By Shell Perris
3 minute read.
“You never have to advertise a fire. Everyone comes running when there’s a fire. Likewise, if your church is on fire, you will not have to advertise it. The community will already know it.”
– Leonard Ravenhill
In 2005, I remember sitting in the office of Andy Hawthorne, CEO and Founder of The Message Trust. He went to his bookshelf, pulled out a well-worn copy of “Why Revival Tarries” by Leonard Ravenhill and handed it to me saying, “You’ve got to read this book.”
I’ll let you into a secret… Despite being an author, I’m not the biggest fan of reading. Being given a copy of a book originally published in 1959 with an out-dated front cover, musty pages and a title that I didn’t even understand was not doing very much for me. However, I politely smiled, put the book in my bag and vowed I would read it. What I didn’t realise at the time was that Andy had given me a gift that would significantly impact my life for the rest of my life.
I have since read “Why Revival Tarries” many times. I have bought countless copies to give to people I know, who may well have had an initial reaction similar to mine! It’s a book I will continue to come back to time and time again. Why? Because it stirs something of God’s Spirit up in me that I never want to lose and it puts fire back in my belly!
Fire attracts attention; it re-shapes and refines; it purifies; it dispels darkness. It spreads quickly and needs little encouragement once it gets going. Fire can cause immense devastation yet bring the comfort and warmth one longs for. It’s mesmerizing, captivating and has the ability to bring people together. (Just think of bonfire night and your favourite campfire song!)
This quote from Ravenhill’s, “Why Revival Tarries”, is like wind to the embers within…
“No man is greater than his prayer life. The pastor who is not praying is playing; the people who are not praying are straying. We have many organizers, but few agonizers; many players and payers, few pray-ers; many singers, few clingers; lots of pastors, few wrestlers; many fears, few tears; much fashion, little passion; many interferers, few intercessors; many writers, but few fighters. Failing here, we fail everywhere.”
― Leonard Ravenhill
Ravenhill has this wonderful ability to inspire his audience to put God at the heart of everything, whether that be family, friendships, work, ministry or ‘me’ time.
Wherever you’re at with what God has called, chosen or appointed you to do, make sure that kingdom values are at the core. Ensure the fire of God is burning bright. After all, a flame is easy to extinguish but a roaring blaze will keep burning until it has nothing left to devour. Don’t lose sight of God in your planning, dreaming and implementing. Never be fearful of re-evaluating in order to maintain Spirit driven principles. Make sure that the landscape of God’s kingdom is changing for the better as a result of your work and success. Hold on tightly to the fact that all you have, all you own and all you hold dear belongs to God first and foremost.
The vision you carry, the people in your care, the tools and skills you have acquired along the way; it’s all been entrusted to you by God. He desires and deserves to be lifted high by who you are and what you do. Whatever sector you’re in, however open you can or cannot be about your faith in God, be a champion of Christ. Create a culture that is pleasing to God; establish an ethos that makes Him smile. Live differently, make more time for prayer, get stuck into God’s word, dream big, bold, God-given dreams, give generously, take risks, be teachable, spend time with great people, make wise choices and keep going when things get tough. Many of those things help to fuel the fire that God has put within you.
However, what fuels that fire more than anything is God. Money, fame, reputation, people resources, assets – they will fade away. Time on this earth will one day run out. But the fire of God will be ablaze forever, directly sourced and sustained by Him. There’s no need to panic about what you can throw onto the flames to keep them burning. God’s presence is enough, and in God’s presence is where we all need to be. That’s where the fire within us is ignited and everything we need to fulfil our God-given purpose is found.
Let us not settle for smoking remnants, but instead strive for a life fuelled by the fire of God.