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December 2012
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Pearl 31: Life Patterns

TOPIC: Purpose and Opportunities

"Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus,
tired as he was from the journey,
sat down by the well. It was about noon.
When a Samaritan woman came to draw water,
Jesus said to her, 'Will you give me a drink?'” - John 4:6-7.

Jesus sat down to rest and wait for lunch, but the Father had other ideas and brought a needy woman to Him. You seldom have to go looking for purpose, it almost always comes looking for you.  God wants you to fulfill your purpose more than you do and that's why He brings the opportunities, people and situations across your path. Think about your life as far back as possible and see what situation has repeatedly sought you out to be involved? What scenario or problem always finds you because you can help or have some answers?

Lord, I know You are not trying to trick me by bringing things into my life to test whether or not I will or will not engage them. Help me to see any life patterns of things that always seem to find me so that I can be involved because You want me involved. Help me not to miss anything so I can recognize my purpose.

Pearl 30: Divine Energy

TOPIC:  Purpose and Energy    

"I became a servant of this gospel by the gift
of God’s grace given me through the working of his power" - Ephesians 3:7.

The word for power here is derived from the Greek 'energeo,' from which the English word 'energy' comes. Your purpose is a gift and it comes through a divine working of His power in you.  It also energizes you, so much so that you can lose sleep and not eat while functioning in purpose and still be effective and joyful.  What are you energized to do?  What do you do that, when you do it, you sense God's energy flowing with and through you? 

Lord, I thank You for my purpose, whether or not I can see what it is. I also thank You for your divine energy and power that works through me in purpose, even if I am not clear what that purpose is. I trust you that You will show me purpose and also help me see where Your energy flows most freely in my life.

Pearl 29: A Different Perspective

TOPIC: Purpose and Occupation

"Our dear friend Luke, the doctor,
and Demas send greetings" - Colossians 4:14.

Luke reported what Paul did to make money in Acts and Paul returned the favor by telling us what Luke did in Colossians.  Neither man introduced or identified themselves by what they did to earn a living, but by what they did that gave them joy and expressed purpose. If you love missions but sell insurance, for example, perhaps you should introduce yourself as a missionary, even if you only go abroad for two weeks a year.  How do you see yourself where money, occupation and purpose are concerned?  What identity is uppermost in your mind? Do you need a change of thinking and perspective on this matter?

Lord, if I keep on doing and thinking as I always have, I will continue to get the same results.  I need to see my life. work and world differently and I need Your help to do so. Help me see myself from a purpose perspective and then give me the courage to state that to the world, not fearing criticism or ridicule.

Pearl 28: Your Joy, Not Your Job

TOPIC: Purpose and Occupation    

"There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus,
who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla,
because Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome.
Paul went to see them, and because he was a tentmaker
as they were, he stayed and worked with them" - Acts 18:2-3.

Paul wrote 13 letters, but never once told us what he did to make money.  Yet in every letter he told us about his purpose, which was to take the gospel to the Gentiles. Paul did not take his identity from what he did to make money, but rather from what he did that gave him the greatest fulfillment. You may or may not make money from your purpose, but it is the main reason you are here and alive. Have you been defining yourself by your occupation instead of purpose? If you are frustrated with your job, what can you do after works hours that is purpose-related?

Lord, I thank You for Your provision, but often my work is not a good expression of who I am. Yet my culture urges me to define myself by what I do for a living. Help me be free from this thinking and to see my purpose in a new light so I can describe myself to others and myself by my joy and not my job.

Help the Widows in Kenya

I wrote Pastor Peter because Sheran White, one of our team members going to Kenya with me, has raised almost $3,000 to invest in a widows' program in Kenya.  I wanted to work with Peter because of his integrity and pastoral position in his community.  Here is what he wrote back to me:

Dear Dr. John,

We are happy for your coming and for all the time you have invested in planning for this trip. Am happy to let you know that we have already identified a total of 10 widows who can start a pilot project for the request you had proposed to me.The team met and the ladies expressed different challenges they undergo as widows:

1. Among the most outstanding were loneliness and isolation from the general community.
2. Financial challenges, for many were dependent of their husbands.
3. Lack of vocational trainings and entrepreneurship skills.

As a team we proposed ways of addressing this challenges and WAPIS is to take first the role of coordinating a support group where these team of women can be meeting to share together.

- WAPIS will also coordinate a training for them on entrepreneurship.
- The team proposed the women can do a joint  business venture of tailoring, where we could first specialize on designing school uniforms. Or alternatively they can do outside catering activities.

As WAPIS we are to join hands with a few in the group to look at financial implications of every venture. We hope to come up with a viable venture that will transform the lives of these women and others whom we shall recruit as we progress. Thanks for trusting us for this humbling task to empower these women.

He is the reason for our living.

Pastor Peter

Would you like to join us in funding this venture to help the widows?  If so, there is still time to give.  You can give through my website or let me know you are sending a tax-deductible check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882.  If you let me know, I will front the money for your donation until we return, since we depart this coming Thursday.  Thank you! 

Pearl 27: Looking for You

TOPIC: Purpose and Fulfillment   

"For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house
and welcomed all who came to see him. He proclaimed
the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—
with all boldness and without hindrance!" - Acts 28:30-31.

After all Paul had been through and even though he was a chained prisoner in Rome, God was with him to fulfill his purpose. He did not have to go looking for people to whom he could preach; they came looking for him, right to his very home! What's more, tradition has it that Paul led every one of his Roman guards to Jesus! That is the power of purpose; you don't have to go looking for it, it will come looking for you. What group of people or activity always seem to find you, even if you are in a crowd? What need presents itself to you regularly so you can provide the answer or cure?

Lord, I acknowledge that I have a purpose!  Sometimes it is difficult to see because it is so second nature to me. Help me recognize what always seems to find me, and then help me make sense out of that to define my purpose. Once I see and say it, help me be bold to do it, just like Paul was in Rome.

Pearl 26: Encouragement

TOPIC: Purpose and Fear

"Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong
and whom I serve stood beside me and said,
‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar;
and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you'" - Acts 27:23-24.

When all on the ship to Rome appeared lost, an angel appeared to Paul, reminding Him of God's promise that he would witness to Caesar. Paul in turn encouraged everyone else with the words with which God had encouraged him. When you are functioning in purpose, God will provide abundant grace to help and encourage you.  Are you giving your all to your purpose? Or are you sitting on the sidelines in fear, hoping that God will do for you what only you can do for yourself, and that is obey His will for your life?

Lord, I need Your encouragement but I know I can only receive it when I have earned it. And I earn it by obediently taking steps to complete the purpose assignment You have given me. Forgive me for waiting for You to do what You expect me to do, and that is act in faith and purposeful hope.


if you are going to give toward the widows and orphans in Kenya, now would be a great time to do so!  I depart this coming Thursday. You can give via my website or let me know that you are sending a check. 

Pearl 25: Reassurance

TOPIC: Purpose and Fear   

"One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision:
'Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent'" - Acts 18:9.

Somone once said when the Lord tells you not to be afraid, it's usually too late! It is hard to imagine Paul being afraid, but he was in this instance. The Lord appeared to him to reassure him that he was doing well and that God would protect him. Your purpose can be a fearful thing because it seems so big or because you don't know how you will achieve it. Don't expect God to reassure you, however, unless you are doing something about and with your purpose. Are you afraid of your purpose? Of what specifically are you fearful? Are you expecting encouragement when you are not really engaged in your purpose?

Lord, I am afraid of many things: what others think, what I think, failure, success, poverty, growth.  It all seems so formidable to me. I am not asking for another confirmation of what I am to do, but I am asking that You affirm and encourage me today and every day as I take steps of purpose.

Pearl 24: Purposeful Teams

TOPIC: Purpose and Teamwork

"On the contrary, they recognized that I had been
entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel
to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been
to the circumcised." - Galatians 2:7.

It is important that you know your purpose so you can tell others what you do best. It's just as important to know the purpose of others, so you can know where their shoulders are broadest, so to speak, and where you can rely on them the most. Paul knew Peter's purpose. Peter knew Paul's. The other apostles knew Peter's and Paul's. That is why the early church grew, for everyone functioned in their purpose and gifts and God empowered them to be successful. Do you know your purpose? Can you describe the purpose of those with whom you work, live, and/or minister?

Lord, I need clarity of purpose so I can know what I have to offer my family, team and church. I need the same kind of clarity to know the purpose of my spouse, children, co-workers and team members. Make every team I am part of a well-oiled machine that can do great things for You in the power of purpose.

Pearl 23: Floating on Purpose

TOPIC: Purpose and Parenting

“At that time Moses was born, and he was no ordinary child.
For three months he was cared for by his family" - Acts 7:20.

All newborns look pretty much alike but Moses' parents saw something in their baby boy that was different. What did they see?  They saw purpose!  While all the other baby boys were being thrown into the river, they kept theirs for as long as they could. Then they complied with the edict, the only difference being they put him in a floating basket first. From there, Moses' purpose kept him safe and directed him into Pharaoh's household. If you have children in your family or work with them, what do you see? Do you see the problems or the potential? Have you released those children to God's will and purpose instead of your own?

Lord, I thank You for the children in my life. At times, I tend to look at their weaknesses and not their purpose in You. Help me to see it clearly and then help me know what I can do to promote and develop that potential. Then give me grace to release them so they can float on their purpose like Moses did on his.