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Archive for April, 2015

When #nofilter is a Negative

So, the other day I was sharing how it’s time to live our lives with #nofilter. Quit trying to pretend to be someone you aren’t, whether it’s online or in person. Jesus didn’t create us to be unauthentic in our lives, pretending to be the person that we believe others want us to be. That being said, there is a time when #NoFilter can be a negative.

When #NoFilter Living Backfires

There are some people who TOTALLY have no filter and they are a little too proud of it.

  • “The Oversharer.” “Well, you know, I don’t have a filter – I just let it fly like it is!” The oversharer tells you everything that is wrong. Everything that is wrong with them. Everything that is wrong with you. Everything that is wrong with a mutual acquaintance (btw – I don’t care how you frame this part, God calls it gossip and names it as a sin). Hezekiah 7:19 says, “Shut thy mouth!”
  • No, there isn’t a book of Hezekiah. It’s a joke.
  • “Public Pray for Such and Such” Person. I am all for praying for people. #praynowspeaklife. I am especially excited when we utilize our news feed to activate the prayers of people all over the nation/world. That’s not what I am referring to here. “Public Pray for Such and Such Person” is the person that is like, “I want to ask you to pray for my nephew – he’s got a really bad meth problem and they caught him over at a prostitute/drug dealers home the other night…” sharing all of that person’s business in a public forum. When that person hears about the way that you have shared their business to facebook world, they’re going to be very happy with you.
  • “Call You Out without Actually Calling You Out” Person. This is the most common of the group – we all see it all the time on social media. In this category a person makes a very pointed statement about another person but doesn’t actually call their name. The problem with this one is that most of the time the person you are calling out isn’t even paying attention to you but you managed to share your venom with the world.  Proverbs 16:28 A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.
  • …and before you think that I was just ^*^THIS PERSON^*^ I wasn’t. Maybe you did this recently. Be assured, I have literally seen this hundreds of times and this post was formed about 4 weeks ago.

Social Media Isn’t the Place

As you probably know I have teenagers. One of the things that I have tried to teach my kids is we do not use social media to speak our mind and to call people out. This is a lesson that has been taught repeatedly and often needs a refresher course. Sure, we want to be honest, we want to be people who live “without the veil”. But if removing the veil is done at the expense of damaging or hurting others for the sake of clearing your conscious you have missed the point of Unveiled Living and the heart of “Death to Selfie”.

Social media isn’t the place to always remove the veil.

#nofilter

2Cor 3:13 We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away.

But we do, don’t we?

Most of us are skilled at veiling our lives and controlling what it is everyone sees. In the above passage we see Paul explaining how Moses would cover his face from keeping people from seeing that the glory of God was fading away (Exodus 34). In the passage Paul encourages us to see that we are not to hide/veil the glory of God in our lives as God is changing us into the image of Jesus. Do you veil?

The ME I Want You to See.

Do you ever make something or someone seem better than it actually is online? Maybe you can relate to…

  • “More Spiritual Than You Guy” loves to post bible verses to let you know that he is more spiritual than you. He’s not afraid to start online bible arguments and to tell you what’s wrong with you. MSTYG is more spiritual than you and he hopes that you understand that (at least that’s what he thinks). The truth is that MSTYG has a love problem – he loves Jesus, he just doesn’t necessarily love the people Jesus loves.
  • “Got It Together Mom” is better at being a mom than you. The imaginative crafts she does with her kids and posts online are better than yours (do you even do crafts with your kids) and her meals are better and prettier than the hamburger helper you fixed. The truth about GITM is that she struggles with insecurity and feels the need to boost her self-esteem by building up her online image.
  • “Wish You Were Here Poster” doesn’t actually #wishyouwerehere, they just want you to know that they are “here” and you aren’t. WYWHP sometimes is more excited to make you jealous about their trip than actually enjoying the trip itself.
  • “Perfect Marriage Person” has a spouse that “completes” them. They love to share how great their significant other is and can be quite sickening in their over the top post. What hurts is when you find out that PMP doesn’t have a perfect marriage at all but fakes it to make themselves feel better about their imperfect marriage. If they put the effort into their relationship that they put into their online posts they might actually have a better marriage.
WOW… those were kind of harsh, weren’t they. But you know, I’m trying to make a point: Quit trying to pretend to be someone online that you aren’t.Quit trying to impress people you aren’t even connected with. It’s time to stop using a filter on everything in your life. The more that we use filters on our lives the less authentic we are. And that’s not who Jesus created us to be.
16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
#nofilter #forreal

What’s NEXT?

In last week’s message I said, “God didn’t shout His love from heaven, He showed His love on earth when His Son became flesh and blood.” What Jesus did on the cross was the ultimate act of true connectedness. The thing that blows me away is what He asked in return:

“FOLLOW ME.” – Matt 4:19, Mark 1:17

How does a person “follow Jesus”? I think that’s an awesome question that doesn’t get asked enough. I think the most important thing in following God with your life is always moving forward. We never follow by taking backward steps. If you find yourself moving backward, you aren’t following, you’re falling. The best thing you can do to follow is take some great next steps and you can begin that today:

Here are some great NEXT steps:

  1. Begin reading your bible EVERY day. I would begin by reading at least 5 mins, your time there will grow. Use a translation you can actually understand (I vary between NIV, NLT, ESV with a little bit of “the Message” thrown in). You can begin a reading plan HERE. We have 21 day and 100 day reading plans at the NEXT table at both Vertical locations.
  2. Get involved at your local church. Don’t just attend, be a part. The people whose lives are being changed the most are those involved in changing others lives on a weekly basis. If you attend Vertical you need to join a VTeam today and you can begin that process HERE.
  3. Forgive someone whom you have issues with. The greatest hinderance that I see to growth in people’s lives is in the area of unforgiveness. Unforgiveness will stunt your growth like a teenager smoking cigarettes! Seek forgiveness and pray for reconciliation – stop focusing on what’s wrong with others and focus on what’s wrong with you.
  4. Confess secret sin for purpose of breaking its hold on you. Some people can’t move forward because they are carrying something spiritually heavy and rather than confess and repent so they can move on, they choose to hide and conceal. Our care and prayer team (orange tent after the service) is always there to listen and pray with you. Secret sin will always keep you from what’s NEXT.
  5. Examine your habits and environments. Is there anything in your life that causes you to sin? What will it take to remove that temptation from you? Sometimes we have to remove ourselves from things or places that cause us to walk in our old lifestyle.

These 5 things aren’t a very exhaustive list but, for me, these are things that I believe will point us towards what’s NEXT. I do know this to be true: God’s plan for you is GREATER than your plan for you. So take a NEXT step and watch Him move in your life.

I can’t wait for Sunday!!! I hope that you will finally do what you know you need to do.

You Were Hoping I Would Forget…

We live such guarded lives.

I would think that most of us have let someone in emotionally at some point in our lives and allowed them to be a close friend. And I would imagine that most of us have been hurt by people that WE have let in as well. And then it happened again – and again – and again…

At some point the hurt becomes calloused and we, knowingly or unknowingly, put up some boundaries: “I’m not saying I’m done – I’m just done with letting people become that close to me – when they hurt me, it hurts too bad.”

Our boundaries protect us. Our boundaries shield us. Our boundaries hide us.

Our boundaries also keep us from living out what God wants most for those who have trusted in Him: True Connected Relationships.

John 13:34 ”A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

True Connected Relationships

So, this past Sunday I asked this question: “When was the last time that you had someone in your home for a meal that wasn’t family (or in your VGroup) for the purpose of relationship?” The question stems from this passage from Sunday’s message:

Romans 12:13 When God’s children are in need, be the one to help them out. And get into the habit of inviting guests home for dinner or, if they need lodging, for the night.

A Challenge

I think that this should be a part of our lives. I know it’s hard – I know you are busy – but how often have we used our BUSYNESS as an EXCUSE to not do something we knew God wanted us to do? So here is our challenge to you:

Schedule a meal within the next 2 weeks with someone that you feel like God wants you to get to know inside of our church or for the purpose of reaching out. Invite them this week, meal next week.

Simple, yet hard. I know you were hoping that I would forget and that this would be one of those challenges where you “say a prayer and leave it there.”, but never forget, Relationships make the Difference. I wonder if you will take the challenge? I look forward to hearing of your obedience.

This is the “WHY?” Behind Vertical

There are so many people who believe in God but have given up on the church. Some did so because they were hurt, some because rules were enforced without the Spirit of the rules, while others were just plain disinterested.There are over 96,000 people in our region that don’t go to anyone’s church. The most surprising thing I have found through 16 years of ministry is that most actually believe in God. Though they believe in God they just aren’t into church. What are we going to do to reach the masses that are just not going to go to a “regular church”?

Let me say it again in a way that thought hits all of us: HOW ARE WE GONNA REACH YOUR FAMILY MEMBER WHO ISN’T INTO CHURCH?!? YOUR CHILD, SISTER, DAD? YOUR BOSS? YOUR WORK ASSOCIATE? WHAT ABOUT YOUR TEENAGERS WHO ARE NOT INTERESTED IN THE THINGS OF GOD?!?! I know you care… what’s your solution?

Sometimes Vertical Church is misunderstood. Vertical Church is not a reaction to regular church, it’s an action to reach people who aren’t going to come. It’s not THE solution, but it is A solution. We do what we do the way that we do because we unashamedly want to help people who don’t like church meet God.You see, I’ve met people who don’t feel like they fit in at church…

  • Like a new friend, we’ll call her “Georgia”. Georgia is a twenty-something and was raised in a very legalistic, religious environment where church and very strict teaching was a daily constant. Not only did she feel she couldn’t live up to the expectations of her church, she felt that God was ashamed of her – so she avoided God. Eventually she ran from God so hard that she “hated Him”. Her father began attending Vertical Church and began to pray that God would use this church to draw his wayward daughter back. “Georgia” did begin to attend under her father’s insistence and week-by-week the coldness of her heart towards God began melting. She soon met Jesus. Before Vertical, “Georgia” didn’t care if she EVER attended a church again.
  • Another person, we’ll call “Anthony”. Anthony was raised in a very religious home. He believed in God, and even gave his heart to Jesus as a young man. But the world caught Anthony and he began to rebel against everything that his parents had placed in him. Anthony ran from God as well. After years away from God which included crime, homelessness and drug addiction, Anthony came to Vertical to try to save his marriage. He didn’t expect to be moved as he was only attending to appease his unhappy wife. Little did he know that God was about to change his life dramatically. Today, Anthony is impacting people for the Gospel everywhere he goes.
  • Or my friend “Carrie”. Carrie didn’t really have much church background – she never really “got” church. She believed in God – she just didn’t see the need. After hearing about VC many times she decided to try it out. Seeing her one day she gushed, “I have NEVER been to a church that I can’t wait for next Sunday!” (BTW… so thankful to hear that SO much!) God is working in her life and she is drawing ever closer. I believe before long she will surrender her heart to Jesus.

These are 3 REAL PEOPLE who are attending Vertical. They weren’t interested in church but they were interested in learning about God. The names have been changed but the truth remains the same: People need to be loved. People need to find acceptance. People need to know that the church, the Body of Jesus Christ, is there FOR them and to meet them right where they are at. Most of the time the church is known for what we are AGAINST – we want to show people who don’t normally do church see all that the church is FOR: FOR the glory of God, FOR families, FOR kidz and marriages, FOR our cities and towns, FOR people meeting Jesus. People far from God know that they are flawed. So are we. In our gathering may we give them the hope that they are so desperately seeking.

We are FOR helping people connect back to God’s church, whatever that might take. This is the “WHY?” behind Vertical.

NOTE: Our Next Vertical University INTEREST MEETING will take place on Sunday, May 3rd at 6pm – BCM House (across from Givens Performing Arts Center in Pembroke).