Archive for March, 2011

Courage

March 28, 2011

Contributed by Tim White, Next Generation Pastor at Image Church

Psalm 56:3-4 – When I am Afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.

One of the major spiritual battles that I face as I strive to serve and follow Jesus is fear. I struggle with the fear of the unknown, failing, what others may think of me, and of losing control. We all have fears that affect our level of commitment to trusting and following Jesus. God’s Word tells us that when we are afraid, we are to put our trust in Him. His words we are to praise, and we will not be afraid. In Him we will have courage to do what is right, even when we are afraid.

Throughout the month of March, our i-kids Discovery Land classes (K-5th) have been learning about what it means to have courage. They are learning that courage is being brave enough to do the right things, even when they are afraid. We looked at people who faced tough and frightening tasks in their lives in order to help us see how we can have courage in Jesus today.

People like:

  • David – who faced the giant Goliath when no one else would (1 Samuel 17:1-50)
  • Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego – who faced the fiery furnace for refusing to bow to an idol (Daniel 3)
  • Esther – who faced the fear of death by going before the King to helps the Jews (Esther 4; 5:1-8; 7:1-6; 8:3-8)
  • Daniel – who faced the lions in the lion’s den for praying to God. (Daniel 6:1-23)

We had many good responses from the kids on how they are finding courage in God and facing their fears. One 4th grader even shared how she has a friend whose family doesn’t believe in Jesus, and she was afraid that if she shared Jesus with her, she would lose her as a friend. This 4th grader knew that it was more important to share with her friend the truth and found the courage to share Jesus with her.  As a teacher and Pastor to our children at Image, I am excited and full of great joy to see how God is working in our kids’ lives, and the passion that they have for Him. Our kids understand what it means to follow Jesus – to risk it all to make Jesus famous.  As a church body, we need to continue to encourage them and teach them how to live a life that is pleasing to God.

Our children need to see that we have the courage to follow Jesus. We should not allow fear to keep us from following Jesus. He had courage to follow the will of the Father, which led to His death on a cross for us. Do you have the courage to risk it all for the one who gave you life, so that He can be made famous?  God gives courage to those who put their trust in Him!


The Greatest Question Ever

March 23, 2011

Contributed by Chris Rhodenhizer, Lead Pastor of Image Church

Matthew 21:23-27 – And when he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” Jesus answered them, “I also will ask you one question, and if you tell me the answer, then I also will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, from where did it come? From heaven or from man?” And they discussed it among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From man,’ we are afraid of the crowd, for they all hold that John was a prophet.” So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.

Lets break down this text, and then we will come to answer these questions:

  1. What is the greatest question?
  2. What is the answer to the greatest question?
  3. How does this impact my life?

Check out verse 23… Jesus had made quite a religious interruption by His authoritative miracles and teachings in the temple. The religious leaders attempt to trap Him into blasphemy and also attempt to figure Him out so they can get rid of Him. Then in verse 24, Jesus is going to do what He often did, answer a question with a question. His questions were not opened-ended, they were intentional, to get people to think about their belief system, religion, and who God is! Jesus gets to the point in verse 25-27. The religious leaders proved their own ignorance, selfish intentions, motivations, and empty religion by their cowardly answer. Jesus also proved His point… if they don’t know whether John the Baptist was from God then they can’t know whether or not Jesus is from God. The people of God recognize Jesus and His followers!!!

SO, all of that leads us to this…

  1. What is the greatest question? Who is GOD?
  2. What is the answer to the greatest question? JESUS! Unchurched and religious people still struggle with this answer today.
  3. How does this impact my life?

Well, first of all, you must truly be able to answer this question, and this is the greatest thing mankind faces in this lifetime. If we live out and reflect Jesus in our lives, it should make an interruption in our lives. Our lives should truly follow Jesus. This must also lead us to a passion to share the answer – JESUS – with others. If Jesus has impacted our lives, we have repented of our sins, claimed Jesus as King, Lord, Savior, GOD of our lives, then our passion should be HIM!!!

This coming EASTER, I will be preaching on exactly this great question, “WHO IS GOD?” If the answer to this question has impacted your life, plan now to invest and invite someone who needs the answer in his or her life!!!

Imagine this…

Imagine being used by GOD to help people find the answer to the greatest question ever asked… JESUS!

Release It All

March 8, 2011

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

There have been a couple of conversations and situations that have happened recently where I can see that God was trying to teach me something. It is funny how God will reveal things to us in the Scriptures or other ways that all seem to coincidentally happen at the same time. God has been working with me on relaxing and letting go – letting God worry about the details and just to follow Him on faith without having to know what the next step is. I think this is hard for most of us as men who are providing for our families as this comes instinctively. A recent conversation with our church elders about a similar situation and devotionals and book readings is where God dropped a few nuggets in my lap.

Hebrews 11:6(ESV) – And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

This was from my devotions last week, and it spoke about how as Christians we claim that we are being “good stewards” of our resources when actually we are walking by sight and not by faith.  Some of us may refuse to do what God tells us unless we can see all the resources in place first.

In our POD a couple weeks ago, another group of verses hit me where God again was telling me to not worry because He is ultimately going to take care of us.

Matthew 6:25-27 (ESV) – “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

These verses clearly address how we need to ultimately release everything and have faith that God will provide what we need. If we are anxious or worried, it can affect our health; our every thoughts; our lives. God wants to show us the miracles that only He can do for us, but that means we need to let go and let Him reveal it to us.  Remember that having faith does not eliminate our problems, but it keeps us in a trusting relationship with God.