Holly Furtick

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 Veronica’s story….

I have been battling myself on sending this email for a long time, until I finally realized that this is really not about me, but about inspiring others with my story. I hope that gets accomplished and at least one person comes closer to God because of what I am about to share…

I grew up in an Atheist home. My father was one of those loud and outspoken Atheists that makes sure he expresses his negative and belittling feelings about people who believe in God. As I was growing up, God was never a part of my life. There were no prayers. No church. No Faith. End of story. 
I used to wish the rest of my story continued with a HUGE event, and LOUD voice talking to me, a MIRACLE opening my eyes….but now that I am starting to know better, I know that God came into my life at the perfect time and in the perfect way.

About 2 years ago I attended a business seminar hosted for women. I was a little apprehensive about going since I had heard one of the ladies before and she referred to God a lot in her speeches. Needless to say, I did not want to hear it. As the seminar began, the common denominator between all women that spoke was how they overcame incredibly hard and challenging struggles. To my not-so-much surprise, God was credited for guiding them through those tough times. However, this time as I heard that…. something in my soul just moved.

I KNEW I needed and WANTED God in my life. I was absolutely miserable. I was, and still am, married to the most wonderful man I have ever known, yet I felt the loneliest I have ever felt. But that day, God used those women to tell me that He was going to be a part of my life as well. And the journey started that day!

I was introduced to Elevation by a friend and the first time I attended I got a little scared! I am not gonna lie- coming from no church at all- ever in my life- to a full blown concert-like service was a little overwhelming. But there was something that made me come back…and it was Pastor Steven. His honesty, his AMAZING gift for speech and his PASSION for what he does made me come back to this church, even when I still felt incredibly scared and out of my comfort zone.

The sermon on Adam and Even opened my eyes even more. What Pastor Steven said about the devil posing a question of doubt… is exactly what I dealt with my life with my Father asking questions that instilled doubt in my head and in my heart towards God and Jesus. However, as I discussed this with my wonderful eGroup, I realized what was the most important thing I have done that changed my entire life during these past 2 years. I still hear the questions posed by the devil, and the doubt still comes, BUT the REAL answers come to me this time- and they only come to me because I am reading the Bible for the first time in my life. I am praying for the first time in my life. I am talking to God for the first time in my life. I accepted Jesus for the first time in my life. I am going to church for the first time in my life. And I will continue my journey until I die, because now when those questions come my way, my FAITH overrules the doubt and the fear. And even if I do not understand it all, I believe in Him and his word. And that is all I need now. The closer I grow to God, the less doubt that creeps into my life. Who would have thought that this girl, who only 6 years ago was making fun of and ridiculing someone else for believing in such “stupid” story as Adam and Eve, is now a woman that is growing in Faith more and more every day? Believe me, I would have NEVER in a million years thought I was going to end up on this path…and I thank God every single day now because he came into my life. 
“I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken”.

Thank you Elevation for pushing me to grow my Faith!!!! 
I only hope I can pay it forward…

Veronica

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A spiritual prep

This weekend, people will flock to churches all across our country to celebrate Easter.  And we want their experience to be life changing. While there is a lot of physical preparation involved in making the Easter experience amazing, there is a lot of spiritual preparation that must happen to make the experience not only amazing but life changing.

Here are a few things you can be praying for your church over the next few days as we lead up to Easter…

  1. Pray for all the volunteers who will serve at your church.  Every single volunteer (no matter what job they have) plays an important part because together we make up the experience as a whole.
  2. Pray for your worship team (and production team if you have one).  Pray for their energy and stamina to sustain them through the extra worship experiences.
  3. Pray for your children’s ministry.  Did you know that 2 out of 3 people who give their lives to Christ do so before the age of 18? Children’s ministry is essential to the body of Christ.
  4. Pray for the people who have been invited to church for the first time.  Pray that they would not let anything keep them from attending church this weekend.
  5. Pray for your church staff and your Pastor and their families.  Pray for their health and their protection.  Pray for your pastor as he prepares his message.
  6. Pray for the people’s lives to be impacted and changed.

I am praying for you as you invite people to church this week.  And I am praying that this year, no matter where you are in your walk with Christ that you would be able to move past the traditions of Easter and truly take the time to celebrate our risen Savior.

 

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Don’t call the justice league

Tonight my eGroup is discussing the topic of forgiveness as it pertains to marriage.  We read the chapter in Linda Dillow’s book (What’s it like to be married to me?) called “Why do I want to stay mad at you.”  Linda suggests that holding a grudge is easier than forgiving because when you hold a grudge you are able to blame the other person and you never have to look inward and admit that you played some part in the offense.

We also listened this week to my husband’s series, F-Bomb from 2011.  That is such a powerful series.  One of my top 10 that we have done at our church (you can easily find it in our archive).  It was really interesting to listen to the series while focusing on forgiveness within my marriage.  I love when my husband said that forgiveness is not weakness, it is the ultimate portal for the power of Christ in my life.

At some point in my marriage, if I want to have a healthy, thriving marriage, I have to let go of the idea of justice.  Does this mean that I never get to explain myself or tell my side during a conflict?  No.  What it means is when a discussion gets to a point where both perspectives have been heard but neither person really agrees, can I let it go or do I have to have my justice?  Am I ok with walking away feeling misunderstood?

It’s funny because when it comes to my personal forgiveness, I expect grace.  But when I feel wronged, I want to call in the justice league.  I am not talking about justice for a criminal.  I am talking about justice with my spouse.  My husband said in his message, “Forgiveness is not about dismissing your case, it’s about taking it to a higher court.”

Often when you think of forgiveness in the context  of marriage you think of a big offense like an affair or an addiction.  But it is those little arguments that can eat away at you and lead your heart down a very slippery slope.  Learning to forgive, even when I think I was only 3% responsible takes grace.  But I have been given a lot of grace.  And I have been promised a lot of grace.

2 Corinthians 9:8
And God is able to make all grace abound to you so that in all things, and at all times, you will abound in every good work.

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A party for my Hunny

Winnie the Pooh stopped by Abbey’s birthday party and I had to share a few pictures with you.

For months I’d been telling Abbey that Winnie was coming to her party.  Honestly, I did not know if she would be scared when he showed up but she was elated to meet Winnie.  She kept saying, “He’s here!  Winnie is here!  Hi Winnie!!”  It was a great time of celebration for all our friends and family.  And even if Abbey does not remember her 2nd birthday, I will and I will have the pictures to prove it.

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An Eggcellent Winner

Congratulations Jessica Bowers! Please email Lloeblein@elevationchurch.org you information so we can send you your eggs!

And if you didnt win, you can purchase your own set on Amazon.com! Thanks everyone who entered!

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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 Melody’s story….

During the sermon The worst greatest story ever told, God opened a new door for me. Last summer, I had an abortion and didn’t think of it after. July, I got saved and questions arose. Does God hate me? Can I be forgiven? How do I deal with this? After that sermon, there was a video shown. Caitlin Davidson told her story. She went through the same thing. That day, I took the first steps needed to find healing through Christ. Its amazing how one person, through one church can impact one life so greatly. I contacted this young lady, and told her my story. She is helping me take the steps to find healing. I learned not to put a question mark, where God put a period. Yes. I AM FORGIVEN. If it wasn’t for elevation church I would have struggled with this battle much longer. Because of God’s faithfulness he can heal me and restore the broken and make me new.

Elevation is changing my life.

Melody

Wasn’t that awesome? I’m so glad Melody shared her story! Check back later this afternoon to see who won our eggcellent give away!

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An Eggcellent Give Away

Holidays are so much fun!  And there is nothing like teaching your children the real meaning of a holiday in a fun way.  I love these Resurrection eggs.  We have used them every year in our family for several years and my kids really love them.  We hide the eggs, have a special egg hunt and then gather to read the story of Easter.

This week my mom brought me a new set and since we already have some, I want to share them with one of you (thanks mom!).  Simply enter a comment and let me know who you will be sharing your eggs with.  I will announce the winner Friday so I can get the eggs to you in time.

Happy Easter!

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What do you throw?

This week my eGroup is discussing communication and forgiveness.  As I have been mentally preparing, an image has been replaying in my mind. The image of a fire.

Let’s say that fire represents an argument with your spouse.  In this case, when faced with a disagreement, how do you normally respond?  Do you throw water on the fire or gasoline?

Now, gasoline can be defined as anything that makes the argument bigger. So if your silence enrages your spouse, you have thrown gasoline, not water, even though you did not yell.  Gasoline can be a look, it can be a single word, it can be reminder of a past mistake, and of course, it can be a verbal or physical explosion.

Water diffuses a fire.  Throwing water could come in the form of an apology, or a confession, or an act of kindness, or the act of overlooking an offense (see this post).

My 7 year old, Elijah, brought home a paper from school the other day with this verse written on it…

Proverbs 17:14, It is hard to stop a quarrel once it starts so don’t let one begin.  

I saved the paper and planned to hang it up in my boy’s bedroom.  But it never made it past my bedroom.  I think the Lord wanted me to see it.

What if not letting an argument begin begins with me?  What if it begins with an act that is so counterintuitive for me that I have to pray my way through it?

As I work my way through this concept, I know it begins with prayer, and with letting the Holy Spirit work in me and on me before He can work through me.  And I know that small steps in the right direction are huge steps in my relationships.

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Monday Morning Commentary

 

We are continuing our series In-Fin-8.  We are walking through 8 of the greatest stories from the Bible.  We have heard about Adam and Eve, Moses and the Red Sea, Elijah at Mt. Carmel, Jonah, Daniel and the Lion’s Den and then this weekend my husband taught on the story of Peter walking on the water.

He taught us that sometimes God sends us directly into a storm (of course, sometimes we send ourselves into a storm too), just as Jesus sent the disciples on a boat and towards a storm.  From this, we can be comforted to know that just because we are going through something hard, does not mean that God is not in our situation.

My husband said that Jesus did not criticize the the quality of Peter’s faith, nor the quantity or his faith.  He criticized the duration of his faith.  And although Peter failed at what he set out to do, Jesus succeeded in what he set out to prove.  The point of the story was not Peter’s great faith, it was about God’s great grace.

It’s a great series and the message this weekend is so worth your time! I hope you’ll join us in listening to it. 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

Lisa, we are praying for you and your son.  Thank you for sharing your story….

I wanted to share my story of life change. At age 28, I was divorced and raising an eight month old boy by myself. I blamed God for my marriage ending and leaving me to be a single mother. I kept on asking what I did to deserve this; why would he put me through this. I quit believing in him and sunk into a depression. The only thing that kept me going was my son. I was hit with another blow when at age 2; my son was diagnosed with autism. I struggled with this for two years, while still blaming God for it. For the past year and a half a close friend has been trying to get me to come to Elevation and I would always find excuses not to go. One Friday this past August, my life changed. I was at work and my patient’s visitor (who didn’t know me) looked at me and asked out of the blue, “do you go to church.” I responded with no and she replied, “You look like you need God.” At that moment, I felt like God put this woman in my life at that time when I needed it most. The following Sunday I attended church and haven’t missed a Sunday since. My relationship with God started to grow, but I was still frustrated at the fact that I was a single mother and I longed for someone to share my life with. A friend said to me “Lisa, instead of telling God what you want, pray and ask him to send the right man to you when he thinks the time is right, and then thank him for what he will do.” So, I got down on my knees and prayed for the first time in years. Now, months later, God has decided that its my time to find love (a love that I never knew could exist between two people). I truly believe that God brought me this amazing man at the perfect time in my life. I needed to love God and myself before I could love anyone else. The best part is that we have kept God at the center of our relationship. I now see that the struggles, tears, and heartache were all part of his plan and purpose for me. I have given my life to God and trust him with my future. I am finally at peace knowing that “God has my back.” I have continued to speak with God every day and thank him for my blessings and seek his guidance when I don’t know which path to take. And each week, I learn something new from your sermons and gain a little more faith and trust in God. God never gave up on me even though I wanted to give up every day. My life has forever been changed and it’s only going to get better because I have God on my side!! Thank you for listening to my story!

Lisa

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