REBUILDING YOUR LIFE WHEN YOU’VE LOST EVERYTHING Rick Warren Sept.

3-4, 2005 “I (Nehemiah) said to them, ‘You know full well the tragedy of our city. It lies in ruins, and its gates are burned. Let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem and rid ourselves of this is disgrace!’” Nehemiah 2:17 (NLT) “Then they said, ‘Let' start rebuilding!’ So they began to work hard.” s Nehemiah 2:18b (NCV) STEPS TO REBUILDING YOUR LIFE 1. RELEASE ____________________

“… the floods of destruction swept over me. The grave wrapped its ropes around me. Death itself stared me in the face. But in my distress I cried out to the Lord and, I prayed to my God for help.” Psalm 18:4-6 (NLT) “Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.” Psalm 62:8b (NLT)

2.

RESIST

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“Watch out that no bitterness takes root among you... it causes deep trouble, hurting many in their spiritual lives.” Hebrews 12:15 (LB) o what cannot be changed. , not what's lost. it up.

o Focus on what's o Play it down and

3.

REEVALUATE

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“Real life is not measured by how much we own.” Luke 12:15 (NLT) “We brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.” 1 Timothy 6:7 (NIV) “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul.” Matthew 16:26 (NIV)

you obey the law of Christ.” Psalm 62:5 (NCV) “You are my shield. Lord.” Isaiah 12:2 (TEV) “Come back to God Almighty and He' rebuild your life. only He gives me hope. RECEIVE ____________________ “…Since we are all one body in Christ. He tells me what to do.REBUILDING YOUR LIFE WHEN YOU’VE LOST EVERYTHING 4.” Job 22:23a (Mes) ll 6. REACH OUT ____________________ o BY ____________________ “Samuel: ‘Far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you.’” 1 Samuel 12:23 (NIV) o BY ____________________ “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him. how can the love of God be in him?” 1 John 3:17 (NIV) o BY ____________________ “By helping each other with your troubles. The Lord gives me power and strength. give true peace to those who depend on You.” Psalm 16:7 (LB) “God is my savior.” Isaiah 26:3 (NCV) “I find rest in God.” Romans 12:5 (NLT) Best way: 5. and each of us needs all the others.” Galatians 6:2 (NCV) ii . REFUSE ____________________ Jesus: “By standing firm you will gain life. RELY ON ______________________________ “You. I will trust Him and not be afraid. my wonderful God who gives me courage.” Luke 21:19 (NIV) 7. we belong to each other. He gives me wisdom in the night.” Psalm 3:3 (NCV) “I will bless the Lord who counsels me.

So I just knew that we needed to make a shift this morning.” Rebuilding is hard work. There’s the Rescuing stage. That’s not only true of a city. You’re going to have storms of stress. losses of loved ones. It’s true of a life. You’re made to live forever in eternity. ‘Let’s start rebuilding. Hundreds of thousands lost literally everything they’ve ever owned. How do you recover and how do you rebuild after a major loss? Because you’re going to go through the seasons of loss. So you’re going to have major losses in your life. Then stage three is the Rebuilding Stage. Some of you have lost a marriage. You’ve got to pick up all the rubble. Building from scratch is not nearly as difficult as rebuilding because in rebuilding you have to clear away the debris. It harder and takes more work to rebuild your life after a major loss than it does to build your life in the first place. You’re not made to live here forever. The next verse “Then the people said. And one of the great American cities. the rescuing. ‘You know full well the tragedy of our city. and the Rebuilding stage. 100 years on this planet. Let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem and rid ourselves of this disgrace. That’s going to take weeks and maybe even months. New Orleans. In fact it’s much harder that building. Chapter 2 he says “I. It’s called the book of Nehemiah. Lost it all! Well over a hundred billion dollars in damage. 80.REBUILDING YOUR LIFE WHEN YOU’VE LOST EVERYTHING Rick Warren Sept.’ So they began to work hard. Everything in this world is temporary. Thousands are dead. the birthplace of jazz is fighting for its life. 2005 I had planned to speak on the last message in our parenting series this week but this week as you know we had the greatest natural disaster in American history. Financial loses. Nehemiah. And many. Rebuilding always takes longer than building. They’ve been doing that and it often takes days. 3-4. many other kinds of losses in life. Hurricane Katrina came through and displaced over a million people. FEMA comes in and they find those people who are still alive and they evacuate them. the Resuming stage. The fact is. said to them. You’re only going to get 60. Then comes the Resuming Stage. The government comes in and they restore water and power and lights and communication. You’re going to have floods of failure in your life. Gales and gusts of grief. It lies in ruins and its gates are burned. as a human being. Eighty percent of it is under water. Nehemiah was sent to rebuild a city that was in ruins. That’s going to take years. That means everything is temporary – everything. After a disaster there are always three stages. you cannot live without loss. I don’t know if you know it or not but there’s an entire book in the Bible about rebuilding a city.’” He says let’s rebuild. . It’s inevitable. You’ve got to deal with the damage. It takes a whole lot more time because you just can’t start with a clean slate. They still don’t know how many are dead yet. You’re going to have torrents of tragedy. Stage one is Rescuing. health losses.

that is the unanswerable question. Because nothing lasts on this planet. There’s a book about him in the Bible. We may have anger. In that moment Job said. We’re not going to know on this side of eternity. The story of Job. “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 1. That’s what we’re going to look at today. Because a lot of people choose to not do God’s will.REBUILDING YOUR LIFE WHEN YOU’VE LOST EVERYTHING When those kinds of things come into your life. We have fear. We grieve. Your time is coming. very important message for you. We have worry. Or you’ve lost a dream – you’ve had a heartbreak. What we need in that time is encouragement. I’m going to bless the name of the Lord.” Because it’s done perfectly in heaven. What we need is encouragement. he lost his family and he got an incurable. What to do. But we’ll also look specifically at these seven steps on how to rebuild your life. all of his farm. no matter what happens. Or you’ve lost your financial security. That is the mark of maturity. And specifically we’re going to look at seven steps from God’s word. terminal disease – all on a single day. There are consequences and all kinds of things. On a single day he lost everything. What do I do now? What’s next? What are my first steps? You haven’t been through the flood like a million people or more have. Not an explanation. If you haven’t had a major loss in your life you will. the typical question we always ask is why. Release your grief Loss always creates very strong emotions in us. But I’ve discovered after having taken thousands of people through experiences of grief over the years that we don’t need an explanation anyway. Looking back later from heaven you’ll be able to see why things happen they way they did. I don’t want to be morbid but you will. all of his children. We do know that sin has caused a lot of problems in this world. We do know that this is a broken planet. Explanations don’t encourage us. We may have depression. all of his flocks and herds. Or you’ve lost your job. all of his crops. But a lot of problems are just caused by bad decisions. we don’t get an answer. When we ask the Why question. It’s just a matter of time. Everything that happens on this planet is not God’s will. When good things come or when good things are taken away. What do you do when you’ve lost it all? Some of you have lost a loved one. What do you do? How do you rebuild your life? The Bible tells us to do seven things. I would encourage you to take notes because you’re going to need it some day. Then later on we’re going to talk about some ways that I want you to know what our church is doing to help those in the gulf states. He lost all of his wealth. Why is this happening to me? Why is this going on? And folks. So today we’re going to hear a testimony of a couple that literally lost everything and had to rebuild their lives and their home and their church. Job was the wealthiest man in the entire world. All kinds of emotions welled up in me as I watched 2 . But we do know that the earth groans and that’s why we’re to pray. It’s actually far more helpful instead of asking why to ask the What? question. But you have been through other things and you’re going to go through things so today we’re going to look at this issue of what do I do after a major loss? What do I do to rebuild my life when I’ve lost everything. You may not need this message now but this is a very. it doesn’t matter. I’m going to bless God’s name.

But humans do. God has emotions. I don’t want to let it get too close to me. “God! Life stinks! I’m angry.” That is a major mistake.” This isn’t some little pitty-patty prayer where we go. God gets angry. God grieves. I’m grieving. You can handle it and He can too. You will deal with them eventually. Death itself stared me in the face. And you don’t repress them. when you stuff them down. The Bible calls it crying out to God. If you don’t deal with them now. you will deal with your feelings. “I’m just not going to let myself feel anything. What do I mean by that? You don’t resist them. Why? Because you are created in the image of God. God cries. friends. The grave wrapped its ropes around me. Why? Because you were made in God’s image.REBUILDING YOUR LIFE WHEN YOU’VE LOST EVERYTHING these homes being destroyed and people dying this last week. My heart is broken. So you don’t resist your feelings. Resisting means I’m not going to let myself feel this. you’re just putting off the inevitable. I’m lonely. God would rather have you be honest and release your feelings to Him than for you to fake it and pretend like everything’s all right 3 . One day it’s going to explode. Animals don’t have all those emotions. Or if I’d done this differently maybe the person would still be alive.” You cry out to God. That’s what makes you different from animals.” It did matter.” That’s what it means to cry out to God. You don’t reduce your feelings. It hurt and it still does. We don’t know what to do with all of these emotions when we’ve gone through a major loss. I’m mad. That’s why you do too because you were made in His image and He can understand your emotions. first of all. And you don’t reduce them. “It’s no big deal. Where do you think your emotions came from? God gave them to you. That’s like taking a coke bottle and shaking it up. What does God want us to do with those emotions? You don’t resist them. A lot of people do that when they go through a major loss.” It was a big deal. Where you go over and over and over in misery and moan and you start to second guess yourself – if I’d have done this differently maybe I’d still have my job. God says.” Release them to God in prayer. Let me tell you having dealt with a lot of people. “No. And rehearsing over and over and over is just as ineffective as resisting it. “God. You don’t reduce your feelings. I’ve learned that when I swallow my feelings my stomach keeps score.] But in my distress I cried out to the Lord and I prayed to my God for help. You don’t minimize them. “It doesn’t matter. God laughs. Dear God I’m not feeling too good. Or my back or my neck or something. A lot of people are stuffers. If I’d done this differently maybe I’d still have my marriage. It was a big deal. To not feel your feelings. Either now or later. Feelings are meant to be felt. particularly men. You just say. I don’t like this! I’m depressed. What happens is when you internalize your feelings. And you don’t rehearse them. They push their feelings down. You can tell Him anything. You don’t have to say here’s what I think I ought to say. They go. And certainly you don’t repress them. And you don’t minimize your feelings and say. On the other hand you don’t do the opposite and you don’t rehearse your feelings. Psalm 18 David says “The floods of destruction swept over me. they come out in some kind of illness or ailment. I’m hurt. You tell Him passionately exactly how you feel. [I’ll bet a lot of people felt that way this week. I want you to release them. You release them.

That’s what resentment does. It’s not grief that paralyzes us. if you’re going to rebuild your life after a major loss. And you say. It’s a part of life. I just don’t! Stop whining! If it’s something you can do something about it.” In a storm you need a refuge.REBUILDING YOUR LIFE WHEN YOU’VE LOST EVERYTHING because it’s not. Grieve not. Yet I have met some people that almost nothing really bad has happened in their life and they whine all the time. Why? Because it is not grief that paralyzes us. For God is our refuge. do it. And God says I want to cover you. “Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted. you’ve got to release your grief to God and you’ve got to resist bitterness because bitterness will poison your life. Resist bitterness Bitterness will do you harm more than the circumstance you went through. “You don’t know what I’ve gone through!” You may have been raped. So when you go through any kind of loss in life you don’t turn from God. or weep not or cry not. “Rick. 4 . But it does say fear not. 2. Bitterness is far worse than any problem you’ll ever experience. “Pour out your heart to Him. You need some covering. It’s a choice! It’s not based on circumstances as much as you think it is. Do I want to be bitter or get better? Or do I want to be bitter or do I want to be happy? It’s your choice. It’s fear. You need to let it go. “I’m going to let it go!” Because bitterness only hurts you. You can choose. But bitterness is worse. But whining never works. He said. Why? Because it’s holding on to the hurt. After having been in ministry for 25-30 years I have no patience for whiners. Life isn’t always happy. Not once in the Bible does it say. You release it to God. It never solves the problem. I met a lady one time who had cerebral palsy and she said. So He says it’s ok to release your grief. It doesn’t change the past. Release your grief. I want to comfort you. Jesus said it’s ok to mourn. And you tell God exactly how you feel. you turn to Him. That’s dumb. You need to make the decision do I want to be bitter or do I want to get better? That’s the options. So if you choose to hold on to that hurt and you will not forgive and you will not let it go and you will hold on to that resentment you’re choosing to be unhappy. And it says that 365 times one for every day of the year. If you can’t then accept it.” That’s a good thing. just remember the eleventh commandment: thou shalt not belly ache!” If you’re going to recover your life. And God doesn’t expect you to always be happy. I could show you people who have been through the worst amazing circumstances you could imagine – unbelievable horror like the genocide in Rwanda. It’s like God’s saying I want you to get the message – don’t be afraid. He can handle it. Your past is past. In fact. Yet they are happy and cheerful and positive people. There is no correlation between happiness and circumstances. Grief is what gets us through the loss. You don’t resist it or rehearse it or reduce it or repress it. All it does is mess up your life right now. But you can’t have both. Not once in the Bible does it say sorrow not. You need to let go of your grudges just as you let go of your grief. It can’t hurt you any more. It can’t control the future. Happiness is a choice. That’s the first step. The only way it can hurt you is if you choose to hold on to it through bitterness. a breakup or anything else. You cannot be bitter and happy at the same time.

“None of us died. It causes deep trouble hurting many in their spiritual lives.REBUILDING YOUR LIFE WHEN YOU’VE LOST EVERYTHING The Bible says this in Hebrews 12 “Watch out that no bitterness takes root among you. much of life is totally beyond your control. Accept what cannot be changed. So how do you do that? How do you resist bitterness? Three ways. 1. God loves you. Because you know God is in control. And the truth is. Really! You think your problems are bad but you’re not worried about Am I going to eat next week? Or am I going to have a roof over my head tomorrow? Most of the world would love to have your problems.” That’s a perspective that says I’m going to focus on what’s left not on what’s lost. A lot of stuff we just take for granted. After a loss you need to find something to be grateful for. “We were lucky. That’s the starting point. Sometimes the only way to overcome some problems is to accept them. “I complained I had no shoes until I met a man who had no legs. No. friends. Acceptance is the way to peace on some issues. You accept what cannot be changed. No. The truth is most of the people in the world would love to have your problems.” I thought. I remember this week watching television and some family standing there and all they had was the clothes on their back and they said. not what’s lost. fun.” You just need to find something to be grateful for. It’s not Pollyanna where you just pretend like everything’s great and you live in a world of unreality. God cares. Like air. They’re going to be there. Your past is past. 5 . They’re just going to be there in your life. And the more grateful and thankful person you are the more emotionally healthy and physically healthy you will be. It’s just like your past. So you accept what cannot be changed. They’re not going to change and you just accept them. You don’t paper over the past and try to make it appear different than it really is. Faith is facing reality and not being discouraged. Focus on what’s left not on what’s lost. How in the world is she lucky? She said. No matter how much you resent it you can’t change it. Faith is facing reality but you just don’t get discouraged by it.” It just prolongs the hurt. It is good for your heart. And you don’t rewrite history and pretend like your childhood was really a popular. God sees and God will help you. There’s always something to be grateful for. You’re just going to have to accept it. Faith is looking at your past and looking at your present problems and looking at your future. We take so much for granted in our lives and we need to just stop and say God I’m grateful! Scientists have discovered that the attitude of gratitude is the healthiest emotion you can have. You focus on what’s left. It’s like the old cliché. It’s good for you to be grateful. When was the last time you thanked God for air? You wouldn’t live the next minute if you didn’t have it. You’re facing reality but you’re just not discouraged by it. happy time when it wasn’t. 2.

If you think church is a place that you go to – which it is not – and you think church is a place or it’s a building and it’s stone and steeple and pew and stained glass and then all of a sudden in an instant that’s turned into rubble you’ve got to redefine what church is. The third step in the rebuilding after a total loss is to re-evaluate. and redefining our values. But most people do. The same thing is true with church. We have over 2500 small groups in this church. It’s not a location. We’re here. Adults will get over this. After a major loss you play it down and you pray it up. And those little small groups you know what they are? They’re a church. Because you could lose it all in a snap! What happens if your life is defined by all your toys and your value is based on your valuables? And your self-worth is based on your net worth? What happens when that net worth is wiped out? Things change. Home is where the heart is. “We’re going to make it. The parents don’t need to say to their kids. A lot of the props in your life you really think you have to have but you don’t. It is after a major loss that you need to refocus and re-evaluate and redefine and say. Jesus said “Where two or more are gathered in my name there am I in the midst of them. It’s a relation. It is in a disaster we realize what matters most and what doesn’t matter most. If your idea of home and family is a place and when you think of family you think of family as a house or a backyard or a neighborhood or a pool or a gated community and all of a sudden that’s flooded in twenty feet of water it forces you to redefine what family really is. And it redefines your life. challenging our conception. They’re a church where people are meeting 6 . resist bitterness. We’re going to make it. God’s here. In fact.REBUILDING YOUR LIFE WHEN YOU’VE LOST EVERYTHING 3. Church is not a place. if you’re a parent and you go through a crisis you need to do this with your children. And in a crisis if you lose it all it redefines your life.” That means wherever you’ve got a little small group of believers that’s a church. You reevaluate your life. we do it here every week. The ones I worry about most on the Gulf Coast are the children because children are traumatized faster than anyone else. spread out from Santa Monica to Carlsbad – 83 different cities. You don’t know God is all you need until God is all you’ve got. Release your grief. Same thing is true with family or home. It forces you to redefine it. You’re here. You can have church in a home. And all of a sudden when it’s all wiped out it forces you to really think. Let me say particularly. What direction does God want me to take now? Disasters have a way of changing our direction. For instance. what is my life really? Am I more valuable than my valuables? Is my worth more than my net worth? You don’t confuse your possessions with your purpose in life.” You play it down and you pray it up and you talk to God about it. 3. Church is people. “This is terrible! We’ve lost everything!” They need to reassure their kids and say. Disaster clarifies what matters most. It’s not about a place. If you measure your life by how many possessions you have and you rate your success and your happiness is dependent upon the things you’ve got and the things you’ve collected and the cars and the toys and the boats and the possessions and if your life is defined by what you own you’re in trouble. Home is relationships. The third thing is play it down and pray it up.

Notice the next verse. If it can be taken away from you. Luke 12:15 Jesus said “Real life is not measured by how much we own. Can you lose your youthful beauty? Don’t put your trust in your good looks because you’re not going to have them forever… look at me! You can lose it all. they could take you to a concentration camp and strip you naked and take away your wedding ring and you have nothing left but they cannot take away your faith in God and your relationship to Jesus Christ. The greatest things in life aren’t things. you’re not devastated because your security is in something that can never be taken from you. you’re not secure. The church is wherever our family gathers. Not sex. He says. “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep for that which he cannot lose.” So how do you have security in a world where everything’s temporary? The only way you’ll ever have security in this life is to put your faith and trust and security in something that cannot be taken away from you. Not success. isn’t it? Life is not about the collection of toys. what on earth am I here for? That God has a meaning and a purpose for their lives. Not status. Saddleback is just a big umbrella over 2500 little churches because the church is not this place. And on many of those cars is probably that stupid bumper sticker that says “He who dies with the most toys wins. We need to teach people.” Don’t ever confuse what you live on with what you live for. “We brought nothing into the world and we can take nothing out of it. Can you lose loved ones? Can you lose your husband or your wife or your children or dear friends? Yes. yeah! So don’t put your security in your nest egg. Can you lose your career? Oh. “Life does not consist in the abundance of things you possess. But in serving God and others. It’s obviously not about things. A lot of people have a lot to live on and they have nothing to live for. So if you build your security on that no matter what you lose. Not salary. God’s Son.” Kind of irrelevant right now. In the days ahead millions of people in the Gulf States are going to be asking the most important questions in life like “Who is my family? What is a church? What is the meaning of life?” when it’s all been taken away.” I can verify that one for sure having been at a lot of births and a lot of funerals. So since it’s all temporary why do I build my life around it? The best use of your life is invested in that which outlasts it.” The greatest things aren’t things. I can imagine that right now in New Orleans under all of that water there are thousands of very expensive cars rusting. That’s what gives significance. No baby comes in pulling a U Haul – “Here are my things!” And no hearse goes to the graveyard with a U Haul either. That is a relationship to Jesus Christ. yes! So don’t put your security in your career. You don’t bring anything in and you don’t take anything out. Can you lose your bank account and your portfolio and your retirement investments? Oh. There’s only one thing that cannot be taken from you. even when we lose those we love.REBUILDING YOUR LIFE WHEN YOU’VE LOST EVERYTHING needs and caring for each other and praying for each other and encouraging each other and helping each other and serving each other. You love them but you don’t put your security in those people. That’s not what life is all about. 7 . When you put your trust and faith in Him and you build a relationship to God.

If you’re going to rebuild your life after a loss you must have other people in your life. I would suggest that you build the relationships now before the inevitable loses occur in your life. And you need other people in your life. So you’re prepared. Why do we do that? Because I know what’s coming in your life and I want you to be prepared for it. you don’t need everybody close to you. If they get too close. We’re formed for a family. you resist bitterness. We don’t let them get too close. And they’re there. We’re made for fellowship. clothes. five people in your life who are going to be there when the tough times come and the rogue winds blow. The fourth thing you do after a major loss… 4. Let your wife get close to you. Again. Let your friends get close to you. That’s why we talk about it over and over and over in this church. And I was created inadequate so I would need other people. they’ll see my fears. It’s pretty short term thinking to invest all your time and energy in stuff that you’re not going to take with you into the trillions of years you’ll spend in eternity. “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” What are you giving in exchange for your soul. And I need you. You need me. You need two things. Let your husband get close to you. They’ll see my weaknesses. You don’t need a hundred friends.” Then you’re going to go into the next life and leave them. And you’re going to have to let go of some of your fears in order to let people get close to you. folks. four. boat. You were made inadequate so you would need other people. At the end of your life do you want to look back and say. Why? Because we keep people at a distance. You don’t need a whole bunch of friends. If they get close and they see the real me and then they don’t like me I’m up a creek without a paddle. House. I worked real hard to collect all these things. Because a lot of times people you think are your friends they don’t show up when you’re in the crisis. Who shows up and who doesn’t? It’s very interesting. You receive help from others. You can’t do it by yourself. You only just need a few – three. How do you know who those people are? You’ve got to get close to them. etc. You must let people get close to you. “See all these things I’ve collected? That’s what I gave my life for. You must risk vulnerability if you’re ever going to have intimacy. You can’t. It’s an amazing thing that happens when you lose a loved one or you’re in the hospital for a while. You just need four or five really good ones who are going to stick with you when you lose everything. Most people have never experienced true intimacy. That’s why you’re going to have to swallow your pride and let people get close to you. You release your grief. You need to join a church family and you need to get in a small group. Then when you’re in the crisis. people show up that you didn’t really think cared that much at all. 8 . you re-evaluate your life. They’ll see what I’m afraid of. God never intended for you to go through life on your own power as a lone ranger without anybody else helping you.REBUILDING YOUR LIFE WHEN YOU’VE LOST EVERYTHING Jesus said this. Because I’m all I’ve got. You need a church family. That’s not really long-term thinking. God wired the universe that we’re created for community. We need each other.

If you haven’t we invite you to take it this week. Fill this out. You receive help from others but you rely on the Lord. You get them from trusting in Jesus Christ. Not the way you’re intended to build it. The 101 Class. So if you can’t come on Sunday this would be a good week to go – Saturday morning at 8:30 here we’re going to teach the membership class. In two weeks we’re going to start the world changing series 40 Days of Peace. So you need to get in one of those little churches. Here’s the fifth step in rebuilding your life… 5. You cannot rebuild your life after a major loss without God. fine. Second. And also Sunday afternoon. not afterwards. 9 . We’ll give you the video. Circle those five words in these five verses. So I would encourage you. You need first. Here at Saddleback we have the membership class called the 101 Class. you plug it in. Actually this week we’re doing it on Saturday morning too. They teach God’s word. So if you don’t like this church. if you’re not in a group yet get in a group. Anybody can do this. you’ve got to have hope in order to rebuild your life. Where are you going to get those five things – peace and hope and wisdom and courage and strength? There’s only one place you get those things to rebuild a life. Better yet. One of the small groups that are spread out all over. I’ll be the host. You need peace of mind. We teach it on a Sunday afternoon once a month. Actually it’s this next week. Because there are five qualities you need to rebuild your life. Get three or four of your friends. Because even if you join this church you could join the church and be a part of our family and still not really know three or four or five people close who could bring you meals when you’re sick and help you to do errands and when you move they could help you move and things like that. We offer it every month. But I want you to be connected before the rogue winds come. In fact. We’re all on the same team. peace. In your program – you can look at this later – today’s program there’s a flap on 40 Days of Peace. And you’ve got to have strength. There are thousands of good churches. We’re not in competition with any church at all. You’re not going to see them if you’re not in a small group. Just find one and say I’m going to take their membership class and I’m going to join and I’m going to become a part of it and I’m going to identify myself and that’s going to be my spiritual family. Let me be real clear about this. You say. but now – before. fine. You’re going to miss out on this life changing historic thing. You don’t have to have a bunch of people and you say. But it’s all done in and through small groups. rip it off and take it outside to the table and we’ll get you started. Video taped them. those mini-churches. You’ve got to have courage. turn it on. Thousands and thousands of people have taken Class 101. But more than that you really need to get into a small group. It’s going to be incredible.REBUILDING YOUR LIFE WHEN YOU’VE LOST EVERYTHING If you don’t like Saddleback family. What does it take to be a host? Can you turn on a VCR? If you can do that you can be a host. look at the next five verses. Then you’ve got to have wisdom. If you’re not in a small group I would encourage you to become a host. So you receive help from others. Rely on the Lord. invite your friends and sit there and eat pop corn and laugh at me. start one. This summer I taped all of the Bible studies.

And the last verse. I want you to hear the story of a couple who literally lost everything and how they rebuilt their lives. He says. Tom: Yeah. and we drove our Chevy to the levy and the levy was dry. Tom: As Chaundel and I watched the events unfolding in New Orleans this last week it did bring back a lot of personal memories. You need hope to cope.” If you’re going to rebuild your life you’re going to need some guidance. That verse really means. I will trust Him and not be afraid. If you don’t have any hope you’re not living. I’d cleaned house all day getting ready for a women’s meeting at the house that evening and Tom being the wonderful husband that he is suggested that we go out to dinner to keep the kitchen clean. He gives me… you don’t earn them. we went out to Carl’s Jr. The Bible says in Isaiah 26:3 “You.REBUILDING YOUR LIFE WHEN YOU’VE LOST EVERYTHING First you need peace. Notice all of these are gifts. give true peace to those who depend on You.” I was on the Oprah show this week. You can either panic or pray. We had the clothes on our back. You get it from God. He tells me what to do. “I will bless the Lord who counsels me. Psalm 62 “I find rest in God. Don’t be down in the mouth. (I can go months with this body!) You can go days without water. And it’s got to be good guidance. About half way through our hamburger the place just sort of emptied out. Only He gives me hope. You’ve got to have hope. He gives me. north of Sacramento because we’d had a lot of heavy rains that season. And everybody needs hope. They’re simply gifts of God when we give ourselves to Him. “I’ll boost you up.” The Lord gives me power and strength. I flew back to Chicago to tape a show they’re going to show in September. He says “Trust in Me and I’ll give you peace. He gives me. worry or worship. He gives me wisdom in the night. But you can’t go one second without hope. 1986 the levy broke near our home in Marysville. And He can give you wisdom. Only He gives me hope. Psalm 3:3 “You’re my shield. you need hope.” Psalm 62:5 Then the next verse.” You’ve got to have courage to rebuild your life. One of the questions Oprah asked me was “Why do you think Purpose Driven Life has been the best selling book in the world for the last three years?” I said because it’s a book of hope.” And the next verse. Where do you get it? “I find rest in God. It’s Pastor Tom and Chaundel.” You get peace from depending on God. Nobody knows what the future holds but God does. Everybody needs hope! Human beings can go weeks without food. my wonderful God. their home and their church. the car we were driving. Isaiah 12 says “God is my Savior. You don’t deserve them. He lifts up my head. It happened to us! 10 . He says I’ll give you strength to rebuild your life. You’re just existing.” Circle “peace. Chaundel: On February 20.” Second. who gives me courage. We heard a radio blaring up at front and found out that a levy had broken over where our house was and the entire area ws inundated with water and we couldn’t even get back in to our own house. Lord. You can go a couple of minutes without air. a real fancy place. You don’t work for them.

The church first met in small groups in homes and then we met at a local community college where we rented space. We got all my clients’ records and all of Tom’s sermons. Finally in the local paper we saw a picture on the front page of what we had determined was probably our next door neighbor’s house. They gradually began to pump the water out. He’s in control of whatever circumstances in our lives. A friend took us in on a boat and we waded through our house in cold water up to our chest. He said. Chaundel: We didn’t have any flood insurance so the financial loss was huge. We didn’t get a single computer game but we got the important stuff. It’s not all about the building. some people thought our church was gone. So they thought I’d have to leave and not be a pastor of that church any more. It affected every area of our life. It affected that. “This far and no further. But the church obviously continued. God said to the water. We finally bought some property by the freeway and built a new building. We would fall into bed every night just exhausted from mucking out our house or looking for a place for our church to meet. Very strange feeling. We were able to salvage some thing but those things were covered with layers of slimy mud and who knows what else. It’s the easiest thing in the world to act like God’s only in control when things are going right. they’ll figure it out! We went the other way to a church member’s house and asked if we could spend the night and we ended up staying a week. It was a total miracle.REBUILDING YOUR LIFE WHEN YOU’VE LOST EVERYTHING Chaundel: My first thought was we need to go back and tell the women we’re not having the meeting. But you know what? We didn’t get sick one time in those weeks and there was a lot of crud in that water. God did a special miracle for us in that we were able to retrieve from the oldfashioned computer floppy disks – the 5¼ inch ones. We were out of our home for seven weeks. And He also taught us through this that He’s in control. Tom said.” So his house wasn’t flooded. Finally when we got the particleboard down and some water in the bathtub we moved back in because we wanted to be back in our house so much. And the water was to the roofline. Tom: The weeks and months that followed were pretty exhausting. Chaundel: We also learned to look for things to rejoice in. Tom: Then we learned our house was under nine feet of water. Chaundel had a home bookkeeping business. I can still look back at those times at that church as some of the greatest times of worship in our lives. We waited to catch a glimpse – or maybe dreaded to catch a glimpse – of our neighborhood on the news. I remember going to one church meeting and a guy got up and gave his testimony that his house wasn’t flooded. Then we had to begin to tear out everything that was in the house and rebuild everything that was the house. Our church. Our church was in the same area and it happened that the buildings of the church were inundated with water to the extent we were never able to move back into those buildings. I 11 . We had to start by cleaning up the mess. But they wouldn’t let us across the bridge. But the first grief that I faced was the fact that we weren’t home – so close and yet so far – so we weren’t able to gather any of those irreplaceable things. We don’t have the building anymore. Tom comforted me with the fact that we were all together and that he wouldn’t have let me stop to pack anyway because he knew I wasn’t a very fast packer. Tom: God taught us to look for things to rejoice in. There was a lot to do. We washed and washed and washed until finally it would come off. He reminded us that our precious sixteen-month-old Ryan was fine and that he was much more important than his baby pictures.

I’d like to be able to tell you that God taught me these lessons and now we’ve moved on to other things. We had people give to meet our needs from all over the country. deep knowledge that He was there. other Christians from all over coming in and encouraging us. There were people who came. then my values become clearer and more straightened out. He gave us hope by other churches. So I can still pull a whole lot of books off my shelf and say. Whether good or bad. And we needed hope and God gave us hope. God’s in control.REBUILDING YOUR LIFE WHEN YOU’VE LOST EVERYTHING thought. And He gave us hope with the deep. I never thought I’d take my husband or my children for granted. Chaundel: God also taught us that a loss like this helps us put our lives in perspective.” If they can come and go that easily it’s not worth giving my all to and investing my whole life in. But that’s obviously not true. That’s what makes God so great. That I’d always be generous to those in need. He gave us hope by remembering that this world is not all there is. The name of that church was Saddleback Church! Five years before I came here to be a pastor. But God loves me anyway. That’s the time in my life I became a garage-sale-aholic. this church took up an offering to re-supply that library. God also taught us in a deeper way than He ever had before of what it means to be a part of His church and the encouragement the church can give. So if I show up in your driveway on Saturday morning you’ll understand. And it was hard this summer as we were getting our daughter ready to go to college I was thinking about our college years and really grieving over the fact that we don’t have the letters we wrote to each other during college. I lost my whole pastor’s library with all my books. I know we’ve 12 . For where your treasure is there will your heart be also. just to re-buy the books that were in my library. But a year later our house was rebuilt and basically pretty much furnished. You wonder if you’re going to make it through. But you know what? I still struggle with those things? I still have to grow. God’s there in our lives and He can work in our lives. He was with us no matter what. We’ve been able to be a little bit light hearted years and years later but the truth of the matter is when we were going through it. a special offering. I never thought I’d value possessions overvalue them. or a home again. We lost everything that was in our church. Sometimes the loss becomes fresh all over again. Thank You God for these people who loved me even before I came here enough to care about us when we went through a tough time. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven. One church gave an offering. It really makes you think about what’s important and what’s going to last. Tom: I’m not sure I’d want to share with her everything in those letters. I need to focus on what was left not what was lost like Pastor Rick’s talking about. Really. God gave new meaning to Matthew 6:19-20 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust [and floods] destroy and where thieves break in and steal. He was there. “How come He couldn’t have said that two blocks earlier before my house?” The truth is whether things are going good or going bad. You don’t know how much that means. Our possessions were wiped out in a matter of minutes. when you’re in a season of loss you feel like there’s no way out sometimes. I wanted to share those with her. We had people drive to meet our needs from all over California. But on the other hand what I realized was in those same few minutes I could have lost my husband and my son. It was hard watching this week. gave up a whole weekend to come and help tear down our house.

“Tell me your story”. And you live in Jesus for strength. “For the first time in my life I feel hopeful!” 13 . We pray for these people together. Everything from a bankruptcy to an abortion to two failed marriages and on and on and on. Give them hope to such an extent that it begins to flood into their lives and hearts. You will faithfully meet the needs that so many have. In Jesus’ name. I said. They need hope. When the rogue winds come through your life you’d better be tied to something that’s unmoveable. And be patient and God. It’s my prayer that You would allow stories of hope to begin to pour out of these areas and that those stories of hope will not only encourage the people that are there but lift the faith of everybody in our nation. We pray first that You’d meet their physical needs and there’s lots of them. And you’re still holding on to that hurt. Looking up at me in tears she said. We pray for those in this congregation whose families have been affected by this flood. She struggled to get out of bed and come and see me at the office when I was still doing counseling. When we finished that prayer she looked up at me and her eyes were glistening and she said. She told me incident after incident after incident of loss after loss after loss. I’ll never forget. But as we close this testimony I’d like to lead us in a prayer for them together. Chaundel got the looks. “You want to pray? Why don’t you just bow your head and I’ll lead you in a prayer. My heart was just going out to this woman. Use us and use others as Your instruments in doing that. All kinds of things. Let me ask you. And what is that? You need to be attached to God. My heart just went out to her. I’ll never forget. just bring the right people at the right time to meet the needs. years ago. God give people hope. And you listen to Jesus for wisdom. Lord. God. I talked to a woman who was literally incapacitated by depression. You lean on Jesus for peace and you look to Jesus for hope and you learn from Jesus for courage. Where do you get that kind of faith? When the typhoons hit the south pacific islands. You need to start rebuilding. She couldn’t even get out of bed for months.REBUILDING YOUR LIFE WHEN YOU’VE LOST EVERYTHING been praying for these folks in the flood effected area individually. Where do you need strength in your life right now? What are you going through? What problem are you facing that you’ve been trying to face on your own? Some of you still haven’t recovered from a loss that happened a week or a month or a year ago. She poured out a lifetime of loss. we also pray for their hearts. She was so depressed. Amen. But how do you handle the funerals of life. the islanders used to tie themselves – and still do in some places – lash themselves to giant trees so that when the winds come through the palm trees stand and they’re not blown off the island. The acid test of your faith is how you handle the losses of life. That’s where it comes from. we pray for these people who’ve been affected by this flood. “What is there left to trust in?” I suggested that she put her trust in Jesus Christ. How you handle the losses of life shows what kind of faith you have. Some of you just figured out that Pastor Tom married my sister! He always says when we go on the road that Rick writes the books. You need to let it go. Lord. The acid test is not how you handle the weddings or the baby dedications.” She followed me in a prayer opening up her life to Christ and beginning the rebuilding process. As she came in and sat down I said. I pray that people wouldn’t panic but that they would depend on You.

And you’re not on your own any more so you keep moving. Me too. Help me to remember that this life is not about accumulating things but fulfilling Your purposes for me. You don’t have to be discouraged. Jesus. Dear God. So you just stand firm when you can’t move. You know how I feel better than anybody. God. Help me to get into a small group and a church family. You’re going to be the owner of my life. 14 . for the times I’ve hurt other people. So now you realize that God’s purpose for your life is greater than any problem you’re ever going to go through. Today I want to start the rebuilding process.. And after you’ve done all you can.. which is this. Christ. You don’t have to think discouraging thoughts. But it’s a step followed by a journey. Most of all. That leads you to step six. I want to pour out my heart to You. Me too. That means you refuse to be discouraged. Refuse to be discouraged. But now you’ve got somebody to help you. God. you just stand. I messed up a lot of things in my life. It all depends on what you’re looking at. In Jesus’ name I pray. What do you do when you can’t move? You still don’t get discouraged.” Circle “standing firm. Congratulations. Help me.” That doesn’t mean you’re not going to have any problems. teach me to rely on You moment by moment so I can know Your peace and experience Your hope and receive Your courage and have Your wisdom and enjoy Your strength. The word “refused” means it’s a choice and it is. You’re going to be in charge now. You guide me. If you look at the world you’ll be distressed.” Sometimes you can’t even move but you just stand and you stand firm. As I pray this if these words express your heart would you say in your mind. When there’s nothing left to do you just stand. Amen. if you look within you’ll be depressed. If you prayed that prayer just now you just took the most important step in your life. if you look at Christ you’ll be at rest. I want to let go of my pride and my fear that’s kept me from getting close to other people and letting them get close to me. You’re going to have the exact same problems you had before. This time with You in charge.REBUILDING YOUR LIFE WHEN YOU’VE LOST EVERYTHING Right now before we begin these last two steps I’d like to pray with you and for you. I’d like to lead you in a prayer just like I did with that woman. It’s your choice. I’ve had some big losses. What do you do when you’ve done all you can and it seems like it’s never enough? What do you say when your friends turn away and you’re all alone? Tell me what do you give when you’ve given your all and it seems like you can’t make it through? You just stand. Watch the Lord see you through. What do you do when you can’t move? Notice what Jesus said in Luke 21 “By standing firm you will gain life. How many times have I told you. Please forgive me for not trusting You. And help me to forgive those who’ve hurt me. 6. Tell me how do you handle the guilt of your past and how do you deal with your shame? And how can you smile when your heart’s been broken and filled with pain? Tell me what do you give when you’ve given your all and it seems like you can’t make it through? You just stand. If you’re discouraged right now it’s because you’re choosing to be discouraged. I want to let it go. I don’t want to be a bitter person. Discouragement is like happiness. “God. Once you’ve stepped across the line and said. You know that God’s purpose is greater than the problems you’re going through.

When there’s been a disaster. Steve: Every project this size needs a game plan.” then you’re never going to help anybody because you’re never going to have it all together. when there’s been a problem – 911 or whatever – you’ve stepped up to the plate and cared more than just about yourself. Let me just take this opportunity to tell you how proud I am of you. Over the last two days we’ve received over 22.. the local church always remains. You must reach out to others. every small group in our church to have a game plan for dealing with disaster here in our community and for us to be ambassadors around the world in these circumstances so that we can share the love of God. Why are we doing that? Because long after the government organizations – the Red Cross and all these wonderful organizations have packed up and left the communities and moved on to new disasters. with disaster relief leaders. When and then.REBUILDING YOUR LIFE WHEN YOU’VE LOST EVERYTHING The seventh step and it’s as important as all the others… 7. When you start helping others He heals you. The way God’s figured it out is the more we help other people the more He blesses us. We’re not here to solve all your problems. right before we close. So we’re going to assess. [end of tape] 15 .000 suggestions from people in our congregation by email by telephone. If you say. And last. of all we’re going to assess the nature of the problem. with government organizations. No. It’s those pastors who need encouragement. It’s not I’m going to get my act together. We’re not here to solve. Here’s our three steps that we’re going to follow in this game plan. We’re not here to solve all the problems in the world. how to both assess and deal with this problem. First. Pastor Rick and I are hoping in an airplane and flying to the affected areas to meet with government leaders. I hope you’ll be a part of that. I was thirsty and you gave Me a drink. It’s those pastors who need help. I want you to watch this videotape of Pastor Steve Rutenbar our Pastor of Disaster. then I’ll start helping other people. But primarily with the local church. with leaders from the local church. You start helping other people and that’s part of the healing process of recovering from a loss. This week we’ve got a great example and opportunity to practice this step. before your life’s all figured out. We’re going to train. No. We want to provide training for every family. When you do that. We’re getting ready to go into the 40 Days of Peace. We’re going to partner with local churches. But we are here to serve you. we’re going to be partnering with relief organizations. As I said it’s going to be a life changing series in two weeks. “I’ll wait until I get my act all together before I help anybody else. Then God starts healing you. God says.” We want to take on this attitude. Not then. When you do it. we’re here to serve. God has wired the universe that when we help other people He helps us. every individual. “I was hungry and you fed Me. We are going to respond in these three ways.. I see somebody interested in being like Me – helping others and being unselfish. It’s when not then. Jesus said. Secondly. from around the world on how Saddleback should respond. We’re blessed to be a blessing and what we sow we reap. It’s when you start to help other people.

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