Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Hot and Cold (04/09/09)
TITLE: Ignite the Passion
By Cindy White
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“I’ve loaded up the freezer,” she had said before leaving. “I don’t want you eating those greasy burgers. You know what the doctor said about your cholesterol.”
“Yes, Mother,” he teased. He was touched by his wife’s concern.
James admired Carol’s passion for the people of Mexico but he didn’t share it. He wished he did, but he didn’t. He missed her while she was gone on these trips but was proud of her, too.
James spotted Pastor Gary at the restaurant and changed his plans when he agreed to join him on the patio.
“Thanks for having lunch with me. I’m not really accustomed to the bachelor life.” James regretted the words as soon as they left his mouth. Gary had been alone since losing his wife to cancer over two years ago.
“I’m not sure you ever really get accustomed to it,” he said. “But Carol will be home on Friday, right?”
“So they tell me.”
“James, why didn’t you go with the team to Mexico?”
James filled his mouth with burger as he searched for an answer. He simply had no desire to do hard labor for these poor people in Mexico, and he felt like a jerk to admit it. He had no excuse. He could afford it, had the time, and yet had never gone. But there was something about Pastor Gary that made him want to confess.
“I’ve been a Christian a long time, Gary. But I feel like something is missing, ya know? Carol has such a passion for God. I used to think it was just the difference between men and women. We all know women are more spiritual, right? But then I see these men in church, and they’re raising their hands in worship. I get in a men’s prayer group and these guys are crying out to God, tears and all. I just don’t feel it. Is there something wrong with me?”
“Do you remember when you first accepted Christ as your savior?” Gary leaned in. “What did you feel then?”
“I felt the weight of the world lifted off my shoulders. I felt hope!” He remembered the mess he had made of his life back then and the hopelessness he’d felt. Jesus truly was his redeemer. Who would have thought that someone so screwed up could end up a success and with an amazing wife like Carol?
“And what did you do with that? I think the more we have to be grateful for, the more we want to show Him we love Him.” Pastor Gary opened his Bible to the book of Revelations and read to James from chapter 3, verses 15 and 16, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”
“Ouch!” James knew that lukewarm was exactly what he was and he did not want Jesus to spit him out. “How can I get that fire in my life?”
“Let’s pray about this, James. I know this is a prayer God wants to answer.”
James glanced around and was grateful to find that the patio had cleared and they were now alone. Gary started the prayer but before long James found himself talking freely with his savior. He asked forgiveness, he poured out his gratitude, he prayed for guidance and passion, and he asked God to give him a heart for the lost and poor. Pastor Gary placed his hand on James’ head and prayed for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon him. Something was burning inside.
When they had finished praying, James opened his eyes to find they were filled with tears. That day James began a journey with God that brought new joy and passion to everything he did. And James found himself, six months later, digging a ditch in Mexico along side his beautiful wife.
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