Fan the Flame by Rocky Fleming
“This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you.” 2 Timothy 1:6 (NLT)
As we read this letter to Timothy, Paul’s young protégé, we see a concern that the good work in Timothy must grow and continue or else it will stagnate. Paul was aware that it is normal for a fire to burn out, or at least to slow until it dies unless it is stoked up and new fuel added to it. It is the same with our spiritual fervor, and especially if we draw much of our inspiration from our mentors, and they are no longer present. Paul was not present with Timothy and he had to use his letters to remind Timothy to protect his soul, and to continue the amazing journey with Jesus that he had been invited to. In a way I feel a little like Paul in that I too want to fan into flame that which has begun in our Influencers throughout the country.
We now have over four hundred cities that we’ve shipped curriculum to, and forty-eight states. There are tens of thousands of people who have gone through The Journey the last twenty-one years. Some of the people are red hot and their flames burn brightly, shining the way to Jesus. They need to be applauded and encouraged to keep at it, for a leader is often isolated and needs to be loved and cared for as they carry the weight of others. Then there are those who never grasped the vision of The Journey, which is to be discipled, and then to make disciples. They are missing out on the most enjoyable part of The Journey. The most essential part is the deep, intimate, ongoing relationship we encounter with the Holy Spirit, called abiding. The most enjoyable part is when we reach back and help others find what we’ve found. Like Timothy who Paul exhorted to continue his journey, the Influencers Global Board wants to do the same. Therefore, beginning this year I will be out there trying to visit and encourage our brothers and sisters to keep abiding, to keep growing, and to keep making disciples.
For a long time, I’ve had a bucket list of sorts, in that there are many parts of our country that my wife and I haven’t seen. While we can, we want to see it. But I cannot forsake the call God has given to me to fan the flame in the Body of Christ toward an intimate, abiding relationship with Jesus. Therefore, our plans to see the country has to have a dual mission aspect to it, if I am to feel right about doing it. Our Board has encouraged me to take the next step in faith and launch out this year and do it as long as we can. We have purchased a comfortable and modest motorhome that will carry Sallie, Rocky, and our dog named Joy to places throughout the country that God will lead us to. We hope to see many of you that we know and meet some of you for the first time. We want to support your efforts with making disciples. I plan on letting you know when we pass through your city or region so that perhaps we can meet with you and the precious people you are ministering to, and fan that flame that has already begun.
Another thing I want to do is to create a travel blog as we go, so that I can show the discipleship work that is done in your area to the rest of the world. Your work is encouraging, and I want to present your work to others to both inspire and encourage them. There is a very large Influencers community throughout this nation and many parts of the world. They need the inspiration that they get from ordinary men and women who are doing extra-ordinary things for our King. I am just such a man, an ordinary fellow who God has graced to point people to Him. When we all do this, He gets the glory, and we experience a joy that is unexplainable. As a fellow believer, as a fellow disciple, as a fellow Influencer, as a fellow member of God’s family, I want to finish my race fanning your flame into a blazing fire that will shine its light on Jesus. In all such plans I must submit to the wise words of James with my plans. They are:
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13-15 (ESV)
If the Lord wills, I hope to see many of you this year. God bless you all.