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Summary: To know what life is all about, it’s important to begin in the right place. For Christians, begin with our heavenly seating place! (This series gives all due credit to Rick Warren who has written the excellent book!)

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Begin in the Right Place

Purpose Driven Series #1

Cornwall/Montreal

August 2, 2003

Beginnings are important and have a great bearing on where we end up in particular endeavours. If someone wants to end up with a Ph.D., but doesn’t have a high school education, that becomes more difficult- not impossible- just more difficult. In many puzzles, especially those matchstick puzzles, where you’re supposed to move only a certain number to change a figure, where you begin is important. On the way back to Montreal bringing in the mission team group for Rwanda, the girls in my van were asking riddles. "There’s a dead man lying in the desert, and the only thing near him is a rock, but he had no contact with that rock; how did he die?" Where you start determines the end you come to in trying to figure that one out.

Currently, our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms has been much in the news because of the court rulings on two subjects- decriminalization of use of marijuana and the subject of gay marriage and the need to change the definition of marriage to accommodate a group that claims discrimination. Amazingly, the charter begins with these words: Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law. In Canada, we begin with certain enshrined rights, and they include

 Freedom of expression

Freedom of conscience and religion

Freedom to gather in peaceful groups

The right to live free from discrimination

The right to receive services from the Government of Canada in English or French

The right to vote and run for office

The right to live and work anywhere in Canada

According to one source I found, the Charter reflects the pride of Canadians in the multicultural fabric of our society. It protects the rights of women, Aboriginal people and minority language groups.

Somehow from this beginning, we have come to where we are right now in Canada.

Advertising begins with people, of course, and much of it is dedicated to persuading people that they CAN have whatever they want to have. Such ideas as, ‘you owe it to yourself’, and ‘you can have’, appeal to individuals and a certain inherent selfishness.

Where we begin determines where we end up.

As people search for the meaning to their lives, again, their starting point makes a big difference to where they end up. Normally, people begin with themselves and ask a lot of self-centred questions about goals, ambitions, dreams, and the future, but this focus never can get them to where they want to go, in understanding the purpose for their life. Books and books have been written to try to plumb the depths of the answer about the purpose of life, but the fact that new books still are being written indicates that the answer has not been discovered. Much as a vacuum cleaner cannot understand its purpose but has to look to its creator to understand, so do we need to look beyond ourselves to understand our purpose in living.

Actually, way back in Eden, our first parents made a fundamental choice in this regard. They accepted a choice, that God hadn’t given to them, and they had an opportunity to choose either revelation from God or self-focus and selfishness and learning that way. Actually, the options are revelation or speculation.

So, people often are looking from their own perspectives, only. But what if they change their position? Often, in life, if we simply change our position or place in a room or in an argument, we see things quite differently. Some of you need to change where you sit in church- you’d see things differently, amazingly- I know, I’ve done this over the years. What happens if people change their position and choose to sit where Jesus is sitting?

Eph. 2.4-7- if we sit where Jesus sits rather than where people sit, our viewpoint changes radically! And when we look at the question of our purpose, we see things quite differently. This is an important perspective for us, who are Christian, of course, We have to begin in the right place.

The Bible tells us about God’s role in our process of self-discovery.

Col. 1.16- everything begins in Jesus and finds its purpose there.

Job 12.10- God directs lives of all- our lives are in his hand. You cannot arrive at your life’s purpose by starting with a focus on yourself. You must begin with God, your Creator. You exist only because God wills that you exist. You were made by God and for God, and until you understand that, life will never make sense. It is only in God that we discover our origin, our identity, our meaning, our purpose, our significance, and our destiny. Every other path leads to a dead end.

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