Holly Furtick

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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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 Hayley’s story….

I’ve heard tons of stories like this ever since I started coming to Elevation in July 2008. I’ve always just thought they were really cool. Until it happened to me…….

I’ve been inviting a friend who works with me to come to Elevation since Christmas. He’d been to church before but wasn’t regularly attending anywhere. He’s someone close to me but far from God. Every time I’d invite him, he’d say he would come, but cancel on me at the last minute. This happened a number of times. He was supposed to come a few weeks ago, the weekend of the absolutely incredible Elijah on Mt Carmel opener, but bailed.  I showed him the opener after Pastor Steven posted it on twitter and he was blown away. I proceeded to tell my friend I was going to keep inviting him until he came. I told him if he came and didn’t like it, I would never bring it up again. I simply wanted him to come one time, knowing that if he came once, he wouldn’t leave the same way he walked in. He agreed, reluctantly, as a means to get me to shut up about inviting him :) 

With his track record, I was extremely surprised to see him walk through the front doors of Elevation Blakeney on Saturday night. The first few songs played and he stood there with his arms crossed. Then something neat happened. He’s a huge Star Wars fan, so God could not have timed the Jonah and the Space Whale element more perfectly. As the worship experience continued, he started singing the songs, nodding in agreement with what Pastor was saying, and by the end of the night, he checked the box on his connection card and received Jesus. 

I was blown away and cried tears of joy. Him accepting Christ makes all the let-downs worth it. He told me “now I see why you’re so excited about church.” It was timed just perfectly by the Creator of time itself. Thank you Pastor Steven for preaching the Word of God so boldly, in a way that captures people’s hearts and points them to Jesus. Thank you Elevation Creative Department for working so hard to provide our church with phenomenal elements executed with excellence. Thank you Elevation volunteers for making first time guests feel so loved, praying with those receiving Jesus for the first time, and everywhere in between. I could not be more proud to be a part of a church where this happens every single week. Thank you Elevation Church!

Hayley

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Elevation Worship……Giveaway Winners

Thank you to all of you who entered our Elevation Worship CD / DVD giveaway!

The CD Winners are

  • Dana from Jackson, TN
  • Suzanne from Maine
  • Lizmarie from Rancho Cucamonga, CA
  • Kara from Delray Beach, FL
  • Ruth-Anne from Ballymena, Northern Ireland

The DVD Winner is

  • Heather Martin from Lenoir, NC

Please send your mailing address to Leigh Ann at (lloeblein@elevationchurch.org) and we will get your prize to you right away.

If you would like to purchase a copy of the album, you can purchase on iTunes or through our site or at your local Christian bookstore and Best Buy or Walmart.

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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 Marci’s story….

THANK YOU ELEVATION

You have succeeded in bringing this broken, lost soul closer to God and Jesus. I was raised with no religious affiliation, although my parents were Jewish. When I married my husband I converted to Catholicism, baptized my children and faithfully attended Church. I never wanted my children to feel lost like I felt. I became very active in Church and at the Catholic school my children attended, yet I was always searching. 

In 2009 we closed our business and knew we needed to relocate. We could no longer afford our life. The only real life I knew. A cycle of pity parties ensued. I fought this move. I WAS a true Long Islander. How can I go backwards? The economy will come back – right? I went back to Graduate school, became a teacher – which has always been my calling, swallowed my pride and applied for teaching jobs in Union County. The rest as they say is history, except that nagging feeling that something, SOMEONE was missing. That was April 2012. As the good Catholic, as soon I moved to Wesley Chapel I found a Church and went about my business. I was telling a friend how I felt and she suggested I find a new Church. I began attending Elevation. I have never missed a Sunday and have even gone back to watch old sermons. This weeks message had such an impact that I had to write. That was me BEFORE Elevation. My motives were not pure. I was passive aggressive in my relationships. I used social media as a way to show all what a great life I had. I was in a state of constant competition. That person is slowly (it’s a process, not a project) disappearing. I stopped asking and started thanking. I feel lighter. I feel true. I feel God and Jesus with me everyday. I am truly Blessed and was just too busy at my own pity party, while covering it up with social media and toxic relationships (caused by me) to ever take notice. Boy, I was missing so much. When the 5b4 starts I feel the presence of our Savior. When we sing in worship, as a community brought together in Christ, I am rich. When Pastor Steven preaches and teaches, I am filled with knowledge. Elevation has changed my life in ways. I can never thank you.

 I am signed up for the M1 initiative and will begin volunteering at the VIP tent next weekend. I am proud and honored to be a part of such life changing Church. 

Please accept my heartfelt thank to you and your amazing team. 



Marci

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Timeless Love

This is a week about love.  And as fun as it is for me to brainstorm all the things I can do with my heart shaped cookie cutter, I also want to take some time to reflect on the love of Christ.  This weekend we sang a song, “Oh the love of Jesus is enough for me,” written by one of our worship leaders.  I began to think about how the love of Christ is enough for my past, present and future.

Christ’s love covers my past.
Titus 3:3-5 says, At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.  But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us.  Isn’t it good to know that there is nothing that I have done that God cannot forgive me for?

Christ love sustains my present.
2 Corinthians 13:11 says, Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.  His love is with me and in me.

Christ love follows me into my future.
Psalm 23:6 says, Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  I am comforted to know that His love follows me to the ends of the earth.  His love follows me whether I follow Him or not.
And I will leave you with my favorite passage of scripture on Christ’s love…
Romans 8:38-39, For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 
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