About Me

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New Orleans, LA, United States
Family from South Africa, Born in New Orleans, Lived in South Carolina. Married to Annabeth since May 2004. We have three boys (Bolt, Mack, and Birk). Currently living in Uptown NOLA and serving as Lead Pastor of Vintage Church and Camp Pastor of Student MissionLab.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

I just wanted to say Merry Christmas to all my friends and family! I have had a blast celebrating this great time of year with my favorite people in the world. I pray that you and your family experience the greatest joy and peace as you celebrate the birth of our Savior and Lord. Jesus we worship you alone this season.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Little Wilton On The Way!

Annabeth and I are going to have our our first child. We are absolutely stoked! Annabeth is 9 weeks and 4 days into her pregnancy. The projected due date is on July 9th. We wanted to make sure that we had this baby in the middle of the New Orleans summer heat. Please pray for me, because you know how tough it is on the dad. This is an amazing gift from God. We have actually known about it for about a month, but were unable to get a doctor's appointment. We waited to share this with everyone when we got back from Israel and went to the doctor.

The doctor experience yesterday was one of the most amazing moments of my life. I am completely clueless with the whole baby experience. Annabeth spent most of the time laughing at me. When they hooked the machine up and we saw our baby for the first time, I was speechless. I honestly couldn't say a word for the first time in my life. I really don't cry for anything, but I definitely got a little misty. Annabeth and I held hands as we saw our baby wiggle and as we listened to the heartbeat. The heartbeat was pounding extremely fast, which the doctor says is a great sound of a healthy baby. Amazing.

"Thank you Jesus for blessing us with a child. This baby is for Your Glory. Give us wisdom to become parents that love and direct this child towards your purpose and will. Protect my beautiful wife and child throughout this pregnancy. You alone are worthy of our praise!"

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Perfect Timing

I love preaching and serving Christ like an Armenian and sleeping like a Calvinist. The mission that He has called me to at this point in my life has been completely joyous and completely frustrating. Over the past month we have seen a dead church in Uptown begin to wake up, and I have also experienced some of the thickest spiritual warfare in my life. I know that God has great things in store for us in New Orleans because of the attacks that we have encountered.....I will unpack these at a later time.

Paul encourages us to "rejoice in our sufferings". This is easier said than done. Christ doesn't promise us a limo ride. In fact, if you are serving Christ and you are "sipping on a martini in a limo" I highly doubt that you are obeying God's call on your life. Satan doesn't give a crap about those who are of no threat to him. When I played college ball, we never spent time scouting the bad players. We studied tons of tape on the studs from the opposing team. When the game started, we would do whatever we could to stop the star player from getting in the groove (double teams, elbows, blind-side picks, trash talking, biting, etc.). I was a pretty dirty player (mainly because I was white, thick, short, and couldn't jump). I had to find some way to get an edge. If you are currently experiencing no spiritual warfare, you are NO THREAT TO SATAN. Quit being a sissy, and man or woman up for Christ. This life in Christ is not about you. Act like it.

Why did I title this blog, "Perfect Timing"? Because in the midst of all this warfare (which may I remind everyone that the warfare and persecution that we face in America is nothing compared to some of our brothers and sisters around the world. Go to www.persecution.com and get a dose of reality. Mourn, weep, rejoice, and pray over the names. God's glory is being proclaimed through the suffering of man), God has given my wife, brother, and I a gift. We are leaving this Monday to join my dad's church in Israel. We will be in Israel for over a week. Here is the trips itinerary:

Day 1-Depart USA
Day 2-Arrive Tel Aviv
Day 3-Tel Aviv, Joppa, Caesarea, Megiddo, Nazareth, Tiberias
Day 4-Tiberias, Sea of Galilee, Capernaum, Caesarea, Philippi
Day 5-Tiberias, Beit She'an, Gideon Springs, Amman
Day 6-Amman, Petra, Aqaba
Day 7-Aqaba, Eilat, Dead Sea
Day 8- Masada, Ein Gedi, Qumran, Jericho, Good Samaritan Inn, Bethlehem, Jerusalem
Day 9 - Mount of Olives, Walking Tour, Gethsemane
Day 10 - Model City, Shrine of the Book, Yad V'Shem, Jewish Quarter, Upper Room, Tomb of King David
Day 11 - Western Wall Tunnel, Jewish Quarter, Mount Zion, Upper Room, Caiaphas' House, Calvary, Garden Tomb
Day 12 - Jerusalem, Back to USA

I am so grateful to God for this opportunity to rest, learn, pray, weep, dream, listen, and refuel in the Holy Land. I am not sure if I had hit my breaking point but it was certainly getting close. God's timing is always perfect. I am praying that Jesus would unleash His presence upon my life as I travel the land where He walked.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Bragging on Jesus!

The picture above is a picture of present day Corinth. The apostle Paul did an amazing work in this area as he spread the name of Jesus and planted a church. I love the passage of I Corinthians 2:1-5. I was directed toward this text in my Proclaiming the Bible class at Seminary. My good friend, Tony Merida, is one of our preaching professors and Dean of the Chapel. He is the Interim Pastor of Temple Baptist Church in Hattiesburg, MS. God is definitely using him to spur me on in the ministry. Anytime he preaches God's Word, I feel like I have never preached in my life. I thank God for surrounded me with people like this. I thank God for pointing me to this passage. Read it a thousand times below.

"And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God."

This was my passage for my first sermon at Valence Church. I titled the message, "Bragging on Jesus". Paul helps us see that this life is not about us, it is all about Christ. I was challenged to remind our church that if we had any hope of making an impact in Uptown, it was going to be because the members of Valence Church understand that this life is not about us...it is all about Jesus. God has definitely humbled me through this opportunity.

I am an extremely independent and self-motivated person. I always have been. Because of this fact in my life, it is difficult for me to accept help from people. But God has completely broken me of this stubbornness. With this new opportunity I have learned two important lessons. First of all, I recognize that I am completely unqualified to be a pastor of a church without the grace and power of Christ. Second of all, I recognize that I am completely dependent upon friends, churches, associations, etc. for help in the rebuilding of this church. This is exactly where God wants me and our church.

Paul reminded the Corinthian Church that he came to them in weakness and fear, and that Christ alone was his strength and power. The Corinthian people had begun to lose sight of the supremacy of Christ. Paul redirected all personal praise to Christ. The city of Corinth was very similar to New Orleans. It could have easily adopted the name "Big Easy". God used Paul in a mighty way in this city. I Corinthians 2:1-5 reiterates that when he came to Corinth, Christ took over.

Holy Spirit, I have to have you within me to equip me to do your work. Brothers and sisters in Christ, I need your prayers and partnership in order to complete the task. My good friend Travis has put up a website for the church, www.valencechurch.com. You can read about our church strategy and plan. Join us as we are going to have a blast "bragging on Jesus".

Friday, October 26, 2007

Pink Church Walls...Are you serious?

Welcome to my new home church. I am the new pastor of this great place and I am having a blast digging up new treasures. Let me show you one of my favorite findings. Check out these pictures. What is wrong with this scene?

THE WALLS ARE FREAKIN PINK! Now, I am not a metro. I don't have much style or fashion sense, but seriously who in their right mind would choose to paint a church pink on the inside. It seriously looks like someone has thrown up Pepto-Bismol all over the place.

I am extremely grateful to the prior pastor who has served at this church for over 12 years. At first I thought it was him and his wife that chose this color. I never built up enough guts to ask them. I didn't want to hurt their feelings. After my research today I found out that I was way off. I was talking with a man who has been a part of the church today and asked him if he knew the story behind the PEPTO WALLS. This is what he told me.

The pink walls came from HOLLYWOOD. Typical. Years ago, they used our church to shoot the movie "RAY". I really didn't believe him, so I ran home and turned on the movie. After I skimmed through the whole movie, I didn't find our church or our stupid pink walls. But then I watched the deleted scenes. The last deleted scene is titled, "Ray's Gonna Burn in Hell". There was our church...packed out and clean with a screaming preacher, choir, robes, organ, and yes...PINK WALLS. Thanks a lot Hollywood! Why don't you come back and help us rebuild and repaint our church.

One case solved...34 cases to go. Next week I will be solving a new case. The case is titled, "Let's see how much crap we can store in one small room." I love this call.

Monday, October 22, 2007

I love these guys!

For fall break, our HIMnI team traveled to South Carolina. It was a great week, but I am exhausted. Thank you to everyone who served as a host and facilitator for us this week. I would like to especially thank my wife who coordinates our road trips. We had a blast leading people in worship. We were at Midtown Fellowship, North Greenville University, Anderson University, Concord Baptist Church, and FBC Spartanburg. God really moved in a mighty way all week. We saw youth and college students ignited towards the mission of Christ. Our prayer throughout the trip was that God's Glory would be proclaimed.

My favorite story from the week (outside of Nathan being pushed into every bush that we came across) was at the end of the week. I was hanging out in the lobby in between services at FBC Spartanburg when a man came up and asked me who was in charge of our ministry team. I thought we were in trouble. He pulled me aside and laid the smack on me. Here is what he said:

"On Friday Night we were at the bonfire. (I spoke at a bonfire for the FBS youth group following a football game, the band didn't play at the bonfire) We are new in town and my four kids don't have a lot of friends yet. One of my kids loves to skate and he really digs the bands look. I was sitting with my wife observing the kids playing. She asked me who was playing with our little girl. I looked up and three guys in your band were throwing a big bouncy ball with her. Nobody has really reached out to her, and my wife and I were kind of choked up to see her so happy. I asked someone who you guys were and they told me that you were a ministry team from New Orleans. I brought our whole family to hear you guys this morning. God really spoke to me through your group. Your brother (Greg) spoke out of Galatians and challenged us to expand the table of Christ and reach out to people who are not like us. Thank you for being real. You guys don't just talk and play, you walk it."

I was more proud of our ministry team at that moment then any other time. When I shared this with the guys, they redirected to God and His Glory.

Thank you God for yoking me with a team that TALKS and WALKS.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Starting a New Journey

Growing up I was never exposed to church planting. I was never discouraged from the method, it just never crossed my path. When I moved to New Orleans in the spring of 2004, I attended a church planting conference that was led by a guy named Ed Stetzer. Check out his blog at www.edstetzer.com. He is a missiologist and one of the lead dudes in understanding the church today. His talk on church planting rocked my world. I was exposed to the fact that one of the most effective ways to make disciples of all nations was to plant a church. God lowered the boom on my life and revealed that part of His plan for my life was to start a church. This began a new journey for me.

Well...Katrina hit, I went back to South Carolina for a while, and then returned to New Orleans ready to plant a church. I contacted the local association and told them about God's call upon my life but that I really had no clue what I was doing or thinking. I started working for MissionLab in New Orleans as well as launching a ministry called Ignite Mission and God shut the door on my plans to start a church. It wasn't an issue of whether or not I was going to plant a church, it was more of an issue of when God wanted me to plant a church. Timing really is everything. Not from the standpoint of finding the right time according to the world's clock, but responding to the right timing according to God's clock. As a believer and follower of Christ, I pray that I always act upon His timing and plan. I trust completely in the sovereignty of God.

I thank God for the way he shut that door. I have had a blast serving with MissionLab and Ignite Mission. God's glory is being proclaimed in the city of New Orleans in an amazing way through both of these ministries. Serving with them has allowed me the opportunity to learn the city of New Orleans, grow in my faith in Christ, and fall in love with the people of New Orleans. In particular, Uptown.

My smokin-hot, beautiful wife, Annabeth, has worked in Uptown since we have been in New Orleans. She has taught me so much about loving the people of New Orleans. She has been an amazing witness and testimony for Christ in that area. As she has loved people in Christ and introduced me into their lives, we have fallen deeply in love with the people of Uptown.

In the spring of 2005, we joined up with a new church plant called Sojourn. This was truly sent by God. For the first time in my life I was exposed to what it takes to plant a church. I have a lot of love and respect for James Welch and his family who sacrificed everything to come to New Orleans and spread the love of Christ. We focused upon the people of Uptown, in particular those who are artistically gifted. Now this was completely new territory for me. I am a retired jock. The only thing that I can do artistically is draw a teenage mutant ninja turtle. Which, if I might say, is pretty dang good. But this experience was preparing me and stretching me in my understanding of true missional living.

Throughout this past summer, God really began to place upon my heart a passion to plant a church in Uptown. At the end of the summer, our ministry put on a prayer conference called Out of Range. That Saturday morning, we facilitated an opportunity to prayer walk in the city. I went with my family and close friends to prayer walk in a specific area in Uptown around a dying church called Valence St. Baptist Church. We prayed for God to open and shut doors. God’s Spirit led me to pray and request boldly for Him to utilize us in this specific area.

Picture is of Valence St. Baptist Church Right After Katrina

A couple of weeks later I was in Uptown studying on a Sunday Morning. I ate some breakfast at Slim Goodies and then made my way to CC’s to study all afternoon. I passed by Valence St. Baptist Church at 11:15 and decided to check out what their service was like. I walked into a gathering of 6 people. No one talked to me until the end of the service when the pastor (Rev. Cipriano Stephens) explained to me that if I wasn’t a Christian I couldn’t take the Lord’s Supper. This was a great lesson for me. I had never walked into a service as a lost person and it gave me some great insight. I let him know that I loved Jesus and we took the elements. I approached the pastor and shared with him boldly that I believed that God has called me to this area and that this church could be better utilized for the Gospel of Christ. His wife yelled, “AMEN!” He invited me to be their youth minister. I rejected his offer but asked him if we could get coffee.

Two coffee meetings later, Pastor Cipriano handed me the keys and constitution to the church. He and the other members had been praying for years that God would send someone to lead the church and they believed that myself and the other team of pastors were their answer to prayer. Jack Allen, Page Brooks, Andrew Arthur, and their families have joined the pastoral team to re-launch this church. We have a core team of people who are excited missionaries and committed to the rebirth of a church. This Tuesday Night I will be voted in as the next Senior Pastor of the church. It is our plan to spend from now till next fall rebuilding & restoring, writing a new constitution, developing and training a core team, learning and loving the culture in Uptown, preaching and teaching the Word, and then launching the new church next fall. God seems to be placing the right people in the right place.

I am blown away by all of this. God is so far ahead of us. I am learning with great desperation to put my complete faith and trust in his power, authority, and grace. Why in the world would God choose to use me in this way? Why in the world would I think that God could use me in a way that is different from anyone else who has tried to start a church in New Orleans? I really don’t have an answer for any of these questions. I am absolutely freaking out on the inside, but God is giving me the peace to remain calm on the outside. I have no clue what God has for us, but I know that He has called us, empowered us, and sent us out to this mission. This church is going to make a significant impact for Christ in New Orleans.

John 6 is one of my favorite passages in Scripture. Jesus demands from His followers complete faith and trust in Him. He presents a difficult teaching and without much explanation offers them an opportunity to leave. In a way I feel like Christ has given me this opportunity many times. Christ has turned to me and said, “You can either accept this mission or reject it. Your not that special, but I am choosing to use you if you surrender to me.” A lot of people in John 6 turn away and no longer followed Christ. But the disciples (with Peter as their spokesman) reply that although they don’t understand, they surrender and are committed to Him. I love Peter’s response, “To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that You are the Holy One of God.”

God is not looking for talent, charisma, knowledge, understanding, etc. God is looking for people who are willing to completely trust in Him. Lord, this church and mission is yours. I accept your mission and I am utterly dependent upon your Spirit to lead and direct as we make disciples in New Orleans and beyond. Use your church to bring GLORY TO YOUR NAME.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Relevant, Emergent, Emerging?

Since my brother and I have embarked on ministry in New Orleans, we have taken a lot of heat from Christians (in particular conservative southern baptists). Because I refuse to dress like a modern day Pharisee and connect with another dead ministry in this city, I am all of a sudden labeled postmodern, relevant, emergent....whatever. In one of my classes, I have never spoken out against anything that has been taught (Sunday School, Backyard Bible Clubs, WMU, boy scouts), but the professor spends almost every class trying to convince me not to run from the Lord by leading people to Christ outside of Sunday School. I think that Mark Driscoll from Seattle is one of the most powerfully anointed church leaders in the world today. His talk this past week at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in spot on. Take time to listen to his examination of these three new parties in the church world today. I love his analysis and overview. I love how he attacks his critics in love and also how he points his listeners to Jesus.

Mark Driscoll's Message

Mark talks about the fact that what he cares about the most is what Jesus cares about most. It is all about Jesus. Although I am still working out a lot of my convictions, I strongly agree with him in this aspect. Jesus cares about absolute truth and He cares about whether or not His followers are passing that truth on to a lost and dying world. How do you do this? There are endless possibilities without compromising absolute truth. In Acts 17, Paul goes into Athens and sees the idols. His heart breaks over the fact that the people are lost and bound for hell. He anguishes and examines how he can share the Jesus story in a way that would connect the truth with that culture. He goes, sees, loves, and speaks truth. This is called being MISSIONAL. Wake up people! See what is going on in our world. Not every culture looks like Bible Belt USA.

Last night I was hanging out at Nacho Mama's on Magazine with one of boys that I am discipling in Uptown. We sat at the bar (yes I sit at the bar) and I got to talk with Chase (the bartender). Chase is a beautiful person that is completely confused. She hates religion, respects Jesus, hates Christians, wants to be Buddhist, but loves to sing and dance. We actually have a lot in common. I know this might be a shock to you, but Chase might not come to Christ in a WMU meeting. I know that within my tribe (SBC) the majority of churches are dead or dying. I really could care less whether you sing hymns or praise music, have sunday school or home groups, where suits or t-shirts. If people come to know Christ at your Sunday School class, Praise God! But to say that your methods are the only effective methods is as arrogant as Terrell Owens in an interview after a football game. All of this is so pointless. What matters most is whether or not people are coming to know Christ as Savior and Lord.

When I moved back to New Orleans, I noticed that as a whole (there are a lot of great things going on)...people are not coming know Christ. Do your sunday schools, WMUs, and back yard bible clubs. If they reach people, Praise God! If they aren't reaching people, may God forgive you for being so stubborn, selfish, and sinful.

I am starting a new journey this week. I will share more about it in my next blog. God has shown us great favor in a place where there is very little evangelical presence. He has led me and a team to start a new church by revitalizing an old church. I call it replantilization. We have the keys and the old church constitution. The name of the current church is Valence St. Baptist Church. It is in the heart of Uptown on the corner of Magazine and Valence. Pray for us. Come and help us. Send us money. I am completely dependent upon Christ, because I don't have a clue. As this journey begins, I really don't care about the method. All I care about is seeing people in this area come to Christ. If Sunday School is the most effective way (which I doubt), then bring it on.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Check Out Dad's New Book!

I am proud to pimp out my dad's new book. He is the senior pastor at FBC Spartanburg, SC . Dad preaches to thousands of people in Spartanburg and millions of people on TV with The Encouraging Word. He is my dad, mentor, hero, and best friend. You can listen to his sermons and order this book and others that he has written at www.theencouragingword.org.

Below is a description of his latest book, "The Absolute Certainty of Life After Death".

Description of the Book:

Most people are intrigued by the subject of life after death. Whether in the classroom, at a local church revival or over a cup of coffee, people are wondering what happens when we die. Many of the same questions are asked over and over again:

  • “What happens the moment you die?”
  • “Will we see our loved ones in heaven!”
  • “Where, exactly, do we go?”
  • “Do dead people know what’s going on here on earth?”
  • “How can a loving and merciful God send people to hell?”

Don Wilton looks at these questions and more in this book, a modern retelling of the Biblical story of the rich man and Lazarus. Set in Texas and New Orleans, this fictional story traces the contrasting lives of Albright A. Rhodes, a multi-millionaire and Billy Bob Malkmus, a homeless beggar, from birth to death....and beyond.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Heart Attitudes! (Reply to the last blog)

I have encountered some interesting dialogue with people from my last blog, "Quit Being A Sissy". A lot of it has been good discussion. I had a little resistance, but it was mostly from dudes that wear short shorts and sissy colors. I still got love for them.

Some of you have asked me what I would consider to be a real man. First of all, I'll take you to Scripture and the Heart Attitudes. I was introduced to this by one of my mentors, Dr. Jack Allen. He is a missionary, professor, church planter in New Orleans that longs to see a million and a half Christ loving and serving church plants in the city. He lives and dies by this code for all people as followers of Christ. Read them, I'm sold.

1. Consider Others Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:4

2. Live an honest, open lifestyle Each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. Ephesians 4:25

3. Lovingly give & humbly receive correction If you ignore criticism, you will end in poverty & disgrace. Proverbs 13:18

4. Clean up relationships If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there…. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:23-24

5. Participate in ministry Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10

6. Support the church financially Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 2 Corinthians 9:6

7. Follow leaders within biblical boundaries Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you. Hebrews 13:17

This is a pretty good code for any man. Here are a few extra Rob requirements:

  • Farting & Burping (well I can't really burp, I just fart a heck of a lot)
  • Love your wife, family, kids with everything. Single dudes I'm praying for ya because I can't imagine life without my soul mate. Still, love your girlfriends with honor and respect.
  • Stay off the porno. You know this is the biggest problem among guys. Especially ministers. Married guys, you are not exempt. Pursue Purity! Be on your guard! And get proactive about it.
  • Passionate about the inspired Word of God. This is your map for life. This is our foundation. Memorize it, marinate on it, soak it up, celebrate it.
  • Knows how to shake a hand and have a decent conversation. I can't stand talking to someone as if they have just crapped in their pants. Man up, stand up straight, look me in the eye, and give me a firm handshake!
  • Hard working! I will always help someone who is willing to help themselves. There is nothing worse than seeing a guy living lazy. Especially with so much Kingdom work to do. All I want to see is some fight.
  • Stays in Shape. You don't have to look like freakin Brad Pitt, just don't look like most Baptist preachers. Sorry, its true. I think God laughs at those Southern Baptists that love to condemn drinking when their rear end looks like the backside of a cow. God forgive us for being so sloppy.
  • Lastly, they have to be a New Orleans Saints fan. Seriously, all other teams and other fans of other teams are nothing but a bunch of women. Just kidding....well not really.
I guess I will stop there. I'm sure I could come up with more. I am getting tired and I have to study Philosophy, drink hot tea, pluck my eyebrows, and take a bubble bath. You know DUDE STUFF!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Quit Being A Sissy!

In my prayer time this morning I was overwhelmed with a great sense of God's Power. I didn't want to wake up this morning to pray at the chapel, but for whatever reason I did it. As I prayed God led me to 1 Chronicles 29:10-22. David is praying and dedicating everything to the Glory of God. Read and Soak this Up!

1Chr. 29:11-13
Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.

I want you to know that we can rest like Calvanists. I certainly do not fly any other flag but the flag of Christ, but I do believe in the complete sovereignty of God. He has given us a lot of responsibility. He has given us a great mission. But let's not forget that it is HIS ALONE. It should be our desire to absolutely bust it in order to accomplish His purpose, even if it takes our life. We aren't guaranteed anything. All we can do is work as hard as we can, to the best of our ability, and then LEAVE IT IN GOD'S HANDS.

(This next part is directed towards the DUDES. Ladies, I love ya. But this is not meant for you. I believe in the work and role of women in God’s work, but I am greatly concerned by the lack of real men in God’s work.)

With everything that has evolved over the last couple of weeks, I have started to get discouraged. All of us in some way or another have been punched in the gut at times in our lives. Recently, I have felt like I did the morning after a basketball game in college. When I started to pray and read this passage this morning God gave me a pep talk that was extremely straightforward. He told me to SUCK IT UP or QUIT BEING A SISSY. Where in God’s Word does he promise salary packages, homes with a white picket fence, health, prosperity, etc. NOWHERE! The disciples were persecuted, people around the world today are persecuted (www.persecution.com), and most importantly Christ was persecuted. What makes me so special?

I am so glad that I am yoked with REAL MEN. Seriously, I would love for another ministry team to come and challenge our team in a cage fight. I am blessed with a ministry team (Ignite Mission) in New Orleans that loves God, loves people, and does it like real men. There are too many queers out there trying to work for Christ. They aren’t going to make it. Real ministry is tough. You won't accomplish God's work painting and planting flowers (nothing against guys that do this "as you can see above I like to do this once every 10 years", I just prefer to battle with people that are equipped with muscles, not paintbrushes and watering cans if I am going to war). I am glad that the guys that I hang out with get pissed, fight, and battle.

I have been loving some of Mark Driscoll’s stuff. He has a talk on the Acts 29 Network website called Qualifications of an Acts 29 Church Planter Like Mark Driscoll says, “I don't follow the gay-dressed-hippie Jesus that is in most pictures around our country. I follow a hard-core man's man-fighting Jesus, that wants nothing but His Father's Glory to be proclaimed”.

Follow Christ. Follow your passion. Keep pushing forward. God wants to take all of us on an awesome ride. But you will never experience that ride within the gates of a seminary campus, sitting in Sunday school room, or writing a blog and sipping coffee all day long. It is going to suck a lot, but I praise God that he is raising up some men who are strong enough (because they recognize the source of their strength) to handle it.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Hanging with Sinners

Yesterday was Labor Day. My day off started with my nephews waking me up at 6:45am. Usually that would tick me off, but not when it is Cash asking me for goldfish, capri-sun, and cartoons. My brother and sister-in-law moved about an hour away a couple of months ago, and my wife and I love having the nephews over. The rest of the day consisted of going to the Audubon Zoo, lunch, putting up a new fan, hanging out with some friends in uptown, dinner and watching football.

When I was at the zoo I got a phone call from a friend that lives in Uptown. He invited me to come over for some barbecue and beer. When we brought the nephews back to our apartment after a hot afternoon at the zoo, I went with my friends Travis and Brandon to the cookout. When we arrived, we were surprised to find no one there but the cook. I asked the cook where my friend was and he told me that he was out delivering food. At first I felt bad, thinking that no one showed up to my friends cookout. But I was completely wrong. The cook told me that every now and then they do a thing called “Cook for Cops”. They deliver food to all the cops and fireman in the area, thanking them for all their sacrifice and service.

Now if you are from New Orleans, you are probably saying, “Why in the world would you want to thank the cops?” The cops in New Orleans aren’t necessarily the purest, greatest force in the world. You find most people complaining about them. But here were some citizens being proactive in making a difference in their community.

I was extremely humbled. Here were some people (most of whom didn’t know Christ as Lord and Savior) who were exemplifying exactly what the church should do and be. Isn’t it funny how you rarely here of Christians or the church involved in these types of acts. When we got in the car to return home, Brandon stated how interesting it is that most non-believers are more hospitable and kind than most Christians. I am not bringing this up to judge, but I think it is important to bring this to the table. This past year my wife went to a Beth Moore conference in South Carolina. She returned from the trip longing to hang out with her friends at work (most of whom don’t follow Christ), because the ladies at the conference were extremely snobby and harsh.

Maybe that is why Jesus hung out with the sinners. Sure he was on mission, but honestly I think he just enjoyed these people a whole lot more than he enjoyed the religious zealots. Most Christians have fallen into this category. Their life is consumed with self, religion, judgment, snobbery, holy huddles, and did I say self. There have been many times in my life where I have fallen under this category. By no means am I excluded from this category.

This was a great reminder for me. I pray for the day, especially in New Orleans, when “Cook for Cops” becomes an expression of the local church in New Orleans. God forgive us for becoming Pharisees! Call your people to repentance and call your people to a true representation of Christ.

Saturday, September 1, 2007


My bro, Greg (I call him "G"), has started a blog. Check it out at www.gregwilton.blogspot.com. His blog is called ENJOYING THE VIEUX! G is on staff with Vieux Carre Baptist in the French Quarter and he is the Director of HIMnI.

He has two posts that are a must read. First, he shares about one on his boys, CT Studd. Secondly, he shares about the vision for this upcoming year of HIMnI. For those of you who don't know, we launched HIMnI last year with the hope of connecting young adults with Christ and the local church. God granted us great favor and we are excited about our second year. We will be meeting once a month at Carrollton Presbyterian. Andrew Ogea Band leads us in music and different Ignite Mission speakers bring the Word. If your in town, come and party with us in Uptown.

You can find out more info @ www.himni.org.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Choked Up (Reflections on Out of Range)

I don’t get choked up a lot. In fact I can only remember three times in my life when I have been so dramatically moved that I was silenced by pure emotion.

  1. Watching the movie RUDY, RUDY, RUDY. When he comes out on the field and sacks the quarterback, I absolutely lose it.
  2. When I preached after my dad almost lost his life from a blood clot. I got to preach the Word on Father’s Day at my home church while dad was in the hospital. Dad is my hero, I was really shaken up.
  3. When Annabeth came through the doors and down the aisle on our wedding day. I couldn’t believe that God had blessed me with the sexiest, sweetest, most amazing woman in the world. When I saw her, I stopped breathing.
This past Friday night at Out of Range, it happened to me again. I’m not sure why it hit me when it did (I think it was because it was my first time to slow down in a couple of days). I was sitting with David Platt, Leeland, and Dr. Rhonda Kelly. The building was slammed (we had 429 people register for the event) and it was smokin hot. The room was electric and the worship was rockin. People had come to unite in prayer and worship…with a passion to see the Glory of God. After a video, it was my turn to welcome people, share the vision, interview Leeland, and pray. I got up on stage, looked over the crowd…and I WAS COMPLETELY CHOKED UP. It was only for a couple of seconds, but it hit me hard. I shared the story behind this event in my first blog, “Paralyzed by God’s Glory”. I prayed and asked God to paralyze us. In that brief moment, God did exactly that. I wasn’t choked up necessarily by the size of the crowd. I was choked up by the fact that God’s vision that was implanted in my heart over two years ago was now burning in the hearts of over 400 people. Not for my delight, but for the delight of God. I know that God’s favor was upon us, because I looked into the eyes of people who were delighting in Him. To quote Piper, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.”

I just received a comment on our website (http://www.outofrange.org/) from someone stating that they are praying that this prayer movement would not end with this past weekend. This is our prayer and this is God’s purpose for Out of Range. Whatever was sparked in the hearts of those who attended, I pray that God would ignite it in a way that would expose His Glory around the world.

It was a great weekend. We prayed, sang, prayed, listened to the Word, prayed, danced, prayed, painted, prayed, wrote in a journal, prayed, witnessed, prayer walked, celebrated, prayed, cried, prayed…and in all of this I was choked up. Thank you God for exposing your Glory to us this past weekend. Expand your vision and call your people to pray.

If you read this blog and attended Out of Range, I would love to hear your thoughts and reflections from the weekend.

Monday, August 13, 2007


After reading the title of this blog, you might be saying...what the crap is he talking about? If you are not from New Orleans, I don't expect you to understand. I have lived in New Orleans for the majority of my life. It is part of the fabric and blood that makes up my life. I am head over heels in love with the city, but I don't really like it. Let me explain.....

I love podcasts. Most of my ipod space is filled with podcasts. Annabeth (my wife) knows this more than anyone...especially when we are on a long road trip. I would much rather listen to a good interview, sermon, or even talk show than listen to music. Time flies so much faster for me. One of my favorite preaching podcasts is Mars Hill Church in Seattle with Mark Driscoll. The man speaks close to an hour about the Supremacy of Christ, Scripture, his family, ministry in Seattle, himself (sometimes a little too much), and then attacks or confronts any aspect of life in a refreshing, honest, throat-punching (I heard him say that he wanted to do this to some people), but loving way. I have never met the guy, but I feel an unusual bond with him. He was born and raised in Seattle, moved away for a while, and then returned to start and grow the largest church in one of the least Christian cities in the country. Although I am not sure what God has in store for me in New Orleans, I know that it is going to be significant for the Kingdom. New Orleans and Seattle are very similar cities. He is currently diving into Nehemiah - the series is called Building A City Within A City. Great stuff! As he opened up the series, he began to explain how much he loved the city of Seattle. But that as much as he loved it, HE DIDN'T LIKE IT. So I can't take complete credit for this title.

After hearing him say this, I reflected and concluded that I feel the exact same way about New Orleans.

I love New Orleans!
Pretty much every part of it: Gentilly (where I currently live), Lakeview, Irish Channel, Bywater, Marigny, Uptown, French Quarter, Harrahan, NO East, Fat City, Carrollton, Jefferson, Indian Village, 9th Ward, Kenner, Metairie, Mid-City, CBD, Warehouse.

I love the people in these different neighborhoods!
Let me introduce to you Mr. Robert in Gentilly. This man is an angel in his neighborhood. He alone is rallying people to rebuild their homes.

I love the food that is produced in the neighborhoods! Do I have to repeat myself?
Perfect day for me: Breakfast at Slim Goodies (Uptown), Lunch at Koz's (Harrahan), Dinner at Drago's (Fat City)...CHARBROILED OYSTERS.

I love the activities!
Jazz (Preservation Hall), Clubs (Ray's Boom Boom Room/Maple Leaf), Shops (Funky Monkey),
Coffee (Cafe Du Monde/Rue), Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest.

And finally with its own category...I love the New Orleans Saints!

WHO DAT, enough said.

With so much love, I really don't like New Orleans.
I don't like the crime, the traffic, the attitude, the poverty, the sloppiness (yeah I know Katrina hit and it hurt, but we aren't just back because of the government...most New Orleanians are some of the sloppiest people on earth), the tourists, and most importantly the lack of spiritual impact found only through the life transforming message of Christ.

It is true, "God's glory is being proclaimed in the city of New Orleans like never before" (if you have heard me speak, you have heard this a few times). Churches and organizations from around the country have come to New Orleans to help us rebuild and many people have come to know Christ as Savior and Lord. Praise God for this, but when are the people of New Orleans going to wake up and start taking care of God's business themselves. Most NO churches are dead or dying. Our college campuses are virtually completely unreached. Sin is the driving force of every aspect of our culture. People follow religion (predominantly Catholicism) and not Christ.

This is what I don't like about New Orleans and I refuse to sit and do nothing about it. If someone was to ask me what keeps me up at night, it is the fact that in New Orleans people need the saving message of Christ and few are willing to share it. (Matthew 9:35-38) I am praying that God would call an army of people who would fall in love with New Orleans, but wouldn't like it!

In my next blogs, I am going to share some things that God has been showing me as I have prayed about how to make a spiritual impact in a city that I love, but don't like.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Paralyzed by God's Glory

I have never gotten into blogging, journals, etc. I have tried to journal on many occasions, but it only seems to last for a couple of days. I am not a big share your emotions, reflect upon colors and patterns, let's read poetry and dance around like we have sniffed something that shouldn't have been sniffed....kind of guy. This is new territory for me. But I am excited.

So why start now? God led me to fast about 7 days ago. After studying the book of Nehemiah, God ripped me apart for my lack of prayer for the city of New Orleans. When Nehemiah saw Jerusalem through the eyes of God.....he broke down, fasted, and prayed. 14 days from now, young adults will unite in New Orleans to pray. This event started two years ago with 21 guys (picture above) who decided to pray for God's glory to be proclaimed in the city of New Orleans and beyond like it has never been proclaimed before. As we came together, God paralyzed us. It was the most intense time of prayer that I have ever had. God has and is continuing to answer our prayer. On August 24-25, we will unite at Out of Range to intercede on behalf of a city and world. I am praying that God will allow us to see New Orleans like He sees it. When this happens I believe that we will mourn and weep for a city that desperately needs the life-transforming power of Christ.

Today I started a new book. David Nasser has put together a Book/CD project called "Glory Revealed". Top artists from around the country developed a chilled out, scripture-based CD that focuses on the love letters of God. I absolutely love it! And David Nasser wrote a devotional book on the same concept. The first chapter is titled "Glory Revealed through Quieting Love". Zeph 3:17 says, "The Lord will bring (you) quietness with His love". Nasser asks at the end of the chapter to describe moments in your life when you have been quieted by His Glory. As I reflect upon my life, there have certainly been moments when God has silenced my activity and response. But I am saddened because there aren't many of these moments. This has to be my problem. Am I seeking out God's Glory revealed in my life? Am I anticipating God's Glory to silence me? Sometimes I am so busy for Christ that I forget why I am busy in the first place.

As I continue to fast, I want to be paralyzed by God's Glory. I long to be frozen by His power and majesty. Lord, give me these moments at any cost. I just want to be still.