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Archive for September, 2011

Spread the Word: Courageous Opens Friday


It's not often that a movie comes out that we can assure you that is family friendly and doesn't involve cartoons. It's even less often that we can say that a movie will encourage your faith and be faithful to the Gospel message.

This is one of those movies – you really should check Courageous out.

Courageous is the latest movie by Sherwood Baptist Church, who produced the movies "Fireproof" and "Facing the Giants". The film is about fatherhood, and the story centers around four police officers "all in various stages of fatherhood trying to figure out what it means to be a great dad." Stephen Kendrick stated that "The film's desire is for men to leave the theater making the decision that Joshua made when he declared in Joshua 24:15, 'As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord'."

"Courageous" opens this Friday in Lumberton at Vertical Church's home, Cinema Four Theaters. Below you will see what USA Today found when they visited the Courageous movie set. We will be giving away some free tickets to the movie during Sunday's services but don't let that stop you from seeing it this weekend. I encourage you to not only see Courageous but to tell people about it. Let's support ministries that encourage and lift high the mission of God.


What Do I Want More than Anything

We're reaching a lot of people at Vertical Church. So many of the people who are coming to VC are people who just would not go to a regular church. This was and is our target – people who believe in God but feel like outcasts in church or as we normally say it: to help people who don't like church meet God.

Reaching people. Leading them to Jesus. Watching Him save them from their sin and from themselves. This is priority #1 and over the past 7 months we have seen many people give their lives to Christ.

But that's not all we're about. It's just the beginning.

What we want more than anything is to lead people to become passionate about Jesus so they can lead others to Jesus. Passion for Jesus is love for Jesus. It's growing in grace, it's learning about God, His thoughts and His ways. It's becoming a disciple of Jesus. Disciples do something with their knowledge and they help others to learn about the Savior. People who love Jesus help others love Jesus.

Here's a very easy to read paraphrase (the Message) of 1 Peter 1:13-17 which nicely sums up what we're interested in helping you achieve:

13-16So roll up your sleeves, put your mind in gear, be totally ready to receive the gift that's coming when Jesus arrives. Don't lazily slip back into those old grooves of evil, doing just what you feel like doing. You didn't know any better then; you do now. As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God's life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. God said, "I am holy; you be holy."

 17You call out to God for help and he helps—he's a good Father that way. But don't forget, he's also a responsible Father, and won't let you get by with sloppy living.

God wants you to win in the area of holiness. Do you believe that? It's true. He's calling you to holiness but contrary to popular thoughts, holiness isn't tied to church attendance, giving, dress, the kind of music you like/listen to, denomination… Holiness is a heart attitude. As it says above, it's an energetic life blazing with holiness (isn't that awesome?!?)

So I wonder, who's ready to get holy? Are you as ready as I am to begin to learn more about suceeding in life with God? The countdown is on and this weekend we will begin a new series titled "Real Holiness" in which we will look at the life that God is calling us into, Vertical style. 

By the way, you've NEVER seen a Vertical service like you will experience this weekend. That's not hype – it's the straight up truth. You'll see.


Sunday Nite (September 25)


It's Sunday evening and I am exhausted after a day full of ministry. Honestly, this was one of the most powerful Sunday's in the short history of Vertical Church. I am amazed, blessed and blown away. I'm sorry I don't have words to describe how I feel right now… my vocabulary is just not adequate to describe what we are taking part in.

  • This was the last week of our "Intervention" series. Intervention has been a landmark series here at VC. I am blown away at all we've experienced through this series. 
  • We're NOT ok.
  • Donnie preached today's final message and brought the freakin' heat!!! What a powerful message. I am so blessed by the staff that the Lord has brought around me.
  • We had baptism this morning. Baptism days are always amazing as we share the video testimonies of the person being baptized. I believe it's one of the greatest evangelistic things we do as the people in our congregation hear the salvation stories. It's an awesome way to show people that our God saves anyone who calls out to him.
  • I had the priviledge to introduce our church to our 2 church planting interns, Matt Harmon and Joe McDaniel. Both Joe and Matt had the opportunity to baptize people that will be on their church planting teams. Way to go, fellas!
  • At the end of the service we opened it up for people being saved to be baptized and praise God they did. The church ERUPTED when they got up to be baptized!!!! AWESOME!!!
  • We saw 20 people take the Next Step of baptism this morning at VC. Thank You, Jesus. 
  • We will not take this for granted. We will not take this for granted. We will not…
  • I tell you this: I LOVE what God is doing in our midst.
  • I love our team. We have a most incredible group who are making a difference from the parking lot to the stage. Unbelievable.
  • Every week I have conversations with people who would never fit in at most churches and I LOVE IT. They love Vertical – God is using Vertical to help them fall in love with Jesus.
  • Music was absolutely incredible today. Our band opened the service with the Linkin Park hit, "What I've Done"!!!! It was perfect with our series – not to mention the fact that they killed it. Justin's voice is perfect for LP tunes! I was blown away – love that song.
  • After baptism the band brought a song that has become a Vertical classic, "Forever Changed" – LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to hear our people sing out, "forever, I am changed by mercy forever my heart is alive – forever, I am Yours my Savior, forever, my Hope is Christ".
  • During the invitation time Jon brought an anointed version of "It is Well". Can you say Spirit moving?!?
  • We have been so blessed musically. Dang!
  • We moved theaters today. We were totally out of space and decided to move to the largest theater and it was a good thing because…
  • I cannot wait to kick off our next series, "Real Holiness" next Sunday. I believe it will be a life changing series for many. Do not miss any weeks of this series – I'm so serious.

I close by sharing that tonight we had our monthly leaders meeting. As we shared the many "WINS" we've experienced this month I continually was moved to tears. People, I just can't get over this. I love you all. Thank You Jesus for Your favor. I pray You are being greatly glorified by Your children. Hallelujah.

This is What Makes Vertical, “Vertical”

What makes Vertical, "Vertical"?

Is it the lights? The rocking music? Could it be the more casual dress? The free coffee out in the lobby? Why is it that people are flocking to see what Vertical Church is really like?

Every week I feel like I am seeing a dream come to pass. I'm seeing people come to Vertical who normally would never have given church a chance. They feel like outcasts, outsiders. Many are broken emotionally and spiritually. They usually believe in God but they just can't find the bridge that leads back to Him. Often, before the 1st song is even sung their eyes are filled with tears.

Why? They haven't heard a song, the bible hasn't been read, nothing except for pre-service music. I believe it's because they've seen Jesus at work from the time they parked their cars until this point. People have actually been happy to see them – CHURCH PEOPLE!!!! "It's as if they REALLY are glad we're here!" would be the prevailing thought. These people have gone out of their way to make them feel at home, they show them where to go, even help them find a seat.

They don't feel judged, they don't feel out of place. Something feels right about this place.

They are experiencing the evidence of the power of prayer. People getting to a movie theater at 7am and PRAYERFULLY re-building what will soon become Vertical Church. It's people PRAYERFULLY putting up pipe and drape curtains and signage that transform the theater into Vertical. It's children's workers PRAYERFULLY putting together gates for children, preparing lessons that help children fall in love with Jesus. It's the road crew PRAYERFULLY creating the worship environment, lighting, instrumentation and video. It's even people PRAYERFULLY making coffee, lemonade and making the lobby appear welcoming. 

It's people praying over areas, praying towards those who will come, praying for people whose faces they've yet to see that makes the difference. It's the Holy Spirit inhabiting people, and those people PRAYERFULLY allowing Him to work through them. You can't fake this until you make it – You can't fake caring about people, reaching out to people or loving people far from God. Faking this, regardless of intentions, always shows itself as the hypocrisy that it is. Only God can give you the love people deserve.

On the surface the music, lights, dress and style might be mistaken as being "Vertical" but that's not what makes us who we are. All those people who spend themselves weekly for the Glory of God, that's what makes Vertical, "Vertical". I thank God for all of you!!! Your love is making a difference.

Vertical in Pics (September 18)

Brilliant pics. Love the way Bree and Kelly are capturing in still images what the Lord is doing at VC!