Community of the Holy Fire
What is the Community of the Holy Fire?
Many of you who share this blog with us have asked this question. First, let me tell you what we mean by Christian community. This is Christian community: “Every Christian is my brother or sister, and we are responsible for one another for life.” The Greek word for community is koinonia, and it describes a supernatural relationship, shared with God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ, and with all Christians throughout the world. It speaks of an organic relationship: “I am the vine; you are the branches.” (John 15:5) All Christians are members of one body, the body of Christ. We are responsible for one another and accountable to one another. We are the koinonia of the Holy Spirit.
Early Church Christians practiced koinonia by not claiming that any of their possessions were their own, and by sharing them with all who were in need. The result was that there were no needy persons among them, no gap between rich and poor. They proclaimed the Gospel not by merely inviting people to be born again; they went further and invited them into koinonia fellowship with them. Our Pneuma Springs ministry in Seattle (Youth With A Mission) began in community. Just before Thanksgiving Day, 1994, our family, along with several community members, had just moved from New York City to Seattle. A group of students from Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington, were waiting for us on our doorstep. They asked us to come and help them in their campus ministry. We agreed, but warned them that we did not have money to subsidize their programs. “However,” we said, “everything we have is yours; we are available to you.” They were shocked, and one student asked me for my NY Yankees baseball hat! I gladly gave it to him because I was destined to become a Seattle Mariners loyal fan. It began that way, but in the following years we were able to experience true Christian community with students and staff in the university. They took responsibility for one another. We experienced a new intimacy with the Lord and an intimacy with one another based on the fear of the Lord. When one student lacked money, they all helped. When another got into trouble, the others took responsibility for restoring him yet demanded that he be accountabe to the whole community. We shared leadership and became partners (another koinonia word) in ministry. Students witnessed on the campus and invited people to share “our fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.” We let them know that to come and share life together with us would “make our joy full.” (1 John 1:3-4)
We have seen the fruit of this community in the lives of students after they graduated from the university. Some are now working for justice for the poor, others for righteousness in corporate law; another former staff member is very influential in the world of the media and international affairs. One is a professor who understands the need for community in academics. Many others are practicing community in their families, businesses and churches. But they all are alive for Jesus, striving to love one another as Jesus loved us, and sharing that love with the world.
What is the “Holy Fire?”
But what about the “holy fire?” John the Baptist promised that Jesus would baptize people “with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” (Luke 3:16) The Holy Spirit brings all Christians into the one Body of Christ; He is the author of koinonia community. He also empowers Christians with supernatural power to share the Gospel of the Kingdom of the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. But how does He baptize “with fire?” Immediately after making this promise, John the Baptist said that the Spirit would gather the “wheat” into His barn, but would burn the “chaff” with unquenchable fire. He spoke not only of the enemies of God but also of sin in the lives of Christians. Jeremiah spoke of the Word of God not only as wheat, or bread for our souls, but also as “fire” that burns away the chaff in our lives. We know that all of us as Christians have “chaff” in our lives: unconfessed sin, prejudice, judgmentalism, refusal to forgive, lust, envy and competition, feelings of unworthiness and uselessness. These are just some of the chaff that needs to be burned away. But as the Spirit cleanses, He also empowers.
So when we say, “Community of the Holy Fire,” we mean that we are the koinonia community of the Holy Spirit, empowered to be His witnesses in the world. “Divided tongues, as of fire, rested upon the heads of God’s people at Pentecost, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:3-4) The Holy Spirit brings the fire of His power, and at the same time He cleanses us by His fire to enable us to serve God in holiness as we proclaim the Gospel in power.
The Community of the Holy Fire is a virtual community. We have no meetings, no dues to pay, no membership records to continually adjust and update. Every Christian who desires to be used by God to transform this world is by nature a member of the community of the Holy Fire, the community of the Spirit. We welcome you and hope that we can share together the joys of life in Christ Jesus.