Today it's St. Patrick's Day.
I talked to Mary Anne about living a simple life on a farm somewhere a lot warmer than Boston. We've laid out a retirement plan that hopefully includes not working. ;o) There isn't much holding us here and the cost of living is just plain stupid.
Some days I feel trapped by the rats, and occasionally I get a few days off an run one of them over.
Rick Warren spent a lot of time writing and teaching on the Purpose Driven Life. I was reviewing those purposes listed below. I am not a huge fan of Warren since his flip-flop on Prop 8 in CA and I find his stuff sort of elementary. It is however; engaging for the average American trying to eek out a Christian existence. Even so, I thought there was something deeper in his thoughts than he was able to articulate in his books and videos.
I see it as sort of a checklist for the average Christian (What is that? HERE are the essentials.). As always, I try to see if there is a message in there for me; maybe one that will resonate with you as well. So here is my personal purpose evaluation.
1: You Were Planned for God's Pleasure (Worship) - Worship services or corporate worship is pretty standard in these parts: music, giving, sermon and a chance to get prayer if you want. I see that as more spectating than actually worship. Everybody has a different idea of what worship is. I see it as a chance to give to God whatever we have, a praise, an offering, a song, a prayer, or at least an open heart.
2: You Were Formed for God's Family (Fellowship) - A lot of folks would see this as hobnobbing with fellow believers. I guess that is accurate to some degree. It maybe includes a small group, a Bible study, or a church picnic.
3: You Were Created to Become Like Christ (Discipleship) - this is the path to making a solid believer who is part of something. Disciples are passed just being being "saved" as that is just not enough for them. They are learning to eat meat, not just drink milk. Hopefully they are being trained, and taught for the works that God has prepared for them to step into.
4: You Were Shaped for Serving God (Ministry) - lots of churches would have some list of church programs to fill, and a pastor's vision to fulfill. Churches are filling slots, how about you, do you want a job serving God?
5: You Were Made for a Mission (Mission) - this is the path of maturity that hopefully we'll stay on until the last trumpet.
It all seems to so easy; progressive in fact. But any Christian knows that even the simplest of instructions can be hard. Truthfully, I find the standardized church-in-a-box stuff boring. (What is church anyway?) That said, here is my take on Warren's principals of purpose.
Worship - radically abandoned to God. Communicating our imperfect passion and love to the King. It is listening for His response anywhere, any time or any place. Communion of the Spirit; deep calling deep - a presence so profound that we are intoxicated - stepping outside of time and reaching for heaven. Drinking in the Living Water or prostrate at the altar of cleansing fire. Passion so deep that our spirit cries out for His. We are undone.
Fellowship - in the Spirit as John was on the Lord's day. A loving communion of friends who drop just about anything to be there in your time of need. Fellowship with those that pray for you, think of you, and hear God for your life. Ones who become close as David and Jonathon.
Discipleship - Growing in maturity and grace - mentored by those that bring out your spiritual gifting, lovingly point out your faults, and bring revelation, character and maturity to your life. The cycle of training and being trained, growing and eventually equipping others.
Ministry - Using your gifts in an accountable and responsible way to build the church, and bring others into fellowship with Christ. Fulfilling the call of God on your life. Setting aside talent for anointing, and programs for for seeing what the Father is doing, then doing it.
Mission - Be all that God has made you, and look for every opportunity to be yourself. Our mission is to be Christ like. Like John the Baptist we need to decrease so that He can increase. The true mission of the church is make Jesus visible, and the church invisible.
Being a Christian a very personal journey, yet we need others to walk it with us. Even Paul, while in chains, had those that came to serve him.
How about you, what's personal worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry and mission all about?