BOOK DETAILS

The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?

The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?

by Rick Warren

ISBN: 9780310337508

Publisher Zondervan

Published in Self-Help/Success, Religion & Spirituality

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Book Description

Translated into over 50 languages, The Purpose Driven Life is far more than just a book; it is a guide to a spiritual journey that has transformed millions of lives. Once you take this journey, you¿ll never be the same again.

On your journey you¿ll find the answers to 3 of life¿s most important questions:

The Question of Existence:

Why am I alive?The Question of Significance:

Does my life matter?

The Question of Purpose:

What on earth am I here for?

Transform your life. Start your journey today.

Please Note: this audio references accompanying material that is not included with the purchase of the audiobook.

from audible.com

Sample Chapter

DAY 1

It All Starts with God

For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, ... everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him.

COLOSSIANS 1:16 (MSG)

Unless you assume a God, the question of life's purpose is meaningless.

BERTRAND RUSSELL, ATHEIST

It's not about you.

The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It's far greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest dreams and ambitions. If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by his purpose and for his purpose.

The search for the purpose of life has puzzled people for thousands of years. That's because we typically begin at the wrong starting point—ourselves. We ask self-centered questions like What do I want to be? What should I do with my life? What are my goals, my ambitions, my dreams for my future? But focusing on ourselves will never reveal our life's purpose. The Bible says, "It is God who directs the lives of his creatures; everyone's life is in his power."

Contrary to what many popular books, movies, and seminars tell you, you won't discover your life's meaning by looking within yourself. You have probably tried that already. You didn't create yourself, so there is no way you can tell yourself what you were created for! If I handed you an invention you had never seen before, you wouldn't know its purpose, and the invention itself wouldn't be able to tell you either. Only the creator or the owner's manual could reveal its purpose.

I once got lost in the mountains. When I stopped to ask for directions to the campsite, I was told, "You can't get there from here. You must start from the other side of the mountain!" In the same way, you cannot arrive at your life's purpose by starting with a focus on yourself. You must begin with God, your Creator. You exist only because God wills that you exist. You were made by God and for God—and until you understand that, life will never make sense. 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.

Many people try to use God for their own self-actualization, but that is a reversal of nature and is doomed to failure. You were made for God, not vice versa, and life is about letting God use you for his purposes, not your using him for your own purpose. The Bible says, "Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life."

I have read many books that suggest ways to discover the purpose of my life. All of them could be classified as "self-help" books because they approach the subject from a self-centered viewpoint. Self-help books, even Christian ones, usually offer the same predictable steps to finding your life's purpose: Consider your dreams. Clarify your values. Set some goals. Figure out what you are good at. Aim high. Go for it! Be disciplined. Believe you can achieve your goals. Involve others. Never give up.

Of course, these recommendations often lead to great success. You can usually succeed in reaching a goal if you put your mind to it. But being successful and fulfilling your life's purpose are not at all the same issue! You could reach all your personal goals, becoming a raving success by the world's standard, and still miss the purposes for which God created you. You need more than self-help advice. The Bible says, "Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self."

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. Actually, it will teach you how to do less in life—by focusing on what matters most. It is about becoming what God created you to be.

How, then, do you discover the purpose you were created for? You have only two options. Your first option is speculation. This is what most people choose. They conjecture, they guess, they theorize. When people say, "I've always thought life is ...," they mean, "This is the best guess I can come up with."

For thousands of years, brilliant philosophers have discussed and speculated about the meaning of life. Philosophy is an important subject and has its uses, but when it comes to determining the purpose of life, even the wisest philosophers are just guessing.

Dr. Hugh Moorhead, a philosophy professor at Northeastern Illinois University, once wrote to 250 of the best-known philosophers, scientists, writers, and intellectuals in the world, asking them, "What is the meaning of life?" He then published their responses in a book. Some offered their best guesses, some admitted that they just made up a purpose for life, and others were honest enough to say they were clueless. In fact, a number of famous intellectuals asked Professor Moorhead to write back and tell them if he discovered the purpose of life!

Fortunately, there is an alternative to speculation about the meaning and purpose of life. It's revelation. We can turn to what God has revealed about life in his Word. The easiest way to discover the purpose of an invention is to ask the creator of it. The same is true for discovering your life's purpose: Ask God.

God has not left us in the dark to wonder and guess. He has clearly revealed his five purposes for our lives through the Bible. It is our Owner's Manual, explaining why we are alive, how life works, what to avoid, and what to expect in the future. It explains what no self-help or philosophy book could know. The Bible says, "God's wisdom ... goes deep into the interior of his purposes.... It's not the latest message, but more like the oldest—what God determined as the way to bring out his best in us."

God is not just the starting point of your life; he is the source of it. To discover your purpose in life you must turn to God's Word, not the world's wisdom. You must build your life on eternal truths, not pop psychology, success-motivation, or inspirational stories. The Bible says, "It's in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone." This verse gives us three insights into your purpose.

1. You discover your identity and purpose through a relationship with Jesus Christ. If you don't have such a relationship, I will later explain how to begin one.

2. God was thinking of you long before you ever thought about him. His purpose for your life predates your conception. He planned it before you existed, without your input! You may choose your career, your spouse, your hobbies, and many other parts of your life, but you don't get to choose your purpose.

3. The purpose of your life fits into a much larger, cosmic purpose that God has designed for eternity. That's what this book is about.

Andrei Bitov, a Russian novelist, grew up under an atheistic Communist regime. But God got his attention one dreary day. He recalls, "In my twenty-seventh year, while riding the metro in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) I was overcome with a despair so great that life seemed to stop at once, preempting the future entirely, let alone any meaning. Suddenly, all by itself, a phrase appeared: Without God life makes no sense. Repeating it in astonishment, I rode the phrase up like a moving staircase, got out of the metro and walked into God's light."

You may have felt in the dark about your purpose in life. Congratulations, you're about to walk into the light.

DAY 1

Thinking about My Purpose

POINT TO PONDER: It's not about me.

VERSE TO REMEMBER: "Everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him." COLOSSIANS 1:16B (MSG)

QUESTION TO CONSIDER: In spite of all the advertising around me, how can I remind myself that life is really about living for God, not myself?

MESSAGE TO HEAR: www.purposedriven.com/day1

CHAPTER 2

DAY 2

You Are Not an Accident

I am your Creator. You were in my care even before you were born. ISAIAH 44:2A (CEV)

God does not play dice.

ALBERT EINSTEIN

You are not an accident.

Your birth was no mistake or mishap, and your life is no fluke of nature. Your parents may not have planned you, but God did. He was not at all surprised by your birth. In fact, he expected it.

Long before you were conceived by your parents, you were conceived in the mind of God. He thought of you first. It is not fate, nor chance, nor luck, nor coincidence that you are breathing at this very moment. You are alive because God wanted to create you! The Bible says, "The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me."

God prescribed every single detail of your body. He deliberately chose your race, the color of your skin, your hair, and every other feature. He custom-made your body just the way he wanted it. He also determined the natural talents you would possess and the uniqueness of your personality. The Bible says, "You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something."

Because God made you for a reason, he also decided when you would be born and how long you would live. He planned the days of your life in advance, choosing the exact time of your birth and death. The Bible says, "You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your Book!"

God also planned where you'd be born and where you'd live for his purpose. Your race and nationality are no accident. God left no detail to chance. He planned it all for his purpose. The Bible says, "From one man he made every nation, ... and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live." Nothing in your life is arbitrary. It's all for a purpose.

Most amazing, God decided how you would be born. Regardless of the circumstances of your birth or who your parents are, God had a plan in creating you. It doesn't matter whether your parents were good, bad, or indifferent. God knew that those two individuals possessed exactly the right genetic makeup to create the custom "you" he had in mind. They had the DNA God wanted to make you.

While there are illegitimate parents, there are no illegitimate children. Many children are unplanned by their parents, but they are not unplanned by God. God's purpose took into account human error, and even sin.

God never does anything accidentally, and he never makes mistakes. He has a reason for everything he creates. Every plant and every animal was planned by God, and every person was designed with a purpose in mind. God's motive for creating you was his love. The Bible says, "Long before he laid down earth's foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love."

God was thinking of you even before he made the world. In fact, that's why he created it! God designed this planet's environment just so we could live in it. We are the focus of his love and the most valuable of all his creation. The Bible says, "God decided to give us life through the word of truth so we might be the most important of all the things he made." This is how much God loves and values you!

God is not haphazard; he planned it all with great precision. The more physicists, biologists, and other scientists learn about the universe, the better we understand how it is uniquely suited for our existence, custom-made with the exact specifications that make human life possible.

Dr. Michael Denton, senior research fellow in human molecular genetics at the University of Otago in New Zealand, has concluded, "All the evidence available in the biological sciences supports the core proposition ... that the cosmos is a specially designed whole with life and mankind as its fundamental goal and purpose, a whole in which all facets of reality have their meaning and explanation in this central fact." The Bible said the same thing thousands of years earlier: "God formed the earth.... He did not create it to be empty but formed it to be inhabited."

Why did God do all this? Why did he bother to go to all the trouble of creating a universe for us? Because he is a God of love. This kind of love is difficult to fathom, but it's fundamentally reliable. You were created as a special object of God's love! God made you so he could love you. This is a truth to build your life on.

The Bible tells us, "God is love." It doesn't say God has love. He is love! Love is the essence of God's character. There is perfect love in the fellowship of the Trinity, so God didn't need to create you. He wasn't lonely. But he wanted to make you in order to express his love. God says, "I have carried you since you were born; I have taken care of you from your birth. Even when you are old, I will be the same. Even when your hair has turned gray, I will take care of you. I made you and will take care of you."

If there was no God, we would all be "accidents," the result of astronomical random chance in the universe. You could stop reading this book, because life would have no purpose or meaning or significance. There would be no right or wrong, and no hope beyond your brief years here on earth.

But there is a God who made you for a reason, and your life has profound meaning! We discover that meaning and purpose only when we make God the reference point of our lives. The Message paraphrase of Romans 12:3 says, "The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us."

This poem by Russell Kelfer sums it up:

    You are who you are for a reason.     You're part of an intricate plan.     You're a precious and perfect unique design,     Called God's special woman or man.

    You look like you look for a reason.     Our God made no mistake.     He knit you together within the womb,     You're just what he wanted to make.

    The parents you had were the ones he chose,     And no matter how you may feel,     They were custom-designed with God's plan in mind,     And they bear the Master's seal.

    No, that trauma you faced was not easy.     And God wept that it hurt you so;     But it was allowed to shape your heart     So that into his likeness you'd grow.

    You are who you are for a reason,     You've been formed by the Master's rod.     You are who you are, beloved,     Because there is a God!

DAY 2

Thinking about My Purpose

POINT TO PONDER: I am not an accident.

VERSE TO REMEMBER: "I am your Creator. You were in my care even before you were born." ISAIAH 44:2 (CEV)

QUESTION TO CONSIDER: I know that God uniquely created me. What areas of my personality, background, and physical appearance am I struggling to accept?

MESSAGE TO HEAR: www.purposedriven.com/day2

(Continues…)

Excerpted from "The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?" by Rick Warren. Copyright © 2013 by Rick Warren. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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