Thursday, November 26, 2009

Rick Warren's Thoughts on Gratitude and Purpose

An email from my Zoroastrian pen pal, a lawyer in India:

Dearest All, Regardless of how religious you are, this is very true.

This is a great interview with Rick Warren. He wrote The Purpose Driven Life, A book I recommend for all to read.

[I, Barb, loved this book, too, more when I taught it than when I first read it. A close reading as though to relay the concepts to others shows the depth, brilliance and organization of Warren's teaching mind. He makes Christian, purpose-driven living seem within our grasp --which it is.]
You will enjoy the new insights that Rick Warren has, with his wife now having cancer and him having 'wealth' from the book sales. This is an absolutely incredible short interview with Rick Warren, 'Purpose Driven Life ' author and pastor of Saddleback Church in California.

In the interview by Paul Bradshaw with Rick Warren, Rick said:
People ask me, What is the purpose of life?

And I respond: In a nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We were not made to last forever, and God wants us to be with Him in Heaven. One day my heart is going to stop, and that will be the end of my body-- but not the end of me. I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am going to spend trillions of years in eternity. This is the warm-up act - the dress rehearsal. God wants us to practice on earth what we will do forever in eternity.

We were made by God and for God, and until you figure that out, life isn't going to make sense.

Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you're just coming out of one, or you're getting ready to go into another one. The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfort; God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy. We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that's not the goal of life. The goal is to grow in character, in Christ likeness.

This past year has been the greatest year of my life but also the toughest, with my wife, Kay, getting cancer. I used to think that life was hills and valleys - you go through a dark time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth. I don't believe that anymore. Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it's kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something bad in your life. No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad that needs to be worked on. And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for.
You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems:
If you focus on your problems, you're going into self-centeredness, which is "my problem, my issues, my pain." But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus off yourself and onto God and others.

We discovered quickly that in spite of the prayers of hundreds of thousands of people, God was not going to heal Kay or make it easy for her- It has been very difficult for her, and yet God has strengthened her character, given her a ministry of helping other people, given her a testimony, drawn her closer to Him and to people.

You have to learn to deal with both the good and the bad of life. Actually, sometimes learning to deal with the good is harder. For instance, this past year, all of a sudden, when the book sold 15 million copies, it made me instantly very wealthy. It also brought a lot of notoriety that I had never had to deal with before. I don't think God gives you money or notoriety for your own ego or for you to live a life of ease.

So I began to ask God what He wanted me to do with this money, notoriety and influence. He gave me two different passages that helped me decide what to do,
II Corinthians 9 and Psalm 72.

First, in spite of all the money coming in, we would not change our lifestyle one bit.. We made no major purchases.

Second, about midway through last year, I stopped taking a salary from the church.

Third, we set up foundations to fund an initiative we call The Peace Plan to plant churches, equip leaders, assist the poor, care for the sick, and educate the next generation.

Fourth, I added up all that the church had paid me in the 24 years since I started the church, and I gave it all back. It was liberating to be able to serve God for free.

We need to ask ourselves: Am I going to live for possessions? Popularity?
Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness? Materialism? Or am I going to be driven by God's purposes (for my life)?

When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say, God, if I don't get anything else done today, I want to know You more and love You better. God didn't put me on earth just to fulfill a to-do list. He's more interested in what I am than what I do.

That's why we're called human beings, not human doings.

In happy moments, PRAISE GOD.
Difficult moments, SEEK GOD.
Quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD.
Painful moments, TRUST GOD.
Every moment, THANK GOD.

"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible


Jeanette said...

I'm not a big fan of Rick Warren. I think he is a member of the "Feel Good Church".

He took a stand against Prop 8 in California but when he got criticized he backed down.

I'd much rather hear John Hagee preach because he pulls no punches and teaches a lot.

I set my DVR to record his sermons on Sundays and he goes into some very deep subjects and studies them for several weeks at a time.

He's also a big supporter of Israel, not because he thinks we need to rid Israel of all but Jews, but because he knows God will bless those who bless Israel.

I think the fact we are not supporting Israel as we used to and the fact we are turning against God as a nation (see the atheists who visit here trying to "convert" us and the atheistic sites on the web) is the reason our nation is losing its blessing and is steadily declining.

Barb said...

Rick wrote a fine book. I heard about his backing away from the prop 8 support AFTER the election--but I don't feel I have the whole story of his rationale. Christians do not want to give the impression that they are lacking compassion for homosexuals.

I thought his interview with Obama was fine.

I think his words in this post are also right on.

Yes, Hagee is good, too. I don't hear either of them in church services. Saw Hagee a bit the other night.

Jeanette said...

Barb, I have to agree with you with the part summarized at the bottom of your post, but I still do not ascribe to Rick Warren's teachings. Time will show me if I'm right or wrong.