The Life You've Always Wanted
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The Life You've Always Wanted

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  4,497 ratings  ·  177 reviews
This ECPA best-seller focuses on three primary questions: what does true spiritual life really look like?; what hinders me from living such a life?; and what practices can help me pursue such a life?
Paperback, 240 pages
Published October 1st 1998 by Zondervan Publishing Company (first published 1997)
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I loved John Ortberg's book "If You Want to Walk on Water, You've Got to Get Out of the Boat", so I am really looking forward to this text on spiritual disciplines. I enjoy the insights he has as well as the way he relates a story, and so look forward to learning from this book.

Adding on to my previous thoughts now that I have finished reading this book - I do love John Ortberg. It took me longer than I would have liked to get through this book, but all in all it was a really good, thought-provo...more
I think I could read this book every 6 months and learn something new from it. It is completely filled with all kinds of GREAT information on how to improve the joy-factor in your life. I have successfully weeded out several things from my calendar that were stealing the joy from the things that matter the most to me. I have also introduced several things into my daily habits that have improved the relationships that matter the most to me. I just finished this a couple weeks ago and I am already...more
Best dicipleship book out there!
I had read this book before but enjoyed it even better the second time around. Ortberg is so good at outlining specific steps for a better Christian walk. His methods are simple yet Biblical, and his examples are pleasing and recognizable.
Gregory Smith
Jul 27, 2014 Gregory Smith rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Gregory by: Daryl Brautigam
I thought it was great insight into the practice of spiritual disciplines. If your goal is to be more like Christ, then these disciplines will open your eyes to see how Christ might live your life. They aren't really pious activities and they are more than mundane training exercises. John, imo, is a clear writer. Each chapter is bite-size, making the book ideal for either a set-weekly study with friends, or digging back in when you are ready to move to the next discipline. I like John Ortberg, h...more
Powerful book. I learned a lot from reading this.
I had stayed away from this book for a long time because I had misjudged the title and assumed that this was a prosperity gospel book! Sorry, Ortberg, for getting you confused with Osteen, because I was totally wrong -- this is a book about spiritual disciplines written in a way that is very accessible, down-to-earth and practical. A lot of the principles overlap with those presented in Richard Foster's Celebration of Discipline but in a style that may be less intimidating, with everyday example...more
Tom Bazan
Some chapters were better than others. I agree with Ortberg's description of this book (in the introduction) as Dallas for Dummies, as it is a different touch of spiritual disciplines. Ortberg's take on some of the disciplines makes them a bit more accessible--a bit more understandable--than other, more scholarly authors do. But his take is no less accurate, or helpful, than others'.

I especially liked his take on trying versus training (see ch. 3); slowing down (see ch. 76)--I keep telling mysel...more
Tim Chavel
What a wonderful book, John Orteberg has written. He has many godly principles included in this book.As he states in the preface, "How go I grow? What does a spiritual mature person even look like? Why does it seem so hard, and go so slowly? Will I ever really be any different?" These are the questions that are answered in this book. I trust you will be challenged by the quotes blow:

If we do not become changed from the inside-out – if we don’t morph – we will be tempted to find external methods...more

"IF Jesus held unhindered sway when the alarm clock goes off, what kind of thoughts would pass through the mind? Would our heads be filled with anxieties about today and regrets about yesterday? Or would our first thoughts be the assurance as to who holds the day and who holds us?"

"Moreover, while knowledge is vital and should be prized, it also poses some dangers. It often demolishes humility."

"When Jesus spoke he was free from the need to create an impression. He was free to speak the tr...more
Kessia Reyne
John Ortberg wrote The Life You’ve Always Wanted with a mind toward, as the subtitle tells, “ordinary people.” I suppose this means that he was not writing for the holy—or, perhaps more accurately, that he wrote for those that know they’re not holy. If this is you, The Life You’ve Always Wanted could the book you’ve always looked for. But a word of caution is in order.
Ortberg writes with a friendly voice, casual and familiar. And when he’s not reflecting on the words of some spiritual giant or...more
Eric Moote
Jul 24, 2013 Eric Moote rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mainstream American Christians looking to go a little deeper in your relationship with God
Recommended to Eric by: Dan Snyder
Shelves: christian
Overall: a typical Christian motivational book with good insights peppered with funny stories and wishy washy theology.

In the end, Ortberg delivers good messages with funny and applicable stories that apply directly to the ideas he is communicating. It is well written, clear in its intention and challenging in a lot of ways. The book, I imagine, is intended for people who are fairly new in their walk with God, who are looking for keys to growth and a little more depth.

Disclaimer: I am not the a...more
Michael Culbertson
Written in Ortberg's conversational style, this is a very approachable introduction to the practice of spiritual discipline. Ortberg takes the first few chapters to motivate and introduce the practice of discipline in the spiritual life. He starts with the universal feeling that we are not as good as we ought (or want) to be, but extends the magnificent hope that through God's mercy, we can become ("morph") something better. This transformation occurs through the work of the Holy Spirit, but Ort...more
My first John Ortberg book, and it's all about spiritual disciplines. Loved the first five chapters.

John uses examples and stories that are modern and really do make his points. I got many new insights, the most important one being the goal of spiritual disciplines is living LIFE not mastering the discipline itself.

here's a paragraph i love:

As we have seen, the true indicator of spiritual well-being is growth in the ability to love God and people. If we can do this without the practice of any...more
Nov 11, 2008 Fidi rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Christians and Non-Christians looking for a different way to approach disciplines
Recommended to Fidi by: A Allan Martin PhD
The cover of this book is enticing. Exactly how does John Ortberg know which life I want? At first glance, one might think this book is about finances or health. Well, not really, or at all. This book is about spiritual disciplines. Yeah, I said disciplines. Do people still do those? To be honest I never really knew much about spiritual disciplines growing up, and didn't pay attention until recently. I knew I was supposed to be reading my Bible, and supposed to be praying, and supposed to be do...more
Melanie Griffin
Surprisingly good for this type of book. I'm not usually a fan of the "pop spirituality" genre, but this one nailed some of characteristics I'd like to change in myself and gave me practical tips. Things like "approval addiction" - caring too much what others think. Plus, it says that celebration is a spiritual discipline, and I'm all about that!

I wouldn't buy it, but it's worth checking out from the library. The new version has a study guide in the back.
Grace Chen
Read this book for a class at church.

After getting past the initial cheesiness (Ortberg references the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, and repeats phrases like "It's morphin' time!"), I found this book to be a refreshing and insightful take on the practice of spiritual disciplines.

Ortberg incorporates many personal experiences and stories to illustrate his points, and it was pretty humorous to see myself in those examples. One of the highlights for me is how he explains the purpose of spiritual d...more
Very accessible book on practicing spiritual disciplines. In reference to writer, Dallas Willard and his classics on spiritual disciplines, Ortberg refers to his book as "Dallas light". Even though it may be lighter than Willard, there were some profound ideas and some great illustrations.
Fiinished, today. Not sure about this book. At the start, it seemed like I might be part of Ortberg's target audience. Early on, he uses Popeye (yes, the "sailor man") in an illustration. One of Popeye's well-worn lines was, "I yam what I yam." Ortberg described this as sad — the sad cry of the human race. It caught my interest.

Well, I would have to say tthat I still "am what I am." Perhaps I need to re-read this book, but I don't think the author accomplished what he intended — at least with m...more

Very thought-provoking and inspiring book about spiritual growth.

"Joy is, as Karl Barth put it, a 'defiant nevertheless' set at a full stop against bitterness and resentment."

" 'We take every thought captive to obey Christ.' This means, in part, refusing to allow other people's approval or disapproval to dominate our lives."

"...the purpose of knowing for us to become equipped for good works."

"The goal is not for us to get through the Scriptures. The goal is to get the Scri...more
John Ortberg has a very down to earth manner of writing, and I think the book gave a very refreshing take on spiritual disciplines. I would recommend this book.
Oct 01, 2012 Timothy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Christians
Great read for the development of spiritual habits and general approach to living out life like a follower of Christ. John shared a lot of stories as he laid out not only good practices but (most importantly) the reasoning behind the practice. The practice is just a religion - the relationship it builds with God is the spiritual part which we all hunger for. John approached the topics lightly, but still managed to communicate the difficulty and importance of so many things in our spiritual walk....more
Nathan Shaver
Eh. There are deeper, richer works on the spiritual disciplines. But it does bring up some good points.
Jonathan Markham
Reading tis book for the second ( or maybe third) time. It is a wonderful book to start a small group with. For people who are new to groups and/ or new to the Christian faith this is a very practical and clear introduction to spiritual growth in community
Brent Hudson
I read Dallas Willard's "Spirit of the Disciplines" which Ortberg notes inspired this volume (I think he called it "Willard for Dummies"). What I love about Ortberg is that he comes across as somewhat vulnerable and always entertaining in his story-telling. Of course, his ideas are also very helpful. . .more helpful, practically speaking, than Willard. His concept of 'slowing' of stepping out of the constant sense of rushing to what is next and never enjoying the present. I'm glad I read Willard...more
Maria Martinez
Very good spiritual concepts.
Carl Wunsch
Horrible title, but the most practical and applicable book on spiritual exercises I have read.
May 03, 2008 Karen rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone stuck in a spiritual rut or struggling with their spiritual life on a personal level
Recommended to Karen by: Stephanie Winslow
Awesome, life-changing book! Got me thinking outside of the box in terms of spiritual disciplines...such as, why don't we practice/train for things such as joy and celebration, just as we train through reading and prayer. Many good reminders about the motives behind spiritual disciplines as well. I took so many notes while reading this book, I could probably write my own book! I really enjoyed Ortberg's style of writing, as well. He is very honest and real, and I can REALLY relate to his humanne...more
Robert Samsel
While much of Ortberg's message was good, I did not appreciate his presentation style. I became distracted by his mundane side comments that I am sure he thought were pithy or humorous. I also found his "transparency" to be less than helpful; I think he was trying to be relatable but he went a bit too far for my taste. Finally, some illustrations did nothing to support his points and only served to confuse rather than clarify. I will most likely pass on further readings from this author.
I worked at Willow Creek Community Church a few years after John left for California, but his legacy is astonding. His messages tend to be top-sellers. On my friend Allison's recommendation, I read Everybody's Normal Till You Get To Know Them last year and loved it. With intentions of reading the entired Ortberg collection, this was my next pick. Ortberg is funny and honest and I took a lot of notes. I'm excited for the next Ortberg selection, maybe God is Closer Than You Think.
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  • Ordering Your Private World
  • The Spirit of the Disciplines : Understanding How God Changes Lives
  • Too Busy Not to Pray: Slowing Down to Be With God
  • Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home
  • Loving God
  • Disappointment with God: Three Questions No One Asks Aloud
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  • A Gentle Thunder: Hearing God Through the Storm
  • Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading (Spiritual Theology #2)
  • Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices That Transform Us
  • Enjoying Where You Are on the Way to Where You Are Going: Learning How to Live a Joyful Spirit-Led Life
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  • The Best Question Ever
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If You Want to Walk on Water, You've Got to Get Out of the Boat The Me I Want to Be: Becoming God's Best Version of You Everybody's Normal Till You Get to Know Them When the Game Is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box God Is Closer Than You Think: If God Is Always with Us, Why Is He So Hard to Find?

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“I am disappointed with myself. I am disappointed not so much with the particular things I have done as with the aspects of who I have become. I have a nagging sense that all is not as it should be.” 14 likes
“Love and hurry are fundamentally incompatible. Love always takes time, and time is the one thing hurried people don't have.” 8 likes
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