Church on Fire by Pastor Tony Smith
I love the story of the Azuza Street Revival.
Maybe you’ve heard of it. It began in 1906. Its impact has been far reaching and world changing. Eternity has been altered because of the outpouring that happened at 312 Azusa Street in Los Angeles, California. There were many factors that brought about this incredible move of God. The greatest of these is the sovereign act of God in pouring out His Spirit. I also would submit to you that the unity present was key. Here is a congregation of African Americans, Latinos, white people and others led by William Seymour. In the early twentieth century a diverse church led by an African American pastor wasn’t the norm. By the way, over one hundred years later it still isn’t the norm. In 1963, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “It is appalling that the most segregated hour of Christian America is 11 o’clock on Sunday morning” and, according to experts, that assertion remains true today.
Church, we have a problem.
Maybe the missing ingredient for Revival in America and outpouring in the church is the elusive unity. Don’t get me wrong, there are other culprits as well. Yet, I truly believe if we want to be a church on fire our prayer must be Lord make us one. Our action must be to become more like Jesus; so we can experience unity. As long as the increase in our lives is us, our desires, our preferences, we will subvert any authentic aspiration of complete unity. However, if we allow the Holy Spirit to cause Jesus to increase in our lives, unity is inevitable. None of us, as followers of Christ can point fingers at the world and it’s systems and expect peace, unity and equality if we don’t model it.
We want our world to change. We want humanity to embrace without violence, hate and atrocious behavior. How about if we become the change that our world needs?
In 1913 Mohandas Gandhi published a piece. I have condensed it here:
We but mirror the world. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. We need not wait to see what others do.
Listen, we can’t change ourselves. Gandhi’s religious self improvement couldn’t get there. That’s why God sent The Holy Spirit to do what we are unable to do.
“But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions:
Joy that overflows,
Peace that subdues,
Patience that endures,
Kindness in action,
A life full of virtue,
Faith that prevails,
Gentleness of heart, and
Strength of spirit.
Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless.
“Keep in mind that we who belong to Jesus, the Anointed One, have already experienced crucifixion. For everything connected with our self – life was put to death on the cross and crucified with Messiah. We must live in the Holy Spirit and follow after him. So may we never be arrogant, or look down on another, for each of us is an original. We must forsake all jealousy that diminishes the value of others.”
Galatians 5:22-26 TPT
Allow the Spirit to work in your life to bring Christlikeness…Unity will come and the world will see a Church on Fire!