Monday Morning Commentary… It’s Christmas!

We are wrapping up our series, Times and Seasons with a bang!  We are half way through our 4 days of Christmas worship experiences and it is not too late for you to come or join us online!

There is a giant tree on the stage and the experience is amazing at all of our campuses.  My husband’s message is incredible and many people have given their lives to the Lord already.  Through the Christmas story, he is teaching us to embrace the changes God may want to make in our lives this Christmas.  I don’t want to spoil it if you are planning to join us.

On the network, we will be live today at 5pm and 7pm, and tomorrow at 3pm, 5pm, and 7pm. Join us 10 minutes before the start time!  Click here to see the worship experience times left at our other locations.  I hope you will join us!

Merry Christmas!  And just for fun, a picture of my kids and the giant tree…


Monday Morning Commentary

This week we continued Times and Seasons with a sermon called, “Weather the Winter.”  It was about our response when we go through the winter seasons of our life.  My husband’s sermon was so encouraging.

Based out of John 15:1-8 he told us 3 things God wants to do in every season of our lives…

1.  God wants to PREPARE you for something.  There are some things that God can only prepare you for in the cold.  Winter is when the soil rejuvenates so that new growth can take place.

2.  God wants to PRUNE something from you.  Sometimes loss means life is just around the corner.  Pruning makes way for more fruit than before.

3.  God wants to PROVE something through you.   Job said, “I will come forth as pure gold!”

This sermon was so helpful for those times in my life when I don’t understand why things are happening the way that that are but I can ask God what He is trying to work through my situation.  You can listen to it on your smart phone through our Elevation app.  You can also catch it in our archive or on the Elevation Network.

Also don’t forget to join us in saying the praise prompts every day during these 52 Days of Thanks.  You can visit the site here.

Have a great Monday!

Wrapping up Christmas



Earlier this week I had the opportunity to serve at A Child’s Place. A Child’s Place is an organization in Charlotte that serves homeless children. Did you know that there are over 7,000 identified homeless children in Charlotte? These are children living in hotels, shelters and staying with relatives. A Child’s Place provides many services for these children, one of which is family sponsorship at Christmas time.

I got to wrap some the many gifts given by the generous people of our city. We had such a great time. If you would like to serve with your family or group, here’s where you can find events going on this week and next. Click here to join the movement.

Things you cannot say in our house

As a parent, I try not to have too many rules or too many absolutes.  But this is hard.  If I am not careful I can have a long list of don’t jump on, off, or over the couch, don’t bring blankets in the kitchen, don’t slam doors, take my phone charger and not put it back, don’t don’t don’ts.  And don’t hear me wrong.  We have a lot don’ts in our household mostly because while we are training our children to be kind and respectful and responsible, we also have the duty to train them up not to be wild animals.

But those are all actual, physical don’ts.  But there a few verbal don’ts in our house too.   Three phrases (to be exact) that absolutely are not allowed in our house…

1.  ”I hate you.”  For obvious reasons I do not allow this phrase.  Not in joking and not in a burst of i-didn’t-mean-it-anger.  We can hate things but not people.

2.  ”Not fair.”  I cannot stand this phrase (which bless my poor mother, I said my fair share of when I was a kid).  I simply cannot take my children accusing me of treating them unfairly.  Life is not fair and the sooner they learn this fact, the better.  I recently saw a picture that said, “Fair is the place you get cotton candy.”  I really wanted to get this for my kitchen.

3.  ”I don’t have anything to do.”  This is a statement of ungratefulness in my opinion.  I started hearing this recently when I asked for tv and video games to be turned off.  I got so mad, my kids had to endure quite a lecture about all the blessings then have inside and outside of our house.  I told them that the next time one of them says this, I am going to march up to the playroom, pick out a toy that they love and give it to someone who will love it more.  I hope I have the guts to follow through with this.  I will let you know :)

I am not expert in raising kids, my kids are far too young for me to be giving out parenting advice.  But keeping these statements from my home help me stay sane and I think they teach our kids the values of our family.  And for goodness sakes, there is no place in the kitchen for a blanket, if you are that cold, put on more clothes.

Monday Morning Commentary

We continued our series Times and Seasons.  This weekend’s message was called “Count the Years.”  My husband preached from Galatians 6:4-10.  He reminded us that life is mostly lived in sowing, rarely reaping but we must learn to see the God moments each day.

We learned about the two Greek meanings for the word, time:
1.  Chronos- literal clock time, sequential
2.  Kairos- the right, opportune moment

He taught us that we must learn to recognize the kairos, “God moments,” among the chronos, the mundane hours of every day life.  He told us that we often miss the moment because we despise the mundane.  I loved when he said, “I don’t have to wait for a visitation because I live in a place of habitation,” and, “The spirit of emergency is the enemy of of divine opportunity.

Today, and this holiday season, I don’t want to miss the God moments because I am so consumed with my to do list.  I am praying for my eyes to be opened this week and the following weeks to the work of God in my every moment.

The message was so great!  You can listen to it on your smart phone through our Elevation app.  You can also catch it in our archive or on the Elevation Network.

Also don’t forget to join us in saying the praise prompts every day during these 52 Days of Thanks.  You can visit the site here.

Have a great Monday!

Sit before you serve

Do you remember the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10? You know, the one where Martha was busy preparing a feast for Jesus and his disciples and she complained to Jesus that her sister, Mary wasn’t helping?? Jesus told Martha that Mary had chosen the better thing.

I have a confession… I always want to defend Martha to Jesus in this story. I mean, what would everyone have eaten if it wasn’t for Martha? Would Jesus have even wanted to come to Martha’s house she had not made it so inviting to begin with?

My husband did a teaching on this passage one time. He pointed out that Martha didn’t choose the wrong thing, Mary just chose the better thing.

You see it’s not that Martha was supposed to stop being hospitable, it’s just that she had things out of order. She put serving others before knowing Jesus.

I’ll never forget what my husband said in that teaching… He said it’s ok to be busy doing good things but you must learn to sit before you serve.

The Lord has been reminding me of that simple line all week. He has been whispering to me, “Holly, you gotta sit before you serve.” I am knee deep in holiday season. I’m planning for parties, gathering gifts, decorating for Christmas, and all this on top of homework, piano lessons, cooking dinner and all the other every day stuff. All of this has to get done, no doubt about it.

The problem is if I don’t steal some time away with God every day, in the midst of this craziness I will miss the whole point of Christmas and so will my family and the people I lead. Christmas is about celebrating Jesus and if I accomplish all the other stuff but wind up frazzled, frustrated and focused on myself in the process I have missed the entire point.

I hope you know I am preaching to myself in this post. But the good news is it is only December 4th. No damage has been done. I can plan ahead. I can set goals and parameters about what time I get up and how much tv I watch in the evenings. I can start a bible reading plan on YouVersion and set up some accountability.

This holiday season is not going to get the best of me. I can have peace and joy AND get attempt to get everything done as long as I sit before I serve.

How to give the perfect gift

I love gifts.  I love giving them and receiving them.  There’s nothing like receiving a meaningful gift.  But giving a meaningful gift is even better.  I think sometimes people get lazy when it comes to Christmas shopping.  We have too many people to buy for so we just go out and buy stuff that will do.  But what if the goal of giving a Christmas gift was not to just give a present but to give a present that says, “I thought of you.” or “I know you.”  Sure every gift cannot be perfect but we all have at least one person on our list that we want to put our best effort towards.

Here are a few pointers in gift giving that I posted here on the blog last Christmas…

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!


(Originally posted Dec 2012)

Monday Morning Commentary

This weekend we began our holiday series, Times and Seasons.  My husband kicked off the series with an incredible message called Take Your Turn which was about embracing your season that ended with the story of the prodigal son.

He taught us…

1.  Every season has struggles you can’t see from the outside looking in… we see the fruit some bear but we don’t see the fight they went through to get there.

2.  Every season is shaped by what you say… the way you speak about your season determines the way you see it.

3.  Every season has strengths that you can seize… you cannot live in the season of what was or the season of what might have been, you have to find the sweetness of this season.

Through the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15, we saw that the prodigal son couldn’t trust the father’s timing and that the older son couldn’t rejoice in what he already had.  We must have patience to trust God’s timing and the faith to take our turn.

I loved this message!  You can listen to it on your smart phone through our Elevation app.  You can also catch it in our archive or on the Elevation Network.

Also don’t forget to join us in saying the praise prompts every day during these 52 Days of Thanks.  You can visit the site here.

Have a great Monday!