fire

Fire fall down
Fire fall down
On us we pray
As we seek
Fire fall down
Your fire fall down
On us we pray 

Show me your heart
Show me your way
Show me your glory 

Several months ago I was with some students on a mission retreat. Our students love mission trips. And they are greatly impacted by serving others so we had planned a low key service and worship retreat. What that meant was our worship was a djembe drum and one guitar. The students had learned a new song a few months before, and I hadn’t heard it yet.

I will never forget my reaction to their deafening praise on what we like to think of the ‘jam’ at the end.

As they worshipped all I could think was…they have no idea what they are asking in these words, because it they did, then they wouldn’t be worshipping like this to these lyrics. They can’t possible know what that means. They can’t possibly be ready for that. They don’t know what they will be igniting among themselves. They aren’t prepared for that…

That thought has stuck with me for months…through our mission trips with both age groups. Then through worship and though seeing their favorite worship verses posted on social media.

In the back of my mind, when we sing those words, the thought keeps nagging me that they have no idea what they are asking of God…but it keeps colliding with a second thought.

That they do know.

They know that God’s power is infinite. They know that the Spirit of God cannot be contained. They know how strong their community is, and that God is fiercely among them. They know that the Holy Spirit is empowering and flowing through people all around them. They know that they are being called to incredible purposes in the Kingdom of God. They know he is igniting them to be change. They know he has set his people apart to be his heart for the world in all contexts, not just checking off ‘doing good’ on a list each week. They know that through their praise to the God who reigns…the God over the universe…that his definition of who they are at the core of their soul is the only one that matters.

Fire fall down…on us we pray.

Last Sunday on my birthday, the Worship Center set list had ‘The Stand’ at the end. One of my greatest gifts on Sunday was waiting for the chorus to come, looking toward where the students sit…and seeing their hands fly up in the air as they sang:

I’ll stand
With arms high and heart abandoned
In awe of the one who gave it all
I’ll stand
My soul Lord to you surrendered
All I am is yours

My prayer is that fire does fall down on them, and in ways they cannot even imagine, because they do know what they are asking.

They know because on Sunday nights the Holy Spirit is so thick it is actually tangible in the room. You can feel it when you walk in. It’s electric. It’s God present to those worshipping with their entire hearts. The whole reason they worship is their craving of connection to their Father, because they know they need that connection wherever they go. Especially when at the core of their worship is an undeniable thirst to be a force for good against injustice, and to live as God’s sent people.

Their service fuels their worship. Their worship fuels their service. It is a beautiful cycle with God’s word woven through both.

So God, bring that fire down, because I know this generation is capable of doing great things for the Kingdom. Honestly, it’s an honor to know them and pour what I’ve been taught into their hearts. But the injustice happening to the students right now is that there is a minority of people that are committed to pouring into them as disciples of Jesus. There is much to learn from our students, but there is also much that could be given in relationships from a community of believers. Holy Spirit, move in the hearts of your people and let your fire fall down on all of us.

*Fire Fall Down and The Stand, both by Hillsong United*

 

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blood ties

Family: Love and complication interwoven with a healthy mix of surrender and humility.

I get the honor of being the ‘oldest’ cousin. Sometimes it is a pain in the ass, but other times it means you get to see these amazing small people turn into even more amazing adults…beards and all. Labor Day weekend is a family tradition for us. We all gather at my grandma’s lake house each year, and as this weekend proved there are plenty of memories to reminisce.

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When you are allowed the honor of witnessing the family bonds in action, it plays out like a well rehearsed script that had been acted out for 24 years. In our extended family teasing, playing and sarcasm are staples of the blood bond we all carry…with the well intentional family spat and competitive spirit along the way.

As we’ve grown older my absolute favorite moments are the ones when we get so caught up in conversation that the whirlwind of family can blow around us in volume and action, but the conversation carries on. It is in those moments that we build on the foundation of family, and create memories that carry us to the next time we see one another.

In a world as fast and vast as ours we only see each other once or twice a year, and as with our world, it’s easy to get caught up in life and not keep up.

I’m guilty of that with my own brother. I hate we don’t live in the same town anymore. Honestly, I hate that he’s as old as he is…mostly because I still see him as the little brother he isn’t anymore in size, stature and life path.

Being intentional is hard when people are not physically close to you, but we have to take on the responsibility. I know my brother knows I love him. I’ve spent his entire life telling him, but if I don’t back that up with actions…does a piece of that family bond slacken?

But isn’t the purpose of family to make us a part of something bigger than ourselves? That we are not alone in this world. With all of the dysfunction and pain in this world we are pulled to hold on to those times that bind us together.

Isn’t it the same in a group of believers…are they not bound the same? We may not be tied by earthly blood lines, but the moment something goes downhill and they set everything aside to help you…earthly blood ties don’t matter, we are all family bound by the blood lines of Christ.

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Frankly, the students in Youth Group remind me so much of watching my cousins interact, but the teasing, playing and bountiful sarcasm are just a piece of what ties them together. For our students the are bound so much tighter through growing in Scripture, worship, mission and their common belief in Jesus. The blood lines of Christ. Strong aren’t they?

It’s beautiful. Just as I was enamored with spending a few days with my cousins who I have watched grow since they were babies, I am equally enamored with seeing how God will continue to grow those around me, and being thankful of the time God has given me to watch. I know well how strong the blood ties of Christ make a relationship, and I am grateful that our students are learning that as young as they are.

Here’s to the time we have, what we choose to do with it and the ‘family’ God has placed around us.