March 22nd, 2012
“Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” - Acts 19:2
When Paul went to Ephesus there were some powerful encounters – for good and for evil.
People were burning books, pretending to be spiritual, and even starting riots! Those who were trying to do the work of God in their own power were getting in over their heads – because it is not possible to do the work of God without the power of God – which is provided by God’s Holy Spirit!
At Sonrise – we want to do the work of God – but it will only happen as we invite the power of God’s Spirit to work within us! That’s why we are inviting you to pray and seek God with us – tomorrow will be another chance to do that as we observe a “Fast Friday” – fasting and praying!
The LifeChange Project is not just a “program” – it is a “vision” for what we believe God can do in our midst – as we invite the power of God’s Spirit to move among us!
With God’s Spirit in us … we’ve got the power!
March 21st, 2012
“Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” - Acts 18:9-10
We are not alone! God has placed us in partnership with others for this life-changing journey!
Paul developed strategic partnerships with Aquila & Priscilla in Corinth – and with Apollos. Silas & Timothy also came to partner with him during this season of ministry. The Lord reminded the apostle, and reminds us, we are not alone!
Who are you in partnership with in your life?
Sonrise has developed some strategic partnerships locally, regionally, and globally – to fulfill our mission! Over the next three years, we look forward to sending teams of folks to partner with these friends in Fort Wayne, throughout Indiana, around the US, and in places around the world like Haiti, Kenya, and Burma.
This Sunday, March 25th, we are inviting every person in our church to prepare to take the first step in The LifeChange Project by returning a financial commitment card – to resource this mission over the next three years!
Today – as we “Spring Forward” into a new season – I would invite you to “spring forward” in prayer – asking the Lord to lead us in making a life-changing impact in our community and in our world! This Friday, I would also invite you to “fast & pray” to seek the Lord.
Together – we will make a life-changing difference … for eternity!
March 20th, 2012
“While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there.” - Acts 17:16-17 (NIV)
The early Christians were on a mission from God!
We are too!
At Sonrise, our mission is “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world!” We want to CHANGE THE WORLD … ONE LIFE AT A TIME!
When Paul & Silas went to Thessalonica and Berea they created a stir – as they proclaimed the message of God’s amazing grace. (They were the original “Blues Brothers!”) In Athens, they went to the places of worship, the places of intellectual conversation, and to the marketplace – and they changed the world! Today, Rome is the headquarters of the Catholic church – because that is where Paul ended up in his ministry! What Jesus started in Jerusalem … the apostles took to the great cities and places of power – and changed them!
Our prayer through The LifeChange Project, is that we too might take the message of God’s Amazing Grace to the places we go – so that we might change the world today!
Are you in? Will you join me?
We Are On A Mission From God!
March 19th, 2012
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. - Acts 16:25-26 (NIV)
There is something that is powerful and liberating about authentic worship of our great God! When we worship, we gain greater freedom in our own lives – the “chains” of our problems come off as we focus on the greatness of our God!
Are you facing problems? Do you feel “bound” by the challenges in your life? Spend some time in worship, and see how God can reveal his glory to “release your chains.”
Last night at Sonrise we had a LifeChange Party – witnessing the baptism of a number of folks and worshipping God’s greatness. It was a great night of celebration – a reminder that the life-changing power of God is great!
Worship your way through your week – and watch what God will do!
March 18th, 2012
Check out this video of Carmen and McKenna as they share about LifeChange.
March 18th, 2012
“God knows people’s hearts, and he confirmed that he accepts Gentiles by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us. He made no distinction between us and them, for he cleansed their hearts through faith. So why are you now challenging God by burdening the Gentile believerst with a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors were able to bear?
We believe that we’re all saved the same way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus.” – Acts 15:8-11 (NLT)
The life-changing message of God’s love is liberating! Some want to make the message more complicated – to add customs and rules that make Christianity legalistic. The early church had to get clear on the difference. We do too.
Throughout history there have been times when “religious” people have wanted to add requirements to the faith – but Jesus did not come to add complexity or rules to our lives – he came to release us from the complications of sin. The message of the Gospel is God’s grace is freely given to all who will call upon His name – that’s why we call it Amazing Grace!
The early church leaders had disputes & discord over this issue. (Acts 15) They even had to deal with people that wanted to “beat them up” and some who wanted to “lift them up.” (Acts 14) The message of God’s grace is surprising in it’s simplicity and life-changing in it’s application!
The LifeChange Project has at it’s center, the simple truth of God’s amazing grace – which we believe can change the world … one life at a time!
March 16th, 2012
One day as they were worshiping God-they were also fasting as they waited for guidance-the Holy Spirit spoke: “Take Barnabas and Saul and commission them for the work I have called them to do.” So they commissioned them. In that circle of intensity and obedience, of fasting and praying, they laid hands on their heads and sent them off. Acts 13:2-3 (The Message)
There is something powerful about “fasting and praying” – a circle of ‘intensity and obedience’ as this passage describes.
In fact, there were times when the disciples couldn’t seem to ‘break through’ in their prayers – and Jesus had to remind them that fasting is sometimes needed to really see God’s power! (see Mark 9:14-29)
Fasting is an opportunity to really focus in prayer – by taking the time and the energy typically devoted to something we long for, and giving that time instead to seeking God’s power.
Today is one of our “Fast Fridays” during the launch of The LifeChange Project in March, 2012 – and so I am ‘fasting’ in part from watching television – which is usually not that big of a deal – but today is also part of the first round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament – and for an Indiana boy – that is a big day to watch television!!
To be honest, I’m not missing it that much – it is a beautiful day outside and I’m enjoying the wonder of God’s creation – but I really don’t want to miss God’s presence – so I am praying with an extra focus today – asking the Lord to reveal himself to every person in our church – that we might know His life-changing power and provision!
Will you join me in ‘fasting and praying’ to seek God’s power?
I would also invite you to join me in worship this Sunday at Sonrise – we have some great news to share about The LifeChange Project – and we will also celebrate with several people who will be baptized at our “LifeChange Celebration” Sunday night from 6-8pm @ Sonrise!
March 15th, 2012
“So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.”
- Acts 12:5
What happens behind the scenes is sometimes more important than what people see!
The early church was filled with power – because they were faithful in prayer!
These folks prayed so powerfully, that the ground shook (Acts 4), prisoners were set free (Acts 12 & Acts 16) and the bold presence of the Holy Spirit filled the rooms where they gathered and the lives they lived! (Acts 2)
My prayer is that our church might become more faithful in prayer – because I’m convinced that will help us experience more power from God’s presence!
During The LifeChange Project, I have challenged our church to “Fast Fridays” – seeking God in fasting & prayer each Friday in March! I would also like to invite you to join me next Wednesday, March 21st to “Spring Forward in Prayer” by taking some time to go on a “Prayer Walk” or drop by our church Prayer Chapel or maybe even do some “Drive-By Prayers” to seek the Lord and ask for His power to move in our midst!
LORD – As we seek you, show us your power!
March 14th, 2012
“The news traveled fast and in no time the leaders and friends back in Jerusalem heard about it – heard that the non-Jewish “outsiders” were now “in.”
- Acts 11:1 (The Message)
While there was resistance to the changing understanding of God’s grace – now available to everyone, even non-Jews, the apostolic leaders began to embrace this life-changing message of amazing grace!
In Antioch, Barnabas demonstrates his courage by embracing the vision Peter shared – and even greater grace and favor began to rest upon the early church.
“As soon as (Barnabas) arrived, he saw that God was behind and in it all. He threw himself in with them, got behind them, urging them to stay with it the rest of their lives. He was a good man that way, enthusiastic and confident in the Holy Spirit’s ways. The community grew large and strong in the Master.” – Acts 11:24 (The Message)
May that be said of us – that we are “enthusiastic & confident in the Holy Spirit’s ways.” I want to be like Barnabas, to “get behind” what God is doing! A new day was dawning … In fact, it was here that the disciples were first called “Christians” (Acts 11:26) – no longer would the Gospel of grace be limited to just a few!
This is “Change We Can Believe In” – this is the spirit of The LifeChange Project.
March 13th, 2012
Then Peter began to speak, “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.”
This is a watershed moment in history! Prior to this point, the belief among the early disciples was that God’s grace was ONLY for the Jewish people. Now for the first time – they understand that God’s forgiveness & love is available to Gentiles (non-Jews), which includes most of us!
If Peter had not seen & understood this LifeChange “vision” – we might still be considered “outsiders” – instead of part of the family of God! Thankfully the early church leaders were willing to step out in faith and do things “different” so that more people could learn of God’s grace!
Many people today still feel like they are “outsiders” when it comes to the family of God – but with a little “vision” on our part – and a willingness to do some things “different” we might be able to help them come to the life-changing knowledge of God’s grace!
LifeChange is for ALL PEOPLE!