LAKE FOREST, Calif. (KTLA) Pastor Rick Warren returned to the pulpit at Saddleback Church on Saturday following a 16-week absence.
Megachurch pastor Rick Warren returned to the pulpit for the first time since his son's suicide in April with a sermon on how to deal with the difficulties of life.
Titled "How to Get Through What You're Going Through," the sermon delivered on Saturday and Sunday was addressed to more than 10,000 members of the Saddleback Church and 6,500 others watching online.
Warren shared the three things that gave him and his wife, Kay, comfort in their grief following the death of their son Matthew, who had suffered for years from mental illness.
First, life doesn't make sense, but we can have peace because God is with us and loves us. Second, everything on earth is broken, but we can have joy because we know God has a greater plan. And third, we know that life is a battle, but we can have hope because we know there is more to the story.
"For 27 years I prayed every day of my life for God to heal my son's mental illness ... it didn't make sense why this prayer wasn't being answered," Warren preached. "When you go through a difficult time, you automatically start to try and find an answer. But explanations never comfort. You don't need explanations; you need the presence of God."
Warren concluded the service by vowing to remove the shame associated with mental illness. The Warrens, who have fought the stigma of HIV/AIDS over the years, said they are now called to remove the stigma of mental illness.
"If you struggle with a broken brain, you should be no more ashamed than someone with a broken arm," said Warren. "It's not a sin to take meds. It's not a sin to get help. You don't need to be ashamed.
Over the next six weeks, Warren will continue the "How to Get Through What You're Going Through" sermon series by focusing on the six stages of grief – shock, sorrow, struggle, surrender, sanctification and service.
Founded in 1980 by the Warrens, Saddleback Church is located in Orange County, Calif. With an average weekly attendance of 22,000, it is one of the largest churches in America. For more information, visit http://www.saddleback.com.