By Karl Burkhardt
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — A story is told of a long-standing church building that caught fire late one evening. The town’s people came and watched as the flames engulfed the building.
Among the bystanders was the local atheist. The preacher saw him standing there and asked why he would show up after all these years. The atheist replied that this was the only time the place had ever been on fire.
Jeremiah 20:9 relates, “But if I say, ‘I will not mention Him or speak anymore 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.” My question to you? Is there any fire within you? There are three things necessary to start and sustain any fire:
1) A fuel source — Proverbs 26:20a tells us “without wood, a fire goes out.” Believers are the fuel source for God’s fire. We’ve been designed as the vessels through which God acts upon this earth. God needs people to light up so He can burn through them to draw people to Him. The problem with most people is that they are afraid of being consumed. We need to remember Moses’ burning bush.
2) An oxygen source — “For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.” (Deuteronomy 4:24) God Himself is the air that we breathe — the Breath of Life — the sustaining oxygen of our being. Fires need oxygen to remain ablaze. All fire suppression methods center around cutting off the fuel supply or the oxygen supply. Oxygen is critical to sustaining a fire’s ability to continue to burn and grow.
3) A combustion source — The Holy Spirit is the spark, or the igniter of the fire. In the book of Acts, we see the Holy Spirit descending upon the apostles in the form of tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them (Acts 2:3). When Pentecost came, they welcomed the fire, and the church was seen as a body of men and women whose hearts had been kindled by the spirit of the risen Christ.
The only adequate evidence that anything is on fire is the pragmatic evidence that other fires are started by it. Any fire that does not spread eventually dies out. Evangelism occurs when people are enkindled by contact with the central fire of Christ and they, in turn, set others ablaze.
Ninety-six percent of all new converts to Christianity are won by people who have only recently become believers — because they’re excited about their faith and they still have a network of unreached friends.
The early New Testament church wasn’t about the business of supporting missionaries — they were missionaries. What is the unquenchable fire inside you? It’s a dark world out there, and God wants His children to become “firepots.” Our inner fire for God translates into light for the world around us. The God we serve can start a fire that will spread to encircle the globe.