Monday, August 22, 2016

Love Me Some Vineyard

Matthew 6:9
....Our Father......

Our? If we pray this prayer, we are placing ourselves inside an incredible family.
A family united by the blood of Christ.
A family reconciled to God through the death and resurrection of Jesus.
A family that is not bound by color, economics, or location.

Within this world wide  family, we find that we tend to gravitate toward groups and communities of believers that we connect with. Like minded people that seem to share heart values.
In my case, the Vineyard is the flag I have chosen to move under.

This weekends "Living Sacrifices Worship Conference" only reinforced my love for this family.

The one thing the Vineyard has allowed me to see is the diversity of the different churches within the movement. That what binds us together is a set of values and priorities given to us years ago. Now these values and priorities give language to what we know and are drawn too instinctively. How these values and priorities are played out is left up to the personality of the community that is Vineyard. In other words, each Vineyard appears to be different from other Vineyards, but if you peel away the model, you'll find those values and priorities that I've written about. The best definition for being part of the Vineyard is found in the book "Quest For The Radical Middle". Bill Jackson, the author, stated...."You don't join a Vineyard just discover that is who you are."

I sat through sessions this weekend at the conference, and I would be less than honest if I didn't say that God was reading my mail and sending me answers to my hurts. It was a time of healing for me. A time to release some grudges and anger. It's hard to admit that you carry these things around. I mean for heaven's sake I'm suppose to be a pastor. But here I was, sitting and hearing a truth that undid me. Oh, I could push it away and act like it wasn't affecting me. I didn't. I knew all too well that God was at work. One more reason I love the Vineyard. I have found a place where anyone, including yours truly, can receive prayer and healing. I like being with a group of people where honesty and transparency are the key to healing and moving forward in this journey with Jesus.

Saturday night as the last chord, note and drum roll ended, and the room erupted with applause and shouts....there was such a sense of satisfaction in me. I looked around that room and I saw people who never have darkened a door of a church smiling and laughing.
Handshakes and hugs all around. I saw the Spirit of God at work as darkness and sin had been silenced by a worship team led by a tall lanky drink of water that goes by the moniker "Sleepy Ray". I saw the power of worship and the power of God come down and inhabit the praises of His people. I saw John Wimber's vision of what a Vineyard should be.

Are we perfect? Nope.
Are we better than say the church down the street? Nope.
Are we special and have more favor than other churches? Once again, nope.

We just love God, that's all.We want to set a table where anyone can come and dine.
My goal every time we meet, is that everyone who left that meeting last Saturday  night knew two things....
That God loves them....
And so do I.
Glad to be a "Vineyard-ite" this morning.

God on you...


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