Thursday, June 25, 2009
A summer of purpose
Last week I was introduced to a young teaching musician from Birmingham England, Clifford Harding, or NK for short. NK teaches multiplication math facts via rap rhymes (Tunes times tables) to help primary students learn and better retain math information, as well as making it more fun. He began this method of teaching after his son came home from school frustrated because he did not know his math facts. At that point, NK admits, " I did not know my times tables either! So how could I help my son with a problem I had not mastered?" NK began the process of writing rhymes to the times tables, set them to a beat and now has been teaching them since 1998.
In the times we spoke during his visit to the Jamestown area last week, NK spoke of the shift in his own attitude in life when he became motivated to help others. NK had grown up in a working class city environment and faced the challenges of choosing the high road, when so many of his friends did not. At youth group last Wednesday, NK told the 18 middle and high school students assembled, "Today, all my old friends are living in poverty, are in jail or are gone…I was spared from that fate." When you speak to NK he expresses humility in response to blessings that had come into his life by helping others and understand that his life had a greater purpose than he had expected.
So many times in life we allow the word "can't" to stop us from pursuing our hopes and dreams. Instead of hitting a dead end with the "can't' statement, we need to ask 'how' each obstacle be overcome. NK's story reminded me that it is important to focus on the "how to's" in facing challenges and look for ways to make hopes become reality.
We all are created with a purpose. Romans 8:28 says, " 28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
I need to gain greater insight on God's purposes for my life and better listen for God's whispers of direction before I charge ahead in all directions at once. Too often I rush ahead without even asking God the question, "What might you have in mind here?" Listening for God's direction in life can be like trying to focus and hear a still-almost-silent-whisper. We need to stop, we need to listen, and maybe we need to wait a while in order to really understand and receive that direction and outline of purpose we all are longing for.
We all have dreams and hopes. NK hoped to overcome the challenge of the times tables to help his son and ending up crossing the pond to the US to share his teaching methods here. The reality of coming to the US was something that once seemed impossible, but by work and a leap of faith, that dream became reality.
What would be possible in life if we truly understood the fact that God has purpose and meaning for every one of our lives? Yes, we have the ability to choose what we do with our lives, but what if we consulted with the Creator on what that purpose should be? We all have lists of things that our families and individuals want to accomplish this summer. What if we invited God to give us some input before we made those lists?
This summer I desire to pursue this challenge: To love God, know I am created for a purpose, and ask God to lead me that purpose and pursue the dream that God whispers to my heart.
Just like me, your purpose is unique and only you can live it out. Like the L.L. Bean t-shirt says, "Life is good." but a life lived partnering with God in purpose is better than good – it is dream come true!
For more information on the Tunes Times Tables contact NK at firstname.lastname@example.org
Blessed by T.L. Eastman 2009
Blessed with life and blessed with hope.
Blessed with words spoken with promise, courage and love.
Blessed with glimmers of light in the dark.
Blessed with real life goodness that connects with the heart.
Blessed with laughter, challenge and lark.
Blessed with silliness, learning and spark.
Blessed in the moments that catch me off guard.
Blessed in the days that get difficult and hard.
Blessing abounds in the days, minutes and hours
that pass my present moments like warm summer showers.
Blessing is here if only I look
to see, hear and taste goodness that wants to be took.
Blessing is waiting just around the bend
if only I'd always see it and greet it like a friend.
Blessing in light and blessing in dark,
help me see blessings in all my life - not just part.