The Joseph Calling: 6 Stages to Discover, Navigate, and Fulfill Your Purpose

The Joseph Calling (Broad Street Publishing, 2017)

Os Hillman, founder and president of Marketplace Leaders, titles his latest book The Joseph Calling: 6 Stages to Discover, Navigate, and Fulfill Your Purpose.  First, Mr. Hillman notes that adversity functions as a key catalyst in how God moves people into their calling.  Thus, more often than not, people God uses simply respond to a crisis event rather than initiating a vocation from their own heart.  Therefore, through a Joseph calling, you become known by the adversity you’ve gone through in order to spiritually and physically provide for others.  Most importantly, without a foundational understanding of your purpose, your adversity and suffering won’t be worth it.

However, the author notes, you must discover why God created you before you start trying to determine your purpose.  And your underlying purpose should always be to do the will of the Father.  As a result, your relationship with God enables you to derive your earthly assignments.  So, when God calls you to walk down a specific path, He gives you – and only you – the grace for that assignment.  Also, in addition to discovering your purpose, you need to discover your anointing.  Os defines an anointing as when your gift functions easily and seems natural.

But, Mr. Hillman stresses, each of us must enter a valley – usually unwillingly.  Consequently, in that valley we experience the God of the valley and find strength in His faithfulness.  Furthermore, in the valley God brings us to the place where all we want is Christ.  Also, the valley provides fertile ground for a harvest of wisdom and virtue.  Through faithfulness in the valley, we enter a new dimension with God that we never though possible.  God doesn’t waste any valley experiences.  Hence, it’s important that we don’t attempt to extricate ourselves out of our valley time.  For doing so results in leanness of the soul.

When we understand crises and how God uses them, we’re less prone to make ourselves victims.  For example, the isolation stage reveals truth like nothing else can.  In the process, isolation changes us and removes what hinders us, forcing us to draw deep upon God’s grace.  And God’s performing a deeper work in us that cannot be seen.  Through our own personal cross, we experience the depths of God.  Plus, the fruit of this maturing process often results in successful problem-solving.  Thus, this gives you authority in the area God wants you to operate.  So when Satan throws bricks at you, tap into heaven.  That allows God to solve the problem and build His kingdom.

In conclusion, Os exhorts you not to think up things to do for God.  Rather, join Him in what He wants to do and is doing:

“Watch and wait for the trumpet call of God.  When the signs appear, then step into it.  Allow God to use you to be an instrument to manifest his presence into that specific situation.”

The training ground for kingdom leaders

“The training ground for a leader in the kingdom of God can often mean years of difficult, unfair treatment.”- Os Hillman

As Os Hillman continues Chapter 10 of The Joseph Calling, he notes that “sometimes obedience does not yield less adversity, it actually increases it.”  In fact, the author states, often the ways of God are laden with our misperceptions.  They include unfairness, crisis, isolation, and doubts on our leadership road.

However, while His servants wait, God’s working.  Most importantly, God’s selecting each person for a handpicked assignment.  Mr. Hillman explains:

“This waiting on God is preparation for a greater depth of use and a greater anointing that cannot be accomplished otherwise.  In fact, the waiting period only adds to the authority that is given, creating a level of authority for you to carry out your assignment from God.”

Furthermore, God doesn’t allow us to remain in our isolation cave for too long, lest our circumstances defeat us.  To overcome them, Os encourages us to do something seemingly unnatural – praise God in the midst of our adversity.  Handling this correctly draws others to your anointing.  In turn, others transform as you permit your anointing to destroy their yoke of bondage.

Only the Lord illuminates our path during dark times.  In 2 Samuel 22:20 we read- “You, LORD, are my lamp; the LORD turns my darkness into light.”  Thus, God uses your greatest failure or sorrow as a powerful force in your life as well as the lives of others.

As a result, your cave becomes a place to do business with God.  And although you certainly feel it’s true, in reality there’s no cave dark enough to shut out God.  Also, if God calls you into darkness to bring you into His presence, view it positively.  That darkness becomes the entry point to a deeper relationship with God.

In conclusion, Chuck Swindoll offers these words of advice.  He states: “When the sovereign God brings us to nothing, it is time to reroute our life, not to end it.”

Today’s question: Describe your current training ground for leadership in God’s kingdom.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Put on the shelf for a season”

 

Great riches we gain from the Joseph process

“Our world may be torn apart and our losses in the material world may be significant, but there are great riches we gain from the Joseph process that will be used in our lives and in the lives of others.  We need to be grateful that God considers us worthy for the assignment.”- Os Hillman

In Chapter 5 (“The Purpose of the Joseph Process”) of The Joseph Calling, Os Hillman notes that Josephs go through the mud to get where God’s calling them.  At times Josephs may feel like they’ve lost everything.  While this possibly occurs in the natural, God promises to protect Josephs in the midst of their adversity.

Furthermore, as we discover, navigate, and fulfill our purpose in life, we may find ourselves in unwanted situations.  Yet, even in that place, God gives us favor.  In addition, Mr. Hillman encourages, God’s always a step ahead of the devil’s plans.  And our own plans as well.  Only Jesus made plan A.  However, for the rest of us, God turns our plan B and plan C into plan A.

In conclusion, Os describes the Joseph process as personal, painful, and messy.  But, the process also is necessary.  As the author observes, like Moses, we must come to a death in ourselves.  Os explains:

“Like Moses, we all must come to a death in ourselves before we are resurrected into the call of God.  There is a purpose in this death process.  However, death without resurrection is only defeat.  God does not want you to remain in this place; he has plans for you once you’ve gone through the valley phase.”

Today’s question: What great riches have you gained from the Joseph process?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Jesus requires total dependence”

Each day holds a surprise – only if we expect it

On its 50th Anniversary in 1991, an Electroliner passes a Silverliner (built 1917) at the Illinois Railway Museum.

“Each day holds a surprise.  But only if we expect it can we see, hear, or feel it when it comes to us.  Let’s not be afraid to receive each day’s surprise, whether it comes to us as sorrow or as joy.  It will open a new place in our hearts, a place where we can welcome new friends and celebrate more fully our shared humanity.”- Henri Nouwen

“See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up- do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”- Isaiah 43:19 (NIV)

On Sunday, February 9, 1941, the first North Shore Electroliner went into service.  Debuting as the North Shore Lines’ premiere electric rail equipment, the Electroliner featured coach service as well as tavern/lounge amenities.  Partially inspired by the Burlington Zephyr, the Electroliner’s principal body color consisted of a medium blue-green trimmed with salmon-red stripes.

Capable of operating at speeds up to 90 mph, the Electroliner remained in service for 22 years, advertising one-way, through fares to Milwaukee or Chicago.  Furthermore, the celebrated train evoked surprise for two reasons.  Interurbans (1)  faced their last stand by the early 1940s  and (2) weren’t thought of as high-speed operations.

Writing in The Upside of Adversity (2006), Os Hillman fortifies our spirits when he states that God desires to turn our desert places into lush green valleys of blessing.  Yet, when you’re in that desert, your most significant concern revolves around when your trial will end.  As Os explains, he believes your trial will end when it doesn’t matter anymore (emphasis author’s):

“Once you’ve lived a long time in a state of adversity, status and influence don’t mean much anymore.  You appreciate the blessings God gives you, but if they were removed, you’d still be okay.  Your security is in God, not circumstances.”

Most importantly, Mr. Hillman examines the connection between adversity and success.  In particular, he stresses the perspective adversity gives to success.   As a result, Os describes five principles to remember as you graduate from a time of adversity to a time of blessing.

1.  View success as a gift from God.  Since all success comes from the Lord, that means you receive it, not achieve it.  And that applies to all your possessions.  God gifted them to you.  Os adds: “When all you have is a gift. there’s no room for pride – only humility and gratitude.”

2.  Learn how to handle praise.  While the approval of people comes and goes, God’s approval lasts forever.  Therefore, all praise belongs to God.

3.  Live a humble life.  As Rick Warren observes in The Purpose-Driven Life, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”

4.  Be held accountable for humility.  Ask trusted Christian friends to hold you accountable for a humble attitude.

5.  Remember that God saved you and has plans for you.  Everything that happens in our lives = an undeserved blessing of God’s grace.

First discover your purpose

“But if you are in a season of adversity right now, it is helpful to first discover your purpose and know why God has made you.  Without that foundational understanding, the adversity and suffering won’t be worth it.”- Os Hillman

“Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little.”- Edmund Burke, Speech on Mr. Fox’s East India Bill (December 1783)

Os Hillman begins Chapter 1 (“You Have A Joseph Calling On Your Life”) of The Joseph Calling: 6 Stages to Discover, Navigate, and Fulfill Your Purpose as he defines a Joseph calling.  Os cites J. Gunnar Olson:

“A Joseph calling is a marketplace call that a man or woman goes through in order to become a spiritual and physical provider to others.  You become known, just like Joseph became known, by the adversity you have gone through.”

Thus, wherever you are currently, press into Jesus with all your heart.  Spiritually speaking, Jesus will guide you to the next destination.  Even though you’ll most likely make some mistakes along the way, Mr. Hillman encourages you to remember that “your call is greater than the mistakes you have made.”

In conclusion, Os provides a brief description of the six stages of the Joseph calling;

  1. The recruitment stage – usually precipitated through a crisis
  2. The character development stage – God heals and corrects specific character issues
  3. The isolation stage – integrating faith into your daily life; God turns your mess into messages, you into a messenger
  4. The cross – betrayals often occur during this stage; here you learn the lesson of forgiveness
  5. The problem-solving stage – working with others to help them navigate their own adversity
  6. The networking stage – forming key leadership relationships

Today’s question: To help discover your purpose, where do you place yourself in the six stages of the Joseph calling?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “The two most important days”

Reconcile adversity and crisis with destiny and purpose

“I want to help readers reconcile adversity and crisis with destiny and purpose. . . . When we understand God’s processes, we’re more likely to embrace his truths, and subsequently desire a deeper relationship with him.” – Os Hillman

In his brief foreword to Os Hillman’s latest book, The Joseph Calling, Gunnar Olson states Mr. Hillman’s book differentiates between the attributed righteousness received through faith in Jesus and the righteousness that comes from walking in obedience to God.  This process involves the glorious experiences of God’s power.  However, it also involves the sharing of death to self, so that Christ’s revealed in us.  This is a difficult and painful, but necessary, process.

Next, in his introduction, “A God-Sized Assignment,” Os Hillman stresses that God designed a purpose and destiny for each of us.  In other words, God’s created a God-sized assignment for each of us to fulfill on earth.  Most importantly, adversity provides one of the key catalysts for moving people into their specific calling.

Speaking about people in the Bible, as well as people in modern life, Mr. Hillman states:

“More often than not, the people God used were simply responding to a crisis event in their lives rather than initiating a vision that came from their own hearts.”

Although, the author notes, not all people work through the unique six-step process of the Joseph calling, history attests to this calling.  God takes people through this process to achieve a higher purpose in their lives.  Furthermore, God has plans for every stage of your life, regardless of age.

In conclusion, Mr. Hillman exhorts:

“God wants to reveal to you your purpose, why he made you, and why he sent you into this world.  He wants you to know his unique assignment for you – and only you- to fulfill on planet Earth.”

Today’s question: What Bible verses speak to you as you reconcile adversity and crisis with destiny and purpose?  Please share.

Coming Monday: the new Short Meditation, “Each day holds a surprise — only if we expect it”

Tomorrow’s blog: “First discover your purpose”

Destructive disappointment or divine appointments

“Whenever there’s an opportunity for destructive disappointment, there’s also an opportunity for divine appointments.”- Susie Larson

Susie Larson concludes Chapter 2 of Your Powerful Prayers as she discusses destructive disappointment.  Ms. Larson defines destructive disappointment as ruminating on your losses/unfulfilled expectations in a way that:

  • damages you
  • causes you harm
  • negatively impacts your relationships

Most importantly, the author cautions, when we unexpectedly lose what we love, we run the risk of also losing sight of the God who loves us.”  As a result, Dr. Warren Wiersbe (Moody Bible Institute) describes three potential responses to adversity:

  1. Endure our trials.  If we only endure our trials, those trials master us.  Then, we develop a tendency to become hard and bitter.
  2. Escape our trials.  Trying to escape out trials means we’ll probably miss the purposes God desires to achieve in our lives.
  3. Enlist our trials.  Learning to enlist our trials transforms them into servants rather than masters.  Thus, our trials now work for us.

In conclusion, Ms. Larson notes that when we speak out of our pain, the enemy, Satan, smuggles in a lie.  Hence, we say things about ourselves, our life, and our God we don’t necessarily mean.  Ms. Larson adds:

” . . . grace for the brokenhearted and hurting . . . doesn’t mean that anything goes when we’re disappointed or hurt.  In fact, that mind-set will get us into farm more trouble than we can imagine.  When we consider the utter power in our words, we’re wise not to give our minds or mouths free rein when our hearts are broken in two.”

Destructive disappointment causes us to quickly lose our way, perspective, and handle on our relationship with God.  Instead, we need to view them as divine appointments.

Today’s question:  What Bible verses help you see your opportunities as divine appointments?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “How we steward our perspective”

How we define the word good

“One of the reasons we have a hard time believing that God’s grace is working for good in our lives is because of how we define the word good.  We have our own ideas of how God should work for our good . . .”- Kyle Idleman

Pastor Kyle Idleman concludes Chapter 10 of Grace Is Greater as he talks about how we define the word good.  We tend to believe that if God works everything for our good, the results should match how we define the word good.  Conversely, when adversity strikes, we feel that God’s failed to keep His promises.

However, Kyle observes, God’s grace works in the midst of our pain to bring about goodness in two ways:

  1. God’s grace works in your pain to draw you closer to Jesus.  The worst thing that ever happened to you ends up as the best thing that ever happened.  Why?  Because that event brought you closer to Jesus.
  2. God’s grace works in your pain to make you more like Jesus.  God uses all you’ve been through to make you more like Jesus.  Therefore, your pain always has a purpose.  And when pain has a purpose, we’re able to find the strength to endure.

In conclusion, Kyle finds it helpful to distinguish between reason and purpose.  That’s because we don’t always know if there’s a reason for our pain.  But, we do know that God, in His grace, always provides a purpose.  Hence, Pastor Idleman compares reason and purpose.

Reason:

  • looks for a because
  • wants a logical explanation that makes sense out of what happened

Purpose:

  • focuses on the for
  • offers us a hope that God is able to work good out of what happened

As Kyle encourages, just keep reading.

Today’s question: How do you define the word good?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: the Annotated Bibliography of Grace Is Greater

Through veins of suffering

“Love runs through us through veins of suffering.”- Ann Voskamp

Ann Voskamp continues Chapter 13 of The Broken Way by reminding us all who love ultimately suffer.  Most noteworthy, when God beckoned “you shall love your neighbor,” He knew we’d also keep suffering in keeping His commandment to love.  Still, Jesus gave that command.

Author Nicholas Wolterstorff observes that the burning core of suffering consists of love.  However, our suffering God pulls close at our call.  Therefore, we need not feel alone. Yet, Ann reminds us, we have a choice:

“We can receive if we want — there is always more God (emphasis author’s).  In tears is intimacy.  God understands because He stands with us.”

Furthermore, Ann reiterates that the word suffer comes form the Latin “to bear under.”  Therefore, through suffering we bear under that adversity which we cannot control- an act of surrender.  Ann then focuses on additional aspects of suffering.  Suffering:

  • asks us to bear under that which ultimately isn’t under our control- proving to us we have zero control
  • begs us to surrender so we obtain greater wisdom, deeper strength, and closer intimacy
  • says we cannot bear our cross alone; we must bear the vulnerability and intimacy of koinonia as well as bear depending on Jesus

In conclusion, Ann states the everlasting arms of One in control enable us to bear under that adversity beyond our control.  God never lets us go.  When we depend on our Christian faith community, Ann says, we’re “carried by the crossbeam of the cosmos- koinonia.”

Today’s question: Following your ministry downsizing or vocation loss, how has love run through the veins of suffering?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “A willingness to be inconvenienced”

The grace to remain strong

“Resilience . . . the grace to remain strong after going through something that almost breaks you.”- Ron Luce

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”- Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

Ron Luce, president and founder of Teen Mania Ministries, wrote Resilience in response to a plane crash that took the lives of four young men.  Two of the men were ministry staff members and friends of his daughter Hannah, the sole survivor of the crash.  Furthermore, thirty percent of Hannah’s body received third-degree burns.  In addition, her lungs had been burned.

During times of tragedy and adversity, as Christians, we know that:

  • Jesus loves us
  • one day, Jesus will comfort every heart and dry every tear
  • we’ll be with Him forever

However, Ron personally points out, those facts seem of little help to those suffering intense grief.  So, the author asks, how do Christians respond when circumstances careen out of control and we no longer comprehend what’s going on?  Such uncomfortable situations block us from making much sense of those situations.

Unless we prepare ourselves for these moments and develop the steel backbone needed to take us through them, our response may be toxic.  Mr. Luce summarizes:

“All too often when those things happen, people slide off the end of their faith and back into the world’s ways.  They get mad at God and give up on Him.  Their anger turns to resentment and even full-blown rebellion.”

As a result, Ron emphasizes, it becomes imperative to build or reinforce our foundation on Jesus before life hits us in the face.

Today’s question:  What Bible verses give you the grace to remain strong during your desert, transformational time?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Feel-good Christianity” (the second of four excerpts from this book)