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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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Meeting Dr. Billy Graham


Today my dad gave me a great Christmas gift. He took me to see Dr. Billy Graham. The Graham house is located in Montreat, NC. The whole experience was incredible.

Here are a few things that I'll never forget about the trip.

  • The home is very secluded and hidden in the mountains. We had to go through an electric gate. They have a lot of land, but the home is extremely simple. This must have been an amazing place of rest and retreat for Dr. Graham.
  • One of Dr. Graham's staff led us up the mountain to his home. His name is Morey. He has served on the mountain assisting the Graham family for over 30 years. I was blown away by his love and dedication for this family and ministry.
  • Over the last few weeks Dr. Graham hasn't been feeling that great, but today he was wide awake and sitting in his office chair. From the moment we walked in the room, Dr. Graham was focused upon us and made us feel extremely important. Wow. Dr. Graham made me feel important. Talk about a lesson in humility.
  • When my dad introduced me to him, he remembered that I had preached for dad a couple of weeks ago. I am glad I only found that out after I preached. Talk about adding some extra pressure to preaching. He said that he will be praying for our ministry and church in New Orleans.
  • I was amazed at the love he had for my dad. He must of kissed him a dozen times. Over the last decade my dad has served as his pastor. They have an incredible bond. They talked about everything from his health to world issues to my dad's messages. The biggest surprise was when he told my dad that he wanted to become a member of FBC Spartanburg. He worships with them each week through the TV ministry. This brought my dad to tears. What an honor!
  • When my dad asked him how we could pray for him. Here were his two requests: SPIRITUAL RENEWAL and that he would be FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT. This blew me away. This a man who is suffering physically and near the end of his life, and he is still pressing on toward the goal of Christlikeness. Thank you Jesus for Billy Graham! May I learn from his devotion and pursuit of you.
I will always remember December 24, 2008. Thank you dad for this amazing experience. Thank you Dr. Graham for your testimony and witness for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.


Here is a great website about the life of Dr. Billy Graham:

http://www.lifeway.com/billygraham/life.htm

Monday, December 22, 2008

Bolt the Superhero

Check out my latest video of Bolt. He is growing up quick.



You can see more videos at www.youtube.com/IMNEWORLEANS.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Vintage Christmas Adopt


This Sunday (December 21st), Vintage Church is celebrating VINTAGE CHRISTMAS ADOPT. I just got word that our church membership and staff have stepped it up and adopted 34 children for Christmas. WOW!

One of our church members (Tamara) came to me last month with a ministry need. She works throughout the year with children that have parents in the Jefferson Parrish Correctional Center. Her heart and commitment to this ministry in incredible. Tamara came to me with the desire to see our church reach out to these children over Christmas.

We decided to dedicate this Sunday as Vintage Christmas Adopt. Last Sunday, we only brought 19 names to the table. Those children were adopted extremely fast by our community. Our team went back and throughout the week we gathered some more names. I am proud to brag on our young church for adopting 34 kids for this coming Sunday.

An unexpected need was brought to our attention a couple of days ago. When we called to follow up with one of our kids, we found out that their home was destroyed by a fire just the day before. After church yesterday, we took out the mom and her daughter to lunch in order to find out how we can meet their needs. This mom has another little boy, her sister with three children under 11, her grandmother and mother living in this house with her. The men have either left or are in jail. She is basically the only provider in the family. Our church is excited to adopt this entire family and work with other local churches to meet their needs. Please pray that Christ would expose His grace to this family during this time.

Every person who is adopting a child will call and visit their home, buy $30 worth of gifts (the prison ministry wants all the kids to have the same amount of gifts), and pick up their kid and any family member that wants to come to church this Sunday. At church we are going to have a Christmas worship, lunch, games, and I even think Santa might show his face with some gifts. I CAN'T WAIT!!!

Thanks Tamara, Wendy, and Matt for your leadership with this event. I am praying for Christ to use us as we bless these families and share with them about the "reason" for this season.

If you are in New Orleans this Sunday, come and join us at 10am. If you would like to give towards this ministry please email info@vintagenola.org.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Drink Up You Hypocrites!

I just got home from my longest run (5.21 miles), you can see the stats on the side of my blog. I got in the zone on a beautiful day in NOLA. Plus I had a lot of Mexican and Ice Cream last night. Extra motivation. I always run different routes from my house to Temple Gym where I lift weights. Temple is right below Vintage Church (see pic below). After I lift weights I usually have a cool down walk or jog back home.

While I was wrapping up my workout at Temple I looked across the street at the local bar, Jax. There were two guys fighting. One was the old owner and another was a young guy. Basically, this guy had been drinking all night and morning and was wasted beyond understanding. He was outside damaging people's cars. The owner and his other drunk boys were holding him down as they called the cops. Eventually the cops showed up and aggressively cuffed the man and tossed him in their car. Believe it or not, that is probably the 50th time I have see someone arrested since we moved into Uptown. Each and every one brings me an overwhelming burden and motivation to proclaim the Gospel in this area.

While all this went down, I began to talk with my friend that trains people at Temple. He began to talk about how funny and HYPOCRITICAL it was that the old man and all his friends were yelling at the drunk guy becuase they were the ones who served him the alcohol all night long. I have actually talked with the owner about his need to set up some perimeters, but it hasn't really worked. Every Sunday, our church gets a little crap from these guys across the street. Most of the neighborhood (Christian or not) despises this place.

As I walked home praying over this situation, God placed an unbelievable burden upon my heart in regard to Vintage Church. This situation brought some questions to my mind even about the Church universal. Let these marinate for a little while:

  • Is it possible, that the world views the HYPOCRISY of the church in the same way that my community views this bar?
  • Are we truly living out what we are preaching?
  • As pastors...is our only concern that people come to our buildings once a week to get drunk off our words and performance with very little concern about what they do during the week?
  • How does your community view what happens at your church?
  • Are you spitting out a product of people that care about Loving God and Loving People...or are you spitting out a product of people that are vomiting all over your community?
  • Are you a serving as a stumbling block to your community?
Check out these verses:

Matthew 6:2
“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.

Matthew 23:13
“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people's faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in.

Mark 7:6
And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;

I am writing these things in great humility. God has convicted me of the importance of living out the Gospel in Uptown NOLA. I pray that you and your church represent (through the power of the Holy Spirit) a true picture of God's amazing truth and love. May we not just preach the Gospel, may we live it out.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

SNOW IN NOLA!

Check out the snow in NOLA! This has only happened 7 times in the city. I remember it snowing around Christmas when I was 8. Bolt didn't have to wait long at all.



more videos at www.youtube.com/IMNEWORLEANS

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Two Great Weekends

The last two weekends were spent on the road. Both trips were amazing.

Our first trip was to our parent's home up in South Carolina. Both of our parents live in Spartanburg. That is where Annabeth and I met and fell in love. My granny rallied all of the Wilton's for Thanksgiving. We hardly saw Bolt for the few days that we were up there. It was kind of a nice break. Bolt has 6 great-grandparents still alive and doing well. Annabeth and I are extremely blessed with family that love each other and love Christ. Here is a pic of all the Wiltons on Thanksgiving day.

I hadn't been in the Burg since the spring and it was great seeing so many faces that were so influential in my high school years. My brother had a wedding shower and I got to reconnect with a lot of friends. One person that I reconnected with was my discipleship leader, Dr. Rick Mathis. His son (David) is the Executive Pastoral Assistant for John Piper in MN. We grew up in the same neighborhood and church. I am amazed at how much I learned as God molded me through high school in Spartanburg. I am truly thankful to God for those years.

On Sunday, I preached for my dad at First Baptist Spartanburg. It was actually great timing because my dad got real sick. Click HERE for the link to the video. You can download the video at www.theencouragingword.org.

The next weekend was just as great. My brother got married in Boca Raton, FL. He married Abby Masters. Greg has married into an awesome family that also loves each other and loves Christ. I was blown away by all the people who took the trip to Florida from all over the US. Greg is one loved dude.


The wedding festivities were absolutely perfect. There was a lot of fun and joking around, but most importantly the rehearsal and the wedding ceremony were worshipful events. Greg and Abby got married on an outside deck of a library overlooking a lake as the sun set. It was really like being in a movie. My favorite part of the wedding reception was having a dance off with Abby's little sister Zoe. She kicked my butt.

We are proud of you G and Abby and excited to walk with you on this new journey.


TWO GREAT WEEKENDS!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Homeless Man

A couple of months ago, I was approached at Vintage by Wendy McGuire about wanting to help out. She felt led to quit her job and spend the next year serving at our church. Wendy and her husband (Scott) are in New Orleans studying and preparing for the foreign mission field. Over the past few months, Wendy has served as our church and ministry assistant. On top of that she hosts a lifegroup with her husband, writes our vintage kidz material, sings with our band, answers our office phone and emails, and most importantly makes us laugh (crazy sarcastic). We are gonna die when she leaves us. Thanks Wendy for all that you do.

So then, why is this blog titled, "Homeless Man"? She just wrote a blog about an experience she had today and I wanted to share it with my blog friends. During this season, I pray this will encourage you to look for ways to give and sacrifice for those who are in need.

Today I witnessed one of the greatest acts of kindness I have ever seen. As I was exiting the interstate my eyes were immediately drawn to the side of the road where they rested upon a very small, fragile looking older man dragging what appeared at first to be an extra large “plea for help” sign. I was only half surprised when I realized it was actually a large garbage bag full of aluminum cans. As I waited patiently on the red light I watched the slow moving man. He was dirty and balding, hunching over his bag and scanning the nearby patches of grass for any treasures he may add to his collection. His left arm bore a shriveled hand and he walked with more of a hop than a limp. Moved I glanced over to my cup holder at my now empty can of coke, which I think had been sitting in its place for well over a day, and wondered if I could somehow drop it out the window without drawing the attention of other drivers and passengers of cars nearby. I thought about my change drawer, the pennies and nickels that I typically store up for the occasional White Chocolate Mocha. But before I had a chance to dismiss this thought as well I heard someone, or something for all I knew, calling out. The little man looked up and noticed about the same time I did that the driver of the van directly in front of me had rolled down the window and was summonsing the man. Expecting to see a hand holding a few dollars, or as I had originally planned an aluminum can, come shooting out of the window I was astounded when I realized what actually came from the driver was a coat. I hadn’t even noticed the man’s bare arms. But wait, I had. What I truly had not noticed was the warmth and comfort of my 1999 Honda Accord verses the cold and rainy weather to which I was now fully alerted. How could I have seen the man’s tiny shriveled hand and not noticed the misty rain droplets on my driver’s side window or my windshield wipers that I had apparently turned on some time ago. I watched the man’s face. A smile like that of a child on Christmas morning invaded his dirty, wrinkled features and I knew that this man was more grateful for that coat than I was of the warm home I was soon again driving toward. I couldn’t tell if he muttered thank you or any words at all. His face said everything. As I drove past him with tears in my eyes and a prayer in my heart I wondered about the giver. Most likely they were a seminary professor headed for the same wrought iron gates that I was. But no, the driver turned into a store and as I passed her by I couldn’t help but notice her sleeveless shirt.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Reflections from A29


This past week, I spent Wednesday-Friday with Andrew Ogea in Dallas at an Acts 29 event. Our church is in the candidate phase of the membership process with this network. We are excited to join up with the brotherhood and mission. Here are a few quotes and thoughts from the trip:

  • Humility is a pursuit - Acts 29 gets branded as this group of young arrogant know-it-alls. That has not been my experience. From the leaders (Driscoll, Chandler, Patrick, Thomas) to the members and staff, everyone has been extremely genuine and concerned with Kingdom growth and church planting. I can tell that each person is battling pride and arrogance, but I noticed from the stage and in conversation that these men are pursuing humilty. We were invited to hang out with the A29 leaders and pastors after Driscoll's talk. It was cool to meet so many planters, each one extremely interested in our church. It was also cool to see Driscoll never sit down and instead walk around the room taking time to talk to each of us. We got to talk a little about Australia and NOLA. His humility and the rest of guys pursuit of humility was very inspiring.
  • This really is a movement - Driscoll laid out some elements of a movement on Wednesday night. Young Leaders, Converts, Church Planting, Unaware of Influence, Support Organizations Come Out, Transition and Influence of Technology, and Visible Movement Leaders Rise Up. Across the board, this is happening with Acts 29. God has placed a huge vision with this network, I am excited to be a part of the ride.
  • Matt Chandler rocked my face off - The man has an amazing gift. Here are some of his quotes from the weekend: "Where is the Word of God in church movements?", "You can't teach a man to divide if he can't add...so why are we just teaching hard doctrine to people who can't even practice common spiritual disciplines.", "Small group is not the only way to have true growth and community.", "Every leader has blind spots, that is why every leader needs rebuke.", "Your church has to pursue progressive sanctification.", "Progressive sanctification is a crawl, not a sprint.", "Two options for church growth (Organic Relational or Mechanical Linear). Maximize the pros of both. Doing either/or never works."
  • Reconnecting - I'd like to give a shout out to some my boys that I saw at the conference...Lan, Uriah, Tommy, Lorenzo, Brian, and Johnny. Keep in touch.
  • Remember the Sabbath - I got to hear a new voice at the conference. His name is JR Vassar. He is Lead Pastor of Apostles Church in NYC. He gave a powerful word on "Going Deep with Sabbath Rest". If this talk pops up online, I will definitely spread the word. It was extremely beneficial for Andrew and I as pastors, but everyone should hear it. His main drive was this fact, "To practice the Sabbath is to DETACH from the world, and ATTACH to God." Great stuff. He closed giving us some practical assignments in this pursuit. 1) Repent for our neglect of it. 2) Plan for it. 3) Prepare for the day. 4) Practice and work at it.
  • Dinner with Darrin Patrick - On Wednesday night before Driscoll's talk, we got to take Darrin Patrick out to dinner. Darrin is the Vice President of A29 and Lead Pastor of The Journey in St. Louis. I had previously spent some time with him over the phone and at his conference in St. Louis. First of all, this dude is a beast. I would have no problem getting into a fight if he was on my side. Drew and I were blown away by his interest in what God is doing at Vintage. This man is leading a church of thousands and is an extremely sought after speaker and yet he would take time to eat dinner with two little dipsticks from NOLA. Very cool. Darrin gave us some great advice. Thanks for hanging out with us bro.
  • You're not that important - In connection with the last bullet point. Drew and I were really inspired to never become too important for anyone. No matter where God takes us (whether large or small) we always want to be available. So many big name pastors get to a certain level and then detach from everyone. You have to call multiple secretaries just to leave a message that they will never hear. I know that people have to be wise and set boundaries, but it was a great lesson for us to learn. Rob, you are not that special.
  • Dang, tons of work...little staff - A29 is growing extremely fast. They have a church membership in the hundreds that consists of churches all over the world. Amazingly, they only have 4 staff members. Two full-time and two part-time. Scott Thomas and Tyler Powell are the muscle behind the machine. Tyler Powell is a freakin stud! This dude is the relational and organizational genius behind this monster. I don't know how he does it, but the job is getting done. I pray that God would surround Vintage with dudes like this.
  • Simplicity Works - Drew and I were blown away by the facilitates and simplicity of The Village. This church is drawing a crowd of over 6,000 people in two campus. To say that their Highland Village campus is attractive would be a stretch. They have focused on dynamic preaching and worship without two much glamour and complexity. Creativity certainly has a role, but we need to get away from thinking that is the main way that you grow a church. I am reminded of something my high school coach used to beat into our bodies and brains, "DO THE FUNDAMENTALS WELL".
  • PREACHING IS NOT DEAD - My favorite quote of the conference came from Mark Driscoll who emphasized a strong point to all these relational conversationist who are neglecting the preaching of God's Word. "Some people say that preaching is dead, I SAY ONLY IF YOU SUCK AT IT." Love it.
  • FUNNY MOMENT - On Thursday morning Drew and I went by Starbucks. He got his typical Chai Tea Latte. On the way up the stairs into the sanctuary, Drew completely wiped out landing face first on the ground. This was right in front of two couples. I learned a lot about my worship pastor. Instead of throwing his Bible and drink, he kept both in hand and bit the ground. Wow! What commitment to the Word and his hot drink! Drew, I am proud to have you on my team...just don't embarass me like that again.
On our flight home, Drew and I had tons to discuss. This was an inspiring trip!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Senior Adult Choir Hip-Hop

Came across this video. Pretty stinkin hilarious. The back story is that this old choir shot this video to encourage students to get involved in a youth talent show. I love me some old people! My favorite is the last song "I am getting so hot, I'm gonna take my robe off".



more videos at www.youtube.com/IMNEWORLEANS.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

HIMnI...is that a greek word.

Here are some pics from HIMnI over the last couple of years:







You can find more pics @ www.himni.org/photos/.

I just got home from another HIMnI night. Check out some video highlights from the night:



You can see more videos at www.youtube.com/IMNEWORLEANS.

I can't believe that we are going into the second half of our third year of HIMnI. Here are a few facts about this ministry:

  • pronounced "hymn-en-eye" and it is not a greek word. You could make it spiritual if you would like (HIM-God & I-You). Basically, locals in NOLA say him and I a lot. Sounds cool...so we tagged it. My brother Greg came up with it.
  • God planted this vision in the hearts of four dudes (Andrew, Greg, Travis, and myself)
  • it is a monthly interdenominational worship gathering created for young adults (18-35) in the New Orleans area.
  • we launched HIMnI as a catalyst for young adult involvement in the local church.
  • the Andrew Ogea Band has always been the band with many different singers.
  • our crowds have been as large as 200 and as low as 80.
  • we don't meet during the summer.
  • first year we met at Prytania Theater, second year we met at Carrollton Presbyterian, this year we are meeting at Vintage Uptown.
  • Today, HIMnI is led by my brother Greg and a great crew.
I pray that God will continue to bless this ministry as it continues into the future.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Sunday Reflections

We had another great Sunday at Vintage. Here are some of my reflections from the day:

  • I am loving how our volunteer teams are getting it done. It took us a few months, but we are finally clicking. Thanks to Ben, Mike, Kerri, Alicia, and Adam for your leadership.
  • That text was heavy yesterday. It absolutely wiped me out. I was excited all week about preaching that message. As we ask Christ how we need to love our world, let's not forget the sinfulness of man and deception of the world. Praise God the Gospel is greater!
  • The band was amazing. They definitely looked a little sexier. Thanks to my wife singing. Andrew is doing an amazing job uniting a machine of talent in our church. I got to hear a little bit of the afternoon practice. I am excited to hear Keeva bring the heat soon.
  • We had a ton of guests in the morning. It was slammed to the walls. I personally got to meet about 6 first time attenders. Most of them were brought by members and they have plugged in with our LIFEgroups. Love it. Be the Church! By the way, I got to visit one of our LIFEgroups this past Wednesday. Check out the video of Edmund's group:

  • We had 7 people at the Gospel Class. Really excited about the Tulane students that are joining the church family. I love having this class, but it wears me out after a long morning.
  • Instead of going home and taking a quick nap, I went to CCs on magazine with Page and Matt. We were suppose to read...instead we discussed the challenge that we received from the Word that morning. How can we (Vintage Church) reach out to the poor in NOLA? The need is so huge. I got to travel to TX last week and witnessed a church accomplishing this question. My only answer right now is one person at a time. Lead us Jesus, we are willing to go.
  • The night worship was also amazing. We are seeing a consistent group of 30-40 coming each week.
  • Really impressed by the Pastor of New Orleans Community Church. He brought one of his members to our church last night encouraging him to join our fellowship. Big props Jason! Spoke volumes about your Kingdom heart.
  • I know that my message probably ticked some people off (politically). The most important thing that we can do as Christians right now is pray. Vote...sure. Discuss...of course. Get angry and ugly...heck no. Let's pray over the next few days. God has called us to pray for our country's leadership, no matter who wins the election. Our citizenship is first and foremost in Heaven. We follow Christ!
Well that is all for now. Love you guys. Thanks for taking this journey with us. God has great things ahead of us.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Hanging with my Nephews

One of my favorite things to do...hang with my nephews. Check out a few of our favorite times. Robert, Grace, and the boyz live on the Northshore and are expecting a fourth. Woohoo! My favorite is Aylor's song and dance to Aladdin.



You can see more videos at www.youtube.com/IMNEWORLEANS.

Bolt's Highlight Reel

Enjoy some of my favorite videos over the last month of Bolt. He is almost 4 months old and is growing like a beast. This little man has brought AB and I amazing joy. I love being a dad. Thank you Jesus for this little blessing!



Check out more videos at www.youtube.com/IMNEWORLEANS

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Cambridge Seven

I am sitting in class at seminary. Dr. Taylor just highlighted a group of studs from the late 1800s and early 1900s. They are called "The Cambridge Seven". Basically, these guys were in the top of their class at Cambridge, sold everything, and moved to China as missionaries. They joined up with Hudson Taylor and the China Inland Mission. Read more.

What is unique about this picture?


These guys were dressed like the Chinese! They were becoming indigenous with the tribe that they are trying to reach. I think it is absolutely hypocritical that we celebrate these great missionaries and others like William Carey, Lottie Moon, Hudson Taylor (all of which took an indigenous approach)...and yet blast those who pursue indigenous work in American cities. We have received quite a lot of crap from people (mostly religious conservatives) who have disagreed with our missionary strategy in Uptown. Most of these people are huge fans of the above missionaries. This is absolute hypocritical.

We will encourage our foreign missionaries to get to know their people group and even to become like that people group. But if we do anything outside of the typical 1950s Southern Alabama or Mississippi style of ministry, we immediately get resistance. In my own tribe (SBC), I am not completely discouraged. There are a lot of people who are embracing an indigenous mission right here in the US.

A few weeks ago, Dr. Hammond and team from NAMB visited our church. He called me before he came to let me know that he was coming. I love what he said. Basically he encouraged me to not change anything that we had been doing just because he was visiting. He said that he was coming to learn from us. I was blown away by this. Dr. Hammond and team took us out to lunch after the worship and were completely encouraging and supportive. They asked a lot of questions and also gave us some great advice. Dr. Hammond has a great passion for indigenous urban church planting all over North America. I pray that God continues to use him all over this continent.


So...when a youth minister puts on a concert, when a senior adult minister facilitates a BINGO night, when a pastor hosts a hunting banquet at his country church, when a young stubborn guy plants a church in a bar in Uptown NOLA...remember "The Cambridge Seven". Don't be so quick to judge. Reach your world.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Yo Dude...Put Your Pants Back On

I have been motivated, challenged, humbled, ticked-off, and excited by a blog that I just read from my friend Perry Noble. The title of his blog is "Attention Pastors: Keep Your Penis In Your Pants". Warning...this will offend people.

Sex is stinkin everywhere. It doesn't matter what you are doing or where you are going, sex is a plague in our society. I hate that every time I try and watch TV, I have someones boobs bouncing all over the screen. To walk in sexual purity takes a lot of intentional focus and living. I pray daily for God to protect me from the evil one. My father-in-law told me at our wedding to never think that I was above the temptations of satan. PLEASE JESUS, SURROUND ME WITH YOUR PROTECTION AND POWER.

I am especially blown away by the number of ministers that are falling to sexual sin. Honestly, my emotions shift from anger to sorrow. I am also aggravated because of what I read in I John. Most of these preachers who are falling are probably not even saved in the first place. We are preaching through I John and it clearly draws a line between those who are in Christ and those who aren't. So I want to ask my friends (yes that is you Seminary guys as well) are you in HABITUAL SEXUAL SIN. If you are, you probably don't know Jesus. "God is Light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we LIE and DO NOT practice the truth". (I John 1:5-6)

I agree with Perry that it is time cut the crap, stop playing church, and attack this monster head on. Another man that is attacking this problem head on is Mark Driscoll. He is currently preaching through Song of Solomon. The series is called "Peasant Princess". Play the WHAC-A-FOX video game that one of his staff created.

He even has a free online book called "Porn-Again Christian: A frank discussion on pornography and masturbation". I appreciate and join with these men in a war against the lies of this world. Right now, satan is winning this battle in our homes and churches. It is time for us to counter-attack this plague with the power of Christ.

If you are in bondage from this sickness...REPENT & TURN TO JESUS & PUT YOUR PANTS BACK ON!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sunday Night Reflections

Another one bites the dust...here are some thoughts from the day:

  • SPECIAL THANKS TO PEACHTREE CORNERS BAPTIST CHURCH and MONTE NICHOLS! Thanks for buying us our new chairs. They look great. We are praying that many people will sit in these chairs being transformed by the Gospel.
  • This was my second Sunday off...in regards to preaching the Word. It was nice to come a little late this morning. Great job volunteer teams! And Page did another amazing job preaching the Word. I feel incredibly blessed to have such a gifted teacher and friend on our crew. Listen to his messages at www.vintagenola.org/podcast.
  • God's Spirit was extremely rich in both gatherings today. It was a calming and healing atmosphere. The music and teaching was solid and the crowd was excited.
  • The band was amazing today. Probably because Wendy was singing. Andrew has done a great job mixing and matching a bunch of our people into a few bands. I never get tired of hearing Drew sing. Even when he is sick.
  • I shared tonight during the welcome that I spent most of the afternoon with Bolt napping in my arms. As I watched him sleep, God painted a great picture in my soul. He reminded me that for many people, our Vintage worship gatherings are a time when people can cuddle up in our Father's arms. This city can be really tough to live in. I pray that our church will always be a place of refuge for the tired and weary.
  • We have a Family Meeting this next week (Sunday Night 10/19 @ 7:30pm). I am extremely grateful to God for all that He has done through our church, but we have so much more to do. Our Family Meeting will be a time of prayer and vision casting. We will also update the church on our current status. Let me offer this little disclaimer...we won't only hug and kiss at this meeting. We are going to lay out our expectations upon our membership. A lot of our members have stepped it up big time, but a lot haven't. That won't be accepted or allowed at Vintage. There are plenty of other churches that would happily welcome consumers. Not our church.
  • Little moment of encouragement. One of our faithful guests came to me at the end of the service in tears. After some small discussion she shared with me that she felt like Vintage had come to Uptown just for her. She told me that she felt incredibly blessed by the fact that Christ would place our church in her community. Thank you Jesus for your church and vision.
  • We spent some time praying for our LIFEgroup leaders. We have 13 LIFEgroups meeting all over NOLA. I am hearing some great stories from these groups as they study Vintage Jesus.
  • Our attendance has remained pretty much the same with around 100 total for the day. During the last two weeks our evening numbers have really dropped. Not sure why...but we are going to challenge some of our members to come at night. There are quite a few people that can't come in the mornings, so we are going to press on.
  • As I have shared before, we are on a marathon not a sprint. I am excited to see where Christ is taking us into the future. One of my leaders reminded me of how far we have come since February. He told me to look on our website tonight of our pics. Here is a pic from February:
  • Here is a pic from a couple of weeks ago at our baptism service:
Jesus, keep growing your church.

Goodnight people.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Time to Dance

One of my church members sent me this email and video.

I've thought long and hard about my personal participation in worship at Vintage in that I feel called to participate more from the audience. I've been inspired by the following video. Does anyone have any problem with me worshiping in this way?


see video @ www.robwilton.blogspot.com

Not at all Mike. Bring it on. Just one thing...no flags or tambourines.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Thank you Jesus - Reflections over the last month.

It has been a while since I added some personal reflections. Honestly, my life has been in a tornado since the Gustav scare. Between the hurricane, new baby, classes, church baptism/mission/and official launch...at times I have asked for Christ to take me home. I have slipped up on a lot of my personal goals like getting in shape, reading some books, and even some family priorities. It is going to be tough, but I am determined to get back in the zone. Thankfully I have survived the dive and have just started to reach the surface for some air.

When I think about the last month all I can say is "THANK YOU JESUS". His grace and strength has certainly kept me going. The following is a list of my "thank you Jesus" moments:

  • Surviving Hurricane Gustav. This is the reality of living in New Orleans. My life went through so many emotions during this time. Because God is sovereign all we can do is repond to what he allows to happen in this world. I love how our church responded to this storm. It was awesome watching our church DO WORK (for all those Rob&Big fans). Be the Church...sounds like a cool concept. Please don't forget the areas that were impacted by Gustav and Ike. There are a lot of people that still need help.
  • 28 Days of Prayer. Starting at the beginning of September our church united in prayer. Each day we focused on a specific prayer request, country from Operation World, and read through the One Year Bible text for the day. Honestly, there were many days that I probably would have quit if it wasn't for my time in the Word and time in prayer. I believe that this is just the beginning of a mighty prayer movement in our entire church community.
  • 9/20 Mission Day. Our missional strategy at Vintage is three-fold. Personal, Life Group, and Corporately. Instead of filling up the calendar with missional events, we are encouraging our members to live missional each day. As they engage their world, they are called to bring in their life group to meet needs each week. And then quarterly our entire church will unite to reach our community. Corporately we will also serve together in a foreign mission field twice a year. The mission day on the 20th was amazing. We had over 50 people show up to clean yards, parks, pass out waters, prayer walk, pick up trash, clean bathrooms, and tell people about Jesus. Ben did an amazing job leading this event. Thanks to everyone who got their hands dirty for Jesus.
  • 9/21 Baptism and Barbeque. This is what it is all about. Our gathering for worship each week is not the focus of our church. It is a celebration of the focus of our church - going and making disciples. Our baptism team (Edmund, Wendy, Mike, Tiffany, Dennis, Kaitlin, and many others) did a first class job. After a time of worship, we went outside and had a baptism celebration. Notice I said celebration. I have attended way too many baptisms services that felt like funerals. We sang, prayed, yelled, clapped, and of course baptized 7 people. It felt more like a tailgating party than a funeral. I pray that we have thousands more.
Here is a video of the Mission Day and Baptism (thx Mike and Travis):


Vintage Church Mission Day & Baptism Sunday from Travis Manint on Vimeo.

You can also check out the pics from the two days at www.vintagenola.org/photo-gallery/
  • 9/24 Life Group Launch. This was a huge day for our church because we consider our LIFEgroups to be the foundation of our mission. This summer we had 3 lifegroups led by our pastors. On the 24th, we launched 13 LIFEgroups all over the city. I am superpumped to watch God use these groups to connect people to Christ all over our city. These groups of 5-15 people gather in homes and participate in learning God's Word, interaction with God in prayer, fellowship with each other, and then evangelism in the community. More info on them at www.vintagenola.org/lifegroups/.
  • 9/28 Official Sunday Launch. Once again, we don't consider this to be the point...however, we believe that God can do an amazing work through the corporate gathering of the church and through the preaching of God's Word. Andrew and our band did an amazing job. I am excited to co-preach this fall with Page through the book of I John. Our series is called "Christology". You can subscribe to the podcast at www.vintagenola.org/podcast/. We had over 120 people join us on the day as we gathered at 10am & 6pm. Although we still have a lot of things to work out with our volunteer teams, we are certainly heading in the right direction. I am excited to see where God is going to take His church.
WOW! This has been an amazing month. THANK YOU JESUS!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Vintage Launch & Challenge

VINTAGE LAUNCH
THIS SUNDAY


Worship

Two Gatherings
(10am* & 6pm)
Location: Vintage Uptown / 4523 Magazine St / NOLA 70115
*Vintage Kidz provided only


VINTAGE CHALLENGE

We are challenging every member of Vintage to invite ONE FRIEND that needs to hear the great message of Jesus. Come ready to serve, learn, and worship.

This Sunday we are starting a new series...

Christology

This series will be a study of the book of I John. The book of I John was written by John the apostle in the late first century. This book is a straightforward message about the truth of the Incarnation (full divinity and humanity of Christ). John reaffirms the core principles of what it means to live as ultimate light, live as ultimate love, and to simply put it...live as Christ. As we begin this new church, our desire to build this community upon the One who started our church. Join us this fall as we dive into a greater understanding of the Ultimate God/Man...Jesus Christ.


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CHECK OUT OUR PICS FROM LAST WEEKEND'S MISSION DAY AND BAPTISM
www.vintagenola.org/photo-gallery

baptism


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Also, get plugged into our fall LIFEgroup study, VINTAGE JESUS.

TO RECEIVE ALL THE VINTAGE LIFEGROUP INFO, CLICK ON www.vintagenola.org/lifegroups/


Friday, September 19, 2008

Finally!

It has certainly been a crazy month. Because of a few storms, we had to change some of our plans. Over the last 3 years I have served with a ministry called Ignite Mission. Basically we united together in the city of New Orleans to spark a movement of God's Spirit in the lives of young adults all over the city. We were suppose to gather for our fourth year of Out of Range in early September. Because of Gustav, the gathering was canceled. Charlie Hall was going to join us and so was one of my good friends, Tony Merida. Tony is the Preaching Pastor at Temple Baptist in Hattiesburg, MS. Tony and I got together this summer at his house for a little talk about the conference and prayer as a whole. Check out the video of our time:


Out of Range 2008 Interview with Tony Merida from Travis Manint on Vimeo.

Not only was the Out of Range conference canceled but we also had to push back our first HIMnI gathering in New Orleans. After a few frustrating weeks, we FINALLY gathered for worship last night at Vintage Church. We had a blast with over 110 people from all over the city. My brother Greg and a great team of people lead this ministry with the purpose of connecting young adults to Christ and the local church. Last night my bro gave me the privilege of preaching the Word. We looked at Exodus 14:15. WHEN YOU PRAY...MOVE YOUR FEET.

If you are in New Orleans this fall, come and hang out with us at HIMnI. We believe that God is going to use this ministry to inspire the young adults of our city to live for Him.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wrong ?...Tough ?

I just got a forwarded email from someone who attends our church. He also attends an Anglican Church in town called Annunciation. The Rev'd Jerry Kramer from that church sent James this forward. I love some of the stuff that Reggie McNeal has put out. The first time I was exposed to him was at a conference in TN. Towards the end of his talk, he asked someone to get the ("Christian famous") band to come out from there weed smokin break in the back and lead the invitation. Love it.

Enjoy the questions:

Reggie McNeal is one of the nation's premier church leadership coaches. In his materials McNeal provides a list of wrong questions, juxtaposed with tough questions that church leaders SHOULD be addressing. These point out how very different the leaders' agenda will be shaped, depending on the questions being asked:

Wrong Question: How do we "do church" better?

Tough Question: How do we "be church" better? Or how do we de-convert from "Churchianity" (institutional religion) to Christianity (the movement)?

Wrong Question: How do we grow this church?
Tough Question: How do we serve this community?

Wrong Question: How do we develop ministers for the church?
Tough Question: How do we develop missionaries for the culture?

Wrong Question: How do we develop church members?
Tough Question: How do we develop followers of Jesus?

Wrong Question: How do we plan for the future we see?
Tough Question: How do we prepare for the future God sees?

Wrong Question: How do we develop leaders for church work?
Tough Question: How do we develop leaders for the Christian movement?

We need to really, really focus on addressing the right questions. This needs to be our check every time. So . . .

Wrong Question: How do we get the music covered on Sundays?
Tough Question: How do we create an atmosphere of worship and experience the Holy Spirit's power?

Wrong Question: How do we fund the budget?
Tough Question: How do we advance the mission God has given us?

One of the key insights from Willowcreek's "reveal study" was that people who have a relationship with "the church" go nowhere in their discipleship. They stay stuck, flounder, and even go backwards. Churches and programmes that focus on "the church" just go in circles. Progress is only realized in having a growing relationship with Jesus. This needs to be our lens and focus. Ultimate question: How does this foster people's relationship with the Lord Jesus? Does it?


jerry+


The Rev'd Jerry Kramer, OP
Pastor, Annunciation, New Orleans
www.annunciationbroadmoor.org
www.annunciationbroadmoor.blogspot.com

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Baby Preacher

Check out this video that my friend Mike just forwarded me. This baby is getting his pentecostal preaching on. Amazing, hilarious, and kind of scary. I would want to tick this little man off. Not sure if I am going to let my son watch this. Enjoy, I hear he is already booking gigs.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Thug Jesus & Acts 29

I just came across this video from Mark Driscoll and his preaching series called "Doctrine". This dude does a great job sharing God's Word. Watch the short video here:

http://www.marshillchurch.org/media/doctrine/kingdom-god-reigns/thug-jesus

We are excited about hanging with the Acts 29 guys in St. Louis next month. Acts 29 Network exists to start churches that plant churches. I am going with a core group of guys to the Lead Conference at Journey Church. We are going to enjoy the conference and also go through an assessment and church planting bootcamp. We are looking forward to partnering with this movement.

Journey Church is doing an amazing job of engaging their city for Christ. A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity of talking with the Lead Pastor, Darrin Patrick, on the phone. I really enjoyed our dialogue. He is a laid back jock that loves Jesus. My kind of dude. Keep checking out these guys. They are doing some amazing work for the Kingdom.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sun Morn & Wed Night Reflections

After a scare from Gustav, we are back in the mix. There is still a lot of work to be done, but our worship is back to normal. Here are my thoughts on our last weeks worship:

  • We wrapped up our ADVICE series in I & II Timothy. We started this series in January with 10 people. 27 messages later we are done and we had over 50 people in each gathering. We have also seen 8 people surrender to Christ and 12 people are going to be baptized on Sept 21. WOW. Thank you God for blessing us through your Word.
  • It was great meeting so many new people. Especially those who have just moved to NOLA. There are a lot of young urban professionals moving into NOLA from around the country. I love there passion to rebuild our city.
  • Tonight was crazy hot! The air was broken, and it felt like it was in the 100s.
  • I tried out my first youtube video...probably won't do that again. I think I will let Travis do them from now on.
  • The Vintage water commercial was hilarious. It was great serving with our church over the last week. I can't wait for our mission day this Saturday.
  • Our joint life group was amazing. Over 60 people excited about getting plugged into home group study and accountability. We are going to launch 10-15 groups this fall all over NOLA.
  • Why does it take a hurricane to get the church outside its walls? Not pointing fingers, because I am guilty. I think I am going to write a future blog about this.
  • Remember this week's message: Preach the Word, Be the Word.
  • Praying for the Texas coastline.
Goodnight.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Buy A Tarp

Healing Place Church in Baton Rouge and Pastor Dino Rizzo needs our help. Here is there website for disaster relief:

http://www.healingplacechurch.org/relief/

Check out the Catalyst blog to find out how you can help.

http://www.catalystspace.com/catablog/full/help_the_people_in_baton_rouge_its_simple/

Our church just bought 5 tarps for them. It is real easy. Buy it online and they will ship it to them directly.

Praying for you guys in Baton Rouge. Keep Being the Church!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Cleaning the Park and Free Waters

We had another great day serving our community. Check out the video:



*you can see more videos at www.youtube.com/IMNEWORLEANS

Friday, September 5, 2008

Great Day / Don't Miss Tomorrow

We had a great day serving in Uptown. Here is a little highlight video from the day:



*you can see more videos at www.youtube.com/IMNEWORLEANS

Don't miss tomorrow. We meet at Vintage Church @ 9am. Come ready to work.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Plan of Action for Friday and Saturday

IMPORTANT INFORMATION:

Here are the details for this Friday and Saturday:
• 9am "Meet at Vintage Church for Prayer and Plan of Action"
• Bring equipment, snacks, drinks, and cash (in case we eat somewhere in Uptown). Bring enough to share with people.
• $10 for a Vintage t-shirt.
• We will work each day as long as there is need. Please come and join us even if you can only come for a little while.

SEMINARY AND COLLEGE STUDENTS:
A lot of the city is still without power. We are providing NO accomodations for people who have not been approved to come back. Check with your school to find out if your school has re-opened, please do not return before the approved time.

SUNDAY WORSHIP BACK THIS SUNDAY:

10am @ Vintage Uptown

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Updated Plan of Action

Message from the Vintage Church Relief Team:



WE ARE BACK!!!

We arrived in NOLA around 4pm yesterday. Our church and homes are okay and there is minimal damage in the city. We spent the last day assessing the damage and putting together a plan for our work in the community. New Orleans was definitely spared from the storm, but there is plenty of work to be done.

VINTAGE CHURCH FAMILY & FRIENDS:

It is time for our church to step it up and "Be the Church" in Uptown. Hopefully most of you will be back in NOLA by the early weekend. The city will be open for return starting on Thursday @ 12:01am. We would love for you to make plans to join us on Friday and Saturday as we serve our community. Our plan is to spend the next two days in Uptown serving and putting a plan in place. As you return home, stop by a Walmart or a Church to buy or borrow some of these items:

Various Yard Tools, Rakes, Chain Saws, Gloves, Wheel Barrels, Ladders, Strong Trash Bags, Waters, Coolers, etc.

We will send out an email on Thursday Night letting you know where to meet on Friday and Saturday. Please don't miss this opportunity to serve our community. God has presented us a great opportunity to display the love of Christ. I know a lot of you weren't planning on returning till later in the week. We are asking for you to sacrifice and get back. The city is safe and needs your help.

Contact info@vintagenola.org if you have any questions.

OUTSIDE CHURCHES & FRIENDS:

Thank you for your prayers and support. Our city was spared from a major catastrophe. However, there were other cities that weren't so lucky. We would like to recommend that you and your church join with us in investigating how we can serve these different areas. We will keep you posted on the various needs that we discover. Thanks again for your willingness to serve.



Don't forget...

28 DAYS OF PRAYER

We are going to stay united as the body of Christ through our 28 Days of Prayer. This was something that we were going to do to prepare our lives for the official public launch. God is leading us to pray now more than ever. Go to the following links to pray with us over this time. Print it out and put it on your fridge.

here's the link to the PDF http://vintagenola.org/storage/pdfs/Vintage28days.pdf

here's the link to the page on our site http://vintagenola.org/vintage-prayer/

BE THE CHURCH

Pics from 8/31 - 9/2
























Youtube Video Catch Up

I am back in New Orleans catching up on all my email, youtube, fbook, twitter, and blog. Man that is a lot. Thank you so much for praying for us. We are excited to begin the clean up process in Uptown tomorrow morning. I will send out two more blogs tonight. #1: all the pictures over the last two days from my iPhone. #2: a detailed relief plan for our church family and friends.

Right now you can get caught up on the videos over the past two days. Here is a video of our worship time on Sunday. See all of them @ www.youtube.com/IMNEWORLEANS.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Morning Update Video

This morning we had coffee, pancakes, and watched the rain and wind come in. The storm is not over, but it looks like we dodged a major catastrophe.



*see more videos @ www.youtube.com/IMNEWORLEANS

Check out Edmund Kee


Good morning friends. There is a consistent rain and a strong wind outside right now. I woke up to the smell of coffee. By the way there is nothing like coffee in the morning.

Please pray for my good friend and member of Vintage Church, Edmund Kee. Edmund is in the picture above holding my son, Bolt. Edmund works for Entergy (the power company in our area). He was forced to go into work on the WestBank of NOLA at one of the power plants. He is also keeping a blog of his journey. He posted a video of his journey from Uptown to the plant. There is some great video of the storm clouds coming into New Orleans.

Edmund's Blog: www.edmundkee.blogspot.com

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Video from AB and Bolt

I just got a video from AB and Bolt!



*See more at www.youtube.com/IMNEWORLEANS

Sit and Wait

Our team has settled down in Covington, LA. Our host is Dr. Reggie Ogea's house. We arrived around 1pm and saw that a few gas stations and businesses were still open. After we refilled our gas tanks we found a local Chinese shop. I have never been so excited about General Tso's Chicken. When we got back to the house, it was extremely calm and pretty outside. We decided to play a little Ultimate Frisbee and jump in our hosts pool. Right after our swim, the rain started to pour down.

Here is the current status of Gustav: Cat 3 / 115mph / NW 18mph

The storm has diminished significantly, but it is still a major storm. The wind and rain has already begun to pick up quite a bit. There won't be a whole lot more for me to blog about over the next day and a half. Hopefully I will at least be able to keep people posted through twitter. There is no telling how long we will be without power.

For those who have contacted me about helping out in the relief work, we will keep everyone posted through this blog and our website as soon as we put the plan in place.

Keep praying for all who are affected by this storm.

Worship Podcast and 28 Days of Prayer


Greetings from New Orleans!

We just wrapped up our worship time @ Vintage Church. We had 7 people and 4 turtles. The full worship gathering will be available on our podcast. We will try and put in online before the storm. Click here for the podcast.

I will also post a video of the worship service @ www.youtube.com/IMNEWORLEANS.

28 DAYS OF PRAYER

We are going to stay united as the body of Christ through our 28 Days of Prayer. This was something that we were going to do to prepare our lives for the official public launch. God is leading us to pray now more than ever. Go to the following links to pray with us over this time. Print it out and put it on your fridge.

here's the link to the PDF http://vintagenola.org/storage/pdfs/Vintage28days.pdf

here's the link to the page on our site http://vintagenola.org/vintage-prayer/

LEAVING TOWN

Thanks for your prayers! Our relief team is going to ride out the storm in Covington (40 minutes north of NOLA). We will keep posting updates on our website as long as we can.

Vintage Family...please connect with us through our online community and let us know where you are at.

God is in control! May He receive all glory and praise!

Rob Wilton