iCYouth: Shadow of a Man (Grant)

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By Grant Everly

Recently I’ve really enjoyed listening to a particular song, Shadow of a Man, by Neulore. After doing a bit of research, I’m pretty sure that Neulore is a Christian band, but regardless, the lyrics carry profound weight for the Christian listener.

The chorus in Shadow of a Man goes like this:

“And all the memories of the days you lost
You add them up and then you count the cost
You’re just a shadow of a man undone
Another life that has just begun

So light your torch and follow me
We’ll burn the boats back to who we used to be”

This past Sunday at iMPACT we celebrated the baptisms of four students. I couldn’t help but think of how much truth is found in the above lyrics. Each person who was baptized was celebrating the fact that they are now “a shadow of the man (or woman) undone.” What a joy it is to be able to consider ourselves a mere piece of what we were before Christ and recognize the degree to which Christ transforms us. Furthermore, how amazing is it to be able to “burn the boats back” to the old person we were?

A lot of times it’s difficult to truly eradicate our old selves, but I love the imagery that Neulore uses in capturing both the extent to which we’ve been made new in Christ and the degree to which we are called to get rid of our old self.

So as we go forth, whether we’re celebrating a recent baptism or not, let us always remember that we’re “just a shadow of the man undone, another life that has just begun.”

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.

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: When Talking Faith in God, the Head Connection Matters

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 Grant Everly

I’ve been extremely excited about our current sermon series at impact. It’s all about asking tough questions and navigating doubt. I’m loving it because I think it engages a segment of the population that can sometimes be forgotten: the intellectually driven-Christian.

I have a friend who will tell you that having a discussion about predestination, evolution as it concerns the Christian, philosophies surrounding God, etc. helps him more than anything else to grow in his faith. For him, questioning and working out who God is on a moral, philosophical and scientific level is a means to great growth, but the unfortunate reality for many who are similar to this friend, is that the importance of the mind in the Christian life isn’t always stressed by the Church, and I can’t think of a more unfortunate statement to make.

To the world we’ve presented the notion that to be a Christian you must conceal your questions and accept Christ and the Bible on blind faith, but this couldn’t be more false. It is possible, and I would argue extremely helpful, to go deep into the realms of science or philosophy and stay in places that are uncomfortable so that we can emerge afterward with a very well-articulated and solid faith.

icYouth 3.20.15 God is So BigThe fact of the matter is that God is so big that His reach doesn’t stop with the Bible. If God is who we say He is, we should be able to find His finger prints in all areas, whether that be a Biology classroom or a book on the nature of morality. We shouldn’t shy away from this notion. If reading a more philosophical work or having a conversation that makes your head swirl isn’t for you, that’s totally ok. Not all people are geared that way, and that’s part of what makes the world so unique; however, we need to make sure we are appealing to all people, in particular those who are intellectually-driven.

One example I love when talking about the engaging of the intellect in regard to Christianity is Paul. A while back I read Acts and counted each time it says that Paul “argued,” “discoursed” or “reasoned” with a group of people. I counted at least ten times that this occurs. This number may not seem impressive, but given that Acts is only twenty-eight chapters, it’s apparent that engaging intellectual discussion was key to Paul’s ministry. In other words, engaging the mind was central to sharing the gospel with a certain sect of the population. When I read about the ministry of Paul, I can’t help but wonder if we take the time to minister similarly to those who will check out in the absence of intellectual rigor.

So how are we doing in engaging the mind in our Christian lives? Again, maybe talking philosophy just makes you want to puke, or you appreciate it to an extent, but don’t care to dwell on it too much. This is ok. The intellectually-driven Christian is just a small part of the body of Christ that is the Church. But still, we need to do as Paul explains in Colossians 2:18-19. We must ensure that we don’t lose connection with the head instead engaging it.

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.

ICYouth: You are What I Love About Sundays {Trever}

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by Trever Carter

There’s nothing I love more than sentimentality. I love thank yous and letting people know how grateful I am for them. Hugs are one of the best vessels for love. I’m big on “I love you”s. Traditions are irreplaceable, the big ones and the little quirky ones alike. Words on a piece of paper hold more power and weight than most anything else.

My personality certainly drives the desire that I have for these little things. It’s the way that God has crafted me: hard wired to love others and be loved by others. I am so incredibly relational that being apart from friends or family or community for too long tears me apart. And I know that Jesus was the same way. He was consistently in relationship with God, never seen without people and always going out of His way to just love. And I think that is what Heaven will be like–a place full of love.

IcYouthblog 3.6.15 heavenThat’s what I love about Sundays. I love Sundays because it’s the closest I get to Heaven at this point in my life. For those of you who don’t know me, my family doesn’t attend Immanuel on a regular basis. Sometimes my mom does, and it’s certainly a treat; nothing makes me happier than being able to sit next to my mom during service. Just because they don’t attend, though, I’m rarely at church alone. Immanuel has blessed me with family, and for that, I cannot thank you all enough.

God is always present on Sundays. He is present in the hugs exchanged when I walk in the doors and see my friends. He is present in the little hands that I hold walking kids from the parking lot to the building. He is present in every song that I sing, every word that is spoken, every bit of community that is present. And His presence doesn’t stop when the service is over. His presence transcends into lunch traditions and lazy Sundays, family grocery trips and frisbee golf outings when it’s warm. And iMPACT is certainly a way to end the day.

I have had so many memories of Sundays at Immanuel, each just a bit sweeter than the last, but not as sweet as the next, especially as I draw my high school career to a close and have to think about moving on and finding a church wherever I end up at school. But I will say this: I will try for the rest of my life to emulate Sundays at Immanuel. And not just on Sundays, but throughout my life.

I want to make my life about sentimentality. About community. About the smiles and laughter and tears. About quirky traditions. About family. Because I think God looks down and smiles big at all of those things. And Immanuel, you give me just that. You have helped make me into the man I am today, so thank you; you are what I love about Sundays.

TrevernewheadshotTrever Carter is a senior at Grayslake North High School. He enjoys running, playing lacrosse, and photography. He also likes to write, serve with the church, and spend time with his friends.

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!