A Thriving Fire
If you are new to my blog, all of the sermon note posts are directly from my actual speaking notes. Therefore, there will be a few gramatical errors and possibly notes to myself. If you ever have questions concerning the notes, please send me a comment.
Today, we are in week 2 of THRIVE. If you missed last week, please get the podcast or video of it. People are saying that it really impacted them. It is crucial to your spiritual and emotional maturity.
Last week, we talked about the garden having elements that made it thrive.
Today, I want us to look at the miracle of a fire.
There is nothing like a Fire on a cold day! – my enjoyment and skill of starting fires
The triangle illustrates the three elements a fire needs to ignite: Heat, Fuel, and Oxygen. A fire naturally occurs when the elements are present and combined in the right mixture, and a fire can be prevented or extinguished by removing any one of the elements in the fire triangle.
Ignition (heat) starts the chain reaction. You need soft materials or kindling that will burn easy. Slowly, the fire burns larger. When more and more fuel and air is added, more and more heat is generated. That in return give power to burn more and more fuel. All the while, air is needed to continue the chain reaction.
Why a Fire Goes Out
Water puts a fire out because it lowers the heat. The fuel and oxygen is still there, but there is no heat. You can throw dirt on a fire and put it out because you are removing the oxygen.
Example of our fire at church started burning again 10 days later when oxygen returned.
If you quit putting wood on the fire, the fire will go out because it has heat and oxygen but no more fuel.
Throughout scripture, God uses fire as a metaphor to describe himself. Sometimes, it goes beyond metaphorical language and is actual (burning bush).
Matthew 3:11 “I baptize with water those who repent of their sins and turn to God. But someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not worthy even to be his slave and carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
Acts 2:2 Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. 3 Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. 4 And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.
Hebrews 12:28 Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. 29 For our God is a devouring fire.
Then, in the letter to the Corinthian church, Paul says that we as believers in Jesus would now be the place to house this fire.
1 Corinthians 6:19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.
Today, let’s look at our relationship with God as a living and breathing FIRE. Let’s talk about how this FIRE can THRIVE.
This is different stuff than what most of us have been doing! Some of this is pretty far fetched. However, IT IS TIME FOR SOME CHANGE. It is time for us to remove some elements and add some elements so that we can THRIVE!!!
There are basically three elements we want to talk about:
- Heat – God’s Presence
- Fuel –Devotion
- Air – Sabbath
- Heat – God’s Presence
God ignites us with his saving grace and mercy. The gift of forgiveness surprises and invigorates us. The power of the Holy Ghost that is explained in Acts 2 starts to burn on small kindling type. Everything starts with God and his Presence. He is the ignitor and the instigator of our salvation. We don’t find God, He finds us. He busts a move on us and then we follow His lead. When oxygen and fuel are present with the ignition of heat, things burn.
However, just like any fire, when all the elements are not there, there seems to be a dying down.
- Fuel – Devotion
I add fuel to the fire when I pray, fast, and read scripture.
When I start a fire at my house in the morning, we enjoy it for about 20 minutes and then we realize, if we don’t make a move here, this fire is going to die down. We stoke the fire.
Consider going to church on Sunday, connecting with others in Small Group, Reading scripture, and prayer as the large logs of the fire. You need these large elements to burn. They give heat a place to burn. They bring about a fervency of the presence of God like nothing else. They have been given to us by God to generate more connectivity to God.
If you haven’t made Sunday morning worship a priority in your family calendar (planning your Sunday around church), then DO IT. You need the Yule log Sunday morning worship as a core part of your fiery relationship with God.
However, consider what would happen if you threw a log on the fire, then did nothing to the fire all week, then came back 7 days later and threw another log on the fire.
It takes a long time just to get in the groove when you get here. By the time the sermon is over, a flame is going again and you are enjoying God.
What I am proposing is that your add fuel to the fire every day.
Not only do you add fuel to the fire every day, but that you stoke the fire throughout the day.
We don’t want our faith to grow cold because we have neglected to invest in the relationship.
Couple tools for you to add logs to the fire each day:
- Reading scripture: YouVersion picture –
- Prayer: The Lord’s prayer CD
Find 2 to 3 times a day where you Stoking the Fire for 5-10minutes!
Here are the keys to Stoking the Fire throughout the day.
Psalm 37:7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
Psalm 46: 10 Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!
- Be Still
- Know – recenter
Dallas Willard said, “Silence and solitude are the two most radical disciplines of the Christian life.”
Solitude is the practice of being absent from people and things to attend to God.
Elijah was being chased for his life. He was in the throws of suicidal depression. He was seeking out God.
1 Kings 19:12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
Listening to the still small voice of God requires separation from distraction.
Connect with the Word of God. Meditate on a Psalm. Listen to a song that is from scripture. Read a devotional book.
Could be a worship song.
The more this becomes a habit, the more your mind is changed. You are not allowing it to get distracted. You are disciplining your steps toward Christ. Remember, when you add fuel to the fire, the heat gets hotter. God’s presence has a place to flourish!
- Air – Sabbath
I want you to get a picture of what life was like BEFORE God gave a Sabbath to the Israelites:
Israel lived as slaves in Egypt for 400 years. They never had a day off. They were treated as tools of production to make pyramids. There were “doing” machines. They worked seven days a week, all year long. Imagine how deeply ingrained activism and overwork must have been for them. They had never observed or experienced rhythm of work and rest. They had neither permission nor the choice to do so. Living meant performing tasks, with one day blurring into the next.
When God called Israel out of Egypt, he affirmed they were sacred human beings made in his image. He then showed them how to live according to their God-given nature. In effect, God said, “It may feel awkward at first, but as a fish is created to live in water, I created you to live according to this design.
Your body, mind and soul needs a 24 hour period where it rests.
This is like the air that most people forget is needed in a fire. We want the wood and the match and it seems like the air is always present. However, it is not.
My chimney and house was not laid out correctly. It is too small or not tall enough beyond my room. There is not an adequate draft through the chimney providing enough oxygen to get my fire going, so I have to intentionally push air into the fire place with this device called a bellows.
The bellows makes sure that the right amount of oxygen gets the fire going.
I have to spend about 5 minutes pressing enough oxygen into the fire environment for it to flourish.
When God was making the world, he determined that the right amount of air in your schedule was 1/7 of your week. Take one day out of your week to rest from productive work.
Without the oxygen of a Sabbath break in our schedule, we find ourselves left in a cold world outside of a Thriving Relationship with God.
Sabbath is like stoking the fire for a whole day.
- Stop – sometimes in the middle of tasks. We stop on a Sabbath because God is on the throne, assuring us the world will not fall apart if we cease our activities.
- Rest – replace production with what delights and replenishes you (not your job) When we stop and rest, we respect our humanity and the image of God in us.
- Delight – 1000 Gifts book
- Contemplate – when tempted to produce, lean into God’s identity and power. (not the temptation of the devil that says, “you are what you do”)
Posted on January 20, 2015, in Sermon Notes, theology and tagged acts 2:2, burning fire of God, devouring fire, hebrews 12:28, nourishing faith, sermon notes, thrive sermon series notes, thriving fire. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.