The first excercise at the CREST encounter in March was to plot out my story; an exercise that was revealing and helpful in providing some clarity as I seek to better undestand my focus moving forward.
This past week I had to think about 'my purpose'. At the highest level our purpose as Christians is to glorify God in all we do, but I was being asked to articulate my unique purpose so that I could know when I was living in the fullness of my purpose, the result of which will bring glory to God.
This excercise become a confirmation of some thoughts I had shared in the previous posting about how I wanted to spend 'the rest of my earthly days' (1 Peter 2:4). I stated my unique purpose this way:
For me, I want, in the remaining days of my life, to learn to live in, to rest more fully in the presence of God and to align my life and service accordingly, living as a beloved child of God and a worshipper of the King; to be faithful to His calling in my life, participating fully in His Kingdom / His Church; faithfully proclaiming / living out the truth of God in my sphere of influence; serving and giving and seeking to 'do good' and bless others as God gives opportunity; and to be a blessing to those in my relational world, especially those closest to me; to cheer them on and give to them a legacy of faith and trust.
I had to cycle back to the core belief which has been the foundation of my life and faith: that there is a God; that He loves me and that I am in a covenant relationship with Him; that He desires to break into my life and to lead me in ways that are consistent with His highest purposes for me; that I am most blessed, most fulfilled when surrendered to His will and His ways.
The more challenging part of this week's encounter was to seek to clarify and articulate my values; what is most important to me and what influences my decisions and guides the outworking of my purpose? I was reminded that there is great joy and peace we experience when we live in alignment with our values and there is dissonance when our values are out of alignment / we violate one of them.
While there is still some work to do to further refine this process, I was able to identify the following core values:
1 - Family - this one came without much thought; the affection, devotion and sense of responsibility I feel as a husband and dad is a deeply held convicton / value
2- Refuge -- the need / desire for a balancing level of solitude and privacy; finding that safe place to rest / withdraw
3 - Serving - being used of God
4 - Togetherness - living and ministering in community
5 - Creative Leadership - not just providing leadership in my role as a pastor, but being energized by the opportunities and challenges that God provides
I share all of this with you for two reasons. One, to thank you for allowing me to be part of the CREST encounter; for providing the time and resources that have enabled me to embrace this experience. Second, and more importantly, to call you to think about your story, your beliefs, your unique purpose and the values that guide and direct your life. Such reflection may serve us all well as we seek to serve togehter and finish well for His honor and glory!
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139:14-16)