Sunday – March 25, 2012

March 25, 2012 – Read the Word on Worship

The Good Life from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

What is the “Good Life”? It is having a home? Going on vacation? Having a credit car not already maxed out? Everyone has a different idea what makes the good life the good life. But there is one person who is uniquely qualified to tell us what makes life good. He is the one who had it all, did it all, and tried it all- Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived. Join us Sunday morning for a look at various texts from the book of Ecclesiastes as we look at “The Good Life” as God intended it to be,

Word On Worship – March 25, 2012 Download / Print

Ecclesiastes 5:18-20
Then I realized that it is good and proper for a man to eat and drink, and to find satisfaction in his toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given him — for this is his lot. Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work — this is a gift of God. He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart.”

Any discussion of what is “the good life” has to be understood in terms of our worldview. Let me try to explain the distinction between the Christian and the secular worldview by giving you a concrete example. Cathy Christian and Steve Secular are friends and co-workers, but they hold very different views of the world. Cathy believes there is a God and He exists in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Cathy believes we can know God because He has revealed Himself through His creation, through Scripture, and most of all in the person of Jesus Christ. Steve believes that if there is a God, there is no way to know if God is involved in the world. For Steve, the idea of “God” is speculation.

The implications for both worldviews are infinite, since their assumptions determine how Cathy and Steve will live their lives and determine what in their estimation is right and what is wrong. For Cathy Christian, absolute right and absolute wrong are knowable through the Bible. For Steve Secular what is right and wrong are relative to each person and situation. Now this does not mean Steve has no sense of morality or personal value system to base and evaluate his decisions. It simply means for Steve the “rightness” of a behavior or a decision is not determined in the Bible but from personal interpretation relative to his experience and core values.

These distinctions between Cathy and Steve illustrate a person’s worldview: the nature of God, of the world around them and the connection between the two. There may even be some overlap in their perspective on what is “good” and what is “bad.” They can both agree stealing is wrong because that conclusion agrees with Cathy’s Biblical worldview and Steve’s humanistic world view. And they will agree on many other things as well. But the central point of world views is this: if we want to influence the people around us, we need to know what drives our opinions and decisions and what does not. Is our world view based on what God has revealed in Scripture and the person of Jesus Christ — or is our world view based on something else? In that way we can live the exhortation of the Apostle Peter in 1 Peter 3:15 “Always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”

Sunday – March 18, 2012

March 18, 2012 – Read the Word on Worship

Slackers and the Christian Work Ethic from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

America was founded on the idea that by hard work and industriousness anyone can advance their life. It has been considered the “Puritan work ethic”. Paul would have been a good Puritan because he advocates for Christians to be hard workers and living quiet lives. This Sunday we conclude our time in 2nd Thessalonians looking at “Slackers and the Christian Work Ethic” and see how Paul deals with the final issue in the church at Thessalonica in 2nd Thessalonians 3:6-18. Don’t be a slacker, be in church at 8:45!

Word On Worship – March 18, 2012 Download / Print

2 Thessalonians 3:10-12
“For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either. For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies. Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread

Have you ever read a passage of Scripture you were sure meant something to generations gone by but somehow have lost the connection with the 21st century? After all, who only eats bread or relies on the monthly support of the church to get by? Surely that would have significance in the life of a first century church and those who lived on the margins of society, but what does that mean for us today in a relatively wealthy nation and community?

Unlike the Old Testament, New Testament church ministry is not carried on by the priestly order of Levites. Nor is the work of ministry carried on by paid professional clergy. In the New Testament church, the work of ministry is to be done by every believer regardless of finance, education or daytime occupation. And if we do not do the work of ministry God has called us toward, the church suffers. The reality is you can never hire enough staff to do what God has called the church to do as the church.

Consider what the Scriptures teach about the exercise of spiritual gifts in the body of Christ. God uniquely empowers every believer to take on a particular ministry in the body of Christ. But what happens when you decide not to do the job God has equipped you to do? Sure, it can be passed down the line to someone else. The ministry can be curtailed or even cancelled because of lack of interest. But if you do not do the job God equipped you to do, understand there is no one else God has equipped like you to do that job. If you fail to work at your task in the church, the entire church suffers because of it.

So what is the work God has given you to do for this church? It does not have to be inside these walls, but there is a job for you to do for God. What has God uniquely given you to do that if you do not apply yourself it will not be done the way God wanted to do it through you? If you can’t name a job you do, then you are unemployed for God. In that case you need to get a job, in the church, using the spiritual gifting God has given you. There are always people working overly hard because other Christians are not doing their job. May such a thing not be said of us at Sunrise.

Sunday – March 11, 2012

March 11, 2012 – Read the Word on Worship

Does the World Need Decaf Gospel Lite? from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

Should the gospel come in various strengths? Gospel and decaf Gospel? Many Christians with good intentions take to sharing the the “Gospel Light” version with others until they are ready to upgrade to full strength gospel. But if the “diet gospel” is good enough, why does Paul go around as “Johnny One Note” preaching Christ and Christ crucified everywhere he goes? Join us Sunday morning as we continue in our study of 2nd Thessalonians and see why the purity of the Gospel is essential, and why the Gospel is not a matter intellectual agreement but an intimate relationship between God and the believer.

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2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
“May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.”

Have you ever felt you have moved past the gospel now that you are a Christian? It is easy for those of us who have been in the church for an extended period of time to consider the gospel as an academic reality in our lives. At some point we realized we needed a Savior and came to Christ for the pardon for our sins. But that was then and now we have moved on in our faith to other issues and ministries. So the gospel is placed on the shelf, even given a place of honor, but remains only a reminder of our salvation collecting dust.

The gospel is so much more than a reminder of what God has done in the past. It is by the gospel that we enter into relationship with God through the work of Jesus Christ. It is by the gospel that we are now able to share an intimacy with God, just as the Father shares with the Son and the Son shares with the Spirit. It is by the gospel that we enter into personal fellowship, not an intellectual database, with God. Based on the firm foundation of the gospel, we now have a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ so He can minister to us in an intimate way as we face uncertain days and situations.

It is that relationship with God which sustains us after we come to Him for salvation since we are now children of God through the work of Jesus Christ. Asaph came to understand this when he saw the unrighteous seeming to prosper even though they have spent their lives shaking their fist at God. He realized they did not know God now and won’t know God then. He understood what Paul teaches in 2 Thessalonians 2, namely that they will spend eternity apart from God’s glory. What profit is there for a person to win the whole world and yet forfeit their soul in the end?

Asaph is able to come to his senses, but he does not merely rest on truth. Asaph uses the truth as a platform to build into his relationship and move closer to God. Psalm 73:23-26 “Yet I am always with You; You hold me by my right hand. You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” That is the stability that comes from intimacy with God. All of this comes from the gospel by which we have relationship with God. So take the gospel off the shelf and put it into practice, God knows how much we need stability in the uncertain times in which we live.

Sunday – March 4, 2012

March 4, 2012 – Read the Word on Worship

The Man of Lawlessness, the Restrainer & the 2nd Coming from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

In the history of the church, people have been very fast and loose with branding people as “the man of sin” or the Anti-Christ. I am sure if I were to ask you, you would be more than willing to nominate some contemporary names to wear the mantle. The Bible tell us us he will not be revealed until the “one who restrains him is removed”. Who is the man of sin and who is the restrainer who holds him back? And just who will willingly follow this man of sin? Join us this Sunday as we continue in 2nd Thessalonians 2 verses 6 to 12 as we look at “The Man of Sin, the Restrainer and the Second Coming”.

Word On Worship – March 4, 2012      Download / Print

2 Peter 3:15-16
Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.”

I get a chuckle when I read Peter telling us Paul writes things that are hard to understand. After all Peter has his fair share of obscure texts that cause many people to scratch their head. But Peter is bringing out the same truth Paul does when it comes to people twisting texts they do not like, wanting to understand in a literal sense so they can avoid changing their thinking and their lifestyle.

Some will say, “I cannot understand how a God of love can send anyone to hell.” What they really mean is: “I do not want to believe in a literal hell because it would mean there is a consequence for my sin. I do not want to pay the price for how I actually live my life. Therefore I do not believe there is a hell and any passage in Scripture that states there is a hell must be too vague, too obscure or inconsistent with other passages of Scripture.”

So what might someone find “hard to accept” about Paul’s writings in 2nd Thessalonians? 2 Thessalonians 2:10-11 “They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie.”  We want believe there will always be time to get “serious” about Jesus Christ. After all, you think, “When I see the things Paul describes happening I know it will be time to take the Bible more seriously.” But when the truth is continually rejected, what makes you think you will not jump in with the man of falsehood who is more than willing to take you further down the path you have already shown is the desire of your heart?

If you are not ready to follow Jesus today, understand the marriage you are entering into. The deceiver wants followers and will tell you what you want to hear. And you will listen because you want to hear what requires nothing of you. You have chosen to reject the truth of the gospel and to believe the lie. So in the end you are not dragged off against your will down the path of disbelief, but rather you pursue willingly what your heart truly desires. The path which gives you what you want will take you to where you deserve. I pray we all consider the cost of God sending His Son to pay for our sins. What do you plan to do with that today? Grace is the free gift of God that will cost your life that you might have eternal life.