IF: Gathering is an annual women’s conference held in Austin, Texas, equipping women to be disciple makers. IF: Local takes the large IF: Gathering event to local churches and living rooms, featuring the live stream of several incredible speakers and a time of Christ-centered worship. A group of ladies from West Twin Grove gathered over 2 days to attend the IF: Gathering at IF: Local site, Eastview Christian Church in Normal. Here’s what was impressed upon the hearts of the thousands of women gathered around the globe: Be a flame thrower! In 2 Timothy 1:6-7, Paul writes to Timothy “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline”. Remember the Sunday school song, “This little light of mine”? When we all have little lights that show the world we are God’s children, we make an impact that spreads light to others- spreading the Gospel and making disciples of all nations. However, if we were to fan that little light into a giant flame, a roaring fire, others could not deny its strength, its power and its heat. The flame becomes contagious. Instead of spreading little lights around the world, what if we threw flames? To be a flame thrower, we need to believe we have something worth throwing. Our faith needs to be so big it engulfs everything around it. It consumes our life- our decisions, our relationships and our conversations. One speaker at IF: Gathering, Vivian Mabini, used a great illustration for seeing real change in our walk with Christ. She had a large pitcher of milk on a table. While talking, she poured an entire bottle of chocolate syrup into the milk. The milk sat at the bottom while she continued to talk. Then she obviously stated that the pitcher was now chocolate milk and stuck her finger in the milk and tasted it. But, it didn’t taste like chocolate milk….yet. Then she took a spoon and stirred it. NOW, it tasted like chocolate milk. In the same way, we begin our faith journey in knowing Jesus and asking him into our hearts, like pouring chocolate into milk. But until we do anything with it, we haven’t stirred anything around, we haven’t fanned the flame so we don’t look different (or in this case, taste any different) than before we knew Christ. When we’ve poured fuel on the fire, allowed the fire to consume our everyday and start throwing flames, we have made a visible change others can see and recognize. The world is full of unbelieving believers, comfortable with our tiny candles in our laps, unwilling to share the flame. Let’s be flame throwers!
- Surrender to God. God, how do you want to use me to grow your kingdom?
- Be obedient. When God says move, move. When He speaks to your heart, listen.
- Be a disciple maker. Building the fire means sharing it with others. Choose just one person to pour into, teach and mentor. Love and listen to him/her the way Jesus would.
Lastly, a fire dies out if it’s not tended to. Keep careful watch on the flame that’s burning- the passion and fuel for your faith. It’s easy to be consumed and distracted by the bright light of the things of this world. “The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” 1 John 2:17
I was watching the first half of a Wildcard NFL Playoff Game between the Tennessee Titans and the Kansas City Chiefs. The Kansas City Chiefs, who were the home team, looked dominant and confident. The Tennessee Titans looked confused and sloppy. The Kansas City Chiefs were leading in the game 21-3 at Halftime. I comfortably turned off the game and decided to get some things done. At the end of the evening I checked the results of the game almost certainly that the Chiefs dominated the entire game ending in an enormous amount of points scored. To my astonishment, the Tennessee Titans were victorious with a final score of 22-21. The Titans scored 7 points in the third quarter and 12 points in the final quarter while holding Kansas City scoreless. I didn't know what happened, I only knew the results of the game so I found myself watching highlight plays trying to see how the score came to be. There were two halves of football to be played that led to the final score. I realized the same is true for the Bible. There is an Old Testament (covenant) and a New Testament (covenant). Both "halves" tell one complete story. The Bible tells the story of God's creation, the fall of mankind, redemption and restoration of God's Kingdom. I know of too many people, and I was one, who tend to read the New Testament only. Perhaps because people find The New Testament easier to read and pronounce the names as was my case. Regardless of the reason, there is only one half of the story being told. Both halves point directly to Jesus and are important. The Old Testament points directly to the New Testament as the fulfillment of the story found in Jesus, while it is really difficult to fully understand the New Testament in its depths without knowing the Old Testament traditions and background. It is like a jury making a decision after listening to either the plaintiff or the defendant but not hearing both sides and looking at the evidence. It truly is a tale of two halves, let us not search for the highlights of the Old Testament to tell us the entire story. Perhaps we need to take time, read and study the entirety of Scripture to know the entire story.