Rick Warren’s “Called to Become”

Rick Warren is now preaching a series which revisits his Purpose Driven Life again, highlighting the 5 purposes of every person. It is a wonderfully simple yet revelational and practical series of messages which I started listening to yesterday. The first one I heard was “Called to Become”, which is actually the 3rd in his series. Here are my notes- May they bless you too! You can listen to all the messages here.

Marathon to Maturity (or 8 Keys to becoming who God wants you to be)
by Rick Warren

1. Simplify my life

Cut out and clean out all the junk that is preventing me from being the person God wants me to become.

We do not want to carry extra baggage.
Let go of some stuff.
Eliminate diversions.

Hebrews 12:1

Everybody wants you to run their race.
We have to think about what race God wants us to run. We have to decide which race to run that God has created for us.

We have to let go of some expectations too. We can’t please everyone.

We cannot just let go of sins, but also what everybody expects of you.

2. Don’t get impatient or in a hurry.

This race will take your entire life and you can’t run the race quickly.

Pace yourself.

When u first become a Christian, you will grow really fast!
Growth slows down but it gets stable and secure. God is not in a hurry to grow us to where He wants us to be.

We want to be solid like an oak tree, which takes 60 years to form.

Hebrews 12:1 let us run with patience!

Take a baby step each week.

3. Spend time focusing on Jesus everyday.

Whatever you want to become, you need to think about it. You need to spend the most time with people you want to become.

Whoever you spend the most time with is who you become most like.

You become more and more like Him.

We have never been quiet long enough. God doesn’t have to speak aloud – He can put thoughts in us.

Hebrews 12:2
We keep our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends.
We cannot become like Jesus, unless we spend time with Him.

I need to revive my quiet time.
I need to find a special place where I meet with God everyday.

We need to go where we can be alone and pray aloud.
We cannot close our eyes and pray and talk aloud.

Luke 22
Jesus went out as usual!
It was His custom. He likes to go there and have His quiet time.
We need to go to a special place and have time with Him.

Moses spent so much time with God that he glowed. He had a presence which glowed.
2 Corinthians 3: we have that veil removed so that we can be mirrors that reflect the glory of the Lord.

As Gods spirit works within us, we become more and more like Him and reflect His glory.

It takes time – it is more and more – it is sequential.
Many of us want a quick fix in our lives so we go around looking for that one book that will change our lives. We want a magic experience that transforms us immediately!
That won’t happen! It takes time.

We reflect His glory- His love, joy, peace and patience.
In our brains, we have mirror neurons. They allow you to feel what others feel when you look at them. That’s why you empathize with others. Your mirror neurons are firing in our body. When we see someone win a game, we feel the same joy because of our mirror neurons.

When we spend time with God, our neurons begin to reflect God’s qualities in our life.

4. When it gets hard, remember the reward.

This goal for God to makes you the person He wants you to be is a life time process. It’s not going to be easy.

His number one goal is for u to become more like Christ.
He is going to take you through everything that Jesus went through.

There was time where He was alone, rejected, misunderstood…
God wants to use circumstances to make us like Christ.

Jesus learned obedience through suffering.
Now it’s not the easy stage! That’s in eternity.

Now is where we do the character development.

Hebrews 12:2-3
Jesus did not give up because of the cross.
Because of the joy, He thought nothing of the suffering He was going through. He put up with so much hatred from sinners.

1 Peter 5
God will make you strong and support you and keep you from falling. He called us to share in His glory in Christ which will last forever.

God does not promise an easy life!
Everything on this planet is broken!
There are moments of joy, but as a general rule, life is tough.

Romans 8
Since we are his children, we share in his inheritance… But.. If we are to share his glory, we must also share in his sufferings.
God is no glory – no pain, no gain.

Romans 8:28
In all things…. Called according to His purpose. Memorize this verse!

5. Gather a team to run with me.

It’s your race and nobody can run, but people can support you.

At different stages, different people will run with you. That’s a small group.

If you don’t have anyone, not everyone will make it with you.

We do not need 100 people.. We just need a few people.

Hebrews 10.
Let us consider how we may spur each other on.. Let us not give up meeting together, but let us encourage each other as we see the day approaching.

Why do we cop out?
Fear!
Many times, we don’t even realize how fearful we are.
Fear causes us to miss Gods best. The small group helps you to love and feel belonged and that gives you the courage to stay in the race and finish it!
That is a safe place and it doesn’t happen over night. A small group takes time as we begin to know and love people – we begin to become more open. We have more openness because we mature as a small group.

6. Realize God is cheering you at every stage.

Some of us have the mistaken idea that God only cheers us when we reach the finish line or do things right.

Nobody shames a baby for not being able to read. Nobody shames a 10 year old for not being able to drive.

There are different things that are perfect for different stages of development.

We are already okay in Gods eye.
We need to be not ashamed of whatever phase of spiritual growth we are in.

We shame ourselves because we think God is ashamed of us.
The major reason we don’t become the man we are supposed to be is shame. Instead of admitting that we don’t have it altogether, we wear a mask when we know inside that we don’t have it altogether.

God knows that we don’t have it altogether!

We must become vulnerable and change the energy from pretending to become who God wants us to be.

Celebrate recovery!
Get out of denial. Quit trying to pretend that you don’t have problems. God needs to be that manager.

God is still cheering us on at whatever stage we are at.

Everybody needs recovery because everyone is broken.
Many of us don’t think great all of the time. We all need recovery.

Everybody needs to grow.

Philippians 3
Paul says… We have not already achieved these things or attained perfection. He is not!
Thank God we are not what we used to be. We have not got perfection, but we keep working towards that day where we become what God wants us to be.

We must focus all our energies on one thing.
We must forget the past and look forward to what’s ahead. We strain ahead to receive what God is calling us up to heaven for.

God is cheering us at every stage!
We start cheering our kids the moment the race begins.

God is cheering us even if we stumble!
We cheer more when we see a child stumble in a race. God cheers more when we stumbles, encouraging us on and spurring us to do better.

Don’t project an unpleaseable parent image on God.

God created us. He cheers even louder.

7. Take every step with purpose.

Whatever steps we take, we must do them with discipline and self control.

We have to deny ourselves.
We will not do everything that everybody else. We cannot follow everybody’s plans.

An Olympic winner gives up a tremendous amount of things.
It’s either plan A or plan B. We have to be purpose driven.

1 Corinthians 9
All athletes practice self control to gain a prize that will fade away.. We must run straight to the goal, taking each step with purpose.

Each punch must have contact.

Hebrews 12:13
Lift up your tired hands and strengthen your tired knees… Ask God for more strength. Keep walking!
Keep walking on straight paths so that your lame foot will not be disabled.
When things aren’t working out, we must not be tempted by short cuts.

In the race of life, we all run with a limp.
We have relational limps, physical limps, spiritual and financial limps.
We have all kinds!
Everybody walks through life with limps.

The only way we stumble less is if we stay on Gods straight path.

Michelle beesman’s story

She decided to Start running cos her small group of friends kept pushing.

8. Realize that what I don’t finish, God will.

Philippians 1.
God that began the great work in you will continue his work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus comes back again.

On that day when we see Jesus face to face, every mirror neuron will go on overload and we will be transformed to become just like Him.

All our fears and faults will be gone. All blemishes and flaws will be gone.
We will reflect the glory of God. That is such good news.

We are not a fraction of who we are meant to be.
One day God will finish what we didn’t if we have put ourselves in His hands.

1 John 3:2
We are already Gods children and we can’t even imagine what we will be like when Christ returns.. But we know that when he returns, we will become like Him.

In this race of life, we might have struggled. All of us have been there.

Our race is not over!
It is never too late to get back up and get into the race again.

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Jeremiah 32:39 – Singleness of Heart and Action

My key takeaway from yesterday’s sermon was not a message, but a life-story and a testimony of courage, vision and single-mindedness.

The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)

My Senior Pastor is a man of courage with only one fear – and that is, the fear of the Lord. With that fear, nothing else matters.

I love it that his sermons are always an opportunity not just to capture his teachings, but to gain a greater glimpse into his life and the unbelievable trials and tribulations he goes through to stand up for the truth.

Yesterday he shared his own story behind what unfolded over the past few week. Hearing it really touched me and enlightened me. I had a glimpse into the conversations with others and with God, the emotions felt, the deep convictions, the divine timings, the carefully calculated steps and the artful orchestration of God.

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6)

I resolve to have that same single-minded courage to stand up strongly for the convictions that God has placed in my heart. It’s not just courage or fearlessness that I admire, but it is that singleness of purpose and of heart.

I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me and that all will then go well for them and for their children after them. (Jeremiah 32:39)

That clarity in his mind that what one is doing is right and to never second-guess oneself – that’s what I want. That firm, deep-rooted conviction that is able to say confidently to others and equally importantly to yourself that – yes, this is the right thing to do and to do it, regardless of how difficult it may be, or the opposition that you face.

Psalm 23 – God’s goodness

Image taken from http://millersonamission.blogspot.com

“The goodness of God” is without a doubt – God’s word for me – for this season. It has been confirmed on 3 occasions within the past 3 weeks: 

#1. Office Prayer Meeting (7 Feb): During my office prayer meeting two weeks ago, a colleague was praying for my wife and I and she later shared with me that as she was praying, Psalm 23 came to mind and she blessed us with it. In our devotion time with BabyD at night, I decided not to follow the Psalms chronologically, as I usually do and read Psalm 23 to BabyD instead, since it seemed like he liked it so much.

#2. Quiet time (13 Feb): It was the final day of our CNY break and even though most of the day was spent at home resting, I had missed my quiet time in the morning. Usually when that happens, it’s hard to connect with God again as my mind is swamped and caught up with various things I need to tend to. However, that evening, I decided that I really wanted to connect with the Lord and spend time with Him. So, I went to my bed room and started praying in tongues. Youtube is frequently my quiet time companion lately and as I moved from song to song, I stumbled upon Gateway Worship/ Kari Jobe’s “You are Good”, as performed by City Harvest.

That song was really God-sent as it gradually brought me into God’s presence and the simplicity of the chorus – You are good, You are good, You are good, and Your mercy is forever – just captured my heart. I could not stop singing it, even as I went to the car later to run some errands. My whole being and spirit just resonated with that simple truth that God is good.

#3. G12 Cell (14 Feb): This was the most amazing move of God that really clinched this as God’s word for this season.

Went for G12 cell on Wednesday after a very tiring, mentally draining day of work. During the time of worship, God’s presence was extraordinarily strong and this was a presence of God’s rest. I really felt a tremendous, tangible sense of peace and rest flowing through me. It was amazing!

What was even more amazing was how a dear brother, Alvin, released a word to me during the time of ministry and it was from Psalm 23! That was just this unspeakable joy that burst forth within me when I heard that word. It was more specific this time, from verses 4 – 6 and the verse that struck me was – “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me, All the days of my life”.

What a great assurance this was! That not only was God a good God, His goodness and mercy would follow me all the days of my life. This verse couldn’t have been more timely as I was feeling concerned about how the arrival of our child would change our lives and whether we could cope.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m all excited and glad about BabyD’s arrival, but part of me also hears a lot about how our lives will never be the same and wonders how I/we can balance all the various other parts of our lives.

This assurance from God’s word came at the perfect time and weaved all 3 incidents together in a perfect message from God that no devotional, no sermon, no book could ever deliver. It was a perfect, personal word from the Lord to me.

Thank you Lord for this amazing assurance that I will hold on to as I prepare for the next exciting phase of my life!

[Side note: I’ve decided to move from blogging daily to focusing instead of building my personal walk with the Lord and write when I feel prompted to. I feel that’s more authentic and it’s less legalistic – I realised I do not always have something that can be easily expressed in words or a blog entry. Sometimes, my time with the Lord is just a good time with Him, without necessarily new revelations or great encounters – as such, there’s no need to bind myself to writing a post daily. I shall still try to write often as a form of discipline.]

Daily Walk 6 Feb: Simplicity of Heart

If you are on the fence concerning a certain habit or struggle, and you continue to use semantics as an excuse to sin, repent, for you have already compromised in your heart. (From Living Life, 6 Feb – Failure)

What an important lesson today’s Living Life conveys!

We often try to ‘outsmart’ God and the Bible by finding our way around what His word says or trying to ‘qualify’ what His word says. We are so smart in using our mind to twist and ultimately soften the condemning effect of God’s word that we have lost the point completely.

That is why Jesus says that we need to accept the kingdom of God in the simplicity of a child. A child takes everything as it is, at face value and comes with an innocent, believing heart.

Image taken from http://baylorcatholic.files.wordpress.com/

Whenever we talk about the simplicity of a child, that beautiful image of God receiving us, guiding us and us just following His loving hands is conjured.

However, there’s the tough and brutal side of simplicity that we rarely acknowledge, which is what the devotional is talking about too. Receiving God simply also means we are honest in allowing God’s word to apply to our lives. It means we are without guile, without disguise and honestly acknowledge the sins in our lives as guided by God’s word. God does not condemn us for it, but this honesty is necessary, for us to realise how great God’s grace is!

Daily Walk 5 Feb: To be abased

It is one thing to follow God’s way of service if you are regarded as a hero, but quite another thing if the road marked out for you by God requires becoming a “doormat” under other people’s feet. God’s purpose may be to teach you to say, “I know how to be abased . . .” (Philippians 4:12). Are you ready to be sacrificed like that?

Daily Walk 4th Feb: Hope

Not much really is said about hope. There are plenty of sermons on love and faith, but hope is really the neglected one from 1 Corinthians 13:13. It is usually seen as an extension of faith, or not being very different. That’s why it was so fascinating to read this Andrew Wommack article on ‘The Power of Hope’ this morning.

Hope is positive imagination.

Our lives are driven by imagination. Our imagination dictates how our life goes.

The most powerful revelation from the article is that we are in control of our imagination. What we need to do is to shut off all the negative things that are grabbing at us and choose to let God’s word dominate our lives and stir up our positive imagination.

I truly believe in the corrupting influence of what we choose to view and watch – that’s why I have made an intentional choice to ensure that horrible images are kept out of my mind and not to view movies which are too morbid or promote a negative world view (Final Destination comes to mind).

It takes intentional effort to excite our imagination.

In the midst of the daily grind of work, it is easy to have your mind just stayed on what needs to be done, the routine of everyday and the tasks that have to be completed each day.

Many people see following God as something painful, difficult and really about ‘dying to self’ – yet at the same time – the walk with God is an exciting one too. Not in an ‘It’s all worth it, even if you give up all your energies and become so exhausted for God, God has a great reward you in Heaven’ kind of way – but in a “God can actually make you extremely joyful and passionate about life” kind of way. Christians should not go around seeing life as tough, with the weight of the world on our shoulders – we should be the most excited, most passionate, most hopeful people in the world.

I shall make a commitment then to ensure that my mind is stayed on God’s word and to constantly exercise my imagination. I have lots to look forward to this year – and instead of seeing it as tough and difficult, I shall choose to imagine the best of possibilities, because God is with me and in His presence is fullness of joy!

Daily Walk 2nd Feb: My God Reigns

This has been the song of the season in my church lately and it was the song that I kept singing during my quiet time with the Lord this morning:

My God reigns
His love will never fail me
My God reigns
He’s ruling over all
In all my life
In every situation, I know
My God is greater
My God is over all.

There are a 2 powerful ideas about God within the simple chorus of this song:

  1. God’s sovereignty – God reigns. He has control over everything and every situation. He is greater than all situations in our lives. The words used are those of extremes – all and every. God is not just sovereign over some situations. He is sovereign over all.
  2. God is for me! – This God with such great power and authority is my God, a God that is so personal. He oversees all that is occurring in our lives and we can have faith that He is going to take control of all. The most powerful line to me in the chorus is His love will never fail me.

God is good!