Thursday, February 26, 2009

On Fire

Since getting that call on January 14, 2009 to serve God in ministry (I’ll share that testimony soon, it’s long), I feel like I can NOT explain to anyone what I am feeling. I am SOOO anxious to get going in ministry that often times I need to slow down and remember this journey is NOT on my time. I was trying to relay that feeling to my Coach and Lead Pastor, Jeff Maness, and he shared Jeremiah 20:9 with me. It says, “But if I say, ‘I will not mention him or speak any more in his name,’ his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.” That is EXACTLY how I feel. I love that God has given us the perfect Book for EVERYTHING!

I am reading Acts and Proverbs during my devotion time and I guess I’ve never really read Acts. Today I read chapters 4 & 5. Man, how AWESOME! I love how on fire Peter and John were. First the head priests call them into their main chambers and tell them to stop teaching about Jesus and they say, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than Him? We CANNOT stop telling about everything we have seen and heard.” What boldness they approached those who opposed them with. They could NOT stop telling people. They were constantly asking God to give them boldness in preaching his word. Even after being arrested and flogged, they “left the high council rejoicing that God had counted them worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus.” (Acts 5:41)

As much as I am on fire for God and can’t contain it, I know there are times (more than I’d like to admit) that I do not approach sharing God with that kind of boldness. I know there are times and opportunities that God puts in front of me to share his name and I stumble. Not because I don’t recognize it, but because I stop to think about what the person might say or think. I think too often we pretend to not pick up on those opportunities. We ignore them and act like God himself didn’t put it there and we go about our business without a second thought. Then we wonder what the world has come to. Then we wonder why teens are pregnant and women continue to get abortions, why states are making gay marriage legal, why divorce is the accepted solution to “unhappy” marriages, and why people are fighting to get every hint of God taken out of our lives.

What would happen if we approached our world, country, state, city, our home with even a fraction of the boldness and rejoicing of suffering for God that the early disciples did? As a guy that’s just starting in the ministry and hopes someday to be a pastor (if that’s what God holds for me), I can relate to John and Peter on some levels. They had followed Jesus for 3 years and learned a lot. After Jesus commissioned them and ascended, they were new “pastors”. Actually they were the first “pastors” of the new church, but the point is they were pretty new to it. I’m sure there were times they had no idea how the people they were preaching to would react. Would they stone us, run us out of town or fall on their faces in reverence? They had NO idea, but none of that mattered. All that mattered was that they shared Jesus with as many as they could and they did that. And they did it boldly. I never want to lose the fire and I pray every day for God to stoke that fire so that it burns hotter and brighter for Him every day.

What could happen if we had just a portion of that boldness? What would change? What could He do?

Answer: EVERYTHING!

On Fire for Christ,
Bruce