ICYouth: He Spoke Her Name (Makenna)

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By Makenna Nahorniak

He is alive. He is not a dead God. He is not far from us. He is powerful and life changing. He is radically moving in hearts and minds. He awakens souls- He makes us braver and bolder. Jesus is alive.

Mary Magdalene stood out to me today. She was the demon-possessed woman. And Jesus appeared to her first.

Mark 16:9- “Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons.”

Jesus had her heart. What I love about Mary Magdalene is the way that she came before Jesus broken at his feet. She anointed him with expensive perfume. She listened intently to the words He spoke. She just enjoyed His presence. She was in love with the One who set her soul free.

Then Jesus was put on a cross. You can only imagine the anguish this must have brought upon her soul. The one who cast those demons out, the keeper of the voice that her ears could listen to all day long, the One who revived her and freed her was dead. She went to His tomb three days later. He was gone, so she wept.

I can imagine the scene. Mary weeping outside of the tomb- probably feeling all the more hopeless, longing for her sweet Jesus. Flustered and afraid, simply wanting to adorn his body with spices and perfumes.

This morning my family asked me to read this account of Jesus’ resurrection, and I couldn’t get through it without bursting into tears. I really don’t think that this woman was all that different from you and me.

She might’ve felt like the One with whom her soul was deeply in love was far from her. The tomorrows that she had hoped for must’ve seemed quite distant and unrealistic.

“Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” (John 20:15)

Little did she know that He wasn’t just the gardener.

What a reunion.

“Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.”

“She turned to him and said to him in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni!’ (which means Teacher).” (John 20:16)

icyouth blog 4.10.15I love exclamation points. She must’ve been so deeply moved, so genuinely relieved and so filled with hope as she heard the risen Savior speak her name out loud.

I just think of what that might be like—to hear Jesus speak my name. That must’ve been a beautiful sound.

That one exclamation point says it all. “Rabboni!” Her teacher had conquered death. And she loved Him. And His love for her wouldn’t be thwarted by death and the passing of time.

This meant forever with Jesus- the bright morning sun. The center of her being was awakened. She must’ve felt the weight of real, true, everlasting life deep within her soul in that moment. She had been fought for, and her glorious Savior had won.

You have been fought for. And sweet Jesus has conquered all.

If I could shout with delight in a blog post, this would be the time. Insert squeal of delight and pure joy. I have been fought for, and my Savior has won.

Oh, that I might hear Him say my name one day. That I would live this life with Him in my heart. That He would die for me and defeat darkness.

He’s alive.

And that is cause enough for a massive celebration.


Makenna headshotMakenna Nahorniak is a senior at Christian Life School. She enjoys leading worship, singing, reading, writing and using her words to encourage others’ hearts. 

Extra Strength: Stop Living Like You’re Dead {John}

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

Listen to Vacancy from Sunday, April 5 2015

By John Worth, Immanuel attendee and blogger

“The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead!” Luke 24:5-6

“Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive?” the angel asked, as if the women should have known better. I mean where else would have someone looked? I mean where would you have looked?

blog 4.6.15 John 1010The women and Jesus’ other followers watched his lifeless body be taken down from the cross. They probably even followed behind as his body was hastily wrapped in linen, put into a borrowed tomb and shut away from the world on that sad Friday.

I’ve been thinking about that question the angle asked the women a whole lot myself this week. Why do I sometimes find myself searching for live among things that are dead?

I have already emerged from that tomb with Jesus, crossing from the death that I’ve earned to life that has been gifted to me. Why then would I think that any sort of life could come from my selfishness, my pride and my stubbornness?

I know Jesus isn’t in that tomb anymore.he can’t taste death ever again; he’s alive, and so am I.

My desire is to walk in the light and the life we have through his death on the cross not to dwell in the darkness and death of the tomb. My prayer is for all of us to live lives reflective of Sunday, walking in the glory of Jesus’s resurrection on that Easter day.

We have been crucified with Christ and share in the new life he has given us.

It’s time to stop living like we’re dead. It’s time to really live.

IMG_8516John Worth is a lifelong attender of Immanuel and husband to Hyacynth. John’s two boys keep him and Hy on their toes most evenings. When he’s not nose deep in spreadsheets at work John enjoys helping others navigate the waters of life.

Be Challenged: 

  • Did you say yes to Jesus? Let’s live like Sunday people! Carry the hope of the life Christ gives in your heart daily and ask God to help your actions be an overflow of that hope.

Go Deeper:

  • Tell us about how it changed your life after you said yes to Jesus! Email HyacynthWorth{at}gmail{dot}com if you would be willing to share your story.

Our Prayer for the Monday After: Vacancy

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, April 5, 2015: Vacancy 

Hallelujah, He is risen! Yesterday we celebrated the living Jesus with stories of life change during baptisms and Pastor Josh Petersen talked about the magnificence of the empty tomb.

We looked at Luke 24:

“But very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. 2 They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. 3 So they went in, but they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes.

5 The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men asked, ‘Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? 6 He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.'” Read more.


blog 4.6.15 John 1010

Pastor Josh highlighted a few things:

1.”Jesus said He came to bring life where there was once only death. Our hope is not in a dead Jesus; our hope is an a live Jesus!” -Pastor Josh Petersen

2. “I’m convinced we are not only to pick up our cross and carry it but also to stand up, walk out of the tomb and follow Him.” – Pastor Josh Petersen

For the next seven days:

Consider this:

-as a Church, are we living outside of the tomb? Are we bringing life where there was once only death? Are we bringing life to the darkness?

-if you are still in a dark tomb, say yes to Jesus. Follow Him out. He knows the way.

The Monday After: The Stressed-Out Life {Hyacynth}

You know that Sunday feeling, right?

We leave the church building inspired and filled with Truth and encouragement on Sundays … and somewhere along the course of the week, pieces of the message tend to fade and we often lose that Sunday feeling. 

The Monday After {the Sunday Sermon} is our attempt to carry the Sunday message into Monday mornings by walking together and sharing how what we’ve heard on Sunday morning is making a difference in our Mondays, our weeks, our lives. Because of your generosity to Accelerate, we are able to share these stories! Thank you!

The Monday After Sunday, July 6, 2014 {Listen to the message HERE!}

By Hyacynth Worth

By all standards of expertise, I could likely claim status as a professional worrier.

(Imagine that on a resume!)

I’ve likely logged about 10,000 hours, which is what it takes to become an expert, engaged in the art of worry during the course of my life.

Before I realized this was a problem, I thought it was just, well, life.

I’m pretty sure I was operating under the life of mantra “to worry is to care.”

Those verse in the Bible about not worrying? Merely suggestions, I’d thought.

A few years ago when worrying started taking its toll on me physically, emotionally and spiritually, I met my life verse in Philippians; I knew Philippians 4:4-6 and I were meant to be because it read like a love letter to my heart:

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

Because peace? I could use some of that. So I began thinking on whatever was right, whatever was worthy of praise.

“The mind disciplined to dwell on things which have god’s approval is the surest way of increasing your christlikeness and decreasing stress.” -Pastor Kelly Davis

And that helped. It wasn’t until I took Pam Gillaspie’s No Worries study, though, that I realized Philippians 4:4-9 was not only a love letter but also a stand-out anti-anxiety prescription that really did reduce stress and worry and anxiety.

Philippians 4 second draft

During that study we dove deep into this prescription and also reflected on the very nature and character of God — a loving Father, a shepherd to His sheep, sovereign and good and all knowing. As I pondered God’s nature and steeped long in His deep love for me while I studied and began taking to heart and action His love letter to my heart, I began to seek a new expertise to replace worry: trust.

I’m not at expert level yet; I’ve still got a lot of hours to log before I can claim a title of expert truster, but I’m on my way to putting in on my resume, and I’ve got a lot of opportunities each day to log some man hours.

And that old life mantra of “to worry is to care”? I’m choosing to replace it with “to trust God is to fully live.”

Live fully today with me?

IMG_2528Hyacynth Worth is grateful daughter to the Perfect Father, wife to John and mother to two little boys and three souls she will one day meet in Heaven. In between mothering and coordinating online communication for Immanuel, she writes about grace, motherhood and living a healthy lifestyle at Undercover Mother.

The Monday After: The Resurrection Changes Everything {Anita}

You know that Sunday feeling, right?

We leave the church building inspired and filled with Truth and encouragement on Sundays … and somewhere along the course of the week, pieces of the message tend to fade and we often lose that Sunday feeling.

The Monday After {the Sunday Sermon} carries the Sunday message into Monday mornings by sharing how what we’ve heard on Sunday morning is making a difference in our Mondays, our weeks, our lives. Because of your generosity to Accelerate, we are able to share these stories! Thank you!

The Monday After Sunday, April 20, 2014: The Resurrection Changes Everything. {Listen HERE)

By Anita Everly

My aisle seat in the solemn sanctuary was stilled in pitch black when the spotlight burst on, not on stage, but beside me.  Eyes blinked, adjusting to the harsh brightness from behind.

My 15-year-old ears could barely take in the accompanying auditory overload. Whips snapping against the floor, following seconds behind by the screams of the young men in Roman garb. They were relentless giants and my body flinched at every crack of the whip and shout of their callous mouths.

My head sternly forward, I was strengthening for the moment they passed by my peripheral, but they were not the first thing I saw.

The tip of the old rugged cross slowly came into sight with Jesus heaving underneath the weight, his crown of thorns jolting back with each strike on his already bloodied and bruised back. The exhale of his breath met the tears that flowed hot from my eyes and the rear Roman soldier’s sash hit my shoulder as he lifted his arm towering above my head to bring down another blow.

That was the day the crucifixion became more than a cross for me. The day His love for me penetrated my life with the gravity of what He endured because of me.

I realized just this holy week that while I have lived as if my sins were forgiven and Christ died to pay the price, I have continued to carry around the consequences, my guilt and shame.

While the Word and preachers have made it clear that Jesus took away my sins, the guilt and shame associated with these, I have compartmentalized and allowed them to linger in my heart. Though I’ve sung “Jesus paid it all,” I fail to live in the truth of “all.”

We are all plagued by the sins of our humanness daily. More than likely, just like Lisa who shared her beautiful story, you have tried to “get clean” too. Whether we battle addiction, deception, pride, laziness, self-sufficiency or unashamedly revel in our sins, we all need to get clean.

And I couldn’t have loved Lisa’s words more: “I had stopped using drugs, but I had not allowed myself to start healing because I was trying to heal myself. And that’s not the way it works.  It works by accepting that Jesus Christ died not just for all of us, but for me.  And I felt all the stains washed from me.”

girl-field-of-yellow-flowersWhether it’s our fresh belief or a seasoned faith that needs to take hold and run full into His freedom and grace, we need to yield to His resurrection power and let him do the work we were never intended to do.

We were never meant to carry these sins or their guilt and shame. They were crucified on the cross and buried with Him.   And on the third day He arose. The words of the Scriptures and prophets were fulfilled as all darkness of Friday was defeated by the King of kings, our Sunday King.

None before or since has unleashed such power.

When we move toward being Sunday’s child, we live in a hope that is eternal and rest in His power, instead of fight in our own.

It is in Sunday that we can truly know the truth that by His stripes we are healed—of all.

It’s the Monday after.

Are you living in Friday or Sunday today?

Anita Everly is the wife of David and mom to their three sons.  She can be found watching the lives of her men unfold, creating a home, and encouraging other women in life and motherhood.  She is striving to live life on purpose because she is crazy in love with the One who is crazy in love with her.