It requires a missionary mentality…

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. “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...
What Jesus Said About the Poor

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 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...
A Vineyard View of the Poor

A Vineyard View of the Poor

The following text is an excerpt from the recently released “Remember the Poor” booklet published by the Vineyard USA. Who are the poor? Today, we often see poverty through the lens of economics or personal financial weakness. In the New Testament, however, the poor are generally seen as those who are powerless in society, and who therefore lack the basic necessities they need to sustain their lives. Without resources, and without a voice, they lack not only power, but also social respect and material goods. Because of the daily stresses of survival, relationships often break down. Poverty is a disease of society, and the remedies for all our social ills are found in the life and teaching of Jesus. In the Scriptures, it seems that God has a special place in his heart for the poor. Poverty is mentioned, directly or indirectly, more than 2000 times in the Bible. Reminding us of the Church’s call to care for the marginalized and impoverished among us, Jesus said words that pierce us to this day: “…‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me’” (Matt. 25:40). The Vineyard family of churches leans toward the poor, the outcast, and the outsider with the compassion of Jesus. From the beginning of our movement, Vineyard churches have worked to actively serve the poor in the most practical ways possible – in our towns, cities, and spheres of influence. John Wimber, the founder of the Vineyard, was personally committed to calling us to a radically compassionate life in the way of...
“Go Ahead – Pray This Prayer. Your Life Will Never be Dull Again.”

“Go Ahead – Pray This Prayer. Your Life Will Never be Dull Again.”

The following text was written by Steve & Cindy Nicholson, Evanston Vineyard pastors, for the recently released Come Holy Spirit” booklet  published by the Vineyard USA. “’Come, Holy Spirit.’ We remember the first time those words were used by us as a conscious invitation to the Spirit to come, with an expectation that we might see evidences of the Spirit’s presence. It was at our young church’s annual dinner-come-slide-show-come worship celebration. Everyone was standing. There was a deep, unnerving, very long silence. Then in the cavernous acoustics of a church gym, the sound of a metal folding chair flipping over and the unmistakable wail of a man whose emotional pain had just gotten uncorked by God. More flipping chairs, more crying, laughing, shouting, people shaking, people ending up under folding chairs, and all through the room, such a sense of purposefulness to it all, of God doing things and saying things, as though we had finally opened the door and let Him in. Which we had! ‘Come, Holy Spirit’ did not originate with John Wimber. We are merely the latest generation to embrace it. It has its roots back in the earliest prayers of the first Church Fathers and Mothers, the first generation after the apostles to carry the flame of the gospel forward. This prayer is not just some oddity of 21st century Western Christianity. It is part and parcel of Trinitarian theology, a beloved prayer of every generation of believers before us. You are in very good company when you pray, ‘Come, Holy Spirit.’ ‘Come, Holy Spirit’ is a direct, bold request for the Spirit to do...
The Third Person of the Trinity

The Third Person of the Trinity

The following text is an excerpt from the recently released “Come Holy Spirit” booklet published by the Vineyard USA. Who Is The Holy Spirit? Who is the Holy Spirit? In many churches you will hear messages on God as Father, and God as the Son. But how often will you hear a message about God as the Holy Spirit? The truth is that the Holy Spirit may be the least understood Person of what church history calls the Trinity – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The Vineyard story is driven by the reality that God eagerly desires us to experience his presence. The presence of God is expressed by the Spirit of God, and it is the experience of the presence of God that empowers us to do the work Jesus has called us to do in the world. Recognizing The Person Of The Spirit We are committed to being “functionally Trinitarian” in all our church activities, recognizing that the presence of the Holy Spirit among us means everything to the church Jesus is building.  Recognizing the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives and communities, we are softened in our desire to become “change (coins) in God’s pocket” (John Wimber) – people ready to be spent by the Lord and led by the Spirit into any act of kingdom service he desires. According to church history, the Holy Spirit is God, and as such, shapes our lives as God indwells us, by his Spirit through the work of Christ (Col. 1:27). In the Bible, the Holy Spirit is called by many...