In Living on Purpose, Christine and Tom Sine offer a roadmap toward a less stressed, more satisfying and purposeful way of life.

The Sines, who consult for Christian and secular organizations around the world, are well-known practitioners of purposeful living, and the book includes some autobiographical references. Christine is an author and doctor who spent 12 years as a medical missionary. Tom is the author of Mustard Seed vs. McWorld and Mustard Seed Conspiracy.

In their book, the Sines contend that many Christians are missing out on the best that God has to offer because they are not “living on purpose.” Their book will echo some of Rick Warren’s ideas found in his new book, The Purpose-Driven Life, but with a pointed critique on American culture and Jesus’ concern for marginalized people of our world. Their insights also offer some practical application for a theology of the “missional church.”

For the Sines, if Christians do not define their life purpose according to Scripture and God’s purposes, then their life goals and lifestyles will be defined by the dominant culture of competition and consumerism. The Sines label this cultural vision of the “good life” as “Boom City.”

The problem is that Boom City’s “horizontal vision of social progress, economic affluence, and technological mastery” has left even Christians with a serious case of “hurry sickness,” relational isolation, compartmentalized faith and feelings of purposelessness.

They offer the “City of Shalom” as an alternative vision of the good life. The biblical principle of shalom reflects God’s desire that all things be restored to “the wholeness and harmony of relationship in which they were originally created.”

We find our life’s purpose, they contend, in joining with God in constructing this City of Shalom. They write: “Jesus didn’t come to offer us a little private piety to work in around our busy lives, but he offered a new reason for being—to join him in seeing his new order bring that welcomed celebration and restoration into the lives of others.”

Throughout the book, the authors offer a series of “off-ramps,” reflection questions and exercises designed to engage readers in a process of defining God’s purposes of their lives. One of the earliest “off-ramps” is an exercise for writing a biblically-based personal mission statement, the key to living on purpose.

We must ask, “What kind of people does God want us to be, and how does God want us to be involved both as individuals and families in the work of God’s kingdom?” The remaining chapters of the book offer practical steps for implementing one’s mission statement in day-to-day living.

While the book can be read by individuals, its real value will be found in a small-group setting. The Sines suggest using the book as an eight-week curriculum. The meaty and challenging reflection exercises will make for lively discussion and action by a committed group of peers.

Michael Tutterow is senior pastor of Winter Park Baptist Church in Wilmington, N.C.

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