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Summary: This is a time to seek to know God in your life and at work in your world. It is a time to have your passion for God awakened. If you have been there and want to keep that fire burning, you must stoke that fire of God’s presence through Bible study, Fello

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Many of you know the experience of stoking a fire.

Stoke: to poke, stir up, and feed (www.dictionary.reference.com)

E.g. I remember my youthful years when cutting logs with dad for a new house. When the morning cut was over and we sat for lunch around our open fire it would become embers in minutes so that it nearly died and we would become chilled. The flame and warmth of the fire was maintained by stoking the fire, adding more wood and keeping it alive.

Different types of wood achieve diverse results.

• Birch Bark - great for starting fires. Soon dies out, almost as quickly as it started.

• Kindling – starts slow; some smoke; once it catches it creates a good blaze! But it doesn’t last very long. Longer than birch bark, just a slower start and longer finish.

• Cedar (softwood) - burns great, bright instant flame, good heat but for a short duration. It has a great smell to it and the fragrance just permeates the room – my Bermuda experience of burning cedar in the fireplace.

• Maple (hardwood) - burns great. Excellent heat. Beautiful flame. Burns for a long duration. Steady heat for a long time.

• Our fellowship must always desire and aim passion to experience God at work in our lives which reflects himself as beautiful, consistent, dependable, steady, enduring, warming! What is the “maple” equivalent that will fan the presence and influence of God? We look to Acts 2:42 for the answers. We must stoke the fire of God through:

1. Bible study

Acts 2:42a

• “Devoted themselves” literally means constantly desired more and more of the apostles’ teaching. It has been suggested that this picture is one that means “they knew Jesus better than anyone else.” (The Speaker’s Bible). Their study was not based on doctrine and theology, but experience – they had experienced God through Jesus Christ. They had proven him to be who he claimed to be – the Son of the living God. They had tested their doctrine and beliefs against this man’s claim and found him to be God!

• When we experience God’s touch in our lives we want more of him! You cannot be touched by the finger of God and say “that was good but I don’t want any more.” You crave more and an evidence of knowing you have been touched by God is reaching for more of him through the study of the Scriptures.

Bible study is a critical building block to our continuing faith journey. Such was its place and priority in the early church that Paul charged the young pastor Timothy, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

(NLT): “Work hard so God can approve you. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

The hard work that we are challenged to do is the hard work of living the truth and presenting that truth without compromise. To do that of course we must know the truth, both through our experience of God personally and our knowledge of the Scriptures as the inspired written word of God to the world.

I feel compelled to suggest that one reason many have no desire to study the Scriptures is because their life has not had a strong experience of God personally and relationally. If one has not experienced the truth of God personally, Bible study is nothing more than an academic activity, thus the reason why many are not interested.

In an effort to stoke passion for God to be at work in our lives in our Family this coming season, we will aim to have everyone in a cell group. It is Biblical and if Biblical then necessary.

• Gift of teaching? – need to speaking to us about this important ministry. Don’t worry if you don’t have this gift. We all have the gift to learn!

If we will desire and aim for the passion of God at work in our lives which reflects him through us, we must stoke the fire of God through:

2. Fellowship

Acts 2:42b

• More than singing the same song during Sunday morning worship time.

Trekkie fans – familiar with Tuvok and his Vulcan mind meld. By placing his fingers strategically on another’s face their thoughts become his thoughts and the Vulcan would say, “Our minds are one.”

This is the picture language of Fellowship in this text. They were a living, breathing organism that pulsated with one singular focus and purpose as they fed off each other. It is to know the apostle’s words of 1 Corinthians 12:26 where, using the human body as an example of how the church should relate to its members, “If one part suffers all the parts suffer with it.”

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