Rick Warren Offers Inspiration for 2007

ByABC News via GMA logo
December 29, 2006, 7:50 AM

Dec. 29, 2006 — -- With the war in Iraq and the threat of terrorism, these are times that leave many Americans shaken.

Rick Warren, pastor of California's Saddleback Church and author of the hugely popular book "The Purpose Driven Life," visited "Good Morning America" to offer encouragement as the new year approaches.

A recent poll conducted by ABC News and The Washington Post showed that 55 percent of Americans were optimistic about 2007. Though that means nearly half of the country doesn't have high hopes for the new year, Warren believes faith is still possible.

"I see a difference between optimism and faith, and optimism and hope. Faith is, 'Even though it looks bad, I believe it's going to be good because I believe in something greater than myself,'" he said.

Warren said the first step to calming tensions around the world in 2007 was to find peace at home.

"You're never going to have world peace until you have national peace, but you're not going to have national peace until you have peace in communities, peace in families, and peace in your heart," he said.

"I think what faith and God does is it changes people on the inside to make them more loving and generous."

As to this year's church scandal involving the Rev. Ted Haggard, who resigned from his post at the National Association of Evangelicals surrounding allegations of illicit sex and drug abuse, Warren said scandal shouldn't deter Americans from religion.

"If I have a bad meal, do I give up eating? Of course not. If I see a bad politician, do I stop voting? Of course not. If I see a scandal in a minister's life, do I give up religion? Of course not," he said.

Warren believes the new year will be one filled with kindness. He encourages Americans to embrace religion to live life to the fullest.

"I see a trend of growing generosity," he said. "Turn to God who can give your life meaning and purpose."