I have to admit, during this past Weeklong, I wasn't sure how much I was going to get out of it. When I attended Weeklong for the first time last year, it was life changing. This year I was going as a volunteer, which I was excited about, but since I wasn't going to be able to participate in a lot of camp activities, part of me thought that I would be separated from what God was doing. Jokewas on me. God completely blasted me that week, revealing things about me that I've been longing to know for years. The worship sessions were the times when God really showed up to me. During one session we started singing "Hallelujah, you have won the victory, hallelujah, you have won it all for me." As we were singing, God showed me something. When someone "wins," whether it's a contest, race, etc, it's final. The act of truly, undoubtedly "winning" something is final. There's no going back. Sure, someone can try to rematch that win, but really, there's nothing anyone can do to take back your victory. If you really earned it, it's yours forever. So because God "won the victory," it means that he attained it without question, no taking back, no doing it over. He won it. Period. And he won it for US. There is nothing that anyone, not people, not the enemy, the world can do to take back that victory. It's ours forever. God took back what was stolen and he took it back for good. When you look at any situation from that point of view, it's so reassuring and so encouraging. When you become a child of God, you become an heir to that win, that victory, and there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING anyone can do to change that. I had the stupid assumption that I was out of God's reach that week, and he showed me up by taking the time I was in his presence and completely shaking me and turning me upside down. Now, I've made a decision to pursue him more than I ever have. Even though life tries to throw obstacles in my way, I know that victory is mine, period.
"In their hearts humans plan their course,
but the LORD establishes their steps.” Proverbs 16:9
Its been a little over a year and a half since I started going to Elevate Youth Church, and many things have changed since then. My plans for my life before the day I stumbled into the Elevate Auditorium in February of 2012 was, much like Proverbs 16:9 says, planned by myself, but not so much established by God. However, as someone who was confused on who God truly was, I never understood the idea that man thinks up the plan for his daily life, and God establishes the footsteps he will take. Me walking into Elevate at the time that I did, was all being planned and established by Gods powerful hand. I remember the first day I went to Elevate, I was overwhelmed (in a good way) by so many people that showed me love and friendship that, on the outside, I felt scared and nervous, but on the inside I felt a warmth I couldn’t understand. I would soon realize that the feeling I felt was the love of God being manifested through these people and that this place was the place God wanted me to be all along. This was not the first time I ever went to Elevate, I actually was invited by my friend Lucas way back in middle school, but I was so scared that people would persecute me and make fun of me for not knowing as much about the Bible as I should, so I never went back, until I was in college…From that first night onward I was obsessed with going to church, I couldn’t wait to get back to Elevate to meet these people and receive their love! It went from being overwhelming to have so many people smile at you and want to engage in conversation, to being something I longed for every week. I continued to attend Elevate for several months, going to nearly every service for an entire year, all the events, summer jams and anything and everything that was being held. One major life changing event that will forever be in my mind is Weeklong or as it was named DREAM. That weeklong was obviously my first one, I was not as nervous as I anticipated, but I was still scared of one thing that I was determined to overcome; finding more people that I could call friends. Before the first day of weeklong was over I had already meet a bunch of people. Looking back now, nearly all of the people that I met during Dream I am really good friends with today and we all serve and help out in the Church each week. As a new believer I never knew what power God had, I knew he created the earth, and he created me, but I never knew he really cared for me so much, before going to Elevate I never saw any sign of God, or at least acknowledged that the miracles I saw over the years were from God, so seeing healings, chains falling off people and people being set free right in front of my eyes was something that increased my faith dramatically. For the first time I felt God’s presence and began to understand what it felt like to truly feel God, hear God and understand what God wanted for me. Each night at weeklong increased in impact on my life and a little over a year later I am still meeting new people each week just as I did the first day I came to Elevate, I am still learning each day, I have started to appreciated what it means to be a seeker and diligent doer of Gods word, I have learned how to get rid of things in my life that was keeping me from Gods plan for my life, I have been poured into by two of the best pastors I have ever heard, I have acquired Godly principles and new mindsets and I have learned how to have a servants heart like Jesus, all because I said “yes” to going to church one Wednesday night. I have personally seen and experienced the impact God can have on a persons life, I have experienced how fast God can work in someone’s life, and I have also been able to grasp why God’s timing is the best timing possible. Each week is a new journey in my walk with God, I look forward to each day, knowing that God has promised me many things and one thing is that he is always with me, His love never fails and he is consistently showing me His love in both subtle and profound ways. One thing that I always loved about Elevate was the little motto “Find God, Find Friends, Find Purpose.” Even before I knew God, before I had friends and before I found purpose, I was being guided by God into the life that would soon have all of those things in it! Jesus has changed my life, through Elevate Youth Church and the people that have been placed into my life.
I was in PE and this girl was raging about all these things, she was saying how she has anxiety attacks and how she had one the night before. She had some pains around her ribs and chest. I got this tug on my heart to pray for her, but I've never prayed for healing outside of an elevate environment. But I finally asked her if she wanted prayer and she let me pray over her. After I prayed she said that she felt no more pain and that a burden was lifted off of her
Hello, everyone. A specific time when God showed himself to me was at Dream Weeklong. Up until that point, I had thought I knew myself pretty well and could deal with my shortcomings. But it really hit me during one of the messages, that I was fooling myself into believing that I could handle everything by myself. That night, we gathered together in groups to pray over each other. In this time, I had burdens and chains broken off of me. Major insecurities and false lies that I believed were obliterated. I literally felt lighter afterwards. That time has really influenced where I am today. As cliche as it sounds, but I really look forward to what God has in store for me.
I grew up going to church and believed in God, but I never had a personal relationship with Him. That all changed when I started going to Elevate. There was so much love for God and for others that I couldn't leave. I feel like God has been speaking to me lately to be more loving and Elevate has helped me do that. Now I've had the privilege of serving others through the reps team and it has truly been a blessing. Also, I'm really excited for my new tribe and what it's going to do in my life. I still have a long way to go to be where I would like to be in my relationship with God, but I know I can get there if I trust in Him! He is truly amazing, and I'm in awe every time I think about how much love and grace he has for all of us. It has completely changed the way I see the world.
As a very young child and I’m talking like 5 years of age, I went through something that no child should ever experience. After that, everything seemed to be good until I hit high school. I soon became very rebellious and started living the way I wanted to, with no restrictions. I got into drugs, premarital sex, and developed a drinking problem. In 2010 my Tata died and it was really hard for me. My drinking, premarital sex and doing drugs got worse. I was literally high every day and drunk every weekend. I drifted away from God because I was mad that he took a loved one away from me. Drifting away from God was the worst mistake I ever made. I thought I fell in love with this girl and I put her before my family and most importantly God. When that ended I decided to go to elevate with my brother Zech to get my mind off the break up. With the break up and the hard times between me and my parents and all the depression I still had from my Tata’s' death became too much for me. I ended up in the restroom crying my eyes out and that was when I met Jon Franco. Franco got me saved again, and I’m truly thankful for him. I got saved 3 weeks after my brother joined the Edge. And now I’m waiting very impatiently for September to come so I can enroll in the Edge. I’m thankful for all the people I met through Elevate and the family I built with the all the Edge students. If it wasn't for them and Brad and Ramie I probably would be going back to my old ways. They keep me in check and see how my week is going and when I do slip, they are all there to encourage me and help me keep moving forward. And thanks to them, I’m volunteering my time at church and helping out the Edge students with anything they need. This is the closest I've ever been with God and I’m glad it’s here at Victory/Elevate.
I was born again one night when me and my mom were saying our nightly prayers. She prayed for someone in our old church to be born again. When we were done I asked her,"hey ma what's born again mean?" She said its when you give your heart to Christ and you realize that he sent his son to die on the cross so that you could have everlasting life threw him. I asked "well can I do that?" She got all happy and said of course and so we prayed and I have my heart to The Lord right there. When I moved out to Tucson 2 years ago I found it hard in which group of people to hang out with at school. I was for some reason drawn to the bad kids. I was hanging out with them all year and I started to drift away from God. I ended up getting in a fight with a kid over a really stupid reason and got paper arrested and suspended. When I got home I just fell and wept in my own puddle of tears as I realized how my actions not only hurt me but it hurt everyone around me as well. The best part about this was that this brought Christ and I back closer than we have ever been before. I realized how he was there through the whole thing with me. I asked forgiveness for my actions and that it would turn my life into a testimony... and hey look at me now!