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Monday, September 25, 2017

Soon!-The promise of His coming. (Pt.1)

(Part 1)

“Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming?  For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.”-2 Peter 3:1-4

In the book of Acts 1:9-11 we read how Jesus appeared to His followers one final time on the Mount of Olives. As He ascended into heaven the angels of God declared: “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”

Jesus promised that one day He would return! However, He never said when that day would be. Would it be a week, a year, a thousand years, two thousand years? It seems that the longer it takes for Him to return the less and less convinced some people have become regarding His coming! They declare today the same reservation “Where is the promise of His coming?”

Jesus, however, in several passages hinted that His coming was not going to happen immediately:

In Matthew 25:19 (The Parable of the Talents) it states that “After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.”

In Matthew 24:45-50 (The Parable of the Faithful and Evil Servant) it states “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods. But if that evil servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming, and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of.”

In Matthew 25:5 (The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins) it states “But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.”

It is clear from these passages that Jesus was attempting to prepare His disciples for the fact that His return would not be immediate. But why the delay? I believe that 2 Peter 3:8-9 gives us the very best indication to why the Lord would delay His coming:

“But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”

God is not willing that any should perish, but that all would come to repentance! Each day the Lord delays is another opportunity for a lost soul to come to Christ, repent of their sins and receive forgiveness.

Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church

Monday, September 18, 2017

Rest (Pt.2)

(Part 2 of 2)

“Moreover I also gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between them and Me, that they might know that I am the Lord who sanctifies them. Yet the house of Israel rebelled against Me in the wilderness; they did not walk in My statutes; they despised My judgments, ‘which, if a man does, he shall live by them’; and they greatly defiled My Sabbaths. Then I said I would pout out My fury on them in the wilderness, to consume them.”-Ezekiel 2):12-13

The Sabbath was established to rejuvenate mankind both physically and spiritually, unfortunately the the benefits diminished as the people of God began to take advantage of it. Their focus was on ceasing from work-legalistically. The spiritual side of Sabbath was lost on them and they became disconnected from God. It became just another day to them. It was no longer holy! It was a day they used to accomplish their own personal desires, devoid of any real attempt to honor God. Jesus tried to address this with them in Mark 2:27:

“And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.”

This passage is so powerful, because it communicates to us that the Sabbath is a specific, thoughtful gift of the Creator to serve His creation. God set apart a day of rest designed to help mankind recuperate physically, but also to rejuvenate spiritually. It is only truly a Sabbath day when we rest from our work in order to focus our attention on worshipping God. As we learned last week, the Sabbath is a day to honor God. Sabbath will always include the component of glorifying God; if it doesn’t then we have broken Sabbath.

This idea of Sabbath rest is not simply an Old Testament concept. In fact the writer of Hebrews declared:

“There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.”-Hebrews 4:9-11

The writer of Hebrews encourages the people of God to embrace rest! We should not follow the example of disobedience demonstrated to us by the children of Israel, who, after wondering in the wilderness for forty years had abandoned the spiritual side of the Sabbath.

Jesus further validates the significance of rest when He instructs His followers with these words:

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and My burden is light.”-Matthew 11:28-30

Ultimately, our rest is rooted in our relationship with Jesus Christ. Just as you cannot rob yourself of sleep and feel rested; you cannot rob yourself of God and feel rested! If you want to experience true rest, you have to make sure that you are honoring God by honoring His Sabbath!

Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church

Rest (Pt.1)

(Part 1 of 2)

“On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all 
his work. And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the 
day when he rested from al his work of creation.”-Genesis 2:2-3

Several weeks ago as we were leaving for vacation and I asked by family: “If you could
only choose one. Would you rather have a vacation packed with fun activities or
spend your time relaxing and come home rested?” The answers varied, but it has
gotten me thinking  a lot about rest.

To rest means cease from work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself,
or recover strength. Rest has some amazing benefits: restores energy, repairs the
body by allowing muscles, nerves, bones and connective tissue time to rebuild,
improves memory and focus, lifts our mood, strengthens our immune system
and reduces stress. Some studies even show that people who get adequate sleep l
live longer.

However, rest is not simply physical, it is also spiritual. Rest was something
that God created. In fact, after God had created all things He rested from all His
work. His ceasing from creation, actually created what we know as rest! God
recognized the necessity of both physical and spiritual rest from the very
beginning. After creating mankind, God created rest. He never intended us to
 “go, go, go”; rather He designed us to “go, go, rest”. Both physically and spiritually!

We see this in the Old Testament book of Exodus:

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all 
your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall 
do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor 
your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your 
gates.”-Exodus 20:8-10

God intended us to have a physical day of rest; to cease from our work. We were to
 cease from working to focus our attention on something else…God! God called this
day the Sabbath, not simply a day to cease from working, but a day that was holy
unto God. A day, in which, we were to set aside time to come together in worship.

“You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but he seventh day is a 
Sabbath day of complete rest, an official day for holy assembly. It is the Lord’s 
Sabbath day, and it must be observed wherever you live.”-Leviticus 23:3

It is an official day of assembly. Exodus 20:8 tells us that we are to remember it
and keep it holy. To keep something holy is to set it apart unto God. A day to
worship God:

“And it shall come to pass. That from one New Moon to another, and from one 
Sabbath to another, all flesh shall come to worship before Me,” says the Lord.”
-Isaiah 66:23

The Sabbath was established to rejuvenate mankind both physically and
spiritually, unfortunately the the benefits diminished as the people of God began to
take advantage of it.

Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Unrecognizable (Pt. 2)

(Part 2 of 2)

“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”-Daniel 3:16-18

Nebuchadnezzar had become so consumed with himself, that he threatened the people with death if they refused to bow down to the image he had constructed. Rather, however, than focusing on the depths of Nebuchadnezzar’s depravity; let’s take a moment to focus on the goodness of God in this situation. God loved Nebuchadnezzar enough to send three Hebrew men into his life to challenge his self-worship. These men refused to bow and instead chose to redirect the King to God!

Sometimes, however, people become so consumed with themselves that they refuse to listen. Nebuchadnezzar went from bad to worse. He began to think so much of himself that God had to visit him in a dream and declared in Daniel 4:14-17:

He cried aloud and said thus: ‘Chop down the tree and cut off its branches, strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit.Let the beasts get out from under it, and the birds from its branches.
Nevertheless leave the stump and roots in the earth, Bound with a band of iron and bronze,
In the tender grass of the field. Let it be wet with the dew of heaven, And let him graze with the beasts On the grass of the earth. Let his heart be changed from that of a man, Let him be given the heart of a beast, And let seven times pass over him. ‘This decision is by the decree of the watchers, And the sentence by the word of the holy ones, In order that the living may know
That the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, Gives it to whomever He will, And sets over it the lowest of men.’

King Nebuchadnezzar called in all the wise man to interpret the dream, but none was able. Finally, Daniel came forward and interpreted the dream:

This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the Most High, which has come upon my lord the king: They shall drive you from men, your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make you eat grass like oxen. They shall wet you with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses. “And inasmuch as they gave the command to leave the stump and roots of the tree, your kingdom shall be assured to you, after you come to know that Heaven rules. Therefore, O king, let my advice be acceptable to you; break off your sins by being righteous, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor. Perhaps there may be a lengthening of your prosperity.”-Daniel 4:24-27

Daniel warned him to stop sinning and do what was right! Again, God, in his amazing love sent another Godly person (Daniel) into the King’s life to redirect his path. However, the king refused to change his lifestyle and the consequences followed:

All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. At the end of the twelve months he was walking about the royal palace of Babylon. The king spoke, saying, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?”
While the word was still in the king’s mouth, a voice fell from heaven: “King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed from you! And they shall drive you from men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. They shall make you eat grass like oxen; and seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.” That very hour the word was fulfilled concerning Nebuchadnezzar; he was driven from men and ate grass like oxen; his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws”.-Daniel 4:28-33

In His great mercy, God gave him an entire year to reconsider, before bringing judgment. Ultimately Nebuchadnezzar’s sin left him unrecognizable. However, in the midst of this, God made a promise in verse 26 to leave the “stump and the roots”. Meaning that restoration was still possible!

“And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom is from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand
Or say to Him, “What have You done?” At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my honor and splendor returned to me. My counselors and nobles resorted to me, I was restored to my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added to me. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down.-Daniel 4:34-37

Nebuchadnezzar’s journey back was paved with humility, repentance, and praise. It took seven years but in the end he declared: “When my sanity returned to me, so did my honor, glory and kingdom.” Some of you have loved ones, family and friends, that are so steeped in sin that they have become unrecognizable. Keep praying! Keep redirecting them back to God!  Be encouraged; God promised to leave a stump so that, when their sanity returns, they will be restored!

Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church

Unrecognizable (Pt.1)

Part 1 of 2

“That same hour the judgment was fulfilled, and Nebuchadnezzar was driven from human society. He ate grass like a cow, and he was drenched with the dew of heaven. He lived this way until his hair was as long as eagles’ feathers and his nails were like birds’ claws.”-Daniel 4:33

Several years ago our church held a few public awareness classes on the Dangers of Meth. Our local law enforcement set up a a display, the ladies of Grace House Teen Challenge came and gave testimonials, and a representative from the county prosecutors office participated. One of the things that got my attention was a slide presentation they showed us of before and after pictures of people addicted to meth. The people they showed went from normal healthy individuals to decayed shells of their former selves.

The process was so gradual and the addiction so controlling that most of them didn’t even recognize how bad it had gotten: teeth missing, hair falling out, massive weight loss, sunken faces, and scars from picking at their skin. Literally they had become unrecognizable.

As I consider the story of Nebuchadnezzar I am intrigued by the transformation that this man went through; one that left him virtually unrecognizable! He is described as being drenched with dew, covered in long hair, his nails were like birds’ claws, living in the wilderness, and eating grass like a cow. That is a long way from the robes, servants, and palace life he had been living in for years. I am certain that those who saw him were in shocked by his appearance and behavior as over a period of seven years he became unrecognizable!

As a Pastor, I have sat in several counseling sessions with people who have got caught up in sinful situations and compromised their faith. As they sit in my office, on more than one occasion, i’ve heard them say… “When I look back on that time of my life, I don’t even know who that person was.”

What were they saying? Basically, they are admitting that their behavior, attitudes, and activities were so deplorable and outside the will of God; so far from who they professed and wanted to be, that they did not recognize themselves.

How do we end up in a place in life that we don’t even recognize ourself? Nebuchadnezzar’s story can help us.  It begins in Daniel 3:1-6:

“Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits and its width six cubits. He set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. And King Nebuchadnezzar sent word to gather together the satraps, the administrators, the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. So the satraps, the administrators, the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces gathered together for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. Then a herald cried aloud: “To you it is commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, that at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, you shall fall down and worship the gold image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up; and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.”
 Here we read how the King set up an golden statue of himself for the people to worship and anyone who did not worship the image was cast into the fiery furnace “

The journey to becoming unrecognizable begins when we start building altars to ourselves. We live in a culture that promotes and encourages self-worship. Books, blogs, and podcasts focus on creating a new you, a healthier you, a stronger you, a smarter you, a more successful you, a richer you, or a more beautiful you. None of which is necessarily a bad thing unless it becomes what you live for and it defines you.

This pursuit has led us into having an over-inflated sense of ourselves. Nebuchadnezzar was no different. Remember he didn't build a statue to himself that was 6 ft, 10 ft. or even 20 ft. tall. No! He build one that was 90 ft. tall. He had become consumed with himself. This was about him. He wanted the music and the fanfare and if you didn’t support him in his grand delusion; you were cast into the fire and cut off!

Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church

Monday, August 7, 2017

Fixing the gaps in our faith (Pt.2)

(Part 2 of 2)

“How long has this been happening?” Jesus asked the boy’s father. He replied, “Since he was a little boy. The spirit often throws him into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.” “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”-Mark 9:21-24

We all have gaps! How many of you, if we are honest, believe God can heal, but struggle with His willingness or ability to heal you? How many of you believer God can restore broken relationships, but struggle with His willingness or ability to restore yours? How many believe God can save, but struggle with His willingness or ability to reach your loved one? How many of you believe God can provide, but struggle at times with His willingness or ability to show up in your situation?

Isn’t that what was basically happening in this man’s life. He believed that Jesus could heal, save and deliver; that’s why he came looking for Him. However, he still had some doubts about whether Jesus, could help him with his particular set of circumstances. “Have mercy on us and help us, if you can?”

Jesus jumped on that! “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?”

Jesus recognized a gap in this man’s faith. Although he believed enough to bring his son to Jesus’ disciples to be healed, he still struggled with Jesus’ willingness and ability to help in his situation. Jesus declared to him, “Anything is possible if a person believes!”

The man’s response to Jesus captures the very essence of many of our struggles: “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”

How do you fix these faith gaps? The concept implies precisely what is written. There is a gap in our faith that needs filled. We fix the issue by first acknowledging the problem and then employing a plan that fixes the issue. If you struggle with healing, studying about tithing doesn’t address the issue. If you struggle with insecurity, focusing on other people’s gaps doesn't fix your problem. The Bible says in Romans 10:17:

“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

If we are struggling in the area of healing then we must strengthen ourselves from God’s word in the area of healing. We must study God’s word and rightly divide God’s truth becoming an expert in the area of our weakness:

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”-2 Timothy 2:15

Some people think that they can overcome their problems, by simply believing more. However, belief doesn’t fill gaps; faith fills gaps. The man who brought his son to Jesus believed, but there was still a gaping hole in his faith that needed addressed. To fill the gaps in our faith we must “hear the word of God.” The Word of God produces faith!

Just as Nehemiah surveyed the walls of Jerusalem looking for the breaches, we too, need to survey our lives and identify the gaps in our faith. Then we must look to God’s Word to give us faith in the areas we are most vulnerable.

Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Fixing the gaps in our faith (Pt.1)

(Part 1 of 2)

“Night and day we pray earnestly for you, asking God to let us see you again to fill the gaps in your faith.”-1 Thessalonians 3:10

We don’t typically think about gaps, when we are referring to something like our faith! However, we all have them. A gap is an unfilled space or break in continuity.  Gaps are not typically seen as signs of strength; rather they are consider signs of weakness, vulnerability, or something being incomplete.

The Apostle Paul had a dream in which a man from Macedonia in northern Greece was standing and pleading with him to come and help them. Paul believing this was a directive from the Lord decided to leave at once for Macedonia to preach the Good News there. Virtually immediately Paul met opposition in Philippi where he was imprisoned for a short time. After being released he traveled to Thessalonica where he went to the synagogue to share the gospel. He won several to Christ before some of the jealous religious Jews gathered the people to make trouble for Paul. After three weeks Paul was forced out of town.

However, in that three week span of time, Paul managed to establish a fledgling church. Paul was burdened for this little church and in 1 Thessalonians 3: 1-5 wrote:

“Finally, when we could stand it no longer, we decided to stay alone in Athens, and we sent Timothy to visit you. He is our brother and God’s co-worker[a] in proclaiming the Good News of Christ. We sent him to strengthen you, to encourage you in your faith, and to keep you from being shaken by the troubles you were going through. But you know that we are destined for such troubles. Even while we were with you, we warned you that troubles would soon come—and they did, as you well know. That is why, when I could bear it no longer, I sent Timothy to find out whether your faith was still strong. I was afraid that the tempter had gotten the best of you and that our work had been useless.”

Timothy returned with good news that their faith remained strong and it is here that Paul expresses his desire to return and “fill the gaps in their faith.” How many know that a church established on three weeks of teaching is probably going to have some “gaps in their faith”? There are some things that they have yet to be taught and  some things they have yet to experience. It doesn’t mean that we were not fully saved, or that they were not able to be effective witnesses for Christ, or that they were floundering spiritually. It simply means that there were some areas of weakness, vulnerability, and incompleteness that needed to be filled.

 Every one of us has gaps! Gaps in our faith that we shouldn’t overlook or ignore. Gaps are access points for the enemy to manipulate. In Nehemiah 2, Nehemiah arrives in Jerusalem and finds the city in ruins, but rather than working to rebuild the city he turns his attention to the wall surrounding the city:

“So, though it was still dark, I went up the Kidron Valley instead, inspecting the wall before I turned back and entered again at the Valley Gate.”-Nehemiah 2:15

After evaluating the situation, Nehemiah had families positioned along the wall wherever there were gaps and they began to rebuild. Immediately, the enemy began to oppose their work:

“Sanballat was very angry when he learned that we were rebuilding the wall. He flew into a rage and mocked the Jews, saying in front of his friends and the Samarian army officers, “What does this bunch of poor, feeble Jews think they’re doing? Do they think they can build the wall in a single day by just offering a few sacrifices?Do they actually think they can make something of stones from a rubbish heap—and charred ones at that?” Tobiah the Ammonite, who was standing beside him, remarked, “That stone wall would collapse if even a fox walked along the top of it!”-Nehemiah 4:1-3

From this story we learn a valuable truth; you cannot rebuild your life until you deal with the gaps in your faith. Those gaps, those areas of unbelief or doubt, are the enemies access points. So overcoming the enemy means filling the gaps!

Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church