Archives For Rick Warren

Some Bible verses are so clear that their simple truth is undeniable, such as Hebrews 11:6 which says, “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.” (NLT)

In case you missed the deep, hidden meaning of the phrase “it is impossible to please God without faith” let me state it clearly. It is impossible to please God without faith. In other words, God has spelled out for us the kind of life that He finds pleasing. It’s not a life of achievement or good works or religiosity. It’s a life of faith. And if our primary motivation for ministry is pleasing God, then we need a ministry of faith.

The fact is, ministry is too unpredictable to be motivated by security. It’s too unprofitable to be motivated by money. It’s too demanding to be motivated by pleasure, and it’s too criticized to be motivated by fame. Our ministry should be motivated by the pleasure of…

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Hot Sun

There comes a point in every great work when you will begin to get tired, disillusioned, and discouraged. Fatigue at the halfway point of anything worthy of your dedication is inevitable. This is true for pastors and church leaders, especially in August.

I’ve noticed that about half way through the year I always tend to get a little lethargic and down. Part of it is the warm weather. Part of it is the fact that everyone is on vacation. And Part of it is just calming down after the big springtime push for growth and health in our churches.

In August, or at any point you feel that sense of fatigue and discouragement, remember these things.

1. Feelings are unreliable.

 “Like an open city with no defenses  is the man with no check on his feelings.” Pr.25:28 (NAB)

“Trust wholeheartedly in God; put no faith in your own perception.”  Pr. 3:5 (NJB)

Feelings come from a variety of sources: past, present, & future. Our feelings often lie to us and give us a false sense of reality. The Bible describes life as a mixture of conflicting emotions.

If we’re going to be effective over the long haul, we…

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Preaching On the Street

God has a purpose for everything. The Bible says in Proverbs 19:21, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Pr. 19:21 (NIV) God has a specific purpose for preaching, and His purpose is far more important than your purpose or my purpose for preaching.

One of the greatest problems in our churches is purposeless preaching. So many sermons are made up of many words in search of a purpose. Each weekend, 55 million people listen to 1 billion words in sermons given in America alone. Yet research shows that the biggest complaint people have is that sermons are boring and don’t relate to their lives. 

If the purpose of preaching isn’t clear to the preacher, it won’t be to the listeners! My friend Charles Swindoll says, “If there’s a mist in the pulpit, there’s a fog in the pew!” Without a clear purpose, preaching is a misuse of the Bible, a waste of time to the people, and a frustration to the preacher.

Every preacher ought to have a solid theology of preaching so that we understand why we’re doing what we’re doing every weekend….

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Healthy Small GroupSaddleback Church might seem like a large church on Sunday, but what’s really amazing is that we’re actually larger when we’re smaller. We’re larger during the week. On a recent weekend at Saddleback, we had over 25,000 people gathering on our campuses in southern California for weekend worship services, but there were about 35,000 who met in small groups from Santa Monica to San Diego.

Our model for ministry isn’t found in the list of largest or fastest-growing churches on earth. Our model for ministry is actually the very first church in the Bible. In Acts 5:42 it says this “The first church met day after day in the temple courts and from house to house.” We come together on the weekends for a large group gathering of everyone in the congregation. And then we scatter all week long for small group gatherings from house to house.

This matters a great deal if you want to see lives transformed. On the weekends, people come together and experience God’s powerful presence, hear teaching from the pulpit, and serve others within the life of the church. But it’s during the week, in small groups, that…

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Other LeadersIn my previous article I argued that “Everyone has influence. We all influence someone.” And that God expects us to be good stewards of that influence. And I defined a “kingdom builder” as one who as a great purpose to live for, great principles to live by, great power to live on, and great people to live with. I shared the first half of a dozen scriptural principles about influence:

  1. Everybody has influence.
  2. God expects me to use the influence He’s given me.
  3. My influence is for the benefit of others.
  4. If I’m not influencing them, they’re influencing me.
  5. The purpose of influence is to speak up for those that have no influence.
  6. I will answer to God for how I used my influence.

I want to share the other six principles of influence today.

7.  If I use my influence well, God will give me more.

In Matthew 25, Jesus told a parable about the stewardship of influence in which a ruler had left several stewards in charge of different amounts of money. When he returned and found that two of the three had earned an increase on the money he told them each,…

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Growing InfluenceEveryone has influence. We all influence someone. And God expects us to be good stewards of that influence for His kingdom’s sake. He didn’t give us our influence for selfish purposes on our part, but so that we might share the good news about him – so that we could be Kingdom builders.

What exactly is a “kingdom builder?” It’s someone who has…

  • A great purpose to live for. And for the Christian, we have the greatest purpose of all – to rescue people for eternity through Jesus. Kingdom builders demonstrate a great commitment to the Great Commission and the Great Commandment.
  • Great principles to live by. A Kingdom builder is one who has a different source from which to draw wisdom – God’s eternal truth revealed in the Bible.
  • Great power to live on. A Kingdom builder operates in a different power that the rest of the world – the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit who offers guidance every step of the way.
  • Great people to live with. A Kingdom builder gathers with God’s people and joins up with a small group for encouragement and accountability.

There are at least a dozen principles we…

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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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