Sunday – November 25, 2012

November 25, 2012 – Read the Word on Worship

Can We Franchise the Church? from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

The disciples, as do many church leaders today, have an over inflated view of leadership. They want to lead so others will serve them. So as the disciples argue with the teachers of the law over their failure to cast out a demon earlier, they have no problem chastising another who is successfully casting out demons in Jesus name because he was not one of them. They want to control the rights to Jesus name, as if they held exclusive rights to the franchise. This elitist worldview has continued down the centuries and infected generation after generation with pettiness and politics. If Jesus were to ask the leaders of the Church today the same question about which we are arguing, would the silence be any louder than it was with the twelve? Join this week as we continue our study in the Gospel of Mark in the first part of Mark 9 verses 30 to 50.

Word On Worship – November 25, 2012 Download / Print

Mark 9:30-31
From there they went out and began to go through Galilee, and He did not want anyone to know about it. For He was teaching His disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him; and when He has been killed, He will rise three days later.”

The ministry of Jesus at this point in Mark’s gospel now shifts from public ministry to a time of intensive training of the twelve. Jesus was never swayed by the adoration of the masses, but now as He turns to Jerusalem one final time, His focus is on these few who will carry the gospel forward to the world. Jesus tells them again His destiny is to be rejected by men who will kill Him but he will be resurrected on the third day. It is here Jesus adds a new detail to His previous statement of suffering: He will be betrayed by one of His own into the hands of men.

They should have been worried about who it will be among them who will betray the Lord of Glory, but instead it becomes a catalyst to debate about who is the greatest. It will continue as they argue with the successful exorcist because he does not follow them. Their need for recognition will also be an issue at the Last Supper as Peter will argue that he will be more faithful than the rest. The picture we are given by Mark is showing Jesus walking ahead to Jerusalem to be sacrificed as the disciples push and shove to establish the order of the procession behind Him.

The disciples, as do many church leaders today, have an over-inflated view of leadership. They want to lead so others will serve them. So as the disciples argue with the teachers of the law over their failure to cast out a demon earlier, they have no problem chastising another who is successfully casting out demons in the name of Jesus because he was not one of them. They want to control the rights to His name, as if they held exclusive rights to the franchise. This elitist worldview has continued down the centuries and infected generation after generation with pettiness and politics. If Jesus were to ask the leaders of the Church today the same question about which we are arguing, would the silence be any louder than it was with the twelve?

The “cult of personality” is alive and well in the church today as it was with the twelve on the road to Jerusalem. How often is the pastor given top billing above Jesus, just as members of the local body seek for their name in the bulletin or church newsletter for their service? Yet our Lord demonstrated His definition of leadership by the cross of Calvary. When leadership is defined by sacrifice, the cross makes sense. The cross is God’s view of leadership. This is the definition of leadership established by Jesus, which He followed to His death. Therefore, any who seek to be leaders must follow Him to the cross to die themselves.

Sunday – November 18, 2012

November 18, 2012 – Read the Word on Worship

Thankfulness is More Than a Word from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

On September 8, 1860, the steamship Lady Elgin collided with the schooner Augusta in the waters of Lake Michigan. The Lady Elgin was carrying more than 300 souls on the night she began to sink in the early morning hours, costing the lives of 279 people. Students from Northwestern University formed rescue teams to save the few they could from drowning. One student named Edward Spencer saved 17 people before he passed out from exhaustion. Years later R.A. Torrey asked him if anything stood out in his memory of the event, to which Spencer replied, “Only this sir, of the 17 people I rescued, not one of them thanked me.”
This Sunday we learn some lessons in having a thankful heart as we watch Jesus heal 10 lepers in Luke 17 verses 11 to 19 only to have one, a Samaritan, come back and give thanks to the Lord who healed him. This Sunday our message is “Thankfulness is More than a Word”

Word On Worship – November 18, 2012 Download / Print

 Ephesians 5:18-21
Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father.”

Thankfulness is an important subject to the Apostle Paul and throughout the  Word of God. Some combination of the word appears times 195 in Scripture and Paul uses it more than 40 times in his epistles. The concept of thankfulness in the New Testament comes from two Greek words. The first is charizomai, which contains the word for “grace.” The second is homologeo which means “to confess or acknowledge”. Thankfulness is the mental and/or verbal expression of your acknowledgment and appreciation of God’s person, grace and sovereign work in one’s life and the world.

So why be thankful? Because it honors our heavenly Father.  When we are thankful, we recognize God exists and acknowledging Him as the very source and meaning of our life. True thankfulness recognizes our dependence on God and acknowledges everything going on in our lives is the product of God’s sovereign control. It is important for us to recognize thanklessness is dangerous to ourselves and to others. A thankless heart leads to proud humanism and dependence on man rather than God. Thankfulness becomes a spiritual barometer, reading the condition of our spiritual lives and providing a warning if we have ears to hear.

But is thankfulness a topic only to be considered at this time of the year? Certainly not. Scripture teaches us thankfulness is one of the primary purposes of prayer in the life of the believer. Thanksgiving turns our eyes from our problems and ourselves to the Lord in order that we might see His sovereign grace. Thankfulness is not saying all things in our lives are pain-free. But even the most difficult of life situations are used by God for the good of making us like His Son. With our eyes already turned toward God in thankfulness, we encourage an eagerness to go to God in prayer to lay our burdens as well as other matters at His feet.

So where does a thankful heart come from? Do not confuse thankfulness with what provides us with pleasure. True thankfulness requires spiritual understanding of the life situations in which we find ourselves.  Because spiritual understanding is so vital to a thankful heart, a Scripture-filled life is necessary. Living in the Word keeps our focus where it needs to be. It is through being in the Word of God that we are encouraged to grow in the Spirit and remember that we are the children of God. May your Thanksgiving this year be the start of a bountiful harvest of joy, as you seek to cultivate thankfulness in your heart and mind about the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Sunday – November 11, 2012

November 11, 2012 – Read the Word on Worship

Pray For Kings and All Who Are in Authority from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

The elections are over, so now what? Maybe your candidate won or maybe they lost, but our job is more than just an election. Now is the time for us to get busy and be in prayer for all who in authority whether they are the President of the United States or local elected officials. Join us as we look at 1st Timothy 2 verses 1 to 4 and see why prayer for our leaders is of first importance and what our prayers can do to make the advance of the gospel possible.

Word On Worship – November 11, 2012 Download / Print

 Matthew 6:32-33
For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

One of our greatest problems with prayer is we do not fully know to whom it is we are praying. We have left God to the realm of human imagination and fantasy such that we say, “I would like to think of God in these terms.” That “I like” mindset guarantees that all concepts of God which come from our speculation and imagination will be seriously wrong. Such ideas continually lead to uncertainty about God because God is not the focus of our lives. The only place we can get a clear picture of the living God and understand why prayer is so essential is from the Bible, where God bears witness about Himself so we may begin to know who He truly is.

To  understand why prayer is so essential, we must first grasp how God is a personal God. Today, many people remove the personal attributes of God and think of Him as a “higher substance.”  Society enjoys the facelessness of such a God because we can collectively leave God on the shelf with our other faceless pursuits of career, family, and education, as if He were a fashion statement to be worn in the right season of Christmas and Easter. In other seasons where our devotion is spent in total pursuit of ourselves, we can fold Him up and put Him away until He is needed. The truth is, impersonal ideas about God will always be inferior to the true nature of God.

God is always described as a personal God of real people in Scripture. He speaks of Himself as “I” and addresses humanity as “you.” From Genesis to Revelation, God relates to people personally and is never seen as an “it.” Therefore, we must not allow ourselves to see Him as an object from whom we can stand apart and observe in the way scientists examine an organism through a microscope. God is always the subject, not a mere object, always above us, never below us. He presents Himself in personal terms and so we must always think of Him in personal terms as the God who is eternally here and has His eternal eye on us. He takes an active interest in us just the way we are.

So how does this relate to prayer? Since God is personal, it should be no surprise to find His relationship to humans involves two-way speech, where we listen as well as speak. There is a language between God and us just as there is between you and me.  As God used language to address the people in the Bible, such as Abraham and David, we are called to converse with God using language, seeking His Kingdom and His righteousness. His lessons and commandments as revealed in His wonderful Word remain our enduring and steadfast guide. And none of this would be possible if our heavenly Father were not a personal God who speaks to us and hears our call.

Sunday – November 4, 2012

November 4, 2012 – Read the Word on Worship

Where is God on Election Day? from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

It is a week away… not the end of the world but if you listen to the advertising you might be convinced otherwise… Election Day. With both sides convinced God is on their side, the question we are all wondering is “Where is God on Election Day?” Join us this Sunday as we take a break in our study in the Gospel of Mark to look at the example of another king who learned a lesson about Who is in charge , even when we have questions about what it all means in Daniel 4 verses 28 to 37 as we try to answer that very question, “Where is God on Election Day?”

Word On Worship – November 4, 2012              Download / Print

Proverbs 11:10-11
When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices, and when the wicked perish, there is joyful shouting. By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, but by the mouth of the wicked it is torn down.

Dr. Haddon Robinson, president of the Conservative Baptist Theological Seminary in Denver has written, “Fundamentalists who preached during the sixties that God and Caesar were to be kept apart, have had a turn of mind about what the Bible teaches. Political involvement now smacks of a religious crusade… The fact is that there has probably been no time in the recent history of our nation when evangelical Christians have been as interested and involved in the political process.” This has brought an equal and fervent response from unbelievers to keep Christians out of the political dialog under the banner of “separation of church and state.”

We often consult the Book of Proverbs for wisdom in many areas of life, but one area it shines a particularly clear light upon is politics. For many secularists, a government which seeks to uphold righteousness in any area but the environment is only out to make life miserable for people. The Book of Proverbs assumes the purpose of government is to promote righteousness because righteousness is mutually beneficial for government and the people. Righteousness is not only right, it is best. When a government promotes righteousness, the people are blessed. But when the government fails to achieve its intended purpose, the people suffer.

The problem is that government is often tasked with matters that are humanly impossible. Righteousness and justice are God-given characteristics. For any government to employ such standards would require it to seek divine enabling to accomplish their purpose. While there is wisdom in separating religious functions from political office, there is no way we can separate righteousness from political office. If the purpose of government is to promote righteousness and punish evil, how can we avoid defining righteousness and defending it as a part of our political obligation to God?

In carrying out that duty, we must recognize any form of power can be prostituted to the advantage of those who wield it. Any power given by God to man is a stewardship. And when power is abused, God may elect to take it away, just as God did with Solomon’s son, Rehoboam. He had received good counsel from his advisors in 1 Kings 12:7 “If you will be a servant to this people today, and will serve them and grant them their petition, and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever.” Rehoboam did not learn leadership is really servanthood and rejected their advice. This is what Jesus taught the disciples in Mark 10:35-45. All power is given by God, whether it is political, financial or relational, so that we may serve others. When we forget this truth we are in danger of being set aside.