Summary: The question has haunted many in the nightmares of ruptured families. Or, as members of the body of Christ we have often been searching while questions keep jumping out at us repeatedly. “Why am I here? What is my purpose?
The web-slinging superhero has gone and done it again! Spiderman 3 opened on May 6, 2007 and on opening night grossed in excess of a staggering M$151 US – and climbing! This movie was different from Spider 1 and 2 in that Peter Parker, a.k.a. Spiderman, was forced to deal with what the overview calls “a strange black entity from another world” (source: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0413300/) that tried to bond with Peter Parker. In this strange battle the black entity fights for Parker’s essence (we call it soul) – to turn him into something sinister and diabolical. It grows to the scene where Parker, in a bar brawl, accidentally hits the love of his life, knocking her to the floor. MJ (Mary Jane) looks searchingly at him and asks Peter, “Who are you?” to which he responds, “I don’t know...”
(quote taken from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0413300/quotes)
Who among us has not been there? The question has haunted many in the nightmares of ruptured families. Or, as members of the body of Christ we have often been searching while questions keep jumping out at us repeatedly. “Why am I here? What is my purpose? What can I do to make a difference? Where do I go from here,” wherever “here” happens to be. While we are asking the questions and searching for answers there is a dark entity that seeks to stop us in the journey of truth and godliness (the Bible calls him Satan, the Devil, a Deceiver, the Father of Lies, among other names). Often the answers are not and cannot be easily answered or summarized in the delivery of programs and church structure. As we come to lead this church for the term God has appointed us, we will often push the issue of questioning whom we are and what we’re about.
In the process of discovering purposeful life in the Body of Christ, we need to be aware of two things.
1. The Purposes of the Church.
The five purposes of the church were in the Bible before Rick Warren wrote them down for us. Warren is pastor of Saddleback Church of Lake Forest, California, and author of multiple books. Among his best sellers is “Purpose Driven Life”. He did help us in that he articulated in concise format what the purposes of the Church are.
· Worship (expressing love to God) – message of Mark 12:30 – “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength” – synopsis of first four commandments. Worship is not an activity confined to time and space. It is a practice of life…
· Ministry (expressing God’s love to others by meeting needs) – The teacher of the law who asked Jesus which of the Ten Commandments is the most important, received the answer of worship and then ministry – “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ’Love your neighbor as yourself.’” This command captures the heart of the last six of the Ten Commandments and these two commands are is the Mission Statement of the whole Bible. This is the Bible in a nutshell. Jesus acknowledged that no command is greater than these.
· Evangelism (telling others that God wants to be in relationship with them) – Mark 16:15: And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone, everywhere.”
· Fellowship (living in community as followers of Christ) – Acts 2:42: “They joined with the other believers and devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, sharing in the Lord’s Supper and in prayer.” Lord’s Supper: there is sufficient teaching to demonstrate that this was an experience of going from house to house having a regular meal as opposed to a rite or ceremony of the church.
· Discipleship (helping each other and others to follow Christ) – Matthew 28:19, just before Jesus ascended to heaven he commanded, “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations”.
Understanding these purposes for us as members of the Body of Christ, we consider
2. Your Purpose in the Church
Most of us can recall a time in our younger lives when we talked about what we planned to be when we grew up. That often changed of course, as many people never ‘became’ what they talked about. I was watching a biography recently about Andre the Giant, a professional wrestler whose glory days were lived out in the WWF (World Wrestling Federation). The biographer spoke of significant challenges that Andre faced in life, being rejected because of his enormous size. He was well over 7 feet tall in his early twenties. The commentator spoke of Andre’s feelings of being viewed as “a freak”. It was Andre’s introduction to professional wrestling that the commentator said of Andre, “He found his calling”.