Sunday – January 22, 2017 Thom Rachford

Sunday – January 22, 2017 – Read the Word on Worship

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Gen 12: 3 And I will bless those who bless you. 
And the one who curses you I will curse. 
And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”

Genesis 17:8  I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”

The living God made a promise to Abraham for him and his descendants. He promised them the land and through them an eternal blessing to all peoples.  God could do this because he is God and He says the land and the people of Israel are special to Him.  Many times in scripture God states his promises to Israel are forever.

Today however, the world treats Israel and her people as though they have no connection to the living God. Even some major Protestant Church organizations say that because Israel rejected Jesus as their Messiah and King at his first advent, they broke the conditions of God, negating all promises, and so Israel and her people have been swept aside. They say any promises made to Israel now are given to “the church”.  If they find it difficult to connect any specific promise to “the church” they like to say that promise was symbolic, not literal.  How convenient.

Now that they believe Israel is cast off, these major denominations believe Israel to be supremely evil and refuse to do business with Israel or any business or organization that does anything with Israel.

Is this the point of view for “born again” Christians to have? As believers in Jesus, we are directed to search the scriptures for truth rather than just accept any person or organization’s word.

Sunday – October 30, 2016 Matthew 5:13-16 “Salt & Light” Thom Rachford

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Matthew 5:13-16
You are the salt of the Earth. But if the salt loses its saltines, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. 14 You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your life shine before others that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Salt & Light

In Matthew 5:13-16, Jesus says his followers are salt and light. What are we called to do as salt and light? Salt and light can exist without being effective. They only fulfill their purpose and become effective when they are applied. Jesus expects us to utilize our salt and light. First, we must be sure that our salt is salty and our light is shining. How do we do that?

Saltiness comes from allowing the Holy Spirit to apply scriptures we study to our life so our attitudes are obedient to God’s principles and commands. For example, in our food we can readily taste the difference between salted and unsalted butter. The salt of Jesus should be just as distinctive and readily apparent in our lives. And like salt in our food, the Jesus within us should make us more “tasty” to those we encounter.

Our light should reflect THE LIGHT of Jesus by submitting to the Holy Spirit’s direction to make our actions extend from our Jesus attitudes as we conform to God’s word and principles. Light is always very noticeable in dark areas. Our light should be like a Lighthouse in our contact with the darkened world.

Amen

Sunday – September 18, 2016 Matthew 23:3 “As it Was in the Days of Noah”

Sunday – September 18, 2016 – Read the Word on Worship

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Matthew 23:3
As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

Part of Jesus reply was “As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the Son of Man.”  In the parallel passage of Luke 17 Jesus also says “It was the same as happened in the days of Lot.”

If we are near the “end of the age” we should examine the scriptures to understand society’s characteristics in the days of Noah and Lot. The scripture gives both man’s view of his society and God’s view. Are there similarities in what was going on in societies around Noah and Lot?

Do we see any similarities in our society today with events prominent in Noah and Lot’s day? If so, how does the level of similarities of their societies measure against ours today?

The attitudes and actions in both Noah’s and Lot’s societies resulted in the judgment of God. Is our society also rushing toward God’s judgment? If so, what can you and I do to personally avoid that judgment and help others avoid it. Will we take the necessary steps?

Sunday – August 21, 2016 Thom Rachford “Today is the Day of Salvation”

Sunday – August 21, 2016 – Read the Word on Worship

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Today events are moving rapidly to the end of this age, this period of human existence.

Persecution and intolerance of Christians is increasing worldwide, persecution and intolerance of Jews is increasing worldwide. Both are more out of favor in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East, even in the United States. Violent death for both groups is increasing rapidly.

While you rarely if ever hear it on the nightly news; this information is available for any who are interested in finding out. The better your information, the better your choices in prayer, politics, charity, and your personal stand for rightness every day.

But as the end of the age approaches, so does the end of the day of relative ease and peace. God’s wrath is quickly reaching its fullness and soon will be poured out. The following days will be much harder and more challenging for everyone, ending with either Heaven or Hell.

Now is the time to make a decision for Heaven by believing in Jesus as the Christ (Messiah). He will receive any and all who come to him.

Today is the day of decision. Today is the day of salvation.  Help others understand and choose today.

Sunday – October 11, 2015 “Maintaining Your Faith in Difficult Persecution”

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Scripture tells us that in the last days godlessness will have control in the world. We see this now in the world and the frequency and intensity of godlessness is growing daily. Actions and policies may be called right or moral or even what God wants by those in power. These actions and policies are usually “dressed up” as being for best of reasons or for the benefit of many. But the real purpose behind today’s ungodliness is presented in scripture.

2 Timothy 3:1-5
But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.

Holding a form of godliness means that those at all levels of power try to portray themselves and their actions as “good”, as the thing or things God wants. They project their own desires and cloak them with ”spiritual” words and promises. Their actions however tell the truth, that they do not know the living God or have relationship with Him. Because they do not have a real relationship with God in Christ they are not sealed with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Without the indwelling Holy Spirit, they do not have the power of real godliness in their lives.

The only way to truly know what God wants, what is right and moral, is to know God. We can only truly know God by first having our sins forgiven by Christ and beginning a new life with Christ in charge. This new relationship equips us to understand what God has provided for us and how He wants us to respond. That response is having the right thoughts, purposes and actions that please and serve Him. He supplies the power for that response. To find those right responses we must look to His word, the Bible. It is through the Bible that we get to know Him. The more completely and intimately we know Him, the better we can see, trust and follow Him in all circumstances.

The scriptures reveal His love, His power, and His Promise.

God’s love is expressed in his sending his Son to die, not for the Son’s own sins for he lived the only life without sin, but to die to pay the penalty for the sins of all who will trust in the Son: The sins of you and me.

God’s power is seen in the six-day creation of the world. All things created in the six days were spoken into existence except for man, whom God made “by hand”. His power is further revealed on a human experience level by His bringing to life people who were dead.

God’s promise is for eternal life for all who trust the Son and what He has done on the cross and in the resurrection.

John 6:40
For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”

Sunday – July 5, 2015 Thom Rachford “America, Where Are You?”

Sunday – July 5, 2015 – Read the Word on Worship

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America, Where Are You?

America has a history of Christian heritage. From the beginning of the nation, true Christian men guided the country and wrote the constitution. They set up the best ever series of checks and balances to insure peace and the opportunity for prosperity. The government was structured to provide individual liberty and fairness under the law.

The laws were based on God’s laws from the Bible and society’s moral conduct followed Biblical principles. Sure, there have always been those who did not follow the principles, but the principles were publicly held up as an example of how one should behave in the eyes of God and before and with their fellow man.

However, as men do, they rebelled against these principles when they felt deprived of something they wanted. The rebellion continued throughout the years. But the principles held firm. Slowly however, other more modern men pressed for a new interpretation of what principles should govern legal and social activities. The new principles of law and morality claim to be the best for men, better than God intended, or even more insidiously, they gave God’s principles a “new and better” interpretation.

The new interpretation presented man’s view as the highest, most moral and most right view. Man’s decision must be the highest and best decision since there is no God involved with men, they reasoned. The theory of evolution was held up as scientific evidence that man and his ideas evolved not from a creator God, but from crystals (yes, crystals as the modern evolutionists claim – but cannot explain how it happened) and developed over the centuries into the highest thought and judgment. Included in this view is the idea that man’s ideas continue to evolve. Therefore, since ideas evolve, new ideas must be better than the previous ideas. And the plunge into rebellion deepens.

Sunday May 24, 2015 – Thom Rachford “Illusion or Reality”

Sunday – May 24, 2015 – Read the Word on Worship

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Illusion or Reality

The word illusion is from the Latin illusio, which means “the action of mocking”. Illusion is defined as the action of deceiving, the state or fact of being intellectually deceived or misled or the perception of something objectively existing in such a way as to cause misinterpretation of its actual nature. Deceit is the core present in all Illusion.

Reality on the other hand is defined as the quality or state of being real; a real event, entity or state of affairs; something that is neither derivative nor dependent but exists necessarily in actual fact. Truth is the core present in reality.

In today’s world Illusion is presented as the norm. At all levels of society from the government, the media, education, and from people in general conversation we hear illusions presented as fact or truth. And we like the illusions. Illusions usually make the world and our lives seem better, easier, less troublesome, more comforting and less requiring of action, some times difficult action, on our part. In general, we like to hear the illusion, we want to believe the illusion because the illusion seems to be more fun or more fulfilling, or more safe or satisfying than the reality.

The problem with illusion is that it is not only false but it is only temporary. For example, the illusion that there is no Hell or that everyone who is “good” goes to Heaven. For the person who does not know Jesus these illusions are comforting. Illusion frees the mind and spirit from restraints. If there is no Hell, that implies that there are no spiritual consequences to actions. If there is no Hell, there are no absolutes that govern whether or not I go to Hell. This allows me to do anything as long as I can stand or better yet, avoid societies’ consequences. And if there is a Heaven, I certainly am good enough to go there. After all, I am better than Hitler, or Stalin, or a mass murderer, etc.

No matter how “bad” we are, we cling to the illusion that “the good/bad line is drawn just below just us. It is people below the line who don’t qualify for Heaven. I am always above the line. This illusion is comforting until the day you die.

Then the temporary euphoria disappears as the reality becomes strikingly apparent in a nano second.   At death, the reality of Heaven (being with the Lord) with all its reward and blessings, or the reality of Hell (being without the Lord) and all Hell’s consequences, rushes upon us. The reality or truth of Heaven or Hell is immediately evident and unfortunately for those in Hell recognized as unchangeable. Every person who ever lives will experience the reality of Heaven or Hell, whether you physically die or you are among the raptured.

Believers in Jesus can rely on being in heaven. In John 14:6 Jesus said “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me”. Where is the Father? Heaven.InJohn 14:3 Jesus said “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also”. Where is Jesus? Heaven. Mark 16:19 So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God”.

Sunday – July 27, 2014 Signs in the Heavens Part 2

Sunday – July 27, 2014 – Read the Word on Worship


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Signs in the Heavens Part 2

Romans 1:20 
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

Paul is reminding us that no one has an excuse for not responding to God. It reminds me of students who claim they did not know an assignment was due even though the teacher put it on the board, reminded the class orally and even covered specifically elements to be included in the assignment.   The student may claim, “I didn’t hear you say anything about the assignment. Nobody told me personally. I had an ear problem so I didn’t hear what you said.” Those of you who are teachers or know teachers have probably heard many more excuses.

When it comes to the things of God, people have the same kinds of excuses. I can imagine the Great White throne judgment where those on trial will claim many excuses to justify their name not being in the Book of Life. I think the major excuse will be “no one told me.” While it is the purpose of every believer to share the good news of reconciliation to the living God for everyone through Christ’s payment for sin on the cross and relationship with Him; the Lord has revealed Himself exquisitely through the things He has made. One cannot look at the complexities of the human body or the intricacy of the universe without recognizing someone with the creative power far beyond man-made all things.

So why do we have a problem with recognizing and then seeking a true relationship with Him? Just like the students, we do not “hear” because we choose to put our attention on ourselves, what we want, and when we want it.   Our society reinforces our self-centeredness. How many commercials say ‘get this because you deserve it.” How many times a day do we hear ‘it is my right to have …’, you fill in the blank. Our government has decided people “need” certain things, so we give, for example, free cell phones and service – because everyone has the right to a cell phone.

The message who God is and His desire for relationship with people is still available today through the Bible, people, and radio and TV programs that proclaim the true gospel. Even if the government/society succeeds in outlawing Christian teaching or expression in any form, the things that God has made continue to reveal who He is so that there will be no excuse for not responding to Him.

Sunday – July 7, 2013 “For God So Loved the World”

July 7, 2013 – Read the Word on Worship

For God So Loved the World from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

We have seen how many people can reject the Bible as the Word of God. We have seen some treat the entire Bible as a fairy tale; a fairy tale made up by men to curtail the fun of others, causing them to have a joyless life. We have seen some treat parts of the Bible as true in a general sense, but untrue for specific situations or cases. We have seen some say the Bible is true, but then make translations or interpretations that even language experts who do not believe the Biblical agree are not the best way to translate specific words or in many cases are out-and-out false translations or interpretations.
Join Elder Thom Rachford in this study of some of the most familiar and often most misquoted passages of the Gospel of John


Word On Worship – July 7, 2013 Download / Print

John 3:16-18
16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. – NASB

We have seen how many people can reject the Bible as the Word of God. We have seen some treat the entire Bible as a fairy tale; a fairy tale made up by men to curtail the fun of others, causing them to have a joyless life. We have seen some treat parts of the Bible as true in a general sense, but untrue for specific situations or cases. We have seen some say the Bible is true, but then make translations or interpretations that even language experts who do not believe the Biblical agree are not the best way to translate specific words or in many cases are out-and-out false translations or interpretations.

Despite how people want to view or interpret the meaning of scriptures, more evidence exists for the accuracy of most Bible translations than any other book of ancient times. Let’s look at the Bible, applying the same standards for accuracy that would be applied to any historical book. The extremely large numbers of ancient copies, in which the texts agree, speak to the accuracy of the Bible. The extreme care in translating GOD’s word, not man’s word, caused translations to be more carefully made than other books, again insuring the accuracy from the original text. The nearness of the dates of the existing manuscripts to the time of recorded events help insure accuracy of the recorded text. The endurance of generation after generation of those who desire to read and study the Bible speaks to it accuracy and truth. And lastly, the millions upon millions of changed lives of those who follow the truth of the Bible prove its accuracy.

These standards make the Bible the most valuable book in the world. However the value is only realized when one studies, believes and applies what the Bible says. Otherwise, it is of no value. It is like a penniless person holding a check for a million dollars but never cashing it. One’s life does not change even though one has the thing that will change it at one’s fingertips.

Do you want to know where you are going in life? Do you want to know if you should go right or left at the fork in the path? How can you know which path to take in the dark? Do you want to see where your feet are going so you can avoid stubbing your toes on rocks on the road or falling into a hole? How can you see when the bridge ahead is so rickety that it will collapse the minute you step on it? God’s word is the answer. Psalm 119:105 says God’s word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. A lighted path shows you the only true route while illuminating your destination and a lamp allows you to safely avoid any obstacles you may encounter along the way.

That lamp and light, The Bible, is true and accurate and valuable beyond measure for those who will read, meditate or seriously consider what it says, and then follow what it says for it is the Word of the living God.

Sunday – April 28, 2013, “How Do You Understand Old Testament Prophecy?”

April 28, 2013 – Read the Word on Worship

How Do You Understand Old Testament Prophecy? from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

Everyone seems to have a opinion when it comes to the Scripture. Depending on where they went to school or what denomination they come from, opinions run all over, especially when it comes to Old Testament prophecy. So how do you know who is right? Even more, how can you understand for yourself what oes the Bible teach? Elder Thom Rachford takes us through Zechariah 12 breaking down the text so everyone can see for themselves what God is foretelling and explains simple questions you can ask for yourself as to the meaning and the purpose of God’s plan for His people.


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 II Timothy 16-17
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Often we can read God’s Word and come to certain conclusions about what it says and what it means to us. The process of looking into God’s Word to reach conclusions about His plans is the natural process the Lord has set up. He has given us the inner desire to know him and he has chosen to reveal himself and His plans for us through His scripture as we spend time in it.

We know the Lord usually does not reveal everything in only one section of scripture. He usually does not outline His plan or spiritual principle by listing step one in detail, then step two in detail, step three in detail, and so on. Frequently the steps or concepts are found in various portions of scripture and the whole of scripture has to be studied to fully grasp what the Lord is saying and what he wants in response from us.

This is good. For as, humans in this time in history, we tend to want it all wrapped up in one short package that we can consume in a very short time. In His wisdom the Lord has placed portions of His plans in various places. This requires us to fully study the complete message of God if we want to understand His communications.

Sometimes we approach God’s Word with pre-conceived ideas about His plan. These ideas may come from well-meaning counselors or even false teachers who want to make their comments sound good. More often preconceived ideas come from our own desires, fears, or human “wisdom.” We like what makes us feel good or seems to be an easy way or builds up pride in our own abilities or deeds. Then it is easy to find those passages or individual scriptures that support our view or seem to support our foregone conclusions. When we don’t find specific passages to support these conclusions we may distort or misquote the scripture to make them appear to support. Once we think we have the answers, human nature prompts us to not seek any further scriptural truth about the subject. This is the way heresy, false teaching and apostasy gain prominence and control. And in turn, the heresy, false teaching, and apostasy lead further away from studying the totality of scripture. It is a downward spiral.

The antidote to the downward spiral of erroneous views or incorrect interpretation is daily study of God’s word accompanied by prayer. Daily study has some conditions. First, ask the Lord to clear away our misconceptions and to reveal His truth in the scriptures even when the revelation does not agree with what we had made up as truth in our mind. Second, the daily study must eventually include all the scriptures, even those that seem boring or dealing with Old Testament actions or less than interesting genealogies. Third, we must take God’s Word as literal unless it is clearly allegorical or symbolic. We must take scripture literally even when the scripture seems to defy the rules of nature. Our God is the creator of nature and nature’s laws and can and does overrule them when it suits His purpose. He is, after all, the God of miracles. Daily study of the Word will lead us to a right view of God, His plan for relationship with man, our salvation, growth and blessing.