Loving one another is not just another good idea; it is one of Christ’s great blessings. Fellowship is the garden in which the fruit of the Spirit multiply, the place in which eternal life is lived out here on earth. John Wimber
Our Theme: ON COMMUNITY.
John Wimber was a lot of things to a lot of people: He was a godly man, a preacher, a teacher, a pastor, an evangelist, a worshipping musician, a reformer, a revivalist, and an agent of change. But deep down inside, as I see it, Wimber was primarily a churchman. He was a man who absolutely loved the church of Jesus Christ and wanted it to be all Jesus envisioned it to be.
For Wimber, the church was much more than a building or an incorporated entity. The church was a community of gathered saints. A vast garden made up of numerous individual plants: plants gathered together by the hands of the master gardener. I believe that in his mind, any group of gathered saints represented a planting of the Lord. And while he was best known for themes like Power Evangelism and Power Healing, when it was all said and done, I believe that John and Carol Wimber should be remembered for their deep, deep hunger to see the church, the community of gathered saints, be the rich, rich garden Jesus desires it to be.
Let’s be honest. Community – true Christian community – is not an easy thing to accomplish in any generation. Deep within the human spirit, you see, is a fleshly drive for independent thinking, self-sufficiency, and self-promotion. And while the freedom to be ourselves is a good, God-given right, there is a deeper truth about us human beings found within the heart of God, our Creator. That truth is spelled out very clearly at the beginning of the Scriptures. In Genesis 2: 18 we find God speaking these important words: “It is not good for the man to be alone.”
Now, while many take this verse and apply it only to marriage, I believe the deeper truth here is that God knows that a man (or a woman), when left alone for long periods, will eventually become dangerously self-centered, focused exclusively on his or her self ’s own wants and needs. Thus, in God’s great wisdom, our Creator put within all human DNA an unction in our soul to live together in community. And while our drive for independence, so many times, wins out, history proves that the very best of humankind shines when we choose to live together with others, sharing our individual lives with our fellow human beings.
The best gardens, you see, are made up of a wide variety of plants. Oh sure, 1,000 acres of potatoes, corn, or soybeans produces food for the masses, but in God’s economy, a real garden is one that offers not only a rich variety of fruits and vegetables, but also flowering plants that produce pleasing offerings to the eyes and the nose as well! In God’s economy, a rich garden is not only a place to feed your stomach, but a quiet place to feed your spirit as well.
So, it is with the community of saints. When you and I can lay down our self-centeredness and our self-consumption long enough to let true community happen, the overall effect in our lives is absolutely amazing. Gosh, to be honest, you might even be tempted to call it Power Community! And this is why John and Carol Wimber spent so much time as churchmen, encouraging the beautiful expression of Christian community in a generation where self-centered “all-about-me” thinking so often prevails.
Over the next few sessions let’s take a stroll and explore the beauty of Christian community. Take your time, now, there’s so much to experience in the garden of the Lord!
I must admit, Father, that my self-consumption often drives me away from experiencing the beauty found in the community garden of the Lord, where loving and appreciating others actually gives life to me. May I learn better not only to appreciate your garden, but may I be an active contributor of love to your garden as well. For your name’s sake. Amen!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO PONDER
- So have I allowed myself to prefer “aloneness” over and above the God-breathed life available to me in and through community with others?
- Am I willing to lay down some of my personal drive to prefer and defer to the type of community Jesus desires for his church?
So, what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Wisdom of Wimber?
Between Easter 2016 and the end of August, we are sharing with you a blog series we call The Wisdom of Wimber: As I See It. In order to keep all 64 blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Wisdom of Wimber page for ease of use. Might we also suggest that you order a copy or two of our book by the same title! It’s available in both paperback and e-book formats…and will soon be available in Spanish! Click here for more info. ENJOY!
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