I recently had a chance to spend a lot of time near a camp fire. I took a few of our youth group to a area wide retreat for a weekend. We had a good time. We had a lot of fun, we had a lot of fellowship, and we had a lot of time for a fire. You see, it very cold this particular weekend. When we pulled in to the camp site, there was already a huge fire burning. This fire was burning at night, in the morning, and afternoon… It never went out the whole time that we were there. We would warm up near the flame in the morning, we would feed the fire in the afternoon for fun, and we would huddle in close at night in order to feel the warmth as we sang songs of praise and listened to a message from God’s Word.
It has always amazed me as we watch a fire that is burning strong. How powerful, how memorizing, and how awesome those fires are. They are able to bring warmth to our bodies when we need it. It is able to consume once proud trees and bring them to ash. There is something so fascinating about fire.
I once heard a preacher relay a story from his early childhood, he was playing a game of basketball with some friends, when all of a sudden a boy ran by yelling out to him informing him that “The church was on fire” this preacher took off running, he had to see for himself, because he had never seen a church that was on fire. Obviously the two boys were thinking about two different kinds of fire.
But this little story did remind me yet again of one of my favorite verses in scripture. Jeremiah 20:9- ” If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,” there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.”
Regardless of what any of our “firefighter brethren” may say, we must start this fire, and it must never be put out! If you want to see a change in our congregation, if you want to see more church growth, if you want more people to come to know Christ, it begins with you. It begins with the fire that you have to teach the gospel to those who haven’t heard it. It starts with me.