Tag Archive: vineyard

be where you are

at this present point in time my wife valerie [aka the beautiful val] and i are living and working and interning and ministering with the simple way community in philadelphia…

before this i was a youth slash student pastor [disclaimer: no youth or students were slashed during my time there] at a vineyard church in stellenbosch, outside cape town in south africa for 6 years. i remember the one staff meeting we had in the first year or so of my being there and my boss chris-the-boss asked me if i could be doing anything in the world what would it be? without skipping a beat i responded ‘i would be doing this’ and i meant it…

my second last year there i had a sense it was my last year at the church and told chris so but then during that year i met tbV and we were going to get married and she still had a year of study to do and so i ended up doing another year at the church because it seemed to make sense. and it was a very tough year in many respects – SO MUCH GOOD stuff happened and great relationships with people and so i don’t think i’d change it, but i definitely think that i would not have been able to answer that same question with as much conviction and really meant it or believed it. and looking back, i don’t know how i could have played it differently, because i don’t know where else i was meant to be, but maybe i should have been more focused in making sure i was in the right place.

i say all this in introduction because if my friend chris-the-boss flew over to philadelphia and took me out for coffee and sat across the table from me and asked me if i could be doing anything in the world what would it be? then the answer would be – living and working and interning and ministering with the simple way community in philadelphia – with absolute truth and conviction.

is it easy here? no. is it always comfortable? not a chance. are there times of being frustrated and wondering what we’re doing and what impact we’re making and could we be doing this a lot better? absolutely. but there is a knowledge deep within me that this is where val and i are meant to be at the moment, and that feels amazing.

i know too many people who are simply in a rut of doing the thing they’ve always been doing. a bunch of my friends feel pulled to something else and yet they continue on day in and day out going through the motions of what they’re doing. some of them will get to that new thing place, i have no doubt of that. but i worry about the ones who ten years from now will be sitting in the same place doing the same thing [nothing wrong with that if it’s the thing you’re meant to be doing, not talking change for change sake] and talking about the thing they should be doing.

which is why i get super stoked by my friend chris lindemann. and my friend bruce collins. and my friends kleinfrans [he’s not] and michelle. and my friend megan giggles. and my sister dawn and her husband glen who just moved back to south africa when the easier option i imagine would have been to stay in the uk. and my folks who continue to live life and not simply exist or settle.

what about you? if you could be anywhere in the world doing anything in the world, would it be that?

i have been involved with the vineyard church for around ten years now and although i am never going to be a ‘lift high this denomination over another’ i have really enjoyed most of my time here – it is not the one true church for sure and we can definitely still learn and incorporate a lot of stuff from other denominations, but there are a couple of specifically vineyard things that i really do enjoy…

the one thing that concerned me from time to time as i hung out with bunches of grapes (okay, that’s probly not the collective noun for people in the vineyard) was hearing about this guy called john wimber who pretty much started the vineyard church movement and hearing about him a lot in the context of ‘what would john wimber do/say?’ – i’m not saying this was everyone, at all (in fact in my six years at stellenbosch i can’t remember hearing chris the boss say it) or that it was excessively rampant, but from time to time there was the nervous concern that this is a guy who some people are putting on a pedestal (as the mega-christian, the one to follow) and i always get nervous when anyone replaces Jesus as the person we are meant to be following [altho it is okay to have role models – Paul spoke of following him as he followed Christ – we just need to be careful]

then my good buddy rob showed me a dvd of john giving his testimony and doing a preach once and i resonated so completely well with him and so understood a little bit more why people have the tendency to spurt “john wimber said…” because he did say some pretty cool things – and then as a farewell gift, chris the boss gave me a copy of ‘Everyone gets to play – john wimber’s writings and teachings on life together in Christ’ which i’d been wanting for a while and i am busy reading that, and it is fast becoming my top three book number three (after ‘No Compromise’ and ‘The Irresistible Revolution’)

‘Everybody gets to play’ was the phrase john wimber used to use to describe the priesthood of all believers – that it is not just about the big guy in front – the “man of God” or “the man of power for the hour” – but that the Holy Spirit comes and lives in us when we follow Jesus and so all of us get to do the stuff – i really like that and it’s some of the wimberisms that really make understanding how to live this Jesus-following thing a lot easier

i will probably write out some excerpts of the book so you can get an idea of why you should get hold of a copy, but for now i want to really highly recommend it – john wimber looked like a local mall santa claus without the red clothes – fat, smiley, bearded man who was all about trying to love God and people better, and help the church do it along the way. Simple, straightforward, challenging writing – an easy read in terms of simple explanation of biblical concepts and some great chapters so far on love, commitment, growing as a Christ follower, money, prayer and spiritual gifts.

do yourself a favour and seek out a copy.

[Everyone Gets To Play – John Wimber ISBN 978-0-9817705-7-4]

here am i

so this last weekend the beautiful val (now tbsv but hoping and praying she gets over the sickly superquick) and i were uber privileged to be a part of the formerly claremont meths church, now combo churches, camp simply titled ‘Go’

we were meant to be part of a national vineyard youth camp (in bloem) which for various reasons didn’t work out and so we transferred all our guys to the mizpah campsite camp in grabouw and joined with cmc and pinelands meths and claremont congregational and camps bay united (life something something church as they are now called) and a huge amount of truly amazing leadery types including a bunch of people from my past who it was incredible to connect with again

it was a great camp with a lot of energy and fun games and challenges (the two-people-hold-both-hands-while-the-third-person-whips-the-extra-large-shirt-from-the-one-person-to-the-other relay a definite highlight) and personal injuries [took a quarter of my big toe nail off somehow friday nite during a high-paced ching chong cha (paper, rock, scissors) session and then headbutted the ground when diving for an ultimate frisbee long goal (didn’t make it, but did make two others and my team – the teal (it IS a colour) team won that one) and a few other minor scrapes and bruises]

three things stand out immediately:

[1] the one nite we watched a movie called ‘to save a life’ which i had to watch the nite before (all 2 plus hours of it) to assess the cheese factor (quite possibly the best christian movie i’ve watched) and so that i could lead the ministry session afterwards – had a sense God wanted leaders to step forward in front of the campers and identify issues from the movie (suicide, abortion, cutting, divorce, loneliness, rejection) that they had struggled with first or secondhand and was blown away by the openness and vulnerability shown by so many of them – really made a difference in terms of teens responding and i believe God started some huge recovery work that nite (which was early on in camp which was great)

[2] a session we had under the tree which the leaders added into the program cos relationship stuff had come up so much so quickly and so they asked tbv and i to lead a session on relationships so did a ten minute few points and then opened it to questions – and also went back in the afternoon for anyone still wanting to ask questions and took it a little further in the smaller group context – really covered a lot of ground and God was so in that too which was great

[3] the phrase ‘here am i, send me’ from eugene’s last talk just stood out and shouted at me – it should be ‘here i am’ englishly, but i rather like the dramatic effect the ‘here am i’ brings – i know the message, i preach it A LOT, but i’m still really not sure i fully get it… and i returned home with a far huge drive and hunger to really be getting it more.

cos i absolutely mean it, there is no doubt in my mind about that – God, i will go wherever You call me, i will do whatever You want me to do…

the question for me is whether i will hear His voice when He speaks on the matter if it doesn’t look like what i, or we, wanted to hear…

so for the last little while the question “so when are you and the beautiful val having kids?” [and the shock, gasp, horror when we say we’re not particularly planning to, ever, at the moment] has evolved into the question “so what are your plans for next year?”

i’ve contemplated getting the answers to these questions tattoo’d onto my face but i just don’t know if i can justify the expense [to anyone else]

so i thort i’d write it in a blog. this is that blog. the one that answers the question about next year and oh you got it. moving right along then.

i told someone on saturday that we didn’t have a plan for next year. we are just waiting on God for the next thing. and he responded by saying “that’s a plan” and i said “i know it is, but most people just don’t get it”

so, in the shell of a nut [and it is purely accidental that every second paragraph in this particular blog is starting with the word “so” – it’s not an intentionally grammatical teaserment by me at all] i have resigned my job at the stellenbosch vineyard church at the end of the year and we are waiting on God for the next thing.

and that’s our plan. and it is a concrete one. and it is both very exciting and a little bit may-need-a-fresh-pair-of-pants-anytime-soon’ing.

so [okay that one was on purpose, i actually needed to use the word “and”] i am not recommending this as a how-to -decide-what-to-do-next-in-life model at all – i think to stop doing what you’re doing and just hoping something will pitch up (all in the name of God) is a crazy thing to do… as is stepping on to water and hoping you won’t sink.

you see Jesus says to Peter that he can get out of the boat and walk on water. Peter does, and he does. Jesus never told me to walk on water and so every time i have tried, it has not worked.

in a similiar way, i believe about next year that it is a God-led thing (specifically for me and val) to wait on Him and trust for the next thing – i really believe He is going to pitch up (maybe not personally, but He will be involved) and show us what that thing is.

however (here comes the but) i could have gotten it wrong. and that’s okay. if you never step out the boat, you will never know whether or not you will walk on water or not.

this goes firmly against the traditional church ‘trust God….. but have a backup plan’ philosophy that so many people hold furiously to (without ever admitting it) – this is a situation, that if God doesn’t pitch up and present something, we are pretty much screwed (well egg on our faces and a bit of serious scrambling anyways)

when i finished school, i used to live like that, year at a time, trusting God and being led by Him and usually at the very last minute (which freaked out most people around me) but since being at this job for the last six years it has been comfortable in one sense as i’ve always known what the next year holds (or have had the comfort and security of knowing i have a job) and i really believe that God is wanting to take me (and we’re an ‘us’ now – val is completely in this with me, which is great, and so necessary) back to the place of faith and trusting Him

that, and it’s time for a change – new season, very possibly a new surrounding, and a new thing to do i would imagine…

what do i want you to do? offer me a job? give me money? hand out some ‘wise’ advice? nah, i don’t need any of that – i would like you to pray for us if you feel that way inclined – for patience and trust and the next thing God has got planned for us to do… ‘Trust in the Lord…’ [Proverbs 3.5-6]

it’s a vybe

so those of you who know me know that i use the word ‘vibe’ a lot

noun: look at that vibe

verb: let’s vibe tonite

adjective : the service was vibing last nite

adverb: we played hockey vibedly

pronoun: the sandwich is vibe the table… okay, well not yet, but any day now…

i dig the word – it’s a vibe

anyways it is also the name of our junior youth group (grade 4 to 7) at the vineyard church in stellenbosch – we started near the beginning of the year with about 6 kids and run it every two weeks from 5-6.30 and last nite we had 14 kids and did a mini olympics (toothpick javelin, paper plate discus, straw tossing the caber – i know i know not an olympic event….yet! and so on) and it was out best nite yet – complete vibe

Vybe obviously standing for Vineyard Youth and then BE as in ‘be there’

anyways vibe moment of the evening was a game of balance the polystyrene cup on the other polystyrene cup (imagine the steroid usage for that one if it ever takes off) where three reps from two teams had to one at a time spin round ten times with a broom on their chin facing upwards (to get dizzy) and then run to the back chair get a cup, run to the middle chair, get a cup and run to the close chair and balance the one upside down on the other one and then pass on to the next person

all went well until little rachel spun round her ten times and then ran and instantly ran a 45 degree left line right into emma coming back to place her cups on the chair and took her and the chair out in one seemingly-choreographed motion – it was incredible and just a pty that we don’t have that on film – priceless

and a complete vibous vibe of vibanity!

that i am grappling with lately:

one of them is taking the incredible life-transforming simple-gospel stuff we are reading about in books like Shane Claiborne’s ‘The Irresistible Revolution’ and Erwin McManus ‘an unSTOPPABLE force’ and Rich Stearns ‘The Hole in the Gospel’ and even going back to the legen….dary Keith Green’s ‘No Compromise’ story and not just being excited and ‘challenged’ and ‘changed’ by it, and not just talking about it and maybe looking down on others who ‘don’t get it’ and all that and when do we actually start doing it and being transformed and changed – do we actually ‘get it’ or are we just excited by the idea? that is a tough one and i know my biggest problem is knowing the ‘how’ cos i am excited and i do think it’s great and i do want to live the simple passionate compassionate miraculous life to the full Jesus calls us to, but practically what do i need to do? question one i am grappling with.

part of question one is how do i justify the fact that i just spent R600 on an Eddie Izzard dvd boxset but don’t feel i can justify spending R700 to R900 for me and tbV to go watch him live (i guess that could be a problem with justifying both as opposed to either one of them perhaps) but then also not being able to justify someone else wanting to spend R300 on make-up for a wedding? why is mine okay and theirs not okay?

linked to that question will be that my lavish will be simple and ridiculous to Bishop’s Court residents and Saudi Arabia moguls but my simple will be wasteful and lavish and dreamed of for a typical Kayamandi shack resident – wealth and poverty can be relative to an extent.

question 2 regards being pastory type guy at enGAGE, a congregation that is part of the Vineyard church in Stellenbosch – are we really effecting change in the community or am i realistically simply just maintaining a small community of like-minded people? as in really, like what is really really happening there? cos if this year is all about just looking after 30 to 50 Christians and trying to make sure they are all still Christian at the end of the year and maybe a bit more Christian, then what the flippy flipperson? there MUST be more than this.

not needing answers (well, not from you) – just needing to ask the questions…

what grew and what needs to

so this morning at church we had John Scott from Scotland (yes, i know) at Stellenbosch Vineyard morning service doing a good solid preach about dreams (having them while awake as opposed to analysing the ones that happen while you sleep) and then doing some ministry time (praying for sick etc) afterwards

now i arrived at church early and got chatting to him which was really cool and i shared some of my struggling-faith-with-healing-related-things thing and told how a week ago i basically watched as my wife, TBV, cried herself to sleep cos of extreme headaches that i had prayed a LOT of LOTS of times for with seemingly no positive results… and how i believe God can heal but not so sure i always believe He will, or maybe ‘ever’ as opposed to ‘always’

and the crazy thing is it’s not an outright lack of faith thing cos i have faith for money – i have seen on a bunch of occasions God’s provision in the area of money and finances and so i think i can trust God for a million bucks (saw Him provide more for uThando leNkosi safe house a few years back) but struggle in the area of healing – and i am super overly tired of hearing other peoples healing stories which are always a friend of a friend’s friend… their cousin… or something…

so he spoke to me a bit and it was very encouraging but as we ended he said cool you’re gonna come up today and pray for someone’s leg to grow… and i was like wo how about i start with a headache and we work towards leg-growing (Val has headaches way more often than she has uneven leg measurements to my knowledge) although that bit was only in my head and he wasn’t prophetic enuff in that moment to discern that (or was he?)

so he preached a good preach and called people up who have been struggling with back or neck pain for more than 10 years (apparently on this trip he has seen a LOT of healing happen in more than 15/20 years conditions so has been specifically asking for those) and a bunch of people (5 or 6) came to the front to be prayed for and he looked up and caught my eye and said ‘come here’ (but in Scottish so more like cam hieare) and i whispered ‘oh crap’ (it’s okay, Charis wasn’t there) as i made my way to the front.

He made the first dude sit down and took both his legs and showed me how the one was slightly longer than the other – was marginal let’s be honest, less than a cm – so he’s like ‘do you see?’ and i’m like ‘um not really, i mean yes yes cool’ and he started praying and speaking to it and suddenly there was a kind of shake in the leg and it did move down a little bit, and then it happened again and the two legs were equal and the dude was saying that healing had occurred.

So pretty cool, but also the kind of thing i know i’m going to be able to explain away cos he had his hand under the guys legs and i’m trying to watch if he is pulling or adjusting or anything (not that this guy is like that at all – totally trustworthy, totally non-manipulative but still i look) and then he makes hold the next one and pray and then i think he walked away – and i prayed, and there was nothing… and then there was something – a jolt and the leg moved and seemed to jump down – and i think it happened again and then they were straight (also not huge difference at the beginning but some) and the person claimed healing…

The next person i prayed for my friend K-A came and prayed/watched and we saw nothing in terms of leg movement but the person claimed some healing and we prayed again a few times and he said his neck was totally healed which he’d been struggling with for years and his hip stuff was a lot better – so some definite healing and we got him to do some stretch stuff he couldn’t do beforehand and so somewhat satisfying.

And then the next guy we prayed a long time for and nothing happened. And John came back and prayed with us for him and nothing. Well nothing observable and he said the same pain was there (although did move his arms higher than he had at the beginning but seemed to suggest nothing had happened) although the one word i got while we were praying was ‘stress’ and when i shared it with him he related to it so we prayed into that but didn’t really see anything.

And then the guy some other people were praying for with as huge gap in leg length nothing much happened for and so people healed with leg growth, people healed with no discernible change and people not healed at all.

One thing John said before he left was that we must focus on what happened and not what didn’t happen cos it’s easy to look at the stuff that didn’t happen and go ‘well what the heck?’ which is what i tend to do… but for some of the people there, there really does seem to be a change from how they arrived to how they left and if the pain they have carried for years and years has gone then maybe, just maybe, it’s worth dealing with the frustration of seeing a lot of people not healed for the ones that will be.

“I do believe Lord, help me overcome my unbelief.” Mark 9.24

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