I need your help, as I do every week, with the upcoming school fees that are due for our Kenyan orphans. Paid education is not a luxury in Kenya; it is a necessity if these children are to have a chance to make it on their own as adults. We currently sponsor six children, which costs about $9,000 annually. They go back to school for this term on May 5. Can you help? Even a $5 gift is huge and will help us make a difference in their lives. You can read my latest update on one of the orphans here. Then please give today using Paypal through my website or by sending a tax-deductible check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. At the end of this Memo are many other announcements of interest concerning my new book and upcoming seminars, but first let's get back to our series on prayer and purpose.
We have been talking about prayer for the last several weeks, especially the need to pray prayers that are answered and have results. My mind this week goes to the verse in James 5:17-18: "Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops." The key phrase is at the beginning of the passage: "Elijah was a human being" just like you and me. What does that mean? Why would James write that?
Perhaps he wrote it because of your tendency to dismiss your capability of doing great things for God when you compare yourself to others, whether alive or passed on. You read about Elijah and think, "Wow, he was so special. God chose him to do great things. He is a faith superstar and the best I can expect is to get vicarious enjoyment by reading about what he did." It never occurs to you that God wants you to be and do just like Elijah. You don't think it's possible so you dismiss the very thought.
Jame was saying, "Elijah was just like you. He prayed and God heard him and did great things through Elijah." Now, you have gotten into trouble when you have tried to use that prayer power for unusual or selfish means. That does not indicate that you can pray for anything you want and God is obligated to do it. He isn't your cosmic bellhop at your beck and call to get you a new car or fancy clothes. God is your purpose partner, however, and He is ready to answer your prayers that are related to what He sent you here to do, which is your purpose.
Paul wrote that you and I are God's co-workers: "As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain" (2 Corinthians 6:1). The word for 'co-worker' is where we get our word synergy, which is when the sum of the parts is greater than their individual sums. With you as God's co-worker, it means that one plus One equals 100, or 1,000 or 10,000! You plus God always constitute a majority. Elijah had a purpose to turn Israel back to God. When he prayed for the rain to stop, God stopped it, not because Elijah found some heavenly switch where he could turn God on and off at will, but because God sent Elijah to call Israel to repentance. If Elijah needed the rain to stop to accomplish his purpose, then God was only too glad to oblige.
Today I celebrate my 65th birthday. I have been teaching on purpose for almost 24 years and I am more convinced than ever that God wants to use you just like He used Elijah, for some purpose that only you can fulfill. He does not expect you to do that alone or without resources. He is ready to partner with you as a co-worker, synergizing with you to provide all you need to get the job done. Stop playing small, stop dismissing your purpose and life as insignificant, stop getting vicarious pleasure through someone else's purpose. Find your own, pray great prayers and then see God do great things as together you partner to achieve God's will in your lifetime. Thank you and may God bless you with a great, purposeful week!
LEADERSHIP BREAKFAST: I am speaking at the last Duquesne University Leadership Breakfast on Tuesday, May 12 from 7:30 to 10:00 AM. My topic is Unlocking the Power of Your Creative Edge: Staying Inspired!. You can find more information or register at the University website.
G1 GROUP: Speaking of creativity, I host my monthly creativity support group meeting next Saturday, April 25 on the North Side of Pittsburgh. This is a group of 10-25 people who come together to encourage one another in their creative endeavors. Even some who need inspiration to be creative come to meet from 1 PM to 3 PM. Here is a our Facebook page. No need to register, just show us at Allegheny Center Alliance Church.
PURPOSE SEMINAR: I am hosting my next free purpose seminar on Saturday, May 16 from noon to 4:30 PM on the North Side at Allegheny Center Alliance Church. You do need to register even though it's free, so please email me to let me know you are coming.
#STANKOISMS: My latest book, #stankoisms: Wisdom for the Twitter Age is available in paper or ebook format.
YOUR PURPOSEQUEST TV: I have four television shows posted online. Each one features someone's purpose story. You can watch them on my Vimeo channel. I also have all my radio shows archived on my website for your listening enjoyment. That show is entitled "Wake Up to Purpose."