Archives For Rick Warren

“In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.”

Psalm 5:3 (NIV)

When you ask God for help, you can wait with expectation.

You pray to a God who honors his promises. He is a good Father who always gives you what you need. When you wait expectantly, you demonstrate faith by believing God will do what he has promised.

Expectation isn’t entitlement. Entitlement says, “I will get what I need from God because I deserve it, I’ve earned it. I’ve read my Bible five times this week and have been to church twice, so God has to give me what I need.” Expectation says, “God will give me what I need because of who he is.”

Waiting expectantly isn’t easy, especially when you feel powerless. When you are trusting God to do the impossible—in your marriage, career, or relationships—and his timing feels too slow, it’s hard to keep trusting him.

Don’t be discouraged, and don’t give up! Even though you don’t know why God hasn’t answered your prayers, you can trust him to keep…

Continue Reading

Navigating the Winds of Life

Wind is one of the most powerful forces of nature. Kay and I live in a canyon and experience canyon winds for several months every year. In the windy season, it can be brutal.

The winds of life can be powerful too. They can knock you off balance. So, to have an effective ministry, you’ll need to learn to withstand the powerful, rogue winds of life. Ministry isn’t a problem-free life. That’s why it’s critical to have a firm foundation. 

Proverbs 10:25 says, “Storms can blow away unrighteous people, but the godly have a foundation that keeps them standing firm” (NLT).

When the storms come, you want a foundation that you can stand on. Here is what you can do to build that foundation in your life and ministry:

Stay connected to your spiritual family.

God never intended for you to withstand the destructive winds of life on your own. Whether you experience a ministry struggle, the death of a loved one, an illness, or a family crisis, God wants you to go through these periods with the…

Continue Reading

7 Secrets to Overcoming Discouragement

No matter what’s discouraging you today, know this: You’re not alone. The greatest missionary in the history of the church faced all kinds of discouraging circumstances. In 2 Corinthians, Paul describes being shipwrecked, flogged, beaten, stoned—and much more.

But Paul also gives us seven, time-tested principles for overcoming discouragement. If you’re in a difficult season, take some time to consider his words.

Never forget how much God loves you.

You know God loves you. You’ve preached about it and shared it many times. But do you feel it in your heart? When you stop feeling the love of God, you’ll get discouraged. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4:1: “We don’t become discouraged, since God has given us this ministry through his mercy” (GW).

You can’t feel discouraged and feel the love of God at the same time. You have to choose between the two. Some people don’t feel God’s love because they think God is angry at them all the time. Pastor, if that’s the voice you’re hearing, it’s not God. He’s not mad at you; he’s mad about…

Continue Reading

How to Trim Your Sermon for Maximum Effectiveness

Giving your message a good trim can turn a good sermon into a great one. In a great sermon, every word is solid, lean meat; it’s all muscle. You don’t have filler or fluff. 

Don’t try to squeeze everything into your sermons. It’s important to have far more material than you can possibly use. But make sure every piece of your sermon—from the Scriptures you use to your illustrations and quotes—has a purpose. 

The point of preaching is transformation, not information. 

When I sit down to edit a sermon, I focus on the following four areas.

I trim the number of verses I use. 

I struggle with this part because I usually collect far more Scriptures than I could possibly use in my sermon. In fact, I often study four to five times as many verses than I actually use. You would probably agree: Once you’ve finished the hard work of studying the Scriptures, it’s tough to give them up.

I often lean on my wife, Kay, to be an objective, second set of…

Continue Reading

God Wants to Heal Your Wounds

We all have hidden wounds. Pastor, that includes you. Maybe it’s from your childhood, a painful event that you’re still dealing with years later. Maybe it’s someone who has hurt you in ministry through unfair criticism or attacks on your family. 

And these memories haunt your ministry. You’ve tried everything to get past them. You hide them so no one can use the pain from your past to hurt your ministry. 

But the truth is, you forget physical pain from years back, but you never forget emotional wounds. 

What do you do with that pain so it no longer drags you, your family, and your ministry down?

Admit your hurt.

You won’t get well until you face your feelings. Holding on to a hurt is like having a hot coal inside your heart. It’ll burn you up inside.

You begin to find the answer for your hurt when you own up to it. Revealing your feelings is the beginning of healing. 

“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.”

Philippians 2:13 (NLT)

Jesus wants you to surrender your whole life to him. He doesn’t want just a part of your life, he wants all of it.

You may think you’ve surrendered enough to him, but Jesus wants it all. C.S. Lewis, the Christian apologist and author of the Narnia series, says Jesus is like a dentist. When you go to the dentist, you want him to fix your toothache. You want him to stop the pain. But the dentist isn’t willing to stop there. If he’s a good dentist, he’s going to poke and prod around your teeth to find out what is causing the toothache. He doesn’t just want to stop you from hurting, he wants to heal what is causing the pain.

This is what Jesus wants to do in your life. He wants to uncover all the sin and hurt…

Continue Reading

10 Commandments of Emotional Health During Stressful Times (Part 2)

Pastoral ministry is full of stress. The past year has been particularly stressful for many church leaders as the world has faced a global pandemic, racial unrest, and unique economic challenges. For many pastors, the world has turned upside down. Burnout has become rampant among church leaders.

But there’s hope. Last week I gave you the first five of 10 biblical actions—what I’m calling “10 commandments of emotional health”—that can help you recharge and refresh during any stressful season.

Last week I urged you to . . .

  1. Show grace to yourself and others. (James 4:6)
  2. Start and end each day refueling your soul. (James 1:21)  
  3. Set and stick to a routine. (Ephesians 5:15-16) 
  4. Reduce your media consumption. (Matthew 6:22-23) 
  5. Schedule a daily time to connect with the people you love. (1 Thessalonians 5:11) 

Here are the next five actions you need to take to avoid burnout.

Share your feelings instead of stuffing…

Continue Reading

10 Commandments of Emotional Health During Stressful Times (Part 1)

Some seasons are more stressful than others—especially seasons of great change. This past year has been such a season for many people, including church leaders. Spiritually leading and nurturing people through an unprecedented time have taken a toll on many pastors. 

Regardless of how much emotional and spiritual reserves you had before the pandemic, a stressful period will deplete your emotional and spiritual tank a little each day, like letting the air out of a tire.

I love what Paul says in the Message paraphrase of Romans 12:12: “Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame.”

How do you keep yourself fueled and emotionally healthy during stressful seasons?

Here are the first five out of 10 biblical actions—or what I’m calling “10 commandments of emotional health”—to prevent burnout:

Show grace to yourself and others. (James 4:6)

Treat yourself and others how God treats you—with grace, mercy, and forgiveness. God always gives us what we need, not what we deserve. During hard times, we need extra grace.

Be kind to yourself. Don’t expect yourself…

Continue Reading

How the Church Can Help with Mental Health

I’ve always believed and taught that God uses our pain to help others. I’ve seen that to be true over and over in my life—and in the lives of those in our Saddleback family. Much of the Purpose Driven framework for ministry came from a time of deep pain I experienced early in my ministry. And Celebrate Recovery was born out of the pain of my dear friend, John Baker. 

The same is true with our church’s mental health ministries. My youngest son, Matthew, struggled since childhood with all kinds of mental and emotional pain. These challenges were difficult for him and our family.

Then, the day came I prayed would never happen. Matthew lost his battle with mental illness and took his life in a moment of despair. It was the worst day of my life.

Although not everything that happens in our life is God’s will, I do know he can turn bad into good. God doesn’t want us to ever waste a hurt. 

Continue Reading

When Fear Gets in the Way of Your Relationships

Relationships are at the heart of every effective ministry. Whether they are with your spouse, your family, your staff, your church, or your community, you can’t lead well without having good relationships.

But one thing that can damage your relationships is fear.

Here are three fears that can have a destructive impact on our relationships:

Fear of admitting our faults.

We often get defensive when it comes to our faults. No one likes to admit their weaknesses. Instead, we deny them and even defend them at times. Think about Adam and Eve’s responses in Genesis 3:12-13: “God asked, ‘Did you eat what I told you not to eat.’ Adam answered, ‘The woman you put here with me gave me the fruit and I ate it.’ She replied, ‘The snake tricked me into eating it.’” 

In those verses, we see two common reactions to dealing with failure. We accuse someone else, and then we excuse ourselves. 

Ask yourself this question: What fault do I get defensive about when it gets mentioned?

Continue Reading

Four Ways to Lead With Integrity

You don’t need to read much of the Bible to realize that God cares deeply about his reputation. 

For example, the Bible says in Ezekiel 20:44,Then you’ll know that I am the LORD, when I will have dealt with you for the benefit of my own reputation and not according to your evil attitudes or corrupt practices” (ISV).

But God doesn’t just care about his reputation. He cares about the church’s reputation, too. This is taught throughout Scripture. As Christians, we are “little Christs” who represent Jesus on earth. We can either bring him fame or shame. 

This is important for all believers, but it’s particularly crucial for those of us who lead. We must be people of integrity. The world is watching how we respond to the tests and trials in our lives. We either draw people to Jesus or repel them with our lack of integrity.

To have a ministry of integrity, make these four commitments:

Speak the truth plainly. 

The Bible tells us in James 5:12, “But most…

Continue Reading

God Is on Your Side

By Rick Warren

“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.”

Philippians 2:13 (NLT)

No matter what you face this week, you don’t have to face it alone.

God is with you, working powerfully in your life. The word “working” in Greek is the word energeo, from which we get the word “energy.” God is the energy driver in your life. You don’t have to rely on willpower, and the truth is, willpower isn’t enough.

God’s energy is transforming you from the inside out. This means he gives you the right desires in your heart and mind so that you do the right thing with your actions and words. This is the life he created you to live.

God is also for you. God is your ally. In fact, he is committed to your success. Some people think God is like an angry parent who is mad at them all the time. That couldn’t be further from the truth. He’s not mad at you, he’s mad about you.

Since God is for us, there is no challenge we can’t overcome….

Continue Reading