I’ve been thinking a lot about Chicago lately. No doubt because we leave bright and early tomorrow for Chicago and our annual Mission Choir Tour. It is such a great city. Have you been? It is a different kind of big, but there is also so much to see and do. Chicago is also dear to me for two other reasons. 21 years ago it was the destination of my only mission trip while I was a youth. You can imagine my joy to share that memory with the Chapel Singers. The other reason is that my first teaching job out of college was just West of the city, and I have a real affinity because of that time I spent there.
Carol Cymbala, the founder and director of the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir wrote a book several years ago called “Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire.” These words have been rolling around my head for several weeks now as I have prepared for this trip. The symbolism is fantastic when you think about it. We are going to the “Windy City” and one of the worst fires in American history occurred there in 1871, so I thought the connection was terrific. But as the Lord continued to give me these words, I tried to understand a greater depth to this connection.
Consider Acts 2:2-4:
And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. And they were ALL filled with the Holy Spirit.
Did you catch it? My prayer for these teenagers is that they are so filled with the Holy Spirit that they are a Fresh Wind to whomever they meet while on tour. Whether at a VBS site, a church concert, or even at Wrigley Field that they would stand apart because they are so filled with the Lord’s presence. Think of what the disciples did once they were empowered by the Spirit, they changed the world!
In 1871 the great American evangelist Dwight L. Moody was preaching a series of Revival meetings in Chicago. At the end of one meeting he told the assembled congregation that they had looked at the person of Jesus, and his life, and if they would only come back next time they would decide what to do with this Jesus. As the last song of that service was being sung alarms were going throughout the city and in a matter of hours much of Chicago lay charred. D.L. Moody considered that lost opportunity to call people to decision one of his greatest regrets.
As I have thought about that great man’s testimony and the scripture from Acts I thought of the power of the Spirit once again. As those tongues of fire sat upon each disciple they were able to minister in new ways that they had never done before.
Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire. Will you pray that the Lord who has gone before us will use the teenagers, the sponsors, and their ministers in a fresh way. Pray that we will indeed be used in ways that without the Spirit’s guidance, we would have never done before.
God is so good.