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March 2012

March 30, 2012

Life Change Inbox

It's Friday and time for another Life Change Inbox!  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.

Here is Bree's story about the power of being in a small group...

God has opened so many doors for me through Elevation. I grew up in a Christian home. I accepted Christ into my heart, but then lived off my parents relationship with God. About 3 yrs ago I acknowledged my powerlessnes over an addiction and my need for God. I went into Alcohol Anoynmous defeated and hopeless. As God lead my sponser and me through the 12 steps necessary for a daily reprive from alcoholism, I became to know God as my Savior and Papa.

About a year and a half into recovery God lead me to Elevation. My personal relationship with my Papa was evolving, but I felt as though something was missing. I went to Elevation for about a year before getting more involved. After I continued to hear from God through Pastor Furtick, God led me to search for an eGroup.

I was at an AA meeting one night talking to a friend about Elevation and a woman who attends Elevation heard me and came over. We started talking and got on the subject of eGroups. I told her about seeing Erika in the documentary. I really related to her and her struggles. The woman WAS IN ERIKA'S EGROUP and she invited me to join! I was so amazed and humbled that because of my addiction God used it to bring me closer to Him through Elevation and Erika.

I had been in Erika's eGroup for a couple of months when I need to find a new roommate. I had been living in a very negative and depressive environment. I had been going to Elevation every week and God used Pastor Furtick to confirm in my heart that he would provide for me. I told my eGroup my prayer request for a roommate. The NEXT WEEK, one of the girls came back with a card of a fellow Elevator woman who need a roommate!

I now live with her and I couldn't be happier and more blessed with my roommate. I am always lifted up by the worship experience and blessed by Pastor Furticks words from God. Thank you for allowing God to use you in such a powerful way in my life.

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 28, 2012

Nag the right One

The book of Proverbs talks a lot about nagging.

Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife. Proverbs 21:19
A quarrelsome wife is like the dripping of a leaky roof in a rainstorm; restraining her is like restraining the wind or grasping oil with the hand.  Proverbs 27:15-16

I am not sure why we women in particular struggle with this issue.  I think most of the time, we have good intentions.  We just want everything to be just right, including our husbands.  Whether we are reminding them to do something they promised they would do or making comments about things they are (or are not) doing that we think they should change.  Or even silently nagging with our looks or our actions or reactions to certain situations, our nagging can do great harm to our marriages.

I will have been married 10 years this summer.  And one thing that I am learning (of course I do not always get this right) is that there is someone I can nag, it's just not my husband.  It's the Lord.  In Luke 18, Jesus tells the story of the persistent widow.  She went to the judge every day, pleading for justice.  and her persistence paid off.  Jesus said, "Don't you think God will give justice to those who cry out day and night?"

Persistence with God pays off.  Persistence with your husband, could drive him further away.  Am I saying that if I want my husband to remember to pick up the groceries I am going to pray about it rather than send him a text, no.  But when we don't see eye to eye, when I think there is an issue that needs to be addressed (again), or I think there is a change that needs to be made, I can leave it with the Lord.  I can trust that God can change his heart, or maybe change mine.

Let me give you a hypothetical situation.  Let's say you feel like your husband's health is in jeopardy and he needs to lose weight.  You have brought the issue up and your husband does not agree.  Rather than continuing to argue about it, make looks every time he eats a snack, and comment about it to all your girlfriends.  You could begin to pray about it and ask God on work on his heart.

Please don't hear me saying that I don't speak my mind in our marriage.  I promise, I do plenty of that (my husband would gladly attest to that).  I think it is so often the small things (those pesky little foxes) that do so much damage to a marriage.

Proverbs 31:2-3 Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life.  She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.

March 27, 2012

The Great Silly Band Challenge

Photo-5My husband recently went on a long trip.  I knew he was going to be gone for 7 days and I needed a plan for parenting so that I didn't lose my mind (and my voice) fussing at my children left and right every 5 minutes (thank you for allowing me to be honest).

So I came up with The Great Silly Band Challenge.  Here's how it works.  Each day Elijah and Graham get 6 silly bands (I started off with 8 and bumped it down because 8 was too many).  At any point in the day, I could take a silly band for any of the following infractions: arguing, complaining, whining, fighting, disobeying, tattling and being unkind.  At the end of the day, they could redeem their remaining bands for either 10 cents or 2 extra minutes of video game time (for the following day).  If they lose all of their silly bands in one day, they get a spanking.  Earning a silly band back is virtually impossible, and if they ask if they can earn one back, the answer is automatically no.

The system has really worked well.  It especially helped me to stop arguing with my little lawyer, Elijah.  It also really cut down on the fighting between the two boys.

We have been doing The Great Silly Band Challenge for about 10 days.  I plan to suspend the challenge for a few days until my husband's next trip so that it does not lose it's effectiveness. We will probably put it on hold for a while after that (no need to run a good thing into the ground).  I will pull it back out as needed.   Maybe this summer I could come up with a creative way to let them earn the silly bands rather than just start off with them. 


March 23, 2012

Life Change Inbox

It's Friday and time for another Life Change Inbox!  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.

Kelly is a case manager for one of our longest standing outreach partners, Safe Journey, an organization that serves the teen mothers of our community (I have blogged about them here and here before).  Kelly is also attends our Elevation Uptown campus.  Here is her story about how love week continues all over Charlotte because of our Elevators' generosity...

I wanted to write you all about an answer to prayer, and share a story of how Elevators are continuing to impact our community through their generosity. I have the privilege of being one of the Case Managers for the Safe Journey Program. I have been overjoyed and blessed to have the opportunity for my church and my job to collide. I have been able to see the amazing pouring out of God's love through the support and generosity of the church towards our organization.

Every year we throw a Summit for our RISE participants. These are a select group of teen mothers from our program that display leadership potential and qualities. My charge for this event was to gather donations in all sorts of different forms for raffle prizes, and gift bags for the girls. I immediately went to my two eGroup’s that I attend, and told them our need. Within the day, I had responses of donations in money, gift baskets, and donations from the companies they work for.

A couple weeks later, I was able to meet with our new Elevation Liaison and give her a report that ALL but one person that had donated so far was from Elevation church. I am so blessed to be a part of a church that takes action and follows up their convictions with a movement of generosity that is an obvious outpouring of God's love towards those they've never even met, and may never.

Love Week hasn't ended, and I'm quite sure that it won't anytime soon.


March 22, 2012

Marriage is not a place to stand up for your rights.

1 Corinthians 7:3-4 The marriage bed must be a place of mutuality—the husband seeking to satisfy his wife, the wife seeking to satisfy her husband. Marriage is not a place to "stand up for your rights." Marriage is a decision to serve the other, whether in bed or out.

I love the way The Message says, "Marriage is not a place to stand up for your rights."  The context of this verse is about sex but it can be applied in every area of my marriage.

How different would my marriage be if I actually stopped being so concerned about being right and focused on serving my husband?

What if I seek to satisfy my husband and I leave my own satisfaction in the hands of God?

Would my marriage be stronger?  Would my relationship with God be stronger? 

Song of Solomon 2:14 says, "Young Women of Jerusalem Catch all the foxes, those little foxes, before they ruin the vineyard of love, for the grapevines are blossoming!"  When my focus turns inward, I get discontent.  It is the small things that can destroy my marriage.  Being annoyed, holding a grudge, and fighting over insignificant things are all little foxes that can spoil my marriage.

Of course I, in no way, get this right all the time (even half the time).  But I know that if I want my marriage to defy the odds, I am going to have to learn the art of self denial and serving the one I love the most with my whole heart. 

March 20, 2012

I love eKidz!

EKidz Logo
Our children's ministry is first class.  A while back they created a blog that is so helpful!  I no longer have to wonder what my kids are learning about in church, or rely on their interpretation of what they were taught each week.

The eKidz blog gives a weekend recap every Monday, so I know exactly what concepts I can be reinforcing at home.  They also post about upcoming events, contests they are doing and other helpful information as well as the memory verses for each month.

I am so proud of our children's ministers.  They work so hard to make Elevation an exciting place for kids.  My kids love going to church and that makes me so happy!

Last month, Graham's age group did a spy contest.  This month it's all about basketball in Elijah's group.  Here are their pictures that they entered...


You can check out their blog here.

March 19, 2012

Monday Morning Commentary


We wrapped up our series, Grey Matter, this weekend.  My husband closed it off with an excellent sermon based on Daniel in the Lion's Den (found in Daniel 6).  The sermon was called, Constant Courage, Unchangeable Situations and an Unchanging God.

Instead of highlighting the main points, I think today I will just highlight some of my favorite quotes from the message...

Sometimes God puts me in an unchangeable situation so that He can do something undeniable.

If you don't decide to honor God in the light of day, your faith will never hold up in the dark of night.

No one can fix my fate if I have fixed my faith.

Faith is not an act, it's a habit.

Instead of altering God's Word according to my circumstances, I need to alter my circumstances according to God's Word.

I think my favorite part was where my husband pointed out that God does not want me to wait until I get to a dead end crisis and cry out for His help and guidance.  He wants me to seek Him daily and let Him guide me each step of the way.  So practical!

I hope you will take the time to listen to it and let God speak to you.  You can listen(or watch) at our website, the Elevation Network and our podcast.

Have a great Monday!

March 16, 2012

Life Change Inbox

It's Friday and time for another Life Change Inbox!  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. 

Here is Lisa's story...

I closed the door on my foreclosed home and the act of closing the door was very symbolic to a chapter of my life that represented loss of a job and home. We were in the car with tears steaming down my face, Elevation Worship, For the Honor CD playing and Pastor Steven talking about how we each have a new beginning in Christ and by accepting His ways and His paths we are made new....and Pastor Steven begins to lead in the "sinners" prayer.....I glance back hearing Nathan talking...then realized his head was bowed and Nathan was repeating the sinner's prayer..word for word....and clearly (for Nathan this is uncommon due to speech delays) and when the prayer is finished, Nathan smiles and tells me that the best days of his life are ahead. God is always in the midst of every storm, creating peace where there should be havoc, providing for every need in only God size ways. In the midst of it all....my son is asking Jesus to be his L ord and Savior. How great & awesome is that? My son is very wise beyond his years.....the best days of our lives are ahead.


March 14, 2012

Bringing back the recipes... Crock Pot Chicken Cordon Bleu

ChickencordonbleuIt has been a long time since I have posted any recipes here.  I have been in a bit of a cooking rut.  It is hard to think creatively when you have a crawling baby who just wants to eat anything.  Lately, I love finding recipes on Pinterest.  Recently, I tried this recipe for Chicken Cordon Bleu.  I threw the ingredients in my crock pot in the morning and that evening I served 5 children and 4 adults.  Every single bit was eaten and everybody loved it.  I will say, this recipe is not healthy but very yummy!

Here is the link to the original recipe.  I made a few changes.  Here's what I did...

1 can cream of chicken soup
2 cloves garlic (pressed)
1 c milk
1/2 lbs sliced ham (I got Boars Head Black Forest from my deli)
1/4 lbs baby swiss cheese
5 chicken breasts
2-3 c herbed dry bread stuffing mix
1/4 c melted butter

-Mix soup, milk and garlic together in small bowl
-Pour about 1/3 of the mixture into the bottom of crock pot
-Cut chicken into cubes, place in crock pot
-Chop ham, sprinkle on top of chicken
-Cover with swiss cheese
-Cover with stuffing mix
-Pour melted butter on top
-Cook on high 4-6 hours or on low 2-3 hours

A few notes... the dish is a bit on the salty side, low-sodium cream of chicken soup and a non-salty ham (don't get Virginia ham) will work best.  If you are trying to feed a ton of people and want to double the recipe, I might doing a second layer of all the ingredients.  I served with green beans and rolls. 

Hope you enjoy!  This week I think I am going to make this recipe.