There’s more that can be done here.”
Church planters are a pretty amazing lot. They carry with them a faith able to move mountains. When you evaluate what they have to do in order to actually start a congregation in the US, it’s amazing. Their attitude for the cities they love is “there’s more that can be done here.”
It’s not a matter of trying to outdo other congregations—it’s not a competition. It’s a matter of knowing there are few cities in the US with enough congregations to reach people for Jesus. Combine the data of population growth with the sobering reality that most congregations are losing ground and shrinking means we need more congregations just to “maintain”.
Church planters look at the grim stats and see room for miracles. They challenge us all to remember what God can do. In this regard, they are like Paul to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:6:
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God,2 Timothy 1:6
which is in you through the laying on of my hands.
New International Version
It must have been difficult for Timothy to know the situation his father in ministry, Paul, was in and know there was nothing he could really do for him. Yet, Paul expressed such gratitude to the Lord for the ministry Paul had been given.
He also expressed gratitude for the ministry Paul had been watching Timothy grow into.
The reason Paul refers to is back in verses 3-5 (last week). The authentic nature of Timothy’s faith was an encouragement to Paul and Paul was now encouraging Timothy.
Paul was there when the elders laid hands on Timothy. Matter of fact, it was Paul’s own hands symbolizing the recognition by the Church of the giftedness Timothy possessed. Emphasizing the closeness these men shared, Paul helped Timothy recall those earlier days and the fever of those moments.
Like a fire in a fireplace, the seasoned Apostle tells young Timothy to continually tend to the fire of his gifts from the Lord. The temptation is to let time, cynicism, and even education and experience cool the fire of spiritual passion Timothy possessed.
This was not the future Paul wanted for his protégé.
Instead, he was helping show Timothy the way to avoid the hazard of cooling off in ministry.
Do you recall the days you surrendered to the working of the Holy Spirit in your life?
Do you remember feeling like you were going to charge Hell with a water pistol to save people from going there?
Do you remember when you first recognized the calling in your life to be His hands and feet?
It’s good to remember. It’s good to revisit those early moments. Because life has a way of striking at that passion.
Life can sometimes pour water on the spiritual flame and we need the “Pauls” in our lives to remind us of the active nature of our faith: “fan the flame”!
If you have cooled in your spiritual passion, how do you “fan the flame”? The same way Timothy would have to:
- Prayer – We can’t settle for going through the motions of prayer. We can’t let the enemy win the battle of our prayer lives. When we’ve been walking with the Lord for a while, it’s easy to turn praying into something mechanical. Resist the automation: fan the flame!
- Obedience of the Scriptures – The Bible is far less about knowing stuff than it is about doing stuff. We are called to be obedient. But we can get good at going through the motions of obedience but having hearts that are cold. Resist the hypocrisy: fan the flame!
Remember the days when you were going to change the world for Jesus. You still can…because He still does.
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