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The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,599 Ratings  ·  132 Reviews
"The Call" continues to stand as a classic, reflective work on life's purpose. Best-selling author Os Guinness goes beyond our surface understanding of God's call and addresses the fact that God has a specific calling for our individual lives.

"Why am I here? What is God's call in my life? How do I fit God's call with my own individuality? How should God's calling affect my
Paperback, 292 pages
Published October 7th 2003 by W Publishing Group (first published 1998)
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Mere Christianity by C.S. LewisThe Screwtape Letters by C.S. LewisThe Reason for God by Timothy KellerThe Great Divorce by C.S. LewisConfessions by Augustine of Hippo
The Christian Intellect
217th out of 557 books — 547 voters
Let Your Life Speak by Parker J. PalmerFinding Your Own North Star by Martha N. BeckThe Gifts of Imperfection by Brené BrownA Hidden Wholeness by Parker J. PalmerStrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath
Vocation / calling / discernment
12th out of 32 books — 20 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Michael Brown
Apr 18, 2009 Michael Brown rated it it was amazing
I have been reading "The Call" by Os Guinness; a 26 day devotional has taken me from Saturday, August 19, 2006 to Tuesday, November 20, 2008 to finish. I know it should have never taken me so long to read and yet it is a very thought provoking and challenging book.
The main point and question of this book is this... "Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life." In which in a nut shell living for Christ and serving him in whichever way he has called you to do. There is no division of
May 23, 2008 Jason rated it it was amazing
It is not uncommon to hear Christians refer to their vocational calling, or to hear of things like a Biblical work ethic, but surprisingly little has been written about what work individuals are called to in their lives. Os Guinness, an Irish social critic and Christian writer, who lives in northern Virginia, has written a wonderful book, more than accessible to general audiences, that explores meaning in life. In this case, meaning for Guinness is not something self-directed, but something one ...more
May 23, 2015 Bryon rated it it was amazing
Book title: The Call
Author: Os Guinness
Nashville, Thomas Nelson, 1998
Number of pages: 255

Listening to the Caller

“There can be no calling without a Caller.” writes Os Guinness. Are you connected to the Caller? I’m not asking if you are a Christian or if you have a “personal relationship” with Jesus. Guinness believes check both of these boxes and not be fully engaged with the Caller.

Many make the mistake thinking that the only way to get God to really love us is to go into "ministry" (i.e. becom
Mar 24, 2016 Nathan added it
Shelves: nathan-library
If you're a fan of Os Guinness (or if you've never read him before), this is the one to read. Guinness himself says that over 25 years, "no book has burned within me longer or more fiercely than this one" (5).

What am I called to? This is one of the bigger questions of life. Guinness helps us digest this, dividing calling into two categories: Primary (the calling to Christ) and Secondary (that in which "everyone, everywhere, and in everything should think, speak, live, and act entirely for him").
May 23, 2015 Lisa rated it it was amazing
As the title suggests, this book is about finding and following our calling in life. But it is just as much a book that scrutinizes the modern philosophies that surround us (both outside and inside the church). Do not read this book unless you are willing to be challenged in your thinking, and stretched to accept a higher standard.
This is not about finding some mysterious life-goal that makes it all worthwhile. It is about facing daily the need to seek God will all our heart, mind and strength.
Feb 27, 2015 Regina rated it really liked it
This is not a book of specifics that is going to tell you exactly what steps to take or how to find out what your calling in life is. Instead, it is a book about how to live your life with purpose - how to be "filled-up" on the inside rather than always going about with a huge, gnawing emptiness and a relentless searching for the next best thing that will never satisfy.
Sep 19, 2015 Sandu rated it it was amazing
"Trebuie să ne asigurăm că vom fi conștienți de chemarea noastră într-un mod mai profund, mai înalt, mai larg și mai lung decât cea mai bună și cea mai înaltă sarcină de care ne ocupăm." - Os Guinness
Kelly Mize
Jan 28, 2015 Kelly Mize rated it it was amazing
Os Guiness attempts what so many others have in urging us to identify God's call on our lives. But he does so with a fresh, thoughtful perspective that goes beyond simple identification of specific talents or spiritual gifts.

Structurally, there are 26 topical chapters with alluringly cryptic titles--you can't just dive into a chapter knowing exactly what it's about. In each, we are first given a narrative with fascinating detail of well-known characters either in literature or history followed
Tim Woody
Sep 08, 2015 Tim Woody rated it it was ok
A little too broad and wordy, I think this book would have been better if it were 100 pages shorter. There were some really good chapters that left me reflecting, but over all very general. Maybe the intended audience was broader.
Feb 26, 2008 Joel rated it liked it
Recommended to Joel by: Matthew Elliott
A most thorough examination of everything to do with calling. Guinness is a disciplined writer, which would be a distraction if he didn't write so well, choose his illustrations and examples flawlessly, research so fully. And he doesn't shy a bit away from intertwining a biblical worldview into the subject; without Christ there would be no book on calling, He would argue. An important book for anyone thinking through what to do with their life. Might not give you the answer, but will give you th ...more
May 20, 2009 Robin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: devotional
Guiness is one of the most literate writers I've read. His erudition in philosophy, literature, history and contemporary socio-cultural issues are used with great insight into what it is to be called by the Lord God and within that call to be who we are uniquely called to be corporately and individually. Vocation is only one aspect of that. His clarity of thought and prose style reveal all the subtle assumptions we live with that are faulty and disconnect us from God, ourselves, and each other. ...more
Oct 20, 2014 Joy rated it it was amazing
Excellent book by a clear thinker noting that there is one call to all believers: "CALLING is the truth that God calls us to himself so decsively that everything we are, everything we do, and everything we have is invested with a special devotion and dynamism lived out as a response to his summons and service."

* Those who are seen and sung by the audience of One can afford to be careless about lesser audiences.
* We are always most vulnerable to envying those closest to our own gifts and c
Feb 23, 2016 Brian rated it liked it
"The problem with Western Christians is not that they aren't where they should be, its that they aren't what they should be where they are." Location 2746 kindle

I'm not sure I wanted to think this much about my calling, but I did finish this book realizing some important things about living life before God. Taking into consideration how every facet of life really comes down to an audience of one. Its seems obvious that God sees everything we do, but do we live like God sees everything we do, do
Jan 28, 2009 Rach rated it liked it
I read this without realizing until the end that I was supposed to read it as a daily devotional rather than a cohesive book. This might have accounted for some of my frustration in the rather "haphazard" way it was written. If taken as an inspirational, it accomplishes its task.
Doug Peterson
Feb 09, 2014 Doug Peterson rated it it was amazing
I've read twice; the second time with a dear friend, we did a chapter a week for a year. Pursuing God's call on my life is a lifelong journey. I have no idea how it ends… I do know each day has enough challenges of it's own, and that each day I am challenged to keep my eyes on Christ alone, to fear nothing but God, and to lean on Him alone. All other options are folly, as I've proven to myself over and over.

Os Guinness is a philosopher and social commentator, with a rich history of his own. He i
Stephanie Hall
Jan 07, 2008 Stephanie Hall rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful book about listening and following Gods call in your life. Very compelling, made me want to strive for Gods best in my life.
Tosh Demsey
Jun 04, 2015 Tosh Demsey rated it it was amazing
This is an outstanding book for anyone who is truly interested in finding their purpose in life. God designed each person to fulfill their calling in life, and Guinness articulates in great detail how to go about discovering your own calling. Os Guinness eloquently differentiates between the faulty methods of this world and Jesus' call to "Follow Me." He also cautions against the common pitfalls Christians make such as believing that only those who job titles have ministry directly associated wi ...more
Mar 07, 2015 Janet rated it liked it
It's a good story, in spite of the overuse of italics to tell what a character is thinking, but not saying.
Daniel Diaz
Mar 05, 2016 Daniel Diaz rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books I've ever read. Full of erudition and passion for the Lord, it forms a compelling explanation of the divine calling to our lives.

It arrived to me in a very particular moment —when I was exploring the purpose of my life and longing ("crying" would be a much more accurate description though) for His voice. Finally, after a lot of prayer, Bible reading, and a scary storm, I was able to understand His calling to my life. In the process, this book became intimate to my s
Jim Ainsworth
Dec 20, 2013 Jim Ainsworth rated it it was amazing
This book addresses a subject near and dear to my heart, a subject that has brought clarity and confusion, gratification and frustration to my life. The book is subtitled Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life. I have read more than a few books and essays on this subject and have heard my share of presentations.

Having said that, I sometimes feel just as mystified as I was when I first started on my journey to answer the question, “Why am I here?” And “Am I doing what I am suppo
May 22, 2014 Audrey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fantastic book and a must read for every Christ follower!!
It seems I've recently been beseiged by the notion of "calling." It began with David Benner's book, "The Gift of Being Yourself" in which he leads us to understand calling "in terms of our mission in the world, the way of living out our uniqueness within the more general call to become fully human as we follow Jesus toward union with God." It was Benner's inspiring discussion of calling that led me to pull out of my library a pr
John Gardner
May 24, 2012 John Gardner rated it really liked it
Originally posted at Honey and Locusts.

What is the ultimate meaning of life? Does each of us have a specific purpose for our lives? If so, how do we find it?

Many volumes have been written seeking to address these questions, but rarely does an author arrive at any meaningful or definitive answer (apart from Douglas Adams, who wrote that the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything was "42"). InThe Call,Os Guiness seeks to help readers explore these questions for thems
Paul Mullen
Mar 06, 2016 Paul Mullen rated it liked it
Shelves: faith-vocation
Sometimes I think I'm not smart enough to follow all of what Os Guinness writes. This book is so dense with material that I find myself only able to write a synopsis that is good enough to address the main point: We should get rid of the idea that there is a Sunday School calling for each of us and a separate workplace calling for each of us. He argues for a more integrated view of the way we spend our lives in response to God's call.

He does acknowledge a general call that we all have in common
Joshua D.
Jul 22, 2011 Joshua D. rated it liked it
Recommends it for: pastors, students
I finished this about a month ago and fully intended to write a lengthy review. And then time got away from me. So a few sentences will have to suffice.

I read this book with a bunch of guys and it generated some good discussion on the nature of calling, vocation, and work. At times the book was frustrating because the connections between one chapter and the next were not obvious and didn't seem to build. It reads more like a collection of essays than a coherent argument, and probably works bette
Jan 14, 2016 Sally rated it liked it
I love the subtitle's stated purpose of the book, but I found the presentation jumbled. (It could very well be my own fault!) He dealt with important topics such as calling vs job, God's sovereignty, our desire to be praised, finishing well, all in light of our relationship to God and how we live. Each chapter started with an individual's story, related to the point Guinness wanted to make, then he expanded on the point.
Jennifer Robb
Jan 17, 2016 Jennifer Robb rated it it was ok
I think the reason I didn't like it was that it was different than my expectations. Based on the blurb I'd read from CMDA, I thought this would be a book to help a person discover what or where their calling was. The introductory chapters only touched on this subject if they addressed it at all and I gave up a few chapters in because the book didn't seem to be helping me answer the questions that I had.
Mar 03, 2013 Michael rated it it was amazing
I've had this book for several years, but never quite got into it until a couple of weeks ago. I'm sorry I waited so long.

I've read many books and articles by Os Guinness. His books are thoughtful, convicting and rare in their sharpness. Though many Christian books try to articulate the callouses the culture builds up around our faith, Guinness does it more deeply. This book is no exception.

The Call is a gift for Christians living in a age of transition and increasingly anti-Christian biases. He
Jennifer Powell
Nov 09, 2015 Jennifer Powell rated it really liked it
Great book! Guinness sets up a truthful and compelling framework and then gives lovely descriptive points throughout. The language is easy to read and flows nicely. Certainly there is a lot here to extract and translate to ministry and to life. A pleasure read, really. Not academic. Just lovely - all the way around.
Apr 25, 2016 Cindy rated it liked it
A thorough read. Helps to explore the meaning of all ways.
I find the book is a bit too deep, a bit dry though. Even though it does give a lot of historical stories of lives of famous people as support to his teaching.
A lot of good nuggets to ponder on. Conclude in short. His purpose. his time for Him alone, the audience of One.
Stephanie Miller
Mar 04, 2014 Stephanie Miller rated it really liked it
The best book I have read about finding your calling from God. Os Guinness writes in a way that is understandable and easy to read. He challenges the view point that in order to be called by God you need to be a pastor or a missionary. Practical and yet academic.
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Os Guinness (D.Phil., Oxford) is the author or editor of more than twenty-five books, including The American Hour, Time for Truth and The Case for Civility. A frequent speaker and prominent social critic, he was the founder of the Trinity Forum and has been a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution and a guest scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Studies. He lives near Washi ...more
More about Os Guinness...

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“We are not wise enough, pure enough, or strong enough to aim and sustain such a single motive over a lifetime. That way lies fanaticism or failure. But if the single motive is the master motivation of God's calling, the answer is yes. In any and all situations, both today and tomorrow's tomorrow, God's call to us is the unchanging and ultimate whence, what, why, and whither of our lives. Calling is a 'yes' to God that carries a 'no' to the chaos of modern demands. Calling is the key to tracing the story line of our lives and unriddling the meaning of our existence in a chaotic world.” 9 likes
“Modern life assaults us with an infinite range of things we could do, we would love to do, or some people tell us we should do. But we are not God and we are neither infinite nor eternal. We are quite simply finite. We have only so many years, so much energy, so many gray cells, and so many bank notes in our wallets. 'Life is too short to...' eventually shortens to 'life is too short.” 5 likes
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