The meaning of life

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meaning of life 2Lets talk about the question of significance, Does my life matter.  Isaiah asked this question in Isaiah 49:4a. He said, “My work all seems so useless.  I’ve spent my strength for nothing and for no purpose at all.”   You were made for meaning, and if you don’t have a meaning and purpose in your life and you don’t know why God put you on this planet, life doesn’t make sense. 

During World War II, there were prisoners in a Nazi concentration camp in Hungary, that were processing human sewage in a factory.  The allies came along, bombed that factory and blew it apart.  So the prisoners had nothing to do.  The Nazi soldiers had the prisoners take all the rubble of that factory and move it to another field.  The next day, they had them take that same rubble and move it back in reverse.  The next day, they had to take that stuff and move it back and day after day they had no meaning, no purpose.  It was just work doing the same thing over and over with no meaning and no purpose.  Then something strange began to happen.  The prisoners began to go crazy.  They began to lose their will to live because there was no meaning, no purpose in their work.  They were just moving bricks back and forth, back and forth.  Many of them began to throw themselves in front of the guards trying to get shot.  In essence, trying to commit suicide.  Because you and I were made for meaning. 

Now you’re going to go through life living at one of three levels:  The first and lowest level is the Survival level.  The Survival level is really where most live today.  They’re just in survival mode.  They question markare just barely getting by.  They’re just existing.  They’re not living.  They are controlled by their circumstances.  They put in their time and live for the weekend.  They’re just in survival mode. 

A step up from that, a better way to live, rather than the Survival level is the Success level.  Honestly, this is where many are  By the world’s standards, you’ve got it made.  You’ve got a comfortable living, compared to the rest of the world; you’re extremely wealthy, compared to the rest of the world.  So you have possessions, you have freedom, you have good health and you may have prestige and you may be quite successful.  But today there are a lot of books coming out that say things like, “If I’m so successful, how come I don’t feel fulfilled?”  The reason is, it takes more than success and it takes more than status to satisfy. 

 

You need to go to the third level of living, which is the Significance level.  Not a Survival, not a Success but step up to the level of Significance.  How do you live at the Significance level?  Well, you get there through three things:

#1:  You know the meaning of life – that gives Significance.

#2:  You know how much you matter to God – that gives you Significance.

#3:  You know God’s purposes for your life and you’re living them out and that

       gives you Significance.

If you want to know how much you matter to God, look at the next couple of verses.  God says, “I am your Creator.  You were in My care, even before you were born.” (Isaiah 44:2)  God was caring for you even in His mind, as He thought you up.  The next verse says, ”You (talking about God) scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe.  Every day was recorded in your book.”  That’s how much you matter to God.  He paid so much attention to your life that every detail was recorded in His book, before you even took a breath.  That’s how much you matter to God.  Do you matter? – Yes.  He made you.  He made you to love you and the Bible says you do matter.

monty meaningAnd God wants you to know how much you matter to Him.  God wants you to know the meaning of life.  He wants you to know His purposes. 

Do you realize the fruit fly only lives one day? Here today- gone tomorrow. What’s its meaning for life? Why is it even here? Why live just a day? Unlike the fruit fly, God has extremely long-range plans for you.  Look at the next verse, “His plans endure forever; His purposes last eternally.”   Now listen, God’s purpose for you is not just for the rest of your life on earth,  they’re for the rest of your life forever and ever, and ever and ever and ever.  Because God’s purposes are eternal.  This is the warm-up act, this is the kindergarten, this is the preschool, this is where you do the dress rehearsal. 

God says I have plans and purposes for your life, but they don’t end at death.  Because when you die, your heart is going to stop and that will be the end of your body, but that’s not the end of you.  You’re far more than a body.  You were made to last forever.  The Bible says this, Psalm 33:11 says, “His purposes last eternally.  God says, ”I was made to last forever.”   I was made to be loved by God, and I was made to last forever.  This life is not all there is.  One of the biggest ways you can waste your life is thinking all there is, is here and now.  You’re going to spend far more time on that side of death, than you do on this side.  On this side, you may get to live 60, 70, 80 or 90 years or so.  But that’s just a drop in the bucket compared to eternity.  The time you spend on earth really isn’t that very long. 

It’s like if you stretched out a line around the world the first millimeter of that line would not even equal how tiny your life is compared to all the time you’re going to spend in eternity.  You were made for eternity and life is preparation for eternity.  You’re not going to find that in a self-help book, but it’s the truth.  Life is preparation for eternity. God’s purposes for you are eternal.  They are forever.  This is the key to the meaning of life.  Realizing that life is preparation for eternity.

 

The Bible says this.  Notice 2 Cor 5:1, “When this tent we live in – our body here on earth – is torn puzzle headdown.  God will have a house in Heaven for us to live in.  A home He himself has made, which will last forever.”  You want to know how much you matter to God.  Well, I’ll tell you – you matter so much to God; He wants to keep you with Him for the rest of eternity.  For the rest of eternity – He wants to keep you with Him forever.  That gives meaning. 

Look at this verse, “Leave your impoverished confusion and live and walk up the street to a life with meaning.” (Proverbs 9:6)

meaning of life(Adapted from “Why in the world am I here” by Rick Warren) 

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The meaning of life

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monty meaningLets talk about the question of significance, Does my life matter.  Isaiah asked this question in Isaiah 49:4a. He said, “My work all seems so useless.  I’ve spent my strength for nothing and for no purpose at all.”   You were made for meaning, and if you don’t have a meaning and purpose in your life and you don’t know why God put you on this planet, life doesn’t make sense. 

During World War II, there were prisoners in a Nazi concentration camp in Hungary, that were processing human sewage in a factory.  The allies came along, bombed that factory and blew it apart.  So the prisoners had nothing to do.  The Nazi soldiers had the prisoners take all the rubble of that factory and move it to another field.  The next day, they had them take that same rubble and move it back in reverse.  The next day, they had to take that stuff and move it back and day after day they had no meaning, no purpose.  It was just work doing the same thing over and over with no meaning and no purpose.  Then something strange began to happen.  The prisoners began to go crazy.  They began to lose their will to live because there was no meaning, no purpose in their work.  They were just moving bricks back and forth, back and forth.  Many of them began to throw themselves in front of the guards trying to question markget shot.  In essence, trying to commit suicide.  Because you and I were made for meaning. 

Now you’re going to go through life living at one of three levels:  The first and lowest level is the Survival level.  The Survival level is really where most live today.  They’re just in survival mode.  They are just barely getting by.  They’re just existing.  They’re not living.  They are controlled by their circumstances.  They put in their time and live for the weekend.  They’re just in survival mode. 

A step up from that, a better way to live, rather than the Survival level is the Success level.  Honestly, this is where many are  By the world’s standards, you’ve got it made.  You’ve got a comfortable living, compared to the rest of the world; you’re extremely wealthy, compared to the rest of the world.  So you have possessions, you have freedom, you have good health and you may have prestige and you may be quite successful.  But today there are a lot of books coming out that say things like, “If I’m so successful, how come I don’t feel fulfilled?”  The reason is, it takes more than success and it takes more puzzle headthan status to satisfy. 

 

You need to go to the third level of living, which is the Significance level.  Not a Survival, not a Success but step up to the level of Significance.  How do you live at the Significance level?  Well, you get there through three things:

#1:  You know the meaning of life – that gives Significance.

#2:  You know how much you matter to God – that gives you Significance.

#3:  You know God’s purposes for your life and you’re living them out and that

       gives you Significance.

If you want to know how much you matter to God, look at the next couple of verses.  God says, “I am your Creator.  You were in My care, even before you were born.” (Isaiah 44:2)  God was caring for you even in His mind, as He thought you up.  The next verse says, ”You (talking about God) scheduled each day of my meaning of lifelife before I began to breathe.  Every day was recorded in your book.”  That’s how much you matter to God.  He paid so much attention to your life that every detail was recorded in His book, before you even took a breath.  That’s how much you matter to God.  Do you matter? – Yes.  He made you.  He made you to love you and the Bible says you do matter.

And God wants you to know how much you matter to Him.  God wants you to know the meaning of life.  He wants you to know His purposes. 


Do you realize the fruit fly only lives one day? Here today- gone tomorrow. What’s its meaning for life? Why is it even here? Why live just a day? Unlike the fruit fly, God has extremely long-range plans for you.  Look at the next verse, “His plans endure forever; His purposes last eternally.”   Now listen, God’s purpose for you is not just for the rest of your life on earth,  they’re for the rest of your life forever and ever, and ever and ever and ever.  Because God’s purposes are eternal.  This is the warm-up act, this is the kindergarten, this is the preschool, this is where you do the dress rehearsal. 

God says I have plans and purposes for your life, but they don’t end at death.  Because when you die, your heart is going to stop and that will be the end of your body, but that’s not the end of you.  You’re far more than a body.  You were made to last forever.  The Bible says this, Psalm 33:11 says, “His purposes last eternally.  God says, ”I was made to last forever.”   I was made to be loved by God, and I was made to last forever.  This life is not all there is.  One of the biggest ways you can waste your life is thinking all there is, is here and now.  You’re going to spend far more time on that side of death, than you do on this side.  On this side, you may get to live 60, 70, 80 or 90 years or so.  But that’s just a drop in the bucket compared to eternity.  The time you spend on earth really isn’t that very long. 

meaning of life 2It’s like if you stretched out a line around the world the first millimeter of that line would not even equal how tiny your life is compared to all the time you’re going to spend in eternity.  You were made for eternity and life is preparation for eternity.  You’re not going to find that in a self-help book, but it’s the truth.  Life is preparation for eternity. God’s purposes for you are eternal.  They are forever.  This is the key to the meaning of life.  Realizing that life is preparation for eternity. 

The Bible says this.  Notice 2 Cor 5:1, “When this tent we live in – our body here on earth – is torn down.  God will have a house in Heaven for us to live in.  A home He himself has made, which will last forever.”  You want to know how much you matter to God.  Well, I’ll tell you – you matter so much to God; He wants to keep you with Him for the rest of eternity.  For the rest of eternity – He wants to keep you with Him forever.  That gives meaning. 

Look at this verse, “Leave your impoverished confusion and live and walk up the street to a life with meaning.” (Proverbs 9:6)

(Adapted from “Why in the world am I here” by Rick Warren) 

WHY AM I ALIVE? THE QUESTION OF EXISTENCE

thinking 2Why am I alive is not exactly a new question.  It was asked thousands of years ago.  In fact, Jeremiah asked it in Jeremiah 20:18, “Why was I born? Was it only to have trouble and sorrow, to end my life in disgrace?”   Now there have probably been times in your life when you felt that way, too.  Was I born just to have a bunch of problems?  Was I put on this planet just to have heartache, grief and stress? 

Arthur Ashley Brilliant says “my life is a superb cast, but I can’t figure out the plot.  Jack Hanley wrote, “I hope life isn’t a joke, because I don’t get it.”  A guy named Dr. Hugh Moorhead, who is the Chairman at the Department of Philosophy at the Northeastern University, once wrote to 250 well-known philosophers, scientists, writers and intellectuals of the world and asked them, “What is the purpose of Life.”  And then he published all of their responses in a book.  The book is quite discouraging and depressing.  Some of these people offered their best guesses.  Some admitted they made up a purpose in life. Some admitted they didn’t have any idea as to what the purpose of life was and if Dr. Moorhead knew, would he please let them know.  Carl Yung, the famous psychiatrist said, “I don’t know the meaning, the purpose of life, but it looks as if something was meant by it.”  Isaac Asimov wrote, “As far as I can see, there is no purpose.”  Joseph Taylor, authored “I Have No Answers To The Meaning of Life And I No Longer Want to Search For Any.”

 

You know, those are tragic statements because the life without purpose isn’t a life worth living.  It is no coincidence that the suicide rate in our society has gone up.  It’s now the No. 2 killer of teenage students.  It is no surprise that we have so many shootings and mass killings. You see, if you take God and His purpose out of the equation, you don’t really have very many alternatives.  You can try the Mystical approach – the mystical approach says “look within and find your purpose within.”  You know if that really worked, all of us would know our purpose. I’m sure you’ve tried that.  I have and I bet everyone else has, thinking 3too.  And I didn’t find it there.  It takes more than looking within. 

 

Oprah  did a show a while back on discovering your purpose of life. At every single break during that hour show, she would say “Now, come back because we’re going to tell you your purpose.”  And every time they would come back and did they tell you it? No! They didn’t even come close.  They didn’t even attempt it.  In fact, as the credits were rolling at the end of that show, she kind of looks at the credits and says, “And remember, you’ve got to figure it out by yourself.” Looking within is not the answer. 

Then you can try the Philosophical approach – the survivalist says, “The purpose of life is just to stay alive.”  In other words, live as long as you can.  The Naturalist says, “The purpose of life is just to perpetuate itself.”  In other words, you’re just here for biological reasons.  Rap artist, Ice Tea, wrote, “The only reason we’re here is to reproduce. Just chill out and reproduce.  Keep the species alive.”  Doesn’t that just motivate you to want to jump out of bed in the morning?  It may motivate you to jump in to bed, I don’t know. 

 

The Hedonist writes, “The purpose of life is pleasure – have fun, party-hardy.” The Materialist says, “Life is all about the acquisition of things.”  You’re life is measured by the things you own.  You know the problem with that is that he who dies with the most toys, still dies.  And so, these are not really satisfying answers.

 

 The Mystical approach, the Philosophical approach or you can try the Self-Help approach.  You can go into any bookstore and find hundreds of books, probably, that talk about discovering your life purpose.  They all are basically the same thing.  They say the same thing; “You’ve got to invent your purpose.”  You’ve got to create your own purpose in life.  And they all give the same basic approach –“ discover your dreams, go after your goals, have some ambitions, dream big dreams, aim high, believe you can achieve, have faith, figure out what you’re good at, never give up, involve other people.” Now those are all good advice and they will, if you do those things, make you a success in life.  But being a success and knowing your purpose in life are not the same thing.  You can be a raving success in life and still never know, “What on earth am I here for?”  What did God put me on this earth for? 

 

thinkingYou see, the purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment.  It’s far greater than your own happiness.  Even your own peace of mind.  You were made by God and you were made for God and you were put here for His purposes.  And until you understand that, life isn’t going to make sense. 

 

Okay, why does God want us here?  Why are we alive?  Why are we on this planet?  Is there a reason?  Well, the Bible says this in Proverbs 16.4, “The Lord has made everything (circle everything) for His own purpose.”  It’s for His purpose.  Now God has never made anything without a purpose.  Every rock has a purpose, every plant has a purpose, every animal has a purpose and if you’re alive, you have a purpose.  If you want to know if God still has a purpose for your life, check your heart.  If it’s still beating, God still has a purpose for you here on earth. 

 

The truth is God has five purposes for your life. 

 

·        You Were Planned for God’s Pleasure (Worship)

 

·        You Were Formed for God’s Family (Fellowship)

 

·        You Were Created to Become Like Christ (Discipleship)

 

·        You Were Shaped for Serving God (Ministry)

 

·        You Were Made for a Mission. (Mission)

 

Those are the five reasons God put you on this planet. 

 

Right now, though, I just want us to see God’s motive.  Look at this next verse, Eph 1:4, ”Long before He laid down the earth’s foundation, He had us in His mind and settled on us as the focus of His love to be made whole and holy by His love.”  Notice again the phrase “the focus of His love”.  Cause if you don’t get anything else from reading this, I want you to understand this, God says He made you, to love you. You were created to be loved by God. 

 

God is love and God wanted to create something to love and so He created you.  He didn’t need you.  He wasn’t lonely.  But He made you in order to love you. He wanted you.  And before we can talk about anything else, you have to understand this is what on earth you’re here for – to be loved by God.

(Adapted from “What on earth am I here for? by Rick Warren)

Could you use some hope?

hopeHaven’t we all had those moments in our lives when we’ve made life investments based on flawed assumptions? And now maybe you’re coming to a point in your life in your 20’s or your 30’s or 40’s or 50’s or 60’s or whatever it is, and you say, “I thought this and I did that; and now I am living in so much regret.” Or, “I’d hoped this and I went after that; and now I find myself in need of resurrection in my own life.”

There was a guy in the Bible who felt exactly like that. He was a close friend of Jesus. He was a fisherman, a guy named Peter. He began to wonder if he’d had some flawed assumptions about Jesus. He began to wonder whether or not he had made a bad life investment and misplaced his hope when he decided to follow Jesus.

But I want you to know what he wrote one day. In 1 Peter 1:3, he wrote, Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…

You see, he found out his assumptions about Jesus weren’t flawed. Did you notice those two words: hope and resurrection? There are a lot of things in life that get way overrated: sports teams, some movies, some restaurants, cars. Youth is completely overrated. (Hair) There are

Lots of things in life that are just way, way overrated.

But I’m telling you this: hope is not one of them. We all need hope. What’s really cool is that the New Testament contains the word ‘hope’ 71 times: hopelessone time before the resurrection of Jesus; 70 times after the resurrection of Jesus.

When the Bible talks about hope, it’s not talking about mere optimism. It’s not talking about some hyped-up, rose-colored, power-of-positive-thinking kind of hope. It’s talking about real hope, a get-up-off-the-mat kind of hope.

It’s a hope that can sustain you through the hard times of life, a hope that can come along and heal your pain, a hope that can wash away your shame and regret. It’s a hope that can give you the power to recover from those bad life investments you made, a hope that really can breathe life into an empty shell because it’s a living hope. It’s a life-changing kind of hope. It’s a resurrection kind of hope.

Have you ever noticed that hope always begins in the darkest places? Think about that. One of the most common symbols of Christianity is a cross. There’s lots of artwork of crosses. Many of you wear a cross around your neck. But the cross originally was a cruel instrument of execution. Today it would be like somebody wearing a little electric chair or lethal injection needle around their neck. Wouldn’t that be weird?

Yet we wear crosses because God took darkness and brought it into the light. God took despair and brought hope out of it. God took death and brought about resurrection. Think about it: What is the single worst thing that can happen to you in your life? Single worst thing is death, right? You can go through many other things, and you can get expert advice from other people on making life investments financially or vocationally or relationally. But who are you going to get advice from about death?

You can’t get advice about death from anybody else. Why? Because everybody who has died is … still dead. Except one. And that’s why I’ve decided that I’m going to trust the one who died and was buried and who rose from the dead. If there’s power that can raise Jesus from the dead, that power can help us in any circumstances that we deal with in life. He’s alive. Who else would you rather trust?

Look at that verse again from 1 Peter 1:3, In His great mercy He has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

New birth: Peter was talking about a new beginning, a fresh start. And that’s what Jesus Christ did for him. That’s what Jesus Christ did for me, too.

I grew up in Frankford, Delaware. I was 12 when I was baptized, but I question whether or not I really was serious about Jesus being the manager of my life.

hope 2I was a guy who had a lot of flawed assumptions about life and a lot of flawed assumptions about God and a lot of flawed assumptions about my own self-importance. Outwardly I was a pretty fun guy. I looked like a guy who had it together. But on the inside where the real truth resides, I was dying. I was so empty; and to be honest, I was really, really lonely.

When I was 14, the church group I was a part of came to Richmond to a week of summer camp. It was at Pocahontas State Park, right here in Chesterfield Co. It was the only time we ever used the park facilities for a church camp. During that week I made a commitment to give my life to serving God full time in some kind of ministry involvement. I was serious about the decision at the time. But that commitment soon waned as well.

Then, during the second half of my senior year in HS I decided it was time to decide once and for all where I stood with God and quit making empty resolutions and being just an empty shell. I had come to the point where I had to answer the question of whether or not I believed that Jesus Christ has life-changing power. I surrendered my life to his leadership and meant it that time. And God gave me a fresh start; he gave me a new beginning, a completely new direction in life. 

So I want to ask you: What about you? Are you ready?