Purpose Driven Life Book Summary

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Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren
What on earth am I here for?

My Thoughts

Purpose Driven Life needs no introduction. I wish I had read it years ago and would recommend it to everyone.

Rick Warren has made several resources available at Purpose Driven Life Website, including a free video series of each day at this link.

My Favorite Quotes

  • You have enough time to do everything in God’s will for your life.
  • If you do not have enough time to accomplish everything then maybe you are doing too much or watching too much television.
  • Obedience unlocks understanding.
  • We are concerned with how fast we grow, God is concerned with how strong we grow.
  • Stress can come from extending ourselves outside of the spiritual sphere God has given us and worrying about other people’s areas of responsibility.
  • The rest of your life can be the best of your life regardless of your age.
  • Living with purpose is the only way to live.
  • Worry is the warning light that God is not the center of your life.
  • I don’t know what God knows, so I can’t see what God sees, so I should trust Him.

Key Questions

  • Who do you need to spend more time with?
  • What do you need to cut out of your schedule to make that possible?
  • What has God already told me in His word that I haven’t started doing yet?
  • Does my level of involvement in my local church demonstrate that I love and am committed to God’s family?

Day 1: What Will You Do With the Rest of Your Life?

Point to Ponder: It’s not about me.
Colossians 1:16b

I was created by God for God’s purpose.
I cannot know my purpose apart from my Creator.
Being successful is not necessarily the same thing as fulfilling your purpose.

Five things God wants you to do with the rest of your life:

  1. Center my life around Him. (Worship)
  2. Connect with other believers. (Fellowship)
  3. Cultivate spiritual maturity. (Discipleship)
  4. Make a contribution with my life. (Service)
  5. Communicate God’s love to others. (Mission)

In spite of all the advertising around me, how can I remind myself that life is really about living for God, not myself?

Day 2: What On Earth Am I Here For Part 1

I am not an accident.
Everything about me has been custom designed by God.

Day 3: The Path to Personal Peace

Motivations, what drives me.
Vanity? Position? Praise of others?
If you do not have enough time to accomplish everything then maybe you are doing too much or watching too much television.
You have enough time to do everything in God’s will for your life.
If you have the correct motives it will help you make good decisions and say NO to the right things.

Day 4: Made to Last Forever

You will spend infinitely more time on the other side of life than on this side.
This life is just a dress rehearsal for true life in eternity.
The deeds of this life are the destiny of the next.

Day 5: Seeing Life From God’s View

Three Biblical views of life

  1. Test
  2. Trust
  3. Temporary assignment

Day 6: Life is a Temporary Assignment

Life is not about pursuing happiness.
The things we see will be here now and gone tomorrow.
It is a fatal mistake to assume that God’s goal for your life is material prosperity or popular success.
Abundant life has nothing to do with material abundance.
Never focus on temporary crowns.
Within 2 seconds of being in heaven, you will regret having spent so much time and focus on temporary things of earth.

Day 7: The Reason for Everything

Bringing glory to God is the reason for everything.
We bring glory to God by fulfilling our purpose and doing what He created us to do.

Our 5 purposes:

  1. Worshipping God
  2. Loving other believers
  3. Become like Christ
  4. Serving others
  5. Telling others about Jesus Christ

You have been given gifts to help and benefit others, just as others have been given gifts to benefit you.

Day 8: Planned for God’s Pleasure

Anything you do that brings pleasure to God is an act of worship.
Worship is a lifestyle.

Day 9: What Makes God Smile

5 acts of worship that make God smile (uses the example of Noah):

  1. Love God supremely
  2. Trust God completely
  3. Obey God wholeheartedly
  4. Praise and thank God continually
  5. When we use our abilities

Obedience unlocks understanding.
Understanding can wait, obedience cannot.
When we give God enjoyment, our own hearts are filled with joy.

Every human activity (except sin) can be done for God’s pleasure.

Day 10: The Heart of Worship

Offering ourselves completely to God.
95% is not enough.
Fear, pride and confusion are the three things that keep us from submitting ourselves to God.

Day 11: Becoming God’s Best Friend

  1. Through constant conversation.
  2. Through continual meditation.

Day 12: Developing Your Friendship With God

  1. I must choose to be honest with God.
    (God’s friendship with Abraham, Job, and Moses.)
  2. Obey God
  3. Value what God values
  4. Desire friendship with God above all else.

You are as close to God as you chose to be.

Day 13: Worship that Pleases God

  1. God is pleased when our worship is accurate
  2. When our worship is authentic
  3. When our worship is thoughtful
  4. When our worship is practical

We can worship God imperfectly but not insincerely.
Some slow songs can lead us away from worshipping God because they focus our attention on ourselves and our feelings rather than God.
Types of praise in the Bible:

  • Singing
  • Dancing
  • Kneeling
  • Raising hands
  • Confessing
  • Shouting
  • Standing in honor
  • Testifying
  • Playing musical instruments
  • Making a joyful noise

God made us all different and we may all worship in different ways as long as they are true and authentic.

Being outdoors
Creating art
Serving others
Having solitude
Enjoying fellowship

Book Reference: Sacred Pathways by Gary Thomas

You do not bring glory to God by trying to be someone He never intended you to be.

Day 14: When God Seems Distant

God is real, no matter how I feel.
Hebrews 13:15
How can I stay focused on God’s presence, especially when he feels distant?

Purpose 2: You Were Formed for God’s Family

Day 15: Formed for God’s Family

God treasures family and relationships
Since I am God’s child, everything He has belongs to me.

Day 16: What Matters Most

Love is the foundation of every command God has given us.
The best use of life is love.
Life is about relationships.
All of the 10 commandments are about relationships.
Learning to love others is the second purpose in your life after learning to love God.
Life – love = 0
Love is eternal.
When dying, people never ask for objects to see one last time, they ask for people.
God measures spiritual maturity by the quality of your relationships and how you treat others.
The best expression of love is time.
Giving your time is a sacrifice.
The best expression of love is to sacrifice.
The best time to love is now.
Who do you need to spend more time with?
What do you need to cut out of your schedule to make that possible?

Day 17: A Place to Belong

I am called to belong, not just believe.
Romans 12:5
Does my level of involvement in my local church demonstrate that I love and am committed to God’s family?

Day 18: Experiencing Life Together


Day 19: Cultivating Community

James 3:18
Acts 2:42
Thoughtless words leave lasting wounds.
Speak to each other in the church as loving family members.
Admit your weaknesses.
Point the spotlight on others.
Humility is thinking of yourself less and thinking more of others.
Humility is being considerate of the feelings of others.
Frequent regular contact with your group.

Day 20: Restoring Broken Fellowship

II Corinthians 5:18

  1. Talk to God about it
  2. Always take the initiative
  3. Sympathize with their feelings
  4. Confess your part of the conflict
  5. Attack the problem not the person
  6. Cooperate as much as possible
  7. Emphasize reconciliation not resolution

Day 21: Protecting Your church

Ephesians 4:3
Colossians 3:14
How to achieve unity.

  1. Focus on what we have in common, not our differences.
  2. Be realistic in your expectations
  3. Chose to encourage rather than criticize
  4. Refuse to listen to gossip
  5. Practice God’s method for conflict resolution
  6. Support your pastor and leaders

Purpose 3: You Were Created to Become Like Christ

Day 22: Created to Become Like Christ

Romans 8:29
Colossians 1:15

Get rid of the old
Change how you think
Develop godly habits
Your character is the sum of your habits

God is far more interested in what you are than what you do (for a career).

Many Christians give up on living to fulfill God’s purpose in favor of a life of comfort and ease.

Day 23: How We Grow

Ephesians 4
God wants you to grow up
The first step of spiritual growth is changing how you think.
The way you think determines the way you feel.
The way you feel influences the way you act.

Two parts to thinking like Christ:

  1. Stop thinking immature thoughts which are self-centered and self-seeking. Selfish thinking is the source of sinful behavior.
  2. Start thinking maturely which focuses on others, not yourself.

Knowledge is not the only measure of maturity.

Day 24: Transformed by Truth

Acts 20:32

The Bible

  1. I must accept its authority
  2. I must assimilate its truth

What has God already told me in His word that I haven’t started doing yet?

Day 25: Transformed by Trouble

II Corinthians 4:17
God has a purpose behind every problem.
Life is a series of problems.
When in pain we don’t have time for superficial prayers.
Romans 8:28-29
God causes
Your circumstances are temporary but your character is eternal.
What happens to you is not nearly as important as what happens in you.
Jesus went through:

Respond to problems the way Jesus would:

  1. Remember God’s plan is good.
  2. Rejoice and give thanks.
  3. Refuse to give up. Be patient and persistent.

Day 26: Growing Through Temptation

James 1:12

Day 27: Defeating Temptation

I Corinthians 10:13
There is always a way out.

  1. Refocus your attention on something else.
  2. Reveal your struggle to a godly friend or support group.
  3. Resist the devil.

Day 28: It Takes Time

We are concerned with how fast we grow, God is concerned with how strong we grow.
Real maturity is never the result of a single experience.
Why does it take so long to grow up?

  1. We are slow learners
  2. We have a lot to unlearn
  3. We are often afraid to humbly face the truth about ourselves
  4. Growth is often painful and scary
  5. Habits take time to develop

Advice on Christian Growth

  1. God is working in your life even when you don’t feel it.
  2. Keep a notebook or journal of lessons learned. Review it regularly.
  3. Be patient with God and with yourself.
  4. Don’t get discouraged.

80 years of preparation for Moses.
Delay is not a denial from God.

Purpose 4: You Were Shaped for Serving God

Day 29: Accepting Your Assignment

John 17:4
I am saved and called to serve others.
What I give is more important than what I get.
Jesus came to serve and give.
Spiritual maturity is for ministry.
We grow up in order to give out.
Ask “Whose needs can I meet?”
If you aren’t serving you are just existing.
Service is the pathway to real significance.

Day 30: Shaped for Serving God

Each of us has been uniquely shaped by God to fill a specific role He intended for us.

  1. God shaped me before my birth.
  2. God planned every day of my life to support His shaping process.

S=Spiritual Gifs

You will instinctively care about some things and not about others. This is a clue as to where you should be serving.

When doing what you love to do, nobody has to motivate you.
Passion drives perfection.
Meaning is far more important than money.
You can have a lot to live on but nothing to live for.

Characteristics of doing what God intended you to do:

  1. Motivation
  2. Effectiveness

Day 31: Understanding Your Shape

Psalm 139:13
The average person possesses 500-700 abilities.
My brain can store 100 trillion facts.
My mind can handle 15,000 decisions a second.
The nose can smell 10k different odors.
Touch can sense an item 1/25,000 in thick.
Many abilities mentioned in the Bible.
What I am able to do, God wants me to do.
Examine what you are good at and what you are not good at.

Look at past experiences to examine:

  1. Family
  2. Education
  3. Vocational
  4. Spiritual
  5. Ministry
  6. Painful (this one God uses most)

Day 32: Using What God Gave You

Romans 12
God wants you to make the most of what He gave you. Don’t covet or focus on talents and abilities that you do not have.
Discover your shape
Accept it
Develop your shape
Forgotten experiences are worthless, keep a spiritual journal.
Take an entire weekend for a life review retreat.
Potter and clay.

Stress can come from extending ourselves outside of the spiritual sphere God has given us and worrying about other people’s areas of responsibility. Focus on finishing your race.

Never compare yourself or your ministry with others.

Utilize your abilities and talents or you will lose them. The same way muscles atrophy.

Day 33: How Real Servants Act

We serve God by serving others.
God measures your greatness by measuring your service.

Day 34: Thinking Like a Servant

Numbers 14:24
Philippians 2:5
Service starts in the heart.
Attitude counts more than achievement.
Real servants serve God with a mindset of 5 attitudes;

  1. Think more about others than themselves.
  2. Servants think like stewards, not owners. (Joseph) You must settle the issue of money in your life to become a real servant. No man can serve two masters. If money is your master you become a slave. Email Rick about how to start a kingdom builders group.
  3. Servants think about their work, not what others are doing.
  4. Servants base their identity in Christ.
  5. Servants think of ministry as an opportunity, not an obligation.

Day 35: God’s Power in My Weakness

II Corinthians 13:4
II Corinthians 12:9a
God often acts in ways opposite of what we expect.
God is not impressed with your strengths.
A weakness is a limitation that you inherited that you have no power to change.
Talent or intellectual
God is never limited by our limitations.

  1. Admit your weaknesses.
  2. Be content with your weaknesses.
  3. Honestly share your weaknesses.
  4. Glory in your weaknesses.

Purpose 5: You Were Made for a Mission

Day 36: Made for a Mission

Your ministry is your service to believers.
Your mission is your service to unbelievers.

  1. My Mission is a continuation of Jesus’ mission.
  2. My mission is a wonderful privilege.
  3. Telling others how they can have eternal life is the greatest thing you can do for them.
  4. My mission has eternal significance.
  5. My mission gives my life meaning.
  6. God’s timetable for history’s conclusion is connected to the completion of our mission.

Only the kingdom of God will last.
The disciples wanted to talk about prophecy and Jesus changed the focus to evangelism.
Fulfilling my mission requires abandoning my own agenda and accepting God’s agenda.

Day 37: Sharing Your Life Message

I John 5:10a
I Thessalonians 1:8

  1. My testimony
  2. My life lessons
  3. My godly passions
  4. The good news of the Gospel

Make a list of your life lessons by asking these questions:

  1. What has God taught me from failure?
  2. What has God taught me from a lack of money?
  3. What has God taught me from pain, sorrow or depression?
  4. What has God taught me through waiting?
  5. What has God taught me through illness?
  6. What has God taught me from disappointment?
  7. What have I learned from my family, my church, my relationships, and my critics?

Not everyone will be passionate about your passion.

Day 38: Becoming a World-Class Christian

World-class or worldly.
Shifts in mindset we must make to be a world-class Christian.

  1. Shift from self-centered thinking to others-centered thinking.
  2. Shift from local thinking to global thinking.
  3. Shift from here and now thinking to eternal thinking.
  4. Shift from thinking of excuses to thinking of creative ways to fulfill your commission.

Pray for the nations:

  1. Opportunity to witness
  2. Courage to speak up
  3. Those who will believe
  4. The rapid spread of the message
  5. More workers

Rick says to email him for suggestions on how to pray intelligently for the world.

Day 39: Balancing Your Life

Ephesians 5:15
II Peter 3:17
My life is a pentathlon balancing all 5 purposes.

Keep your life balanced by

  1. Joining a small group for accountability.
  2. Regularly evaluating my spiritual health.
  3. Recording my progress in a personal journal.
  4. Passing on what I learn to others.

Stay on track by developing these habits [somewhat redundant, but more detail on the first list]:

  1. Talk it through with a spiritual partner or small group.
  2. Give yourself a regular spiritual checkup. Email Rick for a copy of the PDL spiritual health assessment.
  3. Write down your progress in a journal. Record of life lessons. We remember what we record.
  4. Pass on what you have learned to others.

The rest of your life can be the best of your life regardless of your age.

Day 40: Living on Purpose

Proverbs 19:21
Acts 13:36
Living with purpose is the only way to live.

Most people struggle with 3 areas:

  1. Identity – who am I?
  2. Importance- do I matter?
  3. Impact – what is my place in life?

The answers are found in God’s 5 purposes for my life.
Knowing is not enough, you must do them!
Develop a life purpose statement.

Life’s 5 greatest questions to consider when preparing your statement:

  1. What will be the center of my life? The question of worship. When God is at the center of your life, you worship: when He is not, you worry. Worry is the warning light that God is not the center of your life.
  2. What will be the character of my life? The question of discipleship. List the character qualities you want to develop.
  3. What will be the contribution of my life? The question of service.
  4. What will be the communication of my life? The question of my mission to unbelievers. God may give you a specific group of people to target and minister to.
  5. What will be the community of my life? The question of fellowship.

Include scriptures that are meaningful to you. It may take several months.
Email Rick for some examples.
Have a short slogan to remind you in addition to your longer purpose statement.

All other decisions should support God’s purposes for you.
We are the only ones who can fulfill God’s purpose in this generation.

Day 41: The Envy Trap

You cannot fulfill God’s purpose for your life if you envy the lives of others.
Envy is an insult to God.
Envy is a form of spiritual rebellion based on ignorance and arrogance.

Four harmful effects of allowing envy in my life:

  1. Envy denies my uniqueness.
  2. Envy divides my attention.
  3. Envy misuses my time and energy. (Workaholics) Ecclesiastes. Envy is the enemy of contentment.
  4. Envy leads me to other sins. Envy causes disorder and confusion. James 3:16.

Steps to eradicate envy in my life:

  1. Stop comparing myself to others.
  2. Celebrate God’s goodness to others.
  3. Be grateful for who I am and what I have.
  4. Trust God when life feels unfair.

When life feels unfair, remind yourself of these things:

  1. Everything I have is an undeserved gift from God.
  2. I don’t know what God knows, so I can’t see what God sees, so I should trust Him.
  3. Life on earth is unfair because of sin.
  4. God sent Jesus to save us from judgment day when He will balance the books and right all wrongs.
  5. It wasn’t fair for Jesus to die in my place for my sins but He did anyway.

Envy rots the bones.

Day 42: The People-Pleaser Trap

Your desire to be accepted and approved impacts your choices more than you realize.
The disease to please can consume you.
People-pleasing is the flip side of envy.
The opposite side of pleasing people is the fear of disapproval or rejection.
Peer pressure.
Proverbs 29:25

The 5 harmful effects of people-pleasing:

  1. People-pleasing will cause me to miss God’s will for my life.
  2. People-pleasing will prevent my faith from growing.
  3. People-pleasing leads me to other sins.
  4. People-pleasing causes hypocrisy.
  5. People-pleasing silences my life message.

The expectations of others will box you in.
Whoever’s opinion and approval matter most to you is your god.
How do I break free of the people-pleasing prison? A shift in your mindset and thoughts, a transformation. The truth will set us free.

6 truths to remember when tempted to please others:

  1. Remember that even God cannot please everybody.
  2. Remember that I do not need anyone’s approval to be happy. I am as happy as I chose to be.
  3. Remember that what seems so important now is only temporary.
  4. Remember that I only have to please one person, God.
  5. Remember that I will give an account of all my actions to God.
  6. Remember that God has shaped me to be me and not somebody else.

If someone does not approve of you, the problem is them and not you. They may be unpleasable.

Rick asks readers to email him to let him know you read the book and sign up at the Purpose Driven Life Website.

My Action Steps After Reading

  • Created a notebook of lessons learned.
  • This led to my post of 2018 Lessons Learned.
  • Developed a life purpose statement, this was in combination with Paul Chappell’s Stewarding Life book and journal.
  • Emailed Rick Warren
  • Living with more purpose and focus on God.
  • Reading through the book a second time as a marriage devotional.

Related Book Summaries

Hope you enjoyed this and got value from my notes.
This is the 9th book read in my 2017 reading list.
Here is a list of my book summaries.

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