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Archive for March, 2011

Moral Failures in the Church

Moral_failure_711203386 I am so tired of seeing people fail – especially the leaders of God's Church. Moral failures among followers of Jesus makes me angry because it's just another black eye on the church, Jesus glorious Bride. Sexual immorality in the church is another blemish to something that God sees as precious and is meant to be beautiful.

The other day I heard the news of yet another Pastor failing in the area of sexual integrity. The only reason I actually share the link is that YOU REALLY NEED TO READ THIS sad post. I want you to see the hurt and humiliation. I want you to put yourself in this man's shoes. I challenge you to take a moment and imagine the hurt his family is feeling. This man pastored an amazing church where hundreds of people have found Jesus – I want you to imagine the extreme pain his church is experiencing.

I'm not calling down fire on this dude, rather I'm hurting for him. When I read this I felt as if this hit close to home and seriously teared up; I felt as though it happened to a good friend. Though I've never met him face-to-face he has helped Vertical Church tremendously and for that we will be forever greatful.

This didn't have to happen.

People of the church (especially the men of Vertical Church): Do not let yourself go down the slippery slope of sexual immorality. Moral failure doesn't begin with an affair – it begins with what you call harmless flirting. I BEG YOU TODAY: if you are toying in the area of flirting with the opposite sex, STOP NOW!!! If you have gone further, REPENT, get somebody in your life that can hold you accountable and run back to the place of safety under the hand and authority of God and His church.

Leaders of Vertical Church, please hear your Pastor: Do not put yourself in a position of temptation. Make sure to do everything within your power not to be alone with a person of the opposite sex who is not your spouse no matter what. I know it might be weird and might make you take a stand but protect yourself from all appearance of evil. Never forget the possibility that in a moment of weakness you could find yourself someplace you NEVER intended to go.

I close by sharing a scripture that is ever present in my mind and heart and I pray that you will carry it closely as well, 

[6] Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, [7] casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. [8] Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. [9] Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. [10] And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. (1 Peter 5:6-10 ESV)

I share this out of love for you all. Let's finish strong and bring honor and glory to Jesus as the Bride of Christ, the Church.

Don’t Miss the Biggest Thing We’ve Ever Seen?!?

Eggdrop Why? Because we love our city and wanted to do something fun. We also wanted to do something that would introduce our brand new church to our region. Our city has NEVER experienced anything like this!!!

My prayer is that after April 23rd everyone will have heard of Vertical Church. 

Here are the details:

  • Using a helicopter and numerous volunteers, 25,000 plastic Easter eggs will be dropped onto a football field at Northeast Park in Lumberton, NC
  • This event is open to the public, is geared for kids ages 12 and under, and will be held from 10am-Noon on Saturday, April 23rd, 2011.
  • This event is FREE and will also feature kids play zones, carnival inflatables, and prizes.
  • More details at lumbertoneggdrop.com

Our Kidmin and Connections Pastor, Joey Autry,said “It’s hard to get real excited about your typical Easter egg hunt, but it’s real easy to get excited about a helicopter dropping eggs onto a football field and then possibly winning awesome prizes.” There will be a prize in every egg, and some eggs will win special prizes like Nintendo Wii Game Systems, Xbox 360, iPod’s, Bikes, and cash. Prior to the egg drop, there will be two play zones, one for preschoolers and one for older children.

Registration begins at 9:30am on the day of the event. Gates open at 10am. In addition to the Egg Drop, Extreme Inflatables Inc. will be on hand with 2 of the largest, most incredible inflatable slides found anywhere in the world. The KING CROC is over 30' tall and features a Croc that is so realistic and so huge that you won't believe your eyes. Also, don't miss the chance to ride the newly realeased KRACKEN. This gigantic 35' tall inflatable ship is about to be pulled under by a giant octopus. Can you make it out in time? The Kracken is absolutely amazing! 

Save yourself time by pre-registering HERE.

Sunday Nite – March 20

I cannot believe what I experienced today at Vertical. Today was our 8th Sunday – seriously, I can't believe that I get to do this.

  • Today's service was just absolutely unbelievable! We cannot believe what God is doing in our midst at Vertical Church.
  • Like I said, this was week # 8. A lot of amazing things happened today.
  • We began our "Hot Now" series with hundreds of HOT Krispy kreme doughnuts. Our team was outfitted with their white paper KK hats. They looked awesome! And people were definitely digging the hot Krispy Kremes! 
  • At what point do I have to quit saying the number of weeks old we are?
  • We set a new attendance record today, breaking yet another "attendance barrier". Thank you Jesus!
  • If you told me that we would have this many people coming this soon I don't know that I would actually believe it.
  • Not only were there bunches of people with us but once again we had people give their lives to Jesus today. Seeing people take steps towards God is one thing; seeing people give their lives to Jesus is what it is all about for me! Hallelujah!
  • It appears that the Lord is at work all over our region by the looks of the facebook reports… Awesome to be a part of that as well.
  • Today Jon Lloyd started at Vertical as Worship Arts Pastor. So proud of the job that the  team did today in worship.
  • Big shout out to the Audio Team today: Lead Sound engineer Mitchell Cain and Randy Lamb literally had to tear down and replace the mixer BEFORE worship this morning – AND THEY ACTUALLY DID IT AND WERE ON TIME! I cannot believe the talented people that God has placed around us.
  • Another shout out to Bob Winfree for making the huge KK run this morning! Whatever it takes, people, whatever it takes.
  • We made a HUGE ANNOUNCEMENT today: check out www.lumbertoneggdrop.com later today to see the crazy thing we're doing leading up to Easter. I love that my team gets that sometimes we just have to get a little crazy.
  • Worship Today: You Deserve (Hillsong), How He Loves (David Crowder version), Stronger (Hillsong).
  • I told the church today that they DO NOT WANNA MISS next Sunday as we give them a visual that will show them the great things that happen when people work together.

I know that this is a short one but I'm just beat!

One of the Most Exciting Questions We’ve Received?

Esv_coffee Perhaps the most exciting thing that is happening at Vertical is that so many who were not involved with church or God are attending. That fires me up – my deep rooted desire to help people who don't like church meet God is the reason that I wanted to plant a church.

Because so many of our attenders are not "church people" we have a common question that gets thrown at us:

"I don't have a bible and feel like I need one. What version do you use?"

This question is so exciting… the thought that people are desiring to know God and open His Word is huge to me. This book has changed my life and I want it to change yours as well.

We believe that various translations have strengths (and weaknesses). God has used various versions of the Bible to teach me and to challenge me in the knowledge of Himself. However, if you are asking me what I suggest I would suggest the English Standard Version. Its publisher, Crossway, says

The ESV® Bible (English Standard Version®) is an “essentially literal” translation of the Bible in contemporary English. The ESV Bible emphasizes "word-for-word" accuracy, literary excellence, and depth of meaning. The ESV is ideally suited for personal reading, for public worship, for in-depth study, and for Scripture memorization. The ESV Bible is available in more than 200 print editions, and it is free online anytime everywhere in the world.

It's very important to have a bible that you can understand when you read it – God has so much to teach you, more than you could ever learn in a lifetime. A hard to read translation won't help you grow, it will just slow you down. When in doubt about a translation, ask your Pastor.

So now you know.

How Can I Pray for You?

Praying Something that has radically changed my life is engaging with others in prayer. Notice I didn't say engaging FOR others, but with… one of the most powerful things a person can do is personally pray with people, taking their needs directly to Jesus while they are in your presence.

We believe in this so much as a church that it is actually one of our core values which we call our V-Formation.

V Formation #6: Pray Now-Speak Life. We believe that the Creator of the Universe desires to live and operate within the lives of all His creation. With this in mind, whenever someone asks for prayer for a situation or a person we will stop what we're doing and pray for that person then. Take the person by the hand and go to the Lord, agreeing with them in belief – speaking words of life into their situation.

I have had some powerful encounters with God and others by living that out. With that in mind, how can I pray for you today? Either comment on the blog or inbox me – if you leave me an email or a facebook account I will lift that prayer up with and for you.