Tag Archives: Vineyard Authors

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

Love the Way You Lie

No matter the genres or the artist, I always love songs from the heart. Songs about real life – the pain, the joy, the sorrow, the happiness and the struggle of living day to day in a twisted world. Perhaps this is why I have gravitated towards more singer/songwriter genres along with a bit of classic and alternative rock, alternative folk, classic bluegrass and traditional Celtic throw in for good measure.

A few years ago I stumbled upon the song “Love the Way You Lie” by Eminem and Rihanna and was stuck by the passion and emotion of the song. For those of you have not heard it, it is a song that explores the internal struggles and emotions of a couple caught in the cycle of domestic violence. Like real life, the song is raw and includes some hard theme and words (listener be warned) – yet it is honest…and for that reason it is a song I keep going back to over and over again.

One of the most powerful moments of the song is when Eminem raps the lines:

Now I know we said things, did things that we didn’t mean
And we fall back into the same patterns, same routine

This is an admission that the things that they wants to do they don’t do and the things they don’t want to do, they do. It is a re-stating of St. Paul’s words in Romans 7:15-20 – which, in turn, is a picture of the struggle between the coming Age To Come and the injustice, evil current age. Our spirits and souls know that we were made for peace and love, and yet we all seem to fall short of that goal…

Don Williams in his book “Twelve Steps with Jesus” states that everyone on the planet is an addict in the fullness of the word. Each of us have something in our lives that leaves us craving for more, which leads to that something controlling us and forces us to continue to use that it. This addiction may not be a chemical (i.e. alcohol, illegal or legal drugs), but could be an unhealthy dependence on people, something more like a masturbation addiction, a need to shop or to cover up pain with food – to name a few addictions.

So what is the solution?

Well there is no silver bullet or easy way out of this messed up world. Yet, there is a path that leads to wholeness and healing – a path that can only come into view once you acknowledge your addiction and give up control of your life to Jesus the King. He will take your broken life with all of its messed up pieces and not simply help you manage the sin – NO!! He will breathe new life into our body and lives – moving beyond repairing it beyond the point that it is better than when it began!

Continue reading Love the Way You Lie

Free eBook: “The Art of Neighboring” by Jay Pathak & Dave Runyon

I just found out that Amazon is giving away e-copies of Jay Pathak & Dave Runyon’s book “The Art of Neighboring” for a limited time. While I have not read this book, I have met Jay several times (he is the pastor of the Mile High Vineyard in Arvada, CO and a new Vineyard USA Board Member) had have found him to be a passionate Jesus follower. As such, I would recommend taking advantage of this limited time offer while you can!

Book Description (via Amazon)

“Once upon a time, people knew their neighbors. They talked to them, had cook-outs with them, and went to church with them. In our time of unprecedented mobility and increasing isolationism, it’s hard to make lasting connections with those who live right outside our front door. We have hundreds of “friends” through online social networking, but we often don’t even know the full name of the person who lives right next door.

“This unique and inspiring book asks the question: What is the most loving thing I can do for the people who live on my street or in my apartment building? Through compelling true stories of lives impacted, the authors show readers how to create genuine friendships with the people who live in closest proximity to them. Discussion questions at the end of each chapter make this book perfect for small groups or individual study.”

“South Africa and the Powers Behind” by Derek Morphew

Growing up in the Pentecostal/Charismatic world I heard a lot about the ‘powers’ and ‘principalities’ of evil that ruled this current age (Eph. 6:12). Most of the time it these terms would be used when engaging in prayer walks or prayer meetings… Or, as the case may be, when someone was commenting on the darkness or evil of a particularly city, country, or geographical location (Daniel 10:13 was usually quoted at that time).

Yet in spite all the talk about “them”, I never fully comprehended what in the world St. Paul was talking about…

Accordingly, it was bated breath that I started reading Derek Morphew’s ebook “South Africa and the Powers Behind.” Derek, as a lot of you know, is a Vineyard South African pastor, scholar, theologian and practitioner who, in my opinion, is one of the best voices on Kingdom Theology in the world (yeah, I’m a huge fan!).

The book itself arose from a sermon series delivered by Derek in the late 1980’s to a predominalty white congregation struggling with the growing violence and tension within Apartheid South African. The sermons sought to provide an answer for some of the questions facing the congregation and help open their eyes to what was really happening behind the scenes in the spiritual world. After the fall of the apartheid, this book helped bring Derek to the attention of the The Evangelial Alliance of South Africa (TEASA), a covering body for all evangelical denominations and structures in South Africa, where he then served on their national board. He also represented the TEASA to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) chaired by Desmond Tutu. Derek’s primary statement to the TRC is included in the appendix of this book.

This information is of crucial importance as it provides the backdrop for how Derek approaches the biblical concept of powers and principalities and how these forces of evil manifests themselves in visible social structures (political, economic, cultural, etc.). It probably goes without saying, but while the book is dealing with a particular ideological struggle in a particular country, the concepts and biblical analysis contained in the book is useful to Jesus followers the world over.

Continue reading “South Africa and the Powers Behind” by Derek Morphew

What Is Kingdom Theology?

On one level answer the title question is easy enough (i.e. it is a theology system based upon enacted, inaugurated eschatology). Yet on the other hand, it is a question that is hard to understand and live out (i.e. is King Jesus really king of everything in our lives?).

In my wilder moments, I dream of answering the question of “what is Kingdom Theology” via a book I’ve been writing…granted I have been working on it for many years now and will most likely will be continuing to work on it for many more years to come…

In the meantime, I recently discovered a relativity short definition of Kingdom Theology on Bill Jackson’s website taken from a lecture by Derek Morphew, the South African Vineyard theologian, practitioner and pastor who is the best (in my opinion that is) Kingdom Theologian out there.

After you finished reading that definition, make sure you check out the rest of  Bill Jackson’s resources as they are fairly cool. =D

Worship Research Resources

As part of my research for last month’s worship series I picked up two Vineyard related books on the subject. Originally I was going to review them separately, but the longer I thought about them the more I thought it would work better to lump them together in one post.

The Worship Journey: A Quest of Heart, Mind and Strength” by Andy Park

Andy Park is a legend in the worship arena of the Vineyard with songs like “In The Secret”,  “The River Is Here”, “One Thing I Ask”, “Revive Us Again” and “Have Your Way In Me”. He is also a pastor and church planter who has been with the Vineyard since the beginning.

Accordingly, I was excited to read his thoughts on worship and he didn’t disappoint. The book was a beautiful look how worship influences and involves all areas of our lives. It is not, as some folks like, simply about a half hour of musical instruments and corporate singing on Sunday morning.

One of the best parts of Andy’s book is the way in which he weaves together resources and quotes about worship from all over the place into his own story of following God. The end result is truly a worship journey from beginning to end.

Favorite quote:

“…in our culture of narcissism, we could be lead to believe that intimacy with God is all about feeling loved. It’s as if we believe that if we can get a warm, fuzzy experience in worship then we have been intimate with God. I really enjoy every feeling that comes from worshiping Jesus, but friendship with God is bigger than that.”

Continue reading Worship Research Resources

Impartations and Randy Clark

Over the years I have heard various comments about Randy Clark – most of which tended to focus on a small period in Randy’s life.

In 1994 Randy was an average Vineyard pastor in St. Louis when the Lord used him to spark a revival in Toronto that spread throughout the world. Yes, Randy was the guys who preached the first sermon on January 20, 1994 of what would later become known as the “Toronto Blessing.” (Note that both Randy and the folks in Toronto are no associated with the Vineyard movement having gone a different direction.)

Having mixed feelings about the revival and its effect within the Vineyard and throughout Pentecostal/Charismatic circles in general, I was cautiously excited when I saw one of his books inside a box of giveaway item destined for our church’s food pantry/clothing closet. My feelings were even more mixed when I noticed that the book was focused primarily on impartations – i.e. the laying on hands by one person with the purpose of transferring a spiritual anointing to another person.

It should be noted my mixed feeling with such a topic comes having grown up within Pentecostal/Charismatic circles and having heard many a sermon preached about impartations and “mantles” (a reference to Elijah and Elisha in 2 Kings 2). Accordingly, I know that there is a biblical and historical precedent for such an impartation, it is just that over the years I have seen people chase after such impartations – going from one revival to another, one pastor superstar to another, chasing a spiritual ‘superpower’ that would allow them to bypass the mundane life on this planet and become a spiritual ‘giant’…..

Yeah, you know the abuse…

So there I was – face to face with a book by a controversial pastor on a controversial topic. And being me, I choose it as a traveling companion on the long ocean flight to the Philippines this past November. 🙂

By now you are wondering what book I am talking about…well the book in question is “There Is More: Reclaiming The Power Of Impartation” published in 2006.

The book itself is split into three main sections looking first at the biblical and historical precedent for impartations before moving into an experiential look at the fruit or outcome of the “Toronto Blessing” and/or other revivals in which Randy prayed over someone to receive an anointing. The third part of the book is about the purpose or goal of such an impartation, which is to spread the word of God throughout the world for the glory of God.

Continue reading Impartations and Randy Clark

“Giving Church Another Chance” by Todd Hunter

“There is a counterintuitive aspect of engaging with the spiritual practices of church. Though spiritual formation is chiefly an inward reality, we often work on our heart, mind and soul through bodily or external practices. This is true of all the spiritual practices of church. But we need to keep in mind that it is the inward part of our life from which outward action flow.”

All too often followers of Jesus get caught up in what is new, different, and/or exciting. We want to be on the forefront of what God is doing so we forget the practices of the past.

Sadly enough this ‘new’ equal ‘better’ mentality has cast believers into the sea without an anchor or a compass.  In order to know where one is going, one has to understand and know where you have been. In his book “Giving Church Another Chance: Finding New Meaning in Spiritual Practices,” Todd Hunter seeks to bring back an understanding of nine practices of the church:

  1. Going to Church: Being Sent as Ambassadors of the Kingdom
  2. Quiet Prelude: A life of Centered Peace
  3. Singing the Doxology: Radiating the Glory of God
  4. Scripture Reading: Embodying the Story
  5. Hearing Sermons: An Easy-Yoke Life of Obedience
  6. Following Liturgy: A Lifestyle of the Work of the People
  7. Giving an Offering: Simplicity of Life
  8. Taking Communion: A Life of Thankfulness
  9. Receiving the Benediction: Blessing Others

The awesome thing about this book is that Todd walks the reader through each of these nine practices while using his own life as a backdrop. Starting with his choice to follow Jesus as a nineteen year old college student amidst the 1970’s Southern California Jesus Movement through his time in the Vineyard to his current adventure with the Anglican Church, Todd beautifully and masterfully brings a new passion to these ancient practices.

“This book is written for everyone who has tried church and found it wanting, but somewhere deep within they still desire a spiritual life in the way of Jesus. I understand; it happened to me.”

Signs, Wonders and the Kingdom of God by Don Williams

I was first introduced to Don Williams through a Vineyard Leadership Institute (VLI) course in 2005/2006. As I listened to him teach that day, I knew that he was one of those (unfortunately) rare individuals with a theologian scholar mind and a practitioner heart of compassion.

Since that day, I have had the pleasure to meet Don in person as well as to discover that he was the primary architect of the Vineyard Statement of Faith. I also fell in love with his book “Start Here” as it is one of the best (if not THE best) overview of this Christian walk that I have read.

Unfortunately throughout all this time there was one book of his that continued to evade me all the while tempting me through references and quotes. This long sought after book was one of Don’s first books published after he joined the Vineyard Movement in the mid-1980s.

Then one day this Summer the unthinkable happened…. Vineyard Resources decided to reprint the Moby Dick of Don Williams’ books – namely the classic book “Signs, Wonders and the Kingdom of God: A Biblical Guide for the Reluctant Skeptic.”

And, after reading said book (thanks by the way to CJ who blessed me with a copy!!), I have to say that I fully understand why this book is considered a classic in the Vineyard.

Using his life as a background, Don pulls the reader into the journey he took as God broken into his life and expanded his worldview. As such in some ways, this book is more of an autobiography then an ‘true’ theology book.

Granted, this is one of the true strengths of the book as theology should never be divorced from life. Instead we must walk out what we believe and allow the Lord to shape our lives through the Bible and theology (which, BTW, simply means the ‘study of God’). Don does this beautifully – interweaving his life story with the biblical concepts that helped shape his live and ministry.

“For the Bible, God is King and we are called into his kingdom where he wants to reign directly and dynamically in our lives and extend his reign through us to this hostile, fallen world. Only when we have been established in this biblical worldview both intellectually and experimentally, will be rid of our bias against miracles. In this way we will be prepared for God’s direct actions to break in upon us, even if, at times, we wish they wouldn’t.”

Revolutionary Leadership by Tri Robinson

When you grow up with something, it is easy to forget about it and for it to become ‘normal’….

The leadership model taught by Tri Robinson at the Vineyard Boise is one such item that became ‘normal’ in my life. I had stopped thinking about it and just did it as it was engrained into my life and became second nature.

Yet as I traveled around the country and talked to different pastors and leaders, I slowly begun to realize that the way I did things, nay, the leadership structure I caught from Tri was different… and, even more amazing, it was a structure that allowed for the shifts in church life promoted by folks in the emerging and missional church.

Having noticed this difference, and having fairly recently become a senior pastor, I decided to go back and re-read Tri’s book leadership book, “Revolutionary Leadership.” In doing so I realized the main differences in Tri’s leadership structure:

“I realized that the church is truly a living body that wants to mature, but in order to do so it must be in a constant state of change. I learned that healthy church growth requires a structure that will continually facilitate transition. It requires a senior pastor who is willing to continually facilitate transition. It requires a senior pastor who is willing to give up the controlling entrepreneurial spirit and give away authority and responsibility to competent, willing people.”

As you have probably realized, the above principle of creating a church structure to “continually facilitate transition” is a tough one. Yet it is one that I believe can be implanted into a church through an ongoing Synergy Cycle comprising of three main principles:

Continue reading Revolutionary Leadership by Tri Robinson