The Monday After: Son of God, Son of Man {Sheryll}

You know that Sunday feeling, right?

We leave the church building 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,April 27, 2014 : Son of God, Son of Man {click HERE to listen!}

By Sheryll Belonga

It was her third offense.  She had already been in front of this judge before, and he told her that the next time the outcome would not be in her favor.  As she walked into the courtroom her head hung low.  You could see the shame and the guilt that weighed upon her.  She lifted her head as she got close to her seat and you could see the tears that were welling up in her eyes.  She tried to hold them back but the fear of her impending consequence overwhelmed her.  Thoughts ran through her mind of how foolish she was to do the same thing over and over again.  It was as if there was something pulling her in the wrong direction while at the same time something else tugged at her heart.  At times the temptations were too strong, and she could not resist, thus leading her once again down the path of destruction.
Photo courtesy of Amanda Cass.
Photo courtesy of Amanda Cass.
The officer of the court asked everyone to rise and prepare for the entrance of the judge.  Around the room were those who bore witness to her crimes as well as those who hoped for mercy to be bestowed upon her.  The judge entered the room and allowed everyone to be seated, everyone that is, except her.  She stood there shaking, so weak from the pain of disappointment that troubled her soul.  She felt empty and broken beyond repair. 
 
The judge asked her if she had representation.  She desired to have someone present that could support her and plead her case but no one would do it.  Most agreed that it was time for her to suffer the consequences of her actions.  She opened her lips that were wet from the tears that had fallen around her face but before she could speak a gentleman walked into the room.  He spoke up and said that he would go before the judge on her behalf.  Her vision was blurred from her tears so this person wasn’t clear to her yet.  As he walked closer she was surprised to see that he wasn’t a lawyer at all but a regular person.  She wanted his help but how could someone who looks just like her go before someone so powerful.
The man spoke softly but you could feel the authority in his voice because the room grew quiet and listened intently.  He said he understood her challenges and he knew her struggles.  He confessed that he had been tempted just as she and he felt her fears.  He admitted that living life without breaking a few rules wasn’t easy, and he knew her heart.  He knew that she wanted to do the right thing as a battle raged on inside her and that he had the answer.
He turned to her and told her that if she would trust him he could give her some help.  He could place someone in her life that would walk with her along the way.  He said that he would place escape routes all around her that would allow her to quickly leave any situation.  All she had to do was choose.  She accepted his offer still unsure of what the final outcome would be.  Then turned to face the judge who was about to reveal her destiny.
In her mind she thought clearly there was no way the judge would give her another chance.  The gentleman spoke well but this wasn’t her first offense.  The judge cleared his throat to break the silence that filled the room and then unexpectedly, said three powerful words to her, “you … are … free.”

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: Celebration (Makenna)

Thank you for your generosity to our one-fund, Accelerate. Because of your generosity, 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 Makenna Nahorniak

I feel so deeply that it’s easy to slip into a routine. Get up, get work done, fall asleep, linger in bed on early mornings, slowly wake and wait for the next day to disappear. Faith is forgotten, and sometimes, Christians get bored. We forget about the hope. We forget to stop for a second and celebrate the One who brought us back to life.

Easter Sunday seems to be a day of new beginnings. I woke up and felt a renewed, deep sense of joy that comes from simply knowing that my Redeemer lives. There’s something about that wonderful day that leaves me awestruck.

Boredom creeps in when we cease to celebrate; when we cease to sit still and let our hearts radiate praise.  When we cease to soak ourselves in the joy that the Father richly instills in us, we become weary and distracted. We lose sight of the good and dwell on the bad.

Let us not lose sight of celebration.

Let us live in a constant state of jollification. Jollification by definition means “A lively celebration with others.”

I believe that the Church should be a people of jollification.

We can be characterized as a people of lively celebration because when our Lord met us where we were and rescued us, He didn’t leave time to mourn for long.

We can celebrate because when Mary Magdalene traveled to the tomb on the third day, Jesus’ body was nowhere to be found.

“And he said to them, ‘Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him.” Matthew 16:6

The same Spirit that lives in us raised Christ from the grave, beating death once and for all, forever giving us a reason to be overwhelmed by joy and admiration of His name.

He has awakened our souls and revived our dry bones, yet we drag along in our faith as if this life-changing truth has no significance at all. I think it’s time to return to lives of celebration. It’s time to restore the Church to a state of jollification.

He must be celebrated. His presence in our lives is worth acknowledging. He has done great things, and He isn’t finished yet. Jesus’ resurrection was more than just a miracle. Jesus’ resurrection is the reason that we can stand in faith, before a God who has conquered death itself. If death had not been beaten, we’d still be chained.

His resurrection has released us. It’s time to let loose and celebrate. We are free indeed.

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36

Makenna Nahorniak is a junior at Christian Life School. She enjoys leading worship, singing, reading, writing and using her words to encourage others’ hearts. 

The Monday After: The Resurrection Changes Everything {Anita}

You know that Sunday feeling, right?

We leave the church building 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, April 20, 2014: The Resurrection Changes Everything. {Listen HERE)

By Anita Everly

My aisle seat in the solemn sanctuary was stilled in pitch black when the spotlight burst on, not on stage, but beside me.  Eyes blinked, adjusting to the harsh brightness from behind.

My 15-year-old ears could barely take in the accompanying auditory overload. Whips snapping against the floor, following seconds behind by the screams of the young men in Roman garb. They were relentless giants and my body flinched at every crack of the whip and shout of their callous mouths.

My head sternly forward, I was strengthening for the moment they passed by my peripheral, but they were not the first thing I saw.

The tip of the old rugged cross slowly came into sight with Jesus heaving underneath the weight, his crown of thorns jolting back with each strike on his already bloodied and bruised back. The exhale of his breath met the tears that flowed hot from my eyes and the rear Roman soldier’s sash hit my shoulder as he lifted his arm towering above my head to bring down another blow.

That was the day the crucifixion became more than a cross for me. The day His love for me penetrated my life with the gravity of what He endured because of me.

I realized just this holy week that while I have lived as if my sins were forgiven and Christ died to pay the price, I have continued to carry around the consequences, my guilt and shame.

While the Word and preachers have made it clear that Jesus took away my sins, the guilt and shame associated with these, I have compartmentalized and allowed them to linger in my heart. Though I’ve sung “Jesus paid it all,” I fail to live in the truth of “all.”

We are all plagued by the sins of our humanness daily. More than likely, just like Lisa who shared her beautiful story, you have tried to “get clean” too. Whether we battle addiction, deception, pride, laziness, self-sufficiency or unashamedly revel in our sins, we all need to get clean.

And I couldn’t have loved Lisa’s words more: “I had stopped using drugs, but I had not allowed myself to start healing because I was trying to heal myself. And that’s not the way it works.  It works by accepting that Jesus Christ died not just for all of us, but for me.  And I felt all the stains washed from me.”

girl-field-of-yellow-flowersWhether it’s our fresh belief or a seasoned faith that needs to take hold and run full into His freedom and grace, we need to yield to His resurrection power and let him do the work we were never intended to do.

We were never meant to carry these sins or their guilt and shame. They were crucified on the cross and buried with Him.   And on the third day He arose. The words of the Scriptures and prophets were fulfilled as all darkness of Friday was defeated by the King of kings, our Sunday King.

None before or since has unleashed such power.

When we move toward being Sunday’s child, we live in a hope that is eternal and rest in His power, instead of fight in our own.

It is in Sunday that we can truly know the truth that by His stripes we are healed—of all.

It’s the Monday after.

Are you living in Friday or Sunday today?

Anita Everly is the wife of David and mom to their three sons.  She can be found watching the lives of her men unfold, creating a home, and encouraging other women in life and motherhood.  She is striving to live life on purpose because she is crazy in love with the One who is crazy in love with her.

 

ICYouth: The Power of Story (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

I’d consider myself a more “intellectually driven” person. What I mean by this is that I love all things “thinking.” Especially in the realm of faith proof is huge for me; if I’m not continually questioning and better articulating my beliefs, then I begin to feel I’m cheating both God and myself in my walk with Him. Luckily, for critical thinking Christians there is a wealth of evidence for the existence of God in the realms of philosophy, science, history and morality. While all this proof is convicning, for many of my early high school years I missed out on one of the most compelling proofs of the gospel. That compelling piece of evidence is, ironically, the gospel.

Jesus Christ has the power to radically change people in a way that nothing else can. This past Sunday at both impact and the Sunday all-church service we were all witnesses to this as we watched our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ be baptized.

For many of my earlier years as a Christian I neglected just how powerful the stories we heard last Sunday are. When we listen to the testimonies of people whose lives have been changed we are witnesses to the amazing healing and restoring power of the gospel. Christ brings wholeness in a way that nothing else in our world can. He brings healing to things we would often think incurable. He brings life to that which is dead. He brings joy to those who are beaten down and deflated. He brings peace to those struggling amidst a volatile and scary world. He brings hope to those who are crushed by doubt, and he brings restoration to that which is broken and battered beyond repair.

This is proof of God so compelling that it puts all doubts to rest. Christ and the message of the gospel do things that simply don’t happen naturally and thus provide the most convincing evidence for God the world has ever seen.

When better than this weekend, Easter weekend, to recognize the death that made healing, wholeness, joy, and peace possible. What better day to recognize the amazing and powerful evidence for God that we see in all of our redeemed friends and family.

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.

The Monday After: Approaching the Cross {Hyacynth}

You know that Sunday feeling, right?

We leave the church building 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} is our attempt to carry the Sunday message into Monday mornings by walking together and 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, April 13, 2014 {Listen to the message HERE!}

By Hyacynth Worth

I listened to their stories, and I heard not only words.

I heard desperation. I heard hopelessness. I heard pain and fear.

image

 

“I thought I was going to die in my sins …”

“I am standing here but by the grace of God …”

“I asked God for a sign to show me where to go …”

“So what took me so long … I don’t know … ”

“I went out to a courtyard and screamed, ‘Ok, God, it’s just you and me. Now what do I do …'”

“This is a story about how He made a blind man see .. a story about how he rescued a man … and that man was me …”

 

But mostly, louder and clearer than anything, I heard Jesus.

I heard, “Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” {Matthew 11:28}

“My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” {Matthew 11:30}

And I heard “For God so loved the world he gave his only son so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” {John 3:16}

I heard Him calling out through their stories, wooing both His followers and onlookers alike, to come.

To come to Him.

I heard Him speaking through their lives

both redemption and rest.

I heard the echoes of His voice crying out from the cross, and His final words as he hung there,

“It is finished.”

The word finished here in Greek is tetelestai, an accounting term that means “paid in full.”

I listened to their stories, and I heard the empty

but more, I heard “paid in full.”

And what more is there to hear than that?

Last island hurrah for the year. Say it ain't so.

Hyacynth Worth is grateful daughter to the Perfect Father, wife to John and mother to two little boys and three souls she will one day meet in Heaven. In between mothering and coordinating online communication for Immanuel, she writes about grace, motherhood and living a healthy lifestyle at Undercover Mother.