Archives For Rick Warren

Nothing thrills a Pastor more than seeing real transformation happen in the lives of people. We want to see people grow up and become completely mature – completely like Jesus Christ. Another word for this is sanctification, and sanctification always begins as God’s Spirit uses God’s truth to change the mind, heart, and will of His follower.

Jesus prayed to the father in John 17:17, “Use the truth to make them complete. Your Word is truth.” Transformation is change, and change happens as we apply God’s truth to every area of our lives. The first responsibility of Pastors and shepherds is to preach God’s truth, which transforms the lives of our hearers into the image of Jesus Christ.

One of the primary marks of spiritual immaturity is when other people can easily sway us away from the truth. Not knowing the truth of God’s Word causes us to change our beliefs back and forth, repeatedly, which creates an unstable life. Paul said in Ephesians 4:14-15 that when we…

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Never Persuasive When AbrasiveYou can’t lead a church, evangelize a community, or do business without communicating. And the better you become as a communicator, the better you become as a leader, and the better the team you lead becomes as a result. That means to get ahead you’ve got to continually work on your communication skills. Probably 75% of the problems we face, at home, at work, and at church are related to poor communication with family members, church members, your clients, or your coworkers. Poor communication is also the most frequently mentioned problem in marriage counseling.

Here are three things you must give up in order to grow as a communicator. As you lead…

Give Up Your Assumptions

We get into trouble when we start assuming we understand the meaning of what people say to us. The truth is – everything you hear goes through a filter. Your filter is determined by your past experiences and your unique personality. You may not be hearing what they are really saying. Therefore, it’s smart (and safe) to ask for clarification. There are 6 possible messages every…

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Character CharismaAll leadership is built on two things – character and competence. Those are the twin values of leadership. Charisma is optional. Some of the most charismatic people of the twentieth century were also the worst. Hitler, Mao, and Marx and Mussolini were all charismatic. Charisma has absolutely nothing to do with leadership. If you possess it, it’s merely a bonus and, if you allow it, it can actually get you into a lot of trouble. Real leadership is built on character and competence.

The Bible says in 1 Timothy 3:8-10 (GN), “Church leaders must be of good character and sincere. They should be tested first and then if they pass the test they should serve.”

One of the realities that has burdened me is the number of young leaders I see starting or moving into established churches who have tremendous talent and charisma, but who often lack the grounding of character. So in the last few years, I’ve been mentoring and teaching young leaders and addressing the need to put down roots and grow deep in the soil of God’s Word and in the history of the church. And for thirty…

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Depressed

I wrote last week about four big mistakes that lead to ministry burnout. One thing I love about the Bible is that it doesn’t just give us the causes of our problems in life. It gives us cures. When Elijah faced burnout in his ministry, God helped him do four things that are just as applicable to our lives today as they were in Elijah’s era.

If you are discouraged and on the verge of burnout, you’re depressed, or you’ve got the “blah’s”, and you want to be like Elijah and just run away from the responsibilities in your life, then you need to do these four things.

Step #1: Rest your body.

Relax. Take care of your physical needs. That’s the first thing you do when you’re getting emotionally burned out. When Elijah was at the point of burnout, the Bible says, “Then Elijah lay down under the tree and he fell asleep. All at once after a while the angel touched him and said, ‘Get up and eat’ and he looked around and by his head there was a cake of bread baked and hot coals…

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Coffee Cup

One of the issues that we sometimes address here at pastors.com is the issue of ministry burnout. And when we do address it, the responses are overwhelming. It’s a big issue. Why do so many Pastors burn out in ministry? It’s because of faulty thinking. Our thinking controls our emotions and our emotions control the way we act.

The problem is, when we’re at an emotional low, we typically make four common mistakes. Next week I want to talk about how to overcome these emotions and prevent burnout, but today I want you to become aware of four of the most threatening internal causes of burnout in ministry.

Mistake #1: We focus on our feelings rather than the facts.

Emotional reasoning is dangerous. Emotional reasoning says, “If I feel it, it must be so.” If I feel like a failure, I am a failure. If I don’t feel close to God, I must not be close to God. If I feel like a lousy pastor, I must be a lousy pastor. The fact is, feelings are not always facts. Your feelings will tell you that you’re helpless and hopeless, but those feelings aren’t rooted in truth.

Mistake…

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Piggy Bank

Should Pastors ever talk about money? Only if you want to make disciples. What we worship shows in how we spend our time, our energy, and our money. So one of the roles of church leaders is to help people see the proper place of money in our lives and the potential reward in eternity when we invest our resources into eternal things.

The Bible says in 1 Timothy 6:18-19, “Tell people to use their money to do good.  They should be rich in good works and should give happily to those in need, always being ready to share whatever God has given them.  By doing this they’ll be storing up real treasure for themselves in heaven.  It is the only safe investment for eternity and they will be living a fruitful Christian life down here as well.” 

Notice three things:

  • Money should be used, not loved. We should love people and use money and never use people and love money.
  • Money can be invested to store up treasures for eternity.
  • You invest in eternity by using your money for God’s purposes for your life.

Since God has five purposes for your life, He also…

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Believe

The real foundation of great leadership is character, not charisma. And one aspect of a leader’s character is the convictions to which he is deeply committed. Great leaders have strongly held beliefs. An opinion is something you’d argue about; a conviction is something you’d die for. Pastors, especially, must define the convictions for which they will endure every kind of hardship, and the only way to stand for those kinds of convictions is to live from a deep sense of God’s calling.

If God has called you to the task of leadership, nothing can stop you. Your identity rests in your relationship with Him, not the approval of the people you are leading or the watching world around you. Instead of living in the comparison trap or the fear of what people will think, you must develop your convictions – theological, ethical, and practical – and stand by them.

Believe in advance that your convictions will be tested from at least eight angles…

1. Derision. When you’re in leadership, one of the first ways people will try to get you to deny your conviction is to make fun of you. Your convictions may very well…

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Rick and Kay

I received a letter once from a lady who was struggling in her marriage. She wrote,

Dear Pastor Rick, When I first fell in love with my husband I was sure, absolutely sure that he was the right person for me. But over the years as we’ve lived together through a lot of messy situations, I’ve seen many sides of my husband that I don’t like. My feelings toward him have turned from respect and attraction to disappointment and sometimes even disgust. I now feel like maybe I married the wrong person. Why do I feel this way and what can I do about it? Something has to change.”

Because you’re in ministry, you know that this story is all too common. But having mentored and trained thousands of pastors, I can also say that it’s all to common among ministry marriages. And one of the reasons why we read about so many moral failures among ministry leaders today is that we’ve failed to keep our marriages strong and to make them the priority over ministry. Success at home is way more important than success in professional or ministry leadership.

The Bible has…

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Rick Warren PreachingI believe that the best model to follow in the history of preaching is Jesus. It isn’t John the Baptist, Paul, or any contemporary speaker alive today. Jesus was THE Master Communicator. The Bible says in Matthew 7:28 that “the crowds were amazed at Jesus’ sermons.” Why? Because both the content and the delivery came straight from the Father. Jesus said in John 12:49, “The Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it.”

When I’m preparing a message, I ask eight questions to help me prepare. The first two are about what to say and the final six are about how to say it.

1. To whom will I be preaching?

Jesus always started with His audience. He even knew their thoughts. So the first question in my mind is about the audience to which I will be speaking, and I try to picture them in my mind. And there are always three ways to get people’s attention with a message.

  • Speak about things people value.
  • Speak about things that are unusual.
  • Speak about things that threaten us.

All three break through the listening barriers that people naturally have. The goal of preaching may be…

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Saddleback Greeting

One of the most important factors for the growth of your church, of any church, of the kingdom for that matter, is how loving we are as Christians. It’s absolutely essential that we lead our churches to be love-filled communities. It’s love that reaches people. You don’t argue people into the kingdom of heaven. You love them into the kingdom of heaven.

How do you have a loving church? Three steps:

1. Accept everybody.

Have you ever been in a church of spiritual snobs? We get it and you don’t. Do you know why people have a hard time accepting others? They confuse acceptance with approval. There’s a big difference between acceptance and approval. You can accept somebody without approving of his lifestyle. He may be doing something totally contrary to the word of God, but you can accept him as a person without approving of the sin he’s involved in.

Romans 15:7 says, “Accept one another just as Christ accepted you.” That’s a start — acceptance. At Saddleback we are trying to cultivate an attitude of acceptance. At Saddleback, we communicate that the church is a hospital for sinners, not a hotel for…

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Easter at Saddleback

As I write this, millions of Christians and church leaders are getting ready for Easter weekend, and it’s a huge opportunity for the church to spring into action to invite and welcome lost people to hear the gospel. And so as we Pastors prepare to preach about the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we desperately need the power of God – the same power that raised Jesus from the dead – to be at work in and through us.

The resurrection of Jesus was the greatest demonstration of the power of God in all of history. Let me explain why.

After Jesus died they put His body in a tomb. But the tombs were different in those days than they are today. Today we put somebody in a coffin and put them in the ground and we cover them up with dirt. In those days they buried people in caves. They often would use it for many, many bodies. It was not just one burial; lots of people would be buried in the cave. So they’d find a cave and they’d build a trench in front of it and they’d…

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Big EasterEaster is one of the two biggest weekends for most churches in terms of attendance. I see this as a great opportunity for evangelism to begin and for a relationship to start between your church and all of the visitors who come that Sunday. You should do everything you can to leverage Easter weekend for growth.

At the same time, it’s important not to ‘put all your eggs in the Easter basket.’ What I mean is, Easter is a great starting point for evangelism, but it’s not the finish line, at least not for a purpose driven church. In our culture, it usually takes multiple exposures to the gospel for someone to make a decision to follow Jesus. Let me explain.

Give People More Than One WEEK

Many churches offer a come-forward invitation, which by the way, I used to do myself, Billy Graham, style when I would preach evangelistic crusades. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with altar calls. But often the emphasis is on making a decision in the moment and often there is a…

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