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

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IT’S HERE!!!!

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!!!

How Easy is it to Make a Difference?

I mentioned in yesterday’s post that my friend and Christian brother John David Coxe and his family attended Vertical for the 1st time this past Sunday (they live in Moore County). JD and Tanya were 2 of our first friends after coming to Jesus in 1997. I do not know if I would have made it without JD.

John David, his brother Brian, Gregg Edwards, Eddie Covil, Kevin Mauldin and our Pastor Eric Rich were the cement in my newfound Christian life before I was “anchored to Jesus”. You see, I didn’t know much about following Jesus… I had never read the bible, had no Christian friends who lived locally (shout out to Chris Crain). MAN, I really don’t know what I would have done without these men.

You know what I trace to be the difference maker that brought me to Jesus Christ? JD invited me to a Promise Keepers event BEFORE I knew Jesus and that invitation drew me to the brink of receiving Jesus. His invite made me feel accepted in their “tribe”… up to then I felt like such an outsider and was so self-conscious.

The action John David took most people would overlook. He really didn’t know me… we had no history… no doubt he was nervous to ask me… what if I said “no”?

There are two things in this story that a Christian can take away and become a difference maker in someone’s life:

  1. Like the men in paragraph two, you can really be a difference maker by helping a new believer to grow in their relationship to Jesus. Challenge them, hold them accountable, pray with them and let them know you have their back.
  2. Include people who aren’t in your church’s inner circle to be part of something. It could be an event, a ministry, a job… it doesn’t matter what “it” is, what matters is that you make someone who isn’t included feel like they’re part – it might be the action that brings them to Jesus.
I don’t mean this like I am a big deal, but think about this: when JD asked me to participate he was asking an unsaved, unchurched, heavy metal drummer who was very far from God to go to a conference with him… he had NO IDEA that the man he invited would have the opportunity to lead hundreds of people to faith in Jesus Christ. You NEVER know. I know this, I am so glad he did.

Share the Love Week Ends Big

We ended “Share the Love Week” Monday night not with a bang but with an explosion. Halloween Fest was a huge success with approximately 3,000 people showing up.

The rainy weather probably brought us more people than originally expected but it also brought one of our biggest unexpected blessings: the opportunity to bless hundreds of people by meeting them at their car with umbrellas and walking them in.

It’s the little things that make the biggest differences; “you don’t have to do this, really!” to which we would reply, “we WANT to do this – we’re glad that we can serve you like this.” Truth is, as one of those doing it we were loving it even though we were totally wet. Here’s what some others have said:

“I must confess I never thought handing out candy could be so much fun… Hoping and praying someone’s life will be changed with something as simple as a piece of candy and an (invite) card.”

“Had a blast helping out tonight…awesome thing that Vertical has done for the community once again!”

“its always such a pleasure when you can bring happiness to children especially when you can do it and be serving at the same time.”

“Haven’t had this much fun on Halloween in a long time! But the best moment was when we were leaving; my friend stopped to speak to Mike, Donnie, and a few others and to tell them she starts chemo tomorrow. Mike reached out and said “let’s pray” and right there in the center of the mall, several people put their hands on her as Mike prayed the sweetest prayer. When he finished, I realized that several other people had stopped and joined around us; it was amazing!!! Right there in the mall!!!! She was so moved by that gesture, and so was I. I am so blessed and grateful to be a part of the Vertical family.”

I think the most amazing thing is that even with the pressing throng of people you see above, everyone was well behaved, there was no trouble and no one was hurt. We praise Jesus for another opportunity to serve our community.

I look forward to sharing our the statistics from “Share the Love Week” with you at Vertical Church this Sunday morning.

This is What Makes Vertical, “Vertical”

What makes Vertical, "Vertical"?

Is it the lights? The rocking music? Could it be the more casual dress? The free coffee out in the lobby? Why is it that people are flocking to see what Vertical Church is really like?

Every week I feel like I am seeing a dream come to pass. I'm seeing people come to Vertical who normally would never have given church a chance. They feel like outcasts, outsiders. Many are broken emotionally and spiritually. They usually believe in God but they just can't find the bridge that leads back to Him. Often, before the 1st song is even sung their eyes are filled with tears.

Why? They haven't heard a song, the bible hasn't been read, nothing except for pre-service music. I believe it's because they've seen Jesus at work from the time they parked their cars until this point. People have actually been happy to see them – CHURCH PEOPLE!!!! "It's as if they REALLY are glad we're here!" would be the prevailing thought. These people have gone out of their way to make them feel at home, they show them where to go, even help them find a seat.

They don't feel judged, they don't feel out of place. Something feels right about this place.

They are experiencing the evidence of the power of prayer. People getting to a movie theater at 7am and PRAYERFULLY re-building what will soon become Vertical Church. It's people PRAYERFULLY putting up pipe and drape curtains and signage that transform the theater into Vertical. It's children's workers PRAYERFULLY putting together gates for children, preparing lessons that help children fall in love with Jesus. It's the road crew PRAYERFULLY creating the worship environment, lighting, instrumentation and video. It's even people PRAYERFULLY making coffee, lemonade and making the lobby appear welcoming. 

It's people praying over areas, praying towards those who will come, praying for people whose faces they've yet to see that makes the difference. It's the Holy Spirit inhabiting people, and those people PRAYERFULLY allowing Him to work through them. You can't fake this until you make it – You can't fake caring about people, reaching out to people or loving people far from God. Faking this, regardless of intentions, always shows itself as the hypocrisy that it is. Only God can give you the love people deserve.

On the surface the music, lights, dress and style might be mistaken as being "Vertical" but that's not what makes us who we are. All those people who spend themselves weekly for the Glory of God, that's what makes Vertical, "Vertical". I thank God for all of you!!! Your love is making a difference.

#much love – Mike Jackson