Fashion File… The Second Chance Pants

Have you ever worn something and then seen a picture of yourself later and hated your outfit?  I sure have.  I felt that way about this outfit pictured here.  This was one of our Code Orange Revival nights.  When I saw this picture I hated the way I looked.  I hated my hair, my shoes, my top, and especially these pants.   The way the pants are pulling, yuck.  Every time I have even thought about wearing these pants again, I remembered this outfit.  And so the pants have hung in my closet, unworn, for the past year.




Fast forward one whole year. This year, at Elevation, we are doing Code Orange Underground (Code Orange Revival, relived 1 time a month over the whole year).  Naturally, I wanted to wear something orange.  When I saw these pants in my closet, I thought, “It is time to redeem them.”  So I restyled the pants.  First, I wore heals to make my legs look longer.  Then I put on a long, flowy sweater to cover where the pants were pulling. And I cannot tell you how much better I felt in these pants.


My whole point in this is sometimes, it is not the pants (or the top or the shoes), it’s the pieces you put with it.  So today I leave you with this charge… Give your pants a second chance :).

Ladies First

Last week we got together with our female staff and staff spouses.  We try to get together a few times a year.  Each time we meet we try to change it up.  We have served together, we have simply gotten to know each other and we have brought in speakers too (this was our last event).

This time we brought in one of my favorite authors, Shaunti Felhahn.  We decided to have everyone who normally attends this event invite someone with them.  We had the best time.  We had ice cream in January.  We talked about the core values of Elevation (The Code).  We collected items for Pregnancy Resource Center AND gave them a check from the generous people of Elevation for $40K!   And we heard from a bestselling author.

Shaunti spoke to us about the inner workings of men and how we can apply what we know about men to working with them and being married to them.  Her content is so good.  I love it because it is not one woman’s opinion for men, it is a woman’s findings after interviewing thousands of men.  If you have never read her book, For Women Only, or For Women Only in the Workplace, you need to get a copy!

Here’s a few pictures from our night…

Draw it out

I once heard a preacher say, “A question convicts a conscience but and accusation hardens the will.”  I have never forgotten that.

When you ask someone a question, they consider their actions.  When you accuse some one of something, they automatically go into defense mode.

So in parenting, let’s say one of your children gets angry at another one of your children and punches his brother until his brother starts crying (hypothetically speaking).  Instead of accusing which leads to more anger, “You are such a bully, keep your hands to yourself,” you could try questioning, “What is the rule about punching in this house?”  This may not result in any less drama, but it does cause my child to think about what he did wrong.

It applies in marriage.  Let’s say your husband and you get into an argument over money.  He spends too much, you never spend at all (again, hypothetically speaking).  Instead of saying, “You don’t care about our finances,” you could try, “what did you think we could use this for?”

Now I will say it is best to avoid using the question, “Why?” because why can often come across as accusatory.  ”Why did you do that, (you idiot)!”  Also, “What were you thinking?” doesn’t count either.

It takes a lot of self control to question before you accuse but this small change can be the very thing thats allows you to get beneath an argument to the deeper issue of what is causing the argument.  In parenting, it can allow your child to take ownership for their actions rather than you telling them for the 100th time what they did wrong and what the consequences will be.  It also communicates to the other person that you truly want to understand them.

Proverbs 20:5 says this…
 The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters,
    but one who has insight draws them out.

I want to learn to draw out what is in the heart of those I love, not jump to conclusions because I am frustrated by their actions.  I in doing so, I hope that my loved ones will do the same for me when I mess up.

Monday Morning Commentary

This weekend we continued our series, The New Rules of Resolution.  This series is incredible.  It is practical and challenging.  Based out of Colossians 2:6-7, each week we are hearing a truth that will help us change the way we change.

The first week the truth was: It’s not a project, it’s a process.

The second week we learned: It’s not about achieving, it’s about receiving.

The third week we learned: It’s not about trying, it’s about training.

This week we learned: It’s not a competition, it’s a calling.

My husband taught us that competition is the death of complacency and competition is captivity.  Performance driven spirituality is toxic to your soul.  It can keep you from being all you are meant to be in Christ.

Ephesians 4:1 says we are to live a life worthy of the calling we have received.  The problem comes when I try to live a life worthy of the calling someone else has received.  I can not judge myself against someone who has a different assignment from me.

My favorite line was based out of Colossians 2:9.  When I live out of fullness in Christ, I no longer live up to something, I live out of someone, Jesus.

I took 4 pages of notes this weekend.  It was one of those messages that I could not wait to hear a second and third time because I could not soak it all in the first time.   We are  learning how to change the way we change.  It is so great.  I hope you will listen to this series.  You can listen to the message on the Elevation Network, or later today on our Podcast, or in our archive. Have a great Monday!

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

Here’s Charles’ story….

Hello brothers and sisters at Elevation,

My name is Charles and I’m from the Philippines. I’ve been watching and listening to Pastor Steven’s sermons online for the past 2 years. They have blessed me, my family and my ministry. I wanted to share a story of how your ministry is also encouraging a couple who are preparing to go to Africa as Missionaries. 2 days ago, I downloaded the message “Jesus Told Me To”. The message spoke to me and moved me so much that I knew I had to share it. The Holy Spirit lead me to share the podcast with a missionary couple, who will be bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Burkina Faso, Africa early 2013. FYI there are over 11 million Tribal Muslims amongst the 21 unreached people groups in Burkina Faso, Africa. So when I got home that night, I immediately sent the link to the video podcast of this message to them. The next day I received this message: 

Thanks for encouraging us! God woke me up 5am. It feels like you heard my prayer and all the things I was telling God this morning! We listened to it after praying. Jesus Told Me To! This is so timely for our lives right now, as we step out in faith. We both know that this is only possible thru Christ who has called us. Not by might, nor by power, but by His Spirit alone. May His wisdom be upon us as we do missions in Africa. May God teach us His ways and may we be able to follow. May Jesus use us according to His purposes. Elevation Church is not just speaking to people in your local community but also to people here in the Philippines. And from here, God is using that same message to send His Gospel to Africa where they have never even heard the name “Jesus.” It is wonderful to experience how God connects us and that His movement and momentum is at a global scale. We are all moving towards the same purpose, same goal, same story. To not just be part of history but to take part in HIS Story! 

 We are Elevating together! 



Never again

Teaching kids responsibility is a hard thing.  It takes a lot of restraint to not bail your kids out when they mess something up.  And I don’t think it gets any easier the older they get (at  least that’s what my good friend Lysa TerKuerst tells me).

Like the other day, my kids didn’t clean up after playing outside.  Later, I ran over a new basketball.  It was an accident but how can they learn to be responsible if it never costs them anything?  My husband made them each pay us $5 to cover the cost.  That’s hard considering the amount of money they have.  But if it didn’t cost them anything, they won’t think twice next time.

A while back we were running into a problem with our DSi games.  My boys love their Nintendo DS.  And I have a love-hate relationship with video games in general.  Sometimes I hate being the video game nazi but that is a whole other post.  DS games are small.  Tiny.  About 1 square inch and they are very easily lost.  A couple years ago I felt like my boys were always losing their games or leaving them at grandparents houses.  I felt like I was the only one who even tried to keep up with them.

So I made a rule: If you lose a DS game, you may NEVER own it again.  No one can gift it to you.  You may not save up to buy it again.  You can never own it again.

I know this seems extreme but can I tell you, we have only lost 1 game that I can think of in the past 3 years.

Sometimes you have to make an extreme rule to teach your children to care about their stuff.  Elijah recently lost his school sweatshirt (it did not have his name in it).  I found it funny that he didn’t ask me to buy another one.  Maybe he knows I will say no.  Maybe he doesn’t care because he doesn’t like wearing coat.  But either way I don’t plan on replacing it.  He can save up his money if he wants one this year.  Otherwise, he’ll have to wait until next year.

I don’t pretend to do everything right with my children.  But I have a big vision for each of my kids and getting them there is not going to be easy.  I have to remind myself that it is easier for them to learn it with a lost video game or a sweatshirt than a lost wallet or cell phone.  And if I have to be the bad guy, then I will.

Fashion File… beautiful simplicity

So I am back with a fashion file.  And since we are nearing Valentine’s say, I thought I might do a jewelry post (for all the lurking male fashion file readers :))

Jewelry is all over the place right now.  Long or short necklaces, bold or simple pieces, it seems like anything is game.  So where do you start?  Start with building your simple, every day, i-never-take-off pieces and add from there.

I really do have a few pieces of simple jewlery that I wear for months on end and do not remove until I get tired of them (I sleep exercise and shower in them).  Currently, these pieces would include a simple necklace, a toggle bracelet on my watch hand, my wedding ring (goes unsaid and I never tire of that) and stud earrings.

Here are a few simple suggestions…

A simple cross necklace.  I have seen these with and without sparkle.






A small initial necklace.  Love this look.  Tiffany’s makes the sweetest little initial necklace in sterling silver.  Of course, you are paying for the Tiffany’s name, but that is a wonderful Valentine’s day gift.





The initial bangle.  I love this bracelet.  I have literally worn mine out and it is no longer suitable for public.  I love this on my watch arm.  The charm adds a nice touch.





The toggle bracelet.  These are everywhere in every style.  They add a nice touch for an every day look.






You can never go wrong with 3 small bangles.  I love how these come in mixed metals for those of you who feel like your jewelry needs to be all silver or all gold.  This gives you the excuse to mix and match.




The “diamond” stud.  Available in the middle of any mall near you in sterling silver for less than $20.






Watches can get pretty crazy in price and in style.  I have a silver watch and a gold watch that I rotate.  Both are simple but go with everything.  This Michael Kors watch is nice and simple yet had a nice look to it.





Nice, clean, and simple.  Stuff you can wear every day and that goes with everything.  I grabbed all of these pictures from Nordstrom online (because I know someone will ask).  Next week I am going to share a fashion file called the second chance pants.  Happy (early) Valentine’s day!

eGroups… An army behind me

This weekend at Elevation we had eGroup sign ups. I loved when they read a letter from a girl who said even though she walked alone in the halls of her high school, she felt like she had an army behind her. I love that.

Being a part of a small group is essential to belonging to a large church. It can take a few tries to get in the right group. But when you do, you can find relationships that will push you and encourage you and stand by you at just the right time.

Check out this video our team made.

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

Here’s Steve’s story….

After being introduced to Elevation by my wife in September of 2011 I became a classic poster child for the vision as I was far from God and now am raised to life in Christ. As God’s miracle continued to develop in me I began volunteering and giving. I found I was unable to watch many of the movies I used to watch as the language and content just did not feel right in my home. As I opened my heart to His love I found myself giving the full tithe, and following His guidance as He instructed me to begin an eGroup for men. During this remarkable transformation in me, an equally remarkable transformation was taking place in my wife. The woman who insisted I visit Elevation, who was the epitomy of the amen corner, was losing her faith. I chose to pray a Sun Stand Still prayer for her return to God. I shared my desire with my eTeam and my eGroups. I asked my campus pastor and his wife to pray as well as every Elevator I had the honor of meeting. I then encouraged my friends in other churches to pray for her…and then the kicker…I told her! I told her she did not have a chance and that I could not wait to begin worshiping, serving, and contributing to building God’s kingdom with her. She took it well  but a small part of her did not think she was worthy of His love or grace.

About 12 months later I received a shocking text from my wife. Shocking because I had no idea she was remotely close to a life change. However, based on what I have seen and what I have heard at Elevation, shock should not have been my reaction, but instead, awe. She has rededicated her life to Christ. We have started our first couples devotional study and for the first time in our marriage we are both walking with Christ at the same time.

Then, six days after my wife rededicated her life to God, our youngest daughter also felt called to rededicate her life to God. Two blessings in less than a week.

And then we realized the extent of God’s love as He was preparing my wife and daughter for a dramatic life change. The next week we learned my mother in law has terminal cancer. I cannot emphasize enough the incredible timing and love God has shown by providing His foundation just in time. While we all pray for God’s healing hand we also realize this Godly woman is ready to see the son she lost 50 years ago and the God she has known all her life. They are now in the process creating memories and providing care for her. Additionally, they are helping others in the family who are far from God find peace and quite possibly God in this process. While many would see this in a negative light I cannot help but see the beauty of God’s plan and how impeccable is His timing.



What’s beside dinner… sautéed spinach

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.

(And by the way, you can search any of my recipes in the search bar over to the top right, or browse them by clicking “categories” and then select, “recipes”)

Last time I shared roasted balsamic sweet potatoes.  Today I am going to share with you my sautéed spinach recipe.  I always say, I don’t like wet leaves.  That includes collard greens and cooked spinach.  But even I like this recipe.  To start, you need to know that you really cannot mess this up.  It is really a pinch of this and a handful of that.  Also, this is not a picture of my spinach recipe.  It will not be this pretty.  Not even close :).

What you’ll need…
-about 1-2 tbs of some kind of cooking oil.  I like to use coconut for this recipe, but butter, olive oil or vegetable will work.
-1-2 bags of fresh spinach.  (it really really cooks down)
-1-2 cloves of pressed garlic
-a pinch of salt
-1/4 cup of cream, half and half, or milk (in that order)
-a handful or 2 of shredded cheese (I like cheddar)
-and if you are feeling really brave, a can of artichoke hearts.  If you add the artichoke hearts, you probably only need one bag of spinach.

What to do…
1.  Heat your oil in your pan, I like to use a deep fry pan with a lid (kinda like this one)
2.  Add your spinach to the pan, put the lid on.  After about a minute or two, check and stir.  Do this a few times until the spinach begins to wilt.
3.  Add garlic, cream, salt, and (optional) artichokes.
4.  Let the spinach wilt down a to the consistentcy you prefer.
5.  Add the cheese, stir for about 30 seconds to get cheese to start to melt.  Remove from heat.  Cover with lid.  Let it sit for a a few minutes so the cheese can melt.

Hope you enjoy!  I’d love to know if you make this and like it!