Archives For Rick Warren

Four Habits for Building Healthy Relationships

You can’t have an effective ministry without strong relationships. Your ministry is only as successful as your relationships.

Relationships are the key to a happy life—and a happy ministry. In fact, one of the most important lessons we can learn in our ministries isn’t how to preach better or draw a bigger crowd. It’s how to love people.

Paul understood this. When he wrote his most joyful letter in the Bible—the book of Philippians—he modeled four relational habits that will make our relationships happier and more enjoyable.

We must be grateful for the people in our lives. 

Study after study has shown that gratitude is tied to happiness. Happy relationships start with gratitude. 

But gratitude doesn’t come naturally to our relationships. We usually think first about what the other person can do for us. But that’s not where Paul began. He wrote in Philippians 1:3, “Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God” (NLT).

Paul didn’t have a smooth experience when he started the church in Philippi. In fact, it was one…

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7 Stress-Busting Habits to Transform Your Year

It’s no secret that the last two years have been stressful for pastors. One LifeWay Research study in 2021 found that nearly two-thirds of pastors say they’re frequently overwhelmed.

If that’s you, you’re not alone. 

But it’s important that you deal with your stress now rather than later. Your well-being depends on it. Psalm 23 provides us with a tremendous blueprint for reducing stress. In the Psalm, David outlines seven stress-busting habits that will make us happier and healthier.

1. Depend on God to meet your needs. “The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need” (Psalm 23:1 NLT).

It’s easy to put your trust in other people to meet your needs—your spouse, your congregation, your friends, and so on.

But that’s also a constant source of stress. We should never base our security on something that can be taken away from us. When you realize God will meet every one of your needs, it calms you down. He will never disappoint you, either.

2. Obey God’s instructions…

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7 Benefits of Praising God

As Christ-followers, we build many important spiritual habits into our lives—including prayer, Bible reading, gratitude, and so on. All of them will play a critical role in our spiritual journeys in 2022.

But we must not forget the habit of praising God. It’s particularly important when we’re struggling. 

What makes praise so important for you and for those you lead? Here are seven reasons the habit of praising God is vital for you and those you lead in 2022.

Praise lifts your spirit. 

Psalm 42:5-6 says: “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and my God! Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember you” (NLT).

There’s no doubt we have a lot in our world today to be discouraged about. But Psalm 42 reminds us to both praise God and remember what he has done in our lives when we’re down.

The world is looking for hope. As Jesus-followers, we know the only real reason for hope. That’s why…

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Why Planning Your Preaching Matters

You can easily tell the difference between a well-prepared meal and one that was just thrown together at the last minute. 

If you eat all your meals at fast-food restaurants, you likely won’t be healthy. The same is true if you feed your church fast-food sermons. You can’t grow a healthy church on sermons you don’t prepare with care. When you skimp on sermon preparation, your church gets cheated. 

That’s why sermon planning is so important. I know many pastors who don’t plan their preaching at all. They wake up every Monday morning asking themselves, “What am I going to preach on this week?”

Some pastors don’t plan because they believe spirituality and spontaneity go together. There’s a constant tension between the human and the divine in what God does through people, whether it’s preaching or something else.

When it comes to planning, we need to depend upon the Holy Spirit. We need to be willing to throw everything out if the Holy Spirit tells us to do so. Our sermons must be about God’s agenda, not ours. 

Yet planning…

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Who Is Your Provider?

By Rick Warren

Who Is Your Provider?

“My cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life.”

Psalm 23:5-6 (NIV)

Is your focus on what you can provide or on what God can provide?

Even though he was walking through difficult times, David was able to be thankful for God’s goodness and love because his cup was overflowing. God was his Provider, so David had more than he needed.

As you walk through the different seasons of life, you can choose between two different attitudes. You can have a shortage mindset or a surplus mindset.

With a shortage mindset, you constantly think, “I don’t have enough time. I don’t have enough money. I don’t have enough energy. I don’t have enough contacts, opportunities, knowledge, or education.” It’s the sense that you’re always a day late and a dollar short.

A shortage mindset focuses on your limited resources, and the result is an overwhelmed life.

A surplus mindset focuses on God’s limitless resources, and the result is an overflowing life. He wants to meet all your needs—beyond what you can imagine—and he’s the only one who can! Have you ever worried that…

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Five Kinds of Goals God Blesses

As you look ahead, I hope you’ve already penciled in some goals to pursue over the next 12 months. January is a great month to rethink your priorities and refocus on what really matters. 

In my last Ministry Toolbox article, I shared with you five reasons goals are important. But that doesn’t mean every goal is good. There are some goals God won’t bless. For example, you could set a goal to watch every television episode this year, and it’s likely God won’t bless that kind of goal.

On the other hand, God blesses goals that honor him. What are those goals?

Goals that bring glory to God.

The Bible tells us everything we do can bring glory to God if we do it in the right attitude and with the right motivation (1 Corinthians 10:31). Any goal that makes us more grateful to God, draws us closer to him, or involves sharing Jesus with others brings God glory.

This means the same goal can be one God blesses and one he doesn’t, depending upon the motivation behind it. If…

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Why You Need Goals in 2022

Most of the people in our congregations are stepping into 2022 hoping it will be better than 2021. Many have already identified specific changes they want to make in their lives. They want to get healthier, heal their marriage, or get serious about their spiritual growth. 

But despite their best intentions, many of those changes will fizzle out. 

That’s where goals come in. It’s critical that you have a vision for what God wants to do in your life. You have to see the goal before you can reach the goal. But once you’ve seen it, you must believe you can achieve it. That’s where your faith in God comes in.

A few years back, I asked a world-famous psychologist, “In all of your work over the years, what has been the most helpful thing you’ve given to people that has made a difference in their lives as they were seeking change?” 

His answer was surprising. 

“There’s no question about it,” he said. “I’ve discovered the most helpful thing I can do for people in a personal or relational…

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It’s no secret that people look to make changes in their lives at the beginning of the year. It’s a time when people get back into fitness, get their finances under control, and get serious about their spiritual lives.

But too often these changes don’t stick. As a church leader, you’ve likely seen it many times before. You’ve probably even experienced it yourself, knowing that lasting change isn’t possible without going back to the operating manual of our lives—God’s Word. 

Romans 12:1-11 gives us six important principles for making a lasting change in our lives.

We must commit our bodies to God. 

No matter what kind of change we want to make in our lives—mental, physical, financial, spiritual, or social—it will require energy. The reason we don’t change is because we have no energy. The truth is, sometimes we’re just too tired to change. That’s why change must start with our bodies.

Everything you do for God in this life, you’ll do in your body. In fact, God says to offer your body to him. Romans 12:1 says, “Therefore, I urge you,…

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Five Steps to a Fresh START

Our God is the God of second chances and fresh starts.

Pastor, as you head into 2022, you may be ready to let go of a dream or a vision that God has given you. But don’t give up, because the year ahead is another opportunity to pursue the dream God has given you.

God’s Word gives us five simple steps for seizing the fresh start he wants to give us. I’ve created an acrostic, S-T-A-R-T, to help us remember these steps as we try to apply them in 2022.

Stop making excuses for not starting.

The biggest barriers to your success are your own excuses. God has a lot to say about your excuses. Just look at the four most common excuses we make when giving up on a dream. 

  • “I don’t have what it takes to go after my dream.” Many people in the Bible tried making this excuse, including Moses, Jeremiah, and Gideon. But God reminded each one that he is with them as they fulfill his calling for their lives. And God’s answer to your insecurity is to also…

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Sharing Jesus With the Lost This Christmas

I’ve preached well over 100 Christmas messages during my 40 years as pastor of Saddleback Church. We’ve looked at Christmas from every possible angle. We’ve looked at it from the perspective of Mary, Joseph, the wise men—and even God himself. We’ve studied Christmas from the vantage point of the shepherds, the innkeeper, and King Herod.

You’ve probably preached Christmas messages from a variety of angles as well. But the most important perspective our communities need to understand is the purpose of Christmas.

To preach all the intricacies of Jesus’ birth but miss the purpose of Christmas is to miss the point entirely. If you ignore the reason for Christmas, you might as well take down your Christmas lights, forget about your Christmas cards, and cancel your Christmas services.

Luke 19:10 tells us exactly why Jesus’ birth matters so much: “For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost” (NLT). And as you and your church proclaim the Christmas story this holiday season, nothing matters more than that simple message. Luke 19:10…

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“A person without self-control is as defenseless as a city with broken-down walls.”

Proverbs 25:28 (NLT)

Anything that’s uncontrolled will eventually destroy you.

In today’s society, it’s obvious we don’t know how to handle anger. We live in a fast-paced, hectic world where people get stressed out. We’re always on the go and trying to burn the candle at both ends.

Anger is not a sin; if you read the Gospels you will see that Jesus got angry. What’s important is how you express your anger. If you don’t learn how to manage it wisely, it will destroy you and your relationships.

If handled correctly, managed anger actually becomes an asset. There are some situations where the only proper response is to get angry. For example, when you see someone being taken advantage of or when you see an injustice, anger is an appropriate response.

If you’re going to learn how to control your anger, you have to stop making excuses and start accepting responsibility for your reactions. Anger is a choice, just like every other emotion.

When you realize that anger has a cost, you’re more likely to control it. You always lose…

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Once your Christmas services are completed, you’ll likely be ready for some time off before the new year begins. And since it’s been an eventful year in ministry, you’ll need this time to recharge, relax, and soak in the holidays with your loved ones.

But don’t forget about making plans for the beginning of 2022. The new year is a time when people are particularly open to making spiritual changes in their lives. In fact, many non-believers questioned God more than ever this past year. Whether or not some of them attended your services physically or virtually, they were likely thinking about their relationship with Jesus. Attending church and getting to know God better are common resolutions people make as they head into the new year.

Plus, with kids heading back to school again in January, many families are looking to begin new habits. They’re more open to adding new commitments to their schedules than they will be at other times. (When kids start school in the fall is another key time when families are open to changing up their schedules.)

That…

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