Holly Furtick

He Calls, He prepares

My good friend Lysa TerKeurst was kind enough to give me a pre-release copy of her new book, Unglued.  (It releases next week and I can’t wait to give away a few copies in the coming weeks.)

This morning I was reading the book and I came to this part…

Of course, I am familiar with Ephesians 2:8-9 (I memorized it as a child), but verse 10 really spoke to me this morning.  The same grace that God uses to save me is the grace He uses to sustain me.  If God has called me to be the pastor’s wife of Elevation Church, He will fill prepare me in advance to do it.  If God has chosen me to be the mother of Elijah, Graham and Abbey Furtick, He will prepare me in advance to do it.  If God picked me to be the wife of Steven Furtick, he will prepare me in advance to it.

I am God’s workmanship.  A workmanship is not made over night.  It takes a time.  Maybe even a lifetime.  I have to let the Master do His work in my life.  I have to let Him chisel.

If you want to read more about God chiseling, you need to pre-order a copy of Unglued here.

 

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Monday Morning Commentary

This weekend was week 3 of our series on fear, Room 101.  The messages get stronger and stronger each week.  I told my husband that the message this week was not just inspirational, but so very practical.  Every person went home with a strategy to face their fears.  It was truly powerful.

He began by saying that fear takes over when I give more weight to my what if rather than to what God says.  He said that instead of wading out into our what ifs, we need to dive all the way down to the bottom and find that God is there.  He gave us this progression:

What if (panic)… That would (pain)… God is (promise)

It might go something like this for me.  What if something happened and one of my kids got really sick.  That would be awful.  It would be the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with.  But God is good.  He has been with me before and will be with me if that happened.

This takes the sting out of fear for me.  I know that just because I am a Christian does not mean that bad things will never happen to me.  Bad things are a part of living life.  But at the bottom of my bad thing is a God who is there.

There was a lot more to the message.  I hope that you will take the time to listen to it. I promise it will be life changing for you.  You can catch it today on the Elevation Network, on our Podcast, or in our archive.

Have a great Monday!

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4 ways, 12 locations to serve this summer with kids

This year, I’ve enjoyed more than ever the opportunity to serve our community with my children.  Elijah and Graham are getting old enough to understand the importance of service, and Abbey’s getting easier to bring along wherever we go.  As we’re now halfway through summer, I wanted to share with you some of our Elevation Outreach team’s best opportunities to serve with your children before they head back to school.

 

GIVE A GIFT::  When you’re shopping for your child’s school supplies grab extra items for a homeless child served through A Child’s Place.  Lace up some shoes and bring an extra new pair or two to share with our partner Samaritan’s Feet.  This is my current favorite for my boys because they’ve got specific tasks they can complete.  They get to sort, tie, count, and drop shoes in big boxes in a big warehouse where nobody cares how loud they are, and running between tasks is actually encouraged.  Any time of year you can pack a shoebox full of gifts for a child through Operation Christmas Child and Samaritan’s Purse.  This is a favorite of Elevation staff mom Kelly Hubatka for her four girls and Elevation Providence mom Dana Ramsey who says, “My kids (Christian, 8 and Caroline, 13) love helping other children and take ownership of the process.”

 

FEED SOMEBODY::  One of the easiest ways to relate the importance of service to kids is through food.  They understand that everybody needs to eat.  And they can be a part of feeding somebody in so many ways.  Elevation Blakeney mom Erin Proctor says her two kids (Tamarah, 12 and Ty, 8) get up at 5:30am once a month with no complaints to serve breakfast as a family at Charlotte Rescue Mission.  Proctor says the kids feel empowered to truly serve as they say good morning and bring breakfast plates out to the men’s tables.  At Samaritan House, you and your eGroup can serve and share dinner together with homeless neighbors recovering from surgery.  Our church has scheduled, regular opportunities with these two partners so you won’t have to serve alone – seasoned volunteers will be there with you to show you how everything works.  Next time you’re at the grocery store, you can pick up an extra bag full for Matthews Help Center or Hope Cancer Ministries.  Both these organizations are experiencing a shortage in their food pantries and would really appreciate your help.  The kids can help put the groceries on the shelf at drop off if you have time as you help them understand the importance of sharing.  And everybody loves the smell of freshly baked cookies.  You can whip up your favorites on site to share with patient families at Ronald McDonald House.

 

CLOTHE SOMEBODY::  When you’re cleaning out your closets for new fall fashions, take your outgrown clothing to our partners at Crisis Assistance Ministry, Project 658, or Camino Community Center.  The operation at Crisis is huge.  Thousands of items of clothing circulate through there every day and kids age five and up are a big help.

 

SHARE YOUR TIME::  One of the sweetest new opportunities this summer is at Charlotte Family Housing’s Hawthorne Place.  Elevation University campus pastor Larry Brey spent the night there this month with his son Corbin (age 6).  Our service Sunday through Thursday nights once a month allows CFH to save thousands of dollars.  “We’d been there less than an hour and Corbin was already asking when we were coming back,” said Brey.  You arrive at 8:30pm, play with kids getting ready for bed, visit with parents transitioning out of homelessness, and tuck yourself into a private little room with your own bathroom and bunk bed.

You can also go Here to see a few events that we are already doing this summer.  You can sign up and jump in!

You can find out more about any of these outreach opportunities by emailing our outreach team, or follow them on the Elevation Outreach blog.

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Big Boy Turns 7

Today my baby turns 7 years old.  Can this really be true?  Inside I still feel like I am that 25 year old woman bringing my baby home from the hospital without the slightest idea of how to make him stop crying.  Today he turns 7 and I still don’t know how to make him stop crying.

Here are 7 Things I love about Elijah with 7 of my favorite pictures taken of him this year…

1.  He is a great big brother.

2.  He makes me feel like his world would fall apart without me.

3.  He wants to please us.

4.  His best friend is his dad.

5.  He doesn’t want to do something if he can’t do it perfectly.  This makes him really good at the things he is good at.

6.  He is a verbal genius.  I win fewer and fewer arguments with him.

7.  He is a born leader.  Now if he could find a few followers.

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And the winner is…

 

Congratulations Lawana Gray!  I know your girls are going to love this dvd!

Send us an email to lloeblein@elevationchurch.org.  We will get that dvd to you as soon as possible.

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Why I lift my hands

I remember the first time I lifted my hands in worship.  I was about 15 or 16 years old.  I was so nervous my hands went numb.  I mean come on, I grew up in a Southern Baptist Church.  Hand raising was really only for a few really excited worshipers (unless you are doing the hand motions to Our God is an Awesome God, that didn’t count).  So when I felt compelled to lift my hands at a revival service filled with people from a full gamut of denominations, I thought those around me would think I was crazy. But I did it anyway (and nobody seemed to even notice).

From that moment on, something began that never stopped.  I began to let go of what others might think of me and express myself in worship to God.  It took a long time for me not to care.  And I still care a lot about what people think about me (that is another post for another time).  But today, when I worship, I feel free to express myself to the living God.

So for those of you out there who maybe don’t get it yet.  Maybe you don’t see the need to express yourself, after all, God knows your heart.   Here are a few reasons why I lift my hands…

1.  I lift my hands in celebration.  People do it at a football game, why can’t I do it because I am excited that I worship the God of the universe.  And I have come into His house with His people and we are saved and able to worship freely, so I celebrate.

2.  I lift my hands in surrender.  If I sing the words to a song that says, “Lord have your way,” I want to express it with my hands.  It affirms it in my heart too.

3.  I lift my hands in expression.  I clap, I smile, I lift my hands because I am expressing my love and affection to the Lord.

4.  I lift my hands as an offering.  When I sing something like, “I offer my life to you,” I hold my hands out, like I am physically offering myself to God.

5.  I lift my hands as if I am reaching out to my Father, like my children reach up to me.  Like a cry for help or an expression of my need for Him.

Expressing yourself in worship does not have to happen in a corporate gathering.  It can happen in your car or in your house, in your private time with the Lord.  I hope that next time you feel the need to express yourself outwardly towards the Lord that you will have the courage to do it and do it again.  And yes, God knows your heart, but He wants to see your expression.

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Monday Morning Commentary

We continued our series on fear this weekend.  This series is shaping up to be very special in the life of our church.  I feel like so many people are talking about how much they are learning through this teaching.  This weekend’s message was based out of 1Kings 19, when Elijah ran from Jezebel.

The overarching theme of this message was this…

People who do great things for God are not fearless, they are faithful.

The message was so good.  Here are a few of my favorite lines…

  • If you don’t feed your faith, you cannot overpower your fears.
  • God’s goal isn’t to take away my fear but to build my faith.
  • Fear is never rational.
  • Fear tries to obstruct my view of God.
  • God only needs to whisper to me because he is near.

This series is so good.  I hope that you will take the time to listen to it.  You can catch it today on the Elevation Network, on our Podcast, or in our archive.

Check back later this evening for the announcement of the winner of last week’s giveaway.

Have a great Monday!

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Life Change Inbox

It’s Friday and time for another Life Change Inbox!  Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 3:2-4 that our lives are living letters written so that God might be glorified.  People often write in to Elevation and share the work God is doing in their lives through our church.  When I read these stories, I am reminded that we serve a powerful God who still works miracles in the lives of everyday people.  These stories inspire me to keep giving, keep serving and continue praying for those who are far from God.  I hope they will do the same for you.

Check out Lisa’s story…

About 2 years ago Pastor Steven asked those who tithed regularly to stand. I was a little reluctant but stood with a very few others. At that same time I felt the Lord tell me in my spirit that if I could follow him in this area of tithing, why was I sitting the fence on another.

 You see, I was newly divorced, sporadically coming to church, BUT regularly being sexually immoral. I was trying to fill a void in the wrong way.

Over the last two years I have step by step moved toward total surrender. The Lord spoke on a weekly basis thru Pastor Steven and his sermons. Funny how premarital sex was mentioned frequently!

 I became more involved in the church, became an usher and finally joined a women’s eGroup. During this time I faltered a few times, but God’s grace and his continued affirmation thru Jeremiah 29:11 helped me. 

My sister became ill with breast cancer and some issues with my son and addiction came up in 2011. Thru the sermons, my eGroup and prayer, I felt closer and more calm. I finally was able to quit searching for men to fill my void.

The fall of 2011 I met a wonderful man whom the Lord brought into my life. I told him that at age 56 and twice divorced, I was remaining pure until marriage. Surprisingly, he stayed around and we continued to attend church each week while dating. This year we were married, still having kept our promise to each other and God to remain sexually pure until we were married!

Thanks to all the words from the Lord and the great Elevation family. I am proof if you follow the Lord’s word, his promises come true…..even for a 57 year old woman!

 I can now share my story with young women about keeping yourself pure as well as tithing and how God has a plan far better than we ever imagined.

 

And as a bonus, here’s a picture from her recent wedding.

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Live in love

1 John 4:16
God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.

I am finding that the fastest way for me to love someone I am having a hard time loving is to pray for that person.  It’s funny but the God who lives in me begins to soften my heart when I pray for those I am annoyed with, or angry with, or frustrated with.  It’s not an over night solution or a quick fix but it helps me to refocus.

God is love.  God lives in me.  I have direct access to His love.  It will flow out of me if I ask Him to.

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Give away for the kids!

We had such a great time at Hillsong Church in Australia.  One of my favorite resources that I brought back was their latest dvd.  My kids love the Hillsong Kids dvds.  They are part of the few dvds that I will let them watch in the car when we are not on a trip (like every day around town driving).

When I brought this dvd home I was thinking Abbey would enjoy it but the boys would be too old.  I was wrong.  They all enjoy watching this dvd.  The songs are catchy and the messages are great.

So I thought I would give one away today!  Leave a comment letting me know which little ones you plan to give it to.  I will close the comments and then randomly select a winner in a day or so.

If you don’t win but would still like a copy, you can purchase one here on Amazon.

Here’s a little clip from the dvd that I grabbed from YouTube…

 

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