Tuesday, January 10, 2012

S.H.A.P.E.:Finding & Fulfilling Your Unique Purpose for Life

S.H.A.P.E.: Finding and Fulfilling Your Unique Purpose for LifeS.H.A.P.E.: Finding and Fulfilling Your Unique Purpose for Life by Erik E. Rees
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Erik Rees does an excellent job explaining how to find the S.H.A.P.E. that God made you. The letters in S.H.A.P.E. stand for: S-Spiritual Gifts; H-Heart; A-Abilities; P-Personality; E-Experiences. Eric is a staff member at Rick Warren's Saddleback Church. The church uses this concept to help their members find the ministry that best fits their S.H.A.P.E. Erik shares many good helps in the book to help the reader discover the way God created him. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested of finding his place in God's body.

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Below are some quotes from this book:

God doesn’t create anything without value. He is the ultimate craftsman. And he designed you specifically to fulfill a unique role in his ultimate plan to establish his kingdom on earth. p. 18

You are not only a masterpiece shaped by God’s own loving hands, but you are a unique work of divine art. Like an original painting or sculpture, you are a one of a kind. p. 19

Tom Paterson describes it: The fascinating thing to me is that literally everything God makes is unique – every human, animal, flower, tree, and every blade of grass. He didn’t clone anything. Even identical twins possess their own individual uniqueness. That ought to tell us that our individuality is a sacred trust – and what we do with it is our gift to God. Our best contribution in life – our “utmost for his highest” – can only be made as we allow God to finish his work in progress and perfect our uniqueness. To live without discovering our uniqueness is to not really live. I think God is heartbroken when his children miss out on the potential he has placed inside of them. pp. 20-21

Max Lucado ends his comments with these powerful words: “Can you be anything you want to be? I don’t think so. But can you be everything God wants you to be? I do think so. And you do become that by discovering your uniqueness.” p. 21

I define Kingdom Purpose as …your specific contribution to the body of Christ, within your generation, that causes you to totally depend on God and authentically display his love toward others – all through the expression of your unique S.H.A.P.E. p. 22

I remember the art professor telling us that when clay is pliable it requires just a small amount of pressure to shape it. The opposite also is true – when clay is stiff and resistant, a lot more pressure is needed to mold it the way the potter desires. p. 25

Here God gives us a clear, beautiful picture to explain his relationship to us. He is the master craftsman; we are like clay in his hands. His role is to carefully shape us; ours is to remain pliable, allowing him to do so (Jeremiah 18:1-6). p. 25

You were not created to conform. You were not created to compare. You were not created to compete. You were not created to compromise. You were created to contribute to God’s kingdom and make a significant difference with your life. You were created to just be you! p. 26

Let’s define a spiritual gift as a God-given special ability, given to every believer at conversion by the Holy Spirit, to share his love and strengthen the body of Christ. p. 34

Helen Keller once said, “I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker.” p. 46

John Eldredge said, “So if you had permission to do what you really want to do, what would you do? Just start making a list of all the things you deeply desire to do with your life, great and small. And remember – ‘Don’t ask yourself, How?’ How? Is never the right question; how? Is a faithless question. How? Is God’s department. He is asking you what? What is written on your heart? What makes you come alive? If you could do what you’ve always wanted to do, what would it be?” pp. 62-63

It didn’t matter whether what she did was noticed by others. That is never the point of serving God. Willing hearts are his delight. p. 68

“The difference between an ordinary day and an extraordinary day is not so much what you do, but who you do it for.” p. 69

Rick Warren writes: “The abilities you do have are a strong indication of what God wants you to do with your life. They are clues to knowing God’s will for you….God doesn’t waste abilities; he matches our calling and our capabilities.” p. 69

Andrew Murray made this analogy: “I have a pen in my pocket that is surrendered to its purpose of writing and must be surrendered to my hand if I am to write with it properly. If someone has a partial hold on it, I cannot write with it.” By the same token, if we hold back the natural abilities God gave us at birth – or if we use those abilities for purposes that don’t include God – those talents will not be used to their full capacity. pp. 72-73

Michelangelo said, “The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” p. 76

Pat Williams – Nothing worth doing is ever easy. Significant achievements always involve a high degree of courage, focus, perseverance, and yes, risk.” P. 77

God gave you a unique personality. He did it intentionally as part of his process of creating the masterpiece of your life. p. 84

I have found that God always wants to do something “in us” before he wants to do something “through us.” p. 91

The marvelous richness of human experience would lose something of rewarding joy if there were not limitations to overcome. The hilltop hour would not be so wonderful if there were not dark valleys to traverse. – Helen Keller p. 95

Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards. – Soren Kierkegaard p. 95

Max Lucado says, “God sees our life from beginning to end. He may lead us through a storm at age thirty so we can endure a hurricane at age sixty. An instrument is useful only if it’s in the right shape. A dull ax or a bend screwdriver needs attention, and so do we. A good blacksmith keeps his tools in shape. So does God.” p. 106

“Being tested by God reminds us that our function and task is to be about his business.” – Max Lucado p. 110

“The more we get what we now call “ourselves” out of the way and let him take us over, the more truly ourselves we become.” C.S. Lewis p. 115

“The absolute surrender of everything into his hands is necessary. If our hearts are willing for that, there is no limit to what God will do for us or to the blessings he will bestow.” Andrew Murray p. 115

“Give God a man buried in the snow of Valley Forge and God will make a Washington. Give God a man born in abject poverty and God will stand him in front of a nation and make a Lincoln. Give God a man born black in a society filled with discrimination and God will make a Martin Luther King Jr. Give God a child called unable to learn and God will make an Einstein.” – Brad Johnson p. 117

“Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.” (Psalm 55:22). The word cast does not mean to merely hand our cares to God. Instead, God is telling us to heave them at him. It’s as if he is saying, “Bring it on! I can take it. Give them to me. I want them all. They’re not going to weigh me down.” pp. 120-121

Along with your worries, God also wants your wounds. He’s waiting for you to trust him with those things in your life that have brought you the greatest pain and caused lasting scars. Even if you believe the damage done is irreparable, Scripture says, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3) p. 122

Someone once told me, “God doesn’t want to rub it in, he wants to rub it out.” p. 122

Frederick Buechner offers this explanation: “To confess your sins to God is not to tell him anything he doesn’t already know. Until you confess them, however, they are the abyss between you. When you confess them, they become the bridge.” p. 125

When we operate out of our strengths, we often forget to include God, relying on our own abilities to accomplish tasks. But when we are asking to carry out tasks that require using what we consider our weak spots, our tendency is to go to God more quickly – and that’s exactly what he wants. p. 126

Ron Mehl, a pastor and faithful friend of God until the Lord took him home following a two-decade battle with leukemia, once asked, “If we had no shortcomings, could there be overcomings?” p. 126

Broken soil brings wheat, broken clouds bring rain, broken bread brings strength, and a broken person is what God chooses to use for His purposes.  ~ Pastor Brad Johnson p. 127

Dietrich Bonhoeffer once observed, “It is part of the discipline of humility that we must not spare our hand where it can perform a service and that we do not assume that our schedule is our own to manage, but allow it to be arranged by God.” p. 135

Gerald Hartis says, “Ministry is what we leave in our wake as we follow Jesus.” p. 135

Someone once said, “Your theology is what you are when the talking stops and the action starts.” p. 136

Bob Pierce, founder of World Vision and Samaritan’s Purse, said, “Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.” p. 140

Rick Warren notes, “Greatness in God’s book is not measured by how many people serve you, but by how many people you serve.” P. 140

John Ortberg points out our natural tendency to want all eyes on us, even when it comes to serving and showing humility while we serve: “We’d like to be humble…but what if no one notices?” And there’s the paradox. We all have chances to serve every day, but, as Thomas Edison once pointed out, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”  pp. 140-141

Abraham Lincoln once wrote, “To ease another’s heartache is to forget one’s own.” p. 141

“Spiritual transformation is not a matter of trying harder, but of training wiser.” – John Ortberg p. 153                                                                                                                                    

C.S. Lewis noted, “The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are.” p. 183

D.L. Moody said: “There are many of us that are willing to do great things for the Lord, but few of us are willing to do the little things.” p. 198

James Dobson writes, “Raising children who have been loaned to us for a brief moment outranks every other responsibility. Besides, living by that priority when kids are small will produce the greatest rewards at maturity.” p. 199

Booker T. Washington said, “Lay hold of something that will help you, and then use it to help somebody else.” p. 204

Casey & James Jennings put it so well: “We are the wire, God is the current. Our only power is to let the current pass through us.” p. 204

Francis of Assisi’s wise advice is worth remembering: “Keep a clear eye toward life’s end.” p. 205

If you are going to reach your full potential in Christ, you will have to concentrate focused attention on staying close to the Potter and remaining pliable in his hands. p. 210

“God will speak when you stop.” p. 212

John Ortberg writes, “Again and again, as we pursue spiritual life, we must do battle with hurry. For many of us the great danger is not that we will renounce our faith. It is that we will become so distracted and rushed and preoccupied that we will settle for a mediocre version of it.” p. 212

The word Sabbath actually means “to catch one’s breath.” p.  213

John O’Donohue says, “To be spiritual is to be in rhythm, and that means being devoted to living by the 6:1 rhythm God established as the time of creation.” p. 213

Only a loving, kind and gracious God would insist that his children do something so completely valuable and beneficial – simply, rest! p. 213

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