One of the catchphrases of our generation is, “Yeah, but does it work?”
People have asked me if Christianity really works — if it lives up to its promises. I tell them that it does, but I’m always impressed when someone is put to the acid test and I see visible proof that God does keep His promises. I think Rick Warren may serve as a recent example of this.
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church, a multisite mega– church with an attendance of 20,000 people, located in Southern California.
Rick and his wife, Kay, began the church 30 years ago with a small Bible study comprised of people who weren’t attending any church. His claims about how Christianity works have been numerous and bold … but why not?
Everything is coming up roses for Rick and Kay Warren — right? Well, not always!
On April 5, 2013, the Warrens’ 27-year-old son, Matthew, after a long struggle with depression, took his own life with an unregistered gun.
Rick, his family and his church believe in God and in His goodness and provision; but does it work? I think perhaps Rick can best answer that question for us.
Understandably, the Warrens dropped out of sight for a while. Rick, requesting prayer from his friends and church family said, “No words can express the anguish and grief we feel right now.”
Later, Warren said that they would need some time away as they are, “physically and mentally drained.”
More recently, Rick came back to address his church. In an emotional 20-minute address, he stated, “I’ve been here 33 years and I’m going to be here a whole lot longer.”
He went on to say that, “spiritually, I’ve never been stronger … I’ve never been closer to the Lord, never had more confidence in God, never been more comforted, never felt more love from God, because I’ve spent a lot of time with Him in these days.”
A long-term member of the church said, “It was really good to hear about his strength and faith in God, which is obviously even stronger than it was before.”
Yeah … But does it work? … well, it sounds to me like it does. “It” works because HE works!
“This is what the Lord says … Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior … because I love you …” (Isaiah 43:1–4).
Pastor Ross Helgeton is senior pastor at Erskine Evangelical Free Church
— Faith &Reflection