Independence or Imitation?

by | Jun 15, 2018

As we have talked about before, imitation is one of the core biblical principles. We are called to imitate the example we see in Jesus. It is interesting to see how much of our human nature pushes back against this biblical value of imitation. Yet, God declared He had a plan for our lives, and the plan is, by His grace, to do the most loving thing for us – to take us from where we are today and mold us to become more and more like His Son. The apostle Paul wrote this truth: “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” (2 Cor. 3:18) Ultimately, God is most loved and glorified in us as we imitate Jesus and become increasingly like Him. Peter echoed this truth in explaining that Jesus left an example for us, so that we could follow in His footsteps. (1 Peter 2:21)

[UP] [IN] [OUT]

This past weekend, we walked through the ways of Jesus as we saw him spend time [UP] with the Father, [IN] with believers and [OUT] with the crowds. Being Jesus, the Son of God, he lived up, in and out in perfect balance. We know this because Jesus only said and did the things that the Father told him to say and do. So, how do we continually discover a more perfect balance as we live our lives that are to imitate Jesus? The apostle Paul shared this one way: “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” (1 Cor. 11:1) Paul called his disciples to imitate him (Paul) to the degree that they saw him saying and doing the things of Jesus. Every believer is to find a mentor or someone who would disciple and influence them. (2 Timothy and Titus 2)

Good Shepherd, for decades, has been imitating the ways of Jesus in the UP, IN and OUT. The last two weekends have focused on our corporate “outs.” As we celebrated our Global Outreach and Local Outreach strategies, people have significantly responded. We are joining God in what He is already doing. The passion and hunger of our church was clearly seen in the lobby through the interaction with global and local ministries. Hundreds of people signed up to take a step out to the people of Rockwood.

A Vision for Outreach

A core value of Good Shepherd continues to be generosity; more than $50,000 for Global Outreach and $10,000 for Local Outreach has already been generously given. We continue to pray that God would help us reach our goals of $92,000 for Global and $75,000 for Local. Pray with us.

Our desire in introducing the Vision Fund was to make it easier for people to reach people for Jesus, both close to home and very far away. So instead of only having a few weeks a year available for these ministries, we opened up giving for the entire year. Our overall goal for Global Outreach is $250,000.This will cover Global Outreach and Relief weekends as well as unanticipated opportunities our missionaries bring to us. The overall desire for Local Outreach is $250,000. This will cover our efforts in Rockwood as well as evangelizing and discipling younger generations. If you have any questions about how the Vision Fund distributes funds or how you can give, feel free to contact our operations pastor, Tom Lancaster. He would be happy to help you.

As we meditate on Jesus’ words, works and ways, the apostle John’s words come to mind: “The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.” (1 John 2:6) The Lord has placed us in a culture that loves independence. Yet the question is: how will we choose to use our independent thinking and acting? Will you go your own way (the road less traveled), or will you walk in the same manner Jesus walked?