One year after his son's suicide, Rick Warren, author of the Purpose Driven Life and pastor at Saddleback Church in Southern California, said that his sermons during worship services beginning this Thursday evening, will be about how the message of Easter provides the answer to life's most devastating trials.
"Do you ever find yourself discouraged, or depressed or defeated, or even devastated by the circumstances in your life? If so, let me take a minute to encourage you about the pathway to hope and change and transformation that I've found in the Easter story of the resurrection of Jesus," said Warren during a video he released earlier this week (see video below).
"Five days after Easter last year, my 27-year-old son ended his own life. He battled mental illness since a child and despite the best doctors and meds and therapy, and prayers and love, he lost his battle for hope and our family was devastated." more >>
LOS ANGELES – Saddleback Church founder Pastor Rick Warren plans to preach at two Easter Sunday worship services at Hollywood High School as part of launching a church campus in Los Angeles.
"We have been planning this for years and praying for it and I'm so excited to have a Saddleback campus in the heart of the great city of Los Angeles," says Warren in a promotional radio announcement.
The 1,800-seat Hollywood High auditorium along with the school's parking area will be used by Saddleback for the Easter services on April 20. No specific plans regarding where the Los Angeles campus will be located or when services will begin after Easter have been released by the church. However, more than 1,000 people have already expressed an interest in the regional and international campus by way of joining an email list and more than 300 volunteers have signed up to help host the Easter services at Hollywood High. more >>
LAKE FOREST, Calif. – A historic, first-time gathering of leaders from both the evangelical and Catholic communities met on Friday to discuss the importance of churches working together to address critical mental health issues.
An overflow crowd of more than 3,300 people at Saddleback Church and an online audience for the live webcast witnessed the all-day unifying event, co-hosted by Rick and Kay Warren of Saddleback Church, the Most Rev. Kevin Vann, bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness-Orange County.
"To be able to call together the larger faith community is bittersweet, as we had hoped to share this moment with our son, talking about concern for people with mental illness," Kay Warren told reporters. "We do this in honor and memory of our son and others lost to mental illness, realizing there is hope for others dealing with this condition." more >>
Kay Warren, wife of Pastor Rick Warren, was so overwhelmed by the thousands of supportive responses to her Facebook post under the headline, "Don't Tell Grievers to 'Move On,'" that she took nearly two weeks before responding.
"Grief is a long, arduous, slow process and it deserves to be respected and supported, not minimized and condemned," Kay Warren said in part of her Facebook message posted Thursday.
The Saddleback Church founders are approaching the one year anniversary of their son's death approached. Matthew Warren died at the age of 27 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound on April 5, 2013. The young Warren had "lived his entire life with mental illness," Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church, said last year. more >>
Craig Gross, pastor of XXXChurch.com, took to his blog over the weekend to review the film "Noah" amid the tension stirred by Christians who say the movie, set to be released March 28, strays away from an accurate biblical portrayal.
Gross, whose 11-year-old son Nolan plays young Ham in the blockbuster, saw the film during the cast and crew screening and urged his readers to see the film before passing judgment.
"… This movie has done the best job in the history of Hollywood to date of taking a Bible story and putting it on the big screen ... don't listen to people on twitter or people behind a pulpit that haven't seen this movie," wrote Gross. more >>
Editor's Note: Leading into an important conference on mental health and the role of the Church hosted by Pastor Rick Warren and his wife, Kay, at Saddleback Church, The Christian Post is offering special focus on the topic. CP plans to continue this coverage including reporting on The Gathering on Mental Health on March 28.
Dr. Matthew Stanford, a Baylor University professor of psychology who studies the intersection of the Church and mental health, will be one of the experts addressing attendees at the conference. Stanford has taught at Baylor since 2003 and serves as the director of the Mental Health Grace Alliance. He's the author of Grace for the Afflicted: A Clinical and Biblical Perspective on Mental Illness and The Biology of Sin Grace, Hope and Healing for Those Who Feel Trapped.