As hard as it may be to believe, we’ve made it through another year! Yep, just two years ago we started Sunrise Chapel here at Mickey’s Tiki Bar. I’m not sure if you know, but we have faced many adversities throughout these two years.
Who could believe that we, an outside church, behind a bar… could have succeeded in touching so many different souls.
Today, I’d like to spend a few moments to go over just a few of the lessons delivered here under this tarp over the past year. Let’s call it a quiz, of sort, and see who might remember, from a simple title, what those lessons were about.
January (Becoming Closer)
In all the things you do today, do you not see the signs that you are nearing Jesus more and more with each day that passes?
Ephesians 5:1-2 – “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
- Righteous Anger
- Compassion for the Downtrodden
- When God’s Name is Blasphemed
- Making God’s Will Your Will
- Setting an Example
Yes, many of us today, do follow God’s example. We are truly different in so many ways. Why? Because through all we have done wrong, we understand we have been forgiven and we are Loved greatly.
May (God is Listening)
If you are already a believer and follower of Christ, He tells us quite clearly in…
John 10:27 – “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”
Again, yes, it is my hope and prayer that you believe in this scripture spoken by Jesus. He does hear us, and He does know us… therefore, we follow.
July (Feeling Worthless)
You Weren’t Meant to do this Alone
Deuteronomy 31:6 – “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
We know this. All of us should now understand, after hearing the Word, there are no battles that we face alone. We simply need to understand, and believe, God is beside us in everything we do.
September (Look Up)
So many times, we forget what God has taught us. How often have we been down and out until we remember what He has said?
You say: I’m too weak.
The Bible says: “So, do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
You say: I can’t do this.
The Bible says: “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)
You say: I’m not smart enough.
The Bible says: “For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.” (Luke 21:15)
You say: I am not worthy.
The Bible says: “Your suffering is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering.” (2 Thessalonians 1:5).
You say: I am not loved.
The Bible says: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16).
When the ways of this world get to you, look up! Look to the skies and the glorious creations of our Heavenly Father. There are non-greater than these.
December (Yes Virginia)
When everyone else casts doubt on believing in the good of mankind, through God, we understand.
Luke 6:38 (NLV) – “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full–pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”
As children of God, Brothers and Sisters in Christ, we know how to give. We know to give from the heart and the great rewards that we will receive in return.
January (Hit Your Knees)
After the Pharisee praised himself and placed himself against others, just like you and me, Jesus told us how to be righteous.
Luke 18:13 – “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’”
…and when we have exalted our God, given praise to Him and thanked Him for all that we have and all we have yet to receive… Jesus tells us:
Luke 18:14 – “I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
March (Facing Difficult Times)
Now I’m going to skip back to March. This was the lesson where we all are told how to face our day. How to face our trials and tribulations. This verse gives me great strength!
Ephesians 6:10-17 – “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
In times of adversity my Brothers and Sisters, let us always remember to draw our swords (the word of God) and raise our shields against the evils surrounding us!
What Have we Done
If you take a little time to look back at the year, you will surely see how many things we did accomplish. Let’s take a few more moments and remember all the good gifts we have seen from our Father.
A Family Re-United
We have seen a family, at one point, torn apart and separated from the ones they loved. We prayed for them earnestly, asking God to put them back together. Now, after numerous courtroom battles, and hours of prayer, the family is now one again.
Did God soften the hearts of the court or perhaps He filled the family with The Holy Spirit and gave them the power of persistence. Either way, through the awesome power of prayer, they are reunited.
A New Mother
A young boy lost his mother to illness. Another woman, willing to take the responsibilities of caring for him, fought to gain his custody. Again, we prayed.
Today, he is with his “New Mom” and they share again the love of a family.
An Up-and-Coming Pastor
The young boy I just mentioned has gained a great interest in God. We prayed that he gained understanding and be filled with God’s grace.
Today, we consider him to be Sunrise Chapel’s “Pastor in Training.” We know how close he has become as when you witness him pray, he “squinches” his eyes hard and prays with all he has in him.
Solace for the Grieving
We spoke at several Celebrations of Life. We did this to bring solace and peace to the families of those that had passed on.
We didn’t do it for money or recognition. Instead, we brought peace and tears of joy into the mourners as we made them realize death is not an ending but, instead, a new beginning and they most assuredly would see them again.
The Messages (More than 70)
We presented over 70 messages or, as I prefer to call them, lessons to our flock. Although not every lesson touched everyone, they did reach at least one soul each time which is God’s wish for all of us that hear.
Social Media (Hundreds of posts and thousands of hits)
We’re “killing it” here! We’ve not only posted hundreds of posts on Facebook, which were like by hundreds of people, but we’ve also had thousands of “page-views” to our web site.
We’re not only reaching those located here in South Florida, but I’ve seen visitor from Scotland, England and even Japan. We are, most definitely, spreading the word of God as He would have us.
Most of you know me and how I like to sit and simply watch. If you don’t believe you have changed, let me give you a few examples.
- From questionable postings to lessons from Christ.
We’ve had people that, previously, posted article with somewhat inappropriate content. I’ve scene those posts turn into such posts as, “I decided to give up and throw in the towel as I just couldn’t face things anymore. Christ caught it and threw it back at me saying, ‘Rinse-off your face, you’re almost done’”
- Hard hearts have been softened.
We have members that had a pretty rough past where anger and violence once filled their lives. Today, one such person told me of an incident at the grocery store where he would have normally reacted in anger. Instead, he responded with kindness and, what he calls Karma, turned the situation completely around. His statement” “Yes, there is a God!”
- Doubt in our purpose has been removed.
When we first began, people came, listened and didn’t come back for a while as they were still unsure. Today, they are a regular part of our congregation.
- My friends.
A very dear friend of mine, whom I feel God drew me towards, had lost her husband a while back. Her heart was filled with sorrow as she would still, cry herself to sleep every night. I re-introduced her to God, Christ and The Holy Spirit. Today, she prays regularly and reads the scripture. She has found God again along with a greater peace.
- My own family.
When Pamela first attended my Sunrise’s at the shore, she would stand far behind me a watch me pray from a distance. Just a short time ago, as I rose from my prayers, I didn’t see her behind me. Instead, she was kneeling right beside me giving thanks to our Lord.
When I first came back to Christ, I hid in the shadows. I feared being unaccepted and thought people would consider me strange for my beliefs. Today, after God brought all of you to me, my faith is strong. I can share my beliefs with all of you as understand our Brotherhood.
To all of those non-believers thinking that Sunrise Chapel is not a church… I have to give you argument! We are more of a church than I have ever seen.
We’re strong, united and growing stronger with every prayer we pray together. We’re here today and, with the promises of our Lord, we’ll be here for a long, long time!
(Please note, you must be logged-in to Facebook to view this video)
I am so proud of each and every member of our church. So much good has come from here and, I’m certain, so must is yet to come.
As the Pastors and Elders of this church, we promise to bring even more messages, having God’s blessings, providing compassion, wisdom, understanding and belief in the words of our God… the lessons of Christ.
As members in this church, let’s do all that we can to spread the message of Love; Forgiveness; and the Promise of Eternal Life to those that don’t yet understand.
As for the next year… Pray; Believe; and wait for it!
Go with God; be good to one another; always stay humble; always be kind… God Bless (Amen)