Archive for February, 2012

Leading Out of Love

February 7, 2012

Contributed by Brian Shifflett, Worship Pastor at Image Church

Periodically, I turn to 1 Timothy 3 to remind myself of the type of man God has called me to be as an Overseer at Image Church.  Being a leader is not often easy, and so upholding God’s standard for my life is not only important to me…it is essential for me – essential because leaders are often required to make tough decisions and/or say tough things.  The character qualities laid out in 1 Timothy are foundational to being able to make those tough decisions and say those tough things in a godly, Christ-exalting way. 

I wonder how hard it must have been for Paul to seemingly always have to confront the early church on issues of false teachings, conduct, etc.  I could even see how some would have thought Paul to be overbearing or just plain mean.   At the beginning of 1 Timothy, we see Paul urging Timothy to stay in Ephesus so that he could address certain false teachings (1 Timothy 1:3).  More false teachings=more tough things to say=more confrontation.  Sounds like a great time, doesn’t it?  Yet, it is verse 5 that makes everything make sense.  1 Timothy 3:5 says:

The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

Paul led strong in that way because he loved people.  He loved God’s people.  He loved the church.  He loved Jesus, and he loved the Gospel.  To Paul, nothing was as important as making sure the church heard and understood the full Gospel – nothing more, nothing less.  Some of us may have had someone in our lives that has given us solid godly advice before.  Regardless of how you felt at first, aren’t you thankful for it now? 

I am thankful for Paul’s convictions out of love.  I am also thankful for leaders around me who strive to make tough decisions and say tough things out of love for people.   Of course, no one is as loving or as pure as Jesus.  But we can strive to live and love like Jesus, as we boldly defend Him like Paul did.  My prayer for Image Church is that our leaders would always stand up for the full Gospel – because the heart behind that is one of love, whether it feels like it or not.

What Do Others See?

February 1, 2012

Contributed by Shannon White, wife of Tim White, Next Gen Pastor at Image Church

Have you ever woken up in a rotten mood?  Last Tuesday, I woke up and was just plain miserable.  It was one of those mornings where no one could have done anything right.  I was so grumpy, I didn’t even want to be around myself!  I knew that I needed to get into the Word, and the sooner the better.

I had been reading in Philippians, and that morning I started reading through chapter 2.  As I was reading along, verses 14-15 were like a smack on the head.

In everything you do, stay away from complaining and arguing, so that no one can speak a word of blame against you.  You are to live clean, innocent lives as children of God in a dark world full of crooked and perverse people.  Let your lives shine brightly before them.

Wow!  My whole morning was filled with complaining and arguing with my kids.  Paul wasn’t telling the church at Philippi to do things without complaining and arguing if they felt like it.   They were to abstain from those attitudes so that others would see Jesus through their lives.

I thought about how it is important to model Jesus for the world around us.  Last year when we took our daughter Brianna to back to school night, we had to wait outside for the doors to open.  We were standing behind this couple with a daughter that was probably eight or nine years old.  The husband was miserable.  He was complaining about the teacher his daughter had the previous year, complaining that the school had too many first year teachers and so on.  We could not wait to get into the school.  Later in the school year, I saw that family again.  They had a sticker on their vehicle announcing the church they were apart of.  I would never have guessed that the man attended any kind of church.  It really made me think about how we act in front of others can impact their view of Jesus.  It can make them want what we have or can turn them away.

As I continued to think about the verses, I was reminded that I should be modeling this behavior not only for the world around me, but also for the children that God has given to me. That morning, I was far from modeling Jesus. My children are all 6 and under and have not yet given their lives to Jesus.  They are the ones I need to be modeling Jesus in front of.  I pray that I would be able to refrain from grumbling when I have not had a good night of sleep or when my children are up by six in the morning.   I pray they would instead see the fruits of the Spirit in my life.