Southern California Pastor Rick Warren addressed the various congregations of Mars Hill church this past Sunday by video.
The Seattle based mega church officially and legally dissolves tomorrow night---December 31.
The path that has led to this dissolution has been actively reported by the media, both locally and nationally.
Warren said to those attending the last service under the Mars Hill structure, "Let me suggest this:"
I felt Warren's words were appropriate for the end of the Mars Hill era of ministry.
I have no comment about the path that brought them to this last Sunday and the dissolution that takes effect tomorrow. But his "suggestions" to those church congregations is profitable for all of us as we glance back at this past year and face the challenges and opportunities of the coming new year.
He said, "Let me suggest this:"
- Refuse to be bitter about what has happened.
- If you hold on to bitterness, you'll only be hurting yourself. Bitterness prolongs the pain.
- Refuse to blame anybody---stop the blame game.
- Refuse to gossip or judge...you've got to let it go.
- Show grace to your leaders. Why? Because every leader is flawed.
- Be grateful...you need to be grateful...you need to be grateful for all the ways that God used Mars Hill Church. Be grateful for the way God used Mark Driscoll.
- Keep your eyes on Jesus.
Warren said as he prayed about this final message to Mars Hill, John 12:24 came to his mind.
It reads, "Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies it produces many seeds."
He said, "A giant has fallen," referring to the Mars Hill churches, "but there are many young trees that sprouted from the dead tree."
With that he held up a photo of a giant sycamore tree that had fallen and eight young trees that sprouted from the dead tree.
Forgiveness is fundamental to Christianity. Yet the act of forgiveness is one of the most difficult things we are called to do in our Christian walk.
Forgiving becomes either a stepping stone in our spiritual progress or a stumbling block leading to bitterness and personal spiritual destruction.
And the destruction is not limited to those unwilling or unable to forgive. A root of bitterness defiles many.
The prayer the Lord modeled for us includes "...forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us..." Forgiving others is clearly linked to experiencing forgiveness of our own transgressions.
Is God selective in offering forgiveness?
I 'll be talking more about this on the radio today. I'll also be sharing a personal experience in Vietnam and the story of two bitter sisters as told by author Robert Louis Stevenson.
You may join me live at 9 AM PST, or the rebroadcast at 7:30 PM PST. Here's how.
Be Forgiving. Be Prayerful. Be Blessed.