Faithlife Sermons

Evaluate the State of the Flame

Fan the Flame  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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I am honored to be with you all.
I will never forget getting the opportunity to go back and speak at a convocation at the college I graduated from College of the Ozarks. They called me the week before and asked if I could speak because their keynote speaker was not able to make it.
I was honored so I said yes!
I was so fired up driving onto campus. My wife was with me and we were pulling on campus and entering the gates of opportunity.
I pulled up to the guard shack and they asked the reason I was coming on campus and I said, “I am here for the convo.” The young security guard said ok, you do know they keynote speaker was not able to make it don’t you? I replied and said yes. She then said, ok well they just got some other guy to fill in.
Who was the some other guy?
That was me.
God has a way of keeping me grounded. I thought I was something special but nope I was the some other guy haha.
I graduated from Lebanon High school in 2001. My parents are Jim and Sally McGuire. My dad owns McGuire performance center on Bonnie drive across from the airport.
When I was 13 years old, my grandmother Sally Amos told me that I was going to be a preacher some day and I said NOPE.
Well by the age of 17 I surrendered my life to the ministry. I wanted to travel and speak but I did not want to be a pastor. My dad was a Deacon for many years and I watched as Pastors had so much stuff to deal with.
I didn’t want to do this. I wanted to travel and speak.
After graduating high school, I went to St. Louis Community College at Meramec where I wrestled and played baseball for 2 years. (My only claim to fame is that in St. Louis I got the opportunity to be on the same team as David Freese).
I wanted to keep playing baseball and my cousin Dustin Young the head baseball coach in Lebanon heard I wanted to keep playing so he got me a try out at College of the Ozarks.
I went to College of the Ozarks and graduated in 2006. While at College I met my Bride Amy.
After Graduating, I was looking for a place to serve in ministry and I heard the planting pastor of Bridge of Faith speak at FBC Branson when I was visiting there. I told Amy that we must go there and help as he told stories of 15 year old girls that had faced all kinds of trauma in their life.
We visited Bridge of Faith June 2006 and knew this is where God was calling us. We started serving in all areas of ministry, nursery, preschool, junior high, adults, vbs, kitchen and you name it we did it.
The planting pastor Vince Blubaugh started talking with me in the fall of 2006 about pastoring Bridge of Faith in 4 years. That is a long time away. He then came back in the winter of 2006 and said what about pastoring here in 2 years.
Hold on we lost 2 years in a matter of months.
Spring of 2007 he invited Amy and I over for dinner and said he was leaving to plant churches and said I think you are the next pastor.
I did not say one more word that night.
My wife said it best, “Jonathan there is no way we can keep from doing this.”
July 2007 I started pastoring Bridge of Faith Community Church.
I became a full time pastor. In my first week of pastoring, an eleven year old boy rolled his mom over one morning to find her not breathing and dead from an overdose.
Before I became pastor, I preached a sermon on
Matthew 18:5 HCSB
5 And whoever welcomes one child like this in My name welcomes Me.
I shared how if we welcome children in the name of Jesus that we welcome Christ himself into our church.
We had a van and started picking kids up in the van to welcome them in the name of Jesus.
Before Bridge of Faith was planted in Rockaway Beach in 2005 parents would drop their kids off in the park on a Friday night and pick them back up on Sunday afternoon. Kids would spend the weekend in the park and vandalizing store fronts.
Every Wednesday night for the past 12 years September through April we have been welcoming children in the name of Jesus Christ by taking 2 15 passenger vans, a 72 passenger bus and a 40 passenger bus within 10 miles of Bridge of Faith. We pick the kids up and bring them to church, feed them a hot meal, give them Bible study, love on them, and bus them back home.
Some students we started busing them when they were 4 and 5 years old. They are now 16 and 17 and the way they have gotten to church all these years is by the bus ministry.
One of our students has what I believe to be one of the toughest fathers to reach. This student would take notes of every Sunday sermon and then go home and lay the notes and Bible out on the kitchen table and pray the rest of the week that their parents would read it.
Good news since September of 2019 her parents have been coming to church and both parents have surrendered their lives to Jesus.
Let me be clear though at Bridge of Faith our end goal is not to reach parents. When we do this it greatly helps, we believe that when we welcome children in the name of Jesus Christ we welcome Christ himself.
God is so good!
I love building a fire. Just something about it. My family loves smores and they will often beg me to build a fire so they can have open flame hot dogs and smores.
I am not very good at building fires but I like it. Sometimes I go outside with the latest fire starter and get everything ready to go. I light the fire starter and 20 min later I am still blowing on some little flame to get it going.
Let me tell you when it gets going and I smell like fire and I can stick my head inside and tell my wife and kids that the fire is ready. I feel like a real man. I feel like a fire building machine.
This weekend’s theme is Fan the Flame
2 Timothy 1:6 HCSB
6 Therefore, I remind you to keep ablaze the gift of God that is in you through the laying on of my hands.
(Invite Dayle up and share some of his testimony and give the purpose for him coming up)
So we are going to start by assuming that the Flame of Jesus Christ exist in your heart. If it does not then my prayer is that by the end of this conference you will come to place that Jesus is the Lord of your life and the flame will be alive.
So the flame is there. Our desire for this weekend is to fan the flame or to cause the flame of Jesus Christ to flair up for 2020. The small flame that is there will rise up and and keep ablaze in your home, your work, your church, and in your community.
Rockaway Beach was not interested in a new church in their town. Many of the city leaders did not
So where do we start?
In order to fan the flame, we must start by

Evaluating the current state of the flame

If we walk up to a small flame and we don’t first start by evaluating what is needed we may give the flame to much fan and put it out, we could put to much wood on too quickly, or just add too much paper and it flares out but does not last long.
Israel was in bondage and slavery. God had compassion for His people and he miraculously delivered them from this slavery. He did this in an amazing way. He called Moses to deliver these people from the Egyptians.
Pharoah had them in slavery and God began to move and he started with the 10 plagues. The final plague resulted in Pharoah releasing them and telling them to go.
They leave and then God tells Israel to go back and camp near Pharoah so that they will believe you are in confusion and the enemy will start to pursue you and by this God will get the Glory.
Sums up my life. God says Jonathan do this so you look confused and the enemy will pursue you so that I might get the Glory from this.
God in a magnificient way dries up the red sea and the Israelites cross on dry ground. Pharoah pursues them and God causes the Red sea to come back down on them and just like that God defeats the Egyptians.
One of the great underdog stories at surface level of Israel against the Egyptians. It’s not so underdog when it is The Lord of Lords against the Egyptians.
I don’t know about you but that sounds a lot like my story. I was a slave to my sin. Jesus went to the cross and died and delivered me from my sin. I didn’t deserve it but he did.
So they have been delivered from Slavery. After there are shouts of triumphant victories and praise to God and what follows this is Complaining.
In God is meeting with Moses on Mount Sinai watch what these Israelites do.
Exodus 32:1-
Exodus 32:1 HCSB
1 When the people saw that Moses delayed in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said to him, “Come, make us a god who will go before us because this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt—we don’t know what has happened to him!”
Moses is on fire! His flame is burning bright. He is in the presence of the Lord. Moses is experiencing a serious revival.
Moses is meeting with the Lord.
The people see that Moses is delayed in coming down the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and say to him
Make us a god who will go before us
Let’s
Evaluation #1 Who are you giving credit to?
The Israelites say the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt.
It is amazing that God allowed Moses to lead the people out of Egypt but let’s be clear Moses did not cause the 10 plagues nor did Moses make the Red Sea so that they walked across on dry ground. In we see this beautiful praise to the Lord for delivering them and now they have forgot who it was that delivered them.
It was God who delivered the Israelites out of slavery. It was God who delivered you out of your mess too. It was God who started this flame in your life.
Exodus 32:2–4 HCSB
2 Then Aaron replied to them, “Take off the gold rings that are on the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters and bring them to me.” 3 So all the people took off the gold rings that were on their ears and brought them to Aaron. 4 He took the gold from their hands, fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made it into an image of a calf. Then they said, “Israel, this is your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!”
Exodus 32:
The people get impatient because Moses is spending time with the Lord and ask Aaron to make them a God or Idol
When we talk about fanning the flame of Jesus in our lives there are some things in our lives that are competing with this flame. These are idols
It always amazes me in scripture what people are willing to do for false gods.
Scripture tells us that he told them to take the gold rings that are on the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters and bring them to me.
What do the people do?
verse 3 says so all the people took off the gold rings that were on their ears and brought them to Aaron
Did you see how easy that was?
Aaron tells them to do it and they immediately do it. Not only do they do it but they are willing to sacrifice what their wives are wearing, their sons are wearing and their daughters are wearing.
Evaluation #2 of the Flame
What are you spending your money on?
I get amazed at the Israelites and how quick they are willing to sacrifice to these false gods. Let’s be honest for a minute.
We can talk about the Israelites but if we start to think about the idols in our lives we are so quick to sacrifice to those things but may be more reluctant to sacrifice for the sake of the one true God.
Idols come in many forms and fashions
“In his Christianity Today article entitled “How to Find Your Rival Gods,” Pastor Tim Keller ”
“Idolatry is not just a failure to obey God, it is a setting of the whole heart on something besides God. ”
Excerpt From: Brian Fikkert & Kelly M. Kapic. “Becoming Whole.” Apple Books. https://books.apple.com/us/book/becoming-whole/id1420313463
Excerpt From: Brian Fikkert & Kelly M. Kapic. “Becoming Whole.” Apple Books. https://books.apple.com/us/book/becoming-whole/id1420313463
Idols can be but are not limited to hobbies, sports, children, children’s sports, success, food, good times, relaxation tools, drugs, sex or anything that you set your heart on besides God.
Notice also what Aaron does. He to the gold and fashioned it with an engraving tool and made it into an image of a calf.
This took some time. They gave of their money for this idol they also gave of their time.
Then they said Israel this is your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.
They immediately change their hearts toward this image that they created and gave this image the credit for delivering them out of slavery and bondage.
This is exactly what we do with idols. We ascribe credit to the idols of our lives for where we are in life.
Instead of honoring one true God we begin to say that I followed this technique or I worked my tail of to get where I am today.
(my December goal or Garippa story)
Exodus 32:5-6
Exodus 32:5–6 HCSB
5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; then he made an announcement: “There will be a festival to the Lord tomorrow.” 6 Early the next morning they arose, offered burnt offerings, and presented fellowship offerings. The people sat down to eat and drink, then got up to play.
Again notice what they are doing for this image that they created. They start throwing a party for this new idol. They get up early in the morning, the offered burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. They sat down to eat and drink then got up to play.
They are investing time, resources, attitudes. They are getting up early in the morning.
It comes time to get your kid to a wrestling match on time your are up and ready to rock and roll but to be at Sunday school on time.
Exodus 32:7–10 HCSB
7 The Lord spoke to Moses: “Go down at once! For your people you brought up from the land of Egypt have acted corruptly. 8 They have quickly turned from the way I commanded them; they have made for themselves an image of a calf. They have bowed down to it, sacrificed to it, and said, ‘Israel, this is your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.’ ” 9 The Lord also said to Moses: “I have seen this people, and they are indeed a stiff-necked people. 10 Now leave Me alone, so that My anger can burn against them and I can destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.”
Exodus 32:7-
The Lord is a jealous God and he is not pleased with the people he brought out of Egypt.
He says to Moses you go down because the people you brought out of Egypt have acted corruptly.
They have turned from what I commanded them and created for themselves an image of a calf. They are bowing to it, sacrificing to it and giving credit to this image for getting them out of bondage.
This is so us. We have created these idols in our lives and we think the Lord is pleased with these idols. All the while, The Lord is saying look at them. I want all their attention and they are giving credit to some image they have created.
Exodus 32:11–14 HCSB
11 But Moses interceded with the Lord his God: “Lord, why does Your anger burn against Your people You brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and a strong hand? 12 Why should the Egyptians say, ‘He brought them out with an evil intent to kill them in the mountains and wipe them off the face of the earth’? Turn from Your great anger and relent concerning this disaster planned for Your people. 13 Remember Your servants Abraham, Isaac, and Israel—You swore to them by Your very self and declared, ‘I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars of the sky and will give your offspring all this land that I have promised, and they will inherit it forever.’ ” 14 So the Lord relented concerning the disaster He said He would bring on His people.
Exodus 32:11-
Moses intercedes for the people and he reverses the Lord’s words and says your people.
He says Lord if you kill them now then the Egyptians will say The Lord just took them out of Egypt with evil intent to kill them and wipe them off the face of the Earth
He banks on the promises of the Lord. I love how here He uses God’s promises to intercede.
Moses does not try to justify the actions of the Israelites. Moses knows they are wrong so He turns to the promises of the Lord.
This is so key
As we start to identify idols in our life, the first fleshly response is to justify those idols in your life.
Well I skip church so I can spend time with my family. Wrong Hebrews says
Hebrews 10:24–25 HCSB
24 And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, 25 not staying away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
Hebrews 10:25 HCSB
25 not staying away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
The right response is to call the idol for what it is.
You look at the word of God and if the Word of God says it is wrong then it is wrong.
The first step of repentance is to admit that we are wrong
Step 1: God I am wrong
Exodus 32:15–20 HCSB
15 Then Moses turned and went down the mountain with the two tablets of the testimony in his hands. They were inscribed on both sides—inscribed front and back. 16 The tablets were the work of God, and the writing was God’s writing, engraved on the tablets. 17 When Joshua heard the sound of the people as they shouted, he said to Moses, “There is a sound of war in the camp.” 18 But Moses replied: It’s not the sound of a victory cry and not the sound of a cry of defeat; I hear the sound of singing! 19 As he approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, Moses became enraged and threw the tablets out of his hands, smashing them at the base of the mountain. 20 Then he took the calf they had made, burned it up, and ground it to powder. He scattered the powder over the surface of the water and forced the Israelites to drink the water.
Moses slams the tablets down and smashes them symbolizing what the Israelites have done as they have broke the commandments of God.
He then makes them drink this God that they gave credit to for delivering them from slavery and bondage. You think this idol is so great then drink it.
Aaron’s response
Exodus 32:21-24
Exodus 32:21–24 HCSB
21 Then Moses asked Aaron, “What did these people do to you that you have led them into such a grave sin?” 22 “Don’t be enraged, my lord,” Aaron replied. “You yourself know that the people are intent on evil. 23 They said to me, ‘Make us a god who will go before us because this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt—we don’t know what has happened to him!’ 24 So I said to them, ‘Whoever has gold, take it off,’ and they gave it to me. When I threw it into the fire, out came this calf!”
Aaron says hold up Moses I can explain what happened here. They wanted me to make them a God so I said give me your gold and they gave it to me and it was a miracle out came this calf.
It is interesting when we are constructing idols we have methods to it, but when we get caught we say well I am not really sure how all this happened.
Aaron does not take responsibility for his actions. When you don’t take responsibility for that which you are responsible for you lose control.
You gain control by taking responsibility for your actions. I admit that God what I did was wrong.
Consequences for Idols
Exodus 32:25–28 HCSB
25 Moses saw that the people were out of control, for Aaron had let them get out of control, resulting in weakness before their enemies. 26 And Moses stood at the camp’s entrance and said, “Whoever is for the Lord, come to me.” And all the Levites gathered around him. 27 He told them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says, ‘Every man fasten his sword to his side; go back and forth through the camp from entrance to entrance, and each of you kill his brother, his friend, and his neighbor.’ ” 28 The Levites did as Moses commanded, and about 3,000 men fell dead that day among the people.
Exodus 32:25-
For Israel this cost them that 3,000 men died that day.
There are consequences for idols. You may think that your idol worship does not affect anyone. It can effect your wife, your children, your co workers, and your church.
Your children may not grow to love God and his church because of your idol. You idol may be destroying your marriage. Your idol of a nightly drink may turn in to an alcoholic son or daughter. Idol worship will cost.
Exodus 32:29-
Exodus 32:29–35 HCSB
29 Afterward Moses said, “Today you have been dedicated to the Lord, since each man went against his son and his brother. Therefore you have brought a blessing on yourselves today.” 30 The following day Moses said to the people, “You have committed a grave sin. Now I will go up to the Lord; perhaps I will be able to atone for your sin.” 31 So Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Oh, these people have committed a grave sin; they have made a god of gold for themselves. 32 Now if You would only forgive their sin. But if not, please erase me from the book You have written.” 33 The Lord replied to Moses: “I will erase whoever has sinned against Me from My book. 34 Now go, lead the people to the place I told you about; see, My angel will go before you. But on the day I settle accounts, I will hold them accountable for their sin.” 35 And the Lord inflicted a plague on the people for what they did with the calf Aaron had made.
Step 2 of Repentance is: God I am sorry
Paul talks about Godly sorrow that leads to repentance. God I am wrong and God I am sorry that this idol I have created in my life caused you to hang on the cross in my place.
God I am sorry.
The people admit they are wrong and Moses intercedes for them. The book of life was those who are living and not to be confused with The Lambs Book of life. Moses says if you don’t forgive me then take me from this life.
Dayle has been working on something for me up here. He is working on this coffee cup and I asked him during this first message if he would be willing to paint on this coffee cup.
This coffee cup represents our lives. On the outside we work very hard to appear as we have it all together. We are trying to make things look good.
Hopefully my pastor knows I got it together, my coworkers and friends, my wife, my kids, my parents. I got this. We work hard to paint the outside as much as we can.
The truth of it is that we really are broken people.
Dayle will now break the cup to show where we really are. We are broken people worshipping things that are not really God.
I would like to leave you with this as we finish session 1
“In his Christianity Today article entitled “How to Find Your Rival Gods,” Pastor Tim Keller says, “It is impossible to understand your heart or your culture if you do not discern the counterfeit gods that influence them.”21
Keller argues that because our hearts are idol factories, we should all expect that one or more idols are having some impact on our lives, proposing four tests that we can use to try to identify them:
1. What do we habitually think about? When we stop and sit still, what do we naturally daydream about? Career advancement? A dream home? Sex? As Keller notes, “One or two daydreams do not indicate idolatry. Ask rather, what do you habitually think about to get joy and comfort in the privacy of your heart?”
2. How do we spend our money? Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (). Where we spend our money shapes our hearts. What do your expenditure patterns reveal about the direction of your heart?
3. How do we respond to unanswered prayers and frustrated hopes? When we don’t get what we have asked[…]”
“suggests that our “functional god” is not the one true God.
4. What are our most uncontrollable emotions? Are there any emotions—anger, fear, anxiety—that never seem to go away and that sometimes drive us to do things that we know are wrong? Often, these emotions reveal that an idol we are worshiping is being threatened. Keller urges us to examine these emotions, because as we pull them up by the roots, we will often find idols clinging to them.”
Excerpt From: Brian Fikkert & Kelly M. Kapic. “Becoming Whole.” Apple Books. https://books.apple.com/us/book/becoming-whole/id1420313463
Excerpt From: Brian Fikkert & Kelly M. Kapic. “Becoming Whole.” Apple Books. https://books.apple.com/us/book/becoming-whole/id1420313463
We must first evaluate the flame before we fan the flame of our lives and we do this by looking for the idols of our lives.
Pray
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