A month or so ago, we were together at prayer meeting at our church sharing about how we may pray over the many newcomers among us by name. It was pleasant to see that among our numbers were three who had come to our church over the last 3 years, one as recently as a month before. As each of these shared what drew them to come and stay at this fellowship of believers, I began to see what Jim Cymbala in his book calls the “fresh wind” of God’s Spirit igniting the “fresh fire” of ministry and service.
I remember my training as a scout leader given charge of a small group of boys a few years younger than myself. Once, I caught one of my young scouts fanning a campfire with anything he could get his hands on. In this instance, he had found a large piece of carboard, and he was fanning the fledging fire with both hands, managing only to put out the flame rather than building it up. He was expending enthusiastic energy but producing nothing. “Direct your breath gently into the crevasses of the firewood,” I told him. As he settled down breathlessly, he took counsel and blew into the flame, sending oxygen where it was needed the most. Tinder blew away as ashes; embers grew into flames, and a handsome fire graced our campsite as he raised his little frame in triumph.
I think of the movement of God’s Spirit in the fledging church of the Book of Acts – mightily in the message of Peter (Acts 2:38), desperately in the prayer of the saints (Acts 4:31), gently in the generosity of Joseph (Acts 4:36), powerfully in the life of Stephen (Acts 6:8). The fresh wind of God’s Spirit ignited the fresh fire of God’s mighty work. Our newcomers are a gift from God to remind us that God’s fresh wind blows steadily to ignite the flames of our prayer times, our love for the Word, our growing children’s and youth ministries and our outreach to our neighbours. It is a call to each of us to engage in this fresh movement of God’s Spirit, to abound in our walk, and to kindle the fire of spiritual lives to reflect the light of His presence.
As of November last year, New Life as a church by covenant would have attained 20 years of existence. It has been an eventful twenty years, with some points where only embers were left, and other points in which a global pandemic restricted our onsite numbers to only five. But, by His glory and in His gentle precision, God Spirit still gently blows where embers glow, fanning to flame and breathing new life into His good work. May God continue to move with fresh wind among us so that His fresh fire may shine brightly for the years to come. May we seek each one His glorious movement in our lives as we live for Him.