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‘Love Kept Me Going All These 43 Years of Painful Preaching,’ Rick Warren Shares During His and Kay’s Farewell Message

On Sunday (August 21), Rick and Kay Warren, founders and pastors of Saddleback Church for the past 43 years, delivered a farewell message as they prepared to pass the baton to Andy and Stacie Wood.

“It’s been our privilege to love you, and to pray for you, and to serve you all these years,” Rick told Saddleback Church, which has 14 California campuses and averages 23,000 worshipers a week.

Rick explained that as he and his wife got ready for their last sermon together, it had been the hardest message they ever prepared, because they have too much to say and share. Rick will give his last sermon as Saddleback Church’s senior pastor next week.

Rick shared that he visited his archives on “Life Lessons,” which he had written down but hadn’t looked at in awhile. The senior pastor discovered that he had written over 6,500 sermons, Bible studies, devotionals, small group messages, and video studies.

A “Lessons Learned” folder on Rick’s computer has over 16,000 documents. Kay labeled the abundance of lessons as a lot of “future books.”

Kay Warren’s Message

Kay shared “the bedrock of her personal adventure” in being a Christ follower, saying, “If I never got to say anything else to you, it would be this: say yes to God—That’s it.”

Kay taught out of Mark 8, where Jesus told His followers to deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Him. Kay shared that comfort, control, and fear get in the way of her saying “Yes” to God, pointing out that many others can probably relate.

“Somewhere in my growing up, I grew up with the fear that if I really said yes to God, I mean if I really just sold out to him and said, God, you can have everything there is to have; I’m yours and you can do with me as you want; I was really afraid that if I ever did that kind of a level of commitment, that the bottom would fall out,” Kay said.”That would be the day that I’d get the call about my health or that would be the day that some tragedy would happen.”

Kay shared that she has had cancer, her mother had Alzheimer’s, her daughter-in-law had a brain tumor, and she lost her son. But none of that happened because she said “Yes” to God. These things happened because we live in a world where evil exists.

Quoting Beth Moore, Kay said, “Evil will come because evil will come. And those who have not withheld any part of themselves will find that God is enough when evil comes.”

(Church Leaders)

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