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Purpose FULL - Redefining Success, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
September 21, 2021 6:00 am

Purpose FULL - Redefining Success, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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September 21, 2021 6:00 am

How you define success will determine the direction and the destiny of your life. Now you may be thinking – How does success relate to my purpose? In this program, guest teacher Ryan Ingram continues in his series “Purpose FULL – Discovering God’s Calling on Your Life.” He’ll breakdown God’s definition for success, and challenge us to reconsider where we find contentment in our lives

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How you define success will determine the direction and the destiny of your life. Today we're going to look at how God defines success and you can't afford to miss out on what we're going to share. Stay with me. During Chip's setup for this program, you may be asking yourself, how does success relate to one's purpose?

I mean, what does the amount of money I make or the good behavior of my kids have to do with my life's purpose? Well, in just a minute, our guest teacher, Ryan Ingram, will answer those questions and challenge us to reconsider where we find contentment. Before we begin, let me encourage you to try using the message notes while you listen. They contain Ryan's outline, scripture references, and much more. These notes will really help you remember what you hear, maybe even share what you're learning. To download these message notes, just go to the broadcasts tab at

App listeners, tap fill in notes. Now, if you have a Bible, turn now to Acts chapter 17, Ryan's message, redefining success. We're continuing our series called Purpose Full, and here's what we've said so far. We said this, that you are an unceasing spiritual being with an eternal destiny in God's great universe. This is a great summary by Dallas Moeller of what the scripture says about who you are. You're an unceasing spiritual being with an eternal destiny in God's great universe. Here's what this means, is you were made on purpose, not an accident, not a mistake, not here by chance, and you were made for a purpose.

There is something to give your life to of eternal weight and significance. Today, we're gonna talk about redefining success. If we're gonna live a purposeful life, we actually need to redefine or have a brand new definition for what it means to be successful. See, how you define success will determine whether you actually live out a purposeful life, because your definition, you know this, my definition of success always is the thing that is leading us or directing our lives. And so, let me ask you, what is your definition of success? Like, how would you define success?

Maybe not like this way that you think about it, like, oh, but really, maybe by the pursuits of your life. I think one way that we define success today is maybe the idea of perfection. You might not use that word, but we want the picture perfect life, right? Perfect job, perfect kids. You wanna raise the perfect kids. You wanna have a perfectly clean and organized house.

Some of you said amen in your heart right there. And Instagram and social media has only exasperated our pursuit of perfection, hasn't it? Because we see everyone's filtered perfect lives, and so we want everything in our lives to be perfect. Maybe you define success by fame. You're like, no, not fame. Okay, well, how about approval?

Maybe you write in approval there. I wanna be a somebody. I wanna be an influencer.

I want the prestige, the platform to be known in my industry. Or how about happiness? I think that's maybe the predominant way that we define success today, right?

Especially if you're raising kids. I just want them to be what? Happiness, right? We just wanna be happy. We wanna live a happy life. Do what makes you happy. The goal is happiness.

As long as you're happy, and here's what I've seen, so many relationships, so many lives destroyed by the pursuit of happiness. It's this pleasure-filled experience full is the focus and the aim. How about power, autonomy, to do whatever you want whenever you want? To have control, to be the master of your domain, to be in charge. I wanna be important.

I wanna be respected. Maybe you define success this way by prosperity. It's the American dream. It's being financially independent, having wealth, influence, owning the house, the cars, the clothes, the trips, being upwardly mobile. Maybe you define success as impact. Something that I love about this generation and over the last year is the desire to make an impact, to be fully woke, if you will. Make a difference. Live an enlightened life.

Maybe leave a legacy. What is your definition of success? Because whatever your definition of success is directing the very course of your life. And the great reveal that I think has happened over the last year or so is simply this, that the pandemic showed us that for many of us, I would say most of us, our definition of success lacks substance, didn't it? It lacks substance to really weather the storms, weather the crisis, weather the circumstances of our lives, that our success then was so fragile. And so how do we redefine success to live out a purpose-filled life? How do we embrace a new definition of success that has the strength and the stability to weather whatever storms or circumstances you're going through? To do this, we're actually going to look at what some scholars say was the Apostle Paul's failure.

Not a moral failure. Like, he was on his missionary journey and where they say, you know, he missed the mark. Not so many people responded to the gospel.

And we're gonna learn some, I think, critical elements in how to redefine success. If you got your Bibles, open up to Acts chapter 17. Acts 17, we'll pick it up in verse 16. By way of context, Paul the Apostle is going on his second missionary journey from the city of Antioch. And he took along with him a guy named Silas, a fellow helper in the ministry.

Then he brought a young protege named Timothy. They've been traveling to the different cities where they had originally planted churches and just encouraging them, strengthening them. And then they continued on as they were traveling and began to reach new cities.

They went to the city of Philippi in the Macedonian area. And they saw just incredible success there. And then they went to Thessalonica and they saw God do incredible things. And they had great opposition because, like, so many people were coming to know Christ.

And so there's, like, some Jewish people that are jealous. And they were just trying to, you know, stop what was happening. And then the Apostle Paul goes to Berea. And again, incredible success.

But then there's also, yet again, incredible opposition. And so they had to get Paul out of the way. And so they said, hey, let's take you from Berea. We're going to send you to Athens and travel down there and kind of keep you, you know, out of the heat for a little bit.

Let Silas and let Timothy do the work up here. And you just kind of hide out over in Athens. And so this is where we pick up the story of the Apostle Paul in Athens by accident.

And where he's never intended to come. And where others would say he really didn't fulfill or was very successful in Athens. Verse 16 says, Why Paul was waiting for them, that is Silas and Timothy, and Athens he was greatly distressed to see the city was full of idols.

That's no understatement. In fact, Athens was the cultural city, the center city for culture, philosophy, and religion in its day. Even when Rome overtook it, Rome so wanted to be Greek that they continued to populate or perpetuate the Greek philosophy.

I mean, this is the home of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle. And in Athens, it was said that there was more idols in Athens than all of Greece combined. I mean, it was said that you could actually find or run into an idol more than you could run into a person there. I mean, it just was piled upon piled. There's one road that had so many you couldn't really walk through this street. There were so many idols.

No understatement. The city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with both Jews and God-fearing Greeks as well in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there. And while he's seeing what's going on and seeing the pain in the city and their pursuit for God but not really knowing how, he's like, I'm gonna reason with you.

I wanna bring the gospel and the good news. And so he's reasoning with Jews. He's reasoning with God-fearing Greeks. And then some Epicureans and Stoic philosophers begin to debate with them in the marketplace.

And they have this incredible debate going back and forth. And in fact, they start to make fun of Paul, say he's a babbler. And then others actually lodge a very serious accusation that he was promoting other religions. And this was actually the same accusation that Socrates, if you remember 450 years later or before, had that he eventually was killed for. And so they said, would you come to the erigapus? And would you come here? And this is this world-famous center of supreme counsel for religion, for philosophy. And this is not just a casual conversation. It's as if Paul is being on trial in this moment.

I mean, it's incredible. He is in the supreme counsel of Athens that's known around the world, invited into this moment to share what he's been talking about on the streets. And so Paul then, verse 22, stood up at the meeting of the erigapus and said, people of Athens, I see that in every way you're very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription, to an unknown God. So you're ignorant of the very thing you worship.

And this is what I'm going to proclaim to you. And then he talks about the God who created all that there was. Then he talks about the God who sustained and is the sustainer of all that we have, that he's the ruler and that he's ultimately father. In his speech, he actually quotes their own philosophers and he closes with the God who's revealed in Jesus through the resurrection. And this is where he kind of lost his audience because they didn't believe in a resurrection. And when they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, we want to hear you again on this subject.

At that, Paul left the council. Some of the people became followers. If you have your Bibles, that word, some, it just means some. But everywhere else you look through it, it says many people responded, some. This is where people go like, yeah, Paul, you missed the boat. You didn't reach your audience here.

Among them, Dionysius, also a woman named Damaris and a number of others. What do we learn about redefining success from the apostle Paul in Athens, from his quote, maybe failure? As we begin, I just want to give you a new definition for success. I take it from Pete Scazzaro's book, Emotionally Healthy Disciples. In it, he says, according to Jesus, success, success is becoming the person God calls you to become and doing what God calls you to do in his way and according to his timetable. What is success? It's becoming, first and foremost.

It's who you are becoming. Then it's simply doing what he's called you to do. I want to highlight three incredibly important areas for us if we're going to really live a purpose-filled life where we need to redefine success in our lives.

The first is simply here. Here's what we learned from the apostle Paul in redefining success. Be present where God has placed you.

Be present where God has placed you. The apostle Paul had no intentions of going to Athens. It was not part of the plan. He had a plan and it got completely messed up. He had a plan to follow this road and actually work his way all the way to Rome. Eventually, Rome got closed off. I don't know if you know, but Nero expelled all the Christians at one point and he wasn't able to go to Rome even that way. But because of persecution, because of what was happening, his plans got changed. He finds himself. He's not even with his team anymore.

Silas and Timothy are still in Berea. And here's what he didn't do. He didn't go out, you know, throw himself a pity party. This sucks. This is terrible. I'm stuck in Athens.

Look at all these idols. I don't even have my team. He didn't go, well, whatever. You know what? I'm just going to take a vacation. It's been long. It's been hard.

I'm just going to vacation for a while. What did he do? He did what he did everywhere else. He did what God had called him to do. And everywhere he went, he began to speak with people about this Jesus who changed his life. He couldn't help it. He just went first to the synagogue, then to the God-fearing Greeks, and then into the marketplace.

Anyone who would hear him, he just did what he always did. Wherever he went, he was fully present where God had him placed. He didn't choose that place. He wasn't intending to go to that place. That wasn't the place he really ever wanted to go. But he said, since I'm here, I'm going to be present and do what God has called me to do in this place.

I think some of us are missing out on what God has for us because we're complaining about the place we're in. We're complaining about, I want to be in a different place. I want to live in a different place. I want to work at a different place. I want to have a different spouse. Oh, wait, did I just say that out loud?

Some of you thought it. And you're complaining about your place. And redefining success is actually, no, no, no. Here is the place, my work. I may be looking for another job, but as long as I'm here, I'm going to be present where God has me placed.

Your location. How about as a parent? I think so often, especially you have kids, and then you realize there's so many things you can't do anymore. You're like, oh my gosh, it's so fun to watch everyone else live their best life on social media, on Insta, and we can't go anywhere because we go anywhere. It's just a hot mess. It's a hot mess and nap time and all those other things.

And God says, be present in that place. You know, one of my biggest regrets, my kids, I have three kids. One of my biggest regrets is I was so focused on what I thought was success of being a somebody in my younger years that I was not present in my home with my kids. I look on my phone all the time. I love those highlights that they have of pictures on the iPhone where it just shows you. Oh, there's a beautiful picture of my daughter.

It's like four. And I go, I wish I would have been present of what I missed. I don't take it for granted now. Be present where God has you placed, students. We're always wanting to be in the next thing ahead. See, many of us, our version of success goes something like this. When I get blank, then I'll be.

When I get, then. And we live in the wind then, and we're never present because we never arrive. See, what happened for the apostle Paul was his circumstances changed, but his calling didn't.

His purpose, his plans changed, but his purpose didn't. See, you go, okay, God, you have me placed here. I am here for a purpose in this season, and so I'm gonna be present to it, and you have the freedom to work through me in this moment. You've made me a mom. You've made me a dad. I'm gonna be present with my kids and work through that. You've put me at this job. I'm gonna be present here with what you have for me to do. You've been listening to the first part of Ryan Ingram's message, Redefining Success, from his series, Purposeful.

He and Chip will join us here in the studio with some additional thoughts and application in just a minute. But what does it really mean to be full of purpose? Is it just being successful at your job, making lots of money, being a good parent or spouse? Maybe you're completely lost when it comes to your purpose, and you're really struggling to find any kind of meaning to your life right now. No matter where you're at, finding purpose is one of the toughest challenges we face. In this series, Ryan Ingram shares what it means to live a meaningful life and unpack God's true calling. Stay with us to learn how you can live out your God-given purpose even when difficulty, hardship, and conflict come.

You're not gonna want to miss a single message. For more information about this series, Purposeful, Discovering God's Calling on Your Life, just go to And if you happen to miss a message along the way, you can always catch up on the Chip Ingram app. Also, let me encourage you to sign up for the new daily discipleship with Chip, True Spirituality. Taking part in this free video mentorship opportunity with Chip would be a great next step on your faith journey. For 17 days, Chip will walk with you through Romans 12 and reveal what it means to really follow after Jesus in the ups and downs of everyday life. Pre-register for the study today, and we'll send you our friend Lance Witt's devotional based on Romans 12 called Leave Ordinary Behind at No Cost.

Sign up now while this offer lasts by going to or by calling 888-333-6003 or go to App listeners just tap discipleship. One of the great joys of my life is the letters, emails, Facebook messages that I get from people literally all around the country and all around the world, and they tell me these amazing stories of how Living on the Edge has been a tool used by God to change their life. Maybe you're one of those people that have really been impacted by the ministry. I mean, I hear from people from every age, profession, background, every person imaginable, and what I hear is this same constant drumbeat of God spoke to me, I took a step of faith, now God's using me, and what I want you to know is that that's the heart of our ministry. We want to put teaching and tools and small group materials and downloadable things that we actually give away to help people not just live like Christians but be ambassadors and agents of change and grace in their homes, their schools, and their workplaces.

And if you're one of those people that God has impacted you and actually you're impacting others because of Living on the Edge, I have a very specific request. Would you consider becoming a monthly financial partner? And of course, it helps us practically, no doubt about it.

It would really help us to know that X amount of dollars are coming in from a monthly partner. But literally, even more than that, it's about a group of people saying, we want to be a part of this mission to make a difference in the crazy world that we're living in. We want to make an impact, and we want to make an impact with you all. God's spoken to us.

God's changed us. We want to help you help others. And so here's my request today. Would you pray and just simply say, Lord, if this is part of your desire for me to partner with Living on the Edge on a monthly basis, will you show me, and then show me what that looks like and how much? And what I will say is whatever amount that is, it's perfect, whatever God shows you.

But what I long to see is people who partner that are on the team, a part of the family, and we make a difference together each and every day. Thank you in advance for doing whatever God shows you to do. Well, as you prayerfully consider your role with this ministry, I want to remind you that when you partner with Living on the Edge, every gift is significant. Ministering together, our efforts and resources are multiplied in ways that only God can do. Now to send a gift, call us at 888-333-6003, or if you prefer to give online, just go to

App listeners, tap donate. Your partnership is a great encouragement. Now with some final thoughts, here's Ryan and Chip. Ryan, I thought it was really interesting as you have this teaching out of Acts and also Paul's life that you really take us to some interesting places. I mean, we live in a day where it seems like everyone is looking to get rich and get rich quick and become famous and pursue happiness as like the only thing that really matters. What was it about Paul's focus on his purpose and how do we need to capture that in our own life?

Absolutely. Well, I think Paul's focus on his purpose, if you notice, it gave him incredible stability, direction and meaning in his life, regardless of the circumstances he was in. See, when we think about happiness, it becomes our end goal, our pursuit, our desire. And so we're chasing after happiness and it's an elusive carrot ever before us and in this season in particular, we're revealing the things that we've put our hope in and the things that we've put our trust in is incredibly fragile and will not sustain us in all the seasons of life. In the long run, for all of us, is that misplaced priorities ultimately lead to misspent lives. You know, as being a pastor for almost two decades now, I've had the sad conversation with many people looking back on their life with pain and regret, wishing they had invested their lives and their time well. You know, part of the misspent lives is in our culture, we've replaced purposeful living with pleasureful living. But the truth is happiness is a byproduct of a well-lived life.

It's not a destination. You know, I love Billy Graham. He's someone who lived on purpose, you know, his entire life to the very last day. And he had this one clear purpose statement for his life.

And he said this, My one purpose in life is to help people find a personal relationship with God, which I believe comes through knowing Christ. If you're listening right now, do you have a purpose statement? I know you have a plan for your life. I know you have a, you know, a financial plan for your future. But do you have a purpose statement where you'd begin to outline, OK, this is, God, your purpose in my life while you place me here.

And this is what I'm going to run after and pursue. And it'll give you incredible stability and direction and meaning, regardless of whether there's a pandemic going on, regardless of what happens at your work, regardless of whatever circumstances life throws at you. And so would you take time this week, literally get out a three by five card, write down on a sheet of paper or in your journal, and what is your purpose? God, what do you have for me? And then share it with someone else. Begin to process this and say, hey, this is what I'm wrestling with and this is what God is showing me and this is what I believe God is calling my life to.

I promise you, you will not regret it and God will begin to use your life in profound ways. Just before we close, our mission at Living on the Edge is to help Christians live like Christians. One of the ways we do that is by giving away free resources. So when you hear a message that's especially helpful, we hope you'll pass it on to others. They're easily shared from the Chip Ingram app or by forwarding the free MP3s from our website, And don't forget to include a note about how it made a difference in your life. Well, be sure to be with us again next time when we continue our current series. For Chip and the entire team, this is Dave Druey saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-21 18:42:05 / 2023-08-21 18:52:28 / 10

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