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December 2011

December 23, 2011

A bit of bragging about my kids...

As all kids do this time of year, our kids have been busy little perfomers and I though I would share a few videos with you!

Elijah began taking piano lessons this fall.  He had his first recital this winter and, personally, I think he stole the show. 

Here he is just before the recital began.  He looks so nervous!

Here he is playing a Christmas medley of Go Tell It on the Mountain and Away in a Manger.


Graham is up next.  He is in 3 year old preschool a few days a week.  Here he is with his dad.  I had to get a full shot of his precious outfit.

And here is Graham singing We Wish You a Merry Christmas...


And we cannot leave Abbey out!  She is all over the place and becoming increasingly difficult to photograph :)

I have been working with Abbey on how to be a nurturing mother lately.  Here she is giving her baby kisses...

December 22, 2011

Code Orange Christmas


Last night we began our Christmas worship experiences.  The first 2 of 30! 

We are calling it Code Orange Christmas.  Code orange means there is a heightened since of urgency.  We are using it to say that God has rescued us in our most desperate need. 

The worship experience was amazing.  I don't want to spoil anything, so I'll just say, the gospel is presented in a powerful, life changing and creative way.

I hope you will be a bringer not just a consumer this Christmas no matter where you live.  People's hearts are so open to the gospel at Christmas time.  I am praying for each and every person who will be bringing their friends and family members to church over the next several days.

And Elevation, here's the best part... we are releasing more tickets at all of our campuses and worship experiences.  You can get tickets at CodeOrangeChristmas.com.  I will see you there!

December 21, 2011

Merry Christmas from the Furticks


December 20, 2011

A Christmas memory

My mom gets the credit for purchasing 99% of my Christmas presents (what must it be like to be a man and really only have to worry about purchasing only one gift, your wife's?).  But I remember one thing my dad did every year... he stuffed our stockings with new pens, pencils and highlighters.

Girls love colorful pens and pencils.  It was always so much fun to return to school in January armed with a arsenal of fresh ink.  Maybe what made it meaningful was that he went to Office Depot and picked out pens for our stockings.  Whatever it was, my sisters and I loved it.  It became part of Christmas. As much a part as my mom always letting us open one gift on Christmas Eve.

I am not sure what traditions will evolve in our family.  I love buying my children a new ornament every year.  This year Graham picked Batman and Elijah picked Star Wars.  I have also read The Best Christmas Pageant Ever two years in a row (well we have a chapters left).  We'll see.

But I think the thing to keep in mind is that the things we remember about Christmas are not always the most expensive things.  It is the little moments, and the kept traditions no matter how small they may seem to others, like new pens, that seem to stick in our memory and define Christmas for us.

December 19, 2011

Monday Morning Commentary

This weekend we got to hear from Pastor Greg Laurie.  He brought us an amazing message about the urgency of bringing our friends to Christ.

The anthem my husband gave us is:
    I won't miss my chance to share Christ.  I will be a bringer.

The part of the message that really spoke to me was when Pastor Greg to the story about the man in West Virginia who had a heart attack on black Friday at Target and people were so busy shopping that they stepped over the dying man.  (You can read more about it here.)

What a sad story but a realistic picture of what we can have the tendency to do at Christmas.  We scurry around buying gifts and making food for parties, making sure our family looks just right as we squeeze church into our schedule and forget to look up and see that we are literally stepping over dying people that we encounter every day.  There are people who are really hurting all around us: neighbors whose marriage is on the outs, kids whose parents don't spend time with them, co-workers who are in need of Jesus.

The urgency of Christmas is not to buy gifts for people and get your Christmas card in the mail on time.  Those things are great.  But the urgency of Christmas is that there are people who need Christ.  We must be bringers this Christmas.

You can listen to the message at the Elevation Experience all week, or in our archives.

I hope your last Monday before Christmas is a great one!

December 16, 2011

Life Change Inbox

It's Friday and time for the Life Change Inbox where I have been 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. 

I hope you will enjoy hearing Holly's story of restoration...

In 2002, at the age of 29, I married a Christian man who told me he loved me and wanted me to be his wife. I thought I was following the plan God had for me. I spent the next 6 years of my life wondering why I could not make my marriage work the way others could. We visited a Christian counselor but there was no change.  After 2 more rounds with different counselors, each a desperate attempt to save my marriage, I finally realized that it was over. He wanted a divorce, and I wanted some healing. I was shaken. I was alone.

It was at that moment that I found an old friend from high school. We were total opposites in every way, but he was the nicest person I had ever encountered. We had a whirlwind courtship, got married in Las Vegas and had a beautiful baby girl. I knew I had been given a gift, because he made me feel loved every day.

We only had one problem in our relationship. I wanted to attend church and he was vehemently opposed to organized religion. I wanted my daughter to be raised in a church who truly loved God, and I needed to find it. I looked and prayed, and one day, my friends who let me sleep on their couch during my divorce attended Elevation Blakeney.

 I prayed constantly that the Holy Spirit would prepare my husband's heart and make him receptive to attending Elevation. I didn’t realize how far I had travelled away from God until I asked him to go and he agreed without hesitation. I found myself shocked that he agreed, as if my faith in God’s power was no longer there. I was ashamed that I had allowed my mistaken first marriage to shake my faith so strongly that there was very little left. We attended Elevation Blakeney a week or 2 before the series on Hebrews started.
One of the coolest things about God is His PERFECT timing. My husband loves music, skateboarding and the bass guitar. When Pastor Steven started preaching, it would have taken a forklift to pick my jaw up off the ground. He started with a Nirvana CD cover, then mentioned skateboarding and finally the bass guitar. How perfect is God? So perfect, that He had the pastor preach on 3 things that would hook my husband in and keep him interested. I am not so sure my feet touched the ground as I left church that day. Not only did he love it, but my 13 month old daughter got into the car and started singing. And this was the first time she had ever been in a “daycare-like” setting.
We haven’t missed a Sunday since and we are both now volunteering. We sit down front, so my husband can enjoy the bands, and the words that God has given through Pastor Steven and Pastor Groechel have spoken directly to my heart. My dear friend, Father, Savior and redeemer and I are back together and my life had never felt so full. His love was filling the life of my family and it was bringing us closer together than ever before.

I’ve been a Christian since the age of 17, so I knew that the closer we got to God, the harder Satan would try to attack. So, I immediately found my armor, dusted it off and started covering my family with prayer. Elevation exists "so that people far from God will be filled with life in Christ." And I for one am so thankful that it does!


December 15, 2011

Prepare Him room

This week I had the opportunity to get a sneak peek at our Elevation Christmas worship experience.  One of the songs they sang was Joy to the World.  As we sang, the line, "Let every heart prepare Him room," really resonated with me.

Christmas can be such a busy time of year.  There are so many preparations to be made.  And I am ashamed to admit that there have been many Christmases where I prepared gifts, meals, parties and everything else under the sun except room for Jesus.

Preparing room for Jesus means I am maximizing moments with my children to teach them about Christmas.  It means stealing away a few moments each day to reflect and pray and read (or listen to) scripture.  It means taking seriously the work that we are preparing for at Elevation, and praying that God would soften the hearts of the people who are going to come and hear the gospel.

There are 10 or so days left until Christmas.  Will you join me in preparing room for Jesus?

December 14, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

DSC_0340DSC_0475 DSC_0343     



December 13, 2011

Behind and Before

Psalm 139:5-6
You hem me in behind and before,
   and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
   too lofty for me to attain.

I like to listen to an audio Bible when I am getting dressed in the mornings.  I heard this verse the other morning and was really comforted by it. 

Did you know that He hems you in behind and before and His hand is upon you?  Then the Psalmist says, he can hardly believe it! 

What a comfort to know that as you go out today, you are hemmed in.  You are protected.  As you take each step, God's hand is upon you.  You are blessed and highly favored.

December 12, 2011

Monday Morning Commentary


Week 2 of our Christmas series was excellent!  My husband brought a message specifically for those who have lost something, or someone, and struggle during the holidays.  Our anthem for this week was
    I will not dwell on what is lost, I will build on what remains.

The holidays can bring so much joy but they can resurface so much pain for those who have suffered loss.  And loss comes in many forms.  You can lose relationships, jobs, opportunity, love ones, health, and even time.  Preaching from the King James 1611 version of Isaiah 8:18-9:1, my husband gave us 3 words to cling to when facing loss.

    1.  BEHOLD  The word behold means to look and see.  If you stop and look, you can see God in any situation.  And He is working in every situation.

    2.  BEYOND  As believers in Jesus, we stake our life on the fact that there is hope beyond our pain.  When faced with loss, we have to remember this.

    3.  NEVERTHELESS  We must always have a nevertheless attitude.
            Ezekiel 16:60, Nevertheless I will love
            Luke 5:5, Nevertheless I will obey
            Galatians 2:20 Nevertheless I will have faith

You can listen to the message at the Elevation Experience every hour on the hour this week and also in our archives.

Have a great Monday!