Sunday – January 15, 2017 Genesis 25:27-34 “Trading Your Soul For What?”

Sunday – January 15, 2017 – Read the Word on Worship

Sunday – January 15, 2017 Genesis 25:27-34 “Trading Your Soul For What?” from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

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Genesis 25:32
Esau said, “Behold, I am about to die; so of what use then is the birthright to me?”

It does not take much imagination to see we live in an “instant” society. We have instant coffee, instant breakfasts, instant soup, instant pudding, and microwave popcorn. We also have cable Internet and e-mail, universal cell phone coverage, and satellite TV (as if cable TV was not fast enough). As efficient as all this can be, we have become products of an “instant society.” We want everything quicker and faster. We cannot and will not wait for desires to be met. We demand instant gratification. If there is a complication in our lives, we believe there must be an instant solution.

What is especially disturbing is that we seem to believe we have an inalienable right to be happy. Thus, no one wants to wait for anything, and for the most part no one has to. If that means cutting corners, then so be it. We are willing to sacrifice our reputation tomorrow for what we want today. Waiting is interpreted as pain. Yet, as Richard Hendrix has said, “Second only to suffering, waiting may be the greatest teacher and trainer in godliness, maturity, and genuine spirituality most of us ever encounter.”

Are you surprised to observe that the biggest “crook” in our chapter is a believer? While Esau may have been crude, he was no crook. How many Christian businessmen and employees are crooked, just as Jacob was? We call ourselves shrewd, but that is only a euphemism for unethical practices. One reason why Christians can be as crooked as Jacob is that they are so convinced of the importance of the ends they seek that they feel that any means to achieve them are justified. Many of us convince ourselves that much of the money we make is going to missions, or the church, and so we “launder” our money in Christian ministry. The goal is never more important than godliness. In fact, the Christian’s goal is godliness.

Esau also bears accountability in this mess. The sad reality is that he did not believe the word of God. Many believers are like Esau, who have traded their blessings for what amounts to a bowl of lentils. When we exchange our purity, our integrity, our family, or our relationship with God or His church, the benefit we receive is nothing more than a pile of beans! Satan is constantly tempting us to forfeit the eternal riches of our spiritual inheritance in Christ for the pleasure of immediate gratification: An illicit affair, financial compromise to get ahead, lusting after money or material things, letting loose our anger in abandonment of reason, or succumbing to depression without check. We are in constant danger of being tempted to give up something very precious in order to indulge a sudden strong desire. The pile of beans that is truly dangerous is any temptation to gratify the “feelings” of the immediate moment in a way that shows we “despise” the promises of the living God for our future.

Sunday – February 17, 2013

February 17, 2013 – Read the Word on Worship

Less is More from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

How different are God’s ways when compared to the ways of men? The Pharisees loved riches and considered their wealth as the evidence of God’s reward for their piety. In their minds, God would be pleased with the size of their contributions. Yet in our passage we see Jesus condemn the “rich and famous” for their faulty thinking and elevate the insignificant gift of the widow. The rich were only focused on how much their gift was. Jesus was focused on what the gift meant to the giver. That small donation was her life and all she had to live on. In making this gift, she gave evidence of her faith in God, not her money, to provide for her needs.
I am not here to tell you or myself how much to give. I do not see in Scripture where Jesus was ever impressed with how much was given. But I do see Jesus is very impressed with how much was left after we give. How much faith do you have that God is Jehovah-Jireh (the Lord Will Provide)? With all the corruption going on, the widow’s gift was an act of faith. When those coins left her hand, she had totally entrusted herself to God. But she did what she believed God had for her to do. The question is what will we do as stewards with the limited time, talent and treasure He has given us?
Join us Sunday morning as we continue our series in the Gospel of Mark in Mark 12 verses 38 to 44 and see “Less is More”


Word On Worship – February 17, 2013 Download / Print

 Mark 12:42-44
A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.”

How different are God’s ways when compared to the ways of men? The Pharisees loved riches and considered their wealth as the evidence of God’s reward for their piety. In their minds, God would be pleased with the size of their contributions. Yet in our passage we see Jesus condemn the “rich and famous” for their faulty thinking while elevating the insignificant gift of the widow. The rich were only focused on how much their gift was. Jesus was focused on what the gift meant to the giver. That small donation was her life and all she had to live on. In making this gift, she gave evidence of her faith in God, not her money, to provide for her needs.

It is easy to use the widow and her two coins as an example of sacrificial giving. Clearly this is a woman who loves God with all she has and stands in stark contrast to the rich in light of her poverty. She also stands in contrast to the scribes who go to great lengths to highlight their piousness for personal gain and attention. She is just another person fallen through the safety net of society and holds no honor in this community of alleged faith. Yet she still loves God and will sacrifice all that she has in service to God as she responds to Him.

The so-called “little gifts,” which count as nothing in human circles, eclipse the gifts given from excess from God’s perspective. Religious institutions cannot build great temples with their massive stones from the meager gifts of widows. But then God is not looking for stone buildings to call His home. God is looking to occupy people’s hearts. But He can only do that with disciples willing to submit themselves to Him and to love Him with all their heart, soul, mind and strength.

I am not here to tell you or myself how much to give. I do not see in Scripture where Jesus was ever impressed with how much was given. But I do see Jesus is very impressed with how much was left after we give. How much faith do you have that God is Jehovah-Jireh (the Lord Will Provide)? With all the corruption going on, the widow’s gift was an act of faith. When those coins left her hand, she had totally entrusted herself to God. But she did what she believed God had for her to do. The question is what will we do as stewards with the limited time, talent, treasure and breath He has given us?

Sunday – February 3, 2013

February 3, 2013 – Read the Word on Worship

Did the Religious Leaders Wear Boxers or Briefs? from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

Our passage raises the important issue of the relationship between God and the governments of the earth. This is not just an issue in Jesus day, but an issue that every generation in every society must confront. Jesus is not saying Caesar is control of the political sphere and God is in control of the religious sphere, as if they were counter-weights against each other. To Jesus, the coin with the face of Caesar was just another idol in a long list of idols and Caesar can have it back if he desires it.
Whoever’s face is on the money has the right to ask for it back in terms of taxes. Jesus had no problem with the people giving back to Caesar what was his. But the expectation goes both ways- just as Caesar expected to get back the things that were his, so too God expects to get back the things that are His. If we bear God’s image, as we are told in Genesis 1, then God owns us and we owe Him worship and obedience. The danger is we have grown to love our money. If government owns the money, and we make money our god, then the government owns us.
Join us this Sunday as we look at Jesus answering questions about money and marriage as we look at “Did the Religious Leaders Wear Boxer or Briefs?” as we continue in Mark 12 verses 13 to 27.


Word On Worship – February 3, 2013 Download / Print

Mark 12:15-17
[Jesus] said to them, “Bring Me a denarius to look at.”  They brought one. And He said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” And they said to Him, “Caesar’s.” And Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.

Our passage raises the important issue of the relationship between God and the governments of the earth. This was not just an issue in Jesus day, but an issue that every generation in every society must confront.  Jesus is not saying Caesar is control of the political sphere and God is in control of the religious sphere, as if they were counter-weights against each other. To Jesus, the coin with the face of Caesar was just another idol in a long list of idols and Caesar can have it back if he desires it.

In the past it was the desire of the church to exercise sovereign control over the state in the name of God. For centuries in Europe, the rule of kings was just another instrument of the papacy to enforce the will of the church in secular society. But the church that seeks earthly power and glory always loses both its moral compass and its spiritual vigor. The pursuit of power in earthly terms, whether by the church or the state, has always done tremendous harm to both. It is the spirit of this world that lies to us with the promise of might makes right and take before it is taken from you. It is only the power of Christ which enables people to give so that God can give us yet more.

Whoever’s face is on the money has the right to ask for it back, usually in the form of taxes. Jesus had no problem with the people giving to Caesar what was his, but the expectation must go both ways. Just as Caesar expected to get back the things that were his, so too God expects to get back the things that are His. Since we bear God’s image, as we are told in Genesis 1, we are owned by God and we owe Him worship and obedience. The danger is we have fallen in love with our money. If government owns the money we love, and we make money our god, then the government owns us.

An unhealthy union between church and state has been the undoing of both. We are drawn away from our primary mission of the proclamation of the gospel when the church becomes politicized. Inevitably, politics distracts the church to get behind good causes, not the gospel which transcends every society and government. However this should not distract the individuals who make up the church from being salt and light in every arena they are called to serve, from the school room to the board room and from public sector to the private sector, even political action. However, the church must deter the things of God from becoming political wallpaper for programs and policies promoted by politicians. The church is to have clean hands and hearts to speak with power the words of life: “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.”

Sunrise – December 30, 2012

December 30, 2012 – Read the Word on Worship

What Does Not Get You to Heaven? from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

Who rules over your life? Is it God or money? Jesus is calling this rich young man to join a community of believers who will take care of others material needs. And the challenge given to this man should be a warning to all of us who live in a materialistic culture that possessions, even when they are few, can be a hazard. Wealth possesses many dangers because so many people crave it. No Christian is immune to its seductive lure. Covetousness is a virus which takes residence in the soul and then slowly begins its work of destruction. Once the anesthetic of self-gratification is applied to our heart, the call for self-sacrifice deadens into numbness the things of eternity.
Join us this Sunday as we continue our study on the Gospel of Mark chapter 10 verses 13 to 31 and we look at “What Doesn’t Get You to Heaven?”


Word On Worship – December 30, 2012 Download / Print

Mark 10:23-25
And Jesus, looking around, said to His disciples, “How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!” The disciples were amazed at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

It is easy for many in our culture to dismiss the command by Jesus to sell all we own and give it away as a statement of hyperbole because it appears so unreasonable. The central point of the passage is not Jesus denouncing the having of possessions, but rather one’s ultimate loyalty. Jesus did not insist Zacchaeus sell all of his goods and give them to the poor before He would agree to eat in his home. Zaccheaus voluntarily offers to give half of his possessions and restore fourfold whatever he gained from his treachery. Very few are willing to divest themselves of whatever provides them security in this life to enter a new life under God’s rule.

Who rules over your life? Is it God or money? Jesus is calling this rich young man to join a community of believers who will take care of others’ material needs. And the challenge given to this man should be a warning to all of us who live in a materialistic culture that possessions, even when they are few, can be a hazard. Wealth possesses many dangers because so many people crave it. No Christian is immune to its seductive lure. Covetousness is a virus that takes residence in the soul and then slowly begins its work of destruction. Once the anesthetic of self-gratification is applied to our heart, the call for self-sacrifice deadens into numbness the things of eternity.

Jesus told the man he lacked one thing, yet in human terms he lacked for nothing. He had plenty to live on, but nothing to live for (a sad truth of our culture today). Money brings us many things, but neither holiness nor eternal life. Yet for all the rich young ruler had, the emptiness became a gnawing hunger. What must I do to have life beyond this life? Yet when confronted by Jesus with the invitation to sell all and follow Him, he counted possessions dearer than the hope of eternal life with God and a meaningful life on earth.

Possessions can easily deceive us into thinking that they offer security and the abundant life. Having money leads us to the false conclusion that anything can be had for a price – even salvation when it is given to the right charity. We must sound the alarm to our generation about the dangers of committing ourselves to possessions and share with those who are looking for eternal life to look to Jesus Christ alone. Eternal life will only be found by people who are willing to lose their lives and their possessions for the sake of Jesus and the gospel.