“The Blessing Of Spiritual Repurposing”
June 29, 2016
Outhouses for sale near New Holland, PA
(We never know what we will come across in our travels!)
Message Summary: God has a purpose for each of us. There are aspects of this purpose common to all who follow Christ. Although we may not choose to word it the same way, it would be very similar to my “personal mission statement” that I wrote many years ago. This, of course, could also be called my “personal purpose statement.” I purposefully place it in the footers of each daily encouragement message. It reads, “I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God’s Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life’s goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity.”
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“Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples” (Acts 9:1). “This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel” (Acts 9:15). “You, however, know all about … my purpose” (2 Timothy 3:10).
Brooksyne and I both have childhood memories that we suppose are getting rarer and rarer, especially here in the USA. We both had grandparents that had an outhouse! In fact Brooksyne used an outhouse during her childhood in Tulsa.
By the time I (Stephen) was a child my MaMa and PaPa, who lived in tiny Harwood Missouri, had indoor plumbing. It had been installed by my dad some ten years earlier when they were in their sixties. Prior to that they used the two seater outhouse which was still standing at the side of the house and functioned. When there was a lot of family gathered it was convenient to have a second (and even third) bathroom. Few people are picky about the facilities when nature calls!
Brooksyne’s grandparents lived in the Arkansas mountains and did not have indoor plumbing till she was a teenager. She writes, “Grandma and Grandpa had a two seater, two seats for humans and for anything else that decided to inhabit the rickety outhouse such as yellow jackets, wasps, dirtdobbers, and the likes. One thing’s for sure, you didn’t have long to wait to use their outhouse since we got in and out of there as quick as we could without before being stung during the summer months. We also didn’t piddle around in the freezing winter months when we dreaded going out in the cold. Nighttime was the worst time since my grandparents lived in the thick woods, known for bears, coyotes & wolves, even bobcats. Finally, my parents were able to pool their money with other relatives to install indoor plumbing so we could have running water which included not only a flushable toilet but also a bathtub and running water in the kitchen. It was very rusty water with a sulfur taste but at least it was indoor plumbing at last.”
I read a story about someone who had torn down an old three-seater outhouse and laid the pieces on the ground for disposal. A neighbor came by and, looking at the pile of boards, asked if she could have the board with the three holes. She was told, “Well I suppose, if you want it go ahead and take it” having no idea what in the world she would do with the outhouse seat. Sometime later she was visiting the neighbor and she proudly showed her how she had “repurposed” the board with the three holes as a picture frame with photos of her three grandchildren in the holes! You probably never thought of that one, huh!
So whenever you repurpose it’s a good idea to have some sense as to what the original item was used for. Brooksyne and I are both “repurposers” and find fulfillment in discovering unusual bargains along life’s way and finding a use for the disposed. In our disposable age it’s amazing what can be found. Here in America for the most part we are very affluent compared to previous generations and certainly more than much of the world’s populace who live in conditions of poverty unseen in our country. The problem is that our expectations of what we “must” have and sense of entitlement have also vastly grown.
Today let us consider repurposed lives. Prior to his conversion on the Damascus road Saul (as Paul was then known) had a purpose described in Acts 9:1, “Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples.” He was a great persecutor. I suppose his mission statement would read “persecutor of Christians.”
But his life was transformed and repurposed. At his conversion this purpose was made known, “This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel” (Acts 9:15).
You might say at conversion Paul’s life was repurposed.
Paul, as he came to be known, is often considered the greatest missionary of all time and faithfully fulfilled that purpose. Toward the end of his life in his final letter he wrote in confidence to Timothy, “You, however, know all about … my purpose” (2 Timothy 3:10).
One underlying question I often ask myself is, “What’s the purpose for that?”
That’s a vital question we should ask regarding why we exist. God created with purpose. One of the greatest innate needs common to all people is a purpose for our existence. Many aimlessly drift throughout their lives with little sense of direction or purpose. As a young Christian I learned to share my faith using a booklet called “The Four Spiritual Laws” which begins with the phrase, “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.” Of course the noun “plan” can be equally understood as “purpose” and truly God has a purpose for each one of us.
2 Timothy is considered the last letter that Paul wrote. The first nine verses in chapter three list over twenty-three godless characteristics evident in a period that Paul describes as “terrible times in these last days”. In fact it could easily be a description of the world in which we live. He seems to sum the list up with the phrase, “these men oppose the truth”.
But beginning in verse 10 Paul lists a number of positive personal characteristics that Timothy had observed in his life and thus was well acquainted with: “You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me…the persecutions I endured…”. Paul demonstrated these characteristics day by day; during periods of peace and during times of testing, when he had plenty and when he was in need. It wasn’t just the words Paul used to teach, but it was his way of life that reinforced that which he professed.
Among the characteristics he listed was “my purpose”. The word purpose means a “plan” or a “resolve”, denoting that a decision has been made. Another reference states this purpose to be “the guiding motive of my life and work”.
God has a purpose for each of us. There are aspects of this purpose common to all who follow Christ. Although we may not choose to word it the same way, it would be very similar to my “personal mission statement” that I wrote many years ago. This, of course, could also be called my “personal purpose statement.” I purposefully place it in the footers of each daily encouragement message. It reads, “I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God’s Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life’s goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity.”
But I believe God has also specifically equipped each of us for the unique purpose He has for our life. This purpose varies depending on the gifts, challenges, and callings God has granted us. In Acts 12:36 we read, “When David had served God’s purpose in his own generation”. My goal is to serve God’s purpose for my life in my generation. What about you?
Here are three questions to consider today as you live a repurposed life:
• Do the people who know me clearly observe me living according to my purpose?
• Do my priorities in life reflect this purpose?
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Your purpose in my life, Lord, is seen in a multitude of ways; whether it is in my vocational training; in the way I raise my children; in the relationships I engender or in the way I use my gifts to touch other lives. But Your purpose in my life is most visible to others in my response to heartache, betrayal, disappointment, suffering, and loss. Your purpose can be seen when I choose not to repay evil for evil, but rather good for evil. Lord, as I keep Your purpose for my life always before me I will remember that much good spiritual fruit can be developed in me in the ups and downs I encounter daily. May I be faithful in making choices today that reflect Your purpose in my life. Amen.
Our friend Doris High shares today’s photo and writes, “There must have been Amish church in our neighborhood. It was a beautiful morning for scooters and open buggies and we met many as we drove to our church.” It is a beautiful summer morning in Lancaster County. Brooksyne just returned from a ten mile bike ride and said, “It’s perfect weather for a bike ride!” so she was in keeping with our Amish friends (though our bike riding isn’t nearly as intriguing for the camera.)
The well-tended front porch flower bed of the Stoltzfus home.
We stopped by to visit with the Amish couple we met in Boston two weeks ago.
“Ask Me Why” Video Legacy Five
“I’ve Been Changed” Video Legacy Five
“I Stand Redeemed” Video Legacy Five
“Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior” Video The Craguns (We will be hearing this group later this summer in Shipshewana, Indiana)
For anyone interested in constructing their own outhouse here are the blueprints and directions.
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