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Reckless Mercy

Carl Tuttle

My world came crashing down around me in 1997. It was entirely my fault. While it was an utterly devastating experience, followed by equally devastating years of slow rebuilding, I also realize that it was a beautiful act of God's reckless mercy toward me that brought me to such a place. At age 11, I walked into a church gathering for the first time and immediately felt the welcoming embrace of a new family of faith that could fill the holes that my natural family could not. Among the many emissaries of God's mercy to me was John Wimber. I was in my early twenties when an accidental revival put a guitar in my hands, song on my lips, and birthed what would eventually become the Vineyard Movement. As I continued to grow in worship abilities, song writing, and leadership, I also grew in mounting shame. I didn't deserve the recognition I was receiving. I certainly didn't deserve to work alongside John Wimber and participate in the overwhelming grace God was pouring onto the Vineyard. I felt like a fraud, and the only way I knew how to deal with that shame was to mask my insecurity with a veneer of confidence and charisma. In 1995, when I was asked to take over the role as senior pastor of Anaheim Vineyard, my wife, Sonja, and I somehow deluded ourselves into believing that this tremendous addition of stress would be good for our disintegrating marriage. I convinced myself that being in this position would miraculously relieve me of my shame and I would finally feel at home in my own skin. A sudden onslaught of anxiety attacks proved those hopes to be false. I spiraled downward, at times indulging in unhealthy behaviors to escape the stress. My marriage continued to disintegrate, and eventually Sonja and I divorced. The narrative I had spent years constructing, the façade of control, shattered into a million pieces. Years of heartbreak, exile, and loneliness followed. Through that painful journey, I discovered that Jesus is enough.


Ministry Theme

Biography & Testimony