Flames: The Light of Spiritual Awakening

On a Sunday morning, December 17, 2023, at WHBC, Pastor Gary Caudill presented a compelling sermon titled "Flames," centered around the themes of spiritual awakening and revival. Drawing from scriptures such as Psalm 18:28 and Proverbs 20:27, Pastor Caudill explored the metaphor of the human spirit as a candle lit by the divine, emphasizing the transformative power of God's light in dispelling darkness from our lives. The sermon intricately wove together the personal spiritual journeys of notable Christian figures like Billy Graham, Jim and Elizabeth Elliot, Annie Armstrong, Charles Spurgeon, and George Whitefield, each story highlighting a pivotal moment of surrender to God's call. Pastor Caudill's message resonated deeply with the congregation, inviting reflection on our own spiritual paths and the purposeful lives we are called to lead in Christ.

Through the sermon, attendees were encouraged to ponder three existential questions framed by the scriptures: Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? These questions, supported by biblical references from Psalm 139, Ephesians 2, and John 14, guided the congregation towards a deeper understanding of their identity, purpose, and destiny in God's overarching plan. The culmination of the sermon with Hebrews 1:7 symbolically crowned the message, likening believers to flames of fire, ignited by the Holy Spirit to shine forth in a world in need of light.  "Flames" not only shed light in the minds of those present but also kindled hearts with a renewed passion for living out the gospel.  Many youth came forward to make public commitments to Christ and/or to seek His face.

Full (unedited) Transcript...

NOTE:  The following transcript has been generated by AI, and may not be 100% accurate due to limited human resources by which to check behind the rendering.

Psalm chapter 18, verse 28, the Bible says, "For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness." Let's read it one more time together. If you can, can you read it out loud with me? "For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness." Today, I'm going to preach on flames. Thank you for being seated in the presence of the Lord. Flames.

The Psalmist David historically here was reminiscing on a season in his life both before and during his kingship where he had faced some hard times. Specifically, some of those things that he may have been reminiscing on were the time when King Saul was after his life. Alright, so Psalm 18:28, the Psalmist is reflecting, and if you'll remember, at one point he was on the run, dwelt in caves while King Saul was after him.

There was jealousy. He saw that God's hand was on David. He saw that David was next in line to be king. And King Saul was not playing, but no, to say the least. In fact, King Saul went a little bit crazy. If you remember, sometimes he would lure David in to play music. And he was so annoyed with his gift of music that all he had to do was play the harp. And no, he didn't. And God's anointing was so on his playing of the harp that the demons would be driven away from King Saul. They couldn't even handle just the playing of the instrument. It means there's no mention of lyric or words being sang or spoken. Just play it. You know, God is the one who created it. Thank you. Somehow or another hooked us with the heart of God when he played that instrument.

Well, other times King Saul would be throwing daggers at David trying to kill him. He was what some of the day might call schizophrenic or maybe bipolar. I don't know, he was up one day down in that unpredictable, unstable water. That's what happens when God gives an authority. Subverts the leadership of God in their lives. When you start introducing disorder into your life by being disobedient to the one who has anointed you, everything starts going haywire. That's not my message, but this is the environment that David is reflecting upon, and he says, "For you will light my lamp." He's speaking from experience, he was in a dark place, but the Lord, based upon his experience with God, "Lord, you did it for me before, you'll do it for me again, you will light my lamp, you will enlighten my darkness," how many of you think God will turn the light on in some areas in your life? Say amen this morning. I'm talking about flames. I'm talking about flames.

Another scripture I want you to consider is Proverbs chapter 20 and verse 27 where the Bible says that the spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly. This is a King James word, and what it's dealing with is the inner parts, your inside man. You might say your soul, your spirit, that was in you, you know, your thoughts, your intentions, your motives, all that stuff that it says, that the spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord. That's why when a man is long, long, long, long, long, long, long, long, long, long, and his spirit is disconnected from God, spiritually he's dead. He has no life from God. That's why lost people walk in darkness because their spirit is dead until it is resurrected by saving grace. And then once you get saved by the grace of God, your spirit is reborn, you are reconnected to your Creator, and now that spirit is connected to the God of heaven who can enlighten you, can inform you, can educate you, can give you what you need to know when you need to know so you don't live in other darkness. Somebody say amen. So the spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord. That was the original design intent for you to live in connection with your Creator. Creator God and for him to work with you for you and through you the mighty works of God. You are not meant to live in a vacuum. You are not meant to do it your way. Amen. Christianity cannot live by the slogan of Burger King. Haven't your way? No. You do it God's way. You don't do it your way out. Can I get an amen? God created you for a reason.

Now in this mixed congregation, we have several young people, we have middle-aged people, we have elderly. It's a good mixed congregation but I especially want to talk to anyone under the sound of my voice who's still looking for why you are here. In fact, theologians will tell you that the big three big questions of life are this: who am I? Why am I here, and where am I going? Would you agree with that? Yes, those are the questions that theologians argue and debate about and many different religions have many different actions, but my friend let me remind you you have one creator and if you want to know why you are here you just need to seek your Creator. Can I get an amen? Alright, and so did you know that the Bible actually answers all of these questions very simply and very easily. I'm head of some we're so stick with me. For example, the question, "Who am I?" is answered in the book of Psalms chapter 139 and verses 13 and 14 where it says, "For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well." That's it. The psalmist answered first the question who am I? Let me answer with the Bible according to the word of God. You can declare emphatically and you can say to the psalmist this my soul knows right well that I am God's masterpiece made for his purpose. Who are you? You are a creation created by your Creator God for a specific purpose. That is an essential part, as we understand.

Why do you think communism and all of these governmental regimes, this totalitarian governments of men, why do you think they always try to disconnect you from any notion of a creator in your life? It is because they want you to think of them as your ultimate authority. They don't want you to have an inner compass that tells you right from wrong because as soon as you get the idea that you answer to a higher call you may be in direct rebellion to a regime that does not want you to succeed or to prosper. Can I get an amen? That's why communism is primarily atheistic in their views. It's not really because they believe there's no God they just don't want you to believe there's a God because they want ultimate control and Satan is always out for mind control and heart control if he can get this young generation to believe that they can call their own destiny that they can do whatever they want to do and they don't have to have God in fact God doesn't even exist whether the devil's well on his way to deceiving the masses and leading them straight into the pits of hell while keeping

 them chained all the way. You need to know that you were created by a creator with you in mind and you're not a coincidence. You're not an accident. You're not just the byproduct of a night gone wrong. You're hearing what I'm saying. saying, if you are breathing, then God gave you the gift of life and it is not an accident what the devil may have meant for evil, even if it was not the most ideal of circumstances, maybe your momma and your daddy were not even married. Maybe you were born out of wedlock. Maybe you were the by-product of a rape and you've always lived under the shadow that they have to they can't be any order or meaning or purpose but let me remind you that if you're breathing God allowed it for a reason and he can take what the devil meant for everyone spin it around for his good for your good and for his glory amen but you need to know that you are God's masterpiece you're fearfully and wonderfully made because the devil and society would devalue you, make you feel worthless, make you tire worth to have good you perform for somebody else. I'm glad that God saw my worth before I ever performed anything for him. You know, God doesn't love you based on your performance. He loves you based upon what Jesus already did. He doesn't redeem the redeemable. He doesn't redeem those he says well those are worth saving but those are not no God looks at all of you man who says every one of them. I'll save them all if that this take me. That's how valuable you are to God because he knows what he can do with you. He knows what he created you for and you do you do yourself a service by getting plugged into a good Bible believing Bible preaching Bible practicing church that actually believes in creator God and leads you to be through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. There is no other religion under heaven that has this kind of an answer. Every other founder or maybe other major religion is dead in the grave. Jesus is the only one with infallible proof that got up three days later all by himself. And he lives, and he ever lives to make intercession, he's praying for you right now from the throne of heaven. Good night. He's very much alive and well and you are here because he created you. So who am I? I am God's masterpiece made for his purpose. Now why am I here? Well, the book of Ephesians chapter 2 says for we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which God has been foreordained. ordained that we should walk into them. So, his purpose is for you to get connected with him through Jesus and then to allow him through you to exhibit good works that point other people to him. Amen. Did you know that your good works don't get you to heaven? But your good works can point others to heaven. Your good works can point others to Jesus. We don't do good works as an achievement effort to try to earn salvation. We do good works because we're already saved and our new creatures. We are old things have passed away, all things have become new. Now I have Jesus living in me, and the Jesus living in me has gotta get out. Somebody's been gone. business. God lived on the inside of somebody's village. You can't help but stick out somewhere. Can I get an amen right there? He's going to walk through, show his love and his character, and he's going to want to do it through you. That's why he created you. And I'll wait with this notion that this popular idea that, well, that church, that ain't for everybody. and that ain't for most." I know what the Bible says. The Bible says, "Few there be that find it." But that ain't because it wasn't God's will. That's not because it was God's will for it to be that way. You didn't understand, it's God's will for every one of you to sign up for Jesus, and every one of you to live for Him. It's not His will that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. In fact, I think we have far fewer, far less preachers than we should. Far less missionaries than we should. I mean, why is it such an odd thing for a young person to surrender to the mission till today? It's not because God's not calling, it's because people are listening to their wrong voices. And they're placing their value in the wrong places. They're identifying with us. wrong places. Why am I here? I'm here to glorify God. He said, "I know the thoughts I think towards you." He said, "The Lord talks of peace and not of evil to give you an expected end." In other words, God has a plan for your life and you best be seeking after. Remember the scripture we read, "The Spirit of Man is the candle and the Lord searching all the humble parts of the valley." Why does man, why is man born searching? That's because God wants you to search, continue to find. Amen. Why do men seek for hope at the bottom of a bottle and discover that it's empty? And they look for hope and hope only to find out that after the high comes the low again and they look for hoping and and the extra merit affairs and all the sin of society only to find out that they're still empty and hopeless and help us why don't men go on endless searches for peace and joy and happiness never to find it and last time until they received Jesus Christ in the Savior and then all of a sudden their sins are washed away all of a sudden they're filled with hope and purpose and peace peace and I remember when I got saved, you know what, as an 11-year-old boy I could have went the wrong way very easily. I went to a public high school and most of my public high school friends and colleagues were not in church, they were not believers, they were not Christians and I was exposed to a lot of junk. Y'all know how it is. I can't imagine how much worse it is now than it was was in the 1990s. Amen. Can't imagine. Now with smartphones and pornography, it's your fingertips and all the junk that kids have to put up with and wade through nowadays. It's a lot worse now than it ever was. Let me tell you something. If you get hooked up to Jesus, he'll guide you through all those land lands of life and keep you pure as fuck. from the world and feel you full of purpose and happiness. And you'll discover that nothing will satisfy you like the relationship with your Creator. There's a big hole in your heart shaped like Jesus and only Jesus can fill it. Only Jesus. The mistakes some make is they will say they will try to prove it wrong. We'll also appreciate all living up and I'll have a good time. time, and he's wrong about me. Maybe other people can't find happiness without him. You won't find happiness in anything but Jesus, because He didn't create you to be fulfilled without Him. Why? Let me ask you a question. Why would God create you to be fulfilled without Him, when He's the best of His to offer? It would be cruel of God to create you to be fulfilled without Him. No way

! that he's the best thing he can offer you. Why would he give you any less than the best? See how the devil twists your mind and makes you think the world has something better to offer than God? It is nothing but a flat-faced lie going to get an advantage for you. Let me tell you something, Jesus is the best thing going ever, always has been, always will be. And that's the reason he says I am the way of the truth in my life. No man comes with him to the Father, but by me. He's not being rude or cruel. He's actually being very loving by insisting upon the fact that if you want any hope, you need to hook up with the only one that has all the answers. Why would he leave you in your darkness? The world would have you think that we're crazy. We've lost our mind and we're playing mind games and we're manipulating your mind and we're brainwashing you. They call us all kinds of things. No, the only cult they have is they've been done to drink the coolate of the devil, cause it to let the devil leave them away from Jesus. Amen. So listen, who am I? I'm God's masterpiece. Why am I here? I'm here to serve God. Where am I going? Well, John chapter 14, this is that question. Jesus said, I go in my father's house with many mansions or many dwelling places. And let me have you. you with why the King James translators use that word mention let me ask you a question let me ask you a question because I know there's debate about whether or not that was an accurate translation dwelling place in my father's Jesus talking about God the father's dwelling house if you were translating the Bible in the English English, and you were in England, and you thought about what is the best word that can describe the biggest house that man can relate to? What word would you use? Palace. Palace or a mansion. That's why the translators use that. Because they're speaking God's size. They're not talking just average and ordinary. Am I following out so many? many mansions or dwelling places, there's room for everybody, can I get an amen? If everyone else, oh I would've told you, I go to prepare a place for you. God's got a spot just with your name on it. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am, that you may be also. But let me tell you something, this picture speaks more to entering. entering into that place through a relationship with Jesus Christ than it does entering into the portals of glory because you'll not get to the portals of glory until you are in that place with Christ. This is better than heaven. This is walking with God in Emmanuel in your heart. You know we celebrate the fact that Jesus came 2,000 years ago as a baby. God bless you. But I have this Christmas to celebrate that he's still coming with us into the hearts of the person of the Holy Spirit every single day of the year. Amen. That he's still with us. I know he might have physically went to his father but through the Holy Spirit he said he said I will come and Antioch will not leave you comfortless and so why are we here we're here to serve him where Where are we going? We're going to that place to dwell with the Father and with the Son. And you don't have to wait until you get to heaven to get there. Here's why. Because He said He has made us to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Did you know if you're born again, you're already in that place? You're with the Father and you're with the Son in the heavenlies. heavenlies spiritually speaking. There's an earthly domain, there's a spiritual domain, and when you get saved the morning again because your spirit reconnects with God, you are now sitting at the council seat of the Divine Trinity of God. And anytime you need access, you can just raise your voice and he'll hear you. Let us therefore come holy before the tone of God. Christ. God's goal is for you to live in the presence of God. Where are you going? Well, you're meant to live in His presence. I love what Charles Stanley defined as success. He says success is living in the presence of God. When you're living in the presence of someone who has it all, say it all. all, knows it all, amen, holds it all, does it all, what better place can you be? That success right there, success is not in you knowing it all, but in you having connections to the one who does. Amen. And who cares? Not only is willing, not only is able to help you, but is willing, more than willing and made the ever way possible to help you. Amen. I mean, I'm laying a good foundation for you. this sermon and I hope you're paying attention. So we've answered the three questions. Why am I here? Who am I? Where am I going? Now, I want to give you some examples, some modern history examples of names you'll most likely recognize, of people who surrendered to God in their lives and God views in powerful ways. Thank you. But what I want you to pay particular attention to is not the end story, not how great an impact they made so much as how small their beginnings were. Because if everybody thinks that the big stuff is for somebody else, everybody thinks that some creature so-and-so, He's the one. one. They're the one that God can use. God will never use me like that. And they underestimate the flame of God in their heart. I'm looking at young men and young ladies in this building today. You have no clue what's available to you until you seek God in prayer and listen for His voice. But you can have a completely different future than the one you have planned for yourself or thought for yourself when it comes to God. created you for so much more. And I want you to think of yourself as a private candidate, not a last pick. I remember in elementary school in particular when we didn't line up for PE class, I was always the last one to get picked on the teams because I was the least likely to be helpful in scoring points. I'm just now at the It is what it is. But I found my gift and I found my calling. It's in preaching and teaching the Lord of God. If that's where I want to make it count for the Lord. Are you hearing what I'm saying? But I tell you, no matter what your skill set is, God is not looking to you as a last resort. God can use your gift set and your talents and your strengths in a magnificent way. way. Just make yourself available. I think, for example, and I'm going to do some reading. Is that alright this morning? Y'all are right with that. Thank you for example. Who knows your Billy Graham's? Crazy question, right? In Billy Graham's private moment of surrender, he was in a revival meeting. His turning point came during the series of revival meetings. We have that. evangelist Mordecai Ham. Nobody ever heard of it until Billy Graham got heard of it, and then he told the story. So

 everybody wants to be Billy Graham, but nobody understands the significance of Mordecai Ham. If Mordecai Ham had not been obedient to Billy Graham, they had never got saved. He may not have had the impact. Correct. Thank you. This was in 1934 but Ram then as a teenager, are you listening young people, was moved by Ham's preaching and made a personal commitment to Christ. This experience set him on the path to becoming one of the most influential Christian evangelists of the 20th century. Billy Graham is estimated to have preached the gospel to more people in live audiences than anyone else in history. Nearly 215 million people in more than 185 countries and territories. Through his radio and television broadcasts, books, and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, his message reached hundreds of millions more. His influence extends beyond these numbers through his counseling of world leaders, his role in the rise of evangelicalism, and his encouragement of a new generation of evangelists. All that because a young teenager heard the voice of God and caught flame. He said, "I want to be a flame for Jesus." He surrendered to that. Now, I'm not saying that everybody can be a Billy Graham, but everybody can. can be a Mordecai. Are you hearing what I'm saying? Everybody can make a difference in one person's life, and you never know how far a region of that one difference will make. I thought about-- have you ever heard of the missionaries, Jim and Elizabeth Elliott? Y'all remember the story they surrendered to the mission field? They went to reach the unreached tribes. And that was-- that was a trial. Indians actually martyred them. The husband they is. Fast forward there's a lot to cover. The husbands were martyred. The wives got a burden and went back and led them over the Lord. They forgave him and now they've got a great ministry still going on today because the young couple surrendered holy and entirely to Jesus Christ. Have memory. ever remember the quote of Elizabeth? I mean, a very famous quote. I won't try to get this right. He is no fool that gives up what he cannot keep. To gain what he cannot earn. To gain what he cannot earn. That's it. It gives up what he cannot keep. To gain what he cannot earn. Did he not live that out? And let me read you this, I'm trying to inspire our young people this morning to set your sights higher. Amen. I'm going to have an article in a few minutes and I'm going to ask God, the Holy Spirit, to speak to some hearts, to begin to search the will of God through life and ask God, "Is it possible that you can set me on fire?" fire for you? Is it possible that I could be the next Jim or Elizabeth Elliott or the next milligram or the next Mordecai or the next whoever that you can use in a special way? I want you to think higher than what this world is offering you because all they offer you is going to be, it's going to be, it's going to short change you. you. Amen. Amen. And Elizabeth and Jim Elliott's spirit for journey, his journey, his decision to become a missionary was solidified during his time in Wheaton College. He was deeply influenced by the stories of missionaries. He read about and felt a strong calling to spread the gospel. That his wife was influenced by a missionary background. Elizabeth having me been raised in a family deeply involved in missionary work, felt an early call to missions or commitment to missionary service was first cemented through her education at Wheaton College where she met Jim, her husband. Although their time in Ecuador was cut short by Jim's martyrdom, their story inspired thousands to consider and commit to missions. Wow. Wow. Who would have thought that they wanted to get rid of Jim Elliott, but when he did he, a thousand more rose up in his place. At least 1,000. And their story continues to inspire people to surrender to missions even to this day. Elizabeth's book, Speaking Engagements, and Continued Missionary Work Accord, due to... extended their influence. Her writings have been foundational for many an understanding sacrifice commitment and faith. And the ripple effect is that the martyrdom of Jim and his colleagues and Elizabeth's response had a profound impact on Christian missions inspiring many to commit their lives to missionary work. I'm talking about being flanged for Jesus. You are meant to light a fire for God. God, that flame into you. That's not satisfied with anything, but a genuine and pure walk with God. Are you hearing what I'm saying? Say it again. Here's one that the Southern Baptist ought to regularly recognize. One Miss Annie Armstrong. You say, "Why are you talking about modern history instead of biblical characters?" Let me ask you a question. question. How many of you would like to know that God is as much alive today in our time as he was back in the Bible days? That's why I'm doing this. I want you to know that the Bible is not so far removed from you. Amen. That God's still working and he's still doing great things to people to submit it to him even today. Andy Armstrong, the less is known about a specific pivotal moment, she was deeply moved and involved in church activities from a young age. Her commitment to Christian service was evident in her work with the WMU, the Women's Missionary Union, which she helped found. Her passion for missions, particularly in the United States, drove her ministry. As the Founder and First Correspondent Secretary of the Women's Missionary Union, Annie Armstrong, the less is known about a specific pivotal moment, she was evident in her work was instrumental in mobilizing women for mission work. She helped raise significant funds for missions, both domestically and internationally. The annual Easter offering for North American missions, named in her honor, continues to be a major source of funding for missions. And her organizational and advocacy work had a long-lasting impact on Baptist missions and the role of women in church activities. activities. And I wanted to take the time to mention her in case the ladies feel up. Well, the men get all the limelight of ministry. Well, first of all, it ain't about limelight. It's about making Jesus known, right? Secondly, whether you're male or female, God can use you mightily. Let the Lord direct these steps. You know what a flame blows a flame carries life. and heat. Amen. And as a flame, they lit the candles and it's a beautiful illustration. You see the flickering of the flame on the monitor. I don't know why I haven't drawn it, but anyway. And it's not time to light the candles. Next week I'll take, or somebody will take the third candle like the final advent candle. candle. You notice how the flame carries on. By you getting close enough to somebody else for them to catch your flame, that's discipleship. You can't serve God by distancing yourself from His people. They will never catch your flame. You can't expect to stay on fire for God if you don't get close to the fireplace for these people. the church going to be in there. Amen. A church can't be on fire if their preacher's not on fire. Amen. You might as well just say amen. You might as well pray that God will keep

 the flame of blaze around here. Amen. Because I have everything on set and everybody in it on fire around here. Amen. That's my job. I want to be a flame for Jesus, don't you? I want to inspire you to live. think higher and pray harder and say, "God, if you can use anything or if you can use me, the devil will lie to you and tell you that you're not worthy, you're not fit, you're not cut out for it." The devil is a liar. God specializes in using the most unlikely candidates for his kingdom and his glory. Amen. I'm talking about flames. I'm looking at a room full of them this morning. So I ain't done much for Jesus. Well, that don't have to take long to change. You can start today. A brand new, that's exactly right. It can start right now. It don't take much to get a fire, fire started. I now introduce you to one named Charles Spurgeon. Y'all know who that is? Somebody do somebody. Well, Spurgeon's conversion happened while in a snowstorm. Spurgeon's pivotal moment came at the age of 15 when, caught in a snowstorm, he took refuge in a primitive Methodist chapel in Colchester. The sermon based on Isaiah 45.2 simply stated, "Look unto me, and be saved all the ends of the earth." This struck him profoundly, leading to his conversion and accepting Christ as a Savior. This experience was the catalyst for his future ministry. Spurgeon preached to around 10 million people during his lifetime. His sermons were printed and widely distributed with translations in many languages. It founded the Pastor's College, training around 900 men during his lifetime for ministry, thus extending his influence to subsequent generations. And his written works, including sermons and the classic "Morning and Evening Devotions," continue to be widely read and influential among Christians even to this very hour. In fact, some of you might have woken up. and read one of his sermons or devotional this morning. You said, "What's your point, brother Gary? "I'm telling you, a teenager, a 15-year-old man "that just happened into the church on a snowy day "and the Holy Ghost took off, it was hard to set him on fire. "And I'm telling you, he wants to do that for you. "I'm telling you, he can. And if you'll let him, he'll weep on it. It won't look like Charles, or it won't look like anybody else. But it'll look like what God has in mind for you. And he'll search it out. Just like the Bible would remember, I keep referring back to the scripture in the red where, let's see, I'm going to read it again. "The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all the inward parts." of the belly. Your walk with God is your walk with God. I don't expect you to look at an act of being like Gary Caller or anybody else, but I do expect you as your pastor to find God for yourself and ask God, "What the hell have you to do?" That's right. That's right. You can't do what anybody else does, but if you've got something he's giving you that you can employ for his service, that you can do for his glory and for his honor. honor. Amen. We've got one more I'm going to talk about and then we're going to have an invitation. One George Whitfield. Ah, yes. I'm going to tell them who George Whitfield is. Okay, I'm fixing to tell you. Well at Oxford, Whitfield experienced at least spiritual awakening. He joined, believe it or not, something called the Holy Club, which is a group that included John and Charles Wesley, where he adopted rigorous religious practices. These were his means of salvation, but quickly found out that you're not saved by works but by grace and faith in Jesus, and that God had a full and again experience, amen. And this set him on his path as a preacher. Wakefield was perhaps the best known preacher in Britain and America in the 18th century playing a significant role in the great awakening. He preached at least 18,000 times to perhaps 10 million listeners. He had cross denominations. He influenced the spread of various denominations and encouraged the wave of religious fervor and involvement in both the UK and America. You need to know something about George Winkfield. He experienced a lot of rejection. George Winkfield, a central figure in the Great Awakening, faced significant rejection from established churches. As his preaching style and theological views, the birds spread. from the norms of the Anglican church, many churches closed their doors to him. This rejection, particularly in England, was due in part to his Methodist leanings and his open-air preaching, which was seen as unconventional and even radical at the time. It's amazing to have people get upset when you think outside of the box and do something different for Jesus. And due to these rejections the way it is. began preaching outdoors which became a hallmark of his ministry. This move was revolutionary as it took religious discourse out of the traditional church setting and made it accessible to a broader audience. One of the most notable instances of his field preaching occurred when Whitfield in a field. This event is significant for several reasons. I know I'm reading a lot of the following with me, OK? First, it gave accessibility. By preaching outdoors, Whitfield reached people who are often excluded from or uncomfortable in traditional church settings, including many laborers and the economically disadvantaged, the poor people. Second, the spare side of the church. the crowd was a testament to his appeal to the growing interest in evangelical Christianity and this gospel he preached to the poor. This event marked a shift in evangelistic methods demonstrating the effectiveness of open-air preaching and leading to its widespread adoption by other evangelists. And so Wakefield's experiences of rejection and his subsequent success in field preaching preaching highlight his resilience and innovation in ministry as well as the shifting of religious landscape of the 18th century. His ability to draw such large crowds outdoors was a significant development in the history of Christian evangelism. Think about that. He was a world shaker. He said, "I'm going to let God's flame burn." if it burns all the wood hay and stubble of religion out of my life or the lives of others." All he decided was to just let the flame burn. Listen, I can't control the flame, nor do I want to try. You know, we got our cute little fireplaces and you want to contain that flame in a house or it will burn the whole house down, right? Let me tell you about the flame that you need to let it go wild. wild. That's the flame of God. If it burns under God's heat, it needs to burn. If it collapses under the ball revelation of the truth of God's Word, it needs to collapse. Can I get an amen? We don't need to try to protect what we built. If it can't stand the heat of God's Word, then it needs to fall to the ground and let God be magnified. Amen. So each of these speakers we mentioned this morning had unique moments of spiritual awakening and calling which became the foundation of the influential

 ministers. These stories highlight our personal experience with faith and lead to profound life changes, elastic impacts on others. So I want to close with another verse that I haven't read to you this morning morning yet. And it's in Hebrews 1-7. "And of the angels he saith, and maketh his angel spirits as ministers of flame of fire." And I want you to think of yourself not just as a Christian, but as a minister of the gospel. Amen. You know what it takes to be a minister of the gospel? It takes one to minister the gospel message to another. It don't have to be in a pastoral environment where you're the shepherd of the font. A lady can quietly talk to another lady about Jesus and you are a minister of the gospel. I'm not saying you're trying to call women to be pastors this morning. Don't misunderstand what I'm saying. But here's what happens a lot of times. is we try to isolate and delegate certain things to certain people in the boxes out of a whole world of blessing with this marriage and we would just explore all the options God has for us to let us be a flame for him. Don't wait on your preacher to go visit your neighbor. You go visit your neighbor. Don't wait on your preacher to go tell your neighbor they need Jesus. You go tell them they need Jesus. Be a flame every single one of you that profess the name of Christ, you are a flame, but the question is, has your flame been doused? Do you need to get back up close to the fire of God's word and let it set you on fire again? Are you willing to let God use you in extraordinary ways? Are you willing to let God enable you and strengthen and teach you how how to step outside of your comfort zone to do something that will bring glory and honor to him? Would you sacrifice your comfort, your convenience, your reputation, your finances, whatever he said, would you give it to him so that you could be a flame for him? The Bible says it is a reasonable thing for us to be a living sacrifice. sacrifice. What is the sacrifices? What happens to sacrifices in the Old Testament? And who is the all-consuming fire? God is. God wants his fire to consume you. So the only thing left for people to see is his glory and his lives. Amen? Be a flame for God and don't put elements to what God might want to do. And through everybody standing feet, everybody out of clothes, I want to ask the pen to come play a little touch with just as I am. And I'm going to ask that if there's one or more in our midst that feel a call of God. God in your life. And I don't talk about a call to be a missionary necessarily. Look at all of that. I'm not talking about surrendering to the ministry of pastorship. I'm just talking about you know that you're meant for more than you are right now and you want to seek God to discover what that is. I want you to come and pray this morning. Would you do that? As they place in music. and we stand quietly and reverently in the presence of the Lord. Let's seek the Lord for a few moments, and I'll come pray with you. Maybe you feel the call of God in your life, and you're trying to figure out what it is. Nothing else brings you satisfaction. Nothing else works for you. Nothing else seems to be what you needed to be, maybe. this morning. God's saying Thou art the man Thou art the Lord I want you Would you come? Christians would you pray? If you won't come up would you surrender there in your seat? Father in the name of Jesus Lord I feel like I did exactly what you wanted me to do this morning morning. I have no doubt about that. I've done all I can do. Lord, I've brought the candle, lit, and I've asked others to come. You'd be close enough to it to let it cast them on fire. I pray now, God, for surrendered hearts. Surrendered lives. I pray the dumb people will start seeking you. you for a new direction in their lives. Lord, that they may be willing to say, "I'm willing to go for Jesus." And Lord, we'll be careful to thank you for all that you've accomplished in Jesus' name.
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