Fire Burning Love

My friend Gabe voiced his concerns about some of the larger Christian organizations of the nation drawing large crowds with uber-celebrity type people. Also, the idea that maybe too much time was being spent on being a good “leader”. This made me think of a worldly, success-based motivation behind the meetings. So I understood Gabe’s frustration. To view Gabe’s original post, click here. The following is my response:

Hmmm… Gabe Dear… me thinks that you are noticing the trend of many “Christian” organizations, churches included (sadly) that are taking the eyes off of the flame of the candle in an effort to reinvent the candle stick. What ‘style’ is the most attractive,” becomes more widely discussed than “do we need to trim the wick,” or “is the wind so turbulent as to endanger blowing out the flame?” Worse yet, in my opinion, is how we can get so caught up in the externals that we ‘douse the flame’ with an unloving or cynical attitude toward those that are different from ourselves.

Maybe we are not even striking the match, quenching the Spirit when we do not follow the Spirit’s leading to take the initiative and speak out or otherwise demonstrate God’s hand at work in the lives of others. It might be too uncomfortable or embarrassing for us to knock on a door or pose a question. What might they think of us? That sounds a bit like that old fire-extinguisher ‘Pride’ trying to get rid of the flame of Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
“BURN ON,” I say! And how can I keep that flame burning brightly if I don’t keep it stoked with the Word of God! God’s Word is my delight… like honey…”YOUR WORD is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path,” Ps. 119:105, If I am to let my “light so shine before men” from a hilltop and not under a basket, I believe that I must daily keep in close communion with God.

As I draw closer to Him, THEN I will naturally have a testimony flow from that. “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, THEN all these things will be added. . .”. What makes me a better ‘leader’ is that I train myself to be a better “follower.” It goes against our sinful, selfish nature, but, Jesus Himself spoke of the need for us to serve others. At the time He was saying it, He was washing His disciples feet. So who am I following? God or man? Now, THAT is the question.

All the fire references that have popped up in this comment are as a result of my having just re-listened to “Burning Down the House” by Talking Heads. I associate my passion of following God and being filled with the Holy Spirit with the visual image and analogy of fire. And that song popped into my head.

So I went and looked at the lyrics. Some of the words in that song speak to personal agenda getting in the way. . . is my house in order… am I trying to do things my own way with the latest and greatest techniques.. getting all worked up into a frenzy and then burning my own house down in an inferno. Thanks, but no thanks.

Give me the comfort of knowing that God’s fire is at the center of my home, bringing warmth and comfort to my family and friends, as well as any strangers who chose to partake in hospitality. As long as the fire is contained properly in the firebox beneath the mantle… as long as I adhere to what I know to be the correct way to handle and care for the fire, I have nothing to fear. By simply doing what I have learned to be correct I am able to be protected from the winter chill, AND rejoice in sharing that warmth with others. Link to Burning Down the House Lyrics by Talking Heads
Link to Burning Down the House Song

Yes, it is cold outside. But, we have been given a wonderful fire in our home. Would you like to come in and join us?

The Lame Lamb

good_shepherd I would like to tell you of a shepherding practice that is used when a lamb continues to wander away from the flock. In order for the lamb that keeps wandering away to learn to stay with the flock, the shepherd uses his staff and actually breaks one of legs of the lamb. Then he splints the leg and carries the little one over his shoulders for a good bit of the healing time required.

The lamb is carried this way as they go about the daily life of whatever sheep and their shepherd do. All the while a special bond is being made.

When the day comes that the shepherd removes the splint from the leg of the lamb, the purpose of what may seem to be an abusive act comes into focus.

That little lamb will NEVER wander away from his shepherd again! In fact he now gleefully leaps about in the area near the shepherd. The very hand that had caused his pain, comforted him through it, lovingly cared for him, and gave him a real appreciation for all that the shepherd provides.

So now, when you read in the book of Isaiah ” All we like sheep go astray, each to his own way”, and the LORD is the keeper of them all, I hope that you will remember this illustration.

There is a reason for our pain. If we won’t stop wandering away, the shepherd will pursue our closeness in some other way. That’s just how much He longs to be close to us. Isn’t that neat?