Lighting A Fire In People

“I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!” –Jesus of Nazareth





I’ve been told in the past that I “really lit a fire in” someone, or “really threw gasoline on the fire” in someone else’s life.  They meant all these things in a good way, and I honestly believe the people weren’t lying at the time they said it.


But then, those fiery people ran into—or just went back to—other people, who didn’t have a fire.  Instead (for the sake of a continuing metaphor) they had dirt to throw and big boots—perfect for stomping out fires.  And they did—rather enthusiastically.


Then, those people turned their boots towards me, the source of the fire (so they thought).  The only problem was, the real source of my fire is God’s spirit.


So, people stomped and stomped, and threw dirt, and water, and made mud, and tried to suck all the air out of the room with those extinguishers – to choke the life out of the fire.  But, it didn’t work.  So, they did what all good Fire Fighters do when something is starting to spread.


They made a firebreak.


The “cool” thing is, I’ve found it’s easier to be happy and peaceful when I’m not being stomped on.  So, even though I might wish sometimes that things had turned out differently, I’m also “cool” with the way things are.


I’m just sorry for the people who keep getting stomped out by their “rescuers”.


And…yes, that person is green for a reason…boogers and envy…boogers and envy.



Get your own “Don’t be a fire extinguisher” t-shirt from our zazzle store. :)


  1. The devil’s temperature. Ha.

  2. Interesting post… I would love a little more details surrounding the actual situation, to get better understanding ~ it’s all pretty metaphorical. Just asking because I am interested in what’s being said here.

    much love, Leslie

    • Well, the actual situation was that we moved to Georgia because we felt strongly led to move here. We met with a few church leaders to see where we could help, and were mostly denied. We had a few ideas, after we saw needs, and we talked those up to see if we could get some support. We got a little bit, but never enough. We also had/have a very strong passion for international mission work, which we also encouraged people with every chance we got, until we realized it wasn’t doing any good and no one here cares enough to do it, or to do it right if they do.

      But, among all that preaching, begging, and teaching, my words someone inspired several people, and they seemed to think our passion was…something. I think, looking back, that it was more of a novelty than anything else. They didn’t know what to do with us, because we actually wanted to help, and I was saying things like, “Why not let homeless people sleep in your “sanctuary”? You’re only using it 3 hours a week, after all?” or, “Instead of paying a “minister of music”, why not fund 2 or 3 families to live overseas where money goes a lot farther, and just pick some songs and sing them each week? (Which is what ends up happening anyway, except a guy gets paid to do that!).

      Also, and I realize this now in hindsight, south Georgia is NOT California (where we’d been) or Maryland (where we’d moved from). Churches down here are a lot more comfortable with “O Brother Where Art Thou” than they are with suggesting that they sell their building, pool the resources, meet in houses, and use all that money to actually do some good, instead of maintaining a dying monument that Jesus never wanted.

      SO, some people really got fired up about that, because we were fired up about it, and we didn’t know not to talk about it (I still don’t :) ). Then they’d tell someone else their new thoughts, but they wouldn’t have put all the time and thought into the reasoning that I had, they just had a desire, or a new passion. So someone, usually their “significant other”, would just stomp all that out. Because they don’t want to move to Africa or Asia, or work with dirty homeless people, or sit on a couch in someone’s living room instead of a grand “sanctuary” with the chandelier and everyone in a nice dress.

      Then they’d turn to me. The source of their problems. Because I’d challenged their way of doing things. And I’d possibly even suggested that they weren’t following Jesus’ teachings as much as they were just being comfortable, and following traditions, and not getting their hands dirty. Like Jesus.

      So they’d prod their pastor along until he’d sneak and sort of work out a way to replace my volunteer time with someone else’s, who they could better control, who said things that made them more comfortable. Or they’d sneak around and start gossiping about me and trying to ruin my reputation. Or they’d redirect it all into some stupid theological debate that was really irrelevant to the topic, just so they could find an excuse to ignore me.

      This probably should have been a post by itself :) Oh well. I could be even more specific, but if I say exactly what happened, then the guys that, um, shafted me would probably come around again. Or call ahead to wherever I try to work next. Or lose their jobs, which is probably what they deserve anyhow, but I don’t want to be the guy to do that.