Rick Warren

What drives your life

by admin on January 11, 2010

in General, Uncategorized

I came to grips with RW’s book and the following are the notes for the speech (sermon, talk, introduction?) I gave on Sunday.

For those of you who are new here, I hope that we interest you enough that you will want to hear more.  Regardless consider this service as our gift to you.  Please enjoy it.

For the next few weeks we are working with Rick Warren’s book, “What on Earth am I here for?”.  We have enough copies on the table for everyone so please take one.  Today’s service is “What drives your life?”.

So, what drives your life?  Do you know?  We are each on our own individual journey with God in our life.  Each of us are at our own place, experiencing our own unique spiritual journey.  In our service today we hope that we can help you understand something about where you are in your journey.

I think of my journey as my pursuit of the Kingdom of God here in this life.  Have you ever experienced the Kingdom of God?  One of my favorite songs is the Story of Jack and Diane.  It was written by the prophet John Couger Mellencamp.  Perhaps you remember it too.

This is a little ditty, about Jack and Diane

Two American kids growing up in the heartland

Jackie gonna be a football star

Diane, well, Diane liked Jackie.

Yada yada yada,

Then in the song it says “Oh yeah, life goes on, long after the thrill of living is gone”.

Long after the thrill of living is gone.  If I were to break this verse from the book of Mellencamp apart, you would see that there are two parts.  The first part, is that there exists this thing called “the thrill of living”.  Do you remember the thrill of simply living?  That feeling that makes you know, that you are part of the great creation.  That you are part of the Kingdom of God.  The second part of this verse is that once that thrill is gone, life goes on.  Many of us seek to regain that which was lost.  Some, seek to gain that which they never had.

Our service today is about “what drives your life”.  I think, we all want to experience the thrill of living.  I think we all want to experience the Kingdom of God.  Perhaps you have not been able to experience this feeling.  Maybe, you are trying to find this feeling in the materialistic society that we all know.  The society that tells us that we will experience the thrill of living, the Kingdom of God by getting that next video game.  By buying that next car.  By getting that next title in our job.  Society also is bent on publicizing a sense of hyper-fear.  Instead of a thrill of living, we have a fear of a terrorist attack, an attack on our freedoms, an attack on our incomes, an attack on our way of life.  There are people in the world with other faiths, other values, other ideas.  These fears can dominate our lives and drive our lives as much as the materialistic world.  The thrill of living is not there when fear drives our life.  How can we participate in God’s Kingdom while we hate and fear “the other”.

Jesus tells us that we have to be like children again.  I think I know what he means.  I want to have the wonder that I felt as a child.  But for some of us, you may have never had the chance to experience the Kingdom of God in that way.  Maybe your family situation was not right.  Then instead of materialism, there is a sense of guilt, shame, or approval seeking that is driving your life.  “Oh yeah, life goes on, long after the thrill of living is gone”.  But Jesus provides hope for us.  No matter what we have done Jesus is there to forgive us, accept us, support us, and love us.  He sets the example of how we can live our life.

If you realize that you have been your own worst enemy in this life then you can use Jesus example and forgive yourself and put yourself on to the path toward the awesome Kingdom of God.  If you realize that you have been holding someone else accountable for how you have lived your life, then you can forgive them and move on.  Even if it seems that they are not worthy of that forgiveness you can use Jesus radical example and forgive.

Be welcomed here.  Sit back, relax and enjoy.

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The purpose of life

by admin on January 1, 2010

in General, Uncategorized

I am working my way through Rick Warren’s “What on Earth am I here for” since we are going to be covering this in January in my church.  I am doing the welcome and introduction for each of the services so part of my job is to set up the topic for the day.  I have, however, come up against an obstacle since I am struggling with the approach that RW takes to telling us the meaning of life.

I am not expecting the book to be perfect, but I do want it to make sense to me so that I can authentically talk about it with others.  I don’t mind the conclusions (they are very close to what Jesus teaches, love God, love your neighbor etc.), or even his treatise concerning some of the “wrong” drivers for our lives (e.g. guilt, fear).  What I have an issue with is the first sentence in his book.  He says, “It’s not about you”.

Let me explain.  My perspective of life is that there is only one thing that I can directly have influence on, and that thing is me.  For it to not be about me makes me feel helpless and unable to take an affirmative role in my life.  The purpose of my life necessarily has to be about the things that I do and think and say in my life.  If it is not, then why not just get it over with martyr ourselves to the glory of God and go to his afterlife now.

My perspective is that the people who are reading this book are probably trying to find meaning in their lives.  Things that they need to do, think or say (I need to do think or say) to live up to my purpose in life.  It is then all about me.  This puts the people who are reading this in the driver’s seat.  They then are forced to realize that they are important and have a role in life.  To start out emasculating the audience is not a good approach (for me).

As far as I can tell, Jesus teaches us that it is all about us.  Specifically, it is about our relationship with God and others.  That relationship is the real part of what it is about.  It is not about one or another but each individual relationship between them.

My problem with RW’s method is about the whole orientation of his book.  It puts people at odds with God.  It assumes that people do not want to do the will of God and it is a sacrifice to live according to God’s way.  I believe that we are only truly fulfilled in our life when we live by God’s way and we have joy in that state!  The mystery around it is in that it is not intuitive to some to realize that you find joy in your positive relationships with God and others.  But that is what Jesus teaches.  The kingdom of God is a wonderful place.

One last quote from the book.  RW paraphrases Matthew 16:25 (NIV – For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it) as “Self help is no help at all.  Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self”.  I am not a professional theologian (or a very good amateur) but this feels like fingernails on a chalkboard to me.  Jesus is talking about freely giving your life for him, his way and in doing so finding your life.  Rick Warren uses the word “sacrifice” instead, automatically setting up a negative connotation and arguing that you can not help yourself.  If I can be so bold I will paraphrase as “Doing things that are self centered leads to dissatisfaction, but doing things the way I am teaching you will bring you satisfaction”.

God bless, and may you find satisfaction in the New Year.


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