The Life Changing Power of Pursuing God Wholeheartedly

I remember what it was like to be a teenager. While I've been out of school for over six years now, I still remember the highs and lows of teenage life. Even more importantly, I remember what it was like to be a teenage girl. 

I remember the end of the world feeling when my first boyfriend broke up with me, I remember trying not to let my thighs touch every time I went swimming and even more importantly, I remember what it felt like to allow the world to tell me everything that was wrong with me and believe it to be true. 

After having to move schools due to some bullying I found what I felt was the best place on earth, my new Christian School. God was new to me and He seemed far off and distant. Someone my friends would talk to and tell me about, something I went along with because I desperately wanted to fit in. 

I remember struggling with all the big issues of Christianity. At the beginning I didn't know the difference between Christmas and Easter (when was He born?), I didn't have a clue how to read the Bible and praying was just rattling off a bunch of things I wanted in my life. Honestly, I did most of it because I felt like I should, not because I wanted to. 

I never had a big salvation moment, nor could I tell you the time when God became real to me, but over time He did. God was real and He loved me (or so I was told)! However, while now I could easily say the right things and do what a good Christian should do, I still felt like I was living a lie. Most of the time I didn't feel loved by God, I didn't feel good enough for that. I always thought everyone else was more Holy than me and I just needed to work harder to get there. God loved me, but only on the condition that I did exactly what He said and repented for every single sin I had ever committed, even the ones I didn't remember. My biggest skeleton in the closet was that one time I told someone I didn't believe in God, well how was God ever going to forgive me for that?

Life continued, I was changed and impacted by the world around me, but unchanged by God. I finished school, excited and nervous for the next chapter of my life. I was still going to Church and started to help with the youth group. After having another boy break my heart, I was faced with one of the biggest struggles of my Christian life. Only one year after finishing school all of my friends from Church either stopped going or moved Churches. Having no Christian family to rely on either, I was faced with the decision to either follow the crowd or follow what the Holy Spirit was saying. Staying at the Church meant potentially losing all my friends which was the foundation of my faith. I had a choice, was I going to start pursuing this life changing, hope giving, life abundant faith I had been hearing about for almost 4 years or was I just going to stay the same?

Thankfully, I stayed at my Church and began discovering God for who He really was. I started listening to God when it came to my identity, rather than the world around me. I started to overcome beliefs that had held me back my entire life. After years of searching, learning and persuading my heart I made seven life changing discoveries. 

  1. I am saved (Romans 10:19): I didn't need a salvation date for this to be true. I don't need to earn my salvation; I just need to confess with my mouth and believe in my heart. If you're worried about your salvation, have confidence! You are saved!
  2. I am the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19): The same Holy Spirit lives in me that also lived in Jesus, in your Pastor and in the most super spiritual person you can think of! No one is more Holy than anyone else!
  3. I am righteous (2 Corinthians 5:21): This means that no matter what I do I am in right standing with God. No matter what I do, I cannot make God love me anymore or any less than He does now. 
  4. God is good and unchanging (Psalm 145:9; Hebrews 13:8): God is good from the beginning to the end and He never causes bad things to happen to us.
  5. Nothing can separate me from the love of God (Romans 8:37-39): Nothing I do can change this which is such a powerful truth!
  6. I am not condemned (Romans 8:1): God never makes us suffer or feel bad because of the things we have done. While we still have to endure worldly consequences, Jesus died for us to we can have peace with God!
  7. I am forgiven (1 John 1:9): I am forgiven for all the things I have done and all the things I will ever do. 

Remember that 15 years old girl who allowed the world to tell her who she was? I do, and I hope I never forget. I hope I never forget how much God has shaped me into the women of God I am today. My prayer is that as a youth leader I can help young people just like me discover all the amazing things that Jesus has for them. 15, 16, 18 or even 20-year-old me wouldn’t have believed the life changing things Jesus has done for me and our partnership isn't over yet. We haven't finished working together to make me the best me I can be; but with God, all things are possible. - Matthew 19:26

- Sam

Youth Leader Q & A with Hunter Youth Collective (HYC)


Who leads your youth group ? 
Sam McNeil and Jeremy Mannix + a great group of Leaders

Pick 3 words that best describe your youth group: 

Fun, sporty, life changing

Pitch a sentence or two about your youth group that you would like out teen listeners to know:

HYC is made up of the best group of people you will ever meet. We play heaps of games, eat food and talk about the life changing power of Jesus.

How big is your youth group?


Where do you meet?

Hunter Christian Church (20a Hillcrest Parade, Highfields), 6:45-9pm

Contact info:
Sam McNeil 0488220287 or [email protected]

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