In his final sermon at Saddleback, Rick Warren drives home the purpose driven life by Leonardo Blair for Christian Today
In his final sermon as lead pastor of the California-based Saddleback Church on Sunday, Rick Warren returned to the very first message he delivered to a small group of strangers in 1980 to start the church. It was the message of a purpose-driven life that made him a global household name after he immortalized the essence of that message in his bestselling book, The Purpose Driven Life in 2002.
The book, which promotes living life to satisfy God through worship and ministry, is now one of the bestselling nonfiction books in publishing history, according to publisher Simon & Schuster. It has been translated into 137 languages and sold over 50 million copies in multiple formats.
Before delivering his swansong as lead pastor, Warren walked onto the stage to warm applause and cheers. He bowed his head for a few seconds to soak up the moment at the wooden pulpit where he preached for the first 15 years of his 43-year ministry.
“You’re going to make me cry,” he told the church. “Have I told you lately that I love you?”
He then made the purpose of his final sermon clear.
“As you know by now, today is my last message to you as your senior pastor. For 43 years, it has been my privilege to love you, to pray for you, to serve you, to encourage you, to be at the bedsides, to be at the gravesides, to be at the counseling when you’re going through a tough patch in your life; and to teach you,” he said.
“And during these 43 years, I have preached 6,500 plus messages, sermons and studies. But in this … our final, our last farewell message, I have decided that of all those 6,500 messages plus that I want to share with you, to repeat and re-preach, the very first message I preached to start this church, word for word, 43 years ago.