“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...
Come, Holy Spirit: The Story Behind the Prayer

Come, Holy Spirit: The Story Behind the Prayer

The following text is an excerpt from the recently released “Come Holy Spirit” booklet published by the Vineyard USA. Sometimes, the simplest prayers are the best prayers. One prayer that has been prayed by the church in many forms over the past 2000 years has become very important to us in the Vineyard family of churches. It is the prayer “Come, Holy Spirit.” On Mother’s Day, 1980, John Wimber had a unique experience at the church he pastored in Yorba Linda, California. John was from a Quaker tradition, and was a respected voice teaching leaders about Church growth through evangelism. John had invited a guest speaker named Lonnie Frisbee to teach at their evening service. Lonnie was a hippie who was a part of what became known as the Jesus People Movement in the late 1960s in Southern California. John’s church was filled with young people, and they gathered to worship as usual that night. Lonnie got up to speak, and at the conclusion of his message he prayed a prayer that has been prayed by many throughout church history. It was a simple prayer, one that has become one of the most important prayers we pray across the Vineyard family of churches. The prayer was simply: “Come, Holy Spirit.” It is a prayer the church of Jesus Christ has been praying in many forms over many centuries. That night, when that three-word prayer was prayed, all heaven broke loose in John Wimber’s community. An entire movement of churches has, in many ways, grown around that prayer. After that gathering, deeply encountered by the Holy Spirit, young people poured...
Is It Possible For A Child To Be Used By God?

Is It Possible For A Child To Be Used By God?

The following text was written by Rick & Becky Olmstead, Pastors of the Vineyard Church of the Rockies, for the recently released “Everyone Gets To Play” booklet published by the Vineyard USA. “When we say ‘everyone gets to play’ we sometimes overlook youth, and we usually aren’t referring to the kids in our churches. At best, we let them be spectators as we participate in the ministry of Jesus. But, Jesus told us, ‘Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these”  (Mark 10:14b). “Is it possible for a child to be used by God to deliver a prophetic word? I heard of an instance just recently where a child told her mother, ‘One, two, three, four… that’s how many there are of us. But one is missing. He’ll be here soon.’ She was telling her mom that their family wasn’t complete. They would have one more brother. Within two years that brother was born. “Could a child speak a word of wisdom to an adult? A single mom who had angry blowouts with her children came to see me one day because her three-year-old daughter told her the night before, following an emotional outbreak, ‘Mommy, Jesus doesn’t like it when you treat us that way. Ask him and he will help you change.’ “Could a child’s prayer bring healing? A four-year-old child prayed ‘Jesus heal cancer’ for a woman diagnosed with breast cancer. After a trip back to the doctor she learned that she no longer had a cancerous mass in her breast. “What if a child started...
Jesus’ Way Of Leading

Jesus’ Way Of Leading

The following text is an excerpt from the recently released “Everyone Gets To Play” booklet published by the Vineyard USA. The life of Jesus of Nazareth is recorded in the four canonical books we call the Gospels. Each tells the story from a different angle, and the books fit together to paint a striking image of the man Christians believe was simultaneously human and divine. Thus there are aspects of his life that we can never emulate – his moral perfection, his perfectly clear wisdom, his redemptive death. And there are also aspects of his life that, through the empowerment of the Spirit, we can seek to emulate. So, focusing on those parts of his life we can pursue … what did Jesus do? First of all, Jesus welcomed. His welcome was as broad as the people he encountered. He was not a power broker; he was not strategically (or cynically) “networking” so as to maximize his potential influence. He did not see any one person as more righteous or valuable than another. Rather, Jesus’ welcome was total. He hung out with people, especially with the marginalized. He loved to be with the poor and the outsiders. He liked to be with prostitutes and drinkers, doubters and thieves. These people found in Jesus someone who saw past their flaws to their inner person — the core part that the God whom Jesus called Father had created in his own image. Second, Jesus healed. He healed the sick in every way imaginable. He brought sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, life to the dead. He made people to...