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November 2011

November 29, 2011




A feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.

Psalm 25:5  Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.

Psalm 33:18 But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,

Psalm 39:7 “But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.

Psalm 52:9 For what you have done I will always praise you in the presence of your faithful people. And I will hope in your name, for your name is good.

Psalm 130:7 Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption.

As I have been reading through Thankful Thirty (are you still with it?) I couldn't help but notice how often the Psalmist says his hope is in God.  The definition of hope is a feeling of expectation, so placing my hope in God means I am expecting Him to come through for me.  I know He is good.  I know He loves me.  Therefore my hope is in Him.

November 28, 2011

Monday Morning Commentary

Found favor
We wrapped up our series, Found Favor, this weekend.  I wish we had made it a series longer than 2 weeks, but I guess it is a good thing to leave people wanting more.

This week, my husband put practical handles to flowing in the favor of God.  He gave us 3 points that are necessary for walking in God's favor...

  1. Expectation.  Frame your world with favor.  If you expect God's favor, you will become a magnet for miracles.  I loved it when he said that in God's world, faith is the currency.  And when we expect God's favor in our lives, in faith, God always shows up.  Favor isn't about what you get from God, it is about the way you view your world.  Expectation.
  2. Recognition.  Open your eyes to opportunity.  God will always give you the favor that you need for the season of life that you are in.  But I can't live in today's calling with yesterday's favor.  When I am looking for God's favor, I am able to recognize that it can sometimes come in the form of God removing something from my life.
  3. Response.  Give yourself to obedience.  This was my favorite point.  I loved when my husband said, "Favor usually comes in the form of a divine connection or a simple instruction."  Why would God give me more when I am not responsible with what He has given me now?

This series has been so wonderful.  I want to encourage you to listen to both messages if you have not been able to hear the messages live.  You can listen to this week's message at the Elevation Experience or you can catch both messages in our archives.

I hope you have a wonderful week.

November 25, 2011


We are wrapping up our #30daysofthanks outreach initiative and I wanted to thank you for making it such a success.  Elevation, by the end of this month, more than 1,000 of you will have served the hungry in our area.  You fed more than 3,000 people.  In a one-day blitz on what we call Turkey Tuesday, you fed more than 600 people alone.

Instagr.amOur family had the opportunity to share in this Tuesday’s event together.  On Monday, it was beautiful to see you streaming into our Matthews location – bringing bag after bag of donated groceries to serve our neighbors.  Then on Tuesday, it was such a joy to personally meet, laugh, and pray with people who came through our doors for a Thanksgiving meal.

It has always been my husband’s vision to make sure we don’t just serve the hungry on Thanksgiving, and sit around and do nothing the rest of the year.  There are people in our cities needing relief and restoration every day.  That’s why our staff is working harder than ever to make it easy for you to find a place to serve.

Any weekend, at any Elevation location you can stop by our orange tent to get your questions answered about serving through our outreach partners.  You can also check out the latest news on our Elevation Outreach site to see where we are serving together next.

In the month of December, we’ll be giving away a house you helped build through Habitat for Humanity.  We will help Crisis Assistance Ministry move their furniture warehouse to a new, larger location to serve more neighbors in need.  Volunteers at Elevation Rock Hill will share Christmasville dreams with neighbors served through A Place for Hope on Blackmon Road.  We will serve a holiday meal to single moms at Christ Our Shepherd in Matthews.  We will wrap Christmas gifts for homeless children through A Child’s Place.  We’re just getting started.  Click here to see the latest opportunities to serve the Charlotte area.

November 24, 2011


Well, it's turkey day, and I hope you are having a great one.  I am especially thankful for by beautiful family.  Today I thought I would express my thankfulness in pictures. 

I am thankful for an amazing husband who is not only the most gifted preacher today, but also an incredible dad.  I am so glad he is my partner.

I am thankful for my Elijah who is 6 going on 16.

I am thankful for Graham Graham who rarely takes a bad picture.

I am thankful for sweet Abbey, what a joy she is to have around.

I am thankful for my mother-in-law who loves me like her own daughter and rarely takes a good picture.

I am thankful for my father-in-law who also loves me like his own daughter and is a great example of courage to me.

I am thankful for my mom who raised me so very well.

Tire swing
I am thankful for my dad.  This is a super old picture but it sums up what an amazing grandad he is.


I hope you have a great Thanksgiving.  I pray that as you spend the day with your loved ones that you would be able to overlook an offense and love with the love of Jesus.


November 23, 2011

Fashion File... Puff the Magic Dragon

It is time to talk about the trend of the the puffy jackets and vests.  Keep in mind as you read my comments that I live in North Carolina where we have relatively mild winters.  If you live in Chicago or anywhere the like, some of these rules may not apply.  Here are a few general guidelines you may want to go by when selecting one...

1.  Don't lose your shape.  No one wants to look like a marshmallow.

Puffy jacket 1  Puffy jacket 2
        Good shape               Marshmallow shape


2.  Don't wear it all the time.  It is a good idea to have a dressier coat and a more casual coat.  Maybe like a pea coat type and a puffy coat.

Puffy jacket 5Puffy jacket 3
    Nice Pea Coat                Puffy Jacket with good shape



3.  Don't select too bright of a color.  Go with a neutral and use your scarf to add bright color.

Puffy good color     Puffy good color 2     Bad color
         Good Color                 Good Color                   Bad Color

4.  Personally, I HATE the puffy jackets with the faux fur lining the hood.  Unless you want to look like an Eskimo, you may want to avoid this (sorry if you already have one with a faux fur collar, usually the hoods are removable).

Puffy jacket 4                     Puffy bad color bad collar
        Bad Collar                        Bad Color, Bad Collar (double trouble)



5.  Unless you are going skiing, don't look like you just came down from the slopes.

Puffy bad shape bad color               Puffy ski
    Bad color, bad shape        You wouldn't even ski in this right?


To close, the fun thing about puffy jackets is you can find them fairly cheap.  I got mine on sale at Old Navy for $30.  You are guaranteed to find some on sale on Black Friday for those of you crazies who are going to brave the crowds.

November 22, 2011

I'll give you something to pray about

I grew up in a house full of women.  My family consisted of me, my two sisters, my mom, my dad, and our dog Barkley (also a girl).  When asked what it was like to live in a house full of women, my dad would often reply, "It's always that time of the month." 

So needless to say, there were a lot of tears shed in my house, and my dad could only take so much crying.  I remember my dad getting frustrated more than one time when I started crying.  He looked at me and delivered the classic line, "And if you don't stop crying, I will give you something to cry about!"

Over the Summer and leading into the Fall, I had had a difficult time having genuine time with the Lord in prayer and Bible study.  I just wasn't feeling it, and I wasn't feeling a need or an urgency.  I took this to the Lord.  I told Him I really wanted to pray more, read more scripture, but I just couldn't get things going.  And about 2 months ago, in the middle of one of these pleas, I heard the Lord gently say, "do you want me to give you something to pray about?"  Eesh.  Maybe not. 

But he did.  The past 6 weeks have been full of many challenges-on a higher level than I've ever experienced.  I have felt at times over the past few weeks like my world was a 1000 piece puzzle that was starting to really take shape when someone came by and accidentally overturned the table. 

And I've had to sort a lot of pieces.  I've had to make level paths.  I have had people leave my life, and have had new people enter in my world.  I am also currently walking with my husband's family through a rough medical diagnosis for his dad.

You know what though, as difficult as the past several weeks have been, I have felt drawn to the Lord like never before.  I have felt my need for His presence and wisdom like never before.  I have listened to scripture and worship songs, spent time in prayer and the Word out of the deepest necessity to function.  And I know that the Lord is the only one who can help me get the puzzle together.  I have peace that He is working out something great in me and my family.

When God gives you something to cry about something to pray about, it isn't a sign that He's annoyed with you. It's a sign that He's drawing near to you.

Psalm 46
God is our refuge and strength,
   an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
   and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
   and the mountains quake with their surging.

November 21, 2011

Monday Morning Commentary

Found favor
This weekend we began our new two part series, Found Favor.  My husband's message was so helpful and encouraging to many.

He started out reading from Exodus 33:12-16 where Moses asks God for favor.  He went on to remind us of many of the biblical characters who found favor with God... Abraham (Gen. 18), Noah (Gen. 6:8), Joseph (Gen 39:4), Ruth (Ruth2:10), Samuel (1Sam. 2:26), Gideon (Judges 6), Nehemiah (Neh. 1), Daniel (Dan 1:9), Mary (Luke 1:6), Jesus (Luke 2:52), and Paul (1Cor. 16:9).  Whew, that was not even all of them.

He talked about some false ideas about favor...
    -it is not a magic formula
    -equating favor with God as getting favors from God
    -favor does not make your life more comfortable
    -you don't have to feel favored to find favor
    -favor cannot be forced, it follows me as I follow Jesus
    -favor isn't fair, it is a byproduct of God's grace

He gave us a working definition of favor... The guarantee of His presence and the provision of His power to accomplish His special purpose in and through my life.

My favorite thing that he taught today is that favor does not make your life more comfortable, it requires more faith!  Favor is not for my convenience, it is for His purpose and His glory.  Think about Mary, the mother of Jesus.  The scripture says she was "blessed and highly favored" but in that blessing she became pregnant out of wedlock and had to give birth to that baby in a barn.

God's favor requires extra faith on my part, but the payoff is that His glory is revealed.

I cannot wait to hear the second part of this series.  You can watch the message at the Elevation Experience this week every hour on the hour or later in our archives.

Have a great Monday!

November 18, 2011

#30Days ofThanks

If you've been on the #30daysofthanks page, and you're discouraged because you didn't get in on an opportunity, I've got great news for you - we're not finished.  Not even close.  The best is yet to come. We are adding new opportunities every day as we head into the holidays.

Next week, you'll find one of our biggest single day opportunities with space still available. On November 21 we're asking you to bring a bag of Thanksgiving groceries to Elevation Matthews.  The grocery list is right there for you.

We're more than halfway to our goal of handing out 200 bagged meals to families identified by Matthews Help Center as needing assistance to put food on the table this Thanksgiving.  I am proud to say that my small group had a great time putting a few together this week.  You can sign up today and go shopping for a family in need.  You can enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner knowing one family is giving thanks to God for his provision.

Want even more?  Elevation is building its first-ever Habitat for Humanity home from the ground up. Staff and volunteers began on November 4, and we’ll be finished in record-time, by December 10.  The goal... so a working single-mother and her daughter can move in in time for Christmas.


Keep checking back in here, I’ll keep you up to date with some of my favorite outreach opportunities and go sign up to serve today! Also you can check out the Elevation Outreach blog to see what else we are doing and how you can get involved as we help people in need this season.

November 16, 2011

A little thanks goes a long way

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

I woke up this morning feeling frustrated.  Just being honest.  But I refuse to let a little bit of fatigue make me focus on the few things that are not right when I have so much to be thankful for.  Give thanks in all circumstances.  Our family got some bad news about a sick loved one yesterday.  Today I m giving thanks.

I am thankful for my godly husband.

I am thankful for wonderful in-laws who love me like their own blood.

I am thankful for my parents who pray for me everyday and support my crazy life.

I am thankful for my boys who were both mad when it was their turn to stand inside the girl pilgrim a few weeks ago when we were at the pumpkin patch.


I am thankful for my sweet baby girl who is crawling everywhere.

I am thankful for Elevation Church and that God allowed me to be a part of it.

I am thankful to live in a country where I have the freedom to worship however I choose.

And although this seems insignificant compared to the aforementioned things, I am thankful that I finally get o see Taylor Swift in concert tonight (we had tickets for a July concert that got rescheduled for tonight)  Whoo hoo!

I hope you will take a minute to say outloud a few things you are thankful for today.  It will really turn your day around.

November 15, 2011

The woman is the neck

Have you ever seen the movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding?  It's a great one.  There is a scene in the movie where Tula, the main character wants to break away from the family business, but her father doesn't want her to.  I love this conversation she has with her mother...

The man is the head of the home, but the woman is the neck.  There is so much truth to this.  And it is not about manipulation.  It's about being a team, knowing your position, and playing it well.  Or as Christine Cain would say, embrace your place.

As the neck, you have the ability to build up or tear down your husband.  You set the tone for your family.  Is my home going to be a place of peace or strife?  Of patience or frustration?  A place of gratefulness or complaining?  I don't always get this right but I find it to be so true.  After all, if mama aint happy...