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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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Star or Champion?

Based upon the title of this blog, where would you place Michael Jordan? Most would say that he is a champion. Six NBA championships is a good way to solidify yourself in that category. However there was a time when Michael Jordan was only a star. Jordan's first seven years were filled with a lot of individual awards. Rookie of the year, slam dunk champion, scoring title, most valuable player, etc. No championship rings. In the 1989 NBA season the Chicago Bulls brought in a coach named Phil Jackson. Phil Jackson changed the environment, implemented a new philosophy, and empowered his "star" player to thrive in this new system. Result: Six NBA championships in eight years.

Over the last three years God has taught me a lot through planting a church. I have studied a lot of different books, church leaders, church models, etc. Obviously man doesn’t grow the church. Only the work and power of the Holy Spirit can make that happen. However, man does have a responsibility to lead and discern the Holy Spirit’s will. God delights in using man to lead His church.

After looking at many different examples of growing churches I have come to one major conclusion. The most successful churches have a leadership team that has united around a common vision. This vision might not be the most organized, it might not be the sexiest, it might not be the most cutting edge, it might not be the most organic, it might not be the most missional...but the leadership team is unified around this common vision.

My leadership team took a trip to a church family that has blown up over the last few months. We were so excited to learn and receive inspiration from them. To be honest we left a little surprised. This church is over 4 times the size of our church family but we are ahead of them with some of our systems. I couldn’t believe that the Lead Pastor didn’t even really have an office. He told me that he does most of his sermon prep in his truck. As much as this shocked us, it was very clear what made this church family so contagious. Their leadership team had a unified bond and passion for each other and the vision that God had given them. Every person on their staff was completely sold out to it.

It really doesn’t matter how many stars you and your team recruit. If those stars don’t sell out to a common vision, you won’t win a championship. When Phil Jackson showed up to coach the Bulls, Michael Jordan had a choice. He could either continue to do his own thing and win a few more personal awards, or he could die to himself for the success of the team. Because Jordan bought in to the coaching philosophy of his coach, he became a champion. The great part about this story is that because Jordan did this, he not only became a champion but also one of the greatest (if not the greatest) players to ever play the game. I love this above picture of Michael Jordan. This was taken after he won his first championship. What made Michael the greatest was his passion for something greater than himself. The greatest in the world always accomplish more than personal glory, they help a lot of others win as well.

Challenge to the Star:
I know you are a stud. I know that you have crazy talent. You can either choose self-glorification that is temporary and great or you can choose team-glorification that is eternal and the greatest. Trade in those scoring titles and slam dunk championships for an NBA title. Find a team that you can serve in order that many people will be impacted. They need you and you need them.

Challenge to the Coach:
Don’t just put a system together for the sake of a system. Study your team and recognize your stars. You need them. Phil Jackson is nothing without a Michael Jordan or a Kobe Bryant. Implement a philosophy that your team loves and empower them to thrive. Never sacrifice for one star over the team, rather inspire your star to join and sacrifice for the team. Be confident in your decisions and win a championship.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

To Go or Not To Go

We have just launched our new series called "Dilemma". I'm really excited about unpacking I Corinthians 8-9 over the next few weeks. This past Sunday I did an introduction of the series by looking at Mark and the Great Commission. You can listen at http://vintagenola.org/2011/09/18/dilemma-%E2%80%93-to-go-or-not-to-go-%E2%80%93-91811/. God is calling our Vintage Church family to become all things to all so that all might come to know Jesus. I broke down the book of Acts proving this point and promised that I would post it online.

Here it is:

Summary of the Book of Acts:
Acts 1 - Jesus Prepares the Disciples to “GO”
Acts 2 - The Spirit launches the Church to “GO”
Acts 3 - Peter & John “GO” around Jerusalem
Acts 4-5 - Persecution hits those who “GO”
Acts 6 - The Disciples “GO” to different people groups
Acts 7 - Stephen is killed and the church is forced to “GO”
Acts 8 - Philip “GOES” to a Magician & Eunich
Acts 9 - Jesus “GOES” to Saul
Acts 10 - Peter “GOES” with the men from Cornelius
Acts 11 - Paul “GOES” to Antioch
Acts 12 - Peter “GOES” to Jail
Acts 13-14 - Paul “GOES” on his first missionary journey to Cyprus, Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, Lycaonia, Lystra and Derbe.
Acts 15-18 - Paul “GOES” on his second missionary journey to Syria, Cilicia, Galatia, Traos, Phillipi, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens, Corinth and Ephesus.
Acts 18-21 Paul “GOES” on his third missionary journey to Galatia, Phyrgia, Ephesus, Greece and Caesarea.
Acts 21-23 - Paul “GOES” to Jerusalem
Acts 23-26 - Paul “GOES” to Caesarea
Acts 27-28 - Paul “GOES” to Rome

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tears of Thanks

This past Sunday we officially launched our Metairie Campus. It was an amazing display of the grace of God upon our young church. There were so many amazing people who stepped up to make this day possible. Thank you everyone who served Jesus in a major way!

It is so hard for me to set aside any moment from this past weekend that I'll take into the future. Around 400 showed up (a lot of whom were first time guests), the band was the best I've ever heard, we witnessed people respond to the Gospel, 5 people were baptized (one was our Theology & Training Pastor's wife), etc, etc, etc. But probably the one moment that will always stick out to me was a real private moment between me and God. After we opened with U2's "Beautiful Day", we showed the packed house a video of our Vintage history. I was standing behind our media booth. Here was my point of view.

In the first part of the video I'm at my home sharing my testimony and the beginning story of Vintage Church. Honestly, I was more aggravated at this point because I really don't like listening to my voice. When I wrapped up sharing this story, the video transitioned into a picture journey of our last 3 years. It was at this point that I became overwhelmed by God's grace upon my life. I saw a few pictures from our early days, scanned the faces in the crowd, and then went deeper into the media room blubbering like a baby. I couldn't say or think anything except, "Thank you Jesus for letting me be on this ride."

Here is the video:


God is so good and I believe that the best is yet to come!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

You Killed My Son

My son Bolt is one of my best friends in the entire world. I took this picture of him on one of our daddy coffee meetings. This particular night I got my coffee and he got his favorite chocolate milk for behaving at a preaching event in town. He took one sip, turned to me and tapping his chin he said, "Daddy, let's chat." His curiosity and love for life inspires me. I have learned so much about God and life because of this little man. I love him!

This past weekend I had the responsibility of watching Bolt and his twin "brudas" (as Bolt says it) for an entire day. I'll have to write another blog about how crazy in love I am with my twin boys. Annabeth had gone off to hang out with some friends. I think I changed 63 diapers that day and I will never get used to it. While the twins were taking a nap, I took Bolt to the man cave (his room downstairs) to shoot some hoops. After a little break over some sweat tea, the Holy Spirit gave me one of the most intense pictures of His love for the world for my sermon this past weekend. Before I share an audio clip, I want to give you a little context.

Over the past 4 weeks Vintage Church has journeyed through I Corinthians 5. We have called our series "Sexual Healing." We have dealt with a ton of stuff, people have gotten saved, addictions have been confronted, pharisees have gotten ticked...it's been a good time. Paul has taught us how to confront a brother who is in unrepentant sexual sin in the hope that he would be restored by the Gospel. On this last weekend, I preached on I Corinthians 5:9-13. Paul teaches us how to "love the world" by embracing our reality as the church (vs. 9-11), our reaction to the world (vs. 12), and our redemption from God (vs. 13). Under the last point Paul tells the church plant in Corinth that "God judges those outside." I know that this is a touchy subject for a lot of people today and I am really struggling with "WHY."

In a world dominated by tolerance and a "love wins" mentality, I am tired of people second-guessing God's love for the world. I know that this world is falling apart. Tsunamis, flooding, tornadoes, disease, war, death, etc. Our sin turned God's perfect creation into a spiral of depravity that is yearning to be reunited with the Creator. In the midst of all this struggle, I believe that God's love is shining brighter than ever. Too many times we share the Gospel of Jesus as this "feel good romance novel filled with flowers and hugs." The Gospel isn't just a picture of pardon, it is also a picture of pain. The Gospel isn't just a picture of grace, it is also a picture of wrath. God's judgement on mankind and His promise of hell to all who reject Jesus is the foundational trampoline that propels His offer of salvation and love to the world.

Psalm 118:22
The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.

As I watched my son Bolt shoot hoops in the man cave, God gave me this illustration of how much He loves the world.


You can listen to the entire message on our website @ http://www.vintagenola.org/podcast.

Romans 5:6-11
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Egg The Homeless - BIG WIN!

It has taken me a couple days to recover and gain clarity on all that God did for us over this past Easter weekend.

Here is a quick overview of the weekend:

(You can check out some pics here)

ELEVATE (Good Friday Gathering in Uptown & Metairie)
Each campus gathered to "reflect upon the cross" through song & prayer.

GIVE (Concert Benefit @ Tipitina's for NO Mission)
During the day, I joined 20 volunteers to lead the NO Mission in a worship gathering and serve lunch. Later that night around 250 people partied with The Jake Smith Band and Chee-Weez. We were able to raise money and provide some equipment that will be helpful to the NO Mission.

GATHER (Easter Gathering @ Tulane's Dixon Auditorium)
Around 300 people gathered to worship our risen Jesus. We saw 7 baptized and multiple responses to the Gospel call that we are following up with this week.

As our Executive Leadership Team met yesterday. We thanked God so much for allowing us to experience His movement this past weekend.

Here are a few HUGE takeaways from the weekend:

1) VINTAGE IS BECOMING A MOVEMENT. Movements begin when things happen that are out of man's control. This weekend I saw barriers to the Gospel break down in people's lives, I saw volunteers go above and beyond the call of duty displaying initiative and willingness, I saw people bringing their entire family to hear the Gospel, I saw sacrifice and hardwork, I saw a passion for who we are and what we represent in New Orleans...I could go on and on.

2) BOTH/&. This weekend I preached out of 2 Corinthians 5&6 about how the Gospel is not EITHER/OR, it is BOTH/&. You can listen to it online here. God has given us a vision of being a BOTH/& church for the glory of God. I can't wait to unpack this some more in the future. This weekend was a great confirmation of the "new wineskin" that God is preparing for our future.

3) ATTEMPTING SOMETHING BIG. Don't be scared of big. I know that "big" isn't that cool anymore, but its okay to put down your organic food and hippie clothes every now and then in order to attempt something big. Probably the greatest lesson that I learned through everything was that I love being desperate before God. I didn't enjoy the sleepless nights, the stress, the tough meetings, etc. I did however enjoy how it forced me to my knees in desperation before God. I can only do so much, but throughout this time God filled in the gap and more. If life is boring and monotonous, attempt something big for God. Watch not only how he will sustain you and show up, but also watch how much you grow. Vintage grew up a lot this past weekend and I'm extremely thankful.

The best is yet to come!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Pastor Rob Update & Invitation

Dear Vintage Family,

Thank you so much for your prayers and support over the last few days. We have been on quite a ride over the last week.

Here is the basic timeline:

* Wednesday 16th - Mack has a fever and we go to the doc. Nothing serious. Simple medicine given.
* Wed-Sat - Mack starts getting worse.
* Saturday 19th - We take Mack to the Urgent Care because he is pale and not responding. They take tests and say there is no real problem outside of a simple cold. They check his iron and hemoglobin and find out that it is really low.
* Monday 21st - 3am Mack is now gasping for air and is really pale and his lips are blue. We rush him to the ER. They admit him into the hospital immediately and put him on a breathing machine. They diagnose him with RSV. He has a treatment done for 4 hours and then they are forced to give him a blood transfusion because his low iron and hemoglobin couldn't fight off this condition.
* Since Monday, Mack has gradually gotten better although he is really weak.
* Wednesday 23rd - Mack is now off the breathing support, he is smiling again, and will possibly check out on Thursday.



Please also pray for Birk as he also has RSV. We are keeping a close eye on him. Bolt has a cough, but is the same "house destroying" Bolt.

Over the past few days, God has really spoken to me about the importance of community, obedience, and prayer. We are changing some things around this weekend and I will be back preaching the Word. I am so excited to share with you from my heart through the Word of God.

Special invitation this weekend:

Vintage will be on Fox News on Friday Night @ 10pm. A couple of weeks ago, they came and shot a story about our church family. This is going to be a great opportunity for us in New Orleans. You can go to www.fox8live.com to find the story once it is broadcast. Help us spread the word.

As a result of this news story, let's anticipate some new people at our gatherings this weekend. Let's pray for God to open up some incredible doors for us to share the Gospel. I love how my pastor friend in our city compels his church family to share the Gospel. He calls it FRANgelism (Friends, Relatives, Associates, & Neighbors). Go "Live the Gospel. Love the City. Be the Church." by inviting these people to give their lives to Jesus and visit one of our gatherings over the weekend.

Pastor Rob

Saturday, February 12, 2011

We Are United

I want you to check out a song and video that our Vintage Creative Arts Team has put together. I think that Travis and Jake are two of the most talented guys that I know. Jake's song and Travis' video share the heartbeat of God's vision for our city through art. Thanks guys for this gift!

We Are United from Vintage Church on Vimeo.

As we have journeyed through 1 Corinthians, God has really been challenging our church family in the area of unity. I believe that this message from Pastor Paul is not only a plea for unity "within the church" but also "among the churches". As the Word has challenged us, God called us to promote unity among the churches in New Orleans. By no means do we believe that this first step is the answer to division. In order for unity and togetherness to happen we are going to have to pursue Gospel partnership daily. However, we are really excited about this first step and will be praying for many other churches in our city to link arms in proclaiming the Gospel.

Over the next three weeks I have invited some of my pastor friends to preach to our Vintage family. I am so thankful for each of these pastors, their family, and their church family. Each of these men inspire me to keep fighting the good fight. I feel blessed to serve alongside them in our city. Please pray with us over the next three weeks as we "punch Satan in the throat" by throwing away territorialism and embracing unity.

Week 1:
James Welch
Harbor Community Church (harbornola.com)
Uptown Campus (4523 Mag St.)
Feb 12 @ 6pm
Feb 13 @ 10:30am

Matt Tipton
Hope Church (hopenola.com)
Metairie Campus (3927 Rayne St.)
Feb 13 @ 9am

Week 2:
Richard Johnson
Desire Fellowship (desirefellowship.org)
Uptown Campus (4523 Mag St.)
Feb 19 @ 6pm
Feb 20 @ 10:30am

Mike Miller
FBC Kenner (fbckenner.org)
Metairie Campus (3927 Rayne St.)
Feb 20 @ 9am

Week 3:
Michael Carney
Calvary Baptist Church (calvarynewolreans.com)
Uptown Campus (4523 Mag St.)
Feb 26 @ 6pm
Feb 27 @ 10:30am

Ty Waivers
Grace Faith Family Fellowship (gracefaith.org)
Metairie Campus (3927 Rayne St.)
Feb 27 @ 9am

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Justified by Burnout???

Burnout is a psychological term for the experience of long-term physical and emotional exhaustion.

My family and I are going to take a little break in the month of February. I'm gonna go to a couple of conferences and retreat to the mountains for a couple of weeks. Why? Because I refuse to burnout. I'm not even close right now and I honestly don't ever want to experience it.

Over the past three years as we have planted Vintage Church in New Orleans, I have heard so many in the church planting world share about how in the first 5 years of their church plant they worked themselves to a place of full exhaustion. Some couldn't get out of bed for weeks, some got really sick and almost died, some ended up cheating on their wives or vice versa, and unfortunately some killed themselves.

I am a little concerned by the discussion that I find in most church planter circles. It seems like a lot of church planters are in pursuit of burning out because somehow that will justify their ministry. Who are they trying to impress? Are they cooler because they got unhealthy? Will this help them sell more books in the future (as if that is the ultimate goal of ministry). Burnout is not the key to a successful church plant and it isn't the way by which we are justified before God.

Now, please know that I'm not saying that we shouldn't work hard as ministers of the Gospel. Please also know that I'm not saying that we should spend the majority of our ministry on vacation. What I am saying is that we are called to be faithful to God first, our family second, and then our church. How useful can you be as a church planter paralyzed by exhaustion, in the hospital, in divorce court, or in the grave?

Take a break and get some rest. If you are afraid that your church will fall apart when you leave then you might need to reconsider whose kingdom you are really trying to build?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2011 Prayer: Give Me Faith

Right now I am at Ma’agan on the Sea of Galilee and God has really presented an incredible challenge in my life. I believe that He is loving me by calling me out on my lack of faith and compelling me to place more faith in Him.

This is my 4th trip to Israel and I have prayed specifically in two ways. Lord, give me a refreshing love and passion for Your Word and challenge me toward Your Vision for the future. Dr. Warren is walking us through the book of Acts this week and he presented some great truth from Acts 1 tonight. He explained how he didn’t necessarily like the fact that the disciples were casting lots for the 12th disciple replacement for Judas. However, he also explained that their method isn’t the most important thing in this text. In the previous verses after Christ ascended into Heaven, the disciples gathered to pray and prepare for this great mission. Dr. Warren went on to say that our methods are useless unless our lives are prepared to respond to God and His work.

With this being said, we drove from Mt. Carmel (where Elijah and the prophets of Baal battled it out) and I listened to one of my favorite new songs (Give Me Faith - Elevation Worship). Here is a video of this song led by my buddy Chris Brown.

This wasn’t by chance, this was orchestrated by God. I was anticipating for God to speak to me clearly and He chose to bring this up on my new ipod shuffle. For those who don’t have one of these, you basically can put up to 250 songs on it and then it just randomly shuffles songs when you hit play. I couldn’t have chosen it myself.

Here I am sitting on the Sea of Galilee and God asks me to “Give Him Faith”. I mean how stinkin awesome is this! There are too many to cover on this blog, but consider the encounters people had with Jesus about their faith in the book of Mark.

To the paralytic who was carried through a roof by four friends near Capernaum:
Mark 2:5 And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

To the disciples on the Sea of Galilee:
Mark 4:40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”

To the woman who touched Jesus’ garment by the Sea of Galilee:
Mark 5:34 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

2010 was an amazing year. There were definitely some major ups and major downs. In regards to family, we went through quite a roller coaster ride with the pregnancy but by God’s grace we welcomed Mack and Birk into our lives in July. Annabeth and I are so thankful for them and our Bolt. In regards to school, I am almost done. I never thought that would happen. This has been a slow process but I am thankful to learn and grow. In regards to ministry, I am amazed by the evidences of God’s grace with Vintage and MissionLab despite my failures and inabilities. I am so thankful that Jesus has set me free from the burden of trying to do anything, He has simply called me to surrender to Him and follow Him. I wish everything was great this year but I also went through some intensely difficult times. I am hoping to one day share these journeys as God has shaped and molded me through pain. I’ll be completing my 6th year leading MLab and have been thankful for every minute of this growing ministry. Vintage is at an incredible place where truth, love, and community is being multiplied through individuals, community groups, and gatherings.

With all that said, God is challenging me on my level of faith. He is reminded me through His Word that He has even greater things in store. Things that I can’t even imagine. No matter what I face in 2011, I am praying that God would give me a faith that anticipates His glory continuing to shine in my personal life, my family life, and my ministry life. Thank you Jesus for loving me by the Sea of Galilee.

Please Lord, Give Me Faith.