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By Michael Brown, John Killpatrick, Larry Sparks
On May 20, 2019, I awakened to a startling dream of people being in a cafeteria in what appeared to be a contemporary hotel. They were getting their food on trays and seating themselves. I was also in line to get some food when I looked out the window of the cafeteria and saw a horrific sight. The windows were halfway covered with sea water and there were people laying on rafts that appeared to be like large dead sea animals resembling whales. The people could not keep their grip on the rafts and kept falling off them and each time they fell off or their arms or legs got in the water they were being eaten by sharks. I was sick to my stomach and tried to find a way to rescue them but as I looked around no one seemed to care as they ate their food and continued to talk and just watch this massacre outside in the water.
I woke from the dream at this point feeling rather helpless yet with a burden of responsibility to do something. I began to pray on this for about 24 hours and the Lord spoke to me clearly and said, "The cafeteria represents the many churches that watch out the windows of my houses of worship, eating spiritual food, yet doing nothing about those who are mine dying in the waters of life. The brokenness of my people is like blood for sharks and the forces are coming to ravage them but I need my people to stop being comfortable and get out there and I will save them."
I was convicted in heart and soul assessing what I can do personally and how I can share with the church, that not only does the Lord want to save the lost souls, He also wants to heal the brokenness of His very own people. Our brokenness is like blood for the demonic forces. These forces prey on the wounded and hurting. Yet the church is to find them within its own body, and go out and find them in the streets and retrieve them from the depths of this mass sorrow. I asked God, "How can we do this when our churches are so comfortable." He said it is in uncomfortableness that the spiritual gifts are activated. In other words, in the comfort and power of His Spirit, we are commissioned to go into uncomfortable places and our gifts will be activated. Since I pastor a church alongside my husband, I had to look at my own church and assess whether we were doing this and if not how could we better.
God told me that at this time His people must learn to burn with fire and passion for Him and that will overflow His Spirit into a need to save the lost sheep but also heal His sheep who are broken and in need of repair. We must learn to light our own fire by fanning into flame that which Christ has given us by the laying on of hands, the activation of our spiritual gifts.
A Reminder from Paul
The Apostle Paul had to remind Pastor Timothy to do this very thing.
In 2 Timothy 1:5-8 (NIV), the Apostle Paul says to Timothy, "I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. So, do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. "
We have a job to fan into flame the gifts of God. We must learn to start our own fires. So many times, the church wants someone to start their fire, well that is great and necessary at times and God is good and sends those with evangelistic gifts into churches to do this. As a revivalist myself, who goes into churches and ignites fires, I understand this gifting, but the greater blessing is when the people of God know how to light their own fire without help. They know how to begin to ignite their personal flame. When the fire burns low in their lives and the embers are all they see, they can begin to blow on the embers and stir them so that a flame can begin again.
Evangelists in our churches are necessary but it takes more than a mere visitation by a revivalist who lights fires and brings the motivating power of God to the people of God. We as the body of Christ, must tap into His fire as personal individuals within His global church body and know how to keep our own fire burning.
The word says in Revelation 1:14-16 (NIV), "The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance."
His eyes are a blazing fire. He has fire in Him. This is a characteristic of God. His feet are like bronze glowing in a furnace. His face is like the sun shining in all its brilliance. He is an on-fire God, and we His children who are a part of Him should be too.
In the Song of Solomon 8:6 (NASB), the word says, "Put me like a seal over your heart, Like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, Jealousy is as severe as Sheol; Its flashes are flashes of fire, The very flame of the Lord."
Flames of Fire
He is the flame and we must tap into His flame daily. As Pentecost is quickly approaching on Sunday June 9, 2019, we must remember that the church was ignited by flames of fire.
Acts 2:2-4 (NIV) in the word says, "When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them."
To receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire is amazing but we must learn to continue to fan into flame the fire of God. We must speak in tongues and stir up the gifts and power so that we can go out and rescue the lost. It takes more than motivation and hype to keep the church going, we must activate the Holy Ghost power the church already has within them. This is a supernatural thing. Man cannot do this, but man can submit to a God who wants to do it in and through us as His kingdom church. This is where discipline comes in. We seek Him daily and pray in tongues and intercede, not because we feel like it, but because if we don't someone may die because our fire is burned out.
In Zechariah 4:1-8 (NIV), the word says, "Then the angel who talked with me returned and woke me up, like someone awakened from sleep. He asked me, 'What do you see?'
I answered, 'I see a solid gold lampstand with a bowl at the top and seven lamps on it, with seven channels to the lamps. Also there are two olive trees by it, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left.' I asked the angel who talked with me, 'What are these, my lord?' He answered, 'Do you not know what these are?' 'No, my lord,' I replied. So he said to me, 'This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the Lord Almighty. 'What are you, mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground. Then he will bring out the capstone to shouts of 'God bless it! God bless it!' Then the word of the Lord came to me: 'The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands will also complete it. Then you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you.'"
The Necessary Provision
God will take care of His church the light of the world, and be the provision necessary for it through His mighty Spirit. Therefore, the move to rescue the lost and the saved who are stuck and being torn to pieces by the enemy is through His Spirit power alone. So, we must learn to activate His Spirit with us. As the people of God, we must get in a place of praying daily in tongues and interceding for the lost, and also those who are saved, but are living like devastated and defeated Christians. If this country wants to see a reformation, then revival must come to the house of God first, who living in His flames of fire, will ignite the lost to know a Savior.
The Apostle Peter shared in 1 Peter 4:16-19 (NKJV), "Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter. For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Now 'If the righteous one is scarcely saved, Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?' Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator."
Keeping the fire burning is our responsibility and it is not done by motivation only coming from the five-fold ministry leaders of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher. Although our job is to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up (Ephesians 4:12, NIV) The people of God must also learn to do it themselves because they have been taught well and equipped to do this on their own. The church as a whole needs this type of disciplined focus in its membership.
Therefore, through personal discipline of the body seeking God individually and corporately, regardless of whether we feel like or not, and fanning into flame His gifts continually by speaking in tongues and walking in the boldness of the kingdom, we will be able to accomplish this task of retrieving the lost and healing the broken. We must take a risk and move to uncomfortable places where God will begin to activate our gifts and we will see Him use US ALL to do miracles, signs and wonders. Only then will our personal revival fire bring reformation to the church and salvation to the unsaved!
Dr. Candice Smithyman