Sermon:  Living a Called Life

Summary:  Our identity and purpose should be ordered not be an inner drive for personal 
success and notoriety, but by the call of God.  Characteristics of being called includes 
listening to God, understanding your stewardship, having a deep sense of God's purpose, 
allowing God to define you rather than something else, and a sense of unshakable peace 
and joy.

Know:  God's calling is one that we need to take time to reflect on so that we can have a clear 
sense of it and order our lives accordingly

Feel:  A sense of the emptiness of human centered endeavors, and especially of the 
fulfillment of a God called and God ordered life.  

Do:  Reflect on personal motivation.  Identify God's purposes for my life.  Express God's 
purposes in a concise way. 

Text:  Phil 3:4-10

Scripture Reading:  Gal 2:20

1.  Last time looked at negative aspects of drivenness
	a.  Saul was driven by something deep within himself
	b.  King David was driven by something outside of himself - God
	c.   I choose to call this "being called"
		- God usually doesn't "drive" people like cattle
		- Jesus "leads" people as a shepherd, "draws" all people to him
		- God "whispered" to Elijah in the cave
2.  ILL:  Movie Horse Whisperer
	a.  Tom Booker, played by Robert Redford - gift of "gentling" horses
	b.  A tense New York Editor in unbelief as she watches transformation
		-  Editor's cell phone goes off, gallops to far end of pasture
	c.  Booker walks into pasture, sits down 
	d.  Waits for what seems to be hours, horse inches closer and closer
		- Finally, close enough to touch
		- Finally allows itself to be led safely back to its stall
3.  As a general rule, God forces no one, which is why it is a "calling"
4.  We will look at characteristics of the called person this morning  

I.  Listens to God
	A.  Obviously, a person who is called is listening for God
	B.  How do you listen for the call of God?
		1.  (Ps 1:1-2) - Meditates
			a.  Not transcendental meditation
			b.  In Hebrew, another word is "muse"
			c.  Musings, are when you think about something
		2.  (Col 4:2) - Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it
			a.  Paul was a man of prayer
			b.  Typical for him to write prayers in his letters
		3.  This is what set David apart from Saul
			a.  Saul didn't really listen for God
				- Didn't build an altar until chap 14
				- God never answered him.  Why?
				-  Saul didn't seek God
				-  Saul already had his mind made up
			b.  David's life was all about loving, pleasing, & serving God
				- Ps 16:1-2, 5
				- David was a man of prayer
	C.  A lady called me several times wanting prayers
		1.  Wanted to marry a man, and she wanted him so bad
		2.  In our conversation, found out this guy engaged
			a.  I told her that it was probably not meant to be
			b.  She wanted to pray God would make it happen
			c.  She wouldn't accept any other possibility
			d.  I asked her - What if God says no?
		3.  She wanted to talk about nothing else
		4.  She wasn't really interested in God, only in him granting her 
		5.  She was not tuned in to God.  ILL:  Hear Shane's voice as baby
	D.  How do you listen?
		1.  Read, meditate, reflect
		2.  We live in a noisy world, need to go to quiet place
		3.  When you listen, you will see that a called person…..

II.  Understands Stewardship
	A.  What is stewardship?
		1.  In ancient time, often used of a household servant
		2.  Def:  A person who manages another's property or financial 
		     affairs; one who administers anything as the agent of another or 
			a.  What I am managing is not my own
			b.  I am responsible to the owner
	B.  (John 3:26-30) John the Baptist Understood Stewardship 
		1.  John was a popular preacher in his day
			a.  Josephus says more about John that Jesus
			b.  All kinds of people were going out to him
		2.  He did not feel threatened by Jesus
			a.  People left John to follow Jesus
			b.  John's followers were concerned
		3.  Why?  "Cannot receive anything unless given by God"
			a.  John knew that his followers were not his
			b.  Everything John had was from God - Not from own effort
				- He wasn't concerned with status or notoriety
				- He didn't try to hang on to what wasn't his
			c.  When God wanted it back, he gave it up joyfully
		4.  John understood stewardship
			a.  Whether it was time, possessions, notoriety, recognition
			b.  It all belonged to God, even the people following him
			c.  He gave it freely, didn't try to hang on to it
	C.  ILL:  There was a man who used to say he would give more to God
		1.  If only I had extra, I would give it to God
			a.  Extra money, but I only have enough to support family
			b.  Extra time, but my time is taken up by job, family, clubs
			c.  Talent - Lovely voice, skill, but I have no special talent
		2.  God heard all of this, and decided to grant him all of these things
			a.  Extra money, extra time, some glorious talents
			b.  God waited, and waited, and nothing changed
		3.  God took it all back and gave them to someone else
			a.  Man began to say the same thing - If I had more…
			b.  God said - "Oh, shut up!"
		4.  Man said - You know, I don't think I believe in God anymore
	D.  We are all Stewards of God's gifts
		1.  1 Pet 4:10 - As each of you has received a gift, employ it in 
		     serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of 
			a.  Nothing we have truly belongs to us, but to the creator
			b.  We are God's servants and stewards
			c.  What has God entrusted you with?
		2.  Eph 3:2 - Paul spoke of the Stewardship of God's grace
			-  1 Cor 9:17 - The Gospel is a stewardship we all have 
			      been entrusted with
		3.  Don't bury what God has entrusted you with in the ground
		4.  What has God entrusted you with?  Make a list

III.  God-given sense of purpose and identity
	A.  Your sense of identity is what orders your life
	B.  Paul had clear, God-given sense of purpose and identity
		1.  Phil 3:4-6 - Used to identify himself by accomplishments
			a.  Gal 1:14 - Advanced beyond contemporaries in Judaism
			b.  Paul was "sharp"
			c.  Get the sense he was proud of his accomplishments
		2.  Gal 1:10 - If I were still trying to please men, I would not be 
		      servant of Christ
			a.  Christians were misfits, backwards, hated - Men pleasers 
			     would distance themselves
			b.  Paul used to try and destroy Christians
			c.  Paul's life changed when he experienced call of God
		3.  He went from being driven to being called
			a.  Gal 2:20 - I have been crucified with Christ….
				- life is now defined by Christ, not his accomplishment
			b.  (Phil 3:10) - All accomplishments as rubbish so that
				- May know Christ
				- Power of his resurrection
				- Fellowship of his sufferings
				- Conformed to his death
		4.  (Phil 1:12-18) - He has a clear sense of God's calling
			a.  That is why he is joyful in prison 
				- Didn't matter if he on missionary journey or prison
				- What mattered was God's purposes
			b.  Not threatened by rival teachers with selfish ambition
				-  These teachers probably try to "one-up" Paul
				-  Probably disdained Paul, as so many people did
			c.  No threat to his identity (Phil 2:3)
				- It is God who is at work in you
				- If God chooses to work elsewhere, then good!
				- God defines him, not his accomplishments
			d.  No threat to his purpose
				- If God works through someone else - great!
	C.  ILL:  Identity and purpose rarely thought about for some people
		1.  Robert, who had a successful career, then lost it one day
			A.  He contemplated thoughts of suicide
			b.  He couldn't envision the future
			c.  Reason:  No clear sense of purpose or identity
			d.  It was wrapped up in his job
		2.  Mary, four children, last one finally left home
			a.  She tried to keep them from going away
			b.  She suffered severe, severe depression
			c.  This goes beyond the normal empty nest thing
			d.  Her identity wrapped up in being a mother
		3.  Zach, a High School student, dreamed of playing football
			a.  Injured his knee, would never play again
			b.  He just gave up, didn't study, failed school.
			c.  His identity and purpose wrapped up in athletics
	D.  There is a God given purpose and identity bigger than ourselves
		1.  No matter what we do, the purpose is constant
			a.  Our roles will change in life, but his purposes do not
				- Student, parent, teacher, mechanic, etc.
			b.  Our roles need to be ordered according to his purpose
		2.  Don't necessarily change what you do
		3.  You change your motivation and purpose - For the love of God
			a.  Student, teacher, mechanic, computer, carpenter
			b.  I do it all for Christ to carry out his purposes

1.  Do you have a sense of God's calling? (Invitation)
2.  Do you have a personal mission statement, rule of life, etc.?
	a.  What does the way your currently live suggest about your purpose?
	b.  Spend time reflecting on this 
3.  By product - peace and joy - Like Paul had even in prison
	-  A joy not dependent on circumstances but on God

Sermon:  Living a Called Life

Summary:  Our identity and purpose should be ordered not be an inner drive for personal 
success and notoriety, but by the call of God.  Characteristics of being called includes 
listening to God, understanding your stewardship, having a deep sense of God's purpose, 
allowing God to define you rather than something else, and a sense of unshakable peace 
and joy.

Open (choose one)
- What reward was most motivating to you as a child?
- What is your favorite activity?


1.  From the way "driven" and "called" have been defined in this sermon series, what are the 
differences between the two?

2.  Gal 1:10-14; 2:20; Phil 3:4-10 - In what ways does Paul move from being "driven" to "called?"

3.  John 3:26-30; Phil 1:12-18 - What do you see in John and Paul that exemplifies that they 
have a sense of God's calling in their life?


4.  Paul spent time in Arabia, a desolate area, and John the Baptist spent time in the desert.  
How might time in a lonely place with God help you to order you life according to the call 
of God?  

5.  Reflect and share:  What sorts of things typically motivate you, what makes you tick?  
What do you hope to gain as a result of the efforts in your life?  What would be your 
reaction if it all were taken away?  

6.  Of the characteristics of the called person mentioned in the summary above, which is 
the weakest in your life?  Which is the strongest?

7.  What do you sense should be your "primary" purpose in life?  


8.  Spend some time this week reflecting on the lesson, and what God's purpose is for you 
in your life.  Write down ways that this will affect your goals and daily activities.