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Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Are You a No Man?

It was a year ago this month that the leadership of my church unanimously agreed to engage in the 40 Days of Purpose campaign. I’d heard of it, but it had come along about the time I was being recalled to active duty. I was a bit preoccupied the next two years.

So for the past twelve months we’ve been preparing for this major campaign which draws heavily upon the time and energy of any church leadership. I have some wonderful people who have accepted the challenge to be involved in something bigger than themselves.

Pastor Rick Warren wrote an excellent book entitled, “The Purpose Driven Life.” From this evolved the 40 Days of Purpose campaign. It addresses one major question that every living person has asked at some time in their life: What on earth am I here for?

This is an excellent question, and one that should be seriously considered. Simplistic answers satisfy no one. But this is a question that strikes at the very core of man’s longing. Why am I here? Does it really matter? Does anyone even care?

The atheist, Bertrand Russell, said, “Unless you assume a God, the question of life’s purpose is meaningless.” The Russian novelist, Andrei Bitov, grew up under Communist rule. He had an encounter with God one day while riding the metro in St. Petersburg. His conclusion: “Without God, life makes no sense.”

Many through the ages have endeavored to answer the riddle of man’s existence. Essayist and philosopher, Thomas Carlyle, said, “The man without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder – a waif, a nothing, a no man.”

Interestingly, it was President Abraham Lincoln who made the obvious statement about man’s questioned existence when he said, “Surely God would not have created such a being as a man to exist only for a day! No, no, man was made for immortality.”

So then, why on earth are you here? Can you answer this question satisfactorily? Rick Warren states that man exists for five clear reasons:
1. Worship – You were Planned for God’s Pleasure
2. Fellowship – You were Formed for God’s Family
3. Discipleship – You were Created to Become like Christ
4. Ministry – You were Shaped for Serving God
5. Evangelism – You were Made for a Mission

All of these reasons for our existence are to be experienced in community. That community is God’s church.

Many people distance themselves from God and the church because they have been hurt deeply by someone, or a specific event in their lives. One thing Rick Warren said that rang with me is, “God never wastes a hurt.” What hurts are there in your life that God wants to use, and thereby bring healing to you?

In my seven years as the pastor of the Ripon Free Methodist Church, I cannot remember one time when the church has been this excited about anything. A major part of the 40 Days of Purpose campaign is the development of and involvement in small groups. This is where the community aspect of our reasons for existence comes into focus. The feedback I have been getting throughout the first week has been nothing short of exhilarating. Barely one week into this 40 Day campaign and my wife is already suggesting to me that we plan to do this again next year.

You were not meant to be a “no man.” God created you for a purpose. The primary purpose is to be in relationship with him. He already knows everything about you. He now invites you to get to know him. Care to take the challenge?

Look around. I’m certain there’s a church engaged in the 40 Days of Purpose campaign in your community. If not, they soon will be. Get involved.

You are on course to meet God.

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