Posted in Christian living, Faith

Stirring up the fire

blogIMG_1818I usually avoid writing about controversial subjects.

My reason is valid, at least to me. I have plenty of opinions on polemic issues, believe me. But that’s just it. They are my opinions and I’m free to have them as you are free to have yours.  However, my intention for this blog is not to polarize people but to be a source of encouragement and inspiration to all, not just those who share my opinions or beliefs.

No doubt if I start posting my thoughts on contentious matters though, some readers will not agree with my opinion and will comment to state their case for their beliefs. Having a difference of opinion is not the issue. What a dull world it would be if we all agreed all the time.

What bothers me most is what I see happening on social media way too much.  You know, when verbal arguments escalate and become downright mean and nasty. And I see it occur on lots of blog posts too. 

I don’t want to initiate a war of words with my readers. Instead, my desire is that Mama’s Empty Nest be a respite from that part of our world where folks spread malice and vitriol at the drop of a comment.

Yet this post may cause a bit of contention, probably only in certain circles, but you know what? Sometimes you just have to speak your mind, or at least from your heart, even when you know there will be opposition to it. 

I find it ironic that just as the idea for this blog post began to take shape in my mind, I noticed an email encouraging me to write about this word – controversy.

So here goes.

You know what kills any kind of growth, whether it be in business, politics, organizations, or even in a church? Something that not only slays the momentum of moving forward but slams shut the coffin of death and nails it down tight?

Saying, “But we’ve always done it this way.”

Frankly, I’m tired of hearing that saying. But we’ve always done it this way.

I’m weary of attempts to encourage those who play it safe in cozy comfort zones to embrace something different that might just initiate a change for something better or more meaningful. But we’ve always done it this way.

I bristle when I hear how someone seeking to promote change instead hits the wall of tradition made up of nay-sayers. But we’ve always done it this way.

I’m disappointed in those who can’t – or won’t – deviate from the tried-and-true (yet old and tired) way of doing things. But we’ve always done it this way.

I’m frustrated by those who are so deep in a rut of sameness, they couldn’t find their way out with a bulldozer. But we’ve always done it this way.

Call me crazy, but I like change. I find the same old, same old incredibly dull and well….too much the same. And I really find it so in a house of worship.

Why balk at changes that may promote spiritual growth?

Now, let me get one thing straight. I am not talking about changing the message of the Gospel.  I’m not talking about changing the words God gave us in His Word. No, we must never change that because God and His Word are perfect and unchanging.

God was, is, and always will be. He is constant and enduring and so is His message of salvation.

But we should not be stale. We can’t grow if we don’t change. And if we don’t change, we won’t grow spiritually. If we don’t progress on our spiritual journey, we are only suckling down the milk of God’s Word without ever getting to the meat of it. We stay in a spiritual state of infancy – spiritual babies instead of mature believers.

“Change is one of the ingredients of Christianity. If people could not change, the gospel would be absolutely meaningless…The fact that people can change is the only hope they have.” ~ A.W. Tozer (from Rut, Rot, or Revival)

When believers are spiritually stagnant, we can’t experience the passionate life of being a Jesus follower. And how ever can we be in tune to what the Holy Spirit is leading us to do if we’re mired down in the humdrum?

The same old same old.  But we’ve always done it this way. I think God expects us to boldly step out of our ruts and embrace a vibrant faith, one so exhilarating that is catches on like wild fire.

How can people sit in their pews in their places of worship with an attitude of platitude? How can we sing the same old songs with the same old lack of enthusiasm? Where is our joy in worshiping the King of Kings, Lord of Lords?

How can we stick like superglue to traditions, which really don’t impact our salvation or our spiritual growth one iota, just because we’ve always done it that way?

“Somebody once said that man is made of dust and dust tends to settle. People tend to settle down and do the same things year in and year out, slowing going around in a circle.  When this gets into religion, it is deadly and evil.” ~ A.W. Tozer (from Rut, Rot, or Revival)

I don’t understand that kind of ‘religion’ and I guess I never will. I’m one of those people who says I don’t have religion, instead I have faith. And my faith is not in a set of traditions, a certain denomination, a social club, or a certain way of doing things just because it’s always been done before.

My faith is in a flesh and blood Savior who lived on the earth as one of us, died on a cross for me, rose from the grave, and gave me a priceless gift – salvation.

A Savior who expects me to be on fire for Him. To share His message of salvation to others. To express with joy and awe how much I love Him, trust Him, and am grateful for Him and share that with everyone I know – and even those I don’t.

I believe my Savior doesn’t want me to get bogged down in trivial matters that mean nothing when it comes to promoting His kingdom and glorifying Him.  My Savior, the miracle of Easter, expects me to be a soul on fire for Him.

Just like the lyrics to this song by the Christian group, Third Day. Listen here: Soul on Fire.

A soul on fire doesn’t care if we sing praises to God accompanied by an organ, a worship band, or a CD, but if a variation in music is what brings people to Him, then we better change and sing with joy.

A soul on fire doesn’t mind if Sunday morning worship or Bible study during the week takes longer than an hour because a soul on fire wants to spend as much time as possible worshiping the Lord, listening to His messages of truth, learning more about the God we serve, and applying that message to everyday life.   

A soul on fire doesn’t get mired down in trivial matters like which version of the Bible should be read, or what color the sanctuary’s new carpet should be, or where or when communion should be held, or ….whatever.

Because a soul on fire wants more than earthly matters. A soul on fire wants more of Jesus. More of His Word. And more spiritual growth until the day that soul departs this earth.

And if the majority of a church are not souls on fire, the slowly dying embers will not keep the church alive. You might as well pound in the nails to that coffin. Eventually, the doors will close on a dead church.

It’s never too late to save it.

“A church can be unified in one of two ways. You can freeze together, as the Church of the Frozen Chosen; or you can melt together with the fire of the Holy Spirit.” ~ John Hagee



Mama of this empty nest, I’m content to live a quiet, country life with my husband of 40+ years and to view the gorgeous sunsets off my own back yard deck. Mama to three adults and Nana to adorable grandchildren, my empty nest fills up again with noise and laughter when they all return 'home'. A former English teacher, reporter/editor, education director for a non-profit organization, and stay at home mom, I retired after a season of substitute teaching at a private academy. Now I enjoy time spent with my grandchildren and family and writing words that seem to pour out of my soul or wandering around the countryside with my camera. Foremost, my faith sustains me as I meander through the empty nest stage of life. My favorite scripture is 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

18 thoughts on “Stirring up the fire

  1. Thank you for such a wonderful and insightful post. You wrote what many of us feel I am certain. Change can be a good thing and accepting that sometimes we need to just get over ourselves and our old fashioned ways of looking at things is vital for growth. I loved how you approached this subject and don’t see how it could offend a single person. What you wrote is truth. Thank you for the inspiration this morning. Glad I did not miss this post! Have a blessed day, my friend!


    1. You know how sometimes, God just lays things on your heart and you have to let them out? That’s what it was with this post. Just had to put it out there. Thanks, my fellow teapot loving friend, for your kind words today. Be blessed.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. As a nursing student, I encounter a lot of “we’ve always done it this way”s. It’s endlessly frustrating! Yes, you may have always done it this way, but evidence now says that way doesn’t work. Evidence even does the hard work, and mostly suggests new, better ways. But still, people get stuck in patterns. I hope that I will not get stuck in this mire of negative thinking… very thought provoking post, anyway! I myself am not religiously opinionated one way or another, yet I always admire those who have faith, and follow it in a positive, enriching way 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. No matter what your chosen profession or organization is, we always run into those who want to stick to the old tried and true, even if those ways are not true any more. I agree it’s so frustrating. Hang in there though, secondhandself, you’ve chosen an immensely worthwhile vocation. (One of my daughters is a nurse, so I know what you’re going through.) Thank you very much for taking the time to read my post and comment. I truly appreciate readers who do. Be blessed!


  3. I am literally “amening” out loud as I’m reading this today! Oh, we are soul sisters even more than I have realized until today. I should probably write my own thoughts on this topic someday, too. But let me also admit that I am married to a man who is a traditionalist, maybe even more than my own parents were. And, yes, it has caused me some grief more times than I care to admit along our journey together. The little church where we met and grew up together is no longer in existence because the members there were traditionalists and could not seem to adapt a bit to have programs to appeal to younger people. When they could no longer pay the bills for the basic things, the building was sold to a missionary group that is now doing great things for the neighborhood people in that building. So, perhaps that’s what was meant to me all along. I whole heartedly agree that the message must never be diluted. At all. I also believe that we are now in the days where we need to be going out of the church more and more to bring the good news to those around us however we can. I guess that is one reason that I want my money these days to go to missionary work both here and around the world. *Great post* today! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, how I wish there was a ‘love’ button for your comment, dear friend (and soul sister). Your story shows exactly what happens when we can’t embrace change to move forward. Unfortunately, those small (in number and in thought) churches are going by the wayside quickly. Why don’t they “get it??” My heart is inclining me to pray fervently for revival especially in these days in which we live.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Change is the only constant in the world; without it, we (as a species) will wither and die. The refusal to accept new ideas and move forward means certain death (for a company, a religion, a person seeking growth and meaning in their life). Well said!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Love this post. I’ve always said that too- God doesn’t care what we wear or whether we go to a traditional church or a more modern one, what matters is that we are learning about Him and growing in our relationship with Him!

    Liked by 1 person

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