Sunday – February 26, 2012

February 26, 2012 – Read the         Word on Worship

Twisting the Scriptures from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

By the time Paul wrote his second letter to the church at Thessalonica it was very aparent someone was taking the words of the Apostle and twisting them to say something entirely different. Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 24 that there will be many false teachers and many who would try to deceive God’s people. So how should we protect ourselves from those who would look to deceive us and how can we prevent been deceived? Join us in our study of 2nd Thessalonians chapter 1 verses 1 to 5 and see how devastating twisting the Scriptures can be.

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2 Thessalonians 2:1-4
Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.”

Nobody likes a crisis, least of all me. I am sure the Thessalonians felt the same way as they faced daily persecution for their faith. But when the circumstances of life seem to overwhelm us there is a natural desire to have a greater longing for the return of the Lord than when things are just rolling along. I know the older I get, the fewer reasons I have for Him to delay His return. But our desire to get out of life’s issues often causes us to not think clearly about the decisions that must be made.`

When things leave my sphere of control, one emotion I have to really get control over is panic. I take great comfort in knowing I am not alone. Jesus Himself had to remind His disciples in Mark 13:5-7 “Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in My name, claiming, ‘I am He,’ and will deceive many. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed.” I think the persecution had grown to a point where the Thessalonians entered crisis mode and they became alarmed. They were hearing reports that it was the Day of the Lord, and yet they were still suffering and the bad guys were still getting away with it. They had to worry that they missed Jesus return.

The truth of the matter is we do not make good decisions in moments of panic. That is why the military trains the men and women who serve our country in ways to appropriately respond in moments of crisis. So when crisis comes upon them they can respond instinctively instead having to think through the reasons why you should or should not do something. We need to do the same thing so when we find ourselves in that hour of trial we know what to do and why to do it.

We must interpret crisis by our doctrine and not allow crisis to dictate our doctrine. If crisis is the lens by which you view life, is it any wonder your perception is distorted? That is why correct doctrine is so important because it will give you the correct perspective about events that turn your life upside down. We need to be grounded in the truth of Scripture to face the storms of life that are headed our way so that we can stand when our faith is tested.

Sunday – February 19, 2012

February 19, 2012 – Read the Word on Worship

Suffering and the Return of Jesus Christ from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

Tribulation and persecution…. Why does a loving God allow His children to go through such terrible things? Paul knew the saints would face hostility when they left their former lives and began to follow Jesus Christ. Many believers in the United States need the wake up call of 2nd Thessalonians and to realize we are the exception. Join us tomorrow as we continue in chapter 1 of 2nd Thessalonians and consider “Suffering and the Return of Jesus Christ.”

Word On Worship – February 19, 2012         Download / Print

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12
“With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ

Whether you are thinking about the rapture, the Judgment Seat of Christ, or His glorious appearing at the end of the Tribulation, the return of Jesus Christ should bring great comfort to our hearts and mind and motivate our hands and feet. The question for our hearts to decide is what are we doing with the redeemed lives God has given us as we wait for our Lords return? How we answer this question is the evidence of practical sanctification in our lives.

This is one of the reasons Paul was constantly in prayer for the saints in places like Thessalonica. Paul understood that true spiritual change is the work of God in the life of the believer. Yes, we train and remain diligent in our faith, but is only the Lord who can bring about the increase. That increase is a walk that is worthy of the calling God Himself has given us, which is to the glory of God. Paul was praying that by the sanctifying work of God in their lives even through their trials, they would live in a manner consistent with their holy calling.

Knowing the glorious future that awaits for us as His children should impact our heads, our hearts and our feet. Each one of us will experience trials and tribulations. Therefore it is important we keep our thinking straight and know that God will use even our worst trial for His glory and our good, because His glory is always our good. God knew His saints would need their hearts to be encouraged with the truth that God will fulfill every good purpose and act prompted by faith. God has told us these things so that we do not lose heart, but persevere with great joy.

The words of prophecy found in the Scripture are designed to provide comfort and propel us forward to godly and fruitful lives. When we understand this life in the light of what is to come for eternity, we can fulfill the words of our Lord from the standpoint of heavenly treasures, as Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 6:19-21,”Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Sunday – February 12, 2012

February 12, 2012 – Read the Word on Worship

Dennis Cole Presentation of Acts Chapter 1 and 2 from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

This Sunday we welcome Denis Cole of the Narrow Gate Theater Company, who has made dramatic presentations of the Bible around the world. He will be joining us with Westminster Presbyterian at 10:00 AM for his presentation of Acts chapter 1 and 2

Word On Worship – February 12, 2012         Download / Print

Acts 2:14-16
“Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel…”

How do you get some one to listen to you? This is a question that I, as a pastor, ask myself every week. How can I use words, gestures and emotions to hold your attention and communicate the significance of the Scripture? I have to admit, I am often tempted to look at what is happening in other churches in order to see what their methods and approaches are and would they make a difference. Is the secret the use of secular psychology or is it being culturally relevant? Does contemporary music or hymns make a difference? Should we employ innovative advertising strategies to choose topical studies ranging from good marriages to money management in order to get people to listen?

I am not saying the search for reaching an audience is wrong, but the heart of the issue remains the preaching and teaching of the Word of God. The preaching of the Holy Scriptures is the heart of the Church, beginning at Pentecost and continuing to every revival that has occurred until today. From the Day of Pentecost and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the believer, the Church was formed from the bedrock foundation of preaching from the Word of God. The Book of Acts is the biblical record of apostolic preaching the turned the world upside down.

From the beginning, the apostles continued to preach and teach Jesus is the resurrection of the dead (Acts 4:2). After the persecution of the church begins in earnest, those who were scattered went preaching the gospel (Acts 8:4). The early church picked up where Jesus left His ministry- preaching repentance because the Kingdom of God is near. Jesus told the disciples before He ascended to “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.” That mandate has not ended.

Preaching has been central in the life of the church in all ages. The Reformation came through the preaching of Luther, Calvin and Knox. The Puritan movement placed high value on sound biblical teaching. The Great Awakening occurred as the result of great preachers such as George Whitefield and John Wesley. The nineteenth century was known by great teachers and evangelists like D.L. Moody and Charles Spurgeon. The weakness of the church today, I believe, is not the result of lack of faith, but rather a turning away of the God-ordained method if evangelism and equipping of people to do the work of God- powerful biblical preaching. Paul said it best when he wrote in 1 Corinthians 2:4-5 “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.”

Sunday – February 5, 2012

February 5, 2012 – Read the Word on Worship

Cruise Ship or Battleship? from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

Have you ever noticed many churches seem to base their model of how to “do church” on the cruise ship model? “Visit us and try our five different restaurants, 30 different stores, and we will put a folded towel rabbit on your seat before you arrive….” But has anybody considered if the cruise ship model was ever the biblical model for how church is to be done? Or does God’s plan for His church require more of a battleship model? Join us Sunday as we enter 2nd Thessalonians chapter 1 and consider the biblical model outlined by Paul for doing church right as we consider “Cruise Ship or Battleship?”

Word On Worship – February 5, 2012          Download / Print

2 Thessalonians 1:4-5
Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering.”

One major theme in our study of 2 Thessalonians will be the subject of eschatology — a fancy seminary word that means “things to come” or as many of us would see it, prophecy. When I came to Christ, eschatology was a huge fascination for me. How God has revealed the last days and how that affects believers was the type of thing that would get me to tune in and show up for the seminar. And then as I matured in my faith and started looking around at other good Bible teachers and the discussion people were engaging in, I was shocked to see that the subject was generally used as a target practice to throw stones at people that had a different biblical view than the one being presented.

But I have to say after my study of 1 and 2 Thessalonians, I have found that almost every topic Paul has addressed is related to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. He relates persecution of the saints, sanctification and holy living to the return of Jesus Christ. The Second Coming is more than just prophetic speculation. Our study in these letters of Paul has reminded me to keep my eyes looking forward to the return of Christ. The writer of Hebrews speaks of the race that we run, and reminds us that we have many witnesses and we may be witnesses ourselves if the Lord tarries His return, because the finish line is the return of Jesus Christ.

The goal remains the same: being found faithful when Jesus returns. So prophecy and the return of Jesus Christ remains a vital issue in our spiritual lives. Not all the nit picking and petty arguments about minor details and nuance. The return of our Lord is the motivation we need to live holy lives today (1 John 3:3) and the disciple we need to run our race well (1 Corinthians 9:24). We need a prophetic mind set which allows us to evaluate every decision we make today in the light of what Jesus would say to us about our actions as well as our motives upon His return.

My prayer for us as a church is for the Lord to show us how everything we are going through, especially the struggles and hardships of this life, relate to the return of our Savior. Jesus never promised us clear and easy sailing if we decided to follow Him. In fact, He promised His disciples quite the opposite. Opposition and hardship does not mean God has forsaken us, but that He will use the oppression we face to prove His righteousness and confirm our worthiness to be counted as the children of God.