You have purpose!

This Advent season, I’ve been using a friend’s book, “ADVENT Encounter” as my guide… Each week of Advent is marked by a different theme, with this week’s theme being PURPOSE. I really resonated with the premise that no matter WHO we are, WHAT we do/our job title (or lack thereof,) or HOW mundane, insignificant, or blah our lives seem, we ALL have purpose.

In the story of Jesus’ birth, one of the places this pops up is with the shepherds tasked with caring for their sheep in the open pastures by night. Who were the shepherds? Traditionally, shepherds were the one’s in the family structure that could be spared for the mundane labor of caring for sheep. This included the very young, the old, & others who weren’t needed for more ‘vital’ family jobs… low man/woman on the totem pole got this job.  (For example, the story of David’s being anointed as king, found HERE, comes to mind. When the prophet Samuel asked David’s father, Jesse, to gather ALL his sons for a special meal & celebration, he brought everyone. Everyone, that is, except David, the youngest, the runt. He was left out tending the sheep. He wasn’t thought to be significant enough to invite. You get the picture. David ended up being the very one that Samuel was there to anoint.)

The shepherds in the story of Jesus were in the middle of nowhere outside the sleepy town of Bethlehem when they saw the angelic hosts declaring “A Savior is born here today!” THEY were the ones who God chose to announce His Good News to, & they were the 1st to greet baby Jesus & His parents, & to share that news with others. They had a purpose, a God-given purpose, something that didn’t depend on their social standing, their real/perceived intelligence, or how well they were/were not regarded by others.

My mentor used to say, “There are no unimportant roles or jobs in the kingdom of God.” See, God doesn’t rank our importance the way much of society does – it’s not about our accomplishments, wealth, job title, academics, etc… it’s about our willingness & availability to God. Personalizing this, EVERYTHING I do is significant, because of WHO I’m doing it for. Ephesians 1 references how we live, work, & play for the glory of God –> pointing to Him in & through everything we do. When I’m cleaning the toilets, I’m doing it to the glory of God. When I’m serving in a place of special significance & honor, I’m doing it to the glory of God. The venue might change, but the motivation behind it doesn’t. I have purpose – to bring glory to God.

This ADVENT/Christmas season, I want to encourage you to consider this: BE & DO what Jesus would be BEING & DOING if He was walking in your shoes. Your purpose is clear: BE a blessing; DO good; LEAVE peace in your wake: & SHARE God’s Good News when given the opportunity.

O Holy Night #4 – Making Wrongs, Right…

Over the last few weeks of our “O Holy Night” series, I have really been enjoying spending time reviewing the revelation of God’s goodness & faithfulness to His people. First, in the accounts of the time between the book of Malachi & the Gospels – seeing God’s working in & through the ‘silent times.’ I have been encouraged with the promises of new hope given to Joseph, Mary, Zechariah, & Elizabeth – which signaled the advent of God’s plan. I have been challenged in the stories of the “waiting time,” aka, the time between God’s promise being MADE & God’s promise being FULFILLED. In preparation for this week’s theme, I have been thinking about a couple of Scriptures that declare a couple of the main purposes Jesus Christ came to earth.

These Scriptures are:

John 10:10 The thief (our enemy, the devil,) has come only to steal, kill, & destroy. I came that they may have life & have it abundantly.
1 John 3:8b …The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.

Think about that – Christ came to give us life & life abundantly – & also to destroy the works of the devil. This enemy has been humanity’s adversary since God created people in His image – & the enemy has been working to steal, kill, destroy. As we look around our world, it is easy to find evidences that this satan has been busy.

I love that Christ is actively at work as well – destroying that which the enemy has meant for our harm & damage. That Christ can undo, correct, heal, renovate, restore, & transform those things & make them something beautiful.

This Sunday, the message is called, “O Holy Night #4 – Making Wrongs, Right.” We will have our friend, Mike Mercer from Compassion First (CF) with us to talk about a couple of ways that we can participate in the mission of God to destroy the works of the enemy, make some wrongs, right, & also help some precious people begin to walk into & live out the abundant life God intends for us. Hillside will be receiving a special offering at the end of the service to help support the “Holy Night” initiative – an outreach to the cemetery prostitutes (& their families) of Surabaya, Indonesia. Please consider participating in this offering, & in praying for the work of CF as they continue to work to make wrongs, right, in the Name of Jesus.