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AGAIN.

Some of us have people in our life that we have been praying for a LONG time. It is so easy to get discouraged, tired of asking. For some, you may even begin to give into the temptation to believe your prayers aren’t getting through.

HOLD UP.

Let me remind everyone that God’s timing is not our timing. Let me also remind you that the person you are praying for has a choice to make, and it is THEIR choice, God does not take away our free will. I would encourage you to ask them AGAIN, but before you do, PRAY. Before you ask them, ask the Father. Call out to Him for them.

I would encourage you to ask them AGAIN, but before you do, PRAY. Before you ask them, ask the Father.

Here’s Jesus talking about the way that we ask God:

[5] And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, [6] for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; [7] and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? [8] I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. [9] And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. [10] For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. [11] What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; [12] or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? [13] If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:5-13 ESV)

Ask them AGAIN. Call them AGAIN. FaceTime them AGAIN. Text them AGAIN. FB messenger them AGAIN.

The important operative word here is AGAIN. But before you do, ASK JESUS AGAIN – and believe that the All-Powerful God is supernaturally working on your behalf.

So friends, don’t fall asleep on this opportunity…

This Sunday at Vertical Lumberton is going to be an amazing day – I feel it in my bones. The spiritual atmosphere will be right. So friends, don’t fall asleep on this opportunity – your time is now.

3 Things I am REALLY Excited About!

I am so excited about what will take place this weekend at Vertical Church!

  1. We will begin our new 3 week series that will take us through Easter, “Passion”. I pray that what you see and hear over this Easter season be life changing for you and those God has placed in your life.
  2. We will introduce you a challenge that, if you choose to participate, I believe will ramp up your spiritual life in a most incredible way these last 2 weeks before we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord on Easter Sunday. Ask the Lord now to prepare your heart so that you might be part.
  3. We will worship Jesus with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength. I love our church!!

Remember, I believe in you and cannot wait to see you at VC!

A Helpful Plan for Action

People have good intentions. They want to make a difference, it’s just that sometimes they forget to.

Years ago as I was studying for a message on the subject of personal responsibility to reach people with the Gospel I discovered an interesting concept – the thought of a person’s individual spiritual world. Now I know that I’m not the 1st to think this way but at the time I had not ever seen anyone teach about this. Here’s what I mean:

Every believer in Jesus has a “world”. Within that world are the people whom God has placed in their life that they have influence over. Relatives, work associates, close friends and acquaintances would all be a part of your “world” – anyone you have any influence over.

I don’t believe any 2 people have the same “world”. For example: Keyna and I have been married for 22 years and as you might imagine our worlds are connected and intersect often. However, our worlds, no matter how connected are not the same – there are people in Keyna’s life that she has influence over that I don’t and likewise on my side. Our worlds may be similar but they aren’t the same.

There are people that God has placed in your world that He intends you to influence towards and share the Gospel of Jesus.

That’s where this worksheet comes in.

Printing out the “my world” worksheet is Step One – it will help you to put together a list of the people in your world who aren’t connected to the local church thus giving you a group that you can begin to pray for. The groups consist of your relatives and close friends. Then we bring in our work acquaintances and then acquaintances. The sum total of all of these put together = YOUR WORLD. We did this exercise one evening with Vertical Church leadership and there were immediately over 400 people on the list!!! Imagine if you were able to reach just one of the people/couples from each of these groups – how exciting would that be?

Impacting lives begins with having a plan. ReMember.

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.

Your Ideas Appreciated!

We are in the process of thinking through what we hope will be a big initiative/project for our church to gather around during the month of March and leading us into the Easter season (Easter is on April 4th – we're planning a BIG one!).

I believe that as we enter March without a Pastor for the 1st time in 25 years the best thing that we can do is remember WHY we do WHAT we do – in other words, WHY Hyde Park is here: We are here to impact our community with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We do that by Loving God, Loving People (that includes one another) and Serving our World. Jesus said it best when He instructed us in Matthew 5:16: In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

We would love to hear from you: Do you have any big ideas that you would suggest that we could do to serve our community over the month of March to "let our light shine" throughout this city and area. How would you do it? As you think/pray about that here are a couple of thoughts:

  • What we are seeking are things that should be done OUTSIDE of the walls of the church. We want this to be about serving our world If we want to let our light shine it needs to be where the people who need to see that light are. The more contact we have with those who need to see a light shining into their darkness the better.
  • Don't disqualify your suggestion in the "we could NEVER make that happen" category – I'm looking for some big ideas. 1John 4:4 says, "You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world."
  • Remember, this isn't about "inside the church" programs. People seldom come to churches to find God unless someone from that church has impacted their lives. Outside the walls.

You can reply in the comments section, hit me here or inbox me on facebook. However you submit your ideas I am definitely looking forward to hearing your ideas.