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Archive for March, 2015

So Many Yeses! This Sunday…

The “YES!” has been a landmark series for us with so many decisions, so many big steps, so many commitments


This Sunday we are going to look at our final YES (and chill… it has nothing to do with money).

The vision of Vertical Church is “to help people who don’t like church meet God.”

The mission of Vertical Church is “to lead people to become passionate about Jesus so they can lead others to Jesus.”

This Sunday we will see through an often misunderstood parable that Jesus taught how your personal YES makes both of these possible. I’m telling you – this is a finale that I have been looking forward to since we started!!!


“They Said, ‘YES!’” Testimony Video

Sunday we showed a testimony video that rocked people’s heart to the core. We brought some of the members of Vertical’s Launch team together to reminisce about our humble beginnings. Cool part was they did not know they were coming to a video shoot. Where it went from there was powerful.

You Like My King’s English? (This Sunday at Vertical)

What a week we’ve had Sharing the Love around our region. I love hearing your stories – keep them coming!!!

I told you last Sunday that this Sunday may be my favorite Sunday EVER at Vertical. I’m telling you that it is a CAN’T MISS SUNDAY! Gotta conflict? Reschedule. Migraine? Come to church and have the leaders pray over you. Surgery? Postpone to Monday.

It is THAT important that you not miss this Sunday at Vertical Church!!

Here’s a few things you should bring:

  1. An open, expectant heart. The way that we arrive often influences the way that we receive. I want to challenge you to pray over the next couple of days that God would help you to peel away another layer so that you can get to your “YES!”
  2. A friend. You should always strive to bring someone because every week holds the potential of life change. Remember, “Relationships Make the Difference.” You are the connector (reconciler – remember Week 2?) between someone in your life and God.
  3. Tissues. I just need to point out that many of you won’t be wearing long sleeves because today is the first day of spring (YAY!!!) It will be really awkward when rivers of snot floweth from thou noseth and you have nowhere to wipeth (You like my king’s English?)

Seriously, DO NOT MISS SUNDAY! #cantwait

Our Big Announcement (New Locations, Ministries and More)

This past Sunday was Week 2 of our “YES!” Series. We truly feel that this series is one of those defining moments in the life of our church and that God is calling us to say “YES!” to some very specific things concerning our church, our towns, our region.

We believe that each of these “YES” decisions have been placed there, by God, for a reason: There are people IN OUR LIVES that God is asking us to say “YES!” to.

2Cor 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
v. 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave US the ministry of reconciliation…
v. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors (explain – “remember WHO you represent”), as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

Every bit of this is about people meeting JESUS. (Isaiah 6:8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”)

Here’s what we are saying “YES” to:

  • Vertical University – University of North Carolina at Pembroke. We believe that God is saying “YES!” to a third Vertical location, this one located in Pembroke, NC. We’ve been in talks with local church leaders, facilities and others and everything just points to YES! We have been blessed to be the church home of many UNCP students over the last few years and cannot wait to partner with them to help people who don’t like church in the Pembroke area meet Jesus. Lord willing, we are planning to launch this location on August 23rd – the first weekend after UNCP students begin classes.
  • Vertical Lumberton. We are exploring new opportunities for our Lumberton location and there actually at this time are a few. We love the theater and it has been good to us but we sense God telling us, “it’s time to go to Zarephath.” (1Kings 17:7-8 – I explain this in the message that you can hear on iTunes or the Vertical App). Ultimately, I believe this is our call to say “YES!” and trust God and be willing to go to the next place that He will provide for us. We will keep you in the know as news becomes available.
  • Vertical Bladen. We are so excited about the things that we have seen JESUS do at Vertical Bladen. Just a few weeks ago we saw 6 people say “YES!” to Jesus through baptism. Every week we are amazed as we look at the people He has brought to us and we know we are just getting started to “help people who don’t like church (in Bladen County) meet God.” One of our recent opportunities to say “YES!” in Bladen was the opening of our Bladen Headquarters in downtown Elizabethtown. Our reason is simple: as a mobile church we wanted to have a “home” in Bladen County. Our Bladen HQ gives us office space, space for various small groups, Partnership meetings, and other functions. It also gives us an excuse to eat at favorites like Burney’s and Melvin’s.
  • FUZE Bladen, our student ministry, will begin in May. Last night (Wednesday, March 11th), 27 Vertical Fuze Leaders and students gathered to dream, plan and pray. We currently have over 100 students per week meeting at FUZE Lumberton, being loved on by leaders and led to the truth that Jesus loves them immensely. We cannot wait for a day in the near future where hundreds of Bladen County students have the opportunity to meet Jesus through our FUZE ministry. Another HUGE Bladen “YES!”

    FUZE Bladen students and leaders praying over their mission field

  • OTHER POSSIBLE VERTICAL LOCATIONS. When we started Vertical Church it was never to start A church – we have always believed that our calling was to be a church that will start churches (that will start churches). I truly believe that God wants to turn SE North Carolina upside down for His glory and not just through us. I believe a movement has been born. There are churches that are able to do things BECAUSE we are here – conversations that are being had that would not be possible if we didn’t do what we do. I am thankful for that. But the thing that breaks my heart is that there are so many people who just don’t do church and not because they don’t believe about God. It is our vision to help people in this place to meet God. It is our mission to help them to fall in love with Jesus and to change their world. It is for this reason that we are committed to saying “YES!” to open doors that the Lord brings to us. Working to help Church Planters plant in small towns – “YES.” Helping to start churches that aren’t Vertical Churches that are DIFFERENT than us to reach people we would not reach – “YES.” Opening New Vertical Locations in small towns where there is an opportunity – “YES.” WE HAVE A DESIRE TO SEE CHURCHES IN PLACES THAT MOST PLANTERS DON’T WANT TO GO.

I recently received this story in my inbox that reminds us WHY we do, WHAT we do:

“Mike, I brought someone to church Sunday that had never been to church in their life. Never exposed to any kind of religion, Jesus , theology, ect….they were very nervous, scared and not sure how to act. I was sitting there listening to you and finally could hear you through the eyes of someone that doesn’t know church at all and what you sound like to them…. It was perfect. Growing up in church and being spoon fed Jesus, theology, church politics (“religion”), I thought Vertical was too “let me hold your hand” or “let me explain why we do what we do…”. I was wrong. I get it now. I get Vertical.  Being able to see the empathy in what you guys do just… I didn’t understand how important it was to create a safe environment for folks. Anyhow, my friend was very surprised. They expected you to be egotistical. They said you weren’t scared to say what you struggle with too. And Instead of “do this and do that!!” they were exposed to truth and Jesus. They are now looking for a church in their area like ours. Anyway I just wanted to share and say I get it and I get why Vertical is like it is.”

THIS is why we are willing to say YES to the things we feel that GOD is saying YES to.

I told our church that THIS COMING SUNDAY (March 15) we’re gonna show the world that when we say, “YES!”, we mean it!! If you miss this Sunday you are going to miss out on one of the most incredible movements in the history of this church!!! We are going to do something, together as a body, that is going to impact this region in a very practical way. Can’t wait to share it with you.

What If God Already Said, “YES!”?

We are all sick of seeing this baby… but he’s cute, he’s on a beach, and he is straight up saying, “YES!”

I wonder if you’ve ever said, “no”, to something that you knew that you were supposed to say, “yes”, to?

In this past Sunday’s message I shared the story of how God kept trying to get my attention about the church that He wanted me to go to but I kept saying, “no”. Not once or twice, but FIVE TIMES. God was right, I was wrong – WAY wrong. I am so thankful that I eventually opened my heart to what God had been saying “YES!” to the whole time.  (You can here the whole message HERE)


I have found through the years that I am quite adept at suppressing the “YES!”:

  • “Go talk to that person about ME.” Our answer: that person looks really intimidating and I don’t really know them so, that probably isn’t God saying that… (“no.”)
  • “I want you to be more than just an attender – I want you to be a part of what I AM doing in this church.” Our answer: I know that I should, but, that would dramatically change the way my Sunday’s are, and, well, I LIKE the way my Sunday’s are so I’m not saying no, I’m saying, not now… (“no.”)
  • “Bless that person over there – take care of their purchase.”  Our answer: You know, God, cash is kind of tight this month. And besides, that would be weird so… (“no.”)

In the Bible passage I shared Sunday, the widow said “no” to a God-given directive that He had already said “yes” to in her heart.

“Go at once to Zarephath in the region of Sidon and stay there. I have directed a widow there to supply you with food.

Would you willingly continue down that path?

What if you realized that you were saying “no” to something that God had already said “YES!” to in your heart? It has happened to me on multiple occasions. Would you willingly continue down that path?

I wonder what God wants you to do that you continue to say “no” to? Maybe you are waiting on a miracle – what if God is waiting on you to say, “YES!” so that He can DO the miracle?!? What if the miracle is found within the “YES!”

I am praying for you this week that you will prayerfully consider whether or not you are saying “no” to things that God has said “YES!” to in your heart/life.

PS: This weekend we will be sharing all of the prayers that we have been praying and what we believe God is saying “Yes” to, including our next location. I hope that you will join us – it’s gonna be an exciting day!