Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Purpose Driven Life - It All Starts with God

I have had mixed emotions about Rick Warren's book "The Purpose Driven Life." It is kind of shallow. It leaves you feeling just as good as when you watch a sermon from Joel Osteen. It doesn't say a whole lot about Jesus. It just feeds the selfish nature. Blah, blah, blah. I used to say all of that until I actually sat down and started reading it. I just want to apologize to anybody I might have said those things to.

Rick Warren wrote this book with only intention of it being useful to those in his church during the spiritual campaign the 40 Days of Purpose. He never imagined it would become a best seller. He didn't write it for the non-Christian who knows little about God or Jesus. He wrote it for the Christian.

I have decided that as I go through this book in preparation for the 40 Days of Purpose that I would respond to the question at the end of each chapter, and maybe give a little summary of the chapter itself.

Today's chapter is entitled "It All Starts with God." It begins this way, "It's not about you" and continues "The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your own happiness."

So much for being shallow and feel good right.

A couple of other quotes that stuck out are:

"It is only in God that we discover our origin, our identity, our meaning, our purpose, our significance, and our destiny. Every other path leads to a dead end."

"This is not a self-help book. It is not about finding the right career, achieving your dreams, or planning your life. It is not about how to cram more activities into an overloaded schedule...It is about becoming what God created you to be."

"God has not left us in the dark to wonder and guess. He has clearly revealed his...purposes for our lives through the Bible."

"God is not just the starting point of your life; he is the source of it."

Today's Point to Ponder is "It's not about me."

Today's Verse to Remember is Colossians 1:16b

Today's Question to Consider is "In spite of all the advertising around me, how can I remind myself that life is really about living for God, not myself?"

This is a great question. The only reason advertising works is because it targest the very basic nature of man. It targets his selfishness and it feeds it. How can I continually remind myself that life is about living for me but God?

The classic answers at this point are spend time with God, read the Bible and pray. Let's get serious though. I'm not saying these aren't the correct answers, but they are just answers that all who call themselves Christians know. Just because we know them doesn't mean we do them. It has actually taken blogging for me to finally come to a point where I am developing the habits of spending time with God, reading His Word and talking to Him. It didn't just take the answer itself, it took a plan.

I'm only spending personal time with Him (officially) four times a week, Monday through Thursday. There are some things I have been seeing in myself since I started blogging my SOAP studies. I feel closer to God. My attitude is changing. My understanding of His Word is changing.

I'm going to open up a little bit here (and go out on a limb). I was on Myspace today checking out some of the teens pages and stuff. I will admit, there are times that some inappropriate stuff has come up on myspace. (Myspace has a pretty good policy about nudity and pornography. For the most part that stuff doesn't get in). I have felt and subcummed to the temptation to view things I shouldn't in the past. I admit it. I am a sinner. Today was different though. It was cool. I was viewing the teens' pages and the temptation arose to look around where I shouldn't. I said no and decided to do my devotion time with God. Why did I say no? I have been spending time with God and my heart is slowly being shaped and molded to look like His. I have a life time to go, but it had been molded just enough for me to resist and do what was more important.

I have come up with a plan of action that has been helping me spend personal time with God. Why? Because you are holding me accountable. I have to say this though. At first I kept doing it because I had posted on my blog that I was going to do it. Now I am doing it because I want to spend time with God and I enjoy spending time with God. Right now I am doing just four days of personal time wtih God. It will grow to seven.

So what am I saying in all of this. Yes, spending time with God is the answer, but a plan of action needs to be put in place. Not only does a plan of action need to be put in place but someone needs to hold you accountable. I didn't recieve emails yesterday wondering where my SOAP study was. I hope that never happens again. If I don't think people are reading this then it will become easy to sluff. I don't want to sluff. So please keep me accountable.

Some other ideas about trying to get myself to constantly remember that it is about God instead of me are: Do things for others without seeking recognition, and these things can be very simple small things. Constantly be looking for some way to share Christ with others, and this means understanding that sharing doesn't just happen through words but through actions as well. Developing a prayer list of people and actually pray for their needs which include not only physical needs but spiritual needs as well. We all need to take our focus off of ourselves and put it on others.


Shayna Gastineau said...

Very cool Brian! This came just in time for me! It is all about spending time with God! When I am able to develop that steady relationship with Him, everything else becomes so easy and peaceful, insted of the chaotic mess that I often make it!! Thanks again Brian!!

ythpstr1 said...

I am glad I can be of encouragement. Thank you for your encouragement.

Rachael said...

I always found it so interesting how much your opinion mattered to me. I was started to become interested in the Purpose-Driven Life because my dad's church was doing it and I remember bringing it up to you and Walt and being shot down. Glad to see that you're taking a closer look. Thanks for the apology. It means a lot.

ythpstr1 said...

Hey, I didn't shoot you down!!! Okay, maybe I did. Sorry. No matter how much a person tries not to be influenced, it is hard not to be influenced. I've learned a lesson. Always check things out for yourself even when you hear others say otherwise, but at the same time, keep in mind what they told you because they could be right.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I've been reminding myself that life is really about living for GOD, not myself, by memorizing Scripture verses, the Colossians 1:16 verse specifically: ". . . all things were created BY him [God] and FOR him [God]." Lynette :)

Anonymous said...

It's sad, because I've talked to a couple people in our body that have a negative attitude about the 40 Days of Purpose. Not because of their own personal experience, but because of negative comments they heard from others. They're basing their opinion on the opinions of others. I know God can do great things in our lives and in the Church if we would give Him control and allow Him to guide & direct our lives. I pray that God will break down all the preconceived notions people have about the Purpose Driven Life. It's not about me! It's all about Him!