Vineyard Formation cares about growing strong disciples of Jesus. We support and resource the Vineyard in Canada through continuing education, spiritual direction, children's and youth ministry, educational guidance & support, and more.
One of the more obscure parables which Jesus tells is found in Luke 13:6-9. "A man owned a fig tree planted in his vineyard. He came looking for fruit on it and found none. He said to his gardener, 'Look, I've come looking for fruit on this fig tree for the past three years, and I've never found any. Cut it down! Why should it continue depleting the soil's nutrients?' The gardener responded... more
As I write this, I am sitting in my office which is now also my bedroom, my closet, and a storage space for various musical instruments, all my throw rugs, and two extra mattresses. We are renovating our upstairs bathroom, so my household is in upheaval. Furniture is pushed into corners, huddled in tight clusters. The living room has sheets of drywall leaning against the wall. The floors are... more
Prepare the way of the Lord.
These are rather familiar words in the Christian tradition. In the gospels, they refer to the ministry of John the Baptist, a prophet proclaiming the coming Messiah, but the original context is a promise of deliverance found in Isaiah 40.
"A voice is wailing, 'In the wilderness, get it ready! Prepare the way; make it a straight shot. The Eternal would have it so... more
We find many names for Jesus in the witness of Scripture. There are names which Jesus gave himself (Son of Man, bread of life, good shepherd, the way, the truth, the life, etc.) and there are names which others bestowed on Jesus. I want to look a little closer at the latter. We find three of them in the account of his birth in Matthew 1:18-23. Here Jesus is identified as the Messiah (v. 18), Jesus... more
The familiar description of love found in Paul's letter to the church in Corinth is often read at weddings. However, in 1 Corinthians 13 we find no mention of a particular "other" whom we are to love. Neither is there any reference to an exclusive relationship. Instead, Paul's description of love stands firmly in the context of community life, meant to inform a follower of Jesus concerning their... more
When I ask people what love is, they very often mention the list of characteristics found in 1 Corinthians 13. You know how it goes: love is patient, love is kind... Lately, I have been thinking about these two particular adjectives at the beginning of this description of love. One reason for this is because I find it hard to remember what comes next, so I keep repeating "love is patient, love is... more
In English usage, freedom is defined as the power or right to act, speak, and think as one wants without hindrance or restraint. Most often, at least in our Western context, we use the word freedom to refer to self-determination, meaning we are free to be who we want to be, to do what we want to do, to say what we want to say.
This way of thinking about freedom has some problems. First, it assumes... more
Over the summer, our faith community has been making its way through what is commonly known as the Lord's Prayer. This week we looked at the phrase: "give us this day our daily bread." At first glance, it reads like a simple request for God to grant supplicants food for the day, but there is a lot packed into these these few words.
BREAD: The Greek work here is artos, meaning leavened, regular... more
We had a great time in the Children's Ministry session at Portage this afternoon. I had the privilege of sharing some thoughts on "The Gospel for a Preschooler," then Anna Summach and Ruth Weibe gave some wonderfully insightful feedback and reflections, and then we opened the room up to a brilliant, multifaceted conversation about how we in the Vineyard can help our kids to be active disciples of... more
Our contexts have major implications for how we live our lives and engage with our world, that much is obvious. However, we sometimes overlook how much they inform our concepts of God. For those of us occupying the central or dominant demographic in society, we often associate God with power and truth. As a result, our theology is characterized by confidence, certainty, and an expectation that... more