iCYouth: Life with Conviction (Makenna)

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 Makenna Nahorniak

There are moments in life in which you realize the magnitude of the change that is happening, the old ways that are being uprooted and the new dreams that are planting themselves firmly beneath your feet. I’ve been looking for the new thing that the Lord is doing. I’ve been stretching my heart far off into the unknown land that is the future, but Jesus continually calls me to do one thing of utmost significance: Be where your feet are.

We often wonder why we have the tendency to overlook the significant moments. We ponder how we could possibly have missed the grandeur of Jesus’ love when our flesh was frail and weak. Maybe, just maybe, it’s because we all too often become blinded by the glittery, worldly idea that we might become full by the existence of anything other than Jesus.

If there’s one truth that has resounded deep within my heart throughout the last several years of my existence, it’s this: The Lord calls us to live each moment with purpose and deep conviction. He doesn’t simply desire that we know the truth, but He also requires that we act on the glorious truths He has made known to us.

In John 15, Jesus talks to His disciples about the world— the things it’ll expect of them, the troubles that might plague them and the sin that will confront them. He says some startling things in this passage that I think we, as Christians, need to pay close attention to as we walk beyond the doors of our homes each morning to leave some sort of impression on our communities.

John 15, verses 18 and 19 say,

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”

Jesus doesn’t promise that the world will be enthralled with us as we choose to pursue Him with every inch of our beings. Oh no— He warns those who desire to follow His lead and live lives of purposeful conviction that the world will hate them.

The world will neglect you, it’ll make you feel small, it’ll bombard you with lies, and it’ll call you to fade into the background and let someone else take charge of working for the Kingdom of the Lord. Fellow believers, it is a deep desire of mine to see each of us walking away from the things we place in between ourselves and God — the things that cause our eyes to fall from the only One capable of setting our souls ablaze with truth and life to the fullest.

Let us start today. Let us be intentional in the ways we walk— not as lost and lonely but as found and fulfilled. While we were off seeking a stunning life filled with empty wishes and hopeless dreams, our Heavenly Father had His heart set on a whole and restored group of followers who would willingly cast each earthly burden aside to exalt His precious and worthy name.

I think Charles Spurgeon said it best when he wrote,

“I cannot trifle with the evil that slew my best friend. I must be holy for His sake. How can I live in sin when He has died to save me from it?”

When our hearts are truly awakened to the deeply satisfying love with which the Lord has radically changed our lives, we must respond by pursuing closeness with Him and surrendering to His holy ways. Today, may we find ourselves completely drenched in the Presence of God and captivated by the infinite value of the set-apart lives He calls us to pursue.

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.

Extra Strength: Love Does: Follow Me {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 Love Does: Follow Me {Sunday, November 2, 2014}

By John Worth, Immanuel attendee and blogger

Counting the Cost

When I usually think about counting the cost my natural inclination is to fall back on my finance degree from college. I take a look at an opportunity, and in an analytical way I do some “cost” calculations in my head (and sometimes on a spreadsheet; I am pretty nerdy).

  1. I start with a cost benefit analysis — will the benefit outweigh the cost over the useful life of the thing that I’m spending money/effort/time on?
  2. Next, present value calculation — figuring out what is the price that something is worth today considering the benefit that it will provide over time.
  3. Finally, I look at the budget: time, money, effort, emotional expenditures — will I have room in the budget for this thing? Even great things can’t be done if it can’t fit in the budget.

Jim Elliot Love DoesAfter Jesus turns around and tells the crowds following Him, “If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison” (Luke 14:26) and “carry your own cross and follow me,” He follows it with an equally a bold statement “But don’t begin until you count the cost”.

Here’s what struck me most about Jesus’s words: have I counted the cost in my own life? This is a much bigger question than doing analysis on the cost of say accepting a job offer or buying a house versus renting; it’s a matter of my whole life and, even harder, that of my family. My money, my time, my relationships are all a reflection of what I am giving my life to; they are payments to the cost of what I’m truly following.

Too often in my Christian life I haven’t counted the cost before jumping in and following Jesus and instead have sometimes been faced with the sudden reality that my current “budget” can’t fit what Jesus is asking me to spend. At those times I’ve had a choice; do I walk away like the builder who runs out of money in Luke 14:28-30, or am I so devoted to Christ that I make the hard choice and follow even if it costs me everything I hold dear? I believe that in order to follow Jesus in the way he wants we will ALWAYS have to make really hard choices. Choices between good and best, comfort and uncertainty, staying in the boat or walking on the water. If there aren’t hard choices I am probably missing something.

Currently I am faced with very real choices between doing what is easy and what I believe God has placed on my heart to do = hard. Am I crazy enough or enough of a “fanatic” as Pastor Joe put it to choose the path that will allow me to make the biggest impact on the world? For me the thing I wrote on the card that will cause me to step across the threshold on Sunday was caring for orphans. Specifically in this season of my life it’s looking like it will be in the form of an adoption from Eastern Europe of not just a 2.5 year old but a 13 year old as well.

So back to the original question I’ve been wrestling with: what’s the cost?

Thousands of dollars spent on lawyers, agencies and travel, many hours of paperwork, phone calls and late night discussion, close family relationships strained and feelings hurt, loss of vacation and other job difficulty from weeks of travel required, stomach churning court dates, social worker visits, lawyers, judges, uncertainty, tears, hurt, brokenness, loss….by the way these are only some of the costs we KNOW of that will happen during the next several months, not including the rest of our lives on account of this choice.

I can almost see Jesus turn around, look me in the eyes and ask me, do you want to be my disciple? Do you really want to be my disciple? You know what you will ultimately gain but have you truly counted the cost?

I believe he is asking you those same questions today.

My answer is yes.

What’s yours?

John Worth is director of Immanuel Accelerate, 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: 

  • Have you responded with a yes to what God has laid on your heart? Share your yes with family or friends and talk about your next steps.
  • Read the final week in the Love Does study guide and discuss it with your small group.

Go Deeper:

  • Take the next steps in living out your yes!
  • Tell us about it! Email HyacynthWorth{at}gmail{dot}com if you would be willing to share your story.