Monday, December 03, 2007

Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire

Fresh Wind Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala

Cymbala's book more than anything is a call to prayer and earnest seeking of God. As a young man in the early 1970s he began pastoring the fledgling Brooklyn Tabernacle having had no formal training. Through his own brokenness and seeking God, he came to understand that God would bless the ministry and continue to bring people for them to minister to and introduce to Jesus if they would truly seek Him and not rely on their own devices or abilities.

As a result, the Tabernacle saw a great deal of growth and tremendous Christian ministry opportunities were opened to reach out to the people of Brooklyn and New York City as a whole. From the very beginning they made the cornerstone of their church the Tuesday evening prayer service during which they called to God and sought Him. Many extraordinary events occurred as a result and continue to happen today.

People who were once very closed towards Jesus come to true repentance and a real relationship with Him through this ministry. The Tuesday evening prayer ministry is so important that Cymbala will not accept speaking engagements if they keep him away from the prayer meeting more than one prayer meeting at in a row.
As a result of allowing the Holy Spirit to lead and direct them through seeking Him in prayer, they see lots of really cool stuff that could in no way be scripted.

Prayer is also an integral part of their Grammy award winning choir ministry with the weekly rehearsal incorporating at least 30 minutes of prayer to the practice.

Far from being a feel good type of book, Cymbala challenges the reader and today's churches to truly come before God and passionately seek Him in prayer and study of the Bible. He mentions various trends and how some churches try to cater to popular culture and make things cool and hip and while those things aren't bad in and of themselves, he emphasizes that it is a mistake to promote these flashy programs and neglect the ministry of prayer. Contrastingly, he points to the early church "These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer..." Acts 1:14 When believers and the church are in constant communion with God, He tends to work more actively and mightily.

I highly recommend this book as a reminder on the importance of prayer as well as a good high level overview of the history of the Brooklyn Tabernacle.

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