Sunday – December 31, 2017 Gospel of Luke – “Psalms and Announcements” Luke 2:21-38

Sunday – December 31, 2017 – Read the Word on Worship

Sunday – December 31, 2017 Gospel of Luke – “Psalms and Announcements” Luke 2:21-38 from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

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Luke 2:27b-32
When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”

Whether we are young or we are old, everyone needs hope. Hope is not just for those who approach old age with questions about how their life has been spent and what to do with the days that remain, but also at all other points in life. We need hope to see there is more to life than the circumstances we find ourselves in, today or any day. A hope that is more than just whistling in the dark, a hope that is firm and secure in the heavens.

One of the blessings we receive along with the children God entrusts to us is hope. I can recall the day my daughter was born and the hope that I had for her future – all the things she would see and do in years ahead of her. And yet, the hope that comes with children is an uncertain hope at best. There is always the uncertainty of disease or death. What parent of a newborn has not gone in by the crib in the middle of the night and put his or her ear down close enough to make sure that the little one is breathing? If the child survives and grows into a young adult, there is the uncertainty of this evil world. Crime, child molesters, drunk drivers, the threat of terrorism or war, and economic instability make every parent worry about the kind of world our children and grandchildren will grow up in.

Given these uncertainties, when we meet an elderly person who is filled with hope, we need to sit up and take notice. Here is someone who could be pessimistic, cynical, filled with fears and anxieties. But he is brimming over with firm hope – hope in the salvation God will bring for all people. We had better listen, for there is much we can learn from someone who has the hope of the Lord in their life.

Simeon was such a man. When he held the infant Jesus in his arms in the temple courtyard, we see more than just an old man taking hope in any newborn. Rather, we see an old man who has put his hope in the promises of God. This was no ordinary newborn. He was the fulfillment of God’s promises to His people. If Christ is your salvation, you can have hope no matter how difficult your circumstances. Whether you’re suffering from a deadly disease or grieving over the loss of a loved one or facing overwhelming trials of some other nature, you can have hope if you will trust in Jesus Christ as God’s salvation for you. He has won the victory over sin and death and hell. Those who hope in Him will not be disappointed.

Sunday – November 19, 2017 Thanksgiving Message

Sunday – November 19, 2017 – Read the Word on Worship

Sunday – November 19, 2017 Thanksgiving Message Psalm 148 from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

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Psalm 71:14-16
But as for me, I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more. My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness and of Your salvation all day long; for I do not know the sum of them. I will come with the mighty deeds of the Lord God; I will make mention of Your righteousness, Yours alone.”

If you are like me (and I suspect that most of you are), you’ve got a lot of room to grow in the daily practice of praising the Lord. A great way to grow in the praise of God is to read and meditate on the Psalms every day. In Psalm71, the psalmist acknowledged, “my praise is continually of You.” You would think that continual praise of the Lord would be adequate. But he goes on to say in verse 14 “But as for me, I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more.” If the psalmist needed to resolve to praise the Lord yet more and more, how much more do we?

Maybe you’re thinking, “But I don’t have a bubbly personality. I’m not the type who goes around saying, ‘Praise the Lord’ all the time.” But praising the Lord doesn’t mean repeating, “Praise the Lord,” over and over. Rather, praising the Lord is to exult and rejoice in who God is and what He has done, especially, in what He has done to redeem you and draw you near to Him through the cross of Jesus Christ.

Genuine praise contains both a rational and an emotional element. With our minds, we must understand who God is, as revealed in His Word. Otherwise, we are not worshiping the true God, or at least, God as He is truly revealed. But, also, when you understand who God is and what He has done in sending His only begotten Son to die for your sins, it affects your heart. It fills you with joy and thankfulness. It humbles you to realize that your sin put Him there. It motivates you to follow Christ and please Him with all your heart. If you can think about what Jesus did on the cross and shrug it off, you’re not a Christian!

My prayer is that we understand this Thanksgiving more than we ever have that praising God is not optional. It’s not something nice to do whenever you feel like it, but it doesn’t really matter. Rather, praising God is our highest calling. If you are not continually filled with praise to God, then you are not yet fulfilling the purpose for which He created you and saved you. Today, let us join the psalmist in resolving, “But as for me, I will … praise You yet more and more.” (Psalm 71:14)

Sunday – January 19, 2014 “Hope & Change God’s Way- Hope in the Gospels”

January 19, 2014 – Read the Word on Worship

Hope & Change God’s Way- Hope in the Gospels from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

Word On Worship – January 19, 2014 Download / Print

Matthew 4:23-25
Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people. The news about Him spread throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all who were ill, those suffering with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, paralytics; and He healed them. Large crowds followed Him from Galilee and the Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan.”

When we began this series, I said we should not study a subject by merely using a concordance to search out a certain word. The use of “hope” in the Gospels is an excellent illustration. One would be completely mistaken to conclude that there is little “hope” in the Gospels because the word “hope” is found there only twice. The problem in the Gospels is that the “hope” which we find is a misguided hope. In fact, hopes (expectations) were running high in Israel at the time of our Lord’s earthly ministry, but they were mistaken hopes, based upon wrong motives and expectations.

I believe it is safe to say from the hopes of the crowds looking to be fed to the hopes John the Baptist and the twelve disciples had that all were focused on what they expected Jesus to do for them. Yet each of them would falter in their faith and see that their hope had been rooted in false expectations of what the Messiah was supposed to do for them. And I would suggest, we are not that different in the foundations of our hope.  There are several common characteristics between the misguided hope we see in people of the gospels and believers today which causes all of us problems when the future looks less promising than we have hoped.

The primary problem is our focus is fixed on present earthly blessings rather than on future heavenly blessings. The disciples continually asked Jesus about the kingdom and when it was coming.  Jesus had told them that they would in the future sit on twelve thrones but they were eager to do so in the  present.  Jesus was quite clear in distinguishing between the “now,” with its troubles and sacrifices, and the “then” of the kingdom, with all of its glorious benefits. Jesus did not say there were no present blessings, but He did not obscure the line between present blessings with difficulties and ultimate eternal blessings. A disciple should live in the present in a way that “lays up treasure” in heaven, understanding he should expect little recognition from the world.

Far from hope being absent in the Gospels, I believe that correctly understanding hope is crucial to understanding what is happening in the Gospels. Reading the Gospels from the perspective of hope may be a new way of thinking through the life of Christ, but I believe that it is more than worth the time and effort to do so. My prayer is this study of hope in the Gospels opens our eyes to the hope of heaven and exposes areas in our lives where our hope has been built on something less than the blood and righteousness of Jesus.

Sunday – January 12, 2014 “Hope & Change God’s Way- Hope in the Old Testament”

January 12, 2014 – Read the Word on Worship

Hope and Change Week 3- “Hope in the Old Testament” from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

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 Romans 15:4
“For everything that was written in former times was written for our instruction, so that through endurance and through encouragement of the scriptures we may have hope.”

Finding hope in the Old Testament may be more challenging than you would think. Yes, the word appears many times in the Old Testament, but it does not occur as many times as you might think. In fact, the word hope does not appear until you get to the book of Ruth, and there it is talking about Naomi’s lack of hope for her future. Simply studying the topic of hope by searching for the word may diminish our hope more than build it up.

Do not lose hope, weary pilgrim; the concept of hope may very well be present even though the specific word is not found. Sometimes the pertinent texts are going to be found by searching for synonyms of hope. But at other times, we simply have to know the Bible well enough to turn to those texts which deal with this topic in more general terms. Sometimes, the New Testament will give us the necessary clue, just as Hebrews 11 gives us unexpected examples of faith in the Old Testament. Just be aware of the fact that a concordance search is a good start, but it is not the end-all for studying biblical concepts.

The writer to the Hebrews sums up the superiority of the New Covenant to the Old Testament by pointing out that every Old Testament saint was saved by faith, and that their faith gave them hope – not a hope for present blessings so much as a heavenly hope for eternal blessings (Hebrews 11:13-16).

Paul’s words in Romans 15 should convince us that the Old Testament Scriptures are a source of great hope for the New Testament saint because we can now read these texts in the light of the coming and work of our Lord Jesus Christ. The mysteries of the Old Testament – which Old Testament saints did not grasp – are now ours to ponder, for our encouragement and hope.

Sunday – January 5, 2014 “Hope and Change God’s Way: What is Biblical Hope?”

January 5, 2014 – Read the Word on Worship

Hope and Change God’s Way: What is Biblical Hope? from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

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 Romans 15:4-6
“For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Our series title, Hope and Change, God’s Way, was done purposefully and slightly satirically. Not only does it indicate that hope is the topic, but it also calls attention to the fact that this theme struck a very sympathetic cord in the hearts of many Americans as “Hope and Change” was the campaign slogan for our last two presidential elections. This slogan resonated with many Americans because they lacked assurance of hope for the future.

A number of events have occurred recently which make people fearful of the future. In the recent past, we have seen natural disasters in the Philippines or the winter storms affecting most of our nation this week. Then there are the man-made dangers looming in the future. There are threats of rogue governments in Asia and the Middle East and terrorist plots here and abroad. Young and old have lost faith in politicians, and many have lost hope in the political system altogether. People desperately want to find something or someone in which they can put their hope.

The hope which we have as believers in Jesus Christ is the only true hope. It is the hope which unbelievers lack – but desperately need. Let us keep our sure and certain hope before us, and may our hope cause unbelievers to ask us how we can be so hopeful in such a hopeless world. Just as the Scriptures teach, let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, and let us fix our hope on the grace that is to be brought to us when He will be revealed at His second coming.

No political party or any presidential candidate (not even your guy) can promise the kind of “hope and change” that the Bible offers to any who will trust in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Most of us recognize that hope is often found in conjunction with faith and hope. “Faith, Hope, and Love” are mentioned together a number of times in the Bible. We have all heard some wonderful messages on faith and on love, but I would venture to say that we have heard too little about hope. (Even I do not remember ever teaching a message focusing primarily on hope.) This is why we will take the next several weeks to explore the hope of the Christian, rooted in the person of Jesus Christ.