I was raised (and often reared … if you get my drift) in a home where my sister Ruth and I had to be dead three days before missing church. After all, if Jesus rose from the dead on the third day, Mom and Dad expected us to as well. Missing church for baseball practice, going to the movies with friends on a Wednesday night, being up late on a Saturday night and not getting up for church on Sunday wasn’t an option. Consequently, in addition to the great foundation laid at home each day, we received consistent, systematic, solid Bible teaching in our Sunday school classes, children’s church, and Royal Rangers and Missionettes clubs. Thanks Mom and Dad!!!!
It was through those Bible studies that I fell in love with the story of Elijah on Mt. Carmel. After all, what boy in his right mind wouldn’t love a story about the battle of the G(g)ods? What boy doesn’t have pyromaniac yearnings for fire to bellow down from heaven?
This week, that story became even more alive to me. I have told this story for many years, first in our days of traveling as Children’s Evangelists in our Kid’s Crusades and from time-to-time in children’s church here at Trinity. But, in each telling of the story, I have always emphasized the battle and the fire. But this week, God placed a special emphasis in my heart about the cloud that followed the showdown between Baal and God.
I know that you remember the story found in 1 Kings 18. There had been a God-ordained drought for 3 years. Before the battle on the mount, Elijah told Ahab to prepare for rain. After the battle, Elijah forecasted a heavy rain was on its way. Upon sending his servant 7 times to go look for the rain clouds, the only thing that Elijah saw was a cloud the size of a man’s hand. A big promise had been given. All that Elijah could see was a small vessel on the horizon for its delivery.
Here’s what God shared with me about this story. In addition to being the children’s pastor of a local church, my mission or assignment right now is to travel around the nation and globe prophesying about a mighty rain of the Holy Spirit. In pulpits and in conferences I stand as Peter did on the Day of Pentecost declaring that “This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel.” I am convinced that this is the day of the Holy Spirit in children’s ministry. And yet, what I see in doing these meeting are small pockets of people that are enjoying this rain. Here’s what God told me through this story (here’s the shouting material) according to 1 Kings 18, the size of the cloud didn’t determine the amount of the downpour! Right now, the cloud may be small. There may be only small pockets of people across the nation crying out for a Holy Spirit deluge. After this encouragement from God, with confidence I too like Elijah will boldly continue to say that I see a HEAVY rain in the forecast!!!!
Be encouraged. I’m Billy Burns and I’m your Holy Ghost weather forecaster. There is a 100% chance of that cloud that is the size of a man’s hand raining upon the children in your ministry this weekend. I see that a gullywasher (that’s Texas vernacular) Holy Ghost rain storm is already raining up the road from you and the cloud is heading your way. To quote T.D. Jakes, “Get ready, get ready, get ready.” I see the rain a comin’.