Samuel Rodriguez is senior pastor of New Seasons Christian Worship Center in Sacramento and president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, the world's largest Hispanic Christian organization.
Q: In the middle of a stressful day or season, what Scripture passage gives you the most comfort?
First Corinthians 2:9: "My eyes have yet to see, my ear has to yet to hear, my mind has yet to imagine the wonderful things that God has in store for me because I love Him." It sort of sets a very affirming, redemptive North Star, especially in challenging moments, and reminds me there are greater things ahead in Christ. That comes out of Acts 17:28 for me—In Him we live, in Him we move. In Him we have our being. So I combine them: Because I live in Him, and I move in Him, and I have my identity in Him; my eye has yet to see, my ear has yet to ear.
Q: As you listen to the cries of the people who come to hear you speak, how would you summarize the current cry-out to God?
The current cry-out to God is both vertical and horizontal. There's a cry for personal transformation, for personal affirmation, for salvation, deliverance and healing, and not just of eternity for soul and spirit, but of families and homes and marriages and destinies and promises. So that is the quintessential vertical cry, "Lord, save me"—not only save me, but my family and my community and the people I love and my purpose and my assignment.
And then there is a horizontal cry, which is a cry for unity, a cry for the kingdom of God manifesting itself, for the glory of God to be exhibited. ... There's a desperate cry of, "God, please, dear God, only You can fix this!"
Q: How could Christian leaders increase their impact locally?
By understanding that they are called to their local communities and by understanding that there is a clarion call to address the needs of the community with truth and love. ... The church needs to be holistic and stop suffering from myopia, be it theological, ideological or cultural. We can't work in a silo.
Q: What is your most memorable preaching experience?
It arguably would be my participation in the presidential inauguration with the opportunity to lift up and exalt the name of Jesus Christ on the world stage.
Q: How do you rest and restore?
I rest and restore by making sure that I include a Sabbath. ... I have my amazing, God-ordained, grace-given wife, Eva, whom I have known since I was 11 years of age. She demands—she doesn't even request—that we take time out and that we take care of ourselves spiritually, of course, that's primary, and that takes place every day, but even physically. And now that I have two little ones at home as it pertains to grandkids, they demand that Samuel Rodriguez engages a Sabbath and spends quality time.
It was a work in progress. I did not initially have it. I was a workaholic on steroids. But as I matured, and the people around me loved me enough to correct me and correct my behavior to include rest and relaxation, it's now part of my covenant.
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