About Me

My photo
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.

Twitter Update

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.