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Fulfilling Your Eternal Potential Every Day

Written by Jim GraffAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Jim Graff



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On Sale: March 10, 2010
Pages: 240 | ISBN: 978-0-307-49969-1
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ABOUT THE BOOK ABOUT THE BOOK
ABOUT THE AUTHOR ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

Are you yearning to live a life that matters?
Many people wrestle with their significance. If you’re one of them, Jim Graff understands. And in his life-changing new book, he offers incredible insight and inspiration that can change the course of your life.
A Significant Life helps you understand how to own your own worth–which is given and anointed by God–and live a more purposeful life. As a result, you’ll see an amazing transformation…not only in your life, but also in your church and community.
Drawing on biblical models such as David, Esther, and Jesus himself, Jim shows you how personal courage, integrity, and determination can turn sparks into a holy fire. He’ll help you grab hold of the ways God wants you to be blessed. Learn to live your heart’s desire. And go out into the world as a person transformed with God-ordained significance.

In A Significant Life, Graff reveals five keys that will give you the resources and the inspiration to live at your full potential as a person of eternal significance.
Owning and living out of your true significance occurs by:
·Developing Confidence
·Being a person of Character
·Concentrating on God’s will
·Cooperating with God (and others) in carrying out God’s plans, and
·Participating in Community
Discover the importance and impact of these five C’s in your life as you learn to live authentically within God’s unique design for you. And begin to own your God-given significance by living a purposeful life every day.


From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpt

Is Bigger Always Better?
In the early 1990s my life was in crisis, but not the kind of crisis easily understood by most people. At the time, I had been serving my church, Faith Family Church in Victoria, Texas, for several years, and the Lord had blessed it. In just a few years, the church grew from two hundred fifty to several hundred more members. Like so many of us, whether in the ministry or the corporate culture, I had been conditioned to believe bigger was always better, so our increase in size meant success. Or did it?
Coming out of college, I wasn’t sure if God was calling me to full-time ministry. So I went on the mission field and preached throughout Africa and Eastern Europe. When I returned, I sensed the Lord leading me into pastoral ministry, and I was encouraged in this pursuit by trusted friends and family members. Not long after that God called me to Faith, which is in a small community in southeast Texas. Having grown up in a rural Pennsylvania community, I found Faith to be a perfect fit since I never wanted to lose that small-town feel of community.
The problem, though, was that most of my peers were serving in megachurches that boast thousands of members. With only hundreds attending Faith at the time, the difference between the numbers felt a little bit like failure even before I started. I needed to be moving toward a bigger and better church to pastor, right? Wasn’t that how I would know I was doing a good job? Don’t most of us, regardless of profession, mark our success by increasing our numbers?
Then my chance came. In 1993, a pastor and friend of my father-inlaw came to me and said, “Jim, I’m ready to hand over my life’s work. I’d like you to consider taking over my church.” Let me tell you, this church was every pastor’s dream: about two thousand active members, a large staff, financial stability, and more ministries than I could imagine. By the grace of God, this was my opportunity. Now I could have what I thought I wanted. So—certain I would say yes—I went to Arlington, but I left feeling that something just wasn’t right. I didn’t understand, though, what it could be.

Football Fields and Faith

I knew God had a plan for my life, that he had called me, raised me up in ministry, led me to the mission field, and given me early success that enabled greater opportunity. And now this move to Arlington was the next logical step…right? But something nagged at my heart, and to tell the
truth, I was a little disappointed in myself for not jumping on the opportunity. I wanted my life to be like King David’s, whose life we’ll study in this book and whose godly leadership affected his generation in a significant way. So I wondered why I couldn’t get on board. I’ve come to believe, in the time since, that pastors, along with most of us, fight a battle between wanting versus having, and I just wasn’t sure that what I had at the time (a smaller church) was what I wanted. But truth be told, even after I found myself smack-dab in the middle of an opportunity to have what I thought I wanted (a megachurch), I still wasn’t satisfied. When I got back to Victoria, my brother-in-law invited me on a hunting trip in Arkansas, and it sounded like a great diversion. Driving north out of Texas, I received a glimpse into my discontent. As I passed through small town after small town, I discovered a truth about my dilemma in the high-school football stadiums along the roadside. Any of you who have seen Friday Night Lights knows what football is to Texans. We love our football, and we support it with everything we’ve got. In almost every Texas community I passed, a stadium sat in the middle of town as a shrine to our love affair with football. But as I drove through these small towns, I noticed that these great football stadiums—built with the finest materials and engineering skills available—were sitting in the middle of communities filled with struggling churches. God used that observation to help me understand my heart. Those churches symbolized a different side of church life and made me realize why I needed to stay at Faith. These churches were guided by pastors and church leaders who had an important task to do. Their churches would probably never reach the size of many big-city churches, but they certainly had their own unique significance. If they embraced their roles, they could affect in very meaningful ways a higher percentage of the people in their town than most big-city churches ever would.
Then I realized something about myself: my upbringing in rural Pennsylvania, my love of small communities, my uneasiness about big cities— that’s how God made me. Those traits pointed to his purpose for me, and now I had a chance to use my gifts to enrich my smaller church as well as other smaller churches and even individuals who might be struggling with whether bigger is always better. Not long after I came home from that trip, I called my staff together. On the local front, I had always said, “I want Faith to be a place my friends would go.” Not just my Christian friends, but those friends who I knew needed a loving place to learn about God. I wanted Faith to accept the people of our local community; if people felt accepted, they would eventually ask the reason for our faith and, hopefully, join us at Faith. So I asked my church to dream about a diverse staff touching the people of our area through various gifts and interests. I wanted them to go beyond thinking of our individual talents alone and start focusing on our collective abilities and how together we could reflect Christ in our town. In short, I felt God was calling me to make Faith Family Church a significant influence in our community, no matter what our size. On a larger scale, my heart turned to overlooked people in America and around the world. With just a little research, I quickly learned that ninety million people live in America’s smaller cities and towns. If these ninety million were considered their own nation, they would be the thirteenth largest country on the planet. That is definitely significant! I guessed that we’d find some heroic believers laboring faithfully in these smaller churches, and we did. But I also wondered if we would find additional smaller cities and towns with an even greater need for ministry. And we definitely did! These discoveries made me start thinking about significance even more deeply, and I have come to realize since then that where significance is undiscovered, potential stays undeveloped. That’s why these churches needed to know they were vital to God’s plan. Over 80 percent of our churches in America have less than two hundred people in them. What will happen in our country if they lose heart? Less than 2 percent of Americans attend megachurches, which means that the majority of American Christians are being discipled in much-needed smaller churches that must prosper if we are to fulfill what’s on God’s heart. We at Faith went to work dreaming on their behalf.

Smaller Towns, Bigger Impact
The movement took shape in 2000 when we surveyed pastors in over two thousand counties across America. While our ultimate vision is to help plant significant faith communities in every overlooked village in the world, we started with the United States, and our goal was simple: discover the state of the church in small-county American life and figure out how
to strengthen it. And 2000 was a strange year. Remember the “red” states that threw the election into a frenzy? Remember the national news media calling the Bush-Gore election in the early evening and then having to retract their announcement later that night? In the year we decided to figure out what was going on in small-town America, small-town America was putting itself back on the social and political map. To us at Faith, the election spoke of the significance of this community’s voice, of the potential that was ready to be unleashed for God’s kingdom. The survey revealed more than we bargained for, and it brought me into partnership with incredible pastors and church leaders doing impressive works largely unheard of. The survey also showed us that people everywhere, particularly in the rural areas and small counties of our country, long to know that who they are counts and what they do matters. It’s not just pastors and those in full-time ministry who long to know that what they spend their lives doing is worthwhile.
This is the good news: we are all longing to make a difference, in our families, in our jobs, in our places of worship, in our neighborhoods, in all the places where we live life. And this is the even better news: we can make a significant difference. Like King David centuries ago, we can change the world we live in—that’s what the survey conveyed to us. We saw in black and white that all those who honor God by reflecting his image and living out who he made them can be people of impact. Living a significant life is not just about building bigger churches or raising more dollars or increasing membership. It’s about becoming all God truly created us to be and living fully in his image as his children. That is when we discover our potential and live out our purpose.
Perhaps you’re feeling skeptical at this point. “That’s all fine and good, Jim,” you say, “but my faith is a little shaky right now, and life really isn’t so great. You pastors out there can find your significance, but I live in the real world.” My friend, you are exactly the person I’m writing to even as I’m writing to ministers who may have already glimpsed their significance. All of us need to realize that we don’t have to live a large life in the glare of a media spotlight to be important. We don’t have to be wealthy, dressed in the right designer duds, or driving the latest SUV to matter. We don’t need a title, an advanced degree, or an invitation to the White House. This book is written for people like you who want to make your relationships meaningful, who want to live happy and satisfied as you invest your life, and who believe that God has ordained us to live—a day at a time—a life of purpose and meaning. This is not a book of promises or formulas; it’s a book designed to help you explore your potential and honor your significance. So where do we begin? Well, once a year at our church, we get together and dream. Our starting point for dreaming can be found in Ephesians 3:20–21, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever!”
We want people to see God at work in a special way, and we know the Bible clearly points out how this happens. We want to unleash God’s power to “do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” as he faithfully leads and guides us. We believe that history has confirmed what we believe to be true, and every year the group reminds me that we’re to be pursuing dreams that require us to work together with God.

Eternal Significance Today
So where do we begin in our efforts to find our true significance, to live a meaningful life that fulfills our eternal potential every day? I believe that this fruit of significance begins with the seeds of hope that God placed within us all. Like David, we begin by tending those seeds—or Cs, as I like to call them—and cultivating them in five key areas: developing confidence, being a person of character, concentrating on God’s will, cooperating with God (and others) in carrying out his plans, and participating in community. So join me on an exciting journey of discovery and personal growth as we examine what it means to live the life for which God has created you. We’ll learn from the examples of some remarkably significant people, some famous and some you may never have heard of, some from the Bible and some from everyday life. Together we’ll discover what it means to live out eternity in real time, fulfilling our divine potential every day in ways that change our own lives as well as the lives of those around us. Turn the page and take that first step toward being who you were meant to be, a special someone living a significant life.


From the Hardcover edition.
Jim Graff

About Jim Graff

Jim Graff - A Significant Life
Jim Graff is a gifted communicator and the dynamic pastor of Faith Family Church in Victoria, Texas. Under Graff’s leadership, Faith Family Church has grown from 300 to 4,000 active members in a city of only 60,000.

Faith Family Church was recently named one of America’s Outstanding Protestant Churches in a study by the University of North Carolina which identified 300 excellent Protestant congregations in the United States.

Jim’s passion for small communities in America has led him to launch the Significant Church Network, designed to establish significant, thriving church communities throughout the smallest and most overlooked counties in the nation.

Jim is the brother-in-law of Joel Osteen, author of bestselling Your Best Life Now and pastor of Lakewood Community Church in Houston–with over 30,000 adult attendees weekly. Jim will speak at Osteen’s Pastor’s Conference in Houston, October 11-12, 2006.

Jim is married to Tamara, who is also a pastor at Faith Family Church. Together they have four children - Michael, Andrea, Emily, and Geoffrey.
Praise

Praise

“I’m so excited about my brother-in-law Jim’s new book. I can’t wait to see how A Significant Life connects people all over the country and helps them reach their full potential.”
Joel Osteen, best-selling author of Your Best Life Now

“There is a life beyond the one we know. Our souls yearn for it, our dreams are filled with it, our hopes reach for it in the lives of others. It is the life of meaning we were made to live, the one fueled by the power of a destiny fulfill. Jim Graff has charted the pathway to that life. His book, A Significant Life, is a stirring call to the highlands of God's best for our lives.”
Stephen Mansfield, author of The Faith of George W. Bush
and The Faith of the American Soldier

A Significant Life does a beautiful job instructing the reader on how to live with meaning and purpose. This book is filled with rich, solid nuggets of truth. I encourage you to take some time and follow along as Jim Graff takes you on a journey to discover your own unique significance. This book is exactly what you need.”
Nicky Cruz, founder of Nicky Cruz Outreach,
author of Soul Obsession and One Holy Fire

“In A Significant Life, Jim Graff eloquently unfolds a strategy he and other great leaders are using to spark Revolution for Christ in small towns, counties, and all areas of America. His concept and example give hope and inspiration that every church in every community can be a part of rescuing our country.”
Ron Luce, president and founder of Teen Mania Ministries,
author of Battle Cry for A Generation and Revolution YM

A Significant Life is a wonderful book about the importance of being obedient to God and being in his perfect will for your life, no matter how large or small your church may be. Everyone is significant in the Body of Christ and everyone has been given an assignment. This book will help you to understand that, when you live out your purpose, God is so proud of you. Similarly, I am proud of Jim. He is a great son-in-law and I salute him for writing this book.”
Dodie Osteen, co-founder, Lakewood Church, Houston, Texas,

“Has self-doubt or the challenges of others caused you to question what dwells in the recesses of your heart–God’s vision and purpose for you? A Significant Life lays all of the cards on the table. Pastor Jim Graff dissects the stumbling blocks and obstacles that can easily discourage us and brings us into a place where we can see all the resources that are before us. You will finish this book knowing that you can achieve all that God has entrusted to you.”
Bill Wilson, senior pastor and founder, Metro Ministries,
Brooklyn, New York, and author of Christianity in the Crosshairs

A Significant Life by Jim Graff speaks directly to the age old question of humanity: why am I here? Through a revealing dissection of King David’s life, Jim leads us on an exciting journey of discovery and reawakening of our God given dreams and callings. Each page feels like a breath of fresh air to anyone who is beaten down, weary, or needing direction for their life. With a pastor’s heart, Jim encourages us to throw off all the entanglements in our lives and gain the confidence in God to live the life we were created for.”
John and Lisa Bevere, authors/speakers, Messenger
International, Colorado Springs, Colorado

“Whether your years on earth have been blessed, like Jacob’s, or left you feeling more like Esau--red, hairy, and gruff-with-good-reason--the principles explored in A Significant Life will help you live a life that has a lasting impact on the world. Jim Graff gives a profound teaching on fulfilling the calling God has for each and every one of us.”
Ted Haggard, pastor and author of Foolish No More!,
The Jerusalem Diet, and From This Day Forward



From the Hardcover edition.

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