I heard about Pastor Rick this morning here on the radio (in Wyoming!) during our vacation. Then got a few texts/Facebooks from friends and family asking about him and thought you may want or be curious about Pastor Rick Warren’s condition. Here’s what he sent out to the church family earlier today:

Dear Saddleback Family,

Monday morning (my day off) I was cutting back a huge African Fire Stick plant in my yard. Even though I was wearing gloves, I somehow later accidentally got some of the toxic sap on my hands and then in my eyes. The resin is quite corrosive and burned both of my eyes. In excruciating pain, Kay called 911 paramedics who rushed me to a hospital. For the next 4 hours doctors irrigated my blistered eyes with 14 liters of saline solution to flush out the poison and ease the pain. I’d have to say I had no idea that eye burns are so painful! I was kept overnight so I could be given shots of Dilaudid and morphine, plus Percocet, numbing drops, and several eye meds. A doctor inserted protective contact lenses to aid in healing the scarred tissue. He told me he expects a full recovery of my vision and each day it has improved.

I am NOT BLIND! – which should be obvious from me typing this note! (I asked for prayer on Twitter and all kinds of rumors started spreading!) I’m now resting at home, with the pain being managed by oral meds and a regimen of eye meds to heal the damage. I expect to make a full recovery.

I have already received many kind words of prayer support. Please pray that God will be glorified even in this accident! I love you all! Pastor Rick


Taking Time Off

 —  July 13, 2010 — 3 Comments

I’m taking today off.

We’re just coming off a massive multi-week effort to pull of HSM’s Summer Camp completely on our own for the first time and honestly, I’m totally spent. Here’s the problem: there are a million forces pulling me back into work. The rest I need is in direct opposition to everyone else’s needs. Emails are still flying in, phone calls and texts are jamming my phone, I’ve got a pile of mail waiting for me and my office looks like it was hit by a Class 5 tornado. But I’m going to take a 2nd day off, and get back to work full-force tomorrow.

  • Why? If I don’t, I’ll burn out.
  • If I don’t, I’ll die early (and the way I eat, I’ll die early enough).
  • If I don’t, I’ll save the world but lose my kids and my marriage. Not worth it.
  • So if you need me today … well, you won’t be able to find me. I’m hiding from you.

But, you ask, what if it was your day off and Rick Warren himself called a meeting and specifically asked you to be there? What would you do then? It isn’t an easy answer … but I’ll give it to you since it actually just happened. I would be bummed at myself for sneaking a glance at email from home on my day off, then I would make sure that someone could fully cover for me at the meeting. How do I know I would respond this way? I just did!

I’m taking the day off so I’ll have many more great days of ministry ahead.


It wasn’t that long ago a small group leader in our ministry called me to talk about a big mistake he had made. It involved a group of guys, Buffalo wings, and a little restaurant called … Hooters. The next few hours after that phone call were critical–we were fortunate that it was an experienced volunteer who followed these three steps to re-establish trust with the parents of the kids involved. Here’s what we did:

Own it without excuses
There is nothing like just owning a mistake that you made; honesty and openness are essential for rebuilding trust. The last thing you would want to do is to minimize what happened and pretend it isn’t a big deal. It is a big deal, and it needs an owner. You committed the foul, so take your lumps.

Apologize for what you’ve done and start over
So you’ve been honest about what happened; now it is time to apologize for it and admit you were wrong. This isn’t going to be easy, but it is a sign of humility, repentance, and your humanity. I always tell my leaders, don’t try to appear perfect because it doesn’t set a realistic example for your students to follow.

Earn the trust back one good decision at a time
It might take some time, but work hard not to repeat the same bad decision and play it safe. You are a leader and it is time to get back to leading again. A great way to communicate your good-faith effort is to invite a co-leader into your group or on events with you. Another great trust-building exercise is to give detailed plans of your intentions at least a week in advance. This will give parents an opportunity to address concerns and peace of mind that your plans are sound.

Keep in mind: The longer you’ve served and the more deposits you’ve made into the longevity bank, the more you will be trusted despite a few setbacks.


Here are my two favorite pictures from Easter at Angel Stadium. 1) Pastor Rick from the pitcher’s mound, and 2) one of our church elders wearing an amazing shirt. Great day!


My Out of Office Reply

 —  March 16, 2010 — 2 Comments

Part of the reason I came back to about 1,000 items in my email inbox post-Kenya was because I Twittered about my out of office reply – people wrote me just to see it – ha! If you’re waiting for an answer about something – it’s gonna take me a week to get back up to speed. Sorry! And if you missed the email while I was gone – enjoy:

(a)_____________ is currently away from his desk because he is (b)_______________ in (c)_____________. He will be gone from (d)________________ to (e)_________________ and your email will be (f)_______________________ when he (g)___________. If you need help right away, please contact (h)___________________ at (i)_________________. Thanks and (j)_______________.

Mar 4-18
(a) JG
(b) hanging with 27 amazing students
(c) Kitale, Kenya
(d) March 4
(e) March 18
(f) Replied to immediately
(g) regains consciousness from the travel coma he will be recovering from.
(h) The High School Ministry (HSM) team
(i) (949) 609-8000
(j) always be on the lookout for mosquitoes that carry Yellow Fever. You have been warned.

Feb 22-Mar 1
(a) Joshua Griffin
(b) Hanging out with youth workers at #symc2010
(c) Chicago, IL
(d) February 22
(e) March 1
(f) probably skimmed over
(g) is home for 2 days between trips.
(h) The High School Ministry (HSM) team
(i) (949) 609-8000
(j) have a great day. Seriously, please do.

Feb 9-12
(a) Josh Griffin
(b) Hanging out with Rick Warren backstage at #rad10
(c) Lake Forest, CA
(d) February 9
(e) February 12
(f) completely ignored
(g) (waves hand) “it can wait until March 18th” (you repeat) “it can wait a few weeks”
(h) The High School Ministry (HSM) team
(i) (949) 609-8000
(j) Have a great day.


“David was now in great danger because all his men were very bitter about losing their sons and daughters and they began to talk of stoning him. But David found strength in the Lord his God.” 1 Samuel 30.6

I have a few friends and fellow ministers that swear TWITTER is a complete waste of their time and monthly text message budget. I’ve tried to argue otherwise with little to no success. Some have created a twitter account just to shut me up but still not a tweet from them. Some have yet to maximize its full networking power and have limited their occasional tweets to a very select group of friends and colleagues. Still some have focused on the negatives and have resolved to never explore the positive side of twitter.

I don’t know what your opinion of twitter is but if you have yet to find yourself consumed with the tweets of world leaders, global missionaries, engaging authors, revolutionary leaders, and inspiring messengers of the Good News like I have; I hope this will change your mind. I appreciate the technology of twitter because of the opportunities and platform it offers me to receive and share words of wisdom, encouragement, and humor.

Yesterday, as I sat in Wendy’s enjoying my lunch; killing time while my car was getting an oil change at the adjacent mechanic shop, I received one of these encouraging tweets. This is what the tweet said:

@rickwarren: To last in ministry learn what David did: “He ENCOURAGED HIMSELF in the Lord” (1 Sam 30.6) Don’t expect others to do it for you.

Just as soon as I read this tweet from Dr. Rick Warren, founding pastor of Sabbleback Church, leader of the Purpose Driven Network of churches, and best selling author of The Purpose Driven Life, I had to know the context of the verse he was referring to.

In this passage King David and his men of approximately 600 had just returned home from a battle that apparently no one really wanted them around for. Upon arriving at their town of Zilag they found that an opposing army had raided it and burned it to the ground. This raiding party had also carried off their women, children, and everyone else. Already returning home with their spirits deflated and now devastated from this tragic situation the Bible says these men “wept until they could weep no more.”

Their weeping soon turned to rage toward their leader, King David, whom they wanted to hold responsible for their loss. These men began contemplating stoning him. It was David’s response to this life-threatening plot that brought @rickwarren to send his tweet. The Bible says that David, “found strength in the Lord his God.”

When facing adversity or opposition we can learn from David how God would want us to respond. Notice I said ‘when’ not ‘if’ because we can be sure that with leadership comes adversity. In those moments it would be easy to raise the white flag but in leadership we have to realize that we are working to please God and not those we are called to lead. We can’t give up and we can’t give in; we must, like David, ask God to give us strength to keep moving forward. Because David chose to seek God for strength to move forward he was able recover all that was taken from him and his men with interest.

So when you find yourself facing what you feel is the death of God’s plan for your life, your ministry, and your future don’t give up! Seek God and you too will find “strength in the Lord” your God!

What does all this have to do with twitter? Well, nothing really, accept for the fact that without having an active twitter account I would have never received this encouraging word that I feel God had for me and for you.

So, DON’T GIVE UP and sign-up for twitter!

Shon Bradford is a Student Ministry Pastor and blogs right here.

Not sure how I missed this earlier … but Pastor Rick’s Purpose Driven Life was the inspiration for the song “Temporary Home” on Carrie Underwood’s latest album. Cool! Here’s a clip from USA Today on the topic:

She’s even better friends with Mike Fisher, a center for the NHL’s Ottawa Senators. They’ve been dating about a year. But just because Play On features a song in which a woman tells her mother “Giving me away is not goodbye” doesn’t mean that Underwood has immediate plans to change her last name. She points out that she wrote the song with Idol’s Kara DioGuardi, who wed in July.

“In my case, many years down the road, when I get married” — Underwood chuckles — “if I get married, to whomever it might be, it’ll be really tough on my mother,” she says.

Fisher did contribute to Play On, suggesting the title for one of its songs. The idea came from a devotional study of Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life that the couple did together.

“In the book, he talks about this being our temporary home, that we need to do what we can here but remember that this is literally a stop,” Underwood says. “We’re headed someplace else.”

So Fisher suggested Underwood write a song called Temporary Home. Her initial reaction? “I was like: ‘Stick to hockey. I’ll stick to songwriting.’ ”

But the idea grew on Underwood. She wrote a ballad, with verses depicting a boy in a foster home, a single mother in a halfway house and a man in a hospital bed. She worked with Last Name co-writer Luke Laird and Zac Maloy, another Oklahoman.


Saddleback Church is streaming their Christmas services online this holiday – click here to watch. Pastor Rick Warren is speaking during the daytime services and Doug Fields will be teaching the two evening services:

Catch it today (Christmas Eve) at 1PM, 3PM, 5PM, 7PM, 9PM, 11PM (Pacific Time)

Also, my friend Tony and LifeChurch.tv are hosting a Christmas Eve experience as well at Church Online that would be a great one to check out, too. Merry (online) Christmas!