Rick Warren Senior Pastor: Saddleback Church, Lake Forrest, California
Rick’s theme was on the topic of suffering for God’s glory. Rick lost his son last year and spoke exclusively on suffering:
“To be blessed, you must suffer. Thorns precede the throne. The most blessed ministries are the most attacked ministries.”
Suffering For God’s Glory
Five Ways God Uses Suffering (Romans 8-12)
II Corinthians 1: Many will give praise because of your suffering.
Rick Warren testified at length about his son. He took an extended sabbatical from Saddleback during this time of pain. Rick’s son Matthew died last year at the age of 27.
“We are all challenged and mental.” Rick was suggesting that we all have problems.
How to use pain for God’s glory-
1)To draw closer to God (Rick had a four month sabbatical after Matthew died). You need the presence of God, not explanations. Rick used Job as an example.
2)Draw closer to other people. Ephesians 6:2.
3)Use the pain to become more like Jesus Christ. II Corinthians 4:10.
4)Use the pain to help others.
5)Use the pain as a witness to the world. Philippians 1:12. Paul’s pain modeled his ministry.
Rick also said that his ministry is attacked because he is an “evangelist,” especially to Muslims and homosexuals. He referred to his critics as Pharisees. In my thirty three years as a Christian and Southern Baptist, that is the first time I ever heard a pastor complain on a public platform about fellow pastors and others who do not agree with him. I believe that the criticism he receives is directed at his compromising stance with the above two people groups. Rick has said that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. Furthermore, Rick vacillates and equivocates as to whether or not homosexuality is sinful, depending on to whom he is speaking. No one has ever criticized Rick for taking the Gospel to anyone.
There will be one final entry for the last two speakers– James MacDonald and Francis Chan.