A Fire Shut Up In My Bones

The title captured the gist of a sermon today, one that compelled the person who knows me best to say, "That was about you today!" My wife has watched me now for 48 years wrestle with a calling to our city, my hometown. That calling seductive enough (the words our pastor used to convey the ability of God to outlast anyone's desire for escape) to cause me to abandon my formal preparation for public school leadership. My heart is still prone toward nurturing the potential of younger generations, but the deeper thirst is to impact the culture within the greater community. After all, community is critical to preserving the natural bent of a child and thus their adult legacy. My wife and I have been unbelievably favored and blessed with relational capital over the years and with that, a measure of financial success. My masters degree in community education and fund development has naturally drawn me into nonprofit leadership, though we have never been dependant in such a way as to suffer the mission drift and distraction that revenue streams often demand of the typical not for profits; to include the churches. We, thank God have always followed the passion of our heart, though at times more painful than being penniless it has seemed. Passion is a word often used in spiritual conversations and to me, everything at some point is spiritual. The passion of Christ, the freedom and free gift of a relationship with the Divine affords a love which is always sufficient capital for true impact and a grander vision. At one time, I felt the organized church might be center focus in my life. Thus, my long time engagement as an associate pastor both in a typical small church around 100, as well as a church that could honestly boast of 5000 adherents at her highest and best moments. That window when mega-churches were booming held my heart for over 20 years, though now the story has changed. I shall not forget the morning of December 28, 2008 when I heard these words, "My Church is in foreclosure!" Back to this morning's sermon, this Jeremiah-type cringed at the thoughts of having to communicate that message to the scores of believers who I then knew loved and respected me. I did attempt to put it in words, though years would pass before it became real for me. Now in 2022, that "Word" seems quite relevant as churches big and small struggle to sustain their role in their respective communities. Perhaps this is a moment when pastoral and denominational leadership will open their hearts to listen as this "Ole Ship of Zion" is finally restored back into the hands of her rightful owner. With that I pray comes the long awaited Kingdom transformation. The release of the fire shut up in the bones and the hearts of many now hungry for a move of God.

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