Holly Furtick

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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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….

I moved from Florida to Charlotte just 15 months ago. In the course of a year, I lost all my friends (by moving so far from my former town where I lived and worshipped for 10 years), my father died and my marriage fell apart. My life deteriorated to a place of hopelessness and thoughts of ending it all. In August our family started attending Elevation. At the Christmas service my two middle-school kids gave their lives to Christ, and then two weeks ago, a casual acquaintance of mine invited me to join her eGroup. She had absolutely no idea that I was anything but happy and healthy! I am a master of disguise when it comes to what has happened to my life – she didn’t even know I was separated from my husband. For no explainable reason, I attended her eGroup last week. I went back again this week & the group chose to pray over me. All I can say is Amen, Amen, Amen! I am not alone! God spoke through the Holy Spirit and put my silent troubles on the hearts of this group of strangers. They prayed aloud for things that only God could reveal to them about my life. In two weeks, that eGroup has changed my life. I was literally hopeless and alone and God sent an army of angel Elevators to rescue me.

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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

Here’s Charles’ story….

Hello brothers and sisters at Elevation,


My name is Charles and I’m from the Philippines. I’ve been watching and listening to Pastor Steven’s sermons online for the past 2 years. They have blessed me, my family and my ministry. I wanted to share a story of how your ministry is also encouraging a couple who are preparing to go to Africa as Missionaries. 2 days ago, I downloaded the message “Jesus Told Me To”. The message spoke to me and moved me so much that I knew I had to share it. The Holy Spirit lead me to share the podcast with a missionary couple, who will be bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Burkina Faso, Africa early 2013. FYI there are over 11 million Tribal Muslims amongst the 21 unreached people groups in Burkina Faso, Africa. So when I got home that night, I immediately sent the link to the video podcast of this message to them. The next day I received this message: 

Thanks for encouraging us! God woke me up 5am. It feels like you heard my prayer and all the things I was telling God this morning! We listened to it after praying. Jesus Told Me To! This is so timely for our lives right now, as we step out in faith. We both know that this is only possible thru Christ who has called us. Not by might, nor by power, but by His Spirit alone. May His wisdom be upon us as we do missions in Africa. May God teach us His ways and may we be able to follow. May Jesus use us according to His purposes. Elevation Church is not just speaking to people in your local community but also to people here in the Philippines. And from here, God is using that same message to send His Gospel to Africa where they have never even heard the name “Jesus.” It is wonderful to experience how God connects us and that His movement and momentum is at a global scale. We are all moving towards the same purpose, same goal, same story. To not just be part of history but to take part in HIS Story! 

 We are Elevating together! 


Charles

 

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Never again

Teaching kids responsibility is a hard thing.  It takes a lot of restraint to not bail your kids out when they mess something up.  And I don’t think it gets any easier the older they get (at  least that’s what my good friend Lysa TerKuerst tells me).

Like the other day, my kids didn’t clean up after playing outside.  Later, I ran over a new basketball.  It was an accident but how can they learn to be responsible if it never costs them anything?  My husband made them each pay us $5 to cover the cost.  That’s hard considering the amount of money they have.  But if it didn’t cost them anything, they won’t think twice next time.

A while back we were running into a problem with our DSi games.  My boys love their Nintendo DS.  And I have a love-hate relationship with video games in general.  Sometimes I hate being the video game nazi but that is a whole other post.  DS games are small.  Tiny.  About 1 square inch and they are very easily lost.  A couple years ago I felt like my boys were always losing their games or leaving them at grandparents houses.  I felt like I was the only one who even tried to keep up with them.

So I made a rule: If you lose a DS game, you may NEVER own it again.  No one can gift it to you.  You may not save up to buy it again.  You can never own it again.

I know this seems extreme but can I tell you, we have only lost 1 game that I can think of in the past 3 years.

Sometimes you have to make an extreme rule to teach your children to care about their stuff.  Elijah recently lost his school sweatshirt (it did not have his name in it).  I found it funny that he didn’t ask me to buy another one.  Maybe he knows I will say no.  Maybe he doesn’t care because he doesn’t like wearing coat.  But either way I don’t plan on replacing it.  He can save up his money if he wants one this year.  Otherwise, he’ll have to wait until next year.

I don’t pretend to do everything right with my children.  But I have a big vision for each of my kids and getting them there is not going to be easy.  I have to remind myself that it is easier for them to learn it with a lost video game or a sweatshirt than a lost wallet or cell phone.  And if I have to be the bad guy, then I will.

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What I Know

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.

There are some truths in the bible that are so simple, so basic yet so easily forgettable. Nothing can separate me from the love of Christ. Nothing. Nothing I do or don’t do. Nothing that happens to me or doesn’t happen to me. Nothing.

When things happen that are out of my control, that I cannot understand, I have to filter it through the lens of Jesus loves me, this I know. Does this mean that God allowed something bad to happen to me, of course not. The number one thing the enemy wants me to forget is that I am loved.

I don’t want to overwrite today. I want the verse to speak for itself.

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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Life Change Inbox

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. We did. I will be back next week but I wanted to share this great life change story from Timeless Christmas. It’s is just one of the many people who’s life was touched this Christmas.

If you have a story you would like to share, email us at amencorner@elevationchurch.org

Here’s Nesha’s story…

I just wanted to stop and say how thankful I am for your prayers for my family these past couple of months.

My 18 year old brother, John, who has been visiting me for the past week here in Charlotte, has been in and out of court facing a 1 year prison sentence. He has been mixed up with the wrong crowd for years and has always insisted on never changing. I can’t even begin to explain how much my family is going through emotionally. It seems especially burdensome for me as I am the first and the only of my immediate family to have a active relationship with God.

Lately, I began to accept this sentence on my brother’s life and I have flirted with the thought of giving up on my brother and family altogether. However, you, Elevation, have made that impossible to do. You’ve encouraged me past the pain and into a stronger prayer life than ever. This is not including all of the prayers I know that you’ve prayed on my behalf. Because of that, I invited my brother to come visit me this past week as a last effort to spend some time with him before he went to court, yet again, but for the last time.

My brother visited Elevation for the first time last weekend and decided to come again to Timeless Christmas. This morning as Pastor Steven gave the invitation to begin a new life in Christ I got to see my brother stand, boldly, as he accepted Christ for the very first time. On top of that, all he can say is how he can’t believe that people at my church are so nice.

I realized today that my mind had been focused on defeat but God had a victory in mind for me. My faith has been shaken and strengthened. I hear stories every week about how Elevation is changing the world but I never thought I would get to experience it- again! God’s awesome.

Nesha

 

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