Friday, March 20, 2009

My Trip to Saddleback - Part 2

I wanted to follow up on my observations from my trip to Saddleback Church. This time focusing primarily upon the sermon.

After all the singing it came time for Rick Warren to preach. You can see his apparel in the picture to the right with his shirt untucked and very casual appearance. When he got up to preach he began with an introduction that lasted for about 5 minutes. Then someone came up to sing a song. After that he returned to preach. His sermon outline was okay, but not expositional. He said he was preaching through the Lord's prayer, so I was expecting an exposition of the prayer.

The portion of the prayer he said he was going to preach was "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil - Matt. 6:13." His outline should have been the points of application, not the main points of the sermon. You will NOT notice an explanation of the verse in the handout he gave or in his outline:

1. Identify what makes me vulnerable
2. Plan to avoid it
3. Guard my heart
4. Pray for deliverance
5. Turn my attention elsewhere

He said nothing of the biblical text and said nothing about what Jesus was teaching His disciples in the text, or why they should pray to not enter into temptation. He used at least 8 different Bible translations in the message to make his points. The worst was when he was preaching on guarding your heart, he had a little test for everyone to take. He said he would interpret the results for everyone at the end. Here is the test. Take it and see how you do and I'll give you his interpretation of your likeliness to fall into temptation:

Physically exhausted...................01234...Energetic & in shape
Discouraged or pessimistic.........01234...Encouraged & hopeful
Bored & discontented..................01234...Challenged & contented
Spiritually dry or empty.............01234...Spiritually alive & growing
Alone or distant from others......01234...Close to those you love
Insecure or unsure......................01234...Confident & secure
Wounded or deeply hurt............01234...Loved & understood
Bitter or angry.............................01234...Forgiven everyone
Sad.............................................01234...Happy
Like you've failed........................01234...Successful

Add up your score:
30-40 = You're in good shape
20-30 = You're in serious danger
0-20 = You're in crisis need

Amazing. What about the amount of time you spend in the Word, in prayer, in ministry serving, etc.? If you are in Rick Warren's category 30-40 where he pronounces you in good shape and not as likely to fall into temptation, then you are in danger according to the Bible. 1 Corinthians 10:12 "Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall."

Two interesting statements he made in the sermon were--Jesus faced sexual temptations, and then he told everyone--"don't resist (temptation), refocus." I'll let you ponder those thoughts in your mind as you run them through the grid of Scripture.

Overall the sermon was very weak, no exposition of the biblical text, and very man-centered. The points of his outline were very practical and helpful, but there was no theological foundation or biblical motivation to live this way. There was no discussion of the consequences of sin, the judgment of God, no discussion of the fear of God, and no focus on holy living or the glory of God.

The service ended by him making a call for everyone to join a small group. I don't recall a gospel presentation or an opportunity to meet with someone to talk about coming to know Christ. But it's been over a week since I was there and maybe I forgot. But I don't think so.

I also closely watched to see if he would come down and greet people and shake hands, but he left and was nowhere to be found.

At a couple different points people came up to one of the guys I was with and forbade him from taking pictures. On the way to the parking lot we found a bulletin board with their church activities. We couldn't find there any Bible studies or "Sunday school" groups, but we did find a class on water hygiene. ???

Overall it was an interesting experience, and one that made me even more thankful for Grace Community Church where we were for the Shepherd's Conference

5 Comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi, there is a verse by verse Bible Study on Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. in the Plaza room. They work the studies like a semester so they do not post after it has started. There are many more but this is one I go to. -Just thought you might like to know.

Anonymous said...

The small groups that Pastor Rick was encouraging everyone to join are bible studies, there many to choose from, some more directly bible focused, others more informational.
Why not encourage other Christians and Churches? Should all of Southern California go to your favorite Church? For some people Saddleback is a good first church. It's warm and friendly, not scary or overwhelmingly bible pushy. Many people get their start there and then move on when their understanding and interest in Christianity grow.

Anonymous said...

you are wrong about the sermon,n it all from the Bible and about the Bible, I was there and I go there very often. Please do not spread misleading information.
Sermon is not about reading the Bible only most people can do this at home. Sermon is about the interpetation of the Bible.

Greatness is for God and God only, May God Bless Pastor Rick and his efforts to bring Peace to the heart of the people.
May God guide you and bring Peace to the writer heart and mind.

Anonymous said...

you are wrong about the sermon it is all from the Bible and about the Bible, I was there and I go there very often. Please do not spread misleading information.
Sermon is not about reading the Bible only most people can do this at home. Sermon is about the interpetation of the Bible.

Greatness is for God and God only, May God Bless Pastor Rick and his efforts to bring Peace to the heart of the people.
May God guide you and bring Peace to the writer heart and mind.

Lance M. Roberts said...

Thank you Anonymii. I'm not sure if you are the same person or different folks, but I appreciate you sharing your comments.