Archives For Rick Warren

Keep Out

Before I started Saddleback church 34 years ago, I spent 12 weeks going door-to-door in our area trying to discover the answers to that important question. The answers I got were not at all what I expected or what I wanted to hear! But over the years, I found these same 4 complaints and excuses still being used by folks who don’t attend any church.

“Church services are boring, especially the sermons. The messages don’t relate to my life. Why should I go? I don’t understand it and it doesn’t really help me.”

In our area, this has been the number one excuse for not attending church. It’s amazing how some pastors are able to take the most exciting book in the world and bore people to tears with it! Miraculously, they’re able to turn bread into stones!

The tragedy of being a boring speaker is that it causes people to think God is boring! So when I heard this first complaint over and over, I determined to somehow learn to communicate God’s Word in a practical, interesting way. I hope I’m getting better at it, because I do everything I can to…

Continue Reading

Candle LightsWhen man landed on the moon, that was big news. It was almost as if the whole world stopped to watch Neil Armstrong’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. But it is nothing compared to the news that God landed on the earth. Jesus Christ is God, and his birth is when God came to Earth.

The Relevance of Christmas: God Came to Earth

Jesus “always had the nature of God …” (Philippians 2:6 TEV) Jesus was God, and he came to live among us for a while (John 1). That is the relevance of Christmas.

Jesus didn’t start in the stable. He existed even before Creation. The preeminence of Christ is explained in Colossians, where we are told he is the exact likeness of the unseen God, he existed before anything else, and, in truth, he is the Creator who made everything in Heaven and on Earth (Colossians 1:15-16).

We may have a hard time relating to a vague being in the sky, but Jesus is God in the flesh. The Bible says if you’ve seen Jesus, you’ve seen God (John 1). If Jesus really is God and God…

Continue Reading

Turkey“Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4 NLT)

When the Apostle Paul says, “Always be full of joy in the Lord,” he doesn’t say to only be joyful in good times. Even when times are tough, the Bible teaches we can be joyful if we follow this simple strategy:

Don’t worry about anything.Worrying doesn’t change anything. It’s stewing without doing. There are no such things as born-worriers. Worry is a learned response. You learned it from your parents. You learned it from your peers. You learned it from experience. That’s good news: The fact that worry is learned means it can also be unlearned.

How do you unlearn it? Jesus says in Matthew 6:34, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (NIV). He’s saying don’t open your umbrella until it starts raining. Live one day at a time.

Pray about everything. Instead of worrying, use your time for praying. If you prayed as much as you worried, you’d have a lot less to worry about. Is God interested in car payments? Yes. He’s interested in every…

Continue Reading

Marriage

Whatever state you’re in – married, single, divorced, or widowed – the Bible commands everyone to honor marriage. The Bible says in Hebrews 13:4, “Marriage should be honored by everyone.” Everyone, married or not, should honor earth’s oldest institution.

Sadly marriage is no longer honored by everyone in our society. Today, marriage is dismissed as irrelevant by many people. It’s demeaned by many people. People are delaying marriage more and more – many times for the wrong reasons. And marriage is being redefined. It’s being ridiculed. It’s being demeaned. It’s being denounced. It’s being discouraged. Marriage is disrespected.

Part of the problem is that nobody knows the basics of marriage any more. God gave us marriage and He expects the church to stand for it and to support it. Most people don’t know why marriage matters. As we teach from the Scriptures about marriage, there are at least six divine purposes for marriage to communicate.

1. God gave marriage for the connection of men and women.

First Corinthians 11:11 says, “In God’s plan men and women need each other.”

God wired it this way. God thought up gender. God thought up sex. What a God! And God thought up marriage. The Bible…

Continue Reading

Bubbles

Churches must grow larger and smaller at the same time. The larger a church gets, the more intentional it has to be about being smaller, and small groups are the ideal way to create micro-communities within the larger church family. Every congregation is a fellowship of fellowships, a combination of associations, interest groups, and constituencies.

Last week, I shared with you the first five of ten building blocks for biblical community. In this second part, I’m sharing the other five.

6. Humility

This is key because next to fear, pride destroys relationships more quickly than anything else. That’s why 1 Peter 5:5 is so important for us as believers. “…clothe yourself with humility towards one another…” Humility means being honest about my weaknesses because I have them. Humility is being willing to admit it when I’ve made a mistake because we all do. Humility enables us to say the four most difficult words, “I need your help.” The three most difficult words, “I was wrong.” The two most difficult words, “Forgive me.”

7. Honesty

Most people don’t have anyone in their lives who loves them enough to be honest with them, to be frank with them, to tell them…

Continue Reading

Blocks

What the public generally knows about Saddleback Church is that we have a large weekend attendance, but what the outside world doesn’t realize is that the strength of Saddleback is really in our small groups. The press reports what happens on Sunday, but they can’t see what happens all week long. The fact is, more people are involved in small groups at Saddleback than attend the weekend services.

Small groups are extremely important at Saddleback because we believe so strongly in the power of community. Community is a bit of a buzz word in today’s church culture, and I think that’s a good thing. We need to understand it. It’s really a modern term for an ancient word – fellowship. The Greek word for fellowship in the Bible is the word koinonia. And koinonia means being as committed to each other as we are to Jesus Christ.

At Saddleback, we talk a lot about the building blocks of biblical community, and there are at least ten of them. Here are the first five…

1. Frequency

In fellowship we meet together often. It’s not an every once in a while. It’s quite frequent. The Bible tells us in Hebrews 10:25…

Continue Reading

Christmas BokehOne of the secrets of growth at Saddleback Church is that we usespecial days as an evangelism tool and to keep our members motivated toward the growth of our congregation. In a sense, Saddleback Church was built around three days each year: Easter, Christmas, and Mother’s Day.

Here are some reasons we plan for growth during Christmas:

Christmas attracts the community. You are well aware that many people who normally never come to church will come for Christmas services or Christmas presentations. In addition, your whole community is immersed in Christmas, and many people are more prepared to hear the Gospel than at other times of the year.

Christmas encourages members to bring relatives and friends. Christmas is a perfect time to make a first impression. If your relatives wonder where you’re going to church and you bring them to church on the biggest Sunday of the year, they’ll catch the excitement of the congregation. Your members will find it easier to invite family and friends to church at Christmas than any other time of the year.

Christmas enlarges the vision of your members. This is a time to help your congregation catch a vision…

Continue Reading

Rick Warren's Library

If you’ve ever been to Israel, you know there’s a real contrast between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. The Sea of Galilee is full of water and full of life. There are trees and vegetation. They still do commercial fishing there. But the Dead Sea is just that – dead. There are no fish in it and no life around it. The Sea of Galilee is at the top of Israel and receives waters from the mountains of Lebanon. They all come into the top of it and then it gives out at the bottom. That water flows down through the Jordan River and enters into the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea takes in but it never gives out. That’s why it’s stagnant. The point is, there must be a balance in our lives to stay fresh with both input and output. There’s got to be an inflow and an outflow.

Somebody has said, “When your output exceeds your income your upkeep will be your downfall.” There must be a balance. Most Christians get too much input and not enough output. They attend Bible study after Bible study. They’re…

Continue Reading

TargetGod is more concerned with your progress than your perfect performance. The very nature of discipleship is progressive. God’s purpose is that you become more and more like His Son, Jesus, and He will use your entire life to work that process out. As ministry leaders, we are not exceptions. We are examples. If we aren’t growing and challenging ourselves to move to the next level, personally and professionally, we can’t lead a congregation or a team to do so.

Excellence, in and of itself, isn’t a core value at our church. We’d rather launch things imperfectly than wait for perfect conditions, which never really arrive. Having said that, excelling or growing and improving is another matter. While we don’t have to have reached perfection to serve God, we must be willing to grow. Some Pastors and leaders excel and grow, while others don’t. What makes the difference? The Bible mentions at least five factors that cause us to excel…

1. People who excel work with enthusiasm.

Emerson once said “Nothing great has ever been accomplished without enthusiasm.” Regardless of whether the job is big or small, give it your best. Great performers give their…

Continue Reading

PrayingYou’ll never have to earn God’s favor. God loves you and is pleased with you completely because of grace and not because of your performance. People, on the other hand, are a little different. If you want to lead people, you must establish credibility and earn the respect and the right to lead them.

Leadership is influence. The way you can tell you’re a leader is to look over your shoulder. If somebody’s following, then you’re the leader. If nobody’s following, you’re not the leader. The moment you have to say to the people in your ministry, “I’m the leader!” you are no longer the leader. Leadership is something that is earned. You earn the right to lead through six character qualities in your life.

1 Timothy 3:1, 7 says, “If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task… He also must have a good reputation with outsiders so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.”

If you set your heart on being an overseer, that’s a good ambition. It’s okay to have an ambition to be a leader. But if you’re going to be…

Continue Reading

24 Hours of Hope Header

Sometimes, the pain in your brain is the worst kind of pain.

When your mind gets sick, it’s easy to be overwhelmed with painful thoughts like panic, or anxiety, or rage, or compulsive ideas that you can’t get out of your mind. Mental pain can lead to despair and even thoughts of ending your life.

THE GOOD NEWS IS
YOU’RE NOT ALONE AND THERE IS HOPE!

That’s why I urge you to join me this Friday, October 10, for 24 HOURS OF HOPE, A FREE, GLOBAL ONLINE SIMULCAST.

Watch this special message from Kay and me…

Because “mental” illness is so misunderstood, it is often stigmatized as strange or different or shameful. So we hide our hurt and suffer in silence, thinking we are “odd” or “not normal.”  But the truth is, illnesses of the brain are as common as illnesses of any other organ.

Today, one out of four adults in America is affected by a mental illness at some point in their lives. That means you know and love family, friends, and co-workers who are struggling with some type of mental illness. You may be struggling, too.

BECAUSE …

Don't FallOne of my gravest concerns about the witness of the church to our current culture is the threat to our evangelistic integrity caused by moral failures among ministry leaders. Every time a leader falls, we all suffer with that leader and his family and friends. And our collective witness to God’s truth suffers as well. For Jesus’ sake, for the gospel’s sake, for your sake and your family’s sake, decide daily that you’re going to live with integrity by God’s grace.

I Corinthians 10:13 in the Living Bible says, “The wrong desires that come into your life aren’t anything new and different. Many others have faced exactly the same problems before you. And no temptation is irresistible. God will show you how to escape.” I find this verse incredibly reassuring. First, it says everybody faces temptation. It’s man’s oldest problem, since Adam and Eve. We’ve all had problems with temptation. I’m tempted, you’re tempted. It’s not a sin to be tempted. It is a sin to give in to temptation. And God will provide a way out, a way of escape.

Here are six ways to take that escape, to avoid fatal attractions…

Make a…

Continue Reading