As our worship team was waiting on God, asking Him what He wanted to do in our midst on Sunday, my friend Kimberley said, "I heard the word, backdraft". You may wonder, how would a backdraft effect a church service? I know I did, so I did some research.
In a poorly ventilated space, a fire can burn until the atmosphere becomes depleted of oxygen. When the available oxygen has been consumed by the fire the concentrations of hot gases and aerosolized fuels become very high, because there isn't enough oxygen to burn, and not enough ventilation to escape. the gasses and fuel just become stuck.
According to iaaifireinvestigator, "Although there may not be any visible fire anymore, this condition is very dangerous because all the reaction needs is more oxygen and it will start again." If oxygen is introduced into this kind of environment, it can suddenly ignite. How interesting.
This caused me to speculate a bit. To the naked eye, a spiritual environment that once knew revival can appear quite dead. Stagnant. Stuck even. Maybe a lot of time has passed since that place had seen the fire of revival. In the physical, it looks as if the fire has completely gone out. Could it be that this is the time that the environment becomes the most dangerous? One gust of wind from the Holy Spirit and suddenly, the place is engulfed in flames!
The Holy Spirit is often described throughout the Bible as wind. In the book of Acts, it was the wind of the Holy Spirit that changed everything! It brought empowerment. It brought signs and wonders. It cause hearts to turn to the Father. It brought redemption for the masses.
"Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting." Acts 2:2 (NIV)
The word wind in this passage is translated pneó, which means to blow or breath. The wind of the Holy Spirit, unseen, yet the effects are totally transformative and undeniable. It is the breath of the Holy Spirit that brings revival fires back to life, personally and corporately.
There are statistics about the city I live in, that less than 5% of the population attend any kind of church. My state, Nevada is one of the least churched states in America. By all accounts, it looks spiritually dead to the natural eye. Yet I have read accounts a revival in my city from a hundred years ago.
A preacher named Earnest E. Yokum, fresh from Azusa Street, rode into town and began preaching the gospel. There were many reports of people being miraculously healed, in every echelon of society. People came under such conviction of the Holy Spirit that they emptied their homes of alcohol and tobacco products and a pile was beginning to form on a Carson City street. A local liquor and tobacco store owner emptied out his entire store and added it to the now gigantic pile. More was added to the pile in the form of pornography. They were delivered and wanted to be free of all their vices. The preacher gathered the townsfolk around the pile as he doused it with gasoline. Then with great dramatic flair, he lit a match and tossed it onto the pile. A literal revival fire was burning on a downtown city street.
Historians will tell you that Nevada was built by greed, structured around pleasure. But I know that I serve a redeeming God. He longs to restore and rebuild all things into alignment with His purposes. It helps me to know that the spiritual history of my city is rich and although spiritual fervor appears to be completely depleted, my faith must go beyond what my eyes can see. I believe that God's purpose for my state is not for greed, but to establish economic freedom and abundance for it's people and to be an example to the nation.
With one breath of God upon my city and upon my church, we could experience a backdraft that would be uncontrollable! Like an explosion, the whole place could suddenly ignite and nothing in it's environment would be untouched.
Instead of agonizing over every problem I see in my city, I can shift my attention to what is unseen and pray for a mighty breath of God to blow on the embers of people's hearts. Instead of praying for a spark, I am now praying for a backdraft!
What God did before, He can do again. No matter what you see going on in your city, the unseen Spirit of God is able to breathe fresh power into your situation. I pray that today, our God, who is an all consuming fire, will send forth His Spirit to blow upon the fires of your heart and upon your city!