Holly Furtick

Life Change Inbox

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. We did. I will be back next week but I wanted to share this great life change story from Timeless Christmas. It’s is just one of the many people who’s life was touched this Christmas.

If you have a story you would like to share, email us at amencorner@elevationchurch.org

Here’s Nesha’s story…

I just wanted to stop and say how thankful I am for your prayers for my family these past couple of months.

My 18 year old brother, John, who has been visiting me for the past week here in Charlotte, has been in and out of court facing a 1 year prison sentence. He has been mixed up with the wrong crowd for years and has always insisted on never changing. I can’t even begin to explain how much my family is going through emotionally. It seems especially burdensome for me as I am the first and the only of my immediate family to have a active relationship with God.

Lately, I began to accept this sentence on my brother’s life and I have flirted with the thought of giving up on my brother and family altogether. However, you, Elevation, have made that impossible to do. You’ve encouraged me past the pain and into a stronger prayer life than ever. This is not including all of the prayers I know that you’ve prayed on my behalf. Because of that, I invited my brother to come visit me this past week as a last effort to spend some time with him before he went to court, yet again, but for the last time.

My brother visited Elevation for the first time last weekend and decided to come again to Timeless Christmas. This morning as Pastor Steven gave the invitation to begin a new life in Christ I got to see my brother stand, boldly, as he accepted Christ for the very first time. On top of that, all he can say is how he can’t believe that people at my church are so nice.

I realized today that my mind had been focused on defeat but God had a victory in mind for me. My faith has been shaken and strengthened. I hear stories every week about how Elevation is changing the world but I never thought I would get to experience it- again! God’s awesome.

Nesha

 

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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.

If you have a story you would like to share, email us at amencorner@elevationchurch.org

Check out this story…….

Today as I was getting gas a man saw my Elevation Church sticker and said that he went there one time and enjoyed the service. We ended up having a 10 minute conversation after he told me that he is stuggling with his faith because of an illness he has. He then hugged me and looked up to the sky and then back at me….his face had a glow to it and he said I was a blessing to him today. I feel like I was the one blessed. But give all thanks to God for the opportunity to speak to him and for the Elevation sticker that was a comforting sign to that man to feel the need to speak to a complete stranger.

Lisa

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Salvation is here

Luke 2:29-32
“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.”

These are the words of Simeon, the man who the Lord promised would see the Messiah in his lifetime. The day Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to be presented at the temple, Simeon was moved by the Spirit to go to the temple. Simeon held baby Jesus and prayed, “for my eyes have seen your salvation.”

Simeon was looking for Jesus. He was expecting Jesus. Because Jesus was their only hope.

This Christmas I am looking for Jesus. I am looking for Him in my interactions with my family. I am listening for Him to speak to me. To encourage me. To speak peace to me.

And this Christmas I am expecting Jesus to bring salvation to many people who are far from God. I am excited about all the people who will come to church this weekend and hear the message of salvation, the message of hope, the message of Jesus.

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Merry Christmas from the Furticks!

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Monday Morning Commentary

 

 

We wrapped up our Banners Years series this weekend with a bang.  We got to see people at all of our campuses express their faith through worship, baptism and generosity.

My husband reminded us that God does not measure the size of our gift, He measures the size of our faith.  I love that.  When our Blakeney building was dedicated, Cliff Barrows, quoted the hymn, Jehovah God Who Dwelt of Old: “The rich man’s gift, the widows mite are blended in these walls.”  That sums up the Church.  We all give obediently and with great faith and God does the rest.

You can listen to the message on the Elevation Network, or later today on our Podcast, or in our archive.   Have a great Monday!

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Good and Perfect

James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

I have been working through Beth Moore’s bible study, James.  This week she talked about how God gives us perfecting gifts and it has really resonated with me this week.

Some gifts from the Father are good.  Some are perfecting.  Good gifts feel good but perfect gifts change who you are.

It’s Christmas time and gifts are on my mind.  I love to give good gifts to my kids.  There are few things in life better than the feeling you get when you give someone a gift they love.  There are other gifts I give my kids that are perfecting gifts.  Like teaching my boys how to take out the trash is a gift that makes them a better man.

Sometimes the Lord blesses me with a good gift, like the amazing parents I have who were not only great parents when I was a child but also now that I am an adult.  Other times God gives me a gift that doesn’t feel like a gift.  It feels like something else.  Like the when God gave me a fussy baby so that I would realize that I could not do it all by myself.  There were many days when I wanted to re-gift that baby.

What I am not saying is that God makes bad things happen to me.  But I do think that He allows difficulties to enter my life in order to change me and make me more like Him.

It is easy to thank God for a good gift, but gratefulness for a perfecting gift comes years later.  The key is not to resent the difficulties but rather to embrace their perfecting nature.  The One who does not change wants to change me and embrace the good gifts along with the perfecting ones.

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How to give a good gift

1.  Don’t make it about you.  I knew a woman who got a pool table for mother’s day one year.  She had never played pool a day in her life. When giving a gift to someone, start by thinking about the things that they love.  They love hunting?  Go to Bass Pro Shop and ask for help and get a gift receipt for everything you buy.  They love cooking?  Go to Sur La Table, make a gift basket and just remember to get a gift receipt.  Don’t let your likes and dislikes and opinions keep you from getting someone else what they really want.

2.  Replace something.  Maybe they lost a pocket knife that got taken by TSA  or a pair of favorite earrings that they left in a hotel.  It could be something they broke like a favorite mug or pair of shoes that got ruined.

3.  Give a blast from the past.  Find a t-shirt from a concert you attended years ago.  Or an old cd you used to love together.  Maybe a copy of a movie you saw together.

4.  Do something nostalgic.  Frame an old picture or an old letter.  One of my favorite gifts my mom ever gave me is in my kitchen.  It is a framed recipe card for my Grandma’s eye round roast (my favorite thing she cooked).  My mom saved it when she was cleaning out my Grandma’s house after she moved to an assisted living home.  It is not even in a nice frame but I don’t care, it’s special.  It reminds me that cooking is about expressing my love to my family (for me, no pressure if you hate cooking).

5.  Be a good listener.  If your wife goes on and on to her friend about how beautiful her new purse is, take notes!  If your husband talks about how he wishes he had a universal remote, pay attention!  If your daughter goes on and on about sparkly TOMS take the hint!

When you give a really thoughtful gift you take a big risk.  Maybe they won’t get it.  Maybe they won’t think it is as special as you do.  Maybe you tried really hard but just fell short.  But maybe you gave them a gift that says, “I know you,” or “I pay attention to you,” or “I remember the great times we have had together,” and that speaks volumes.  And listen, if you need to throw in a gift card with your framed recipe card, that’s icing on your, I-put-thought-into-this gift.

I will leave you with 3 last don’ts…

Don’t equate gifts with need.  That’s why socks and underwear from your grandma never meant much.
Don’t believe the lie that it is all about money.  Resourcefulness after a tough financial year could be the best gift you ever gave your spouse.
Don’t give up.  Just because you gave a gift that bombed last year doesn’t mean you throw in the towel this year.  It means you try harder this year.

Happy Hunting!  Merry Christmas!

 

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Monday Morning Commentary

 

 

We are still in our series, Banner Years, this weekend.  Each week has truly gotten better and better.  This week I learned that God wants to take whatever I am going through and raise a banner for His glory in my life.

We heard the story of the Laymon family who attends our church.  Their tragedy is anyone’s worse nightmare.  Their triumph is that they are daily clinging to Christ as they learn to live their lives in a new way after their loss.  I don’t want to give too much away but I promise if you watch their story, you will be inspired to new levels of faith in your own life.

And I want to publicly thank the Tom, Lisa and Ellie Laymon for telling their story.  I know that was not easy for them.  But I also know because they had the courage to tell their story, many people came to know Christ and many people were inspired to let God raise a banner no matter what circumstances they are facing.  I hope that you will join me in praying for them this holiday season.

This message will challenge and inspire you.  You can listen to the message on the Elevation Network, or later today on our Podcast, or in our archive.   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.

If you have a story you would like to share, email us at amencorner@elevationchurch.org

Check out this story….

Wow what an amazing church!! Just a few months ago my wife and I were on the verge of separation. There were so many negative things in our lives like adultery and pornagraphy. We were in a church that was divided. I was in a job that I hated and so was my wife. It just seemed like everything was going wrong! I replied to a Craigslist ad for a job and got the job.  My new boss is a long time member of Elevation. He invited us to church and we accepted. At the same time we entered a married for life class that was taught by my boss and his wife. We have made an amazing turnaround and have learned the truth about a marriage covenant with God! I love my job.  My wife felt led to quit her job and take on an even harder job of staying home with our two sons! (Evan 6 ) and (Landon 3 ). We are expecting our first daughter whose name is Chloe Faith.  We are so greatful for Elevation Church, Pastor Steven and the eKidz ministry for making us feel so welcome here! We are Elevators and are looking forward to the greater things God will use us for at Elevation!! We love this church!!

Thanks for your love and kindness!

Jeff, Nicole, Evan, Landon, and yes even Chloe too!!

 

 

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What’s beside dinner?

Meal planning can be difficult to keep fresh.  And unless you are making an all-in-one dish (which is not a family favorite at my house) you not only have to plan a main course, you have to figure out what to serve with it.  Add to that trying to keep your meal healthy and you can really find your self in a rut.  I do not consider myself that great of a cook but I do try to plan creative, fun and relatively healthy meals for my family a few days each week.

Recently I have been experimenting with some different sides and I thought I might take a few posts to share them with you.  The good news is, they are all super easy to do.  Tonight we will start with roasted balsamic sweet potatoes.  At my grocery store you can buy sweet potatoes already diced in the produce section.  This is amazing because sweet potatoes are not easy to cut.  If you do have sweet potatoes you want to cut yourself, give them a minute or 2 in the microwave to make them a little bit softer to cut.

Here’s what you’ll need
2 lrg sweet potatoes peeled cut into 3/4″ by 3″ cubes (or one package pre-cut from grocery store)
1/8 cup olive oil plus more
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar plus more
1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs such as rosemary and thyme
Salt to taste
Freshly-ground black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Combine all ingredients in a gallon size ziplock bag.  Shake the potatoes until they are evenly coated with mixture.  Spread potatoes onto a greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 400 for 45 min to 1 hour.  Turn once or twice.  Enjoy!
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