One of the ways Vicki and I kindle our love relationship is by engaging in some deep heart to heart conversation around a bonfire on the back patio. We reflect on the joy of being united as one, or about God’s vision for our lives and for our family, about the transformation we are experiencing, but mostly about the blessing of having so many deep friendships as we silently scroll through Facebook.
I believe most people enjoy gathering around a good crackling pit fire on a cool summer’s night. Pit fires seem to have a natural way of bringing about good conversations filled with reflections of the events of the past week, solving the world’s problems, or from fond childhood memories.
Memories like the time when Mitchell had a bunch of his high school friends over for a bonfire. It was getting late so Vicki and I decided to go to bed which apparently presented the perfect opportunity for the boys to throw an unopened can of pork and beans into the fire. Well wouldn’t you know it, in the same way pork and beans can create internal combustion in a human being, so it is when thrown in an open fire. We hadn’t been in bed long when we heard what sounded like a gunshot followed by an eruption of laughter, Yep, the can of beans exploded and we had pork and beans all over our yard, even on our deck that was 40 feet away. (Hey kids, you’ll have to try it sometime!)
As I was thinking about some of our more memorable bonfires, I also thought about the one we had last summer. Vicki and I were getting low on fire wood, so I stopped at a gas station in Rock Rapids and I picked up a couple bundles of tightly wrapped, precut logs that had been sliced into one inch by ten inch pieces.
Later that evening I neatly stacked our remaining supply of fire wood on the fire pit: I filled the nooks and crannies with newspapers and started striking a couple of rocks together. Soon Vicki and I were enjoying the warmth and light of a roaring bonfire. Not long after, as all fires do, the flames began to die, so, eager to try out the new wood I purchased, I strategically added a few of the pieces. However, much to my surprise, rather than fueling the fire again, the remaining flames turned to red hot embers and the wood I added began to send plumes of white smoke into the sky.
Immediately I was overcome by feelings of disenchantment, but thank goodness the Holy Spirit reminded me of my Calvinist Cadets training—get the bottle of lighter fluid. I quickly grabbed the bottle and I gave it a good squeeze, as the stream of accelerant hit the glowing embers, the flames immediately leapt high into the air filling the dark cold night with a beautiful warm glow. But then, and again much to my disillusionment, the fire almost extinguished itself before I could slide the marshmallows on my roasting stick—my new bundle of wood was wet wood.
As I reflected on that memorable experience, I thought about the story in Acts 2 and how the Holy Spirit ignited that early church on fire to be a light in this dark world. And then I thought about the Apostle Paul’s warning in I Thessalonians 5:19 “Don’t put out the Spirit’s fire” (GW). Which led me to ponder; when it comes to the Kingdom fire blazing at ARC, in what ways am I good dry wood that fuels the fire, and in what ways am I like wet wood that puts out the Spirit’s fire?
When I reflect on the fire at ARC, in our Classis, or in our denomination, I’m wondering about the impact of wet wood.
I am the light of the world,