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  • I'm often asked,

  • "What surprised you about the book?"

  • And I say, "That I got to write it."

  • I would have never imagined that.

  • Not in my wildest dreams did I think --

  • I don't even consider myself to be an author.

  • And I'm often asked,

  • "Why do you think so many people have read this?

  • This thing's selling still about a million copies a month."

  • And I think it's because spiritual emptiness

  • is a universal disease.

  • I think inside at some point, we put our heads down on the pillow and we go,

  • "There's got to be more to life than this."

  • Get up in the morning, go to work, come home and watch TV,

  • go to bed, get up in the morning, go to work, come home, watch TV, go to bed,

  • go to parties on weekends.

  • A lot of people say, "I'm living." No, you're not living -- that's just existing.

  • Just existing.

  • I really think that there's this inner desire.

  • I do believe what Chris said; I believe that you're not an accident.

  • Your parents may not have planned you, but I believe God did.

  • I think there are accidental parents; there's no doubt about that.

  • I don't think there are accidental kids.

  • And I think you matter.

  • I think you matter to God; I think you matter to history;

  • I think you matter to this universe.

  • And I think that the difference

  • between what I call the survival level of living, the success level of living,

  • and the significance level of living is:

  • Do you figure out, "What on Earth am I here for?"

  • I meet a lot of people who are very smart,

  • and say, "But why can't I figure out my problems?"

  • And I meet a lot of people who are very successful,

  • who say, "Why don't I feel more fulfilled?

  • Why do I feel like a fake?

  • Why do I feel like I've got to pretend that I'm more than I really am?"

  • I think that comes down to this issue of meaning, of significance, of purpose.

  • I think it comes down to this issue of:

  • "Why am I here? What am I here for? Where am I going?"

  • These are not religious issues.

  • They're human issues.

  • I wanted to tell Michael before he spoke that I really appreciate what he does,

  • because it makes my life work a whole lot easier.

  • As a pastor, I do see a lot of kooks.

  • And I have learned that there are kooks in every area of life.

  • Religion doesn't have a monopoly on that,

  • but there are plenty of religious kooks.

  • There are secular kooks; there are smart kooks, dumb kooks.

  • There are people -- a lady came up to me the other day,

  • and she had a white piece of paper -- Michael, you'll like this one --

  • and she said, "What do you see in it?"

  • And I looked at it and I said, "Oh, I don't see anything."

  • And she goes, "Well, I see Jesus," and started crying and left.

  • I'm going, "OK," you know? "Fine."

  • (Laughter)

  • Good for you.

  • When the book became the best-selling book in the world for the last three years,

  • I kind of had my little crisis.

  • And that was: What is the purpose of this?

  • Because it brought in enormous amounts of money.

  • When you write the best-selling book in the world,

  • it's tons and tons of money.

  • And it brought in a lot of attention, neither of which I wanted.

  • When I started Saddleback Church, I was 25 years old.

  • I started it with one other family in 1980.

  • And I decided that I was never going to go on TV,

  • because I didn't want to be a celebrity.

  • I didn't want to be a, quote, "evangelist, televangelist" --

  • that's not my thing.

  • And all of the sudden, it brought a lot of money and a lot of attention.

  • I don't think --

  • now, this is a worldview,

  • and I will tell you, everybody's got a worldview.

  • Everybody's betting their life on something.

  • You're betting your life on something,

  • you just better know why you're betting what you're betting on.

  • So, everybody's betting their life on something.

  • And when I, you know, made a bet,

  • I happened to believe that Jesus was who he said he was.

  • And I believe in a pluralistic society,

  • everybody's betting on something.

  • And when I started the church,

  • you know, I had no plans to do what it's doing now.

  • And then when I wrote this book,

  • and all of a sudden, it just took off,

  • and I started saying, now, what's the purpose of this?

  • Because as I started to say,

  • I don't think you're given money or fame

  • for your own ego, ever.

  • I just don't believe that.

  • And when you write a book that the first sentence of the book is,

  • "It's not about you,"

  • then, when all of a sudden it becomes the best-selling book in history,

  • you've got to figure, well, I guess it's not about me.

  • That's kind of a no-brainer.

  • So, what is it for?

  • And I began to think about what I call the "stewardship of affluence"

  • and the "stewardship of influence."

  • So I believe, essentially, leadership is stewardship.

  • That if you are a leader in any area --

  • in business, in politics, in sports, in art,

  • in academics, in any area --

  • you don't own it.

  • You are a steward of it.

  • For instance, that's why I believe in protecting the environment.

  • This is not my planet.

  • It wasn't mine before I was born, it's not going to be mine after I die,

  • I'm just here for 80 years and then that's it.

  • I was debating the other day on a talk show,

  • and the guy was challenging me and he'd go,

  • "What's a pastor doing on protecting the environment?"

  • And I asked this guy, I said, "Well, do you believe

  • that human beings are responsible

  • to make the world a little bit better place for the next generation?

  • Do you think we have a stewardship here, to take the environment seriously?"

  • And he said, "No."

  • I said, "Oh, you don't?"

  • I said, "Let me make this clear again:

  • Do you believe that as human beings -- I'm not talking about religion --

  • do you believe that as human beings, it is our responsibility

  • to take care of this planet,

  • and make it just a little bit better for the next generation?"

  • And he said, "No. Not any more than any other species."

  • When he said the word "species," he was revealing his worldview.

  • And he was saying,

  • "I'm no more responsible to take care of this environment than a duck is."

  • Well now, I know a lot of times we act like ducks,

  • but you're not a duck.

  • You're not a duck.

  • And you are responsible -- that's my worldview.

  • And so, you need to understand what your worldview is.

  • The problem is most people never really think it through.

  • They never really ...

  • codify it or qualify it or quantify it,

  • and say, "This is what I believe in. This is why I believe what I believe."

  • I don't personally have enough faith to be an atheist.

  • But you may, you may.

  • Your worldview, though, does determine everything else in your life,

  • because it determines your decisions;

  • it determines your relationships;

  • it determines your level of confidence.

  • It determines, really, everything in your life.

  • What we believe, obviously --

  • and you know this -- determines our behavior,

  • and our behavior determines what we become in life.

  • So all of this money started pouring in,

  • and all of this fame started pouring in.

  • And I'm going, what do I do with this?

  • My wife and I first made five decisions on what to do with the money.

  • We said, "First, we're not going to use it on ourselves."

  • I didn't go out and buy a bigger house.

  • I don't own a guesthouse.

  • I still drive the same four year-old Ford that I've driven.

  • We just said, we're not going to use it on us.

  • The second thing was,

  • I stopped taking a salary from the church that I pastor.

  • Third thing is, I added up all that the church had paid me

  • over the last 25 years, and I gave it back.

  • And I gave it back because I didn't want anybody thinking

  • that I do what I do for money -- I don't.

  • In fact, personally, I've never met

  • a priest or a pastor or a minister who does it for money.

  • I know that's the stereotype; I've never met one of them.

  • Believe me, there's a whole lot easier ways to make money.

  • Pastors are like on 24 hours-a-day call, they're like doctors.

  • I left late today -- I'd hoped to be here yesterday --

  • because my father-in-law is in his last, probably, 48 hours

  • before he dies of cancer.

  • And I'm watching a guy who's lived his life --

  • he's now in his mid-80s -- and he's dying with peace.

  • You know, the test of your worldview is not how you act in the good times.

  • The test of your worldview is how you act at the funeral.

  • And having been through literally hundreds if not thousands of funerals,

  • it makes a difference.

  • It makes a difference what you believe.

  • So, we gave it all back,

  • and then we set up three foundations,

  • working on some of the major problems of the world:

  • illiteracy, poverty, pandemic diseases -- particularly HIV/AIDS --

  • and set up these three foundations, and put the money into that.

  • The last thing we did is we became what I call "reverse tithers."

  • And that is, when my wife and I got married 30 years ago,

  • we started tithing.

  • Now, that's a principle in the Bible

  • that says give 10 percent of what you get back to charity,

  • give it away to help other people.

  • So, we started doing that, and each year we would raise our tithe one percent.

  • So, our first year of marriage we went to 11 percent,

  • second year we went to 12 percent,

  • and the third year we went to 13 percent,

  • and on and on and on.

  • Why did I do that?

  • Because every time I give,

  • it breaks the grip of materialism in my life.

  • Materialism is all about getting -- get, get, get, get all you can,

  • can all you get, sit on the can and spoil the rest.

  • It's all about more, having more.

  • And we think that the good life is actually looking good --

  • that's most important of all --

  • looking good, feeling good and having the goods.

  • But that's not the good life.

  • I meet people all the time who have those, and they're not necessarily happy.

  • If money actually made you happy,

  • then the wealthiest people in the world would be the happiest.

  • And that I know, personally, I know, is not true.

  • It's just not true.

  • So, the good life is not about looking good, feeling good or having the goods,

  • it's about being good and doing good.

  • Giving your life away.

  • Significance in life doesn't come from status,

  • because you can always find somebody who's got more than you.

  • It doesn't come from sex.

  • It doesn't come from salary.

  • It comes from serving.

  • It is in giving our lives away that we find meaning,

  • we find significance.

  • That's the way we were wired, I believe, by God.

  • And so we began to give away,

  • and now after 30 years,

  • my wife and I are reverse tithers -- we give away 90 percent and live on 10.

  • That, actually, was the easy part.

  • The hard part is, what do I do with all this attention?

  • Because I started getting all kinds of invitations.

  • I just came off a nearly month-long speaking tour

  • on three different continents,

  • and I won't go into that,

  • but it was an amazing thing.

  • And I'm going, what do I do with this notoriety

  • that the book has brought?

  • And, being a pastor, I started reading the Bible.

  • There's a chapter in the Bible called Psalm 72,

  • and it's Solomon's prayer for more influence.

  • When you read this prayer,

  • it sounds incredibly selfish, self-centered.

  • He says, "God, I want you to make me famous."

  • That's what he prays.

  • He said, "I want you to make me famous.

  • I want you to spread the fame of my name through every land,

  • I want you to give me power.

  • I want you to make me famous, I want you to give me influence."

  • And it just sounds like the most egotistical request you could make,

  • if you were going to pray.

  • Until you read the whole psalm, the whole chapter.

  • And then he says, "So that the king ..." --

  • he was the king of Israel at that time, at its apex in power --

  • "... so that the king may care for the widow and orphan,

  • support the oppressed, defend the defenseless, care for the sick,

  • assist the poor, speak up for the foreigner,

  • those in prison."

  • Basically, he's talking about all the marginalized in society.

  • And