Sunday – January 29, 2012

January 29, 2012 – Read the Word on Worship

Introduction to 2nd Thessalonians from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

Why write the book of 2nd Thessalonians? Didn’t Paul say everything he had to say to this young church the first time he wrote to them? Paul has much to say to these wonderful believers to encourage them in their faith, help them look forward to the second coming of Jesus Christ and help them and us be on guard in the last days. Join us this Sunday as we begin a new study in the Book of 2nd Thessalonians, Paul’s book about the last days.

Word On Worship – January 29, 2012      Download / Print

2 Thessalonians 1:3-4                                  
“We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing. Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.”

One of the greatest weaknesses in the Christian community is the failure to see what is going on in the lives of other brothers and sisters in the faith so we can encourage and rejoice with them. The word “ought” in verse 3 can also be translated  as “obligated,” literally a requirement because of what Paul could see happening in the lives of the saints in Thessalonica. It can be easy to say it was Paul’s job to know what was going on in the church; after all he is an apostle. But this is how Paul was with all the churches, not just the churches he founded. Paul is one who felt the obligation to know how the saints were doing in practical and caring ways everyday.

We have to guard our hearts and minds from becoming “isolationists.” Nowhere in Scripture are we taught fellow believers are to be isolated from other believers, whether they attend the same service or are separated by thousands of miles. We have an obligation to be aware of what others in our body are experiencing so we can pray effectively and we have an obligation to know what is going in the persecuted church around the world where many of our missionaries live and serve. We have an obligation to pray as Paul did for them and their spiritual growth and to praise God and rejoice for those who are standing fast.

This month we have an opportunity to engage ourselves as a church in this very practice. For the month of February we are partnering with our missionaries to the Alevi people of Turkey and their associates who are seeking to reach this wonderful people group. This is more than just praying for their work or even being aware we support missionaries in Muslim countries. This is about taking an active stance to learn more about the Alevi people and their culture. We are to pray for an Alevis for Jesus Movement to begin, where the seed which has been sown in this people group begins to bear fruit. And we are to carry the obligation of praising God as we see their faith grow through their many trials and tribulations, bringing honor to the Lord for His work in their midst.

For the next 5 weeks, I encourage you to be in prayer for the Alevi people. We will bring more information to focus our time of prayer as a community and individually in our own homes. And as we see how they “do church” and examine the Scriptures to see how church was done by the apostles, may we learn the lesson we will need to learn for our own perseverance and endurance as we go through our own trials and tribulation waiting for the return of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Word On Worship – January 22, 2012

January 22, 2012 – Read the Word on Worship

REACH Series: REACH OUT and Evangelize from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

Why is the scariest thing any believer faces on a daily basis is to open our mouths and share our faith? We come up with gimmicks or hope that people so admire our lifestyle that they are are compelled to ask us about our faith. The command of Jesus is simple, GO! Join us Sunday for the final installment of our REACH series as we learn to REACH OUT and Evangelize.

Word On Worship – January 22, 2012         Download / Print

Matthew 28:18-20
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Jesus taught His disciples that faith was required to follow Him. In the beginning of their travels with Jesus, the disciples saw many people come and follow Jesus. Some were following Jesus because He fed them, some because He was performing miracles, still others because where ever Jesus was, there was great attention. They agreed intellectually with Jesus and they got along to go along. But somewhere along the way they stopped following. To be a disciple is not a short-term program, but a way of life.

Discipleship means to learn from and to follow a particular teacher. As a Christian, our teacher and the One we follow is Jesus Christ.  As we grow and become more and more like the One we say we follow, then we are to bring other people to that same relationship. That is the heart of the command of Jesus- make disciples. Jesus could have left us with a restatement of the Great Commandment (Matt 22:37-40), with the need to be in prayer, but He didn’t. He told us to go and make disciples of all people- but somewhere along the way the Church confused discipleship with programs, with showmanship and with good works. As the fog of confusion grew in the Twentieth Century, the church began shrinking in size, influence and voice. The Church of Jesus Christ needs to get back to what Jesus wanted to be the heart and soul of His Church.

The problem is we want to reap the harvest of a disciple without paying any price. We all want humility and growth, without being humble or working to grow. William Law wrote, “Christianity is not a school for the teaching of moral virtue, or forming us to live a life of decency and gentility. It implies an entire change of life, a dedication of ourselves, our souls, our bodies unto God in the strictest and highest sense of the words.” (The Works of the Reverend William Law, Vol. 3, Pg. 263). Making disciples is not a matter of winning others to a philosophy, to make them nicer people who smile more often. The Great Commission begins as a rescue mission that leads to a marathon.

For us to reach out in evangelism, we need to understand the task God has called us to will require us to stretch ourselves out of our comfort zones, to humble ourselves to speak with people we may not have imagined and trust that God can use broken vessels such as ourselves to bring Him glory. All who believe in Jesus Christ receive marching orders with full authority from God to be able to carry out those orders. Discipleship involves saving people from themselves and from hell for all eternity.

Word On Worship – January 15, 2012

January 15, 2012 – Read the Word on Worship

REACH Series: REACH IN and Disciple from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

The second in our REACH Series, REACH IN and Disciple. How do we as church look to equip other members of our church complete the work God has given each one of us to do? A practical look at how we can effectively disciple and be discipled in the Body of Christ.

Word On Worship – January 15, 2012        Download / Print

Colossians 1:28-29
We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.”

When we were growing up we heard those familiar words from our mothers, “you are what you eat!” That saying is not only true for our physical bodies, but it is true of our spiritual bodies as well. Our generation is the consumer generation. We are always looking for bigger and better.  The consumer is always right has been the motto of business. Sadly, the Church has taken this to heart and has become experts at reproducing consumer Christians who appear sweet and nice, but have never been formed into the life of Christ.

Consumer discipleship really is an oxymoron, but it is a phrase that more than adequately describes the path of many in their spiritual life. We have become a people who choose to follow Jesus as long as it does not interfere with our ability to acquire. We go about the business of doing “right things” in the wrong way. For a generation, the Church has taught we can serve Christ and still have it our way. Sermons, worship services, children’s programs and even the length of services are designed around the demands of the consumer. The church has conformed to the idea the customer is right, and if we do not become relevant to people then they will go some where else.

The Bible calls us to be servants and followers of Jesus Christ. Because He gave us His all on the cross at Calvary, we respond by giving Him our all. We are to take up our cross and follow Him — and when we serve we submit to Him. Worship is not about us. Sermon’s are not about us. Music is not about us. The story is God’s story not ours. According to Scripture we are attached to God by prepositions: He is in us, with us, for us, doing things to us. We are not the subject or the verb; we are the object.

We need to return to a model of discipleship where disciples go to church to serve, to contribute to others and to build up the Body of Christ in unity and faith in the knowledge of the Son of God (Ephesians 4:13). The life of Christ should be lived in us daily to the glory of God. It is when we serve others that God meets our needs. It is a kingdom perspective which buries personal tastes, slights, oversights and the mistakes of others under the blanket of Christ’s love for His Church. Because it cost Him everything, we are willing to give everything for those the Lord came to save. When we become that kind of disciple, we become like our teacher, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Word On Worship – January 8, 2012

January 8, 2012 – Read the Word on Worship

REACH SERIES: REACH UP in Worship from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

Why do you worship God? Is it because your denomination requires it or is just a facet of religion that you practice? Do you worship because God needs the attention to be more like God or because it makes you feel better? Or do you worship God because of who He is and what He has done? Join us Sunday, January 8th to begin our REACH SERIES: REACH UP and worship. REACH IN and disciple. REACH OUT and evangelize. This Sunday we will examine Isaiah 6 and learn how worship looks for a man who steps into the presence of God and sees the holiness of God and receives cleansing and mercy of God. Join us this Sunday for the first a three week study into our mission at Sunrise Community Church: We are called to WORSHIP God, EQUIP the saints, and PROCLAIM the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Word On Worship – January 8, 2012       Download / Print

Psalm 148:1-6
“Praise the LORD from the heavens, praise Him in the heights above. Praise Him, all His angels, praise Him, all His heavenly hosts. Praise Him, sun and moon, praise Him, all you shining stars. Praise Him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies. Let them praise the name of the LORD, for He commanded and they were created. He set them in place for ever and ever; He gave a decree that will never pass away.”

Too often, worship on Sunday morning is considered a spectator sport. The congregation sits passively as the “professionals” up front perform for God in their singing, praying and preaching. The choir sings, the pastor preaches, the worship leaders play and the congregation may chime in for a hymn or two. But is that really a biblical model for worship? Is that how Israel worshipped in the Old Testament? Is that the worship experience of the first century church in the Book of Acts? I do not think so.

Throughout Scripture we see people standing and shouting praise to God with loud voices, singing songs of worship, playing musical instruments, sharing testimonies, lifting hands and giving tithes and offerings. Worship was not a dreary, passive experience but a dynamic encounter with the living God. It was congregational in its very essence. First Corinthians gives us a picture of a free and enthusiastic experience in the church, but with form and function. Any member was free to take part as the Spirit might prompt and the expectation was that God could use someone no one expected for the glory of God.

Praise can take many forms, from the reading of Scripture to singing of songs to individual testimony. Do not fall under the misconception that praise is just a song or that worship is the work of those who stand in the front. When you come into the House of God, come prepared to actively worship your God. Praise Him in the hymns you sing, proclaim His glory in the testimony you give, revere Him in your prayers. Consider His majesty in your silence, ponder the glory of His creation in your meditations, stand in awe at His holiness, and bow down as your heart recalls His great mercy and compassion He has shown to you.

We need to recapture the dynamic of scriptural, congregational worship. We will experience the blessing of God upon our church when we come together as the people of God understanding we are coming together in His presence to worship Him. I often hear of people talking about the need for revival in the church. Usually they are looking for people up front who are more poised in their performance or dynamic in their styling. The first sign to true revival is when the entire assembly of God’s people become  directly involved in the public worship of God.