Holly Furtick

An Unusual Act of Worship

I recently finished reading a little book called Stepping Heavenward, by Elizabeth Prentiss, which was recommended to me by a friend.  It is a fiction book first published in 1869.  It is a sweet little story that is like a Christian Anne of Green Gables meets maybe, Little Women.  I am not sure this book is for everyone, but I enjoyed it.

There was one line in the story that really stood out to me…

I think a mother, especially, ought to learn to enter into the gayer moods of her children even at the very moment when her own heart is sad.  And it may be as religious an act for her to romp with them at one time as it is to pray with them at another.

It kind of reminded me of this verse from Romans 12:1 (MSG)…

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.

Sometimes it is hard to remember that even in the ordinary acts of mothering I am worshipping.  And I must bring my best sacrifice when I worship.  That means sometimes I must be happy with my children when I am feeling the opposite inside.  Sometimes that means I sit on the floor and play princesses or sit at the table and play chess even when I have a thousand other things to do.  It means I read the same books and watch the same movies.

My calling as a mother may not be as helpful as being a missionary doctor or impactful as starting a church.  But my calling as a mother is equally important.  I am raising a human being.  A person that I am going to send out into the world and hope that they can make a difference for Christ. They will be impacted because I offered myself to God and to them today.

 

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Summer Reading

I love to read in the summer.  Usually around April I start collecting a pile of books that I want to read for the summer.  I prefer fiction and memoirs but love anything really.

Here are a few of the books on my list…

One of my favorite authors, Shaunti Feldhahn released 2 new books this Spring…

Shaunti alway has great insight into marriage with practical application.  She surveys thousands of couples and then draws some great conclusions. Her books are so easy to read too!

 

 

 

 

If Shaunti is my favorite marriage author, Dr. Kevin Leman is my favorite parenting author.  I picked this book up at Barnes and Noble on a date night a few weeks ago and loved the first chapter.  The book is about the role of mothers in their sons lives, he also has one for dads and daughters.  I really need to read this book!

 

 

 

 

I love a good true story!  I started this book and then got distracted with the Divergent series this Spring (oops!). But I cannot wait to finish this.  It is an award winning book about the true story of a family living in the slums of Mumbai, India.

 

 

 

 

Mindless fiction.  Great for sunbathing.  They are making a movies out of these books so they must be good right?  I will let you know!

 

 

 

 

Ok, that’s what’s in my pile.  What’s in yours??

 

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Lessons from one of the greats

Maya Angelou died last week.  She was a woman who truly left her imprint on the earth.  I read her biography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.  It was an incredible book.  Did you know that Maya Angelo was raped as a 7 year old child and did not speak a word for the next several years?  Did you know she was a teen mom?  Did you know that although she did not have a college degree she spoke 6 languages and wrote over 30 books.

I love stories of triumph.  They encourage me to know that no matter what I am facing, or what has happened to me in my past, I can overcome it.   They remind me to forgive.  They inspire me to make difference in the lives of the people God has placed around me.  The show me that my past doesn’t have to hold me back, it can propel me forward

 

Caged Bird

BY MAYA ANGELOU
A free bird leaps
on the back of the wind   
and floats downstream   
till the current ends
and dips his wing
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.
But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and   
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.
The caged bird sings   
with a fearful trill   
of things unknown   
but longed for still   
and his tune is heard   
on the distant hill   
for the caged bird   
sings of freedom.
The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn bright lawn
and he names the sky his own
But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams   
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream   
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied   
so he opens his throat to sing.
The caged bird sings   
with a fearful trill   
of things unknown   
but longed for still   
and his tune is heard   
on the distant hill   
for the caged bird   
sings of freedom.
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A weekend to remember

This weekend we concluded our open series and my husband saved the best for last!  He taught on Mark 9:14, the story of the demon posed boy.

The boys’s father so desperately wanted his son to be healed.  But beneath this thing was another thing that Jesus had to heal first, his unbelief.  Jesus wants to get to the thing beneath the thing in our lives.  Here are few of my favorite lines from my notes…

  • Sometimes we are so focused on what we want God to do FOR us that we miss the thing he wants to do IN us.
  • We can bring our issues to church and never really bring them to Jesus
  • The thing that causes me to come to Jesus is often not the first thing He will fix.

The message was life changing for so many people at church this weekend.  I hope you will take the time to watch it this week if you missed it!You can watch it later today on the Elevation Network, in our archive and on our podcast.

Yesterday was also a special day because we celebrated our 12th anniversary.  I never imagined 12 years ago what an incredible ride Steven Furtick would take me on.

We have seen truly experienced the faithfulness of God in every area of our life.  I feel so honored that God would pick me to be the wife of such an an obviously anointed man of God.

I don’t know what the future holds but I know that no matter what happens, I have a husband who truly loves me and we serve a God who has proven to us that never leaves us nor forsakes us.

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Before and behind

Have you ever driven yourself crazy trying to protect one of your kids?  When Elijah was first learning to walk, I was so afraid he would fall.  I remember putting one hand in front of him and one hand behind him so I could catch him either way that he fell.

I sometimes wish that I could still do that.  Oh that I could have back the days where all I had to worry about was my 1 year old falling.  Now I could worry myself sick thinking about something bad happening at school or a snake in the woods behind our house or a friendship that could be a bad influence on them.

I love these verses…

Psalm 139:5 You go before me and follow me.
You place your hand of blessing on my head.

Isaiah 52:12 For the Lord will go ahead of you;
yes, the God of Israel will protect you from behind.

Does this mean that God will keep anything bad from happening to me or the people in my life that I love the most.  No.  Because we live in a fallen world.   I think the comfort that comes from these verses is in knowing that God is in my past, my present and my future.  He is there when I get hurt and He is the One who heals me.

So I pray for my children’s and my loved one’s protection.  But I also pray for them to realize that God is with them.  Before and behind.  Helping them make every decision and take every action.

And I pray it for myself.  That I would know that He is with me.  Before and behind.

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Morning detour

I had every intention of posting an inspirational blog post for you today.  Alas, my morning did not go as planned.

I knew things were more serious than a minor injury this morning when I heard the boys playing downstairs.  Then I heard Graham crying, then I heard Elijah saying “Oh no! Oh no!  Oh Graham I am so sorry.  Oh no! Mommy!!!!”

The story involves a Minecraft reinactment.  Elijah was mining with his lunch box, Graham was a creeping (I am not 100% what that means), and I heard something about Zombies too.  Apparently the Creeper made a leap over the miner and his knee intersected with an open drawer corner which resulted in an Elevation logo shaped injury.

Graham was stitched up by a kind and so accommodating, orthopedist Elevator by 9 am and off to school.  This is his 4th set of stitches in his short life of less than 6 years. I have many things to be thankful.

Heads up.  Some of these pictures are a bit graphic.

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A farewell to summer

Summer is officially over as of yesterday.  No more lake, no more beach.  No more lazy mornings, no more late nights.  No more loads of laundry that smell like sunscreen.  No more kids that smell like sunscreen even though the have taken a bath.

My favorite season is officially over but there is much to look forward to this fall.  See you next summer, Summer.

 

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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 this story….

Dear Pastor Steven & Holly,

I am from Norwalk, Ohio and part of the core 
team for Norwalk Extension site. From the very first time we heard you preach we have been blown away by the annointing, the power, and the clarity of God’s message through you. When asked to join the core team we felt that it was not the right time for us due to severe difficulties we were facing with my husbands business. We drove home from our core team invitation gathering excited by the vision & passion Billy Thomas had for bringing Elevation Church to Norwalk, Ohio but very sad that we would not be a part of what was about to happen. After we arrived home my husband was flipping channels on the TV when all of a sudden he yelled for me to come quick. As I walked into the living room I could not believe my eyes! There you were, Pastor, preaching at some conference I had never heard of. As I sat in my living room I listened to you say “don’t listen to the voice of doubt”. I looked at my husband and 
said, “I guess we are going to be part of the core team”. We have never looked back. We were part of a group that walked & prayed the entire city of Norwalk and prayed and prayed and prayed. My husband Cam & I made our first trip to Elevation Church the weekend before our launch. Wow! Blown away again! We love being part of Elevation Church! 
Our business is still struggling, barely hanging on, forcing me to take on another job to help out. It has been extremely difficult & continues to be a huge financial burden as well as emotional & health burden due to the stress we are both under. God is so good. He is with us always. He gives us strength for each day. We are seeking His wisdom & guidance. There are lessons to be learned in the wilderness and apparently we have a lot to learn! As much as I would love for us to be out of the wilderness, I refuse to go without my God. So, we will stay until He leads us out. You, Holly & Elevation Church have been just what we need. You have changed how we do church and we cannot imagine doing church any other way! We love you all!

God bless,

Lori & Cam

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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 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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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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