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Archive for September, 2010

You Care More About…

Life-changes Through the years my focus has been reaching the unreached. When I sensed the call to ministry 12 years ago it was always to seek and save that which is lost. 

My desire to see the church reach people who don't care about church has been misunderstood through the years. One comment that I have never forgotten was, "you care more about reaching people than you care about the church". That statement is no more true than it would be for me to say that "they" don't care about people being saved – OF COURSE THEY DO… they just see the mission of the church differently than I do.

I have decided to center my life on helping people who don't really think about God find the God Who passionately loves them! My prayer for Vertical Church: Jesus, help us be a church that will help people who don't like church meet God.

The other morning I was reading out of the Message in Luke 5 and was once again inspired by Jesus' invitation to a changed life:


After this he went out and saw a man named Levi at his work collecting taxes. Jesus said, "Come along with me." And he did—walked away from everything and went with him.

 Levi gave a large dinner at his home for Jesus. Everybody was there, tax men and other disreputable characters as guests at the dinner. The Pharisees and their religion scholars came to his disciples greatly offended. "What is he doing eating and drinking with crooks and 'sinners'?"

 Jesus heard about it and spoke up, "Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? I'm here inviting outsiders, not insiders—an invitation to a changed life, changed inside and out."

That's good isn't it? Jesus basically saying, "I came to invite people who aren't in the church to experienced the changed life that comes from God – when I change them they will change not just in what people can see, but more importantly, they will change where only I can see – on the inside.

Friends, that is what I want my life to be about – that is what I want Vertical Church to be about – regardless of whether you're a part of VC or not, why wouldn't you want your life to be about that as well?

Sunday Nite

ImprovingProductivity I am blown away tonight and filled with the joy of the Lord after having such a productive weekend in the area of ministry. I have known for years that I would love to plant a church but I NEVER understood how rewarding it could possibly be. 

Before I talk about VBT (Vertical Basic Training) I wanted to share a couple of things:

  • On Saturday I had the privilege of ministering at the funeral of Michale Gee. His mom has been a friend of ours through Hyde Park since the day I walked in the door. I had the opportunity to talk with a lot of young people about Jesus. Confronted with their own mortality, a lot of young people prayed to receive Christ. As my friend Grant said on Facebook this afternoon, "Now, Chrisitans must pray for people to be brought into their lives to lead and disciple them. As Mike said today, "Satan will now come and pick those seeds up as if they never heard the word of God." Please join me in prayer for those new believers."
  • Attended Hyde Park this morning – great to worship with some hyde park friends today. First opportunity to hear Pastor Shawn who did great. 
  • God has done a work in my heart. Someone asked me this afternoon, "was it weird?" in reference to going to hp. My answer: nope. It was great to feel free and to know that the reason it wasn't weird was because of the amazing, merciful work that JESUS has done in this man's heart.
  • I know another reason it wasn't strange is because I KNOW that I'm supposed to be planting this church – I LOVE YOU VC'ers ALREADY!!!
  • btw… got to see Brandon and Rhonda lead worship AND had opportunity to see baptism's and shout for people coming out of the water – so proud of my brothers and sisters in Christ who took the plunge today!
  • I'm praying for Hyde Park and lifting up Shawn.


Yesterday (Saturday) and Today (Sunday) we gathered with the majority of the people who are making up our launch team. On Saturday night we met in the upper room at 2 Guys Grill and Sunday night we met in the back room at Village Station (sharing those locations just in case you would like to join us next week – you are welcome to).

IMG_20100919_162928 Donnie handled the teaching responsibilities this week as he talked about the Church, what makes up the church, WHO is the church (might be different than you think) and laid out for our growing flock the structure of OUR church… our governance, our beliefs, what membership at Vertical will look like, our covenant process and our group structure/plan. We also shared what VKidz will be structured like and shared the various positions that people can  serve.

Here's the part that I love: this weekend we trained 80% of the adults who have been meeting with us, with them basically saying with their attendance, "we want to serve in some capacity at Vertical Church". That's a picture of the church.

Those of you who are boarding this train I want you to know that I am SO excited! Can't wait for next weekend!!!  I believe that together we will make Acts 8:8 a reality in this region.

(Go ahead and make plans to join the "Roadtrip" on Sunday – tell you where this week.)

Just in case you missed it…

Quick Friday post – missed yesterday because I was at #NLC2010 Leadership Conference at Newspring Church. Unbelievable to say the least. All I can say is that the Lord has been working on me and challenging since we left Ltown on Wednesday night. Very thankful for the opportunity to attend with Donnie, Joey and Brad.

I just wanted to share a couple of things today – Here's what I'm thinking about this morning:

  • I can't wait to meet with those who are taking part in Basic Training this weekend. I'll be seeing some of you on Saturday and some on Sunday. Both days are the same training – whichever works best for you will be fine (Here's the schedule). If you haven't told us you're attending please let me know.
  • Those of you who have already told us you're attending: call that friend who is contemplating being part and "lock it down" – encourage them to sign up or even do it for them.
  • We won't be taking the "Road Trip" this weekend as I just drove over 8 hours for the past 2 days. My plans are to attend 11 o'clock service at Arran Lake in Fayetteville with my brother, Jeff Isenhour and you're welcome to join us - let me know if you're coming.
  • Already firming up plans for October's Gathering – October 10th. I believe you will be surprised by some of the positive upgrades – day-by-day we are becoming an organization which is trying to live out God's plan for us. 
  • Praying for my friends, the Gee Family, who lost their Michael on Monday. "God, be gracious in this difficult time – bring glory to Yourself through this loss".
  • Praying for a friend this morning who I believe God is making a way that will change us forever. Join me?

I am currently reading through the Gospel of Luke in The Message – love the freshness and the way it's speaking to my heart right now. Read this from chapter 6:

24But it's trouble ahead if you think you have it made. 
   What you have is all you'll ever get.

 25And it's trouble ahead if you're satisfied with yourself. 
   Your self will not satisfy you for long.

   And it's trouble ahead if you think life's all fun and games. 
   There's suffering to be met, and you're going to meet it.

 26"There's trouble ahead when you live only for the approval of others, saying what flatters them, doing what indulges them. Popularity contests are not truth contests—look how many scoundrel preachers were approved by your ancestors! Your task is to be true, not popular.

  • Isn't that powerful?
  • Last night's talk by Andy Stanley shook me pretty hard. He addressed some stuff that I have been secretly thinking through for a while in the area of reaching out to those who are lost (i have tears in my eyes right now as I think back on this statement): We can accept people even though we don't approve of their lifestyle (think of Matthew and his friends). "Acceptance paves the way to influence! Run the risk of looking like you approve for the opportunity to influence." That is where the rubber meets the road friends – tough.
  • I believe I will talk about yesterday's conference sometime within the week – all I can say is that over the past 36 hours I have sensed the Lord tweaking some stuff inside of me, drawing me closer to Him…

…which is why I have to go right now – sensing an opportunity to go a little deeper this morning. I love you all – how thankful am I as I pray for you? You have no idea – the fact that you have decided to take this crazy journey with me… hold on – we're just getting started.

We Ain’t Wishy-Washy!

Wishy washy Over this 1st month of organizing the response to Vertical has been unbelievable. So many of you have expressed interest in being part of what we believe will be a major movement of God in our region and we are SO EXCITED about all that is before us.

With that in mind I wanted to take a moment to make clarification about our upcoming "Vertical Basic Training" (VBT) which begins this weekend. VBT isn't just something to help orient you to who we are – VBT is the required foundation/structure that we are building this church on. 

Sometimes in church-world we have a tendency to be a little wishy-washy when it comes to what we require of people, "we would really like you to come if at all possible" (do you hear the way we are almost giving people an excuse not to attend?). Vertical isn't that church. We will expect much of the people who are committing to this journey – this will be hard work but it will also be one of the most exciting and rewarding things you will ever do in your life – not to mention you'll be storing treasure in heaven like crazy! With this thought in mind:


We know that commitment is hard – but we will never rise to our potential if we don't train our people. Here's what I can tell you: when we finish this Basic Training you will have a full-grasp on Who Vertical is, What we're doing and Why we're doing it… not to mention that you will also have the opportunity to be a founding partner of Vertical (VC will not have membership – we have chosen partnership and will talk about that more Saturday). 

Just imagine: someday when we're all gone and in heaven a young man or women will look at the founding partners of Vertical Church they will see your name and they will be thankful that you stepped out and chose to be part of the movement that changed their eternity. Who's down with that? (Let us know when you are planning to attend)

“How People Become Part of Vertical?”

Basic training We are so excited to begin training our launch team this weekend!!!

"Vertical Basic Training" is for everyone who is joining us to launch this great work. I have been spiritually impressed lately that Acts 8:8 which says, "So there was great joy in the city" is the way that God is going to use Vertical Church. I believe God will bring joy to our region through this church. We have watched Him bring this team together and what we've witnessed is very exciting!  

"VBT" is the 1st step to becoming part of the Vertical Launch Team. EVERYBODY WHO IS GOING TO BE ON OUR LAUNCH TEAM MUST COMPLETE BASIC TRAINING!

We have split the dates into 2 groups but you are welcome to come to whichever works best into your schedule (JUST MAKE SURE YOU COME TO ONE!). We hope that all of you who have expressed interest in Vertical will mark out the following dates:

This Saturday, September 18th 5 to 7pm – 2 Guys Grill – People who live in Bladen County and Fairmont
This Sunday, September 19th – Village Station – People who live in Lumberton 

Please remember – you DO NOT HAVE TO EAT at these engagements – we are gathering for the purpose of teaching so don't let lack of "fundage" keep you from making this. Let us know you're coming right here

Basic training2

We're sorry that we can't provide childcare for these events. We need all of our people to be focused on the teaching. Can't wait!