Summary: It’s good to ask the right questions about our lives. It’s equally important to get the right answers. To keep from wasting your life and being filled with regret, consider these questions: What does God want? What will it take? Why should I do it?
DON’T WASTE YOUR LIFE
Original Outline by Rick Warren—Saddleback Church
You can also find this sermon at www.praiseag.org - visit "The Path" sermon finder and click on the "40 Days of Purpose" series.
Don’t Waste Your Life
Preparing for 40 Days of Purpose
Have you ever taken the time to read bumper sticker theology? People will tell you a lot about themselves and what they believe about God by what they stick on their bumpers. Please forgive the rudeness of this first example; I once read a bumper sticker that said “Life Sucks.” How many of you would guess that person not only got out on the wrong side of the bed and is having a bad day everyday, but they also don’t think much about God. This individual certainly has not found the abundant life Jesus has offered to all who believe in Him.
Another bumper sticker offered a very different perspective on life; it read, “Life is too precious to waste.” You might expect to find this one on the back of some cars in the parking lot; how many of you would like to have something like that on your car? One might think a person with such a statement on their car sees life as a gift from God. But how do you keep from wasting your life? How can we keep our days from getting tossed into the trash? How can we not end up not wanting to put that “other bumper sticker” on our cars instead?
• Ephesians 5:15-17 (NLT)
 So be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise.  Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days.  Don’t act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do.
Three weeks ago we ended 2004. As we looked at the New Year that lay before us I used these verses from Ephesians to remind us three important realities about the time given to us in our lives. We are each given only 24 hours per day, 168 hours per week, and 8,760 hours per year. As hard as you may try, you can’t add time to a single day. How we use the time given to us is important.
If we are going to make wise use of our time then it is important for us to remember  we need to use our time wisely;  our time is limited; and  our time is for God. Now for those of you who are afraid I saved time this week and plan to preach the same message all over again, rest assured this is not a rerun!
Take a moment and underline or circle some words from these verses in your Bible. First notice the word “CAREFUL.” The Bible says, “be careful how you live.”
Let me ask you a simple question, what is the opposite of careful—CARELESS. Don’t live your life carelessly. Literally the Bible is telling us not to stumble through life or just drift aimlessly. God wants us to think about our lives and understand why we are here. Do you know what your purpose for living is—have you even given it any thought?
The Message Bible puts it like this, “Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly” (Ephesians 5:17). Don’t overlook the word CAREFUL!
• Haggai 1:5 (NIV)
Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways.
You don’t have to take my word on it; you’ve got God’s word! God wants us to be careful how we live our lives.
Second underline or circle the words, “Make the most of every opportunity” and “understand what the Lord wants you to do.” How many of you can honestly say you want to live your life to the fullest? How many of you want to know what God expects of you—you really want to please God with how you live your life?
This is your lucky day. I promise this will not be a waste of your time. You can be assured as we begin a 40 day journey to discover what God wants of your life will be worth the effort. Through this 40 day adventure we will look at the 5 purposes God has created us to live for; I promise it will be an exciting time of discovery. You don’t want to miss out on it!
But today we are going to get ready for this journey by looking at three basic questions of life. It’s important to ask good questions, but it’s even more important to have the right answers, so we’re going to take some time to find the correct answers too.
None of us want to waste our lives. No one wants to come to the end of their life and look back upon a life full of regret. If we are going to keep from wasting our life we need to ask these three questions: What does God want? What will it take? And why should I do it?