“It starts with a Wo/Man, it becomes a Movement, and it ends as a monument” -A phrase I heard at a prayer meeting I heard on Saturday Morning.
I was thinking about this, and it is true, most great moves of God start with someone, a person who prays, who seeks God, who is willing to used by God, someone willing to sacrifice and serve. The Evangelist D.L Moody said ““The world has yet to see what God can do with a man fully consecrated to him. By God’s help, I aim to be that man” Wesley, another great revivalist said “set yourself on fire with passion and people will come for miles to see you burn”.
We often say on the Alpha Course how God is a ‘complete gentleman’ and doesn’t force himself on us, but waits to be invited, when we see the willingness of God’s people matching the heartbeat of God we see a move of God.
Yet so often these moves of God end in stone monuments, Kingswood (where I serve) has lots of empty Churches up its high street, that show where God has moved, yet so all that is left of this wonderful movements is stone monuments, empty Church buildings, marble statues, plaques on the wall. Yet the greatest monument to a work of the Spirit of God is a vibrant worshipping community bringing glory to God. Monuments not of stone but of human-beings fully alive in their Saviour, Lord and Friend!
Yet I thought what if the work of the Church was about tending the fire of the move of God rather than erecting marble statues to the heroes of the faith?
In the Temple the job of the Priest was to tend the fire on the altar, so that the fire would never go out, yet so often movements and revivals die because we don’t continue to tend the fire, we let the fire gradually burn out and fade away.
So a challenge to us all, will we be willing people who lay hold of the willingness of God?
Will we echo the prayer of John Wimber “Lord, send Revival, start with me!”
Will we be willing to ‘surf’ the movement of God, so often we pray and seek a move of God, but when God actually starts to move we head for the hills, I am passionate about praying for revival but I also think “be careful what you wish for” as I have said before in my blogs “If you ask God to move a mountain, don’t be surprised if he hands you a spade!”.
And if God is moving, are we prepared to tend the fire, often unglamorous and messy work, with lots of soot and cinders, and we might even burn our fingers, as we add fuel to the fire, as we poke the embers?
It is easy (but tiring) to build a fire just using kindling.
In fact it takes faith to build a fire.
We can keep a hearth fire burning fairly easily, but perhaps God doesn’t just want a nice warming hearth fire but rather a great and wonderful bonfire.
To build this kind of fire, requires us to move from small, dry sticks, to great big logs, sometimes these logs look as though they might swamp the fire, and yet the fire will grow and grow the more it is given.
Perhaps we have kept the fire safe and cosy by feeding it exhausting numbers of dry sticks, where God is calling us to put logs and bigger branches onto it, to extend the grate and allow it to become something radically different.
I wonder if too many of us are tending fires a little faithlessly, just feeding them the odd bit of dry kindling, rather than risking it all on burning logs and bigger branches?
Recently I was helping my daughter with her homework of the great fire of London, and a city was set ablaze by one defective oven.
I have also seen fires burn out, because no one has kept the fire alive and fed it anymore wood, in fact controlled fires are the best way killing a wildfire.
As we think of the missionary God, finding his willing people -his kindling if you like- and his wildfire movement begins and the fire burns and grows, and yet the call is not just to see a spectacular burn, or even to see a fire grow, but to see a fire remain, a burn that continues on and on and on.