TODAY | July 28, 2013
>>> one of america's most influential religious leaders returned to the pulpit for the first time since his son's suicide. pastor rick warren told the congregation at his saddleback church -- with more here is nbc's mike taibbi .
>> reporter: to a wave of cheers, pastor rick warren in his trademark black t-shirt walked onto the stage with his wife kate for the first time in four months to deliver his weekly sermon. it was back in april when the warren's 27-year-old son matthew with unrelieved depression shot himself to death. the pastor spoke about the tragedy.
>> we went over to his house and we couldn't get in. we were thinking that which i feared most has happened.
>> he talked about matthew 's older siblings trying to help him through his illness.
>> amy and josh talked him off the ledge time after time , and they are really my heroes.
>> reporter: but rick warren 's status in any eyes, as his generation's billy graham , was built on his reputation as a teacher who made christianity's lessons a bestseller. beside him presidents and world leaders . when his son died, other religious leaders predict pd he would extract the lessons in his family's personal tragedy.
>> using this opportunity to recognize, hey, we can do the best we can do and still fail.
>> reporter: that's what warren set out to do.
>> i was kind of grieving, but i was also watching my own grief. as a teacher i was saying what am i experiencing and how can i share that with others.
>> reporter: one lesson that the tragedy of matthew 's suicide doesn't require someone to blame as kay warren explained.
>> my love was simply not enough to overcome the brick wall of mental illness .
>> reporter: the pastor went further.
>> all of matthew 's life, because of his mental illness , he struggled with questions. but i want to tell you this, he wasn't in heaven one second and all of his questions were answered.
>> reporter: a pastor whose teachings reached millions back at work. for "today," mike taibbi , nbc news,