Dear friends, please help us get this word to your pastor and the leaders of all churches that prayed for our family last week . . . in worship services, in groups or classes, and as individuals. We hope it can be read aloud on Sunday to express our deepest appreciation.
A WORD OF THANKS
TO CHURCHES WHO’VE PRAYED FOR US
From Rick and Kay Warren, their extended families,
and the Saddleback Church family
Sunday, April 14, 2013
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Kay and I want you to know how much we depended on your faithful prayers for us this past week in the aftershock of the suicide of our precious 27-year-old son Matthew who struggled with mental illness since birth.
We felt your love and we received strength from your prayers during the most painful week of our 40 years of public ministry for Christ.
Because you prayed for us, we were overwhelmed with the Holy Spirit’s comfort, were able to share the Gospel of Hope in Jesus with many unbelievers around the world, and God was glorified through our personal tragedy. So we cannot thank you enough!
Also, the members of Saddleback Church, your sister church in Southern California, asked that we send thanks to you, your pastor, and all your church family on their behalf. Together we have shared what St. Paul called “the fellowship of suffering.” When one part of the body hurts, all the other parts hurt too, and you can count on the Saddleback family to pray for you too. We are God’s family and we are in this together!
Finally, if you’d like to help us raise the awareness and lower the stigma of mental illness, we’d love to add your voice to our petition. Just visit Saddleback.com or Facebook.com/PastorRickWarren to add your name and your voice.
We end this note of thanks with the promise of Hebrews 6:10 "God will not forget the work you did, and the love you've showed for him by helping other Christians." May God bless your church family greatly!
My Dear Saddleback Family,
Kay and I have been deeply touched by your outpouring of love after I shared the news about Matthew’s tragic death. In case you missed it, here's the letter I sent last week.
Since the Warren family is loved by so many, no building in Orange County is large enough to hold an open memorial service. We, as a family, decided it was best to have a small, private service for Matthew.
Of course, I will speak publicly to our church family about the tragedy when I return to preaching.
If you’d like to express your prayers, love, and support, here are two practical ways:
1. Your love and support sustains us. Please write us an encouraging note and/or if you have either a funny or serious story about Matthew, we’d love to hear that too. Share your love here.
2. For those of you that want to give a gift, help fight mental illness by giving an online gift here to The Matthew Warren Fund for mental health or mail a check to The Matthew Warren Fund at Saddleback Church, 1 Saddleback Parkway, Lake Forest, CA 92630.
Kay and I are overwhelmed by your love, prayers, and kind words. You are all encouraging our broken hearts.
I love you!
Our Dearest Saddleback Family,
Over the past 33 years we’ve been together through every kind of crisis. Kay and I’ve been privileged to hold your hands as you faced a crisis or loss, stand with you at gravesides, and prayed for you when ill. Today, we need your prayer for us.
No words can express the anguished grief we feel right now. Our youngest son, Matthew, age 27, and a lifelong member of Saddleback, died today.
You who watched Matthew grow up knew he was an incredibly kind, gentle, and compassionate man. He had a brilliant intellect and a gift for sensing who was most in pain or most uncomfortable in a room. He’d then make a bee-line to that person to engage and encourage them.
But only those closest knew that he struggled from birth with mental illness, dark holes of depression, and even suicidal thoughts. In spite of America’s best doctors, meds, counselors, and prayers for healing, the torture of mental illness never subsided. Today, after a fun evening together with Kay and me, in a momentary wave of despair at his home, he took his life.
Kay and I often marveled at his courage to keep moving in spite of relentless pain. I’ll never forget how, many years ago, after another approach had failed to give relief, Matthew said “ Dad, I know I’m going to heaven. Why can’t I just die and end this pain?” but he kept going for another decade.
Thank you for your love and prayers. We love you back.
Dear Saddleback Family,
WHAT AN EASTER!
Because you cared enough to invite your friends to services…
Because thousands of you volunteered to make Easter special…
Nearly 3,000 people gave their lives to Christ at Easter! The stories of salvations and baptisms have been so deeply moving.
All eight of our Saddleback campuses had record attendance: Corona, Anaheim, Irvine, Huntington Beach, Laguna Woods, San Clemente, Rancho Capistrano, and Lake Forest. Last weekend, three of our campuses had over 3,000 attenders, one had close to 2,000 attenders, and four of campuses had nearly 1,000 attenders! Saddleback is no longer a large church with many small campuses. Instead we are now a “megachurch of megachurches!”
In addition, about twenty folks around the world rented theaters to show our Saddleback Easter service for their friends. Many were saved in a prison in the Philippines where the service was shown!
THIS WEEKEND: We start a new series called “SURIVIVING TOUGH TIMES.” I’ll share a message from on “When You Feel Like You’re Being Attacked” from 1 Chronicles 20.
SMALL GROUP HOSTS PARTY WITH PASTOR RICK: I want meet with all our Small Group Hosts and Co-Hosts this Sunday afternoon at 1:30 pm on the Lake Forest campus. Much to share! Plus, you can pick up your small group curriculum for the month of April. I have revised and recorded a small group version of Class 201: Building the Habits for Spiritual Maturity. You can now complete Class 201 for credit in your small group! Let me know you’re coming by RSVP’ing HERE.
“THE HOPE YOU NEED” This Spring I’m writing a new book that we will use next January for 40 Days of HOPE. Please pray for me that I’ll be led by God as I write my first major book since writing Purpose Driven Life 11 years ago.
“HOME RUN!” is a major motion picture about CELEBRATE RECOVERY and it opens in theaters nationally on April 19! You can purchase advance tickets at each campus this weekend.
SADDLEBACK IN THE NEWS: We rarely pass on news articles but here are few:
CHRISTIAN POST- Click HERE to read an article about our EASTER services.
CHARISMA NEWS – Click HERE to read an article about our new DAILY HOPE radio program that launched this week.
CHRISTIANITY TODAY- Click HERE to read an interview about our PEACE PLAN to reach to the 3,400 remaining people groups that have no Bible, no Believers, and no Body of Christ.
FORBES – Click HERE to read an article on what I believe about retirement.
WOMEN IN THE WORLD – Click HERE to read an article on “First Ladies of the Church” with a profile of my favorite person, Kay.
It is an honor and privilege to be your pastor. Thanks for your prayer and support as I preached all those Easter services last week. I love you and thank God for you.
Dear Saddleback Family,
I am writing this from Canterbury, England where I have had the high honor of participating in the installation of the new Archbishop of Canterbury who is the spiritual leader of 80 million Anglican Christians around the world. Christian leaders from around the world gathered here in the historic 1,000 year old cathedral for this worship service. It was a wonderful time of getting updates from leaders who have been touched by your PEACE Plan efforts around the world.
I will be back home Saturday afternoon.
EASTER WEEK is always the greatest week of the year at Saddleback. Our lives, our faith, and our future all exist because of one fact: reality of the resurrection. Jesus lives! If Jesus had not risen back to life to prove he was who he claimed to be, we would have no hope and no heaven.
Here are FOUR WAYS you can make the most of Holy Week . . . to grow in faith, in hope, and in love:
1. Begin Holy Week this weekend with an amazing and inspirational Palm Sunday service. If you’ve felt tired, discouraged, or run-down by life, you will be renewed, recharged, and renovated by this healing service.
2. Invite a friend! Your neighbors and co-workers are more open to an invitation to church during Easter week than any other time of the year. Don’t waste this opportunity to bring one more for Jesus. Over 4,000 of our friends were saved for eternity last Christmas because Saddleback members cared enough to invite them. Did you invite anyone? Who are you planning to bring? Click HERE for Easter service times and locations.
3. Please attend one of our Thursday, Friday or Saturday Easter services if you are not bringing a visitor! Sunday will be packed with visitors. One of the most Christlike things you can do at Easter is to unselfishly give up your seat on Easter Sunday in order that non-believers may find Christ.
I’ll do my part by preaching 11 Easter services so that others may find Christ. I need you to do your part by attending one of the early services (Thursday through Saturday) so there are seats on Easter Sunday for those who have not met Christ yet.
4. Help me take the Good News to all of Southern California and America through our new DAILY HOPE RADIO program beginning the week after Easter. After saying “no” to radio for 33 years, I’ve felt led by God to begin sharing our Saddleback messages through a daily radio program. To do this, our EASTER OFFERING this year will be used to launch Daily Hope radio in Southern California. You can use the special offering envelope or give online by clicking HERE.
Please ask God how you could support this new outreach to your friends and family. It will be a great tool you can use to get the Good News to those who might not come to church. Your financial gift at Easter will be used to reach many for Jesus. May God bless you!
I LOVE YOU AND CAN’T WAIT TO SEE YOU!
Dear Saddleback Family,
YOU can be a part of a HISTORIC WORLD PREMIERE
THIS SATURDAY MORNING AT 9:30 AM
Of all the places in America where the Award-Winning Hollywood Producers Mark Burnett & Roma Downey could premiere their blockbuster television mini-series, THE BIBLE... they chose Saddleback Church!
The Bible is the most anticipated and important mini-series since Roots premiered decades ago, and the nation-wide kick-off simulcast will happen TOMORROW MORNING on our Lake Forest campus!
Over three years in the making, The Bible is a ten hour mini-series, shot on multiple locations (including the sets of Gladiator in Morocco), and has the feel of a 100 million dollar blockbuster.
Over the next few years, I’m sure this film will be seen by billions! Wouldn’t you like to be able to say “I had the privilege of watching the very first screening of the highlights with the producers at the premiere opening!”
This is the perfect event to invite your friends who’ve never attended a church. Once they see this Saturday morning national premiere and meet Mark Burnett (creator of Survivor, The Apprentice, The Voice, and 7 other hit TV shows) and Roma Downey (the angel in Touched by An Angel) they’ll want to attend services for the next 5 weeks!
Share this link with your friends to watch the preview, then bring them to the Lake Forest campus tomorrow morning to meet Mark and Roma. It’s FREE but space is limited! RSVP now
THE NEXT FIVE WEEKENDS AT SADDLEBACK
1. Weekend Messages: we’ll study the same Bible characters portrayed in THE BIBLE mini-series, broadcast each Sunday evening on the History Channel. Our message series will be called History Makers: Living by Faith. By studying the lives of faithful men and women in the Bible, you will learn how to leave an extraordinary legacy despite ordinary circumstances.
2. Sunday night at the movies at Saddleback!
At 8pm, (after our 6pm Sunday Evening service) we will be broadcasting the weekly episodes of THE BIBLE on our giant High-Definition Screen at Lake Forest.
CAUTION: The Bible is full of graphically violent stories and this movie portrays them accurately so THE BIBLE film is too intense for young children. It has not been watered down. I’d rate it PG-13 for violence. There will be NO childcare for these showings.
2. Your small group can study THE BIBLE DVD and Small Group discussion resources available at all Saddleback Campuses. Pick up your materials at your campus bookstore.
I’ll see you Saturday morning at 9:30am for a kick-off to an incredible, amazing month of March!
Dear Saddleback Family,
As you finish the LIVE YOUR CALLING study in your small group this week, let’s celebrate some of the accomplishments so far from this campaign.
• 2,400 new groups were formed. For many people, this is their first time leading a small group.
• 6,400 of you signed up to begin serving in a ministry at the Ministry Expo.
• Hundreds of you signed up for your first Mission trip at the Global PEACE Expo.
When God calls you respond! I’M PROUD OF YOU!
This past weekend, we learned our sixth and final calling… CALLED TO BE SENT.
GOD’S PLAN FOR HISTORY: He’s gathering a family that will LOVE & LIVE WITH HIM forever.
“‘Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being SENT? That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring Good News!’”
Your fifth calling is to BRING OTHERS INTO GOD’S FAMILY.
“Through Christ, God made peace between us and himself. Then God gave us the work of bringing others into peace with him.”
2 Cor. 5:18 (ICB)
THE PEACE PLAN: “Ordinary people - empowered by God
- making a difference together - wherever they are!”
3 DIMENSIONS OF THE PEACE PLAN
1. PERSONAL - my personal mission to the people in my life.
2. LOCAL - my small group’s mission to others in our area.
3. GLOBAL - our church’s mission to the entire world!
P.E.A.C.E. IS JESUS’ MODEL FOR MISSIONS
Plant churches/Preach reconciliation
Equip servant leaders
Assist the poor
Care for the sick
Educate the next generation
PEACE deals with the 5 GLOBAL GIANTS
Illiteracy & education
Here are 3 ways you can respond:
PRAY THAT PEOPLE WILL SAY YES TO GOD!
“Jesus said, ‘There are so many people to harvest but only a few workers to help harvest them. PRAY to the Lord, who owns the harvest, that he will send out more workers to gather his harvest.’” Matt. 9:37-38 (NCV)
GIVE TO HELP OTHERS GO!
“We must support believers who go on trips like this so that we
can work together with them in spreading the truth.” 3 John 1:8 (GW)
LISTEN FOR HIS MESSAGE TO ME!
“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’”
Isaiah 6:8 (NIV)
GO WHERE I CAN GO NOW!
“Work at bringing others to Christ.” 2 Tim. 4:5 (NLT)
1. If you missed the message, watch it HERE. Then share it with a friend.
2. If you missed the LIFE MISSION EXPO, you can still be part of the PEACE PLAN. Click HERE to learn about how you can be part of PEACE around the world.
3. COMMIT TO PRAY FOR AN UNENGAGED PEOPLE GROUP: There are 3,000+ people groups in the world with no Bible and no church. Be part of this “final frontier” by adopting a group and committing to pray for them. Click HERE to adopt a group
4. Get ready for our next series: HISTORY MAKERS. History Makers: Living By Faith is a new series based on the epic 10-part miniseries, The Bible, created by the History Channel, Mark Burnett, producer of TV’s Survivor, and Roma Downey.
Click HERE to learn more about History Makers.
Dear Saddleback Family,
This weekend is our exciting conclusion to LIVE YOUR CALLING! It will be spectacular!
1. AT ALL SERVICES: WHAT YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO DO WITH THE REST OF YOUR LIFE! Don’t miss this powerful concluding message on your 5th Calling and Life Mission!
2. AFTER EACH SERVICE: THE LIFE MISSION EXPO!
Explore all the ways our church family can support you in your Life Mission. Last weekend, over 5,000 people found a new ministry at our MINISTRY EXPO. Now, this weekend, we help you discover your 5th calling at the LIFE MISSION EXPO! Also, Kay Warren will be signing her book, “SAY YES TO GOD” under the PD LIFE TREE on the Lake Forest patio at the Sunday morning services.
3. SUNDAY AFTERNOON: Pastor Rick’s THANK YOU LUNCH FOR GROUP HOSTS!
Our 6,400 small groups will gather at either 1:30pm (Lake Forest small groups) or 4:00pm (Lake Forest and regional small groups) in the Lake Forest Worship Center for lunch with me. We’ll share stories, and I have a gift I want to give each host for your service during this campaign! Hosts can register for the lunch at saddleback.com/hostlunch.
4. SUNDAY EVENING: Pastor Rick on OPRAH (Part 2) talking about “WHAT ON EARTH AM I HERE FOR?” Six weeks ago, we began our church’s LIVE YOUR CALLING campaign with the broadcast of my session on Oprah’s LifeClass show on “Winning With The Hand You’re Dealt.” I took Nick Vujicic as my guest.
This Sunday night, Oprah is helping us conclude our church’s campaign, AND kick off the national Live Your Calling campaign with a second (new) broadcast of me teaching on “What On Earth Am I Here For?” It is a powerful show that every unbeliever and believer should watch.
Please email this message to your friends and family:
Hi! I just wanted to let you know that this Sunday night, my pastor Rick Warren is teaching a fascinating session on Oprah’s LifeClass on the meaning and purpose of life. It’s called “WHAT ON EARTH AM I HERE FOR?” I’ve been reading his book—the #1 New York Times bestseller by the same title—so I know it would be worth your time. I hope you can watch it on OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) at 9 p.m. this Sunday night.
5. THIS IS A GREAT TIME to cash in your stocks to fulfill your Decade of Destiny promise!
Two years ago, in the middle of a terrible recession, many of us made a three-year Faith-Promise Giving Commitment for our DECADE OF DESTINY projects. Then . . . the bottom fell out of the economy! Many families have been waiting for the turn-around in order to fulfill our faith-promises.
Well, THIS WEEK, the stock market and mutual funds hit their HIGHEST LEVEL SINCE 2007! Few economists expect that high to last.
So rather than gamble that it might go higher, Kay and I cashed out stocks this week in order to give a full-year of our Decade of Destiny giving commitment while the assets were worth more than they’ve been worth in six years. That’s wise stewardship!
I urge you to prayerfully consider if this might be a wise time for you to do the same. You can help reach and serve more people right now than at any other time in recent memory. But the door of opportunity is unlikely to stay open. If you need help with this, you can contact us at (949) 609-8057 or email@example.com.
You can also give online here: saddleback.com/giving.
See you this weekend for our Grand Finale!
Dear Saddleback Family,
I am so proud you! This past weekend over 2,600 of you signed up to start serving in a ministry . . . many of you will be serving for the first time! It's the sacrificial giving of your time that makes Saddleback a great church. Time is our most precious commodity and the greatest gift we can give each other.
Your fourth purpose, GOD SHAPED YOU TO SERVE HIM, teaches you that:
Your life calling is to be a BI-VOCATIONAL MINISTER OF JESUS.
“God in his grace chose me even before I was born, and called me to serve him.” Gal. 1:15 (TEV)
Four things happen when you use your life to serve and bless others:
1. YOU LEARN THE SECRETS OF JOY.
- YOU GET THE FOCUS OFF OF YOURSELF.
“My life is being poured out as a part of the sacrifice and service I offer to God for your faith. Yet, I am filled with joy, and I share that joy with all of you.” Phil. 2:17 (GW)
- YOU USE YOUR GIFTS TO HELP OTHERS.
“God has given each of you some special abilities; be sure to
use them to help each other, passing on to others God's many kinds of blessings.” 1 Peter 4:10 (LB)
2.YOUR RELATIONSHIPS WILL BE IMPROVED.
“Your attitude must be like my own, for I did not come to be served but to serve...” Matt. 20:28 (LB)
“The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped.” Prov. 11:25 (Mes)
3. YOUR LIFE WILL BE FULL OF MEANING.
“If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will find true life.” Mark 8:35 (NLT)
4. YOU’LL LEAVE A LEGACY.
“Good people will be remembered as a blessing.”
Prov. 10:7 (NCV)
“If you want to be great, you must be the servant of all the others.” Matt. 20:26 (CEV)
“God is fair; he will not forget the work you did and the love you showed for him by helping his people. And he will remember that you are still helping them.” Heb. 6:10 (NCV)
GET THE MOST OUT OF THIS SERIES:
1. Share last week’s message with a friend. Watch it here.
2. If you missed the Ministry Expo, click here to explore ministry opportunities.
3. Don’t miss the small group party this Sunday, February 24 at 1:30 or 4:00 p.m. I can’t wait to hear your stories and share some insider information with you. I HAVE A GIFT FOR EVERY HOST. Click here to RSVP.
4. ATTEND THE MISSIONS FAIR THIS WEEKEND! See how you can participate in mission trips around the world!
See you this Weekend!
Dear Saddleback Family,
If you missed last weekend, you are going to want to watch it now, Watch it here. Michelle’s story is not only inspirational, but reminds us how important the friends in our groups are to personal growth.
This past weekend we discussed your third purpose: YOU ARE CALLED TO BECOME LIKE CHRIST.
Here are the 8 ways you become what GOD CALLS YOU TO BE:
1. SIMPLIFY your life.
“Let us strip off anything that slows us down or holds us back, and especially those sins that wrap themselves so tightly around our feet and trip us up; and let us run with patience the particular race that God has set before us.” Heb. 12:1 (LB)
2.Don’t get IMPATIENT OR IN A HURRY.
“...let us run with patience the particular race that God has set before us.” Heb. 12:1b (LB)
3. Spend time FOCUSING ON JESUS EVERY DAY.
“We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish.” Heb. 12:2 a (NLT)
“All of us have had that veil removed so that we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him and reflect his glory even more.” 2 Cor. 3:18 (NLT)
4. When it gets hard REMEMBER THE REWARD.
“Jesus did not give up because of the cross! On the contrary, because of the joy that was waiting for him, he thought nothing of the disgrace of dying on the cross, and he is now seated at the right side of God's throne. Think of what he went through; how he put up with so much hatred from sinners! So do not let yourselves become discouraged and give up.” Heb. 12:2-3 (TEV)
“After you suffer for a short time, God, who gives all grace, will make everything right. He will make you strong and support you and keep you from falling. He called you to share in his glory in Christ, a glory that will continue forever.” 1 Peter 5:10 (NCV)
5. GATHER A TEAM to run with me.
“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.” Heb. 10:24-25 (NIV)
SEND ME YOUR GROUP PHOTO
Take a picture with your group and send it to me at PastorRick@saddleback.com with the names of your group members so I can pray for you. I might feature you on Twitter or on the Weekends, so make it good… and hold up your books!
GET THE MOST OUT OF THIS SERIES:
1. Share the message on Facebook and Twitter: Watch it here.
2. Attend the Small Group Host Party. We’ve rescheduled my party for all Small Group Hosts for Sunday, February 24. I can’t wait to hear your stories and share some insider information.
3. Serve as a group!Pick one Good Neighbor Project or create one yourself and serve as a group.
4. Don’t miss the Ministry Expo this weekend at all campuses!