So far I've talked about books that are stories, or biographies, or Christian apologetics. But today I am going to break the trend and talk about a book that is only partially written. It's a real book, but it can only be filled individually, by you.
Books are so much more than stories. They can be written as cookbooks, workbooks, schoolbooks, and so forth. Today's book review is on a little workbook called Life Purpose Planning, put out by an innovative family that wants to encourage young people to think beyond the 'what' and consider the 'why' of their future direction. It's intended for students around the highschool/college age, but I think you'll find that it is applicable--and necessary--for everyone.
Great questions need great answers. Imagine driving somewhere without knowing your directions, or worse yet, your destination! The results are confusion and wasted time. Sadly, this plight accurately describes thousands of people today who become busy with the details of life and forget what God wants to do in and through them. This little workbook is designed to help identify God's purpose for you and clearly answer the second great question of life: Why am I here?
What Is Your Purpose?
By purpose, I'm not referring to whether you want to be a brain surgeon, a car mechanic, or a stay-at-home wife and mom. This quote by Oswald Chambers sums up the idea of life purpose perfectly.
"It is easier to serve God without a vision, easier to work for God without a call, because then you are not bothered by what God requires; common sense is your guide, veneered over with Christian sentiment. You will be more prosperous and successful, more leisure-hearted, if you never realize the call of God. But if once you receive a commission from Jesus Christ, the memory of what God wants will always come like a goad; you will no longer be able to work for Him on the common-sense basis." -Oswald Chambers
So in other words, this book doesn't ask "What is your vocation?" but "What is your commission?"
God has created you uniquely. He gives you talents and gifts and an individual perspective to fulfill a need in the world that only you can fill. The body of Christ and the world at large have many different needs, and God designed you with a passion to fill one of those needs. For example:
-Brother Andrew saw a need for Bibles behind the Iron Curtain. This was (and still is) his life purpose.
-Isaac Watts saw a need for high-quality music in the worship service. God gave him the talent and the passion to write many hymns that we still sing today.
-Martha Finley saw a need for good literature for young ladies to set a Christ-like example. God gave her the talent to write the Elsie Dinsmore series.
-Ken Kennedy felt called to do missionary work, but he knew that teaching was not his passion. God gave him the talent to do mechanical and building projects in Haiti and other places. He runs Only a Servant Ministries.
-George MacDonald had the passion and call to preach. When he was removed from teaching in the Church of England, he used his talent for writing stories to teach a nation-wide congregation.
-Sarah Mally saw a need for young ladies to make wise choices entering their teen years. She used her talents for Bible study, writing, and speaking, to develop the Bright Lights discipleship curriculum.
-Doug Phillips saw a need to give vision and family resources to Christian families. Using his talents for writing, speaking, and gathering a talented team of families around him, he developed Vision Forum ministries, which provides books, toys, and movies, tours abroad, and conferences around the country.
You don't have to be a pastor or a missionary to feel called by God; far from it. God wants some to be authors, some to be teachers, some to be mechanics, and some to be IT techs.
Who are you supposed to be?
This workbook has five projects:
Project One: Explore who God is calling you to be.
"Being" is God's internal working in your life: your character.
Project Two: Explore God's working in your past.
Look at recurring interests and hobbies, past activities that you liked or disliked (and why!) and the people group you feel burdened with a message for.
Project Three: Write a Life Purpose Statement
Summarize God's working in your past and your message to others in your delightful method of service to those He is calling you to minister to.
Project Four: Develop a Life Strategy
Consider your life purpose, the life roles you will fill, and what your priorities should be.
Project Five: Build a plan of action
Outline a flexible schedule that will help equip you to pursue your life purpose.
A busy life does not equal a purposeful life. Whatever vocation or activities you choose to pursue, it needs to have eternal impact. This book will help you understand your gift, your potential, and the need you can fill.
"If we work upon marble, it will perish; if we work upon brass, time will efface it; if we rear temples, they will crumble to dust; but if we work upon immortal souls, if we imbue them with principle, with the just fear of God, and love of fellow man, we engrave on those tablets something which will brighten all eternity." -Daniel Webster
Start your Life Purpose Planning journey here. If you have questions or would like to see examples, send me an email using the link on the sidebar.