Sunday – August 26, 2012

August 26, 2012 – Read the Word on Worship

Sermons by the Sea from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

Jesus continues to teach the crowds around the Sea of Galilee in parables. Describing the Kingdom of God in parables to keep those who are only looking for the miracle man in the dark, but providing illumination for those who are seeking the truth, Jesus continues to place the emphasis of His ministry on teaching. Join us this Sunday as we look at Mark 4 verses 21 to 41 and listen to Jesus’ “Sermons by the Sea”.

Word On Worship – August 26, 2012 Download / Print

Mark 4:21-23
And He was saying to them, “A lamp is not brought to be put under a basket, is it, or under a bed? Is it not brought to be put on the lampstand? “For nothing is hidden, except to be revealed; nor has anything been secret, but that it would come to light. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”

God rarely makes headlines in the world today. But is that really surprising? His gentle touches seem inconsequential to humanity because God works silently and in ways human eyes overlook. The parables by the sea bring the hidden Kingdom of God into full view — for those who have the faith to see it. All parables of Jesus require faith, which can only be given by God, before we see God’s purposes are being fulfilled; even when there appears to be no empirical evidence to be gathered, quantified or measured.

The world tells us the only certain things are death and taxes. Jesus tells us in the parables God’s Kingdom is certainly at work in ways we do not know and accomplish His purpose in a manner that is beyond human formulation. From our finite perspective, we are ignorant of God’s grand design even when we are in the midst of it. In the eye of the world, how can the imprisonment of the Apostle Paul be a good thing? Yet God uses the imprisonment of Paul to advance the gospel so the entire palace guard heard the good news of Jesus Christ while Paul inspired others through his epistles to preach the gospel even more boldly! God draws straight lines using what seems, from our perspective, to be crocked lines.

God’s purpose is revealed in the cross, a road of suffering, which leads us to the resurrection. Yet many remain blind to God’s plan of redemption. Those who look for certified proof see the cross as foolishness. But the weakness and apparent foolishness of God is transformed into the power of God to bring future triumph in the reign of Jesus Christ. It takes faith on our part to take such a step, to risk trusting your whole life to something that lies hidden, like a seed in the soil.

Often God’s children suffer from spiritual myopia because we lack the spiritual vision to see what God is doing in the soil. We cannot see next week, much less all eternity, and so become impatient waiting for God’s purpose to bear fruit. The parables illustrate the purpose of God and when we sow God’s seed, it will accomplish His purpose. We may not harvest the crop, but it was never our crop to harvest to begin with. It is and will always be God’s harvest. The gospel must be preached to all nations, disciples must face suffering, and judgment continues to rest on Jerusalem as we wait for our Lord’s coming- in God’s time.

Sunday – August 19, 2012

August 19, 2012 – Read the Word on Worship

Parable of the Soils from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

Four soils, four seeds…. Simple math right. Nothing is as simple as it seems when it comes to the parables of Jesus. In Mark chapter 4, Jesus begins to change His teaching style to teach in parables. And the most essential of the parables to understand according to Jesus is the parable of the Sower. Join us this Sunday at 8:45AM as we continue in our study of the Gospel of Mark in Mark 4 verses 1 to 20.

Word On Worship – August 19, 2012 Download / Print

Mark 4:11-12
And He was saying to them, “To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God, but those who are outside get everything in parables, so that WHILE SEEING, THEY MAY SEE AND NOT PERCEIVE, AND WHILE HEARING, THEY MAY HEAR AND NOT UNDERSTAND, OTHERWISE THEY MIGHT RETURN AND BE FORGIVEN.”

The fourth chapter of Mark is often referred to as “the parables by the sea” section of the Gospel of Mark. The key to all the parables of Jesus is the phrase “to hear” which appears 13 times in this chapter alone. The command “to hear” is the heart of the great confession of faith for the Jews, the Shema of Deuteronomy 6:4:Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!” The issue of hearing is the heart of parables and is the key to bearing fruit, the essential mark of the Kingdom of God.

As a pastor, I have to admit: sometimes people respond to the proclamation of the word as airline passengers responding to flight attendants’ instructions before takeoff on what to do in case of an emergency. Before every flight, they invite the passengers to watch and follow along with the card in the seat pocket in front of them. But more often than not, passengers ignore the instructions while being preoccupied with looking out the windows, reading a magazine or even sleeping. No airline will allow the flight attendant to skip the instructions just because no one appears to be listening because the instructions are a matter of life and death.

The power to bring fruit to a plant is not in the hand of the sower. While it is easy for all who sow seeds in the soils of friends, family and co-workers to despair over apparent failure or vicious opposition, the power to bring fruit is in the hands of God alone, no matter which soil we scattered His seed in. If some seed falls on hearts of stone, that is God’s business, not ours. We will never know if the heart does not have ears to hear unless we speak to them. Whether or not it is received does not affect its power to transform lives. Truth is truth, regardless if it is popular in the polls or pursued by the masses.

There is still an important truth for those who believe they are the good soil and have received the seed. For many, the words of Jesus go in one ear and out the other. We can all agree the first soil was bad and the fourth soil was good. But the seed received in the second and third soil never produced fruit. Like the fig tree of Mark 11, churches are filled with people who have leaves, branches and external signs of life. But the fig tree with no fruit is cursed by Jesus. Bearing fruit is the expectation of the Lord. Do not let the Word of the Lord be something your spouse or child fails to hear. The admonition of our passage is for you this morning: “They hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”

Sunday – August 12, 2012

August 12, 2012 – Read the Word on Worship

Are You in the Family? from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

The Smother’s brothers used to have the running gag, “Mom always like you best!” But what do you do when your mother and siblings decide you have lost your mind and need an intervention when you are the Messiah? it become time to think outside biology and realize the family of God is more than who your parents were but who your Heavenly Father is, and are you willing to obey Him. Join us as we continue in our wonderful study in the Gospel of Mark and ask, “Are You in the Family?” from Mark 3 verses 7 to 35. And do forget to stick around for our missionary potluck after the services.

Word On Worship – August 12, 2012 Download / Print

Mark 3:28-30
“Truly I say to you, all sins shall be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin” —  because they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit

It has become easy to classify Jesus as teacher who spoke timeless ethical truths, or a failed Jewish revolutionary or just another Jewish prophet who’s message was rejected by the people as many prophets before Him. However, the accusations by enemies of Jesus should tell us the only reasonable explanation for their deep hostility for Jesus was His own claims that what He did was by the manifested power of God’s Spirit through Him. C.S. Lewis was right when he wrote in Mere Christianity, “You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon, or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

In his gospel, Mark continually confronts us with the question, “Who is Jesus?” For those who flock to Jesus for healings and signs, He is the performer of the miraculous. The demons acknowledge Him as the Son of God. Jesus is the agent of Satan to those in religious authority. And to His own family, Jesus is someone who is out of His mind. The job of the reader of this gospel is to determine, based on the evidence, which is right. Either Jesus is the Son of God or He truly is unclean and an agent of the evil one sent to mislead and provide false hope.

This is not an argument we will win based on abstract ideas or shouting matches designed more to win the debate over our enemies than to win over our enemies to Christ. The battle for the soul is not won by conventional means but by understanding that the battle is won by Spirit inspired conversations which entice people to think together with Christ, not against Him. The avenue our Lord takes is through the use of parables to provide common ground between the participants so the Spirit can enlighten their heart as they in turn are willing to open their minds to God.

Jesus has thrown the door wide open to all who want to follow Him. Anyone who does the will of God is a welcome member of His family. Jesus redefines the definition of family beyond simple biology or genealogy. Biological family relationships are not based on choice. Becoming a member of the family of God is a choice. The only membership requirement in the messianic family is obeying God, whose commands are defined by what Jesus did and taught. If you are not sure of your relationship to Jesus Christ, I strongly encourage you to speak to one of the Elders or a good Christian friend to see if you are in the family of the loving Savior.

Sunday – August 5, 2012

August 5, 2012 – Read the Word on Worship

On Any Sunday from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

Many Christians do not recognize they same the same attitudes of the 1st century Pharisees. It becomes very easy to sing Amazing Grace and believe that God has in mind only our kind of wretches. Jesus came to tear down the categorizing of sinners by those who valued rites and rituals over mercy. Join us this Sunday as we continue in our series in the Gospel of Mark in Mark 2:13 to 3:6 and see "On Any Given Sunday" is an opportunity to share the truth of the gospel with out placing additional burdens on those we seek to share the love of Christ.

Word On Worship – August 5, 2012 Download / Print

Mark 2:16-17
“When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that He was eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they said to His disciples, “Why is He eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners?” And hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners

Religious study is the history of mankind’s search for God. What makes Christianity unique is that it presents itself as God’s search for mankind. But God’s search and rescue is often in the arenas of life where we seldom tread. The homosexual and the prostitute are in needs of healing as much as the paralytic and the leper. Sadly, little has changed since the days of Jesus, where an audible gasp was probably heard by those who witnessed Jesus call Levi to follow Him.

The calling of Levi exposes the tendency for God’s people to exclude and write off others engaged in sin we would never see ourselves committing. I suppose it is human nature to assume those who are chosen by God will be those who are most like us. Yet we forget Jesus went to those who were despised and unclean to redeem them for God’s Kingdom. I have known many who have felt the stone wall of resistance to “those kinds of people” from the same people who sang about how God’s grace “saved a wretch like me.” Is it too amazing for us to see the same grace is extended to save those we are convinced deserve punishment?

How many Christians today would be no less agitated than the Pharisees if they found the people protesting the convictions of certain Christian businesses sitting in the seat next to them because someone had the courage to go to them and tell them God loves them as much as the righteous? We applaud handing out tracts in a fleeting bid to witness to those who gather at the tavern, but to invite the abortion doctor to dinner on Sunday night is another story all together. The thought of associating with those who live on the other side of our barriers scares us because it often blurs the line between the righteous and the unrighteous. However, if we listen to Jesus at the table with the tax collectors, we would see there are no righteous people to call, because all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

The assembly of believers is the gathering of those who saw the sign saying there is a party and all are welcome. It makes no difference what we were before we walked in the door. The Church is the gathering where the only thing that matters is what happens to us after we arrived. Jesus is willing to throw such a party to reach those who are lost and despised. It is all about whether we accept or reject Jesus and the effect of that decision on our lives today. If we go looking for Jesus to be fasting with the priests we will be sorely disappointed to find Him eating among the sinners.