February 8, 2010
Dear Saddleback Family,
Since the disaster in Haiti, we have been so busy I haven't had time to write you. From the moment the earthquake hit, Saddleback has been coordinating relief efforts, not just from our church, but also for those many churches in our network that look to us for direction. I'll give you a full report later, but just know that the situation in Haiti is far worse than you can imagine. The loss of lives and homes is unlike anything I've known. Churches on the ground are doing the best they can but we lost 70 pastors who were in a meeting when the roof caved in on them.
Saddleback has coordinated relief in dozens of disasters, our experience shows us there are 3 stages to every disaster. First is the RESCUE stage, which is the shortest stage (usually hours or a few days) saving those who are still alive. Second is the RESUMING stage, where the goal is to get the power, water, communications, and roads working again. This can take several weeks, but in Haiti, many didn't have these services before the earthquake. The third phase, the REBUILDING stage, takes the longest. For example, we're still sending trained relief workers for Katrina rebuilding - almost 4 years later! We've given millions to disasters and have over 1,800 who've served in the rebuilding process after Katrina. Long after the Hollywood types forget about Haiti, we will still be helping rebuild because we are in this for the long haul.
This Easter, our entire Easter offering (at Angel Stadium) will be used for Haiti Relief through the PEACE plan.
From Tuesday through Friday this week, young pastors from all around the world (about 35 countries) will be at Saddleback for training through our new Radicalis conference. Please pray for them!
NEW SERIES BEGINNING THIS WEEKEND
The spiritual season of "Lent", which begins 40 days before Easter each year, is not a practice found in the Bible but is simply a 2000 year old tradition from Church history. The word Lent comes from the Anglo-Saxon word "lencten" which means "Spring." This year Lent begins next week on Feb.17th.
The 40 days prior to Easter is a time to consider and remember all that Jesus has done for us. Through prayer, reading the Bible, worship, giving, fasting, and private acts of self-denial, we remind ourselves of all that Jesus gave up in order to save us.
"Jesus set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn't claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death-and the worst kind of death at that: a crucifixion." Philippians 2:7-8 (Message)
To help you focus on what Jesus did for you, and all of the amazing benefits that he paid for you, I'm going to teach a series on the seven last words of Jesus from the Cross during the next 40 Days. During his hours on the Cross, Jesus made seven statements. Although you have read them many times, you probably don't understand the incredible benefits to you that each statement represents. Jesusnever said anything without a purpose, and his dying words on the Cross are extremely important and valuable to your life. I am eager to unlock their full meaning for you beginning this weekend.
Once you know the meaning of Jesus' last words you'll realize that it's more appropriate to call them Jesus' living words - because they contain the truths you need for life. Here's my teaching schedule up to Easter:
FEB. 13-14 HE SPOKE THE WORD OF ABSOLUTION: "Father forgive them" so we know we are forgiven!
FEB 20-21 HE SPOKE THE WORD OF CONFIRMATION: "Today, you'll be with me in paradise" so we know we are heaven bound!
Feb. 27-28 HE SPOKE THE WORD OF PROVISION: "Behold your Son… Behold Your Mother" so we know he will take care of all our needs!
MAR 6-7 HE SPOKE THE WORD OF CONFUSION: "Why have you forsaken me?" so we know he paid our debt to God!
MAR 13-14 HE SPOKE THE WORD OF DEPRIVATION: "I thirst" so we know he understands all of our human needs, desires, and hungers!
MAR 20-21 HE SPOKE THE WORD OF SALVATION: "It is finished" so we know our salvation is completed and secured!
MAR 27-28 DECADE OF DESTINY VISION. I'll share the vision that God has given me for where we're going next as a church family.
APR 3 Saturday night ONLY pre-Easter worship service HE SPOKE THE WORD OF LIBERATION: "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." so we don't have to fear death!
APR 4 EASTER AT ANGEL STADIUM! 10 am sharp! Who are you bringing?
See you this weekend!
Purpose Driven Network