04-28 & 29-2018
Dr. E. Dale Locke and Rev. Trevor Johnston
Series: Upside Down
Week 4: Finding Purpose in a World Without Meaning
1. See if you can recite 1 Corinthians 1:27 from memory. Here are some hints to get you started:
“But God chose the f______sh th_____gs of the w_____d to shame the w____k: God ch_____ the w___k things of the world to sh_____e the st______g.”
Now that you have spent some time with this verse over the past few weeks, share your understanding of it, how it has affected you, or whether you agree with it or not.
2. Pastor Dale reminded us in his introduction that Jesus turned the upside down world on its ear when he said things like:
• To find your life, you have to lose it (Matthew 16:25)
• To be great, become like a child (Matthew 18:2-3)
• When someone strikes you, turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:39)
• To be first, become last (Matthew 20:16)
• To be exalted, humble yourself (Matthew 23:12)
• Love those who hate you (Matthew 5:44)
• Give out of your own poverty (Luke 21:4)
Why are these ideas so counter cultural, both now and when Jesus spoke them?
3. Pastor Dale said we all have a need for purpose in our life.
The definition of the word purpose is: The reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.
Do you know anyone who you would say with certainty they have a purpose in life? Tell about that person and his/her purpose. How do you know that person has a purpose and lives his/her life accordingly?
4. Frederick Beuchner, American theologian and writer, says: “My purpose is the place where my deep gladness meets the world’s deep hunger.”
Discuss what you think he means by that. How does it help you discern what your purpose might be?
5. Here are a few people who knew their purpose; who have worked toward turning the upside-down world back up for the sake of Jesus:
a. Susannah Wesley – her motherhood to her many children, 2 of which are Charles and John Wesley, evangelists and founders of Methodism
b. John Newton – dedicated his life to the eradication of slavery; wrote ‘Amazing Grace’
c. Florence Nightingale – founder of modern nursing
d. Rosa Parks – the Mother of the Modern Day Civil Rights Movement
e. Chuck Colson – founded Prison Fellowship International, the largest prison ministry on the planet
f. Danielle Strickland – founder of Brave, which is an organization dedicated to rescuing foster care children from the world of sex trafficking
Their purpose took shape when they sought the Lord and His will for their lives, and they were willing to do what it took to live into that purpose. Are they any different or better than anyone else? What do you suppose made them able to make such a difference in the world? Their own strength and conviction? Or something else?
6. The Apostle Paul writes in Acts: 20:24: “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”
What would you say, according to this passage, Paul’s life purpose was? Talk about what you know about his life that got him to that point of conviction and purpose.
7. Bertrand Russell, philosopher, says “Unless one assumes a God, the question of life’s purpose is meaningless.”
Share what you think he means by that. Can life have meaning for a person who doesn’t believe in God? Why or why not?
8. Read the Message Translation of Colossians 1:16: “For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible got started in him and finds its purpose in him.”
According to this passage of scripture, is there anything in the created universe that can find its purpose without God?
9. Two Observations:
1. The world is struggling under the weight of a purposeless existence.
Give some examples that points to the reality of the 1st observation. What seems to be the biggest stumbling block for people living a purposeless existence?
2. Finding my purpose is how God wants to get His work done in my life and in the world.
Why do you think God wants to use US to get His work done in our lives and in the world?
10. If you believe you know your purpose, are you willing to share it with the group? Are you willing to allow the group to hold you accountable for pursuing your purpose?
11. Pray together for each person gathered with you right now to discern their purpose and to live into it. If you’re willing, commit to pray regularly for anyone who is still seeking to discern their purpose, that they find that place where their deep gladness meets the world’s deepest hunger.