THOUGHTS ON “LOVE, SEX, & DATING”

Please bear with me as I express how much I’ve enjoyed our recent series on Love, Sex, and Dating.  I LOVED IT!  If you have been a Christ-follower for any amount of time,  you’re probably familiar with 1 Corinthians 13. I was asked difficult questions (my paraphrase):  “Are you the kind of person you’re looking for? ” “Are you someone you would want to marry?”  “Are you trying to become the ‘love list’ from 1 Corinthians 13?”  If you’re anything like me, you’ve got a lot of work and a long road ahead of you.

Those questions have been on repeat in my head ever since the first message. They hit me so hard because, as a Christ-follower who is single and hopes to get married one day, it was revealed to me that I am nowhere near ready.  It also occurred to me that whether I marry or not, I was reminded of the type of person I should be striving to become in Christ. This is the kind of person we are all called to be as Christians.   After the sermon I had a serious talk with God. I asked him to make me into that kind of person. I think He is answering my prayer, but I am learning that His answers require a bit of pruning!

For example, I think God has been trying to tell me that I need to change my spending habits. I have never been willing to deal with it because – news flash – that would mean not spending how I want. Right after I prayed I knew God was calling me to change in this area. This was confirmed when my small group called me out for having an addiction to shopping. It was hard to hear because I knew it was true. The next days were tough.  I felt angry, embarrassed, and condemned. Then… enter the grace of God.

As I sat in church the next Sunday, the message told me that it isn’t okay to stay immature in love, that our pasts will follow us into the future and the patterns we practice now will follow us into our marriages. As if a veil had been lifted, I was reminded what I asked God to start doing exactly one week ago. Money is one of the top reasons people divorce, and if I were to carry my spending habits into a marriage, well, it would be disastrous. If I remain single the rest of my life and continue to spend the way I do, it would ruin me. Tears came to my eyes as I saw what God had been doing in the past week. The next two sermons filled me with assurance that God was working in my heart. They sparked a lot of self-reflection, too, especially on my past relationships. I think what I’ve taken away most from this series is that it’s time to grow up and put the ways of childhood behind me. It’s time to for us to become the kind of people God is calling us to be. Are you ready?


(null).jpgKatrina McElvain is the daughter of Trisha, and oldest of her siblings, Grace and JP.  She loves spending time with family and friends, watching movies, dancing, and writing. She teaches dance at night and is a teacher’s aide by day. She also loves Immanuel and listening to the sermons every Sunday morning.

AS LONG AS I HAVE BREATH

On Sunday morning, we sang a song called Great Are You Lord. It’s probably a favorite amongst our congregation so this song is no stranger to our set list. The words in the chorus are, “It’s Your breath in our lungs so we pour out our praise to You only.” I’ve heard those words a hundred times, but this time was different; I was reminded of a verse I’d recently read. Psalm 116:2 says, “Because He bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath.” I love that line, “as long as I have breath.” This isn’t just a flippant thing, but something that matters at all times: when we feel at peace and close to God, when we have never felt more distant, when we need direction or wisdom… the list could go on. Praising God, praying to him, it’s as natural and constant as breathing.

After all, it’s because of God that we’re here. He gives us life, the air in our lungs. With the same breath that God gives us, we’re going to use it to praise Him! See, we only have the ability to sing and shout praises because God has given us that ability. I was recently hit with this realization and I just can’t get over it! It finds itself into every aspect of my life. For example, it makes me think hard about the words I speak every day. Why use the air that the Lord so graciously gives me to speak unkind words or to say things that He is so clearly against? What am I feeding my soul with? How is my prayer life? Am I using that breath, my life in a pleasing way? As long as I am alive and breathing, I am going to pray to my God who listens; as long as I have air in my lungs, I’ll speak for the God who hears.


Gracie Adamek attends the College of Lake County and hopes to one day be a special education teacher. She likes to sing, act, knit, and write. She hopes you enjoy your time here, reading these blogs, and is very grateful for the opportunity to glorify God through her words

CLOUDED EYES

My eyes have not been working well this past week. I woke up Tuesday morning with so much gunk covering my contacts that I could barely make out which of my kids climbed into bed with us at 4 am. The next night I slept without my high prescription contacts, meaning that when I awoke again with goopy eyes – I was literally blind.

This got me thinking about eyes and how we use them. We can see a clock to tell the time. We can see our child or wife and let them know how nice they look today. We can even use them to successfully navigate rush-hour traffic on the interstate. However, they can just as easily lead us into danger and hurt if we aren’t careful. They can linger on an attractive woman’s body or internally criticize how someone is dressed. They can draw us toward the newest and shiniest or to covet something owned by our neighbor.

Eyes can also go bad and not work well anymore. Things don’t look quite as bright, we miss some of the details – maybe even all the details if you are like me with no contacts and clouded eyes! These eyes can miss the beauty God created and just as easily not see clearly injustice happening right in front of us.

Something hit me: we treat someones as somethings all the time when we don’t clearly see people as being children created by God. We choose so often to instead focus on the external look of things or, worse, miss seeing them all together. People on the street become everyday objects that we simply pass by. People at the airport become obstacles to avoid crashing into. An acquaintance sending a Facebook message can feel like browsing spam mail.

But what if we asked for the eyes of God in order to see people as he sees them? What might happen? Instead of “undressing” someone with our eyes, we could see a hurting heart; instead of being disgusted by a man with a cardboard sign, we could see his pain. This change of mindset and establishment of new neuropathways that are needed in my own mind will continue to take time to develop. In the meantime, though, I am going to practice remembering a few things and I encourage you all to do the same.

The woman on the internet you were fantasizing about last night by yourself with the door shut, her name is Anne and she is a person created uniquely by God.

The man you had your eye on at the gas station because he wore very different clothes than you and had dark skin, his name is Marcus and he is a human being uniquely knit together by God for a purpose.

The child’s picture you saw featured in a post on Facebook during orphan awareness week, she lives in Ukraine, her name is Vita and she is a princess of the King.

My prayer tonight is this: “God, please help me see people as you see them. Help me to remember that there are no ordinary people. Father, help me to see with your eyes and love with your heart. Please help me to never view a someone as a something.”


 

 John Worth is a lifelong attender of Immanuel and husband to Hyacynth. John and Hy are parents of four ranging in age from 4 to 14. When he’s not nose deep in spreadsheets at work John enjoys helping others navigate the waters of life.