Tuesday, August 10, 2010

August 15th - A Day of Prayer and Fasting

This Sunday (August 15th) the Vintage worship gatherings are going to be a little different than normal. We are going to spend our hour in prayer and singing. This coming Sunday is going to be devoted to uniting in prayer as we listen to Jesus and do what He says.

The true church lives and moves and has its being in prayer.” --Leonard Ravenhill

Our lives are so busy with constraints and obligations for work, family, school, etc. When you think about your daily “To Do” List, what is #1? If you are honest with yourself I think you would agree that your prayer life and communion with God commonly falls dead last on the list. It’s just what happens when life gets crazy. However, as Christians our availability to God should be the highest priority. Sometimes in order for us to spend time in prayer, we must cut something else out in order to make ourselves available. Our Vintage family has been extremely busy over the last year and we believe that God has even greater things in store for us in the coming months. If we aren’t careful we could become so busy for Jesus that we actually forget about Jesus. So this Sunday, as we gather we are going to pause, breathe, reflect, sit…pray. Our desire to be with God is like David’s in Psalm 65:4 and Psalm 27:4

As part of this day of prayer we are also encouraging everyone to fast on Sunday. Fasting is the spiritual discipline of abstaining from some activity in order to devote oneself wholly to prayer and seeking God. The abstinence can be from food, TV, video games, etc. During a fast a person makes himself or herself more available to God, which means that the time that would be spent partaking in a certain activity is instead spent with God. Biblical fasting must be partnered with prayer, because without prayer there is no spiritual value; you would just be starving yourself. This is probably a great dieting plan but not a good spiritual plan.

In experiences of fasting we are not so much abstaining from food as we are feasting on the word of God. Fasting is feasting!” --Richard Foster

As a family we are going to participate in a normal fast from food for the entire Sunday. The first few hours will be fascinating physically, but more importantly our focus is going to be on the inner attitude of the heart. Continue to perform regular duties of the day while inwardly you will be in prayer, confession, intercession, adoration and worship.

A Message from David Platt on Prayer and Fasting - Give it a listen if you have a couple of minutes.

The theology of fasting, then, is a theology of priorities in which believers are given the opportunity to express themselves in an undivided and intensive devotion to the Lord and to the concerns of the spiritual life.” --Eugene Merrill

See you on Sunday!

Live the Gospel, Love the City, BE the Church.....

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

LIVE Sent Opportunity - Grand Isle

This spring the Gulf Coast Oil Spill has had a devastating impact on many cities along the coast. Grand Isle, a town located on the southern tip of Louisiana, is home to many people who earn their living by fishing and shrimping. Although BP was able to cap the leak last week; the massive amount of oil that has been put into the Gulf will effect this region and families for several years. As a Vintage church family, God has given us a perfect opportunity to LIVE Sent in our region of the US as we help those effected in Grand Isle out by meeting a practical need. The Grand Isle School has 150 kids in grades K-12 who need school supplies to start off the new year.

As a church family we are going to be collecting “Back-2-School Backpacks” over the next 2 weeks, from now until Friday, August 6th. Nathan Stanford, the Student Pastor of FBC Grand Isle, will distribute the backpacks to the families in need. This is an opportunity to LIVE Sent to a hurting community. So let’s Live the Gospel, Love the City and Be the Church by buying all of the items on the school supply list and donating them in a backpack.

"Freely you have received, freely you give." -- Matthew 10:8

Student Backpack Supply List:
  • 4 packs of wide rule paper
  • 5 folders
  • 2 notebooks
  • 1 1-inch binder
  • 3 packs of pens (red, blue & black)
  • 1 pack of highlighters
  • 1 box of crayons
  • 1 box of markers
  • 1 box of colored pencils
  • 1 pack of pencils
  • Glue
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Eraser
  • Pencil box
Total: $20
*Please place these supplies in a backpack for a student between Kindergarten and 12th grade.
Collection locations:
  • Vintage Sunday Gatherings 9am & 10:30am
  • Vintage Kidz building Monday-Friday 9am-4pm
*Look for the box with the "Backpacks" label

Deadline: Friday August 6

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

LIVE Sent Opportunities - THIS Saturday

Are you wondering what to do this weekend....

Well here's two opportunities

  • NOLA - Crescent City Cafe
Saturday, June 5, 2010

We serve breakfast to the marginalized people of New Orleans with dignity. We run the cafe restaurant-style, so we greet our guests, show them to a seat and request their food and beverage order. To read more, visit: Crescent City Cafe
If anyone is able to help, they will need to confirm with our Volunteer Coordinator, Georgia McBride: georgia_mcbride@yahoo.com

  • Oil Spill Response
Holly Beach Clean-Up in Cameron Parish
Saturday, June 5, 2010
8:30 am to 3:00 pm

During the Beach Clean-Up event on June 5th, GRIT and BP will provide:
- All required equipment, including gloves, trash bags, shovels, bug spray, sunscreen, etc.
- Food and refreshments to all volunteers
- Disposal for the trash collected
- First aid kits and a first responder on site
- A 30-minute safety lesson prior to the day's activities

This project will include the removal of debris, both natural and anthropogenic, from the shoreline to make the removal of oil less difficult and reduce the amount of hazardous material we will have to dispose of once affected by the oil spill. This is a pre-landfall clean-up; there will be no handling of any oil contaminated material or wildlife.

Volunteers Register: Link

Live the Gospel, Love the City, Be the Church...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Fasting from Shoes....

April 8th was probably one of the most interesting and reflective personal days I've had in a long time. Today I fasted from wearing shoes. Sounds weird right?
Today TOMS, an innovative new shoe company, facilitated a campaign called "One Day without Shoes" to raise awareness of the fundamental role that shoes provide in protecting us against diseases. When I first heard about this event several months ago, I immediately checked my calendar to make sure that participating would be convenient for me and my “busy” schedule. This was an immediate sign that I needed to participate more than anybody else.

Over the past few weeks I have come up with several more reasons to join the cause.
  • This “one day” intrigued me because I don't think I have ever thought about barefoot children, diseases or the blessings that my 10+ pairs of shoes are.
  • One of my podcast mentors, David Platt has preached several times on the fact that everyday 26,000 children die of preventable diseases. (That means each 24 hour period)
  • I can’t help but wonder if Podoconiosis, a 100% preventable disease that effects 1,000,000 Ethiopians, is one of the diseases that makes up this statistic.
  • For 10 years now I have wanted to go on an international mission trip in order to see what true poverty looks like by working, serving and loving in a 3rd world country.
  • I believed that this day would help me live in an Ethiopian, Rwandan or Nigerian’s “shoes” for a short 18 hour period.
  • As a believer in Jesus Christ as the Savior and Lord of the world, I believe that world starvation and death from preventable diseases are ultimately issues that Christ’s church should eliminate. This is indeed our call as Christians and an especially prevalent issue that we must meet since America is one of the richest countries in the history of the world.

These reasons lead me to fast with a Christian mindset focused upon hearing from God. My purpose throughout the day was to ask God to rock my world to being barefoot for life. Since God is the faithful and the one true God, He did exactly that.

This morning I woke up excited to be barefoot because of what I would experience. This immediately changed when I stepped out of the Loft and onto a bunch of holly bush leaves....Holy CRAP! I’ve never noticed all the leaves, pebbles and jagged rocks around where I parked each day. Before I even started my daily commute, I was thankful for small amenities like shoes and pavement.

On campus as I walked from my car to class I caught myself drifting back to my American comfort and dodging the nastiness on the sidewalk, not to mention the fact that I stuffed flip-flops in my backpack just in case “I really needed them.” I also soon became thankful for the American amenities of carpet, linoleum and AC, even though my feet got cold.

Throughout my day of errands, studying, crossing Magazine Street and walking to Fuel Cafe to pick up the Bricks’ take-out, for the first time I noticed every little stick, rock, piece of glass and other particle along my way. I don’t think I’ve ever been more thankful for where I have been born or blessed to live by God’s grace. This evidence of His grace in my life then led me to begin to prayerfully consider how I should respond. The verse I meditated on for most of the day actually appears in Scripture twice, Isaiah 52:7 & Romans 10:15. I was overcome by the beauty of my bare feet because God impressed on my heart to more passionately and boldly proclaim the Good News of the Gospel in my community & world. The Gospel is that God loved the every person so much in their individual broken state that He responded by sending Jesus Christ to earth to die for their exact problem and sinfulness. (Romans 3:22-24)

If you missed “One Day without Shoes” I want to encourage you to simply walk barefoot around your block or subdivision for just a few minutes in hopes of becoming aware of the overwhelming need in this world.

If you are a Christian I want to encourage you to begin to ask God to convict you in areas that need it and response to needs which He desires you to meet personally. Let’s pursue Christ and His mission in this world no matter the cost of personal comfort, worldly pleasures or selfishness. Let’s lose it all in order to see Him glorified in every nation and tribe.

A part of my response will be what we encourage at Vintage Church:
  • Pray for My feet and legs are hurting as I head to bed tonight from all the barefoot walking I did. Tonight I can identify in a very very small way with the nations that Operation World prays for.
  • Give toward I’m thankful for the way in which TOMS is meeting physical needs in this world by providing shoes.
Other Options include:
-Compassion International
-Churches Helping Churches (Haiti)
-Samaritan's Purse
*These organization already have great organized efforts to meet both the physical and spiritual needs in the world.

  • Go to My prayer tonight is God first help me see the nations which you have brought around me in Uptown and then God provide a way for me to travel to some of the barefoot places in the world in order to proclaim your good news....Your salvation.

Gratefully Live the Gospel, Love the City, BE the Church.

Monday, April 5, 2010

KaBoom! Build Day - Wisner Playground

An Uptown neighborhood is gathering to build a new playground in Wisner Playground, which is located at Laurel and Upperline. This is just a block away from the Bricks' Loft Apartment and about 5 from Vintage Church.

This is a historic Uptown park
These are pictures from 1941 when there was a pool. (Upperline Street pictured)

Wisner has always been known as a great place for families to bring their children and dogs. The recent addition of the baseball diamond and basketball court have created a place for neighborhood kids to gather for pick-up games. However after Hurricane Katrina, Winser was used for over two years as a FEMA trailer facility. FEMA is working on restoring the ball field but the playground area has totally been ignored.

The pavilion damaged from Katrina

The neighborhood and KaBoom! have joined together in order to restore the family playground area. KaBoom! received drawings from children from the community and have developed a design. So Friday April 30th, 100 volunteers are needed in order to build a new playground and make a community transformation happen.

  • Build Day: Friday, April 30th - 8am-2pm

The KaBoom! Build Site (Upperline Street)
The pavilion has been removed

The corner of Upperline and Annunication Streets

If you're free, come out to love and serve the community.

To register email: matt@vintagenola.org

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

HandsOn Reflection & Photos

HandsOn New Orleans Day this past Saturday was a great morning of service in Indian Village. This area is one of the Katrina-affected that is still trying to recover. Our morning was spent clearing lots and scraping houses in preparation for some of the homeowners building projects in the next few months.

The Vintage group who got up early to serve and join in with the fun.

As I worked I was thankful for the way a community has worked to restore and rebuild, but also challenged by the need
which still exists in and around the areas where the levees broke. My prayer for Vintage and other churches in NOLA and the South is for God to continue to sendus out to get active and meet the needs of our city.

I would love to hear from my other Vintage NOLA peeps about what they took away from the morning. Post your comments!

Live the Gospel, Love the City, BE the Church

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

HandsOn New Orleans Day March 20th

From the Old Testament to the New Testament, Scripture clearly shows that God’s people care for the needy, both the physically and spiritually, within the local community. In response to this truth, we as Vintage Church want to give of ourselves in whatever way God desires in order to see the Gospel advance in New Orleans. The physical and spiritual needs in New Orleans are enormous. So, at Vintage we have decided to concentrate our efforts with several strategic community outreach partners that are already meetings these needs in our city. Our heartbeat is to make a difference and actively DO ministry.

This Saturday, March 20th is a great opportunity to put our vision into action.

HandsOn New Orleans Day 8am-12pm

The HandsOn New Orleans organization is celebrating 4 years of working to meet needs in the city of New Orleans with a morning of service. The day's efforts will serve an area known as Indian Village in Gentilly.

Projects will include

  • Landscaping,
  • Debris removal
  • Trash-pickup.

After there will also be a celebration with FREE food and music until 2pm.

If you're free, volunteer to give a couple of hours on Saturday morning to help see the vision of a better New Orleans become a reality.

You MUST register in order to volunteer. Register here. Once you are registered, you will have access to the project location and schedule. If you have questions please e-mail larmstrong@handsonneworleans.org

Live the Gospel, Love the city, BE the Church

Monday, February 22, 2010

Failure: Where do we go from here?

Yesterday at Vintage we continued the journey through “LIFE” our study on Matthew 5-7. Our topic was not an easy feel good message. We talked directly about sin, focusing on three specific areas: sexual lust, marriage and lying. (Matthew 5:27-37) In these situations Jesus’ focus is on the internal.

Rob's sermon: Our Vintage Podcast

As I listened and personally reflected, Psalm 38, the Psalm for the day in my one year Bible reading plan, came to my mind. In Psalm 38 David is experiencing trouble as a result from his own sin. God helped me to see a picture of repentance in this text. When failure happens in one of the three areas of Matthew 5:27-37, God desires for each of us to respond in a certain way. Repentance is a Biblical word we might not truly understand, especially in relation to what it looks like practically lived out in our daily life.

So, note the progression of repentance from Psalm 38

The Anguish
v.1-8 David describes his anguish and acknowledges that he deserved it because of his sin. Repentance begins at this point of humility. First we tell God that we messed up and did what we wanted, not what He wanted.

The Loneliness
v.9-14 David describes his loneliness because his friends have deserted him. As king, David felt vulnerable to his enemies in this trouble. In our repentance we must also reach this point where we realize that nothing around us (spouse, family, friends, counseling, therapy or a monthly meeting) can ultimately fix our situation. The reason is because when we’ve tried everything else like David we must come to realize that we have a issue in the heart that is only for God. He alone is our Hope.

The Desperation
v.15-22 David declares his desperation on God alone for salvation. Repentance happens at this exact point when we confess and apologize for the sin that we have committed against God. (v.18) Amazingly we have a God that hears our cries for help no matter who we are or what we’ve done. His salvation has no limits. His response to our sin is salvation only through Jesus’ death burial and resurrection. Through surrendering our life to Christ we are forgiven and restored to a right relationship with God. Once this happens we can begin to deal with the effects of the sin and those around us who have been affected. Then forgiveness and restoration are lived out towards others.

Other Psalms of Repentance: 6, 32, 51, 130, 143

Live the Gospel, Love the City, BE the Church!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Vintage Haiti Response

On January 12 the country of Haiti was hit with a 7.0 massive earthquake. The country, which is the poorest in the Americas, has been totally devastated.

For full details, a New York Times article: A synopsis of what happened.

What should our response be? How should we, as a church, come together to help bring aid? As you’ve read or heard, this is a massive tragedy, and we, the church, must have a response.

In the days ahead it will become more clear how we should be involved, but, in the meantime, we’re coordinating our response in the following ways:

Gather: (PRAY)

As Community Groups:
Over the coming days and weeks we’ll continue to encourage your community groups to be praying specifically for this crisis - Pastor Rob & Drew will continue to remind all of our Community Groups to be praying.

As families:
Pray over dinner, at bedtime prayer with your kids, with your spouse…

As individuals:
Pray in your devotional time and throughout the day.

Give: (Financially)
It is beyond belief how much has been destroyed and how many lives were lost. There are organizations already established to best utilize financial donations for maximum impact in disaster relief scenarios. So we at Vintage Church are encouraging you to give to the Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund of the International Mission Board or the Samaritan’s Purse. All money given will be directed to the people and recovery of Haiti. We will take offerings over the next four Sundays, so if you feel compelled to give please designate a check and we will send it all to these organizations.

Go: (Travel to Haiti)
We want to make sure that we are a help and not a hindrance in the relief efforts. Vintage Church would encourage anyone who has a desire to go and help to wait and consider what the needs are.

It’s our understanding that as of now they’re requesting specific medical and specialized relief workers connected to relief organizations to respond. If you fit into that category and are working to get to Haiti, we would love to discover ways in which we could help. Please let us know.

What will the needs be?
In time, we may discover that it would be very helpful for our church to coordinate sending a team of folks to dig in and help. It is too early to be able to tell what the long-term needs of Haiti will be. As a church we will continue to listen, evaluate, pray and ask for Jesus to reveal how we should move.

9The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
10And those who know your name put their trust in you,
for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.

--Psalm 9:9-10

The Vintage Staff

This is AlanseShe's an orphan that my parents support through One Vision International
She is just one of the Haitian faces that have been on my mind over the last few days.

Live the Gospel, Love the City, Be the Church!