Dr AR Bernard’s session with the SOT students helped this blogger see his giftings, personality and past experiences in a whole new light.
By Clinton Dixon
This week we were blessed by the teachings of Dr AR Bernard from Christian Cultural Center in New York City. Dr Bernard’s name has been firmly etched into the history of City Harvest Church since 1998, and he currently serves as Chairman on CHC’s advisory committee and spiritual mentor to senior pastor, Kong Hee.
Dr Bernard has a unique and much sought-after ability to unwrap, unlock and simplify the many complexities of God’s Word. He used these God-given abilities to great effect in tackling the often misunderstood topic of calling and purpose at SOT’s Tuesday morning chapel service.
Dr Bernard made several key points:
• Our calling begins at conception
• We don’t decide our purpose, we discover it
• Everything we go through before our salvation is used to shape our calling
• Your gifting will make room for you
Dr Bernard created a clever acrostic (DESSIGN) that enabled the students to evaluate if their purpose and calling are in tune with their own unique personal make up. DESSIGN stands for:
Desires: passions/desires to fulfil one’s calling
Skills: one’s own/acquired skills
Strengths: something one is good at
Identity: personal characteristics
From my own experience, the statement “we don’t decide our purpose, we discover it” couldn’t be any truer. Over the last 12 years I have been trying to decide my own purpose in life. I had worked in a wide variety of industries, attended university as an adult student, ran my own franchised business and had many, many preconceived notions on what my life was about and where it was going.
Late last year, after having been in Singapore for just a few months, I hit a low point. Thankfully it was a point of no return. I was tired and disillusioned with my life of striving. I had nowhere to go but to God. I put a stop to my own efforts and sought God’s will for my life. With God’s leading, my calling and purpose changed in an entirely new and unexpected direction.
Change begot change. Not long after a cell group member offered to sponsor me to attend SOT and I took that as God’s prompting, I took the step of faith and enrolled. Further opportunities arose at SOT and I began to discover the talents and giftings God had entrusted me with. Again, I stepped out in faith and started walking in what I was called to do. God had done in a matter of months what I had failed to achieve over a period of many years. Every day at SOT I could feel God’s hand rewiring both my heart and my mind. I feel privileged and very relieved.
Dr Bernard’s teachings not only gave me a Biblical framework to explain the purpose and calling journey I had walked thus far but it showed me that self-help is not real help. Finding your life’s calling and purpose is made all the simpler when you personally know the very God who gives them.
Clinton is married to Grace, has two young boys and is fast approaching middle age (but don’t tell anyone else). He hails from the land of the long white cloud—New Zealand—and admits to having very little understanding of The Lord Of The Rings. Through his studies at SOT, he is seeking to find God’s true calling on his life.