It doesn’t take an emergency rescue operation to see that people need saving, says one megachurch pastor.
So this Easter, Pastor Rick Warren says he’s prepared the most important message he’s ever given.
“I’m calling it The Greatest Rescue,” the Southern California pastor told his congregation last week, according to The Orange County Register.
Warren will also be inviting Jose Henriquez, one of the 33 Chilean miner survivors, to Saddleback on Sunday to speak about his own miraculous rescue and give his testimony of survival and redemption to the 20,000-plus congregation.
“You know, the Bible is actually a book of rescue stories,” said Warren. “Ever since Adam and Eve blew it, God’s been having to bail us out because of all the problems we get ourselves into.”
“He rescued Moses, he rescued Joseph, he rescued Jacob, he rescued Abraham, he rescued the children of Israel over and over and over. He rescued Jonah and Gideon, and I could just go on and on and on. The whole Bible is full of rescue stories.”
But the greatest rescue of all, expressed Warren, was when Jesus Christ died on the cross and three days later rose again so that we could be rescued from ourselves, rescued from our sins, rescued from hell, rescued from meaninglessness in life and so many other things.
“I know you’re going to enjoy this message and my special guest this Easter is Jose Henriquez. His story is an amazing story of hope. When you feel trapped, and you need to be rescued and you can’t save yourself – that’s what his story is about,” the pastor stated, according to the local publication.
Following the collapse of the Copiapo mine in Chile, 33 miners including Henriquez from Mina San Jose, Chile, were trapped underground for 69 days, surrounded by more than 700,000 tons of unstable rock. They were famously rescued – while the whole world watched – on October 13, 2010, with the help of NASA.
An evangelical Christian, Henriquez – regarded as “The Pastor” of the group – shared with the world how it was faith in God that kept them alive.
“We realized we had only one alternative and that was God himself,” confessed the 56-year-old miner while addressing the National Prayer Breakfast earlier this year in Washington, as reported by CNN.
He even used his 10-minute phone call time while underground to request a pastor – Marcelo Leiva of Vallenar Baptist Church – who became a spiritual representative for the entire camp during their difficulty, according to Oregon Faith Report.
Leiva helped create custom Bible studies for the miners to share together during their entrapment and prayed with them, providing words of encouragement.
Speaking about his own faith and witness, Henriquez will tell the story of how he brought 22 miners to Christ this Easter.
The services, which are open to the public, will be held at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, beginning at 7 p.m. on Thursday.
Additional services will be held on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. His testimony will also be made available via video at Saddleback’s other locations.
Additionally, Henriquez is also releasing a book worldwide on October 12, the anniversary of the rescue, in Spanish and in English.
Entitled Miracle in the Mine, the book will highlight aspects of his spiritual background leading up to the Chilean mine collapse and also speak to the events that followed their rescue.
“I’m eager to share how our faith in God helped me and my friends to survive this experience,” said Henriquez in a statement. “Although, I have not fully embraced our so-called ‘celebrity’ status, if writing this book will serve to bring others to know the truth of God’s Word, then my experience will have been for good.”