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Realizing Your God Given Purpose
by Mark Shields
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I graduated from High School in 1980 not knowing what to do next. I was definitely going off to College, but what would I study. At the time, I loved sports and I had grown up around sports since my Dad had been a coach while I was growing up but I also found after taking basic undergrad courses that what interested me the most was leadership, motivation, and teamwork within organizations so I decided to major in Business Management. Upon graduation, the personal computer became the “big thing” in business; virtually taking over the job duties of entry level managers so my first job was to develop a computerized system for tracking work orders within a company’s quality assurance department. Since then, I’ve taken courses at a local Technical College and received a degree in computer science; working on computer systems ever since but continuing over the years with study in my initial passions of leadership, motivation, and teamwork.

Computers are amazing for efficiency and productivity but for some reason they’ve caused our society to lose focus on the most important aspect of any company; people working together as a team to reach individual and company goals. We have a generation in crisis with a national debt so big that most can’t envisage its enormity. To me, the only solution to our economic uncertainty is to get back to the basics. In the words of Tony Evans, “Living out a Kingdom purpose starts with our walk with God, moves to our relationship with our families, and then goes on to our involvement in the church. Soon we'll see a difference in our cities, our states, and even our nation. That's Kingdom impact, and it starts with you and me.”

I remember when Emmitt Smith was inducted into the football Hall of Fame in 2010. In his induction speech, he talked about how he wrote down his goals at an early age. He wanted to be a great football player, play for the Dallas Cowboys, and rush for more yards than anyone in history. He accomplished every one of these goals. Goal setting is a vital ingredient for success. It bridges the gap between mediocrity and greatness; helping one to plan out what to do and staying on track to getting it done.

Good plans, backed with desire and Initiative have a tendency to result in success. It took these qualities for the men who signed the declaration of independence. For they signed their own death warrant should the colonies lose in the fight with Great Britain but they took the initiative which gave this nation its freedom that we enjoy today.

The greatest expenditure of energy in a rocket launch is the first 500 yards. The same is true with us. It’s the first few moves and that first step out of bed that is the hardest. If we can just make it to the cup of coffee, then things get easier. There’s a little initiative in each cup. What is it that Folgers says on their commercial – “the best part of waking up is folgers in your cup”. To keep your momentum going and before you begin your busy schedule, take the initiative to meet with God in bible reading and prayer. Listen for plans and directions. He wants to meet and help you build a great day. Let Him shine His light and help you develop a positive picture that will be presented in reality as you go through the day. Listen for plans and directions. He wants to meet and help you build a great day so set aside a daily time for bible reading and prayer. Design a form or document that helps you plan your activities, establishes goals, and documents ideas and thoughts that can be shared.

Some years back, I went through some courses at my church about being a member and some possible roles I might consider as a member. A short time after that, our church started using multi-media in the church service. It seemed like a good idea to me so I asked if I could play a role. I’ve been on the multi-media team running the computer every other month for one of the worship services ever since. The thing I like about multi-media is that a person can get more of their senses involved in the learning process. A person not only hears the sermon but they can see the message on the screen.

I’ve recently started a hobby of creating a Bible Study Guide to not only help myself but others in creating a daily reading and prayer time. It’s a guide that divides the Bible up in such a way that a person can read a passage each day. Along with the passage are questions to answer, suggested videos to watch, quotes, or pictures to look at. Also, suggestions on a response to the values or principles brought out in the passage are made. These multi-media tools are utilized to get the mind thinking so one may be inspired to jot down notes. These notes of ideas, thoughts, or plans might be of use for their own goal setting or to share with others.

A while back, I took an on-line course leading into becoming certified in Information Technology. Within this course, there was material dealing with how to continually improve an Information Technology department. It is called the 7-Step improvement process and it consist of identifying the vision and goals, defining what should be measured, defining what can be measured, gathering data, presenting the data, and implementing corrective action.

The Bible study guide is built on this philosophy of continual improvement. Instead of improving a department, the goal is to transform and improve individuals. It provides a step-by-step process of setting a goal for Bible reading, planning how much should be read each day, gathering data like quotes, personal thoughts from the reading, and ideas for personal transformation.

In order for the Bible study program to work, it’s important to understand which part of the day is your best. Determine if you are a morning person or an evening person by experimenting to see what works best for you. Expect to pay the price. You may have to get up a little earlier or stay up a little later. To make it a plan that is uniquely yours, look up quotes and find videos that fit with your interest so they will inspire your thinking. Bible study is not just reading a daily passage. The ultimate goal is to stimulate thought and come up with ideas that will help make the needed changes you desire. It may take years for someone to transform and fully reach their God given potential.

The Bible study program I have developed is very similar to the Deming Cycle or also known as PDCA (plan-do-check-act) which was made popular by Dr. W. Edwards Deming who is considered by many to be the father of modern quality control. After World War II, he taught top managers in Japan how to improve processes and to build quality products. The Deming Cycle is an interactive four-step problem-solving process typically used in business process improvement

Below is an example of a Bible study plan. As you will see, Bible passages are PLANNED out, there are some questions to DO a video or quote to provide inspiration and stimulate thought, prayer ideas to help CHECK the meaning of the passage and talk with God about possible plans of action. Hopefully lessons can be learned from the passage or the passage will stimulate memories of lessons learned from experiences of the past. This will give some ideas on what to do next and what ACTION to take.

Sunday 7-10-11
Reading for Today:
Set some time aside; maybe 10 minutes each day for the next two days. Read Isaiah 50-51:8 using your Bible or the passage lookup tool. After reading the passage for today, click back and continue with the items below.

In less than conciliatory tones what challenge does this listening servant put forth to Israel?

Here is our King by David Crowder Band.
Jesus brings us back to God. Think of what God created; the oceans, the plants, mountains, animals, and people. I don’t know about you but I want to be on the same team as the one who created all the majestic wonders of the world.

Prayer Ideas:
The Lord gives joy, light, and salvation forever. Pray for inspiration. Ask that you pay close attention and learn a lesson from a sermon, a Sunday school lesson, a daily Bible reading, or a video and that it makes an impression on your soul.

What lessons have you learned? Write out some plans of action like sharing with someone a lesson learned from this reading.

At the start of your week, note actions you plan to take for each day. Make a list like the following activities:

• Read Isaiah 50:-51:8
• Watch a video, capture a quote or photo that crystallized the reading
• Write a personal thought or idea from the reading
• Write out a response to what you read
• Add everything to a document so you can study in the future or share with someone

At the end of the week, write out how you feel about your success. Your notes may look like the following:

• I feel that little by little, I understand more about what God is telling me in the Bible
• I get food for thought from multi-media. It inspires me to think and how to apply what I read
• Writing crystallizes how to apply what the Bible teaches and this helps to think of ideas and actions I can take
• The notes I take help me to get organized so I can easily refer back to the main principles being taught

When you recognize the joys of success, you develop success habits. I hope a few of these ideas will help you realize your God given purpose. Next time, I will write about setting your imagination free as you dream about your potential for greatness.

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