When you need some inspiration

Recently my husband wrote this awesome piece called I Will Fight.  It is so inspirational.  I love it so much.  It is the perfect workout motivation.  I love to listen to it when I am warming up on the treadmill (and I am not a fan of the treadmill).  I believe there is power in speaking the truths of God out loud and this track makes it so much fun.

I have listened to it so much that Abbey said to me the other day, “Let’s listen to the Christian life,” (that’s the first line in the recording).  And my boys can quote lines from it too!

So here it is.  Our creative team made a video for the people of our church and I thought you would like to see it.

We also made the mp3 available (link below) for your listening pleasure.



MP3 link:

The future is a phantom

I have been reading through Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.  Wow, what a great book.  A few days ago I read this, “The future is a phantom, seeking to spook you.”

Isn’t it funny how we can be scared of something that hasn’t even happened yet? Sarah Young then said the next day, “Rehearsing your troubles results in experiencing them many times, whereas you are meant to go through them only when they actually occur.” This is so good.  Sometimes, my worries cause me to experience a difficulty that will never even happen.

Worry and fear have the power to truly make a mountain out of a mole hill.

Now, should I think through a current situation that needs to be fixed?  Of course. But should I let my imagination run wild with what ifs?  Never.  The enemy wants to spook me with thoughts that will never even come to pass.  He seeks to distract me from my present by causing me to worry about my future.

When I am tempted to let my imagination run wild with things that could happen, I remind myself that if my worst fears come true, the Lord will be there with me.  And He will supply me with the grace that I need to carry me through.

And then I come up with some practical tactics for fighting the enemy.  Personally, I force myself to think about something else.  I read a book or listen to a worship song, or play Candy Crush on my phone (whatever it takes!) or turn on worship music. Don’t let the enemy spook you with ghosts that don’t even exist!

Joshua 1:9
Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged for the Lord, your God will be with you wherever you go. 

Monday Morning Commentary

We continued our series, Sticks and Stones, a series based on the story of David and Goliath that is giving us 5 secret weapons to making our resolutions more than words.  So far  we have learned about anointing, ability, attitude and this week we learned about approach.

Through the story of David and Goliath, this week, we learned that when God starts to raise us up, there are forces that will try and bring us down.  They may be others in our lives, situations we face, or even the voices in our own head.  My husband taught us 3 different strategies to fight back with when we are facing these opponents.

  1. Learn the turn.  When David was accused by his brother, he simply turned away from him.
  2. Stay after it.  When Saul belittled David, David began to rehearse all that God had already done.
  3. Keep your distance.  When Goliath went to attack David, he had to get near him.  David kept his distance and fought with different weapons.
I loved how my husband told us that sometimes we are fighting the right battle but in order to win, we have to change our approach.  As Christians we have been given so many weapons to fight the attacks of the evil one.  He wants to bring us  down to worry, anxiety and depression.  We must fight back with the weapons of the name of Jesus, our worship, the Word, and giving generously just as Christ gave to us.

This series has been so great.  You can watch this message today on the Elevation Network, in our archive and on our podcast.

And don’t forget, every sermon is also available on the Elevation App for your smart phone.

Have a great Monday!

Yummy no-bake bites

Last week my friend, Heather, introduced me to these yummy no-bake treats.  They were so delicious, I had to try and make some of my own.  Here is the original recipe.  I made 4 batches and here is what I came up with as the final recipe…

1 cup Oatmeal
3/4 cup natural peanut butter (or any nut butter)
1/2 cup honey
1 cup coconut flakes
(or if your husband hates coconut, you can get some almond slivers and smash them with a mallet)
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla
1 scoop vanilla protein powder

Combine all the ingredients.  Use your hands to combine.  Then roll into small balls.  Place on a cookie sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes (or freeze for about 5 minutes).



No more hurt feelings

“You hurt my feelings” is such an interesting phrase.  Have you ever thought about trying to describe what this means to a person who is learning the English language?  When do we add this to our vocabulary?  My earliest memories, I remember fighting with my big sister and telling her she hurt my feelings. But my boys hardly ever say it.  They just slug it out.  Not that punching is a better option than pouting but it is their preferred method.  They are not so in touch with their feelings.

But what does it really mean to say that my feelings are hurt?  A while back I blogged about a little book that had a huge impact on me called, The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness, by Tim Keller (see post here).  Keller talks about how it is not really our feelings that are hurt, it is our ego.  He says,

Ego often hurts.  That is because it has something incredibly wrong with it.  Something unbelievably wrong with it.  It is always drawing attention to itself- it does so every day.  It is always making us think about how we look and how we are treated.  People sometimes say their feelings are hurt.  But our feelings can’t be hurt!  It is the ego that hurts – my sense of self, my identity.  Our feelings are fine!  It is my ego that hurts.

Ouch.  But so much truth.  My “feelings get hurt” when I feel looked over, misunderstood, under appreciated, under used and on and on.  But those things are my ego.  Ego is my pride that shouts, “I am important.”

I am learning that if I don’t want my feelings to get hurt (inasmuch as feelings refer to my ego), I must find my self worth in my relationship with God.  When I am secure and confident in who God made me to be, when I know that my God sees me and has a special calling on my life, I do not have to fear being overlooked.  I do not have to worry about being under appreciated.  I do not have to let someone else’s opinion of me define me, because my confidence is found in the only One who’s opinion matters.

I love the series my husband is teaching right now called Sticks and Stones. In the 2nd sermon of the series he said something great, “Just because people don’t know who you are doesn’t mean that God doesn’t know how to find you when He needs you.”   I am learning more and more that God uses people who let the game come to them, not people who are always trying to make things happen for themselves.  What God wants me to do is to do what He has told me to do.  He uses people who are in the daily act of obedience.

I find that there are two times when my “feelings get hurt”

  1. When I take my eyes off of my assignment and envy someone else’s assignment.
  2. When I don’t find my self worth in who God says I am, and search for it in what others think about me.

A friend of mine was telling me that she decided one day that she was not going to be that woman who always gets her feelings hurt.  I love being around her because she is confident in who she is and who God has called her to be AND who He has not called her to be.

So today I am following her lead.  I am not going to let my feelings get hurt.  I am going to be confident in who God made me and what He has called me to do.  And when I am tempted to let my feelings be hurt, I will remind myself that my ego is what is hurt, not my feelings.

Only King Forever Give Away Winners!!!



Congratulations to:

Jessie Hescht       @jess_hescht

Becky Buesgens   @BBuesgens

Jason Davis                 @Jakesun1

Veronica Holmes   @BUtifulSunshine

Charlie Rushin   @CharlieRushin

You guys are the winners of Elevation Worship’s new album, Only King Forever.  I am so excited for you.  Just email your address to kvillarreal@elevationchurch.org and we will get your CD sent out to you within the week.


Congratulations to:

Alexis Meacham   @Alexis_Meacham

Janet Hartsoe   @bandit4IAM

Lee  @LoveOthersFirst

Nonto Mncwabe  @nonto_mncwabe

Jenna Babbitt   @jennablaire

You guys are the winners of Elevation Worship’s new album, Only King Forever through iTunes.  I am so excited for you, too!  Just send your email address that is associated with your iTunes account to kvillarreal@elevationchurch.org and we will get a link to you to download the album.

Thank you to everyone who entered!  If you did not win, you can purchase the album from iTunes here.

Monday Morning Commentary

We continued our series, Sticks and Stones, a series based on the story of David and Goliath that is giving us 5 secret weapons to making our resolutions more than words.  So far  we have learned about anointing, ability, and this week we learned about attitude.

My husband had a special guest, Carolina Panther’s wide receiver, Steve Smith and his wife Angie to help him preach this week.  They talked about how to have a passionate attitude.  They gave us 4 characteristics of passionate people…

  1. Passionate people carry out small assignments with a willing spirit.
  2. Passionate people must guard their strength or it will become a double weakness.
  3. Passionate people interpret intimidations as an invitation.
  4. Passionate people will fight to the finish in the battles that matter most.
The whole message was great.  My favorite part was the last point where Steve and Angie talked about almost giving up on their marriage.  Angie said, “I just decided I wasn’t going to let the enemy win.”  The fight to save their marriage did not happen over night but with a lot of hard work and forgiveness, they are still together after 14 years.  That is such great marriage advice.  Don’t let the enemy win.  Fight for the things in life that matter most.

You can watch the message today on the Elevation Network, in our archive and on our podcast.

And don’t forget, every sermon is also available on the Elevation App for your smart phone.

Also, check back at 3pm, I will announce the winners of the Only King Forever giveaway from last week.

Have a great Monday!

Recipe… Not so yucky brussels sprouts

Back at Thanksgiving I posted a picture of some beautiful brussels sprouts I purchased on the stalk at the grocery store.  They were so beautiful I had to get them even though I had no idea how to cook them.  With the help of some followers on Instagram, I came up with this recipe.  And I must say, they are pretty good (and I am a pretty picky eater when it comes to my veggies).

Here’s the recipe.  Sorry if there are not measurements.  If you are OCD you may want to search AllRecipes for a more exact method.

  1. Wash and cut each sprout in half.  (cutting in half is really important to getting more flavor)
  2. Heat olive oil, a few cloves of crushed garlic and some bacon crumbles in a skillet
  3. Add about 1/4 c of white wine
  4. Add brussels sprouts
  5. Saute until done and crispy.  Should take about 10-15 minutes.  Turn frequently but don’t be afraid to let them sear.
  6. Enjoy!

Changing the way I pray

Have you ever experienced a time where you were so fervently praying for something that you began to get anxious about it?  It’s funny because Phlippians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” But sometimes I find myself becoming more anxious the more I pray about something.

I think the key is in the 2nd part of this verse, “with thanksgiving present your requests to God.”  Often times, when I am praying I am just asking.  I subconsciously want to leave the thanksgiving part for after the prayer has been answered.  But that is not right.  The scripture says with thanksgiving.

Let me explain this way…

Instead of praying,  ”God please heal my mother,” I should pray, “God I thank you that you are the great physician.  I thank you that my mother is healed in Jesus name.”

Or, “God please give us a break through in our finances,” I should pray, “God I thank you that you own the cattle on a thousand hills, our financial need is a small thing to you.  I thank you that you are our provider.  I trust that you will provide for my every need…”

Or, “God, please help my kids to stay out of trouble,” I pray, “Thank you that you are the Protector.  Your angels go behind and before my children while they are away from me.  Thank you that you have great plans to use them to impact the world…”

When I phrase my prayer in a way that is thanking God for His power and His ability to answer my request, my mind begins to think more positively about the situation and I begin to have a thankful frame of mind rather than a worried frame of mind. And then my faith grows because I am reminding myself of the power of the One I am praying to.

Oh and don’t forget to enter yesterday’s giveaway of our church’s new album, <em>Only King Forever!


Only King Forever Giveaway

I’m so excited to announce that our new album “Only King Forever” releases today in stores, on iTunes, and anywhere music is sold. The songs on this album echo the heartbeat of our church over this past year. Songs like “Grace So Glorious,” “Last Word,” and “Raised To Life” have been so monumental for me this year. I’m excited that these songs, and so many other great ones are finally available for you too!

I will be giving away 5 CDs and 5 albums through iTunes. The giveaway is just like the one from Crash the Chatterbox last week. You can enter through Instagram or Twitter.

To enter to win through Instagram, share this image (just save the image to your device and upload to Instagram).  In your caption, be sure to include this hashtag and link:
#OnlyKingForeverGiveaway http://elevat.io/n/okfitunes

Or, to enter to win through twitter, just click on this link, it should take you directly to your twitter account.
Click here to share on Twitter and be entered to win

You can purchase the album from iTunes here: http://elevat.io/n/okfitunes

Join us tonight on the Elevation Network beginning at 8:00PM ET for our Album Release Party, featuring live acoustic performances.

And one more thing, our worship team has also made available several resources for each of these songs at ElevationWorship.com, including lyrics, chord charts, loops, tutorials, and more. Make sure you check that out too!

Ok! Good luck with the giveaway! We will select the winners and post them later at the end of the week.