A brush fire in Southern California is cause for sprinting into action and getting it under control and putting it out as quickly as possible. And that’s a good thing when lives and property are in danger.
Having lived in Southern California, I have a new perspective on brush fires and forest fires. California is a big state. It has a big population. California does just about everything “big”! Including, it seems, fires. Hundreds of thousands of acres can be burned to the ground in a handful of days. Millions of dollars’ worth of homes and property are destroyed in a matter of hours.
Recently, a new company was formed to “up the scale” of fighting these fires. In the past, helicopters have been used to drop water or chemical retardants on the fires. This new company has bought a fleet of jets to do the job. Modified passenger jets that can hold ten times the amount of water or chemicals to drop on a fire.
There are times when forest fires are good things – set off by lightening they can burn out underbrush and revitalize the soil so other plants and trees can thrive. But when a fire is set accidentally at a construction site by an acetylene torch or, worse, set on purpose by an arsonist, fire departments and the forest service work fast and furious to put out the dangerous blaze.
This got me to thinking about being on fire for the Lord. There comes a time in every congregation’s or national church body’s life when a person or a group of people will really be passionate about the Great Commission. They will be “on fire for the Lord” to get the Gospel message to as many people as possible. Most often, they will employ creative and innovated ways of telling the Good News about Jesus.
91 years ago three pastors were ignited by the Holy Spirit to bring the Gospel to the city of St. Louis and beyond through a new medium. It had never been tried before. There were plenty who said, “we’ve never done it that way.” But in 1924, the first broadcast of KFUO AM radio began and the result was hundreds of millions of people who have heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ ever since.
Each congregation of the Christian Church has people like these three pastors. Yet there are others who act like the California fire departments! They swiftly and strongly try to put out the fire of innovation and creativity that is used to tell the Good News about Jesus is new ways.
I say, that as long as God’s Word is heeded, let these people burn! Don’t try to put out the fire that obviously comes from the Holy Spirit. Each generation needs to be reached with the ageless Gospel of Jesus Christ in new and fresh ways. When you see someone on fire for the Lord, encourage him or her. Don’t try to put the flames out!
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