Archive for September, 2011

Living to the Fullness of God’s Will

September 28, 2011

Contributed by Tim White, Next Gen Pastor of Image Church

The last few weeks, I have been praying over and studying through the book of Colossians, as I prepare a winter series for our youth in Impact.  The series will lead our youth through the book of Colossians, which I believe will help our students to see who Christ is, what He has done, and how our lives are transformed to His likeness.  There is a lot to learn from Paul’s letter to the church of Colossae, and as I have been studying through it, I have been hit with a lot.  But in the end of his letter, Paul says a couple of things that have struck me the most:

Colossians 4: 12, 17  12Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God.  17And say to Archippus, “See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord.”

Paul writes two things to the church in Colossae that stand true today for God’s church all around the world.  (1)  As Epaphras prayed for others, we also should be praying for others – not just praying to pray for them, but to be praying that they would stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God.  (2)  As mentioned for Archippus to fulfill the ministry that he had received in the Lord, we also should be striving to fulfill the ministry that we have received in the Lord.

God’s will is simple in the fact that He calls His church to, “Not be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)   To know God’s will and to be able to live that out to its fullness, the church, those God has called out of the world, must no longer live for the world or as those of the world live.  We are to live transformed lives from the ones we ones we previously lived.  We can only be transformed by the renewal of our minds, which only comes by seeking after the One who saves and gives life.  No one can live to the fullness of God’s will or even know what that is if they are not seeking after God, spending time with Him both in prayer and His Word.  When God reveals to you His will, you are to obediently follow it, for it is good, acceptable, and perfect. God’s will for all of His people is that they live out all that He has planned out for them.

In all that I do in striving to live for Jesus, I have realized that my end goal should be to reach the fulfillment of the will that I have received from God.  It is my desire that I live obedient to God’s will and that all who God places in my life realize the truth of the Gospel and live to the fulfillment of God’s will as well.  I look forward to seeing what God will do in the lives of our students and the leaders of Impact, as we go through this year focused on transformation and living transformed lives to the fullness of His will.

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YOUR Way…Not Mine

September 22, 2011

Contributed by Krista Rhodenhizer, wife of our Lead Pastor, Chris Rhodenhizer.

New York City.  Rush Hour.  Times Square.  How can you be in literally the craziest, most visible place in the country and be lost?  I will tell you how……. STUPID G.P.S.!  Yes, I said “stupid.”  Don’t tell my kids.

My close friends and family all know that I have serious issues with G.P.S.  “What if the roads have changed?”, I ask…. “What if it freaks out?” …. “What if we can’t get satellite signal?” BINGO!  It was in this moment, surrounded by a bunch of angry jaywalkers, flashing lights and cab drivers with a death wish, that I had absolutely NO idea which way to turn, because I was depending on a lady with an irritatingly calm voice who kept informing me that she was “recalculating……..recalculating….”  I was freaking out.  I am still apologizing to this day to my sweet friend who was with me.  That poor girl bore the brunt of my frustration that day.

Being a control freak, I like to have my way planned, and I like to decide which way I will go.  I want to look at a map and know “You Are Here,” so I can plan any alternate route or at least know which direction I am headed.  I do not like being out of control, and I HATE having to wait, let alone patiently wait.  Are you noticing all of the “I”s involved in my life?

I have so many aspirations of what I want to do “when I grow up.”  I always wanted to be a mommy.  God blessed me above what we could have imagined, and I have four amazing children.  So, now that my babies are off to school, I have, somewhat impatiently, told God that it’s time for me to make good on some of my “plans.”  Yeah, you can see how this is going to go…… “Wait.”  WHAT?  I am not sure I understand.  I have these plans because they are right for my family.  These plans are right for my ministry.  They are so I can serve YOU, Father!  This is not one of those stories where I tell you the end, and I was waiting for something so amazing and surprising that you will walk away inspired.  I am still frustrated.  I am still chomping at the bit.  I KNOW what I want.  Yet, I wait.

I am working through “Experiencing God” with the I-Chicks Bible Study on Wednesday mornings.  Last week, this verse that I have read literally thousands of times, knocked me on my tail.

“I am the Vine, you are the branches.  Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”  John 15:5

Conviction has been wearing away at me.  God promises in John 14:26 that the Holy Spirit will bring to our remembrance all that Jesus has said.  He was (and still is) doing just that.  I have no amazing new advice to give on what “God’s plan” is for my life or yours, but I DO know and believe His promises.  IF I remain in the Vine, daily surrendering, reading and meditating on His Word and seeking Him in prayer, He promises to remain in me and to produce fruit.  Apart from Him – apart from ABIDING in Him – I can do nothing.  Enough said.

My control issues, my need to plan my steps, my need to plan my DESTINATION, leads me nowhere.  Nowhere.  If I am daily plugged in to Him, He will daily center me in His will and produce fruit.  He will place me, in His timing, where He desires for me to be.  And I believe that at that time, I will already be just one step away from that destination, without even realizing where I am.  He doesn’t need to show me the map.  He IS the map.

An Intentional Life

September 12, 2011

Submitted by Chris Rhodenhizer, Lead Pastor of Image Church

We want to be noticed, we say we want to be intentional with our lives, we usually want to follow a worthy cause, and we tend to want to make our lives count!  Check this out…

Mark 1:16-20 – Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” 18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19 And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20 And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him. [ESV]

Jesus notices Andrew and Simon(Peter). He see’s that there is more to these guys than their trade – He see’s what they could be and should be in His mission. I am so thankful that Jesus noticed me! Sometimes we get caught up on ourselves, and we desire for others to notice us, our accomplishments; yet there is a God is heaven who took time to come live with us, to notice us, because He loves us.

Jesus not only notices them; Jesus calls them to be intentional and that has 2 parts: 1) Follow Me and 2) Make You.

“Follow Me” is the part of having ongoing fellowship with Jesus. He desires this of us. We have the opportunity to follow Jesus, which means we love Him, obey Him, submit to Him and the intention of our lives is for His mission and His glory!

The “Make You” part is what He transforms us into. These disciples were fishermen, so He used their occupation to describe what He would transform them into. Their main intention in life would be going after others, proclaiming Jesus – MAKING DISCIPLES THAT MAKE DISCIPLES!

They obediently and immediately responded to Jesus’ call. When Jesus notices us and calls us, our response should be the same… FOLLOW!

It doesn’t stop there.  Jesus notices more guys doing work and calls them to His work. These guys left all to follow Jesus, even their father. They left the family business, most likely a lucrative business, to be in missions!

We need to realize that Jesus gives us a vision of what could be and should be for our lives.

Our lives should be lived intentionally, whether we are working, playing or just living.  Our lives should always be intentional about making disciples!

It calls for a sense of urgency – Jesus’ mission had an urgency because HE noticed us; we should have a sense of urgency in noticing others, then showing them what their lives could be and should be through JESUS!!!