Do you want to start the New Year by “living on purpose?”

— by Tom Sine —

Blog 31 New Year Photo

Christine and I and our good friends Tom and Kim Balke had a lovely dinner last night in Vancouver BC with Alan and Jane Roxburgh, who heads The Missional Network.

We are seeing serious economic uncertainty in many of our western countries as we enter 2013.  This means many of our most vulnerable neighbors locally and globally will be at risk in this New Year…which is an opportunity for people of faith to reach out.

Alan Roxburgh works as a consultant with mainline denominations in the US, Canada and the UK who works to influence churches to create new ways care for their neighbors.  He sees a serious economic “unraveling” in many of our western denominations.  As a consequence he is sensing a growing anxiety among church leaders regarding the serious decline in both numbers and giving.  He stated that the most immediate concern for one group of pastors was whether there would be money to pay their salaries and their pensions in the future.  Alan said “these places of anxiety are also, for me, the very places where God’s new thing are gestating among the ordinary people in their everyday lives.”

How can all of us focus more on the challenges facing our neighbors and find new ways to be something of the compassion of Christ in the New Year?

Christine and I wrote a book called Living on Purpose that came out 3 months  before The Purpose Driven Life. But we were not afflicted with 52 million sales.  {Christine & Tom Sine, Living on Purpose: Finding God’s Best for Your Life, Baker Books, 2001}

In my last 2 blog posts I urged readers discover the good life of God will only be found by making God’s purposes our purposes…at the very center of our lives.  In other words what could be more important than discover how God might want to use our mustard seeds to make a little difference in our troubled world as we race into this New Year?

Try taking some time prayerfully to participate in an “active listening process” to discover creative new possibilities for your life.  Take time to write down answers to these questions: How do I hear God inviting me to connect my life more directly to God’s purposes through:

  1. Scripture?
  2. Prayer?
  3. Need of others?
  4. Your giftedness and your brokenness?

Take what you have written down to draft a beginning calling statement for your life in the New Year.  Then invite God’s Spirit to ignite your imagination to create one concrete creative way God might use your life in the coming year to make a little difference in the lives of others in times like these.

One family responded to their sense of calling to be the “hospitality of Christ” by inviting neighbors over for dinner on a regular basis.  12 single guys covenanted not to work more than 30 hours a week for money to free-up 20 hours a week to work with at risk teens in their community.  A church in Tacoma  helped several of their members start small businesses to help provide jobs for the unemployed.  What are creative ways you and your congregation might put God’s purposes first in your life in 2013?

Do you want to start the New Year by “living on purpose?”