Monday April 30, 2012 | Monday Morning Commentary
Finally we got to hear from my husband again. He hasn’t preached at Elevation since Easter and we were all ready for him to come back. And boy did he come back. I think this weekend’s message was in my top 10 of all of the messages he has preached.
He combined Isaiah 40 and Luke 15 and talked about how waiting on God is active, not passive. He talked about how a waiter at a restaurant is always active. Waiters are also called servers. When we wait on God, we should be actively serving him. He pointed out that in Isaiah 40:31 it says, “those that wait on the Lord will mount up… run…and walk!” He then took us to the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15. In verse 29, we find the brother complaining to his father that had never gotten a party. The father says to him that all the goats are his!
My husband pointed out that often what we are waiting on God to give us, He has already placed inside of us. We pray for joy, and He is saying, “Rejoice in the Lord always!” We ask God for forgiveness, He has already forgiven us and wants us to repent.
He encouraged us to stop waiting for God to do something that He has already done!
You really must listen to this message. I do not feel I am doing it justice. You can listen to the message (or watch it) at our website, the Elevation Network and our podcast.
I hope you have a wonderful Monday!
Friday April 27, 2012 | Elevation Church
Last night we gathered together the lady staff and spouses for an evening of great conversation, good food, and awesome giveaways. The first hour we rotated groups discussing everything from what your favorite tv show is to how you came to know Christ, and everything in between. I love giveaways so each lady that you see pictured with a balloon won a prize. The second hour I spoke challenging everyone to create their own story at Elevation. We had such a great time.
I believe that mobilizing the lady leaders of our church is essential to the work that we are doing in our city and beyond. Thank you LST and Elevation event staff for pulling off an amazingly successful event!
Wednesday April 25, 2012 | Abbey
I took this video of Abbey several days ago. I would consider it some of her first real steps (learning to walk is not quite how they make it on tv). In the past few days, she has decided walking is, in fact, a better form of transportation than crawling. It is so cute to see her walking all over the house. I just love it. My boys both walked at 13 months, Abbey decided to wait until she was 14 months (she has been too busy talking to us).
Ok, so here it is, Abbey’s Steps…
Tuesday April 24, 2012 | Reflections
Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
Sometimes, it feels like a sacrifice to give thanks. And it should. When it feels like everything is going wrong, it can be really hard to make a shift from focusing on the negative to focusing on the positive. The funny thing is, when you dwell on the negative, the negative seems to get bigger, but it only takes a few positive confessions to turn your outlook around.
I love how this scripture tells us to openly confess the name of Jesus, and not to forget to share with others.
Recently I had a rough day (I know you never have those). At the end of the day, I caught myself complaining to my friend on the phone, and I stopped and said, “You know what, it’s really not that bad,” and then I started to state the good things that happened that day. And I felt better.
Sometimes you have to go to God with a sacrifice of praise. Like when you don’t understand why, or you wonder how much longer, or when your past begins to overwhelm you. Start offering that sacrifice. It is pleasing to God.
Monday April 23, 2012 | Monday Morning Commentary
This weekend we continued our series with a special guest preacher, Bishop TD Jakes. We learned last week that sometimes we are in a waiting room because of something God needs to teach us, or do through us. This week we talked about the self-enforced waiting room of unforgiveness.
Bishop Jakes shared from Matthew 18 and the story of the unmerciful servant. Before he got to the parable, he pointed out verse 20 where Jesus said, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” He said that our vertical relationship with Christ depends on our horizontal relationships with others.
When we do not forgive others, we really only hurt ourselves. Bishop Jakes said, “Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and waiting for someone else to die.” He also said, “You may be right about what hurt you, but wrong about how you are handling it.” He told us we must learn from the story and, “Flow in the mercy we were given.”
There was so much packed into the message. You can listen to it at the Elevation Network, on our Podcast and in our archive. You can also purchase Bishop Jakes’ new book, Let It Go, a book all about how to forgive.
I hope you have a great Monday!
Friday April 20, 2012 | Give aways
Congratulations, Kasey Black! I hope that you and your family will enjoy these scripture cards! Please email Leigh Ann Loeblein (firstname.lastname@example.org) your address and she will get the cards in the mail to you asap!
And if you did not win, you can order a pack of scripture cards for yourself here. Consider it an investment in your spiritual health!
Friday April 20, 2012 | Life Change Inbox
It's Friday and time for another Life Change Inbox! I have been sharing some of the wonderful emails my husband gets, where people share the work God is doing in their lives through Elevation Church. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 3:2-4 that our lives are living letters written so that God might be glorified.
Here is Crystal's story…
I was invited to Elevation by a friend, Kelly. She invited me to come see Bishop TD Jakes during the Code Orange Revival. I haven't been to church in years so I was very hesitant and afraid at first, but I decided I wanted to see Bishop Jakes. When I got to the Blakeney campus, I was amazed to see all the people standing in line, and even through the crowds and rush, the greeters were very cheerful and welcoming, so that was the first good sign.
That night was a life changing experience for me. See, I had been struggling with God for the past 15 years when my mother passed away and I said I was over it, but inside I was still angry with God for taking her away. That night, I let go and asked for God's forgiveness. I felt an overwhelming presence in my spirit, heart, mind, body that I knew immediately was God welcoming back. Even writing this I get overwhelmed!
I have been going to the Matthews campus since and I am beginning to get connected so I can be a strong Child of God. Kelly and I had lost touch for many years so I really believe that God placed her back into my life for me to have this chance and reunite with Him. I am grateful for this opportunity to share, I'm grateful for Kelly's obedience to God and Elevation's open spirited worshippers. Pastor Steven's vision and leadership is awesome. Every time I go to church, Pastor Steven's message is always for me. I have begun tithing as well so I can be a blessing to others. My oldest daughter is now attending with me loving it, bringing her children and they love eKidz. All in all we are being blessed at Elevation and I have been inviting all my family and friends.
I am so excited for Crystal and the path that she has begun to following Christ. And guess what? This weekend Bishop Jakes will be back preaching at Elevation! I hope you will make a point to join us!
PS. Check back in few hours. I will be announcing the winner of these great scripture cards!
Thursday April 19, 2012 | Reflections
How about this blast from the past? Tetris was the only video game I ever liked. It was also the only one I was ever any good at. I got on a Bejewled kick not too long ago because it reminded me of my old friend Tetris.
The key to getting far in Tetris is to keep it low. If you start to let your wall build up with holes in it, you are in trouble. If you let your board begin to look like this, death is inevitable.
We were discussing forgiveness in my small group the other night and I got to thinking about Tetris. How do you have a marriage that lasts? By forgiving over and over again and not letting unforgiveness build up inside of you.
Forgiveness in marriage can even be a pre-decision. I am deciding today that no matter what you do tomorrow, I will forgive you (even if he doesn't ask for it). This way, when I am faced with a hurt, I have already decided how I will respond.
I will keep it low. I will forgive because I have been forgiven.
Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Wednesday April 18, 2012 | Abbey
I cannot believe that my baby turned 1! She is so funny and full of life. We get a new glimpse into her personality every day.
She is a talker. In fact, she is much more concerned with talking than walking. She is finally taking steps but still not convinced that walking is a better form of transportation than crawling.
Her favorite word (and person) is Da Da but she also says tons of other words like Bubba (for her brothers), yes, dress (although one could argue that yes and dress are the same word), uh oh, hey, and many many other "words" that only she knows what they mean. She has stopped saying Momma, I guess she doesn't see the need since she can get my attention by saying "ahhh!"
She loves purses, phones and keys. That's my girl! Her favorite songs are "The Wheels on the Bus" and "If You're Happy and You Know It," and will join in with the hand motions if she feels up to it. She is a joy to have in our family.
Here are a few of her 1 year pictures…
Tuesday April 17, 2012 | Give aways
My friend, Lysa TerKeurst recently gave away a set of these scripture cards on her blog. When I saw them I knew I needed those in my kitchen. My children have minds like little sponges and they can memorize scripture like nothing I have ever seen. I have been wanting to do more scripture memory at breakfast and when I saw Lysa's blog, I knew these were it.
Well I received my order a few days ago and my boys have already memorized A- A friend loves at all times, Prov 17:17.
And I bought an extra box to give away! Just leave a comment here in the next 24 hours or so and I will pick a winner. Good luck!