16:7-11

7“But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. 8“And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; 9concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; 11and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.

  • The Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment

Why was it to their advantage that Jesus left?

  • The Holy Spirit can be in everybody at the same time
  • God or Jesus won’t stop you from doing wrong
  • Only the Holy Spirit will convict you.

God speaks through conviction

Example: hell sermon

  • Many will join church after a fire and brimstone sermon
  • “You might get hit by a car when you leave”

Conviction vs Condemnation

Is the conviction moving you towards following Jesus?

  • Is there an obvious solution?
  • Condemnation  just make you feel shameful

Example: backslider

  •  you need to go back to church

Not Guilty

When someone is found guilty of something in court… They are convicted of the crime

  • You were judged and found guilty

Story: witness protection

We were found guilty of our sins

  • But Jesus paid our time


How to Know God is Speaking

  • Does It Agree With the Bible
  • Get Counsel from Wise Christians
  • God Uses Other People to Confirm His Word
  • Ask God for Confirmation
  • Does it align with a Previous Word from God?
  • Does it Align With Your Purpose?
  • Things Effortlessly Fall Into Place
  • Does it Bring Peace?
  • Conviction of the Holy Spirit

Instructor: Michael Leadon


How to Hear God’s Voice


Discerning the voice of God – the mission church


Discerning God‘s voice - First Baptist Church Amherst


Hearing God’s Voice - Robert Morris


Discerning God’s voice - Leighton Ford

7 Keys to Hearing God


The Man Who Painted Jesus



Supernatural peace


Let’s Stop Pretending Christianity Is Even “Christian” Anymore.



Holy Spirit

John 16

13 “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.

14 “He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you.