beginner’s course

JOHNWILLOUGHBY (2)

Rev. John Willoughby.

No 2. GOD.

God is far too great for us to fully understand – He has no beginning and no end and there is no place His presence is not felt. Job said, “Can you solve the mysteries of God? Can you discover everything there is to know about the Almighty?” (11:7). He lives in heaven and He rules over all the earth, working everything together for His purpose.

1/. WHAT IS GOD LIKE?

a) He is the Creator of everything. Neh 9:6. There is nothing in the vastness of the whole universe that was not created by Him. The Psalmist wrote, “You made aH the delicate inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank-you for making me so wonderfully complex” (139:13).

b) He is All Powerful. I Chron 29:11. There is absolutely nothing that He cannot do. Paul wrote, “Now glory be to God. By His mighty power at work within us, He is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope” (Eph 3:20).

c) He is All Knowing. Prov 15:3. There is nothing that He does not know from the eternal past to the eternal future. The Bible says, “Nothing in all creation can hide from Him. Everything is naked and exposed before His eyes. This is the God to whom we must explain all that we have done* (Heb 4:13).

d) He is Holy. I Sam 2:2. He is perfectly holy in all He thinks, says and does. He says of Himself, “I live in that high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I refresh the humble and give new courage to those with repentant hearts’ (Is 57:15).

e) He is a Spirit. I Tim 1:17. Although He is a spiritual Person, He has our attributes of intelligence, will and feeling. Jesus said, “God is Spirit, so those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and in truth” (Jn 4:24).

J) He is a Person we can know. Ps 145:18. He longs for a deep relationship with us. James, the brother of Jesus wrote, “Draw close to God and God will draw dose to you” (Jms 4:8).

g) He is a loving Father. I Jn3:l. He loves us so much that He was willing to give His Son as a sacrifice to die in our place for our sins, so that we may be part of His family. Jesus said, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who befieves in Him wil not perish but have eternal We” (Jn 3:16).

2/. HOW DOES GOD EFFECT US?

a) He created us. Ps 139:14-15. He created you as a very special and wonderful person, in order to fulfil your full potential as a member of His family.

b) He owns us. I Cor 6:19-20. He wants you to live a holy and separate life, using all you have for His glory.

c) He calls us to love Him. Mt 22:37. He longs for a deep relationship with you. This can only happen as you put Him first in all things. Joshua said these words before he led the children of Israel into the Promised Land, “As for me and my family, we will serve the Lord” (Josh 24:15). Will you make mat commitment today?

MY COMMITMENT.

This day i dedicate all I am and have to you, the only true god of heaven and earth.

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womens’ page

WENDYCRAIG

Wendy Craig

I’M FLUSHED WITH SUCCESS SINCE I STARTED PRAYING

WENDY Craig has a favourite place to pray -in the loo.

The legendary British actress found she could not go on stage unless she recited The Lord’s Prayer to calm her first night nerves.

Even though she was no longer a practising Christian, Wendy still called on God whenever she felt stressed.

“Funnily enough, those gabbled prayers did give me comfort and confidence, even if that was the extent of my faith at the time,” she recalled.

Millions of viewers have grown up watching Wendy in hit shows such as The Royal and the multi-award-winning Butterflies, where she played the scatter-brained Ria.

An acclaimed Shakespearian actress, it was Wendy’s pursuit of fame that quietly tore her away from the faith passed on to her as a child, growing up in her native CountyDurham.

“I am convinced 1 would have had a better life’s journey if I had maintained some form of prayer life. Never stop praying, even when you don’t feel like it fl»4eei^idbess’t do any good. Keep praying.” What sparked her return to faith in God was the death of her beloved dog, Talk’s. “I used to walk him through the fields for hours at a tune,” the 78-year-old said.

“I wasn’t going to church or praying, but on those walks God had been reminding me of a peace 1 could not find elsewhere, the same peace I knew as a child. God used the death of my dog to draw me back to himself.

“When Tallis died, I grieved terribly. I lost him and the con­nection with God’s creation.

“Nothing else in my life could fill that hole. One day I just stood up and cried out, ‘I’ve got to get back.’

“I went down to our village church, sat at the back then wondered what to do next. I knelt down, saying, ‘Father” ‘m really sorry I left you.'”

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sermons to note

ernes1

Rev. E. Anderson

MAKING A DIFFERENCE

Reading 2 Corinthians 5

Text        2 Corinthians 5: 17

Introduction

A CHOICE FACTOR – LIFE: Many things of a goodly nature and order have been given to one and all, and possibly highest on the list is that of life. How essential it is to have a true and good appreciation of it and, above all, to really make the most of and cause it to count. Let this point register deep within your being, you have only one shot and go at it, so make the most of it and make certain that it really serves your interest both now and at the end.

OPPORTUNITY TO DO WELL: Presented to all, in one way or another, is the tremendous possibility of really achieving something significance and of worth. Everyone should be encouraging one another to succeed at doing something of note and value. Whilst being encouraged by others to invest your life in some career, project and cause, be amongst those who likewise inspire others to make a real go of what is being presented. The thing may only be small in its beginnings but the ultimate can be astronomical. It is possible to seek someone else’s good and advantage – e.g. Jonathan – David.

PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY: For this to happen, each must accept the full responsibility of their lives and not shelve anything. No one must act irresponsibly but accept the fact of their being and existence and that they have duties to fulfil that if accepted and applied will make a tremendous difference to them and everyone else. No one most abdicate their position and treat life as of no consequence. It is a precious gift that must be exploited to the full so that all may be benefited and blessed by its success. No excuse should be sought or accepted that seeks to release from the onus placed on us. Nobody else must be blamed for our lack of quality, use and success.

A GLORIOUS PARTNERSHIP:  For life to be different and for a life to make a difference then God must come into the equation. This was certainly so as exhibited in the life of David who discovered so early God putting the added extra into his life and living. It has to be said that this cannot be improved upon. The knowledge and recognition must be sensed that God desires to input us with the best so that we might enjoy the best and accomplish the best – word bandied around excellence, and God is in the business of excellence, inspiring those who are associated and allied with Him to a life that is excellent and produces excellence.

For things to things to take off and be really launched, it has to be sensed and known that you are and can be different and that as a consequence you can and will make a difference. There is a tremendous need to sow this revelation and fact especially in relation to God.

1/. YOU ARE AND CAN BE DIFFERENT

The estimation you have of yourself may not be too high, in fact you may demean yourself and think that you will never be anything or be able to achieve anything. You write yourself off right at the start and do not see any future hope in any direction. Somehow you feel you are a waste and that life is a waste. An inferiority complex is a destructive evil. This must be dramatically altered and answered. And it can.  When God really comes into the equation He introduces dramatic change for the better. When God enters a person they cannot remain the same or the destiny.

  • He first of all comes to clear and clean out the rubbish inside a person. The difference commences when we permit Him to come inside and get rid of all the stuff that stops us from being a real and dynamic person. A major problem at the outset is, it is easy to become a rubbish dump or a great piece of wasteland where nothing of worth is constructed on it. The main purpose of Christ coming into the heart and life is to clean it up and get rid of what has been collected that spoils the life and any future prospects. All the negative and destructive habits that have run riot and made for degeneration are dealt with and sorted out – 2 Corinthians 5: 17.

 “Becoming a Christian is not making a new start in life; it is receiving a new life to start with.”                                                                                     

  • He then comes to create a new nature within and gives a better personal image – in fact He actually gives a new status – John 1: 11, 12.  Having got rid of that which hinders and spoils He implants His life and enabling within and causes an individual to see and note that they have a new standing and station in life. Instead of being a mere nobody, they have become a sure somebody with new powers and great potential within so creating a sense of good values and virtues.

Illustration: It is like a person being taken out of a nondescript family that seems to be nothing and has nothing into a family of note, wealth  etc. Oh the difference that can be immediately sensed!   

“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.”
– Henry Ford

  • He then indwells life with His presence in the person of Christ and further adds the blessing of the residence of the Holy Spirit. It is God’s design to act as the greatest ally and associate so that He can render the biggest backing to life. He is always present quietly in the background ready to be called upon to perform in a gracious manner as He is trusted and obeyed. Through Christ, who was always a winner and the working of the Holy Spirit, with all of His capabilities, a person is set up to go down the best track and succeed. When obstacles and difficulties arise, they are there to lend an immediate hand.

An operative statement and operation in and from Christ to those who form a bond with Him: ‘I will make you to become.’

  • He communicates His Word with tremendous guarantees and unfolds what He purposes to bring to pass. He would fill the life with His assurances and hopes that make a person full of optimism with regard to the progress and success of life in terms of character production. He has the ability to make huge successes of downright failures, transforming people into believers, believing who they are and accepting the fact that they can be quality people. There is preparedness on His part to highlight weakness but then to impart the power and sufficiency to become and be different.
  • He gives enormous encouragements by working things out in life – starts with the little and then with the big and makes you feel big in Himself. What one commences with within one’s being may seem apparently small, meaningless and insignificant. It isn’t much to look at or consider. The danger is of despising or neglecting that little factor or feature. As it is properly attended to, nurtured and divine nourished the possibilities are quite staggering. It is absolutely certain ‘you can make it as a person’ with the help of God.

2/. YOU CAN AND WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Because you are different that difference begins to be sensed and felt on a much wider front. You are able to make a much wider contribution and serve to be an inspiration to others. It is not only who and what you are that is unique and quite something, you are able to be released to perform in a manner that God has appointed and is able to anoint you for some incredible missions and ministry.

  • You will not be afraid of the immense challenge that is presented to you.  You will be so girded with divine strength, confidence and courage that no matter what is presented to you will be accepted and entered into and succeeded in. You will be like a David prepared to face an outstanding ordeal knowing the outcome. Fear will be overcome and any intimation will be effectively dealt with. One will become like a David ready to cope with fear and Goliath and his own inadequacies.

‘When fear knocks at the door, one sends faith to open it and it is gone’ – J. Shelbourne

  • You will possess that spirit and attitude of the apostle Paul. The deep inner conviction will be implanted, possessed and developed with you by Christ that you were born to achieve the impossible and do the extraordinary – Philippians 4: 13. You will know and enjoy the right spiritual and mental outlook and look at the opportunities of proving that with Christ all is attainable and that you can be invincible. The idea of defeat and failure does not come into your thinking, vocabulary or your way of life. In your approach to each day and every fresh challenge there is the presence of a positive mind and heart set that makes you sure that you were made for this immense task.
  • You will be like those in the infant church who turned the world upside down – Acts 17: 6.  The EarlyInfantChurch set the tone and standard for the rest of Christendom by blazing a trail of triumph and success at all costs. Everyone and everything could be present seeking to beset and hinder, but they were not in any way frustrated. They present the golden opportunity of reducing them to impotence in revealing the sovereign might of their God and their own accord with Him. The phrase indicates that they were ‘world-beaters’. The situations as they presented themselves were just the thing to give them the right to show their spiritual and moral worth. The odds against are always the opportunity for the seeming under-dog to become top-dog.
  • You will be salt and light in your community and make impact wherever you are and go – Matthew 5: 18. The Lord desires that such will be the difference that whole communities will be invaded and affected greatly by His people. Society can really be taken over by people who live according as God as designed. When Christians truly live according to the principles and power of heaven, of the above world, they make a startling and staggering difference. The reason why the world isn’t being changed is due to the fact that too many professing Christians are conformists to this present world system and order. When a person has been lit up Christ and salted by Him then there will be a dramatic, divine input that will infect for good the world. Even though things at present may be bad and outrageous, a person and people can somehow radically alter the status quo. The victory of David over Goliath made a difference and was the commencement of the defeat of the Philistines. The Israelites came out of the caves and holes to move in on conquest.

CONCLUSION

The time has come when we need to apprehend and assess our personal situation as to the real contribution I am making for Christ and Christendom. The issue has to be settled as to whether there is going to be any real commitment to the body of Christ and to the world at large. You need to be inspired and encouraged in the sure knowledge:

You can and will be different – Christ wants to truly encounter you so that He might join an effective partnership with you, change and divinely transform and be the Sovereign Lord of your life and affairs. He wants to place you in the driving seat so that you will go places with and achieve great things. His purpose is to enhance and advance you at every level so you can live beyond par.

You can and will make a difference – He wants you to be a major influence in the Church and make a tremendous impact upon the people in the outside world. Instead of being squeezed into the mould and ways of the world, the opposite takes, the kingdom life of God begins to assert its power and authority. Your life story with all of its achievements will grace the Church of Christ and bring glory to God.

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wisdom’s ways

img0441

Rev. Aaron Linford

THREE MEN NOT NICE TO KNOW

“But wise men turn away wrath”Proverbs 29:8-10

Folly has its degrees, from naive simplicity to incorrigible obduracy. The milder forms may yield to reforming pressure, like clay, but the worst forms are set like concrete in immovable and intractable ways. Such people are not nice to know.

THE BLASPHEMOUS (VS 8). The scorner is one to whom nothing is holy, and who despises all authority. So opined that scholarly Hebraist Delitzch. Their whole response to life and people is blasphemous, a disregarding of God. There is a blasphemy of thought, wherein a God-defying attitude is built-up; there is a blasphemy of words, where defiling ideas are expressed in blatant and boastful expressions, there is a blasphemy of actions, whereby the differences of people are accentuated, their disorders played upon and their grievances magnified. Such blasphemy fans the flames of discontent and sets a city ablaze with riot. It takes a wise man to calm such unrest.

 

THE BAD-TEMPERED (VS 9). Arguing with a fool is futile. If you oppose him he loses his temper. To cover his irrationality he will bluster and ridicule his way out of any debate. Even his laughter, as he scores a point, is empty. Discussion with such a person is a waste of time; there is always more heat than light in such verbal encounters.

 

THE BLOODTHIRSTY (VS 10). This man is ever ready to resort to violence to gain his ends. In religious debate he tends “to prove his doctrine orthodox by apostolic blows and knocks”, as Dr Adam Clarke puts it. They care not for others, pronouncing vicious anathemas on those who hold opposing views. This kind of man “hates the upright”, that is, the person who sincerely upholds his well-thought-out opinions. But a just man will always respect sincerity, and if he thinks his fellow mistaken, he will “seek his soul”, that is, try to understand and appreciate the sentiments and emotions that underlie his opponents reasoning. The man behind the argument matters more than his words.

PRAYER:

May I never become argumentative, O Lord!

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sermon starters

ernes1

Rev. E. Anderson

AN INSPIRING REVELATION

This is a simple outline for you to think about and meditate on. The introduction, main thoughts and conclusion need further material to be added. It is an outline for you to expand, develop more fully and fill in to spiritual profit and inspiration.

Ezekiel 40-44  

It may have been a long time in coming, in the 25th year of the captivity, but the divine vision was given. -40:1. The Lord deliberately came and transported him to his homeland to give him some wonderful disclosures. He had previously experienced a like experience years before when the lord showed to him the utter corruption of the Temple worshippers and worship and the end result in the destruction of the Holy Sanctuary and other factors. But this was a sight to stir and animate as he is taken to behold wondrous revelation and insight from the Lord. He is given a first-class view from a high mountain and he beholds a HolyCity, a Holy Personality and a Holy Sanctuary.

There comes clear advice given to the prophet – v4. He is to be both a receiver and communicator of the revelation. It is not for his sake alone, heartening as it was, but for the captive slaves. They were to be really made aware of the fact that God had plans on His drawing board to be fulfilled that made it most plain that He had not finished with them and that there was a much more glorious future ahead. They must not look at the ruins but at the revelation that was to be.

1/. THE HOLY CITY-40: 2

Not a lot is said about the City but it is to be the residence of the Lord and one can rest assured it would be equal to His person and glory. Whatever it may have been historically, it is certainly to be altogether surpassed. From chapter 48:35 it is to receive a new name because of a special: Jehovah Shammah = the Lord is there. Whatever other previous monarchs had made it would be surpassed by what was to be!

2/. THE HOLY PERSONALITY – 40:3

The next sight for the prophet was that of a unique man – ‘His face shone like bronze’ – see Revelation 1. Was this a pre-incarnate disclosure of Jesus Christ? It would seem to be so. He is evidently there with a mission and purpose. He seems to be there as divine Architect and Builder as He unveils especially what is to be the residence of the Lord. There is the repeated mention ‘then the man . . .’ thus expressing He had a main role to fulfil in what was occurring.

3/. THE HOLY SANCTUARY – 40: 5 etc.

One may not understand all the information and details made known, but the emphasis was that a new sanctuary would be in evidence. The old may have gone but they need not mourn unduly because of what was to be built. Above all, it was going to be divinely owned and become the centre from which so much would occur to Israel’s good – 43:1-12. It will truly be a Holy Place!

CONCLUSION

This was but the beginning of something altogether delightful and to be greatly anticipated. There was every reason to hope, not despair.

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powerful quotes

leigh 10

Rev. L. Goodwin

POWERFUL QUOTES

“Follow your instincts. That’s where true wisdom manifests itself”Oprah Winfrey 

“It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed”Napoleon Hill 

“The real measure of your wealth is how much you’d be worth if you lost all your money” Unknown 

“The action required to sustain human life is primarily intellectual, everything man needs has to be discovered by his mind and produced by his effort” –
Ayn Rand

“No matter what you’ve done for yourself or for humanity, if you can’t look back on having given love and attention to your own family, what have you really accomplished?”Lee Lacocca

“Everyone who has achieved financial independence will tell you that at least in the early days you have to work smarter and harder. The price of success must be paid in full, and it must be paid in advance. There are no shortcuts” –
John Cummuta

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prayer dynamics

rev-ernest-anderson

Rev. E. Anderson

CORPORATE PRAYER – THE POSITIVES
Taken from All About Prayer

CORPORATE PRAYER IS THE TERM USED TO DESCRIBE PRAYING TOGETHER WITH OTHER PEOPLE—IN SMALL GROUPS OR IN LARGER BODIES OF PEOPLE

It is an important part of the church and in Acts 2:42, we learn that the early church prayed together: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”

CORPORATE PRAYER CAN BE A POSITIVE EXPERIENCE IN MANY WAYS

Encouragement – praying with others can bring encouragement to the members of the group. There may be those in the group who are struggling with trials and temptations. As they are upheld in prayer, the Holy Spirit brings them encouragement and reassurance of His promises.

Unity of purpose – Corporate prayer has the ability to knit a group together in a bond of fellowship and praise. People are edified and unified in common faith. As people pray together, they build love and concern for others and display their dependence on God.

WORSHIP – CORPORATE PRAYER BRINGS INTIMATE COMMUNION WITH THE SAVIOUR

Repentance – As people pray, the Holy Spirit brings conviction and draws His children to repentance.

Corporate Prayer – Is it more powerful?

Are corporate prayers somehow more powerful than prayers that are said in private? The Bible does not indicate that they are. Perhaps the misconception that some Christians have about the increased power corporate prayer is based on Matthew 18:19-20, “Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” It is important to read these verses in the context of the passage. The context addresses church discipline of a sinning member. When Christians think that these verses give them a “blank check” to be able to ask God for anything, it is a deep misinterpretation of the passage. Just because two or three people are gathered together in Jesus’ name, they don’t acquire some magical power that assures God will answer their prayer according to their wishes. Yes, Jesus is present when people pray together, but He is equally present when a believer prays individually.

CORPORATE PRAYER ISN’T ABOUT GETTING ENOUGH PEOPLE TOGETHER TO PRAY UNTIL GOD BENDS HIS WILL TO OUR WILL

Instead, prayer (corporate and private) is about cooperating with God and abandoning our desires and submitting to God’s will. In fact, Matthew 6:8 says, “…for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”

CORPORATE PRAYER – REMINDERS

Whether we are participating in corporate prayer or praying in private, the Bible gives us guidance on how to pray.

We are to pray in humility – “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up” (James 4:10).

We are to call on God in Truth – “The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth” (Psalm 145:18).

We are to be obedient – “Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him” (1 John 3:21-22).

We are to be thankful and not anxious – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6).

We are to pray in confidence – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

We are warned against praying prayers to be showy, long-winded, or hypocritical: “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”

It is important to remember that some people aren’t comfortable praying aloud in a group. Encourage everyone to pray silently while others pray aloud. To encourage participation, have each person write a single request or a simple prayer on a note card. Swap the requests and have the group read them aloud. This can also be done with simple prayers of thanksgiving. Or the group can read a psalm together with each person reading a verse or section. Be creative and think of simple ways to help those in your group gain confidence.

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points to ponder

ernest-024[1]

Rev. E. Anderson

ADVICE

“Advice is seldom welcome; and those who want it the most like it the least” – Lord Chesterfield

“Rule only when you have learnt to obey; for having learnt to obey you will know how to rule” – Solon

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pastor’s weekly thought

ianwilliams

Rev. Ian Williams

THE COMING OF AGE

Robin Hart

Riviera Life Church will be 18 years old this coming May. Planted from Living Waters Paignton in 1995, the church has grown to be what it is today. The age of 18 is commonly seen as the age a person ‘comes of age’. That is, they are recognised no longer as a child but as an adult.

The bible often speaks about this transition. The gospels and Paul’s writings commonly include references to changing from childhood to adulthood.

As a church it is time for us to put away childish behaviour and to become adult in how we behave.

This year we will leave behind throwing tantrums, telling tales, selfishness, attention-seeking, acting like a cry-baby and forming cliques.

Instead we will:

  • Bring life and productivity to ourselves and others through our words,
  • Renew our minds daily and in doing so be transformed by the revelation of who God is,
  • Focus on good and wholesome thoughts,
  • Put behind those things we have to leave in the past and press on towards God’s purpose for me,
  • Bear responsibility for our own actions and words,
  • Show a willingness to serve, carry and give,
  • Contribute to the House by looking after others.

Don’t just pretend that you love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Stand on the side of the good. Love each other with genuine affection and take delight in honouring each other. Never be lazy in your work but serve the Lord enthusiastically. Be glad for all God is planning for you. Be patient in trouble and always prayerful. When God’s children are in need, be the one to help them out. Romans 12:9-13.

Let’s look forward with anticipation to the coming year. Look for the opportunity. Shun convenience. Put away your childish things. The old has gone, the new has come. Happy New Year!

Bible references: 1 Corinthians 13:11, Luke 2:40, Luke 2:52, Philippians 3:12-14, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Romans 12:9-13.

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past illustrious men and ministries

John_Wimber

JOHN WIMBER

LIFE AND MINISTRY

John Richard Wimber was the son of Basil Wimber and Genevieve Estelynn (Martin) Wimber. Some say he was born in Kirksville, Missouri, while others say he was born in Peoria, Illinois. California death records say he was born in Missouri. 

He was raised in a non-religious family, but converted to evangelical Christianity in May 1963. He had previously been the keyboard player in the band The Paramours.

Some have attributed the formation of the band The Righteous Brothers to Wimber (then known as Johnny Wimber) since he was the one who brought Bobby Hatfield and Bill Medley together for the band The Paramours in 1962. In the following years he attended a Quaker church in Yorba Linda, California. During this time, he led hundreds of others to convert to Christianity. By 1970, he was leading 11 different Bible study groups that involved more than 500 people

VINEYARD MOVEMENT   

In 1974 he became the Founding Director of the Department of Church Growth at the Charles E. Fuller Institute of Evangelism and Church Growth, which was founded by the Fuller Theological Seminary and the Fuller Evangelistic Association. He directed the department until 1978. In this time a House Church began to form in his home. This group began to embrace some of the beliefs of the Charismatic movement. This resulted in a split with the Quaker church that this group belonged to.

Wimber pastored this new church, which would later become known as the Anaheim Vineyard Christian Fellowship, from 1977 to 1994. Eventually, it outgrew his home and began to meet elsewhere. After initially joining Calvary Chapel, the church had some differences with the Calvary Chapel leadership, relating mainly to the practice of spiritual gifts, his rejection of traditional Dispensationalism, and his embrace of Kingdom theology. As a result, they left Calvary Chapel to join a small group of churches started by Kenn Gulliksen, known as Vineyard Christian Fellowships, which became an international. 

The Vineyard Movement is rooted in both historic evangelicalism and the charismatic renewal. Due to this duality, the movement uses the term Empowered Evangelicals (a term coined by Rich Nathan and Ken Wilson in their book of the same name) to reflect their roots in traditional evangelicalism as opposed to classical Pentecostalism. Members also sometimes describe themselves as the “radical middle” between evangelicals and Pentecostals, which is a reference to the book The Quest for the Radical Middle, a historical survey of the Vineyard by Bill Jackson.

A particular emphasis of the Vineyard Movement was church planting. One of Wimber’s many catchphrases – intended to capture theological and practical ideas in easy to remember sound bites – was that “church planting is the best form of evangelism”. Both during his lifetime and since his death the Vineyard Movement has established thousands of churches across the USA and internationally. 

Wimber became a well-known speaker at international charismatic conferences with a focus on what he called “Power Evangelism” and healing through the power of the Holy Spirit. It is important to note that, while considered by many to be a charismatic teacher, Wimber himself (along with the leaders of the Vineyard Movement) repeatedly rejected the charismatic label as applying to their teachings.

Wimber strongly espoused Kingdom theology, and this approach to the charismatic differed from many of his peers and predecessors. Wimber’s embrace of this new approach led a friend, C. Peter Wagner, to coin the phrase, “The Third Wave of the Holy Spirit” to describe the concept he taught (and to avoid some current labels with their negative connotations). The Third Wave differed from classic Pentecostalism and the Charismatic movement, foremost, in their approach to speaking in tongues. Whereas the previous groups had emphasized the gift of tongues as the only evidence for the baptism of the Holy Spirit, Wimber and those he influenced emphasized that this was just one of the many spiritual gifts taught in the Bible. This teaching revolutionized what was a major theological stumbling block to some mainstream Evangelicals, the demonstration of “signs and wonders” expressed in the present-day world in a form alleged to be alike to those of the days of the First Century Apostles. Wimber held influence with a number of them, most famously Jack Deere, C. Peter Wagner, and Wayne Grudem. Gordon-Conwell missiologist J. Christy Wilson also mentions Wimber in his book More to be Desired than Gold. 

Wimber also differed from contemporaries in his rejection of the Word of Faith movement, and the associated doctrines and showiness. The pursuit of authenticity was core to Wimber’s idea of church, and this was reflected in the worship as well. He died of a brain haemorrhage on November 17, 1997, aged 63, following a fall and recent coronary by-pass surgery.

BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

Wimber tentatively held to a modified evangelical view on baptism of the Holy Spirit that says it happens at conversion but that there is an experiential aspect (e.g. speaking in tongues) that may not be manifested or released until a later date. Wimber says: ‘…I want you to keep in mind that I’m still in the process of changing, I’m going to share with you my viewpoint today, I may change it in 2 weeks or in 2 years, I don’t know… I’m just not sure I’ve yet fully worked out a scenario that I can live with long term. But here are my best thoughts on the subject… From time to time we will have a valid experience with an invalid label. At this time my perception is that that is what has occurred with the issue of the baptism of the Holy Spirit… At this point in time I have come full circle from an evangelical theology of filling of the Spirit, through an experience and a theology that embraced what we would call classic Pentecostal… now I’ve come back to a place where I think I started theologically, but I’ve added a dimension of experience. 

‘My perception is that every born-again Christian can manifest any gift that he wants to, because with the coming of the Holy Spirit you have the Source of all gifts.

Wimber’s teaching influenced many Christians, both inside and out of the Vineyard movement. One of the key foundations of his teaching was intimacy with God, rather than religious habit and discipline. Another characteristic is in the area of teaching, which emphasized preaching extensively from the gospels and using Jesus as the model for Christian believers. Wimber also had a deep desire to be active in helping the poor. 

He strongly emphasized signs and wonders (aka “Doin’ the Stuff”), the priesthood of every believer and that every Christian has the ability to prophesy and heal the sick. While this is not a new concept, Wimber was a key figure in the introduction of the concept that praying for the sick (or anything else) shouldn’t be saved for special healing services, but should take place at every Church service, and out on the streets (by every believer). As a result, many churches have prayer time after the sermon. The Vineyard worship style has also had a wide influence on the church.

Wimber’s teaching has had a significant influence on other Charismatic leaders, such as Mike Bickle, Terry Virgo, Randy Clark, John Arnott, Bill Johnson, John Paul Jackson and Sam Storms. In 2007 Sam Storms wrote an article commemorating Wimber 10 years after his death.

 PICT0025

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