Friday, July 27, 2012

Fresh Fire

…so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.   Ephesians 3:17-21

This time of year, as the youth are coming back from camp, is always a special time for me.  As a mother, my heart absolutely overflows listening to the enthusiasm and passion in my kid’s voices as they tell me all about the pastor and worship services, the sharing and decisions, and best of all, their own personal transformations that occur during the week of Intensity.  I have seen the evidence first hand that Intensity Youth Camp is a life changing experience.  I love that for them and listen with longing for that new fervor they have.  I vaguely remember feeling that once in my life.
For some of the youth that have been before, this a repeat experience.  Every year they go back, the fire is richer and deeper.  When they come home, they truly are different creatures.  They listen to different music, and willfully turn away from things that are not glorifying to God.  They are so compliant and helpful, considerate and respectful too.  You can hear the growth in their conversations and the deeper relationship with Christ is easy to see.  My heart breaks as I watch the reality of life outside of camp seep in and try to steal the joy and excitement they had when they got off the bus. It is always hard to come home after a mountaintop experience. 
Keeping the fire fresh
After you have been to the mountaintop and seen the face of God, you must come back down.  But coming back down doesn’t mean you have to lose everything you experienced at the top.  Of course the intense feelings will not stay around forever.  Life gets in the way and we get distracted – distracted by frustration and pain.  Everything in life conspires to keep you from being passionate.  And it dissipates your energy.  As time goes by you begin to lose your steam.  You begin to lose your zip, your zest, your enthusiasm for spiritual things.  What happens? Why does that happen? Satan would love for us to forget altogether where we have been but we can keep our spiritual fervor fresh by fueling it every day with "wood" such as:
  • God’s Word
  • Prayer
  • Worship
  • Service
  • Fellowship – support of friends and accountability
It is much easier to slip back into old ways that require no effort.  It takes desire and determination to keep the fire fresh.  Passion must be kept alive through action.  If all we do is read books, attend church, listen to podcasts, go to conferences, attend prayer meetings, purchase Christian music, and have discussions with our Christian friends, we will lack vibrant passion in our faith.  Taking the growth and putting it into action in everyday life is where the rubber meets the road.  Use the gifts God has given you and spur each other along. 
This mother is so very thankful for the call that God placed on Jim Garner’s life, as well as the call on each adult that helps make everything possible.  I am thankful that they are not ignoring God’s voice. They are keeping the fire fresh in their lives so they can pass it on to our youth. The activities they provide for the youth help to keep their fires going.  Fuel, UFO, Monday Munchday, and the other activities are important to maintain and sustain the passion that God has lavished on their lives. 
Be in prayer for Jim and his family.  This week they moved the rest of their belongings as well as the rest of the family here to Weatherford. They are settling in here and trying to sell their house.    
Scripture to Claim:
Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.  Romans 12:11

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