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Friday, June 24, 2016

A crisis of faith! (Pt.1)

(Part 1)

“And immediately, while He was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and the scribes and elders. Now His betrayer had given them a signal, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him and lead Him away safely.” As soon as he had come, immediately he went up to Him and said to Him, “Rabbi, Rabbi!” and kissed Him. Then they laid their hands on Him and took Him. And one of those who stood by drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize Me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” They they all forsook Him and fled” -Mark 14:43-50.

Anyone ever have things just not go how you hoped or planned? I am not talking about trying out a new recipe and it fails or trying to go a new direction to get somewhere and end up lost. Although these things are aggravating and a nuisance, they don’t typically shake your faith. 

I’m talking about the big stuff. Like a marriage that comes apart at the seams, being diagnosed with a serious disease, or the death of a child. These types of situations can shake your faith right to the core allowing doubt and despair to take root in our hearts. The disciples were experiencing one of those moments. 

Jesus had walked with them, taught them, and did countless miracles before their eyes. They believed that He was the coming Messiah. He was the one who would deliver them from Roman oppression and reestablish Israel. It must have been a complete shock to them when the chief priests, scribes, and elders came and took Jesus. They could see the hand writing on the wall. They know what the out come would be and Mark 14:50 says, “Then they all forsook him and fled.”

How quickly we abandon Jesus when life does not seem to be playing out the way we hoped or planned; when things have become difficult. Many see this as their only option; to flee from Jesus in times of distress. Even Peter, who attempted to defend Jesus that night, cutting off a man’s ear, would later do the unthinkable and deny even knowing Jesus. When pressed about his relationship with Jesus, Peter begins to vigorously deny knowing Him:

“Then he began to curse and swear, saying, “I do not know the Man!” Immediately a rooster crowed.”-Matthew 26:74

Matters go from bad to worse when Jesus is condemned to die and is marched out of the city to Golgatha where He is publicly crucified. There on that cross all of their hopes, dreams, and aspirations died. Racked with fear they went and hid themselves. The same men that had once healed the sick and cast out demons were now hiding. Hiding their faith and hiding from it.

Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Empty (Pt. 2)

Part 2 of 2

“But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.”-1 Corinthians 15:20

What is so significant about an empty tomb? The empty tomb gives us hope for an eternal life! Before we could have any real hope of an eternal future; Christ, Himself, had to demonstrate that He was not bound by death. We could never hope believe in any type  of eternal future for ourselves if He had not first demonstrated that He had the power to overcome the grave!

Because of Adam’s sin, we all inherited a sin nature that condemned us to die, but through Christ’s resurrection we have now been made alive:

“For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.”-1 Corinthians 5:21-22

Christ’s resurrection gives us hope for our future! for 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18 declares:

“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.

However, the hope we receive from the empty tomb is not just a future hope, it is a living hope. His resurrected life is what gives us strength, hope, encouragement, and power to live day to day. How? By giving us the same spirit that raised Jesus from the dead:

“And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”-Romans 8:10-11

He gives life to our mortal bodies. Billy Graham once said, “The most life-changing truth I have learned as a Christian is the saving life of Christ. We are not only saved by His death but also by His life; meaning the risen Lord lives in us by His Holy Spirit.”

The resurrection assures us that Jesus can transform our lives every day. We live empowered by the presence of jesus to live changed lives. How do I know that Jesus can change a person’s life-because He changed mine! God wants you to experience and know the power of the resurrection:

“That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.-Philippians 3:10

We all have doubts, fears, and apprehensions. So did some of Jesus’ closest friends, like Thomas. They walked with Jesus everyday and their world’s were rocked when Jesus was crucified. Their faith had been deflated and their hope emptied. Thomas refused to believe unless he could touch Jesus’ nailed scarred hands. He struggled because the resurrection wasn’t a reality to him yet. Is Jesus’ resurrection a reality to you? Jesus wants you to experience the power of His resurrection and that begins by knowing Him.

Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Empty (Pt.1)

(Part 1 of 2)

“Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing spices they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.”-Luke 24:1-3

Let’s be honest for a minute, nobody likes to unexpectedly find things empty! Ever been hungry for a bowl of cereal and reach in the refrigerator for a gallon of milk only to find an empty jug? Ever been running late for work and jump in your car only to find the last person to drive it left the needle buried on empty?

Nevertheless, on the first day of the week when the women came to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus and properly prepare Him for burial; they came upon a scene that greatly perplexed them. The tomb where Jesus laid had been opened and the body of Jesus was no where to be found. When the women returned and told the disciples what they had found, two them, Peter and John, ran to the tomb only to find Jesus’ burial linens inside. Why would two men rush to see an empty tomb?

Did you know that nearly a quarter of a million people each year travel thousands of miles to visit the garden tomb located in Jerusalem. In fact in 2008, my wife and I travelled the 6,359 miles to look inside and we discovered the same thing that Peter and John did. It’s empty! Hundreds of us waited patiently in line, pressing in, to gaze upon a cold stone slab. However, instead of being anxious, annoyed or frustrated; we too were filled with wonder as we considered what that tomb being empty really meant!

What is is so significant about an empty tomb?

The empty tomb removed the sting of death! It is our sin that separates us from the presence of God. Jesus died on Calvary’s Cross to take the penalty for our sin. Our sin is what condemned Jesus to death, however, His resurrection demonstrated that sin was no match for our righteous Savior. The empty tomb released us from the fear of death:

“Because God’s children are human beings-made of flesh and blood-the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. Ohly in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.”-Hebrews 2:14-15

People’s greatest concern when facing death is fear of the unknown. Fear is Satan’s greatest weapon. However, when Jesus came out of the tomb, He triumphed over death and the grave:

“I am the living one, I died, but look-I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave.”-Revelation 1:18

When we rest securely in Christ there is no fear of death, because Jesus overcame it!

Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church

Concealers, Dealers, & Squealers (Pt.3)

Married Life Series

“Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”-Genesis 3:12-13

The final personality that can emerge and prove toxic to a marriage is the squealer. Squealers are those individuals who like to point fingers and play the blame game.

The blame game is an attempt to place responsibility on everyone and everything besides ourselves. This is done, in order that we do not have to experience the discomfort of looking at our own faults or responsibilities in any given situation. The blame game empowers us to believe that we don’t need to change and that it is the other person creating all the problems. The destructive consequence of blaming is that is leaves people thinking, feeling and behaving like a victim.

The blame game is as old as Adam and Eve. When God confronts Adam about eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil; he blames the woman. When God approaches the woman; she blames the serpent. We see this shifting of blame throughout the scriptures. In Genesis 4:9, we read the account of God confronting Cain about his brother Abel:

“Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother? He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”

Although Cain had killed Abel, he was still trying to shift the blame away from himself.
In Matthew 27:24, Pilate is speaking to the crowds that were demanding the death of Jesus. He had found no reason to crucify him but ultimately caved to the unrelenting crowd:

“When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it.”

Pilate had the authority and power to release Jesus, but chose to hand him over to be crucified. He shirked his responsibility. This type of behavior (shifting responsibility) is not simply wrong, it is sinful. James 4:17 declares:

“Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”

This is especially true in our obligations to our spouse. Ephesians 5 teaches husbands to love their wives and wives to respect their husbands; however neither is ever dependent on the other spouse doing their part. We cannot blame our lack of integrity in subscribing to God’s word on our spouse’s failure to do their part. The Bible is clear that we will each stand before God for what we have done:

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according what he has done, whether good or bad.”-2 Corinthians 5:10

To pass blame onto our spouse is to show contempt and pass judgment, something we ought to be slow to do considering that we must all give an account before God.

Concealers, Dealers, and Squealers! When any of these personalities begin to emerge in a relationship, you can be certain that trouble is ahead. Perhaps today, you have realized that you have started drifting in one of these directions. If so, you need to come before God today in humility and repentance. You must repent to your spouse and pray for God’s leading and direction in bringing healing to you marriage.

Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church