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Rick Warren and Nick Vujicic talk about faith at Oprah Winfrey’s ‘Lifeclass’

By Dan Wooding, ASSIST Ministries, March 8, 2013

Rick Warren talks about his appearances on Oprah Winfrey’s ‘Lifeclass’ to talk about ‘Winning the Hand You’re Dealt’. He also shares why he asked Oprah to bring on Nick Vujicic, the Australian evangelist, born without arms and legs, to share his amazing story, during one of the classes.

NASHVILLE, TN (ANS) – It was mid-January of this year, when Pastor Rick Warren, the best-selling author of The Purpose Driven Life, and senior pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, joined Oprah Winfrey as a teacher at Houston’s Hobby Center in one of the world’s biggest classrooms.

Rick Warren teaching on Oprah’s Lifeclass

Millions around the world tuned in to watch Warren discuss how to live with, and maximize “the hand you’re dealt,” and reveal the five “cards” that make up our identity: chemistry, connections, circumstances, consciousness and—the card that can change our entire hand—choices, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

And then, to the surprise of everyone in the Hobby Center, Warren, introduced Australian-born evangelist Nick Vujicic, a motivational speaker born without arms and legs, who caused the audience to gasp as he came from his seat and somehow, despite his huge disability, managed to climb up five steps to the stage, to illustrate the five points that Pastor Warren had talked about.

He then calmly shared with audience that the power of faith in action is what has helped him persevere despite his physical limitations.

I caught up with Pastor Warren at the recent NRB 2013 Convention in Nashville, Tennessee, and asked him about the show and also how he had requested Oprah to allow Nick Vujicic to appear near the end of the program to illustrate the incredible way he has overcome his terrible early set-backs.

Rick Warren with Dan Wooding
at NRB 2013

I began by asking Warren, how the appearance had come about, and he said, “Oprah heard that I was going to offer The Purpose Driven Life as a tenth anniversary edition,” he said. “Ten years ago, I put out the book and the publishers came to me and said, ‘Would you like to do a tenth anniversary edition?’ I started thinking that a girl who was twelve years old when that book came out is now twenty-two. So there’s a whole new generation that needs to study the purpose of life.

“So when you’ve had sixty-two-million readers in America of The Purpose Driven Life and received a half a million letters, hand written to me in those ten years from people who had read it, I got thinking. Obviously I haven’t read most of those letters, but I’ve read a portion of them, and I’ve discovered that the two biggest reasons why people didn’t fulfill their purpose in life are envy and people pleasing.

“I define envy as I must be like you to be happy. And I define people pleasing as I must be liked by you to be happy. So I wrote two new chapters in the book. So I edited the book for the tenth anniversary and added two new chapters. And then Oprah invited me on to do two sessions.

“In the last two months, The Purpose Driven Life has sold another quarter of a million copies. So it’s like — here goes another wave. And I intend to use that and my upcoming Daily Hope radio program to recruit people who will go to the mission field to help us do the final frontier the final three-thousand tribes that are yet to hear about Jesus Christ.”

Rick and Oprah

I then asked Warren how Oprah had responded to his classes and he replied, “I was very encouraged by her response because in the second one called ‘What on earth am I here for?’ at one point she kept writing down everything I was saying and that was going up on the screen. At one point she said, ‘My mind is on aha overload.’ She really was very gracious, incredibly gracious, and allowed me to say everything I wanted to with no editing, no cutting, of what I’d said.”

What about Nick Vujicic?

“I told her that I wouldn’t come if I can’t bring Nick on the show because Nick had preached at Saddleback and I told him then, ‘Nick, I want to get you on the Oprah show.’ So I took him with me and when I got there and I saw the run sheet, they had him down for only thirty seconds and I leaned over and I said to him, ‘Nick, you take as long as you want because they can always cut me. I’m not that important. I want your message to get out.’

Nick Vujicic being greeted by Oprah as he ‘climbs’ the steps to the stage

“Then, there was one of the classic moments in TV history — that one two punch of what I was teaching – as Nick took the five points that I’d just taught and jumped up five steps to the stage and reinforced it. It was amazing and the four-thousand people in the audience went crazy.”

That was not surprising, and there was hardly a dry eye in the center as Vujicic told them, “In my life, I know that God didn’t give me this pain, but what the enemy tried to use for bad, He turned into good. When you have the incredible power of faith in action, nothing holds you back.”

He also thanked his parents for not giving up on him when he was born so different from other children, and being there for him every step of the way. “They always said ‘You can either be angry for what you don’t have, or be thankful for what you do have. Do your best and God will do the rest.’ Because I gave my life to the Lord Jesus Christ, and the renewing of my mind, I knew that I could be unstoppable.”

Vujicic then got up on the stage and embraced Winfrey with a hug.

Rick Warren may have his critics, but there are few Christian leaders today that have been able to share the Gospel in such an open way to untold millions through an appearance on Oprah’s show, and then bring on someone like the inspiring Nick Vujicic to also reinforce the Good News in such a powerful way.


Dan Wooding, 72, who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, is an award winning British journalist now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for 49 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. He is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS) and he hosts the weekly “Front Page Radio” show on the KWVE Radio Network in Southern California and which is also carried throughout the United States and around the world. Besides this, Wooding is a host for His Channel Live, which is carried via the Internet to some 192 countries. Dan recently received two top media awards — the “Passion for the Persecuted” award from Open Doors US, and as one of the top “Newsmakers of 2011” from Plain Truth magazine. He is the author of some 45 books, the latest of which is “Caped Crusader: Rick Wakeman in the 1970s.” To order a copy, go to: Caped Crusader – Amazon

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Featured Image: StreetSense_DC via Photopin, CC

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