Soul Fire

I watched her collecting twigs.  She gathered them diligently and then sat down at the fire ring carefully building a pyramid of sticks.  It was the beginning of a nice fire and I told her so.  But she replied, “I don’t have time to build a big fire, I just want to feel the heat now.”  It was 37 degrees and the sun had just set so warmth was a definite need.

IMG_2944She grabbed some dryer lint from our fire supplies and torched the twigs.  They burned big and bright and put off some great flames and heat…for a about a minute.  Her disappointment grew before the last ember faded. A cool breeze tossed the papery white ashes across the campsite leaving no evidence a fire ever existed, just moments before.

IMG_2941We talked about fires and to really feed a fire it needs to be built in stages until the base is hot enough to catch the harder, bigger, solid wood. Then not only does the flame last but the heat that it gives off will continue to give off warmth long after the flames die because the embers of a hardwood continue to give off heat for hours.

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As we talked we rebuilt the fire and eventually with time and patience and the proper fuel had a fire for smores, supper and snuggling long into the night.  The next morning she was able to add some bark and pine needles with a few small sticks to the still warm embers from the night before.  In no time she had created a lovely morning fire.

It made me think about our faith journeys and what it takes to ignite our passion and walk with the Lord.  We need fuel.  If we slack off and cool down the embers of our faith, they are much harder to rekindle.  The fuel we use to build and grow our knowledge and faith in Christ needs to be constant.  A diet of light twigs such as feel good teachings with a big flourish but little substance will not keep us stoked and on fire for the Lord.

The fire th101_9424at fuels our souls has to be more than just kindling. To be strong in our faith we need to look to the Pillars of Faith.  Those teachers that stood the test of time who lived and died sold out to God.  We need to dig deeply into the word of God and feed on its truth’s.  We need to go regularly to the foot of the cross.

Tossing in some spiritual feel good fluff now and then to fan the flames isn’t a problem as long as the balance of our diet is the solid teaching and truths that will sustain us long after the kindling turns to ash.

Soul Fire Starter Recipe:

15 Minute Tune Up

  • Be still for 2 Minutes
  • Be Thankful for 2 minutes
  • Be Quiet for 2 minutes
  • Be in the word for 5 minutes
  • Be prayerful 4 minutes

Camp Fire starter Recipe:

  • Cardboard Egg Carton or paper Dixie cups
  • Dryer Lint
  • Wax (old candles)

Fill the the containers with dryer lint then pour melted wax over top of the dryer lint.  Sprinkle a little more lint on top to float on the surface.  Cool.  Place in fire build over top and light the fire starter.  It will burn for approximately 15 minutes.

Point to Ponder: What have been good fire starters for you when you’ve hit a cool spot in your faith? How have you gotten your faith journey back on track? Share it with us

ACTION!  Congratulations Lisa from Grove City on winning our April contest.  Our May contest will feature some campfire fun for the family.  Winner will be drawn June 1st.  So leave a comment and sign up to enter!

Gone Fishing – Tribute to my dad

“Gone Fishing” is what the note said on the table. It was nothing new for my father as he enjoyed heading to the lake after a hard day’s work. When my brother came home and saw the note, little did he know it would be the last thing dad would ever write.

Two weeks earlier dad hopped down the steps of my freshman dorm saying, “Two more weeks kiddo and you are all done!,” then he wrapped me in his big daddy arms and kissed my cheek, for the last time. It was the night before finals when my sister showed up in my dorm fishing through her purse for tissues and took me home.

Daddy and his kids outdoors!

Unbeknownst to us the week before his death, dad had taken his Honda 750 all over town visiting folks he hadn’t seen in months, even years. We found this out as the droves of people who came to the funeral home in waves for hours on end would say, “I can’t believe it, he was just at our house last week.”

For dad it was a matter of genetics. His father’s first heart attack was at 42, my father’s at 46. He was only 54 when he went fishing for the last time. With the only friend he had who was not a believer or proficient in CPR, not that it would have helped.

It was a May evening and dad and Ron were bringing the boat back across the lake when my dad got a big hit on his line and reeled in a lovely specimen, just a tad under regulations. His friend said, “Neil there’s no one around, just keep it, them’s good eatin’.” Dad who had a knack for doing the right thing replied, “No we’ll put him back he’ll make a good keeper next season.”

As they rounded the corner of the lake, the limestone bridge where Route 422 traversed was awash in a golden hue of sunset. Dad said, “That is exactly how I picture heaven; all bright and glittering like that.” Little did Dad know that within moments, he would get to cross over a similar looking bridge into eternity.

Dad had been a rebel in the army and raised his share of heck as a young lad. But his life and my legacy changed when he came across a man who told him about a certain fisherman, a “fisher of men”. The man was Billy Graham in 1968. Billy Graham had gone fishing in Pittsburgh and reeled in a keeper, my father.

From then on my dad changed his life and set out to learn as much as he could about Jesus Christ. He studied, he read and eventually he taught and counseled. This tool and die operator found himself a child of a King and a fisher of men. Many of those he led to the Lord had their own stories during the funeral and some share still years later.

Dad, an avid fisherman and hunter, loved being outdoors in the Lord’s creation but the quietness of a lake, fishing with a friend was truly his favorite place to be. As much as he loved to reel in a bass or a salmon he loved reeling in people to the kingdom.

Ron said that Dad put his rod and tackle against the car and turned around. Ron walking toward dad, saw dad’s face break into a smile. “It looked like he was seeing someone he knew and was happy to see,” Ron later explained. “I thought your brother or someone he knew was behind me. When I turned to look I saw no one. When I turned back around your dad was slumped down with a smile on his face and a peaceful happy look.” Forty-five minutes later, dad was being whisked into an ER but he was already home.  

His friend went through a serious health crisis as his blood pressure sky rocketed and depression of losing one of his best friends set in. Through my dad’s witness in his life and in his death, Ron came to know the reason for the smile and gave his life to Christ. That day, the Master fisherman had gone fishing and took home a real keeper. Even to the end, dad was a fisher of men and he did his best to stock heaven.

Neil E. Pilston Sr.     January 1932 – May 1985

Daddy as a teen!

Fool’s Gold (Guest Blogger)

Guest Blogger: Pastor Chris Gibbs of CrossWay Church

“You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men” (Mark 7:8).

In the late 1840’s, the Gold Rush was in full swing. Everyone was eager for the certain riches and wealth, prestige and success that would come from discovering the life-changing powers of gold. What many people found, however, was not gold, but was pyrite, knows as “fool’s gold.” They found this with excitement, abandoned their search any further and went about to trade this “treasure” in for the life-change they were dreaming for. To their great disappointment, they found that what they had only “looked like” what they were really seeking. They had settled for a fake.

The Pharisees, like many in our current society, were more focused on the the disciples of Jesus did not fit into their traditional and “acceptable” mold. They had traded seeking the face of God, the true gold, for seeking the praises of men, and judging every man against the standard of appearance. They judged Jesus’ disciples’ hearts based on how they followed traditions, rather than how they followed God. They equated godliness with appearance, ritual, and tradition.

It is so easy to get caught up in the trends and styles and leave the commandment to worship God alone. He IS the true gold. Everything else is a fool’s copy. Styles are not my god. Traditions are not my god. Opinions of people are not my god. Jesus IS my God. I live my life to honor Him. He is the One who matters to me and how I live each day.

If we live each day this mindset, we will live blessed with Jesus. He is more valuable than gold, silver, and precious rubies. Our minds and hearts must be set on Him. Be encouraged today to seek Him, not to settle for anything less than the One, True, Living, and Loving God!!

You can read more here http://www.chrisgibbs.net/

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