October 30, 2009
Dear Saddleback Family,
• TIME CHANGES! Set your clock one hour backward & get an extra hour of sleep!
• I WILL BE TEACHING the final message of "Life's Healing Choices."
• FALL MINISTRY FAIR on the patio after each service! Explore all the opportunities you can take advantage of!
COMING NEXT WEEK!
• November 5th: SPECIAL CLASS 401
Thursday night 6:00-9:30PM
God never wastes a hurt. He wants to use your experiences to help others I developed CLASS 401 to help you fulfill your life mission! To register CLICK HERE or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
"This Class was Life Changing!" "A whole new life journey awaits me!" "I'm ready to get started." "This class opened a door in my life." "WOW!"
• November 8th: Civil Forum on The Persecuted Church
Sunday night 5:00PM
This event will rock your world! You'll learn how millions of Christian brothers and sisters are being martyred, tortured, and persecuted for the faith and freedom we take for granted. God commands us to pray for suffering believers. CLICK HERE for information.
RECENT USA TODAY INTERVIEW
Warren on hope, compassion,
megachurches, politics, and criticism
mega-pastor and best-selling author Rick Warren goes into "the writing
cave" to write a book, he goes "dark." No interviews. No
disruptions. No public political forums or TV appearances or hot-issue quotes
to rile the blogosphere.
Warren came out of hibernation for an interview Friday to talk about real hope
when things are "really bad," and to respond to questions on a number
will have his first major book, The
Hope You Need, (in stores next year) since the seven-year-old stunner The
idea for the new book, dissecting the Lord's Prayer, came when he gave the
invocation at Obama's inauguration. As he ended with the Lord's Prayer, he
heard the murmur of the crowd praying aloud with him. "In that moment, people laid aside all their differences and were
unified by a simple prayer. An atheist on the street told me he prayed it! I
write when I feel a message is needed by others , not out of my own need to
write, so I've waited 7 years, (which is a good biblical number!), to write
again. I wasn't in any hurry. But I felt this is the time for this message."
& THE LORD'S PRAYER:
"In my research, I discovered that
the Lord's Prayer had never been
prayed at an inauguration. Well, I deeply believe that the Lord's Prayer
contains all the answers to every one of our basic needs and problems. It deals with loneliness. insecurity,
confusion, purpose, worry, guilt, resentment, fear, and much more. It's a
prayer filled with hope. "If we needed something, I'm confident Jesus would
have added it into the prayer. It's got everything we need in it.".
RECESSION "I see more people in more pain
today than at any time in the 30 years I've been a pastor. I've taught this
prayer many times but never have people needed it more. You're looking at 10%
to 12% of California out of work. In Michigan it's 15%. I see white collar
folks coming to our Food Pantry. People are in real need of
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN OPTIMISM & HOPE: "Cornell West got be thinking about the difference
between hope and optimism. I' believe they are not the same. Optimism can be
pretending that things are better than they really are. Hope never deny
reality. Hope says, 'Yes It's bad, it's really bad, but there is a better
future coming.' I believe hope is
theological while optimism is psychological. Optimism can pretend. Hope is
has trained nearly half a million pastors in 162 countries so he had a lot to
say in response to my story last week on the nation's largest churches. Outreach
magazine currently lists Saddleback Community Church at No. 6 on the top 100
churches, based on weekend worship totals. But Warren believes attendance is
not the total picture of the health of a church and offers several other
measurements as more important. To him, Saddleback's 22,418 weekend worship
attendance is just the tip of the iceberg.
CHURCHES: "The problem I've
always had with these annual lists is that they only pay attention to weekend
attendance, which is one of the least important factors in judging church
vitality. A crowd is not a church! Attendance is just the tip of the
iceberg The church must be
evaluated on so much more than just filling seats for attendance."
network of churches focuses on 5 other measurements of health instead.
We're not satisfied with spectators. Our goal is to turn them into
participators. We turn consumers into contributors, and members into ministers
with an intentional and measurable process (which we teach to other churches.)
1. Evangelism outreach: How many unbelievers have come to Christ and
been baptized? In our case, over 27,000 adult converts have been baptized at
Saddleback, likely more than any other church in America.
2. Small Group Bible Study &
many small groups do you have and how many people are participating in
weekly group Bible study and fellowship? Without this, you have a
crowd but not real community. In
our case, Saddleback has over 4,500 small group Bible studies
meeting everywhere This is our
real strength: Bible study. If I were to drop dead right now, Saddleback would
keep growing because it is decentralized around these groups instead of centralized around a weekend
Service/Lay Ministry; How many
people are using their gifts and talents in serving the needs of the
community? At Saddleback our Life Development Course (Classes
101-401) help our members identify
their "S.H.A.P.E." for service and prepare them to serve in our community.
We currently have around 20,000
members serving in over 300 church and community ministries.
How many people have been commissioned and sent out to represent Jesus in the
world? The Great Commission says "Go to EVERY NATION and make
disciples...." so at Saddleback, we take that literally! By the end
of 2010 we will be the first local church in history to have sent
our members as missionaries to literally every nation. There are
195 recognized nations in the world-(193 are a part of the UN. North Korea and
Bosnia are excluded). Since we began the P.E.A.C.E. Plan,
Saddleback has sent out 8, 742
members to 137 countries. We have 58 nations left to go to and will easily reach our goal by the end
of next year, which is the 30th
anniversary of our church
5. Generosity to others. Is our giving per person rising every
year? We believe generosity is the evidence of love and spiritual
maturity. Kay and I try to model this by giving away 90% and living on 10%
of book income. I don't take salary and I don't accept honoraria personally for
speaking, Saddleback members gave $1.6 million to help Tsunami
victims, $1.7 million to help Katrina victims, and we fed 42,000
homeless people 3 meals a day for 40 days during 40 days of Community. It is a
very unselfish church. We could have built a huge auditorium but we have other
has no plans to burst back into politically-fired headlines, however. When
politicians call him, he says, he never get involved in policy. Instead he
talks with leaders about their personal stress, leadership style, family and other non-political areas where he
might be able to encourage them.
POLITICS: "Most people don't realize, I
really have no faith in politics. I'm not a politician. If I thought you could
change human hearts by laws, I would but I don't believe that at all politics
is always downstream from culture. By the time you make a law about something,
you're reacting, not acting. It's already in the water. I'd rather shape the
culture." This has always been Warren's stance, however it hasn't kept him
out of hot water. Friday, he took a moment to clarify some of last winter's
CARE: "The role of the church and the
government are fundamentally different. The church must always show compassion,
always. In Psalm 72, Solomon
prays for power and fame then says the purpose of influence is to speak up for
those who have no influence - and of the groups he mentions is the immigrant.
He doesn't delineate between legal and illegal. As a Christian, on a personal
level, I'm supposed to help
everyone in need. A good Samaritan doesn't ask the injured person first, 'Are you legal or illegal?' You just
help them. But the government's role is different. They have to maintain order
and enforce the law."
MARRIAGE: In December'; interview with Steven Waldman did he really mean to
equate gay marriage with pedophilia and incest? "No," he says, "I just blew the question, and the follow up, too. I
wasn't listening and I answered to a question he wasn't asking. I do not
believe that sex between consenting gay adults is the same as pedophilia or
incest, which are criminal activities. I
apologized for my mistake but I did not apologize for my opposition to redefining marriage. I believe the word
"marriage" should be reserved
for a one-man-one-woman covenant before God."
he campaign against gay marriage during the lead up to the Proposition 8 vote
that overturned it's legalization in California? That would depend on how you
"The only time I even mentioned it was response to questions by my members a couple days before the
election. In my weekly video or newsletter to my own congregation, I said, that
obviously we oppose the redefinition of
"marriage.' That was only time I mentioned it. I never was involved in
the campaign itself. but after the vote, both sides tried to make me the leader
of the campaign"
Warren's opinion, he doesn't consider speaking to his own congregation the same
as campaigning. He was just a pastor sharing Scripture with his flock, even if
his comments went worldwide on line.
asked about today's hot topic, health care reform and whether illegal
immigrants could or should get government subsidized insurance coverage. Warren
says, as a Christian and a pastor, his role is simply to care about people who
need care on a personal level. He is skeptical that the government would do a
better job than private groups.
"I get hit a lot from both sides because
my views don't fit into the classic right/left continuum. I'm neither. My
primary allegiance is to a Kingdom not of this world. I agree with the liberal
emphasis on compassion, justice and equality but I disagree with liberals that government
is the solution to every problem. Typically government run programs are
overreaching and inefficient."
October 17-18, 2009
WEEKEND: FILL 'ER UP!
2. FILL SOME GROCERY BAGS!
- 36 million Americans (11% of all households) don't have enough
money for food. Many of these homes are headed by single women struggling to
feed their children.
Last year, more than 5 MILLION free meals were provided to
hungry families in America by Southern Baptist churches, and over 36,000 people
directly accepted Christ through this community service.
3. FILL YOUR TUMMY at
Cafe - Light Breakfast
8 a.m. to 11 a.m.
with fresh coffee and pastries, Mon - Friday
Deli - LUNCH
11 a.m. to 2 p.m.,
Mon - Friday
Lunch inside or out on the patio, 11 a.m.
to 2 p.m., Mon - Friday.
DINNER 5-7 pm. Monday, Tuesday, &
Wednesday. Bring your
friends, neighbors, or small group.
Taco Tuesdays: Chicken or beef
tacos for $1 every Tue night.
Food Bar Wed: Load up a salad or potato for $5 every Wed
THIS PAST WEEK:
was a very poignant week for our family. It was the first anniversary
discovering Jaime's massive brain tumor, and also the sixth anniversary of
Kay's breast cancer surgery. I am so thankful to God that these two
very strong women persisted and never gave up hope in God's promises. When they
felt like giving up in the face of great pain and fear, they kept on believing. And yesterday, I watched a
video of baby Cole taking his first steps to his healthy, happy mother.
don't know what problem seems hopeless to you right now, but I do know that
giving up, instead of looking up, is a serious mistake. Don't run from God. Run
to him. Because the human brain is not big enough to understand all the
ways of God, we have to trust that God sees what cannot see, and
that he loves us.
lesson illustrated from Jaime's difficulties in the birth of Cole is that pain
in our life is actually a protection from something that
would destroy us. After turning to God in his despair, Isaiah admitted, "Surely
it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me
from being destroyed in the pit of destruction". Isaiah 38:17
THIS WEEKEND I'M TEACHING:
Transformation Choice: The 5 step process God can use in your life to CHANGE IN
YOU what you THINK is impossible to change.
THIS SUNDAY IS WORLD HUNGER DAY:
so many people are out of work from the recession, our church's food bank has
been feeding hundreds of families each week.
REPORT ON OUR FOOD BANK:
- In May this year, you donated over 10,000 grocery bags of food.
- Since then, you've helped feed over 4,000 families and people!
- Over 123,000 pounds of food given freely to families in need!
This weekend, I want you to bring food,
and also pick up bags to fill with more food to restock our Food Bank
shelves. You are making a difference! Here's what is NEEDED:
Canned meat, instant potatoes,
rice, canned fruit, peanut butter, jelly, pasta, spaghetti sauce, pancake/Bisques
mix, syrup, hot cereal, granola bars, muffin/cake mix, canned vegetables, soup, hamburger and tuna helper, crackers, fruit
juice, baby wipes, toiletries.
can drop these off at the church office during the
week or put them in the BLUE BARRELS on the
Oct 17-18 Weekend: Kay will teach the Relationship Choice: How
we repair relationships.
Sunday, Nov. 8: Will be the Saddleback Civil Forum on the
for your prayers as I write The Hope You Need. We have moved the
release date to January 2010.
is a privilege to be your pastor. I love you much. Get my daily inspiration on
SEPT 21, 2009
As you know from watching our years of kidding and teasing each
other from the pulpit, Doug Fields is one of my best friends and I love him
like a brother. We have so much fun together! He really is as funny and sharp
and brilliant as he is when he's on stage preaching a sermon that I've written
for him. (Just kidding about that last part!)
For several months now, Pastor Doug
has been feeling the tug of the Holy Spirit in his heart to do something new in
the next season of his ministry. I want you to know what's happening with him.
In today's media culture, we sometimes feel the suspicion that we may not be
getting the whole story" behind the news. Because of that, I asked Doug to
write this week's News & Views to hear directly from him and I'll add my
comments at the end his letter!
Love Letter To
Our Church Family- Pastor Doug Fields
For the last several months I have
sensed God leading me to something new and different. After a lot of prayer
with Cathy, my family, Pastor Rick, and others, I have decided to resign from
my role as a Saddleback pastor in order to follow God's lead. This step of
faith has been difficult and I'm already feeling the painful loss. But, as
difficult as it is, both Cathy and I are confident and excited in God's
As you might expect, Pastor Rick
has been wonderful to me during the decision making process. He has been a
pastor to me and I'm grateful for him. He gave me two months to continue to
pray and be certain of this decision and even told me I could write my own job
description to keep me on staff-that was so gracious. And once I was confident
of God's will, Rick gave me his unconditional support. Neither Rick nor any of
the other pastors wanted me to leave staff, but they obviously understand how
God can prompt us toward something new.
What am I going to do? Well,
there's not another specific job" that I'm departing to, but I am leaving
staff to pursue some incredible opportunities to express my writing and
teaching gifts. What I'm really doing is what I've taught you to do-listen
for God's whisper and obey it! Several people have said, You're
crazy to leave a secure Saddleback Church job during this unstable market."
Humanly speaking, they're right... following God doesn't always make sense, but I
know I need to do the right thing: listen and obey.
I can't even begin to put into words
how grateful I am for my 18 years serving at our church. I came here as a 28
year old youth pastor with a desire to love God, love others and help build
Saddleback Church. I have so many great memories and friendships and wonderful
feelings confirming God used me here. These have been incredible years for me!
From working with teenagers to teaching adults to building the Refinery to
starting Fuel to becoming closer to Jesus to hiding all of Rick's disgusting
Hawaiian shirts. It has been quite a ride! I am a better person and deeper
thinker and a more committed follower of Jesus because of my job and my
interactions with the wonderful people at Saddleback Church. When I think of
our church I know I am richly blessed indeed. If you didn't get to read
my dedication to you in my book Refuel, here's what I said".
DEDICATION: I would like to dedicate this book to the
people who call Saddleback Church their home. I love being one of your pastors!
I love teaching you the Bible. I love your passion for learning. I love your
concern for your neighbors. I love your commitment to pursuing God in all areas
of your lives. I love your dedication to giving-and giving generously. I
love talking to you and hearing about what God is doing in your lives. I love
As a family, Saddleback Church
will continue to be our church home. Our best friends are here... our small
group... and our ministry is here. I'm not resigning from church, just my staff
position. My kids will be involved in the high school ministry, Cathy is leading
a small group of teenage girls, and I will occasionally fill-in and preach for
Pastor Rick and teach in the high school ministry.
Well, there it is--that's the whole story in a nutshell. Rick and I and
the other church Elders wanted you to hear this news directly from me.
Unfortunately, many times when a pastor leaves a staff position there are crazy
rumors that start flying around. That shouldn't happen here, because
there's nothing wrong and I'm not upset about anything...actually,
I'm thrilled to be able to leave with integrity and strong leadership support.
So, now you can say you heard it straight from the horse's mouth (or the
donkey's...whichever you prefer).
This weekend, I'll have the privilege of teaching part 3 in our Life's
Healing Choices series. Then, after our current series, Rick has asked me
to preach a 3 week series in November. So we'll still be seeing one
another... the biggest difference is that I won't have to attend meetings
I can't wait to see your smiling
face this weekend as we open up God's Word and celebrate together!
So blessed! Pastor Doug
My words of
praise - from Pastor Rick
I love Doug Fields with all my heart! In my opinion he has been the
greatest Student Pastor in history. He and Cathy are dear friends and we've
been through so much together while building Saddleback Church.
Let's review: (1) Doug & family are NOT moving away. They'll continue
serving in ministry here. (2) Doug is resigning his staff role as one of
our pastors and will no longer have to carry the responsibilities and meetings
of being a pastor. He's going to write and speak and serve the Lord. (3)
Doug will continue to help me with preaching. He's actually speaking 4 of the
next 9 weeks. Beyond that, there's no other back story!"
When the beautiful Refinery was finished, I knew that Doug felt this was the
capstone of the most successful youth ministry in America. Doug has raised up and mentored a generation of Student Pastors who
are now taking leadership of our next generation of student ministry to the
next level, and God is leading Doug to another challenge.
Over the past 30 years, I've had literally hundreds of people join our church
staff, become dear friends while serving with us, and then, after a while,
leave our staff for a variety of reasons. As a young pastor in the ‘80s, I
felt only grief when staff left. But now my understanding of how God works in peoples'
lives is bigger. I've learned this important truth: God calls people through
Saddleback, not to Saddleback. What that means is that
God calls just the right person, at just the right time, to both serve our
church and to learn from our church. Then he sends them out to other
places as missionaries. We now have former Saddleback staff serving as
missionaries in other churches and ministries all around the world. I call
them our purpose driven agents!"
as Doug preaches, I am proclaiming it Doug & Cathy Fields' Day! To
honor him for 18 years of ministry with us, I want us to pack out every
service in his honor, and give him a sustained standing ovation before he
preaches! Will you help me do this? It will be an historic week to thank Doug
for his dedication to our church.
daily inspiration on your phone or computer,
follow me (free) on TWITTER @RickWarren
Sept 5, 2009
ANSWERS TO YOUR
DEEP QUESTIONS THIS WEEKEND: For years I've wanted to create an
annual lecture series that answers the most common questions about our faith (apologetics).
Now, thanks to the generosity of my dear friends Howard and Roberta Ahmanson,
this weekend we are inaugurating the Ahmanson Lectures
on Faith & Science! SIX of
the brightest minds and most respected authorities are speaking at Saddleback
In each service you'll get to
hear a world-class authority speak to issues you've always wondered about. Here's the schedule at our Lake Forest
What Do the Gospels Really Say about
Jesus? Dr. Darrell Bock 4:30 pm service
Darrell Bock is corresponding
editor at large for Christianity Today and is the Research Professor of New
Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary.
Made Belief in God Obsolete? Dr. J.P. Moreland 6:30pm service
With degrees in philosophy, theology, and chemistry, J.P. Moreland has taught
theology and philosophy at several schools throughout the U.S, but is currently
Professor of Philosophy at Biola University
exists, Why is there evil? Dr. Norman Geisler 9:00 am service
Norm Geisler has authored or co-authored over 60 books on theology, philosophy,
and Christian Apologetics. He is professor of Theology and Apologetics at Southern Evangelical
How Did the
Universe Begin? Dr. William Lane Craig 11:15 am service
William Lane Craig has authored or edited over thirty books, including Divine
Foreknowledge and Human Freedom; Theism, Atheism and Big Bang Cosmology; and
God, Time and Eternity. He Research Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of
How Do I Know
God Exist? Dr.
Dinesh D'Souza 4:30pm service
Dinesh D'Souza is a former White House domestic policy analyst and is the
author of five New York Times best sellers, including Illiberal Education and
What's So Great about America.
How Can I
Defend My Faith without Sounding Defensive? Dr.
Greg Koukl 6:30
Greg Koukl is founder of Stand to Reason, which trains Christians to
think more clearly about their faith and to make an even-handed, incisive, yet
gracious defense for classical Christianity and classical Christian values in
the public square.
How Can I Defend My Faith Without Sounding Defensive? Greg Koukl 4:30 pm
Made Belief in God Obsolete? J.P.
Moreland 6:30pm & 8:30pm
DON'T MISS ANY OF THESE
Pastor Rick Warren
Purpose Driven Network
Follow on Twitter
I am so excited to see you TONIGHT & THIS WEEKEND!
As you know, I've been writing a new book for the past 2
months and I have really missed being with you! Most folks know they never want to miss my first message back when I return from a
speaking to our LIFE'S HEALING CHOICES Kickoff Rally
I'll be speaking along with Pastor John Baker to
all of our small group leaders and members about the fall campaign, Life's Healing Choices. Bring
your entire group to the Worship Center this Friday, August 28 at 7pm.
I'll be sharing my vision for the future of the church and giving you an
inside look at what to expect as we go through this transformational,
church-wide experience together as a church family. As we start, it's
important everyone is connected in a small group. So, if you're not in a group,
one or sign up to host a new group today. I can't wait to share this
exciting evening with you!
I'm speaking on "HOW JESUS HEALS"
We all need healing
-from those who've hurt us, those we've hurt, and the hurt we've caused
ourselves. I know there are people in our own church community who are
hurting. But the good news is Jesus gave us a way to recover from every
problem we might face. The principles from the Beatitudes are more than
just casual suggestions. They are the keys to growing in Christ-likeness in our
daily lives. They are guides to making godly choices, and they provide a
process to develop a balanced life that leads us to true happiness. God has
used these principles through the centuries to change and heal lives. I have
personally seen Him use them to change thousands of lives here at Saddleback
Church. I'm confident in the transformation that will happen in your
life and the lives in our community as we learn to make the decisions that
move us past life's pain toward God's purpose.
PRAYING FOR OUR OUT-OF-WORK FRIENDS
You've read the bad news: California, at 12% unemployed, is
the 4th hardest hit state in the current recession. Millions of jobs
have been lost. Businesses are filing bankruptcy; stores are struggling and
closing; Capo and Saddleback Districts laid off 652
teachers and staff this week! Even
churches, including ours, are having to make cutbacks.
I ask you to pray for so many of our friends who have had their positions
eliminated at no fault of their own.
Yesterday I gave
this advice to a member who had lost his job. I think it is worth passing on to
others who are fearful.
1. In the life of faith God usually closes a
door BEFORE opening a new door. What you do between those doors reveals your
faith and maturity. Don't worry
between doors: WAIT, WORSHIP & WATCH. This is a test!
2. With any shock or disappointment, never allow
your first reaction to limit your future potential. Our first reactions are
often wrong - hurt, anger, fear, and embarrassment. We don't naturally
look at things from God's point of view.
Sometimes we react and say things in the moment that burn bridges, limit
our future, and cause long term bitterness.
3. Remember, God is in control. Genesis 50:20, Romans 8:28-29
4. The Bible commands, "IN everything give
thanks." It doesn't say "FOR
everything give thanks." How can I
be thankful when I've lost my job? Look at what you have left, not what you
have lost. And trust that God has a good plan for your life. Jeremiah 33:3
down & pray it up. You have
the choice: worry or worship. Worry solves nothing. Worship brings peace & the solution
APOLOGETICS WEEKEND, SEPTEMBER 5-6
wanted to understand how to defend your faith without sounding defensive? During
apologetics weekend, six of the greatest minds in Christian apologetics
will tackle some of the biggest questions of the faith, such as; how the
universe began; if God exists, why does evil also exist; and how is
Jesus unique. Scripture commands us to be ready to give an account of our
faith, but first you have to know why you believe what you believe. Come
learn how to "Believe your beliefs and doubt and doubts."
SADDLEBACK CIVIL FORUM, SEPTEMBER 25
September 25, 2009 we will host a Saddleback Civil Forum to honor President
Paul Kagame, the President of Rwanda. President Kagame was sworn into
office in September of 2003 after being elected in the first democratically
contested multi-party elections held in Rwanda. His leadership enabled
the reconciliation and uniting of Rwandans after years of conflict. He
has also promoted peaceful resolutions to conflict in the East African
region. Under his leadership we
have been able to begin a major work of PEACE in Rwanda. I am proud
to count him as a friend of Saddleback and the mission of PEACE.
Pastor Rick Warren
Purpose Driven Network
June 26, 2009
Dear Saddleback Family,
There is always so much to share with you! Let me start with the “Views” before I share the “News”!
VIEWPOINT: BUILDING A CHRIST-LIKE
receive letters asking, “Why is Pastor Rick speaking to this or that group?”
It’s a great question that I want you to know the answer to. You may have
noticed that outside of Saddleback Church, and our 30 year Purpose Driven Ministry
to pastors, I do very little speaking to Christian groups of believers. Instead, I invest my time speaking to
groups of unbelievers that most pastors never get the opportunity to share
with. These are folks that Jesus
died for, but would never enter a church to hear the Good News. Jesus
said, “It is not the healthy who need a
doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." Luke 5:31 (NIV) If you want to have a
Christ-like ministry, you have to associate with the people Jesus did –
Of course, this strategy upset
the religious legalists and self-righteous pundits in Jesus’ day, and it does
today too. Every time I speak to any non-Christian group, I get
criticized by well-meaning believers who don’t really understand how much Jesus
loves lost people. They are more concerned with their own perceived purity than
the salvation of those Jesus died for.
Both Jesus and Paul were very
strategic in who they spoke to, what they said, and how they said it.
Jesus used a style of speaking unlike any of the religious professionals.
“The common people heard him
gladly. (Mark 12:37 KJV) The NIV translation of this verse says, “The large crowd listened to him with
DELIGHT.” If Jesus preached today, a lot professors and preachers
would criticize his communication style, but he said, “The Father who sent
me commanded me what to say AND HOW TO SAY IT.” John 12:49 (NIV) I’ve
been studying Jesus’ sermon style for 35 years and the more I learn HOW he said
things amazes me at his insight into human behavior and receptivity.
No one is ever converted by
labeling, condemnation, or anger. James 1:20 (KJV) says, “For the
anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.” We
must LOVE people into God’s family and overcome evil with good. Again,
Jesus is our model. He said, “If anyone
hears me and doesn't obey me, I am not his judge—for I have come to save
the world and not to judge it.” John 12:47 (NLT) Judgment will come
later. If we want to have a Christ-like ministry, we must not waste any time
judging unbelievers (Jesus didn’t), but instead, do everything we can to build
relationships of love and respect and trust with unbelievers. For
many unbelievers, the barrier to salvation is not the credibility of Jesus but our
own lack of credibility and love for them.
Paul’s strategy was the same as
Jesus’ approach: “I happily become a servant of any and all so
that I can win them to Christ. When I am with Jews I become like one of them
so that they will listen to the Gospel and I can win them to Christ. When I
am with Gentiles I don't argue, even though I don't agree, because I
want to help them. When with the heathen, I agree with them as much as I
can, except of course, that I must always do what is right as a Christian.
When I am with those whose consciences bother them easily, I don't act as
though I know it all and don't say they are foolish; the result is that they
are willing to let me help them. Yes, whatever a person is like, I try to
find common ground with him so that he will let me tell him about Christ
and let Christ save him. I do this to get the Gospel to them and also for the
blessing I myself receive when I see them come to Christ.” 1 Cor.
9:19-23 (LiB) Of course, this is the foundation text of our purpose-driven
evangelism, and as a result, we have baptized over 20,000 adult believers in
the past ten years.
After telling a parable that
praised a shrewd manager, Jesus said, “Yes,
worldly people are smarter with their own kind than spiritual people are!”
Luke 16:8 (NCV) Jesus was pointing out that believers need to be
more strategic in their thinking and approaches. One reason so many churches are stagnant is that their
evangelism strategy is either unbiblical, unworkable or both. They believe Jesus’ message but they
ignore the Jesus model of ministry and mission! Jesus told his disciples,
“I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.”
John 13:15 (NLT) Saddleback’s
unprecedented growth is due to the fact that we’ve chosen for 30 years to
use the Jesus Model of evangelism, and discipleship. (From “Come and see”,
to “Come and die”, to “Go and tell”- and all the steps in-between.)
our secular culture, there are about a dozen different groups of influencers
that we seek to serve and reach out to with the Good News including academics,
business, military, sports, health care, media, prisoners, entertainment, other
faiths, and government. If we are to experience a spiritual revival in
our culture and if we want to fulfill Jesus’ Great Commission in the world, we
must build bridges to all of these, and more. Just know the goal of every
speaking engagement is always the same: The global glory of God. We build
bridges of love – from our hearts to hearts of even those who hate us
– so that Jesus can walk across! You cannot win your enemies
to Christ. You can only win your friends.
“God has given us the task of
reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to
himself, no longer counting people's sins against them. This is the wonderful
message he has given us to tell others. We are Christ's ambassadors, and God is
using us to speak to you. We urge you, as though Christ himself were here
pleading with you, "Be reconciled to God!" 2 Cor.
HIV Testing SATURDAY - YOU can help end AIDS! By simply
getting yourself tested, you help REMOVE THE STIGMA FOR OTHERS and make our
church a welcoming place for people living with HIV and AIDS. That’s why I’ve been publicly tested
twice – in front of all the national network TV channels. The test is
free, fast, and painless! They just swab your mouth with a Q tip! No
blood! The results are
confidential to you only, so bring a friend and join us this Saturday, 10 AM
– 3 PM. at Ministry Center 2.
“FAMILIES MAKE A
DIFFERENCE!” We’ll cover Part 4 this weekend. Kay and I were amazed and moved by the
overwhelming response to last week’s Father’s Day Message called: ”Everyone
Needs A Family.” Once again, Saddleback showed its heart of
love. If you missed that message,
or the small group video
on “God’s Heart for Orphans”, you can hear both on our website. God wants
to work in your family and through your family.
ADOPTION & FOSTER CARE INFORMATION SEMINAR
If you’ve wanted to find out how
adoption or foster care works, I’m providing this seminar for you! Learn the facts and get your questions
answered: Tomorrow (Saturday), from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. in Tent 1 OR
Sunday, June 28, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. in Tent 2.
Thanks again to all of you who
prayed for me when I spoke at the inauguration of the new Anglican Church of
North America last Tuesday or showed up on Wednesday afternoon to be a part of
the National Simulcast of “How Jesus Changes Us.” Two upcoming speaking engagements you can pray for: 1)
National Convention of the Islamic Society of North America in Washington, DC.
(This is the largest gathering of Muslim leaders each year in America.)
2) International Triennial Convention of the Assemblies of God in
is Chaundel Holladay’s birthday! (Pastor Tom’s wife and my precious
sister!) I think she turned 29.
Purpose Driven Network
June 23, 2009
Dear Saddleback Family,
If you can get off work and spare 90 minutes, I'd appreciate your support! It is far easier for me to speak to a "live" audience of people I love instead of just a cold video camera. If you can show up, thank you in advance! A million thanks!
I need your immediate help! Tomorrow (Wednesday, June 24), I will be teaching a message on HOW JESUS CHANGES US.
Most people are baffled by habits they can't change and circumstances they can't control. Part of the problem is that we don't understand the process Jesus uses to transform our lives so we find it hard to cooperate.
I will be speaking on HOW JESUS CHANGES US in the Worship Center at 4:00PM, Wednesday, and it will be broadcast live to hundreds of churches nationally. I want to ask you to come hear this message.
Purpose Driven Network