Play & Purpose Journey | Week 3: Purpose

Each of us has a default of either play or purpose. Yet, a life that that thrives has a balance of both. Finding purpose will help to move us out from pointlessness and pain into a life of prosperity.

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    Hey, guys. Hey, guys.
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    Hello. Hello. Hello.
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    Hey, guys, I'm Zach.
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    Thanks. I'm so excited to be here, guys.
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    A little bit about me. I know my pants are this tight,.
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    But I promise I'm actually not a worship pastor.
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    Yeah. I actually tried out for the band,
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    but they told me my V-neck wasn't deep enough.
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    So yeah, I was like, I don't even know why I'm holding this.
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    Honestly, I just heard there were gonna be girls here.
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    Hey, how you doing?
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    No, this is fun. I was like, I don't really play guitar or --
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    I can do Ocean's real quick.
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    I guess that's like the Christian equivalent of, you know, Wonder Wall.
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    But guys, I actually I will say I actually don't do guitar.
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    I actually do standup comedy.
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    So it's so fun that there's so many people here.
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    This is amazing. I love this.
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    This is actually not the biggest crowd I've ever performed for.
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    One time, I've performed for Madison Square Garden.
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    Yeah. And I will say that actually was with my college marching band or whatever,
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    but it still counts.
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    I think. I love being here in this church.
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    I actually was raised a super churchy kid.
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    This is true. My parents were in a small southern gospel group known as the Heaven Bound Singers,
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    which I thought was kind of a cocky name, you know,
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    like you guys don't get to make that call.
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    You know? It was just a bunch of like old white people singing like country songs about Jesus.
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    It's like if Cracker Barrel had a house band.
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    You know what I mean? Yeah, until I was 12, I'd never heard what you might call secular music.
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    And how do you guys know what secular means?
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    It just means like, good.
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    Oh, that's fun.
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    We've been talking about Play and Purpose a lot in this series.
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    In comedy, it's important to remember purpose
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    because sometimes you drive for four hours
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    to play for three people and a dog
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    and you're like, why do I do this?
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    You know? This was particularly true one time,
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    I recently did a show for 75 year old librarians.
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    And guess what? They did not like me.
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    I think I just thought I would go in there and just crush it,
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    you know, because every old lady I had ever met
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    would be like, "Oh, Zach, you're just so adorable.
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    You're just so cute.". And I'd be like, "Oh, right back at you, Francis.
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    Your teeth look amazing. Are they new?"
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    I was smooth. I was smooth as Francis' gums, guys.
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    So I tried to like make material specific to the event.
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    I was like, "Hey, who wrote that Animal Farm?
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    Was it George Borewell?"
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    And that was the reaction. Yeah.
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    They didn't --
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    They did laugh, though. I think they were giving me like librarians' laughs.
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    Let me give an impression of librarians' laugh real quick.
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    You ready? Ha.
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    That's all it was for 20 minutes.
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    It was -- it was rough.
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    I didn't realize later,
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    I think the reason they hated it so much
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    was because I was talking in a library.
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    Yeah. So I got to the end of that show
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    and it was just -- it was horrible.
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    I started doing like crowd work
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    because that's what you do when you're bombing,
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    right, sir?
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    And there's this lady who had a name tag on that said Edith.
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    She'd been there for twenty years.
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    I said, "OK, Edith, you've been here for 20 years.
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    What do you do?" She said it just like this, I'm not making this up.
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    She goes, "Well, I do the obituaries and I love it.".
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    Oh, OK. Because I guess when you're old,
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    doing the obituaries, is just like Facebook, I guess.
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    Yeah, that's what happens when you get unfriended,
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    you go hang out with Edith.
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    Oh, man. So I got to the end of that show, it was horrible.
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    At the end of it they paid me $200 --
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    which like no pressure, Crossroads --
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    Paid me $200.
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    I'm not making this up, later that day I got an email from that library
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    asking for a donation in the amount of $200.
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    They're like, "We have made a mistake.".
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    That's actually not the weirdest show ever did.
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    One time I did a show for Jerry Springer.
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    Do you guys know Jerry Springer?
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    OK. A couple of people stayed home during the day.
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    I did it over Jerry Springer.
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    Some people don't know this, Jerry Springer use to be mayor of Cincinnati,
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    but then he had to step down
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    when he wrote a check to a prostitute.
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    What's crazy is I did that show
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    and he didn't pay me anything.
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    But it's cool, I have a rich new girlfriend.
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    Her name is Frances.
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    Guys, thank you so much. I'm Zach Wyckoff.
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    You guys are amazing. Thank you.
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    [applause] -That is good, good stuff.
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    Well, this week of our Play & Purpose Journey is all about purpose.
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    So one of the things we do with great joy and purposes around here is we use music to connect to God.
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    So that's what we're gonna do right now.
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    So if you're in the room, stand with us.
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    If you're at home or online or in a home somewhere, turn it up.
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    Let's sing together. All right.
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    AWAITED: a beloved holiday tradition
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    experienced by over half a million people.
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    Feel the wonder, the joy and the hope of the holidays.
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    Experience the traditional Christmas story brought to life in a completely new way.
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    Coming to the Aronoff Center, visit
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    -Well Awaited has become one of my family's very favorite Christmas traditions.
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    My brother, sister and I could sing you all of the songs.
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    It really feels like Christmas when the Awaited soundtrack starts playing
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    and when we get to experience the Christmas story
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    through the creative, beautiful telling of it in the midst of Awaited.
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    And so I'm excited to announce that Awaited will be
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    at the Aronoff Center for the Arts in Cincinnati, Ohio, this Christmas.
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    It's the place where all the Broadway shows come in Cincinnati to perform.
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    And so Awaited is a Broadway quality telling of the Christmas story.
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    And so if you're gonna be in the Cincinnati area
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    or you're looking for a new Christmas tradition,
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    something to do that's meaningful this Christmas
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    and also wildly entertaining,
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    you should head to the website and grab tickets now for Awaited.
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    One of the things that's coming up here in October is the Ocean Conference.
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    And this is a conference for business men and women entrepreneurs
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    who want really practical ways to grow your business.
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    You want inspiration and you want to talk about how your faith mixes in with your work.
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    You might want to learn what it means for you
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    to live your faith out in the workplace
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    as you're growing a business, starting a business,
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    being faithful in the midst of your business.
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    And so you can buy tickets for the Ocean Conference today.
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    It's happening in October.
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    So head to the Web site on the screen.
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    Get tickets for that today.
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    We're in the all church Journey, Play & Purpose Journey
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    because we're going somewhere new in the midst of this series,
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    we're going somewhere new in our relationship with God
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    and our everyday lives, in our relationships with other people.
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    And I got to go someplace new a couple of weeks ago
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    to kick off this Play & Purpose Journey.
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    I spent the Sunday of that weekend down in Louisville, Kentucky,
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    with a community of people who have been gathering in homes
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    and watching online and some brand new faces
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    who are new to the church
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    and hadn't ever experienced Crossroads before.
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    Let's check out what that experience actually looked like.
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    -I'm learning how to say Louisville, does it sound right?
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    Yes. OK. Louisville, I'll keep practicing.
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    But hey, we're glad that you're here. -I want more of our friends and family
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    to get to experience life change,
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    to get to experience more Play & Purpose
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    because of a relationship with God, because of a relationship with you
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    and because of experience with the church.
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    And so that's actually why I give to the church,
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    so that more people can experience Him in ways like online church, Crossroads Anywhere,
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    pop up experiences, and so much more.
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    Ans so if you want to be a giver, you want to join the team,.
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    you can head to
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    and sign up for a one time gift or a recurring gift.
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    So today we're talking all about purpose.
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    And we'll have a little bit of play too.
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    -I'm a millennial. Do we have any millennials in the house, any millennials?
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    Come on, shout it out. I love our chant.
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    We're in debt and we're always right.
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    We're in debt and we're --
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    Guys, we're in debt. I'm trying to find myself, like most millennials do.
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    And that's a very American concept.
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    So I'm not from here. I'm from Zimbabwe.
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    And I was telling my mom that I'm trying to find myself.
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    And she was just like, "You're right there.
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    I found you.
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    Now, stop wasting my time
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    and go find yourself a wife, I need grandkids."
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    I did actually fly to Australia because I was in love with a white woman,
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    which kind of felt a little bit like reverse colonialism.
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    Yeah. Love and greatness.
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    I feel like everybody my age is always looking for those things.
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    One time a guy gave me the secret to greatness.
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    He was like, "David, I'm going to give you the secret to greatness.
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    The secret to greatness is you have to be aware that you can die at any moment."
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    And I was like, "I'm a black dude who watches the news.
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    I'm already aware that I can die at any moment,
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    despite the fact that I sound like Wayne Brady doing an impression of Tom Brady."
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    That's -- Another part of like the idea of greatness and trying to find greatness,
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    I always think about what the movie about my life would be like.
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    And so imagine a movie where a guy goes through a whole lot of struggle
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    just to be really average at the end.
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    It's like at the end credits all my friends were like,
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    "You know what? David's gonna be all right.".
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    And then it just -- the title slide just goes,
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    "And then David goes on to work retail for four years.
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    His credit score is exactly what you think it is.".
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    And the post credit scene is just me getting denied for a credit card.
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    I did actually work retail for a very long time.
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    And when you work any retail -- any retail people?
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    Anybody work retail? -Whoo.
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    -I'm so sorry. When you work retail people say very weird things.
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    Like I was helping like the cutest old white lady.
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    She was the nicest lady.
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    And we were having a great time.
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    And she was like, "David, you're just so cute and so helpful.
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    I just wish I could take you home and have you live with me.
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    And you just did everything that I needed you to do."
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    It's like, "Ma'am.,
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    clearly, you're no history buff, but...
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    that's already happened and...".
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    As I said earlier, I'm from Zimbabwe.
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    And when I was younger, there were always a bunch of mission trips
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    because they wanted to, like, save us
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    and they did, that's why I'm here. And I've always wondered, like, if there's a middle aged white lady out there
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    with like a younger me as her Facebook profile picture.
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    And like, how awesome would it be if we ran into each other?
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    It's like, "Yeah, your Go Trip came back home with you.
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    Ha, ha, ha! It's like I ran, it's like, "Oh, my God, Susan?
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    It's me, David Thanks for the five cents a day, it helped out a lot.
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    How many likes did we get? Fifteen?
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    What was the point? Why'd you even come?
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    Do you want to get Chipotle?
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    My friend Zach is going to bring his girlfriend, Francis.
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    So, yeah...
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    Thanks, everybody. I've been David.
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    You guys have been wonderful.
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    Give it up. We're going to have Ali come on up.
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    You guys are awesome. [applause] -Hey, you guys, great.
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    Why don't you give them another round of applause
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    while I tell you that those two guys, David and Zach,
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    they actually won Funniest People in Cincinnati awards
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    in different categories of a real huge comedy competition.
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    And they're actually part of our community helping us to play a little bit today.
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    So thanks for being here, guys.
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    [applause] I'm Ali and it's great to be with you here during Purpose Week of the Journey.
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    That's right, today we are talking about purpose.
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    Who's had a group meeting?
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    Anybody in here had their group meeting?
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    Yeah, we did, too. And we pretty quickly figured out that there were
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    a few of us that were sort of naturally wired for play
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    and there were a few of us that seemed to be more naturally wired for purpose.
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    And I'm sort of a purpose girl.
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    Like everything that I'm wired with just naturally
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    is better at sort of supporting the concept of purpose,
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    which we're going to talk a lot about today.
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    But a few years ago, I started to get ahold of this concept
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    of play and recreation and the need for fun.
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    And in the middle of, you know, wife, mom, four kids, work, school, I need some fun.
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    And so we were canoeing the summer before last as a family.
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    And my kids were asking if they could climb this tree where they saw a rope swing.
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    So they climbed this tree and they said,
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    "Can we jump off the rope swing?".
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    "Yeah, sure. That sounds great."
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    And I was watching them, taking pictures like this one.
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    And I suddenly thought, "Now, hang on a second, I am fun.
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    I get to have fun, too.
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    I'm not just the mom who sits in the canoe.".
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    So I put my phone away and I literally climb this huge tree.
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    And right as I'm standing there with the rope in my hands,
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    getting ready to jump, I think,
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    "Something could go wrong here.".
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    But I jumped anyway and I forgot to let go.
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    And so back swings the rope
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    and suddenly I had a decision in front of me:
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    face plant into the giant tree I just jumped out of
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    or drop and I chose to drop
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    about a story in bare feet, wham, on to rock bed
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    in about eight inches of water.
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    And play? Over for me.
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    I spent the summer in this walking boot.
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    I think this like characterizes my play personality
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    Like since I'm naturally wired for purpose,
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    I tend to like go after it a little too aggressively.
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    Like I just don't quite know my way around it as much.
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    But the struggle for play is real.
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    We're doing it. I feel you, purpose people out there.
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    When Brian introduce this concept of the "&" the first week of our journey,
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    he said something which really struck me.
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    And I strongly agree with that when it comes to purpose.
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    We're not trying to find a life where we blend these two together all the time.
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    That can occasionally happen and that's awesome when it does.
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    But also we need both
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    and it's okay if they exist separately in our life.
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    And so we're gonna unapologetically talk about purpose today.
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    And my goal -- my goal is to get us to stop thinking about purpose as something out there.
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    And start seeing purpose right in front of us in the here and now.
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    So let me pray for us.
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    Father, thank you that You invite us into a life of purpose.
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    And I pray that Your Words would be spoken here today,
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    that You would help me to be clear and helpful and true.
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    Amen So I want to lift a weight off your shoulders as we start to talk about purpose.
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    Just give me a quick hand if you have ever done whatever you do every day,
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    you take care of kids, you go to work, you go to school,
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    whatever your daily tasks include, and you've gotten to the end of a day
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    and you've gone, "What am I doing?"
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    Who's ever done that?
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    Ok, the rest of you are lying.
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    The final 10 percent.
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    I know we've all done that.
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    I'm a pastor. I work at a church.
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    I've gone home and said, "What in the world am I doing here today?"
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    And I want to lift a weight off of you.
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    I want today to give you a simple definition of purpose
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    and a conversation about purpose that feels like I don't have to go find it.
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    I actually have access to it in my life.
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    And it's way easier than you think.
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    Having a life of purpose means putting God right in the center
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    of whatever you are doing today.
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    That's it. That is really it.
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    I think most of us are kind of numb to the idea of purpose.
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    We don't really -- We don't really think about it too much.
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    Maybe we made some purposeful decisions
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    to kind of get where we are in our life right now
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    or get with the people that we're with.
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    But truth be told, we kind of wake up every day
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    and we just do the thing, we do what we do,
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    and then we wake up tomorrow and we do it again.
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    And we all get caught in this mindset.
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    But this mindset actually leads us to some wrong thinking about purpose.
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    And that thinking, when somebody says something like, "What's your life purpose?"
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    We immediately think, "It can't be this.
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    It can't be keeping the ball rolling.
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    It can't be just doing the thing I do every day.
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    It must be out there."
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    So maybe we have this mindset that we need to start that nonprofit
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    or we need to come work at a church
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    or we need to spend all our vacation time going around the globe on mission trips.
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    And there's nothing wrong with any of those things.
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    But it's just indicative of our mindset about purpose
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    that always is telling us we need to go find it.
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    We need to go search for it and we'll know it when we see it.
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    It's kind of like a soulmate version of purpose,
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    "Like it's going to be a perfect match.
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    And when I find it, I'm going to know
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    because I'm going to feel fulfilled and satisfied.
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    And above all, I will be happy when I find this.".
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    And we search for it in all kinds of different ways.
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    I absolutely know people who search for purpose only in their job.
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    And so anytime they have a job that doesn't fully satisfy them,
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    they're on to the next one in search of a job that will fulfill this longing for purpose.
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    And some of us, we've searched in different ways.
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    We've done -- who's ever done an online personality inventory of any sort.
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    I've done the Myers Briggs. I've done the DISC.
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    I've done the one where they tell you whether you're wind or fire or Earth or something.
  • 00:27:18
    And I've done lately the Enneagram.
  • 00:27:21
    Anybody else taken that one?
  • 00:27:22
    OK. So I'm a five.
  • 00:27:23
    Any other fives in the room?
  • 00:27:25
    Yeah. You're surprised, aren't you.
  • 00:27:26
    I'm a five. And anyway, I think what we're yearning for,
  • 00:27:30
    not that there's no insight to be gained there,
  • 00:27:32
    but what we kind of want to know is:
  • 00:27:35
    is this going to finally tell me the direction
  • 00:27:39
    I should move to go out there and finally find my purpose?
  • 00:27:45
    We go on this search like purpose is some sort of soulmate that we have to go and find.
  • 00:27:50
    But the constant through line in our search for purpose
  • 00:27:54
    is that it will satisfy and optimize and maximize me.
  • 00:28:00
    It's really about me.
  • 00:28:03
    And we don't say this, of course, because that sounds kind of self-centered,
  • 00:28:07
    but we truly do believe that our purpose will ultimately satisfy primarily us?
  • 00:28:15
    And when this is kind of the mindset we're in, you end up where I ended up on a Tuesday morning.
  • 00:28:20
    I'm going to guess maybe like a decade ago, maybe nine years ago.
  • 00:28:24
    And I was in my house on a Tuesday morning, literally.
  • 00:28:28
    And I was doing dishes.
  • 00:28:29
    I was like unloading the dishwasher for the 114 time that week.
  • 00:28:33
    And in this era of my life,
  • 00:28:35
    I didn't have an occupation outside of my house.
  • 00:28:37
    I was actually home.
  • 00:28:39
    I'd had a corporate career.
  • 00:28:40
    I'd actually worked at Crossroads for a few years.
  • 00:28:42
    And I was home. And when I started this era of my life, I had two babies.
  • 00:28:46
    And when I ended it seven years later, I had four.
  • 00:28:49
    So you can imagine what my days consisted of.
  • 00:28:54
    There was a lot of diapers.
  • 00:28:55
    There were a lot of nap schedules.
  • 00:28:57
    There was a lot of maintenance.
  • 00:28:59
    And I was mad that particular day
  • 00:29:03
    Not every day, but that day.
  • 00:29:06
    And I was doing the dishes and I said things to God,
  • 00:29:10
    started off kind of civil, like, "What are you doing here, God?
  • 00:29:14
    What's going on? This doesn't feel good.
  • 00:29:17
    Sure don't like this some of the time.".
  • 00:29:19
    And then I got madder and madder.
  • 00:29:21
    And I pulled a bowl out of the dishwasher and I threw it in the sink
  • 00:29:24
    and it shattered right as I yelled something like,
  • 00:29:28
    "What are you doing with me?
  • 00:29:31
    I am not fulfilled.
  • 00:29:33
    There are parts of me that are just laying there completely dormant.
  • 00:29:37
    This can't be Your purpose for me."
  • 00:29:41
    See, I had gone home because I felt like that's where God was leading me,
  • 00:29:45
    but I was confused because I just kept thinking,
  • 00:29:48
    "Shouldn't this feel better for me?"
  • 00:29:52
    And this is usually exactly the kind of mindset that we have about purpose,
  • 00:29:58
    but purpose is not about what we are doing.
  • 00:30:02
    Purpose is about what God is doing.
  • 00:30:06
    And this is an enormous, enormous shift for most of us in the room.
  • 00:30:13
    And it was one that took me a very, very, very long time to make
  • 00:30:19
    because I couldn't get over it, that it really was ultimately about me.
  • 00:30:23
    And the difference between those of us who have jobs
  • 00:30:28
    and those of us who can touch on a life of purpose
  • 00:30:32
    is really one question and it's: God, what are You doing today?
  • 00:30:36
    And how can I be a part of it?
  • 00:30:40
    God, what are You doing today?
  • 00:30:44
    And how can I just be a part of it?
  • 00:30:49
    All through the Bible, we hear the language of purpose and plans around God.
  • 00:30:54
    God, apparently, according to the Bible, is the guy with the capital P.
  • 00:30:59
    plan. And we get -- I'm just going to throw out different language examples
  • 00:31:03
    where I can see this and I see it all the way through the Bible.
  • 00:31:06
    Old Testament Prophet Amos said in chapter three:.
  • 00:31:16
    God has a plan. He's working purposes.
  • 00:31:18
    Psalm 102 uses language like:.
  • 00:31:23
    His purposes have appointed times, things He's doing and the timing of them, they matter greatly.
  • 00:31:31
    Even Jesus in his earthly life, He would say things that are recorded through the Gospels.
  • 00:31:36
    He would say things like in the Book of John:
  • 00:31:41
    What does that mean? It means that God has purpose and plans and their own timing and He's doing something.
  • 00:31:49
    Or He would say things like:.
  • 00:31:50
    Like that in the book of Matthew.
  • 00:31:53
    He would just talk like this as though there was some kind of.
  • 00:31:55
    purpose, plan, timing behind His life and what He was doing.
  • 00:32:01
    In the book of John Jesus says what I find one of the most encouraging things when I think about my access to purpose.
  • 00:32:09
    It's in John 5 and Jesus said:
  • 00:32:16
    Why do I say this is encouraging?
  • 00:32:18
    For me this is everything.
  • 00:32:21
    If God is at work and God has a plan,
  • 00:32:24
    then God is never doing nothing.
  • 00:32:27
    No matter what your Tuesday morning looks like,
  • 00:32:29
    God is at work in the world around you and we are invited in.
  • 00:32:34
    We're invited into His purpose in the world.
  • 00:32:37
    But we are oftentimes like I was for so very long thinking
  • 00:32:42
    that actually it's about us when it's about God.
  • 00:32:46
    Last week, Brian said something about play and I was like, yeah, I agree with that.
  • 00:32:50
    He said, "If we play, it forces us to trust God.".
  • 00:32:56
    If that's true about play, then here's what I think is true about purpose.
  • 00:33:01
    Our desire for purpose, it forces us to connect with God.
  • 00:33:07
    We can't have a life of purpose any other way.
  • 00:33:10
    We have to push ourselves into connection with God
  • 00:33:14
    in order to find out what our purpose really is
  • 00:33:17
    or how we can connect to His purposes in the world.
  • 00:33:21
    And we enter this cycle.
  • 00:33:22
    I thought about this this week as I was thinking about what Brian said.
  • 00:33:25
    I thought, "OK, so God invites us in and somehow we can connect to His purpose.
  • 00:33:30
    And then he goes, 'don't forget, take a day off.
  • 00:33:32
    It's really about me,.'". Which I love, that's awesome.
  • 00:33:36
    And so we begin this cycle of purpose and play all with God at the center.
  • 00:33:45
    I wanted a picture so badly.
  • 00:33:48
    I was just thinking like, how can I illustrate for you
  • 00:33:53
    how the purpose of God takes place all through the Bible?
  • 00:33:56
    I told you I read that everywhere I read in the Bible I can see.
  • 00:34:00
    And it's no good for us to pretend that it's one dimensional.
  • 00:34:03
    We all know better than that because we've lived through moments in our life or we're like,.
  • 00:34:07
    "Oh, right there.
  • 00:34:11
    Something bigger is happening.
  • 00:34:13
    Something is moving and I -- and I just kind of walked into it.
  • 00:34:18
    There's something else going on here.".
  • 00:34:19
    And we'd live those. And so it's not a simplistic picture of purpose in the Bible.
  • 00:34:25
    So here's what I came up with.
  • 00:34:26
    This is how I believe we interact with God's purposes in the Bible.
  • 00:34:32
    So here, the picture that I came up with was the jet stream.
  • 00:34:36
    OK? I know, go with me.
  • 00:34:37
    I'm not a scientist nor meteorologist, but I kept thinking about this.
  • 00:34:41
    The jet stream is actually these huge columns of winds
  • 00:34:45
    that happened like 12 miles above the surface of the earth.
  • 00:34:48
    And they create patterns based on the rotation of the sun,
  • 00:34:51
    the distance from the equator, the speed of the earth's rotation,
  • 00:34:55
    whether it's over land or over sea.
  • 00:34:57
    And we get all of these weather patterns all over the globe.
  • 00:35:01
    And then you turn on your news and your meteorologist says,
  • 00:35:06
    "Hey, because the jet stream is doing something, here's the weather in your area today."
  • 00:35:11
    And you see a map of the squiggly line and you do what I do, which goes,
  • 00:35:15
    "Okay, that's the jet stream.". But it's creating a set of local circumstances for you.
  • 00:35:21
    Right? We can see how the jet stream is interacting in our world or our country or our city.
  • 00:35:27
    And the truth is, the only thing we really care about is things like: what are the clouds and the rain doing over me?
  • 00:35:35
    Like, is it going to rain?
  • 00:35:37
    Can I ride my motorcycle to work?
  • 00:35:38
    Do I need an umbrella? Is it going to be 90 in September?"
  • 00:35:41
    I don't know. It's just you know,
  • 00:35:44
    all we care about is what is it doing in my world right now?
  • 00:35:50
    God's purposes through the Bible are exactly like this.
  • 00:35:53
    God working this sovereign plan miles and miles above us,
  • 00:35:59
    that creates circumstances all over the Earth.
  • 00:36:02
    He moves nations and kings and the Bible uses all kinds of language like that.
  • 00:36:07
    And it creates a set of circumstances for us in this time,
  • 00:36:10
    in this way, in this place that we are.
  • 00:36:12
    But the truth is, our entry point to the jet stream is the weather, the wind right in our face.
  • 00:36:20
    It is the wind in our face every single day.
  • 00:36:24
    That's the only thing that you and I can do.
  • 00:36:27
    We can't control the jet stream winds.
  • 00:36:30
    We don't even know what the pattern is going to be like over where we are.
  • 00:36:34
    But we can and do and must interact with God's purpose
  • 00:36:39
    by dealing with the wind that is right in our face.
  • 00:36:43
    And this is what we find our hands, our mind, our feet,
  • 00:36:47
    our daily tasks, the work in front of us, the people we pass.
  • 00:36:50
    It happens in what I call the three P's.
  • 00:36:56
    Purpose takes place in the people, in the places, and in the patterns of our daily life.
  • 00:37:04
    These are our entry points.
  • 00:37:06
    These are entry points to what God is doing.
  • 00:37:09
    It is the jet stream.
  • 00:37:10
    It's all the same thing.
  • 00:37:12
    But we look by these because we yearn for those moments where we feel a sense of higher purpose.
  • 00:37:18
    So we overlook what's right in front of us.
  • 00:37:20
    and we go out there and we search for something bigger, something grander,
  • 00:37:25
    something above just the daily old stuff that we're doing.
  • 00:37:29
    But don't forget, God is always at work.
  • 00:37:33
    He is never doing nothing.
  • 00:37:37
    So how do you know? Like, how do you know if what you're doing every day really matters?
  • 00:37:42
    How do you know if it's touching purpose?
  • 00:37:44
    And for me, there's one simple idea that clarifies this for me:
  • 00:37:47
    is what I'm doing every day, does it last before God?
  • 00:37:52
    Does it endure in His Kingdom?
  • 00:37:54
    Does it matter beyond myself?
  • 00:37:56
    Does it last beyond my lifetime even?
  • 00:38:02
    When we start to touch a life of purpose, the results --
  • 00:38:05
    We said that -- What did we say?
  • 00:38:08
    That purpose is something productive that yields results?
  • 00:38:11
    Well, the results we're looking for are enduring results before God,
  • 00:38:18
    that matter to God, that are in the Kingdom of God.
  • 00:38:24
    And that happens through the here and now.
  • 00:38:26
    Purpose is our here and now.
  • 00:38:30
    This is our entry point to the jet stream.
  • 00:38:32
    We don't have another one.
  • 00:38:34
    We can't go three miles up or a nation over.
  • 00:38:37
    We can't access the winds at 1500 feet.
  • 00:38:40
    We can't do it. I want you to meet a guy in the Bible that I think illustrates this perfectly.
  • 00:38:49
    His name is Daniel.
  • 00:38:50
    And we have to fight the urge with Daniel's life
  • 00:38:53
    to think that he knew all the things that were gonna take place with his life.
  • 00:38:57
    We have the luxury of reading his story as recorded in the Bible.
  • 00:39:01
    But I want you to fight the urge to think that he had any of that information because he didn't.
  • 00:39:07
    Daniel lived at a time where it looked like he had great purpose.
  • 00:39:11
    He lived in the nation of Israel
  • 00:39:13
    and he was in the royal family of the kingdom of Judah.
  • 00:39:16
    So this is the time in Israel's history where they had split into two different nations.
  • 00:39:22
    And Daniel was a part of Judah,
  • 00:39:24
    which had the throne in Jerusalem, the city with the holy temple.
  • 00:39:27
    He was it.
  • 00:39:29
    He was where it was happening.
  • 00:39:30
    But this is the final chapter in the life of the nation of Israel.
  • 00:39:34
    The other nation, Israel proper, named proper, is already gone.
  • 00:39:40
    And in comes King Nebuchadnezzar
  • 00:39:42
    from the very powerful nation at the time in the region called Babylon.
  • 00:39:48
    And King Nebuchadnezzar comes around Jerusalem
  • 00:39:50
    and he puts it under siege,
  • 00:39:52
    which means he basically put a stranglehold on the city.
  • 00:39:55
    And the first thing that he did to signal, "I am here and you are all mine,"
  • 00:40:00
    is he rounded up the royal family and everyone connected to them
  • 00:40:05
    and he shipped them off to Babylon.
  • 00:40:08
    And it was absolutely a signal to the people that,
  • 00:40:11
    "I am here and this whatever this is, is not only over.
  • 00:40:17
    It's mine." So, Daniel, who we are also told is the cream of the crop,
  • 00:40:23
    the best of the best, he's like Charles and William and Harry
  • 00:40:26
    and Diana and Kate and whatever her name is, all rolled into one.
  • 00:40:31
    He's smart, he's handsome, he's quick, he's royal, he's everything.
  • 00:40:37
    And so are most of the people that went with him.
  • 00:40:40
    So they shipped these guys off to Babylon.
  • 00:40:43
    And they give them work,
  • 00:40:45
    which they not only wouldn't have wanted,
  • 00:40:48
    it would have been an insult to them.
  • 00:40:51
    For three years, Daniel was tasked with training to enter the service of the King,
  • 00:40:57
    which meant he had to learn the Chaldean language, law, math,
  • 00:41:03
    architecture, astrology, astronomy, everything agriculture,
  • 00:41:08
    anything in the nation that was the culture of Babylon.
  • 00:41:10
    And the whole point was to wipe out the name of Daniel's God and the memory of his former life and purpose.
  • 00:41:19
    This guy had every reason to think that purpose was over for him, right?
  • 00:41:25
    He used to live in Jerusalem,
  • 00:41:28
    serving in the holy, holy city in the Royal Family.
  • 00:41:31
    And suddenly he's forced labor for the Babylonian king who even changed his name.
  • 00:41:41
    He changed his name from Daniel, which means "God is the judge"
  • 00:41:45
    to Belteshazzar, which means "lady, protect the king.".
  • 00:41:48
    He called him a girl. Come on.
  • 00:41:50
    That's funny. He calls him a girl.
  • 00:41:55
    He gives them work he's going to hate.
  • 00:41:56
    He deeply insults him.
  • 00:41:58
    He's forced labor to a godless king.
  • 00:42:00
    And Daniel had every right to throw some dishes.
  • 00:42:05
    I wonder if he yelled at God.
  • 00:42:07
    I wonder if he questioned whether his purpose, maybe his very life was completely over.
  • 00:42:13
    I don't know how he felt about it, but what I do know is what he did about it.
  • 00:42:18
    What he did about it was he got up every single day
  • 00:42:22
    and to the best of ability,
  • 00:42:23
    he did the work that was right in front of him.
  • 00:42:25
    And after three years, the reason that I know this
  • 00:42:28
    is because in Daniel 1:20, it says this.
  • 00:42:32
    The king calls him in with a few of the guys that he's been training with,
  • 00:42:36
    all from the royal family that had come from Israel.
  • 00:42:39
    And it says:
  • 00:42:53
    Daniel did amazing work.
  • 00:42:56
    He actually got promoted after that little exam.
  • 00:42:58
    And then a few years later he got promoted again.
  • 00:43:00
    And he worked his way up to the king's right hand man.
  • 00:43:04
    My guess is there were people who probably prayed for that purpose to come true in their life.
  • 00:43:08
    "Oh, gods, please make me the king's right hand man."
  • 00:43:12
    I promise you, Daniel never prayed that prayer,
  • 00:43:14
    yet there he was. And purpose was going to begin to emerge out of his life,
  • 00:43:21
    but did he know how?
  • 00:43:23
    Why? No, he just got up every day and he dealt with the wind in his face.
  • 00:43:29
    And he did it to the best of his ability.
  • 00:43:31
    And the critical thing that he chose?
  • 00:43:35
    We find out in the very first interaction that he had in Babylon.
  • 00:43:40
    This seems so small.
  • 00:43:42
    It would be able -- it would be so easy to just read right over it.
  • 00:43:45
    But it was this decision that created the possibility
  • 00:43:50
    that he would actually have purpose in this place.
  • 00:43:54
    Let's read this Daniel 1:5, starting at 5:
  • 00:44:08
    The king, he wants these guys in good shape.
  • 00:44:11
    They're going to serve him. And he assigns them his own food and wine.
  • 00:44:15
    It would have been the best of the best.
  • 00:44:17
    But Daniels says, "I don't want that because it would defile me."
  • 00:44:22
    What does that mean? There were Old Testament laws about what the Jewish diet could contain.
  • 00:44:28
    And that was part of a system which is how they worshiped and loved and served their God, our God.
  • 00:44:37
    And Daniel said, "I'm going to connect right now,
  • 00:44:40
    right here with this tiny little decision about food.
  • 00:44:42
    I'm going to put God at the center.
  • 00:44:45
    I don't want the king's food.
  • 00:44:47
    I want to honor my God.".
  • 00:44:49
    And we see him decide this.
  • 00:44:51
    If you read the first six chapters of Daniel,
  • 00:44:53
    you will see him decide this over and over and over again,
  • 00:44:57
    that he will keep God at the center of the work that he was even forced to do in Babylon.
  • 00:45:05
    And the difference between Daniel and all the other guys around him
  • 00:45:10
    was that he got up and asked the question,
  • 00:45:12
    "God, what are You doing here?
  • 00:45:16
    How can I honor You?
  • 00:45:17
    How can I be a part of You first, You at the center.
  • 00:45:21
    You are my immovable thing.
  • 00:45:24
    And how can I just become a part of whatever You are doing here?"
  • 00:45:29
    He knew that purpose happens only and ever when we keep God at the center
  • 00:45:35
    and when we connect to His plans and when it's not about us.
  • 00:45:39
    Daniel went on to serve three different kings
  • 00:45:42
    in two different kingdoms for 70 years.
  • 00:45:44
    He never went home.
  • 00:45:47
    The Bible actually tells us he died in the first year of King Cyrus.
  • 00:45:52
    That's the guy that made the decree that let all the Jewish people return to Jerusalem.
  • 00:45:57
    He never saw home again.
  • 00:46:00
    He spent all of his years working in a godless nation for a godless king.
  • 00:46:05
    And he got up every single day to the best of his ability.
  • 00:46:10
    And purpose began to reemerge because he kept God in the center.
  • 00:46:18
    And God did work incredible purpose through his life.
  • 00:46:22
    Listen to some of the ways that his work has lasted
  • 00:46:24
    and is still lasting before God today.
  • 00:46:27
    He became what was known as the wisest man in Babylon.
  • 00:46:30
    And we have records of him interpreting visions and dreams,
  • 00:46:34
    one of which saved the lives of hundreds of people in the kingdom.
  • 00:46:37
    He lived to hear that King Belteshazzar, the one that wanted to wipe out his God.
  • 00:46:42
    He heard him with his own ears, say,
  • 00:46:45
    "Daniel's God is the God of gods and the Lord of Kings."
  • 00:46:49
    He spoke prophetic words over multiple people
  • 00:46:52
    and multiple nations that have actually come to pass in the history of our world.
  • 00:46:58
    He witnessed a miracle in the lion's den.
  • 00:47:00
    Yeah. He's that Daniel.
  • 00:47:02
    And he wasn't a strapping young lad.
  • 00:47:03
    He was like 80 when they tossed him in there.
  • 00:47:08
    And many scholars believe that the wise men who come looking for Jesus one day
  • 00:47:13
    would have been trained by people
  • 00:47:15
    who were trained by people
  • 00:47:16
    who were trained in the scriptures and in astronomy by Daniel himself.
  • 00:47:24
    And not only that, but his purpose still lasting in front of God.
  • 00:47:30
    He has spoken words about what God will do at the end of human history
  • 00:47:35
    that have yet to be fulfilled.
  • 00:47:37
    Daniel's daily work is still lasting in front of God to this very day.
  • 00:47:43
    But did he know it?
  • 00:47:46
    My guess is no,
  • 00:47:48
    that the vast majority of these things he never knew
  • 00:47:51
    exactly what God was going to do
  • 00:47:52
    or exactly how God was going to craft purpose in his life,
  • 00:47:55
    because it wasn't about him,
  • 00:47:57
    it was about God and what God was doing.
  • 00:48:02
    So let me ask you: Is your parenting producing fruit in your kids
  • 00:48:09
    that will last their entire lives?
  • 00:48:11
    That will outlive you?
  • 00:48:12
    That will set them up for the next generation?
  • 00:48:16
    Is your generosity in your workplace changing the environment?
  • 00:48:22
    Is your daily decision to forgive your mom or your brother or your friend,
  • 00:48:26
    is it changing hearts in not just your generation,
  • 00:48:30
    but in the generation following?
  • 00:48:31
    These are hard questions.
  • 00:48:33
    It's hard to know whether what we put our hands and minds and feet to every day will really last before God.
  • 00:48:39
    So I want to give you a few examples of ways that I see
  • 00:48:43
    things and people taking place right around me
  • 00:48:46
    where this stuff is happening,
  • 00:48:48
    who they're looking for people and places and patterns to put God in the middle of
  • 00:48:53
    and they join up with a life of purpose.
  • 00:48:57
    One of them is my husband.
  • 00:48:58
    His name is Bill.
  • 00:49:00
    And in many ways, his struggle with purpose
  • 00:49:04
    actually reminds me a little bit about the conditions of Daniel,
  • 00:49:07
    not that he's been carried off to a foreign land,
  • 00:49:09
    but rather he has a job too,
  • 00:49:11
    that many of you might describe as soul sucking.
  • 00:49:16
    He's a lawyer. And he's been practicing for about 20 years.
  • 00:49:23
    And I've listened to him as his wife,
  • 00:49:24
    I've have listened to him come home and talk about how much of a grind his job is.
  • 00:49:31
    Do you know the pressure of having to bill every single hour that you work to a project?
  • 00:49:37
    Many of you do know that.
  • 00:49:39
    And you know that it appears that that will never end.
  • 00:49:42
    And he's come home and gone, "I don't know if I can do this for the next 25 years.".
  • 00:49:46
    He's had to ask God a lot of questions about
  • 00:49:49
    how do I In the middle of this grind?
  • 00:49:51
    How do I touch on purpose, Your purpose?
  • 00:49:54
    How do I invite You into the center of what I'm doing?
  • 00:49:57
    What does that actually look like?"
  • 00:49:59
    So I want to tell you what he has come to understand.
  • 00:50:02
    And one of those things that he views, he sees constant doorways,
  • 00:50:07
    constant offers from God to step into purpose through his work is provision.
  • 00:50:13
    Provision he can close his eyes any day of the week
  • 00:50:17
    and he can imagine a friend and a family in other parts of the world
  • 00:50:21
    that are doing what God has called them to do
  • 00:50:25
    because of his ability to help provide for that to happen.
  • 00:50:29
    He can open his eyes and he can see families that eat,
  • 00:50:32
    people that are employed because of the project that he just brought in,
  • 00:50:36
    which is going to employ his team and all their support staff
  • 00:50:39
    for the next six weeks while they get it done.
  • 00:50:41
    He's learned to see that as an invitation into purpose in the lives of people around him.
  • 00:50:47
    He can come home and he can see his wife,
  • 00:50:51
    who a few years ago said, "I think I want to go back to school.
  • 00:50:57
    I'm pretty sure that God wants me to go to seminary.".
  • 00:51:03
    And he will tell you that I've done it in the least financially efficient way possible,
  • 00:51:08
    but that he has been able to provide gives him satisfaction
  • 00:51:12
    in watching what God has done in the lives of other people around him and how it's taken shape.
  • 00:51:19
    He never even wanted to be a lawyer.
  • 00:51:21
    And the reason that I mention that
  • 00:51:23
    is because it directly connects to why provision.
  • 00:51:27
    When he -- I was his girlfriend at the time
  • 00:51:29
    and I listened to the conversation
  • 00:51:31
    and the heart wrenching decision.
  • 00:51:33
    He wanted to be a teacher.
  • 00:51:35
    He was a certified teacher.
  • 00:51:38
    And coming out of undergrad, that's what he wanted to do.
  • 00:51:40
    He wanted to be a high school history teacher and a basketball coach.
  • 00:51:44
    And instead, he went back to law school
  • 00:51:46
    because he couldn't get rid of this gnawing feeling
  • 00:51:49
    that he would be leaving something on the table,
  • 00:51:52
    that he would be leaving a capacity that God had given him
  • 00:51:56
    and that God wanted to put to work somehow in the world.
  • 00:51:58
    But it wasn't deeply satisfying to him, not like how he thought of teaching.
  • 00:52:04
    And yet he went back. He followed that.
  • 00:52:06
    And today he would tell you he believes
  • 00:52:08
    that was part of God's plan for provision for other people.
  • 00:52:16
    And that urge to coach and mentor and teach that obviously would drive one into that profession,
  • 00:52:21
    he actually has seen that take shape in his office life right in front of him,
  • 00:52:27
    because I don't know if you know this or not,
  • 00:52:29
    but when you bill hours,
  • 00:52:31
    people aren't super generous with their time.
  • 00:52:35
    And he would say he never had an attorney that was patient with him,
  • 00:52:38
    that helped him grow, that gave him the new expertise
  • 00:52:42
    and the knowledge and the opportunities to actually mature and grow professionally.
  • 00:52:46
    And so he views that as a doorway into purpose
  • 00:52:49
    and he tries to be generous and available and consistent
  • 00:52:53
    with his coaching and his time with younger attorneys around him.
  • 00:53:01
    There are so many other things I could say,
  • 00:53:03
    but I want to paint you an everyday picture because
  • 00:53:07
    I think in that God's intention was always for him to feel satisfied,
  • 00:53:12
    was always for him to feel that he was using all of who he was,
  • 00:53:18
    but ultimately not done with him at the center of it.
  • 00:53:22
    Not with bills maximization as the goal,
  • 00:53:27
    but rather what God was doing.
  • 00:53:30
    One of our communities, Crossroads Uptown, I love this,
  • 00:53:35
    speaking of people, places and patterns.
  • 00:53:38
    This one hits all three of those for me.
  • 00:53:40
    We have a community in close to the campus of University of Cincinnati,
  • 00:53:45
    it's called Crossroads Uptown.
  • 00:53:47
    And this this community started because of some normal people that had a running group.
  • 00:53:53
    They would run through the campus and surrounding areas
  • 00:53:56
    and they would pray for people that they passed,
  • 00:54:01
    for places that they saw.
  • 00:54:02
    And they would do this just as a part of their daily stuff.
  • 00:54:05
    I'm a runner. I appreciate sometimes I just check the box.
  • 00:54:08
    I did it this morning. It was a million degrees.
  • 00:54:11
    It was an unpleasant run.
  • 00:54:13
    And I just went check,
  • 00:54:15
    but they ran with God at the center.
  • 00:54:18
    And they would pray as they ran
  • 00:54:19
    and they began to pass this church that was abandoned.
  • 00:54:24
    And as a matter of fact, there'd been a fire.
  • 00:54:25
    And so there was an incredible amount of damage and it was an old building.
  • 00:54:29
    And so no one had ever inhabited it again just because of the cost of fixing it up.
  • 00:54:33
    It was no longer a church.
  • 00:54:34
    But it was clearly a church building.
  • 00:54:36
    So they started to pray that God would make it a church again,
  • 00:54:39
    and they would pray that for quite some time.
  • 00:54:41
    And then sooner or later, that prayer actually changed a little bit into,
  • 00:54:45
    "God. will you give that church to Crossroads to make a church again?"
  • 00:54:51
    And they would run and they would pray that prayer.
  • 00:54:53
    And soon somebody else began to get that idea and it caught on.
  • 00:54:57
    And next thing after the next thing,
  • 00:54:59
    and wouldn't you know it, as Brian would say, "God bless America,"
  • 00:55:03
    The United States government gave Crossroads $3 dollars
  • 00:55:07
    to help with the renovation of that historic building,
  • 00:55:09
    which is now Crossroads Uptown.
  • 00:55:10
    [applause] Wow, you guys.
  • 00:55:13
    It's incredible. All that happened here --.
  • 00:55:16
    All that happened here was some normal people put God in the middle
  • 00:55:20
    of the pattern of their life.
  • 00:55:22
    And they are now interacting with the jet stream purposes of God.
  • 00:55:27
    Lives are being changed.
  • 00:55:28
    That place will outlast them.
  • 00:55:30
    And I guarantee you they could never have crafted that story if they had tried.
  • 00:55:36
    Never. This is the mindset of people who end up touching on lives of purpose.
  • 00:55:43
    I'm just going to take what I'm doing
  • 00:55:44
    and I'm going to put God in the middle.
  • 00:55:50
    I want to tell you about my grandma as the last thing today.
  • 00:55:55
    The reason that she came up for me here is actually pretty funny.
  • 00:55:59
    I know that when I say grandma, you picture your grandma
  • 00:56:02
    and she was super nice and she baked you cookies and she gave you hugs.
  • 00:56:05
    That was not my grandma.
  • 00:56:07
    She was more of the high ball drinking, Steelers watching NFL fan.
  • 00:56:14
    "Did you gain five pounds?"
  • 00:56:15
    kind of grandma. That was my grandma.
  • 00:56:19
    So I just want you to wipe out this picture of the sweet old lady, that was not her.
  • 00:56:23
    But she came to know Jesus in her 60s.
  • 00:56:27
    And when she came to know Jesus, her entire life began to change.
  • 00:56:31
    And she found purpose everywhere she looked.
  • 00:56:33
    If you are in your 60s, older than your 60s,
  • 00:56:39
    God is not done with you.
  • 00:56:42
    I watched her life change right before my very eyes.
  • 00:56:46
    I saw a woman who was determined to live out purpose
  • 00:56:51
    because she believed what Ephesians 2 says.
  • 00:56:53
    She said she believed:.
  • 00:57:04
    And she got up every day and she said, "I'm his creation.
  • 00:57:08
    I've been made new because of my relationship with Jesus
  • 00:57:11
    and I want all the things that God has planned for me.
  • 00:57:14
    God, what are you doing today?
  • 00:57:17
    And how can I be a part of it?"
  • 00:57:19
    And one day she asked that question about her very own funeral.
  • 00:57:24
    I went to see her multiple times
  • 00:57:27
    because we knew that she was going to pass away of her lung cancer.
  • 00:57:30
    And the last time I saw her, she said to me, "Alison,".
  • 00:57:33
    You know, if somebody calls me Alison, they've known me a really long time.
  • 00:57:39
    I only went by Allison until I was about ten or eleven years old.
  • 00:57:43
    She said, "Allison, I'm going to talk to you about my funeral.
  • 00:57:48
    God's going to do something at my funeral.
  • 00:57:50
    You have cousins that don't know Jesus.
  • 00:57:53
    And I've decided at my funeral they're going to hear the gospel."
  • 00:57:59
    She was like, "That's what God is going to do at my funeral.
  • 00:58:02
    And I'm telling you, because I know you love Him
  • 00:58:04
    and I want you to make sure it happens.
  • 00:58:06
    And I've told my pastor and this is important to me.
  • 00:58:08
    That's what God is going to do at my funeral.".
  • 00:58:10
    Guys, on the one day that we can all agree
  • 00:58:13
    it should have been about her and her life and who she was,
  • 00:58:19
    she made it about Him.
  • 00:58:21
    She went looking for His purpose.
  • 00:58:22
    And on the one day that we can all agree
  • 00:58:25
    she should have been at rest to think of her purpose somewhere else.
  • 00:58:28
    She wasn't finished.
  • 00:58:30
    She thought of her purpose still.
  • 00:58:32
    She was like, "They're going to come to the church because I'm dead and I'm going to get them."
  • 00:58:36
    [laughter] She was a woman of purpose and it was unbelievable to watch it unfold.
  • 00:58:45
    We can walk straight into purpose today, not tomorrow.
  • 00:58:50
    God is always at work, always at work around us.
  • 00:58:55
    And if we won't overlook the things that are right in front of us,
  • 00:58:59
    we can step right into it by asking the question:
  • 00:59:09
    And then looking at the three P's.
  • 00:59:11
    Looking at people, looking at places, looking at patterns,
  • 00:59:16
    that maybe, just maybe we have previously overlooked.
  • 00:59:23
    -Thanks for joining us today.
  • 00:59:25
    Next week we continue with the Play & Purpose Journey,
  • 00:59:28
    but it's going to be a little bit different of an experience here on the weekend.
  • 00:59:32
    We're actually going to be in a much more immersive and different environment.
  • 00:59:37
    And so I'm excited to get to experience that alongside of you next week.
  • 00:59:41
    You're not going to want to miss it.
  • 00:59:43
    Join us on Crossroads Anywhere or head to a location near you.
  • 00:59:47
    And we'll see you next week.

Sep 28, 2019

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