Friday, 20 July 2018

Testimony by Henry Heindinga

I want to tell you a story. I need you to close your eyes please and keep them closed until I ask you to open the back up please. Relax. Think back to a time you went camping. It's late at night. It's quiet and still, except for some crickets in the distance. Some people are sitting in lawn chairs around a fire pit. The kids have wandered off, some chairs are empty. In that pit,  are the remains of an earlier fire. You can see the embers. They glow, with dark reds, purples, and a lot of gray. The people are quietly commenting on what a beautiful fire it had been, enjoying the left over heat and the slowly darkening color show from the embers. About this time someone reaches over adds a stick up against a charred log. People watch the stick. It slowly begins to turn dark and even smolders a bit. Some of the people look at each other and whisper: "that will never catch...why would you add a stick now? We're enjoying the remains and you might ruin it." 

Well fire as you know needs three things to burn.....heat, air, and fuel.  So suddenly the stick catches in a small flame. There is a bit of a fire going again. It's not quite so dark around the fire pit. A kid walks up, sits down, and tosses in some more fresh wood. One of the adults leans over and says " why would you do that to our nicely built embers, we were enjoying the afterglow". The kid looks up and says " Hi, I'm S.W." the adult says " S.W.? What kind of name is that?" "Oh it stands for Second wave. You paid for me to Come here., I brought a few of my friends, I call them community"
So now I like you to open your eyes again. Look around you. You can see people where before, with your eyes closed, you could only imagine and remember. That is kind of the story of Knox Palmerston this past year.

We are starting the Second Wave project. Reaching out to youth with programs, investing in youth. 
We are beginning to engage the community with programs here in the church and outside in the community. We are starting to see a small fire, and we are carefully adding sticks....sticks, like Sunday School and VBS -that haven't been here in at least ten years.  We now have youth nights where kids can come and hang out at a church instead of on the streets. We recently had international children's day at the park in the middle of town, with games, face painting, and Christian music from loud speakers. a public park.....Sticks are being added to the fire.
The time for sitting around remembering the glow of past fire is over. We are not talking about Elijah pouring barrels of water on before God lit the fire, we need to feed the fire God gave us. We need to gather sticks from the darkness. 

There are many churches in Canada where the kids have drifted away and people are left sitting, watching the remains of the fire. The pleasant afterglow doesn't last long. Then the fire goes out, the stones grow cold and the campsite is left empty.

Don't sit around.

Don't let your church fire slowly go out.

Nurture it.

Welcome the flame.     

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