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Summary: A look at the purpose of our lives beginning wiht spiritual gifts. Utilizes Rick Warren’s SHAPE diagram.

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Dare to Pursue

“Pursuing Purpose”

October 1, 2006

Me:

Everyone wants to have a purpose in life. We all want to feel needed and feel like we are contributing to something that really matters. It is easy for us to get caught up into thinking that we don’t really make a difference or we aren’t that important. But all of us play an important role in life.

This past summer my family and I took a vacation to Tennessee to visit some family. We had a great time doing all kinds of things. One thing that stands out in my mind was a guy we passed several times during our week. We were in Athens where my sister lives and a few different times we had to make a pilgrimage to Wal-Mart. Now, I have been to Wal-Mart before, but every time we went to the one in Athens, there was this guy there that I remember.

He was the greeter guy at Wal-Mart. You know the type: they are older in years, they put smiley face stickers on kids and they give you a shopping cart. We see them all the time. Next time your in Wal-Mart and one of them greets you, go up and give them a big hug. They love that!

Anyway, this greeter guy at Wal-Mart wasn’t like the ones you normally see. He was obviously a Vietnam War veteran and was in a wheelchair from apparent wounds he received. But every time we walked in or out he raised his arms, said something cheerful and made you feel like you were walking in his front door. That guy made shopping at Wally World better for everybody.

You:

Have you ever thought, “Man, I just don’t matter.”? Have you ever believed that you have nothing to contribute? Have you ever thought that you have nothing that would make a difference in church life? Well today I hope to show you that everyone matters. Everyone has potential. Potential simply means you haven’t done anything yet. We want to take your potential and make it a reality.

You have been specifically shaped for ministry. In fact, for the next few weeks we are going to look at pursuing our purpose using the acronym S.H.A.P.E. This is not original with me, some guy named Rick Warren made this popular in church life, but it is a great way to understand how God made us and what God has for us to do.

S= SPIRITUAL GIFTS

H= HEART DESIRES

A= ABILITIES

P= PERSONALITY

E= EXPERIENCES

All of those things equal out to how God created you and gifted you to be used in church life. Now you may think that you have nothing to offer in church life, but that is not true. Everyone, no matter their age, their giftedness or their background has something to offer in ministry in the church community.

Let me show you a video of a church that was thinking outside the box when they hired a staff guy to fill an unusual role in their church life.

**Show “Barry Bates” Video

Now, that may not seem like you, but you are gifted in some area for a specific reason. Today we want to help you begin to discover that reason.

God:

God made you the way you are. You are not an accident. Your spiritual gifts, heart desires, abilities, personality and experiences are all part of what God has in mind for you to use to serve him.

“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—and how well I know it.” Psalm 139:13-14 (NLT)

We often associate this passage with babies and sanctity of life, but it really has a deeper meaning. It shows us that God created all of us. He didn’t leave out any parts of our lives from his plan.

God created you with a purpose in mind.

Everything in your life is designed by God for a purpose. Now, there are things in your life that God never intended, but those are a result of being human and living in a sinful world. When we allow God to take control of every area of our lives, we are able to use even the ugly things in our life for God’s glory.

You are a one-of-a-kind creation of God.

With that in mind, we want to look today at the idea of spiritual gifts.

Spiritual gifts are God-given abilities given to believers for serving God.

“The unspiritual self, just as it is by nature, can’t receive the gifts of God’s Spirit. There’s no capacity for them. They seem like so much silliness. Spirit can be known only by spirit—God’s Spirit and our spirits in open communion.” 1 Corinthians 2:14 (The Message)

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