Archives For Rick Warren

“Surrender your heart to God, turn to him in prayer, and give up your sins—even those you do in secret. Then you won’t be ashamed; you will be confident and fearless. Your troubles will go away like water beneath a bridge, and your darkest night will be brighter than noon. You will rest safe and secure, filled with hope and emptied of worry.”

Job 11:13-18 (CEV)

How can you learn to live in God’s love so that you can live free of fear? You have to surrender your heart to God every day. 

Each morning, before your feet hit the floor, pray, “God, before I even start this day, I surrender my emotions to you. I want you to be Lord of my feelings. I want you to control my mind. I surrender my heart to you. I want you to fill me with your love.” 

There are three commands and eight promises in today’s Scripture. God says if you do this, then he’ll do that. When you follow his commands, God will follow through on his promises. 

God gives three commands to follow:…

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If you’re like most pastors, you are tired. Exhausted may be more like it. One survey said that 84 percent of all pastors say they are on call 24/7.

If that’s you, you need to know it is unsustainable. It’s also why I have urged pastors for years to create margin in their lives. 

What is margin? Margin is the space between your load and your limits. 

We all have limits. You may be a pastor—but you’re not God. You’re not invincible. 

Sadly, as human beings we’re not very adept at recognizing those limits. We constantly overestimate our abilities and underestimate obstacles and how much time it will take to do something.

On top of that, we live in a culture that constantly tells pastors, “You can do it all! You can have it all! You can be whatever you want!” 

But it’s not true. You can be all that God wants you to be, but you cannot be whatever you want to be. There are limits in your life.

Understanding those limits…

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We all need renewal from time to time. As pastors, just like anyone else, our spiritual lives can grow stagnant and plateau. 

The good news is we get to experience Easter—we get to celebrate resurrection—every day, not just on the holiday. Paul tells us renewal is a daily practice. “Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16 NIV).

Pastor, we need that kind of renewal every single day. A stale pastor can’t lead a growing church. 

The Bible repeatedly tells us to examine ourselves. In 1 Corinthians, it says, “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13 NIV).

What does that mean?

To experience daily spiritual renewal, we need to be looking at the gauges of our lives—alert to what could devastate us in any area. A car has multiple gauges. A battery gauge tells us if there isn’t enough energy in the battery. A gas tank gauge tells us whether we have enough gas. If any of…

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Your mental health is a critical part of your effectiveness in ministry. But it’s easy to think that your problems have more to do with your circumstances—a lack of resources, spiritual apathy in your church and community, or a personal struggle you’re facing—and less to do with how you think.

But the truth is, God is far more interested in changing your mind than your circumstances. We want God to change our circumstances and take away the pain and sorrow around us. Those issues are important, but God wants to first deal with what’s going on in you.

Paul tells us, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:2 NLT).

Nothing will change in your life or your ministry unless you change how you think. 

Why is mental health so important?

  • Your thoughts control your life. Every single action begins with a…

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Do you remember the thrill you felt when you first had a relationship with Jesus? Everything was new and exciting. You couldn’t believe what God was doing in your life.  

I see many Christians, even pastors, who start off the Christian life with so much excitement and joy. Then their joy fades.

Life is full of killjoys. Ministry leadership has its own collection of things that rob us of joy. As leaders, we face unfair criticism, loneliness, and fear that get in the way of the joy God wants for us.

Joy is the recurring theme of Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Even as Paul writes from a prison cell, he reiterates it over and over. He knew firsthand the killjoys in ministry because he had faced them, too.

Paul gives us three safeguards to help us protect our joy when we see it fade:

We must resist legalistic attitudes.

Legalism destroys joy in the Christian life more than anything else. Legalism ruins people, families, and even churches. I define legalism as any time we substitute rules and rituals for our relationship with Christ. It…

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Run the Race Together

By Rick Warren

“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—as you see the Day approaching.”

Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV) 

Spiritual growth isn’t a sprint. It’s a marathon. 

If you want to go the distance in your relationship with Jesus, don’t run the marathon alone. No one can run the race for you, but other people can—and should—run the race with you. 

An old African proverb says, “To run fast, run by yourself. But to run far, run with other people.” 

You don’t need 100 people with you. You don’t even need 10. You just need three or four people running with you, supporting you in all God wants to do through your life. 

That’s why you need to be in a small group. You need a handful of people who can spur you on in your spiritual life. You need to be able to spur others on as well. 

Do you know why so many…

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We can’t shepherd our churches until we learn to love people the way Jesus does. 

Jesus is the best model for loving others. That’s why he tells us to do as he does:  “I’m giving you a new commandment: Love each other in the same way that I have loved you” (John 13:34 GW). 

So what can we learn from how Jesus loves others?

  1. We must accept others like Jesus accepts us. 

Followers of Jesus should be the most accepting people in the world. As pastors, we need to lead the way. 

The starting point of accepting others like Jesus does is to truly realize how much God accepts you. You’ve likely preached about it, but you need to truly understand how accepted you are by God.

Jesus tells us unequivocally in John 6:37 that we’re accepted no matter what we’ve done. “The Father gives me the people who are mine. Every one of them will come to me, and I will always accept them” (NCV). 

The truth is, you can be a Jesus-follower…

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You don’t hear much about discipline these days. Most people only want to talk about what’s fun and what feels good.

But discipline is critical for ministry leadership. To be effective in serving Jesus, we need to learn to master our moods, watch our words, restrain our reactions, stick to a schedule, manage our money, and maintain our health.

Successful leaders are often people who will do things that unsuccessful people are unwilling to do. 

So how do you develop the habit of discipline in your life?  

  1. Admit your lack of discipline.

Even Paul, who was incredibly disciplined, struggled at times. But when he did struggle, the Bible says he admitted it: “I do not understand what I do; for I don’t do what I would like to do, but instead I do what I hate. … For even though the desire to do good is in me, I am not able to do it” (Romans 7:15-18 GNT).

Paul couldn’t rationalize his lack of discipline. He recognized his willpower wasn’t enough. No quick fixes were around the corner.Continue Reading

We all need a life objective—a vision of what we believe God wants to do in our lives. Because if we can visualize it, we can accomplish it.

The apostle Paul had a life objective, and he described it in Romans 15:20: “It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation” (NIV). Paul’s objective for his life was to preach where no one else had preached before. 

You need a life objective too. You should have more than a vague idea of what you want to do with your life. You need something written down on paper.

Why is a life objective so important?

  • It reduces frustration. When you know why you exist, it makes the little decisions easier.
  • It increases motivation. When you have defined your purpose clearly, you have a reason to get out of bed. 
  • It allows for concentration. People become successful because they focus on a…

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We all find ourselves in a rut at times. Whether it’s in our relationships, our ministries, or our spiritual lives, we might be just sitting still and not moving toward the goals we’ve set for ourselves.

But the good news is we don’t have to stay in the rut. There is a way out. Throughout the years, I’ve used six specific steps to help myself and others get out of a rut. If you’re in a rut right now in your ministry or you are helping someone in a rut, these six steps will help anyone get out of the rut.

1. Assume responsibility for your own life.

You can divide most people into three categories. Accusers blame everyone else for not moving toward their goals. Excusers justify their failure and rationalize their inaction.

But you want to be a chooser. Choosers accept responsibility for their own happiness. When they make a mistake, they admit it. Proverbs 28:13 says, “If you hide your sins, you will not succeed. If you confess and reject them, you will receive…

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“When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved. After they had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: . . . ‘But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed.’”

Acts 27:20-22 (NIV)

When everything in your life is falling apart, you can trust God’s promises.

The apostle Paul and his shipmates were battered by a storm, and it looked like all hope was lost. God had told Paul they would be safe, so he told the others to take courage and trust God. Paul didn’t place his faith in the ship or the captain. Though Paul knew the storm would destroy the boat, he believed that the promises of God would last.

Paul trusted God’s promises as his anchor.

When you are in a storm, do you put your trust in a puny lifeboat? Maybe you think your personality can get you through. Perhaps your looks have always been the key to your success. Are…

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How God Spells Success

By Rick Warren

God wants you to succeed. He didn’t call you into church leadership to fail in what he created you to do. But here’s the catch—he doesn’t define success like the rest of the world defines it.

The world measures success by how you look, what you have, or who you know. But God says success is measured by who you are—your character.

The apostle Paul is a great example of success in the Bible. He models for us seven attitudes we need to have in our ministries, as shown in the acrostic: SUCCESS.  

1. Sense of direction. “My ambition has always been to preach the Good News where the name of Christ has never been heard, rather than where a church has already been started by someone else” (Romans 15:20 NLT).

You can’t succeed if you don’t know where you are headed. You may have heard the saying, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll probably end up somewhere else.” That’s true in our ministries and in every other area of…

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