DON’T QUIT Having arrived at this page, I hope you have kept your journal.

Go back to Chapter 2 frequently and continue to let God adjust your personality and to challenge you. One character trait that we are going to look at in this chapter is being a person who finishes what he starts. How many people have started out on a project, one they thought God had called them to, only to quit before they finish? There are all kinds of excuses. It was too hard. I forgot. Nobody was helping me. Something else came up. I just didn't feel that God was in it. Please understand these can be good reasons for not finishing a project. More often than not, though, they are not legitimate excuses, just excuses. How do you know the difference? First we need to be sure we chose a task for a good reason and with good motivation. Suppose God has called you1 to the mission field (you believe he has). Again, suppose you are in the midst of college which (is not an unusual time to get the call). Many people think they should quit and get at it. Another will finish college, having a substantial student loan debt they will get involved in something interesting(to pay back the loans) and either forget the call or have excuses for not following through. We are not a people who like to wait, carrying a call for many years before we start. It may help to understand that God has carried you and your call since the beginning of time. He is patient. When God calls you to do something part of that call is the preparation for the call. That can mean school, training, short-term trips, other ministry, relationship development and any number of different life experiences, maybe finishing this book. We often fail to understand that God is active in everything that is going on in our lives. In 2003, after 23 years of pastoring a great church, God called Joanne (my wife) and I to full-time missions in Brazil. We understood that the 55 years we had lived on this planet were a preparation for this call, for this time in our lives. There were years of dryness, times of great pain—and great joy, times of abundance and times of want. We would not be who we are today without those experiences. For some reason we, as a people, have a very short attention span and a great deal of impatience. It is worth looking at some Biblical leaders. Pick out two (David, Moses, Abraham, Jesus, Paul, Saul and/or others of your choice) and do a study (use your journal) of their preparation time for ministry. How old were they when they began their ministry (remember ministry is what you do in response to God's call on your life). What took place in their lives that would prepare them for this time? Explain how their successes and failures were tutors on their way to leadership. As you study their lives, consider how would you have reacted? Would you have quit? Acted differently? Why? As they entered ministry their success and failures continued. How did they finish and what part did these

Just a quick note about God's call: I am not speaking only of the pastorate or missions. I believe God calls us to all walks of life. Businessmen/women, doctors, lawyers, dentists, or any other profession or job (yes, even being a laborer) can be calls from God. Open you heart to his call. Some people have a very narrow definition of ministry. Don't believe it. Wherever God calls is ministry.

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successes and failures play in the finishing of their ministry? How did God test each before they walked fully in their call? If we know that God has called us then it is important to commit to finishing. Sometimes I look back and wonder how many lives might have been different had I not given up on them. How would my life be different had I finished what I felt God call me to do in this place or that. Don't give up. Don't quit. Have you been distracted from what God has called you to do? Finish well what you are currently doing and get on with what God has called you to do. In closing, consider the following Scripture verses. Acts 20:24 (NIV) 24However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace. 1 Corinthians 9:24 (NIV) 24Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Galatians 5:7 (NIV) 7You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? 2 Timothy 4:7-8 (NIV) 7I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV) 1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV) 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. FOR YOUR JOURNAL
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How have you been struggling in figuring out what God wants you to do with your life? Think back and write about a couple of areas where you did not finish. Include why you started, what you experienced in the middle of it and why you quit before it was finished. What are you in the middle of right now? How can you finish well?

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