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

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  1,149 ratings  ·  103 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
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Paperback, 292 pages
Published October 9th 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
201st out of 461 books — 446 voters
Finding Your Own North Star by Martha N. BeckLet Your Life Speak by Parker J. PalmerThe Magic of Conflict by Thomas F. CrumA Hidden Wholeness by Parker J. PalmerHearing with the Heart by Debra K. Farrington
Vocation / calling / discernment
9th out of 31 books — 13 voters


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Community Reviews

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Jason
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
Michael Brown
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
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Nathan
Jul 25, 2011 Nathan added it
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").
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Joel
Feb 26, 2008 Joel rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
Robin
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
Joy
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."

Wisdom:
* 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
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Rach
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
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
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Stephanie Hall
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.
Jim H.
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
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Audrey
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
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John Gardner
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
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Paul Mullen
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
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Joshua D.
Jul 22, 2011 Joshua D. rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
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Michael
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
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Stephanie Miller
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.
David Ridenour
Great perspective on life and calling from a more balanced approached, not all about a special "spiritual calling" that trumps everything else. Took the pressure off and made me appreciate other's historical views of callings.
Meghann
I was disappointed with this one. I enjoyed the parts of the book the writer wrote himself but unfortunately that was only about 20% of the book (and I may be generous with that estimation). Most of the book was quotes and stories of and by other people. There were some great quotes by people I respect like Bonhoeffer, Chambers, Wilberforce, Edwards, etc... but a string of good quotes does not a good book make.

In his defense, this was designed to be a devotional apparently and I read it as a no
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Renalto Wijaya
untuk apa kita hidup??
apa tujuan utama dari kehidupan ini??
semua itu ternyata telah dipanggil untuk sebuah tujuan pribadi yang unik oleh sang Pemanggil Agung...
ingat! kata dipanggillah yang digunakan, bukan ditentukan ataupun dipaksakan. hal ini karena Sang Pemanggil Kehidupan kita menghendaki adanya respon dari diri kita..

membaca buku ini tidak serta merta membuat kita menjadi tahu segala-segalanya tentang panggilan pribadi kita.. tetapi melalui buku ini secara pribadi saya mendapatkan konsep
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Kristin
I really enjoyed both reading this book and the discussions about it at book club. It's not a book I probably would have read on my own without some sort of recommendation, but I am glad that I read it!
The book is divided into short chapters that each focus on a central thought about God's call on our lives. The chapters are meant to be read one per day so that you can think about what you read and let it weave its way into your mind, and I really enjoyed doing that as well.
Some chapters I like
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Elysha
This is perhaps one of the greatest Christian books I have read. Challenging, thought-provoking and simultaneously humiliating and edifying.
Mark Peskett
If I wasn't committed to the Sufficiency of Scripture I would say this book is required reading for all Christians. An utterly profound and enormously enlightening read, Os Guinness masterfully and poetically unpacks the notion of calling into 26 succinct chapters, beginning with a particular maxim that he then proceeds to explain.

I can't recommend this book enough, both to Christians and non-Christians alike. It will surely stir every reader in some way to pursue that One who has called all. It
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Jimmy Winfrey
This book for me was basically the non-best-seller version of "a purpose driven life". It took more of a psychological, deeper approach to giving us perspective on our purpose in this life.

It was a really tough read at times but very well written and used different events and people in history to give us insight into "The Call" that we are all called to.

It really had some thought provoking messages within it and really questioned our current day Christianity and Church. I actually went through
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Lauren
Excellent food for thought and focus.
RuthAnn
Would recommend: Probably

My relationship with this book was rather odd: I sort of dreaded going back to it every night, but as soon as I opened it, I was completely drawn in. I'm just not sure why I wasn't looking forward to reading it because it was very insightful and thought-provoking. Certain concepts (the noonday demons, the catch-22 of capitalism) really resonated with me, but other parts did not, so much. I would definitely read other books by Os Guinness, though. I appreciate how well-re
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Tj
this is definitely one of those books that i am going to come back to again and again. it is a pretty dense book that you can't just read once and move on. you really have to chew on it. i think the biggest value in this book is the fact that it makes you think about "calling" and what that means. it doesn't have the answers as to what your call is (unfortunately), but it does help you think about what calling really means. i still haven't found mine yet, but i think this book did help me down t ...more
Karen Locklear
Great book. Thought provoking. Insightful. But not an easy read. A bit dry.

Read it though. It's important.
Jason Lowe
I think Guinness really nails the Biblical meaning of a Call. Today "The Call" is a term that is thrown around so easily, often used as a trump card to silence those that may disagree with a ministry. For sure there is such a thing as a gifting for ministry, but Guinness does a great job of unpacking this term and leaving you with some deep contemplation. Is it okay to do what I want to do for the LORD, or must I be called? I think Guinness masterfully answers this.
Meepspeeps
A friend recommended this to me and I found it to be a quick read. There were times I felt he was saying "I'm right about 'the call' and everyone else (Luther, the Roman Catholics, etc.) is wrong," which I didn't like. I liked the questions at the end of each chapter. In fact, one could have a discussion each week just using the chapter end questions. This is a good book, but if you only have time for one, I recommend Forty Days of Purpose by Rick Warren more highly.
Tim
Os Guinness is one of those guys who make you proud to be a Christian. He is a thinker, but with the soul of a poet.

This book is on calling - sort of says it all in the title doesn't it. A very well reasoned and laid out book.

It's not a book you skip through. Requires some time and thought for any meaningful application. Os advises only reading a chapter per day at most and I have read it a good deal slower than that.

Very much worth the time
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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
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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.” 6 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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