In a nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. ~Rick Warren

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.

= Happy moments, PRAISE GOD.
Difficult moments, SEEK GOD.
Quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD.
Painful moments, TRUST GOD.
Every moment, THANK GOD..

Sculpture In Process~Karen Aldridge

Sculpture In Process

I wonder how many people give up on Christianity because they feel like they aren't very good at it. I'll bet there are more of them than there are of us. You know "us" right? We are the ones who don't give up on it even though we know we aren't very good at it. No matter how hard we try, nothing feels good enough.

We work every day to sculpt ourselves into the image of Jesus, but we never quite get it right. Some days, it's something simple like maybe our mouth is not forming appropriately. Other days, it might be more severe - so severe that maybe we have to resculpt our entire head. Then there are those days, weeks, months that we have to destroy our hardened sculpture and start with a whole new lump of clay.

This is called sanctification. Once you become a Christian, you have experienced salvation. The next step is sanctification - working hard to mold yourself into the holy image of Christ.

This is where it gets tricky. On this side of Heaven, our sculpture can NEVER be complete.

Each day, I can measure my sanctification effort by visualizing my sculpture. Some days it looks pretty darn good. Other days it can be a huge lump of clay that overwhelms me with fear and exhaustion just looking at it.

So here's my problem. I like to complete things, and since I can't finish my sculpture, I always feel like I could be doing better.

God has given me two ministries to glorify Him through. I help collect food for hungry children in Kentucky and talk to people about a maternity home called Lydia's House through Backpack Mission Ministries. God worked through me this summer to collect enough food and donations to feed 125 kids for a month. He also worked through me to collect some financial donations and allowed me to make some incredible contacts for Lydia's House. I rejoiced and praised Him for what He did. Then I looked inside myself and became despondent. Should I have worked harder for God? Maybe He wanted me to collect more money, more food. Why do I do this to myself? Do you do this or am I alone?

The other is my own personal writing ministry. For my Christian writing friends - you do consider your writing a ministry don't you? If you don't you must change how you think. Each day before you tap your first word into your computer, ask God to pour His message through you. Will it be perfect? No. Will pieces of your flesh seep in? Yes. Your sculpture is still in process, remember. But, His message will come through if you ask Him for it.

I wonder if some of those Christians who many of us view to be great soldiers for God ever felt like their efforts just weren't good enough. I recently read James Lindquist's blog post, "The Little Brown Cardboard Box." It was about our worth -- about how when we die all of our stuff will be burned away, while all that is pure in us will be refined. It reminded me of John Wesley.

John Wesley was a Christian theologian who is credited with the founding of the Methodist movement. He also published Bibles and hymns. He founded orphanages and funded missions. He made a lot of money in his lifetime. When he died he owned a preaching gown, a few books, some silver spoons, and six pound notes (a total worth of $30). Everything he made, he gave to God. Do you think he ever said, "I'm just not doing enough." I'll bet he did because, like us, he was human and imperfect.

I think as long as you are sculpting every single day, you are pleasing God. Your sculpture doesn't have to be perfect or complete, -- in fact it never will be until the day of judgement when your salvation is complete -- but it does have to be in process.

What does your sculpture look like today?


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