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September 2011

September 30, 2011

Life Change Inbox

We continue in our Friday series, Life Change Inbox.  I am sharing some of the wonderful emails my husband gets, where people share the work God is doing in their lives through Elevation Church.  Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 3:2-4 that our lives are living letters written so that God might be glorified.  None of these letters have been changed in anyway.

Here is Rick's story.  I know it is going to bless you as it did me...

Dear Elevation Church,

I have almost 20 years experience in sales and have enjoyed much success and financial gain. I have read many books, attended many work shops that were motivational and life changing. I could never seem to get enough and never felt complete always feeling empty but now I now know and understand why.

In the past few years I have read several books including the Power of Positive thinking, and a couple of books by Zig Ziglar that have nudged me to start a relationship with God. I had even attempted to read the purpose driven life by Rick Warren. All attempts were shallow and temporary.

Recently I have learned that sometimes God will allow us to sink into a weak time in our life in order to draw us closer to him. Since we moved back from Florida in the fall of 09 we have faced more adversity than ever. My wife and I have had a rocky relationship (mostly because of my actions) and we have had very serious financial struggles. My job has been generous but I have not been producing at the levels that I am known for. We live in a huge house but the house has felt empty and lacking joy and unity. Over the last year I have considered divorce, leaving and all sorts of options. I have been immersing myself in my job hoping to find some satisfaction but have not been able to do so no matter how many hours I put in.

We started attending Elevation Church from time to time this past winter. At first I thought it seemed a bit strange and not like any church I have ever been to. I grow up going to church so the traditional services were my barometer. Although I was in attendance I still didn't feel anything in my heart. Over the summer sometime in July the sermons and Pastor Steven started to click with me. I picked  up the Purpose Driven Life once again and committed to reading it daily until all 40 days were complete. This was a turning point for me. I started understanding that I was here for God's purpose and not mine. Each day that went by I read the Bible, I prayed (was very uncomfortable because I didn't feel worthy) I listened to Pastor Steven's Pod Cast's (sometimes every day). and attended Elevation on a weekly basis. I was thirsty and the only thing that was quenching my thirst was to hear and learn more about Jesus.

I didn't know it at the time but August 7th 2011 became the day that I would be born again and become a new person by the grace of God. I was one of the very fortunate people to get baptized. I have never felt a peace and calmness like I felt that day and feel now. My marriage is getting better each day. I see life differently and am praying daily that God will help me to become less self centered and more Christ like with all of my actions and in all of my relationships. God is already opening doors for us financially, My job is going better and generally speaking God has blessed every area of my life in such a short period of time.

I recently committed to an eTeam (VIP) and am looking forward to giving back. Thank you Pastor Steven and Elevation Church for helping me in my walk and relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ.

Sincerely,
Rick

September 29, 2011

Thoughts from Haiti

Last week I went to Haiti for pastor's wives with C3 Global and Lisa Young.  This was my first time visiting a 3rd world country and my experience was very impactful.  I have had a difficult time putting my trip into words so here are a few bullet points of the trip and a few things I am processing.

Groups

  • I absolutely loved serving alongside other pastor's wives.  The time spent talking, learning and 110922sl_haiti_323encouraging each other while travelling was invaluable.  But then the opportunity to serve alongside each other was so much fun!
  • 110922sl_haiti_312 I haven't been out of the country in almost 10 years (large in part to the ages of my children) but in actuality, the ages of my children, really allowed me to feel like I was putting my every day skills to work.  You don't have to speak the same language to know how to feed a baby, when they are full, or if they are tired.  I guess what I am saying is I realized I needed to speak "nurture" more than I needed to speak Creole.  I felt as confident playing, with feeding, and loving on kids as a doctor would in a clinic. 
  • Seeing children who have so little really puts things into perspective.  When I saw 110922sl_haiti_729the boy playing the drums with markers and thought of all the drum sticks all over my house and I was moved to tears.  I was overwhelmed with gratefulness at what my children have.  I want to pass that on to them.  There is no place for guilt, but I can have a renewed vision for teaching my kids gratefulness and generosity.  I am not sure what this looks like but I do know that we will be donating some toys and clothes in the near future.
  • 110922sl_haiti_662 I am proud of my church.  I am so proud that when I give my money to Elevation, they are strategically generous to our community and our world.  I am love that I can serve at an Elevation sponsored orphanage in Haiti and at an organization for homeless kids in my backyard.

 

  • I'll end by sharing a few more pictures from my trip since a picture can say more than I could ever try to describe.  All these pictures are taken by Sean Lyon who accompanied us on the trip.  Thanks Sean and Corey!  I had a great time with you all!

Collage

 

 

September 28, 2011

Monkey in the middle turns 4

Today is Graham's 4th birthday.  4 years ago today, Graham entered the world quite dramatically and he continues to keep us on our toes.  I have a special connection with Graham as we are both middle children.  He has such a fun little personality.  I wish everyone could know him.  The woman who catches him in about 25 years is a lucky girl.

I stole the pictures from this post from last year and I thought I would add to it.  These pictures were either take by Sean Lyon or Cheyenne Shultz.  Here is Graham's life in pictures.

Newborn 
 
Sean's pics 016

6 months
 
Sean Pics, Spring 2008 013

1 Year

Edited_0111
18 Months

Edited_027

2 Years

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2 1/2 Years

Graham 2

3 Years

Furtickchristmas_HollyFavorites06

3 1/2 Years

2011FurtickFamily_58


September 27, 2011

Fashion File... Capes aren't just for super heroes

Ok so one of the biggest trends for the fall is the cape and the poncho.  My mom is going to be so happy when she sees this post.  She has a cape that she wore back in the 80s that is "classic" and she has been trying to give it to me for years.  Sorry, mom, I still don't want that cape.

Today I want to challenge you that the trendy cape for this fall does not have to come out of your mom's closet. 

Think this...                                    Not this...
Cape 1                       Cape 2

 

And when it comes to ponchos, you don't have to cross over the border into Mexico to get yours.

Think this...                                    Not this...
Poncho 1                       Poncho 2

Remember, if you go blousey and flowy on top, go tight underneath and on the bottom.  I love this look from Nordstrom.  These riding pant leggings are awesome (Vince Camuto, $35 on sale!).

Leggings

I have a fashion file about shopping out of season for next week.  But for the rest of this week, I can't wait to share more from my trip to Haiti, life change stories from Elevation, and most important, my baby Graham turns 4 this Wednesday!

September 26, 2011

Monday Morning Commentary

Hebrews
We kicked off our series, Hebrews XII, today and after being out of the country for several days, I gotta say it was good to be back in the house of the Lord!  My husband's message was called What's Going to Stop You (it's not over, you just stopped) and it was based out of the first few verses in Hebrews 12.

He talked about how Hebrews 12 is a about endurance and he gave us 4 things that might stop us from believing...
    1. You lose your frame of reference
    2. You get weighed down or tripped up
    3. You lose sight of the object of you focus
    4. You lose sight of just how close you are to victory

I got a reality check this week with my frame of reference.  Spend a few days in a third world country and you will reset your frame of reference.  When you see several hundred kids with no toys to play with and shoes that don't fit, you will come home with a renewed vision to teach your children about gratefulness and generosity (and you will preach to yourself about it too).  (More about Haiti later this week).

I also loved the the final part where he talked about losing sight of how close you are to victory.  He said "It's not over unless you stop."  Don't stop.  Don't stop.  Don't stop.  The glory of God being revealed in my life to the world around me is at stake.  Don't stop.

I don't have time to tell you about the part where God is the author AND perfecter of our faith.  And the part where he talked about Jesus being the joy set before me.  You will have to listen to it yourself.

You can watch online at the Elevation Experience or later in our archives.

Have a great Monday.

September 25, 2011

And the winner is...

Congratulations Jessi Whitt!  You have randomly been selected as the winner of our book giveaway.  You should be set with reading material from now until next summer!

Thanks to all of you who entered!  We will do another giveaway soon.

 

September 22, 2011

Summer Book Review

I have been wanting to do a summer reading post for a few weeks now. And since I am in Haiti, I thought I would let the ladies on my Leadership Support Team share the best book they have read this summer. And just for fun, I think I'll give away a set of these books. We will randomly select one person who leaves a comment before Friday evening!

 

Meet Laci Watson. Photo-53

This Winter will mark me and my husband’s (Wes Watson) 4th year at Elevation Church. In those 4 years, we have seen the opening of 4 new campuses and witnessed more life change than most people will see in their entire lifetime .  We have served at Providence, Matthews and now are primarily at Blakeney. Besides my role in supporting Wes,  a lot of what I do within the Church takes place on the weekends. I serve along with the other Blakeney staff wives in whatever capacity is needed during the Weekend Worship Experiences. I am also involved in Outreach as a liaison for one of our local partners, One7.  In addition to this, I have had the privilege of chaperoning our youth at summer camp for the past two summers. If you ever do this once, I promise you you will want to do it every single year. Our youth are unlike anything you have ever seen. They truly are a generation of Joshua's. And because I feel so strongly about the youth in our Church,  this Fall I will be leading an egroup for girls graduating HS and getting ready for college. Loving the life of our Church right now and thank God constantly that He has called my family here.

Photo-52 Book Review: I Was Hitler’s Doctor by Kurt Krueger

 A couple weeks ago when I was visiting my dad in Alabama, I found a book in an old trunk called, “I was Hitler’s Doctor”. The book, copyrighted in 1941, was supposedly written by a German man who claims he was Hitler’s psychologist. Essentially the book presents itself as a true account, but after doing a little research, I found it’s regarded more generally as fiction. Nonetheless, it’s an extremely interesting book, filled with historical accuracy, written about Hitler while he was still living, and gives incredible insight as to peoples perception of him at the time he was ruling. The book was a pulp bestseller in its day and after reading the forward written by Upton Sinclair, I’m convinced it stirred up sufficient controversy. I’m halfway through it now and I have to say that while it’s a tad (ok maybe a lot) disturbing, I just actually can’t put it down.  History has me wrapped around its little finger.

 

Meet Kelly Hubatka. Kelly Twavatar

I am the wife of Larry Hubatka, Creative Pastor at Elevation Church. We have 4 amazing daughters ranging in ages 4-10. We were blessed to find Elevation in the very early stages when there was about 40 people before we had officially launched. I feel so privileged to have had a front row seat in all God has done in the past 5.5 years, it is an honor to be called to such a great move of God. Aside from homeschooling our girls and supporting Larry in his role at the church, I work to serve our other staff wives and families under Holly’s leadership. Larry and I lead the Uptown campus-our family loves being in the heart of Charlotte and serving the people there. I also have the privilege of leading an eGroup alongside Ferris Joye consisting of some of the amazing women leaders in our church. I love what I get to do!

Joyce Book Review: A Leader In The Making by Joyce Meyer.

I had a hard time picking just one book when Holly asked us to do this. I felt like this was a great summer of reading for me-fiction and nonfiction alike! When it came down to it though, I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share this book with everyone. I have read it before, am finishing it again now with my eGroup women, and will definitely read it again in the future. It is refreshing to read about leadership from a woman’s perspective, especially when you read about all Joyce has gone through and how she has overcome. It is honest and full of wisdom when it comes to biblical leadership and having a heart to be the leader God has called you to be. It will definitely challenge you and call you out in some areas, but also inspire you and encourage you as well.

 

Meet Amy Corbett. Screen shot 2011-09-21 at 3.49.02 PM

My name is Amy Corbett and I am the wife of Chunks Corbett, the Executive Pastor of Elevation. My husband leads our Blakeney Campus and oversees Elevation's staff and finances. I stay at home with our 2 kids, ages 4 and 6, while also serving with Elevation Worship, Holly's Leadership Support Team, and Outreach. Chunks and I were part of the Core team that moved from Shelby, North Carolina to Charlotte to plant Elevation. It has been truly amazing to see first hand how God has blessed us every step of the way.

Heaven is for Real Book Review: Heaven Is For Real by Todd Burpo

It's a true story about the four year old son of a small town Nebraska pastor who, during emergency surgery, slips from consciousness and enters heaven.  He survives and begins telling his family remarkable stories of his visit to heaven. I really enjoyed reading this book because it brought heaven to life for me again and reminded me that Jesus truly loves us and is waiting, along with our loved ones, for us to join Him. 

 

 

Meet Angie Blackson. Screen shot 2011-09-21 at 12.05.24 PM

I am the wife of Josh Blackson, Operations Pastor and Campus Pastor at our Providence location. My husband and I moved to Charlotte a little over 5 years ago. When we moved we were praying that God would bring us to a church we could invite our neighbors to without any hesitations. To make a long story short we ended at Elevation Church and have seen 4 families in our neighborhood give their lives to Christ through the ministry of Elevation. We volunteered, led community groups, and began getting to know the leadership team at Elevation. About 2 years after attending circumstances that can only be God led our family to "work" at Elevation. I say family because when we took the position we decided to make this a family commitment. We each play our part! Alyssa, my oldest at 6 years, can be found in the parking lot waving cars to exit the right way or "cleaning" up the lemonade and cookie station. Kaitlyn, my 4 year old, can be found hugging and giving her one million dollar smile to any one of our many volunteers. Karis, our now 3 year old, is most likely the one making people laugh. If she is not seen then there may be trouble happening wherever she is. I can be found at our VIP tent for first time guests every other Sunday morning. 

Screen shot 2011-09-21 at 11.45.55 AM Book Review: One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

I usually take the summer to read fiction books like The Hunger Games, The Help, and Karen Kingsbury series. I did read those books and highly suggest them but this summer for the first summer ever I actually read a book that challenged me called One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. I am a person that is often times so busy with cleaning, cooking, organizing, you name it that by the end of the day I missed out on what life is all about. This book has challenged me to live fully right where I am. It has challenged me to live a life of "eucharisteo"  meaning the gift/giving thanks of grace. I have a far way to go but can say that my days are less about tasks and more about living after reading this book. 

 

Meet Heather Bishop. Screen shot 2011-09-21 at 3.52.29 PM

My husband John and I have been a part of Elevation Church since the beginning.  We moved to Charlotte as part of the Core Team that launched the church about 6 years ago.  It has been the biggest honor of our lives to be a part of this movement! My husband is the Campus Pastor at Elevation Matthews, and he also oversees Ekidz (our children’s ministry). I stay at home with our two boys: Jeremiah- 4 years old and Micah-5 months old.

 

The-help Book Review: The Help by Kathryn Stockett

My favorite book this summer, hands down, was The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I loved everything about this book!  And the book is so incredibly written that I managed to read it in one week, even with a newborn baby in our house!  (we adopted baby Micah in April 2011)  The Help is a novel about the personal relationship between black maids and the white families who employ them. The story is set in a small town in Mississippi in the 1960’s. In the book, three women come together (a young white women and two black maids) for a project that puts them at great risk, but will change the lives of others in ways they would never have imagined.  The reason I love this book so much is that the main characters are willing to take a stand for a cause they know is right, even though they risk their lives, lose friends and popularity in the process.  It’s a great reminder for all of us, to make the right choice even if it costs us something.  As a side note, the movie is great too.  So if you don’t like to read, go watch it in the theater… the movie stays really true to the book.

 

Meet Ferris Joye. Screen shot 2011-09-21 at 4.52.05 PM

I am Wade Joye’s wife, the Worship Pastor at Elevation Church. We moved to be part of Elevation in August of 2007.  We had our twin daughters in June of 2008. They were 3 months premature and Elevation rallied around us in prayer and support. We were overcome with thankfulness and gratitude that this church and our Pastor cared so much for us. I have led small groups, volunteered in our Resources area, and do all I can to support Wade in the position he has been called to.

Hunger_games copy Book Review: The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins

I love some young adult fiction. It may be cheesy since I am a wife and mom of two, but they are fast reads and so good. The best books I have read in this genre are part of The Hunger Games trilogy: The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay. Author Suzanne Collins created one amazing heroine in Katniss Everdeen. She lives sometime in the future in post-apocalyptic America, now called Panem. Panem is divided into 13 districts that are oppressed by the Capitol. Because of a previous rebellion, the Capitol punishes the districts by selecting one girl and one boy from each district to fight to the death in a dangerous arena, in what they call the Hunger Games. The game is televised and watched much like a hit reality show of today. Katniss begins to break the mold and keeps the Capitol on edge. She becomes a symbol of hope for the districts and a possible way to ignite change. This trilogy sounds like it might be a little gory but I assure you it is not. It is all about the characters and how the situations you are faced with can become the catalyst for change. Katniss is a strong, independent young woman and you will fall in love with her. Read it now so when the movie comes out next year you will be the cool person who knows the answers to everyone's questions.

 

Ok!  Leave your name in the comments and I'll post the winner this weekend!

 

September 21, 2011

Haiti

She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.

Proverbs 31:20

I had the opportunity to spend some time visiting orphanages in Haiti this week with some other pastor wives. This is my first time here and the living conditions simply took my breath away.

At one orphanage in the slums of Port au Prince they minister to children through the gift of music. An out of tune piano and drum set played with markers never sounded so beautiful playing Israel Houghton's Alpha and Omega.  He would have been so honored to hear them.

I got to put my mom skills to work when I helped two toddlers spoon their food into their mouths at the same time. And I was un-phased when one of them vomited their entire meal onto their plate. God was prepping me last week when one by one my entire family (except me, by the grace of God) passed a stomach bug around. I saw it coming like a pro.

As my husband and I processed my experience together, he preached a little sermonette to me. He said I can have basically 1 of 3 responses...

  • Greed- I go home and go back to living my comfortable life and do nothing with what I have seen.
  • Guilt- I go home feeling guilty for the amazingly blessed life God has given me.
  • Generosity- I go home and invest in opportunities to give generously to the works that I have seen. I can give generously of my time, my resources, and my commitment to get others to give generously as well.

So I will head home this week charged be generous. And I will ask the Lord to open my eyes to the needs those closest to me as well.

Hopefully more pictures to come from day two.  Have a great day, you're almost to the weekend!

Haiti1collage

September 20, 2011

Parenting with gentleness

I have been having a difficult time with one of my children lately.  We just seem to be butting heads in every direction.  Last Saturday, I was taking a minute to read a few of the blogs in my Google reader.  I am really backed up (as I write this I have over 80 unread items).  And just like God does, He lead me to a post by Jen.  She posted these three verse in reference to parenting...


She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. Proverbs 31:26

The heart of the righteous studies how to answer. Proverbs 15:28

If someone is caught in a sin, you who are wise should restore him gently. Galatians 6:1
 

And the Lord really spoke to me.  I cannot always control or change my children's behavior.  But I can control my response to them.  Emotionally lashing out at them is not effective.  Often my response is just a more socially acceptable adult version of their childish behavior.

I am certainly not preaching from a place of perfection here.  But my heart's desire is to wisely instruct and direct my children.  A change in their behavior may very well begin with a change in my behavior.  So I started out by trying to commit these scripture verses to memory and I have asked God to work in me and then use me to direct my kids.

September 19, 2011

Monday Morning Commentary

Theprodigyinme
My husband wrapped up our series, The Prodigy in Me, with another incredible message all about the paradox of the prodigy.  He gave 4 paradoxical statements about being a prodigy in the body of Christ.  The message was really powerful.

The point that spoke the most to me was "God will keep you in your sweet spot but He will not let you stay in your comfort zone."  He went on to explain that our comfort zone is where we feel confident in our abilities.  Our sweet spot is we are dependent on God to use us in the areas He has gifted us.  And then beyond our sweet spot is the realm of false expectations, where we try to be someone we are not or someone others expect us to be.

The sweet spot is the place where I depend on God but I know I am acting within the gifts he has given me (1 Peter 4:11).  I want to encourage you to think about what your sweet spot in Christ might be and do whatever it takes to get there.

You really should take the time this week to listen to the other 4 parts.  You can listen in our archives or this week at The Elevation Experience.

Have a great Monday!