Friday, February 12, 2016
Building People of Substance for Works of Power
Let’s seek fresh fire, Amigos.
In December of last year, the Lord gave me a simple phrase to direct us for 2016. He said “Desire fresh fire, not strange fire.” As usual with things the Lord says, a simple sentence prompts an array of implications. The first step for me was to visit the story of “strange fire” in Leviticus 10, verses 1 and 2: And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. (2) And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD. The word “strange” is variously translated “profane,” “wrong kind,” and “unauthorized” in our modern versions. Though there have been many theological discussions of the exact nature of “strange” fire, there seem to some common thoughts from scripture:
· Strange fire is anything we do that we represent as coming from the Lord, but that actually is our own attempt to imitate the real thing. There are so many things that we do that are simply performing, and I think we often don’t even know the difference.
· Strange fire is anything we do that we attempt to substitute for what God has commanded. Obedience is often costly and difficult, so we simply do something else that is easier. The process of actually waiting on God until we have a mandate from heaven takes time and effort. Programs are easier.
· Strange fire refers to those who take to themselves the function and privilege of an office to which they have not been called. Just because you have it on your business card or in your logo does not make it true.
· Strange fire is that peculiar form of tradition wherein we try to copy the actions of another minister, another church, or even another generation because we saw their results and want the same. We have to ask why we do it the way we do it: Church is too often “Monkey see, monkey do.”
If I can say this without sounding too “spooky,” I genuinely believe we will see folks in ministry dropping dead while in the process of pretending to be “in the Spirit” and “under the anointing.” The hour demands real intimacy with God, the actual power of His presence, and an unadulterated fresh Word from heaven. Real fire comes from the throne to the heart, not from the natural mind to the flesh. This is going to require change for many of us who have become dependent on natural means to accomplish spiritual ends. Playtime is over.
Scripture Reading: When all the people of Israel saw the fire coming down and the glorious presence of the LORD filling the Temple, they fell face down on the ground and worshiped and praised the LORD, saying, "He is good! His faithful love endures forever!" (2 Chronicles 7:3 NLT)
Somebody Said: When ministry becomes performance, then the sanctuary becomes a theater, the congregation becomes an audience, worship becomes entertainment, and man’s applause and approval become the measure of success. But when the ministry is for the glory of God, his presence moves into the sanctuary. Even the unsaved visitor will fall down on his face, worship God, and confess that God is among us. Dr. Richard Moore
We need genuine revival for the times we are in. The kingdom of darkness and the Kingdom of God are both kicking into overdrive for the sprint to the finish. Over the next few months I will be sharing with you what the Lord shows me about this “Fresh fire” mandate. To be truthful with you, it is a little scary. It is a trail I have visited but never fully walked. I hope you enjoy the ride. Love you all.
Pastor Virgil Stokes
FCF of Tucson
3141 W. Ironwood Hill Dr.
Tucson, AZ 85745
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