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***WORSHIP SERVICES AND ALL CHURCH ACTIVITIES AND MEETINGS ARE CANCELLED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE ***
A MESSAGE FROM THE PASTOR:
I write this to share the news that, based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, government leaders, and Bishop Paul Leeland, I have made the difficult decision to extend the suspension of public worship and church gatherings indefinitely. This is not surprising as the health and well-being of our community must be a top priority. Since health professionals are canceling all essential meetings and asking us to practice social distance, we are canceling all services, activities, and meetings at Sunrise until further notice.
For many, the spread of this virus has caused fear and anxiety. Yet we are grateful that the Bible tells us, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). I pray that you would sense God’s peace in the midst of the storm. This does not mean we should be careless or reactionary, but rather walk in wisdom as we serve the Lord and our community in a way that demonstrates our trust in God and our love for people.
I love you and am praying for you and your families’ continued safety and well-being, and for all those who are suffering and for those who have lost loved ones by this virus. I’m also praying for a cure from heaven and for our medical scientists, doctors, and nurses as they work tirelessly and selflessly dealing with the impact of this crisis. Be assured my dear friends, our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ know us, love us, and are watching over us. Of that we can be certain. No matter how frustrating, confusing, or scary this crisis gets, fear doesn't have the final say. 1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.”
Our hope is built on the perfect love of Jesus Christ and in the providence of Almighty God. The solution to this life challenge is deep, heartfelt prayer and staying in the will of God. These unique challenges will pass in due time. I remain optimistic for the future and know the great and marvelous blessings that God has in store for those who love Him and serve Him faithfully.
Brothers and sisters, listen intently and follow the instructions of our health care professionals, but even more importantly, listen to the voice of God and trust Him, and keep looking up.
May God's grace abound,
Something to Ponder ~ from Pastor Jeff
During this very unprecedented time we find ourselves in an uncomfortable situation because we are outside our normal, daily routine. Many of us are stuck in the house and it appears that this restriction may go longer than originally expected - no going to work, school or church, no shopping, no eating out, no social gatherings. Added to our confinement is a lot of anxiety from boredom and concern about our health and the health of our family and friends. Now throw in our personal financial worry and the declining economy into the mix. How we handle this trying ordeal speaks much about our character, but even more about our faith.
Psalm 62:1 says, "Truly my soul waits upon God, for my salvation comes from Him." In another more modern version of the text it has been translated, "Leave it all quietly to God, my soul, for He is my victory." Regardless of which version you like, it is clear this verse sparkles like a diamond. Let's look for a moment at the latter version of Psalm 62:1.
I read here of the wholeness with which my faith is asked to trust. "Leave it all," the version states. How significant that little word "all" can be. There are so often exceptions which I am prone to make. In my life I am prepared to trust God with many things, with many people, many problems, but not with all. But these instructions I do well to heed, "Leave it all..." How wise we are if we trust everything to God our Father!
I read here of the stillness in which my faith is asked to rest. "Leave it all quietly..." Of course there is often a turbulence through which my faith must pass and in that turbulence of mind and heart my faith will be tested and tried. But after and beyond that there must be a confidence to which my faith comes. In the final analysis there is a restfulness about faith. When a baby is safe in the mother's arms, that child will be at rest. We, too, can be at rest in our Father's arms.
I read here of the fullness on which my faith is asked to count. "Leave it all quietly to God, my soul..." What wonderful words these are - "All, quietly, God." Think of the Person He is - the Creator and Father God - possessing limitless resources of perfect wisdom, perfect love, and perfect power. Think of the people we are - His children, if we have been born again into the family of God. Christ gave us this truth as the grounds for our freedom from anxiety. God is very much aware of our situation. In that knowledge our faith can rest and we can be at peace in this and every circumstance, because He is our victory!
I hope everyone is well and God is blessing during this turbulent time we find ourselves. Keep the faith and PRAY! But in what manner and attitude should the focus of our prayers be? The fact is most of us really don't know how to pray or what to pray for.
Paul says in Romans 4:20-21 - "Yet [Abraham] did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had the power to do what he had promised."
Each day we need to begin with a prayer of thanks to God - as soon as our eyes open and our feet hit the floor. Beginning our day with a prayer of thanksgiving to God isn't as easy as it sounds, especially when life is throwing us curve balls and we find ourselves lost and full of anxiety. Years ago I used to groan about each new day. My prayers, when I prayed, were mostly complaints. "Lord, here comes another day. I don't feel up to the tasks before me. There are so many temptations. I don't want to lose my temper. Don't let me fail you. Don't let me grieve you. Don't let me dishonor you if an opportunity to witness or help another person comes up..." On and on I went, groaning and moaning, wailing and pleading with the Lord.
I remember frequently praying, "Don't leave me, Lord," as if Hebrews 13:5-6 could be turned around to say, "I, the Lord your God, am going to leave you and forsake you. Don't count on me. Watch what others are going to do to you!" In retrospect, God must have considered my prayers utter foolishness.
I want to challenge you, as I have challenged myself, in the spiritual discipline of prayer. Most of us probably start out the day groaning. The content, tone, and direction of our prayers are negative. I hadn't realized how negative I was. Perhaps you don't either. Now listen, I don't have the credentials of a psychologist. I am not advocating positive thinking here as a cure all. This is different.
Pray on the basis of the promises and reality of God. Start each day saying things like, "Thank you, Lord Jesus. Here's a new day. Yes, I am weak, but you are strong, and all your resources are my resources. I won't always know what to do in certain situations, but you will give me wisdom and a sound mind. When temptation comes, Lord, I've got your power. Thank you that you live in me. Thank you that your resurrection life is real and that today you're going to prove that once again."
Why start the day with a prayer of unbelief? Why not start with a note of praise! If I understand Romans 4:20 correctly, Abraham grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God. God had promised the impossible - that his wife, almost ninety years old, would have a son. The temptation to doubt God was incredible. But Abraham became "fully persuaded that God had the power to do what he had promised." Are we convinced that the same power of God is in us? If your answer is, "Yes," then affirm it at the beginning of each day. A wise old lady, some years ago in a church I served, told me something I will never forget (Yes, even us pastors can learn from those we serve). She said, "The best prayer to God, which he appreciates most, is one of giving thanks and praise."
Though there may not seem to be much to be thankful for at this time, with this pandemic and who knows what else you are dealing with, let's try to focus on the blessings we have received from a generous God and in his providence. Let's remember that God is in the midst of everything and he will never leave us or forsake us.
Let us pray: "Almighty and everlasting God, we praise you for your abundant, wonderful grace. Thank you for always being near to us and always ready to help in our time of need. We thank you for Jesus, our Lord and Savior, who is the true light shining in our world and in our hearts with still increasing brightness. God of love, we thank you for all with which You have blessed us even to this day; for the gift of joy in days of health and strength and for the gift of your abiding presence and promise in days of pain and grief. Forgive us of our sins and bring healing to our land by the power of your Holy Spirit. Amen."
May all my brothers and sisters of Sunrise trust in God's wisdom, his promises, and his omnipotence.
I hope this finds you well. The church’s concern for COVID-19 should be rooted in its theological foundations. Every person is worthy of dignity and respect because they are made in the image of God, which means that we should seek to care well for them in trying times such as these. These difficult situations create opportunities for Christians to model the call of Jesus to love our neighbors as ourselves. With that said, I am asking all Sunrise members and participants to reach out, if you are able, to your next-door neighbor and fellow church family and see how you might be able to help them. Perhaps someone is afraid to leave the house and needs food and/or supplies, maybe they just need a word of encouragement and/or prayer. We are all scared and thinking of ourselves and our immediate family, but this is a wonderful opportunity to show God our love and care for our fellow brethren. Please, my brothers and sisters, know that I am personally at your disposal for whatever your needs might be. Don’t hesitate to call upon me.
Sunrise will be closed, at this point, through the end of March. This closure might go longer. We just don’t know. Stay tuned for further developments. Of course, as said earlier, people’s safety is paramount. However, when any church closes on a Sunday, say for inclement weather, it suffers shortfalls in giving. We are in a position with this virus where we might be closed for multiple Sundays. Please know this is hard for me to bring up as I’m not a pastor that talks about money very often. But I am concerned about the state of Sunrise and its financial obligations. I understand some of you might not be working as your employer has closed its doors and you may be without a paycheck. For that I am truly sorry and hope and pray you can make it through this crisis. However, if you are able, please give your normal tithe by way of online giving or by sending your check to the church office.
Remember this: “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:6-8).
The good news is God doesn't need our money to make an impact in people’s lives. He’s the omnipotent Creator of the Universe. He’ll find a way to get by with, or without us. The bad news is that our church does need money to make an impact in people’s lives. God doesn’t have to worry about utility bills, staff salaries, lawn service, pest control, and property insurance, but the church does. That’s just a reality of the world we live in. Jesus never wanted us to be legalistic about how we donate. After all, as the scripture states, God loves a cheerful giver – we should be doing this out of a love for him, rather than any obligation. So please, I know the uncertainty of this outbreak is creating anxiety in our day-to-day activities and living style. I know we all have a lot to be concerned about and none of us know what tomorrow holds, but let’s continue our faithfulness to God’s church in the midst of this storm.Thank you in advance for your generosity and love for Sunrise.
My friends, in closing, remain certain of God’s steadfast presence and careful attention to all that is happening. Please pray for those who are affected by this illness, as well as their caregivers and those who are working around the clock to minimize the impact of this virus. In Psalm 46, we are reminded that it is God who is our refuge and strength, and our ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, let us not fear, but with confidence use this opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus through our prayers and our benevolence toward others. May God richly bless you wherever you are and in whatever circumstance you are in. Be at peace in the promises of God!
Hope in the Christian sense of the word is not hope as we use it in common speech. It is not a vague hope but rather a confident expectancy that what is required, what has been promised, what is desired, will be provided. In the turmoil of Christian service, the apostle Paul and his friend Timothy shared a confidence in Christ that nothing could change regardless of the circumstance. They were, therefore, ready to attempt anything that Christ asked them to attempt. They were prepared to endure anything that obedience to Christ called them to endure. They were confident in the message they proclaimed. They were confident in the Master they served.
In the face of the greatest difficulties they moved forward with hope, saying in effect, "Christ in you is the hope of glory." It was because they shared this confidence that they were able to enjoy fellowship in a deep way. It was not a case of one being confident and the other despairing. Both were confident, prepared to take the initiative, prepared to make the venture, prepared to tackle the task, prepared to endure the battle - confident in Christ's ability and His faithfulness.
How desperately we need hope in the Church. Together we, at Sunrise, need a note of ringing confidence in Christ as we struggle together during this trying time and put our trust in His providence. There are many of us who are confident in Christ, but there are so many others who see only the difficulties of the situation. Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 6: "Don't worry about everyday life...look at the birds, the heavenly Father feeds them...aren't you more important to him than they are? Your heavenly Father knows your needs. So don't worry." Should we be concerned about this virus? Yes. Should we worry about it? No. I believe worry is a sin against hope. 1 Timothy 1:1 reminds us: "The Lord Jesus Christ is our hope."
As we move day-to-day, week-to-week, through this crisis let's be patient, be still before the Lord, exercise our faith in God and each other, and not worry but have hope that God has our names written on the palms of his hands.
Well, we are all in the same boat together with this coronavirus pandemic. Many of us are confined to our homes, some are not working because their employer has closed up shop, our kids are not in school, the grocery store shelves are bare, and there is widespread panic for many. The fear of the unknown is very hard for all of us. We don't know what the future holds in the next few weeks or months. We can trust that we live in the greatest country in the world and that we have the most brilliant scientists and medical professionals working tireless hours to stop the spread of the virus and develop a cure. This is assuring to me and I place my hope in them that life will soon return to normal.
However, a critical component to the eradication of this virus, along with the exceptional knowledge of these professionals, is the power of God through prayer. Many times in life when circumstances become overbearing, we try to figure things out by human imagination and effort. We forget and fail to turn to the One who is all-knowing and all-powerful. God wants us to pray about everything and certainly about this pandemic.
There is more to prayer than just "saying our prayers." It is not just something we do by our bedside in the morning or at night when the door is closed and our eyes are shut. Of course prayer is something that we do then, but prayer is also talking to the Lord at any time and about any problem. "The Lord is at hand," said the apostle Paul. What does that mean? Well, it means that God is here. He is at your side. Talk to Him. Let Him know what bothers you - big and small!
If you lose your car keys, don't start shouting. Don't get the whole house in a ferment because you can't find them. Don't rush about getting increasingly irritated saying, "Where did I put them? Where did I put them?" until the whole family is upset and everybody is looking for them. If you find you have mislaid your car keys say to yourself, " Now, Lord, where did I put those keys?" and then start looking for them with the Lord.
Charles Studd was a British missionary and a man of faith. He was also a great cricketer. He once said, "You know, when I play cricket, I don't think I play fair." Someone asked, "Why?" He replied, "When I play, I pray." For C.T. Studd, the Lord was at his side when he was playing cricket enabling him to always play at a high level.
When we pray, the Lord draws close to us. He listens to our every desire and is ready to minister to our needs according to His will. During this very uncertain time in all our lives, let's trust the men and women God has called and given the wisdom to change the situation we find ourselves in. But, let's not forget to pray. Let's not exclude God and put our hope in Him.
Wherever you might be today at 6:00 pm, stop for a few moments and pray with me in the Spirit to ask God to help us.
Newsletter Article – March 2020
A Good Name
“A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” (Proverbs 22:1)
Both riches (silver and gold) and an honorable reputation (loving favor and respect) are good. But if one must choose between them, Solomon, who wrote this proverb, says, “Choose a good name.” A good name is what we will be remembered by, not how much wealth we had.
No matter how hard we work, no matter how much wealth and notoriety we accumulate, no matter how many frequent flyer miles we log, it is always a fair question to ask, “What will I leave behind?”
What we leave behind is called legacy. It’s more than bank accounts, IRAs and real estate. It is more than “Employee of the Year” plaques. It is more than newspaper clippings, and certainly more than a wooden box planted six feet deep in the earth when it is all over. More than a fleeting memory, a legacy is an indelible impression for future generations. It is the mark we make in life that lives far longer than forty, fifty, or eighty years. It’s the footprints we leave at the workplace, in the neighborhood, and in the church. It’s the fingerprints we leave in the lives of those we love. It’s the way we do things and the reason we do them. Legacy is as close as we can get to immortality this side of eternity.
Deep in the soul of every person is the desire to leave behind a good name – a name that rings true, a name that makes people nod in affirmation and respect. Few people lust for a name that makes others stand up and clap. For most of us a pat on the back from a family member is fine. If we hear a word of encouragement, it may be enough to get our heart out of rhythm. For a person to be able to look into the eyes of his/her family and be able to see them looking back with honor, admiration, trust and loyalty – that would be a dream come true. That is a living legacy and that is what every person longs for and holds dear to.
A living legacy doesn’t grow in a vacuum. Neither does it grow in a petri dish. A living legacy is the product of the consistent hard choices we have been talking about – integrity, sensitivity, humility, fidelity, responsibility, and charity. It comes from God and always having a heart for our fellow man. There are no shortcuts. No such thing as microwave maturity. A good name doesn’t grow on trees and it is not for sale at any price. It is not just given to an elite few, nor is it withheld from others. It is held out to each of us – ours for the taking – as long as we are willing to make allowances, sacrifices, and always extend ourselves in love.
This proverb points out that a reputation has more value than possessions or wealth. A good name cannot be replaced easily, not even with lots of money. So the question is: What are we living for? Is it to have as much as we can accumulate to live a comfortable earthly existence? Will any of it matter after we are gone? Or, is it a commitment to love and serve others with a benevolent heart and be remembered for all eternity for our contribution to the benefit of their lives?
Stay Always Under His Wings,
Cancer Support Group
Cancer has caused much pain throughout our families and community. For some, it can be a long, hard journey of the unknown. And while it is not something we can fix, we can share the burden together and offer a space for prayer, dialogue, and emotional and spiritual healing. If you or someone you know needs a place to share their story or listen to the stories of others, come join us every 3rd Wednesday of each month at 6:30 pm. Our next meeting is on hold.
The Youth are having a cool time of learning, service, fellowship, and just plain ole' fun! It is led by Mark and Brandy Brandon and Darren Hickerson. We meet each Sunday from 5:30-7:00 pm. All Jr./Sr. High youth are invited to attend. Don't forget - your friends are always welcome!
***No Youth gatherings until further notice***
Youth Band - the 21 Disciples praise band practices on Sundays after youth meetings. We lead the praise for Genesis Kardia on Monday nights at 6:30 pm. If you would like to be a part of the group, contact Rev. Darren
Youth Meals - please show your support for the youth by providing a meal at one of their gatherings. Please contact Brandy Brandon for available dates.
A MINISTRY FOR THOSE WITH PHYSICAL AND MENTAL CHALLENGES! Join us every Monday at 6:30 pm for music, prayer, fellowship, and learning. Come, sit, and see what we are doing. You will be lifted up with the smiles and personalities of our special guests. If you are interested in attending or volunteering, we would love to have you. Please check us out. Contact Pastor Jayne Radionov for further information.
***Our services are temporarily cancelled***
Small Group Bible Study
Join us on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am for advanced study on the scripture text for the day.
***Our group study is temporarily cancelled***
Pastor Prayer/Bible Study
On Tuesday evenings at 6:30 pm, Pastor Jeff leads a one-hour prayer/Bible study. We begin with praying for the needs of individuals, the church, and the community. Following prayer, we study the Word of God. We are studying the miracles of Jesus as recorded in the gospels. Currently, we are centered on Jesus feeding 5,000 people.
***Our study is temporarily cancelled***
Sunrise offers after school care from 2:45-6:00 pm. A typical day includes devotions, homework time, snack, outside play, crafts, and occasional movies. Our director is Mary Jane Potts. She can be contacted at 336-624-2725.
In addition, we will have summer camp starting on June 15 through August 21. Registration begins March 16. Summer camp includes weekly field trips, bowling, skating, train rides, a trampoline park, and much more. We also have local vendors coming including Book Mobile and Village Way Veterinarian. We will have an open house on April 2 from 6:00-7:30 pm for all those interested. Contact Mary Jane for registration and further information.
***Our after-school care is currently closed***
Mission and Service Opportunities
Volunteers are needed for our 10:00 am brunch on Sunday mornings before the worship. There are spots open, please help! Contact Paige Reeder
SAMARITAN SOUP KITCHEN
Sunrise is helping at the Samaritan Soup Kitchen, on fifth Saturdays of a month. Our next work day is on May 30. Please register to volunteer online directly at:
and click “Register for Upcoming Event” for this and other events.
We support the Clemmons Food Pantry & Lewisville Community Assistance Program (LCAP). Please consider bringing to church non-perishable food and other staples of your choice to support their efforts. There is a drop-off place in the lobby.
The Clemmons Food Pantry can always use your grocery bags! They can be given to Karen King or please feel free to take them directly to the Food Pantry and place them in the “food donation” bin on the outside of the pantry building (last building on the left on Old Glory Road).
Put these important dates on your calendar and "give the gift of life":
May 9 - Lewisville UMC
July 11 - Unity Moravian Church
September 12 - Shiloh Lutheran Church
November 14 - Trinity Community Church
MAKE SUNRISE HAPPEN
Every time we gather for worship there are numerous servants selflessly giving their time and energy just to MAKE SUNRISE HAPPEN. Be a part of the work of the church. VOLUNTEER! Trust that God will reward you more than what you will put in. Contact Pastor Jeff if interested in serving. Below are ways in which you can serve:
Ministerial Contact Information
Pastor Jeff You may contact him by email or by phone: (336) 416-5869.
Our other leaders can be contacted by email:
Rev. Darren, Jayne Radionov and Tim Bralley
Our mailing address is:
Sunrise United Methodist Church
1111 Lewisville Clemmons Rd
Lewisville, NC 27023-8250
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