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Everything You Need to Know about our BIGGEST WEEKEND EVER!!



For such a long time we have been praying and preparing about this weekend and I believe that it is going to be one of those that we will remember for a long time. Here’s what you need to know:

  • “Share the Love” Weekend – One of our core values here at Vertical is #loveisaverb – it’s not a feeling, it’s an action. Occasionally we have opportunities to share and minister to those outside the walls of the church and tomorrow is one of those days. Over the past weeks we have spent many, many hours ministering to UNCP in anticipation of our upcoming launch, tomorrow (Saturday, Aug 22) we will minister to our Bladen and Lumberton communities. If you attend Vertical Bladen, please join the team at Dublin Elementary at 8 am. If you attend Vertical Lumberton, please join the team at Lumberton HS at 7:30 am. Wear some work clothes – if you have rakes or minor yard tools bring those as well.

  • Who are you Bringing to Vertical this Sunday?  For weeks as a church we have been praying for people that we love and care about. Have you invited them? Maybe they said “no”, or gave you the “maybe” that you know actually MEANS no. DON’T GIVE UP!!! One more prayer, one more call and one more ask could change someone’s eternity. Never forget that we #celebrate when good people seek, when God’s people grow, when saved people share, and when the lost are found!
  • btw… this weekend is baptism Sunday at Lumberton so you know that is always a special day! Have you been baptized SINCE you believed? 

Vertical University launches THIS SUNDAY NITE!! For years we have prayed towards an open door to minister to UNCP students and the town of Pembroke as well and we are so very thankful that God has made a way. Vertical University launches THIS SUNDAY NITE, 6pm, at the Campus Ministry Center across the street from the GPAC in Pembroke. We cannot wait to see what God is gonna do!!!

You Like My King’s English? (This Sunday at Vertical)

What a week we’ve had Sharing the Love around our region. I love hearing your stories – keep them coming!!!

I told you last Sunday that this Sunday may be my favorite Sunday EVER at Vertical. I’m telling you that it is a CAN’T MISS SUNDAY! Gotta conflict? Reschedule. Migraine? Come to church and have the leaders pray over you. Surgery? Postpone to Monday.

It is THAT important that you not miss this Sunday at Vertical Church!!

Here’s a few things you should bring:

  1. An open, expectant heart. The way that we arrive often influences the way that we receive. I want to challenge you to pray over the next couple of days that God would help you to peel away another layer so that you can get to your “YES!”
  2. A friend. You should always strive to bring someone because every week holds the potential of life change. Remember, “Relationships Make the Difference.” You are the connector (reconciler – remember Week 2?) between someone in your life and God.
  3. Tissues. I just need to point out that many of you won’t be wearing long sleeves because today is the first day of spring (YAY!!!) It will be really awkward when rivers of snot floweth from thou noseth and you have nowhere to wipeth (You like my king’s English?)

Seriously, DO NOT MISS SUNDAY! #cantwait

What If God Already Said, “YES!”?

We are all sick of seeing this baby… but he’s cute, he’s on a beach, and he is straight up saying, “YES!”

I wonder if you’ve ever said, “no”, to something that you knew that you were supposed to say, “yes”, to?

In this past Sunday’s message I shared the story of how God kept trying to get my attention about the church that He wanted me to go to but I kept saying, “no”. Not once or twice, but FIVE TIMES. God was right, I was wrong – WAY wrong. I am so thankful that I eventually opened my heart to what God had been saying “YES!” to the whole time.  (You can here the whole message HERE)


I have found through the years that I am quite adept at suppressing the “YES!”:

  • “Go talk to that person about ME.” Our answer: that person looks really intimidating and I don’t really know them so, that probably isn’t God saying that… (“no.”)
  • “I want you to be more than just an attender – I want you to be a part of what I AM doing in this church.” Our answer: I know that I should, but, that would dramatically change the way my Sunday’s are, and, well, I LIKE the way my Sunday’s are so I’m not saying no, I’m saying, not now… (“no.”)
  • “Bless that person over there – take care of their purchase.”  Our answer: You know, God, cash is kind of tight this month. And besides, that would be weird so… (“no.”)

In the Bible passage I shared Sunday, the widow said “no” to a God-given directive that He had already said “yes” to in her heart.

“Go at once to Zarephath in the region of Sidon and stay there. I have directed a widow there to supply you with food.

Would you willingly continue down that path?

What if you realized that you were saying “no” to something that God had already said “YES!” to in your heart? It has happened to me on multiple occasions. Would you willingly continue down that path?

I wonder what God wants you to do that you continue to say “no” to? Maybe you are waiting on a miracle – what if God is waiting on you to say, “YES!” so that He can DO the miracle?!? What if the miracle is found within the “YES!”

I am praying for you this week that you will prayerfully consider whether or not you are saying “no” to things that God has said “YES!” to in your heart/life.

PS: This weekend we will be sharing all of the prayers that we have been praying and what we believe God is saying “Yes” to, including our next location. I hope that you will join us – it’s gonna be an exciting day!

Let’s Celebrate What Happened in 2013

I truly believe that 2014 is going to be the greatest year that Vertical Church has EVER experienced. The best way to encounter a new year is to think back on the one that is behind you and 2013 had some incredible highs. Take a moment and remember with me two thousand and thirteen:

We began the year with a journey towards increasing our faith in God with “The Path”. It was during this series that we learned about

  • The Application Trail (“Application isn’t just a facet of following God – It’s a PATH that God uses to increase our faith.”)   
  • The Discipline Trail (Spiritual Discipline is doing what you don’t want to do now so you can do what you do want to do later.)
  • The Relationship Trail (God uses people to increase our faith in Him.)
  • The Missionary Trail (Our responsibility is to do what WE know to do then trust Him to do what HE does. God is not looking for the most talented people, He’s looking for the most willing people.)
In February we continued the year on a high by celebrating our 2nd birthday on the first Sunday of the year. We were thankful for all who wished us a happy birthday:

Our next series was “Big C, Little C” (“BIG C is the Church, little c is me – what God does in this world, He does as WE.”). It was during this series that we learned what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.

It was also during this series that we ordained John Paul Deaver as our connections pastor and David Collins as our Lumberton Location Pastor. We love all of our Pastors and are so thankful for all they do at VC.



In March Vertical became ONE church in TWO locations as we began our Vertical Bladen location at Bladen Community College. Since the beginning of Vertical we have had an incredible group of people serving from Bladen. Now it’s time for us to reach the people of Bladen County. Vertical Church is FOR Bladen.

We also began a very powerful series that hit a major truth in so many lives – without Jesus I have a “Hole in my Soul”. It was during this series that the picture on the right took place – a day when hundreds of people were forgiven of past hurts in our relationships. I will never forget the sound of the cracking of those paint stirrers along with the sounds of weeping across those auditoriums in both locations… I am so thankful to be part of a church where life change happens. The video below was from the “H.I.M.S” series:

In April YOU chose what we preached and taught at Vertical with our FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) Series and man was it challenging. You directed us to take on all of the following subjects:

  • Homosexuality, Tattoos, cremation, marriage and recognization in heaven, and suicide
  • Couples living together, gambling, why do bad things happen to good people,
  • Is it ok for christians to drink alcohol, Are ghosts real?, Can people lose their salvation

We also experienced this gem of a video:

In May we had an INCREDIBLE Night of Worship at the Vertical Bladen Location. This night was unforgettable and so moving. It was also the night that we sent our Worship Arts Pastor Jon Lloyd off to Pittsburgh to begin Steel City Church.


SUMMER 2013 was headlined by a bible character series titled, “Summer Blockbusters”. It was during the SB series that Vertical Church learned how deep our church is with preachers as our pastors brought messages live at all of our locations. We had the opportunity to hear from Joey Autry (Esther), Brandon Meadows (Abraham and Isaac),  David Collins (Daniel in the Lion’s Den) as well as Donnie and myself (Noah).

It was also during this series that Vertical participated in our first mission trip to NYC!! What an awesome experience as we teamed with our friends from Fusion Church, Spring Lake and Metro NY Baptist to minister to South Asian people’s in Jackson Heights, Queens for a week. Life changing for all who attended.


August brought us to our “White Flag” series, a study of the book of Jonah, where we called our people to surrender. We also talked about the truth that “Your chaos is causing chaos for everyone else in your life.” During WF we really pressed in on prayer. We fasted, we had prayer lunches and we called people to pray for those in their lives that need Christ. It was a humbling series that really refocused us after summer.

We also ended summer with a great Family Get together by gathering at White Lake Water Park for Splash Fest. This event is not only great fun, it’s a great event where families have the opportunity to meet others at VC.

September brought us into the “No Perfect People Allowed” series. Amazing that people (church people) actually asked us does that mean Jesus isn’t allowed at Vertical because HE IS perfect. Sigh… We talked about ROCKS during this series (see picture and THIS POST) NPPA was an incredible series that brought freedom and forgiveness of sins. We saw many salvations through this series by God’s grace as well as 36 baptisms over a 2 week period between both of our locations including the incredible baptism story below:

It was also during September that FUZE, our student ministry, moved to their new location at Bill Sapp Recreation Center. By the end of the semester they were ministering to over 130 students weekly. We are so excited for what is to come!!!

October not only brought our series of one of the greatest truths you will ever learn: “Who i am > Who i was”, it also brought our yearly LOVE WEEK where Vertical gets outside the walls of the church to serve inside our community. We served thousands of people through LOVE WEEK as a church racking up hundreds of hours. We are already looking forward to LOVE WEEK 2014!

In November we pressed into a blessing of the believer with our series, “the Whisper”.  It was a blessing to see so many working to grow in their ability to hear and respond to the whisper of God.

We just finished December – One of the great parts of Christmas was on the evening of December 15 we gathered with our VKIDZ at the Holiday Inn Ballroom for the VIDZ Night of Worship. It’s always a great night of encouragement when we celebrate the season and Jesu with our Kidz. McGee and team did a great job putting together a great family event.

I certainly hope that you were able to be part of a great Christmas holiday season, especially with our Christmas service, “The Song of the Season”. Not only was it an incredible evening but that day saw 18 people make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ as Savior.









Here are some other noteworthy stats for 2013:

  • In 2013 Vertical gave over $31,000 towards mission work both here locally and around our world
  • We were able to give 12,800 to Church Planting Partnerships through the Vertical Church Planting Center.
  • We helped people with personal needs locally to the amount of $2,700.
  • And because of your giving we baptized 75 people – bringing our total to close to 300 in the last 33 months!!!
Isn’t that encouraging?!?  We need to CELEBRATE what God has done in our midst this year. I am so thankful to be a part of a church that is committed to


2014 is gonna be off the chain! See you Sunday.


I had the opportunity to close Sunday’s service with the following challenge for all of Vertical Church as we look to a new chance for a new start. Let me share it with you briefly:

The call of God on our life is not to attend church services – it’s to become a follower of Jesus. The mission of Vertical Church is “to lead people to become passionate about Jesus so they can lead others to Jesus.” It’s why we do this, set up in a movie theater and a community college week in and week out. We want YOU to become passionate about Jesus.

As we close 2013 and approach a new year there are 3 things that I really want FOR you:

To grow in your relationship to God

  • I want you to commit to spend daily time with Him, in His presence, allowing Him to lead you in this life.
  • I want you to give Him a prominent time in your day. Don’t leave it up to chance. Begin by setting the clock 15 mins earlier. You will never believe what a difference this will make in your life.
  • I want you to begin a daily bible reading plan. We have them available at the NEXT table. You can also find many great reading plans at

To grow in your relationship with people

  • You need people IN YOUR LIFE who are striving to grow in their relationship with God. I want all Vertical attendees to participate in a VGroup in 2014, a group of people growing together and ministering to one another. You can join one in January.
  • I want you to be aware of the people God has put in your life who do not know Jesus. They are there on purpose. Begin (or continue) praying for them, for open hearts, for their salvation. Be purposeful in HELPING them meet Him.

To grow in your relationship with this church

  • I want you to commit to weekly attendance (when you are in town). One conversation that has never taken place in my family’s life since I began following Jesus is this: “dad, are we going to church today?” I dare you to become so consistent that the convo changes to, “we’re NOT going to church today?!?” This will change the tone of your family’s life.
  • btw…. if you have children, they NEED to be in VKidz weekly. You will be amazed at the way it will help you. If you have teens MAKE THEM connect to FUZE on Wednesday night’s at Bill Sapp. I’m telling you, it’s a game-changer.
  • I want you to find a place to serve at Vertical. Nothing activates your faith like service. NOTHING.
  • I want you to become a Vertical Partner. We do this about 4 times per year. Your next opportunity will be on January 19th. Sign ups begin Sunday.

You can try to do all of these half-hearted and it will be going through the motions. If you do it won’t have the desired effect. But if you will prayerfully enter into this, I’m telling you, You will be well on your way to a life that brings glory to God. Sunday we begin a new series, “NEXT”, and it will direct you in figuring out what is next in your Jesus relationship. I am praying for you and love you all.