A Personal Time Warp

Working on In Season: Embracing the Father’s Process of Fruitfulness over these past few months proved to be an incredible experience for me personally. Since I was working with material that I wrote over twenty years ago it gave me a glimpse of the process God has used in my own life. I thought I had so many answers back then, but soon discovered I wasn’t even asking the right questions at the time. I express that in the Introduction I wrote for this edition.

A Personal Time Warp

I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.
But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and
straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus
. (Philippians 3:13-14)

I’ll admit I have a problem. I can’t just rerelease another edition of a book without tinkering with it.

I see life as a journey, and any book, audio, or article is just a snapshot of that journey. So while what I wrote twenty years ago was the best I knew then, God’s work has continued to shape my life. I would not write the same book today. So putting out a new edition of a book I wrote in the distant past, even if it was one of my favorites, is not as easy as simply sending it to the printers again.

I knew the book needed to be changed. What I wasn’t prepared for was how much it needed changing. As I read it over I knew printing it as it was would be like posting my high school photo on my home page. Sure the resemblance is there, but I don’t think anyone would see that photo and know immediately that it was me. I have changed a lot since high school. And I have changed a lot since I wrote the first edition of this book.

I’ve often wondered what it would be like to have a conversation with a younger me. What if I could warp time, go back twenty years, and sit down in my old pastor’s office with the person I was back then. Would we even like each other? Would we be able to communicate? Would the younger me recognize the current me?

While I was rewriting this book, I had the chance to experience a bit of that sort of time warp. Much of this material was originally published in 1991 in a book called The Vineyard. That book was republished in a couple of different formats. Some of it was put into a coffee table book titled In My Father’s Vineyard and some of it was repackaged in a book titled Tales of the Vine. Those books have been out of print for some time and many people have been asking if I was going to republish my material on the vineyard. As I started through those books again, I wasn’t prepared to meet the Wayne of twenty years ago who wrote and thought very differently from the Wayne I’ve become in the intervening years.

While still embracing the content of the book I wrote, I had to cringe when I read my own words. They sounded more like the fiery preacher of my former days—the one who talked down to my listeners from a pulpit. I was constantly setting a high bar and pushing them toward it (as if our own human effort could ever bear the fruit of our Father). I hope that now after some reworking, it tenderly encourages you to find Jesus in the reality of your life today and find the grace to follow him as he shapes your life to be fruitful and fulfilled in him.

As I reworked this material, a powerful theme emerged that highlighted the seasonal element of our spiritual journeys. We tend to conform our lives to obligations that do not fit what he is asking of us, instead of appreciating the process of fruitfulness that allows each of us to be free in our journey to follow Jesus as each day requires.

Many believers I know live as though it is always supposed to be harvest time and they grow frustrated when their lives are not as fruitful in other seasons. If harvest is our only expectation, then we’ll despise the days when Jesus shapes our lives in the relative stillness of winter, or holds us in his hands while we face the heat of summer, bringing maturity to his fruit in us. Vines are never frustrated with shifting seasons. Each one is essential to the cycle of fruitfulness that God invites us to embrace.

As a farmer’s view of John 15, this book touches on the deepest themes that have defined my life, while also drawing from the fondest memories I have of growing up on my father’s vineyard in central California. That may sound more spectacular than it was in actuality. Today vineyards are marketed as romantic tourist destinations, but for those who live on them they are a lot of hard work.

During summer it is hot and dusty as the farmer cares for the vines or harvests the crops. In winter the labor can be cold and menial as he prunes one row of vines after another. Nonetheless it was in those fields that my young life was shaped. It was in my father’s vineyard that I learned so much about God and life. There I learned the nobility of an honest day’s work, of the joy in a job well done, and what character and integrity really mean. All of these lessons have served me well in the forty years since I’ve left that farm.

It took far longer to rewrite this than I had planned, but I hope the result will set you free to live deeply in the Father’s life and flow with his working, whether he is pruning you in the rest of winter or developing fruit in you that he can share with so many others.

Who knows, I may have to rewrite it again in twenty years and take more of the old me out yet again.

In Season will be in hand on November 8. In fact, they were just printed this morning. If you’d like to order your copy, you can do so here.

Now I’m off to Omaha for the weekend. Looking forward to what God has in store there.

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16 Comments
  1. Greg T October 26, 2011 at 11:54 am

    Where was your father’s vineyard located?

  2. Peggy October 26, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Wow, Wayne … this is exactly what I blogged about the other day! I have been re-reading Peck and found that I had changed so much over the decades that I was profoundly challenged today by things I didn’t even get then. 🙂

    I also have had the experience of writing something … and then going back and seeing how my thinking had changed. I posted my 40 Days stuff … but had to annotate it with more current thinking regularly. Most of it because God brought you across my path!

    I am so looking forward to getting my copy of this book.

    Be blessed, brother

  3. Alex B. October 26, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Wayne,

    Is there any way to get a digital version of this? Ebook? PDF? Kindle? Etc … Looking forward to reading this, but can’t take a lot of printed books where I am going …

  4. Wayne October 26, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    There will be e-book versions available, but they are still being prepared. We’ll announce when we have them ready to launch. Sorry for the delay, but these things do take time…

  5. Greg T October 26, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    Where was your father’s vineyard located?

  6. Wayne October 26, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    Oh, and my father’s vineyard was located between Selma and Kingsburg California in the San Joaquin Valley.

  7. Peggy October 26, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    Wow, Wayne … this is exactly what I blogged about the other day! I have been re-reading Peck and found that I had changed so much over the decades that I was profoundly challenged today by things I didn’t even get then. 🙂

    I also have had the experience of writing something … and then going back and seeing how my thinking had changed. I posted my 40 Days stuff … but had to annotate it with more current thinking regularly. Most of it because God brought you across my path!

    I am so looking forward to getting my copy of this book.

    Be blessed, brother

  8. Alex B. October 26, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    Wayne,

    Is there any way to get a digital version of this? Ebook? PDF? Kindle? Etc … Looking forward to reading this, but can’t take a lot of printed books where I am going …

  9. Wayne October 26, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    There will be e-book versions available, but they are still being prepared. We’ll announce when we have them ready to launch. Sorry for the delay, but these things do take time…

  10. Wayne October 26, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    Oh, and my father’s vineyard was located between Selma and Kingsburg California in the San Joaquin Valley.

  11. Bonny Nelson October 26, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    Wayne,
    I received “In my Fathers Vineyard” as a gift when I stepped down from being on staff at our local church almost 20 years ago!! Your book must have been hot off the press!!! It was impactful then…., I can’t wait to see how you “tweeked” it!! The journey continues…

  12. Bonny Nelson October 26, 2011 at 10:44 pm

    Wayne,
    I received “In my Fathers Vineyard” as a gift when I stepped down from being on staff at our local church almost 20 years ago!! Your book must have been hot off the press!!! It was impactful then…., I can’t wait to see how you “tweeked” it!! The journey continues…

  13. Gert October 27, 2011 at 1:28 am

    I am very curious and excited at the same time!
    3 years ago, we moved from Belgium (a “beer-country”) to France (a “wine-country), and so now we live a small village in “the Minervois” in the Languedoc area, one of the most productive wine areas of France.
    I’ve never read the former versions of the book, but God really spook to me these last years when I was spending much time in “just” walking through the vineyards here.
    I don’t know much of wine-agriculture, but most of my neighbours does, and so I hope that what I will learn, will help me to connect even more with them.
    And I’ve heard that new young plants come from California since the big wine-deseases here in France 100 years ago, so I hope that what happens in the natural, will be a sign of what will happen in the spiritual, I mean that your insights will bring a clearer view of how God relates with us, also in a country like France… 🙂

  14. Gert October 27, 2011 at 4:28 am

    I am very curious and excited at the same time!
    3 years ago, we moved from Belgium (a “beer-country”) to France (a “wine-country), and so now we live a small village in “the Minervois” in the Languedoc area, one of the most productive wine areas of France.
    I’ve never read the former versions of the book, but God really spook to me these last years when I was spending much time in “just” walking through the vineyards here.
    I don’t know much of wine-agriculture, but most of my neighbours does, and so I hope that what I will learn, will help me to connect even more with them.
    And I’ve heard that new young plants come from California since the big wine-deseases here in France 100 years ago, so I hope that what happens in the natural, will be a sign of what will happen in the spiritual, I mean that your insights will bring a clearer view of how God relates with us, also in a country like France… 🙂

  15. Charlie October 28, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    Its funny you mention meeting the old you and wondering what the encounter would be like. Ive wondered that a couple times during the last couple weeks. Ive been having such a rough time with whats being shown me on this journey. Another layer is peeled back and Im seeing deeper..the control issues, the illusion of control and the sickness of how twisted I am! Serving self at every turn, conversation, relationship, meeting, breath..its so disturbing. I dont even know what I would say to the me of 5 or 10 years ago. Im so lost today and I dont think there is any way in the world I could communicate that the the old me..at least not in a way that encourages old me to become more like where I am today. Then again, I guess thats like trying to change myself into my desired outcome..which never happens outside of a relation with God and a good chunk of time. O well, it would be an interesting meeting none the less!

  16. Charlie October 29, 2011 at 2:22 am

    Its funny you mention meeting the old you and wondering what the encounter would be like. Ive wondered that a couple times during the last couple weeks. Ive been having such a rough time with whats being shown me on this journey. Another layer is peeled back and Im seeing deeper..the control issues, the illusion of control and the sickness of how twisted I am! Serving self at every turn, conversation, relationship, meeting, breath..its so disturbing. I dont even know what I would say to the me of 5 or 10 years ago. Im so lost today and I dont think there is any way in the world I could communicate that the the old me..at least not in a way that encourages old me to become more like where I am today. Then again, I guess thats like trying to change myself into my desired outcome..which never happens outside of a relation with God and a good chunk of time. O well, it would be an interesting meeting none the less!

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