Last night I got so serve alongside some of Elevation’s finest women. About 30 women and I brought goodies to make welcome baskets for the families being served at Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte. We brought enough stuff to make over 100 baskets! (and we ate cake pops too!). Here is some more information about Ronald McDonald House and how you can be a part too…
Ronald McDonald House provides families a safe, comfortable, and supportive environment while their children receive treatment at nearby medical facilities. They provide the following services and more for families in their care…
- Ministry and spiritual support
- Sibling activities
- Holiday and birthday celebrations
- Group support
- Nightly family meals
- Daily family-friendly activities
To date, Elevation has given $17,000 to support this organization.
You can support RMH in the following ways…
- Have your eGroup prepare the nightly meals, monthly table decorations, and/or bake fresh cookies.
- Put together Family Care Kits like the ones we are putting together today.
- Donate new toys and books.
If you or your eGroup would like to get involved with this outreach partner, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
This weekend we continued our series, the Expectation Gap. A series all about how to deal with the gap between what we expect and what we actually experience, taught through the lives of three siblings: Mary, Martha and Lazarus. Last week we heard about when people disappoint. This week we heard about when God disappoints.
The sermon came from John 11:1-44, the story when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. In the beginning of the story, we learn that Jesus loved Mary, Martha, Lazarus, yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick he waited 2 days before heading to Bethany.
My husband came right out and said, “Following Jesus can be really disappointing at times.” And I really appreciate his honesty. It can. God doesn’t always do things the way I expect Him to or the way I think I deserve Him to, but He doesn’t love me any less either.
Here are a few more of my favorite quotes from the message…
- The scene of my greatest disappointment can be setting for my greatest miracle.
- When He doesn’t do what I want, I must expect Him to show me more of Himself.
- Stop looking for a way out and start asking Jesus to take you through!
- My expectation is not built on someTHING but on someONE
And then my favorite… every unmet expectation is an opportunity for an upgrade in revelation of who He is.
This series has been so great. I hope you will take the time to listen to it. You can catch it on the Elevation Network
, in our archive
and on our podcast
And Happy Memorial Day!
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 email@example.com
Surprise but not surprising. I wanted to share a story about Banner Years. We first attended Elevation on Easter 2012 (we were invited by a friend of course) and the experience was great. Different than what we were accustomed to, but it just felt like home. Our VIP volunteer was super! Our family decided we wanted to be part of this movement of God- our kids asking if they could come back next weekend pretty much sealed the deal. We learned so much in the past few months and it was so helpful to have the Banner Years series and hear Pastor Morris talk about his relationship with God and giving. We wanted to learn more about tithing- what exactly does that mean, how much do we “have” to give, is it before tax or after tax.. etc. You know, what many others think before they truly let go and trust God to lead the way.
As we learned more and developed our relationship with God, we wanted to give faithfully and generously, but how much and what should we do? My husband and I prayed on it and talked about it and the closer we got to giving weekend, we just knew what was right. We should have participated in the Leadership giving event (my husband is an eGroup leader), but didn’t get the invitation- not because someone did it intentionally I’m sure. We know that we weren’t part of that because He knew we weren’t ready yet. We needed more time and prayer to give us the answer. Although it wasn’t easy to do and we really weren’t sure if it was the right thing, we made the final decision the morning of the church giving weekend.. While Pastor Steven encouraged folks to tithe first and give to Banner Years second we couldn’t come up with anything more important than seeing this movement go farther and reach more people. We wanted to do as much as we could. Even though we have kids and things to think about like college and weddings…. We committed to do both: tithe and make a donation to Banner Years. We have never given a church that much money. It felt really good to drop that envelope in the box, and it’s exciting to see all the things that are happening as a result of Banner Years! Now it is tax time (groan) and while we usually owe money back, isn’t it interesting that 1) we are actually getting money back this year and 2) that the amount of our refund is equal to our Banner Years donation? : )
I got to do a Q/A with one of our eGroups today. This eGroup is a group of Elevation moms with young children. We had the best time talking about marriage, and motherhood, and ministry.
One of the things that came up was the idea of teaching our children to respect their dad. Now of course, children need to learn to respect all adults. But I am not really talking about teaching them to say yes ma’am and no sir (although that is really important). I am talking about respect in the terms of Ephesians 5:33, “So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”
Here are a few of the ideas we discussed…
1. Greet your father when he comes home from work. Nothing is worse than when my husband walks in the house and we are all to busy to even acknowledge that he is home. Most days my husband texts me when he is on his way home from work, I then remind my kids, “Hey guys, daddy is about to come home. When you hear him, make sure to come and give him a hug and say hi.” We don’t get this right every day. But we make an effort. I want my husband to want to come home from work. And I want him to feel like we are glad he is home.
2. Teach your children to respect their father’s space. In our house, Elijah uses my husband’s nice piano/keyboard to practice piano. Elijah knows that using his dad’s keyboard is a privilege. He needs to turn it off when he’s done, and he needs to put his music books back in the bag. This goes for anything else like “borrowing” a charger, or a pen, or toothpaste because your brother never puts the cap on the one you share with him.
3. And of course, modeling is the best way to teach something. I saw an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond (the sitcom all about what not to do in marriage) where Deborah would bet the kids things Ray wouldn’t do like notice her haircut, or come home when he said he would. The way that I talk about my husband to my kids (and my friends and family) is a huge indicator of my level of respect for him. And why would my kids think highly of their dad if I never speak highly of him?
I don’t do this perfectly. But I do want my children to understand that respect goes far beyond being polite. And when they understand how to respect their dad, maybe they will understand how to respect other authorities and maybe (just maybe) even learn to respect each other.
May your unfailing love come to me, Lord,
your salvation, according to your promise;
then I can answer anyone who taunts me,
for I trust in your word
I came across this verse in my Bible reading plan the other day. It struck me so simply. When I am filled with the love and promises of the Lord, I have an answer for those who taunt me.
I love how it doesn’t say that I won’t be taunted. It simply says I will have an answer. And the reason I will have an answer is because my heart is full. When my heart is full of the love and promises of God, no person, no demon, not even my own thoughts and insecurities can penetrate because I am already full and I can pull from that fullness to respond.
The secret is in staying full. Continually filling my mind with the love and promises found in God’s Word. His Word is a powerful weapon. And the deeper I root His Word in my heart, the more powerful my weapon becomes. When Jesus was tempted, even He quoted scripture (Matthew 4).
And the best part is, you don’t have to become a Bible scholar. God’s Word is powerful enough to speak to you, to fill your heart, even when you start small like with a Bible reading plan.
This weekend we began our new series, The Expectation Gap. A series based on three siblings, Mary, Martha and Lazarus. My husband says, frustration is the gap between what I expect and what I experience. This series is about allowing God to fill that gap.
Today the message came from the familiar passage in Luke 10 about Mary and Martha. Martha was busy preparing for Jesus and his disciples when she got frustrated with Mary who was not helping. My husband taught us 5 essential truths about our expectations of others…
- I cannot expect what I do not express.
- I am not authorized to negotiate anyone else’s relationship with God.
- I must resist the temptation to draft others into my dysfunction.
- The greatest source of my frustration with others is my confusion of God’s expectation of me.
- Don’t let what you expected keep you from what God wants you to experience.
Every point was so convicting for me. I especially liked the 4th point. I struggle so bad with wanting everyone to be happy with me. I often find myself frustrated because this is simply an impossible task. I felt so convicted today that I spend too much time worrying about others expectations of me than I do seeking God about His expectations of me.
This message was so practical. You can listen on the Elevation Network, in our archive and on our podcast.
Have a great Monday!
There are times in my life where I feel overwhelmed with the level of leadership I have been given. While I feel honored that God would place me in the position I am in as a mother, a wife, and a pastor’s wife, I feel schizophrenic. Some days, I feel confident that can embrace my position and be greatly used by God, but other days I worry that I am going to fail. What if people think I am more spiritual than I really am?
The times when my fear of failure is the greatest are the seasons in my life where I am overcommitted and spread too thin. I can never allow myself to become more wide than I am deep, spiritually speaking.
When I feel myself heading in a direction where I am spending so much time leading others and caring for others that I am not spending any time personally in God’s Word, I know that it is time for me to pull back. Yes, it is ok to have seasons of busyness, but if my busy season lasts month after month after month, I know that I will find myself in a place of fear and failure.
Confidence in who God has called me to be can really only come from God himself. So often, when I find myself in a dry space, I seek for that encouragement from others, because I have made no time to let God pour into me, and I still feel empty.
Awareness is the first step. Knowing that I have committed to too much and am spread too thin. Intentionality is the second step. Learning to pull back, say no, and make sure that I am freeing myself up to spend time in God’s Word on a consistent basis.
Overflow is the goal. I want to live my life in such a way that God pours into me and it overflows into my leadership, my mothering, and my relationship with my husband. I like the way Paul said it…
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
I thought I might start a new category: great links. Every now and then I come across a great sermon or interview or teaching that is really impactful to me. And you should never keep a good thing to yourself.
Today I want to share with you a message by Greg Rollinger. Greg is the pastor of Palm Valley Church in Arizona, and is struggling through a disease with a very grim prognosis. In this message, Pastor Greg talks about how there is purpose in the struggle.
I hope you enjoy the message and that you find encouragement as you go through your own personal struggle.
Stand- When you’re struggling.
This weekend we closed our series, God’s Will is Whatever, a series all about God’s will, based on the verse, Colossians 3:17. We had originally planned for the series to be a 4 week series, but the series was so well received that we added a 5th week with a Q & A.
People sent in questions like…
-Is it God’s will for us to suffer pain?
-Why am I still single when I have a desire to be married?
-Is it God’s will for me to pay off debt or begin tithing?
-Does God call us to do specific things for Him?
-How do I know if God is calling me to move on from something?
If you want to hear my husband’s specific answers to those questions, you will have to go online and watch the message. I want to share a few of my favorite quotes from the weekend…
- The right time to start doing the right thing is right now.
- If you don’t obey God in one area of your life, eventually you may not be able to hear Him in another area.
- When I do the part of God’s will that I can control, He will do the part that I cannot control.
- If you’re faithful fishing, God knows where to find your boat.
- Just because you didn’t win, doesn’t mean it didn’t work.
This has been such a powerful, practical series. I hope you will listen to or watch this it. It was so good! You can catch it today on the Elevation Network and later in our archive. Have a great Monday!