Impact Church

Passionately serving God and His people

Category: April Devotion 2016

Acts 27:10

Acts 27:10 …Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives. 11) Nevertheless the centurion believed the master and the owner of the ship, more than those things which were spoken by Paul.

The words of the wise are oft ignored by the unspiritual, but speak them anyway. Wise words have multiple implications, so that even if they’re presently unappreciated or unfruitful, they inevitably, in time, will be. Furthermore, words of wisdom assure the perpetual presence of the messenger, whether he’s near or far. And the counsel of the spiritual has the potential of putting the Gospel to the fore in the hustle bustle of secular life.

As heaven’s ambassadors to an oblivious and sightless world, our assignment is to bring a tangible awareness of God’s unmatched love. The richly endowed Christ, the physical embodiment of the unseen God, came in myriad ways to make that assignment visible and possible. Power, sacrifice and miracles were abundantly clear in His works; but maybe, just maybe, His words of wisdom were even greater.

So step aboard with the Apostle Paul and his 275 fellow shipmates sailing towards Rome. This spectacular voyage, recorded in Acts 27 in most intimate detail, holds volumes of practical insight into the believer’s role in an unbelieving and uninformed world. As Paul was confined to a ship with an assortment of misfits and wannabes, so our lives are lived out in the cultures and circumstances of community associations and moral obligations.

There’s no record of Paul being expert in the risky business of open seas sailing. Yet his forewarned advice to the ship’s captain on courses of action, while quite bold in presentation, carried a far more startling and uncanny view of the aftermath. It’s likely the captain’s rejection of Paul’s wisdom in sailing matters stemmed from his misinformed disconnect of spiritual involvement in earthy affairs.

It’s commonly believed now, as it was in Paul’s day, that spiritual wisdom has little relevance to earth’s daily decisions and quick-response-needed quagmires. The uninitiated assume our quality of life as believers is alien to our cosmic reality, having its weighty promises applied only to our heavenly residence. Oh, but that’s the great penalty of misunderstanding redemption’s vast coverage! As the lives of believers are invariably scoped by the doubters, our reasoning and rationales hold unfathomable influence in the rugged world of business, finances, education, or car buying! So that the soft intrusion of Grace has unlimited access to the volatile mind of the ever present skeptic.

True wisdom possesses no dictatorial intent; on the contrary. Wise words simply create new worlds of opportunity. Wise words provide alternative actions, ideas and perceptions. Wise words create cultures of hope where dungeons of darkness and despair reign. Words of wisdom spoken in governments of self and law expose the disparities, weaknesses and limitations of human understanding. More importantly, Read the rest of this entry »

Autism “Action” Month

The month of April at Impact Church is special!  As you have noticed at every worship service, we have been honoring national Autism Awareness Month.  For those who have been connected with Impact for a while, our support and ministry to children with Autism is commonplace. However, for those who are not familiar with Impact, I would like to articulate why we feel so compelled and called to serve these children and their families.

The following is a letter written by a mother of a child with Autism. Although, many of us may not know her personally, her sentiments are shared by over 900 families in Greensboro. These are stories that Sarah Altholf, Kay Davis, Norma McLamb, and Eleni Hedrick heard almost every day in the public school system. The reality is that believing families were looking for a place to worship but were unable to because of the church’s inability to accommodate the needs of their children. We became “aware” of the problem. However, we began to feel God’s stirring to not just be aware of the condition but to be active participants in the solution.

Excerpt from Autism and The Church by Amy Fenton Lee

Have you ever heard of a church that turned away a little boy because he had red hair? What if a mother was greeted at the children’s ministry check-in with news her redheaded son had to go back home? No, you can’t imagine. If any church ever sent home a child because of their natural hair color it would make the evening news!

Now, have you ever heard of a church that turned away a little boy because he was on the autism spectrum? What if a mother was greeted at church check-in with the news that her son with autism couldn’t be accommodated? Yes, you can imagine. It happens.

Did you know that the percentage of Americans with red hair is roughly equal to the percentage of 8-year-old boys diagnosed with autism? I think it’s fair to say that statistically speaking, a children’s ministry should have the same number of participating boys with autism as with red hair. That’s pretty sobering. People would go nuts (justifiably) if families of redheaded kids had to figure out which churches were “redhead friendly”. The reality is that this same scenario is happening now for families of kids with autism. While many churches are working to become special needs-friendly, there is room for improvement.

Recently a church leader said to me, “We just don’t have any kids with significant special needs in our church. We haven’t seen the need to create a ministry or think about doing anything special to accommodate students with disabilities.”

In the church world, we’re at a fork in the road. Up to now, it’s been an accepted norm that not all churches could or should accommodate kids with autism and other special needs. Realistically, churches cannot all accommodate these needs to the same degree. But times are changing. It is no longer acceptable for any church to be unaware of and unprepared to welcome families with special needs. Every church needs a plan for inclusion.

 These real-life experiences led Impact to consider what we could do to help and in that searching we found a calling that has given us immeasurably more than we have given it. As of now, Impact Church has certified teachers at every worship service that provide individual and appropriate instruction and care for children with Autism. On Sunday mornings, we have a time of worship and music specifically for children with special needs. Furthermore, we have a 7 week Impact Autism Summer Camp, culminating in the Autism Extravaganza (a big block party, outdoor celebration) that is providing acceptance, love, and resources for hundreds of children in our area. We also support and partner with several organizations in Greensboro, including Horse Friends and Autism Unbound. Praise the Lord! We are thankful for the heart of the church that makes these events and ministries possible.

To end this year’s Autism Month we are inviting everyone from Impact Church that can to participate in the Autism Unbound 5k walk/run on April 30th and to show your support for these children and families by wearing the color blue to church that weekend (April 30th & May 1st).

Lastly, as thankful as we are for all that we have been able to do, we are willing and desiring to learn and expand as we see needs increasing. Therefore, if you have any ideas as to how we can better serve children with Autism and their families please let us know. We want to be a part of the solution!

The Church’s Portal Priority

“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’”Matthew 28:18-20

Parting words are often dripping with weightiness, and the risen Lord’s marching orders to His followers before His ascension are no exception. The Great Commission instructs the disciples how to build the Church that He had founded and purchased with His own blood.

 What is important is what Jesus didn’t say. He didn’t charge the apostles to make worshipers. He didn’t call on them to find generous people who could support the movement financially. He didn’t tell them to spend their energy on faithful folks who have proven themselves to be dependable. He didn’t encourage Peter and the others to produce good parents, to build successful businessmen, or to chisel away at the imperfections of fallen humanity. He didn’t even extol the virtues of feeding the hungry, clothing the poor or healing the sick.

 No, the seminal mission of the Church – the portal priority of the people of God – is to make disciples, or followers of Jesus Christ. If we do that well, the rest will fall into place. Disciples whose lives have been transformed by the Master will become worshipers, givers, faithful devotees who will honor Him in every area of life.

 We at Impact Church love our community and work hard to foster a family atmosphere that is full of activities and entry points for men, women, teens and children. We embrace the sociable, friendly nature of our fellowship and want everyone to experience a “Welcome home!” feeling shortly after they enter our doors.

 But make no mistake: we are not a social club. We’re not the Elks Lodge. We’re not the Lions Club or the Kiwanis. With all due respect to worthy civic organizations, we are not good-deed-doers trying to produce other good-deed-doers. We are the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ! Read the rest of this entry »

I Do Not Seek What is Yours, But You

Here for this third time I am ready to come to you, and I will not be a burden to you; for I do not seek what is yours, but you; for children are not responsible to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. 2 Corinthians 12:14

Alexander the Great’s chief general, Parmenion, counseled him to attack the Persian navy in a battle off the coast of Ephesus. The Persian navy was the world’s finest. Rather than risk a loss in a small skirmish, Alexander declined the battle and instead, dismantled his navy. In a bold move, he attacked the Persian ports with his army, cutting off the Persian navy and in time, Alexander the Great had defeated more than the Persian navy: he had defeated Persia.

It is so easy to seek the lesser of something, instead the greater. Eve sought knowledge. Lot sought the good life. Esau sought a meal over a birthright and blessing. Achan sought the spoils of war. David sought a woman bathing. The Jews sought the bread of Jesus’ miracle. Judas sought 30 pieces of silver. People seek mammon over God. Stuff instead of someone. Possessions over a person.

Anyone who has lost a loved one and had to deal with their estate, their clothes, their pictures, and their possessions, will talk about the pain of the loss that an item brings back in memory; the scent of cologne or perfume will awaken the sensation of presence and remind one of the lost loved one. Death is a painful reminder that we spend too much time with things, the icons of our life, rather than with the fullness and substance of another person.

The Apostle Paul had preached the Gospel to the Corinthians and they believed. He founded the church in Corinth. He was their spiritual father. After spending a couple of years with him, Paul set out to evangelize other unreached parts of the world and the Corinthian church began to listen to other teachers, people who were critical of Paul and his ministry. The church was led astray from the purity and simplicity of the Gospel and was divided around the false teachers.

To counter the false teachers and to restore the church to its proper order, centered on the completed work of Jesus Christ, Paul made a second visit to the church. It was a painful visit. In time, the church returned to their fidelity to the Gospel. But the false teachers still had a voice in the church and in anticipation of a third visit by Paul, they accused Paul of coming to gather money from the church. There was a need for a gift to give to the impoverished church in Jerusalem – chapters 8 and 9 provide detail about Paul’s philosophy about giving – and they had set aside money for it. Paul’s true motive was challenged. The false leaders were accusing him of being interested in money.

Challenged about his motive, Paul takes it even further: he in no way will be a burden on them, seeking what is theirs, but rather, more importantly, he is seeking them. Paul didn’t want their money, Paul wanted them.

Is love going to find its gratitude? Read the rest of this entry »