Rick Warren Prepares Saddleback for Decade of Blessings

Saddleback Church in Southern California is kicking off its "Decade of Destiny" this weekend in an effort to prepare the mega-congregation to receive showers of God's blessings.

"I want the next ten years of your life to be the best 10 years of your life," Pastor Rick Warren told church attendees. "I want you to be more blessed and less stressed. I want God's blessing ... on every area of your life."

The Decade of Destiny is a two-month spiritual growth campaign that is aimed at moving Christians forward in their faith walk.

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Warren acknowledged that as their pastor, the Bible holds him accountable for the congregants' spiritual growth.

"I don't take that lightly," the well-known megachurch pastor said.

Along with helping believers come to a position of being "blessable," the campaign will also lead the church to be a blessing to the community.

"God blesses you so you can be a blessing to others, not just so you can be some fat cat and self-centered," Warren highlighted.

The Decade of Destiny campaign was first announced during Saddleback Church's 30th anniversary celebration in April. Over the next ten years, the church of some 22,000 weekly attendees will enhance its programs and operations and expand its campuses and small groups. By the end of this year, the megachurch plans to have 10 different Saddleback locations in Southern California.

In preparation for the campaign, Warren studied every verse in the Bible that speaks of God's blessing.

He first stressed that nobody deserves His blessings.

"It's totally a gift," the pastor and bestselling author of The Purpose Driven Life said. "He [blesses] because He's a good God, not because you're good."

Moreover, God enjoys blessing His children, he added.

"God wants to bless you. He's not holding back. He's waiting on you."

Though God's blessing cannot be earned, there is a premise to every promise, Warren noted.

"They're not automatic," he said of blessings. "There's a condition. ... God promises and actually guarantees that He will bless your life if you do what He says."

He warned, "You can go through life and miss every blessing of God that He intended for your life."

The conditions to receiving God's blessings include: meeting with God daily, studying His word, tithing, helping others in need, sharing the Good News, and participating in fellowship (such as small groups).

Stressing the importance of relationships with other believers, Warren reminded the congregation that many of the blessings will come through other people.

"The number one thing God wants you to learn in life is not how to be rich; ... it's how to love because God is love. You learn love by being in a relationship. The church is the laboratory for learning relational skills [and] how to love. You cannot be blessed by God on your own."

This week, thousands of people attended Vision Rallies ahead of the Decade of Destiny launch to learn where the church is going in the next ten years. One man, who wasn't a regular Saddleback attendee and yet was inspired, donated $250,000 toward the project during a rally Thursday night.

Over the next two months, Saddleback will host Friend Days to reach out to those who do not know Christ, partner with supermarket retailer Albertsons to raise over $1 million to help the poor, encourage Christians to launch small groups around the country, and host a civil forum featuring a live interview with former President George W. Bush.

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