May 9, 2020
Dear Saddleback Family,
I MISS YOU ALL SO MUCH!!! I pray for you all the time. I pray that God will give you the strength to adjust to all of the many changes COVID-19 has caused.
As your pastor – someone who loves you very much – my goal during this season is to provide you with calm, competent, and reassuring direction that will help you survive and even thrive in all the chaos. Each week, I’m seeking to assist you in managing the “dis-ease” (stress) being caused by the disease of the coronavirus.
This is NOT the first crisis (or even pandemic) that I’ve led our church family through I think this is the 33rd national or international crisis we’ve gone through together in 40 years, so we’re confident in what to do and when to do it. The HIV & AIDS virus pandemic of the 80’s, 90s, & 2000s has killed 32 million people worldwide and we’re still fighting that one.
Of course, everybody wants to know “When will we be able to meet together again?” My answer is: If you read our special COVID-19 daily email newsletter, Saddleback@Home you will be the first to know what that happens Because of our size, it is very likely that smaller churches of 50 or 75 people will be able to open sooner than Saddleback Besides Disneyland, there aren’t many places in Southern California that attract crowds our size.
Last week, I taught you the first half of a message on “Ten Commandments For Emotional Health.” I shared 5 biblical principles to live by during COVID-19 Thanks to the many of you who wrote me this past week, saying how helpful and practical those first 5 principles were for reducing the current stress.Now, this weekend, I’ll share the last 5 ‘Commandments’ – instructions God gives us to handle the crises that we go through in life. Here’s the TEACHING OUTLINE in PDF and WORD formats, and also your SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS.
Let me urge you again, to invite your unchurched friends to watch this practical series on how to handle the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic It’s not going to be over quickly! Help them out.
THE SENSELESS TRAGEDY OF THE SHOOTING OF AHMAUD ARBERY
This week, we all learned the truth behind the sad ordeal of Ahmaud Arbery’s murder. Once again, an unarmed young black man was gunned down by two white citizens – a father and son. And once again, justice was not served immediately. Over two months went by without an arrest – until a video of the murder was leaked to social media and the world is justifiably outraged. Is this the kind of nation we want to live in? NO! A thousand times NO!
Right now, I am so heartbroken for Ahmaud’s family, so incensed at the injustice, so angry at the racism of the perpetrators, and so fearful for the safety of our brothers and sisters of every color – both in our own church family, and in the larger Body of Christ I’m also so discouraged that in 2020 this kind of blatant racism and violence still exists.
You’ve heard me say many times that “Racism is not a SKIN issue. Racism is a SIN issue! It is an insult to God who made every person in His image Racism says “God, you made a mistake by not making everyone else like me.” It is the ultimate arrogance.
Sadly, what Isaiah described thousands of years ago is still true today: “Injustice is everywhere and justice is turned back. Righteousness (doing what’s right)has been sidelined Truth falls dead in the streets, and fairness has been pushed away.“ Isaiah 59:14
As Christ followers, WE…MUST…STOP…THIS…NOW!
Pastor Rick Warren
Purpose Driven Network
Global P.E.A.C.E. Initiative
Finishing the Task Coalition
Daily HOPE Broadcast