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A Thirsty Savior?

In life you can expect the unexpected. You may not fully understand what’s happening when it occurs, which may leave you feeling confused and uncertain. When I am in that place, I know I can turn to the Word of God to give me answers and understanding in my situation. However, there are times I find what appears to be a mystery in the Word itself that I need Him to unravel. A good example is John chapter four about the woman at the well.

In this story we find Jesus, a sovereign, all knowing, powerful, alpha and omega (you get the point) you know, THE JESUS, sitting at a well where He meets a Samaritan woman. It was an unexpected, unscheduled, chance encounter for her. What was this Jew doing at the well?   Jews and Samaritans did not get along. Yet, He asks this woman, this dysfunctional five-time divorcee, to give him a drink of water. Does it make sense that Jesus would need something from her? From this woman whose life was a mess? As a matter of fact, does He really need anything from ANY of us?

As he begins to talk to her, it becomes apparent that this is not an ordinary man. He begins to ask her questions for which He already has the answers. Oftentimes that seems to be what God does in our life when He wants to make a point. Jesus uses the example of the Samaritan woman to show us you can not go to natural people looking for a spiritual need. As she questions Him about why He is asking her for a drink, He tells her if she knew who He was, she would be asking Him for water instead.

God wants you to want Him. He is thirsty for your worship and your praise.  Meeting His needs will meet yours. Quenching God’s thirst will quench yours. It happens when you move from just water (the church) to living water (reciprocity). You see, there is no way for you to bless God without Him blessing you right back.

God wants to break us from looking for answers in all the wrong places. He’s waiting at the well of your life asking for a drink so that He can quench your thirst in return. Are you ready to satisfy a thirsty Savior?

Stress Management

Stress, worry, and anxiety are conditions we all are too familiar with. Day in and day out we are presented with uncertainties in our lives, that initiate concerns that spiral into worry. While worry is common to all mankind, it is NOT the will of God for His children.

Out of everything God created, human beings are the only creation that worry.

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Matthew 6:26

What jumps out at me whenever I read this passage is, “your heavenly father” feeds them… If He is concerned enough to take care of a bird that He created, how much more concerned is He to provide for His children? He’s the creator of the birds of the air but He’s the Father to you and me. What God is saying to us is that if we know that He’s God enough to care for the fish in the sea, to feed the birds in the air, and clothe the lilies in the fields; then we’ve got to know that He will take care of us.

It’s not your job to worry, it’s your job to ask.

Kids don’t worry, kids just ask. When your child comes to you to ask for something, they’re not worrying about how you’re going to make it happen. No, they just lay it down and leave it there. Well He is your father, if you’re not asking Him for anything, you’re acting as if you’re a spiritual orphan. The bible says that every hair on your head is numbered. He knows everything about you and everything you need. He promised in His word that He would care for you even until your old age. And there’s thousands of promises that God has given to us, His children, assuring that He will be with us no matter where we are, and no matter what happens.

Proverbs 12:25 tells us that worry in a man’s heart weighs him down. It was never God’s intention for us to carry more than we can bear. Cast all of our cares upon Him because He cares for you. 1Peter 5:7

Cast means to literally unload. It means to dump and that’s what this verse tells us to do. The ultimate solution to stress and anxiety is to take the things that cause it—doubts and fears—to God. He is eager to help us deal with these common emotions in the right way so that we can experience true peace in our hearts and minds. Prayer is a key to a stronger relationship with God and to stress management.

Worry about nothing and pray about everything…

Philippians 4:6-7
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ.

Paul is teaching us here, that when we go to petition God to make sure that you’re asking with a grateful heart. Every petition to God should be wrapped up in a blanket of Thanksgiving and praise. And while you’re praising God, you can rest assure that He is already working it out on your behalf. So, lose the worry and keep the peace!

Our peace is a direct result of the thoughts we think. Where the focus goes the power flows. The war against worry and stress is won or lost in your mind. If you want peace of mind you have to control what you let in. Remember, your mind is not a freeway. Therefore, you can’t allow any and everything to drive through. Whatever you allow in your mind, is what will come out in your life.

Paul gave us eight filter tests in Philipians 4:8 to help us with the process of eliminating thoughts that did not come from God. Ask yourself these questions every time a thought begins to run repetitively through your mind.

1.  Is it true?
2.  Is it honest?
3.  Is it right?
4.  Is it pure?
5.  Is it lovely?
6.  Is it admirable?
7.  Is it of good report?
8.  Is it praiseworthy?

If you answer no to either of these questions, then you know that thought did not come from God. Reject it and cast it out immediately.

I encourage you to follow the steps from Paul’s stress management recipe and watch God give you the strength to work our way into a stress-free life. Whatever it is that has hold of your life and is stressing you out today, let me encourage you to go to Jesus. Unburden your heart. Put your requests before Him – and leave them there! You will find He is the greatest therapist in the world. And you will experience peace that goes far beyond any human comprehension.

It’s the Most Loneliest Time of the Year? – Surviving Single at Christmas

I’ve asked a young lady on our staff who has become like a daughter to me over the years, Christen O’Neal to write about being single at Christmas. If you are currently single and not exactly looking forward to Christmas because that special someone hasn’t come along just yet, please take the time to read. I believe it’ll be a blessing to you and give you a different perspective this Holiday Season. Merry Christmas!

– Pastor Brady

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… At least that’s what the song tells us. Yet for many people, despite the bright lights, snowmen, ugly sweater parties, and the hot chocolate with marshmallows, it’s just not that simple to get into the Christmas spirit. You see for those of us who are single (unmarried, not dating, & no Tinder account!) Christmas becomes the annual reminder that you have no one to call your own. Quite frankly…sometimes as a single, you feel like you’re on punishment because you don’t have someone to call your sweetheart, honey, or whatever! That’s not the case!

You have not done anything wrong! This is not the time to go off and jump into a fruitless relationship to avoid the feeling of loneliness or go into debt spending money to fill a void.

Instead, use this time to discover who you are, whose you are, what you like, what you don’t like, what is priority, and to strengthen family and friend relationships. Use this time to evaluate whether or not you are maximizing all that God has put in your hands to do.

And yes, we know that hope deferred makes the heart sick, however, we also know That Christ is near to the brokenhearted. And if God, the Hope of Glory finds himself with you in your brokenness, then you better believe that all hope is not lost!

During this Christmas season, I challenge you, as I challenge myself…

Instead of focusing on the silent night, let us rest in Christ’s sovereignty and sleep in heavenly peace.

– Christen O’Neal
@christenfoneal – Twitter and Instagram 

One In A Million


“Then the Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. And the Lord was grieved that He had made man on the earth and His heart was filled with pain. So the Lord said, “I’ll wipe out mankind whom I’ve created from the face of the earth. Man and animals, creatures that move along the ground and birds of the air for I am grieved that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. Genesis 6:5

Much like today, corruption, violence, and immorality ran rapid throughout the earth. Archeologists reported that during the time of Noah there was approximately one million people living on the earth. Out of one million people, God looked down and saw only one person that He could give the assignment of restarting the human race. But why Noah?

Noah was literally, One in a Million

In spite of the fact that he lived in a terrible society, he was blameless among the people of his time. Noah was not influenced by the sins that governed the earth and he was not afraid to stand alone. In today’s society, most people have a tendency to think that the majority is always right. If everybody’s doing it then it must be ok. If it’s popular then it must be true. But Noah refused to go with the majority. The majority is often wrong. And that’s the way Noah looked at life.

Think about the criticism that Noah probably received while building the ark. The ridicule from neighbors. The whispering and laughing not only behind his back but to his face. Not to mention the pressure he must’ve gotten from his family. Can you imagine what it would’ve been like to be Noah’s wife or kids? If your dad was the crazy man building a huge boat on the front lawn! And this embarrassment went on for a very long time. Could you put up with being misunderstood and criticized year after year because of your convictions or because you’re doing what’s right?

Conformity is often the enemy of Christianity.

Today the popular opinion is to blend in. To be “trendy” and not different. To stand in and not stand out. Too worried about what people think to be different. Too worried about losing connections, relationships, or positions rather than standing by convictions, standards, or principles.

Proverbs tells us “The fear of man is a trap.” That means if you worry about what other people think, you’re in trouble. If you worry about, “How do I look?” you can never live for God. Noah stood by his convictions. He was available and was willing to stand out in a crowd. And that’s why God chose Noah to accomplish such a task.

God uses people who will follow Him completely by faith

Faith is following instructions even when it doesn’t make sense. The project God gave Noah didn’t make sense at all. In Noah’s time the earth was watered by a mist that came up from the ground. So no one had ever experienced or seen rain before the flood. Not only had it never rained but Noah was at least 500 miles from the largest body of water — the Mediterranean Ocean. And let’s not forget about the daunting task of rounding up all of those animals and getting them onto the boat. I mean this story had endless illogical directives that completely made no sense. But it wasn’t Noah’s job to make sense of it all; it was God’s. Noah’s job was to be obedient.

Genesis 6:22 “Noah did everything just as God commanded.” It doesn’t say he did some of the things the way he wanted to. It says he did everything as God commanded. 7:5 “And Noah did all that the Lord commanded him.” Not some, not partial. He did all. It was unconditional obedience…

Noah wasn’t extraordinary. The story doesn’t tell us of any amazing or supernatural gifts he possessed. You see, Noah was just an ordinary man who was available to be used by God, who dared to be obedient against all odds, and most importantly, someone who never gave up. People often give up too easily because of problems, pressures, or fear. But I want to extinguish the myth that just because a problem arises doesn’t mean God is not involved. Don’t allow these intimidations to cause you to give up on God’s plan for your life. Every good idea has something wrong with it. In every possibility, there is a problem. That’s how you grow. That’s how you mature. That’s how you develop.

My prayer for you today is that God will grant you the courage and the will to go after that thing He spoke into your spirit to do. That He will grant you the tenacity and focus to withstand every obstacle or adversity that would try to distract and detour you on your path towards destiny. I declare that the blessings of the LORD, that maketh rich, and addeth no sorrow overflow in every area your life.

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The Advantage of Gentleness



In our fast paced, market driven culture you don’t hear a whole lot about gentleness. We rarely hear about this powerful principle with such a great promise attached to it, yet it is one of the most important principles you should know. Today the words meek or gentle have become synonyms to the word weak, and gentleness or meekness is anything but that. Let me give you a true definition of gentleness.

Gentleness is strength under control.

The Bible teaches us that real gentleness is not weakness; but rather it’s strength under control. We’ve all worked with, worked for, worship with, or maybe even lived with some of the edgiest people. You know, people who are so moody that anything can cause them fly off the handle. Quick tempered; quick to let somebody have it; cut throat; manipulative; do whatever to get ahead; or take what belonged to someone else. These characteristics does not denote strength. Instead, they symbolize weakness. A gentle person is not driven by their own emotions nor do they overreact off of any or every little thing. A gentle person is not irrational, unruly, or unmanageable.

In fact, gentleness in the Bible was actually used to refer to a wild stallion that had been tamed. You could go out in the fields and hills and find a wild stallion who is strong and unbridled and has enormous strength, however they can kick you and kill you pretty quickly. But if you bring that stallion back and you tame it then the strength is brought under control. The strength is bottled up for the master’s use and now the stallion is useful. A tamed horse is no less strong than a wild horse. It has just as much strength and can go just as fast. But a tamed horse, a meek horse, a gentle horse is one that is strength under control. It is bottled up for the master’s use.

Gentleness is accepting the way God deals with your life with a good attitude…

Another Greek meaning for gentleness is to be humbled unto God; to have a mild disposition towards God and accepting to the way that He deals with your life. Meaning you accept the dealings of God with a decent attitude and without the dispute. It would do us some good to yield when God is after something in our lives; get out of the way and say, “Lord have your way in me”. We often times resist arrest causing ourselves and the loved ones connected to us to have to go around the same mountain over and over again.

In the old testament the meek people were the people who relied on God to defend them wholeheartedly. They trusted in God. And God fought the battle for them. Today with all of the power, options, and liberties we have, we forget to remember that the battle is the still the Lord’s. With good intentions, we take on battles when sometimes it’s wiser to just sit back and let the Lord take over the fight. I’ve learned not to go after anything in my own strength. I have before, and was sorry that I did. Sometimes you have call yourself on the carpet. Admit that you were in over your head, correct yourself, and turn the reigns over to God. Whenever you can do that you have strength under control.

Patience persuades rulers, and gentleness can break a bone…Proverbs 25:15

In other words, gentleness can get through to a hard head! We all have the tendency to mirror the image that is presented to us. For instance, have you ever found yourself in an argument and someone raises their voice at you and before you know it you’re raising yours to match theirs? Of course you have. We all have. There is a science to this. Energy, whether negative or positive, is transferrable. If you’re not careful you can become susceptible to being caught up into something you never intended to be in. We’ve all been there. We’ve said or done hurtful things out of the adrenaline to win the fight or out of retaliation to avenge yourself; yet you end up regretting over half of it if not all of it after its said and done.

This is the significance of embracing the principle of gentleness. It’s being able to resist the default reactions that only escalates conflicts. If you’re abrasive, you’re not persuasive. If you have the ability to talk gently and remain calm in the midst of raging chaos, you have the key to unlock any door that belongs to you. When you have gentleness, you then have persuasive power. There’s so much more that I will share with you in this month’s partner, The Advantage of Gentleness. When you embrace the principle of gentleness, you can embrace the promise of your inheritance.

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The Case of a Stolen Identity


If you’ve ever encountered fraudulent activity or any other form of identity theft, you know first-hand how helpless, vulnerable and violated you’re left feeling. Your entire identity has been contaminated, corrupted or completely erased. Trying to reclaim who you are through the rubble and ruins of what’s left after the damage is done would be a very scary experience. You may not realize it but, this is exactly what Satan is trying to do to your true identity in Christ; he’s trying to erase it.

There’s a spiritual war going on over your identity.

Since the enemy is not a creator, and has never created anything, he can only attempt to pervert, distort, or destroy what God has created. Only God creates, so what Satan desires to do is take what God created for good and pervert it for evil. He wants nothing more than to hurt God by hurting His creation; and that’s you and me.

Satan knows that if he can keep you from being you; if he can hide your true identity and who God intended for you to be, his mission is accomplished. So he uses tools like the opinions of others, hurts from your past, social media and culture to imply that you’ll never be good enough to keep you in the “comparison trap”. He uses tools to plant seeds, ideas and suggestions so that a cycle of negativity stays on constant repeat in your mind with the purpose of concealing and keeping you from knowing who you really are in Christ.

When you know who’s you are, you then know who you are.

I know we hear that a lot, but you’d be surprise to know the number of people who sit right next to you in the pews at church, in the cubicles across from you at work, or live on the same street as you that struggle with an identity crisis. If we’re truly honest, it easily happens to the best of us. That’s why it’s so imperative that we intentionally take control of every thought, idea, or suggestion that’s not congruent with who God says we are and cast it out. Yes, you have the power to evict every ungodly thought out of your mind.

Every thought that comes through your mind has an agenda. You have to be the gate keeper of those thoughts and filter through what came from God and cast down what did not! God thoughts bring inspiration. Satan’s thoughts bring temptation. His goal is to distract you and keep you from becoming aware of your confidence and your inherited power in Christ
If you’ve ever questioned your value or self-worth, just look to calvary…

Make no mistake about it, God calls you priceless! He sent His son, laid down His life, to pay a debt that we could never ever repay. He rescued us. He redeemed us. And He restores us to Him daily. I don’t care what the enemy comes in your life to suggest to you, remember that you are His most treasured possession. Jeremiah 31:3 says, “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love, I have drawn you to myself.” (NLT). What an amazing love. Allow this message to equip you on how to daily safeguard your identity in Christ so that you can confidently walk in the purpose and destiny God has called you to; keeping the plans and tricks of the enemy under your feet where they belong.

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Peace Under Pressure



It would only take a glance at social media or watching the nightly news to know that many people are suffering from mishandled pressure. They are living their lives under immense weights that often create devastating consequences. Without understanding what can cause such destructive pressure and how to handle it with divine peace, we will not understand how to persevere during the confusing, chaotic events of life. There is no better example of how to rise above what the world will put you through, than to explore what unfolds the last days in the life of Jesus.

He was divine enough to redeem us yet He was human enough to relate to us.

A third of the gospels talks about the most stressful week in the life of Jesus. Like us, He too could feel the pressures going on around Him. The ridicule, mocking, criticism, being beaten beyond recognition, the lies He had to endure, the risks He had to take, all building up to the fulfillment of what the prophets said. It is during this time that we gain insight into what it means to have inward peace while dealing with outward pressure.

Stress is inevitable but it’s manageable…

The first way to balance stress in your lives is to have an eternal balance of who you are and who you’re striving to please. This is so important especially in the midst of pressure. If you don’t know who you are, you will allow other people to manipulate you into being somebody you’re not and always striving to please man. Jesus knew who He was and who’s He was. He knew what God required of Him. He knew going into Jerusalem that He would bridge the gap between a sinful man and a Holy God. God was depending on Him. Mankind was depending on Him and He was determined to complete His assignment. He was about to walk across history’s stage for the last time and He knew it. Despite the danger before Him, He remained composed.

Only inward peace can create that kind of strength, that kind of courage.

The enemy would like nothing better than to create pressure that will make you revert to the places from which you have already been delivered. If he can disturb your peace, he has access to your heart and your mind. The next thing you know, pressure producers like insecurities, unrealistic goals, a lack of balance, etc., will begin to impede your progress. The good news is, it does not have to be that way. You do not have to have a heart attack when you are under pressure. Have a prayer attack instead.

It is imperative to make prayer a personal habit. Often times we start the day off completely wrong. We get up, turn on the TV and we get bad news. We check our social media feeds for some more bad news. And on the way to work we’re listening to radio… for more bad news! As if we don’t have enough of our own problems, we turn around and add on all the problems of the world! By the time we get to work, we really do have the weight of the world on our shoulders.

Instead, start your morning with prayer like Jesus, waiting for instructions. This principle is vital to maintaining peace of mind. Acknowledging Him and asking Him to order your steps throughout the day recharges your spiritual batteries, relieves stress, and gives you grace for endurance. It is freeing to know you don’t have to succumb to the pressures, demands and difficulties of life. You can take it all to the Lord in prayer and leave it there.

He is the Prince of Peace

You will never have ultimate inner peace or peace of mind until you intentionally invest and set aside time alone with the Prince of Peace. Talk to Him and tell Him all about what’s stressing you and He’ll talk to you about you. Beautiful moments where you can exchange your heaviness for His unspeakable joy. It’s like entering a decompression chamber, releasing all of your pressures. But those moments cannot happen until we pause, turn down the volume of life and be still.

“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalms 46:10

So many of our problem’s simply come from our inability to be still. We get so busy doing what we do, we forget the important reasons behind what we do. No matter how busy Jesus got, He made it a practice to spend time alone with God. I encourage you to make it a personal practice in your life today. If Jesus was busy and made time for prayer, how much more do you and I need it?

You may not think it’s possible to do everything you need to do in the midst of what you’re facing, but you can. You may not believe you can carry what is going on outwardly without caving in, but you can. These principles will prepare you and empower you to have “Peace Under Pressure.”

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Secrets of an Effective Life



Whether it is in our businesses, our homes, our churches, or our communities, one of the most common desires is to be effective. No one wants to aimlessly wander through life without a goal or target in view. Each day you want to do whatever it is with all of your might, and on purpose. Whatever your assignments happen to be, at the end of the day you want to have run your race and finished your course with joy. Though most share the common desire to be effective, many struggle in reservation of their own capability and have a lack of courage. Thankfully, God looked beyond our deficiency and saw destiny;  He’s NOTORIOUS for using imperfect people to bring about His perfect plan.

Hebrews Chapter 11 is a book of winners and what I like to call God’s Hall of Fame. It contains stories and statements about ordinary people who accomplished extraordinary things. They were like many of us are today, flawed people, who failed, made bad choices, yet God managed to use them in spite of it all. Moses is one of the many that God managed to use in miraculous ways.

Moses began his life with an identity crisis, yet he is one of the greatest men in the Old Testament…

Moses was born a Jew, but was raised as an Egyptian prince, who later murdered an Egyptian slave master for striking a Hebrew slave. And after fleeing everything he once knew as familiar, comfortable, and accustomed, he asked himself, “Who am I?” In spite of all of that, God’s answer to Moses determined the rest of the course of his miraculous life. God used Moses to lead the children of Israel out of captivity, write the Ten Commandments; he wrote the first five books of the Old Testament and the list of miracles go on and on. You see, Moses uncovered the secrets that allowed him to be effectively used by God, despite how his life began.

Peace rather than Possessions

Just think about it for a moment. Moses began his life as an Egyptian Prince. He could have enjoyed a life of ease in the palace, but Moses was a man of character and integrity. Once he knew the truth, he refused to live a lie. He was not able to sit back and watch his people suffer and be mistreated as slaves. Instead, he chose to become the man God intended for him to be.

Today people have a lot to live on, but very little to live for. Through greed, selfish ambitions, and little regard for others, many have settled into their own comfortable lifestyles suited to their taste. But through character, choices, values and vision God is moving His people into another level of effectiveness, with meaningful fulfillment and gratification. Verses 23 through 27 in Hebrews 11, give us five powerful keys to unlock Moses’ secrets of an effective life: he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; he chose to take the harder road; he regarded people more important than possessions; he saw God; and he endured the waiting process. I’m forever grateful for the sacrifice Moses made to be greatly used by God.

God wants to do Greater Things through you!

God has a specific plan for your life and nobody can play your part but you. So if you don’t live your life according to His plan, the world will be robbed of your contribution. Where would we be today without Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Bishop T.D. Jakes, or Bill Gates who lived life according to God’s plan? Will you make a difference, or will the world be robbed of your contribution? I certainly hope not. You have a unique contribution that is vital to the life of someone else. Run after the purpose of God and prepare to be all He has called you to be.

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Unwrap Your Gift


I want to share with you a few tips that I believe will help you to get into your best shape. When you hear phrases like, “getting into shape” we often think about the latest diets, joining the gym, aerobics, so on and so forth. And while all of those things are great and may be necessary, that’s not exactly what I’m referring to. I want to talk to you about getting into your spiritual shape; the shape that God has designed you to be in before the foundations of the world.

There is a pattern that you fit in that helps propel you into your purpose…

Before any of us ever got here, God had already charted the course and planned out the design and shape for our lives. And knowing our shape is the key to finding out the configuration of what God had in mind when He was forming us. Our gifts, abilities, passions, and experiences are all components that make up our shape; and you can avoid a lot of unnecessary detours by discovering the tailor made assignment that God has shaped just for you.

If you’re going to get into shape, you’ve got to Unwrap Your Gifts.

God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well. The gifts that we possess they differ as they are allotted to us by God’s grace and they must be exercised accordingly, Romans 12:6. God will never ask you to do anything that He hasn’t given you the ability to do. So if there’s something that you’re naturally good at, that’s an indicator that God wants you to do it.

He placed within each of us gifts and a natural hunger or desire to seek out the gifts. It’s not enough to just identify them, but it’s our responsibility to explore them. It’s through the exploring process that we learn how to effectively function in and respond to our gifts. As you examine your gifts, you’ll find clues to what it is that you’re purposed to do. It shows you your worth and value, 1Corinthians 6-7; and affirms you. Your gifts will also show you where your fruit is and ultimately, reveal God’s plan for your life.

When you’re fruitful, you’re fulfilled!

Real joy comes when you know your life is productive, it matters, and you’re making it count. When you find your gift you find your joy. It’s so amazing when God takes your gift, opens it up, and uses it to bless someone else. It is one of the most satisfying feelings you can experience. I want to leave you with the following questions that you can ask to help assess your life’s journey and ultimately illuminate your purpose:

• In what ways did I serve the Lord and enjoyed it the most?
• What have I done in my lifetime that I know God has blessed?
• What have I done in my life that has impacted other people?
• What have I done that’s brought the greatest results for the Kingdom of God?

When you mix together the answers to these questions, somewhere in it all, you will discover the will of God for your life.