I just wanted you to know how terri-cited I am for this weekend. That is our family word that we made up, it is terrified and excited at the same time. I am terrified that we will have tons of people I am excited that we will have tons of people. So as I have been praying and fasting this week like many of you are doing. Through the prayer and fasting I have realized that I am more hungry (fasting term) then ever to see the gospel of Jesus Christ change our community. That I see Elevation being a place where people that are not sure about church can come and find out about the radical grace of Jesus. So here are the “Top 5 Things That You Need To Know” for this Weekend!
#5 – Gathering Times to Invite
We want to remind you that our gatherings this week are going to be 8:30 – 10:00 – 11:30AM. If you can make it to the 8:30 gathering that would be a huge help because we do anticipate that the two later gatherings are going to be the most crowded. But make sure that you invite someone to come with you. This is your chance to have someone be a part of the party.
#4 – Volunteering this Weekend
I want to make sure that I thank each and everyone of you that is stepping up to serve or have already been serving. You make every Sunday possible for us to have gatherings that create relational environments for both kids and adults. So make sure that when you come to serve that you PARK in the back lot of the school building. We want to make sure that guests have the best spots. We also ask that you enter through the back of the school where the trailer and truck are parked through Volunteer Central. That is a place where you can get your name-tag, a pep talk, and something to snack on. We want to make sure you are ready to great, treat, direct, and seat the people that are going to be at Elevation.
#3 – Follow the Volunteers Lead
I know that this is not something that you need to be told, but I am going to say it any way. Make sure that as a regular attender and a team member that you do what the volunteers as you to do. So if that means sit in the front, sit in the front. If that means move over in the row, move over in the row. If that means fill out the connection card, fill out the connection card. If that means give up your seat, give up your seat. We want to make sure again that we are setting the tempo for the rest of the people that attend. So make sure that you follow a long as you are lead too.
#2 – Be prepared for the “Hook-up” Offering
On Sunday we are going to be taking a special offering for us to be able to do a couple of things. We are going to purchase the trailer that we are currently using for us to get everything to the school. We also are going to be re-decorating the trailer with Elevation stuff on it. That means taking off the old decorations and the new spray paint. (Painted at night in the parking lot.) Then finally we are going to be buying Bibles for several pastors and leaders that are in need of them in Kenya. We will be doing this through our partnership with Miracle House and then seeing them given out when our three team members go to Kenya this coming June. So be in prayer of what you will give or goal is $6,500.
#1 – Pray during the Gospel
This Sunday we know that more people then ever will show up and give church a try. So that means that we will have the opportunity to see more and more people say “Yes” to Jesus then ever before. So as the gospel is being presented make sure that you are not moving around because that is the time we especially don’t want any distractions. But then make sure that you are praying for the people around you. Pray for the people that are sitting in front or in back or to your side that you have never met before. You may not know what they have been going through and this is the day that the Holy Spirit is moving on their heart in such a way that they are going to say “Yes” to Jesus. SO PRAY!
Thank you for your support and thank you for being the followers of Jesus that know that this weekend is still a weekend that is changing the world. Who knows it may be your neighbor, your friend, your co-worker, a student at your school, that is going to say “Yes” to Jesus.
P.S. Remember that this is the week that we give people the opportunity to win a party. Limo service, dinner out, and tickets to an event it will be a fun night and we will pick a winner at the end of the month.
One of the things that I have realized over the last couple of months is that our prayer life is a great place to view our spiritual maturity. How we spend our time praying allows us to see where we are in our relationship with Jesus. I have noticed that when it comes to our prayer life for most followers of Jesus prayer is something that we do by reaction. When really it should be something that we do proactively. Instead of waiting for life to change our prayer life why not have our prayer life change our life. I love the Aramaic word for prayer it is slotha it means to set a trap. When a hunter sets a trap it is in the expectancy that something is going to get caught in the trap. When you spend time in prayer, do you expect your prayers to make a difference? Do you expect God to do something with them? This week I challenge you to pray proactively and to pray with the expectancy that God will work with in your prayer life.
I am so excited I am going to be in Colorado this week. Taking another step to be starting Elevation Christian Church in Aurora. As we have been praying, preparing, and pushing this song has been one of the rallying cries we have held close to our heart. I hope you enjoy this song that you will listen to the words and know that this is what we see for Aurora.
Where do you see God at work around you? What are you going to join Him there? Take some steps this week to doing what God has called you to do in your City.
I have had several people share with me about this song. Then I went on Youtube and I found this video and I sat there in awe of the story and the words that this man wrote. I pray that you will listen to this song and really take the time to digest what your life looks like when it comes to going through the MOTIONS. Matthew West ROCKS!
So I have to ask when it comes to your life with Jesus where are you going through the motions? Make a comment and let’s talk pray for each other.
Over the last couple of months I have really taken the time to think about the things in a church that I hope to see in Elevation Christian Church. One of those things is that we will have Godly older men leading in the church. I pray every day that the Lord will bring into this church a group of men that will be willing to get messy and be a part of the younger men’s lives in our church.
Titus 2:1-2 (NLT) But as for you, promote the kind of living that reflects right teaching.  Teach the older men to exercise self-control, to be worthy of respect, and to live wisely. They must have strong faith and be filled with love and patience.
As I have spent the last 16 years working with Middle school, High school, and College students I know that this is what most of the young of today hunger for in their lives. That because there is a void of men leading their homes in a way that is loving, caring, and Christ like we have a generation of boys and men that are walking through life with out any idea of what to do. May we the men of Jesus Christ first ask God to forgive us for not leading like we are suppose too. Second I pray that we ask the women our lives to forgive us for not loving and caring for them the way Jesus would want us too. Finally that we will stop walking in previous generations footsteps and make a change by trusting in Christ to make us the husbands, fathers, and sons that he wants for this world.
This last weekend while I was speaking at Northgate Christian Church I made the statement: “If you are husband and you are not loving your wife the way Christ loved the church then you are stupid.” Well I still believe it, the only problem is that I think that most men just don’t know what to do when it comes to being that kind of man. If you are a husband, father, or sons then what are you doing to lead your home like Christ would have you too? If you are an older believer then who are you investing your life into today?
Here is something that we received from a very special friend from our time in Arizona. This is her way of praying for you she doodles way she takes her time to lift you up to the Lord. We received this in the mail and it is one of those amazing things that the Lord sends your way to encourage you. In fact it is hanging on our refrigerator and anytime that I am feeling a little discouraged or unsure it is a way that I am able to be encouraged. Thank you Lord for using our friends special gift to encourage us and lead us to new and creative ways of praying for those around us. Thanks Andie for sharing your gift with us and using it to glorify Jesus.
It is amazing to think that when it comes to life that we each have to choose a path on which we will walk. That it can be one that we walk alone or one that we can walk with others. So many people think that by choosing the road that others have walked that it is actually the better way to go. But what if the path that is chosen leads you over a cliff or into the den of a hungry lion. Would you still choose to follow the road that has been chosen by the others.
Proverbs 22:3 (NLT) “A prudent person foresees the danger ahead and takes precautions; the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.”
We need to realize that each and everyone has the opportunity to choose which path we will walk. Last week I read the book, “Principle of the Path” by Andy Stanley. In this book he takes the verse from above and equates it to the many areas of our lives that deal with choosing a path. No matter what we do we make a choice. When we don’t make a choice that is even making a choice. It puts us on a path and every path leads to some where. Where you end up starts with a choice and the choice is which path you will take. The picture at the beginning is one my son took while we were on the beach in San Francisco. In my mind as I looked at this picture and I saw the three sets of footprints as mine, my sons, and my Father’s in Heaven. It is my prayer for my children that as they live this life that they will always be able to see the path that I hoped and prayed that they would be on. I prayed that the path would always be walking with my Father in Heaven. That as a dad I have walked with my children and allowed then to stumble and skip ahead enough to know their own path when it comes to being a follower of Jesus Christ. That as their footsteps continue on and mine do not that they will have the knowledge that the Father of us all will be with them every step of the way.
I have been reading a lot lately both the bible as well as other books. But as I was reading there was one story that I thought was very amazing. In fact I was able to watch it be played out in a creative way in the TV show “Kings”. The show “Kings” was written to in a new and modern way paralell the story of King David. In fact my family and I really had a great time seeing how they would modernize the story of course there were things that we weren’t sure about but it made a great show. But it did a great job of showing how David struggled to follow King Saul and still honor who he as a Godly man.
Just like in the following verses:
I wanted to be able to share with you all some of the amazing things that I have been able to walk away with from the travels that I have been on for the last couple of weeks.
From April 18th – 24th I was in Orlando, Florida for the Exponential Conference for church planting. There I was able to meet and connect with some amazing people as well as learn some new and amazing things. I love it when I am able to be challenged in my thinking as well as be affirmed in other areas. But I have to say that the best part of was hanging out with other church planters and church leaders. Just to be able hear what God is doing through some many diverse churches is way cool. When it came to the conference and the speakers that I was able to listen to there are two men that really stuck out for me. There was Craig Groeschel and he had a couple of statements that are still resinating with me right now as I look over my notes from the session:
- It’s not about how you package it, it is about God’s presence.
- Luke warm pastors build luke warm churches
- Build a church on what you are about not what you are not about
- Don’t blame yourself for the declines because you will take credit for the increases
In the session that he talked about Building a movement he challenged us with the following statements:
- What if? What if 3,000 people came to know Christ in a day? What if the church is where God does miracles?
- Dare to ask questions that no one is asking.
- Do what others won’t do - Revolutionaries break the rules!
- Where we are to where God wants us to be is the amount of pain we are willing to endure.
- You have to hurt like others are not willing to be hurt.
Then the last session of the week was Francis Chan pastor and author and he just rocked my socks off with what the Lord had him share and here are a few of the highlights:
- When was the last time you were astonished by someone be bold?
- God wants to astonish people
- We have been preaching exegetically but we have not been living that way.
- Are we more like the prophets of bale or Elijah?
Then what he did to conclude the week was have all of those that were there to start churches to come forward and there would be people to pray over you and anoint you with oil. I was so deeply moved by this time, the prayer, the anointing, that I began to break down. I got up and began to walk back to my chair and an awesome man of God named Troy Dean another pastor came over and threw his arms around me and prayed so much encouragement into me and my spirit that I then broke down. I then sat there in my chair just enjoying the time that I was experiencing in the Lord’s presence as people sang and prayed. I cannot wait to be able to share with others what that week and that anointing will do for Elevation Community Church in the years to come. It is all about what the Spirit of the Lord is doing and continues to do as we follow him in starting this church.
More to come about the other conference that I went to in Charlotte. More amazing things to share.
As we continue you to prepare for the time where we move to Colorado and get the people there together for Elevation Community Church I thought it was a good idea to walk through the values that will make up this church. The problem with most values and things that are written about a church or a business is that it doesn’t mean anything unless there is action put to it. I have been in churches that talk about what they valued but then when it came down to it, that was really all it was TALK. So it is my prayer that as we walk through these values that people realize that it is my goal to make these things more then just talk that these are things that the Lord has placed on my heart and that these are areas that we will not just talk about but that we will do. So today let’s start with the very first value that goes with Elevation Community Church:
EvErything is covered in prayer (Before, During, & After)
One area that gets a lot of talk is prayer. Now many people may take offense to what I am about to say but I think that it needs to be said: “Prayer is given lip service in most churches.” I hear people say that they pray for one another but most of the time they hear the prayer request but don’t pray. That is why if someone asks me to pray for them then I do it right there with them or right there to the Lord. In the book of Acts it says in chapter 4 verse 24 it says; “Then all the believers were united as they lifted their voices in prayer.” To me this verse speaks of worship of Jesus, it shares the unity of the body of believers, and that it calls us to pray together for great things.
In my head and heart this is what I pray and want for Elevation Community Church that we will be a people and a place of prayer. That as we prepare we do it with prayer, that as we walk through life we do it with prayer, that after any event or service or gathering we end it with prayer. So today with that in mind I would encourage you to share something that you want prayer for. That today I will and I pray the other people that read this will then pray for each other.
What prayer request do you have today?
We are so excited about the things that God is doing already in Elevation Community Church that we are already beginning to celebrate the wins in the areas that we see are of value to this church. But for you are to be able to celebrate along with us I want you to see the things that we feel that God has shown us are important and that we are to value.
EvErything is covered in prayer (Before, During, & After)
Everyone’s weLcome, nobody’s perfect, anything is possible
LivE worship & relevant biblical teaching are a catalyst for life change
Everyone is inValuable & irreplaceable in community
SacrificiAl living means you cannot out give or out do God
Together we have fun while serving our communitites
EverythIng is an experiment (Change is constant)
EveryOne needs to grow (leadership development)
ONe church, many locations (Multi-site)
Over the next couple of days, weeks, and months we are going to take the time to go through each one of the areas of values so that everyone can understand how God has put this together. I do want to thank the different leaders that have had a hand in all of the preparation that goes into what we have here now. Pete Wilson, Scott Hodge, Mark Batterson, Ken Jensen, Tad Grandstaff, and Thom Ranier. With out the phone conversations, the talks, the books, and encouragement we would not be at the place we are today as we move closer and closer to launching Elevation Community Church.
This week as I talk with friends and family I can hear the stress in their voices. One of the things that has people so wigged out is the financial issues that we find ourselves in today. That we see in the stock markets as the go up and down. That we see in other countries as they deal with war and fighting. But as I was doing some daily blog reading and checking out some guys that I think are really incredible men of God and gifted in many different areas I found the following video. What I think is so awesome is the content that comes with this video and the issue that we as Americans need to face when it comes to our money and our ability to give it’s control over to God. So be warned this is not a prayer that will give you that warm fuzzy feeling it is a prayer that will challenge your heart and mind.
Today is the day to ask God for not to much or for to little but for what you need today. This would be what I call “the just enough principle”. How can you take the biblical wisdom that Francis Chan shares with us through this short video. I think that in there are principles that we can apply when it comes to more then just money. Maybe it is our clothes, really do we need all the out fits that we have? Do we really need all the technological toys that we have?
What area of your life do you see God challenging you to think about the “just enough for today principle”?
Today as a husband I am so encouraged by the woman that I am able to call my wife. As we both seek the Lord in the choices and directions of life the encouragement that I receive from her is incredible. I mean it is so awesome to know that I have a partner that is really seeking the Lord in all that we do. I mean last night as I am watching a football game I noticed that Michelle was not around and so I thought the loving thing is I am going to find her and mess with her (I love doing this with all my family). But as I opened the bedroom door for a sneak attack I found her curled up on the bed with her devotional book, bible, journal, and IPOD with worship music going. It is such a humbling experience to see my wife in a position of humility before the Lord. I had to just stop and enjoy the moment has a husband as well as a fellow traveler with Jesus. She looked at me and asked if she could use my IPOD for the worship music that I had on my playlist, I ran to get it so she could continue with her time. I went back to the game not praying for who I wanted to win but thanking the Lord for the wife he has loaned to me.
Proverbs 12:4 (NLT) a worthy wife is her husband’s joy and crown; a shameful wife saps his strength.
This morning I spent time with just her and I praying. If you want to be a real man of faith, a real husband then pray with your wife, because there is no hiding who you are before her and the Lord when you place all of life at the feet of Jesus. Ladies you have no idea the power that your encouragement and prayers bring to a husband, I could not be the man that I am today with out the wife that I have been loaned and the prayer that she places before the Lord for me. When I know that she is behind me and going before the Lord for me, watch out!
Take the time to pray with your wife!
Today we are going to spend time as a family watching parades, eating food, taking naps, watching football, and being a family. Then they will all sit down around a table and share the things that they are thankful for in their life. I have to say that is something that we do as a family and I really enjoy listening to the different things that my wife and kids share. But as we have been going through the Sermon on the Mount as a student ministry and we have been really diving into scripture there are some things that I have been thinking about. Like shouldn’t everyday be Thanksgiving Day for us? As I look around my home and I look at the faces of my family I think that everyday that the Lord allows me to live is Thanksgiving Day. So even though we may have a holiday that is called Thanksgiving I challenge you to make every day Thanksgiving. I love what this verse says:
Col. 3:15-16 (NLT) And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are all called to live in peace. And always be thankful.  Let the words of Christ, in all their richness, live in your hearts and make you wise. Use his words to teach and counsel each other. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.
I hope and pray that as we all gather around tables and we pray that we remember that as a person that is following after Christ that everyday is Thanksgiving Day.
So I have to say that I really enjoy my days off where I get to start them with my wife praying about what is going on in our lives and the lives of our children. In fact when we don’t get to pray I really miss that opportunity to share with God a time where we are both seeking Him together as husband and wife. It does though make me think about other couples and how they might or might not take the time to pray together. We have been praying like this for so long that I some time forget that when we first got married that we were both either to immature to do it or did not make it a priority. Well several years later I can’t see ourselves not being able to make it through the week without praying together. I want you to understand that this is part of the two becoming one. I see husbands and wives do real well with the sex side of the two becoming one, with the financial side of the two becoming one, but when it comes to the spiritual side we seem to leave that to each others business. If you want to have better sex, pray with your wife, if you want to deal with finances better, pray with your wife, if you want to be better parents, pray with your wife. I am able to look into my wife’s heart in a much greater way when we pray then when we just talk for 15 minutes. Because when my wife prays she knows that what she is saying is going straight to the one that is truly the lover of her soul and I as a husband get to see the love between a daughter and father. I know that there is no way that I will ever be able to love her as much as the Lord does, but when we pray I sure am able to be a part of that relationship.
Maybe your reading this and you are not yet married. Well I challenge you to start praying for a husband or wife that you can pray with. That you remember that when you go to get married it is not just about sex appeal and finances. That marriage is about the union between a man and a woman and their God.
Maybe your reading this and you don’t pray with your husband and wife. Then start today, for a few moments before you go to bed just the two of you ask how you can specifically pray for each other then do that. Maybe it’s in the morning before the other little bodies get moving around sit at the table and pray. But make some time to pray together and I am not talking about the at the dinner table prayers. Pray for each other, pray for your kids, pray for your kids future mates (yes even if they are one year old), pray for your finances, but take sometime to pray.
The reason that I am writing this is because I think that the men of this country. The men of the church today need to quit being spiritual eunichs and start leading at home. That we need to be men of God not just on Sunday or when we are in trouble but all the time. So you be the one to set up when you are going to pray and follow through. Maybe you even want to start a couples journal, but the husbands need to step up and be a man. Perry Noble at Newspring said it best when he said that Christian men need to “Grow a set”.
Thank you Lord for the time that I get to spend with my wife sharing with you our hearts. May we always take that time to become one in prayer. May we begin to set the standard for which our kids see there marriage. May we honor you with who we are together.
Here is a special prayer that I read from the book “IT” by Craig Groeschel.This book is about the church and the work that we have in this world. He has the premise that there are churches that have “IT” and churches that don’t have “IT” or that have lost “IT”. I am excited to say that this book challenged my thinking, caused me to evaluate what I do and how I do “IT”. The message of Jesus Christ is not something that should be taken lightly or without passion or thought. May I say this prayer and know that it is a way to always be seeking “IT” so that the gospel will go out and the Holy Spirit changes lives. It is a Franciscan benediction read it and process “IT”:
May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart.
May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and the exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom, and peace.
May God bless you with tears to shed for those who from pain, rejection, and starvation, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain into joy.
And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in the world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.
What are your thoughts about this prayer? How can you see this playing out in your daily life? What can you do to see that you church has “IT”?