Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Private Faith

All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them - Acts 2:4

I will never forget the night I woke up to see fireballs coming at my house.  We rushed out hurriedly to save our children, pets and neighbors.  Firetrucks were setting up a perimeter on the street below our cul-de-sac and we only had minutes to escape.

Some friends opened up their home to us and we were safe.  Then, we got a knock at the front door that changed everything.  It was a federal firefighter who attended our church.  He had been separated from his crew and was looking for some people to join him to bring water and food to the front lines.  He promised our wives that we would never get close to the fire.  As a precaution, he checked us in at the base station and gave us fire suits and a crash course on what to do if caught in a fire.

Our mission was to remain private.  When another friend asked what we were doing, I forgot about the secrecy thing and told him we were headed to the front lines with supplies that had been donated by all the businesses in town. Our caravan suddenly doubled in size.  My friend's firefighter badge and the blinking blue light he bought from K-Mart were all we needed to get through the multiple barricades.

My buddy logged over 1,500 miles feeding the firefighters who refused to leave their posts for food at the base station.  Word spread quickly that our group was bringing supplies.  As we drove near the front lines, firefighters would appear out of the forest, usually in pairs, and yell out their preferences.

My favorite position was on the back of the truck, on top of the supplies.  As I tossed water bottles and food, I would yell, "thank you for what you are doing, God Bless you!"  The winds changed and suddenly we were very close to the flames.  A news truck spotted us and asked what we were doing.  "We are civilians from Ramona and all this food was donated from the local businesses.  We are feeding the firefighters", I yelled from the back of the pick up.

My friend's boss saw us on the news.  So much for keeping things "under the radar".    When the fire became too dangerous, our mission was aborted and we returned to our families.  Our friend told everybody to keep what we witnessed quiet.  This worked very well until I saw my wife.  Her jaw dropped as I described the flames on both sides of the truck. 

I find myself, once again on the front lines of a spiritual battle.  My new atheist friend told me what she likes most about her best friend, the way she keeps her faith private.  They get along because her friend is able to keep her mouth shut about God.  Everything is between her and God alone.

I am not wired to keep my relationship with God private.  Just as my team of volunteers delivered food and drink to our firefighter heroes, we need to share our faith with those who do not know Him, it is commanded by our Creator.  The Evil One is allowing the wildfire to burn out of control by keeping the faithful ones hushed up.

The first apostles were given a gift, the ability to speak in tongues, that is, to speak in their native language and be understood by those who spoke in other languages.  It would not have been given if it was to be unused.  This gift was given for the benefit of others.

God will give us a crash course in "fire prevention" and keep us safe as we spread the Good News.  Do not be tempted by the Evil One to keep your faith private, silence is one of his favorite weapons.  God's people need help on the front lines... will you sign up today?

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