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on September 25, 2009
Growing with Purpose is a daily devotional written by Jon Walker, a frequent collaborative writer with Rick Warren at Purpose Driven Ministries.

Each of the 366 devotions begins with a verse of scripture--most of them from the New Testament with a sprinkling of Psalms and the occasional statement from one of the Old Testament prophets. These are short readings, three to six paragraphs in length, with one devotional taking up each page.

Walker presents the devotions in three different ways. In some he highlights observations from the daily verse, in some he presents a scriptural insight that is supported by the verse, and in others he shares short stories- often his own. There is no set pattern to the order of the messages within--they appear to be written for the purpose of encouraging the reader. If each devotional was a puzzle piece, the overall picture created would be one of grace, hope and love in an enduring race.

Growing with Purpose doesn't demand a lot of time or scholarly ponderings, mostly just a few minutes and some honesty. If you start your morning with a cup of coffee to help open your eyes, consider using a daily devotion like this to help open up your heart.
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on July 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
About once a year I look for a new devotional book to go along with my daily bible reading. This year I decided to check out Jon Walker's 'Growing with Purpose' and it definitely hasn't let me down. Walker's writing style is easy to read and understand, and he says a lot without rambling on and on. I look forward to a new interesting and insightful devo each morning. This book would also be a great book for someone who might be struggling with life or trying to find meaning (which is pretty much everyone).
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VINE VOICEon January 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a great devotional book to get you started off right for the new year. The devotions are short (one page each) but packed with deep meaning. While they will only takes minutes to read, they are profound enough to come back and meditate on all day. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone seeking a deeper walk with the Lord.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a fine devotional for those who have just a few moments of time to meditate on Bible verses. Each daily entry begins with a verse of Scripture and is followed by a few paragraphs of explanation or application. Many contain personal stories from the author, or fictional stories that make a point (like a parable).

In form, this devotional almost exactly mirrors one I already own -- How Great Thou Art -- by Steve Halliday and William Travis. I like the Halliday book, because the devotions are grouped by theme (the majesty of God, the holiness of God, etc.) and have some heft, being the words of great Christian thinkers and preachers, like St. Augustine, Calvin or Spurgeon. The "Purpose" devotions often drop pop culture references and awkward hyphenated terms -- objective-in-Jesus, Jesus-ones, Jesus-event, Jesus-love -- that are not really my cup of tea.

But this devotional will nevertheless focus you daily on God. The author's purpose is to show the reader how to apply Scripture to daily life in significant ways. I appreciate practical advice.

What I would really like to see from this author, though, is a memoir. His spiritual insights seem to be hard-won; he mentions years of "backsliding," his girlfriend's pregnancy and the baby's subsequent adoption by his sister, and his clinical depression, among other personal crises. The lessons he could share from these crises might be more meaningful than those he draws from his golf game or the cute things his kids say.
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VINE VOICEon December 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Having read "The Purpose Driven Life" and doing the work book, I became a sincere fan of Rick Warren. I soon realized this man loved the Lord, took the Lord's word and shared it in tangible way that lay people could understand. Thus, when I saw him endorse "Growing With Purpose" by Jon Walker I could trust that it would be a wonderful daily meditation book for each day of the year. I have already read a few and they touched me deeply and profoundly.

It is a beautiful looking book and would make a gorgeous gift to that family member or friend who is searching for the purpose of life here on earth. This book will give them timely insights to inspire a closer walk with God.

Jon Walker thank-you for writing this book.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Growing with Purpose by Jon Walker is an inspiring devotional. It's easy to read, and each devotional is short and uplifting, and each includes a short Scripture verse. The book itself is 397 pages. Walker worked for 10 years with Rick Warren at Saddleback Church and Purpose Driven Ministries. The writing is not on the same level as Warren's, but it is still a good read. I like the compact size of the book. It's a hardback with good paper. It easily fits into a purse or case.
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VINE VOICEon January 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I believe that everyone has heard of Rick Warren and "The Purpose-Driven Life," so when I saw that Warren wrote the foreword to this book, I was immediately attracted to it--in fact the fronts of both books look very similar. The author, Jon Walker, has (according to the book jacket) worked with Warren in communications and as magazine editor for a number of years, and has published articles on various websites. His extensive experience in communicating and publishing is quite evident here, as I find the author's writings very succint yet powerful in these easy-to-read, direct-to-the-heart pieces.

This is a small book, as many devotional-type books are, making it nice to keep at your bedside or tuck into your purse, briefcase, or bookbag. One of the nicest features is the quality of the pages; they are not slick, but look and feel much like papyrus, maybe--a very nice touch. Each day's one-page writing begins with a scripture passage, and discussion of the same follows. (One can find excerpts from the book on the author's website [...]) There is also a scripture index at the back of the book containing all scriptures referred to in the book, sorted by book of the Bible, as well as a subject index.

This book is probably most suited to someone who has a fairly good knowledge of the Bible and a strong belief in Jesus--most scriptures are from the New Testament. This is not a light, non-denominational book of positive affirmations, per se, as some books are, but more of a thought-provoking book for Christians who desire to become more Christ-like, and to take time each day to concentrate on the power of the Holy Spirit in their life.

I can see myself reading this book daily throughout the year, and then starting again the next year at the beginning. I believe that each page is different enough in its content and subject to be a long-lasting "pass-it-down" volume.
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VINE VOICEon January 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
QUICK SUMMARY: Growing with Purpose is a fine devotional book for the type of devotional book that it is. If you want a book that dispenses with calendar entries, can be read in under a minute, and are not a recent convert to Christianity, you may enjoy these daily reflections. If you want a greater challenge in your life than a one-minute reflection, look elsewhere.

I like this book because it sits on my desk at work, and when I have just a moment to spare, I can touch bases spiritually with God by reading a one-page devotional reading. I'm writing this review on the strength of a week's reading or so -- in other words, I've not finished reading the entire book -- so what I'm sharing is based on a fairly scant interaction with the author's writing. Although the readings take only a minute, they do give me fodder for thought when I take a break to stroll around the lake in front of my place of employment.

I think this devotional is best suited for a Christian who is NOT a recent convert to Christianity. I say that because the devotional readings are too short to give much context, and so the author presupposes a certain amount of Biblical knowledge. For instance, the 6th devotional opens with "Joseph's life was anything but peaceful. He was sold into slavery by jealous brothers and thrown into prison on false charges." Joseph who? Most Christians, of course, will know the author is refering to Joseph of the Old Testament. A new convert may not know this.

How could this devotional be stronger? If you're reading a one-page devotional, the discussion focus must be laser sharp. You should come away with one, very specific, very targeted thought or activity on which to dwell or pursue. Here, I think the material feels too broad to be of great use. For instance, the 4th devotional encourages "Wow" thinking: "Wow! The God who spoke the world into existence also spoke me into existence. Wow! The God of creation shaped me as a masterpiece... Wow! The God who placed the moon, stars and the sun in the sky also placed his Holy Spirt within me!" And so it goes. I would have rather been given one, very specific "Wow!" -- perhaps some astounding, little known fact about our universe or human body -- and let me dwell specifically on that Wow! and the God behind that Wow!. To say, in effect, "Wow! There's a universe and God created it" doesn't make for an awe-inspiring devotion.

So who will benefit from this book? Most any Christian who doesn't already spend time reading the Bible on a daily basis, nor does any other reading of a spiritual nature. If you're doing nothing and you want to start somewhere, this book might be of some help. If you're a mature believer, I'd suggest looking for something else that matches your level of maturity.

A final observation: In skimming through this book, the bulk of the devotionals focus on God (the Father). For Christians, it's the person of Jesus Christ that is the central figure in all of the universe. I would have preferred the devotional readings to focus much more on the uniqueness and person of Jesus Christ, rather than to speak simply about God. Talk about God, and not a lot of people's feathers will ruffle. Talk about Jesus Christ, and instantly you'll have people bristle because of the unique, hard-to-accept, claims of Christ -- claims that make pure Christianity unlike any other religion in the world.
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VINE VOICEon January 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
How would you feel if, at the end of the day, your spouse hadn't said a single word to you? Imagine if your grown child went without weeks without calling you. Imagine if no one spoke to you, let alone said the words "I love you." I'm sure Jesus must feel very neglected and disappointed when we as Christians complain that we just don't have enough time to talk to Him and to read His Holy Word on a daily basis.

I felt shame upon realizing I spent more time reading fictional novels than reading the Bible. One Sunday morning, I decided to begin reading a daily devotional. I was blessed to have received "Growing with Purpose," written by Jon Walker who is the founding editor of an online newsletter, "Rick Warren's Ministry Toolbox," at Saddleback Church. Now I don't have an excuse for not communing with Jesus on a daily basis.

The one-page devotions within "Growing with Purpose" can be read in about five minutes; they provide me with the encouragement, inspiration and motivation to face another stressful day. There are enough devotions for an entire year. Also, there is a convenient subject index for helping me find those devotions pertaining to such topics as faith, forgiveness, suffering, etc. For example, if I am feeling resentment towards someone, I can easily look up a devotion that will minister to me.

Daily devotionals are a great way to begin and/or end a day. They help us to remain a part of the grape vine of humanity of which Jesus is the caretaker. If we drop off the vine, we become spiritually weak and die. After reading several weeks of devotions from "Growing with Purpose," I've learned that our purpose on this earth is to prepare us for eternity. Jesus wants us to be spiritually like Him. The devotions teach the reader to have faith in and reliance upon Jesus to guide us towards making the correct choices that will mold us into the person He wants us to be.

Life is about sowing and reaping. With each devotion that is read, the reader is sowing seeds that will benefit him/her now and for eternity. Instead of buying a cartoon calendar for my desk at work, I opted for "Growing with Purpose" and I'm glad I did. I highly recommend this educational tool (or weapon) for fighting against discouragement, depression, fear and all the obstacles that Satan throws into our path as we try to live a good Christian life.

Joseph B. Hoyos
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VINE VOICEon November 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have a hard time staying with devotionals. I have no trouble going through the Bible everyday, but it's different when people try to direct my spiritual walk through their own idea of fighting the good fight and staying strong in the faith. I was doubtful that this book would be any different, but I got it anyway. Was I ever surprised. "Growing with Purpose" is a well-written, concise, and easy read that is scriptural and relevant for today's hectic, problem-infested lifestyle.

First, "Growing with Purpose" comes at you from a very practical, everyday, real life perspective. The first difference I noticed was that the pages are not dated or numbered. NO pressure to keep up and NO condemnation or guilt if you miss a day! You can read more than one a day or take time to digest a topic over several days. It fits YOUR needs, not the author's.

Next, I realized that the devotional was written from the point of view of someone who had actually gone through it, been tested in the trial, contemplated a mystery, or been victorious in battle. How refreshing to find support, wisdom, and a boost in faith that really does make sense everyday. No more "pie in the sky" idealism that so quickly loses me or turns me off as unreachable or phony.

Finally, the daily pages are easily digestible. Face it, no matter how devoted one is to spiritual growth, time is at a premium for us all. It's a fact of modern life. So, instead of weighing you down with tons of material and references to go through, this devotional gives you just enough to tackle without overloading you for the day. In doing this, the almost assured failure factor of other overwhelming devotionals disappears - along with the guilt and condemnation that always follows. The thoughts for the day are concise and easy to remember yet scriptural and worthy of pondering throughout the day.

I highly recommend this book. While it does not replace daily reading of the Bible, it does make a superb companion read for those who truly want to finish the race victorious.
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