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Rick Warren to Preach on 'What's On Your Mind' Upon Return in Late Summer

( [email protected] ) May 28, 2013 12:30 PM EDT
Rick and Kay Warren appeared Saturday at the Saddleback Church service and made their public comments for the first time since their youngest son, Matthew Warren, committed suicide seven weeks ago.
Rick Warren said Saturday that ''spiritually he has never been stronger'' despite being exhausted physically and emotionally from the grief. AP

Rick and Kay Warren appeared Saturday at the Saddleback Church service and made their public comments for the first time since their youngest son, Matthew Warren, committed suicide seven weeks ago.

The pastor couple were emotional in their speech. According to a local news outlet, Kay spoke for about 70 seconds before retreating backstage.

"Honestly, it's been very hard coming back because I knew we would be overwhelmed," Kay Warren said, according to Lake Forest Patch. "We said at Matthew's memorial service that we were devastated by the death of our son, but we're not destroyed by it.

The elder Warren then commented on his weeping every day for his son's death and makes no apology for that.

"Grief is a good thing. It is the way we go through the transitions of life. Everybody has losses and grief is the tool that moves us through the losses of life. The shortest verse in the Bible is two words, 'Jesus wept.' Jesus wept," he said, according to Lake Forest Patch.

Warren then said he was not without hope nor afraid because he knows where Matthew is.

Moreover, he commented on the 25,000 to 30,000 condolences received through cards, emails, and social media. "I have never felt more love, and I love you."

"But spiritually I've never been stronger," said Warren, who admitted to being exhausted physically and mentally from grief, according to Lake Forest Patch. "I've never been closer to the Lord, never had more confidence in God, never been more comforted, never felt more love from God because I've spent a lot of time with Him in these days."

Since Matthew Warren's death on April 5, guests pastors, including Perry Noble, Jud Wilhite, Russell Moore, Francis Chan and Greg Laurie, have been preaching in place of Rick Warren.

While confirming his sabbatical leave until August, Warren assured the church that he has no intention of stepping away indefinitely. He will return later this summer and the first series he is going to do is "What's On Your Mind."

Rick Warren then commented on the prevalence of mental illness, "every one of you know someone who struggles" with mental illness, such as depression, obsession, schizophrenia and thoughts of suicide.

In an effort to address this number-one cause of disability in America, the church will be starting a new ministry on mental illness. The sale of Matthew's house will fund the new ministry.