Archive for December, 2010

Promised Land

December 20, 2010

Contributed by Russ Perkins, Elder Overseer of Community at Image Church

Deuteronomy 18:15 – The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen.

Moses speaks to the people of Israel camped on the plains of Moab across the Jordan River from Canaan.  It’s 40 years later, and a new generation of people — all victims of the previous generation’s unwillingness to trust in the Lord — wait poised to enter the promised land for the second time.  Their journey from Egypt to the doorstep of Canaan finally over, the baton of leadership is about to pass from Moses to Joshua.  No small measure of faith, courage and obedience will be required in the days that lie ahead.

The Lord subsequently gives Joshua some clear guidance concerning his newest mission.

Joshua 1:7 – Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.

Joshua disseminates the news he has received and issues orders of his own — “get ready, in three days it begins” — Israel is about to be on the move once again.

Fast forward to today, December 2010 — our tribe (Image Church) is also on the move.  Our Leader is Prophet, Priest and King.  He is Jesus.  Jesus is who we are following as we endeavor to advance His kingdom today in our days.  This work still requires the same faith, courage and obedience it always has, first individually and then corporately.  The cost is often high, and many are not willing to pay it.  However, for the handful who relentlessly persevere in faith, steadfastly pursuing the object of their devotion (Jesus), setting their face and heart to seek the Lord’s will and His ways, the reward is great both today and in eternity.  Have you / will you join us?  This is not a journey for the faint of heart.  We are a community of people on mission, and our mission is clear.  

Matthew 28:18-20 – And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Our promised land is not a tract of land but rather the hearts and souls of people.  The mission is accomplished one life at a time — never underestimate the significance of one life transformed by the Gospel.  We are busy in Northern Virginia and even all the way to Yanji, Dandong, and Dalian.  Who are you investing in?  It’s time to get started — so much remains to be done.

A Good Leader

December 13, 2010

Contributed by John Hellmund, Elder Overseer of Finance at Image Church

At the elders meeting a couple of months ago, we were going around praying popcorn prayers.  Popcorn prayers are short to-the-point prayers.  This prayer came to mind and has stuck with me ever since.  “Lord make me a good leader, by becoming a great servant.”  Jesus was the perfect example of a person who was a great leader and servant.  The Bible describes Jesus as a servant on many occasions.  Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many,” and Philippians 2: 7-8, “He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave.  He humbled Himself by being obedient, even to death.” 

The Old Testament points to Christ and how He was going to be a servant.   Isaiah 52:13, “Behold, My Servant shall deal prudently; He shall be exalted and extrolled and be very high.”  Isaiah 53: 3-6 predicts what will happen to Christ when He becomes the great servant to benefit His people.  “He is despised and rejected by men…  He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows… He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.”  All this Jesus went through as a servant to bring His father glory. 

The New Testament continues to prove that Jesus came to serve those that are lost.  After three years of ministry here on earth, Jesus knew that the time was near for Him to suffer on the cross and to pay the penalty for our sins.  Even with this knowledge bearing down on him, He continued to teach His disciples.  John 13:3-5, “Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself.  After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.”  In their culture, only the lowliest of servants washed the guests’ feet.  It was unheard of for the master or teacher to do this.  Peter, knowing this, argued with Jesus stating, “You shall never wash my feet!”  He failed to see at the time that it symbolized a spiritual cleansing and that this was an example of being a good leader.  You have to be willing to do the lowest jobs.   John 13:12-17, “So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am.  If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.  For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.  Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is who is sent greater that he who sent him.  If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” 

We all need to follow Jesus’ example and be great servants.  Serving God should be seen as an honor and that it follows the very character of God.

Gospel in a Foreign Land

December 5, 2010

Contributed by Toby Ward, Elder Overseer of Outreach at Image Church

[17 ] If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” [18 ] When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”  (Acts 11:17-18 ESV)

In the life of the early church, great apostles like Peter, Paul, Timothy, and others were constantly facing ridicule from Jewish leaders about taking the gospel to Gentile (non-Jewish) people. Make no doubt about it – this was racism, elitism, sin, insecurity, and probably a 100 other terms if I sat here and thought about it. It was wrong.

Jesus, before ascending into heaven, told the disciples to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19) This is simply what the early apostles were trying to do, but everywhere they went they met opposition. They met resistance from an insecure crowd that cared more about their outward religion, beautiful synagogues, and elitism than the hearts of sinners.

Sadly, not much has changed today. Today’s culture loves our jobs, worships our kids, hordes their money, and become programmed robots to Fox News (or CNN/MSNBC if your one of “those” haha). And I’m just talking about the church.  Jesus gave us a mission, and we need to fulfill it.

The humbling thing is God could accomplish all this work by Himself, but He’s CHOSEN to use us (His church/bride) to carry out His mission. Stop and think about that. A God that created the UNIVERSE, and everything in it chose US to accomplish His work here. WOW!!

That’s what makes Peter’s work in Acts 11 all the more powerful. In vs 18, they submit to the Holy Spirit, and allow Peter to continue his mission. Peter not only was taking the gospel to a foreign people, but he was also fighting HIS OWN leaders to do it!!  This text shows that the clear, accurate, presentation of the gospel can change even the hardest of hearts.

The early apostles were able to see explosive church growth as a result, but they would not see the end result of their labors as they were martyred. In most cases, they just planted a seed that someone else harvested, and THAT’S what MOST of us will do in this life.

How are you planting seeds? Chris Rhodenhizer and I are leaving Tuesday for a mission trip to China. While the gospel is not allowed there, the feeding of children is, and we are going to check out where our funds have been going all these years. In addition, we will be checking out all the points of interest so we can plan a trip to bring the church body back some time next year or 2012.

These are exciting times in the life of our church!! We have a opportunity to “plant a seed” by feeding these kids, and one day someone else will harvest. That is AWESOME, and we are not gonna let political opposition get in the way of God’s work! Image Church, we are ALL a part of this. You have already committed by giving us funds to pay for the trip, and you have already been praying. THANK YOU!!! Two of us will be there physically, but we will all be there through the link of the Holy Spirit, and your prayers. 

PLEASE continue to pray, that like Peter in Acts 11, we can BREAK DOWN THE WALLS , and one day openly present the Gospel in these foreign lands!!! God has a plan for ALL of us, and one day that will be fulfilled!!! Make sure you are at Image Church on 12/19 to hear all about what GOD did while we were there!!!!