I hate bandwagons. Especially when it comes to theological matters. I first heard about Rick Warren’s book when I was a young teenager. I was skeptical then out of adolescent ignorance. When I heard about a new edition coming out, I had better reasons for my apprehension. But I went ahead and grabbed a copy of the book. I am very thankful I did.
Warren is able to do impressively what most authors struggle to even attempt: blending deep theological truths with real life human struggles and desires. On top of that, he has a laser pointed focus on who makes up his target audience. This makes for a book, as high as my expectations were, worthy of the hype.
Warren does not sugar coat his message – which surprised me knowing that he has sold over 30 million copies of this work. Right from the beginning he cements a person’s significance in God. From that foundation Warren constructs five key principles of identity, each with seven sub-points.
- God’s Pleasure
- God’s Family
- To be like Christ
- To Serve
- To be on Mission
In the first few pages, Warren recommends that the reader goes through no more than one chapter a day. After both taking and ignoring his advice, I would recommend the former. Taking it chapter-by-chapter gives you time to understand the complexities of each sub-topic and, by extension, develop a fuller appreciation of each overarching purpose.
This is one book I will come back to again and again; especially the chapters on community. Warren’s grasp of Christian community is as rich as any heavy theological work I’ve read, and much simpler to read.
Here are some quotes:
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. (p.21)
You become effective by being selective. (35)
The closer you live to God, the smaller everything else appears. (40)
God doesn’t owe you an explanation or reason for everything he ask you to do. Understanding can wait, obedience can’t. (74)
The greatness of a man’s power is in the measure of his surrender. – William Booth (84)
Love cannot be learned in isolation. (126)
You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving. (130)
You will never be asked to forgive someone else more than God has already forgiven you. (144)
*Tomorrow I will be reviewing one of my favorite books of 2012