Fresh Wind Graphic
Summer Reading Challenge. Chapter 1 Commentary.

Fresh Wind Fresh Fire is the story of the early beginnings of the Brooklyn Tabernacle in NYC. But there is a story behind the story, and that is how a church was radically transformed when its people learned to spontaneously call upon the Name of the Lord and expect God to act in a big way.

But the story would not even exist had the church not been brought to the brink of extinction. Total desperation leads to total dependence on God – this could summarize the almost fatal events that catapulted the church into a future filled with glory.

There are some important lessons to learn in this first chapter. First, getting out of the way is the way  to invite God to do something supernatural. As long as we insist on charging ahead with man-made strength and cleverness, whether perceived or real, God is not going to show up with His own brand of bigness.

What Jim Cymbala learned early on was the simple act of “calling upon the Lord.” This was not new. Already in Genesis we read that “men began to call upon the Name of the Lord.” (Genesis 4:26). Calling upon the Name of the Lord was an act of worship. It was boldly inviting His presence and domain into a dark place and engaging Him with all of one’s being. That is what the patriarchs did, that is what Moses and Aaron did and so many others have been in the habit of doing throughout the ages.

Re-reading this first chapter reminded me that the most natural time to call upon the Name of the Lord is when we are at our most vulnerable point: “God is attracted to weakness.” (p. 19). Another reminder is that you cannot call upon the Name of the Lord with an arrogant attitude. It must be an act of humility – prostration, not posturing; submission, not staging. Only broken people can truly understand the need to call upon the Name of the Lord.

Those of us who aspire to see God once again work miraculously in the hearts of our people must pay attention to this statement: “I despaired at the thought that my life might slip by without seeing God show himself mightily on our behalf.” Yes, like Jim and Carol Cymbala, we ought to developed a holy aversion to the very thought that we are here merely to “mark time.” God has much better things in mind for us and if want to take Him seriously, we must find out what those things are.

I trust that as we read this book together this summer we will learn how to call upon the Name of the Lord in our personal lives and at Grace Church. When we do that, I wonder: Will we see a fresh wind and fresh fire from God in our midst as well.

The fire is getting warm and the wind begins to rise on the horizon. God is daring us to call upon Him. Who will answer the call?

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade