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Archive for June, 2012

Live Today Like It’s Your Last

Today I was reminded of how precious and brief life can be. I stood at the scene of a serious car accident in which some very close members of our church were involved – one of which, an 8 year old, was air-lifted to NC Children’s Hospital in Chapel Hill with head trauma. Next I stood in a room with a friend and wept as I listened to his father, a great man of God and a pastor, pray over the body of his recently deceased wife, my friends mom. Both of these happened within an hour of each other.

Life is precious and brief. Please pray miracle healing for Alex Hammond (8 years old-head trauma) and his parents, Jason and Laci. Lift up Pastor Vernon Britt, who lost his wife to cancer, along with his son Jay and daughter, Sherri.

Have you told those closest to you how much you love them? Have you made peace with God, asking Him to forgive your sin and receiving His salvation? I am begging you today – turn from your sin and yourself – turn TO JESUS. May we not be deceived-none of us are guaranteed the next second.

(Matthew 24:42-44 ESV)[37] For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. [38] For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, [39] and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. [40] Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. [41] Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left.[42] Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. [43] But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. [44] Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

What God Needs from a Worship Leader

Prior to Vertical Church I was a worship leader for 13 years. As a worship leader the tension I found myself dealing with was getting beyond the challenge of programming for JESUS rather than people. If you plan worship long enough you will eventually get to the place where you will be challenged by the desire to program in a way that achieves the desired results of the music. But the truth is…

What God needs from me as a worship leader isn’t good music – He desires a leader who can present supernatural worship.

Our music should be set apart and anointed by God. When we lead worship, that worship needs to hold within it the supernatural - the presence of JESUS, the power to break through all the junk that people bring into the house from their week. Let’s face it – they come in from all different places in life: some worshpers, some seekers; some broken hearted, some wholehearted; some offering all they have, some giving God one more chance.

We shouldn’t… NO! WE CAN’T just half-heartedly walk into worship acting as if we’re doing God a favor by showing up. This is especially huge for the worship leader, singer, band member and A/V tech – but you know it’s also important for the believer sitting in the congregation. After all, prayer and worship is not for God’s benefit (He doesn’t need our worship – He has created beings who were made for the purpose of worship who have and will worship Him for eternity). Worship and prayer is for our benefit drawing us closer and into the presence of our Father.

I am so thankful for the worship leaders God has given us at Vertical Church. One thing that I know that they understand is this concept – they demonstrate it weekly. But for all of my worship leader friends out there who read, maybe you need some encouragement in this area. May we all remember that what we do in woship is not entertainment – it’s our spiritual act of worship, singing to the ONE, the only ONE Who holds the power to break the chains that people have in their lives.

Sunday Nite (June 24)

I feel so repetitive on Sunday nights when I say this but we had an Unbelievable day at Vertical Church. I CANNOT BELIEVE THAT I GET TO DO THIS! Every weekend as we gather at the Cinema Four Theaters and see that place converted by the most amazing church planting team in America I am just blown away. I had a conversation this morning where I was reminded of the way that I RESISTED this call on my life for so long not willing to trusting God. I praise Him this evening that He didn’t give my blessing to someone else before I had time to surrender to that call. I love You, Lord… thank you SO much for not giving up on me!

Here’s what’s on my heart tonight:

  • We began our brand new series, “The End is Near” this morning. We are spending the next 3 weeks discussing what the Bible teaches about the end of the world.
  • Today’s message was Jesus’ words about the end to His disciples as found in Matthew 24 and was titled, “The World will end on _______?” We talked about missed end-times predictions and what Jesus Himself taught on the matter.
  • We spent a little time thinking about last year’s “The world will end on May 21st” and why people would throw their life away following someone who had already falsely predicted the end in 1994? This is especially confusing if you know what Jesus personally taught about when the world will end.
  • The thing that bothers me about all of this is that some people get so caught up in knowledge, numerology and signs – finding things in a book that no one else has seen in 2000 years – they get so caught up in this stuff that they FAIL TO BELIEVE to the ONE who holds all of the answers to these things: JESUS.
  • Jesus disciples asked Him, “what are the signs that the end? How will we know?” Jesus knew these guys – He knew their heart just as HE knows our heart as well. He gets that we’re always looking for the shortcut. He knows that rather than live healthy we’d rather take the miracle pill that helps us lose weight. He knows that rather than live pure we want a DEFINITIVE LINE drawn in the sand about what’s right and what’s wrong. And rather than live our life as if the end is truly near, we want to know HOW NEAR the end is so we can be ready when He comes back.
  • Focusing on the signs takes our focus off the Son.
  • You can listen to the message HERE.
  • People were saved today!!!! I hope we never get used to people giving their hearts and lives to Jesus.
  • I had some incredible conversations and opportunities to pray today.
  • I love preaching at Vertical Church. Amen.
  • Worship was incredible today!!! Jon was off today – Justin was our lead worshiper today and dude straight brought it! He and Karla-Beth’s harmonies were just incredible and were so spirit-filled and led – I don’t know that I have ever been more proud of them. Karla-Beth led “Let Your Kingdom Reign” and it was so powerful… Vertical Worship was rounded-off today with John Astle, Joey Hinson (1st time on guitar), Christoph on bass and Andrew on drums. Tight, rockin’ and anointed.
  • Music today: “Exalted One” (Elevation Worship), “One Thing Remains” (Jesus Culture), “Let Your Kingdom Reign”.
  • As a pastor that understands the importance of excellent, Spirit-led worship, I am SO THANKFUL and proud of the work that Jon, Rhonda, Robby and Justin have brought to our church to create loud, passionate worship. Hallelujah!
  • Tonight was our monthly All-Staff meeting. So proud of the leaders that God has placed around us and the opportunity to lead. I don’t feel worthy.

Let’s have an incredible week everyone. I love you all.

The World is Going to End on ______?

Be honest: When you saw the predictions last year that the world was going to end on May 21st, did it make you think?

I know, mostly you thought “these people are crazy”. But if you are like me, the thought DID cross your mind, “what if the world DID end on May 21st? Am I ready? Have I done the things I need to do, had the conversations I need to have? What if the end is near?” It is.

When the date came and passed the man/organization recalculated and decided that the ultimate judgment day would happen on October 21st, five months later. We’re still here. By the way, they are not the first people to falsely predict the end of the world.

Here’s the deal: Even though this group and so many others have missed on their predictions, the Bible does teach that the world as we know it will come to an end. Does it say when? Do we know how? How will we know when the end is near? Most importantly, what does JESUS have to say about it?

This weekend we will begin a new series titled, “The End is Near”. Knowing that people have so many questions about who, what, where, where, why and how – we will take our best shot at helping you understand what God has shared with us in the matter. Don’t miss Week One this weekend, “The World is going to end on _______?”

Whenever the end date is, one thing for sure, we are closer now than we have ever been! Don’t miss it and bring a friend!

Sunday Nite (Man Fest 2012 Edition)

I continue to be blown away by what we get to do! You would think that after almost 16 months of doing this I would get used to this. By the way, 16 months?!? Where has the time gone? Regardless, I am SO thankful that we have had the opportunity to be a part of bringing a life-giving, Gospel preaching, joy filled church to our region!

I hope you made it to “Man Fest 2012″ but if you missed it, here’s what you missed:

  • Our final week of the “Man vs. Woman” series. This has been a powerful 5 weeks as we have talked about God’s plan for relationships. We closed the series with a message to our single guys titled, “Where My Dog’s At?”
  • Why a message to single dudes on Father’s Day? This message was truly a challenge to all men but I hit from the single guy perspective, speaking into their lives about the characteristic of a Godly man.
  • I jumped with the question “how many of you, if a person were describing you, would be described as a Godly man?” See, Godly man is not a descriptor that you place on yourself – Godly man is a title that you earn. The term Christian you receive by grace – but the title of Godly man is one that’s placed on you… It’s placed on you when a person looks at you and they see Jesus IN you.
  • My goal for the message,I want to share through the scriptures how a Godly man operates in this world. Most guys have no instructions on how to do this!
  • I am so thankful for the men that, as a new believer, took me under their wing and set the bar high in my life in what God expected of me as a husband, father and man. Still don’t know that I have achieved the title I long for but I am certainly striving for that. As I said, you don’t assume the title nor can you fake your way into it – It is placed upon you.
  • Remember, What seems insignificant to you may be at the center of God’s plan. Ruth was just going to get some food, meets a man, they get married, have a child who was the father of the King of Israel who over 1,000 years later the Messiah, the Savior of the world was born from his bloodline.
  • We finished the message with a video from Craven and Lillie Sealey.Craven and Lillie were with us on the very 1st day of VC – they are not your typical Vertical attenders and they love it! They have done something very few people have done – they are nearing 50 years of marriage. What a great way to end the series but with a model of what I hope for everyone of our people – a long, loving, fruitful, Jesus-centered marriage.
  • The message is not yet on the app or the website but it is on itunes. http://itun.es/isv4hx
  • Outside of the message we had an outstanding service. Brandon Meadows is our service programming director and he killed yesterday. Father’s Day is a tough one for the church. Mother’s Day is one of the high attendance days in the church, Father’s Day is not. It takes a lot of planning and prep to make the day as it should be.
  • Brandon truly called in a lot of favors, made bunches of phone calls and created a Father’s Day extravaganza. A Nascar, challenge games for the men to see who is better, biscuits, Harley Davidson’s, classic cars, exotic stuffed animals onstage, Boar and Deer heads, stuffed turkeys and bobcats… yesterday’s set up totally had a testosterone driven feel.
  • Shout out to Scottie Jackson for making the cars happen for us yesterday. That dude knocked it out the park!!! Who else can you call and say, “we need a Nascar” and they actually can come through for you?!?
  • Hate it if you missed Steve Allen’s sweet Harley. I really thought that someone was giving that to me for Father’s Day (grin).
  • Robby Gaddy started up the message with a very applicable song to end our Man vs Woman series, The Georgia Sattellite’s 80′s hit, “Keep Your Hands to Yourself”. I think, given yesterday’s subject, it was quite applicable. Pretty sure he caught people off guard with his lead vocal on that one – not me. I have always known Robby could do that. Growing up as a musician I always looked up to Robby as a musician and a singer. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE seeing him grow more comfortable in his role at Vertical church and seeing growth in him as a worshiping musician every weekend. The way that dude worships Jesus with a guitar is absolutely inspiring.
  • Jon, Justin, Robby, Joey and Mike brought a great set yesterday musically that included a new song, “Rise” from Hillsong (Madie and I love this one) and “Aftermath”. 2nd service that song totally slammed me!
  • It really was a great day – so much excellence across the place.
  • I look forward to a day when dad’s across our region truly feel from their heart that the perfect start to their Father’s Day is to worship with their family at church! That will happen when Godly men inhabit the region. I believe that day is coming.
  • Next Sunday we begin our new series about the end times titled, “The End is Near”.

Thank you to everyone who made yesterday a success in all of our areas! I love you all!