“What is your purpose at this point in your life?” asks former WellStar CEO Bernie Brown in his newest book “Purpose in the Fourth Quarter — Finishing the Game of Life Victoriously.” Throughout his book, Brown attempts to answer this question by comparing life to a game of football.
“Football has four quarters with a half-time in the middle,” said Brown, a Marietta resident. “Similarly, I believe that the game of life can easily fit into the same sequence.”
He draws from his own experiences and the experiences of those around him as he walks the reader through each of the four quarters of life and explains the purpose of each.
In addition to “Purpose in the Fourth Quarter,” Brown has authored “Lessons Learned on the Way Down — A Perspective on Christian Leadership in a Secular World.” He lives in Marietta with his wife, Snookie, of 50 years. They have three children and six grandchildren.
Brown retired in 2001 after 40 years in the health care field. He initially planned on relaxing for the rest of his life, but two incidents changed his perspective and forced him to think about his purpose, even after retirement.
A few months before Brown’s retirement as CEO of Kennestone, he experienced a potentially fatal accident. Because of it, he was forced to rethink his plans as he entered retirement. Brown went from being focused on having a peaceful, “fun” retirement to beginning to think about his purpose as his life neared its end.
Meanwhile, his mother went from living independently to living in a nursing home. Despite this change, she still found a way to live her life purposefully. She authored a children’s book, and above all, served those around her. Brown recognized her purpose and began to explore what his own purpose was.
Brown began by conducting informal research. He asked those around him, including his mother, children, and grandchildren what they thought their purpose was.
He was encouraged to put this knowledge into a book through a retreat he led with his wife, titled “Purpose in the Fourth Quarter.” Many of those who had attended the retreat said they really enjoyed the message, and that discovering purpose was a subject that they didn’t hear addressed often.
Two observations made Brown compare the game of football to the game of life. The first is that, while each quarter of football is 15 minutes, those 15 minutes can last much longer, depending on penalties, weather, injuries, etc. Similarly, in life, not each quarter is the same length.
Another observation is that the football has an unusual shape. Most games are played with a round ball, but football is an exception. The result is that when a football is dropped, it bounces around unpredictably, just as life is unpredictable.
Brown writes: “Life is a game, the most complex, difficult, and challenging with the potential of being the most rewarding, satisfying, and wonderful game played on the face of the earth.” As his book progresses, Brown explains the rules, score-keeping, and progression of that game. Above all, he focuses on the purpose of life in general as well as the specific purpose of each of the four stages. Brown writes: “I have also learned that purpose in all quarters is something we all desire, regardless of our place in the game of life.”
Although Brown places focus on finding purpose in retirement, his book also seeks to answer questions of purpose for those who are still young.
“The idea of (‘Purpose in the Fourth Quarter’) is to encourage people to think about purpose,” Brown said. “Even though it focuses on the fourth quarter, it carries you through every quarter.”
Just as football has a winner and a loser, so does the game of life.
“Even though these quarters each have different purposes, the overall purpose is still the same: to win,” Brown said.
Victory in the game of life becomes a predominant theme of “Purpose in the Fourth Quarter.” The book explains what victory in life is, what it means spiritually, and how it can be attained.
Filled with quotes, Bible verses, and wisdom drawn from experience, “Purpose in the Fourth Quarter” is a book designed to encourage the reader to look inwards, as seen in the “Self-Analysis” questions found at the end of each chapter. It strikes a conversational tone while promoting insight as the reader recognizes the quarter they are in, looks back to the quarters finished, and looks forward to the quarters ahead.
Written from a Christian perspective, Brown seeks to help readers understand God’s purpose for their lives. Brown said: “One of my favorite quotes is ‘You were created on purpose for a purpose.’”
“Purpose in the Fourth Quarter — Finishing the Game of Life Victoriously” by Bernie Brown is available from Inspiring Voices at www.inspiringvoices.com or by phone at 1 (866) 697-5313. It is also available through your local bookseller or preferred online retailer. Soft cover is $9.99 and eBook is $3.99. For more information, visit www.purposeinthefourthquarter.com or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org