Saturday, January 24, 2015

Lighting Fires and Fanning Flames



You may remember that I posted on my personal and Author and Speaker Facebook pages Wednesday evening that I was excited about getting to set some talents on fire at youth group later that night.

Well, it so happens I wasn’t so sure anyone else was as excited or inspired by it as I was. Sure, they got a little loud as I lit the candle and held the $20 bill over the flame, but I just couldn’t read their eyes well enough to know whether they were getting excited about spiritual gifts or not.

I was actually amazed that the majority of them eagerly answered statements on the youth spiritual gift assessment I handed out. Especially when I told them I didn’t think we had enough time to finish it, but if they were interested they could take it home and do it.

Almost all of them completed it, even if it meant staying late. Then they discussed each others answers. Mostly in quiet conversations between small groups.

I walked between the groups and asked if they had questions, anything they wanted to share, what their highest spiritual gift indicator was, and if they were surprised. They all told me what they got, but stopped there.

I was a bit discouraged. Perhaps my presentation skills had fallen short.

The scripture, the lesson, the message I had to share with them, well, it should have inspired and motivated rocks to shout and praise the Lord.

“It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.” Isaiah 55:11

(Go back and read the other 12 verses of Isaiah chapter 55. You will be glad you did!)

As I was cleaning up and waiting for everyone to be picked up and head out, one student came rushing back from the door.

Although the student struggled with pronouncing the unfamiliar word, the question was clear. “Discernment: what does that word mean? I got that, but I don’t know what it is. Can you tell me before I have to go?”

Not only did I define the word, but another student jumped in to give practical real life examples and explain why discernment was a valuable spiritual gift to have. And I stepped back to listen.

I finished packing up my supplies while apologizing to God. “I’m sorry I doubted. I know that Your Word won’t return void. I know that some plant, some water, and some reap. Thank you for confirming tonight’s lesson even though my faith wavered.”



You see, I have had to build many a fire in my lifetime. Wood heat has been the main source of heat for homes I lived in most of my life.

I know from experience that you don’t just stack up the wood, throw in a match, and have an instant roaring fire.

You have to start small. With kindling or pine needles. Then you can add some small pieces of wood or small limbs.

Once that catches, you can add some bigger pieces of wood. Eventually, the fire is steady enough that you can continually feed large pieces of wood into it.

And once that fire takes hold, it just keeps spreading. It doesn’t stay contained to the one piece match, piece of kindling, or piece of wood that first catches fire.

That fire spreads to every piece of burnable substance it comes in contact with.

I showed up on fire Wednesday night. I had no idea who there might be kindling, small wood, or large pieces of wood. Even more important, I had no idea who God knew was already seasoned wood and ready to catch fire.

But He did.  

And His fire spread. And His Word did not return void.