Holy Spirit: Fire

Holy Spirit: Fire. To burn fuel with the activities that draw you closer to God. Fan by practicing the seven habits of a disciple. Flee the fire extinguishers of sin. Forge alliances that unleash your passion.
Live the way of love.

On May 19th across the pond, there was a Royal Wedding at St George’s Chapel. Prince Harry and Ms. Megan Markle were wed. I was offended by not receiving an invitation to witness their ritual,  so I didn’t watch the live coverage. Later I treated myself to wedding clips.   Don’t you just love the hats? There is a whole world for hat wearers I didn’t even know existed, with its own rules and etiquette. Did you know that no one is to wear a hat larger than what the Queen is wearing? Amazing stuff.

Ok, not really for me, so much.

What I did find amazing was Bishop Michael Curry’s sermon. Having attended a Sunday morning service at St Paul’s in London, the Bishop’s passion just blew the doors off of traditional British stoicism in the pulpit. The title of the message is “The Power of Love.”

“There's power in love. There's power in love to help and heal when nothing else can. There's power in love to lift up and liberate when nothing else will. There's power in love to show us the way to live.”

I encourage you to spend the 13 minutes and 44 seconds to listen to Michael Curry’s sermon. I thought it was a masterpiece. [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLoGzo945S0] Yet as the cameras panned those in attendance, I got glimpses of closed eyes, nodding chins, frowning faces,
struggles against sleep. The guests had shown up. But many present were not.

When it comes to Pentecost showing up is just the start. The real excitement, the ongoing passion, is to be played out every day in the life of a Christ-follower from the moment of the Spirit’s arrival. I fear too many that believe, are asleep in the light of the Holy Spirit’s fire. Christ-followers who have nodded off to sleep in the comfort of their routine.

The manifestation of the Holy Spirit, on that first Christian Pentecost, was fire.
Acts 2:3 (MSG & NIV)
“..Like a wildfire, the Holy Spirit spread through their ranks.” “They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.”

Fire, the ongoing empowering passionate love, the very presence of God, indwelling each one who confessed  Jesus Christ as the Redeemer, Risen, Reappearing, and Returning One.  In every believer a fire burns. It is a fire of love. Love calls us to open our hearts, open our arms, open our minds, open our lives, to the possibilities that God’s sacrificial love pours into each of us overflowing through us and out of us to others.

John 3:16-17 (MSG)
"This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one, and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.”

The Bishop said, “Jesus began the most revolutionary movement in human history. A movement grounded in the unconditional love of God for the world – and a movement mandating people to live that love, and in so doing to change not only their lives but the very life of the world itself.”

Revolutionary love, transformational love, ignites a fire within all who receive and experience
the living presence of the Holy Spirit. The fire moves us, compels us, it is meant to consume us as we carry continue the mission of our Savior Jesus. What is that mission? To save the world; that no one is destroyed. We want redemption; we want salvation; we want healing; for all who are hurting and in need. To save the world is the mission of Jesus for the church, for all fallen and fragile human beings, and for creation itself. For this reason, you are saved. So that you can tell others so that you can change the world one person at a time.

Bishop Curry painted this word picture of a world conquered by love: “When love is the way, then no child will go to bed hungry in this world ever again. When love is the way,  we will let justice roll down like a mighty stream and righteousness like an ever-flowing brook. When love is the way, poverty will become history. When love is the way, the earth will be a sanctuary. When love is the way, we will lay down our swords and shields, down by the riverside, to study war no more. When love is the way, there's plenty good room for all of God's children.… when love is the way, we actually treat each other, ... like we are actually family. When love is the way, we know that God is the source of us all, and we are brothers and sisters, children of God.”

You are empowered to live the way of love and bring the way of love, with passion and intensity, with enthusiasm and boundless faith, with driving desire and a sense of urgency. The Holy Spirit burns brightly within bringing love and joy, peace and patience,
kindness, goodness, and faithfulness, gentleness and self-control as a rich harvest in your own soul (Gal 5:22-23 (NIV). The flame burns down the walls of hate that divide and separate, that oppress and enslave, replacing the ways of the world with equality and justice, freedom and dignity.

If this is so if this is the truth, why is my heart not stirred?  Why do I find myself compromised, more concerned with my mission to seek the good life, that the sacrificial one that changes the world? Why am I not in the trenches, making a difference in just one person's life, let alone heeding the call to change a  world? What has happened to my flaming love”

The Apostle Paul points to the answer.       
2 Timothy 1:8-10 & 6-7 (NIV)
“…join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. …  For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
To burn, I must, you must, fan into flame the gifts you’ve been given.

The artificial demands, pressures, and stress this culture forces upon you deceives you into thinking they are normal when actually they are like water on the fire of your soul. The disappointments, the failures, the fears, the heartbreaks, try to smother your flame. The unrighteousness of the world fights to suffocate your flame, to put you into darkness, to keep you from shining brightly.

You have a passion, you have a deep desire, that the Holy Spirit indwelt you with along with Himself. Have you recognized it? It’s a gift with which you are meant to burn with, a gift when empowered by love can change the world one person at a time.
1 Corinthians 12:7-8 (NIV)
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.

We must fuel it with the activities that draw you closer to God. Fan it by practicing the seven habits of a disciple. Flee the fire extinguishers of sin, and forge alliances that unleash your passion.

A couple of weeks ago Mike Edwards and I were meeting for lunch at El Enchanta near the 91 Green Balley exit. Mike noticed the lady across from us. She had a Dodgers jersey on. Mike asked a question about the team, and the lady lite up. A five-minute conversation ensued all about her team. Here was a gal that was passionate. I want to be that passionate when it comes to being a Christ-follower. I want to shine brightly pursuing the mission of Christ. I want the fire to burn within me.

How about you?

Fuel it with the activities that draw you closer to God.
Fan it by practicing the seven habits of a disciple.
Flee the fire extinguishers of sin.
Forge alliances that unleash your passion.
Live the way of love.

Keith Green - My Eyes Are Dry 

Soul on Fire Third Day


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