Did you know that God brings calamity in the world so your church can pat itself on the back and grow at the same time?? At Saddleback Church, it’s not called a disaster, it’s called an opportunity.
Here’s most of a recent church letter that went out from Rick Warren to people around our area this week through the Orange County Register. To be fair, I am sure there were many good things that this church was involved in, but to be honest, a lot of this letter makes me want to puke.
SADDLEBACK FIRES REPORT
Dear Saddleback Church Family,
Our campus has been spared, but with fires in Santiago, Modjeska, and Live Oak Canyons, so many of our members have been forced to evacuate their homes. So far, over 20,000 acres have burned here in our Saddleback Valley area.
Of course your church has been at the center of relief efforts once again. This is the eighth national or international disaster that Saddleback has mobilized for, so our disaster teams are quite organized and effective as first responders.
HERE’S A QUICK UPDATE:
* Our 120 acre campus has served as a Fire Evacuation Center, caring for and feeding people who had to evacuate their homes. We’ve also been taking care of a lot of pets and horses!
* We’ve also been a staging area and Relief/Refreshment Center for the fire fighters. Today we fed over 425 fire fighters on our church campus. These fire fighters are from all over California.
* Our ministry teams have been placing evacuated families into homes of members.
* We’ve sent out over 100 of our trained volunteer chaplains to care, counsel, and pray at other evacuation sites.
* On Saturday, many of our relief teams will head to the hardest hit areas of San Diego, as well as serving here in our local communities.
As the fires have raged this week, I’ve once again seen the undeniable importance and benefit of being a part of a small group. While people without a church home or a small group were sent to evacuation centers across Southern California (like our campus), I kept hearing story after story of Saddleback small groups opening their homes to fellow group members who had to evacuate. I also witnessed small groups actually fighting fires together when a group member’s homes was threatened by fire!
THAT, my friends, is what small groups are all about! Your group carries you through a crisis! Right now I feel sorry for those who’ve never connected with a group. It’s never too late to join one.
(For those of you who asked: Yes, Kay (my wife) and Saddleback staff minister Elizabeth Styffe were captured briefly on video by a local TV news crew. Members of our small group were assisting in saving the Styffe home from the fire in their back yard. You may have also seen many of our college ministry (“CRAVE”) students working alongside firefighters on the fire lines.
THREE THINGS YOU CAN YOU DO
1. Continue to pray for all the firefighters. MANY are Saddleback members.
2. This weekend, invite your friends and neighbors to hear my message of comfort, “HOW CAN I LOOK UP WHEN I’M BURNED OUT?” I’ll share God’s way to handle every crisis, and fulfill the first purpose for your life AND KEN BLANCHARD, the bestselling management author of all time, will share his personal testimony and response after his house burned down this week in Rancho Bernardo.
3. The following weekend, Nov. 3-4, invite everyone to join us as we publicly honor all the Fire Fighters at our six services Please pass on this word.
Remember, God’s purpose for your life is greater than any problem you’ll face. “These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold-and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold. So if your faith remains strong after being tried by fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” 1 Peter 1:7 (NLT)
See you this weekend during 40 Days of Purpose.