When the sunken Titanic was first located divers began to bring up pieces of the wreckage, one of the first items was a “stoker” shovel. This tool was use to feed the “fire” in the “stoke hold” of the ship which kept the fires of the engine burning hot. The job of the engine workers, the stokers, was to keep enough fuel on the fire to propel the ship to its destination. The Titanic never made it (for obvious reasons!) but we each have our own H.M.S. “His Majesty’s Ship” ___ (your name)_____ . Whether or not we fulfill God’s destiny for us on the earth is whether or not we keep our ship “stoked”.
Besides the dictionary definition of the word, stoked has come in our culture to mean excited, enthusiastic, pumped, committed to the point of absolute abandonment to the object of the stoke. Surfers are stoked on waves, snowboarders on steep mountains packed with white powder and most of us know what it is like to be stoked on a girl or a guy!
The Bible talks a lot about being stoked on God. Jesus said, “I have come to start a fire on this earth – how I wish it were blazing right now” (Luke 12:49). Paul said, “…keep yourselves fueled and aflame…” (Romans 12:11) and he told Timothy to “…fan into flame” the gift God had given him (2 Timothy 1:6).
In Jesus time there was a group of radicals called the Zealots whose hero was a guy named Phineas who stopped a plague by making a “spear shish-kebab” out of a rebellious Jew and his Midianite girlfriend as they together in their tent. God said of Phineas “…he was as zealous as I am because he was zealous for the honor of his God…”
(Number 25:6-15). Jesus choose one of the Zealots, Simon, to be one of His twelve apostles. Why? – Simply because God “warms up” to people that are spiritually “on fire”.
How about you? Are you stoked on Jesus? Is His Fire burning in your soul? We hear every day about sports heroes like Tiger Woods, who was so stoked on golf that at five years of age he hung a poster of Jack Nicolaus (the greatest golfer in history) on his bedroom wall and determined to break all of Jack’s records. Football players play with painful injuries. Neal Armstrong comes back from cancer to win the Tour de France and says in his book “IT’S NOT ABOUT THE BIKE” that his resolve came from the fire burning within. We read in our papers of Palestinians blowing themselves up with bombs because of an inner conviction that their cause is “right”. We know they are wrong – but they are committed. We also know that God is real, Jesus is Lord, hell is hot and sin ain’t right – therefore we should be blazing with a fiery zeal to see Jesus’ light shine through our lives.
Fire in the Circle
How do we get this fire started? Gypsy Smith, a fiery British evangelist, was once asked by a woman how to promote a revival. He told her to go home, get some chalk and draw a circle around herself on the floor. He then told her to get on her knees and cry out to God for his fire to fall within the circle. When that happens, he said, you’ve got revival.
Revival begins with you! Leonard Ravenhill once said “The reason we do not have revival is that we are content to live without it”. If you are not content without God’s revival fire blazing in your soul than I would suggest the following;
Repent - “repent and be converted…” (Acts 3:19). To repent means to “change your mind”. Humbly, (first condition of revival (2 Chronicles 7:14)) go to God and tell Him you are sorry for your sins and ask for His holy fire to overcome the sinful passions that push you toward the flesh rather than the Spirit.
Replace - substitute good stuff for bad stuff. Ephesians 5 gives us some great tips for spiritual substitutions “…light for darkness…awake not asleep…wise not foolish…filled with the Spirit, not drunk with wine… Praising, thanking, not complaining… submissive, not rebellious…”
Reprogram – “be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” (Romans 12:2)
Just like a computer your mind needs to be fed combustible material that will keep God’s fire burning. Paul told us to think about things are “true” - The absolute truth of God’s word…Honorable – virtues like integrity, honesty, loyalty… Just – no hidden prejudices or agendas, but be like God “just in all His ways” (Psalm 145 17) … Pure – put moral and sexual purity at the top of your list… Lovely – meditate on the beauty of God’s creation not man made temptations to lust, pride and violence… (See Philppians 4:8)
Firing Up Your Friends (How to Spread the Fire)
It’s a fact that a log will burn much longer and brighter if it is burning in a pile of logs and not by itself. One of the great things about fire is that it is wonderfully “catching”. John Wesley was once asked how to get a crowd while preaching on the street. He said, “Don’t worry about it. Just go out onto a street corner and catch yourself on fire and people will come and watch you burn!”
Some tips on how to burn together
- Get into God’s Word together
- Share teaching and music tapes and CD’s that have fired you up. “…His word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shUt up in my bones” (Jeremiah 20:9)
- Give away stories of stoked Christians in church history like William and Catherine Booth, D.L. Moody, Charles Finney, Keith Green, etc.
- Go to gatherings that fire up crowds of young people like “Acquire the Fire” and worship concerts that fuel your passion.
- Seek out and get mentored by older Christians that you consider to be “on fire’ and boldly ask them to disciple or at least coach your in you quest for the fire of God.
- Spend time in fasting and prayer with some like-minded friends and seek God for a fresh outpouring of His Spirit and power in your life.
Fighting Fire With Fire
A generation ago, Jim Morrison of The Doors sang “Come on baby light my fire” and shortly there after died of a drug overdose. In our generation, Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain wrote “…light my candles in a daze, cause I found god, hey, hey, hey” and then he took his own life. Today the fires of sin and hopelessness are after this generation of youth to drag them into hell while a God in Heaven is looking for volunteers upon which He can poor out the blazing fire of His love and holiness. We can fight fire with fire. We can take heaven into hell. We can light up this world with the same blazing inferno that was begun on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2). How? Fill your heart with combustible materials, get next to God (who is a consuming fire – Hebrews 12:29) and catch your world on fire!