Saturday, December 31, 2011

A thought for your 2012 commute

Our American lives seem so packed with work, family, projects and tasks. As we begin to think through New Year's resolutions adding just 2 changes might seem daunting. A 2012 resolution I would encourage every person (Christian or non-Christian) to undertake would be consistent Bible reading. There are plans for beginners that take you through the New Testament, plans with free days to catch up and plans that give you a balanced reading from both Old and New Testaments. For the various options read Pastor Dustin's blog - "Plan your Reading & Read your Plan"

If this undertaking seems impossible because we don't know when we have time. Here's an interesting thought that I read from Justin Taylor:
"The entire ESV Bible on audio is usually about 75 hours (or 4500 minutes). If you commute to work 5 days a week, that’s about 260 days a year. And if it takes you, say, 17 minutes to commute each way to work—and if you listen to the Bible on audio during your drive each way—you’ll get through the entire Bible twice in a year. This probably isn’t the only way to do Bible intake—but it’s one most of us should take advantage of more." from Bible Reading Plans for 2012
As I was selecting my plan this morning God's Spirit impressed upon my heart that my daily commute provides a prime opportunity. The average American commute is 30 minutes each way. (watch this Community video) Most of us likely spend at least an hour per day in our cars. Let me encourage you to redeem your commute in 2012 through listening to Scripture.
The ESV reading plans can be received daily through your email, downloaded as podcasts, printed as a bookmark or input into your calendar. This technology really alleviates every excuse and make this resolution one of the easiest you can make.

Remember the goal is to know and love Jesus and His Word more this time next year. Look through the plans, ask God's Spirit for guidance and endurance then begin reading tomorrow.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Blessing of Childishness

This past weekend as a Vintage Church family, we had the opportunity to celebrate God's gift of children [Psalm 127]. We dedicated 7 young children to the Lord as the parents and our church family both made commitments to allow God to work through us to raise and train each child to follow and serve Jesus Christ.

As I reflected on our vKids this weekend, God gave me a new understanding for why they are a blessing for both the parents and church family. One of the main ways they bless is the way in which they help teach us some of the spiritual realities that can be hard to grasp at times. By this I mean that children provide a picture of our relationship with God.

Jesus knew this and even used children as an illustration in this way. In Mark 10, as he discusses the faith needed to enter the Kingdom of God, he says "I assure you, anyone who doesn't have their [children around him] kind of faith will never get into the Kingdom of God." Jesus is referring to the innocence and complete reliance that children naturally have in their parents as a picture of the way each of us should relate to God the Heavenly Father.

This picture shows our relationship with God in this way: new life always comes through faith in Jesus Christ. Paul discusses this in Romans 3:22-24. You and I can have all of the knowledge in the world about God and Scripture, but experiencing the full effect of salvation in our lives happens when we trust in God's work through Jesus Christ. No matter how much you learn the point of transformation in life only comes when you trust in that which you know about Him. Children are trusting by nature. Humans have been made in such a way to trust in God the Heavenly Father.

For me this is a liberating truth that breaks my reliance in myself and my performance. The Gospel isn't about what you do or don't do for God. The Gospel is about what God has already done for you and I through Jesus Christ. "The Gospel isn't based on your goodness, it's based on His goodness" - Scott Thomas Gospel Coach.

So the lesson is that in the same way that a 3 year old trusts in his/her father's love to care for, provide for and protect him, so you and I trust in the Heavenly Father. As our Father, He loves us, cares for us, provides and protects us. I pray you will believe this truth and maybe surrender your life to Him today.

We are thankful for all of the families that are a part of our 2 campuses. Children, with their joy, energy and excitement truly are such a blessing. I don't know what it's like to be a father yet, but Pastor Rob and Pastor Dustin continually share lessons they are learning through the children God has given them.

Some other blogs:

Thursday, November 17, 2011

It's been 10

On November 17, 2001 over a landline telephone I asked a gorgeous young girl named Sarah Monday to be my girlfriend.

We had just endured a freezing cold UT - Vandy football game together. As a Junior and Freshman in high school we were so young. In hindsight we had no idea what the next 10 years of dating would bring for us as individuals and a couple. In 4 days we will celebrate our 2nd year of marriage with a date.

In the fall of 2001 I remember I was drawn simply to her sweet spirit and giggle. Today, 10 years later I want to share 10 reasons I celebrate her as my best friend:
  • She loves and follows Jesus Christ.
  • She is the most fascinating person I know.
  • She is my "excellent wife" which Solomon spoke about in Proverbs 31.
  • She is compassionate and cares for people.
  • She laughs at my jokes.
  • She makes me look better in pictures.
  • She has been by my side through my high-school years when I was awkward, my college years when I matured, my seminary years when I sought clarity in God's call and now my pastoral years as I serve Christ at Vintage Church.
  • She is my great helper, spoken about in Genesis 2, who builds me up and supports me.
  • She doesn't have braces anymore.
  • She prays Psalm 67 and serves Christ in New Orleans alongside me.

To my married friends I encourage you like Paul did the Philippians in Philippians 4 to fill your mind, relationship and home with love, sacrifice, fun and forgiveness. Remember to constantly cultivate your relationship with Christ and each other. For more check out this blog: "Dating in Marriage....Really?"

To my single or engaged friends I encourage you from what Solomon said in Proverbs 4 to wisely pursue Christ and allow Him to work in your life. He is preparing and shaping your heart in this time. Taking His wisdom, as given in Scripture, into your heart will literally bring you new life. This will enable you to follow His plan for your individual life and a future spouse if the opportunity comes.

1 more flashback photo - Senior Prom (2003)
Mullets were cool back then.....

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Why do I run?

I wanted to share a blog my wife wrote yesterday about running, purpose and life on her blog - The Brick House. I hope it will encourage and challenge you.

Yesterday morning I met my friend Mary for a run through the streets of our beautiful Uptown neighborhood. Mary is training for a half marathon at the end of the month, and occasionally she cuts her distance and pace and indulges by running (or walking) with me. Mary is an inspiration to me in many ways, including simply the fact that she’s running a half marathon, given her history and former life, but yesterday she offered some sage advice that I’d been needing to hear.

As we were running - actually, I think I had to stop to walk at this point, but you get the picture - I was talking to Mary about how training is going for her big race. She shared that her training group has been one of the greatest encouragements she could ask for. I thought that was interesting given that her group is all women. I feel like in general getting a group of women together instantly breeds the potential for gossip, drama, tears, etc. But Mary said that this group is so encouraging, urging one another on, sharing stories from their past, celebrating victories and having each other’s backs. She then shared some words of wisdom that spoke directly to my heart, because they have more to do with life than with running.

Mary said that it is so important when you’re training for a race, or just running in general, not to compare yourself to those you are running with. You face different obstacles, have a different history, and are running with different goals in mind. Mary runs to give glory to God for saving her out of a really destructive lifestyle. She said she doesn’t compare herself to the other ladies she runs with. It wouldn’t be beneficial for anyone. With her focus set intently on her goal, all her training group will ever be is an encouragement because that is all she allows it to be.

Then (this is such a GOD thing), Mary forwarded me an email from her training group leader, sent yesterday after we ran, here are a couple of quotes that struck me as well.

  • “People run for a lot of different reasons. You've got to understand why you do it, and understand that the person next to you has different goals and incentives. Work on meeting YOUR goals--you might find out that the person next to you is aimed in an entirely different direction than you--and that's ok--running is for everyone to find their own happiness within.”
  • “Be proud to be the runner you are. We all exist on a HUGE continuum. There will always be people ahead of us. There will always be people behind us. “

Both of these nuggets of truth resonated with me. Here’s the deal: if I don’t know why I run, I am ALWAYS going to compare myself to others. And, as Mary’s trainer mentioned, there will ALWAYS be people ahead of me.

I am competitive by nature, and have been blessed with gifts in certain areas that allowed me to excel in most anything I tried growing up – school, dance class, sports, etc., so I never really worried about being competitive; I was always near the front of the pack or the top of the list. However, when it comes to running, well….it just doesn’t come as naturally to me. I really have to try. If my goal when I run is to be the fastest or the best or whatever, I am never going to be satisfied. Because I will never be the fastest or best, I could continually be disappointed. However, if I run for the fun of it, to be in shape, or like Mary, to glorify my God, then there is no disappointment to be had. Sure, there might be days were I run further or faster than others, but what pressure is relieved when I acknowledge that I am not doing something for me, but for God!

This message goes right along with our Vintage Women Bible Study material. Last week we talked about insecurities being one thing keeping us from recognizing and living in the joy that we have been chosen by God. One of the biggest struggles I have in regards to insecurity is feeling like I don’t stack up against some of the great examples of Godly women that surround me. I spend too much time comparing myself, thinking “I should be more like her. She has it all together”. Or “She sure does seem to be in touch with the Lord. I bet she does X,Y and Z. How much happier God must be with her than me!” This also applies to people I work with. I sometimes struggle when coworkers get praise when I don’t or get opportunities that I don’t. Aren’t those awful ugly thoughts? Maybe it’s too much for me to share them so publicly, but, they represent things that have gone through my mind, so I might as well put them out there.

In this week’s study, we are learning to be fully satisfied by Jesus, who is our Bread from Heaven, Living Water, our Sustainer. Being completely satisfied with Him and in His plan for me will free me from feeling like I must try to prove anything to anyone. And if I am focused on doing the work or running the race or living the life I am called to live, then I won’t spend time comparing myself to others. I will also be able to celebrate with them for their achievements and encourage them during low points as we all strive to run our race well. I won’t have time or energy to focus on negative thoughts or comparisons, which represent a very outward and worldly focus as because I will be keeping my gaze on the prize which is before me.

I am so thankful for all the women in my life who encourage and inspire me. This week I am praying that I would stop comparing myself, that I would live in the freedom of knowing I am chosen, and that I would continue to recognize my purpose. For me, that purpose is ultimately to give thanks and praise and glory to the One who created me in everything that I do. I pray that I would soak up and live confidently in that Truth, and would become so focused on my relationship with the Lord and my desire to love and serve Him that I can only be happy for and encourage those around me.

Just a quick list of a few questions I’ve pondered these past days:
- Why do I run (or do anything)? What is my purpose?
- What are my goals?
- Do my attitude, my thoughts, my actions, indicate that I am confident in my goal or purpose? If not, how can I change that?

Monday, October 3, 2011

September: The month that flew by

September seemed to end as soon as it got started. Here's some videos and pictures of the month that flew by.

From January to September 11th there were hundreds of volunteers who worked, prayed and loved on the community. We threw a huge celebration party as a way to let our neighbors know that a new church family was here for them.

We also celebrated God's call on Jonathan Griffin's life to serve as a pastor and enlisted him as our Metairie Campus Pastor.

Vintage Uptown: 2 gatherings, 2 locations

Over the month of September we were also able to transition our Uptown campus from 1 location to 2 locations. We are still one campus which unites together at two locations to see the Uptown, Mid-city and Westbank communities learn about and begin to follow Christ.

Here's a short video from last night at our Carrollton Campus.

Our new vKids facility at the Carrollton location is one of the parents' favorite parts about this transition. The kids enjoyed the new space last night. I'm looking forward to the way God will begin to draw the hearts of young boys and girls to Him in the coming months and years.

These 3 gatherings are a celebration of the way in which each of us are daily living the Gospel, loving the city and being the Church in our individual, community group and corporate lives each week. In your neighborhood, workplace, classroom and coffee shop ask God to use you and then get ready for the opportunities that He will bring your way.

And finally, the Saints are a good looking 3-1 team [Offense, Defense, Special Teams] that will be in the NFC hunt for the Super Bowl. Who DAT!

Now if the Bricks could just get 2 tickets.....Sarah has never seen a game in the dome. But I'm 5-0 when seeing them play in person.....for those of you w/ connections.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Need for's simple

Francis Chan summarizes the importance of community beautifully for us in this video [-LINK-] from the Verge Network. I can't embed video on blog, you'll have to click link to website

Scriptures which shape our mission & community:
Connect to a Vintage Community Group

Live the Gospel, Love the City, BE the where God has placed you.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Dating in Marriage....Really! (Part 2)

The 1st Vintage Date Night last Friday was a huge success. We had 34 couples laughing, eating, painting and enjoying time together. One of my highlights was all the Facebook posts from couples with photos together showing off their paintings.

--Here is the Bricks' painting

Special thanks to the Big Artsy for accommodating our huge group. You should use them for a party this fall.

I saw an interesting news segment on the Today Show the other day related to dating, watch this-

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Did you hear the progression that happened for this couple?
The sift came when they began to communicate by courting one another again.

My thought after watching this segment was that a more appropriate title would be "Dating Saves Marriages". This, not separating, seems to be what this couple experienced. The concept of consistently dating is what we encouraged couples on Friday night to prioritize. Read that blog - "Dating in Marriage...Really." The reason is simply that this is what Mrs. Brick and I have experienced. Consistent dating helps our connection relationally, emotionally, sexually and spiritually.

So start this week, grab dinner and talk.

If you need some guidance I'd recommend the list(s) that Sarah recently found.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Marriage Problems Concluded

This past Sunday Pastor Rob concluded our study of 1 Corinthians 7 and the marriage problems that Paul addresses in this passage.

"Do it God's Way" -- 1 Cor. 7:1-7

"Consider Singleness" -- 1 Cor. 7:8-9, 25-38

"Avoid Divorce" -- 1 Cor. 7:10-24, 39-40

You can find our Community Group weekly discussion guides - here.
You can find a commentary on 1 Corinthians 7 written by Pastor Dustin and his team - here.

If you have a family member, friend or neighbor who is married or single, you should share this study with them.

Live the Gospel, Love the City, Be the Church

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Working out problems towards a marriage solution

As a Vintage church family we are studying 1 Corinthians 7 and marriage problems that Paul addresses in this passage over the next 3 weeks. I'd encourage you to connect to one of our Community Groups and gather with us on the weekends.

This past Sunday Pastor Rob discussed biblical marriage - listen to "Do it God's Way"

In response, I'd like to share two links with my married friends to begin to incorporate this week:

****Thanks to my friend Jason Dukes for posting these on his blog.

Look through these lists.... be sensitive to the Spirit's work in your spouse's life.... and have fun discovering more.

"But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another." -- 1 Corinthians 7:7

"this is why a man leaves father and mother and cherishes his wife. No longer two, they become 'one flesh.' This [Marriage] is a huge mystery, and I don't pretend to understand it all. What is clearest to me is the way Christ treats the church. And this provides a good picture of how each husband is to treat his wife, loving himself in loving her, and how each wife is to honor her husband." -- Ephesians 5:31-33 [The Message]

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Dating in Marriage.....Really?

As a Vintage church family we are studying 1 Corinthians 7 and marriage problems that Paul addresses in this passage over the next 3 weeks. I hope you will connect to one of our Community Groups and gather with us on the weekends.

As a part of this study, Pastor Rob, Annabeth, Sarah and myself are hosting a date night for married, engaged and dating couples on Friday night August 26th. We want you to take a night and come enjoy a date with dinner, dessert, a fun activity and conversation regarding the importance of dating within marriage.

As Pastor Rob has mentioned, an important aspect of every marriage involves friendship. This is because marriage is relational at the core. So together husbands and wives must constantly cultivate their marital relationship. At times this can be really tough, but other times this can be really fun.

We Bricks are proponents of setting a consistent time each week to learn about each other. A majority of the time this involves an evening, when we focus solely on one another. Other times this is a hour over a cup of coffee or Sucre gelato. We have found this to be an effective way to grow closer together as spouses and friends.

4 reasons that I personally advocate date nights:
  • Dates are fun - let’s be honest, life is draining. Most of us work long hours in jobs that easily consume our entire life. But is that paycheck really all that there is to life? When I was in high school, my mom always encouraged me to enjoy time with friends & Sarah because “you’ll work the rest of your life.” She was right. Some days work is a real toil. So I’d encourage you to escape the strains, struggles, stresses and deadlines at least once a week with your spouse by trying a new restaurant or a coffee shop.
  • Dates open communication lines - Sarah and I like each other so much that we usually try to eat dinner together a couple nights of the week. The difference is that most of those nights we usually have work, chores or errands to complete after dinner. For example, tonight after our dinner I am now sitting in bed writing this blog as Sarah sleeps. But our weekly date night is a particular night when we intentionally focus on each other.
  • Dates produce greater sexual intimacy - According to psychologist Kevin Leman in Sex Begins in the Kitchen, sex is a powerful experience that creates strong emotional connections between partners. (pg.21) I completely agree and would add that good sex comes within a marriage in which both spouses are emotionally connected. Personally, I have discovered there is a reciprocal relationship between the two. An exclusive Redbook poll says: 70% of couples end an evening date intimately. Now the ultimate goal of a date night is not the bedroom. Instead the goal is engaging one another. This involves discovering how his/her week has been, dreaming together about your future and discovering where he/she has been challenged in his/her relationship with God and others. But remember that you both will end every night in bed because this is where most people sleep. Therefore this gives you the opportunity to enjoy your spouse (sexually) after learning something new about them (emotionally). So if you are currently frustrated either emotionally or sexually maybe discuss if there might be a correlation that might lead back to the opposite side of the same coin which you need to work to improve.
  • Dates treat your wife like she deserves - I’m unapologetically a romantic because this is what I have found that Sarah desires from her husband. In response I take lead to plan a majority of our date nights where I surprise her with new restaurants, hold her hand, buy her flowers and snuggle with her. For one of our couple friends they go sailing, play sports and ride bikes together. Husbands do you know how your wife feels/receives love? Take a night to ask your wife; listen and communicate your love through that way.

Remember a strong marriage comes from constant cultivation. If you think calling it date night is cheesy then call it something else, but make sure to take time to develop your relationship.

A Vintage Date Night with the Wiltons and Bricks

  • Date: Aug 26th
  • Time: 7pm - 10pm
  • Cost: $40 per couple
  • Includes dinner by YoBreaux, dessert by a local pastry chef, and a Big Artsy painting session
  • Address: Vintage Uptown 4523 Magazine Street, NOLA
  • Bring your own beverages

**Parents get a babysitter for the night and come join us for this time of fun.

There's not a better deal out there August 26th, so sign-up at a gathering this weekend!

Monday, August 15, 2011

How does the Gospel change my ___________ ?

Have you ever asked yourself this question: "How does the Gospel change my _______?"
Maybe the blank is your life, heart, marriage, relationships, church, life purpose, neighborhood or city.

To answer this question you must first know what the is Gospel. This means you must understand who Jesus is, what Jesus did and therefore what that says about who you and me are and what you and me do in response. Thankfully God has answered this question through Scripture, which is why every person's greatest need is to hear and respond to the Gospel.

Since this is the case I wanted to share with you a link that came across my twitter feed early this morning - Advance 2011 media -
This is a media page for the teachings given at Advance 2011, a conference that happened in North Carolina. You can download each of these for free.

I would encourage you, as I tweeted this morning, to use these to redeem your commute this week. I haven't listened to any of these yet and will be doing this myself.

Listen to 1-2 of these this week and watch how God will transform our hearts for our communities and cities.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Serve Tuscaloosa

This past spring tornados ravaged cities like Tuscaloosa, Alabama and Joplin, Missouri. In the aftermath homes and businesses were severely damaged and even destroyed. Thankfully, volunteers from around America have responded over the past couple months. But much work and rebuilding still remains in these cities.

As a Vintage Church family we are going to Tuscaloosa August 17 - August 20 to serve a devastated community alongside Circlewood Baptist Church. We are leaving after work on Wednesday evening, working Thursday - Saturday and driving back Saturday evening. This is a great opportunity to "be the church" in our region [country].

Cost: $25 [includes transportation, breakfast, lunch, water and a love offering for Circlewood]
Items to bring: sleeping bags, work clothes, closed toe shoes and money for dinner.

There will be sign-up sheet at our worship gatherings this weekend.
-Uptown -- Saturday 6pm, Sunday 9am and 10:30am
-Metairie -- Sunday 10:30am

To help Circlewood minister to their community clink here

Go BE the Church

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A story of being Christ-like in our community

As a Vintage Church family we have been discussing our identity. "Go BE the Church" is one of the phases we most frequently use as we close out our gatherings at Vintage. The concept of being the church is of vital importance as we discuss who we are as a church family, and we are able to accomplish this only by the power of the Gospel. Being the church happens in our everyday lives with those in our neighborhoods, at our workplaces and in our circle of friends.

I recently had an opportunity to hang with Chaz Churchwell. This guy was someone who God used in a big way during the early stages of Vintage Church. Check out a story and a challenge from his time being the church in New Orleans.

***I misquote the percentage of Evangelical Christian in this video. 1.1 million people, with 7% Evangelical Christian.

I love the passion with which Chaz still speaks of our city, New Orleans. To follow God's work in San Diego through this new work for the Gospel check out Restore San Diego Now

Go BE the Church

Being Christ through out Campus

I had the privilege of teaching our Vintage Uptown Campus family again this weekend at our worship gatherings. We are closing an "Identity" Series. This has been a rich time of growth as we have talked about who we are as Vintage Church. This weekend I walked through Acts 10 and applied the truth from this passage into what being the Church in our community, city, nation and world would look like.

Listen here

Acts 10 is simply a story of 2 men in whom God is working through the Gospel to transform lives.

The 2 Men
  • Cornelius - a God-fearer, a Gentile who needed the Gospel
  • Peter - a Converted Christian, who shared the Gospel
In Acts 10, God is showing us that His Church will include all people from all nations. This is because our God is a global God that is working throughout the world through His Spirit. He is also working through sending of His church, an important note is that he sent Peter to share the Gospel.

It is particularly intetesting to note that America has become a global nation with people from across the globe moving here. Many American cities, from San Francisco to New Orleans to New York to Miami to Chicago, are experiencing explosive growth from people of all countries. I have heard that America is quickly becoming a majority-minority-nation.

Here are some of the ways that I have seen this in New Orleans:
  • Restaurants from every country in the world [Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, American, Mexican, French and New Orleanian]
  • The Magazine Street pavers who I have met that don’t speak fluent English.
  • The chef of my favorite Mediterranean restaurant speaks very broken English.
  • The large number of Asian students studying at Tulane and Loyola.
  • A drive from Nashville to Louisiana shows that there is not an overwhelming majority race living in Uptown.
  • The Hispanic population has doubled in Metairie over the last 10 years.

I believe that God is working in these demographic shifts for His glory. And this provides the Church a great opportunity. In Acts 10, God works in 2 men in order that the the Gospel can transform lives. Note what Peter shares with Cornelius - "The Gospel says":
  • the forgiveness of sins is available for every person in every nation [v. 35]
  • the forgiveness of sins is possible because of what Jesus Christ has done [v. 39-40]
  • the forgiveness of sins comes through believing in Jesus Christ [v. 43]
I'm thankful for the way God is working through the Church in New Orleans. More specifically I'm thankful for God's grace in the life and ministry of Vintage Church over the last 3 years. I hope that we will continue to pray for God's favor and grace.

This fall I'm praying we will apply the truth of Acts 10 in 2 primary ways:
  • Individually
At Vintage Church, all mission and ministry begins with the individual. This is because every person who is saved by the Gospel is then empowered through the Gospel to be a witness for the Gospel.

I've encouraged our campus to begin to ask "Spirit-sensitivity" questions last week.
This week I encouraged them to begin to ask this one question:
  • Who is my Cornelius?
- Someone who looks different than you ~ racially
- Someone who thinks different than you ~ religiously
- Someone who smells different than you ~ economically

  • Corporately
As a family we also want to take time when we unite together to serve our community, city, nation and world. So here's some of the plans for this fall:

- Serve our Community
One of the biggest ways that God has worked in our community over the last 3 years has been the outside volunteer teams that come every summer and daily serve our community. As a campus we are going to gather 3 Saturdays this fall to serve our community, doing many of the same things that these groups have done throughout the summer.

- Serve our City
There are about 1.1 million people in the Orleans, Jefferson & surrounding parishes. NOBA has shared that about 7% of the population in the Orleans and Jefferson parishes are connected to an evangelical church. This has led Pastor Rob and myself to begin to pray for more churches and campuses. This city needs thousands of more churches. As we prayed, God worked. On September 9, 2011 the Vintage Metairie Campus will launch. God has already been moving and transforming lives since January. We're excited to see how God will continue to work in this community. Check out Vintage Metairie webpage for updates.

- Serve our Nation
As a church family we want to be sent like Peter was to other Corneliuses that are in cities throughout America. An opportunity in August is a trip to Tuscaloosa, Alabama. We are going from Wednesday Aug 17th to Saturday Aug 20th. I will be giving more information and details soon about this trip.

So there's our prayer along with some of the plans for the fall. I pray God will work in you and through you in whatever city or country that He has placed you.

One final thought: below is a video that I believe gives a visual picture of our Identity journey.

This is who we are, this is what we do as Vintage Church

Go BE the Church

Monday, July 25, 2011

Serving Christ through our Mission

I had the privilege of teaching our Vintage Uptown Campus family this weekend at our 3 weekend worship gatherings. We are in the middle of an "Identity" Series. We are talking about who we are as Vintage Church. I discussed serving Christ through our mission by explaining the concept of Spirit sensitivity.

Listen here

Here are the 3 Truths that form our Spirit sensitivity
  • They had been waiting.
The important shift that happens in Acts can only be fully grasped when we understand that many past generations had been waiting for God to pour out His Spirit. Joel and Isaiah both prophesied about it. Jesus discussed this in John. So In Acts 3, post Pentecost, Peter & John are serving Christ because they know that the mission has begun.

Acts explains the shift:
- Jesus’ disciples waited [Acts 1]
- the Spirit fell [beginning Acts 2]
- the Church was formed [ending Acts 2]
- now every Christian has been launched to serve Christ through our mission [Acts 3-28].

Since the Spirit has fallen this means that today if you’ve surrendered your life to Christ you don’t need to wait, you now need to go!

  • They were given the Spirit.
In order to better understand what/who we have been given there are 2 pictures of the Holy Spirit given in Scripture:

-The Holy Spirit is a gift.
Scripture says - the Spirit has fallen on everyone who has called on the name of the Lord. Therefore if we have surrendered our life to Christ we also have been given this gift. Like Peter & John served the mission as an outflow of this gift, we too have been given the gift to serve.

-The Holy Spirit is a person.
God hasn’t just given us just a talent or an unknowable power - he has given us His Spirit, who is a person. In the same way we grow with a spouse or friend through talking, listening, sharing and serving - we also need to cultivate our relationship with the Spirit through praying, journaling, reflecting and listening.

  • They began to serve the mission. -
Acts 3 is a story that shows two Christians [Peter & John] serving Christ through their mission. More inspiring is that this serving happened in their everyday as they were sensitive to the Spirit. They were not on a special trip or following a special emphasis. Instead they were headed to the normal afternoon prayer meeting. The principal from their example is that they were still doing what they had always done, but what had changed was their perspective on the the community, the people and their daily routine.

In Acts 3 we see their Spirit sensitivity naturally led them:
-to Notice a man in need (v.4)
-to Listen to him (v.3)
-to Respond with the Gospel (v.7-8)

In response to this passage, let each of us live with a new perspective on our everyday life. Let us live each day with a Spirit sensitivity.

Here are some questions to ask as you live your everyday life:
How is the Spirit working in the lives of our spouse and friends?
How is the Spirit working in the lives of our neighbors?
How is the Spirit working in the lives of our coworkers?
How is the Spirit working in your life right now?
- Like Peter & John let us: Notice - Listen - Respond with the Gospel

Go BE the Church

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Dismantling Pride

Pride is one the most interesting sins. Murder, lying, sexual immorality and stealing are a little more clear cut and obvious in our culture. To even say "Oh, pride, that's not something that I struggle with," seems....well, a little prideful. But the reality is that the root of all sin is in our pride. This is where we become big fans of the "ME" team. This is when you and I see, desire and pursue something or someone for ourselves. For example we use statements like I want ____, They said no but I'm going to _____, They did ____ to me and so I'm going to ______ them.

Even the church experiences the manifestations of pride in the form of church splits, divorces, fights, competition and territorialism. Unfortunately the effects are felt from the pastors to every member, really no one is immune. Mark Galli wrote an article on the need to pray for your pastor. As a young pastor of Vintage Church, just a little over a year under my belt, I think my intensified battle in the area of pride since taking on this new role with the Body of Christ has been an interesting journey for me.

As I was recently reflecting God drew me to Matthew 20:1-16, which is an interesting parable that I haven't paid much attention to. As I read and meditated on this passage, God showed me that dismantling the pride in my life depends on my continual pursuit and surrender to the Gospel, which includes accepting His grace that is displayed here.

Note God's grace seen through the Master's activity:
  • The Master goes out FIVE times in the parable seeking and enlisting laborers to work the vineyard - early morning (v.1), 3rd hour (v.3), 6th hour (v.5), 9th hour (v.5), 11th hour (v.6). As the Master's laborers, we really don't have any room to be prideful given that He has called, saved and enlisted us as laborers in the Kingdom. Our foundation to serve in the Kingdom is a response of gratitude to God's generous grace seen in the way that He responded to our need through Jesus Christ.

  • The Master calls all of the laborers in order to pay. (v.8) Each laborer receives a denarius. On my first read I felt as if the first laborers deserved more having worked longer, all day, than the rest of the laborers. This is an example of my pride, "That's not fair, those first laborers have been sweating longer and working longer." But again I'm confronted with God's generous grace. The denarius that each laborer gets paid is the normal wage for a day, in this way the Master provides for the daily provision for each laborer. As a laborer of the Master, I should be thankful for the ways in which God's grace provides for and meets my daily needs. This is because honestly worrying about other laborers is simply above my pay grade.

In response to this parable I would offer us a couple of questions to consider
  • What's your role within God's kingdom?
-The reality is that if we have been saved by the Gospel then we each have been empowered to be a witness for the Gospel. In 1 Corinthians 12 Paul uses the analogy of different body parts to talk about how each of us are uniquely gifted by the Spirit as a part of the Body of Christ for a certain role. Some of us are left hands, other are ears, others are mouths and others are big toes. The message here is that all of us are equally valuable to the body as a whole. So I don't know your passions, gifts or desires but I do know that God desires to use them within a local church body for the work of the Kingdom. So I encourage you to connect with a local church body and serve.

  • Are you ever jealous of what God has given to another laborer?
-If we are honest we have all experienced times when pride has crept in and have been jealous of others. Sometimes this is because we wish we could have their role. Other times this is because we want to judge them in their role. And other times this is that we think we could do better than them. But Jesus' encouragement from Matthew 20:1-16 is to focus on God's generous grace in our lives. Again each of us are equal in value in Christ and have simply been called to faithfully follow Him in our own life. So let's quit complaining and start working for the Master to see others come into the Kingdom.


Sunday, July 17, 2011

If you're in need of a laugh read this blog....

In my opinion, a big part of marriage involves living and laughing together.

Take a minute and read Mrs. Brick's blog about something that happened last week - Are You Afraid of the Dark?

My morals of the story
(1) I love my crazy scaredy cat wife
(2) We have a blast together.
(3) We try to laugh together often.

"Laughter is the short distance between two people." – Victor Borge

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Reading, listening and watching this blog will improve your marriage

Time flies....

This time 2 years ago I was the Vintage Church summer mission intern and sweating to near death in the July NOLA heat. Just as memorable I was engaged to Sarah Monday that summer, now known as "the gorgeous Sarah Brichetto." During that summer I read several books and listened to several sermons in preparation to be a husband. Over the last 2 years there are many times that I have been reminded of and reflected on the truths I received from other men and women that summer.

Now as one of the pastors of Vintage, I frequently reference these principles with single men, engaged & married couples.

From my last 2 years I want to share with you 2 short books, a sermon and a music video that God continually uses to challenge me as a husband.

2 Books

*Although this is one of the smallest marriage books, it is packed with wisdom from the Mahaney couple.

* Chapter 3 "Learning, Leading and Loving" discusses the idea that deepening romance physically in our marriage is intertwined with touching our wife's heart and mind (emotionally connecting).

*Chapter 4 "How to Make it All Happen" gives some practical suggestions of how CJ has loved and romanced his wife Carolyn.

*You can get this book free in PDF by clicking here.

*Chapter 4 "Forgiveness and Forbearing," is one of the most challenging chapters that I have ever read regarding marriage.

* "The Compost Pile" concept discussed guides each of us into Gospel-centered, grace filled marriages.

*Listen to the "Forgiveness and Forbearing sermon by Dr. Piper - here

These books are super small and great short reads.


A Sermon - "Sanctification in Marriage"  by Matt Chandler

*He unpacks 1 Peter 3:1-7 and discusses healthy expectations and relations for both men and women in marriage. There are some real practical application given for all of our marriages.

*Listening to this sermon would be one of the most humbling and fruitful ways for both husbands and wives to spend an hour today. Listen separately and then discuss during a date night.


A Video - "Lead Me" by Sanctus Real

*This has been an anthem for me over the past few months as I have relied upon the Spirit to lead and love Sarah. I pray we will surrender our life in this area for our spouses or future spouses.

*Read a blog from Jason Dukes on leading in marriage.

*Also check out the story behind the song.

I'm thankful that we live in a time with internet which provides a wealth of resources for men to be godly husbands and women to be godly wives. Allow God's Spirit to use this resource at your finger tips to develop your marriage. Honestly this is a far better way to use the internet than any sport videos or hollywood gossip that can consume our life at times.

In conclusion, always remember that no matter how bad or good your marriage is currently; our hope is to be found in the Gospel which breaks through to offer repentance, forgiveness and restoration. Mrs. Brick and I are learning that this is an area that will always require constant cultivation.

Enjoy reading, listening, watching and then loving.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Identity: Needing Christ through our prayer

This past Sunday at Vintage Church we began a new series for the month of July called Identity. We are discussing who we are as a church family.

Our Plan
  • July 3rd - Needing Christ through our prayer.
  • July 9th/10th - Pursuing Christ through our study.
  • July 16th/17th - Reflecting Christ through our relationships.
  • July 23rd/24th - Serving Christ through our mission.
  • July 30th/31st - Being Christ through our campus.

Our interns helped organize a time of corporate prayer during this first week of Identity. Cam Hyde and Rob Russell have rocked it out this summer hosting the outside volunteer teams. I have enjoyed the opportunity to spend time with these two young studs this summer. They have set a high bar for our future summer internships.

The guide created led us to pray individually, in groups and corporately for ourselves, our city, other churches and the lost. The emphasis points would be a great outline for you to use in your personal time with Christ.

-Individual Reflection - The question: "Who is Christ in your life?"

-Adoration (Matt 6:9)
• Take five minutes to adore God.
• Praise Him for who He is.
• Use this time to set your affections on Him.

-Submission (Matt 6:10)
• Pray that we would be Submitted to God’s will.
• Pray His concerns would be our concerns.
• Ask for focus to be His servants rather than being concerned about what we can get from Him.

-Desperation (Matt 6:11)
• Pray for the Holy Spirit to help you recognize your complete dependence on Him.
• Pray He will increase your love for Christ and give you a greater desperation to know Him intimately.
• Ask for boldness and faith to attempt things for Christ so impossible that only God can get the glory for showing up.

I'd encourage you to make time this week as an individual, couple and Community Group to use this guide. For some of us we need to get up early, others need to print this out and put on our bathroom mirror, others need to take an intentional coffee break and others need to redeem their commutes.

Biblical promises on prayer:
-James 5:16 "the prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working."

-1 John 5:14-15 "And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him."

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

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Limes & an Orange Lessons....

Last Friday night I spiced up our date night with my brand new graduation-gift-money purchased grill. To be honest the Bricks have been having withdraws since moving into our shotgun apartment in August, with no access to a grill.

Our entree was grilled marinated chicken, with a side of grilled corn and Boudin. I used one of our friend Shannon's recipes which you can find on her blog. Most weeks, at least one of the meals at the Brickhouse comes from one of her recipes....she posts everything she makes!

Sarah spent the week in New Iberia and I really wanted to grill a fantastic dinner for her and her return to the Big Easy. I purchased all the items for the recipe and spent most of the afternoon prepping the chicken, corn and my new grill. This recipe called for lime and orange juice. On date night I take no shortcuts so I decided we needed freshly squeeze juice. [You know only the best for Mrs. Brick.]

I sliced a couple of limes and prepared to juice them. There was only one problem.....we don't own a juicer. We have 1,000,000 different serving spoons and pretty dishes, but we don't have a juicer. So in my frantic prepping I juiced several limes and a orange manually, a cup of lime and 1/2 cup of orange to be exact!

Do you know how many limes it takes to manually juice enough limes to reach a cup? 9

Yeah I counted each of the 18 halves that I squeezed and strained to get lime juice from. Imagine how long that takes.

Actually it was pretty funny seeing me squirm and twist all over our kitchen. I had lime juice running down my arm and splashing all over. But I would not be denied! And in the end we had a great dinner on our front porch together. Our friend Ramsey even enjoyed one of the chicken breasts.

Two lessons I gained from this experience that I'd like to share:
  • Husbands plan, prep, and go all out for your weekly date night.
Sarah likes to be pursued and dated as my wife. Dating doesn't end after you get married, have children, hit the "mid-life crisis," or retire. Dating no doubt changes, but dating should never end. I can also guarantee you that your wife wants to be pursued, so quit being sissies, men. Go get your bride!
- Husbands today is Thursday.... what are you planning for this week's date night?
The ingredients are simple: some thought, your wife and you. It's not about taking her to the most expensive restaurant, but instead about creating an experience where the two of you can talk, relax and learn something new about each other. Sometimes the most fun date nights happen on a porch, while sipping coffee/tea or in your house.

  • The importance of community can never be understated.
One of my favorite things about New Orleans is the value that most people place on community. For the most part this city is still a place where people know their neighbors. When I got to about the 17th half lime I had a profound thought: Why didn't I call _____ to see if they had a juicer I could borrow? And I named about 4-5 people that live within 2 blocks that I could have called and probably found a stinkin' juicer.
- So can I ask you who you have in your life that knows you and encourages you in this crazy busy life that we all live? The value of close friends has been something that God has continued to teach me over the past few months.

Neil Cole believes that small groups are one of the most effective ways to make & multiply disciples. Some strengths of small groups include:

For me, my Community Group is a source of great encouragement which God uses to grow me as a Christian, husband, pastor and friend. We enjoy meals together, help each other move, pray for one another, celebrate birthdays and discuss Scripture. I hope you will connect to such a group in your city. Trust me, you won't regret the decision. And if you're honest you need it, if not today one day you will, maybe when you're in search of a juicer.

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

Thursday, May 12, 2011

A Rising River....

This week the local news has been covered with discussions about the rising Mississippi River and the potential threat which this plays for Southern Louisiana. The worst case is that this flooding could be worse than Kartina. As I have watched the stations and read online, I had two thoughts that I’d like to quickly share.
1. Tons of people live in cities
For us Louisianans there is a system of sp
illways that have been created along the Mississippi River in order to protect Baton Rouge and New Orleans. These are the two biggest cities in LA. Current statics tell us that an enormous amount of growth is happening in cities around the world as the population is moving back into cities.

One of the options that the Louisiana state officials have is to open the Morganza Spillway. In the scenarios I’ve seen, opening this spillway would flood some rural areas in order to not flood the cities. Note the small arrow in the bottom left: "There should be no flooding in the Metro Area [New Orleans]"

What this discussion shows is exactly what I’ve learned in my short run serving in New Orleans....cities are the way in which to influence and change the world.As weird as this may sound God has confirmed my call to be in the city and for the city as a believer, pastor and neighbor. The business world is impacting the cities. The artists are impacting the cities. Young entrepreneurial minds are impacting the cities. Will the body of Christ, the Church, impact the cities with the Gospel? There’s a new book that I’m excited to get and read. I’d recommend you do too.

<-- For the City - Darrin Patrick & Matt Carter

2. God is gracious towards all people
The dilemma to flood one area in order to avert a flood in another area which this rising Mississippi River has caused is a tough decision. In fact it’s one that is above my pay grade. Honestly I’m perfectly fine with that reality. But I do find this interesting, the decision of choosing “the lesser of two evils”....
Instead I’m thankful for the truth that God chose to respond to a crisis in a way that didn’t neglect any person due to any economic, cultural or racial difference/factor. Scripture tells us that Christ died for all people. In the cross we have God diverting the penalty of mine and your sin. Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, standing in my place and consuming the brunt of God’s righteous wrath toward my sin. This was done in order that you and I might have life.

This is our God. The One I serve and commend you to trust in with your life. At Vintage Church we plead with people to surrender their lives to Jesus Christ. If you haven’t, it’s simple....“Repent and Believe in the Gospel” - Jesus (Mark 1:14-15) No special 8 step prayer or anointed oil needed. Turn from your sin (repent) and trust in Jesus Christ through faith (believe).

When you do, come check us out in either Uptown or Metairie on the weekend.
Live the Gospel, Love the City, BE the Church....

Friday, April 8, 2011

EGG the Homeless

EGG the Homeless - April 22-24th

Yes... you read that right!

This is a movement of the church to change the face of homelessness in New Orleans over the Easter weekend. Our partnership is with the New Orleans Mission. We are working hard to bring all the final details together for what is going to be an awesome weekend. I hope you are excited to see God work and move as we serve our city and worship Jesus.

Weekend Schedule
  • Elevate [April 22]: we will unite as the church to pray for the Homeless - location Vintage Campuses @ 7pm
  • Give [April 23]: we will unite with others in our city to provide for the Homeless - location Tipitina’s Uptown @ 7:30pm [Benefit Concert Information]
  • Gather [April 24]: we will unite as the church to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection and life change available to the Homeless - location Dixon Hall on Tulane Campus @ 10am

What can you do?
Pray: Join us in asking God to move in such a way that He gets the glory over these three days. To journey along with us over the next 2 weeks check out Our Prayer Guide

Invite: Come to one of our gatherings [Campus times] for postcards and flyers to pass out in the city. We also give everyone permission to Tweet and Facebook status the heck out of this. The EGG the Homeless site

Serve: We have volunteering opportunities on Saturday and Sunday, talk with your community group leader [connect to with a group] or email

Give: Tickets for Tipitina's Uptown are available here. You can also can make a contribution to help cover the cost for the weekend.

Donate: Bring toilet paper, paper plates and paper towels to our Easter Sunday Gathering for the New Orleans Mission.

Live the Gospel, Love the City, BE the Church

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Moses: a faithful servant of God

I had the opportunity to preach at the Vintage Uptown Campus worship gatherings this weekend. Our theme was faithfulness and we looked at Moses in Numbers 27:12-20. This is the end of his life and from this passage we see 3 statements about faithfulness.....

  • Faithfulness isn't solely based upon our actions for God (v.12-14)
  • Faithfulness involves a trust in God & His purpose (v.15-17)
  • Faithfulness passes the baton to someone else after our race is finished (v.18-20)

Click here to listen

Click here for our Discussion Guide [Awesome how God led our disci

pleship team and my heart in the same direction]

Click here to connect with a Vintage Community Group

I had an intense week preparing and wanted to share a reflection that I wrote in my journal.

My Journal (3/15/11)

[READ Deuteronomy 34]

We’re here at the ending of Deuteronomy, the next page is Joshua which accounts God’s purpose advancing as the people occupy the land. Israel did become a nation and remained in this land. At times these people follow the Lord wholeheartedly.

While other times these people disobeyed His commandments. Through those times God both punished, as with Moses in Numbers 20, and He also restored. Ultimately his salvific purpose for all people in the world continued through this nation. In fact for 1,000+ years through many kings, battles, seasons, God’s purpose continues.

Then one day a young teenage girl receives a house call from an angel of the Lord. A baby is born who name is Jesus. Who as the Son of God was the ultimate example of a faithful servant, even to the point of death on a cross for my sins. [Philippians 2:6-8] One of Jesus’ disciples, Matthew, works through his Gospel letter to Israel to show that Jesus is the greater Moses. Like Moses, Jesus not only serve God and furthered God’s purpose while here on earth; but before His departure He entrusted God’s purpose into the

hands of His disciples in such a way that the advancement, like the transition between Moses and Joshua, did not miss a beat. The church was birthed and God’s salvation which had been promised long ago was now realized and communicated through men and women throughout the world.

Now we, Vintage Church, are a small part of this body carrying the same mission to see God’s purpose advance in New Orleans and around the world. So in response:

  • The desperation with which both Moses & Jesus interceded for people must be characteristic in our faith in God. [Exodus 32:7-14; 33:12-18, Numbers 14:11-20, Matthew 26:36-44, Luke 13:33-35]
  • The sacrifice with which both Moses & Jesus faithfully served God must be characteristic of our faith in God.
  • The priority for advancing God’s purpose above their individual lives within which both Moses & Jesus faithfully lived out, encourages us that with God’s Spirit guiding us, we too can be a faithful servant of God.

Moses prayed: Psalm 90:16-17

16 “Let your work be shown to your servants,
and your glorious power to their children.

17 Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,
and establish the work of our hands upon us;
yes, establish the work of our hands!”

Conclusion: Faithfulness is a life I live as a result of what God has done for me which furthers His purpose and rightly trains someone else to continue God’s work.

I appreciate the opportunity to serve Christ alongside my staff and church family in our city. And after talking with Pastor Rob Sunday night and Monday, I'm stinkin' stoked for the next couple months. One area of prayer is our Easter Weekend - "EGG the Homeless"

Planning to blog and update everyone a little more over the coming weeks, until then I'm reading and writing.......53 days until May 14th aka Graduation from Graduate School.