Category Archives: Vineyard Movement

My Book Manuscript Was Accepted By VIP!!!

VIPGood news folks – my manuscript was accepted by Vineyard International Publishing (VIP)!!! 😀

And more importantly, they said that they loved my writing style: “It reads easily and communicates well.” Much happiness!

I still have a way to go before the book is officially published… right now I’m awaiting feedback from some reviewers. Once I’ve heard back from them, I will need to tweak the content before sending it off to VIP to be edited (say, in September-ish). This is a new chapter that I’m very much looking forward to, and it’s very exciting to think that my very own writing is actually going to turn into printing a hardcover book and having it published! Of course, I’m a little nervous at what should happen within the editing stage, but there’s not too much to worry about considering it’s been accepted. There is no exact time-scale on much of it yet, but it’s getting there!

I am also going to launch a Kickstarter campaign in a few weeks to raise the funds needed to cover the publication cost. Being a small publishing company, VIP works with new authors to help them publish books but they don’t provide them with any monetary advances like some of the big publishers. As such, I am going to need to raise around $1,500 to cover the editing, cover design and book layout costs.

So yeah… there’s still a lot of work left to do over the next several months. But, hey, the ball is moving and it looks like I just might have a book published in 2016. =D

Remembering Dr. Bill (Jax) Jackson

bill jacksonI went camping this past weekend, relaxing under a shade tree while my son dug holes in the ground (LOTS of holes and tunnels, mustn’t forget the tunnels…).

Keeping me company on this trip was Dr. Bill Jackson’s “A History of the Christian Church: Book 1: AD 70-1730.”  Ever since last fall when I heard that Bill (or Jax as those in the Vineyard called him) was publishing a book on church history, I have been wanting to read it. Some extra birthday cash gave me the excuse to download the book to my Kindle and, well, the rest is history. =)

In a kind of sadly odd way, this reading of Jax’s book turned out to be a tribute to him as Dr. Bill Jackson passed away while I was camping (June 7, 2015) after a long battle with his health.

questradicalmiddleA tribute… yeah, I think I can call reading Jax’s book on history a tribute as he spent his life telling the story of the scriptures through the lens of a pastor/historian. His first book was a history of the Vineyard movement called “The Quest for the Radical Middle.” This was one of the first books I read when I joined the Vineyard Movement twelve years ago. Published in 1999, this book told the story of the Vineyard, warts and all. Lite on fire by the Spirit during the Jesus Movement of South California, the founders of the Vineyard (Kenn Gulliksen, John Wimber, Bob Fulton, Lonnie Frisbee, and others) tried hard to walk the line between Pentecostalism and Evangelicals, having traits of both but belonging in neither group. In reading this book and experiencing the radical middle through the Vineyard Boise, I found that I had stumbled upon a tribe of people I could run after Jesus with. It was a good feeling.

Years later I read Jax’s second book, “Nothins Gonna Stop It.” For decades Jax went around the nation telling the Bible story from beginning to end as most Jesus followers don’t know or understand how all the smaller Bible stories fit together. This book was originally a study guide for his video class under the same name. Later on Jax would publish a shorter version of this book (“The Eden Project: A Short Story”) as well as a longer version (“The Biblical Metanarrative: One God – One Plan – One Story”). The latter book along with the original were both VERY influential on my understanding of Kingdom Theology.

In addition to reading the above books, I had the pleasure of reading several of his papers – both pastoral and scholarly. Most notable, his pastoral teaching guides “Learning to Ministry Like Jesus” and “Notes on the Holy Spirit and Spiritual Gifts” were EXTREMELY helpful on my journey towards the radical middle from a Pentecostal/Charismatic upbringing.

NGS003.176I also had the honor to meet and chat with Jax on a number of occasion. He was a regular at the Missional Leaders Meetings hosted by the Vineyard USA Missions Office for many years, allowing a young mission minded pastor the opportunity to bump into him. Rather than being standoffish, Jax was kind, caring, loving and more than willing to answer the questions of a rookie pastor trying to find his way in the world.

One of the things that stood out to me the most was an email exchange I had with him in the summer of 2011. I had just read his “Nothins Gonna Stop It” book and was thrilled to find that he had listed out some of the different gods the Creator King had conquered during the ten plagues. This was something I had been searching for and could not find… in an effort to find out where he had gotten the information from, I emailed him. Not only did he get back to me quickly, he also shared with me his “Nothins Gonna Stop It” notes with the full bibliography as well as his recent PhD dissertation on Luke-Acts!! It was like I had won the jackpot at Vegas!! Here I was, an unknown young man in the back hills of Idaho, receiving notes from THE Bill Jackson!!!!

Thank you Jax for sharing your love of the Kingdom with me. May you enjoy dancing before the King as we await the blessed hope of the resurrection.

ἐλθέτω ἡ βασιλεία σου γενηθήτω τὸ θέλημά σου, ὡς ἐν οὐρανῷ, καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς

Stick Close to Jesus

celtic cross vineyardAndy Croft, Senior Pastor at the Soul Survivor Church in Watford, UK, recently released a short two minute video about the key to longevity in ministry via Vineyard Churches UK & Ireland.

In listening to his talk, I couldn’t help but think about my own ministry journey… the last decade has been full of activity, pain, joy, happiness, and struggles. There have been times when I have felt close to Jesus and seasons where he has seemed very far away….

Sticking close to Jesus…it is a good policy. Perhaps the best one as Christianity is a journey rather than a doctrine or a destination. There was a reason why the first name for the church was the Followers of the Way. The Way…. a name that hints at a journey with Someone…

yeah… stick close to Jesus. That’s what we I need to do. One step, one moment at a time.

The First Draft is Done!!!

writeabookGood news everyone – I have finished the first draft of my book on Kingdom Theology! 😀

Ten years of research, hours of reading, tons of books, and years of applying Kingdom concept to real life all  boiled down into 81,244 words making up 13 chapters plus an epilogue. It has been quite the journey from the first glimmer of a thought of writing the book four years ago to finding the time to actually write it.  But it is done! Well, the hard part is done…I still have some tweaks and rewrites to do before it goes to print – but the first draft is complete!!

As far as the topic, the book seeks to answer two questions:

  • What is Kingdom Theology?
  • How does it affect my life?

All too often, we in the Vineyard will take about Kingdom Theology and how central it is to our theology and practice. Yet, very little has ever been written about Kingdom Theology and how it changes our worldview. It is true that there have been some books that mention Kingdom Theology or use it as a starting point; however those have typically been books about healing and/or signs and wonders and not about Kingdom Theology per say.

The only two books that I know that have been written about Kingdom Theology itself from a Vineyard viewpoint has been Derek Morphew’s book “Breakthrough: Discovering the Kingdom” and Robby McAlpine’s “The Genesis Cafe: Convesations on the Kingdom.” From outside the Vineyard, there have been a few other books – but even those are rare and sometimes carry with them viewpoints that I don’t think go with an Enacted Inaugurated Eschatology worldview.

It was this lack of resources that first led me to start thinking about writing a book about Kingdom Theology. Rather than focusing on a particular aspect of the theological viewpoint, I wanted to see if I could capture the full breath of the worldview and its practical application in one book. I also wanted to make sure that the material was presented in a manner that the average person sitting in a Vineyard church could understand (and yes, the Vineyard is my target audience). Time will tell whether or not I have accomplished this lofty goal or not…  😕

For those interested, below is an outline of the book as it stands today (who knows what will happen before it goes to print). If you are interested in helping with the review process, please let me know as I am sharing the content with a few select people. I figure the more feedback I receiving during the beginning stages, the better the final book will be. 😀

 Table of Contents: 

  • Introduction
  • Chapter One: Our Perspective
    • What’s your “theology”?
  • Section One: What is Kingdom Theology?
    • Chapter Two: Jesus of Nazareth
      • The Message of Jesus of Nazareth
      • Understanding the Kingdom of God
      • The Mystery of the Kingdom
    • Chapter Three: The Story
      • In The Beginning…
      • Knowing Good and Evil
      • “Being” King
      • The Calling Out Of A People
    • Chapter Four: The Story – Part Two
      • The Disgraced Shepard
      • The Results of The Plagues
      • Crossing the Red Sea
      • The Song of Moses
      • Called for a Purpose
      • Holy Nation
    • Chapter Five: The Day of the Lord
      • A Human King In Israel
      • The Exile Dilemma
      • A Few Odd Items
      • Wrapping Things Up
    • Chapter Six: The Time Between
      • The Maccabean Revolt
      • Wiping Out Judaism
      • The Rise of the Roman Empire
      • Under Rome’s Thumb
      • 1st Century Jewish Factions
    • Chapter Seven: Jesus and the Counterfeit Kingdoms
      • Caesar versus Jesus
      • Untwisting the Kingdom
        • Twist Number One: Defining Who Are The People of God
        • Twist Number Two: Ushering In the Kingdom
        • Twist Number Three: The Coming Of The Kingdom
      • Why Should We Trust Jesus?
    • Chapter Eight: A New Way of Living
      • The Kingdom Message of the Lord/Disciples’ Prayer
      • Eternal Life
      • St. Paul and the New Testament Writers
      • The Language of Paul
  • Section Two: Applying Kingdom Theology to Our Lives
    • Chapter Nine: Reducing the Kingdom of God
      • Reduction One: The Kingdom of God Becomes The Church
      • Reduction Two: Humans Can Create The Kingdom of God on Earth
      • Reduction Three: The Spiritualization of the Kingdom
      • Reduction Four: The Kingdom Is Already Here
    • Chapter Ten: Embracing the Tension
      • Embracing the Suffering
      • Embracing the Victory
      • Salvation
      • Normal Christian Living
    • Chapter Eleven: Symbol Metamorphosis
      • Circumcision
      • The Temple of God
      • Kosher Meals
      • The Promise Land
    • Chapter Twelve:  Experiencing the Kingdom
      • Experiencing the Kingdom Through Work
      • Experiencing the Kingdom Through Rest
      • Experiencing the Kingdom Through Environmental Stewardship
      • Experiencing the Kingdom Through Spiritual Rebirth
    • Chapter Thirteen:  Walking in the Kingdom
      • Tools of the Trade
      • Understanding the Different Types of Packages
      • How do we deliver the packages?
      • Go And Do It
    • Chapter Fourteen:  Missional Living
      • Being Missional
      • Realms of Influence
      • Local Gathering of Jesus Followers (i.e. the local church)
  • Epilogue
  • Appendics
    • Appendix A: Enacted Inaugurated Eschatology
    • Appendix B: Kingdom Theology Resources
    • Appendix C: Biblical Covenants

It requires a missionary mentality…

The following text was written by Cheryl and Lance Pittluck, pastors of the VCF of Anaheim, for the recently released “Remember the Poor” booklet published by the Vineyard USA.
Cheryl and Lance Pittluck
Cheryl and Lance Pittluck

“There can be little argument that the goal of the Christian life is to be more like Jesus… to act and think, to respond and speak like Jesus. And therefore, we must also aim for the priorities of Jesus.

‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed’ (Luke 4:18).

We preach, and we preach good news, and we preach good news to the poor, I hope. But reaching out to the poor doesn’t necessarily come naturally. Unless ‘the poor’ are your family, friends and immediate community, it’s easy to not give them much thought. They often go unheard, not having a voice in society. They may not shop where we shop, hang out in the places where we socialize, or even attend our churches. And yet, they are to be a primary concern to us, as they are to God.

‘For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help. He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death. He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight’ (Ps. 72:12-14).

The answer seems obvious that we are to make a concerted effort to carry out God’s commands to love, serve and minister to the poor. Taking our faith out into the streets may mean searching for the streets that are hidden from our daily lives. It requires a missionary mentality… the kind of thinking and planning that goes into ministry to another culture different from our own. Because that is what poverty is, a culture. They live by different rules, having learned to survive with less than they need – less money and material possessions, but also less education, tools, opportunities, and options. And before we can really serve them, we have to learn from them what it means to be poor, and who they are.

‘Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?’ (Is. 58:6).

How do I minister to you? I get to know you, spend time with you, listen, ask questions and even share from my own life. And I have to show you that I care and can be trusted. This takes time, persistence, consistency and commitment. How do we minister to the poor? We meet them, befriend them, listen to and learn from them, love and serve them, and invite them into our family to share what we have – the hope and promise and freedom that comes from living in the light and love of God.

‘For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom’ (2 Cor. 3:17).”

– Cheryl and Lance Pittluck

What Jesus Said About the Poor

The following text is an excerpt from the recently released “Remember the Poor” booklet published by the Vineyard USA.
the poorThe Poor In The Old Testament

In the Gospels, we see Jesus spending a considerable amount of time among the poor, serving them, encouraging them, and even standing up for them. He was carrying on the deep, rich Jewish biblical tradition of providing for those in need.

These words from the book of Deuteronomy reveal God’s tenderness toward the socially vulnerable:

“He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing (Deut. 10:18).

“If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs” (Deut. 15:7-8).

“There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land” (Deut. 15:11).

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter – when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?” (Is. 58:6-7).

The Poor In The Gospels

From these roots, Jesus calls the early Church to commit to seek out the poor and dignify them with their care:

“Looking at his disciples he said: ‘Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God’ (Luke 6:20).

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed” (Luke 4:18).

“…But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous’” (Luke 14:13-14).

The Poor In The New Testament

Following Jesus’ example, the apostles and the early Church embody Jesus’ love for the poor:

“All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I had been eager to do all along” (Gal. 2:10).

“Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality (Rom. 12:13).

“Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? (James 2:5).

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (James 1:27).

A Movement That Cares For The Poor

After Jesus’ resurrection, in the earliest years of the Church, the Roman government struggled to care for the masses of widows and orphans overrunning their society. Motivated by Jesus’ model, and realizing that the poor were to be welcomed as Jesus himself, the early Christians addressed the issues of social struggle surrounding orphans and widows. Some scholars suggest this may have been the primary reason the Church grew like wildfire in its first century of life.

Since those early days, the church of Jesus Christ has been marked by our care for the least, the last, and the lost. When the marginalized and forgotten of any society are brought into the center of a loving community that worships Christ, powerful things begin to happen.

Jesus has called us to care for the poor – both for their sake and our own.