Reflections

April 19, 2012

Keep it low like Tetris

Tetris 
How about this blast from the past?  Tetris was the only video game I ever liked.  It was also the only one I was ever any good at.  I got on a Bejewled kick not too long ago because it reminded me of my old friend Tetris.

Tetris 2 
The key to getting far in Tetris is to keep it low.  If you start to let your wall build up with holes in it, you are in trouble.  If you let your board begin to look like this, death is inevitable.

We were discussing forgiveness in my small group the other night and I got to thinking about Tetris.  How do you have a marriage that lasts?  By forgiving over and over again and not letting unforgiveness build up inside of you.

Forgiveness in marriage can even be a pre-decision.  I am deciding today that no matter what you do tomorrow, I will forgive you (even if he doesn't ask for it).  This way, when I am faced with a hurt, I have already decided how I will respond. 

I will keep it low.  I will forgive because I have been forgiven.

Luke 7:47
Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.

Colossians 3:13
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

April 06, 2012

Easters past and present


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Happy Good Friday!  I just love the Easter season!  These are pictures from our staff Easter party, we had such a great time. 

The anticipation of this weekend is so exciting.  Yesterday, I had the opportunity to preview our worship experience at Elevation and it is going to be spectacular.  I am so proud of our team.  I cannot wait for tonight.

Today I thought I would link a few blogs I have posted from Easters past...

Posted 4/9/09, in this post I talk about raising kids in the ministry (there may or may not be pictures from my childhood)
Who says you have to hunt eggs on Sunday?

Posted on 4/2/09, here I talk about praying against attacks from the Enemy.
Put up your dukes

Posted on 3/31/10, it's an oldie but a goodie!  4 year old Elijah tells the Easter story with props (man he is growing up fast!)
Elijah Furtick presents the Easter Story

Posted on 3/30/10, I share one of the Easter activities we like to do with our kids.
Celebrating Easter

Posted on 4/1/10, more the seriousness of the Enemy that we face and our need to fight back.
Keep your dukes up

March 29, 2012

Why do I want to stay mad at you?

Ephesians 4:31-32 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

In my Bible study this week, What's it like to be married to me? by Linda Dillow (see this post), we have been talking about forgiveness.  The title of the chapter is, "Why do I want to stay mad at you?"  The chapter talks about when we choose not to forgive, we are avoid seeing any wrong we may have done in the situation.  In other words, unforgiveness keeps me from seeing the plank in my own eye.

In Ephesians 4 it says we should get rid of bitterness (choosing not to forgive), rage and anger, harsh words (words spoken to the person), and slander (words spoken about the person).  The book asked, which do you have the harderst time with.  Mine is probably slander.  Because I am non-confrontational, I would rather say mean things about a person than to a person.  Which do you struggle with the most?

Then the scripture tells us to be kind (acts towards a person), tenderhearted (having compassion and sympathy towards a person) and forgiving (letting go of hurts) to others.  Again the question was asked, which is the hardest for you?  I struggle with being tenderhearted.  It is easier to just think someone is a jerk than to empathize with why they are having a bad day.  Which do you have the hardest time doing?

My husband said in a sermon once, "Forgiveness is about setting someone free and finding out it was me."  I forgive because Christ has forgiven me.  Not because the person who hurt me deserves my forgiveness. Read the verse one more time and ask the Lord to give you a forgiving spirit.

Ephesians 4:31-32, Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

March 07, 2012

If there is anything worthy

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

This is such a great scripture to meditate on.  Sometimes, in relationships, when I find myself frustrated with a person.  It really helps me to step back and focus on the good in a person.  As a wife and a mother, I find myself, so often, dwelling on the faults of the people in my life that I love the most.

Linda Dillow, in her book, What's it like to be married to me, says this, "It doesn't say 'if everything is excellent and worthy of praise'; It says 'if anything is excellent and worthy of praise.'  If you commit to dwelling on the positive, God will show you something excellent"

So your husband didn't take out the trash this morning, but he went to work so that he can support his family.

So your teenager spoke disrespectfully to you, but she is respectful to her teachers and makes good grades.

So your preschooler punched someone on the playground because they teased his friend, he is a good and loyal friend (may or may not be an actual example).

Linda Dillow suggests actually taking all 7 attributes and writing out an example of each one for your spouse.  We are going to do this exercise in my small group tonight.  When you focus on the positive, the negative may not seem quite so negative.  It's all about perspective.

February 07, 2012

6 essentials for 6 years

This week we celebrated our 6th anniversary as a church.  I sometimes cannot believe all that God has done through our church in the past 6 years.

6 years ago we had our first Sunday morning worship experience at Providence High School with 120 people.  This past Sunday we had over 10,000 people worshipping at 6 different locations. 

There have been many defining moments.  Many times where we stepped out in faith and God came through.  And whether we were opening a new campus, or believing for thousands of people to respond to Christ, behind the scenes, at home, and personally, I would be lying if I said these amazing moments didn't come with some difficulties and attacks.  

As I sit back and think about the amazing things God has done over the past few years, I know that there are six things that have carried me through all the highs and the lows.

Prayer, Prayer, Prayer, Prayer, Prayer, and more Prayer.

Personal prayers that I have prayed.

Prayers from people who know me.  I cannot tell you how many friends I have had say to me, "I know this is a difficult season for you, know that I am praying for you..."

Prayers from people who don't know me.  I love when I receive cards, or comments, or when I randomly meet people in public who tell me that they specifically pray for me, my husband, and our family on a regular basis.

Prayers from people who spontaneously felt lead to pray for us.  Recently, during Code Orange Revival, I had two friends tell me that God woke them up in the middle of the night to pray for us.  It is these moments where God speaks to me and reminds me that He is caring for me.

God hears our prayers.  God answers our prayers.  Whether you go to Elevation or not, I hope you pray for your pastor and his family.  I hope you pray for your church.  I hope you never think that your prayers don't matter. 

 

Ephesians 6:18
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Romans 12:12
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

1 John 5:14
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

February 02, 2012

You asked... Filling gaps

A while back I did a series where I invited people to ask me questions.  While it seems as though I abandoned the questions that the kind readers asked me, alas I have not.  I am bringing it back today (can you guess I was at loss for what to write?)

So Ashley asked: What is it like being married to a focused, driven person when you are more laid back in personality?

I really like this question.  Really only in the past few years would I consider myself a laid back person.  It's almost like the more focused and driven my husband has become, the more laid back I have become.

Have you ever seen the scene in Rocky where Rocky describes his relationship with Adrian?  Rocky says, "She got gaps, I got gaps, together we fill gaps."  I love it!  That is what a great marriage is about, filling gaps.

Does my laid back personality ever clash with his drive?  Of course, but we make a conscience effort to compliment each other.  My hope is that at the end of our lives, he will look back and say that I helped him relax and enjoy the crazy ride.  And that I will look back and see what an amazing ride I got to experience with him.

January 31, 2012

Love with actions

1 John 3:1 See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

1 John 3:18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

February is a month focused on love.  Today I was thinking about the craft that I would bring to Elijah's Valentine's party.  And lately I have been trying to figure how to make February a special month for my husband (his birthday is this month too).  And even at Elevation, we will soon begin Love Week, a huge initiative to love the city of Charlotte. 

As I go about buying candy hearts and Hallmark cards and as I help my kids make Valentines for their friends, I plan to teach them 1 John 3:18.  Loving with actions, not just words.  I have a feeling my 4 and 6 year old children will catch on to it faster than I will.

I have heard it said that the way you can measure your ability to love is by how you treat the person you like the least.  My ability to love should not be measured in how I treat my children but in how I treat the neighborhood children, or the people I interact with my my kid's schools and the gym, not how I treat my friends.

Loving as Jesus loved means loving and expecting nothing in return, simply because the Father has lavished His love on me.

Hey, if you haven't been watching the Just One conference, you are missing out!  Just One is a virtual conference where in the comfort of your living room, you can hear from some amazing ladies like Kay Warren and Lisa Young.  Today I have the privilege of sharing along with several of my good friends in ministry.  I hope you will join us.  You can catch the conference at 11 am and 9 pm EST today.  Here is the link, see you there!

January 24, 2012

No condemnation for me today

One of my favorite books of the bible is 1 John.  I love it because it is short but it packs a great punch.  I have been reading through the book again lately and have been reminded of so much. 

No matter what our background, we can all struggle with condemnation.  Because condemnation is about the enemy lying to me, and he will say whatever he needs to say to make me feel condemned. 

1 John 3:19-21 says...

This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

If our hearts condemn us... we know He is greater that our hearts.

If our hearts condemn us... we know that He knows everything there is to know about us.

Romans 8:1-2 says

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.

I won't allow myself to be condemned today.  When attacked with thoughts of condemnation, I'll know that the God who lives inside of me is greater than my heart.  He knows everything there is to know about me and He has put His Spirit in me.  And He has set me free from condemnation.

January 12, 2012

Faith and reason

Hebrew 11:17-19 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.

I was reading this passage recently and the last sentence really stuck out to me.  God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, but God had promised that Abraham's offspring would come from Isaac.  So Abraham carried it all the way out.  He reasoned that God could raise Isaac from the dead. 

I love how Abraham just reasoned it out.  God asked Abraham to do the most difficult thing ever.  EVER.  And when Abraham didn't understand, he knew that God could raise a life from the dead, and so he obeyed.

I have seen this happen in our church.  God gives my husband a vision, a crazy bold idea.  An idea that practically is impossible for our team to pull off.  And even if we do pull it off, we are not in control of the turn out or response of the people.  Whether we are dropping eggs out of the sky, giving boat loads of money away, renting our an arena for Easter, or asking people to spontaneously be baptized. But we do all that we can do, then we trust God to do his part, the response of the people.

Audacious faith means you go for it, you obey, and you trust God with the final outcome.

 

CODE ORANGE REVIVAL Update: Tonight we are honored to have Pastor Jentezen Franklin.  You can join us at our campuses in Blakeney and Matthews or online at 7pm.

January 03, 2012

Don't let January get you down

As of yesterday, it is no longer Christmas in the Furtick home.  Elijah was not happy about this.  He asked me why we couldn't leave our Christmas decorations up all year.  I told him because then they would just be decorations and they wouldn't be special.

It is funny the feeling that January brings.  A feeling of discontentment that is motivated to change. You aren't happy with your appearance so you join a gym or begin a diet.  You are not happy with the organization of your home so you begin to de-clutter.  You don't like the spiritual state of your family so you make a goal to attend church more regularly.

The problem is, often, I don't want to do the work that it takes to make the change.  I would rather sit around and talk about the change or think about it, or hate it, rather than actually do something about it. 

I think January brings out two kinds of people, those who want to change and won't (they get depressed), and those who want to change and will (they get results).  And for me the solution is now.  I can live in the theoretical world of one day when, or I can get up and clean out a closet and feel good when I lay my head down at night.

Don't let January get you down.  Start today, start small, but start today.