A Burning Issue

Reprinted from The Hutch News
The Lord’s ‘firefight’ is our hope
Friday, August 24, 2012 09:41:09 PM
By Andy Addis

Here’s an understatement: This was a hot summer.

You know you’ve endured some blistering days when you are thankful for 90-plus degrees. But the heat did more than take its toll on summer fun. The wildfires of 2012 will leave their mark for quite some time, not only on the land, but on our lives.

I was glued to the television watching the fires encroach on some of my favorite places to visit in Colorado, and more than once I prayed for the firefighters putting themselves in harm’s way.

Those are some amazing heroes, and I am in awe of the innumerable ways they can battle a fire. Long gone are the days of the singular hope put in a hydrant and a hose. Direct and indirect attack, venting, aerial drops, isolations are all in the arsenal of the modern firefighter. But my favorite is the back-burn.

It’s a technique that has been around for a long time. Basically, the firefighters will determine the movement and direction of the fire. Then, selecting an area in its path, they start their own fire.

It seems a little crazy, but the result is that this controlled fire consumes all the fuel and leaves nothing for the wildfire. When the out-of-control blaze gets to that spot, there’s nothing to burn.


I love this technique because it reminds me so much of what Jesus did for us. Sin is a curse upon every human being. God’s wrath is just and right, and we “sinners” deserve the full weight of it.

But Christ came not as just another man, but as the Son of God in the form of man. He died on the cross for us as a willing act of obedience to God and a gift of grace to us. He became a substitutionary sacrifice on our behalf, and when He did, He absorbed the full wrath of God, shielding us.

Basically, He “back-burned” an escape route for us.

Romans 5: 8-11: “God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by His blood, much more shall we be saved by Him from the wrath of God. For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by His life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”

When Jesus died for us on the cross, the fire of God’s wrath fell and consumed Him in our place. And the top of Calvary’s hill, scorched with the fire of God’s judgement, is now a safe place for us to stand.

Because of what He did, we can stand securely at the foot of the cross because there is nothing left to burn.

There is no finish line

The following is a guest post from a good friend and fellow laborer in our faith community: CrossPoint Church.

Ryan Wray just returned from the mission field in Africa after three weeks of service, and offered this to me as a ‘thought.’

I thought it was valuable enough I should share with you. Yes, I did get his permission!

Thanks a ton, my friend.


I’m not sure if it’s our DNA or if it’s just the way we are wired, but as humans we love completing things. It’s such a great feeling when we put our minds to something and then finish it.

There’s just something about seeing a zero balance, or a paid in full, or a completed stamp that just gives us a wonderful feeling. I know for me, being a procrastinator, that seeing something finished is a huge achievement.

20120820-181115.jpgThis last Friday, I could start to feel something in my body that I knew was probably some sort of illness. My wife was ill two days prior and I knew it was probably just my turn.

Sure enough, from Friday afternoon until Sunday morning I had some sort of bug. I knew it was over Sunday morning because when I woke up, my entire upper torso had broken out in a rash.

This wonderful phenomenon called anaphylactic shock is something that happens to my body at the end of every illness I get.

I have no idea why it does it or what it is doing, but is a sign of completion.

I think that many Christians have this same feeling with their spiritual walk. Once we accept Christ, it is finished. He has died for our sins and now that we let Him into our lives, He will take care of everything and we can sit back and enjoy life.

The hard part is done, right? All we have to do is believe, and our lives will be complete!

You and I can get a chuckle out of this mind set. If we heard somebody say this, we would probably chuckle, then pause to ask, “Are you serious?”

I still consider myself a young believer. In the short three years since I accepted Christ, been baptized, and continue to grow my relationship with Christ, I have yet to find a place in scripture that says, “since you’ve gone”. If we continually look for goal lines or finish lines, I think we’re going to be greatly disappointed.

Instead, I am daily reminded of scripture that says “As you go…” So, how do we know where we are suppose to go? How are we supposed to know what to do?

I think it’s easy to take this from scripture and think “as you go” is a representation of missions. But, missions where? Missions how? Where do I go? How do I get there? How do I know what Christ is calling me to do?

One of my favorite scriptures is Matthew 5:16:

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

What does it mean to let your light shine before others, and how does this apply to my walk with Christ?

When I arrived in Togo, Africa, a few weeks ago, one of the first things they told us was to make sure we carry a flashlight at all times when walking at night.

I was fine with this until they told us why. The statement following was, “Because of the large number of black and green mambas, you may want to pay a little bit better attention to where you’re stepping.”

This just took my three week stay to a whole ‘nutha level! I hate snakes so much, that when I see one I just about throw up all over myself! So, for the next three weeks, everywhere I went from sundown to sun up, I carried my flashlight with me.

Now, when I say to carry it, what I really mean is I tried to light up the entire campsite with my one little flashlight because the last thing I wanted to see was a snake. If there was a snake anywhere within a 100 foot radius of me, I wanted to know it!!

This seemed like a fantastic idea until the third night I was there. I was walking with a group of nationals and Americans headed back to camp from visiting a family when my sporadic pivoting of a flashlight was abruptly interrupted by some words from the nationals that can be translated in French, Moba, or English all the same.

As I was shining my light everywhere around me, I almost stepped on a green mamba that was right in front of me. I quickly realized that the light does me no good unless I shine it at the path in front of me.

This was one of those “ah ha” moments because as a young Christian, many times I don’t know what path to take. I’m excited for this new relationship with Christ, but do I really pay attention to where He is calling me to go? Am I trying to follow a path that I think He wants me to go? Or, am my truly being led by the Holy Spirit in a direction that is going to be a light that shines before others?

I can’t be sure that I know the answer to this, but one thing I do know, is that whatever path Christ puts me on, it only has one finish line and that is the Kingdom.

I picture myself continuing to walk a path that may have a fork in the road, but each one of those paths starts off with a sign that says “As You Go…”

I'm tired of your attitude

So how is your attitude?

Don’t answer too quickly, I’ve learned that our understanding of our own attitudes is much like embezzling. If an embezzler gets caught and you ask him how much he took, the number he honestly believes is about half of what it was.

It’s much the same with our attitudes, however bad we may believe our own attitude is, you should probably double it. We give ourselves a little too much slack.

Philippians chapter 2 says that we should have the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus. Okay, now I’m just meddling, right? Seriously, who can have an attitude like?

It’s a pretty high standard, but it is what it is. So, where do we go from here?

As I read through the Gospels, I often see how Jesus handled Himself, circumstances and other people. I try to take note of His attitude and behaviors. It’s how we find out what it’s like to have the attitude of Christ Jesus.

So, during my sabbatical I have been doing an inductive and slow study of the Gospel of Mark. I have discovered something. You guessed it, in the words of Hank Williams Junior, I need an attitude adjustment.

Although the attitude adjustments I’ve been offered throughout the book are too numerous to write in this article, let me share one simple observation from Mark chapter 14 verse 50.

Here is the setting: Jesus has spent the night praying in the garden of Gethsemane, who knows His mockery of a trial and crucifixion on the way. An army has come to arrest Him and Judas has just betrayed Him with a kiss.

Jesus notes that they could have arrested Him any day in the temple, but they waited until that night alone in the dark to bring an entire squadron after Him before He says…

“But let the Scriptures be fulfilled.” Mark 14:50

This may not sound like an overly impressive statement to you, but check out the attitude in this simple sentence.

But– this is a contradictory conjunction. It takes the direction of thought and changes it, and extends the conversation. If the sentence began with the word ‘and,’ it would be in agreement with everything prior to the statement. It does not. So, what does Jesus mean with that simple conjunction ‘but’? I believe He is saying, “Despite the hypocrisy of your actions, disregarding the sinfulness of your thoughts and speech, and with no regard to the injustice about to be done to me, I will allow this because obedience to my Heavenly Father is far more precious to Me than justice in this moment.” This is the attitude we are supposed to have.

Let – although it is a verb, it is a passive verb. Jesus is basically saying that He is willing to let go of His authority and control and submit to the will of God. He is willingly giving up on a desired outcome that would benefit Him, and yield Himself to God’s will, God’s word and the circumstances before Him if it pleases the Father. In other words, He’s choosing to not fight, let go of control and allow God to do what needs to be done in His life. This is the attitude we are supposed to have.

Be fulfilled– since we know that Jesus knew what was coming, and we know that what was ahead of Him was harder than anything you or I may ever face, this is quite a statement. In this statement Jesus is putting the priority on the plan, the plan God had. He is abandoning His desire for self-preservation, He is not bargaining for something different, He is simply saying that whatever God wants is what He wants to be fulfilled in His life no matter the cost. This is the attitude we are supposed to have.

So, let me ask you again, how’s your attitude? In just this simple sentence we see that Jesus’ attitude is a hard one to imitate.

The world is unfair but I will be obedient and faithful even if others seem to thrive in their injustice and sinfulness

I have fought for myself for years, but today I choose to let You control every decision and every direction. I choose to rest in submission to You.

I have made my daily endeavor to see my plan succeed, but my heart has changed and may Your plan and Your will be fulfilled in my life.

This is the attitude (or at least part of it) of Christ Jesus.

So, how is your attitude?