Our Prayer for the Monday After: Rush Hour: Green Light

TheMondayAfterPrayerEach Monday we’ll be bringing Sunday into the work week by sharing a prayer for the week based on the Sunday sermon. You can now catch the sermon blogs written by our blogging team Wednesdays, where they’ll offer a mid-week shot of espresso to help re-energize, encourage and challenge us in the midst of our work weeks! 

 

The Monday After Sunday, September 28, 2014: Rush Hour: Green Light

Miss the message? Listen HERE!

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ICYouth: Satisfied? Think about this. (Erianne)

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 Erianne Thedorf

Satisfaction. It’s what many of us think about even if we don’t realize it.

The Comparison Trap, our iMPACT series for the past three weeks, has explored who we look at, why we look at them and what we have. It’s interesting that many of us look around at others pretty consistently and think to ourselves, “Wow I wish…” The focus can be physical, emotional, spiritual or intellectual traits or possessions. We discussed this the first week of The Comparison Trap series.

One of the things discussed this Sunday was something I catch myself doing often when I say or think “If only…” I don’t know about you, but until we had discussed this “If only…” mindset I never really realized how often I say it. We think to ourselves, “If only I had a little more money, I could buy that cute pair of shoes I’ve always wanted.” “If only I had a better job, I would be much happier.”

The one thing we neglect to remember while saying “If only…” is that we are essentially complaining to God about the life He has given us. We are focused too much on physical things, (money being a strong example) that we forget to think about the things that we do have. I know I struggle with this; I see celebrities and wealthy people with all these cool gizmos and gadgets, and I can’t help but think to myself, “If only my parents made more money, I could be just like them and then I would be just as famous.” I’m catching myself tangled up in this huge Comparison Trap that we’ve been talking about these past couple of weeks, and I have to remind myself that I am more than blessed to have the life that I’m living and the family and friends who support me. I’m thankful God has blessed my parents with jobs and that I have a home, electricity, clothes and food. I look at how we view our lives and I see in my own life how easy it is to just overlook the things we have because we always want more. We’re rarely satisfied with what we actually have. We must put our trust in God and understand He will provide and we must trust that God gives us what we have for a reason.

“Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.” – Psalm 91

Since this discussion, I have been challenging myself to just take five minutes out of my day to silently sit in a place where I spend most of my time and look around, acknowledging how grateful I am to have what I have and to truly see the wonderful life God has provided me.

ErianneErianne is a Junior at Grayslake North High School. She enjoys books, movies, music and meeting new people!

Extra Strength: Rush Hour: Yellow Light

We leave the church building inspired and filled with Truth and encouragement each Sunday … and somewhere along the course of the week, often we find ourselves in need of a little bit of something to help us through.

Welcome to Extra Strength: a mid-week pick-you-up for the soul. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for extra encouragement and challenge.

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As I child I played many games.  If I mentioned them some may sound familiar and others may have only been unique to where I lived.  But there is one childhood game that I believe many people are familiar with and that game is “1-2-3 Red Light”.

When playing the game, you would all line up in a row while someone far in front of you would yell out, “green light”.  At which time you would proceed to walk or run as fast as you could to reach them before they had the chance to say, “1-2-3 red light”.  Once they said those words you were to freeze in your tracks.  If you were caught moving you had to return to the starting point and hope to still get to them before anyone else did.  All the while you were frozen, you excitedly awaited the chance to take off again at the announcement of the green light.

As I sat in service on Sunday I realized that we have been taught to only pay attention to the red light and green light at a very young age.  There wasn’t any games where you would pause, only stopping and going.  Everything was a chase and the faster you were, the greater your chance was at winning.  It’s funny that nothing has changed.  We still move as fast as we can to get from place to place awaiting the moment to get ahead.  This process causes us to always live in the future and missing out on the present.

Pastor Josh hit home completely for me when he said that we miss out on people when we don’t take the time to slow down and notice.  We become processors.  A processor is someone who appears to be giving you their undivided attention but are simply moving you along so they can move along.  I am guilty of being a processor with those who should matter most, my kids.  They seem to always want me when I am in the middle of something while at the same time thinking of moving on to the next thing.  Each time they say “mom”,  they stop me from doing what I have considered to be important at the time.  I become frustrated and process them or push them aside while I take care of the chores or check Facebook or some other task that could surely wait.  I have showed them with my actions, on far too many occasions, that other things are more important to me than them.

Processed with Moldiv

After hearing the message Sunday I made a conscious effort to stop and pay attention.  I had a chance to pause when my youngest came to me the other day as I sat reading a book,  something I don’t have a chance to do often.  He said that he wanted to show me something.  Honestly I didn’t really want to see but it mattered to him so I stopped and noticed.  He showed me pictures and videos that he came across on his tablet from a year or so ago that brought him joy.  It brought me joy to be able to share in that moment with him.  I can still see the smile on his face as I gave him my undivided attention.  When he was done he said that he tried to show his brothers but they were too busy.  What if when he came to me I had also been too busy.

I have them for a short time and they won’t always want to show me things, sit and talk or cuddle.  I pray that God continues to nudge me and lead me to pause and take a moment to experience life with them and others who I hold dear.

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.

Our Prayer for the Monday After: Rush Hour: Yellow Light

TheMondayAfterPrayerEach Monday we’ll be bringing Sunday into the work week by sharing a prayer for the week based on the Sunday sermon. You can now catch the sermon blogs written by our blogging team Wednesdays, where they’ll offer a mid-week shot of espresso to help re-energize, encourage and challenge us in the midst of our work weeks! 

 

The Monday After Sunday, September 21, 2014: Rush Hour: Yellow Light

Miss the message? Listen HERE!

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ICYouth: Our Deepest Need (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

This past Sunday at iMPACT we talked about looking for God to find our affirmation, and in so doing, a dismaying thought that I’d had running through my head for the past few weeks was affirmed.

Recently I’d been thinking a lot about the difficulties involved with sharing the gospel in America. We live in a society that certainly doesn’t lack exposure to Christ; nearly everyone you’ll ever come in to contact with is at least familiar with the name Jesus, although often people lack in an in-depth understanding of who He is.

Additionally, aside from a general familiarity with Christ, many are also acquainted with the Bible’s story of salvation; however, what I’ve been finding is that the central component in the Gospel of Christ, the area that makes us forever grateful to our Creator, is something quite easily avoidable in America. That area is our need for salvation.

In the United States especially, our own moral hubris is our greatest downfall and presents the greatest obstacle to spreading the good news about Christ. We think we’re really great, really self-sufficient people.

I mean sure, we may mess up here and there, but we’re not bad people for it — right? We like to think we’re pretty substantial on a moral level, but the truth is we’re inadequate to care well for ourselves, and we’re selfish. What’s more is that when this truth begins to hit us in the face we have a plethora of avenues down which we can turn to affirm our value as people. We can turn to wealth, relationships, our occupation, family, worldly success, etc. The truth is that we are lost people — like sheep without a shepherd, we go wayward and wander into places that are downright dangerous. But we’re phenomenal at distracting ourselves from our need for shepherd and from our shortcomings; we’re people who sin, who are really good at avoiding the reality of ourselves.

So on Sunday night as we talked about allowing our value to be determined by our Creator, I couldn’t help but think about how most of our society, Christians included, tries so hard to avoid the fact that we’re people who are in need of the Shepherd. As Christians, we ought to go to the determiner of reality, God; seeking Him for His opinions about us will be far more sustainably uplifting when compared to the short-lived façade we too often try to build around ourselves.

When we choose to acknowledge our brokenness at the feet of the One who made us, we can begin to become whole. When we acknowledge where we fall short, God begins to help us up.

So as we move forth let’s try to be defined by the One who made us, and pray that those around us who don’t know the freedom found in Christ would grow to do likewise.

Grant Everly is a senior 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.