2012-05-04 - Send the Fire
This devotional series is based on a message I have preached a couple times on 5/31/2009 and 8/7/2011. Some of the statistics are a bit dated but the trends they point to still continue to this day as best I can tell. I pray that it will be an inspiration to you.
Send the Fire
As a kid I had a thing for fire. I can remember burning pine straw with a magnifying glass and having the neighbors call my parents exclaiming that I was going to burn down the shed. I also remember emptying my dad's shotgun shells and filling paper tubes with powder to watch them explode. I can remember pouring gas on ant hills and lighting them up. Heck my wife says she remembers me doing that a few years ago. I often treat toy lie a fire but fire isn't a toy in the Bible. It is a symbol of God.
God's fire has the power to attract, convict, deliver, and devour.We don't need bigger facilities or better finances. The only way to a brighter future is thru bountiful fire from God.
Hebrews 12:29 says our God is a consuming fire. Do we really want the fire to fall? Do we really want God to consume us? We need to ask God for fire and no one has ever brought down fire better than Elijah.
For those of you unfamiliar with the story of Elijah let me prep you with a short background story. In the days of Elijah, Ahab was king of Israel. I Kings 16:33 says he did more to provoke God to anger than all the kings before him. He was married to Jezebel - a name that is now an insulting bad name. Elijah said God would send a drought over the land because of the wickedness in Israel. The people of Israel were in a drought for three and a half years. We are living in a dry and barren land; like Israel, we need revival.
I can't speak for all churches but at the time I preached this message I had ran across some alarming stats for the denomination I am in and I have heard that other denominations have similarly eerie statistics.
According to the 2006 Annual Church Profile (ACP), there are 44,223 churches in the Southern Baptist Convention.
10,449 churches baptized NO ONE.
3,312 churches baptized ONE PERSON,
13,760 churches baptized 1-5 PEOPLE
A total of 27,521 churches in the SBC baptized five or fewer people for an entire year, which comes to 62% of all SBC churches. Furthermore, at least three out of four churches are plateaued or declining.
Should we not be lamenting over the nearly 10,500 churches who are practically dead? Should we not be lamenting over the fact that over 75% of our churches are experiencing no conversion growth?
Three and a half years later, Elijah reappears and meets with Ahab. That is where we will begin reading
Read 1 Kings 18:17-41
In this passage we see that Elijah did three things. We must do these same things.
Until next time ...
All scripture references from KJV unless otherwise noted.