ICYouth: Out of the Abundance of the Heart the Mouth Speaks (Erianne)

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By Erianne Thedorf

“Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks”

If you think about it, it really is true. Your mouth may or may not always speak your heart, but 75 percent of the time, it does. Some of us might not always truthfully speak our heart or be brave enough to speak it, but for those who do, I congratulate you.

Think of these two scenarios:

1. You have a social media account; you post on it maybe once every other week, and your posts are short and brief.

2. You have a social media account; you post on it once every other day, and your posts are very long and thorough.

Abundance of the Heart blog 2.27.15Now think of the individual social media accounts as books. The first book would be short in length and not include much detail. The second book on the other hand, would be quite long in length and very detailed. If we were to compare them to gauge which book gave us more of a connection with a person most would argue the second book would be best. They post every other day and include lots of detail – you would know quite a bit about that person. The key word, however, is quite a bit. What if we weren’t more than what we posted? What if those “books” were something you would hand to another person if you met them for the first time. The first book provides too little information about yourself, and the second has plenty. However, they are both missing one thing: relationship.

The things you post on social media can or cannot be from your heart, but the gist of this all is that you are more than what you post. A social media account can hold all your pictures, thoughts and friends, but they can’t hold the relationships you make with other people. Like Grant stated last week, “when it comes to social media, the problem isn’t our filter; it’s the purity of our source.” You should think the same when posting on social media — you are more than what you post. That fancy new car, clothes or anything else you’re sharing might improve your reputation with your “friends” on social media, but it won’t improve your reputation with your close friends, and most importantly, God. For they know what’s in your heart truly, and the fact of the matter is you are more than what you post.

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

Extra Strength: Let’s All Get a Little More Beautiful in Our Lives {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

Pressure Points: The Pressure of Temptation {Sunday, February 22, 2015 }

By Hyacynth Worth

In the past, it’s been the pint of cream sitting in the freezer, the spiteful words sitting on the tip of my tongue and the promises of love sitting heavily in my ears.

Temptation has followed me all of my life, though the specifics are ever evolving and changing. While the tempters in my life have morphed the root of temptation remains the same: I’m consistently trying to satisfy an insatiable hunger.

If we’re going to get real about talking about temptation, though, I think we have to acknowledge and accept what Pastor Josh Petersen said this past Sunday about temptation:

“The key to dealing with temptation is understanding the desire of your heart. The key is grappling with what we have set our heart on by asking, ‘what have we allowed to fill us?'”

These are the kinds of questions that invite us to dig deeper. And you know what digging deep requires, right? Vulnerability.

Brene Brown says, “What makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful.”

If what Brene Brown says is true and if we really want to get to the root of temptation, I think we all need to get comfortable with getting a little more beautiful in our lives. So here goes:

After thought and prayer and reflection, I’ve grappled at my very own marshmallow, my very own major temptation in my life right now and what He revealed took me by surprise. My marshmallow right now is perfectionism, and the desire at the bottom of it is security and love. I want to feel that I am deeply loved and that I am safely held, so I try to muscle my way into both.

Be it trying to eat a perfect enough diet to obtain stellar health and stave off disease or peacefully and perfectly parenting my children all the hours they are awake so they will turn out well or maintaining poise in front of friends when I feel like sobbing, I have consistently been trying to earn love and security in ways that cannot satisfy my deep desires for both. And it’s as exhausting as it is impossible.

Admittedly, none of those admissions feel very beautiful. But what is beautiful is that this vulnerability, this realization and acceptance of these deep needs of mine draw me closer to the only One who can really satisfy my deep hunger for deeply-rooted love and security.

So are you ready to get a little more beautiful in your own life?

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:  This week, when you feel tempted:

  • Stop – identify the desire

  • Spot – place it appropriately and invest it wisely; temptation becomes an opportunity to express our desire for God.

  • Set – Set your eyes on God.

Our Prayer for the Monday After: Pressure Points: The Pressure of Temptation

TheMondayAfterPrayerEach Monday we’re bringing Sunday into the work week by sharing a prayer for the week based on the Sunday sermon. You can 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, February 22, 2015: Pressure Points: The Pressure of Temptation 

Yesterday, Pastor Josh Petersen continued the Pressure Points teaching sermon series by talking about The Pressure of Temptations, which he said, was really an extension of the pressure of trials message from the week prior.

We continued reading in the first chapter of the book of James:

blog 2.22.15“9 Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. 10 But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. 11 For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business.

12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.”

Pastor Josh highlighted a few things:

1.”We are tempted when we are offered something temporary. We go after things that don’t last … But the hunger comes back because the fulfillment we get from it fades. When we fail to put our hope in things eternal we try to find fulfillment in the temporary.” -Pastor Josh Petersen

2. The only way to struggle with temptation less is to desire God more.

This week, when you feel tempted:

1. Stop – identify the desire

2. Spot – place it appropriately and invest it wisely; temptation becomes an opportunity to express our desire for God.

3. Set – Set your eyes on God.

 May God Himself give you the strength and courage to realign your heart and set it upon Him!

ICYouth: With Social Media, the Problem Isn’t Our Filters (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

Throughout its duration, the Bible continually establishes the concept of Christ’s followers being image bearers to the world. This ideal is one that Christians have tirelessly strived for since Christ’s life on Earth, but it has become increasingly complicated with the addition of all things screen-related.

Social media quote ICyouth blog 2.19.15Technology complicates our relationships in that we are allowed to have an interaction, but we do so without many of the more tangible aspects of relationships. In typing behind a screen we’re at a huge disadvantage because people can’t hear the tone with which we say things, and furthermore, others are inhibited from seeing our true intentions behind what we say. In short, our images can become easily distorted, the last thing we want if we are to bear Christ’s image.

This past Sunday at iMPACT we looked at social media as it relates to Christians and asked the following question: what story do our social media accounts tell?

If we are to be a people truly transformed by Christ, our lives should be indicative of this change on all levels, in particular social media. But this becomes increasingly difficult because communication behind a screen is a completely different world than reality. We’re prone to say things we wouldn’t say in person, and, as I mentioned before, we take out important foundations of relationships, creating the potential for a whole lot of misunderstandings and misconceptions about individuals that will never be resolved without face to face communication. Being a Christian in a technological age is like walking on ice; we may not intend to break through and go crashing into freezing water, but the reality of a keyboard makes it all too easy to do so.

Being a Christian in a technological age is like walking on ice; we may not intend to break through and go crashing into freezing water, but the reality of a keyboard makes it all too easy to do so.

So how exactly does one go about making sure they’re truly bearing Christ’s image on social media? Well, the short and not entirely helpful answer is to be extremely careful. The fact that anything we say is being read through the lens of another person, over which we have no control, should cause us to be very judicious in what we post and how we say what we post. But, more importantly, I think the more we draw close to Christ on a personal level, the less prone we’ll be to have social media gaffes.

Tyler Boyce, the speaker from Sunday night, talked about this idea via an analogy: A lot of times we think it’s our verbal filter that needs fixing, but a filter doesn’t solve our problems. Filters collect the “gunk” of our words, but once the collection reaches a certain point, the filter becomes worthless, as it can no longer block bad stuff from getting through due to it reaching its full filtering capacity. What we need is to fix the “water” that comes through us at its source; when we draw close to Christ, He purifies our hearts, and when this occurs, our tendency to say things that we likely shouldn’t becomes less. Our problem isn’t our filter; its our purity at our source.

So what story do your screen-related interactions show? Is your Facebook, twitter, texting, indicative of a purified and renewed life?

Grant headshotGrant 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: Something Greater in Mind

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 for Pressure Points: The Pressure of Trials 

Sometimes life is hard.

I’m sure this isn’t news to anyone. Sometimes, people go through things they would rather not. We cannot control our circumstances, but we can control how we react to them.

Blog 2.16.15Think back to the last time you dealt with a hard situation. Were you hurt? Angry? Depressed? On the surface, those are all justifiable reactions. But when was the last time you praised God in the midst of the storm?

Truthfully I couldn’t even think of a time. Pastor Josh spoke Sunday about trials. He reminded us that God doesn’t call us to throw ourselves a pity party; He calls us to rejoice! One way our faith can grow is when it’s being tested.

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” (‭James‬ ‭1‬:‭2-4‬ NLT).

Did you catch that? James is challenging us to see our hardships as a time of rejoicing! I don’t know about you, but that does not sound ideal to me. If I’m struggling with something, no part of me wants to be thankful.

But then I think back to that passage. I remember that I’m going to go through hard times. I’m going to experience trials. And God is going to make me a stronger, wiser, more humble christian because of them. He’s going to do that for all of us! So even though the situation isn’t perfect, and sometimes it’s horrible, God has something greater in mind. And if nothing else, that is something that is worth joy.

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Gracie Adamek attends school at College of Lake County. When she’s not at school, she can be found on the worship team at Immanuel, among other activities. 

 


 

Be Challenged:Bottom Line 2.15.15

  • Whenever you find yourself growing frustrated and upset about a trial, physically change your angle to remind yourself to change your perspective about the trial. Ask God to help you see the perspective He wants you to have!