ICYouth: Living Beyond the Red Tape (Grant)

Thank you for your generosity to our one-fund, Accelerate. Because of your geneorsity, we are able to share stories of how God is changing lives! Every Friday, one of our student bloggers shares how God is working in his or her life. Leave some encouragement by commenting?

By Grant Everly

The concept of eternity is something quite incomprehensible. Every time I try to wrap my mind around it I just become more overwhelmed and amazed by God. As Christians, we know that eternity is something we should live for, yet when it comes to practically applying this principle to our lives we often don’t know where to start.

I was having a meeting with the FCA “coach” at my school today and he introduced me and some fellow student s to a Francis Chan video in which Chan illustrates the gravity of the concept of eternity. Please take a few minutes to watch the video:

I love the idea of life on earth being those two little inches of red tape. Constantly I find myself being consumed by those two inches, yet when I take a step back to think about this, I realize just how ridiculous I must look to God. It does seem pretty silly- doesn’t it? When we consider that the “rope” goes on forever, we look like absolute fools when we pause to examine where our priorities are. We become so fixated on the here and now, all the while neglecting our promise to live for eternity.

For me personally, I definitely need to be reminded of this more often. My actions and priorities are often trivial when compared to the vastness of eternity, and I think a very practical way to make sure I’m not living for the present is to diagnose where the areas of my life fall on the rope. Chances are, if they fall on the red tape, I probably don’t need to pay a ton of attention to them, and additionally, for my priorities that lie beyond the red tape, I must make sure that I never allow these to become irrelevant in my life. In fact, I need to be very proactive in making sure I’m always living for those priorities.

In the weeks to come, I’m sure this area will be on my heart a lot, and my hope is that I’ll begin to weed out the things in my life that have little to no eternal impact on my life. My hope is that we will all be able to do this. We can’t allow ourselves to fail in the realm of living for eternity, so hopefully Chan’s metaphor will be a practical reminder of where we’re called to have our priorities.

Grant Everly is a junior at Warren Township High School and regularly attends church with his family and iMPACT on Sunday nights. He plays soccer, enjoys sports and has passion for learning more about Christ and growing in Him.

World Outreach – Operation Christmas Child

-3The Operation Christmas Child Leadership Team consists of 18 people from Immanuel who are fearlessly led by Susan Schmidt and Connie Pfeifer.  They meet year-round to work on fundraising, acquiring new donations, watching for sales, planning the packing party and running all of the Prep events throughout the year.

Immanuel has been involved with OCC now for almost 20 years.  Most recently, they’ve been hosting  packing parties instead of everyone just doing boxes on their own.  Their goal for this year is 5,013 shoe box gifts The team has given these boxes the nickname, GOSPEL OPPORTUNITIES, since the shoe boxes are a tool to presenting the Gospel to the children.  Inventory has been collected all year and is organized and stored in the church basement.  The team tries their best to include “staples” in each box – which is toothbrush, toothpaste, bar soap, crayons (or markers or colored pencils), notebook, pens, pencils, sharpener, candy, stuffed animal and of course, a toy.  They also encourage members to write a letter or put a picture in the box.

-4OCC encourages a $7 per box donation to cover shipping the boxes to the children and for the Gospel Booklet that accompanies the shoe box gift.  This year they are hosting benefit nights at Wendy’s, had a garage sale, and used M&M tubes as a tool to have people save quarters for shipping. Each tube filled is $14 and will cover shipping for 2 shoe boxes. People can donate items or money for us to shop.  People can always donate to shipping!

The packing party is a Community Event and members are encouraged to invite others along.  They will have special invites available on 10/20/13.

Want to volunteer??

  • Wrapping Party – October 19 from 9-Noon in Surf City.  We will be wrapping empty shoe boxes, sharpening pencils, writing letters and a few other jobs to prepare for the big packing party.
  • Final Prep Party  will be on Saturday, November 9 from 9-1 pm.
  • Packing Party – Saturday, November 16 from 9-4. No lunch-type food is available, only holiday treats by donation.

-2Overall Global goal is 9+ million.  Last year the organization hit the milestone of collecting/sending over 100 million shoe box gifts since 1993.

Thank you for your generosity to our one-fund, Accelerate. Because of your generosity, we are able to share God’s love with those who have never heard! 

The Monday After: Fully Devoted: Knowing and Obeying Scripture, part one {Sheryll}

You know that Sunday feeling, right?

We leave church inspired and filled with Truth and encouragement on Sundays … and somewhere along the course of the week, pieces of the message tend to fade and we often lose that Sunday feeling.

The Monday After {the Sunday Sermon} carries the Sunday message into Monday mornings by sharing how what we’ve heard on Sunday morning is making a difference in our Mondays, our weeks, our lives. Because of your generosity to Accelerate, we are able to share these stories! Thank you!

The Monday After Sunday, October 14, 2013 : Fully Devoted, Knowing and Obeying Scripture, part one {click HERE to listen!}

By Sheryll Belonga

Think about the times you spent studying while you were in school.

Now I don’t mean the cram sessions; I am talking about the more intentional times when you disciplined yourself to study. You set aside the time and gathered the necessary tools and you began the process.  Eventually you retained enough information to get through your classes, and inevitably some of it became a part of you.

Now let’s talk about God’s Word. Studying God’s word is similar in that, it too, requires discipline, time and tools, and there is also a process — cram sessions with God’s Word just don’t cut it when we are trying to grow into spiritually mature disciples who know more than the text book answers.

Becoming spiritually mature is also a process and it requires spending time with God and in the word of God.  Many times Christians believe that simply reading the word is enough.  But it is through studying the word that we have greater retention and are able to stand when storms come, that we are able to navigate the testing times of life that hand us essay questions rather than multiple choice.

Pastor Joe blessed us by giving us what he called the “Devotional Method of Bible Study.” But before we can use this method we must first accept the Bible as authority in our life, and in order to accept the Bible as authority we must remove all other sources that claim authority such as the culture, tradition, human reasoning and our emotions.

I don’t know about you but for me emotions were and at times still are a big authority in my life. In the past my feelings would determine my actions more often than not. Because I realize this is a struggle for me I pray about it when it arises and give that authority to God.  It isn’t always easy because my flesh can be strong, but I know that when I submit I will have peace.

Once we submit to the right authority, we begin the process of learning to study the Bible through prayer and meditation.  As Pastor Joe put it, to meditate is not to empty the mind but rather to fill the mind with scripture.  He gave us four ways to meditate on scripture: picture it (imagine what you are reading in your mind), pronounce it (say it over and over each time emphasizing a different word), personalize it (make it your own) and lastly probe it (ask questions to dig deeper into the scripture helping you to apply it).

In the probing part of meditation, he gave five questions we could ask using the acronym SPACE:

S – sin (Is there any sin to confess?)

P – promise (Is there a promise to claim?)

A – attitude (Is there any attitude to change?)

C – command (Is there a command to obey?)

E – example (Is there an example to follow?)

These steps will enable us to grow closer not only in our knowledge of God but in our relationship with Him.  Pastor Joe closed his message by challenging us to set aside an hour each week to study the Bible.  Now I know that an hour may seem like a long time but think about it this way, have we got anything “better” to do.

If an hour in the Bible will interrupt our routines then maybe those routine needs changing.

Are you willing to take the challenge?  I know I am because this life isn’t a fill-in-the-blank test for which we can cram and pencil in the “book” answers. It’s a journey requiring true knowledge that can only be acquired through quality time in God’s word.

Sheryll Belonga is wife to Jurrell and homeschooling mom to their three great boys. Her hearts desire is to glorify God in all she says and does in spite of life’s daily happenings.

ICYouth: We All Need a Donna {Gracie}

Thank you for your generosity to our one-fund, Accelerate. Because of your geneorsity, we are able to share stories of how God is changing lives! Every Friday, one of our student bloggers shares how God is working in his or her life. Leave some encouragement by commenting?

by Gracie Adamek

Last Sunday at iMPACT, our incredibly lovely youth pastor, Josh Petersen, spoke about a woman named Donna.

Donna is a woman who encourages others with her wisdom, loves with her whole heart and is in a very close relationship with God. She is the first person Josh will go to when he needs guidance or reassurance. She is always there for their whole family. There is nothing Donna would not do for someone who was in need.

So Josh posed this question: Do I have a “Donna” in my life? Do I have someone who encourages me to walk in prayer or to dive into the Word on a regular basis? Do I have someone who encourages me to just be a better me?

Do you? It’s SO important to find that person in your life.

It’s true that God can do all of that, but I also think it’s God heart for us as Christians to meet together and share struggles — to weep together and to pray together or to rejoice and praise God and lift each other up!

Most of us have more people who pull us down rather than push us toward God. But we need the opposite! We need to surround ourselves with the kind of friends that will do the latter.

Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “Let us think of ways to motivate one another with acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near”.

Last Sunday Josh said, “There’s something about meeting together that makes us feel like we can do this.” Life gets tough. I don’t know a single person who would disagree with that.

Josh brought up another truth, too, when he spoke about who we surround ourselves with: Scary movies are scariest when you’re alone. Life is a scary movie. We are not meant to be alone.

This may mean that we need to open up and be vulnerable, raw and real, but that could be what it takes to receive and give what is needed.


God wants us to have people in our lives who help us get through.

We all need a Donna.

Snapshot_20121212Gracie Adamek is a senior at Lakes Community High School. She enjoys singing, acting and spending time with friends! Gracie is so grateful for this opportunity and hopes to glorify God 100% through this!