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Archive for August, 2011

Vertical in Pics (August 14)

Sorry for the late post on this – the week got the best of me!


Have You Seen “Much Love” Shirts…

…around town?

Much love I was in WalMart Sunday evening, wearing my "much love" shirt and while leaving the security guard says, "You're the eighth person I've seen in that shirt today." Why was he counting? But more importantly, was he getting the message. What is the message?

At Vertical we have seen an unbelievable move of God over the last 12 months and we're just thankful. We have much love for Jesus and much love for Vertical Church. That love and thankfulness is what is driving "much love". God has been SO good – lives are being changed – the church is being mobilized. People are returning to Jesus and the church and we are so thankful for the stories that accompany the lives being changed. The shirts signify the movement and are a testimony to God's faithfulness.

Another thing about the shirts which we're selling for $15 – we have teamed with evangelist Ed Newton to send all profits directly to combat the famine currently sweeping Somalia

We just want to share the love.

[14] “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. [15] Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. [16] In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16 ESV)

Over the next month or so you will be seeing #muchlove hash tags, much love testimony videos and many "much love" videos. Below you'll see the 1st Much Love testimony by Alison Carroll.


Sunday Nite (August 21)

I am SOOOOO tired tonight so this one might be quick. We had an absolutely, unbelievable, barn-burning, Jesus-filled, people taking a next step in their faith day today at Vertical Church (that was a mouth-full!)

  • What an amazing day! Week 2 of "I Love the 80's" – what a fun day. The name of today's message was "Boxes" as I talked about the mobile faith that Christianity is meant to be. 
  • The fact that the early church didn’t have a building actually HELPED THEM with their mission BECAUSE it put them in communication with those outside the church. We see the mission of the church happening over and over in the book of Acts because the church wasn’t holed up in their little buildings with white steeples on top but rather, they were among those who were outside of the church. We see examples of this all throughout the book of Acts.
  • Church history shows that christians didn't begin building church buildings for 300 years. That being said, it's ironic that today when you ask a person what is the first thing you think about when I say God, the answer if most often: church. 
  • They aren't talking about the people – they're referencing the building (sigh).
  • From the beginning of VC I have been bold about reminding people WHY we’re here: we want to help people who don’t like church meet God. Because of this, We’ve taken some heat from church people who make the assumption that because what we are doing is different that it is wrong – because it’s not church as THEY know it – they think it’s not from God.
  • Today I took time during the message to answer some of our FAQ's, such as: why do we meet in a movie theater, why don't we have Sunday School, what denomination are we, what do we do for missions, why do we wear shorts and tshirts instead of suits to church. I also addressed why we tell people where to sit, why we sometimes play secular music and why our music is so loud.
  • I hope you'll check out the podcast (Boxes) to hear me talk about all of this.
  • At the end of the service we actually had a ministry fair of sorts, giving people the opportunity to find a ministry that they would be interested in being part of. Too cool to see people taking a next step and to activate their faith through service.
  • Really big crowd today. Very exciting. Also glad to see UNCP students in the house today!!!!
  • My friend Shay Jones rocked the drums today with Vertical Worship. DANG, THAT DUDE WAS SMOKIN!!!! Shay totally blessed my heart.
  • Speaking of music, Jon, Justin, Rhonda, Robby, Bob and Bree (along with Shay) totally brought an anointed moring of music our way! So blessed to have this caliber of music led by people who truly believe what they're singing.
  • They opened up with Rhonda leading the 80's classic, "Time After Time" – it was INCREDIBLE!
  • Tonight we had GroupLink and it was so great! In spite of the torrential rainstorm (with wind that literally looked like a hurricane), we had a bunch of people come out to take a next step in their faith through joining up in community. Thank You, Lord!
  • Don't forget, this coming Sunday is when you need to bring your friends to church – it's gonna be an amazing day in which I believe Jesus is going to change lives.

I am so proud and thankful for our team who totally brought it today. They "bring it" every weekend but today they outdid themselves. Thank You God for giving me the opportunity to be part of this work – I love You.

That's it… time for sleep.

Somebody’s Gonna Be Saved Because They Read this Post

[25] “I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins. (Isaiah 43:25 ESV)

That still blows me away!!!

I am SO FAR from perfect. The longer I follow God the more I need Him. You would think that the longer you follow the Lord the "better" you would become. I can't speak for any of you but for me, I find that my heart is so in need of the mercy of God and the grace given through the sacrifice of Jesus.

I don't deserve God's grace. Some people reading this are probably confused because I'm a pastor and you think I'm a good person – you might not even agree with the previous statement. If you want to justify me, you might not understand the fact that you aren't a follower of Jesus because you're a "good person" – you are a follower of Jesus if you've been saved by God's grace.

The scripture above says He will not remember your sins but before you get to that part you must allow Him to "blot out your transgressions (sins)". Have you done that? Have you confessed that sin and repented of (turned away from) your sin? You don't have to be in a church service to do that – you can do that right here; pray with me:

"God, today I come before you a sinner in need of Your forgiveness. As I pray I confessing that I am a sinner and ask you right now to save me from my sin. In this moment I turn from my sins which are many, leaving them in my past, and turning towards You. God, show me how to live for You from this day forward. I know that I am not worthy of Your forgiveness, but nonetheless, I receive it from You today. Thank You Jesus for saving me, Amen."

Did you just truly pray that? If so, inbox me and let me know – I would love to say congrats and to send you some things that will help you in your new life with God. Or maybe you are a follower of Jesus and you know someone who needs to read this post – Go for it, in Jesus Name.

Your “Nick” and “Nicolette”

I have a friend who isn't a Jesus follower… we'll call him "Nick" for his privacy – that's not his name.

I run into him around town from time to time – we've known each other for years. I had invited him to church with me on more than one occasion. A year ago, right around the time I had stepped out to begin Vertical Church I saw him at a gas station – I tried to catch him before he drove off but couldn't. It was on that day that I thought to myself, "I want Vertical to be the kind of church Nick will come to and actually like".

Nick still hasn't attended VC but I believe he will. When he does it will make an impact. I believe eventually God will use VC to bring Nick to faith in Jesus Christ.

Nick isn't the only person like this in my life – I literally have dozens of people I am actively working on to bring just one step closer to being open to Jesus.

Who is your "Nick"?

On Sunday, August 28th we need you to get your "Nick" to Vertical. I will be presenting the Gospel strongly on that morning and we are praying a lot of people will be saved. That morning is also a baptism day and you know how powerful those are. Are you willing to get uncomfortable in order to reach out to them? That’s EXACTLY what Jesus did in order to reach out to us!!! I dare you to go for it right now!!!

I'm praying for you that God will give you favor (Acts 2:47) with your "Nick" and your "Nicolette's". Please pray for me as well.