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Seeker-sensitive churches and wrestling with wet wood

It’s a cold morning. Whimsy rousted me out of bed, so I set about making coffee and building a fire in the hearth. Here, my day got off to a slow, tough start. The wood was wet with frost and sat there sizzling and fizzling, frustrating me, the cold, groggy fire-starter. What should h…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

It’s a cold morning.
Whimsy rousted me out of bed, so I set about making coffee and building
a fire in the hearth. Here, my day got
off to a slow, tough start. The wood was
wet with frost and sat there sizzling and fizzling, frustrating me, the cold,
groggy fire-starter.

What should have taken five minutes turned into a wrestling
match with a balky bunch of twigs and sticks that I kept rearranging and blowing
at, resulting in a great deal of smoke, but little fire.

Similarly, people who start seeker-sensitive churches want
to start crackling fires in cold places.
They attempt to speak and listen in ways that a spiritual conversation
can be ignited. It’s a missionary
enterprise and a noble one.

At some point, a fire needs to ignite. Sometimes, the wood of
spiritual inquiry is so wet with cynicism that all it will do is sizzle,
filling the room with smoke.

Around the world today in places like Mozambique, South
Korea, and the Ukraine, spiritual bonfires are
blazing away. Whole populations are
warming themselves in their glow.

Those who would tend wet wood sometimes confuse the smoke
with fire and should be forgiven for interpreting reality through the lenses of
hope. It can be a thankless task, but we
need their missionary heart and vision. I personally think more of us need to be seekers – seeking God himself for all we’re worth, and seeking his missionary heart.

Along those lines, here’s a great promise: “You’ll seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jer. 29:13) All my life I’ve been a seeker – maybe that’s why I love that verse.

Comment

  • This reminds me of what I was reading in Exodus yesterday, about Moses going to deliver the Israelites from Egypt. Things got a whole lot worse before they ever saw God really work and even the Israelites turned against Moses. Exodus 6:9 Moses tells the Israelites what God had said to him but they did not listen to him because of their broken spirit and hard labor. I wrote as a reminder to myself “Don’t loose hope in God’s deliverance just because you have been hurt.” It is no fun to get smoke in your eyes but the end result of a strong fire is amazing.

    Shari

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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