Archive for January, 2012

Self-Control

January 25, 2012

Contributed by Tim White, Next Generation Pastor at Image Church

Numbers 20:10-13Then Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels: shall we bring water for you out of this rock?” And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice, and water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their livestock. And the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.” These are the waters of Meribah, where the people of Israel quarreled with the LORD, and through them he showed himself holy.

Here in the book of Numbers is the account of how Moses lost his opportunity to enter the Promised Land with the rest of the Israelites. What happened here that was so bad that God would punish Moses as He did? As the Israelites had done many times before this, they found themselves facing a hard situation on their journey to the land that Moses was leading them to – the land that God had promised them. They found themselves in a place with no water. The Israelites would cry out to Moses, just as they had many times before this – “Why have you brought us here to die, it would have been better for us to stay in Egypt than to have come to this place.” (Numbers 20:4-5)  Moses went to God and received instructions to gather the congregation together, to witness God’s power and grace in providing them with water – “Take the staff, and assemble the congregation, you and Aaron your brother, and tell the rock before their eyes to yield its water. So you shall bring water out of the rock for them and give drink to the congregation and their cattle.” (Numbers 20:8)

As God commanded, Moses gathered the congregation. But Moses failed to follow God’s directions. “Hear now, you rebels: shall we bring water for you out of this rock?” And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice, and water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their livestock.  How did this happen?  Moses was given clear directions from God, yet he failed to follow them. Moses had lost control with the people. His anger and frustration with them had gotten the best of him. In his loss of control, he failed to obey God’s commands that would bring glory to God. Moses’ loss of control brought hardship upon himself. Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.  He now had to miss out on the Promised Land that God was giving them – the very land that Moses was leading the people to.

Throughout the month of January, our I-Kids Discovery Land classes have been studying self-control and how God desires His people to live a life with self-control – choosing to do what we should do, not what we want to do. To live a life out of control causes pain to yourself, as we see here with Moses. Losing control can cause pain to others as well, and does not reveal God to others or bring Him glory. The other day, my daughter Brianna got angry with her younger sister, and I overheard her say to her sister, “Brooke, I am so angry with you right now, but I am just going to give you a hug.” I then looked up to see Bri giving her sister a hug instead of her usual swat that would lead her to being punished herself. I have heard other great things from parents on how our children are trying to live lives with self-control, but as parents and followers of Jesus, we to need to live and example self-control in our lives as well.

God desires His people to live lives that reveals Himself to others. If we fail to live lives of self-control, we risk missing out on opportunities, as Moses did. We risk causing others not to see Jesus in us, and we risk not bringing glory to God who gives us life.

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The Sovereignty of God

January 16, 2012

Contributed by Krista Rhodenhizer, wife of Chris Rhodenhizer, Lead Pastor of Image Church

I wouldn’t really classify myself as a worrier. Control freak, yes. Procrastinator, yes. But really not a worrier…. (hence, the procrastination).  I have always attributed this to the fact that I had a good, reliable upbringing. My parents were always there for me. They consistently showed me faithfulness, love and respect. They taught me that I could depend on my Heavenly Father.  I guess I always knew that when it came down to the wire, I wasn’t alone.  So, psych major that I am, I think that this has a lot to do the fact that I don’t experience that worrisome fear very often. Yet, I am learning throughout my life experiences that while my God is loving, forgiving and completely and utterly faithful, He is SOVEREIGN.  (Gulp).  Things don’t always turn out well.  In the end, in the light of eternity, yes. Yet in this life on earth, we are guaranteed hardship.

Job 1:21 – And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”

I have had deep loss in my life. Unexpected and unexplained loss.  Yet, I can honestly tell you that it has not caused me to be consumed by fear. I need to be completely clear here. I am in NO way saying that I have done something right or special that has rescued me from this thing of fear or worry. If anything at all, it’s that I have SEEN and EXPERIENCED that in the middle of the bottom falling out, I have seen Him. He is still there, and He is still in control.  It is the most bizarre peace. Truly, peace that passes all understanding.  I think that sometimes, when your fear is realized, there is some kind of comfort knowing that it still isn’t too much for Him. HE gives to us. All that we have, He has given.

I have been studying Hosea in my quiet time with God, and this verse has been whispered to my heart on a regular basis ever since I read it weeks ago.

Hosea 2:8 – And she did not know that it was I who gave her the grain, the wine, and the oil, and who lavished on her silver and gold, which they used for Baal.

She (Israel) was given every gift and every good thing by her Husband (God), and yet even after her wandering and disobedience and loss…AFTER she returned to His goodness, She still did not see that it was HE who gave her everything she had. The Lord truly gives, and it is His to take away. I am incredibly thankful that His sovereignty gives me rest in Him.

4 Growing Qualities of a Spiritual Leader

January 7, 2012

Contributed by Chris Rhodenhizer, Lead Pastor of Image Church

1]  You are able to handle praise and criticism – 1 Timothy 3:6

Spiritual Leaders should begin to naturally deflect praise to their teams – if they don’t have a team to deflect praise to, they are not leading anyone!  If you don’t want to experience criticism, then don’t lead, and if you just want praise, then definitely don’t lead!  I once heard that we should treat praise and criticism like gum – chew on it for a little while, but don’t swallow it – spit it out!

2]  You are able to confront conflict well – 1 Timothy 3:3 “…not violent, but gentle, not quarrelsome…”

There will be conflict – if there is not conflict nothing is going on.  When things are moving forward, changing, bringing about things that transform, there will be conflict!  People, at some point, will have conflict and bring conflict; we as Spiritual Leaders must deal with this well.  We can NEVER, EVER afford to lose our cool, to go off on people – it is never justified.  Some may tempt you to lose it, but we must remain gentle, sometimes stern, but never quarrelsome.

3]  You are able to limit your liberties – 1 Corinthians 10:23-33

We are free in Christ, as Scripture tells us, to be able to do many things, but those things should bring Him glory.  Some of us are free to write what we want, eat/drink what we want, and even go where we want to go, BUT, if you as a leader know this may specifically cause your brother or sister to stumble, then think twice.  One area we need to be especially careful with, in the 21st century, is social media. This is a great tool, but once you write it, the whole world sees it – once you upload the picture, the whole world sees it!  Spiritual Leaders need to use biblical wisdom when speaking to the masses over social media!!!

4]  You are able to assume the best – Romans 12:10

Spiritual leaders should first do this with those they lead and with those they lead with!  We should immediately assume that others had the best intentions, with whatever it is they did.  This protects us from bitterness and from always thinking the worst of others.  We should also celebrate one another.  When others experience success or they get a great opportunity, we should be happy for them and celebrate with them!  This keeps us healthy and keeps our character in tact!