July 2023 Column

Calling & Purpose

God given, not found.
Demystifying “Calling & Purpose”

Let me give you this “vegetarian” nugget of inspiration right away: you and I aren’t supposed to find our calling and purpose. The idea of “finding your calling and purpose” is extrabiblical. Think about it, God called Adam and Eve into existence and gave them a purpose (Gen 1-2). This pattern of calling someone into a role and giving them a purpose is everywhere in scripture if you look close enough. God called Noah to be a preacher and builder so humanity could survive the flood. Moses was called to be a leader to free the Children of Israel. Fast forward to the New Testament and Jesus is following the same tradition of calling and giving purpose. He finds his disciples and calls them into his service as fisher of men and gives them a purpose in Matthew 28. Let’s clarify before we move on- We are called into specific roles by God to accomplish a purpose. Now that we have adjusted our understanding of Calling & Purpose, we can ask a few questions: What do I do while I wait for God to show me my calling & purpose? How do I know God is calling me to something? Can I have multiple callings? Here is another “vegetarian” nugget of inspiration that will guide your discussion.

We Shift into Our Calling & Purpose

In scripture we notice that before God called people into a role and gave them a purpose, they were engaged in something already. Let’s apply this idea to our text. Peter and Andrew were casting their nets when Jesus called them to be his disciples. The same pattern appears in verses 21-22 with James and John. They are in their boat with their father preparing their nets when they are called. It’s interesting because this pattern is found in the Old Testament as well. Elisha is plowing his field when Elijah called him into service and gave him a purpose (1 Kings 19-21). The point is, God intercepts us in our day-to-day life and gives us our calling and purpose. The mistake we tend to make is we become idle and wait for God to reveal our calling. The Bible makes it clear that we are supposed to be active and working towards something so that when we are called, we just shift into it because we are already in motion. Here’s another example of this in scripture that also helps expand on the idea above. Paul and Barnabas are forbidden to go into Turkey and Bithynia and end up in Macedonia to preach the Gospel (Acts 16:6-10). Note, Paul and Barnabas are travelling already and then the Holy Spirit gives them their destination. Here’s the interesting take away: They find out what God wanted them to do based on what God said no to. Basically, it was trial and error. Let me explain that. Paul tried to go to Turkey, but God said no. Then Paul tried to go to Bithynia, but God said no again. It’s only after two no’s that Paul realize his final destination. It’s uncomfortable to hear but Paul did not know God’s will until 1) he was willing to go without a knowing exactly where and 2) trust that the Holy Spirit would direct him by closing and opening doors. God is faithful to reveal our calling and purpose. However, you and I will never know how much God can bless until we try our best. “I am sure of this, that he who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

Questions for Discussion

What has God said no to in my life so far?

Has there been any new opportunities for me in the past year?

What dreams do I want to realize that align with God’s work in my life?

As you discuss remember that Calling & Purpose is God given, not found. God is too good to keep good things hidden from us. As Christians we do not need to use Astrology, look at cards or know our horoscope to figure out God’s will for our lives. God has already you called His child, a friend, an heir, redeemed and forgiven. God has called us into these roles for a purpose, to have a relationship with Him. The Bibles practical advice when it comes to finding a calling, a vocation, a partner and even figuring what our purpose is starts with praying but continues with us getting up and doing our best to achieve the dreams on our hearts so that when God intercepts us in our day we can shift into his plan.

Contributors

Editor
Xiomara Perdomo

Xiomara Perdomo

Assistant to the President for Mission

Writer
Elijah Stanley

Elijah Stanley

Podcast Producer

Back to top

David Asscherick

David is a speaker/director for Light Bearers and ARISE co-founder and instructor. Since his baptism in 1999, David has traveled the globe preaching and teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. He and his wife Violeta are the happy parents of two boys, Landon and Jabel.

Keynote Speaker

Benjamin Lundquist, host of Rise & Lead, will headline 2023 AYP Convention.

Benjamin Lundquist is a top motivational speaker and one the leading voices for leadership development and empowerment. He is passionate about helping students and professionals see their worth and value, see themselves as a leader, and see their potential to change the world. The message he shares is motivating, relatable, and highly practical. Audiences are challenged to take extreme ownership of the unique gifts and opportunities they have. He is an international speaker and host of Rise and Lead Podcast which has been downloaded in over 110 countries providing aspiring and experienced leaders of all ages with world-class content and conversation. He frequently speaks at corporate and faith events, universities, and high schools.

Identity in Christ | Breakout Track

April is currently an associate pastor for discipleship at Keene SDA church. She is enrolled in a dual graduate program for Public Health and MDIV chaplaincy. She enjoys working with different ministries that highlight service, hospitality, and life enrichment. 

Her hobbies include traveling, reading, music, and extreme sports. An introvert at heart, she enjoys moments with close friends and in the quiet. Her and her husband, Blake Snyder reside in Burleson, Texas.

Purpose & Calling | Breakout Track

Ann Roda likes to describe her life as one long adventure with God. She began her career as a registered nurse in OB then transitioned into healthcare administration. Then, God unexpectedly redirected her path to the Adventist Theological Seminary, for an MDiv, and into pastoral ministry. She spent 15 years as a church pastor in Marietta, Georgia and Fulton, Maryland. Six years ago, God had another adventure for Ann, and called her back into the health care ministry, serving with Adventist HealthCare as Vice President for Mission and Spiritual Care. 

This position is the perfect combination of both pastoral ministry and health care. Ann is married to Jose Hernandez, a licensed professional counselor. Ann and her husband enjoy hiking, biking, and traveling.

Relationships | Breakout Track

Stephen and Felecia Lee are partners in the mission. They share a mutual passion for young adult ministries and using their talents to share the Gospel online and through speaking engagements. Stephen helps individuals and businesses function more efficiently through time management and productivity techniques. Felecia is a full-time homemaker and also the founder of the New Wives Club. 

In addition to this, she runs a program teaching women of color how to learn principles of faith through natural hair care. They live in New Hampshire and speak in different places on topics related to singleness, courtship, communication, evangelism, and faith.

Spiritual Health | Breakout Track

Shawn is passionate about generations coming together! She grew up in a four-generation family business and knows, from first-hand experience, that when people of all ages work together, everyone wins!

She has a B.S. in marketing from the University of Nebraska and is an award-winning sales and marketing professional. Her professional certifications include being a member of the John Maxwell Team and DISC Behavioral Consultant. Recently she published her first book “Strategies for Generational Inclusion at Work.”

Communities | Breakout Track

Michael Gibson currently serves as the Lead Pastor at the Keene SDA Church where he most previously served for four years as Pastor for Young Adults and lead Elevate, a growing and thriving young adult community in Keene. Michael is married to Melissa and they both enjoy the outdoors, long walks, and traveling to new, unexplored places. 

Most days, when he’s not teaching, preaching or studying, you’ll find him playing disc golf or working on home renovations with Melissa. They recently welcomed their son, Micah Eden, into the world last October and ever since, life has taken on a whole new meaning. Above all, Michael and Melissa have a passion for discipleship and telling others about the incredible God they serve. For them, the gospel boils down to loving God and loving people.