Christy Wimber – Unplugged

John Wimber had this great beatitude where he would say…. “Blessed are the flexible” We hardly ever hear or use the word, ‘flexible.’ In the Vineyard, we say it all the time, “We only do what we see the Father doing”. However, it’s not about just seeing what the Father is doing, it’s about doing what the Father is doing. If you want to see ‘God’ stuff happen, it’s not just recognizing what He’s doing, or moving on; but it’s also in the doing.

 Romans 12: 16 say’s this “be readily adjust yourself to people and things and give yourself to humble tasks. Never overestimate yourselves to be wise in your conceit.” The word translated there for adapt actually means to conform. So we are called to adapt, we’re called to conform to what God is showing us. We’re called to accommodate what he’s speaking to us. Conform. He doesn’t conform to “hey lord I have this really great idea, and I need you to get on board here.”  We are the ones that are called to adapt and to accommodate what the lord is speaking to us. And I know how it feels coming up with a really good idea or seeing something somewhere else that seems to be working. “Lord, see this? This worked for a lot of people, and we’re starting to see some fruit from it”. And perhaps the Lord is saying to otherwise, “you know that has worked before, but that’s not what I want you to do now!” 

It’s a trust issue isn’t it? The truth is if the Father shows us things and we don’t do it, our clarity of hearing and seeing Him clearly begins to fade. If you want to see, you have to be faithful with what he’s already shown you. Remember the kingdom principle? Be faithful with a little, and you get more? It’s difficult, in fact nearly impossible to move in Gods presence, if you’re not walking in obedience. Sin separates us, and we’re called to carry his glory- his presence. So, obedience becomes very important in order to be a carrier. 

Didn’t Jesus say, “Blessed is the one who has eyes to see, and ears to hear?  Didn’t he also say, that we should come to him like little children? Seems the older we get, it’s so easy to get caught up in how we know things work. We get comfortable, and taking risk is not something many feel a lot of ‘energy’ or ‘passion’ for. There’s something to say about stability in ministry.

God’s presence is something that comes the way he wants it too. We can either choose to be comfortable, or become a catalyst for how he chooses to move. The bottom line is the Kingdom is going to come, and we’re either going to recognize it, or not. The only way that we’re going to recognize when God moves is if we have eyes to see and ears to hear.  Blessed are the flexible. 

Is how it worked in the past going to be how God moves now? I believe its important that functioning out of his presence, rather than knowledge. Avoiding getting stuck in, ‘this is the way we’ve always done it” can be the road to our freedom in seeing. In the Vineyard we are called to be kingdom people—recognizing his Spirit and adapting to that.  That is the defining difference between what we call the Vineyard and so many other wonderful places of worship. Following his Spirit in doing Kingdom stuff. 

The minute we plug that part of us as a people, we have erased the very core of who were called too be. 

This was one of the greatest legacies John left to us! He wasn’t afraid of God moving, as long as he knew it was the Lord. Even when it was different. And often would take the ‘heat’ for it. Along the way, he also realized what the Vineyard was to be a part of; and what we weren’t. But the point was that he wasn’t afraid too go for it, or be wrong! 

And when he was wrong; he would say it. In fact in front of everyone! I loved that about him. It left out a lot of ‘guessing’ or ‘rumors to take over!

Every time God has moved on us, it’s been different. Just look at church history! It’s different every time and every time we try to put it in a formula. And then we try to sell it. That’s really what we try to do, get it, package it and sell it. And God is not to be conformed to a formula. 

The truth is when God moves in ways that we’re not used to, it does offend us. And it brings stuff up in us that’s ugly. If we’re going to be able to see what it is that he wants to do we’re going to have to be able to lay down how we think its supposed to look and adapt to Him. Most likely it won’t be easy, and it will challenge what we feel most comfortable in. But really only for us in the church; the world doesn’t have a hard time adjusting as we often do. 

Take the Best and Go!

  love it that John knew that we again would be in a place where we would need to know the importance of taking the best and going forward. I want to take the best that has been put in me; that’s been spoken into me and leave the rest. I don’t want to live in what was. I want to be right in the middle of what God’s going to do next. Don’t you?  Continue Reading

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Carol Wimber – “The Power of His Presence”

When looking back in what were the early distinctive that made the Vineyard what it was, was primarily our understanding of what the Christian life was. In the Quaker church in which John and I were saved, there was no higher call than to be a Christian. The man who led us to the Lord used to talk about the responsibility and the wonder that we walked around with the presence of God dwelling in us.

Also, in that Quaker church there was simplicity, and a lack of ambition. The man who led us to the Lord was a welder. The foundation of the church was everyday, simple people. They dressed down; they drove Chevy’s instead of Cadillac’s, even though some of them were quite wealthy. Anybody felt comfortable and welcome in that church. There was no great gap between the clergy and the laity. We didn’t even use those words in the Quaker church. The big thing was whether we would love people and how we led our lives before them, and whether our faith was real.

The truth is the Holy Spirit really began to visit us in the Quaker church. It sometimes sounds or comes across as if nothing was happening before this time, but that wasn’t the case. There had been an increased hunger in us for God and for his Word. But there was also a huge increase of hunger to worship. In the Quaker worship, they have what they call “communion”. It’s a time of silence, where they just wait and soak in God, unless someone felt like they had a song from the Lord, or a word, or even a teaching. If they felt like they had received something, they were supposed to speak it out. Every once in awhile someone would sing out some beautiful song or have a short teaching or some sort of revelation—though they wouldn’t have called it that.

So we were no strangers to the move of the Spirit—in fact the later outpouring was merely an increase of what had already been happening.

I believe our foundation, how the Vineyard was formed was by Quakerism. Most people don’t realize that; in fact they believe the Vineyard came from Calvary, when in fact, we’re Quakers.

When we look back and see Gods presence moving on us; forming us; worship had such an intricate part through all this. Over the years we’ve seen things change-shift, but from the very beginning we understood that worship wasn’t “for” anything, except for the Lord. Sometimes I get the feeling that we’ve shifted a bit too, “We worship in order for this to happen.” Whatever “this” is —a great move of the Spirit perhaps. But that truthfully is the opposite of what we’re doing in those early days. We were worshipping simply because God is worthy of worship. The wonderful things that happened were as a result of his presence. But we didn’t worship so that his presence would come; we just worshipped!

We didn’t even really know about trying to ‘make’ things happen, or “we’ll worship until the ‘big’ thing happens, or when the Spirit begins to move. That wasn’t why we were meeting together. We were meeting together out of love for God. It was odd to us that suddenly in the middle of John teaching a course at Fuller for seasoned missionaries [MC 510: Signs, Wonders & Church Growth] that the course would become world famous and we would become these great ‘healers’. That sure wasn’t what we were doing. That’s just something God did when he showed up.

But we somehow through God showing up; got this reputation, so many churches became or wanted to become Vineyards around that time, and that’s what their idea of the Vineyard was. But that was never what John and I set out to do. John used to say, “I do what I do. I preach the Gospel. I lay hands on the sick. Either God will heal them or He won’t. I just do what I do, and God does what He does. Shame on me if I don’t do what I do, but He’s responsible for what He does or doesn’t do. We’re just following directions.”

John had this ability to see what was coming in the days ahead. So he would often prepare or warn us what would be coming next. Concerning the Vineyard, John used to always say that an outpouring has about a twenty-year life span. Then hinges will get too much in cement and we’ll start building monuments to ourselves. He said, “I don’t expect us to be any different. But the Lord is faithful, and he’ll pour out his Spirit again and again. It may not be here, but let’s all be watching and listening, and as soon as that happens, let’s go where He is!”

John had a great respect and regard for the whole Church and believed that the Lord’s hands are on the whole thing. He knew it was possible for a movement to be sustained for hundreds of years. Look at the Moravians. John didn’t have any huge concern that we had to protect anything. He really didn’t think it was that important. He figured our grandchildren would find where the Lord was pouring himself out if the presence of Jesus wasn’t here anymore. And that’s what we would want.

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