Holly Furtick

Serving with your kids… help or hassle?

I am passionate about serving with my kids.  I want them to understand, as best as they can, that there are people in our world and in our city who need our help.  And not just our resources but also our time.  I want them to have a compassionate heart to help people in need.

That being said, that doesn’t mean they will always understand it and enjoy it in the moment.  This past Sunday, after serving for about 10 minutes Abbey turned to me and said, “I am tired of doing this.  When am I going to go to Grammy’s?”  Ugg.  I wanted them to have fun!  I wanted us to serve together!

I will never forget taking Elijah last summer to the waiting room of  Crisis Assistance Ministries, a place where people wait for hours in hopes that they will find help to pay their bills and provide for their families.  We were there to give out books to kids and read with them while they were there waiting.  Elijah was discontent the entire time… what are we doing here?  how long are we going to be here?  Mommy, I’m thirsty.  when are we going to leave?  Towards the end of our visit, I was talking with the director of the organization, Carol.  She told me that all her life her parents drug her to places like this to serve people.  She told me she never really liked it as a child, but then one day, as a young adult, she realized she had such a passion to help people in need.  She now gives her life every day to it.

When we go to an event, I try and prep my kids- This is what we are doing, this is why we are doing it.  It is going to be hot.  We will stay until our task is finished… even then there are times where they just don’t get it, or they can’t stay engaged.  I have to remember that I planted a seed of generosity and a seed of compassion in their heart, and trust that God will bring it to fruition in His time.

 

All that being said, here are a few family friendly events you can be a part of this LOVE Week…

 

 

1. Birdhouse Making

It’s summertime and your family is spending a lot of time playing outside.  Share the beauty of the great outdoors with the residents of Agape Senior & Assisted Living by building bird houses.  Start building on July 29 from 1-3:30 pm by signing up HERE.

 

2. Free Store

Do you or your kids like to shop?  Did you know you could volunteer at a free store for LOVE Week? Free Store is a large-scale resource for donated clothing and household items that are given to families in need at no charge. Our teams need your help inspecting, sorting and stocking donated items in the Free Store to go out to local families in need. Shop till you drop on July 30 from 9-11 am HERE.

 

3. Healthy Family Fun Day

Join us for a community hot dog social and health expo at the Community Health Services of Monroe Diabetic Clinic. This free clinic serves over 7,800 patients in Union County with Diabetes. Many of these patients are unemployed and have no health insurance. The Clinic provides these patients with all the tools to help them lead a healthier life.  Join families from the Monroe area on July 31 from 9-1: 30 pm to enjoy food and have fun as they gain valuable health information. Register HERE.

 

4. Summer Block Party

What better way to celebrate summer than with a fun outdoor block party? We will be celebrating with the residents of Agape, their families, and community on July 31 at 6:00 pm. Sign up to celebrate HERE.

 

5. Family Game Night

What is more fun that a family game night? Play Bingo, cook dinner, and make dessert with the residents at Inreach on July 30 from 4:30-7 pm.  You win just by signing up HERE.

 

TORONTO, CALIFORNIA AND ROANOKE – LOVE Week is going on at all our locations and our extension sites. Here are a couple of our favorites there.

 

6. Back to School Centerpieces

Do you and your kids like to make arts and crafts? Then this project is for you. The Yonge Street Mission in Mississauga, an organization that supports at risk youth and families in Toronto, is holding a “Back to School Fundraiser” to raise money for school supplies for dozens of children this fall, and we get to create the centerpieces! We will provide all the supplies and instructions for you.  This is a perfect event to do at home with your family, or get some friends together and make 2 or 3! You will be able to pick up and drop off all supplies at church on the weekends. Start creating by clicking HERE.

 

7. Ronald McDonald House

This event is a favorite of our volunteers every year. We will be cleaning inside and outside landscaping at Ronald McDonald House Roanoke. July 31 from 6:3-8:30 pm. Register HERE.

 

8. Food Drive

Bring your family with you to the grocery store and pick out items for the Sacramento Food Bank. Bring by your cans between 8am and 7pm on Wednesday July 30.  Accepted items include: fresh produce, canned & dry goods, USDA certified perishable food items (meat, eggs, dairy), unexpired baby food & formula, clothing, diapers & baby supplies, bags, backpacks, purses, books, toys, unopened toiletries, computers, TVs and bicycles. To donate and find out more, click HERE.

 

9. Coat Drive

Growing families outgrow clothing.  Clean out your closets and donate your coats to bless local, underprivileged families in the Roanoke area. Bring all your jackets to church on Sunday, August 3. Find out more HERE.

Permalink | 0 comments

Monday Morning Commentary

 

 

We continued our series, Death to Selfie, this weekend and we officially started LOVEWeek!! More on Love Week in a second, first the incredible sermon. The message this spoke right to me. Don’t you love it when you feel like the preacher is talking straight to you?

This message was from Genesis 27, the story where Esau sells his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of beans. The sermon was called “Starving Sons”
Here were the 3 main points…
1. Beware of mistaking growth for maturity.
2. Beware of unsatisfied appetites that become exaggerated emotions.
3. Beware of the temptation to give up what you want most for what you want now.

But the message didn’t stop there. My husband went on to encourage us that Jesus is the firstborn Son who bought back what I sold (Romans 8:29). But before I come to him, I must first come to myself!

If you missed it, I hope you will go and watch it!.  You can view it later today on the Elevation Network, in our archive and on our podcast.

And don’t forget, every sermon is also available on the Elevation App for your smart phone.

Love Week is off to an amazing start. I really hope you will jump in and serve this week. Head over to our events page to sign up to serve.

Tomorrow I will be blogging about the challenges and benefits of serving with my kids. I’ll also be suggesting some family friendly event for you to get involved with! Have a great Monday!

Permalink | 1 comment

A big day today!

 

 

 

 

Today our baby is 9 years old!  He has turned out to be such a fun young man.  He loves to play piano, baseball, and to read (currently on book 5 of Harry Potter!).  He loves a challenge and a good argument. He loves to listen to his dad preach. He is a born leader and excels in school.  We are so proud of him!

Happy Birthday Buddy!  We love you.

Permalink | 4 comments

4 ways to join love week this Saturday!

 

WARNING: You are going to be hearing a lot about love week from me on social media over the next week.  Why?  Because I love LOVEWeek.  I love serving our community with my friends and family.  I love being the hands and feet of Jesus without any ulterior motives.  If you are a part of Elevation (or if you are not but you live in the area), I want you to be a part.  Not just do your part, BE a part.

When we all put our gifts and our passions together we can make a huge difference.  Do you like to do yard work?  Do you like to build?  Do you like senior citizens?  Are you passionate about feeding the needy or helping homeless children?  There is an opportunity for everyone.  Remember, you can go to the LOVEWeek site and search by location, type of event, time of day, and/or family friendly events.

And if you need a little help deciding, over the next week I will be posting opportunities for you to get involved.  Here are the top 4 events you can be involved with this Saturday…

If you like to build, tear down, reconstruct, or paint and  you live in the Cornelius, Charlotte, or Concord area? Habitat for Humanity has events happening at five locations this Saturday that you can sign up for. Come be a part of the first day of a new home build or renovate an office. This is your chance to put God’s love into action to transform lives and add beauty to your community.  Register HERE.

 

Do you like to party? To start up LOVE Week, we’ll be teaming up with Second Harvest Food Bank to have a packing party at the Uptown area warehouse.  Come spend some time with your friends and help supply much needed food to organizations throughout the Charlotte region. To register to help to make sure that food pantries stay stocked throughout the summer and serve those who might otherwise go hungry, click HERE.

 

Calling all green thumbs and parking lot artists! Your passion for gardening and painting in straight lines is needed at the Ada Jenkins Center to freshen it up before Fall. The Ada Jenkins Center is a new LOVE Week partner added with Elevation’s expansion to Lake Norman and we’re more than excited to be transforming this local non-profit inside and out. Have a hand in creating an inviting environment for students as they enter the next school year by registering HERE.

 

Want to give a landscape a new look? Jackson Park is a long-time strategic partner that has new energy to help transition families out of homelessness. Thirty volunteers are still needed for this Saturday’s transformational landscaping event. The lawn needs mowing, weeds have taken over play areas, and mulch needs refreshing. Sign up HERE and come out to create for Jackson Park an environment that matches their passion to help families in crisis and restore lives.

We will also have opportunities for you to serve at each of our campuses after the worship experiences all weekend.  Make sure that you plan to stay for a bit after!  Maybe I will see you out there?

Permalink | 0 comments

Monday Morning Commentary

He’s back!  After several weeks away from Elevation, my husband is back and boy is he in full force.  We began a new series called #deathtoselfie this week.  It is a series based on the life of Jacob that address the question, how do we have a God-first focus in a me-first world?

He talked about how the me-first mentality is actually miserable.  We can actually lose ourselves grasping for status and stuff (Luke 9:25).  We see in Genesis 27 that Jacob got the blessing but wasn’t blessed.  My husband told us…

God cannot bless who I pretend to be.

We must learn how to let go of who we think we are supposed to be so that we can become who we really are.  Often times it is in the struggle where we find out who we really are.  Jacob wrestled with God (Gen 32) and it was there that God gave him a new name, Israel.

My favorite part of the message was the end where my husband pointed out that even though God gave Jacob a new name, throughout the scripture, God calls himself, “the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”  God is not intimidated by the conflicts within me.  He is the God of Israel and the God of Jacob.  He is the God of the best parts of me and the worst parts of me.

The message was so encouraging.  You can watch it later today on the Elevation Network, in our archive and on our podcast.

And don’t forget, every sermon is also available on the Elevation App for your smart phone.

It is so good to be back.  Have a great Monday!

Permalink | 2 comments

Elevation Worship Live Recording

Over the past year, I feel like our worship team has gone to a new level.  The songs they have written are some of my favorites ever. In just a few weeks, we will be celebrating together as our worship team records some of these new songs live!!  This special night of worship will close out Love Week 2014 and we hope you will join us.
The Elevation Worship Live Recording is at Time Warner Cable Arena on August 1, 2014. Doors open at 6PM..
You can reserve your seat for a suggested donation of $10. If for some reason you’re unable to afford that, we still want you to attend though.  Visit elevationworshiplive.com for more information and to register today.  All seating is General Admission.
Oh, and it wouldn’t be right if we were closing out LOVE Week without giving you one last opportunity to love on our city.  We will be hosting a Canned Food Drive for Second Harvest Food Bank.  Please bring canned goods to donate at the door.
We will see you there!!
Permalink | 0 comments

No Substitute

The past few weeks my husband has been on a small break.  I have gotten to travel with him on family vacation and ministry trips. We had the best time.  While we were gone from Elevation, we were still in church, attending a conference and watching church online.  But there is no substitute for being a part of my own church.

I think so many people fall into the trap of thinking that attending one church this week, another church the next, then watching online one weekend and suddenly they find themselves in a place of loneliness, disconnectedness, and feeling like their life has little meaning.

When I finally was back in my seat, at my campus, last week after being away for several weeks I was filled with joy.  There is no substitute for this.  There is no substitute for being planted in a place where I give, serve, worship, and have community with people.

I am not saying everyone should go to my church.  But where is your church?  If you are feeling like something is missing in your life, maybe it is the fact that you are not planted where you and your family can put down roots with other believers.

Hebrews 10:25 says,  And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

Permalink | 3 comments

Love Week

 

 

I’m grateful to lead and be a part of a church where we don’t stop at just HEARING God’s word, we get out there and DO something about it. We believe you’re never more like Jesus than when you’re serving, so later this month we will give our time and talents to spend 9 days serving with 107 organizations in over 900 events.

It is LOVE Week people! One of my favorite weeks of the year. And it is so easy to get involved.

Starting July 26 and running through August 3, every day and through every Elevation location we’ll have the opportunity to do things like build a homeorganize a food pantry, spruce up the walls of a partner non-profit with fresh paintcook or deliver a meal for a homeless neighbor or a cancer patient, spend the day at summer camp with a kid who wouldn’t normally be able to afford it, play bingo with a senior citizen, or be a part of an outdoor landscaping makeover for one of our outreach partners.

Suzanne Spantgos is one of more than 120 volunteers leading the charge to accomplish what from the outside seems next to impossible. Planning and preparations started months ago. Suzanne and her husband George lead a special needs adult eGroup Elijah and I visited this spring. “I’m drawn to caring for others,” she says. “When I gave my life back to Jesus in 2010 at Elevation and saw how involved we are in serving and giving in our community to the things that really matter to me, I knew this was our church.”

Suzanne is organizing and ordering supplies for 169 food events during LOVE Week and coordinating dozens more through our Blakeney location.

You are going to be hearing a lot more about how you can get involved during LOVE Week. The best time to sign up is now because events will fill up fast (no commenting to me at the end of the month about events being full!!)! Sign up now!!

Click over to our outreach blog where you’ll see regular updates and highlighted opportunities as the countdown continues.  Go to the LOVE Week events site and use the filters to find events near you and your interests. Get involved and find out why many of us plan our summer vacations around this opportunity to bombard our cities with LOVE.

Permalink | 0 comments

An Unusual Act of Worship

I recently finished reading a little book called Stepping Heavenward, by Elizabeth Prentiss, which was recommended to me by a friend.  It is a fiction book first published in 1869.  It is a sweet little story that is like a Christian Anne of Green Gables meets maybe, Little Women.  I am not sure this book is for everyone, but I enjoyed it.

There was one line in the story that really stood out to me…

I think a mother, especially, ought to learn to enter into the gayer moods of her children even at the very moment when her own heart is sad.  And it may be as religious an act for her to romp with them at one time as it is to pray with them at another.

It kind of reminded me of this verse from Romans 12:1 (MSG)…

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.

Sometimes it is hard to remember that even in the ordinary acts of mothering I am worshipping.  And I must bring my best sacrifice when I worship.  That means sometimes I must be happy with my children when I am feeling the opposite inside.  Sometimes that means I sit on the floor and play princesses or sit at the table and play chess even when I have a thousand other things to do.  It means I read the same books and watch the same movies.

My calling as a mother may not be as helpful as being a missionary doctor or impactful as starting a church.  But my calling as a mother is equally important.  I am raising a human being.  A person that I am going to send out into the world and hope that they can make a difference for Christ. They will be impacted because I offered myself to God and to them today.

 

20140626-074501-27901732.jpg

Permalink | 11 comments

Summer Reading

I love to read in the summer.  Usually around April I start collecting a pile of books that I want to read for the summer.  I prefer fiction and memoirs but love anything really.

Here are a few of the books on my list…

One of my favorite authors, Shaunti Feldhahn released 2 new books this Spring…

Shaunti alway has great insight into marriage with practical application.  She surveys thousands of couples and then draws some great conclusions. Her books are so easy to read too!

 

 

 

 

If Shaunti is my favorite marriage author, Dr. Kevin Leman is my favorite parenting author.  I picked this book up at Barnes and Noble on a date night a few weeks ago and loved the first chapter.  The book is about the role of mothers in their sons lives, he also has one for dads and daughters.  I really need to read this book!

 

 

 

 

I love a good true story!  I started this book and then got distracted with the Divergent series this Spring (oops!). But I cannot wait to finish this.  It is an award winning book about the true story of a family living in the slums of Mumbai, India.

 

 

 

 

Mindless fiction.  Great for sunbathing.  They are making a movies out of these books so they must be good right?  I will let you know!

 

 

 

 

Ok, that’s what’s in my pile.  What’s in yours??

 

Permalink | 7 comments