Pastor John E. Russell
Senior Pastor
Downriver Christian Community Church
Melvindale, Michigan

Saturday, March 12, 2011


I remember back when I was a young boy going to my grandma's house almost every Friday night. My aunts and uncles would come over and bring all their kids, and we would fill up the basement and have a great time playing all sorts of games and just goofing around. But besides all the kids, there was one other thing that always fascinated me and that was the fireplace. Being the oldest grandson, I received the special privilege of being the "Keeper of the Flame." I took my job seriously and always kept the fire going. In fact, the adults usually had to tell me to not build the fire so big, but I couldn't help myself. I loved fires. It seemed I was always around fires, the ones I started, the ones I played with, and sometimes the ones I ended up putting out. Yeah, I ended up becoming a firefighter, imagine that! Even today, my wife Carolyn and I love sitting around a fire, whether it's in our fireplace at home or at a campfire when we're camping.

But there is another fire that I'm more concerned about than the one we make with wood. It's the fire that is or should be burning inside of us, the one that God wants to enjoy: our passion for Him. When John the Baptist was talking about Jesus, the coming Messiah, he said this...
Luke 3:16: John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
Jesus was coming, and one of the things He was going to do for His followers was fill us with the Holy Spirit and fire. We see the beginning of this wonderful new ministry soon after the resurrection when the disciples were in Jerusalem in the upper room.
Acts 2:2-4: Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
This is exactly what God wants, everyone of His people filled with a passionate fire for Him. This fire burns bright in us when the Holy Spirit is living and moving inside of us. We have to be careful that we don't push the Holy Spirit away from us and try to walk in our own power.
1 Thessalonians 5:19: Do not put out the Spirit’s fire
That's the last thing we want to do is put out the Spirit's fire. Having this fire is how we offer up our lives as a living sacrifice holy and pleasing to God! This is how we live a life that is pleasing to Him. This is how we keep ourselves from getting bored, tired, stale and lukewarm to God.
Revelation 3:15-16: 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.
I don't know about you, but the thought of our Lord spitting me out of His mouth is pretty scary.

Some people are afraid of fire. I think we have a lot more reason to be afraid of having no fire or of being lukewarm. So please, throw another log on the fire and shine on brightly!

Pastor John

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