By Kate Shellnutt

The bestseller’s buzz has not died down 15 years later.

One of the 40 million copies sold of The Purpose Driven Life ended up in the large, paddle-like hands of Michael Phelps.

In between winning Olympic golds, Phelps made headlines for very different reasons: repeated DUIs, parties and pot, weight gain and rehab. A couple of years ago, fellow athlete and friend Ray Lewis (aka “God’s linebacker”) gave the champion swimmer Rick Warren’s bestseller.

“I basically told him, ‘Okay, everything has a purpose, and now, guess what? It’s time to wake up,’” the former Baltimore Raven said in The Washington Post.

In an ESPN special, Phelps said the book “turned me into believing that there is a power greater than myself and there is a purpose for me on this planet” and “helped me when I was in a place that I needed the most help.” It spurred him to reconcile with his dad.

This summer, the media celebrated 31-year-old Phelps as stronger and more mature than ever; the record-crushing swimmer stayed sober throughout his training and brought along his fiancée and baby son to Olympic competition in Rio. This come-to-Jesus turnaround, as Lewis called it, began with a book that answers the basic question, “Why am I here?” with scriptural truth.

Warren’s words also launched boxer Manny Pacquiao’s conversion.

“He read The Purpose Driven Life and came to Christ,” the Saddleback Church pastor shared in 2012. “He told me, ‘Rick, the first time I read through that book I cried through every chapter.’ And he said, ‘I’ve given it out to everybody who I know.’”

These two top athletes represent just a few of the ways The Purpose Driven Life has reached …