Summary: You can’t understand or comprehend your purpose in life by starting with YOU! It is essential that you start with GOD!
13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful. I know that full well. 15 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, 16your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast are the sum of them! 18a Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.
The captain of the ship looked into the dark and saw faint lights in the distance. Immediately he told his signalman to send a message, “Alter your course 10 degrees south.” A return message was promptly received: “Alter your course 10 degrees north.”
The captain was angered; his commmand had been ignored. So he sent a second message: “Alter your course 10 degrees south – I am the Captain!” Soon another message was received: “Alter your course 10 degrees north – I am Seaman Third Class Jones.”
Immediately the captain sent a third message — knowing the fear it would evoke: “Alter your course 10 degrees south. I am a battleship.” Then the reply came, “Alter your course 10 degrees north. I am a lighthouse.”1
This sermon series is intended to help you answer the most important question in life: “What was God thinking when He created me?” When you discover the answer, you will find your purpose for living. When you discover your purpose, you will receive many instructions from God’s Word and the Holy Spirit to “Alter your course 10 degrees.”
Along with this series, I am recommending that you read, The Purpose-Driven Life (Zondervan) by Rick Warren. My goal is that each person at MFA will start the journey of The Purpose-Driven Life by the end of the year. Imagine what could happen in a congregation that is united in purpose.
In The Star Tribune on November 2, 2003, Bob von Sternberg’s heading reads, “Purpose for life? Millions buy book.” Bob says, “The numbers are eye-popping, more than 5.6 million copies of a book in the hands of readers. The Purpose-Driven Life has ridden high on the best seller’s list since it was published last year, attracting readers such as President Bush, his wife, Laura, and several top advisors. Corportations such as Coca-Cola and Wal-Mart have passed it on to their employees. The concepts that Rick Warren teaches have touched the lives of over 300,000 pastors world-wide.”2
The most recent brain-child of Rick Warren is his 40-Days of Purpose. The 40 day campaign includes Power Point material, sermons, small group meetings, and most notably a daily reading of Warren’s book. Churches all over the Pacific Northwest and around the country are experiencing a fresh outpouring of God’s Spirit with 40-Days of Purpose.
Understanding your purpose in life is more important than your job, more critical than your financial portfolio, and more significant than your personal goals in life. If you fail to understand God’s purpose for your life, you will live in a constant state of dissatisfaction, confusion, and misguided priorities. We live in a day of how-to and self-help. The problem is that all this does is compound the problem of not starting in the right place.
Imagine being lost in the mountains; you come upon some hikers and ask for directions, and they say, “You can’t get there from here. You must start on the other side of the mountain.” So it is with life. You can’t understand or comprehend your purpose in life by starting with YOU! It is essential that you start with GOD!3
You’re only here because God intended to use you in His plan for humanity. He has designed His universal plan for man, and it’s incomplete without you. Our text today reminds us that God made you, and you can bring Him great pleasure. You are the object of countless millions multiplied by millions of His thoughts (Psalm 139:17).
God wants you to become all He created you to be. God had His hand in your creation, and until you understand that, life will never make sense to you. “I am your creator. You were in my care even before you were born.” Isaiah 44:2a (CEV) As Rick Warren says, “You were born by His purpose and for His purpose.”
The search for purpose of life has puzzled people for thousands of years. That’s because we typically begin at the wrong starting point - ourselves. Say this with me three times, “It all starts with God. It’s not about me!” Isn’t it amazing that it took an atheist, Bertrand Russell, to remind us of this insight? Russell said: “Unless you assume a God, the question of life’s purpose is meaningless.”4