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Talk

Hal Jordan went from being a rather aimless test pilot to taking on a significant mission. What do you think it would it be like for him to take on a bigger purpose for his life?

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Read alternate story

Read

“You’re so bright,” they told me.  “I bet you’ll do something amazing with your life.” My parents, teachers, friends, even the kids who made fun of me, they all said so eventually.

I may not have been cool, good-looking, or confident, but I firmly believed that my intellectual potential would someday land me an important career. That was the light at the end of my tunnel. I never thought about what this career would be; I figured I’d find out before I graduated from college.

But I never seemed able to settle on a major, let alone a life direction. I was afraid I might choose the wrong path, so I didn’t choose anything. One by one, application deadlines passed. Doors of opportunity shut. All the while, everybody kept asking, “So…what are you going to do after you graduate?” I felt pressure from without, and pressure from within.

I was keenly aware of my longing for purpose and significance, to make my life count. I knew God had to factor in somehow. I had become a Christian just before college, and knew that God knew what I should be doing. He made me the way I was. But for what purpose?

And how did a big question like that translate to the nitty gritty before me? Should I go to law school, or get my PhD? Or should I postpone that fateful decision by doing a one-year campus ministry internship? I wished God would just tell me what to do—but he didn’t seem to be saying much just then.

Talk

What would you want people to say about your life when it’s over? What would you like to have them say you accomplished—in your job, in your family, in your community, or in other facets of your life?

Context

This passage describes how Jesus called his first followers. Simon Peter and his partners were fishermen in the Sea of Galilee in Israel. It was honest work, and these men likely made decent money at it. To fish, they would go out at night when it was cool (the fish did not usually bite in the daytime). Also, anything they caught during the day would be harder to sell at the market, which was busiest in the early morning. When Jesus met up with the fishermen in this passage, they’d just finished a long day’s work and were probably exhausted. They had to finish the long and arduous process of cleaning and mending their nets, which had likely snagged all sorts of things you couldn’t eat. Only after this, could they finally go home to sleep.

Read

Take turns reading verses from Luke 5:1-11.

Talk

  1. What do you learn about the professional life of a first-century fisherman in this passage?
  2. How would the disciples have initially felt when a rabbi (not an expert in fishing) told them (fishing experts) how to fish?
  3. After the catch was hauled in, what might Simon have been thinking and feeling? Why?
  4. How was the disciples’ new calling to fish for people similar to fishing for fish?
  5. What does Jesus’ interaction with the disciples in this passage tell us about how Jesus calls people to a purpose or vocation for their lives?
  6. The disciples, after seeing the greatness of God’s glory, left behind their nets and boats to follow him. What sources of identity, security, or value would you need to hold loosely so that you can make your life available to God?
  7. Simon doubted his ability to be used by God, but Jesus reassured him. How do you need to be reassured by God that he is able and wants to use your life?

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Read alternate story

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As I deliberated my post-college options, an older Christian mentor gave me some sage advice: “Be whom God has called you to be, and you’ll be doing what he’s called you to do.”

Those words brought freedom and clarity to my confusion. God was less interested in the specific career I chose, and more interested in the specific person I became. Wherever I end up, God wants me to be the kind of person who loves him and the people he’s placed in my life.

My mentor’s advice didn’t answer the immediate issue about the next year, but it helped me move forward without fear. God had general principles for using my gifts, passions and experiences for his world, but how I specifically lived that out could take many forms.

I ended up choosing the one-year campus ministry internship, then needing to make career decisions all over again. This time, I prayed God would reveal more about my specific purpose, rather than my specific career. While praying, a memory flashed of me planting trees with my dad when I was young. I felt God telling me, “This is who I’ve made you, someone who plants new things with your heavenly Father. This is your purpose.”

The pressure to figure out something profound to do with my life evaporated. I had something profound to do because the God who created me had spoken. His words rang so deep and true that I knew they were right.

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Workshop

  1. What is your S.H.A.P.E.? Using Spiritual Gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality, and Experiences as a guide, write down unique attributes that are central to who you are.
  2. In groups of two or three, take turns sharing a few attributes from your S.H.A.P.E. list. Help each person think of practical ways to take action on one item this week.
  3. With the whole group, share a selected attribute and how you plan to use it to serve God this week.

Memory Verses

Scripture memorization is a powerful tool for many reasons. One is that God's Word will be readily accessible to you when you need comfort and advice. (You can then share verses to comfort and counsel your friends and family when they need it too.)

If you have a smartphone, try a Scripture memory app like Fighter Verses or Verseminder. You can also write verses on notecards to carry with you or post somewhere you'll see daily.

Here are a few verses to remind you that God knows you inside and out, has a plan for your life, and is worth trusting and following:

You have searched me, LORD,
   and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
   you perceive my thoughts from afar
You discern my going out and my lying down;
   you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
   you, LORD, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
   and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
   too lofty for me to attain. Psalm 139:1-6

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

Reminder

During the session, you selected one item from your S.H.A.P.E. handout to use to serve God somehow in the next week. What is one way you've followed through on this so far?

Video

See video

God thinks about you. Jeremiah 29 says: “'I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord.” God’s purpose is to give you a hope and a future and bring glory to himself. You have been called to serve God’s purpose in your own generation. Consider watching Parts 3 and 4 as well.

“What’s my calling?” is not always the first question…but when the answer comes, will you be willing to sacrifice for it? Artist Scott Erickson shares his thoughts on the struggle to find your calling and how you have to live a life of sacrifice to make sure you are following your calling.

See video

This clip is taken from the sermon "Jesus Calls Peter, James, & John," preached by Pastor Mark Driscoll at Mars Hill Church. Watch the full sermon.

Books

Discover your vocation by listening to God and becoming a coworker with him. Questions addressed include: What is my calling? Will my vocation change as I enter a new stage of life? Where do I find the courage to follow God's call?

Experiencing God shows you how to deepen your own personal relationship with God and discover your special place in his Kingdom.

If it was ever easy to graduate from college, choose a direction, and move on in life, it's not easy today. The terrain is unmapped, the destination uncertain, the stakes high. Find out what it means to follow Jesus after college.

A practical, powerful book of inspiring stories about people who have put their faith into action in the most adverse circumstances. Their stories will amaze and encourage you to face your fears, surrender them to God, and watch him take you beyond what you could ever have imagined.

You are right where God wants you. As a citizen of God’s kingdom, you are already uniquely positioned to live out your kingdom citizenship among the people you relate to every day. God has called you to be an "insider" to your family, neighborhood and workplace.

Audio

An Urbana09 seminar presented by Dan Fountain. Running time 97:46.

An Urbana09 seminar presented by Stan Wallace. Running time 24:58.

An Urbana09 seminar presented by Manny Garci. Running time 81:48.

An Urbana09 seminar presented by James Choung. Running time 89:14.

God brought you to himself at this particular time so that you could serve him. You are part of God’s plan for the universe. As a Christian, you have been created in Christ Jesus to do good works that God has ordained. Learn about the spiritual gifts the Lord has given you to accomplish those good works.

The life of Christ is about being out of your comfort zone. Learn how you can experience God’s purpose and presence in your life as you walk daily with Jesus.

An Urbana09 seminar presented by Kurt Tuffendsam. Running time 92:40.

An Urbana09 seminar presented by Forrest Turpen. Running time 73:28.

An Urbana09 seminar presented by Bruce Kuhn. Running time 91:07.

Articles

Examine several significant scriptures about calling and following Jesus.

Understand the need to make wise choices while in college and how to make all of your decisions in light of your relationship with Jesus Christ. The article highlights four priorities to focus on during this critical time in your life.

Pursuing the best that God has for you is important, but it’s hard to do. The good news is that God is actively pursuing you.

Rick Warren discusses the importance of getting involved in a campus fellowship and a local church while in college It is in these settings that God will be able to use you and your gifts for his purposes.

The word "calling" sounds daunting, and we sometimes treat finding our own individual one like it's some sort of magic trick. But finding your calling isn't as tough as it sounds, and here are four simple steps to get started.