July 26, 2009

Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire

I just finished reading Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala. I had heard Pastor Cymbala speak on Focus on the Family several months ago and ordered the book through the paperback swap. I set it aside as I was reading another book when it arrived and just today picked it up to read. I started it this morning when we were at Dallas Children's waiting for Jack to head out for Camp Esperanza, there is a two hour wait time between the time we are supposed to arrive and the time the buses pull out. I knew the moment I started the book I would not be able to put it down until I finished it. I think it only took me about 5 or so hours to read all together so it wasn't a long book, just 185 pages.

Over the years this book has been recommended to me, but God's timing is perfect and it was today that my heart was ready to be touched by the powerful gift of prayer that Pastor C talks about. Over the last year I have read several books on prayer, none really speaking to me like this book did. I have a prayer life, I feel God calling me to more. More time dedicated to Him, more time interceeding for needs around me, dedicated prayer. Not just the breath prayers and fall asleep while I am talking to God prayers.

This book is so inspirational, it is a simple book to read. Jim was not a trained pastor in seminary or bible college, so his words are simple, easy to understand. He is someone who called on God in prayer because he was not able to rely on his own cleverness or finesse, he needed God to fill him with grace to be able to minister to a failing church. There are so many quotes I could put here, the book is totally marked up and underlined. One quote that is memorable to me is from page 20 where Jim is walking the journey of how he needs to act as the preacher of this church this is what he wrote.

"How I treasure those early humblings. Those experiences showed me that I didn't need to play the preacher. Jesus called fishermen, not graduates of rabbinical schools. The main requirement was to be natural and sincere. His disciples had to depend totally upon the Lord and His power. In the same way, I had to stop trying to act ministerial - whatever that was. God could only use Jim Cymbala the way he is. What a breakthrough that was for me as I learned to trust in God to use my natural personality. God has always despised sham and pretense, especially in the pulpit. The minute I started trying to effect a posture or pose, God's Spirit would be grieved."

I believe the reason this touches my heart so much are the words natural personality. It took me decades to feel comfortable in my own skin, being my natural self. Thanks be to God that He has given me the confidence that comes from Him to just be me. He loves me just as the song goes....Just As I Am. And that is all He wants to do is to shine His glory through me as simple as I am.

I can't recommend reading this book enough. It is a must read for all who want to see the Hand of God at work in a people who have humbled themselves, love the message of Christ and ask for His hand to be upon them in a mighty way. I pray the same thing for myself and my family and all I know.