Colson’s Speech at Saddleback’s 25th Anniversary
One of the highlights for me at this weekend’s anniversary was Chuck Colson’s speech. My mother works for Prison Fellowship, and given that for years while I lived in Reston, Virginia (starting about 11 years ago) I volunteered thousands of hours at Colson’s Prison Fellowship Ministries --- it is especially great to see Saddleback working side by side with that great organization.
Colson’s comments are related to the “Local P.E.A.C.E” movement, where the ideals of the P.E.A.C.E Plan are implemented on a local scale, as appose to a global one --- as is the case in Rwanda. I was also very pleased to here that Breakpoint’s Worldview Program is going to instituted in Purpose-Driven Churches. The program, based on Colson and Nancy Pearcey’s book How Now Shall We Live? is a wonderful program teaching a biblical worldview --- by two of the great Christian thinkers of our era.
This speech was so special to me that I sat down tonight transcribed it word-for-word from the tape, enjoy.
“Also I want you to bring greetings to one of the greatest visionaries and leaders in Christianity in the last century. A brilliant mind wrote unbelievable books, one of the most influential books in my life –- How Now Shall We Live? --- the man that founder the largest ministry to prisons in the nation --- their in all 50 states and 108 countries … Prison Fellowship.”
“And I’m happy to announce we’re doing a partnership between Prison Fellowship and Purpose Driven that we signed yesterday to put 40 Days of Purpose and Celebrate Recovery into every prison in the world … and we are going to mobilize the entire network of Purpose-Driven churches as part of the PEACE plan, to care for the prisoners as Jesus commanded. We’re going to be doing Angel Tree in every Purpose-Driven church and we’re also taking the worldview curriculum and we’re going to put that --- that he has written --- into all of our churches well.”
“Will you give a warm Saddleback welcome to Chuck Colson!”
“Thank you. I have to tell you --- I have to tell you, this is a great day in my life and a great moment not only with you celebrating the tremendous things God has done through your lives in this wonderful church and this 25th anniversary --- but today I’m celebrating because I’m seeing part of my life’s dream come true. I have to tell you that this man over here --- I’ve come to know the Great, and the Near-Great, and the Would-Be-Great and those who would want to be famous in the last 30 years since I was released from prison and the work I’ve done in ministry and of all the people I’ve met I have to tell you out of all the this guy Rick Warren is the ‘real deal’ not only that --- but I’ve written twenty books in which I’ve been pleading with the church, and giving speeches, writing articles and going on television pleading with the church to get out of their comfort zone, get out of the pews go do something in the world. Turn the world upside down for Christ and people listen to that, and they read that but this man’s got a plan to do it! And that’s why I’m so thrilled that this day we’re gonna join hands and work together in that cause.”
“There’s three things we’re gonna do together. One is the Purpose driven churches are going to get involved with us in Angel Tree where last year we got half a million kids Christmas presents ... Christmastime, forgotten children … my wife and I, my wife Patty and I we enjoy more then anything else all year going to those homes at Christmas time and the little comes out … and when you give him a gift he looks at me and says “I knew my daddy wouldn’t forget me.”
“500 thousand kids … well with the partnership we’re announcing today with Pastor Rick Prison Fellowship we want to get to a million kids, or a million and half kids, all across this country and it’s going to save them from ending up where their parents are in prison. And you’ll do something about changing this generation if we can do that.”
“The second thing is, the second thing we are going to do --- which is tremendously exciting to me --- is to bring Celebrate recovery into every prison in the united states and link them up with churches ... because two thirds of the people --- let me tell you Rick Warren has a heart for the underdog, that’s what drew me to him first … he cares about the marginalized and the people left out in society --- and when you go through those prisons you’ll see two thirds of the people that are there because of drugs or alcohol and their trapped. And if we can bring them out of that … you will turn the prison system in the country upside down.”
“The third thing --- the third thing that we’re gonna do is --- we’ve got a tremendous burden on that Church that we not only care about ourselves and have our wonderful worship but that we get out and ‘do the Gospel’ and see the world through God’s eyes and we understand the world we are trying to evangelize. We can’t --- we can’t evangelize unless we understand what the world thinks and what they think wrong.”
“And when we can learn how God sees every aspect of life --- weather it’s art, music, science, literature, politics government you name it --- when we begin to see all the world as God’s --- we understand that Jesus stands and says this is all mine --- we as the church cry out that it’s His --- we see the world through God’s eyes --- that’s when we begin to train people in biblical worldview. That’s how we’ll see the Church change the country. I think Rick Warren wants nothing more then a Reformation in this country --- and I am thrilled that we can go shoulder and shoulder, and side by side in pursuit of that. God bless you all as you celebrate 25 years and lets go on to even bigger things in the next 25.”