I know that you have probably read and possibly taught/preached the story found in 1 Kings 18 about Elijah challenging the prophets of Baal to a showdown of the gods on Mount Carmel. In this showdown, we see that both Elijah and the prophets of Baal knew how to build altars. They both knew how to gather the rocks, where to place rock upon rock, and how to use the tools necessary to make it happen. Am I right? To those in this battle of the gods, it didn’t take rock(et) science (pardon the Burns humor) to build the altars. I am quite sure that both camps had built many altars in the past and had the how-tos of altar-building well established.
While I know that you know this story, I’d ask you to take a few minutes to take out your Bible and look at this story one more time. With a fresh set of eyes, see if you can find the difference between the prophets of Baal and Elijah. Did you find it? While both knew how to do the mechanical side of the challenge, only Elijah knew how to bring down the fire!
Before you read any further, let me warn you upfront that the Holy Spirit is about to get real personal with you. Ready? Many today have the mechanics of ministry down pat. They know how to pile the rocks. In fact, they may have attended numerous Rock-Piling Conferences and perhaps piled rocks for years. But, like the prophets of Baal, as great as their altar-making might be, they can’t deliver fire from heaven. Am I getting too personal and reading your mail right now?
Here is the reason for this post. Without the fire, the mechanics have no eternal significance. We may have the ambiance, the trendy bells and whistles, and the latest, greatest lessons, but until you and I know how to invite the fire of the Holy Spirit, those under our ministry will walk out of our ministry in the same condition in which they entered. Like this account found in 1 Kings, nothing will change until the fire appears!
Where’s the fire?