Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The Faith of Rick Warren

I think that Rick Warren is just an amazing man. The insight he has on our Heavenly Father is something I long for. I know it is easily found through life's rule book, The Bible, though I think true learning is a gift only given to some so that those of us (me!) that don't get it on our own can have complete understand of what our most awesome Heavenly Father has in store for us. I read this in an email this week and I have to say I was very much impressed with Rick Warren's response to his life's circumstances. I for one think he is an amazing man and from this day forth I will remember to PRAISE God for the good and the bad because without the bad I cannot be a witness to those that are going through the same problems I had/have/will have. The difference is there are those who go through these problems WITHOUT God in their lives and it is our duty as Christian to be the example that God expects us to be so that we may get a greater treasure than ANY treasure you could receive here on earth!!

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.

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