iCYouth: A Year of Changes (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

Such a bittersweet moment as this iMPACT year comes to a close. So many memories were created this year and experiences for which I’m so grateful!

Another winter extreme was added to list, where we fought our way to the top and got 2nd in Broomball! Mafia Madness returned as well, dressing up as mobsters and tackling the scavenger hunts! We then finished off this year with the Impys and said goodbye to our seniors.

Not only was there a goodbye to our seniors, but in the beginning of this year we had to say goodbye to Josh Peterson as the youth pastor as he takes over the senior pastor position in the church.

With the beginning of the year in a sort of rocky position, our iMPACT students were able to hear from multiple of our youth leaders as well as some of our peers included. The search for our new youth pastor had ended when we found Steve!! A warm (but mostly cold) welcome to Chicago in early January!

Steve has been so awesome in already making such an impact at iMPACT! His messages have been fruitful in so many ways and it was a great way to start off the 2015 year. I’m looking forward to seeing just what Steve has for us this next school year.

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

iCYouth: God Chose You! (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

This week at iMPACT we started a new series called “Unlikely Person.” In the message, Steve started off by talking about certain people in his life that he has met and would have never guessed would do certain things—that they were the most unlikely person to serve Christ, make a professional soccer team, etc.

Along with looking at someone else and assuming that they are an “unlikely person” to do a particular act, we can also look at God and think, “Why would you pick me? Why would God choose me to do this? Why would you use me to spread this message to someone else?”

I personally can relate to this week’s message because before I accepted Christ, three of my family members passed away in three short years and I had a hard time understanding why God chose me of all people to have to put up with the pain. But now I understand why God picked me to go through that experience because if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have been able to feel the change inside of me as God has drawn me closer to Him, I would not have found Immanuel and I would not have experienced all that I have in these past years.

It’s reassuring to look back on life and your blessings and understand that most of your life has happened because God has chosen you. He chose you to be a teacher, parent or preacher, but most importantly a follower of Christ! I challenge you to look back on your life and blessings and see how God has chosen for the good or the bad, and realize that He chose YOU!

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

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!

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

“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!

ICYouth: Am I a Nuisance? (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

Do you ever get the feeling that you might be a nuisance to someone else? The definition of nuisance is an obnoxious or annoying person, thing, condition, practice, etc. I constantly am feeling this way in multiple scenarios throughout the day. For example, when I’m all done paying for my groceries, I say to the cashier, “Thank you! Have a nice day!” and hope they actually do have a nice day. Most of them usually reply with “thanks” in a rude tone or “next please” or they don’t even reply at all. I don’t know if it’s the grocery store I choose to go to or the employees, but I constantly am finding myself in that position where I think to myself, “Am I being a nuisance?” I understand the cashiers don’t wish to know your life story, as well as be at work longer than they have to, but it just surprises me and makes me question myself.

I’ve come to a conclusion that I occasionally feel this way about my faith as well. Sometimes when I talk to my friends who are non-religious about my faith or church, I feel that I’m only being a nuisance to them — that they’re thinking, “Okay, we get it, you’re a Christ follower.” But we shouldn’t be afraid to proclaim our faith and what we believe in. I want to be known as a Christ follower because that’s my life, and that’s who I am. I want to be recognized as someone who is strong in her faith. However, be careful in the way you preach because most people do not intend to hear your whole life story while out to eat. Listen to 1 Peter 3:15 as it says, “Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way.”

There was a time not too long ago when one of my friends from school unfriended/unfollowed me on a social media account. When I asked her about it, she explained that my posts were “just too religious.” After she said that I immediately thought my posts were being a nuisance to her. I became self-conscious and was wondering if anyone else felt the same way and if I really was being bothersome with my posts. I had to remind myself however, that I shouldn’t care how one person judges me about my faith. I am proud to be a follower of Christ, and I wish to set a good example for others. I am proud to be known as a Christ follower to my peers. We are the ones who should be spreading this good news of Christ’s love, bringing people to God continually. Don’t be ashamed of that like I was!

Live your life full of spirit and be proud of it! Your faith is never a nuisance!

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