Theology

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How Do I Respond to Correction: Some Diagnostic Questions

Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse,
and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury.
Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you;
reprove a wise man, and he will love you.
Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;
teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
For by me your days will be multiplied,
and years will be added to your life.
If you are wise, you are wise for yourself;
if you scoff, you alone will bear it.

Proverbs 9:7-12

In light of Proverbs 9:7-12, here are some helpful diagnostic questions for assessing if we are on the path of wisdom when responding to correction:

• Which most accurately describes you, love for the rebuke or hatred?
• How do you respond to correction/confrontation? Love or Anger? Is he a friend or an enemy to you?
• Do you listen to it and seek truth in it or get defensive and immediately have a comeback (5 things wrong in the other person)?
• When are corrected do you put out hints that this won’t happen again?
• Do you seem receptive on the outside, but on the inside you are murdering that person?
• Do you automatically think when someone corrects you they are judgmental?
• Do you immediately justify behavior or thoughts when corrected?
• Is there anything in your life that is off limits for people to touch when it comes to correction? (How would you feel if a GG leader or pastor reproving parts of your parenting? Spending? Laziness? Dress? Etc)
• Do you have relationship with anyone that has the freedom to say tough things to you?
• Does anyone in your life have permission to rebuke you?
• Do you love doing the rebuking but hate being rebuked?
• Does this keep you from being in a Growth Group?
• Do you have a false community around you? (Do you surround yourself with people who will never disagree with you? Do you only seek counsel from people who will never disagree with you?)
• Who in this church will you ask to be honest with you and correct you when needed?
• When asked by someone to correct them, will you have the courage to do so or will you let this text further make you a coward?

Resource: As we seek to let the gospel form us into wise people who can receive correction – here is an extremely helpful article on the gospel and correction by Alfred Poirer, “The Cross and Criticism.”

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Scripture Memory Plan for Philippians

“I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”
-Psalm 119:11

When we studied 1 Timothy during corporate worship last year, we encouraged everyone to memorize and meditate upon several select verses per chapter as a way to further our grasp and understanding of Paul’s letter, as well as to grow in our communion with the Lord. As we begin our study of Philippians, we would like to encourage you to engage once again in the memorization and meditation of select passages from each chapter. Below are the verses for Philippians, along with a memorization plan that may be helpful.

Feb 16- March 9: Philippians 1:6-11
March 10- March 30: Philippians 2:3-11
March 31- April 20: Philippians 3:7-11
April 21- May 11: Philippians 4:4-9

Because sanctification and discipleship are community projects, Growth Groups will be an ideal place to find encouragement and accountability as we seek to engage the Scriptures on a deeper level. “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Heb. 10:24-25).

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Friend of Sinners: A Study of Hospitality in the Gospel of Luke

You don’t need a big house to practice Gospel-centered hospitality; you just need a big heart. You need a heart set free by grace. Tim Chester says in his excellent book A Meal with Jesus “Involvement with people, especially the marginalized, begins with a profound grasp of God’s grace.”

And you need some basic biblical instruction on how to befriend people, the way Jesus Christ has befriended sinners like us. In January, we are going to spend five weeks in the Gospel of Luke examining this theme of hospitality, asking the Lord to help us learn and apply this important aspect Christian discipleship.

At IDC, we like to give the month of January to an aspect of our PEACE Plan. This year, we’ve selected the “E” for “Evangelize the World.” Hospitality is a practical way to reach out to our neighbors – both locally and globally. (It’s also a practical way to accomplish other parts of the PEACE Plan). We want to be a church that does hospitality well because we care about people who need Jesus.

So here are a few challenges for you, as you take this sermon series seriously:

    1. As a Growth Group, plan some hospitality events – chili-cook offs; board game night; host a block party; host a Super Bowl party; visit those in need; host internationals; or consider your context and make a plan, as “ordinary people doing ordinary things with Gospel intentionality.” (Timmis)

    2. As a Believer, get out of your routine and challenge yourself to show counter-cultural, Jesus-like hospitality. You may do this with your whole family, or your roommates. Invite your neighbors over; befriend that kid down the street who is functionally fatherless; go on a walk, to a restaurant, or some other public place and talk to people; coach a team and have them over to your house; get to know people in the school system and treat them to lunch or a snack; etc.

Below is the schedule for our study.

Jan 5 Luke 5:27-32 (Nate)

Jan 12 Luke 7:36-8:3 (Tony)

Jan 19 Luke 14:1-24 (Tony)

Jan 26 Luke 22:7-23 (Duce)

Feb 2 Luke 24:13-49 (Tony)

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Praying in Expectation

For several months last year, our benediction at corporate worship was from Ephesians 3:20-21. It reads, “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”

This was always a passage that seemed beyond my realm of comprehension. Perhaps this was, in part, due to the sheer magnitude of such a statement, for it makes an incredible claim about the character and work of God. But I think that at the root level, I struggled to with this passage because of unbelief. Functionally, it’s easy to live as if we don’t believe these verses are true.

It has been said before that “expressed belief + actual practice = actual belief.” So the question is: do we actually believe Ephesians 3:20-21? Do we really believe that God is able to do far more than we can even ask or think? Do we minister to the physical and spiritual needs of others with such faith in God’s character and work?

If this passage is true, then it changes everything.

If it’s true, it should change our outlook for ministry. It should leave us unsatisfied with anything less than a God-sized vision of impacting our communities. It should also change how we pray. It should lead us to pray for God to move in such a way that can only be explained by his hand at work.

If God is indeed able to do far more than we can ask or think, and if it is his power that is at work within us, then we now have great impetus to do as William Carey said – “Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.”

So what are you praying for? And what is it that you expect God to do through you? Our answers to these questions must be shaped by the truth of Ephesians 3:20-21.

If God is able to work through us to do things far greater than we can imagine, then let us live with such faith in the God we proclaim. And if God can and will do far greater things than we can imagine, then may we not settle for anything less.

by Clint Barefoot

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IDC Prayer Room, Part 2

What might an hour in the prayer room look like? This is a common. Here is what I typically do. As I walk into the prayer room I declare His promises to me about prayer. James 5:16 “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective”. Hebrews 10:19, “I have confidence to enter the Holy place by the blood of Jesus”. In short I remind myself of the promises of God in prayer, knowing that it’s because of His redeeming sacrifice that I can come into His presence with assurance that He hears my prayer regardless of my current emotional state. Next, I ask God to help me pray, to give me a heart that would pray rightly, to give me His heart in prayer. Then I begin to pray for myself, my wife, my children, my family, my friends, my church, and move outward from there. There will be some method of communicating needs of the body in the prayer room, a white board, etc. I will spend some time looking at the list and praying for the items that move my heart. I will spend some time in worship, thanking Him for who He is, what He has done, and the amazing grace that is mine in Him in the future. I will spend some time in the meditating on His Word. The Word will alternately bring me to prayer and praise. I will probably write something on the white board, a prayer request or an encouraging scripture verse. Finally, if there are other people in the room I’ll ask them if I can pray for them, not later, but right then and there. I’ll find that the hour goes by way too quickly.
In 2008 a church that I belonged to wanted to try a week of 24/7 prayer. It wasn’t a big church (~300 attendees) or a church with any history of corporate prayer. We didn’t go for a week, we ended up praying 24/7 for 96 days. People who thought they couldn’t possibly pray for an hour starting signing up for 2 and 3 hour shifts, because an hour wasn’t enough. We saw amazing answers to prayer and spending time with God powerfully changed our lives.
Here at Imago Dei, we’d like to start with 12 hours of prayer on Saturday 10/19, from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm. We will have a way to sign up for a 1 hour time slot; perhaps you’ll do it as a GG or a couple of friends, or by yourself. My prayer is that this will be the beginning of a prayer movement that will change our church, our city, our country, and our world. I know that this is only a small step, but even a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step out of the house. I have read of powerful, amazing movements of God that began when His people began to pray. Why not us? Why not now?

“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14

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IDC “Going” Training for International Missions

Christ’s command to the church is to make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19). This fundamental task of disciple-making must take us to the ends of the earth, and our hope at IDC is to equip our members for the task of going. The primary task for equipping disciple-makers is not for a mission board or a seminary (though both of these entities can play a major role), but the local church (Eph. 4). In addition, the role of sending out is also given to the local church (Acts 13). The elders of Imago Dei are therefore very excited to announce our newest training program: IDC Going.

All of our members who plan on serving in an international context are expected to participate in this equipping process, regardless of prior experience. Going is our way of building IDC’s unique DNA into our missionaries and forming strategic teams that will take the gospel of Christ wherever they go. On August 25, we will have our first gathering at the building at 6pm. During this meeting, we will lay out the plan for the 12 month program and provide members with a basic overview.

As IDC has sought to equip the saints for the work of the ministry, we have developed ways to train and instruct our members. In the past, Equip and Aspire have been instrumental in preparing our membership. The Aspire internship prepares men for the work of pastoral ministry and domestic church planting. Equip disciples members in theological as well as practical matters concerning the church and its faith and practice. However, as our church looks beyond the borders of our nation, it wants to raise up members for the task of international ministry.

In considering our church’s membership and gifting, we realize the huge desire of many to serve overseas, and our heartbeat as a church is to prepare these men and women to succeed in this Great Commission task. IDC Going is the means through which our church will select and call out men and women to serve in an international context, and it all begins this August.

IDC Going will be a 12-month international missions training program. The goal of Going will be to send out faithful missionaries all over the world to live out Imago Dei’s PEACE Plan Globally. We will do this by equipping IDC covenant members for cross-cultural ministry, developing teams from the Going participants to serve together in an international context, and sending some of our IDC Going participants to join our missionaries already on the field.

If interested, please see the attached IDC Going Overview for more information.

If you have further questions please contact Nate Akin nate@idcraleigh.com or Keelan Cook keelancook@gmail.com

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Elijah Poem By John Piper

Since we are going through Kings as a church we thought it would be helpful to share this poem by John Piper on Elijah. The audio and text are below, and this is the original location for part 1 of this four part series. Here are parts 2, part 3, & part 4.

The leather lap was smooth as moss
Where lay the little corpse across
The prophet’s knees. And camel hair
Made cradle for the toddler there
While pagan relatives stood by
The mother’s arm and wondered why
Elijah wept.

The widow’s son,
Her only child, had just begun
To love the quiet man who spent
His days in prayer, and sometimes went
For weeks alone among the hills
And mountains, where the silent rills
Flow west to Zarephath — or used
To flow, before the drought had bruised
Phoenician fields and left its brown
And barren wounds along the crown
Of Lebanon. The little boy
Had once let slip excessive joy
And said, “Do you think you could stay
And be my daddy here?” And they
Now wondered why he wept? And why
The sun had set and western sky
Turned crimson while Elijah pressed
A foreign child against his breast?
But even if they knew that there
Was love . . . that lonely prophets care,
With leather skins and camel hair . . .
That underneath, the losses tear
As deeply as a father’s grief —
But even if there was belief,
They would not know what had been pent
Up in this many layered lament.
Three times he had composed the verse,
And every time the pain was worse.
And now his memory combined
Them all and drummed against his mind:

A prophet suffers from the truth
And miracles he made.
And dies while he is still a youth,
From prayers that he has prayed.
A prophet suffers from the truth
And miracles he made.
And dies while he is still a youth,
From prayers that he has prayed.
Round and round his mind the verse
Rolled heavy like a deadly curse . . .

Is not the hope of sinners dashed
And those who spurn the Lord?
Why is a faithful prophet slashed
By wielding Yahweh’s sword?
He closed his eyes against the tears
And thought back over all the years
That he had kept himself from wrong,
And day and night had sung the song
Of David, that his heart would be
As pure as snow. And suddenly
God’s word had sounded in the plains
Of Gilead, against the stains
Of Ahab king of Israel:

“Elijah, man of God, go tell
The king there shall be neither dew
Nor rain until you give the cue.
How can the king of Israel
Take to his bed a Jezebel
From Sidon with her feeble Baal,
And dig a fountain that will fail?
Think you my spring of Life is out,
O king? Then you will have your drought!”

And so Elijah gave the word.
And his reward? The prayer was heard,
And Ahab drove him out, to hide
With neither food nor drink beside
The brook of Cherith. There he sat
Alone, afraid, and murmured at
The price of faithful prophecy:
“What does it profit here to speak
The truth and die beside a creek?”
But then God said, “You will not die.
Consider how the ravens fly:
Are they not free at my command
To go and come from Ahab’s land,
And carry here bread, meat and all
Through windows in the castle wall?
And will I not then care for you?
Consider now what I can do:
Henceforth I make of your distress
A banquet in the wilderness.”

And so the prophet’s murmurings
Were quieted with raven wings . . .
Until the brook went dry. And then
Elijah groaned, “O Lord, how can
A prophet die from prayers he prayed
And miracles that he has made?
At your command I shut the skies,
And now the thirsty prophet dies?”

“You will not die,” the Lord replied,
“But go to Zarephath and hide.
And find a widow there like you,
Who waits to die. She’s not a Jew,
She has an only son in need,
And oil enough and meal to feed
The boy and her one time and die.
Now go, and like a raven fly
To Zarephath, and there you three
Will live on what you cannot see.”

And so the prophet’s murmurings
Were quieted, with unseen things . . .
Until the boy lay dead upon
Elijah’s lap, the only son
He might have had. “What have I done
For this, O man of God? Is one
More raven ready now?” she said,
“And can it carry to the dead
Live souls when they are gone, and bring
Back life and make a mother sing?”
The words were not as harsh as might
Have been. She saw the gathering night
Around his face and knew that he
Had felt the loss as much as she.

When everyone had gone, she heard
Him whispering: “Why bear the word?
A prophet suffers from the truth,
A prophet holds a lifeless youth.
How short the life for which I prayed
And brief the miracle I made.”

And now a third time God replies,
“Elijah, tell me, is it wise
To think that every raven died,
And every jar of oil has dried,
And every time you hit the wall
Your God is tottering to fall?
O man of God, go up and pray.”

Elijah took the child and lay
Three times across the corpse and prayed
All night: “O Lord, this child you’ve made;
Have mercy now and give his breath
Again, and spare the widow death
On death. And pity me tonight.”

And when Mt. Hermon let the light
Of dawn shine through the upper room,
It had become a second womb.
Elijah took the breathing boy
Alive, and folded him with joy
Into his mother’s robe, and took
A long, long walk to think, and look
Out on the western sea, and weep
That he is loved and still could reap
Such hope when everywhere is drought
Without, and worse within: his doubt.

Elijah, come and let your light
Shine here in candle one,
For though it flicker low at night,
It rises like the sun.

And though the darkness and the dearth
May threaten life and light,
Remember God still rules the earth,
And ravens fly at night.

By John Piper

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Loose Change to Loosen Chains

Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.
Proverbs 31:8-9

People of all ages have the power to be a voice for the oppressed and stand up on behalf of victims of injustice. For our God “loves righteousness and justice” (Psalm 33:5). This month our G3 (Girls Growth Group) and M.I.T. (Men In Training) students are leading a campaign called Loose Change to Loosen Chains. They have decorated containers and placed jars around the IDC building to collect loose change. All the money that is donated will be used by the International Justice Mission to rescue victims of slavery and other forms of oppression. You can learn more about the work of IJM at www.ijm.org. Will you join them?

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Covenant Renewal and Week of Fasting

This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel…to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.
Ephesians 3:6,9-10

The Scriptures teach that through the church, God is accomplishing His redemptive purposes in the world. In light of this we write in our covenant, “the opportunity to join a local church is much more than a commitment to consistent attendance or active involvement in community. It is also a sacred call to be involved in the redemptive work of our sovereign God and to be a microcosm of the universal household of God.” Since we are called as a local church to be a micrcosm of the coming Kingdom we covenant together to hold each other accountable to this high and sacred calling. This is why we take local church membership and involvement seriously and we believe that covenanting together continually reminds us of this calling and our responsibilities.

In light of this, we want annually to renew our commitment to one another through our church covenant. First, the Elders want to renew our commitment to shepherding our people. We believe we will stand to account for this (Heb. 13) and that those under our care are given to our care by Christ, who shed His own blood to bring them into the flock. This is a weighty call, and we want to publicly remind ourselves of our commitment to you. In addition, we would like to remind our people of their commitment to IDC and one another in our church covenent. This will help us stay focused on our mission and our sacred callilng as a microcosm of the coming Kingdom.

Covenant Renewal Sunday: We will renew the covenant together during our Corporate Worship times (9 & 11am) on January 27th. During our Corporate Worship gatherings we will review the covenant and sign them again demonstrating our renewed commitment to IDC, to one another, and to the Mission.

Fasting and Prayer: We are asking our covenant members to commit the week leading up to the 27th (Jan 20-27) to prayer and fasting.

Fasting: Fasting is a time where we can consider our dependence on God, who alone provides from His gracious hand. In fasting, we are reminded that there should be nothing in this world we desire more than God and that He is better and more vital to us than our daily bread. And so we hope that our members will consider a time of discipline that week, leading up and fast. This does not mean that we think everyone should go without food for the week, but just find one or two things to abstain from that week (whether it be coffee, coke, TV, etc). It can be very helpful to replace whatever you are fasting from with a time of prayer and Scripture reading.

Prayer Topics:
Pray…
– that we would be more intentional and passionate missionaries and disciple-makers
– that God would provide relationships daily whereby we can share the gospel that changed us
– that we would be more committed to serving one another in whatever significant and seeminly insignifcant ways we can
– that we would delight in our times of corporate worship and that we would be changed by them
– that we would be intentional about building relationships in our Growth Groups
– that we would joyfully submit to our leaders (pastors and Growth Group leaders) and pray for their wisdom, holiness, and guidance
– that we would be generous and sacrificial with our time, giftings, and finances
– that we would be commited to greater unity in the body and not be gossips or those that stir up division (and that we would have the courage to stop gossip and divisive talk when we hear it)
– that we would delight in the Scriptures and seek to be changed daily by them
– that we would continually be conformed into the image of Christ through Spiritual Disciplines and that we would be more commited prayer in 2013 recognizing that it is a gracious gift to communicate with the Triune God
– that we would grow as disciples this year in loving God with our mind, heart, and sould
– that God would continue to form gospel families in our midst with sacrificial men who lead and women who are helpmates and children who are raised in nurture and care of the Lord
– that God would be gracious to allow us to plant churches all over the world, nationally and internationally and that the Elders would have wisdom of who and when to plant
– that God would continue to multiply Growth Groups and Growth Groups leaders who serve our body
– that God would show us more avenues by which we can engage the PEACE Plan: individually, as a Growth Group, and as a Church
– that we would value human life, seek just for the oppressed, and care for the fatherless
– that God would glorify HImself by adding to our number daily those who are being saved and changed by the gospel

Note on Prayer: We would encourage you to pray through these topics individually, in groups, and in Growth Groups throughout the following month and specifically that week of Jan. 20-27.

We hope to be a people who are zealous for the Mission and radical about our commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is our desire that a time of intentional prayer and fasting will lead to lives where this is just a natural outflow as we grow in Christ and our desire for Him. We hope this all leads to a community of well-equipped Missionaries and passionate worshippers. Let’s pray together during this time that our ultimate purpse in life is the glory of God and the hallowing of His name in our personal life, in our neighborhoods, in our families, and in Imago Dei Church. May the Grace and Mercy of God be with us All!

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Imago Dei Adoption Fund Launched

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
Galatians 4:4-7

A key element of the Imago Dei PEACE Plan is C: Care for the Orphan and Oppressed. If you’ve followed or attended Imago Dei Church for any length of time you’ve probably heard a lot about this important element of our ministry and mission—that as church body we desire to create and maintain a biblical culture of adoption and caring for the orphan and widow (James 1:27).

Why? First and foremost, because we believe that all human beings are made in the imago dei—the image of God—and because we love God our Creator, we should love all those created in his image. Further, as Christ followers, we know that we who were once spiritual orphans have been adopted as sons and daughters of the Most High God. What an honor and privilege! This is the impulse and foundation for all we say and do relative to adoption and orphan care. We adopt and care for the orphan because God has adopted and cares for us.

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
Romans 8:14-17

We are also acutely aware that there is much pain and suffering in this present world, and that the orphan and fatherless often suffer the most. There are over 140 million orphans living in the world right now, and many more children that are functionally fatherless. This should not be so. As for Imago Dei Church, we desire to love and care for these children by helping to rescue them from their present oppression so that they may see and hear and know the love of Jesus. Further, we endeavor to do this through various means, including encouraging adoption and foster care.

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
John 14:18

It is our hope and expectation that we will have many covenant members that desire to aid the orphan and oppressed through foster care, adoption and supporting others who are adopting and fostering. Consequently and in connection with our desire to come alongside IDC members who desire to love and care for the “least of these” (Matt. 25:40) we are launching the Imago Dei Adoption Fund. This fund, which will be administered through Lifesong for Orphans, will provide interest free loans to IDC members who desire to adopt domestically or internationally, and who require some financial assistance. While we will not be able to supply the majority of the funds necessary to complete most adoptions, it is our hope and plan that through this fund we will be able to help members with a portion of the finances they need. We look forward with eager expectation, and trust the Lord to use this fund as a means to help bring many children home to their new families.

For IDC members interested in receiving financial assistance with their current or future adoptions, please stay tuned. We are in the process of getting the fund set up with Lifesong and will be communicating more about how you can apply for a loan as soon as that process is complete. In the meantime, we have already set aside $11,000 in a new bank account that is designated exclusively for the adoption fund, and we’ve also setup the necessary logistics to allow members and others to give in support of it.

We also pray many of you will give to support this new fund – so that we can financially help multiple families carry out their desire to adopt. If you would like to do so, you can give to this fund by mailing a check to IDC, including it with your offering on Sunday morning, or utilizing online giving. Please note that your gift is for the Adoption Fund and it will be credited accordingly. For online giving, you can give through Paypal or the Online Giving option in Elexio, the IDC member web portal.

You’ll hear more about this fund, as well as other IDC initiatives to help care for the orphan and oppressed, throughout January as we continue our special series: Imago Dei – Knowing the God Who Made Us. We invite you to join us on Sunday mornings at 9 or 11 or listen online to hear more.
We are grateful to God for your past giving that made this possible, and we trust the Lord to continue to provide as He desires to support this initiative. We also pray that many of you will consider how you can support this effort through your giving and prayer, and that we will be able to see the fruit of this effort through the adoption of many of God’s children.