(Photo: Georgetown University/Sarah Gormley)
Pastor Rick Warren is scheduled to preach at Saddleback Church in Southern California next weekend, marking his return to the pulpit about three months after he lost his 27-year-old son.
He will give his sermon from the Lake Forest campus for all of the church's services beginning at 4.30 pm PT on Saturday, with online streaming available on the church's website.
Pastor Warren plans to start a series of sermons titled, "How to Get Through What You're Going Through," according to a spokesperson.
He tweeted last Tuesday about the weekend before he returns, saying, "This weekend July 20-21 #DuckDynasty speaks @Saddleback. Then July 27-28, I start teaching again. Come early for a seat."
Warren, author of the international bestseller The Purpose Driven Life, who uses social media with regularity, requested prayer for his family on July 18, the day Matthew would have turned 28. "It'll be a hard day," he tweeted.
Warren, who gave the invocation at President Obama's first inauguration, spoke to his congregation briefly on May 26, appearing with his wife and informing them that he would need some more time to return to the pulpit.
Saddleback announced on April 6 that Warren's youngest son, Matthew Warren, had committed suicide after suffering from mental illness for years.
Warren sent an email to his staff, describing Matthew as "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," Warren wrote. "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."
Warren also recalled that 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, Warren said.
Matthew's death sparked outpouring of prayers from Christian leaders, and Warren expressed gratitude to church members and supporters for their "love and prayers," saying "we love you back."