Monday, October 17, 2011

Fire In The House

"Let us not give up meeting together...but encourage each other."
Heb. 10:25

Comfort.  Warmth.  Family.

I love the heat and light of real fire burning in a wood stove on a brisk day.  It draws me in . . . beckons me to linger, its soothing crackle and dancing flames speak of a place where I am welcomed, wanted, and set to stay awhile.

But this fire does not simply appear.  No, someone went through a lot of sweat to make it happen.  Wood must be chosen, cut, split, dried, and hauled in. And then it must be ignited.

Likewise, a flame dwells within the family of God.  We are His house, and a fire blazes on the hearth- the Holy Spirit.  Today I'm reminded of those who shepherd the people of God.  They often carry heavy burdens, laboring in prayer and tears, bringing in the wood, fuel for the fire. They display self sacrifice in devotion and commitment to God's family on a regular basis.

I am blessed with four pastors who have had great influence on my life.  One in particular has a unique place in my heart and the most impact on my life. That would be my husband. I am honored to bear his name and look to him as my greatest spiritual leader.  He has led me into a faith that is deeper and more authentic than I've ever experienced before . . . a faith that relies on the power of God in the every day ebb and flow of life. . . a faith that simply takes God at His Word . . . that's my man!

But I'm grateful for the three other pastors of my home church as well.  How blessed I am to have a senior pastor who is passionate about preaching the Word verse by verse with accuracy and clarity . . . and with the power of the Holy Spirit flowing freely through his life.  I'm especially grateful for the way he has mentored my husband over the last 16 years.

Our education pastor is committed to teaching our children and adults, guiding others to teach as well.  He can be counted on to uphold the truth. . . reliable and dedicated to the people of God.  A man of prayer, he loves the Word of God.

Our worship pastor, in tune with God's Spirit, lifts the congregation into the very presence of God.  How refreshing to go to church each week and be a participator in that worship, rather than just an onlooker to an entertaining performance. . . to have a worship pastor, rather than a worship leader, one who shepherds the flock in his care.

I love my local church, its leaders, and its people.  I love Sundays.  It is like drinking in the fullness of God in all His beauty, wrapped in a fuzzy blanket, sitting near the heated stove on a chilly day.  Yet, the pastors do not create the fire. The flame comes from God Himself.

All of us have received the gift, the promised Holy Spirit, and all of us contribute to fanning into flame the spark that is there . . .
                                    preparing our hearts for the fire.

Our pastors carry heavy burdens. . .

                                                                             Some administrate. . .

      Others do the marking. . .

                                                                       And still others do the cutting. . .

Stacking . . .

And the carrying of lesser loads. . .

Some protect from danger, guarding against false teaching, apathy, hypocrisy . . .
                     enemies that would sting and destroy.

Those young in the faith need simply be with other workers
to be blessed and built up . . .
                    the children whose play is their work.

Some lift their arms not only for burdens, but for praise. . .

But we all bear one another's burdens,
hauling them to the place of prayer . . . the place of fire.

God has chosen us together, in the body of our local church to work toward a common goal . . . the presence of Jesus. This is why we do what we do.  We long for fire in the house of God.  We long for His Spirit to consume us, to purify us, and to produce heat and light so the world around us might be drawn to its comfort.  A fire can be terrifying or it can be inviting. God's fire is both, for "our God is a consuming fire!" (Heb. 12:29)

My pastors have encouraged my walk with the Lord and drawn me into deeper levels with Him.  But I am perhaps most indebted to my very first pastor.  He began praying for me before I was born and continues to do so. That would be my dad.  He was a shepherd to his own family along with the house of God.  Sitting under my dad's sermons shaped my life.  He first introduced me to the Lord and later led me to put my faith in God.  What a precious treasure he is.

Let's not forget the pastors of our local churches, set apart, called, anointed, and commissioned to shepherd the people of God into the blaze of holiness. Indeed, there is a flame in the house of God.  Don't miss it by being aloof, distant, or uninvolved.  My family loves sitting by the stove and enjoying its warmth. But we also love going out to gather the wood and exerting ourselves in the fall air among the towering aspens,

listening to the breeze flutter the leaves . . . yes, even out there in the forest, the leaves witness evidence of God's Spirit at work, though we cannot see Him.  He is there.

God's Spirit is present working in and through us as we contribute to the body of Christ in our local churches, laboring together for the building up of His Kingdom.  Can anything be more attractive, more inviting, more bonding?
Lord Jesus, ignite us with your holy flame.

1 comment:

  1. Love this post along with the pictures. It is an encouragement to keep the fires of God's Spirit burning in my own heart, in order that warmth and light can be shared with others. Thanks, Jewel.
    Blossom... a pastor's wife