ICYouth: Am I a Nuisance? (Erianne)

Thank you for your generosity to Immanuel. 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

Do you ever get the feeling that you might be a nuisance to someone else? The definition of nuisance is an obnoxious or annoying person, thing, condition, practice, etc. I constantly am feeling this way in multiple scenarios throughout the day. For example, when I’m all done paying for my groceries, I say to the cashier, “Thank you! Have a nice day!” and hope they actually do have a nice day. Most of them usually reply with “thanks” in a rude tone or “next please” or they don’t even reply at all. I don’t know if it’s the grocery store I choose to go to or the employees, but I constantly am finding myself in that position where I think to myself, “Am I being a nuisance?” I understand the cashiers don’t wish to know your life story, as well as be at work longer than they have to, but it just surprises me and makes me question myself.

I’ve come to a conclusion that I occasionally feel this way about my faith as well. Sometimes when I talk to my friends who are non-religious about my faith or church, I feel that I’m only being a nuisance to them — that they’re thinking, “Okay, we get it, you’re a Christ follower.” But we shouldn’t be afraid to proclaim our faith and what we believe in. I want to be known as a Christ follower because that’s my life, and that’s who I am. I want to be recognized as someone who is strong in her faith. However, be careful in the way you preach because most people do not intend to hear your whole life story while out to eat. Listen to 1 Peter 3:15 as it says, “Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way.”

There was a time not too long ago when one of my friends from school unfriended/unfollowed me on a social media account. When I asked her about it, she explained that my posts were “just too religious.” After she said that I immediately thought my posts were being a nuisance to her. I became self-conscious and was wondering if anyone else felt the same way and if I really was being bothersome with my posts. I had to remind myself however, that I shouldn’t care how one person judges me about my faith. I am proud to be a follower of Christ, and I wish to set a good example for others. I am proud to be known as a Christ follower to my peers. We are the ones who should be spreading this good news of Christ’s love, bringing people to God continually. Don’t be ashamed of that like I was!

Live your life full of spirit and be proud of it! Your faith is never a nuisance!

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

Extra Strength: The Wisest Decision You Could Make {Hyacynth}

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. 

Extra Strength

Ask It: Based on Current Circumstances, What is the Wise Decision {Sunday, January 25, 2015}

By Hyacynth Worth

If it’s not one decision it’s another.

Maybe it’s the season of life we’re in, maybe it’s our special circumstances of international adoption or maybe it’s just  … life, but we have found ourselves in the midst of making rather important decisions on a weekly basis for the past few months especially.

See, we just keep getting these life curve balls thrown in our direction, and it keeps making us ponder the question — what on Earth is the wise thing to do here?

If I’m being honest, as I ponder this question, I have to say that sometimes the right thing actually seems unwise at first glance. Sometimes, at first look, it seems downright foolishness.

Take Abraham for example. God instructed him to take Issac, the son for whom he waited so very long, to the sacrificing table.

Or Moses. God told him to go to Pharaoh and ask Pharaoh to release the Israelites.

Or Gideon. God told Gideon he had to continually dwindle his number of fighting men to battle a rather large and rather ominous enemy army.

At first look, it all looks like foolishness.

Why would Abraham sacrifice Issac on an altar when Issac was the long-sought after heir?

Why would Moses, an alien who had been fled from Egypt many years prior, think he could walk up to the most powerful Pharaoh and ask for the Israelites to be freed?

And why would Gideon think that God dwindling his numbers to go fight a large army would work out for his people’s benefit?

Simple.

Because God was the One doing the orchestrating; God was the One behind these outrageous requests.

This morning after my normal quiet time, my oldest son requested I stay out of the kitchen for five more minutes. In my copious amount of free time, I went into another room and thought I’d check into Facebook. But then I saw my Bible sitting nearby, and for some reason I just felt the need to open the pages. I turned right to a verse in Psalm 9, specifically verse 10.

“Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” Psalm 9:10

And it made everything clear.

The decisions with which I’ve been wrestling, the whys behind Abraham, Moses and Gideon’s stories, the “wise” thing to do is all the same thing in every circumstance; it’s all clear: seek the Lord, and trust Him.

Pastor Bryan Bicket summed up this very idea Sunday during his message by suggesting that the most wise thing we can do in any circumstance is first submit our very lives to the Lord … and then submit to Him our every circumstance.

We can trust that God will “course correct us,” as my mentor says, if we are whole-heartedly following after Him.

We don’t have to make the perfect decisions if we’re intentionally seeking Him in what we do because seeking Him is the perfect decision. We don’t have to question if the very decision we’ve been lead to while seeking the Lord is wise because seeking the Lord first is the wisest decision.

He’ll continue to guide us if we continue to seek Him.

So this week, as I ponder the humanly “unwise” things I’ve been called to go forth do, I’m trying to remember I’m actually making the wisest decision of all — I’m trusting in the One who’s leading, the One I’m seeking and remembering it’s the wisest decision any of us could make.

headshotHyacynth Worth is beloved to God, wife to John, mom to two boys and author of Undercover Mother. She also works as the Online Communications Coordinator for Immanuel Church.

 


 

Be Challenged: 

  • Seek the Lord in prayer this week and submit your circumstances to Him. Ask Him to help you do what He’d have you do.

Go Deeper:

  • Answer the questions in the Conversation Starter of your Immanuel Life with a friend, spouse or small group.

Our Prayer for the Monday After: Based on Current Circumstances, What is the Wise Thing to Do?

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, January 25, 2015: Q&A with Ask It: Based on Current Circumstances, What is the Wise Thing to Do?

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ICYouth: God’s Overwhelming Patience (Grant)

Thank you for your generosity to Immanuel. 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 how through Christ we are not defined by our failures. In particular, we looked at God’s patience in the life of Paul.

I love Paul’s story because all of us, to one extent or another, can identify with it. To varying degrees all of us have been lost and have ugly pasts, and what strikes me to be particularly amazing about Paul’s story is God’s overwhelming patience. God did not give up on Paul when he rejected the Messiah nor when he rejected Christ’s followers. Instead, God remained patient with Paul, ultimately working out all of Paul’s past failures for eternal successes.

This truth is one I come back to continually when life becomes rough. In seasons of grief, disappointment, pain, it’s difficult to trust in God’s sovereignty and truly recognize that he will work all things for our good. And what makes things even more difficult is the fact that it’s usually not until far after a difficult event happens that we are able to see what it was that God was protecting us from, teaching us or driving us toward for our own betterment. Sometimes seeing the fruits of God’s sovereignty doesn’t occur in this life. So when we are given a window into God’s sovereign reasoning, we should consider it a true gift of God’s grace.

Similar to Paul, God’s finished product, His masterful creation from seasons of hardship, is worth the failures and struggles it took to be created. Think of what would’ve happened if Paul decided to quit when he became blind. What if Paul had doubted his role in God’s kingdom after his well-known history of persecuting it? Paul’s journey to being purified and sanctified was difficult and unenjoyable, but the finished product was quite beautiful and awe-worthy. So it is, and can be, with us and all of life’s struggles, times of doubt and times of grieving; our past failures and present sufferings can, and will, if we allow them to be, eternal successes.

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.

Extra Strength: Do the Word (Ivan)

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. 

ExtraStrengthEdit

Extra Strength for: Q&A with The Two Michaels, Dr. Michael Rydelnik and Dr. Michael Vanlaningham

by Ivan Soto 

The Bible

The inspired, infallible, inerrant Word of God. No other book is it’s equal. No other book has stood the test of time. The very revelation of God’s purpose and plan for all humanity, and above all, the very revelation of His Son (John 5:39).

This past Sunday we had the special privilege to have “The Two Michaels,” Dr. Michael Rydelnik and Dr. Michael Vanlaningham with us. What an amazing time it was to have these very well educated, equipped, men of God share with us what God has shown them through their many years of study, and we were all granted with the great opportunity to “Ask It.” They tackled all sorts of topics from the authenticity of Scripture, the crisis in the Middle East, the sovereignty of God and His goodness, our security in salvation, all the way to the glorious doctrine of the trinity.

Of all the things discussed on Sunday, nothing stood out to me more than Dr. Rydelnik’s response to the question: “what is the best way to study and unlock the mysteries of the Bible?” As he held up the Bible in his hand and with a short pause he replied, “Read it”. So many times we wonder about some of the deeper teachings of the Bible, or we witness men like “The Two Michaels” share their great knowledge of the Bible and we wonder if we can ever begin to learn what the Bible teaches. The answer is yes. All it takes is for us to “read it”.

Hosea 4:6 says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” God has revealed Himself to us through His Word, and all it takes for us to gain knowledge about Him and His statues is for us to be intentional about reading it; the Holy Spirit empowers understanding, revelation and conviction and is faithful to this job.

Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:15 to, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the Word of truth”. In those days a land owner would go to the market place, which was the gathering place for day laborers. A man who wanted work would go there first thing in the morning with his tools and wait for someone to hire him. The land owner would choose his day laborer and if he found the man worthy, they would agree to a price and the land owner would send him to work (See parable of the workers in Matthew 20). In essence what Paul is encouraging us to do in this verse is to study, so that we can show ourselves before God as approved workers, unashamed and fit to take His Word and proclaim it with boldness and proper care to those we encounter in our everyday lives. Many times we are afraid or hesitant to speak about God because we haven’t taken the time to study about Him. This verse assures us that the more time we take to “read it”, the more boldly we can proclaim its truths as we “rightly handle the Word of truth” proving to be approved workers for God.

So, is knowing enough? Does reading and gaining knowledge produce everything we need for Christian maturity? Absolutely not. 1 Corinthians 8:1 reminds us that knowledge “puffs up, but love builds up.” All the knowledge in the world is meaningless unless it causes us to take the knowledge that we have gained and act upon it with love. Knowledge is great for equipping us and preparing us to know what God’s plan is for us, but if there is anything that we have learned last fall was that “Love Does.” In speaking about the gifts of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12, at the end of that chapter Paul tells us to “desire the gifts of the Spirit”, but that he will still “show us a more excellent way” (vs 31). Then he breaks into 1 Corinthians 13, the famous chapter of love.

So, as we grab our Bibles this week, let us make sure that we take the time to “read it,” and as we allow its words to penetrate our hearts and minds, may the Spirit cause us to act upon what the Word says. Perhaps the best way to put it is the way James 1:22 does: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says”.

Ivan Soto is the husband of Milly and the father of two beautiful daughters, Emily (6), and Kaylee (3) Soto. He currently works full time at Health Care Services Corp in the IT department. In the past, Ivan has served as Worship Director and Elder at his former Church and currently holds Bible studies in his home at River Grove every Thursday. When he is not at work or serving in ministry, Ivan enjoys studying the Word of God, Church history and spending time with his loving family.

Be Challenged:

  • Before you read your Bible, ask the Spirit to increase your understanding and convict you to put into practice what you’ve read.