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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

It's all about Jesus: The Parables (Pt. 2)

(Part 2)
 “He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or ever a hundred times.”-Mark 4:2-8.
The parable of the sower is unique in that it is one of the only parables that Jesus takes the time to explain to his disciples.
Jesus begins his explanation of the parable by referring to the seed that is sown: “The farmer sows the word.”-Mark 4:14. The seed Jesus refers to in Mark 4:2 is the Word of God. After identifying the seed, Jesus then goes on to use the parable to explain how the Word of God, once it is scattered, will be received by those who hear it.
 The people receiving the seed are the types of soil.  The parable identifies four different types of soil upon which the seed is scattered; including the hard path, rocky soil, thorny ground, and good soil. The inclusion of numerous soils indicates that we can expect a lot of mixed reaction and response to God’s Word.
The beauty of this parable is that God’s Word, the seed, never changes; it’s the hearers that are different. The seed is broadcast on all kinds of soil; because the gospel message is for all people. It isn’t reserved for certain individuals but rather it is scattered among all types. However, how we receive it has eternal implications.
All four soils are exposed to the seed but the results vary depending upon what type of soil the seed falls upon:
“Some people are like the seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them.”-Mark 4:15
These are the hard-hearted. Those who have not accepted Christ or whose conversion is incomplete; having sought forgiveness but have never repented of their sinful lives. This is evidenced by their unregenerate lives. The word is sown, but because it is not truly received, Satan takes it away.
Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.”-Mark 4:16-17.
These are those who embrace the benefits of the gospel but are too shallow to stand and remain during the hardships, trouble, and persecution that come with following Christ.
Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.”-Mark 4:18-19.
These are those who have conformed to the pattern of this world. They are bound up by the worries of this life and have been seduced by the deceitfulness of wealth. The word of God they had once readily received has been choked out, forgotten, and rendered virtually ineffective.
Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop-thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown.”-Mark 4:20.
These are those who allow God’s word to sanctify their souls, renew their minds and transform their lives. God’s word will always produce an amazing harvest in soil that is prepared to receive and accept it.
Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church

It's all about Jesus: The Parables

(Part 1)

 “When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that, “They are ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!” Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable?”-Mark 4:9-12.

The teachings of Jesus were a foundational part of His life and ministry; as Jesus did not teach simply to educate minds but rather he taught to transform lives. For better understanding and application we have broken down his teachings into three segments: The Sermon on the Mount, The Parables, and The Olivet Discourse. Last week we completed our overview of the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus taught regarding the attitudes and actions that should characterize a follower of Christ. This week we will be looking at Jesus and the parables.

What is a parable? A Bible parable is a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson.

It was prophesied long before the coming of Jesus that God would use parables to speak to His people:

 O my people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouths in parables, I will utter hidden things, things from old-what we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us.”- Psalm 78:1-3

This passage was fulfilled in Christ according to Matthew 13:34-35:

“Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable. So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet: “I will open my mouth in parable3s, I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world.”

Jesus spoke so extensively in parables; with over 30 parables recorded throughout the gospels, his disciples began to question why he used them so often:

He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that, “ ‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!”-Mark 4:11-12.

Jesus’ answer may sound confusing, but a careful reading unearths this modest truth: Those who love truth will understand the parable and those who do not love truth will not understand the parable.


Every parable has a significant truth associated with it and God intends for us to learn them and apply them to our lives. However, with so many parables it would take too long to study every one recorded in Scripture; but we can take time to breakdown and study one parable that has become known as the “parable of all parables” (the Parable of the Sower).


Pastor Scott Burr

Dayspring Community Church

Thursday, April 16, 2015

It’s all about Jesus: The Sermon on the Mount (Pt.5): Persecution

 “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”-Matthew 5:10.

It is fitting that the section of Scripture we commonly refer to as the Beatitudes ends with a blessing over the persecuted.  You can be certain that if you live your life according to God’s Word; ultimately you are going to face persecution.

Even as we speak Christians are being persecuted throughout the world. Twenty one Coptic Christians were recently beheaded in Egypt at the hands of the terrorist group ISIS with an additional 147 killed by Somali militants at a university in Kenya just days ago. Those who were executed were singled out and massacred for no other reason than being followers of Jesus Christ.

However, this should not surprise us. Jesus declared that, we as Christians would face insult, persecution, and false accusations:

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.”-Matthew 5:11.

In light of this, should we remain silent regarding our faith?  Should we cower to their threats? Should we back off of our firm belief in God’s righteous standards because we are being labeled as bigots?

Absolutely not! In fact Jesus tells us to rejoice:

Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”-Matthew 5:12

We should not only anticipate persecution but we should prepare ourselves for it by arming ourselves with the Gospel message.  Jesus goes on in Matthew 5 to tell us that instead of hiding our faith and staying silent in regards to Christ we are to prevail, proclaim, and live the Gospel:

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 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. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”-Matthew 5:16.

Persecution is proof that God’s righteousness and the gospel message are infiltrating the kingdom of darkness. Jesus declared we are to be the salt of the earth and light to the world! Persecution should not silence the Body of Christ; it should awaken us! God has given us the life transforming message of forgiveness and repentance to carry to a world steeped in darkness.

Civilizations, leaders, and religious zealots have attempted for centuries to silence the message of Christ by imprisoning, persecuting, and executing those who hold to and proclaim the teachings of Jesus. And although the Kingdom of God has suffered violence; it has continued to flourish and grow. So let us rejoice when we are persecuted for righteousness sake, because it demonstrates that the Kingdom of God is impacting the darkness and the gospel message is reaching the lost.


Pastor Scott Burr

Dayspring Community Church

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

It’s all about Jesus: Our Passover Lamb

“Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast-as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb has been sacrificed.”-1 Corinthians 5:6-7.
Without understanding the story of the Passover lamb it is hard to appreciate the statement Paul made here to the church in Corinth. The story of the Passover lamb was more than a bedtime story told to children. It was a legacy ingrained into the hearts and minds of every Israelite; so that when Paul referred to Jesus as “our Passover lamb” everyone understood clearly Paul’s inference.
So where did the idea of a Passover lamb originate? The Passover lamb was the animal that God instructed the Israelites to sacrifice, while they were in captivity in Egypt, on the night God struck down the first born sons of every household. This was the final plague that God used against Pharaoh that ultimately led to him releasing the Israelites from bondage. In the book of Exodus 12:5-13 we read how the Israelites were instructed by God to select a year-old male lamb without blemish or defect. At sunset they were to slaughter the lamb and apply the lamb’s blood to the door post and thresholds of their homes. If they obeyed God in this, He promised that He would cause the destroyer to pass over their homes. However, any home without the blood of the lamb would have their first born son struck down in the night. The lamb used in this sacrifice became known as the Passover lamb.
God instructed Israel to remember that night and observe the Passover feast as a lasting memorial:
“This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord-a lasting ordinance.”-Exodus 12:14.
Paul recognized that the Old Testament Passover lamb, although a reality in that time, was a mere foreshadowing of a better and final Passover Lamb, Jesus Christ. Paul wasn’t the only one to see this. John the Baptist, speaking of Jesus, declared “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.”(John 1:29). Peter described Jesus as “a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:19). The Apostle John described him as “A Lamb, looking as if it had been slain.” (Revelation 5:6).
Jesus qualified to be our substitutionary sacrifice because he too was chosen at the prime of his life; without the spot or blemish of sin, to die for us. Through his sinless life and sacrificial death, Jesus became the perfect sacrifice giving people a way to escape death and the hope of  eternal life with God.
Just as the blood of the lamb on the doorposts of their homes caused God’s judgment to pass over Israel; so Christ’s blood applied to the doorposts of our hearts causes God’s judgment to pass over us.
How much more, then will the blood of Christ, who through the Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God.”-Hebrews 9:14.
Just as the Passover feast was memorialized with a meal; so today we remember Christ’s sacrifice through the receiving of Holy Communion. When we receive the bread and the fruit of the vine we are receiving the Passover Lamb. Today truly is all about Jesus; so let us “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the World!”

It’s all about Jesus: The Sermon on the Mount (Pt.4)

(Part 4)
by Seth Burgan: Youth Pastor at Dayspring Community Church
“Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy.”-Matthew 5:7
What does it mean to be merciful? One definition of merciful is: the ability to show forgiveness or compassion toward someone whom it is within your power to punish or harm. Whenever I think of mercy I am reminded of this quote by an unknown author: “Grace is God giving us what we do not deserve and mercy is God not giving us what we do deserve.”
Because of sin we deserved death and eternal separation from God, yet while we were yet sinners Christ died for us; taking the penalty of sin upon Himself. That is the picture of mercy! It is at the very heart of who God is and who He wants you to become. The blessing of showing mercy towards others is that it keeps the flow of God’s mercy towards you unobstructed.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”-Matthew 5:8
 This beatitude has a special place in my heart because of my past struggles with sin. Even after accepting Jesus Christ as my Savior, I was still trying to do everything in my own effort or understanding. I continued to battle, by myself, the sin that had taken over my life.  I would beat myself up causing myself to believe that I was never going to overcome and I was never going to be pure in God’s eyes
In part I was right. I was never going to be pure if I kept trying to do it myself. When I finally let go of my pride and responded to the Word of God putting it into practice; it opened the door to allow the Holy Spirit to purify my life.
Purity requires two elements: repentance and response.
Sin separates us from God. So it stands to reason that we cannot see God if we are separated from God by our own sinful behavior. Thus the pursuit of purity always begins with repentance.
Then we must respond to the Word of God. It is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. We are sanctified (cleansed, set apart, made holy) by the Word of God; but we must do more than simply hear the word. We must be doers of the word. It is the word that we put into practice that develops purity in us and demonstrates the righteousness of God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be the sons of God.”-Matthew 5:9
The main reason Christ came to the earth was to make peace between God and man; to end the separation created by our sinfulness. It was a deliberate act, on God’s part, to bring peace between Himself and mankind.
God sent His word spoken through the mouths of judges, prophets, and priests to lead the lost to find peace through faith in Christ.
There is never a time we are more like our Savior as when we are sharing the good news (the gospel) message of repentance and forgiveness of sins. The gospel is a message of reconciliation. Peacemakers are called to carry the gospel message to those who are still separated from God by their sin and help them make peace with Him through faith in Jesus Christ our Lord.  
Pastor Seth Burgan
Youth Pastor
Dayspring Community Church

It’s all about Jesus: The Sermon on the Mount (Pt.3)

(Part 3)

by Seth Burgan: Youth Pastor at Dayspring Community Church

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”-Matthew 5:4

Jesus continued his Sermon on the Mount by focusing on the significance of mourning. A lot of people narrowly define mourning as the expression of deep sorrow for someone who has died. This type of mourning is experienced by all of humanity; the saved and unsaved alike.

Jesus, however, is challenging us to a different kind of mourning; the kind that causes us to be broken over that which breaks the heart of God. So often, because of our selfish nature, we don’t mourn over sin and the devastation that is caused by it. Mourning is an emotional response to loss. Sin causes a loss of purity, holiness, and righteousness. When we face the sinfulness and wickedness in our lives; we ought to be saddened and broken by what we see. This overwhelming sorrow over sin leads us to repentance; which opens the door to reconciliation with our Creator.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”-Matthew 5:5

If you were to search for the word meek online you would discover it’s synonyms include mild, timid, and weak; but the Greek word for meek is: “praus” and refers to the taming of a wild animal.  It is used to describe how a wild animal’s energies, once sporadic and misdirected, are focused and brought under control through the use of various disciplines. In the same way, a lot of the time, our energies and focus are going in all the wrong directions because we attempt to make everything about ourselves.

Biblical meekness, then, is not synonymous with weakness at all; but in reality it is a demonstration of constrained power. The key to meekness is in the discipline.

 Just like taming a wild horse, true discipleship takes us through a process of training and application that build disciplines in our lives; disciplines like denying the flesh, serving sacrificially, overcoming temptation, studying God’s Word, prayer, worship, fasting, and witnessing. These disciplines serve to remind us that life isn’t about us, our focus comes under God’s control as we learn to humble ourselves and strive to esteem and meet the needs of others.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”-Matthew 5:6

Every one of us understands what it means to be hungry and thirsty. It is a basic necessity of life that demands to be satisfied and must be met on a daily basis. Hunger and thirst provide a great illustration regarding our spiritual lives. Just as water and food provide essential nutrients to our physical body; righteousness is the essential component of our spiritual life.


Hungering and thirsting is, in large part, the pursuit of satisfaction. The search for satisfaction transcends food and drink and we often find ourselves searching for satisfaction in other areas of our lives; most of which leave us feeling disappointed and unfulfilled. That is because the things that satisfy our flesh are temporal, whereas the things of God are eternal.  Jesus instructed us to hunger and thirst for things that would remain: Godly character, integrity, and righteousness. These things Jesus declared would leave us filled and satisfied.


Pastor Seth Burgan

Youth Pastor

Dayspring Community Church