Tag Archives: Steve Nicholson

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

[box]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.[/box]

“’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.

steve and cindy nicholsonThen 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 work the Father wants to do in us, and to be the fire that propels us out to do the work the Father wants to do through us. The words are not magic (oh, how many times have we found that out the hard way!); we have to actually expect the Spirit to accept our invitation! Otherwise it’s a bit like standing inside our home saying ‘Come on in!’ to someone standing outside, but never actually opening the door.

‘Come, Holy Spirit’ is a prayer best prayed with willingness to welcome surprise and unpredictability. When we pray this prayer, we never know what will happen next! Most of us love the image of Aslan, in the C.S. Lewis Narnia books, as ‘good but not tame.’ It’s another thing entirely to be met by this not-tame Holy Spirit in real life! But nothing beats the joy of seeing the Spirit come and do what we are powerless to do in our own strength. Go ahead – pray this prayer. Your life will never be dull again.”

Seven Principles to Staying “ALL IN” with Jesus

steve nicholsonLast Wednesday evening at the 2013 Vineyard National Conference Steve Nicholson outlined seven principles to staying “ALL IN” with Jesus. These principles hold some good truths within their words – truths that are worth looking at and pondering a while. It should also be noted that they come from the lips of someone who has been pastoring and living “ALL IN” the Kingdom for 37 years… so yeah, they are worth looking at.

Seven Principles to Staying “ALL IN” with Jesus

1.    Keep being filled in order to give

While this is true for anyone, it is especially true for those of us who serve the church on a weekly basics. Pastors, ministry leaders, and their spouses can easily get drained as “church” becomes a job to do rather than a time of refreshing. Yet if they – or should I say, “I” – want to continue to give out and love people day in and day out, year in and year out, we MUST find ways and time to receive Jesus’ refreshing spirit and peace. This could be daily mediation, hobbies, or time away at conferences…or something totally different. Whatever it is, we need to be filled up with the Spirit of God in order to give out to others.

2.    We need to keep telling the stories

Stories have a way of building faith and communicating truths that impact one’s daily lives. Accordingly, we need to continue to tell the stories about what God is doing in our lives and communities. Not just the stories of old – which are VERY important, just think for a moment how much of the Scriptures is stories – but current stories. Stories of praying for healings, stories of how Jesus changed lives, stories of stepping in faith, stories of success and failure. And the story tellers need to be folks from all generations as each generation need to be actively walking with Jesus and seeing Him work in their lives.

radicaly in3.    Complete integrity in life and in reporting

The truth will come out so don’t even try to lie or ‘beef up’ what God did. If you prayed for someone and their arm still hurts, say it – don’t try to cover it up by claiming a miracle when nothing changed. The same goes with the number of salvations or people attending an event. If you want a number, count folks – or, at the very least, under estimate the number of folks as it doesn’t help anyone to claim huge numbers. That is just pride.

4.    We need to have a theology of both success and failure

Successes are good. No doubt about that. Yet we also have to have a theology that allows for failure. What happens when you pray and nothing happens? What happens when you take a step of faith and fall on your face? We need to have a theology about how to deal with that – how to get back up and keep going.

5.    Stay in the field of harvest

It is easy to get into a “holy huddle” and stop going out into the streets and telling people about Jesus. We, and I am speaking to myself, need to keep going out and hanging with the non-believers. We need to make sure the organization of the church does not stop us from being the church!

6.    Endure through the desert times

Endurance is hard. It is very, very, very hard. Yet as Tri Robinson is fond of saying, “Keep showing up.” Showing up is more than half the battle – it is most, if not all, the battle. Steve in his talk also pointed out how it was the Holy Spirit that drove Jesus into the desert for 40-days after his baptism. The Holy Spirit. In other words, God may have a reason for taking you into the desert… keep on showing up and following God and He will lead you through the valley of the shadow of death.

7.    Train those who are younger

Don’t just do the stuff. Grab someone younger than yourself, either in age or in faith, and model it with them watching. Then let them do it while you watch – then let them go by their selves. Give away what Jesus gave you for it is His anyway.