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Archive for October, 2011

Sunday Nite (October 30)

Share the Love.

If you’re reading this post you probably know that last weekend we challenged our church to “share the love” throughout our region through service as well as gifting people. That being said, this has been one of the most incredible week’s I have EVER experienced in over 12 years of being in ministry. Today at Vertical Church… thank You Jesus for the opportunity to see and experience this move of God in our region. Here’s what’s on my heart tonight:

  • Today was week 2 of “The Office”. We truly believe that our work life was never intended to be separate from our spiritual life. The term “spiritual compartmentalization” has no place in the life of a person who has been filled with the Spirit of Jesus.
  • Our Worship Arts Pastor Jon Lloyd did a great job bringing this weekend’s message. He also brought a new challenge to our church, TGIM (you’ll have to check out the podcast).
  • The implications of a church filled with members that live with a TGIM frame of mind would bring great change to the work culture of our region. I pray that God would change our hearts that it would happen. Ultimately we must realize as believers that as we work in our jobs we work for our Savior. God redeems all things and draws us to Himself.
  • Much praise to our Great God for bringing a great message and challenge through today’s message and our series. I look forward to stepping up to bat as I close out “The Office” next weekend.
  • So thankful for the talented people God has brought around me.
  • With Jon bringing today’s message I actually led worship with Vertical Worship. This was my 1st time leading worship at Vertical Church and my 1st time leading music for a full worship service in 14 months.
  • Prior to Vertical Church I was a worship leader for 13 years and have led approximately 1,000 services so I have done this a time or two (grin).
  • Many of you reading this already know about my past as a WL  because A) you have known me for a while B) you’ve been involved in church and knew I was a WL. Just to show you that Vertical Church is reaching outside of the norm in church the predominate comments made to me in the lobby after services were, “I didn’t really know you could sing, Pastor Mike.”
  • I love the way that week after week Vertical delivers the unexpected, raises the bar, and presents the Gospel in creative ways. Big props to our Service Programming Director Brandon Meadows (who is also our Student Pastor) for continuing to program incredible services. Jesus is using you big time to draw people to Him, bro!
  • That being said, today’s Deep Thoughts from a Shallow Christian was just wrong (grin). Felt the need to apologize both times. Hilarious!
  • I hope that Jon will give a musical rundown of Vertical Worship on his blog tomorrow.
  • So many 1st time guests today, salvations, opportunities to pray… thank You Jesus.
  • Once again we set attendance records in many areas including overall. Joey Autry came to me and gave me a fake number for attendance which I thought was a good crowd. I said to him, “are you disappointed with that number?” to which he busted out laughing saying, “no man, but I just can’t keep a straight face with you!” When he showed me the number in attendance today we had a little hallelujah party right there as we had firmly broke through an attendance barrier that can be hard to break through!
  • HIGHLIGHT OF THE DAY: in both services when plugging our upcoming Night of Worship at West Bladen HS much of the crowd broke out in applause and shouting. Truth? After serving in ministry for so long there have been many times where I felt like a hype man and had to create momentum around an event. It feels so amazing to actually feel like we have authentic momentum that we can ride with.
  • WE WILL NOT TAKE THIS FOR GRANTED.
  • As we came to the end of serving in the projects this afternoon I was talking with Donnie and we were rejoicing together. He made the comment, “man, all I can think about is what would have happened with me if I wouldn’t have taken this step of faith… If I wouldn’t have done this and I had to sit back and watch God work through you guys… So glad we did!” Me too, Donnie P.

Can’t wait for tomorrow night – BIGGS PARK MALL, Halloween Fest. Vertical Church: let’s dominate the last night of “Share the Love” and love our city beyond anything they have ever experienced!!!

Halloween: It IS what it is.

Why would a church be part of, much less be a sponsor of a Halloween festival? That is a good, valid question. How about a little backstory?

Years ago (over a decade) in the baptist church I was part of they always did a fall festival. Most churches have one. The fall festival at this church was always held on the Saturday before Oct. 31st. The kids wore costumes (albeit Christian inspired ones), there was a cake walk, bobbing for apples and most importantly, BUNCHES OF CANDY!!! In other words, they had a halloween party for the church – they just didn’t do it on “the devil’s day”.

Whatever. You’re giving your people an alternative on another nite. Call it what you want – you had a halloween party. The sad part about this practice is that it is an inward gathering, designed to entertain the people who attend our church and normally has no reason that outsiders would attend which I think is a shame.

That’s the way my mind works – Everything we do usually finds me asking the question, “how can we use this to reach people with the Gospel? How can Jesus use this to open people’s eyes to the church?” I began questioning, “why are we doing a halloween party on a night other than October 31st? Why are we not taking advantage of the fact that multitudes of people are out on halloween night – why would we not bring them to our church?”

Now, I understand that by having halloween parties it appears that we are promoting Halloween, but let’s be honest: aren’t most of your people are quietly taking part anyway? It is what it is. We can pretend it’s not there but it will not go away. With this in mind, for the sake of meeting with those who would normally not attend our church, why would we not take advantage of this date which is huge?

In the case of Vertical Church we weren’t looking to do anything for Halloween, however, our city recreation department came to us and asked us to be part of this event with them. They have seen other events we have thrown in our short life as a church and wanted our mark on it. Joining with our city for Halloween Fest gives us the opportunity to love on people outside of our walls, provide a safe alternative to trick or treating on the street and introduce who we are to people who may not even be aware of VC. It also gives us the opportunity to help our city, to do something well for the city we live in and love. A prayer of ours as a church has been Acts 2:47, “(they were) praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”

So yeah, I’m doing Halloween, and yes, my church is definitely promoting it big time on the web. Truth is, I hope you’ll be there too. If you are, I’ll be the one who WON’T BE worshiping the devil, but rather, publicly worshiping Jesus the Savior through my service to my community (1 Cor 10:31 – Acts 8:8)

Share the Love Blowin’ Up!

We kicked off “Share the Love Week” Monday and will end next Monday, October 31st at Halloween Fest. To say that the response has been spectacular would be an understatement. The goal of STLW was to share with those who do not attend Vertical Church the love of Jesus Christ in a practical way. We asked people to share the way that they STL on our Facebook wall and it has just blown up with exciting stories of God opening people’s eyes toward opportunities to bless others.

As we went into this week we challenged our church to serve 500 hours throughout our community over the next week, to “Share the Love” as we go. Through this endeavor we have some specific goals for STLW. We’re asking God to…

  • Help us to live out Matthew 5:16, “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.”  This verse lines up so well with the scripture we finished the “Real Holiness” series with the week before last, 1 Peter 2:12.
  • Change our hearts. It is so easy to just care about the people we have and forget about those who don’t go to anyone’s church. We can have a full building and fool ourselves into thinking we’re doing something great when in truth less than 40% of the people in our area attend anywhere. “Jesus, point our hearts outward, help us care to reach the lost.”
  • Change the hearts of those we minister to. We are not just asking God to turn their hearts toward Him, but also turn their heart towards His church.
  • Give our congregation a spirit of generosity. My prayer is that Vertical Church would be the most giving and caring church people have ever encountered. I want our people to give to people, God and His church with a heart filled with gratitude.

We plan to share the love until Monday evening, October 31, when we join with the city of Lumberton and Biggs Park Mall for our joint effort, Halloween Fest (to serve at this or have a trunk in the trunk-a-treat car line contact us here). We have set up opportunities such as

1. The Home Store (Robeson Church & Community Center) – old Lumberton Ford, 590 W. 5th St., Lumberton – Assistance needed in organization, cleaning, and helping customers find items.
2. His Little Ones Pregnancy Support Services – 500 Peterson Drive, Lumberton – WE HAVE OPPORTUNITY TO SERVE HERE ON THURSDAY EVENING BY CLEANING UP AND HANDLING THINGS THE OPERATORS CAN’T DO BECAUSE OF SERVING. 
3. Lumberton Christian Care (Soup Kitchen) – 305 1st St., Lumberton. Serve meals Monday – Friday from 10:30-11:30
4. Meals on Wheels – Mohr Plaza, 5th St. & MLK Dr., Lumberton. Picking up about 10-15 meals at 10:30 a.m. from the back door at Mohr Plaza and delivering to elderly residents around the city of Lumberton. There are 3 different routes which run everyday.
5.. BackYard Bible Club – Meadow Woods Apartments, behind Food Lion, Fairmont. Saturday from 12 p.m. until 2 p.m. An opportunity to share devotions and pray with the community. We setup a portable basketball goal and small outdoor games for children of all ages. We offer sidewalk chalk and encourage their artistic talents. We also offer crafts. We serve lunch for those who participate and listen to the devotion/bible story.

Everyone who participates will get a free “Love is a Verb” T-shirt while supplies last. So, If you aren’t on the Share the Love bandwagon you’re missing out. Pray with me, “Father, change our hearts!”

Vertical’s REALLY Coming to Bladen County

Last night some of us gathered at West Bladen High School to do some preparation and planning for our upcoming Night of Worship. What a tremendous venue this will be!! Most importantly we had the opportunity to pray in the area we will be worshiping in and it was POWERFUL! It might be a High School most of the time, but when Vertical shows up it quickly becomes a church.

WE CANNOT WAIT TO ASK THE QUESTION, “WHAT IF?” ON NOVEMBER 13th. Hope you plan to join us.

 

Sunday Nite (October 23)

sharethelovefront

As usual, I sit here at my computer on Sunday nite thinking back on the day that we experienced. I am flabbergasted by all that I experienced today. We kicked off a new service (9 am), a new series (the Office) and a week of service OUTSIDE THE WALLS of VC and into our community by undertaking a bold initiative titled,

 

In a bold effort to help our people understand that we are to “Share the Love” of what God is doing in our midst at Vertical we gave $2,000 to them to share through out our community. Everyone in the worship center received an envelope with $5, $10, $20 or $30 in it. We gave them instructions that they were to take the money and the card (with the above graphic which explained WHY and WHAT we were doing) and “Share the Love” with someone other than themselves. The rules were they could not give it back to the church, and we asked them to share with us on our facebook wall how they shared it. As of 9:45 pm tonight we already have stories and a video on the wall.

We plan to share the love until Monday evening, October 31, when we join with the city of Lumberton and Biggs Park Mall for our joint effort, Halloween Fest. Our goal is to serve 500 community service hours. We have set up opportunities such as

1. The Home Store (Robeson Church & Community Center) – old Lumberton Ford, 590 W. 5th St., Lumberton – Assistance needed in organization, cleaning, and helping customers find items.
2. His Little Ones Pregnancy Support Services – 500 Peterson Drive, Lumberton – Open Tuesdays from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. Assist with gathering the items needed by the women and children coming for counseling. Also helping to dust or vacuum, organizing the donations, listing the weekly needs, taking out the trash, etc.
3. Agape Pregnancy Support Services – Directly behind McDonalds in Elizabethtown. Tuesdays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Assist with gathering the items needed by the women and children coming for counseling. Also helping to dust or vacuum, organizing the donations, listing the weekly needs, taking out the trash, etc.
4. Lumberton Christian Care (Soup Kitchen) – 305 1st St., Lumberton. Serve meals Monday – Friday from 10:30-11:30
5. Meals on Wheels – Mohr Plaza, 5th St. & MLK Dr., Lumberton. Picking up about 10-15 meals at 10:30 a.m. from the back door at Mohr Plaza and delivering to elderly residents around the city of Lumberton. There are 3 different routes which run everyday.
6. BackYard Bible Club – Meadow Woods Apartments, behind Food Lion, Fairmont. Saturday from 12 p.m. until 2 p.m. An opportunity to share devotions and pray with the community. We setup a portable basketball goal and small outdoor games for children of all ages. We offer sidewalk chalk and encourage their artistic talents. We also offer crafts. We serve lunch for those who participate and listen to the devotion/bible story.

Everyone who participates will get a free “Love is a Verb” T-shirt while supplies last (new order coming in on Tuesday)

I can hear it now: “Vertical pays people to come to their church!” You know, it’s foolish thinking like this that keeps people from growing spiritually and taking chances on helping people meet Jesus. This project is risky for us – we don’t have the money to throw away. BUT HEAR THIS: I TRULY FEEL LIKE WE INVESTED IN THE SPIRITUAL LIVES OF OUR PEOPLE TODAY.  I believe this week they will be challenged, stretched and changed in Jesus Name. I am praying that God will use our faith to show people in our region that Jesus loves them, that some Jesus followers care about them and that there is a church that wants to help them find life in Him. Most of all I hope that our church learns that God wants us to give to others until we HURT. May God set off a spirit of giving and generosity that changes this region for HIS glory!!

If you have any questions you can contact us at info@govertical.org

What else happened today?

  • We began our new service schedule – 9 am and 11 am. I thought that the 9 am service was absolutely off the chain! We have actually been doing a 9 am ever since day 1 of VC for our VTeams so it didn’t seem that different. I think the big thing was that we didn’t have to rush through that service. The energy in the service was awesome.
  • Our teams knocked it out of the park with the new schedule. Honestly, it was like this WASN’T our 1st day on this schedule. It is such a blessing to serve with people who do things right. The Vertical Team is so amazing.
  • Once again, seeing new people serving jaks me up!!! So proud of all our new team members.
  • We began our new series, “The Office”. Donnie kicked this one off in a big way. Over the next 3 weeks we are planning to help everyone of you to find spiritual purpose in everything you do work wise – DO NOT MISS any of these weeks!
  • I think it’s incredible that as we talk about finding spiritual purpose in work that people were saved.
  • Many new faces in the house again today. I am SO THANKFUL to be a part of a church that every week is someone’s first week.
  • Announced Bladen NOW (Night of Worship). Yes, it is true that we are praying about planting a Vertical Church in Bladen County. I believe there are plenty of people in the area who believe in Jesus but need a new expression of Jesus’ church in order to meet Him personally. Sunday Night, November 13th is a day where we’ll explore what He might be doing in us and through us.
  • Worship today was incredible. I hope that Jon will be posting about that on his blog. The whole set was filled with current favs of mine. Totally loving “Your Mercy Reigns” – LOVE THAT TUNE!

So much happened today… great worship, great services and great connections – but that’s all I want to talk about tonight. I am prayerfully hoping that today set a new course for many of our people. Hallelujah! More about this ALL WEEK.