Dads, where does your child seek refuge?

Posted February 15, 2011 by Tim White
Categories: Uncategorized

As a father of three and a fourth on the way in just over a month I often ask myself if I am a father that they can trust and find refuge in? Do I live a life that will lead them to trust and believe in Jesus? I may mess up at times in my parenting, but the worse thing I could ever do, is to lead my children to someone or something other than a life lead by Jesus. As a parent and father my number one goal should be to seek God and lead my family to do the same. I read this article by John Piper on how to be a refuge for your children and thought that it would be good to share with other parents, and especially dads that struggle with being the Godly example to their children.

“How to Be a Refuge for Your Children”
By, John Piper

If Daddy is afraid, where can a little child turn? Daddies are supposed to be safe. They are supposed to know what to do and how to solve problems and fix things and, most of all, protect the children from harm. But what happens if a child sees fear in Daddy’s face? What if Daddy is as scared as the child, and doesn’t know what to do? Then the child is utterly distraught and feels panic. He feels that the one strong and good and reliable place of safety is no longer safe.

But if Daddy is confident, then the children have a refuge. If Daddy is not panicking, but calm and steady, all the walls can come tumbling down, and all the waves can break, and all the snakes can hiss and the lions roar and the wind blow, and there will still be a safe place in Daddy’s arms. Daddy is a refuge, as long as Daddy is confident.

That’s why Proverbs 14:26 says that “his children will have a refuge,” if Daddy has a “strong confidence.” Daddy’s confidence is the refuge of his children. Dads, the battle to be confident is not just about us, it is about the security of our children. It is about their sense of security and happiness. It’s about whether they grow up fretful or firm in faith. Until children can know God in a deep personal way, we are the image and the embodiment of God in their lives. If we are confident and reliable and safe for them, they will be much more likely to cleave to God as their refuge when the storms break over them later.

So how shall we have “strong confidence”? After all, we, too, are little children, clay pots, weak and broken and battling anxieties and doubts. Is the solution to put on the best show we can and hide our true selves? That will lead to ulcers at best, and God-dishonoring teenager-repelling duplicity at worst. That is not the answer.

Proverbs 14:26 gives another answer: “In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence.” This is very strange. It says that the solution to fear is fear. The solution to timidity is fear. The solution to uncertainty is fear. The solution to doubt is fear.

How can this be?

Part of the answer is that the “fear of the Lord” means fearing to dishonor the Lord. Which means fearing to distrust the Lord. Which means fearing to fear anything that the Lord has promised to help you overcome. In other words the fear of the Lord is the great fear destroyer.

If the Lord says, “Fear not, I am with you, be not dismayed, I will help you,” (Isaiah 41:10), then it is a fearful thing to worry about the problem he says he will help you with. Fearing that problem when he says, “Fear not, I will help you, is a vote of no confidence against God’s word, and that is a great dishonor to God. And the fear of the Lord trembles at such dishonoring God.

If the Lord says, “I will never fail you nor forsake you,” so you can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid; what can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5-6) – if the Lord says that to you, then not to be confident in the Lord’s promised presence and help is a kind of pride. It puts our reckoning of the trouble above God’s. That is why we read the amazing words of the Lord in Isaiah 51:12, “I, even I, am He who comforts you. Who are you that you are afraid of man who dies And of the son of man who is made like grass?” Who are you to fear man, when God has promised to help you? So it is pride to fear man. And pride is the exact opposite of the fear of God.

So, yes, the Proverb is true and a great help to us. Fear God, dads. Fear God. Fear dishonoring him. Fear distrusting him. Fear putting your assessment of the problem above his. He says he can help. He is smarter. He is stronger. He is more generous. Trust him. Fear not to trust him.

Why? He works for those who wait for him (Isaiah 64:4). He will solve the problem. He will rescue the family. He will take care of the little ones. He will meet your needs. Fear not believing that. Then your children will have a refuge. They will have a Daddy who “has strong confidence” – not in himself, but in the promises of God, which he trembles not to trust.

Learning to fear the Lord for the sake of my children,
Pastor John

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: http://www.desiringGod.org. Email: mail@desiringGod.org.

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Teaching Kids to be the Church

Posted November 3, 2010 by Tim White
Categories: I-kids

To be the church is so much more than just going to church on Sunday mornings. As parents we need to be doing more to teach our children how to be the church not just go to church. Being the church yourself and teaching that to your children is more important than getting them to simply go to church on Sunday. Helping them find opportunities to serve others, will do just that. Learning to help others will encourage them to be the church.

I was encouraged by the number of children in our i-kids that had a heart and desired to help others in need. We studied initiative last month and I saw God work in the hearts of our children. They understood that being the church is about serving and loving others. We need to be giving our children examples and opportunities to live as the church.

The next three weeks of November we are offering an opportunity for our children to serve others by helping take care of a need that children in our area may have. We will be collecting coats for kids to give to the acts shelter to distribute to children in the Dumfries area that need a warm coat for the winter.

Talk and pray with your child about how they can be the church, by donating a coat that will help someone in need. We will be collecting coats at Image Church this Sunday the 7th through November 21st.

If you have any questions feel free to contact me at twhite@imagechurch.com

 

I-kids Taking Initiative

Posted October 18, 2010 by Tim White
Categories: I-kids

Initiative: Seeing what needs to be done and doing it.

Throughout the month of October our i-kids have been looking at taking initiative with the needs that they see around them. In our Discovery Land classes (k-6th grades) we have been going through the book of Nehemiah.

God worked through Nehemiah in taking care of the needs of His people. Nehemiah was given a compassionate heart that broke for those who suffered and needed help. We live in a wold that is full of suffering and needs just as Nehemiah did. Just like He did with Nehemiah, God uses His people to care for and help those who are in need and suffering. God desires us to see the needs of others and take initiative in doing something about it. So often we get caught up in our own lives that we become blind to the pain and suffering of others around us. Our goal throughout the month is to teach our children in i-kids to be able to see the needs around them and to take initiative in doing something about it. To have the same heart that God has. A heart for others, a heart that would drive us to think about those around us and not always about ourselves.

We have discussed many ways and opportunities that our kids could help others, and many of our kids have given examples of how they have or could take initiative in helping out others. There were many examples of how they could help out in their homes, in their neighborhoods, or at school, but one thing that hit the children has been the homeless. God has laid on the hearts of our kids those who have lost their homes, especially families with kids. Their heart for kids without homes has helped us put together a way that they can take initiative with a solution to the needs that kids without homes may have.

The Orange team that put’s together the curriculum we use in our i-kids, has offered an opportunity to take part in helping with a need of many children. That need is a coat to keep them warm during the winter months. Through the month of November our i-kids will take part in Coats 4 kids, a coat drive to provide winter coats to children. Check out the details below and I pray that you as a parent will encourage and pray with your child about helping out children in need with a coat to keep them warm this winter.

As we head into the month of November, we are going to be talking to the children of i-kids about how God takes care of him/her. God also asks us to take care of others. This year, we are going to ask our i-kids to bring in a brand new, or gently-used clean coat. Starting November 7th through the 21st we will be collecting coats. We will then give the coats to the ACTS shelter in Dumfries to give to a child in need.

Sunday’s i-kids Reflection

Posted October 12, 2010 by Tim White
Categories: I-kids

We had a great Sunday in our i-kids

  1. We had a few new families checking out the church for the first time as well as other returning visitors. It’s always exciting to see new families and kids joining us at i-kids.
  2. We continued our second week on “Initiative” in our Discovery Land classes, k-6th grades. We have been looking at the life of Nehemiah and how he took initiative in the rebuilding of the walls and gates that protected Jerusalem.
  3. We made some changes within our 3rd-6th grade classes this past Sunday that worked out well for us. We will continue to have the 3rd-4th grade class gather in the old 5t-6th grade class and the 5th-6th grade class gather in the hall were the 3rd-4th grade class previously gathered. With the number of kids that gather in each class this works out better for us.

Each week our i-kids are sent home with God time papers to work through at home with their parents. I encourage that you take the opportunity to work with your child at home. Remember as a parent you have the greatest influence over your child, and sharing with your child what they learn about in i-kids will have a lasting impact in their life.

The New “I-kids Connection”

Posted October 8, 2010 by Tim White
Categories: I-kids

Welcome to the new “I-kids Connection” blog. I pray that through this site the church and parents of i-kids at Image Church will become more connected with what is going on within i-kids.

What you will find here:

  • Updates on how God is working in the lives of His children
  • What is being taught in the classrooms each month
  • Events and projects
  • Resources
  • How you can become involved
  • Needs and so much more

As the Next Generations Pastor, I look forward to being able to connect with you, the parents, as we work together in raising up future generation of the church.

Wealth and Possessions

Posted February 17, 2010 by Tim White
Categories: Uncategorized

For the past month our POD Groups at Image Church have been going through or have already finished a book study of Randy Alcorn’s “The Treasure Principle”. This book has been a great blessing to my family. We have a better understanding of our finances and the possessions that we have. I pray that the rest of our church body here at Image church has a better understanding of this as well.

At our POD Group in Stafford we discussed chapters three and four of the book. In chapter three Randy hits on how our wealth and possessions should be used wisely for our future. Not our future here on earth, but the future we will have in Heaven for eternity. To help get his point across with this Randy touches on a parable found in Luke called “The Parable of the Dishonest Manager”. As a group we read through this scripture to try and understand what Jesus was trying to teach us through this parable and why Randy was referring to it here. We quickly found it to be a hard parable to understand. One of the questions we left this passage with was, Why would the manager be praised for the misuse of his masters wealth and possessions and how does this passage relate to us today?

I found myself unable to sleep following our POD Group. I couldn’t get this passage out of my head. I desired to understand what Jesus was trying to get across to His disciples then and us today. Why did Randy feel that this passage was important to include in his book? So as I sought after answers I came across this lesson by Brent Kercheville pastor of Haverhill Road church of Christ. This is what Brent shares from this passage. As it has helped me to understand better what Jesus was saying here, I pray that it will help those of you who read this to understand it as well.

The Parable of the Dishonest Manager (Luke 16:1-15)

Introduction

Luke records for us a very unique parable that has caused many problems in trying to understand. This is one of the few times where someone’s dishonest actions seem to be praised by Jesus. Because of this dilemma, Luke 16 has become an often ignored parable that Jesus spoke to his disciples. So let us consider the story Jesus tells and determine the key teaching of Jesus.

The Parable

1He also said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his possessions. 2And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’

Jesus sets up the parable with a rich man who received an accusation that his manager was squandering the rich man’s possessions. The manager is called in to give an account of his management and is informed that he will no longer serve as the manager. As we begin, we need to see that the manager is charged with mismanagement. He was misusing the owner’s possessions and because of this mismanagement, the oversight of the master’s possessions would be removed. I believe this is our first important key to understanding the parable.

3And the manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. 4I have decided what to do, so that when I am removed from management, people may receive me into their houses.’ 5So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6He said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ 7Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’

The manager now has a problem. He realizes that he cannot go perform hard, manual labor. He also recognizes within himself that he is too ashamed to beg. Verse 4 is our second key: the manager comes up with a plan so that when he is removed from management, he will be welcome onto other people’s homes. The manager is going to make preparations to stay somewhere when he loses his job and is out on the street. Verses 5-7 describe the manager’s plan. He goes to the people who have debts to his master and tells them to cut their debts. The debtors do not know that the manager is pulling one over on the master and being dishonest. They simply think that the manager is acting on behalf of the rich man and that grace is being extended. The reason the manager does this is so that he can be found in favor with these debtors when he loses his job so that he will be able to stay with them.

8The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light. 9And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings. 10 “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. 11If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? 12And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? 13 No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

Now, what comes in verses 8-13 is the difficulty people have with the parable, so let us examine what Jesus is saying closely. The master, when he finds out what this unrighteous, dishonest manager did, praises the dishonest manager. But carefully notice that the manager is not praised for being dishonest. The manager was praised for acting “shrewdly.” Other translations say “astutely.” The middle of verse 8 is the third important key to understanding Jesus’ teaching: “For the sons of this age are more shrewd in relation to their own kind than the sons of light.” Jesus simply points out that people of the world can sometimes act smarter than the people of God. Now Jesus is going to have to help us understand how that can be. In verse 9 Jesus is going to tell what the people of God ought to do by drawing a parallel to what the people of the world do.

9And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.

In verse 9 Jesus says that we are to make friends through money. Many of the versions use the phrase “unrighteous wealth” or “dishonest wealth” which leads to confusion. The Greek word is “mammon”, and the NKJV keeps that word in the version. Jesus uses this word so that we will know spiritually what He is talking about. Jesus is speaking about physical money. Jesus is talking about our possessions, our wealth, our money, and all that we have gained physically. Some translations make it sound like we are to be making the money through unrighteous means, but the translations are misleading and such a concept is not the intention of the Greek language. We are to use our wealth to “make friends” (vs. 9). But Jesus is not saying to make friends on earth with money, but to make friends in heaven with the money we use. No one on earth can give us eternal home. So clearly Jesus is speaking about friends in heaven, or those who can offer us a home. In short, Jesus is speaking about us becoming friends with God so that he will give us an eternal home.

The dishonest manager was shrewd enough to realize that he needed to make preparations for himself. The praise is not that he did it dishonestly nor that he was squandering possessions. The reason Jesus tells a story about a dishonest person is to make a point for emphasis. If worldly, unrighteous, dishonest people are smart enough to make preparations for themselves on earth, why aren’t the sons of light making preparations for themselves in “eternal dwelling?” So how does using our money, wealth, and possessions on earth make an eternal home? The explanation to this question is given by Jesus in verses 10-12.

“Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you?” This is the first principle that Jesus gives as an explanation about how the use of our wealth prepares for us eternal homes. Jesus stated the principle very plainly: showing faithfulness with the riches of this world will show our faithfulness for the true, eternal riches. If we have been shown to be trustworthy with worldly wealth, then we will be trustworthy for the riches of God. The second principle is similar to the first: “And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?”  If we cannot found trustworthy with the riches that God has given us, why would God give us our own riches in heaven? God will not commit His true riches to us if we have been untrustworthy with earthly wealth.

So what was shrewd about the dishonest manager? It was not his unrighteousness nor his dishonesty what was being praised. The rich man praised the manager because he saw that he needed to make preparations for his destination. He knew that he was going to need a place to stay because he lost his job. Have you made plans for your eternal destination? This is the point of the story: everyone knows to make preparations for a place to stay on earth. We do not move somewhere without planning for a place to live. We do not go on vacation without having a plan for somewhere to stay. But people are not making plans for their final destination. No one is thinking about his or her eternal dwellings and that is foolish.

Now this is a stinging parable because we do not like the thought that how we use our earthly wealth matters to God. We want to think that this money is ours and that how we use our possessions and our money is strictly our choice and has no bearing on our souls. But Jesus is giving us a sharp reminder that the use of our money and possessions does matter to God. What we fail to see is that we act just like the dishonest manager because we forgot what the manager forgot: the money is not ours. The wealth is not ours and we will be accountable for the wealth we have received. This is how the very story begins and was our first key to the story. The manager acted like he could manage the money any way he liked and forgot he would have to report for his actions. When is the last time you and I thought about giving a report to God for how we handled our wealth and possessions?

So, how do you handle your wealth and possessions:

1.  Are we selfish with our money or are we selfless? Do we spend our money on others or do we spend it ourselves? We need to think about how God would want us to use the wealth we have received from Him. We need to think about how God wants us to use our money.

2. Do I hoard money or do I cheerful give? Do I think of everything as “mine, mine, mine?” You know, two year olds act that way about their toys. Are we any better? How do I think of money: is it mine or is it God’s? (NASB)

Lesson adapted from sermon by Brent Kercheville

Man “created to lead”

Posted July 14, 2009 by Tim White
Categories: Uncategorized

One of the greatest controversies in the world, dates back to the creation of man and woman. This controversy that lead to the fall of man, is the roles that God created man and woman for. God created specific roles for each. Though they were different by appearance and roles, they were both created equal in the image and likeness of God. Mark Driscoll says it best in his book “A book you’ll actually read, On Church Leadership” when he writes “In the same way that a right hand and left hand are different but equally necessary.” Since we are made male and female in the image and likeness of God, it is best shown by man and woman functioning together as equal partners. In the same way that the Trinity works where we see God the father, God the Son, and God the Spirit functioning as one with different roles.    

If you have ever wondered why there are so many complications in marriages and a divorce rate that is on the rise. If you have a struggling marriages, and don’t know how to correct it or where to turn. Than look no further. All you need to do is look to your creator, your God. The biggest problem we face in our marriages is that we ourselves, drift from the roles that we are created for. So what are these roles? To find them you need to go back to the beginning. When God first created man.

The creation of man given to us in Genesis 2, we see how God brought both man and woman to existence, the roles that they were given, and how they were made whole coming together performing those roles as one. 

1) The first thing that we see is that God made man first. (Gen. 2:7) This established him as the leader responsible for the rest of creation. 

2) Second we see that God sees that things are not good with man. (Gen. 2:18) God saw that man needed a helper fit for him. Equal, but lead by man.

3) Third we see God create a helper for man. This helper was created from man’s own bones. (Gen. 2:21,22) This shows the woman’s dependence upon man.

4) Fourth we see that God permitted man to name this helper (woman) showing the authority over her. (Gen. 2:23) Just as he had authority over all the other creations that God created on the earth.  

So why are things so screwed up today? Why do we see marriages struggle and fall apart today, and all throughout time? For that we look in Genesis 3: 1-7 and the introduction of Satan as a serpent. 

1Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'” 4But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 7Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

The first sin we see is the woman’s attempt to over step her role, putting herself above man. Her actions to act on her own without her husband shows woman’s desire to do what feels best to them. That is hard to do in the role they were created in. Created to be a helper, woman naturally seek ways to help others trying to make things better. Why ells would Satan seek her out, trying to convince her that their lives would be better if they were all knowing just as there creator (God) is.

The second sin that we see here is the Mans cowardice to lead and stand up for his wife who was being deceived. He stood silent watching as the serpent lead his bride to disobey God. Mans lack to stand up and lead in their homes, causes their wives to naturally step up to take the lead. This ultimately causes conflict and disorder in the home. Men can not pass the role given to them by God on to their wives. They were not created to be in that role. We saw what happened when Adam didn’t stand up as the leader and protecter of his bride. 

The first thing that man needs to do is get right with God. Because of the sins of Adam and Eve we are all separated from God. Second, you need to know and understand the role that you are in. A leader of the home under the rule and guidance of God. Only He can give you the strength and courage to lead, protect, and provide for your family. 

Marriages are tuff and will always need to be worked on as man and woman struggle to find the correct balance between one another, to live as one. It will only get harder if the order of control is not established first and always kept in check. (God, Man, Woman) God should always be first in a marriage and man should lead the home with the help of his wife. (woman) Man cannot lead a Godly home if he refuses to rely on God first. Then lead his wife and children to do the same.

If you are a male out there struggling to lead your home it’s time you stepped up to the plate. Search your heart to see where God is and start living as He created you to.