Created for Meaning, Intimacy, and Destiny

Youth Specialties
August 9th, 2016

This post is provided through a partnership with S.O.U.L. MAG, a FREE urban ministry and lifestyle magazine created to serve youth workers and the Church. 

For over fifteen years I have enjoyed journeying with an amazing urban church in Los Angeles called Mosaic. They are a community of committed followers of Jesus Christ to live by faith, to be known by love, and to be a voice of hope. They take seriously the importance of living out the Holy Scriptures. Passages like First Corinthians 13 are crucial to Mosaic, and basically function as a manifesto for action; to live as people called by God ­human beings who are to believe, to belong, and to become. It should come as no surprise that God sowed these desires into the depths of every person’s soul.

Erwin McManus, the pastor of Mosaic and author of “Soul Cravings,” teaches that these most fundamental human cravings fit into three areas; the need for meaning, intimacy, and destiny. One of the practices that the Mosaic community encourages is to appreciate the interplay between Holy Scripture, our cravings, and the questions we have deep within our soul. It’s an energizing process. In a sense, it enables us to find the answer to our deepest longings.

Is it possible that the longings we feel are designed by God to draw us into a closer relationship with Him?

For us to discover who God created us to be?

Does God really care about us, and if so, what might that mean to us today?

Is it possible that we’ve missed the obvious in our search for fulfillment and that God is inviting us to find satisfaction for our deepest desires?

I believe we all have these cravings… deep­-seated desires and needs that must be fulfilled, and only God can fill them. Not only do we need air, water, and food to survive physically, but our souls need truth & faith, community & love, purpose & hope.


The need for meaning is made up of significance, truth, and trust and those three are closely entwined. How do you define meaning in your life?


We all desire to be known and loved. No one wants to be alone. Belonging is central to what it means to be human…  so what happens when you’re all alone?


You were created with purpose. What makes us want to become more than we are right now?


One of the most persistent questions from the time we are toddlers until we are old and gray is “Why?” So often this question is a search for meaning. Why is it so important to us to find meaning, to make sense of our lives? Erwin McManus states, “Searching for meaning is like breathing. It is something intrinsic to the human spirit.” How do you recognize the truth?

Probably an equally important question is, Who can I trust? Jesus Christ understood this and allows a “royal official” in the Gospel of John to bring this to light.


After the two days he left for Galilee. (Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own country.) When he arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him. They had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, for they also had been there. Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death. “Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.” The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” “Go,” Jesus replied, “your son will live.” The man took Jesus at his word and departed. While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, “Yesterday, at one in the afternoon, the fever left him.” Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he and his whole household believed. This was the second sign Jesus performed after coming from Judea to Galilee. (John 4:43-­54)

The royal official “got it,” Jesus was the one in whom we should put our trust. Our Creator placed within us our longing and craving for truth and meaning.


Love is more powerful than hate, yet many struggle with the thought of love or an intimate nearness to another. It can be a great delight to feel loved, yet when we are unable to find or maintain the love we crave, we’re left deeply wounded. Do you crave intimacy? Where do people turn for a sense of belonging? How would you define or describe “true love?” Have you ever felt accepted, not for what you’ve done, but for who you are? If so, can you share briefly about that experience? Love is always a risk, but is it always dangerous?

There is a remarkable story in John 9 for us to consider…

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing. His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?” Some claimed that he was. Others said, “No, he only looks like him.” But he himself insisted, “I am the man.” 10 “How then were your eyes opened?” they asked. He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.” “Where is this man?” they asked him. “I don’t know,” he said …

Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.” Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.” Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. (John 9:1­-12; 35­-38)

This is a very different story of intimacy and love. Though the “Man Born Blind” was isolated and rejected by society, Jesus accepted him and provided a community where he could belong… “God’s community.” Jesus graciously healed him answering the questions, “Does anyone care?”


Have you ever thought, “I know that there’s something God wants to do with my life, but greatness is eluding me?” We each face disappointments and shattered dreams. Erwin McManus says, “Your soul can start to become dead to your craving for destiny, your desire to become, your longing to have progress, to believe that tomorrow can be better than today, that you can be better than you are.” What difference would it make to believe that God not only made you for a purpose, but that He wants you to discover and live out that purpose? Do you still believe your dreams can come true? Can a man live (not just survive) without hope? What do you hope for? Have you ever experienced a renewed hope when you initially thought hope was lost? Long ago God said to a group of people who were struggling, “I know the plans I have for you… plans to give you a hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

A great story that illustrates destiny is the story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19.

Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore­fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Though Zacchaeus was striving for success in all the wrong ways and his dreams had long died, Jesus showed him an alternate destiny where he could become significant in the eyes of God and the world. Jesus also graciously calls him, answering the question, “Is anything worth living for?”

So what were you created for?

You were born to Believe, Belong, and Become. Imagine what our cities and the urban landscape would look like if we lived the life God created us to live; one of meaning, intimacy, and destiny. I invite you to journey with me through the 7­ Day Bible Journey, Unconditional.

Rev. Dr. John Edgar Caterson serves as the Executive Director of Catalytic Church Partnerships at American Bible Society. JE lives with his bride Kristi, son Gabriel, and his daughters Annabelle and Aliza Hope. The Catersons live near Tampa Bay, FL.

Youth Specialties

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