Summary: The very reason we gather is in response to the Divine call of God and His purposes. The problem is that the ideas we associate with “church” can come to mean so much less.
Why are you here? That’s the question I want to begin with today.
We might naturally divide that question as to whether it refers to being here in terms of
existing… or being here in this gathering.
I’m referring to BOTH our purpose for being here in terms of existing… as well as
being here as a people gathered together. I believe that both of those should be
deeply related. For if our lives have a Divine purpose… THAT is the purpose that we
should gather around.
The very reason we gather is in response to the Divine call of God and His purposes.
The problem is that the ideas we associate with “church” can come to mean so
much less. We may find ourselves simply wanting some moral foundations… or
some inspiration… or believe it’s our duty. But the essence of church is not a place
or program… nor even a particular gathering. The essence of church is that of joining
together in response to the claim and calling of God.
So I want to begin this Fall… with a series entitled “The Call” focused upon
God’s purposes for our lives both individually… but also the common call that
shapes us. As we consider the common call that shapes us, this will also be a
great series for capturing the vision and values that help define the Westside
But I want to begin with the question itself… the very foundations of PURPOSE.
It’s a topic Rick Warren addressed so well in his best-seller The Purpose Driven
Life and I’ll draw from his thoughts as we set out.
Why are we here? - No question is more fundamental… more formative…
> We function through the constant application of recognizing the purpose of
everything around us. Car… chair… pen…. BUT NOT OUR VERY SELVES.
Clarity of purpose is essential to PROTECTION of life’s value..
If you don’t know something’s purpose, it is likely to be abused. When you don’t know
the purpose of something, it is likely to be misused, or abused.
Clarity of purpose is essential to life’s PACE.
Today we are increasing our speed in most dimensions of life… able to DO far more
activity than ever before…yet we have a decreasing sense of purpose and direction.
Without clarity of purpose… we have no priorities to help us discern from life’s endless
possibilities and choices.
Clarity of purpose is essential to facing life’s PROBLEMS.
I have found it interesting that while so many people want to get married… if I ask
what is the purpose of marriage… few of us have any clear answer. Marriage is hard…
and without any clear basis for assessing if it’s fulfilling it’s true purpose… the
challenges become defining.
> The same is true of life…. We need a clarity of purpose to put life’s problems in
perspective… to grasp a sense of meaning and purpose that transcends the problems.
A true sense of happiness requires a deeper answer to life’s deepest needs.
The two most fundamental needs of every human soul are SECURITY
(acceptance / belonging / relationship) and SIGNIFICANCE (worth / meaning).
Most people live their entire lives without ever knowing "WHY?" They exists
year after year with no idea of why they live or God’s purpose for their lives.
As a result, people try different ways to find security and significance …
• Some of us may look for happiness by acquiring possessions.
• Some of us may look for happiness by experiencing pleasure.
• Some of us may look for happiness by gaining prestige and power.
• Some of us may look for happiness by gaining popularity and the favor of people.
Rick Warren describes (actually just paraphrase)
A guy named Dr. Hugh Moorhead, who is the Chairman at the Department of
Philosophy at the Northeastern University, once wrote to 250 well-known
philosophers, scientists, writers and intellectuals of the world and asked
them, “What is the purpose of Life.” And then he published all of their
responses in a book. Some of these people offered their best guesses. Some
admitted they made up a purpose in life. Some admitted they didn’t have any
idea as to what the purpose of life was and if Dr. Moorhead knew, would be
please let them know. Carl Jung, the famous psychiatrist said, “I don’t
know the meaning, the purpose of life, but it looks as if something were
meant by it.”
You know, those are tragic statements folks, because the life without purpose
isn’t a life worth living. It is no coincidence that the suicide rate in our
society has gone up. It’s now the No. 2 killer of teenage students. You
see, if you take God out of the equation, you don’t really have very many
Our current culture is tending towards a “spiritual DYI” approach … spiritual ‘do