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Archive for December, 2012

A Picture in my Grammie’s Home

This picture is very special to me.

It first belonged to my Great Grandparents, John and Ann Chizmar. I didn’t know my Great Grandmother but I did know my great grandfather, John. We called him Dzidia (pronounced Zeda), which is Polish for Grandpa. He immigrated to America from Czechoslovakia when my Grammie was a little girl. I remember going to his house in Madison, Maine, as a little boy. I remember him always giving me those orange peanut shaped candies. I also remember that he had a mysterious upstairs that I wasn’t allowed to go to. My cousins Julie and Alan told me it was because it was haunted.

It’s a special picture but not necessarily because Dzidia owned it. The reason this picture is so special is because it hung in Grammie’s house my whole life. Those of you who are close to me know how much Grammie and Grampie meant to me – they both went to be with the Lord in 2011.

We visited Grammie about a week before she died and it was during this visit that this picture became a topic of conversation. She pointed it out to me and said, “when I die this picture goes to you.” Of course – me being the “Preacher” in the family, it makes sense that she figured I wanted it. I did.

As we looked at the picture I asked them all, Keyna, Madison, Matt and Grammie, if they knew what the picture was. Answers abounded and in that moment I had the opportunity to have a teachable moment as I taught what the picture and the scripture that it captured.

I hope you are looking for teachable moments in the rhythm of your life and family. They are there – may we have eyes to see them.

Jesus’ Parent’s had Everything to do with It!

[52] And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man. (Luke 2:52) I think HIS PARENTS had EVERYTHING to do with it.

I was at Keyna’s school one evening last week. They were having Parent/teacher night and the teacher next door comes in and says to her, “I want to introduce you to someone.” and proceeds to introduce her to the little brother of one of her students. He was 5. This kid was amazing. He spoke eloquently. He asked intelligent questions, not the questions of a kindergartener. They said he could read just as well as his 3rd grade sister.

How does that happen? First off, God has given this young man a gift, right? A gift of intelligence and understanding. But mark my words, this gift is grown, increased and cultivated by his parents. “Here, read this book.” “Hey, go to this website and play this learning game.” Talking to him. Teaching him. Asking him questions. Showing others just how smart he is.

The scripture teaches that as a young man Jesus had many questions about God and the scriptures, and that the reason that Jesus had some incredible answers that He had obviously spent much time thinking about had everything to do with His parents living out something God gave to His people thousands of years earlier:

(Deuteronomy 6:4-9 ESV)[4] “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. [5] You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. [6] And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. [7] You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

You see what God is telling them, right? Teach your children to love God – and do it all the time! Talk to them about this when you are sitting around, when you’re walking, when you’re driving down the road. Tell them about it when they are going to bed, when they are eating breakfast, when they’re getting out of the car to go to school.

I want my kidz to be impacted by the truth of the Gospel – that God loves them – that God is FOR them – that God will forgive them of their sin and that the message of Christmas is that God sent His Son to RESCUE THEM! This knowledge doesn’t “just happen”, it’s intentional!!!  Nothing matters more than my kidz knowing I LOVE Jesus. Nothing matters more than my kidz knowing I love them unconditionally…Nothing matters more than my kids having an authentic relationship with God. And if I’m living ORANGE, my kidz will know this NOT JUST because they heard it at church – they will know it because their parents have done everything they could to help their children love God because they taught it to them all the time.

Jesus’ parents taught Him and He grew in wisdom and stature. They had everything to do with it and you know what, we do too.

Sunday Nite (December 9)

Short one tonite everyone!!! So ready for sleep! But before I do just had to tell you about THE ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC DAY that we had at Vertical Church. It was “Orange Sunday” at VC – what does that mean?

  • Orange is our family ministry strategy at Vertical. It’s combining the light of the church (yellow) with the love of the family (red). We celebrated that strategy and God’s work among our children and families today. We did that by bring vKidz to “BIG CHURCH”.
  • Our team went all out converting our church into a candy land of epic proportions. There was “candy” everywhere!!! 3 foot suckers – giant candy bars – HUGE gumballs… it was “SWEEEETT!!
  • I hope we can get pics up soon! Tag me with pics you took today at Vertical if you have some.
  • As I said, We moved all of our kidz ministry into the big room today. Our purpose: to share with our church what happens in our kidz ministries. We have some of the most committed and outstanding workers in our vKidz ministry. Our church saw that today.
  • All i could think as we watched it was that I wish church was like that when I was younger. I might not have been 27 before I met Jesus. So very glad that my kidz love Jesus and love the church.
  • Our church had the opportunity to be reminded that loving God is fun!! We laughed, some cried – most of us were VERY challenged.
  • My message today was titled, “An Orange Kind of Christmas”. I talked to our church about the ONE organization in the world that God has commanded to teach young people about Him. It sounded a lot like I was talking about the Church. Though the church does teach people about God, the Church is not the organization commanded to teach young people about God – The Family is.
  • “Teach your kidz to love Jesus – and do it all the time.”
  • Our music was kid infused. A little Fee Band “Rise and Sing”, some Christmas Carols and a WHOLE LOT OF KIDZ singing like crazy about the King of all kings.
  • It was great to see the GREAT teaching our pre-schoolers get on a weekly basis.
  • Our Upstreet (K-5) Production was so good, so funny and so TRUE. I love seeing our kidz learning about “Compassion” in such an applicable way.

Big shout out to McGee, Lynn, Penny, Joey and all of the vKidz leaders!!! We love you all and thank you for loving our kidz. See you all online here this week. Let’s make it count.

Sunday Nite (Dec 2)

Yesterday was one of those days that is just hard to describe to people…

from Twitter

mike pittman @mikepittman

One of those days that makes me say “wow! Can’t believe I GET to do this!” I love Jesus – I love you Vertical Church.#FORbladen

When we launched VC 21 months ago it was already the greatest journey of my life. But yesterday… “sheesh!” I love the journey that God has allowed me to be on.

We finished the day at our Vertical Bladen Christmas Service at the Traxx in Bladenboro (more about that in a minute) and one by one the people left until it was just Keyna, Donnie, Karen and myself, and he looks at me and says, “thank you for letting me be a part of this!” This dude, led by God, laid it all on the line for this dream in the same way that I did and he’s gonna thank me?!? I have no more skin in this game than he, Brandon or Joey; we all took the same step of faith. Thank you guys for believing. It was worth it.

Yesterday was incredible – I hope you experienced it. If you didn’t, here’s what you missed:

  • This was the last week of our “Forgotten Words” series. Today’s FW: LOYALTY.
  • True loyalty is proven, not proclaimed. Anybody can say they will or would do something but the truth is we never know what we will do until we find ourselves in that situation. We looked at Peter’s proclamation from Matthew 26 that, even if I must die with you I will never allow these things to happen. Jesus told him, not only will you turn your back on me, you will do it 3 times before the rooster crows in the morning. He did.
  • I am learning to never say never. I hope you are learning this with me.
  • We looked at the truth that disloyalty is born in a divided heart. I repented for my divided heart yesterday – many joined me in that decision.
  • Does your heart wholly belong to the Lord? Be careful how you answer that. May we become the kind of followers who do not make excuses for their sin; “but everyone struggles with that, Mike.” So what? Does that make it acceptable?
  • We ended the message by examining our hearts according to James 4:8-10. What an INCREDIBLE passage of scripture.
  • We had a really big announcement yesterday morning, our newest church plant: STEEL CITY CHURCH.
  • About 11 months ago our Worship Arts Pastor, Jon Lloyd, shared at the end of a Lead Team meeting that God was calling his family to plant a church in Pittsburgh, PA. It automatically clicked for me that this was from the Lord. Jon, Nikki and the kids will be relocating this summer. We will miss them but rejoice in God continuing to fulfill His original call to us to be a church that plants churches. May many, many more be born of this endeavor.
  • One thing about having a call of church multiplication on your ministry: you learn to hold loosely to things and people who often bring you comfort. You repent of self-preservation and continually rely on the God for your provision. Uncomfortable? Sure. But there is NOTHING like giving for the glory of God!
  • The service was SO good, well, in my opinion. Opening song was appropriate, “Go” by Hillsong United (“we’re giving it all away, away!!! Giving it all to go Your way!”). Next Jon sang the verse/chorus of “Nothing but the Blood of Jesus” segueing into “One Thing Remains” by Jesus Culture. We ended the music portion of the service with Hillsong’s “Forever Reign”. Vertical Worship was incredible yesterday.
  • Which begs the question, “where does Jon’s impending departure leave Vertical Worship?” We have an incredible transition plan in place that will allow Jon to concentrate on being a church planting intern. We will talk more about this soon. Jon will be missed but Vertical Worship will not only be fine, Vertical Worship will continue to grow and break new ground in worship ministry.
  • So great to have my friend, @adamherod, at Vertical yesterday. It was so great spending lunch with he, his wife Misty and the kids. I have not seen Adam since March of 2009 though we keep in touch online. When we took that trip together in 09 I was broken over God’s calling to start Vertical. It was the Lord Who put that trip together and used it to discover some deep things about my calling. Love Adam and his heart for the Gospel.
  • As mentioned earlier, we had a special service last night at Vertical Bladen called, “A Vertical Bladen Christmas”. What a very special evening in Bladenboro. A few thoughts about that are it was GREAT to see Vertical Bladen team rising up and serving THEIR CHURCH last night! Just makes my heart soar. Also, the Christmas music was so good – hearing our church sing in that smaller setting was touching. The room looked incredible (it was VERY “Vertical”), the goodies were delicious (if you didn’t eat those white chocolate oreo fudge things… DANG! I’m glad because I ate yours!). We celebrated communion together in a very special way. Vertical Bladen is going to be a very special move of God.
  • My message last night, “Good News for ALL People” was not only a Christmas message, but for me, a timely word about WHY we HAVE TO DO what we are doing in Bladen County.
  • We looked at the proclamation in Luke 2 to shepherds, from angels, that the message they carried is “Good news of great joy for all the people.” Why is it then that most people outside of the church do not see our message as being Good News?
  • We spent a few minutes looking at Jeremiah 29:7: [7] But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. We are praying FOR Bladen County. We are praying FOR Bladen people. We are praying FOR Bladen Churches and their pastor’s. There are some great churches doing great ministry in Bladen. First Dublin is not only a blessing to their community but are connected to international ministry in Moldova. Pastor Cameron is leading them so greatly! Pastor Jason at Galeed leads a ministry that ministers to hundreds of children in Bladen schools. Last night as we were about to start I saw the Galeed bus drive by with kids on it that attend Sunday night Awana and it made me smile and thank God for their foray into the community. New Light is on fire!! Pastor Chris over at Living Springs is a visionary leader and a friend. We are praying with and for these churches and more. We are praying FOR Bladen’s economy, FOR Bladen’s children, FOR Bladen’s schools, “for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” If you are from Bladen County, are a Christian, don’t attend Vertical Church but are reading this right now, as I type these words, you are being prayed for right now in this moment, I speak blessings, peace and unity over you, your family and the church that you attend. As I pray for you, I pray for your relationship to your pastor and leaders – may God use you greatly to be a blessing to them. I pray that God would use your church greatly to preach His Word, be a blessing to your community, to make disciples and to speak Good News to all people. I also pray for your individual relationship to “your world”, the place that God has planted you for His glory, whether that be work, home, family, neighborhood – all of the places that you frequent and are invested in. I pray that I would get to know you as a brother or a sister and that you would get to know me. I want you to know my heart – my heart is FOR Bladen county and for the broken, lost, lonely, outcast and forgotten, that they might experience the salvation of Jesus Christ as you and I have. That is all. In Jesus Name.

I love you all. My heart feels as if it is overflowing. Thank You, Jesus.