Monday, February 11, 2008

energy, trust and einstein

There is so much energy in the room at VCC on the weekends. I feel buzzed most Saturdays & Sundays.

I know, I know. That sounds corny. But as a communicator, please believe me, you can tell the difference from year to year. And I’ve been at VCC for twenty-four years. That’s a long time and a lot of peaks and troughs. Longer than some of you are old.

Big group energy seems to primarily come from two sources: First, the critical mass of people coalescing around a common mission; there’s some mysterious tipping point that occurs. I’ll leave that to Gladwell and his higher thinking.

The second is obvious: God. And that’s even more mysterious. Maybe that’s e=mc2 at a spiritual level. Mass times the velocity of Light squared.

I would like to think that maybe God finds us trustworthy of His energy.

One day a friend of mine at the Vineyard who was deeply involved in the prophetic/intercessory prayer stream and somewhat suspicious of the “seeker sensitive” movement unloaded an honest confession on me.

Digression: although I would not label us a “seeker sensitive” church, I certainly see why others would. After all, we see the weekend celebrations as more than a gathering of believers to get inspired and/or challenged to do something for God; there’s an attraction/inviting element that is promoted and hopefully created that makes it ideal to bring not-yet-believers. The evangelism/grace-slant that we have is evident, both in the weekly challenge and the atmosphere itself. That’s intentional.

Anyway, my friend—who had been a part of an unsuccessful churchplant—confessed that they stood in the back of the auditorium one Sunday during a packed out celebration, felt troubled and cried out to God, “Why them, God? Why this place?” I can totally relate. There have been times that I’ve wondered why God would use a particular person when there seemed to be so many troubling aspects of their personality.

My friend’s frustration was all about not seeing more obvious charismatic signs manifested. I understand; that’s my background, my roots as well. My difficulties have been around the typical Pentecostal-church-subculture expressions; my theology and experience is filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. But I just haven’t been convinced that all the conventional corporate expressions are expedient, or to contextually stretch Paul a bit: “We are allowed to do all things,” but not all things help others grow stronger. (1 Cor. 10:23b).

Anyway, my friend said God suddenly broke through and answered sharply, “Because I can trust them.”

I was stunned. First that my friend told me, because we typically tell stories that make us look good or that support our ministry style.

Then I was honestly humbled that God would trust us at all. I’m not sure I trust me.

Which leads me to another thing that probably taps into the melancholic side of my personality: To whom much is given, much is required. Trust is nothing to squander. Especially when it comes to God.

These are good times. Certainly for me personally. More fun. More challenging in peculiar ways. But somehow more confidently dependent on God. Yeah, that feels weirdly risky…but way more fun than internal politics and five-year plans.

Maybe even oddly rebellious. And certainly ragtag.


  1. Just a clarity question:

    My friend’s frustration was all about not seeing more obvious charismatic signs manifested.

    Meaning they thought there should be more tongues and falling out going on during the message than there tends to be?

    If so, I have heard that criticism as well and I think I agree with the Paul quote.

    To everything turn, turn... :)

    As always, thanks for sharing!

  2. Good Stuff this weekend, Dave!

    Thanks for the comment about communion at the 8:30 service. It may have brought me some emotional healing.

    One of my worst beatings in Catholic elementary school came when I dared to call Sister Ann Paul "stupid" for saying we shouldn't take communion if we had sinned that week and hadn't gone to confession yet. It seemed to me you needed the blood and body of Jesus even more if you were having a bad week!

    That started a long tradition of my mouth getting me in trouble with ragtag rebellions. Of course, I could have been smarter about how and when I said things. It sort of goes with what you said about the whole "seeker" thing.

    If God decides to have a Lonnie Frisbee weekend, so be it, but there will be a reason for it. There should be some radical direction and equipping going on.

    The Holy spirit isn't into dog and pony shows just so we can walk away going, "Wow, what a powerful service that was!"

    Shaking a tree just to see how much fruit you can get to fall on the ground is pretty silly--it only gets you a bunch of rotten fruit.

    There's my two cents, but hey, copper is copper.

  3. I am often challenged by believers and non-believers about why we would tithe 10% of our income to a church. The comment usually is "They are just humans. How can you trust them with your money." My response is always "It is not them I trust. I trust God. He will show me if they are not worthy." I have not found that to be true in the four years that we have attended and tithed =)

    On another note ~
    Thank you for recognizing Black History Month. I really appreciate the effort. My prayer is that someday it will be included with American history and there will be no need for a separate month. After all we are all Americans and the history books should include the accomplishments of us all.

    Keep fighting the good fight!

  4. my biggest breakthru at vineyard is when I could trust God, took me a long time.

    Of course my unforgiveness was a big part of it too.

    I think vineyard is a safe place, I think everyone is looking for that.

  5. Dave, we are working on developing our website and I needed to check in on the VCC for conference info so I looked around.
    I am very impressed and love your blog (& what you said) and the ability you give for feedback.

  6. Some times during worship i feel a burning blue light that spirals to the top of the ceiling from areas on the chars. It funnels its way to God. Its a gathering of spirits in there.
    How can i better describe this. I pray that this light from each of ourhearts funnels together to the heavens and God opens his ears and his eyes are watching our worship.
    I cry many times during worship.
    I am a sensitive seeker. I want more of what your Church offers.

  7. What is your version of a sensitve seeking church, and why are you not labeled one? I wish we could sit and discuss each phrase, what is the deeper meaning in your shared story excerpt? . What is Prohetic/intercessory prayer stream? Who or what is Digression? Is it the abliliy to relate to all beings so to bring all to God's . Or is it something more miraclous than that. like a being able to see .. clearly, another demension, into hearts, see through people) what is it when you mention sensitive seeker Dave. please re phrase paragraphs 3 thru 7

  8. And why i logged on here in the first place was to see Dave. How his mind worked.. What i got the chance to do, was to share a feeling in service i have had for many services.
    Now i have questions, i searched for sensitive seeker in the Bible, not findind sensitive or seeker i find 'seek' in the back and flip to the first of five or so excerpts where seek is mentions; 2 Chronicles 7:14. It was an amazing feeling to feel that this church fits that description. Thank your for allowing my thoughts to go deeper and allowing me to have this thoughtful conversation on your blog.