Archives For Rick Warren

I’m often asked, “How can a service be both a worship service and place for seekers to experience Jesus?”

At Saddleback we believe you can have both without compromising either.

When we speak of worship, we are talking about something only believers can do. Worship is from believers to God. We magnify God’s name in worship by expressing our love and commitment to him. Unbelievers simply cannot do this.

Here is the simple definition of worship that we operate on at Saddleback:

“Worship is expressing our love to God for who he is, what he’s said, and what he’s doing.”

We believe there are many appropriate ways to express our love to God: by praying, singing, obeying, trusting, giving, testifying, listening, and responding to his Word, thanking, and many other expressions.

God – not man – is the focus and center of our worship.

God is the consumer of worship

Although unbelievers cannot truly worship, they can watch believers worship. They can observe the joy that we feel. They can see how we value God’s Word and how we respond to it. They can hear how the Bible answers the problems and questions of life. They can notice how…

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Most church conflict results from poor communication. Even your best ideas, plans, or suggestions are worthless if you can’t communicate them effectively. Remember, communication is not automatic. Just because someone hears you say something doesn’t mean they’re really listening.

Fortunately, there are seven skills you can develop that will guarantee people will listen when you speak. Just follow these guidelines from the Bible:

  1. CHOOSE THE RIGHT TIME! Timing is the first key. You may be ready to talk, but are they ready to listen? Never drop a bomb! “There is a right time and a right way to do everything.” Eccl. 8:6 (GN)
  2. PLAN YOUR PRESENTATION. Think it through first. Especially plan your introduction and your supporting illustrations. Don’t start with the detail. In TV they move from the long shot to the medium shot to the close up. “Intelligent people think before they speak. What they say is then more persuasive.” Prov. 16:23 (GN)
  3. BEGIN WITH HIS OR HER NEEDS. A listener is always asking “Why should I listen to this?” and “How will it benefit me?” If you answer those two questions up front, you will have their undivided attention. “Speak only…according…

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God has given every believer, in every one of our churches, a mission – to go into the world and share the Good News about Jesus. Why? Why should we care enough about the people around us to tell them about how to get to Heaven? This can be a difficult concept to teach our congregations. How do we motivate them to take the Good News and share it with others? Here is something that might help.

The Bible – in 2 Corinthians 5:14 – says: “For the love of Christ compels us.” Our love for Jesus motivates us to fulfill our mission.

Everybody matters to God. God has never made a person that he didn’t love. God made some people that I don’t love, and God has made a lot of people that I don’t even like.

But God loves them. The most despicable person you can imagine is still loved by God. And because God cares, we must care.

I once watched a televised interview with Jane Roe – of the famous Roe-v-Wade abortion case. During the interview, she shared that she had become a believer in Jesus Christ. As she told her story, you could hear how her heart had been softened and she’d…

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“Some men arrived carrying a paraplegic on a stretcher. They were looking for a way to get into the house and set him before Jesus. When they couldn’t find a way in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof, removed some tiles, and let him down in the middle of everyone, right in front of Jesus. Impressed by their bold belief, he said, ‘Friend, I forgive your sins.’”(Luke 5:18-20, Msg)

Do you remember the story of the paralytic in Luke 5 – where four men broke through the roof of a synagogue to lower their friend to Jesus? Sometimes it takes something that radical to lead someone to Jesus!

And sometimes it just takes the caring, consistent love of a small group of Christians. How can the small groups in your church become the effective evangelism tools that God wants them to become?

Your church’s small groups must care about people who don’t know Jesus
The reason God used the four friends in Luke 5 is because they cared for the paralytic. Just like those four, the evangelistic mission of your small groups need to start with love. The number one reason Christians…

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Editor’s Note: The following article by Pastor Rick Warren originally ran just after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on American soil. The Ministry Toolbox launched six months prior. These words were on Pastor Rick’s heart as he addressed Saddleback Church and the world’s pastors that fateful week…


The horrific mass murder of innocent Americans leaves all rational people shocked, angry, grief-stricken and numb. Our tears flow freely and our hearts carry a deep ache. How could this happen in our nation?

As mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends, neighbors and coworkers begin to share their stories of the horror, this tragedy will become even more personal. As it becomes more personal, it will become more painful, and as our pain deepens, so will the questions. Why does God allow evil to happen? If God is so great and so good, why does he allow human beings to hurt each other?

The answer lies in both our greatest blessing and our worst curse: our capacity to make choices. God has given us a free will. Made in God’s image, he has given us the freedom to decide how we will act and the ability to make moral…

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Leaders are always defined by self-imposed standards. I’m not talking about standards set by other people, but standards they set for themselves. Great leaders always expect more from themselves than they do from their followers. They put forth more effort as well. That’s leadership.

If you were to look through the New Testament for the phrase “make every effort,” you’d find it six times. They represent six important vows we need to make as leaders. I believe these six vows will lead to an effective and productive ministry.

1) Vow to maintain integrity

“Make every effort to be found spotless, blameless, and at peace with him” (2 Peter 3:14).

God doesn’t expect us to be perfect. No one is perfect. To be spotless and blameless means to live with integrity. How do you maintain integrity if you’re not perfect? You need to be transparent. A person of integrity is not claiming to have it all together in every area. On the contrary, the person of integrity is willing to be open about their strengths and weaknesses.

Having integrity also means living what you say you believe. You model what you teach. And you tell the truth,…

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Did you know that God uses a very predictable process to build your character?  I call it the Six Phases of Faith.  If you don’t understand the process, you’ll get discouraged when problems arise.  You’ll wonder, “Why is this happening to me?”

But if you understand and cooperate with what God is doing – in your life and with your faith – you’ll develop great strength. It’s like stretching a muscle to make it stronger.

God gives you a dream: an idea, goal, or ambition.  Every great accomplishment first begins as a God-given dream in someone’s mind.  “God is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of – infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes.”  Eph. 3:20 (LB)

A dream is worthless until you decide to do something about it.  For every ten dreamers, there’s only one decision-maker.  This is the moment of truth where you decide to invest your time, money, energy, and reputation – and to let go of security.  If you want to walk on water,  you’ve got to get out of the boat!  “You must believe…

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“… Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind … Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Luke 10:27 (NCV)

Cultivating community requires commitment
If you’re tired of fake fellowship and you would like to cultivate real fellowship and a loving community in your small group, Sunday school class, and church, you’ll need to make some tough choices and take some risks.

Cultivating community takes honesty
Real fellowship depends on frankness. In fact, the tunnel of conflict is the passageway to intimacy in any relationship. Until you care enough to confront and resolve the underlying barriers, you will never grow close to each other.

Cultivating community takes humility
Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less. Humility is thinking more of others. Humble people are so focused on serving others, they don’t think of themselves.

Cultivating community takes courtesy
The truth is, we all have quirks and annoying traits. But community has nothing to do with compatibility. The basis for our fellowship is our relationship to God: we are family.

Cultivating community takes confidentiality.
Only in the safe environment of warm acceptance and trusted confidentiality…

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West Angeles Charles Blake

I recently had the privilege of honoring one of America’s great pastors –  a wonderful co-worker in ministry, a powerful force for good in the city of Los Angeles, and dear friend of mine. Bishop Charles Blake has pastored West Angeles Church in the heart of L.A. for forty-six years! That’s what you call “putting down roots” in a congregation and city. There aren’t many pastors who’ve cared for one congregation for that long. (One of my 6 mentors served his church in Dallas for 50 years.)

A big reason why many churches are plateaued and declining is because they change leaders every few years. There’s no way a church can grow healthy and strong if the office of the pastor has a revolving door. What would happen to a family that got a new daddy every 3 or 4 years? The children would have massive trust issues from not knowing who they count on, and all kinds of emotional wounds, including a fear of abandonment, poor self-esteem, and a suspicious attitude in every relationships. When so many pastors move around every few years (or…

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Conflict happens. There’s no avoiding it.

Conflict happens at work, at school, in the home – even in the church! Many people try to ignore conflicts that arise, hoping the situation will just go away. It won’t.

When conflict comes up, you have to deal with it head on. If you’ve got a conflict with those you work with, or in your home or at school, deal with it quickly. Don’t let it fester. It’s a big mistake to think, “Let’s ignore it and hope it will go away.” I can tell you from experience, that doesn’t work. Ignoring conflict does not get rid of it.

Ephesians 4:26-27 (GN) says, If you become angry, do not let your anger lead you into sin and do not stay angry all day. Don’t give the devil a chance. Some people are very surprised when they first read this verse. They ask, “Is it ever right for a Christian to get angry?” Yes. How do I know it’s all right for a Christian to get angry? Well, let me ask you this: Did Jesus ever get angry? Yes. Did Jesus ever sin? No. Evidently there are times when anger…

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It’s been said many times by many different people that everything rises or falls on leadership. I don’t think that’s ever truer than in ministry. Charles McKay, a former professor at California Baptist College, used to tell us if you want to know the temperature of your church, put the thermometer in your mouth. That’s a good statement. You can’t ever take people farther than you are yourself, spiritually or any other way.

I remember when I was interviewed on the Acts television network by Jimmy Allen, and he asked me about starting new churches. He said, “How important is location?” I said it’s very important, the second most important thing. But the most important thing is not location, but leadership in a church. I see churches in great locations that aren’t doing anything and I see churches with good leadership in poor locations doing great things.

Leadership is the key.

You don’t have to be a charismatic leader (in the emotional sense) to be a great leader. Some of the greatest charismatic leaders of this century were also the worst — Stalin, Mao, Hitler. They were all very charismatic people, so personality has nothing to do…

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Simple and Interesting

Don’t miss the first two parts of this series:

Part One: Start with People
Part Two: Get Practical

The crowd loved to listen to Jesus. Mark 12:37 (NCV) says, “The large crowd listened to Jesus with pleasure.” The New International Version says they “listened with delight.”

Some pastors actually think they have failed in their preaching if people enjoy a message. I’ve heard pastors say proudly, “We’re not here to entertain.” If you look up the word “entertain” in a dictionary, you‘ll find this definition: “capturing and holding the attention for an extended period of time.” I don’t know any preacher who doesn’t want to do that! We shouldn’t be afraid of being interesting. A sermon doesn’t have to be dry to be spiritual.

To those outside the church, dull preaching is unforgivable. Truth poorly delivered is ignored. On the other hand, the unchurched will listen to absolute foolishness if it is interesting.

It never ceases to amaze to me how some Bible teachers are able to take the most exciting book in the world and bore people to tears with it. I believe it is a sin to bore people with the Bible.


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