On-Fire

It’s amazing what one person inflamed by the Spirit of God can accomplish. My wife and I lead a weekly youth outreach in our home. This week we had a guest speaker – a young man named Drew who just returned from six-months of missionary training. Drew is now as on-fire for Jesus as just about anyone I’ve ever seen, and it’s contagious. He stood and spoke to our living room jam-packed with high school students and a few college students, many of whom are not even professing believers in the Lord yet, and with Spirit-led passion spoke of his love for Christ. When he stopped almost an hour later everyone in the room knew they had experienced something powerful. Some were holding back tears and many others immediately spoke of how their lives were changed. I look forward to how the Lord will continue to use Drew wherever he goes.

Seeing this young man preach reminded me of an online interview I watched recently. Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California interviewed Pastor Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, California about his lifetime of ministry. Chuck is an old man now and physically fading, but over the past forty-five years he has been used by the Lord to help train many thousands of pastors (including me) and to plant almost as many churches. What I find most surprising about Chuck’s story though is that he was once a struggling and frustrated pastor laboring in one little congregation after another. Then, one miraculous day, God brought a teenage hippie named Lonnie Frisbee into his life and church. Lonnie, who looked remarkably like the traditional pictures of Jesus, had an unusual charisma and zeal for Christ. Over the next few years, waves of young people poured into the church to hear him preach and thousands of them gave their lives to the Lord. Many of these went on to be dynamic pastors and Bible teachers themselves. The truth is, the entire Calvary Chapel movement traces its start to God working through one unlikely young man. After a few years, Chuck and Lonnie parted ways, and unfortunately Lonnie battled weaknesses and temptations that ultimately led him away from biblical ministry and contributed to his early death. Regardless, his legacy remains – one man who is on-fire for Christ can literally change the world.

All of this also reminds me of another young man named John.  He was only in his late 20’s but he lived with obvious detachment from the world and preached with such rare passion that people couldn’t help but be drawn to him. He came to be known as “the baptizer,” and through him God launched the ministry of none other than our Lord Jesus Christ.

Indeed, very big things – HUGE things – can come from tiny beginnings. As Walt Disney said of his massive entertainment empire, “I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing — that it was all started by a mouse.” How much more true is this in the Kingdom of God as the Spirit of God moves? May we who are small, or engaged in seemingly small things, keep this in mind.

Matthew 11:7-11  As these men were going away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John, “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? But what did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ palaces! But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and one who is more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written, ‘Behold, I send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’ Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” 

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