Momentum (Christ – centred, Spirit – empowered, Mission – focused)
One of the rules that I grew up with was, “never play with fire.” It always intrigues me to see how often prohibitions become temptations. One summer, my cousin and I decided to experiment with fire. We filled a can with gasoline, wrote our names on the side of a hill, and lit them up. It was a great idea until the fire exploded into a raging inferno that threatened to consume the forest around us. We furiously threw dirt on the blaze until it was miraculously contained.
Our experiment backfired and threatened to destroy the very forest we loved. We decided that the rule was best obeyed.
What is obviously true with literal fire can become a hindrance when applied to our spiritual lives; in other words, I wonder if our fear of wildfire has kept us from experiencing the true fire of God. Have we become afraid of our own theology?
I am not afraid of wildfire in the Christian and Missionary Alliance; however, I am terrified of denominational death because that is really hard to recover from!
In his book Storm, Jim Cymbala quotes from the Barna Group that “46 per cent of church goers said ‘their life had not changed at all as a result of church going.’ On top of that, ‘three out of every five church attenders said, “they could not remember a significant new insight gained by attending church services.” What is even more bothersome is that one-third of those who have attended a church in the past have ‘never felt God’s presence while in a congregational setting.’”
This is really alarming.
Could it be that people are attending our churches every week without experiencing God’s manifest presence? If that is true, then we are in serious trouble. If we are not expecting and anticipating the manifest presence of God in our lives and our churches, then the only option is to focus on surface, stylistic changes as the salvation for a decaying church, yet that does not work long term.
In the Book of the Revelation, Christ is seen walking among the seven churches. As John turned around to see the voice of the one speaking to him, he first saw the flame holders. We read, “I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands and among the lampstands was someone like the son of man” (Revelation 1:12-13).
This amazing image provides a dynamic picture of the identity of the Church as the holder of the flame. The Church is the container of the manifest presence of God and is called to extend that light (fire) to the nations of the world. It is not surprising that Paul exhorted the Thessalonian believers, “Do not put out the Spirit’s fire” (1 Thessalonians 5:19).
I am passionate about experiencing the manifest presence of God and expect every gathering of believers to be a place for a deep revelation of Jesus.
When the eight original members of this movement gathered around a small wood stove in a dusty, dingy dance hall in New York City, they “thrust themselves upon the Holy Spirit.” The fire of God fell on them and a dynamic movement of God was unleashed. Simpson knew that mission without deeper life [fire] leads to humanitarianism and that deeper life without mission can lead to fanaticism, but deeper life together with mission will lead to revolution.
It is time for a fresh revolution in the Christian and Missionary Alliance.
I am convinced that our people are longing for the manifest presence of Christ in our gatherings. God desires to send fresh fire, and I believe He is preparing our hearts to receive it. I invite you to linger longer and expect more, both personally and within the spiritual gatherings you attend.
The band Jesus Culture sings a song that expresses the desire of my heart, “Set a fire in my soul that I can’t contain and can’t control. I want more of you, God.”
I dare you to pray a prayer of revival for you and your church. Let the fire fall!
Please find the original version in C&MA website