Maturity does not automatically come with the passage of years. Some of the people we work with may be spiritually much younger than their chronological age. A prayer I pray often is: “Lord let me grow up, before I grow old.” John Wimber
Well, there you have it.
In The Wisdom of Wimber: As I See It, I have set out ten over-arching themes. Sixty-three different quotes with sixty-three entries, giving my commentary on words I will never forget. Without a doubt, John Wimber made one huge impact on my life. After reading this blog series (which has now become a book), I pray his words might impact you as deeply as well.
They say it takes a generation or so to assign “greatness” to a man’s life. In his day, John Wimber was influential indeed. But as I see it, it’s only now, nearly twenty years after his untimely death in 1997 that his contributions to Christianity will begin to shine like twinkling stars in the midst of darkened sky.
In all truth, after giving his life to Christ, this pot-smoking, drug-using hippie from the Los Angeles basin lived a pretty good existence. Along with his wife, Carol, John Wimber was used by Jesus to touch thousands upon thousands of lives, encouraging so many of us to get closer to Jesus, believe everything in the Bible was still true today, and maybe most importantly, taught us that all of us could be fruitful ministers of the gospel, if we only would take the risk of doing just that. Not bad for a simple fat guy from Missouri whose primary goal for most of his life was just to get to heaven!
There are so many other great stories and memorable quotes coming from the Wimber archives, I suggest that you pop over to wimber.org and order up a bunch of books, DVDs, and other assorted resources, bringing John’s wisdom into your current existence. My humble suggestion is for you to grab a copy of John’s testimony DVD called I’m A Fool For Christ, Whose Fool Are You? and laugh your way through ninety minutes of powerful God-stories told by one who just might have been one of the best story-tellers I’ve ever heard.
In closing this blog series, I thought I’d share with you John’s taxi cab story. Over the years, I’ve seen it published or referred to by other well-known pastors. My friend, Christy Wimber, recently published it in the book Everyone Gets to Play. Actually, I’m not surprised that the story keeps popping up here and there. Without a doubt, it demonstrates for so many today how the Americanized church tends to stray from the gospel, and illuminates the great need in the North American church to get back to the basics when it comes to ‘doin’ the stuff’ that Jesus commissioned us to do.
So, without further ado, let me share with you, in closing, John’s famed taxi cab story:
Years ago in New York City, I got into a taxi cab with an Iranian taxi driver, who could hardly speak English. I tried to explain to him where I wanted to go, and as he was pulling his car out of the parking place, he almost got it by a van that on its side had a sign reading “The Pentecostal Church.” He got really upset and said, “That guy’s drunk.” I said, “No, he’s a Pentecostal. Drunk in the spirit, maybe, but not with wine.” He asked, “Do you know about church?” I said, “Well I know a little bit about it; what do you know?” It was a long trip from one end of Manhattan to the other, and all the way down he told me one horror story after another that he’d heard about the Church. He knew about the pastor that ran off with the choir master’s wife, the couple that had burned the church down and collected the insurance – every horrible thing you could imagine.
We finally get to where we are going, I paid him, and as we’re standing there on the landing, I gave him an extra-large tip. He got a suspicious look in his eyes – he’d been around, you know. I said, “Answer me this one question.” Now keep in mind, I’m planning on witnessing to him. “If there was a God and He had a church, what would it be like?” He sat there for a while making up his mind to play or not.
Finally he sighed and said, “Well, if there was a God and He had a church – they would care for the poor, heal the sick, and they wouldn’t charge you money to teach you the Book.”
I turned around, and it was like an explosion in my chest. “Oh, God.” I just cried; I couldn’t help it. I thought, “Oh Lord, they know. The world knows what it’s supposed to be like, and we as the Church don’t get it most of the time!”
Care for the poor.
Heal the sick.
Teach the Book with no strings attached.
Sounds pretty simple, yet radical, doesn’t it? As I see it, this three-pronged game plan worked well for both the Master (two thousand years ago) and John Wimber (a generation ago). Anybody wanna try it in this generation?
Father, I thank you for the life and ministry of John Wimber. While not a saint, he was truly a man who did his very best to practice the presence of God, responding in obedience to anything and everything he sensed you asking him to do. While at times, people thought him to be the fool, I, for one, believe that he modeled the Christian life just about as well as anyone I’ve ever known. May I do half as well as he did. For your name’s sake. Amen!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO PONDER
So what needs to change in my life and ministry so that it reflects the three-pronged wisdom spoken by that taxi cab driver in New York City? Care for the poor. Heal the sick. Teach the Book with no strings attached. What practical steps can I take today to move my work for Jesus in that direction, for his name’s sake?
So, what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Wisdom of Wimber?
Thank you, dear reader, for following our 64-session blog series. Now, you can have the book, The Wisdom of Wimber, published now in both English & Spanish! Go over to our informational webpage for more details: www.pastorboller.com/wow/