Thursday, September 25, 2014
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Building a fire is just one of those things a man is supposed to know how to do. And frankly, I hate to have my fire fall apart in front of other people. So I can really empathize with my friend, Rich. It was winter, of course, and he set out to get a fire going in his fireplace. It was Sunday afternoon and we were at his place. He did all the right things. He rolled up the necessary amount of newspaper. He stacked logs with plenty of room for air circulation.
He didn't have much kindling; that was the only weakness in his fire. The fire flared and then it sputtered, and then it smoldered. So he quickly rolled up two or three tight newspaper logs, and it didn't do anything. Then finally he said, (I thought it was kind of strange, but he said) "I've done all I can do. Only God can start it now." Well, we talked for about an hour without a fire, and suddenly this little flame appeared. It grew steadily and it became this really cozy fire. Rich and I just looked at each other and smiled.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "You Build It, He Starts It."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from 2 Chronicles 7:14. A very familiar verse; well traveled. Here's what God said, "If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven. I will forgive their sins and I will heal their land." All right, you probably recognize this as the classic formula for spiritual revival; that Holy Spirit take-over of a life, a church, a community, or even a nation.
And God says, "I will make sure that your sins are dealt with, your relationships are restored, your prayers are answered, My power's released, the lost get swept into the kingdom. See, that's the history of revival. And I'll tell you what; I think a lot of us are restless for more. We just haven't seen that kind of power released. And there's a lot in our soul that really is crying out for revival, whether we know what to call it or not; this overwhelming sense of the personal presence and power of Jesus Christ.
But no man can start revival, in spite of the fact that sometimes it's scheduled in some churches – Revival This Week. Well, it's like Rich's fire. You might say, "Well, is there anything I can do to help it happen?" God says, "If you will, then I will send a fire." You can create the conditions in which God can spark revival. You can prepare it. He says, "Humble yourself." That means asking Him to bring you to a total sense of dependency on Him, a self-emptying, a personal powerlessness.
Then He says, "Pray." This is desperate prayer, recognizing where the power is; going to the Throne Room of God boldly and passionately. Then He says, "Seek My face." That's what a baby does. They want to touch your face to get to know you. They just want to touch your face. That's the intimate thing to do. This is beyond knowing about God. This is saying, "Lord, I want to touch you deeply, intimately."
And then He says, "Turn from your wicked ways." This is where a lot of us stop. See, in essence, we don't want to deal with our sin except to maybe feel sorry for it. But He says, "No, this is beyond feeling bad about it. This is turning from it. This is abandoning that sin. This is throwing it in the fire."
See, in essence, you want revival so much; you want this spiritual take over so much, you want this power so much that you will do whatever it takes to get God's best. Then the fire starts. God says, "Okay, then I will hear from heaven, I will forgive your sin now. I will heal your land." New beginnings, healing broken things-a great new start. So let's begin to talk to each other about getting the kindling together. Start to build that fire that we all really want and that we desperately need to get out of our spiritual sameness and mediocrity.
And then with the fervent prayer of people, who are tired of the cold spiritually, let's ask God to make that into a blazing fire.