Sunday – October 8, 2017 Series Week Four: “Who Is In Charge Here?”

Sunday – October 8, 2017 – Read the Word on Worship

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SERIES: “The Church- Can We Have It Our Way?”
Week Four: “Who Is In Charge Here?”

Word On Worship – Sunday – October 8, 2017 Download / Print

Colossians 1:18
He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.”

I want to answer the question, “Who runs this church?” While this may be a review for some of you old timers, those who are relatively new in this church may not understand how we operate as a church government. Many people wrongly assume that as the pastor, I run the church. I may be the teaching Elder here at Sunrise, but to assume that the pastor runs everything in the church is not only wrong, it is dangerous.

Many people also wrongly assume that our church government is patterned after the U. S. government and operates as a democracy. The pastors and the elders are the elected officers, similar to the President and Congress. At church business meetings, members can voice their opposition to whatever they don’t like and vote according to their preferences. While that system is fine for America, at the risk of sounding un-American, I must say God is not an American. He didn’t set up His church as a democracy, where the most powerful factions control the purse strings. We’re not free to impose our American ideas about government onto the church, unless we find those ideas in the Bible.

Another model that has greatly influenced how American churches are governed is that of American business. Most businesses have the chairman at the top, with his board of directors beneath him and the stockholders as the voting members of the corporation. When that gets carried into the church, the pastor is viewed as the CEO, the elder or deacon board are the directors, and the congregation represents the stockholders, who have their annual meet­ing to vote on how the business should operate. With that model, the answer to the question of who runs the church is, “The pastor does, along with the board of directors.” But, the stockholders have a say in things, and if the company isn’t going the way that they wish, they can vote those guys out of office.

While there may be a few similarities between the business and government models and the church, the biblical picture of church government is different. One major difference is that the church is not just an organization, but also a living organism. Webster defines an organization as “an administrative and functional structure.” He defines an organism as “an individual constituted to carry on the activities of life by means of organs separate in function but mutually dependent.” That describes the church. We are a living unity, the one body of which Jesus Christ is the head. Each member is a vital part of that body, separate in function, but mutually dependent on one another and on Christ, the head. Biblical church government is to allow Jesus Christ to truly function as the living head of His body. None of us should be seeking or voicing our will about various matters in the church, unless we are very convinced that our will coincides with God’s will as revealed in His Word.

Sunday – July 23, 2017 Thom Rachford Preaching

Sunday – July 23, 2017 – Read the Word on Worship

Sunday – July 23, 2017 Thom Rachford Preaching from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

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Word On Worship – Sunday – July 23, 2017 Download / Print

Pray for the Persecuted Church

Cuban Pastor Punished With 1-Year Heavy Labor for Homeschooling His Children in Evangelical Faith

From The Christian Post

An Evangelical pastor in Cuba has been sentenced to one year of heavy labor and house arrest for defying the Communist government and insisting that his children be homeschooled. International Christian Concern reported on Thursday that Pastor Ramon Rigal, leader of Iglesia de Dios en Cristo, has openly stated that his decision to take his children out of state-run schools was based on his Christian faith.

As Diario de Cuba noted last week, Rigal had originally been sentenced by Guantanamo courts to one year imprisonment, but a recent adjudication led to a modified reduction of the punishment. The pastor said that his legal team proved that he did not commit any serious criminal act, but religious freedom advocates warned that the heavy labor sentence is still a serious punishment.

“Correctional labor is a form of forced physical punishment, where the state typically chooses the locations and the working conditions,” Pastor Mario F. Barroso, a religious freedom activist from the Patmos Institute, told ICC. “People sentenced to this penalty are assigned to a ranch or a farm of some sort, and believe me it’s not light work.”

Rafael Cardona, ICC’s Latin America correspondent, said it’s “very concerning and disheartening” that a pastor has been punished in such a way simply for choosing to homeschool his children.

“It is even more egregious when a tough punishment is still issued despite having adequate legal defense and proving that no criminal laws were violated. In Pastor Rigal’s case, we have to be aware that he made multiple attempts to inform the state about the curricula and content of the education, including any religious elements,” Cardona said.

“Nevertheless, the Cuban authorities still proceeded with a sentence that does not seem to fit the offense. Unfortunately, these kinds of repressive measures taken against people of Christian faith happen commonly in Cuba. We will continue to pray for Pastor Rigal and his family.”

Sunday – September 21, 2014 1John 3:1 “The Father’s Great Love”

Sunday – September 21, 2014 – Read the Word on Worship

1st John 3 verse 1 from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.


Word On Worship – Sunday – September 21, 2014 Download / Print

1 John 3:1
“See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.”

The heart of every pastor desires to strengthen the spiritual stamina of his flock. This is particularly the case when, as in John’s church, opponents are seen standing outside the door. But the question that roams my heart and mind is what strategy is best for our church to reinforce Christian discipleship? John can often raise more questions than answers, which allows for us to wrestle with the Holy Spirit to find application in our lives. John tells us we are the children of God. And all of this is the result of God’s love that He initiated on our behalf. If that does not cause you to stand up and praise God, look to John and his example of rejoicing in this truth.

When John tells us our status is as “God’s children” it is proclaimed as an absolute, unyielding decision initiated by God. That is why John exclaims, “How great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God.” It is a part of a divine choice, an unmerited adoption, where we are brought into the family of God. It is only in this framework that we see our security with God is completely out of our hands and firmly in His. Only then does assurance of salvation move from an intellectual construct to a concrete reality. Our confidence comes from finding out God is the One who holds us secure.

I am continually amazed at the number of church-going people who intellectually understand they are God’s children and cannot be un-adopted, and yet their hearts are filled with insecurity. Caught up in their feelings of the moment, they wonder how they can be children of God if they don’t “feel” like they are children of God. Or others who look upon their personal struggle with sin and question if they ever were in the family of God. This may be a common experience of many today. But if my confidence is based on what I feel in my Christian walk, then confidence is frail indeed.

Experience is an important part of our Christian walk. Christ told us we must be born again, walk in obedience to His commands and live holy and righteous lives. While these experiences are important, the measure of our assurance is not the magnitude of the experience of the past, which often fade as we become older. Rather, through the atoning death of our Lord Jesus Christ and with it the payment of our sin by our faith, God makes known to us His immeasurable love and makes our assurance steadfast.