What inspired you to write this book?
Philippians is one of my favorite books in the New Testament. I love the focus of the book. Having preached through it twice in the last 25 years, I’m always learning new truths that help me examine my own life. Life is not a dress rehearsal and there are no do-overs. We get one shot at making a difference and Paul was purposeful in every area of his life.
You talk in this book about the purposelessness that many Christians feel. Could you give a summary definition of God’s purpose for Christians?
Paul summarizes the ultimate purpose when he writes “for me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” For me that means living for anything other than Christ makes dying a loss. Having been in ministry for over forty years I’ve watched far too many people live a life with lack of direction, focus, and purpose. They seem aimless and live lives characterized by regret or “what could have been.” So many never figure out who they are in Christ and what God has called them to do.
The Power of Purpose works through the New Testament book of Philippians. Where do you see the message of purpose in this letter from Paul?
I think the summary statement is “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” So, ask anyone to fill in the blank in that verse. For me to live is _____and to die is ______.
Why do you think so many people today are struggling with questions of Why am I here? and What am I made for? How do you think the gospel answers those questions?
I think it’s because people live for the moment and the immediate and not with a long view. Also I don’t think churches have made our purpose clear. Like Israel, the church is suppose to be a blessing to this world. We’ve gotten lost in the “what’s in it for me” rather than how can I live for God’s glory. Purpose gives you the passion for the right things.
You’ve previously written The Power of Desperation, The Power of Persistence, and The Power of Surrender. How is this book similar to these, and what sets it apart?
Desperation focused on people at the end of their rope that needed a God-sized breakthrough. Persistence was written to remind people that prayer is a non-negotiable element to the victorious life. Surrender was written to call us back to first love for Jesus and to call the church to revival. My hope for the Power of Purpose is that it will challenge people to get in their lane, run their race, and keep their eye on why they were saved in the first place. As I’ve worked on these books, there is a sense in which they can all stand alone or they can be read in order. As I thought about the Power of Purpose, I wanted to write a book to help believers understand they are born for more than just merely existing. God has a purpose, not just for ministers, but for every believer.
How do you hope readers are changed as a result of reading The Power of Purpose?
On one level, I hope the younger generation will read it and give themselves to God’s plan and purpose for their lives. On another level, no matter who you are or where you are in your spiritual journey, it’s never too late to get on track with God’s purpose. The bottom line is that I want folks to finish this book and be able to say, “I now know why I’m here. I know God’s purpose for daily living, in prayer, and in times of adversity. I know how to live a life of joy because I live a purposeful life.”
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