I love my Jesus. I love my church.
We had an epic day at Vertical. Everything about today reminded me WHY we started the kind of church that we did – to help people who don’t like church meet Jesus Christ. I praise Him for entrusting us with this blessing – may we always bring Him glory in our words AND actions. Here’s what’s on my heart tonight:
- Powerful morning as we entered the house for Week 3 of Uncensored Truth about Eternity. There was an energy in the house that I have to believe was related to amount of prayer that went into this morning’s service. So thankful for the people who pray for our services, pray over our facilities and do all they can to make sure that there is a palpable presence of the Holy Spirit on that theater. We are engaged in a spiritual process week by week – it’s supernatural – may we never take that for granted.
- Today’s message was titled, “Uncensored Truth about Hell”. I believe that today’s message was the hardest that I have EVER had to preach. I believe I gave the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I walked into this service determined to help my people understand what the bible teaches about hell. I didn’t mince words, at times it was very tense and I didn’t enjoy sharing it. We cannot talk about eternal life in heaven without sharing the reality of a literal, eternal hell. The most unloving thing that we could do is not deliver this tough message.
- Hell is not imagery or mythical. It’s a literal place and I bet you didn’t know that Jesus spoke about it more than He did about heaven.
- It breaks my heart to know that I have stood before many caskets of people, knowing that their soul has gone on and that some of those people did not go into the presence of Jesus but that instead they found themselves in hell.
- What about people who have never heard the Gospel, will they go to hell? Yes. But may we never forget (1 Timothy 2:4 ESV) [God] who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. Also, we are reminded that our God “is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance (2 Peter 3:9). I have heard countless stories from countries that are closed to the Gospel where people who have NEVER heard the Gospel or about Jesus have a dream about the Messiah, about Jesus, wake up, repent and are saved and begin to preach. These people don’t even have bibles but they’re telling people about the Savior. They end up running into a Christian, whether native or missionary who fills them in on this Jesus they’ve been preaching, baptize them, give them a bible. God is perfectly able to bypass the “normal” channels to accomplish his purposes. Salvation is only through Jesus but The message of Jesus goes out so many ways… missionaries, technologies, internet, publishing, an angel can show up, God can show up. Our God is THE Righteous Judge – I trust Him fully with this.
- Remember, Jesus died on the cross FOR us, not so that He had reason to punish us.
- People DID walk out of the 11am service. I don’t know if they were offended, sick, no idea.That doesn’t please me in any way… however, I am encouraged that they heard what I truly believe what Jesus and the bible teach about the horrors of hell. I prayerfully trust that God will use this teaching in these people’s lives.
- Sometimes the truth hurts. Better to be hurt by the truth than caught off guard because of our own ignorance about that truth.
- The questions that people inboxed me after the service were priceless – this is why I do what I do.
- I answered the question, “What happens to those who commit suicide?” Lots of people struggled with my answer because so many have taught what I believe to be error in reference to the scriptures on this subject. I believe that we are saved by grace through faith and that nothing can take us out of His hands once we TRULY believe.
- Last week I asked Vertical on facebook to inbox me any questions they had about heaven and hell. Most of the questions that we used this morning came directly from that. You guys asked some awesome (and challenging) questions. Next week we will complete the series with the heaven Q&A you all asked so keep them coming. Inbox me your questions.
- I would encourage you to check out the message on our website or on the Vertical App.
- One of my guys (David Collins) posted on facebook after the service: “My pastor and friend poured out this morning on the reality of hell, but I left knowing how much he loves people.” I can ask for nothing more.
- The service was just incredible. Jon, Justin, Robby and Vertical Worship just brought a smoking set. My man Brad Davis (a longtime friend) filled in on drums this morning all the way from Myrtle Beach. Dude was KILLER!!! So impressed (and jealous as a drummer). For real though, very proud of how far Brad has come as a drummer as I haven’t heard him play in 20 years. It was worth the wait. He was joined by Christoph on bass and Karla-Beth on vocals.
- Songs: Exalted One (Elevation), Our King Has Come (Elevation), Forever Changed (Eddie Kirkland/North Point), Hosanna (Hillsong).
- One of our biggest days numerically ever at VC! Hope they come back after what they heard (grin). Here are a few pics by Bree.
- Saturday our VTeams met at Camp Grace for an appreciation party. We were led in worship by our friends “Revision 1″, split into teams for an Amazing Race type challenge (my team lost – yes, I am bitter) and ate some wonderful food. Thanks to John Paul and his team for making this night so special for all of us. VERTICAL VTEAMS: WE LOVE YOU ALL – YOU ARE VERTICAL.
- CANNOT WAIT FOR OUR NEXT SERIES THAT WE TEASED TODAY, “MAN vs. WOMAN” (May 20). With so many fighting IN their relationships, we’re gonna talk about how to fight FOR your marriage and relationships. This will be a series for everyone – not just married people. It’s gonna be killer – you’ve never heard such frank and honest church about marriage and relationships in the church.
- YES, we will definitely be talking about sex as well.
I love you all – thank you for the opportunity to do life with you all.