4 Basics To Living a Life of Purpose

James Preston Reply 11:06 AM
I recently responded to an email where the author asked about whether his life still had purpose. From his experience, he believed that following his dreams was pretty useless, and wouldn't impact the world much.

This in turn led him to believe his life now lacked purpose. I figured in light of what I've been preaching and writing lately, my response fitted quite nicely on the Blog. I've edited it to be a bit more general. Enjoy!

And please, if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask them in the Comments section or Email them through.

1. Don't Let LIFE Jade Your Perspective of Your Purpose
The experience of life tends to jade us, and the more years we live in this strange world the more jaded we tend to get. It requires some serious focus and determination to keep your life filled with a sense of purpose. But if you are asking questions like "what is the purpose of my life", then deep down, you still long to live a life of purpose.

If you are thinking this way, then you're already in a small percentage of the world's population who long to live a life of purpose. Most people want a life of purpose from a young age, but with age comes the jaded cynicism of a broken society. So thinking this way is already a good path. And one that if you continue on without giving up, is sure to produce a fulfilling reward.

2. Your Dreams and Life's Purpose Are Connected
Dreams and life mission go hand in hand. I believe the dreams of our hearts are directly connected to the purpose of our lives. This isn't to say our dreams stay the same throughout our lives, though. But I firmly believe if we are fulfilling one seemingly small dream, it will lead to another and another, till eventually we have either accomplished many small dreams or find ourselves in the middle of building a big one.

What about you? Right now? Well, many factors will affect where to start. Whether you are married, in a committed relationship, your financial status etc. The less commitment you have to external factors determines how big you can start. This isn't to say such commitments are a bad thing, by no means! They just mean you would have to start a bit smaller before going after the big stuff. That is of course if you have big dreams. Many people don't know how to dream and therefore need to start small in order to "exercise their dreaming muscle".

I know much of this may be extremely cliched, but trust me... It works. I have seen in numerous lives, my own being the closest to home. The biggest cliche being "what do you love?" If you take steps in that direction, how much of an impact you have on the world will eventually follow suit.

If Walt Disney worried about how much cartoons would actually impact the world and make a difference, he may well have trashed that dream in pursuit of something more "impacting", and the world would be without The Lion King and Disney World.

It doesn't matter how much of an impact your life is going to have on the world, if you are doing what you love, you cannot help but impact people's lives and make this world a better place.

3. Start With What You Love - What You're Passionate About
If you had enough money coming into your account every month to support your lifestyle, and access to hefty capital, what would you go out and DO? Now, at first, obviously many people may say "well, I'll stop working! I'll rest. I'll go on a holiday." But eventually, you'll want to DO something. Start writing a book. Start a farm. Open a coffee shop. Start an orphanage. Etc.

What hobby/past-time do you have that when you do it, you feel most alive? Do everything you can to do that thing. Obviously this may be difficult depending on your work/financial situation. But once you have an idea of what "that thing" is, then start making steps in that direction. Do it in your own time. It may require you take a risk and take a loan, or do freelance/consulting work in order to pay the bills while you "build your dreams".

4. Don't Be Afraid To Aim High
Most people don't think of themselves as reaching great heights. But the key to living an impactful life is by aiming high. If you don't aim high, the arrows of your dreams won't travel very far. Big dreams are among the most important ingredients to success.

That's it for now. The rest is up to you.

I hope some of this has awoken the dreams of childhood within once again. And I do hope you take some steps toward living a purposeful life, and leave the spectating to others!

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE DREAMS YOU HAD WHEN YOU WERE YOUNGER BUT HAVEN'T STEPPED OUT AND TRIED YET?

Stepping Out The Boat Into Your Wildest Dreams - Guest Post

James Preston Reply 7:26 AM
Lisa, Katie, Peter & Amy Haynes
My good friend Peter Haynes has just embarked on one of the wildest adventures you could imagine with his family of 4 (including 2 young girls)! I thought it would be perfect for him to share the experience of his journey thus far, as it follows on nicely from last week's Blog about "how to follow your dreams".

As Pete will explain in this story, Peter and Lisa left literally everything to pursue a dream of studying at the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry. Lisa Blogs about each step of the adventure at http://heartventure.blogspot.com/ 
Bookmark it and follow it, as the stories are incredible from a gifted writer!
Peter is also on Twitter here, I just wish he tweeted more. Maybe give him a shout and spur him on a bit! :)

And now, over to Pete...

Stepping out the boat of comfort onto the wild seas of your dreams

What a year this has been... my wife and I, along with our 2 daughters, have been on a wild journey of pursuing our dreams and learning some valuable life lessons in the process. It's an absolute privilege to have the opportunity of sharing some of these experiences and lessons with you.

Let me give you a brief summary of the journey we've been on and then I'll get into a bit more detail.

In April, somewhat out of the blue, we decided to investigate the possibility of leaving our family and friends and job and pretty much everything we had in Durban, South Africa, go to Redding, California and study at the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry. Doors opened and momentum gathered and before we knew it, on 14th August we were receiving the keys to our leased apartment in the centre of Redding. What an amazing journey its been!

God had been preparing us for this over the past few years, He's been speaking to us and telling us to do certain things and also not do certain things. He kept tellling me to be radically obedient. God even told us to turn down an opportunity that had been our heart's desire for many years. We didn't understand it at the time but we knew that God knew what He was doing. At the beginning of this year, God even told us to leave our church of 15 years – we didn't know why at the time but as God spoke to Abram and told him to leave his father's house and go to a place he did not know, so it was with us. We had no idea where we were going, we just knew where we couldn't stay. It's not easy following God's voice when you don't understand but let me tell you something, this has been the greatest lesson I can take out of this whole experience – follow God's voice no matter what!

I have never felt more alive in my life as I do right now. But the exact opposite was true back in Durban. I felt dead inside. It felt as if God had lifted His grace off every area of my life – everything felt like a struggle and an intense frustration was building inside. But the moment Jesus spoke and called me out of my comfortable cruise liner of a boat, I felt the sinews growing back on my dry bones. And the moment I took that step out of the boat was the moment I felt alive again.

Looking back on it now, it seems like Jesus had left my boat a long time ago and had been waiting for me on the rough stormy waters, and the moment I took the step onto those waters was the moment His energy started pumping through my veins again. That's how it felt... I know He was always with me on those stormy waters.

Sometimes responding to God's voice does require sacrifice. We literally felt like we were leaving a cruise liner to walk on a deep dark stormy unknown sea. We were petrified! This season is costing us everything. Leaving family, friends, a good job, a beautiful home, life-savings etc. was not easy! But what we have gained even in this short amount of time has made it more than worth it. When God speaks, go with it because His plans for you are so much better than you think.

From the moment we decided to study at Bethel and move across the world, God started preparing us in every area of our lives. God is a genius! From our marriage, to the logistics, the finances, friends, family, you name it; God prepared the way for this dream to happen and to happen well. When we take a step of faith, God backs it up!

Something happens when the sons of God make plans and take steps towards great things. As those who have been given dominion; when we take a step, it is as if there is this mad rush behind the scenes to make sure everything lines up well for us. The joys of having such a good and powerful Dad!

We are really excited to be a part of this culture that Bethel have established here. Here there is a genuine culture of honour. It's not just spoken about it, it's practiced! We have been amazed by the help and support we have received from people we had never even met before.

We arrived in Redding at 3pm on Wednesday 14 August. By 8pm, all our furniture was in our apartment. Furniture that had been given to us or people had helped us source it REALLY cheap. There actually isn't space for me to tell how much help we've received since being here.

We've realised that in South Africa there is an arm's length culture, where we help people but only to a certain point or we just talk about helping but don't do any helping. Here it's different. People do! We feel like we are 'doing life' with some people already. There's no arm's length culture, it's an embraced and intimate culture.

Coming to study at Bethel has been a dream of mine for many years now and while I believe the timing of us being here is now perfect, I also believe that it is important to pursue your dreams and take those steps out the boat when you hear the voice of Jesus calling. We could easily have stayed in Durban. I believe God would have still blessed us. But I think this is His best for us.

There are far too many people missing out on their dreams because they are too scared to leave the comfort of what seems to be a cruise-liner of a boat, but once you've stepped out; you realise it was in actual fact a smelly old rickety fishing boat. Do not let fear rob you of your destiny! Choose to live now, and the greatest way you could ever live is in intimacy with the lover of your soul, Jesus Christ. Do what He says when He says it and you will never live another dull day in your life.

When He calls you onto the water, do not hesitate. When He rides with you in the boat, enjoy the ride. Just go with His best for you.

May you be blessed as you live out His best for you.

9 Ways To Follow Your Dreams - SUMMARY

James Preston Reply 2:46 PM
The last few weeks have been pretty manically crazy for me. Just one of those seasons, I guess. But! In my endeavour to bring an inspirational Blog every week, here's a little something for this week!

It's just a basic summary of what I preached this last Sunday night at Highway Christian Community entitled "HOW To Follow Your Dreams". The emphasis on HOW. I took the examples of dreams I have pursued in my life thus far, and how I reached them. The sermon should be up online by next week some time.

I hope to give you a more detailed encouragement of how you can pursue your dreams next week, in conjunction with the sermon. Until then, here's some points to get your juices flowing. And hopefully see you start to identify where to start in pursuit of the things in your heart!

Firstly, you need to understand that there are 5 phases to dreaming...

THE FIVES PHASES OF DREAMING: 
1. The idea/dream 
2. Putting the groundwork in to see it happen 
3. The fruition of the work (the event itself – keep focussed if this is a job!) 
4. The looking back in satisfaction 
5. The platform for the next dream 

When you understand what phase you are in, it will help you know where to focus your energy.

Now, the 9 Ways to follow your dreams. (My sermon was actually 10, but I've summarised the 9th point from 2 into 1)...

9 POINTS OF ADVICE COMING FROM MY EXPERIENCE OF GOING AFTER MY DREAMS: 

1. Get the idea 

2. Go to God and ask Him – place it in His hands 
Proverbs 16:3
Commit your works to the Lord, And your thoughts will be established.

3. Take the first step

4. Do everything you possibly can within reason

5. Do your best

6. Make use of your connections – relationships are key

7. Never give up – even until last minute

8. Know WHEN: 
- to park it
- to resurrect it
- to change tracks

9. Keep dreaming

That's it for this week! And I look forward to expanding on this next week!

Have yourself a blessed weekend and keep your eyes on the prize of a changed world.

Grace & Glory with Rob Rufus - KZN 2013 Summary

James Preston 4 9:49 AM

This year’s Grace and Glory Conference with Rob Rufus started with a headline change. From the usual “Glory and Grace” to “Grace and Glory”. Minor, I know. But a few people did ask me about it. It has to do with marketing actually. This year we decided to drop the registration system and go with an “all welcome” format. By doing so, we anticipated a number of those curious about what all the fuss is surrounding Rob and his message. 

Anything containing the term “Grace” these days usually sparks some kind of interest. That’s because we find ourselves in a theological revolution sweeping the world by storm. But we’ve spoken about that.

It was for this reason that we decided to focus on the word “Grace” in our marketing, and thus it just made sense to switch the conference name to have “Grace” come first. And as one clever friend of mine pointed out: The revelation of Grace opens one’s heart right up to experience the Glory of God. So it all seemed right.

We also decided against having day sessions, and rather have 3 evening sessions, so people didn’t need to take leave or miss out on sessions. This seemed to help more people getting to the meetings and inviting their friends along.

For those that weren’t there, or if you want a refresher, here’s what went down:

The Thursday night Rob ministered on the foundational truths of Grace. Which in itself requires hours of exposition. In this short period on one evening, Rob chose to focus on the role of “The Law” (Ten Commandments, Moses Law, etc.) and its inability to make anything or anyone holy. I loved this because I remember how important this revelation was for me a few years back. People can understand the New Covenant and how Gracious and Loving God is, but if they don’t understand the role of the Law, they could easily (and dangerously) mix it with the New Covenant thereby nullifying the New Covenant’s Super Power! It is essential in our understanding of the New Covenant that the Old, Law Covenant of Moses is dead to us as Christians and not only has no power whatsoever to change us, it does not even apply to us!

This significant point was coupled with the radical truth about many of the words of Jesus. It was clear that when Rob went into this territory, some people became unsure. Rob unpacked the truth that many of Jesus’ words were spoken...
  • to those still under the Law of Moses.
  • to reveal their self-righteousness.
  • to raise the Law back up to its high, “impossible” standard.
The Law of Moses, in its truest form, is impossible for any human being to keep. Which is the point. The Law was given in order to reveal our need for a Saviour. And That Saviour instituted and ratified the New Covenant when His Blood was shed at the Cross, not when He was born or any time before. The New Covenant didn’t begin until that point. (Rob did mention that the New Covenant officially started at Pentecost, which is valid.)

The second night, Friday, became a bit of a standing joke for the rest of the weekend. This was because Rob was significantly more passionate and excited than the other nights. The message Rob brought was one of “fiery encouragement” to “finish the race” as Paul stated. He did this to ensure people don’t misunderstand the New Covenant as one of laziness and passivity. Rather, the New Covenant should inspired us so much that we can’t help but be pro-active in the things of the Kingdom and do all we can to establish it on Earth. Rob may have come across as “angry”, but if you know Rob, you would know it was simply his passion for the Kingdom coming through.

The verse that comes to mind that best applies to Friday night is...
Hebrews 10:24 
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.

Spurring each other on is an essential part of the Christian walk. We need each other to encourage us to keep going, to get through the tough times, to not give up believing for the breakthrough, etc.

Some of the primary points coming out of Friday included...

  • The Truth that living in the Grace of God produces fruitful lives.
  • Believers still operate at different levels of maturity under the New Covenant, and its important to grow to be mature believers. (This was covered again on Sunday AM)
  • Renewal of the mind is absolutely imperative to living a fruitful Kingdom lifestyle.
  • The church was commissioned by Jesus to be an effective agent for change on the planet, and as New Covenant churches we should desire to be as effective as we possibly can be.
  • We are destined to prosper as children of God, but this starts with the next point...
  • The Message of Grace produces, above all else, “well-being in our souls”. This is true prosperity. As John said in 3 John 2; “I pray that you may be prosperous and healthy, even as your soul prospers.” Health, prosperity and success stem from a prosperous soul. And this is what the Gospel of Grace deals with; our souls. The root of the issue.

Saturday night, and the final night of the conference, was a glorious night under the ministry of Holy Spirit. As usual, the worship was passionate and intense as people reveled in the Goodness of our God and delighted in all He has done for us.

It was a perfect platform, because Rob had prepared to preach on intimacy with the Holy Spirit. An absolutely stunning conclusion to this year’s conference, a journey from Grace, to staying the course, to the goal; remaining “in the vine” in intimacy with the Holy Spirit.

This is what the New Covenant has achieved for us! That we “may all know Him” (Jeremiah 31:34). Through the work of the New Covenant, we all have a real, personal and intimate relationship with Holy Spirit. (Whatever you may want to call Him , He is a Real Person with a real personality and loves your friendship! All 3 of Them do!)

The ministry as usual was incredible, as Rob did what he does best and called those feeling the tangible presence of Holy Spirit forward, and released the Fire of Heaven on the room. Fresh, powerful, transformational encounters released all over the room. If you’ve never been to a Rob Rufus meeting, well, imagine hundreds of people squeezing into the front of the church hungry for more of God, and all personally encountering the Love and Power of God in different ways; from violent shakes on the floor, to loud shouts of triumph, to quiet smiles of peace.

Personally I too once again had a fresh touch of Heaven’s Fire. These can be really tough to explain and need an entire Blog Post, but trust me, it was a powerful time. I must be honest, I felt it could’ve gone on a bit longer. Not sure what happened, may have been a miscommunication or misunderstanding, but what happened was powerful and more than good enough for God to do His work.

Sunday morning was geared toward a local church context, but that actually gave it a unique feel and message. Many people found this message about Maturing as Children of God to be his best of the week. It was extremely practical, covering significant ground about the importance of growing into mature believers who can effectively establish the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. 

The basis for this message came from Colossians 1:28-29:
He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. vs29 To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.

This message was one of loving admonition, encouraging people to step into maturity. Rob made a great point regarding vs 29... Seeing believers step into maturity was of huge importance to Paul, so much so that he “strenuously contended” to see it happen. Much of his labour and work in the church was to “spur” the believers on to maturity. Obviously he did this in the Powerful Grace of God working in him, but seeing believers rise up into mature worldchangers was imperative to him.

I loved a comparison Rob did between mature and immature people. He didn’t share these to discouragement or condemnation to anyone, no ways! The platform for “no condemnation” had already been laid. But rather this was a “spurring”, inviting people to start taking responsibility for their lives and get on with changing the world!

These are some of the differences. Now, these may come across as a bit harsh to you, but they’re not meant to be. 

  • Mature plan a bit in their lives. Babies plan for nothing. If you don't manage your life, you'll spend your life managing crises.
  • Mature make difficult decisions, even if it costs them short term pain, knowing short term pain produces long term gain. Immature people complicate everyone's life around them by making quick silly decisions. They crash their chaos into other people's lives. And make people who confront them feel guilty.
  • Immature people are driven by instant gratification. 
  • Mature people find their identity in being Children of the Most High God. Immature people find their identity in miracles and achievements.  (Immature people can still operate in Power and miracles, because they’re done by Grace - but those miracles don’t give them credibility, their lives give them credibility - Bill Johnson has some good stuff on this point)
  • Immature people fight. Mature people unite.
  • Mature people distinguish between Biblical priority and Biblical values, making “the Kingdom of God first” their lives.
  • Mature people defend the truth, the church and other people's integrity, and very seldom themselves. Immature people will always try and defend themselves.
  • Mature people are givers, immature people are takers.
  • Mature people are faithful pillars. Immature people are cater-pillars, eating up everything they can, sewing a cocoon around themselves, turn into a butterfly, and fly away. (Haha, loved that analogy!)
  • Mature people manage their moods, they manage their self talk, they talk themselves into faith. Immature people sulk and withdraw in order to manipulate sympathy from others.
------  
As mentioned, Rob brought these comparisons within the context of a loving encouragement to a local church. It was without doubt the best message I have ever heard of such “encouragement and spurring”, because it was so seasoned with Love and Grace. If you download only one of the messages from this conference, download this one.

We then asked Rob and Glenda to lay hands and pray for all our Life Group Leaders at Highway. We are down to 2 full-time pastors, so the workload is completely different to what it was for us say 2 or 3 years ago. But what has been great is that it has forced us to rethink “church”, and to do things differently. And one of those ways has been to lean a lot more on the capacity of the Life Group Leaders, which has seen them step up to the plate like we’ve never seen before. Having Rob & Glenda lay hands and pray for them was a much needed commissioning of their role, appreciation of their work, and release of refreshing Living Water over their lives as they carry a new “load”.

This too, was a deeply significant and special time.

And that was it! We blinked and it was over! 4 days of Glory! 4 days of washing in the Word, renewing our minds to see things through the eyes of the Kingdom and His Righteousness.

It was a special time together. And no doubt will go a long way to seeing many believers in KZN step up to the plate and be get on with the job of changing the world like never before!

After all, that’s why we still here, right? To change the world. We can only do that by His Grace.

Spiritual Blog of 2013!

Spiritual Blog of 2013!

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