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The Life You've Always Wanted: Spiritual Disciplines for Ordinary People

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  8,731 ratings  ·  307 reviews
Ignite a deeper, more vibrant relationship with God that impacts not just your spiritual life but every aspect of your daily life.

John Ortberg calls readers back to the dynamic heartbeat of Christianity--God's power to bring change and growth--and reveals how and why transformation takes place.

The Life You've Always Wanted offers modern perspectives on the ancient path of
Paperback, 288 pages
Published May 5th 2015 by Zondervan (first published 1997)
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May 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-help
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
Dec 17, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Becky Marietta
Nov 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Oct 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
Excellent. Ortberg's writing style is thoroughly engaging and I will be looking out for more works by him. Highly recommend! ...more
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
Mar 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Best dicipleship book out there!
Caitlyn Carmack
Feb 26, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Such a great one!! It took me a couple months to read but only because I intentionally went very slowly through it. Would recommend!!
Apr 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An inspiring look into Spiritual disciplines based on a sound theology, that if applied, can support another stage of Christs life changing process
Alastair Mccollum
Another reviewer summed this book up beautifully by saying 'This book has the highest good content to bad title ratio I've ever experienced.' It's true - the title seems to suggest a dreadful, publisher chosen,self-help offering - but it isn't. This is a book about the ancient spiritual disciplines of the Christian tradition. It offers an examination of various spiritual practices that Christians have used to enhance their spiritual life and discipleship over many centuries. That said, many of t ...more
Ben Goller
If this book were a motivational poster, the font would be Papyrus. But the quote would be rooted in Scripture and kind of thoughtful.
Ortberg is funny and helpfully honest in this book on spiritual disciplines for beginners. This is a book well worth my time and the cost of purchase. As a result of reading it, I've begun a new prayer habit that has already paid dividends. More than a boring how to book, "The Life You've Always Wanted" entertains with stories as it teaches the reader practical ways to embark or improve upon one's own journey of spiritual formation.

I give it two thumbs up and now look forward to discovering the
Jan 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is about spiritual disciplines, or training:
"Respecting the distinction between training and merely trying
is the key to transformation in every aspect of life." -- Ortberg

"If you are weary of some sleepy form of devotion, probably
God is as weary of it as you are. " --FRANK LAUBACH

“Spirituality” wrongly understood or pursued is a major
source of human misery and rebellion against God. -- DALLAS WILLARD

Now, with God’s help, I shall become myself. -- SØREN KIERKEGAARD

(Just a few qu
Robin Langford
Re-read with my 14 year old. (Read years ago! Before I had kids) simple, enjoyable. A good book to read with Nick and talk through applications and growing spiritually as we participate in the work God is already doing in and around us.
May 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ortberg, in a simple manner, approaches the topic of spiritual formation; of actually changing while in discipleship to Jesus. He begins with an observation: in our evangelical churches growth and maturity is not always the norm - but that this is at odds with both scripture and the desires within us for our Christian walk.

He writes in a way that is accessible for the common person (by this I mean he writes as most modern writers do: with fluffy little stories and anecdotes) but weaves enough de
Cole Shiflet
Ortberg's book has clearly influenced one of my favorite book's Ruthless Elimination of Hurry. This is a simple but helpful guide to spiritual disciplines. ...more
Shelby Kisgen
Mar 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One the few truly practical spiritual life books I've ever read. I will revisit the truths presented here often. A fabulous help. ...more
Savannah Frye
Jun 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Convicting. Practical. Humbling. Encouraging. Highly, highly recommend!
Frans Kempe
Oct 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian
A good book from Ortberg about many down to earth topics in a christian life. Encouraging and challenging at the same time.
May 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
I gave this book 5 stars for the lasting impact it had in my life. I had seen John Ortberg preach some years ago and bought several of his books. I had read some of the others, but did not read this until I found I was struggling with some of the issues he highlights so well here. I was debating making a major life change, one that would allow more time for God and others in my life, and this book was a perfect thing to read slowly and thoughtfully during that process. John's writing seems very ...more
Kessia Reyne
May 24, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school
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
This is good. Easy to read. Would recommend.
Anna Johnson
Aug 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book...until the last chapter. Quite honestly, the last chapter kind of ruined the book for me. As someone who has undergone unfathomable suffering in life and read extensively on suffering in the Christian life, I did not feel that Ortberg adequately touched on this very important subject. And for people like me, who are enduring trial after trial (and by trial I don’t mean sitting next to a chattering child on an airplane while trying to concentrate on writing), this was really up ...more
Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Our church is using this book as a focus for Lent this year. Sermons and small-group discussion all focus around the chapters and themes.

Chapters 1-3 focus on Why, and How, we should "morph". I appreciate the focus on "training" instead of "trying" to become more like Christ.

Chapters 4-11 each cover a different spiritual discipline: celebrating, slowing down, praying, servanthood, confessing, guidance, secrecy, and scripture. They're a bit out of order in the separate "participant's guide" and
Brent Hudson
Jun 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you've read other spiritual formation/spiritual disciplines books, you probably won't find anything new here. But if you need a refresher, like I did, you'll find Ortberg's presentation accessible and inviting. I do find the title regrettable, however, in that it can be misleading unless you understand that "the life you've always wanted" is the life God planned for you. It probably isn't a life of wealth, power, and success. It's a life of fulfillment, living the destiny He created you for. ...more
Sep 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't give five-star reviews that often, but this book is an excellent read! Every Christian should seek this book out and read it cover to cover; it has a message all people of the Way need to hear! If, for some reason, you can't/won't read it, listen to it on audio or attend a Bible class based on it; seriously, it's that good! ...more
Apr 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Powerful book. I learned a lot from reading this.
Jason Kanz
Aug 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
This is a great first book on spiritual disciplines. It's practical and relatable. ...more
Aug 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jeremy Manuel
When I first approached this book, I'll admit I was skeptical. The title alone was just enough to put me off. It just sounded rather cliche. A book that gives you steps to be fulfilled in life in a rather shallow kind of way. It is a book that is looking to have you become fulfilled in life, but it isn't looking at it in an entirely shallow way. Instead it is about the idea of spiritual formation, becoming more like Christ, particularly through the practice of spiritual disciplines.

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