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.

If you have a life change story that you would like to share, please do!  Email us at

Today I am excited to post a comment I received last week on my Monday Morning Commentary about Student Takeover weekend.  Colleen is a friend of mine and long time Elevator.  I met her at a new comers lunch many years ago.  Colleen represents the exact person that we created Elevation Church for.  She was far from God, came to our church and began a relationship with Christ,  then she got plugged in volunteering and began growing in her relationship with Christ and is raising her kids at Elevation.  I couldn’t wait to share her letter with you today.


Hi Holly. Student take over could not have come at a better time. My 14 year old has hit some major bumps in the road of life this summer. From insecurities about her looks, to stretch marks (from growing up, not out), to having no interest in boys yet in a world where girls her age are boy crazy-which caused her to question her sexuality, a very best friend moving away, (which led this New Yorker on a trip to West Virginia-whoa) all lead up to a suicide note, a false threat to take pills, a mild anti-deppressant, and weekly therapy. Where else could I go? To God. And there was student take over. I signed her up. She hasn’t wanted to do much of anything, none the less, this. I did not give her a choice. When she attended the meeting, I got a text that said…”Dude-I can’t believe your making me do this.” By Friday night at 10:08 the text said this…….the kid who hasn’t liked anything in months…”I’m…Kinda…Liking…Church…” Praise God. She served on Saturday, and was on stage on Sunday. And guess who signed themself up for an egroup before I even got to her? That girl. The same girl that was sleeping for 18 hours a day. The same girl that balled her eyes out in the doctors office when I told him what was going on. The same girl who started high school today feeling loved by God, and Elevation Church, and feeling like she is a part of something great. This is probably for the amen corner but I wanted you and Pastor to hear it from me. Your church changed my life in 2007, and now it’s grabbing a hold of my daughter at a very difficult time in her life. Keep doing things with excellence. You will be rewarded in heaven. I love you guys.



The days are long but the years are short

Well the dreaded day has come and gone.  This week, both of my babies headed off to school.  Elijah is in 1st grade, Graham is in TK (transitional kindergarten) at the same school, and Abbey is home.  I am happy to report that we have an amazing school and wonderful teachers. I am also happy to report the boys were early to school every day so far this week (yay me!).

Have you ever heard the saying, the days are long but the years are short?  It is so true.  When they are fighting in the backseat of the car the days feel so long but I know that before I blink, they will be driving off to college.  So I will do my best to enjoy each moment the best that I can.

First day of school…

Summer Reading

I have said on this blog before (10 Insignificant things about me), that I don’t consider myself an avid reader.  I do consider myself an avid collector of books I would like to read.

I love to read a good story (fiction or non fiction) and I love to read in the summer time. There is just something relaxing about a good book and sunshine.  So here is what I have read this summer that I would recommend to you…



I know I am really late to the game on this but I did complete the series before the movie was gone from the theaters.  But I have to say, what a great story!  I would highly recommend this series to anyone who simply likes a good fiction book.  And I was super pleased with the movie too!



My friend, Kelly gave me this book for my birthday.  First of all, it was quite a shock to go from reading the juvenile fiction, Hunger Games to Laura Hillenbrand who does not leave one detail out. But I thoroughly enjoyed this story.  I was so pleasantly surprised with the ending.  If you love stranger than fiction biographies and WWII stories, you should give this book a try.





And finally, a sweet story about a 12 year old girl who loses her mother but finds love and friendship in the arms of her Great Aunt and her friends in Savannah, GA.




I admit this post has a Reading Rainbow vibe to it (I keep waiting for the theme music to play in the background) I cannot end it without asking you to share what you have been reading lately, especially if you think I might like to add the book to my collection :)!  I can’t wait to hear your comments!


An invitation to intimacy

This weekend, in my husband’s message, he said this…

Loneliness does not mean you are alone. It means you are in formation. Loneliness does not equal abandonment. Loneliness is an invitation to intimacy.

This got me thinking about two of the loneliest times of my life.

The first was when I was 15 years old and my family moved from the city I had lived and the church I had attended since the age of 3. I had always been a social kid. I never liked being alone. The year before we had moved I remember praying to God that as I changed schools that he would give me lots of friends. Fast forward, one year later, I remember crying telling God, I did not need a lot of friends but if He could just give me one. And in that moment, I clearly heard the Lord whisper to me, “Why don’t you try making me your friend?”

That year would be the year I truly developed a relationship with God that went beyond Sunday School and godly parents. A relationship with God that was my own. I know that God used my loneliness as an invitation to intimacy with Him.

The second most lonely time in my life was my freshman year in college. I was so excited to go to college. I don’t really know how I got this idea but I decided I was not going to date anyone my first year of college. I made a promise to God. It sounded great in my mind at the time. I wanted to focus on my relationship with Christ and develop friendships. About midway through the year, I was feeling pretty left out. I remember feeling like everyone I knew belonged to someone, except me. And I remember crying myself to sleep over it.

My freshman year of college was another pivotal year in my relationship with God and a string of boys could have stolen from me. They could also have kept me from being available when Steven Furtick wanted to date me.

There have been a handful of times as a pastor’s wife where I have felt alone. I have felt like no one could possibly understand what we were going through. And those have been the times where God has come through with peace and comfort and provision and growth.

I wonder if God sometimes drives us to the point of loneliness so we can experience intimacy with Him. And as painful as those moments can be, when I look back, I realize that those were the moments that shaped who I am today.

Monday Morning Commentary

This weekend was Student Takeover Weekend as well as the third week in our series.  I was moved to tears as I saw the droves of students that participated not only in the activities for the weekend but also those who served and participated in our weekend worship experiences.  We had over 700 students (!!!!!) show up Saturday morning to serve over 2500 hours in our community.  Now that is impressive.

And of course my husband’s message was such a great way to wrap up the entire weekend.  He preached from one of my very favorite passages in the Bible, Luke 1.  The title of his message was, “16 and Pregnant.”  I loved his four points…

  1. It may not go like I am expecting, but I am obsessed with who I am becoming.
  2. It may feel lonely to stand for Christ, but I am never alone as I walk with Him.
  3. It may be disappointing to accept what I am not, but I am determined to work what I’ve got.
  4. It may be costly to do God’s will, but I am confident in His reward.

I loved how he pointed out Luke 1:38 when Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant, may it be to me as you have said.”   He said that before Mary thought about what may be, she had an affirmation of who she was.

The message was not only encouraging for all the students heading back to school tomorrow.  It was convicting for me.  The task God chose Mary for would be hard but her response was easy.  She knew whose she was and she knew she must obey.

You can catch the message today on the Elevation Network, on our Podcast, or in our archive.

See you tomorrow!

Love always protects

1 Corinthians 13:7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

In Genesis 9 there is an odd tag to the story of Noah. It goes something like this… After Noah and his family got off the ark, they lived on the land, planted fields and populated the earth. One night Noah got drunk and lay naked on his bed. One of his sons found him and went and told his other 2 brothers. The other brothers then took a sheet, walked in backwards (so they wouldn’t see their father) and covered him up.

I always thought this was a bazaar little piece of information about Noah’s life. This summer I heard Joyce Meyer talk about forgiveness. She brought up this story about Noah. She asked a simple question, do you cover for the ones you love?

Love always protects. Love covers.

If I am a protecting my spouse, I want others to think the best of him. I am not going to call my mom or my girlfriend and talk all the little things he does wrong.

If I am a protecting friend, I’ll defend my friend if I hear others gossiping about her, not join in.

If I am a protecting church member, I am going to assume the best about my church leaders, not believe what one negative person is complaining about.

If I am a protective parent, I will put up boundaries for my children, even if they don’t like them.

It is human nature to take the easiest way out. It is so much easier to complain about my spouse than it is to cover him (especially if he has said something that hurt me). It is easier to let my children watch unlimited amounts of television and video games, they fight less and bother me less, but it doesn’t protect them.

Protection is work. It is an active word. The more you love someone, the more you must work to protect them. We must fight to protect that which is valuable to us.

Love always protects.

Monday Morning Commentary on Tuesday

After church this past Sunday I drove my kids down to my parents house in South Carolina.  We are trying to make the most of the few days we have left before the close of our summer.  My older sister has 5 children and the cousins just love being together.  As you can imagine, 8 children under the age of 9 can be quite chaotic.  And so, Monday Morning Commentary is coming to you on Tuesday.  I could not let the week go by without commenting because this series is shaping up to be so challenging.

My husband preached from Matthew 16.  He told us that we must relentlessly protect our identity.  He said that Jesus did not die just so that I could be forgiven.  He dies so that I could be transformed.

He talked about how there is a gap between what we feel and what we are.  For instance, the scripture says that we are the light of the world and that we are to be holy as God is holy.  But the reality is, I don’t always live that out in the day to day.  My husband beautifully explained that grace is so much more than a commodity to save me, it is the power to CHANGE me.

Knowledge of who God is allows me to have access to everything I need for godliness (2Peter 1:3).  I love that.  I don’t want to spoil the message for you, if you have not already heard it, but it ends with a wonderful illustration to help us understand how to access God’s grace (hint: it’s in the Cloud!)

You can listen to the rest of the message yourself! You can catch it today on the Elevation Network, on our Podcast, or in our archive.

See you tomorrow!

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.

If you have a life change story that you would like to share, please do!  Email us at

Check out Joey’s story…….

Dear Pastor Steven,

A year ago was Follow 2011, and as I look back I cannot believe the transformation and blessings I have encountered. Back then I struggled with depression, feeling rejected, and extreme loneliness. I made the decision to “Follow” and was baptized. I still struggled, including two suicide attempts, questioning God, why me, why this?

At the end of 2011, The Found Favor series opened me up and it was the message at Code Orange Christmas when I heard your father say on video, “The time to do it is now…” is where I finally stood up and said enough, take me, mold me, use me Lord. I attended 9 straight nights of Code Orange Revival. It totally changed me forever.

I now serve at the Blakeney Campus with some of the best, most passionate people I know on the VIP Team. I have attended the eGroup leadership orientation and plan to start a single men’s eGroup because the Lord has put it in my heart to help young men who are struggling.

In light of my past experience, my current situation, and my future hopes and dreams, I’ve learned that the wise thing to do is to just trust HIM!! I’ve shared my story with many of the staff members and fellow volunteers, not because my story is better than someone else’s but to say, “Hey, if God can save me from the pit of depression and suicide, He can save anyone!”

Thank you Elevation Church!!

Jose (Joey) L. Velez

A lesson in generosity

Elijah recently celebrated his 7th birthday (sob, sob).  One of the things he requested from friends and family was money.  I was so proud of him when we counted up his money and talked about how he needed to tithe 10%.  He was super willing even though the amount seemed astronomical to him ($9.33).  He gladly took his money in a ziplock bag to church.

Later he came back to me and told me about how his cousin, Silas, had given $20 of his birthday money to buy mosquito nets for kids in Africa.  We talked about how when God blesses you, you can be generous and give more than 10%.  I asked him if he would like to do that and he agreed.  He wanted to use $20 extra of his birthday money to help someone.

We agreed that purchasing a backpack for a child who might not get a new backpack for school would be a great way to spend his money.  I told him I would buy a backpack too.  I wish you could have seen him pay for that backpack and lunch box with his $20 in Target.  No second thoughts.  I was so proud.

Later I asked Elijah if he regretted spending that money on someone else, he said not at all.  It is funny, I have never regretted one dollar that I have given away either.

This is not a post to ask you to donate a backpack for kids in need.  This is a post meant to inspire you to be generous.  If a 7 year old can give $20 and not look back, you can be generous too.  I challenge you to pray today and ask the Lord if He shows you a need, you will be generous and fulfill that need.

Matthew 6:21 Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”