So, do you really want to be FIRED-UP?
The cost of revival fire does not come cheap. Let’s be clear, grace is free. God’s love is an unrestricted gift given to us all. But if you want to be on fire and remain fired-up you will find that it is costly. I believe that God wants each Christian and every church to be a blazing light, on fire, for Jesus. The call and challenge of Jesus is clear in Matthew’s gospel, “you are the light of the world” so “let your light shine.”
It is becoming increasingly apparent that our darkened world needs the light of Jesus Christ. Our churches and communities are faced with a whirlwind of challenges on every side. Racism, sexism, poverty, division, threats of schism, decline, spiritual lethargy and a failure to keep our focus on the great commission, are among the many problems confronting us.
The good news is that we do have the answers to the problems that plague us. The Church of Jesus Christ, when yielded to the Holy Spirit, has proven time and time again that it can turn the world right-side up.
Rev. Bill Hybels is correct when he says, “there is nothing like the local church when the local church is working right.” The other side of that coin is the fact that when the church fails to remain true to its mission and ministry the entire community suffers.
I remember what the Lord brought to my mind shortly after my assignment to the IGRC, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.” Those words from Proverbs 14:34 have stuck with me. I believe God impressed them in my mind and heart as a reminder of the church’s obligation and responsibility to bring about change.
One of the reasons we do not see the change that is needed is because too many Christians and churches are content with playing it safe. We are okay with being same, lame and tame. The problem is that as we willingly embrace spiritual lethargy we leave our communities and cities vulnerable to destruction. There is little doubt that our world is becoming darker the question is, “are we willing to do something about it?” God’s plan is for the light of Jesus to be visible through the church and its constituents.
So, what will it cost us to be fired-up? Here are a few things:
- It will cost us our pride. If we believe we can do it without being totally dependent upon Jesus he will allow us to flounder in our own strength.
- It will cost us time in rebuilding and reestablishing our churches as a place of prayer. There has never been a renewal movement in the church apart from a return to intentional prayer.
- It will cost us a change in our preferences. We will need to move beyond our personal zones of comfort for the sake of the inclusion of others.
- It will cost us personal pain. We will never rebuild that which we have not wept over (see Nehemiah).
- It will cost us our power. We will need to yield our desire for control and power to the Holy Spirit’s power and guidance for our lives and for the Church of Jesus Christ.
Finally, I have not given up on The United Methodist Church. Years ago our denomination was called “a sleeping giant.” I believe God will ignite us with the love of Jesus Christ and our denomination will be used to bring about a great revival. I believe the enemy is fighting super hard against us because we pose a major threat. Jesus wants us to be lights in our communities so that folks dwelling in darkness will find him.
Let’s get fired up!
Bishop Frank J. Beard