Archive for September, 2010

The Heart of Worship

September 25, 2010

Contributed by Brian Shifflett, Worship Pastor at Image Church

Matthew 19:16-22 – And behold, a man came up to him [Jesus], saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” 18He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said,  “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 20The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” 21Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

This passage out of Matthew is commonly referred to as the story of the “Rich Young Ruler” due to descriptions of the man found in verses 20, 22, and Luke 18:18.  He may have been a religious lay leader or possibly a Pharisee because of the diligence he displays in following the law.  When asked, “What good deed must I do to have eternal life?” Jesus’ response teaches the young man some very important lessons:

  1. Only God is infinitely good and human good deeds cannot save.
  2. The man’s possessions are what he ultimately truly worships.
  3. The man falls short of keeping the first of the two greatest commandments (see Matthew 22:36-39)        

Jesus knew that it was the man’s wealth in which he found his identity, power, and sense of meaning in life—so much that it became his idolatrous god. Jesus turns the man from focusing on the external to examining the heart!  When the cost of following Jesus is presented to the young man, he went away sorrowful because he could not cease worshipping the ruling force in his life, his possessions.  By demonstrating this, Jesus shows us that God was not the man’s object of worship; which is why the man fell short of keeping the first commandment.

It is important to note that possessions were what this man could not let go of to follow Jesus.  However, it could be any of a number of things in our lives that keep us from worshipping the one true God.  It is an issue of the heart!  The rich young ruler was so focused on the externals that he could not let go.  His possessions defined him.  Remember, our identity is found in HIM and in HIM alone!  Let’s deny ourselves, worship the one true God with all our hearts, minds and souls, and be on mission for HIM who has granted the gift of eternal life!

The Orange Factor

September 19, 2010

Contributed by Tim White, Next Gen Pastor at Image Church

I grew up disliking the color orange, not for any particular reason than it was a color I didn’t care for. It was definitely a color you did not see me wearing. I am more of a dark-colored guy, and orange was too bright for me. I never liked standing out in a crowd, and the color orange would certainly cause me to stand out. My feelings about the color orange are beginning to change, as I have been opened to a purpose behind the color.

So what is behind this color orange that has changed the way I feel about it?

I’m currently reading the book “Parenting Beyond Your Capacity” by Reggie Joiner and Carey Nieuwhof. In this book, they use orange to symbolize what it means to parent beyond your capacity. They are taking the color RED (unconditional love of family) and the color YELLOW (light of the church or community of faith) and combining them together. So how does this help us as parents in raising our children and why is it so important?

1. As parents, we have unconditional love for our children. We desire the best for our kids, and as Christians and followers of Jesus, we should desire that they grow in the knowledge and love of Christ themselves. We take them to church with us on Sundays so they can learn about Jesus, and we may even expect them to live out what they learn. What we need to understand though is that no one has more potential to influence your children than you. Teachers, Pastors, Coaches, and others will never have the same potential to influence a child’s life the way a parent does. Your influence as a parent will be permanent. Just think about who had the most influence in your own life. You may or may not want to agree with it, but deep down we are a lot like our parents.

2. Parents are not the only influence a child needs or will receive as they grow. You can also look at your life and see where others have influenced you, both good and bad. There are times when we needed to hear from someone other than our parents. Your children will one day seek acceptance and approval from someone other than you as well. What would happen if you decided to become intentional about inviting other leaders into your children’s lives?

3. Combined influences from the family and the church will make a greater impact than two separate influences. When the family and the church begin to think orange and work together, there will be a greater impact in the lives of our children. We will have a greater impact in the church today and a greater influence on the next generation.

The influence and teaching of our children should be important to us because it is important to Jesus.

Matthew 19:13-14Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, 14but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”

The kingdom of Heaven belongs to the children, just as much as it belongs to us. Jesus invited the children to come to Him, and we should continue to do so today. We can’t afford to sit back and allow the world to have the greater influence in the lives of our kids. We all have a major role in the influence of the next generation of the church.

As parents, we are to be the church in our homes – live like Jesus, as an example for our children to follow. We are all broken people and mess up, but God loves and forgives. He uses broken people to show His Grace and mercy to others. Are you spending time with the one that gave you grace and forgiveness, and giving your children an example to follow?

As the church body, we have the responsibility of working with parents, by helping them grow as Christians and investing in the lives of their children as well. We cannot think of the next generation as someone else’s kids to worry about. We need to be looking at the next generation as Jesus does – those who belong to the kingdom of Heaven and future leaders of the church.

Imagine the impact we could have on the church of tomorrow, if the family and church worked together today. 

Think Orange!

My Vision for Image Church

September 12, 2010

Contributed by Chris Rhodenhizer, Lead Pastor of Image Church 

Evangelism and Equipping – These are two words that best describe what we as a church need to be focused on, or re-focused on, this fiscal year (September 2010 through August 2011).   Here is how we accomplish this vision through our simple, Biblical discipleship process.  Evangelism and Equipping are both discipleship. Evangelism calls disciples, and Equipping grows and trains them on mission. 

WORSHIP ~ 

Preach through the book of Ephesians, so people who need to be evangelized will hear and see what Jesus did for them and how HE views them. Also, so believers will be reminded and convicted of how God views them.  We will kick off the Fall with a series through Ephesians 1 & 2 entitled Challenge 77/In HIM – “77 days of doing life In HIM”.  This will challenge people to lead lives of worship. 

We will continue to pursue acquiring this entire warehouse, so we can house the people God saves and adds to HIS church. We believe that it is through the passionate, fiery, preaching of God’s powerful WORD that people will be evangelized and equipped. 

COMMUNITY ~ 

We need to see at least 25 homes open for P.o.D.’s. WHY? Discipleship doesn’t happen apart from this.  More leaders need to be equipped to lead these groups, which is why we have implemented Image P.o.D. Chalk Talk.  P.o.D.’s are hard, they take precious time, but when they work, they are the best thing in the world. Friendships are established, in depth Bible study is accomplished, and disciples are grown. We are calling all of us to sacrifice everything else in ministry before we sacrifice this. 

SERVICE ~ 

Be more intentional with equipping at our I-SERVE Meetings. We will accomplish this by being more ministry-specific with I-SERVE this year. 

Give over $60,000 away in total missions this year, including bringing on another missionary. 

We will have a goal to partner with three church plants, and we have already established two of them!  Church planting will help the Kingdom as a whole in evangelism and equipping saints. 

One part of our process leads to the other.  For example, we will not give money away to missions, if we do not evangelize and equip people through Biblical preaching;  we will not see disciples grow in the WORD, if we never have P.o.D.’s;  and we will not have anyone to equip at I-SERVE’s, if people never grow through COMMUNITY.  Most of us want to see people come to Jesus [evangelism] and see them fully equipped to do ministry, right?  Then, let’s stick to this vision, let’s get people here to hear the WORD, let’s move them into P.o.D’s so they will make friends through study of the WORD, and let’s move them on mission with us in SERVICE! This vision is costly, as it will involve sacrifice, BUT let’s not sacrifice our time, abilities, and families on the altar of programs and call it ministry. NO, let’s truly sacrifice on the altar of ministry that produces disciples, through Evangelism and Equipping!

Oh, How He Loves Us

September 5, 2010

Contributed by Mike Scott, Elder Overseer of Web/Graphic Arts/Media at Image Church

He is jealous for me, Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,

Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.

When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,

And I realize just how beautiful You are,

And how great Your affections are for me.

And oh, how He loves us oh

Oh how He loves us,

How He loves us all

This song has become very dear to our church and sung out by our congregation numerous Sundays in the past. The amazing thing about the song is the lyrics. REALLY!! Sometimes the lyrics can actually get lost because the performer has done such an excellent job of the arrangement. So if you need to go back and read them again, please do and let it soak in for a few minutes.

Sometimes in life, the obvious gets overlooked and passed over. We hear that God loves us. Have you ever put into perspective why God loves you as an individual? The Bible talks about how He desires to have a personal relationship with you as an individual. We can talk to Him, the Creator of everything. We have become numb to how AMAZING that is. Please watch the video below, and maybe it will give you some perspective.

Ephesians 1:3-5 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.  ESV

I don’t want to ruin the moment by rambling on. Just take some time to think about how much the Creator of everything loved you as an individual to extend the gift of salvation. Why should we all not want to worship and serve Him!