Being the Church

The Embodied Dream!

Adding one person at a time 

   Honestly, last Sunday was an exact representation of a dream that I've had for many years. As a church planting pastor my dream is to see people come to faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord moving them by His loving Lordship into membership in the church thereby receiving the covenant sign in the sacrament of water Baptism. It is a beautiful witness of the Living community of faith to the watching world. This is what we experienced last Sunday and I am thankful to be a part of a church who wants this dream too! 

   Last Sunday morning we took in one new special person into our membership. She made vows of repentance and faith in Jesus as Savior that preceded a verbal commitment to the visible church. Then later the same day nearly the entire church came out to see her baptized in the gulf waters. 

   I can't fully describe what I saw after this baptism, but it was beautiful. From my perspective, as we walked back toward the shore I saw a group of diverse onlookers and I had one of those "Aha" moments. Some of these were familiar faces of our faithful members all rejoicing in the celebration of our Savior's cleansing and restorative promises (water baptism is a public washing that proclaims to the watching world of the requirement to be spiritually cleansed and the promise that we are cleansed by Christ as we enter a relationship with the Holy God). But there were other onlookers too! These were bystanders who unsuspectingly came to the beach that Sunday to enjoy the sun and water, but without warning or forethought they were now witnessing a real worship event. Did they know what they were a witness to? Their faces seemed frozen with the look of, "I think this is what churches do."  I hope they all knew it had something to do with the church. They may not have attached 2000 years of church history to what they saw. They may not have felt the presence of the living God as was felt when Jesus Himself came up out of the waters of baptism in the Jordan River. But I know this, all who looked saw the embodied dream that we at Risen City share.  Risen people making disciples in Christ together! One person at a time being added to our church family!

   There is one more thing that happened Sunday: I felt a deep love for those onlookers who did not know Christ.  My heart broke because they must be reached with the gospel! As I walked toward the beach after the baptism this is what struck me deeply. That there are so many lost people! People who are broken, confused, hurting, lost, frustrated, clueless, and even hostile toward God because He seems so distant. Most of them appeared to have no knowledge of who Jesus is!  No knowledge that he died for their sins and rose again on the third day so they could live forever!  My heart said, "Why am I not reaching them?"  And "How can we be more visible to the non-Christian?"  We have the Good News that they desperately need. 

   May God help us to be bold when he opens up opportunities for sharing this news. May the Lord open one heart at a time to receive this Good News. Thank you all for being a part of this embodied dream at Risen City.


The Wretched Tenants

  This parable is about who really belongs in the kingdom of heaven.  In Matthew 21, Jesus does three intentional actions that set the stage for this parable of the Wretched Tenants.  Jesus rides a donkey into Jerusalem, he turns over the moneychanger's tables, and then he curses a fig tree.  All of these actions are intentional and point us to the meaning of the three parables that follow.  All three parables show us that entering the kingdom involves responding in faith to the message of repentance that John the Baptist and Jesus preached, recognizing Jesus as the One who brings in God’s kingdom, and living in a way consistent with this recognition.  All three parables communicate the devastating truth that the leadership of Israel had met none of these requirements for participation in God’s kingdom. Instead, “the tax collectors and the prostitutes”, and others who respond to Jesus in repentance and faith, will comprise the new vineyard tenants and wedding feast guests (Mt 22:1-14)! 

   All of this begs the question we should ask ourselves, "Am I like the leaders of Israel?"  At first we'd like to keep it in ancient history and make it only about the Jews.  But we are faced with three realities: first, we must ask ourselves have we responded in faith to the message of repentance?  Second, ask, have we recognized Jesus as the One who brings God's kingdom?  And third, ask, are we living in a way that consistently shows others that we believe?  In this text Jesus shows little patience with the religious leaders, but with you and me Jesus is more than patient.  He waits for our response and lifestyle changes.  He is slow to anger and steadfast in loving kindness.  His mercy is there for us to fall upon.  (Matthew 21:14)

"And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.” 

He gives us time to fall on him (the cornerstone), but warns that it will crush anyone it falls on.  It is time to fall upon the mercy of Jesus.

Weekly Events


RISEN KIDS (K-5TH) CHILDREN'S CLASSES will resume in August. We are welcoming the children in the sanctuary for worship. Ask for a worship bag to help them stay engaged.



As we fill the prayer room...God will fill our church!

Please join some of the other regular folk for 15 minutes of prayer. Located in the library.


  • A NEW YOUTH DIRECTOR to minister to our teens. Pray that God leads the right person to our church. It pays $ something, and additionally, the rewards are heavenly!
  • Pray for those sick with COVID & common cold symptoms.
  • Pray for THAT ONE FRIEND to trust Christ this new year.
  • Pray for pastor Heiko & Kay Burklin, she is diagnosed with ALS.
  • Pray for Sonya (Ellen Rourke's daughter) she was diagnosed with cancer. Surgery Aug 15th
  • If you need something else to pray about below is a list of people that you may not know but God knows each by name: Pray for John, Honey, Lori, Jesse, Blake, Rick, Evelyn, John, Brittany, Megan, Ellen, Sofia, Billy, Louise, Mike M., Jason, Michele, Tito, Danielle, Aaron, Jane, Darrell, Dave, Marty, Dan, Bob, Cole, Ian, Damin, Jeff, John, Stacie, Ann Marie, Tom, Josh, Marc, Daniel, Max, Jared, Devin, Scott, Mike, Sarah, Mark, Bill, Amanda, Jack, Terri, Josh, Amanda, Bobby, Johnny, Jane, Tim, Lori, Mike, Amy, Anthony, Sam, Taylor, Mikani, Rick, Mike, Sarah, and others who need Jesus and a church like ours.
  • Pray and Invite someone to Church.
  • Pray for the people floating around without a Christ-centered family! MAYBE YOUR NEIGHBOR IS ONE!
  • The Lord's blessing! Pray for God's mercy in SALVATIONS!
Read the Bible

Click on "Read the Bible" this will take you to "Today's Reading" where you will see D. A. Carson's commentary, then four selections from the Bible. Really solid stuff for you to feed upon!

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