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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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Fall 2010 Reflections: First Chapter Down!

This past fall we started a journey in I Corinthians called "In the City. For the City." We took a few breaks but we spent 13 weeks walking through the first chapter of this great book. You can go to www.vintagenola.org/inthecity/ to catch up with our journey. I've joked around with our Vintage family by stating that we might be hanging in this book for the next 40 years...that might be true.

Here are some reflections from our journey so far:

> THE GOSPEL - A lot of people dive into this book because of the craziness of Corinth or the controversial issues that Paul addresses. Above all things presented in the book, the Gospel is major anthem that is proclaimed. Paul's desperate plea with this young church plant was our memory verse for the first chapter which is an incredible proclamation of the Gospel:
And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord." 1 Cor 1:30-31

> THE CITY - The more I study, the more similarities I find between the city of Corinth and the city of New Orleans. The other day at one of our Community Group Leader meetings, a CG Leader stated that he was amazed at how similar his group is to the struggles found in Corinth. This book is a timely book for our church family. Paul loved this crazy city and he believed in the great potential impact in the world if Corinth was reached by the Gospel. I believe that God is going to teach us so much about how to be in New Orleans for New Orleans and the glory of God.

> CELEBRATING STORIES - Some of my favorite moments this fall have been hearing and witnessing the many different stories of our Vintage family being the church in our city. I could fill a book with all the incredible stories. You can watch some of the stories at www.vimeo.com/vintage. Thank you Jesus for moving through us in our city!

> LIFECHANGE - The Gospel is transforming people in the city of New Orleans. I am blown away by His grace. We have had so much fun witnessing people being saved and baptized. Join us in praying that God would save every soul in our city for His glory. Here some pics from our baptism gathering in September.

> UNITY - Most of the first chapter is Paul's plea in the Gospel against the division that was leaking into this young church plant. God really humbled me throughout this first chapter and helped me get past sin in order to remain focused on the main thing. I have loved witnessing our church family grow stronger over the fall. We are currently gathering around 200 people on the weekend but our unity isn't found when we gather, our unity is found as we scatter. We have around 250+ gathering in homes all over our city. These community groups are living out "truth, love, and community" and I am crazy in love with them.

Vintage Family, let's stay humble and focused upon the Gospel. I can't wait to launch back into I Corinthians in the Spring.

Friday, September 3, 2010

In the City. For the City.

This past Sunday we launched our new journey through I Corinthians. We have called our series "In the City. For the City." I want to invite you to take a ride with us over the next 2-3 years. We probably won't even get out of the 1st chapter this fall. You can find all the available resources (intro booklet, podcast, sermon notes, & discussion guide) at www.vintagenola.org/inthecity

Our prayer is three-fold as we journey through this book. We are praying that our Vintage Family would "live the Gospel, love the city, and be the church". You probably recognize this. This is our mission statement. I am so amazed by all that God has done in and through our church over the past 2 years, but I really believe that the best is yet to come.

I love New Orleans! There are times when I don't necessary like it, but I do love it. I feel crazy blessed to serve Jesus, raise my family, and pastor a church in my favorite city in the world. Although NOLA has survived and thrived through Katrina and is on the rise, there is a ton of work to do. Many of the traditions that are so unique about this city have remained but there is also a new wave of talent flowing into my city. I am so excited about this "New" New Orleanian because of the potential for our future. There are so many new creatives and professionals. We, as Vintage Church, can't afford to remain stagnant. In order to keep up with our culture, we are going to have to push the limits of creativity as we proclaim the greatest message in the world.

As we journey through this series, I pray that we would recognize that as the church God has a bigger plan for our city. He has called us to be "in the city, for the city". I am praying for a movement of God to hit our city in such a way that only He would get the glory. What will this look like?

The church (people who are saved by the Gospel) will start to truly love the city instead of despising it, fearing it, ignoring it, using it, & indulging it. Click here to listen to our week 1 message as I walked through these different types of people. Families will commit to raise their families in the city teaching the next generation to love the city. I have begun to pray that God would save every person in our city. I might be crazy, but I believe that nothing is impossible with Christ.

As I watched all of the attention New Orleans got as we remembered 5 years since Katrina, I believe that God placed an incredible vision upon my heart. I am not sure when this will happen but I believe that I will witness it. I am not sure what role Vintage Church will have in it, but I know that we will be a part of it. On a future Katrina-Anniversary (next year, 10yrs, 25yrs, 50yrs) I saw all the media outlets of the world focused on our city. During this anniversary there was one major difference. As the world looked at New Orleans, they didn't only see the social justice organizations, they didn't only see the new homes and neighborhoods, they didn't only see the new leaders and businesses, they didn't only see the 15 Vince Lombardi trophies in the dome, they saw the Gospel of Jesus Christ proclaimed through every street of our city. They saw the church living in the city and for the city and as a result the Gospel was glorified in all nations.

Believe with me in this very simple prayer,

"God, move in such a way in New Orleans that YOU ALONE receive all the glory."

2010 Where Ya @?

We are celebrating a 2-year journey as Vintage Church. Thank you Jesus for leading us on this amazing ride. THE BEST IS YET TO COME! Enjoy our highlight video and podcast from our Where Ya @? Celebration:

For the video go to http://vimeo.com/14375945

For the podcast go to http://vintagenola.org/podcast/2010/8/22/where-ya-082210-judges-6-7.html

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I Can't Wait

Hey Mack and Birk,

Today is your birth-date. I am hanging out with your mama and you are about to enter this world. I just wanted to write you a little note from your daddy. Your mama and I love you so much and we haven't even met you.

I have watched you wrestle with each other inside your mama's tummy. I'm sure this won't be the last time that you guys wrestle it out. Bolt and I can't wait to jump in. I have also spent the last week listening to your little heartbeats. We have spent an entire week at the hospital waiting on your arrival. I am so grateful to God for this time because I know that it has made you stronger. Every single beat is an amazing miracle from God.

As you enter this world, we are thanking God for this amazing miracle. The last 8 months have been filled with crazy excitement. This time has also been filled with a ton of prayers. Gentlemen, I want you to understand something.

You are not ours. You were created by and created for the Lord. He owns you and loves you way more than your Mama and I ever could. He loves you so much that He sent His only Son to die upon a cross in order that you might have a relationship with Him. I have prayed everyday, as I pray for your older brother Bolt, that you might be saved by Jesus Christ. This is a decision that your Mama and I can't make for you, your friends can't make for you, your church can't make for you. This is a decision that is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.

Your Mama and I are super-pumped that God has entrusted both of you to us. We will daily lift both of you up in prayer asking for God to save you and to use you for His glory. I know that God has placed you in this world for His purpose and glory.

I can't wait to watch you play ball with your older brother, I can't wait to watch you play tricks on us because you are identical, I can't wait for the camping trips and beach trips, I can't wait to watch you hug and kiss and take your Mama on a date, I can't wait to watch you fall in love with Jesus, I can't wait to watch you celebrate the Saints 10th Super Bowl win, I can't wait to watch you fall in love, I can't wait to watch you get married, I can't wait to watch you serve the Lord, I can't wait to watch you as a proud daddy of your own kids.......I can't wait.

Mack & Birk, Your daddy loves you! I can't wait for this journey to begin.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Be a Rebel. Get Involved.

There is a big discussion taking place in the tribe that I hang with called the Southern Baptist Convention. Honestly, I am not too sure about everything that has taken place. I do have certain convictions about the many things that have been brought up by the Great Commission Resurgence.

Here are my two cents, thanks for reading this mom:

For whatever reason, every generation has an inward desire and passion to rebel against the previous generation. As a third generation preacher in my family, I have loved hearing the stories of men from the past who have stood against the crowd to attempt something great for God. The Southern Baptist Convention has been filled with these stories.

When Christ called me into full-time ministry, I had no idea that church planting was even an option, because I had always viewed it as “church splitting”. As I continued to learn about church planting, I found and continue to find many guys who have turned to church planting because of a drive to rebel against “the man.” On top of this, many church planters have chosen to rebel against their denominational heritage.

Planting a church in Uptown New Orleans was never an act of rebellion for me. Post-Katrina New Orleans is in desperate need of a thousand new churches. I was however influenced by this rebellion to consider the option of abandoning the Southern Baptist Convention. One of my close friends recommended for me to look into the Acts 29 Network. As I pursued them, I had the privilege of talking with Darrin Patrick (Lead Pastor of Journey Church in St. Louis) who is the Vice-President of Acts 29 and a Southern Baptist. God used Darrin in a powerful way to show me the importance of honoring my heritage, moving against the crowd that was jumping ship, and getting involved.

The Southern Baptist Convention has been an amazing blessing in my life. My South African parents sold everything, moved to New Orleans, and began studying at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. They were immediately adopted and equipped to proclaim the Gospel. Today I join my dad, my brother, my uncles, and both grandpas in proclaiming the Gospel through the umbrella of the SBC.

Sure, the SBC has many issues…but so does every church…and so does every church leader. Southern Baptists have been used by God in a mighty way to proclaim the Gospel all over the world. I am proud to continue this cooperative journey into the future.

With so many in my generation turning away from the SBC, I feel like the new rebellion is to get involved. I have really appreciated the work that has gone into the Great Commission Resurgence. There has never been a greater time for us to unite around the Gospel for God’s glory. BE A REBEL. GET INVOLVED.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Lent Lesson #3

By no means did God only teach me three lessons through Lent. My notebook is filled with nuggets of wisdom that I received through discussions, experiences, Scripture, my family, etc. However, these three stick out the most. To review, Lent Lesson #1 was “God is so good”. Lent Lesson #2 was “listen to Jesus and do what He says”. Here is the 3rd:


Now this might seem a little strange to you because of my second lesson. Why would God teach me to get control of my life when He has called us to listen and surrender to what He has called us to do? Lent Lesson #2 is the preface to #3.

This world is not our home. This life is not our own. For those who have been saved by Christ, the only reason why Christ has saved you is that you might glorify Him with your life.

I Peter 2:9 is by far one of my favorite verses in God’s Word.
9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

This is such a great reminder of God’s call upon my life as a believer.

With this truth established, God began to convict me of the fact that I wasn’t being a good steward of what He had called me to be. Every believer has two primary callings in this world. One is to “go and make disciples of all nations”. This isn’t an option. All have been called to reach all. That definitely includes the unreached people groups around the world. The second call is a specific call. Paul was called to the nations, but he specifically served as an apostle traveling the world planting churches. Jesus certainly was called to the nations, but focused on 12 regular dudes. You and I have certainly been called to the nations, but what has God called you to specifically? These two are intertwined.

As I began to ponder that question, I first reflected on what God has placed in my life. I don’t like segmenting my Christ-life, my personal-life, and my work-life. Christ is primary and interwoven throughout my life. Understanding this, here is my specific calling from top priority down:
• To be a husband to the most beautiful woman in the world.

• To be a dad to (NOW) 3 little dudes who are the absolute joy of my life.
• To be a son and brother and grandson to an incredible family.
• To be a pastor to a new church plant called Vintage in the heart of New Orleans. This involves being a leader to an incredible staff, being an influencer to a devoted vision team and community group leaders, and being a faithful servant to a loving church family as we together love God and people.
• To be a preacher of God’s Word each week at Vintage, during camp seasons at MissionLab, and whenever God gives me other opportunities.
• To be a friend to those in my life who care more about me and my family than what I do or don’t do. They just love me and I love them.
• And lastly, to be a student at NOBTS even though I feel like I deserve an honorary MDiv for all the time I have spent on that campus. Hopefully I will done this fall.

That’s my list. As I looked at this list, God convicted that I wasn’t being a good steward of the LIFE THAT HE HAD GIVEN ME. As I shared in the first Lent Lesson post, the last two years have been crazy awesome. But the unpredictable schedules, the lack of definitive office hours, the full access from everyone without boundaries has begun to lead me away from what God has called me to do. Annabeth pleaded with me this spring to put some structure into our lives. I started to receive visions of my sons growing up hating Jesus & the church because daddy cared more about church than them. I NEEDED TO TAKE ACTION.

Let me share what this looks like in my life. During Lent I came across a blog somewhere that talked about “Reclaiming the 9-5”. I wish I could find it. Anyways, this pastor talked about how he hates segmentation and that he loves serving with completely schedule freedom. However, this freedom had begun to spin his life out of control. He wrote about the importance of working, playing, resting, and dating at certain set-aside times. He wrote about reclaiming the 9-5 so that his kids could enjoy daddy time and that he could truly focus on what God had called him to do.

As I read, God smacked me in the face with this third lesson, “GET CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE.” He said, “Rob, I have blessed you with the responsibility of being a husband, dad, son, brother, grandson, preacher, friend, and student in accordance with my plans for my glory.” This isn’t about you; this is about my sovereign plan for this world.

For me taking action looked like this:

• I put together a time budget and weekly schedule where I assessed and planned work, sleep, study, meetings, family time, Sabbath, workout, etc. I also set up an accountability system for sticking with it.
• I led our church in finding a solid office space for us to work. Sure, its ghetto, but that’s how Vintage rolls.
• I set aside a week to go on vacation with my family and worked hard before we left so that I didn’t have to work while I was away.
• I started rejecting meetings and opportunities that didn’t fall under the category of what Christ has called me to do.

Now anyone in ministry knows that ministry isn’t that clean and neat. I completely agree. Ministry should look a lot sloppier than the institutional business-like expressions that we find all over our country. However, if my schedule leads me to neglect my family, cheat on my wife, go into depression, and even kill myself…how effective will that be? Getting control of your life isn’t about making life easier, getting control of your life is about being faithful to God’s call.

I pastor a church filled with young adults. For the most part I am counseling one person after another that is being controlled by their life. From work obligations, to parties, to church duties, to new babies…the busyness of life is killing them. The question that I had to answer is the same question that we all need to answer, “What has God called me to do?” When clarity comes from God, DO IT! That means that you might have to get rid of some things. That means that you might have to say NO to some (even good) things. Prioritize your life around what Christ has called you to do. He wants to use you in a mighty way for His glory!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Lent Lesson #2

As we have planted Vintage Church over the past two years, I have cut-back significantly on my speaking gigs outside of New Orleans. I have strategically focused on preaching in NOLA with Vintage and MissionLab. Occasionally, God leads me to accept one. I traveled over Lent with the Andrew Ogea Band to TN and SC. On the way to these events we went to the Unleash Conference at NewSpring Church in Anderson, SC. This one-day conference was perfect timing for me as I was at a point of exhaustion and even a little confusion. Perry and the NewSpring story is crazy phenomenal. I first met Perry when I was being recruited to play ball at Anderson University. Perry at that time was an RA for one of the dorms and led a bible study on campus. I remember him coming up to my dad to ask advice about God calling him to plant a new church in Anderson. Perry was crazy excited as he shared with us what God had placed in his life. 10 years later, Perry now pastors a church of over 10,000 people. NewSpring puts on this conference once a year to pour into church leaders. It was during this conference that God gave me a second lesson.

Perry got up and reflected about the journey over the past 10 years. Whether controversial or not, risky or not, loud or not; Perry summed up what he had learned over this journey.


For some this might seem elementary. Even for me, I wasn’t exactly shocked by this truth. But at the moment, Jesus laid the smack down on me. As a new church planter I have been overwhelmed by the amount of resources. Google any subject and you will find thousands of blogs, books, etc. At one conference people are talking about being organic, at another people are talking about being missional, and at another people are talking about being multi-site. Honestly, I am not finding anything out there that has been crazy successful in New Orleans. I believe that I live in one of the most difficult places to plant a church in the world. For those who aren’t from NOLA, you won’t understand.

This simple word of wisdom was exactly what I needed to hear. The most fruitful times of ministry have been times when we least expected it. Vintage isn’t my idea, I didn’t launch Vintage, and I’m ultimately not responsible for Vintage. Jesus is Lord, King, and Senior Pastor of Vintage. True success isn’t what American evangelicals have deemed to be success. True success happens when we are faithful to what Christ has called us to do…even if that means being a persecuted, poor, and unpopular Christ-follower.

There are two keys to this phrase:

LISTEN TO JESUS. If Jesus calls the shots, if Jesus runs the show, if Jesus rules your life…why do you spend more time reading tweets & blogs, watching TV shows, and reading books than listening to Jesus. How do we hear from Jesus? Through prayer and Scripture. As lead pastor I am completely overwhelmed by my responsibility to represent the very Words of Christ to our church. This truth should lead me to read more tweets, it should compel me to my knees in humility to Christ and His Word.

DO WHAT HE SAYS. Now this is where it gets tough. We have been fed an inaccurate picture of what it means to follow Jesus. Somehow we have bought the lie that to follow Jesus means that we will receive all the prosperity we could imagine. In fact, if you are a “full-time” minister you can even become a “superstar” traveling the country signing books or playing an instrument on stage pimping Jesus along the way.

It is true that some followers of Christ have received great wealth and prosperity. But the only reason why they have been blessed is because God intended them to use it for His glory. Period. A true picture of what it means to do what Christ says is found in Matthew 10. Spend some time walking through this passage. I got to preach through this text a couple of weeks ago at Vintage.

Thank you Jesus for this lesson. Give me the strength to listen to you and do what you say.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Lent Lesson #1

New Orleans is filled with traditions. Some good and some not so good. Over the spring, I decided to participate in the Catholic tradition called Lent.

Here is a basic summary of Lent:

Lent is the Christian season of preparation before Easter. In Western Christianity, Ash Wednesday marks the first day, or the start of the season of Lent, which begins 40 days prior to Easter (Sundays are not included in the count).
Lent is a time when many Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline. The purpose is to set aside time for reflection on Jesus Christ - his suffering and his sacrifice, his life, death, burial and resurrection.

Taken from http://christianity.about.com/od/holidaytips/qt/whatislent.htm

I have never been one to depend upon pragmatic religious ritual. The grace of Christ has set me free from those chains. But in my preparation over our LIFE SERIES I came across a quote in John Stott’s commentary on the Sermon on the Mount. He presents an old Puritan quote:

The Law sends us to Christ to be Justified. Christ send us to the Law to be Sanctified.

I am at a crazy exciting and unpredictable place in my life. One day I have enough time to take Bolt to the park, play ball at Tulane, and enjoy dinner with Annabeth. The next day I barely have time to use the bathroom. I wouldn’t trade the last two years of planting Vintage Church for anything, but at times it has almost ended me.

Over the spring, Annabeth and I found out that we are expecting identical twins boys in August. When the nurse told us I immediately teared up in silence, but on the inside I was freaking out. How in the world am I going to handle this? I barely have control over the load that I am carrying right now. Some things have got to change. I needed to hear from God for this answer.

As I launched into the Lent Season, I committed to remove and abstain from certain foods and technology in order to spend time with God in preparation for Easter. Any religious practice or accomplishment that doesn’t have this focus as the forefront is (as Paul writes in Philippians 3) trash. Of course I have been praying for God to move in such a way that only He gets the glory in my home, church, and city. However, we don’t fast in order to get something from God, we fast to be with God. He is enough. He is the prize. As I walked with God, he taught me three major lessons. Here is what I learned:


Over these forty days I was able to experience a lot. Vintage and my own family continued to grow, we moved into a building that houses our Vintage kids and offices, and I got to preach at a number of really cool places (one being the NOBTS Chapel - which is by far the most intimidating pulpit I have ever preached in). Of course it is easy to recognize the goodness of God during these experiences. But I wasn’t reminded of God’s goodness during these big events. I was reminded in the smaller things. Whether it was through a passage of Scripture in my 1-yr journey, whether it was through witnessing someone’s life being transformed by the Gospel, whether it was through recognizing the simple blessing of food on my table, whether it was feeling the comfort of the Holy Spirit through a rough time…God reminded me of His goodness.

In particular, I was reminded of God’s goodness through two specific times. The first was through the life of a Tulane student named Liz. Instead of writing about this I will share the video that we shot for our Vintage family.

You can find the video online at http://vimeo.com/10463914

God is so good!

The second happened to my family. One Saturday night Annabeth woke up in a panic. Without going into details we thought that she had a miscarriage. I have never felt so helpless in all my life. On the way to the doctor we prayed, quoted Scripture, and listened to some music. After going to the doctor, we found out that the twins boys were okay but that Annabeth had something called “placenta previa”. The doctor told us that her placenta was in a dangerous place and that if it didn’t move we might have to terminate the pregnancy or Annabeth would lose her life.

During this time of uncertainty, we were crazy blessed by our church family. By the time I finished preaching that Sunday morning on 2 hours sleep, meals and prayer meetings had already been lined up. The love and support that we received from Vintage was a total confirmation of the goodness of God. I could have never imagined 5 years ago when Annabeth and I came back to NOLA that I would have the privilege of loving and being loved by such an incredible church. It was honestly through this love that Annabeth and I remained focused on God’s plan and purpose. We thanked God and trusted Him to work out His plan for our lives and these babies. No matter what, we were going to praise Him!

Over the next few weeks we prayed and prayed and prayed. God answered our prayers by moving Annabeth’s placenta. Mama and our twins boys are doing fine. The twins have a thing called Twin-on-Twin Syndrome where one steals from the other. We have to get an ultra-sound every two weeks and still have a long way to go, but God is so good.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Who Dat? Drew Dat - Reflections from the Superbowl

Not sure if you have heard of this guy. His name is Drew Brees. He had a pretty big night last night in Miami. Not only did the New Orleans Saints win the Superbowl (WHO DAT!), but Drew won MVP. The picture above shows Drew with his wife and son, Brittany and Baylen. Drew and his wife moved to New Orleans in 2006 during a time of great uncertainty. Katrina had just destroyed our city and the Saints were one of the worst teams in the NFL. This uncertainty went both ways. Although the Saints weren't a great team, Drew had just come out of a major shoulder injury. Signing him to a large contract was a huge risk.

Last night as the Lombardi trophy was presented to the team, Drew Brees teared up with emotion. That moment represented not just a player's accomplishment on the football field, it represented a player's love and passion for his Lord, his family, his team, and his city.

In the second round of the playoffs, the Saints obliterated the Arizona Cardinals. The 4th quarter was a joke and the commentators were struggling to find things to talk about. I think they even started talking about what they had for dinner the night before. Towards the end of the game they started to talk about the journey of Drew Brees. In an interview following his move to New Orleans, someone asked him why he chose New Orleans over Miami. His response was something like this.

"I believe that God has called me and my family to a great opportunity for impact not only on the football field but off the field throughout the entire New Orleans region." From day one, he has been a man of his word. Superbowl win, the Brees Dream Foundation, etc. When I heard this story I was reminded of the time when I met Drew Brees.

In the spring of 2007, my wife and I went to Audubon Park to roller blade. Yes, I said roller blade. As former college athletes, Annabeth and I are extremely competitive. Some of our biggest arguments have come as the result of a game or a race. We roller blade because there is no option for competition, it is more like survival. On this spring afternoon, we ran into Drew and Brittany Brees walking around the park. They live in Uptown close to Audubon Park. As we passed them, I tried to act cool and gave him a macho nod even though I was a giddy as my little boy when he watches Imagination Movers. Because we were on roller blades, I told Annabeth that we needed to book it so that we could see them again. As we flew around the park (well, as I flew around the park) I brainstormed what I was going to say to him. As I came around a corner I saw him and Brittany still walking. Here was my chance.

As I came alongside him, I did this jump-turn-around-move in order to talk with him face to face while he was still walking. I had never done this move before and I will never do this move again. I can't remember exactly what I said to him, but this is basically the summary.

"Hey Drew and Brittany, my name is Rob and I am a new pastor and Uptown resident. I just wanted to thank you for coming to our city to help rebuild our Saints and our city. I also wanted to thank you for your Christian witness and testimony. I believe God is going to use you in a mighty way for His glory."

He and his wife looked at each other surprised and said, "Thanks, we don't get that kind of compliment often."

By that time Annabeth had caught up with me, I looked at them and said, "Here comes my wife, her name is Annabeth. Hope you guys have a great day." I did another jump-turn-around-move and went on my way.

Now I have always dreamed of becoming good friends with the Brees family. I would love to welcome Drew, Brittany, and Baylen into our home for dinner and friendship. I would love to welcome them into our Vintage Church family. I'm sure they are hungry for some Christian friendship. I'm not sure if that would ever happen. But Annabeth and I will always have a soft spot for this family.

Although we have different backgrounds and experiences, we have a lot in common. Both of us have come to New Orleans around the Katrina catastrophe. Both of us have been active in rebuilding organizations in New Orleans. Both of our us have made the Uptown neighborhood our home. Both of us have celebrated the birth of our first son in the past year. (Maybe Bolt and Baylen will either play on the same team or against each other. Right now my money is on Bolt. He has a crazy good arm.) Most importantly, both of us love and serve Jesus Christ.

We will probably never connect with Drew and his family again. But I am thankful to God for sending both of us to this great city. Even though most of New Orleans doesn't recognize this truth. This Superbowl victory goes way beyond the football field. God is orchestrating His perfect plan for the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be proclaimed in our city and around the world. Join with me in praying for God to continue to enlarge Drew's territory and testimony for His glory.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Churches Helping Churches

This Sunday, we will launch our partnership with a new organization called "Churches Helping Churches". We are going to kick off our partnership by taking up a love offering. Here is a summary of this organization:

Churches Helping Churches was created to address the immediate and long-term needs of churches when disaster befalls a country, region, city, or people in the spirit of Galatians 6:10—“…let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

Our help complements the initial waves of humanitarian aid that pour into a country in the wake of a disaster. Many countries have relied on networks of local churches to be a primary conduit for the flow of health care, humanitarian aid, and even education. Rebuilding churches is a means of restoring infrastructure in a country through which aid can flow into local communities which so desperately need it.

Both throughout history and following specific tragedies it is often the local church that cares for widows, orphans, and the poor. It is the church who performs the funerals, grief counseling and spiritual follow up with families of victims.
Rebuilding local churches helps address the practical and spiritual needs of a country, one person, one neighborhood, and one community at a time.

When the magnitude of a catastrophe can be described as “biblical,” it is the local church that reminds people that another biblical concept is even more powerful: hope in Jesus Christ.

We are excited about partnering with this organization for two main reasons:

1) The church is the most effective way to make an impact in Haiti.
2) Helping and planting churches in Haiti is a long term commitment. We want to serve our brothers and sisters in Haiti with a marathon perspective, not a sprint. Speaking from our experience in NOLA from Katrina, this is going to be a long journey.

Join us this Sunday for our partnership launch. Come ready to sacrificially give.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Drenched Wk 2

Here is my outline from today's message. I am big time thankful for what Christ is doing through Vintage. Come Holy Spirit!

John 16:7-15
7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. 12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

Why have we called this series DRENCHED?

We are praying for the Holy Spirit to completely DRENCH us because....
• We are promised it in Scripture.
• We have been called to an impossible mission.
• We have a God who demands all glory and praise.

Last Week
THEOLOGICAL journey through Acts 1&2
• Who He Is
• When He Comes
• What He Does

I am really praying for the Holy Spirit to move throughout our church family. This has to happen within each of you.

Our strategy at Vintage is three-fold:
Individual Expression
Community Group Expression
Gathering Expression

When does He come?
He comes within everyone who is saved by the Gospel and also comes upon the church to display the Glory of God for the salvation of the World through Christ.

From Pentecost till Now –
Works in the Individual
Works in the Church
Works in the World

Let’s look at the 3 ways the Holy Spirit is at work:

I Corinthians 6:19-20
19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

Can you be filled? You must be born again
John 3:5-7
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’

Are you sure you want to be filled? (John 6 “Are you sure you want Him?)
Matthew 10:16-22
16 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 17 Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, 18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. 19 When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. 20 For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21 Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, 22 and you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

For most, this is ALL that you want from God. Christ has become your insurance plan into Heaven. You have no desire to live radically for Christ because your concept of Christianity is social and convenient instead of spiritual and sacrificial.

How are you filled?
• Surrender (Rom 12:1-2 “Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice.”)
• Ask (Luke 11:9-10 “Ask and it will be given; seek and you will find: knock and it will open)
• Obey (Acts 5:32 “And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”)
• Believe (Gal 3:2 “Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith?”)

Ephesians 2:18-22
18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

Through the Holy Spirit:
We Experience God’s Presence
We Obey God’s Commands
We Fulfill God’s Purpose
-To glorify God by making disciples of all nations.

The Holy Spirit:
Empowers the Church for the Gospel
Acts 1:8
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Regenerates the lost through the Gospel
Titus 3:3-7
3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. 4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
• The Spirit opens our eyes (sin/separation)
• The Spirit convicts our soul (true repentance)
• The Spirit transforms our life (holistic)

Glorifies God through the Gospel
Ephesians 1:13-14
13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

All of life is about the Glory God. So when the Holy Spirit works in the world, it always magnifies the Trinity (Father, Son, & Spirit).

Knowing how the Holy Spirit works in the individual, upon the church, and throughout the world...I wanted to close giving you some summary thoughts on how you can live a Spirit-filled life.

• The Holy Spirit Life is a DAILY EXPERIENCE.

Daily Walk with the Holy Spirit:
• Cultivate the Person (think about your relationships)
• Glorify Christ (honor, trust, follow, obey)
• Pursue Righteousness (actions & thoughts)
• Meditate on the Word (His Word is Spirit & Life)
• Activate His Power (Believe)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Studs Surround Me

I thought I would write a little blog about how much I love the staff that surrounds me at Vintage Church. Amazingly we all work part time, usually only meet in person once a week, and still manage to get everything done. Here is the crew: Andrew Ogea (Executive/Worship Pastor), Matt Brichetto (Ministry Director), Luke Johnson (Discipleship Director), Wendy McGuire (Kidz Director), and Travis Manint (Media Arts Director). No matter if we are going through a typical week, putting on a special event, witnessing to a neighbor, cleaning up a mess, setting up and tearing down for the millionth time...they never stop working with passion for the glory of Christ being proclaimed in New Orleans and beyond. This past week Matt Brichetto sent me an email asking me if it would be alright to send out a letter to those who were involved in our Christmas Adopt Sunday. God had placed a burden for the family that he adopted and he felt led to share that burden with the rest of the church. This is one example out of thousands that makes me thankful to God. It is an honor to be SURROUNDED BY STUDS.

Here is the letter. May it challenge your journey with Christ.

Hey Vintage Family

Happy New Year! The beginning of a new year always brings such great excitement for what is to come. This year the great Adopt Sunday we had just a few weeks ago is still so joyously in my mind. I hope you were truly blessed to love on those families. On Christmas day Sarah and I were surprised with a call from one of our mothers wishing us a Merry Christmas and thanking us again for the past Sunday. Talking to her was a great blessing for us. As Vintage Church, we really want to continue to love and serve these families in whatever way God might call us.

I have not been able to put out of my mind the houses that my two families lived in. One of my families didn’t have any visible source of heat and the other didn’t have blankets to sleep under. This morning I heard the weather man say that this week in New Orleans we are expected to experience some of the coldest temperatures of the winter. My thoughts immediately went to my two families. So I want to encourage each one of us to take 5 minutes this week to contact our families and ask them if they might need anything.

Allow the Spirit of God to work through you to meet any needs that your family might have ultimately bringing Him glory.

Thankful for and appreciate each of you

BE the church!
Matthew Brichetto
Vintage Church

Monday, January 4, 2010

Drenched Wk 1

Yesterday we launched into a 2-week series on the Holy Spirit called Drenched. My prayer in 2010 is that the Holy Spirit would come within everyone who is saved by the Gospel and also come upon Vintage Church to display the Glory of God for the salvation of the World.

Here are my notes from the first sermon in our Drenched Series. We walked through Acts 1-2 while looking at three important aspects of the Spirit (Who He Is, When He Comes, and What He Does):

Francis Chan “The Forgotten God”
You might think that calling the Holy Spirit the “forgotten God” is a bit extreme. Maybe you agree that the church has focused too much attention elsewhere but feel it is an exaggeration to say we have forgotten about the Spirit. I don’t think so.
Perhaps we’re too familiar and comfortable with the current state of the church to feel the weight of the problem. But what if you grew up on a desert island with nothing but the Bible to read? Imagine being rescued after twenty years and then attending a typical evangelical church. Chances are you’d be shocked. Having read the Scriptures outside the context of contemporary church culture, you would be convinced that the Holy Spirit is as essential to a believer’s existence as air is to staying alive. You would know that the Spirit led the first Christians to do unexplainable things, to live lives that didn’t make sense to the culture around them, and ultimately to spread the story of God’s grace around the world.
There is a big gap between what we read in Scripture about the Holy Spirit and how most believers and churches operate today. In many churches, you would be stunned by the apparent absence of the Spirit in any manifest way. And this, I believe, is the crux of the problem.


• THE PROMISE (1:1-11)

Who is He?

*The Holy Spirit is a Person.
He speaks Rev 2:7
He intercedes Rom 8:26
He testifies John 15:26
He leads Acts 8:29
He commands Acts 16:6-7
He guides John 16:13
He appoints Acts 20:28
He can be lied to Acts 5:3-4
He can be insulted Heb 10:29
He can be blasphemed Matt 12:31-32
He can be grieved Eph 4:30

*The Holy Spirit is God.
He is eternal Heb 9:14
He is all-powerful (omnipotent) Luke 1:35
He is present everywhere (omnipresent) Ps. 139:7
He is all-knowing (omniscient) I Cor 2:10-11
He is called God 2 Cor 3:18
He is the Creator Col 1:16-17
He is God. Eph 4:4


• 1. THE OBEDIENCE (1:12-14)

• 2. THE LEADERSHIP (1:15-26)

• 3. THE ARRIVAL (2:1-4)

When does He come?

Before answering this question, we need to establish an important fact. The Holy Spirit has always been.

*For the most part as we study the Bible, here is our conclusion in regards to the Trinity:
OT – Work of God the Father
Gospels – Work of God the Son
From Pentecost – Work of the Holy Spirit

However, Scripture is very clear that God the Father, Son, & Spirit have been working together as three in one since the beginning of existence. Let’s look at the Spirit through Scripture & today.

*From Creation to Bethlehem –
In creation of the world Gen 1:2
In man’s creation Job 33:4
In the saving of man at the flood. Gen 6:3
He came upon, rested on, & filled men like Gideon, Samson, Zechariah, & David.
He told of the coming Messiah in Isaiah.

*From Bethlehem to Pentecost –
Begotten of the Spirit Luke 1:35
Baptized by the Spirit John 1:32-33
Led by the Spirit Luke 4:1
Anointed by the Spirit Acts 10:38
Empowered by the Spirit Matt 12:27-28
Became an atonment for sin by the Spirit Heb 9:14
Raised by the Spirit Rom 8:11
Gave commands by the Spirit Acts 1:2

*From Pentecost till Now –
Works in the Individual I Cor 6:19
Works in the Church Eph 2:22
Works in the World John 16:7-11

When does He come?
He comes within everyone who is saved by the Gospel and also comes upon the church to display the Glory of God for the salvation of the World.


• 1. THE CLARITY (2:5-13)

• 2. THE WORDS (2:14-40)

• 3. THE RESULT (2:41-47)

What does He do?

We see the Holy Spirit coming within believers and upon believers for the Glory of God. In more detail here are some other examples of the Spirit at work.

Helps us speak as our MOUTHPIECE. Mark 13:11; Luke 12:12
Teaches us and reminds us as our CONVEYER. Ps. 143:10; John 14-16 Acts 9:31
Empowers us to witness as our EQUIPPER. Acts 1:8; Rom 8:26
Convicts us of our sin as our CONDEMNER. I Thess 1:5
Free us from our sinful slavery as our REDEEMER. 2 Cor 3:17
Protects us from our sinful nature as our DEFENDER. Rom 8:2
Surrounds us into His presence as our COMFORTER. Rom 8:15-16
Leads us by His fruit as our SANCTIFIER. Gal 5:22-23

*taken from "The Holy Spirit" by Billy Graham

Knowing...Who He is, When He comes, What He does. What is God stirring within your heart? I can tell you that what He is stirring within my heart is a longing to experience a DRENCHING movement of the Spirit of God within my life, within Vintage Church, throughout NOLA & the world.

Leonard Ravenhill Why Revival Tarries – A classic on revivals
In his chapter “As the Church Goes, So Goes the World” he writes,
For this midnight hour, incandescent men are needed. On the day of Pentecost, the flame of the living God became the flame of the human heart to that glorious company. The Church began with these men in the “upper room” agonizing – and today is ending with men in the supper room organizing. The Church began in revival; we are ending in ritual. We started virile; we are ending sterile. Charter members of the Church were men of heat and no degrees; today many hold degrees, but have no heat! Ah brethren, flame-hearted men are the crying need of the hour!......We need knights of prayer to lead nights of prayer.