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Archive for June, 2011

Making the Critics List

There are good list and bad list. Some list you desire to be on and some you do everything possible to stay off of. On the following day Jesus made the critics list:

Now he (Jesus) was casting out a demon that was mute. When the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke, and the people marveled. But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of demons,” while others, to test him, kept seeking from him a sign from heaven. But he, knowing their thoughts, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls. And if Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you…Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. (Luke 11:14-23 ESV)

Ever feel like you are on the critics list? I feel like I've been on it for years. I wear it as a badge of honor. Through that time I have always tried to remember Galatians 1:10, "For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ." I know Who I aim to please.

Maybe you have noticed as I have how some of the most "religious" people look for reasons to dispell the things God does because it doesn't pass their "what I think is right" test? Jesus experienced it too throughout His whole earthly ministry.

A lot of people think they have the  spiritual gift of pointing out what is wrong with other churches or pastors, the spiritual gift of criticism which they disguise as discernment. True spiritual discernment is of the Lord. Most of these people know nothing of that spiritual discernment – they don't even recognize when God is at work. Jesus, the Son of God, said in the above passage about those accusing Him, "But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you…Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters." 

These people did not have discernment. They were just critics. Of the 24 spiritual gifts found in the bible I have yet to find the gift of criticism.

I have noticed, however, that Galatians 5:19 says, "Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God."

To the person(s) who likes to point out what's wrong with other churches/ministries: look at the list above – could your attitude be mistaken as fitting in this list? When I see your criticism of others the words strife, rivalries, dissension and division jump to my mind. I also think deep down it is somehow rooted in jealousy and envy. Looks like you made a list yourself – how does it feel?

There are many list that you can make in life. If you are serving Jesus with your life or ministry and the critics are hatin' on you – bless and love them, re-examine your heart and motive by the scriptures, then if all is well by God, keep doing what you're doing, in Jesus Name. After all, He was wrongly accused by ignorance as well.

     

Our Next Series

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There IS a divide in our nation that cannot be denied.

You can’t turn on the news without becoming aware that things aren’t going so well in the good ole USA. What’s worse, it seems that those who lead us can’t agree on how to change things. While politicians frame the debate as rich vs. poor, big business vs. the middle class, or Republican vs. Democrat, there is another conflict that reflects a much deeper divide in American culture—a conflict that, if resolved, could bring our nation together to address the issues that fill the airways. And what is that conflict? Join us for the next 2 weeks and find out.

God’s Plan for You is God’s Best for You.

What is God saying to you lately? 

I know that this is a popular verse, one of those that people have a tendency to throw around and use incorrectly, however, listen to the promise God makes to a bunch of people who have not heeded His continual warnings:

[11] For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. [12] Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. [13] You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:11-13 ESV)

God's plan for you is God's best for you.

God is planning to bring you to a place where you can bring Him glory with your life, but before you come to that place you must (v. 12) call upon Him through prayer. He is calling you to a place of restoration. Here's the order: you call, HE answers.

As you begin to call to Him you will begin to place your trust in His plan. The more you place your trust in His plan the more you will desire Him. The more you desire the more you will put your heart into that search (v. 13). Before you know it finding HIM will be the greatest longing of your heart. 

God's plan for you IS God's best for you. The way you will find that plan isn't by looking for the plan but rather by looking for Him.

Sunday Nite (June 26)

One of my favorite moments of today was after the service, near the end of teardown, Robby Gaddy (Lead Guitar/Stage Manager) looks at me and exclaimed with excitement, "I still can't believe I get to do this every week!" This is an overwhelming thought for me every Sunday night.

I am so tired tonight after a very long and exciting day so I will be brief. Here are tonight's thoughts:

  • Today was the last weekend of our Family Vacation Series. Donnie brought today's word, titled, "Family Killers". A powerful, powerful word.
  • God has been wrecking our men with this series. I have felt like every week was a kick in the gut and that's not the best description of where our guys have been getting kicked (grin). The only time that I have seen God at work among men has been early in my ministry…
  • I am so thankful for the way that God's word has penetrated our families. There is nothing more important than the word of God being planted and rooted into our families. Jesus changing lives one mom and dad, one child and one family at a time. This is how you change the fabric of a community.
  • One of my favorite days of the month is baptism day and today was that day. I love baptism day's because everyone baptized at VC shares their testimony before hand via video. Not only does it allow people to make a proper profession of faith but it is evangelistic as people share verbally through their story how Jesus is changing their life. I have wanted to do this for years – so thankful to be able to live out a dream.
  • I had the priviledge  to be the drummer today. How great is it to play with such an amazing band. I am SO PROUD of the great job Vertical Worship does. Jon, Justin, Robby and Bob were the band today.
  • I love the fact that weekly people attend Vertical for the first time. It is not unusual to see people crying before the service even starts – the presence of the Lord is in that place.
  • Next week we begin a new series titled, "God and Country".

We are so thankful for this opportunity. I love you all.

Confused Dog Look Syndrome

Confused-dog Have you ever shared something big that you felt God was leading you in with someone and they just didn't get it? Matter of fact, when you did they just kind of looked at you like this 

This has happened to me many times through the years and it's happening now more than ever. A couple of the statements that seem most confusing to people are:

  1. We are proud to have people who aren't Christians in our church. I literally heard that someone had said we "let lost" people attend… we don't just let them, we encourage them to come week after week. Every Sunday we put out the welcome mat, "set the table" and make preparations expecting people who do not have relationship with Jesus  to come. Our vision is to help people who don't like church meet God and we mean it.
  2. We actually WANT to be mobile and meet in a movie theater. We aren't at the Cinema Four because we aren't able to get a building yet – we are here because at the moment it is perfect for us. The Cinema has much square footage, chairs in the auditorium and people who don't normally go to church seem to like the idea of church in a theater. Even though we are mobile we work hard to create Sunday morning environments that people will talk about during the week and meeting in a theater helps us do that.
  3. We are going to start other congregations throughout this region. Our vision is not for Cinema Four Theater. Our vision is for Southeastern North Carolina, especially in other parts of Robeson, Bladen and Columbus County. If you are from those areas you should get ready because I believe a sister church in the Vertical family is coming your way at some point.

Somebody once said when people quit laughing at your vision you've quit following God's vision. Genesis 17:17 said that when God told Abraham he would be a father of a great nation with Sarah's child, "Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, "Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?"'

Nothing is impossible with God.

Confused or laughing, I don't care.  I'm not creative enough to make this movement up.