On February 7th, 2009, here in Victoria, Australia, out of control bushfires caused devastation and destruction on a scale we have never experienced before. We will forever refer to that significant day as “Black Saturday”.
The town of Marysville was virtually wiped out by a raging wall of fire. Communities like Kinglake and Steels Creek suffered unimaginable loss. Our friends lost their house in Buxton. As we surveyed the ruins of their property, even the glass windows had melted in the intensity of the heat.
All it takes for this to happen are the right conditions: tinder dry forests, an abundance of leaf litter, high winds, high temperatures and … one spark. When the conditions are right, one spark is all that is required. Once lit, a fire has a life of its own.
It seems to me that the conditions are right for a great move of God in our western culture. We are discovering the emptiness of consumerism and materialism. We worship our celebrities only to discover that their lives are even emptier than ours. We are confronted with the fact that financial security is an illusion thanks to the global financial crisis.
We live in world of pain. We seem to be unable to resolve our relational issues, as families break apart under the strain of the pressures of modern life. We are so busy with the activities of life that we neglect those who are most important to us. Our young people are confronted by the challenges of illicit drugs and alcohol. Our culture is overwhelmed by a tsunami of pornography freely available on the Internet. Our view of healthy sexuality is so distorted, that we don’t know what is normal anymore. And that distortion undermines healthy relationships. Sadly, our culture tends to degrade our relationships not nurture them.
Surely in this culture, the gospel is good news. That we can be freely forgiven, and experience the love and grace of God is good news. That we can confront our sin, with all the pain it causes is good news. That we can experience freedom from the chains of anger, rage, bitterness, discord, greed, alcohol addiction, pornography and sexual promiscuity is good news. That we can live in right relationship with God with no fear of condemnation is good news. That lives and society can be transformed by the Spirit of God is good news.
The conditions are right. To use a biblical metaphor, the fields are ripe for harvest. Jesus clearly taught that the limiting factor is not the availability of the harvest, but the availability of the labourers. The Holy Spirit is looking for men and women to work in the harvest field. People in pain want to hear and experience good news. Are you willing to be part of a movement that turns our world upside down?