Our Prayer for the Monday After: Sit, Walk, Stand: What’s So Good About the Good News?

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, May 17, 2015: Sit, Walk, Stand: What’s So Good About the Good News?

Yesterday, Pastor Joe Boerman launched the first part of his final sermon series at Immanuel with his message, What’s So Good About the Good News? We looked at Ephesians 1:1-14

Greetings from Paul

This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus.

I am writing to God’s holy people in Ephesus,[a] who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus.

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

Spiritual Blessings

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.[b] He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.

God has now revealed to us his mysterious plan regarding Christ, a plan to fulfill his own good pleasure. 10 And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth. 11 Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God,[c] for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.

12 God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God.13 And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own[d] by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. 14 The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.

Pastor Joe highlighted a few things:

1. “God literally came to us, stuck His hand into history and said, ‘I love you, I have come for you, I care for you, I want to rescue you.'”

Blog 5.18.152. “The good news is not just that God knew you but also He called you to be His child and paid the price for that to happen.”

3. “Jesus said, “whosoever will, may come.’ The offer to come to Jesus is world wide. So come.”

For the next seven days:

Make this your prayer and ask God to help you believe in His word: Lord, I am Yours. Help me remember it and live like it.

iCYouth: It’s Been Real (Grant)

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?

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By Grant Everly

I think that a lot of what I want to say in this final blog post can be summed up in one simple statement: thank you.

Thank you to Immanuel for providing an outlet like a blog, and thank you to you all, the readers, for all of your encouragement.

At the beginning of my sophomore year I would’ve considered myself a decent writer academically, but outside of an essay for school, my interest in writing was minimal. One Sunday night, though, I was asked to write a blog detailing iMPACT, Immanuel’s student ministry. At the time, I had no idea that I was going to be embarking on a three-year journey that would see me write monthly for the Immanuel blog.

The last three years have opened my eyes to the potential for writing during an age in which the written word is supposed to be obsolete. Your comments have encouraged me and shown me that the ability to help others through words is anything but a dying art.

If you would’ve told me at the beginning of my sophomore year that one of my greatest hobbies was going to be writing, I wouldn’t have believed you. Largely due to my experience here at the Immanuel blog, I’ve grown to love the writing process, have started my own personal blog, enjoy writing in my free time and even plan to be an English major when I start college in the fall. You all have provided me with the opportunity to explore an outlet and find a voice that I wouldn’t have otherwise. Again, thank you.

I also need to include a few personal thank yous to make this farewell blog complete: thank you to Hyacynth for all of the hard work and energy you put in to making the Immanuel blog an engaging and fruitful avenue. And lastly, I’d like to give a big thank you to my mom for her honesty and patience in her constructive criticism of my writing. For the Immanuel blog and beyond, I can’t even count the number of times that my mom has ripped apart something I’ve written (fairly lovingly of course), but it has undoubtedly helped me mature greatly as a writer.

Immanuel, I’ll miss getting to share my thoughts with you here, but thank you so much for everything that you’ve given me over the last three years. You’ve taken a 15-year-old, not-too-interested-in-writing kid and turned him into an English major. And in the process, you’ve helped me learn a ton and appreciate the positive potential of words in today’s society.

Thanks,

Grant

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: The Best Bubble for Living (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

Selfie: Safe {Sunday, May 10, 2015 }

By Hyacynth Worth

I want to live in a bubble.

The kind of bubble where I’m not constantly having to live in the tight tension of joy and pain.

The kind of bubble where people all live to a ripe, old age, children are never abandoned, earthquakes don’t decimate communities, no one ever breaks your heart and ice cream has no calories.

I want to be sheltered; I want to be safe from the pain of, well, you know, living.

Ah, living, you are so beautiful, yet so very painful all at the same time. And it just doesn’t seem to make sense to my head or my heart how the two can coexist as they do.

I’ve gone a few different paths in my striving for security and safety, in my attempt to make sense of the chaos that is the collision of joy and pain.

I’ve tried to control the heck out of everything, until my knuckles were white from clenching onto my control and I’ve spun into waves of anxiety.

I’ve distanced myself from relationships, because if you don’t love too deeply, I reasoned, you also can’t be too heartbroken when the heartstrings are suddenly severed in any number of ways.

And I’ve disconnected from reality, living in my own self-absorbed world, where I don’t let anything in to disturb my peace all while shaking in fear that something I can’t control will invade it anyway.

I’ll tell you a secret you likely already know: every one of those attempts? Epic fail.

Because they all centered around me.

My ability.

My wants.

My plans.

My desires.

My control.

Somewhere along the way I confused myself with God.

Opps.

Tell me you do that, too?

I didn’t really begin to understand, though, until our life began unraveling during a series of miscarriages a few years ago and God began weaving it back together, that real safety isn’t something I can create; rather real safety is only found in the Creator.

I love the passage we looked at in Luke 8:22-25, where Jesus rests easily in the lower part of a ship he and his disciples are sailing on in the midst of a fierce storm because it shows us the true character of the kind of Creator who offers us real safety.

Pastor Joe summed it up best when he said, “You will not sail through life without bruises but do not abandon ship because Jesus is there in the boat with you.”

And where ever we go, no matter how the storms rage around us, we are safe in His arms because nothing can ever separate us from His great love.

And there’s no greater bubble than that of His love.

IMG_2528Hyacynth 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, pray this prayer:

Our Prayer for the Monday After: Selfie: Safe

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, May 10, 2015: Selfie: Safe 

Yesterday, Pastor Joe Boerman the Selfie series with the message, Safe. We looked at Matthew 8:23-27:

Jesus Calms the Storm
22 One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and started out. 23 As they sailed across, Jesus settled down for a nap. But soon a fierce storm came down on the lake. The boat was filling with water, and they were in real danger.

24 The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”

When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and the raging waves. Suddenly the storm stopped and all was calm. 25 Then he asked them, “Where is your faith?”

The disciples were terrified and amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “When he gives a command, even the wind and waves obey him!”

Pastor Joe highlighted a few things:

1. “Remember this: God doesn’t always keep us from danger and calamity, but He will carry us through the danger.”blog 5.11.15

2. “Even though hard stuff will happen to all of us over time, still the most secure place in this world is in Christ.”

3. “You will not sail through life without bruises, but do not abandon ship because jesus is there in the boat with you.”

For the next seven days:

Make this your prayer and ask God to help you believe in His word:

“God is our refuge and strength. Jesus is a rock in a weary land, a shelter in a time of storm.” Psalm 46:1

Extra Strength: We Don’t Just Say Yes to Jesus Once (Martha)

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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Extra Strength for: #icSelfie: Rescued

There is a painting of Jesus by William Holman Hunt called “The Light of the World.” Jesus is standing on the outside of a door with his hand raised as if he is knocking.  When I first saw this painting it took someone else to point out what was missing. The doorknob or any kind of handle for him to use to open the door from the outside is absent. The door must be opened from the inside. The door represents a human heart, yours, mine. It is the artist’s visual of Revelation 3:20:

“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.”

The Light of the World
The Light of the World by William Holman Hunt

Why this picture of Jesus knocking on a knob-less door? Just as Pastor Josh explained several weeks ago that God doesn’t have to love us, He wants to love us, I think the same goes for us. We don’t have to love God, but He wants us to love Him.

He says, “Look!” Do you see? He says, “If you hear my voice” Can you hear? Jesus is calling you. He is knocking. He wants to be your FRIEND. The One who can rescue you from the prison of your past, your present, your circumstances, your choices, your fears, your hate, your addiction is knocking at your heart’s door, calling to you.

I don’t know about you but I need a friend like that.

As a person who said, “Yes” to Jesus at a young age I forgot for a while that although that initial “Yes” brought me into an eternal friendship with God; I must say, “Yes” to Jesus minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour and day-by-day, too.

“Yes”, I will lay down my pride, again.

“Yes”, I will forgive even though I’m hurt.

“Yes”, I will pray for my enemy.

The Bible speaks about letting the Word of God dwell in us (Colossians 3:16). It also speaks of Christ dwelling in our hearts (Ephesians 3:17) The word dwell means to live or stay as a permanent resident. Saying “Yes” is simply opening the door in faith and asking him to stay as a permanent resident in our hearts and lives.

My prayer for myself and you comes from the first two stanzas of the following hymn:

May the Mind of Christ, My Savior

“May the mind of Christ, my Savior,
Live in me from day to day,
By His love and power controlling
All I do and say.

May the Word of God dwell richly
In my heart from hour to hour,
So that all may see I triumph
Only through His power.”

Words by Kate B Wilkinson

imageMartha has been a wife for 17 years and is the mother of three children ages 10, 9 and 5.  When she’s not folding laundry, cooking meals, helping with homework, kissing boo-boos, grocery shopping, cleaning house and running errands; she loves to hold babies at Immanuel MOPS!

 


Be Challenged:

  • Ask God how He is asking you to say “Yes” to Him today.
  • Say “Yes” to Jesus today in whatever way He is inviting you.