Our Prayer for the Monday After: Broken Palm Branches

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, March 29, 2015: Broken Palm Branches

Yesterday, Pastor Josh Petersen asked us if God has ever failed to meet our expectations.

We looked at Mathew 21:

“As Jesus and the disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to the town of Bethphage on the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent two of them on ahead. 2 “Go into the village over there,” he said. “As soon as you enter it, you will see a donkey tied there, with its colt beside it. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone asks what you are doing, just say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will immediately let you take them.”

4 This took place to fulfill the prophecy that said,

5 “Tell the people of Jerusalem,
‘Look, your King is coming to you.
He is humble, riding on a donkey—
riding on a donkey’s colt.’”
6 The two disciples did as Jesus commanded. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt to him and threw their garments over the colt, and he sat on it.

8 Most of the crowd spread their garments on the road ahead of him, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around him were shouting,

“Praise God for the Son of David!
Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Praise God in highest heaven!”
10 The entire city of Jerusalem was in an uproar as he entered. “Who is this?” they asked.

11 And the crowds replied, “It’s Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Pastor Josh highlighted a few things:

1.”We don’t like the unexpected. We don’t like when things don’t go as we planned. We like to define good, right. When it doesn’t go according to plan, we reject it. We want to be the center of the universe. We want things to please us, make us happy, not stress us out. When things don’t go as planned we experience dissonance. ” -Pastor Josh Petersen

2. “Following Jesus is not what we expect.” – Pastor Josh Petersen

For the next seven days:

Take Jesus out of the box you’ve put Him in and then take yourself out of that box, too. Be ready to follow where He leads with the expectation that He will take you where He wants you if you follow.

ICYouth: A Thank You to my Immanuel Family (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

Immanuel—This name from Matthew 1:23 means “God with us.” Immanuel Church means “God with us Church.” I’ve noticed throughout this past year that at Immanuel Church, this is true! God is with everyone in the Church here at Immanuel. I can see it.

Last year I was baptized on Palm Sunday. Palm Sunday is coming soon, and as I’ve reflected on this past year, I’ve felt so much of a change in who I am spiritually; that’s because of Immanuel. I had started attending Immanuel during the summer of 2013 through the summer Deeper groups and attended iMPACT (youth group) as well the following icyouth blog 3.27.15 God with Usschool year. Since attending Immanuel that summer, my faith quickly grew to where I had committed my life to Christ that following April. Since April of 2014, I have grown so much in my faith and that’s because of Immanuel Church. I’ve gone on 4 retreats, participated in Blanket Chicago, went to Haiti last summer, became a leader at iDENTITY, met Bob Goff and was presented with the opportunity to write these blogs — all things that have helped me grow deeper in my relationship with Christ! The love of Immanuel doesn’t stop there because I have another year left at Immanuel until college, and I’m blessed to say I will be going to Haiti again this summer!

The programs and opportunities Immanuel has to offer to people are outstanding, and I am so grateful to be a part of something so awesome. The reason I’ve grown so much in my faith is because of the community of Christ followers who gather at Immanuel. I’ve met some lifelong, Christ-centered friends, and I’m grateful that I can go somewhere every Sunday and see those people and grow in my relationship with them through a common interest: Christ.

God truly is with us at Immanuel Church, and I thank all of the people who have helped me throughout these past two years and who will be a part of my faith for years to come.

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

Extra Strength: Silent Retaliation

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 Retaliation {Sunday, March 22, 2015 }

By Hyacynth Worth

During those lonely days of adolescence, as I was growing into a new body with a big heart and tenderly thin skin, I realized the power of words after my good friend’s mom nearly spat some from her mouth, something that’s stuck with me for years:

“You are so bossy! Stop being so bossy, or no one will want to be your friend.”

To a kid who was exceptionally good at organizing ideas and events, but was still working on the intricacies of organizing people in relationship to ideas and events, her words were like a razor to my heart. It was the first time I could recall being so wounded by something someone said.

Shortly after that realization, I discovered a parallel revelation; while words could really cut deep the opposite of offensive words was just as dangerous of a weapon: silence. After those hurtful words were spoken, I retreated away from the relationship and stopped speaking with my friend for quite some time. I was so hurt by her mom’s words and her agreeing with her mom so fervently, that I simply stopped speaking to her.

If hurtful words can be a razor blade to the heart causing it to bleed out, silence in retaliation can be a sneaky paper bag that smothers our relationships into silent death.

To be clear, I’m not talking about holding our tongues so as to not say something we might regret; I’m talking about those intentional times when we choose to let the offender of hurtful words or actions suffer in the aftermath of our purposeful silence.

Though I was young, I learned a powerful lesson: I held great power in inflicting suffering through my silent retaliation.

I’d like to tell you when I left childhood that I also left behind my way of retaliation. My husband is so gracious with me that he’d allow you to believe that and never call me out. But even as an adult, I’ve recognized I’ve sought retaliation after I’ve been hurt by remaining silent, within my marriage, friendships, relationships and even my relationship with myself and with God. Though my retaliation of silence is now much different than the whole, “I’m not talking to you,” feel it had in my childhood, it still is rooted in the pride: “I’m not letting you in. No matter what you say or do or how you apologize, you are not getting in here: no way; no shape; no how.”

3.23.15 blog Patient EnduranceWhat began as a reaction to hurt had become, as I grew older, a thought-out response, a response that leaves only loses and never wins.

Because as an adult, I’ve realized that in the silence of retaliation, it’s not just the other person who suffers; the one who inflicts the silence suffers in it as well.

The retaliation of silence as an adult looks most like quietly shutting down, denying the other person any insight into our pain, denying anyone the ability to come close to the deep hurt that’s been suffered, denying anyone the ability to come comfort us as we hurt. With our own conscious selves. With our closest relationships. Even with God.

There’s a song I’ve listened to probably a hundred times because it hits me so square in the hear that I’m drawn to it time and again. The chorus says,

“It’s a fight between my heart and mind
No one really wins this time
No one really wins this time
In the endless fight of grace and pride
I don’t want to win this time
I don’t want to win this time.” (Copeland)

With the silence of retaliation, no one really wins, and even as I internalize this truth more and more, I still often find a war going on inside of me after I’ve been hurt and wronged, a fight, it seems, between grace and pride.

I’m learning now that I can let grace win because I can trust in a God who promises to make to make all things right.

And to be quite honest, if grace doesn’t win out every time, no one really ever wins.

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 you’ve been wronged, remember this:

  • “When it comes to retaliation, our choice is not a difficult one to understand but it is a difficult one to obey. We have the ability through the Holy Spirit in you to choose patient endurance over retaliation.” -Pastor Joe Boerman

 

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

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, March 22, 2015: Pressure Points: The Pressure of Retaliation

Yesterday, Pastor Joe Boerman taught from the book of James on the pressure point of retaliaton.

We looked at James 5: 1-12

“Look here, you rich people: Weep and groan with anguish because of all the terrible troubles ahead of you. 2 Your wealth is rotting away, and your fine clothes are moth-eaten rags. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded. The very wealth you were counting on will eat away your flesh like fire. This corroded treasure you have hoarded will testify against you on the day of judgment. 4 For listen! Hear the cries of the field workers whom you have cheated of their pay. The cries of those who harvest your fields have reached the ears of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

5 You have spent your years on earth in luxury, satisfying your every desire. You have fattened yourselves for the day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and killed innocent people, who do not resist you.

7 Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. 8 You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near.

9 Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. For look—the Judge is standing at the door!

10 For examples of patience in suffering, dear brothers and sisters, look at the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance. You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end, for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy.

12 But most of all, my brothers and sisters, never take an oath, by heaven or earth or anything else. Just say a simple yes or no, so that you will not sin and be condemned.”

3.23.15 blog Patient EndurancePastor Joe highlighted a few things:

1.”When it comes to retaliation, our choice is not a difficult one to understand but it is a difficult one to obey. We have the ability through the Holy Spirit in you to choose patient endurance over retaliation.” -Pastor Joe Boerman #retaliation

2. “We can have patient endurance when our trust is in a God who promises to make wrongs right. ” – Pastor Joe Boerman, #icPressure #retaliation

For the next seven days:

Consider the difference it would make in our lives, our world if we each chose to trust God to right the wrongs we face.

iCYouth: When Talking Faith in God, the Head Connection Matters

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 Grant Everly

I’ve been extremely excited about our current sermon series at impact. It’s all about asking tough questions and navigating doubt. I’m loving it because I think it engages a segment of the population that can sometimes be forgotten: the intellectually driven-Christian.

I have a friend who will tell you that having a discussion about predestination, evolution as it concerns the Christian, philosophies surrounding God, etc. helps him more than anything else to grow in his faith. For him, questioning and working out who God is on a moral, philosophical and scientific level is a means to great growth, but the unfortunate reality for many who are similar to this friend, is that the importance of the mind in the Christian life isn’t always stressed by the Church, and I can’t think of a more unfortunate statement to make.

To the world we’ve presented the notion that to be a Christian you must conceal your questions and accept Christ and the Bible on blind faith, but this couldn’t be more false. It is possible, and I would argue extremely helpful, to go deep into the realms of science or philosophy and stay in places that are uncomfortable so that we can emerge afterward with a very well-articulated and solid faith.

icYouth 3.20.15 God is So BigThe fact of the matter is that God is so big that His reach doesn’t stop with the Bible. If God is who we say He is, we should be able to find His finger prints in all areas, whether that be a Biology classroom or a book on the nature of morality. We shouldn’t shy away from this notion. If reading a more philosophical work or having a conversation that makes your head swirl isn’t for you, that’s totally ok. Not all people are geared that way, and that’s part of what makes the world so unique; however, we need to make sure we are appealing to all people, in particular those who are intellectually-driven.

One example I love when talking about the engaging of the intellect in regard to Christianity is Paul. A while back I read Acts and counted each time it says that Paul “argued,” “discoursed” or “reasoned” with a group of people. I counted at least ten times that this occurs. This number may not seem impressive, but given that Acts is only twenty-eight chapters, it’s apparent that engaging intellectual discussion was key to Paul’s ministry. In other words, engaging the mind was central to sharing the gospel with a certain sect of the population. When I read about the ministry of Paul, I can’t help but wonder if we take the time to minister similarly to those who will check out in the absence of intellectual rigor.

So how are we doing in engaging the mind in our Christian lives? Again, maybe talking philosophy just makes you want to puke, or you appreciate it to an extent, but don’t care to dwell on it too much. This is ok. The intellectually-driven Christian is just a small part of the body of Christ that is the Church. But still, we need to do as Paul explains in Colossians 2:18-19. We must ensure that we don’t lose connection with the head instead engaging it.

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.