sermonMatthew 3:5-6,11; John 14:1-14,23-26

Jesus wants to set our hearts on fire for him, ignite a fire within us for his Kingdom life of love, joy, peace, forgiveness, compassion…

Jesus knows that is the only way for us to be moved from where we are to the beautiful and abundant life and relationships he wants for us.

Can you imagine what it would be like if our hearts were on fire with the excitement, passion, and commitment of the teams and fans of March Madness. We will know if our hearts are on fire, if we start each day with excitement for how Jesus will use us to bring love, joy, peace to someone that day; if we are igniting a fire for him in our children; if our heart for Jesus is contagious…

My heart came to be on fire for Jesus when I followed his words in John’s Gospel that open our hearts for him to move in – live his commandments of love, peace, kindness, forgiveness, compassion…outside of my safe, familiar, controlled life.

My heart began to catch fire when I stepped out of my comfort zone to love and serve the families of Dalton Village (a drug, crime, and poverty infested community in Charlotte). That fire moved me to step way out of my comfortable life to answer Jesus’ call to come here. And the more I serve, love, and care for you, the hotter and brighter his fire burns.

Now my heart is more on fire than ever, because I live more fully Jesus’ commandment to me as your Pastor to pray, not just my almost-daily prayers – but persistent, hot, personal, pleading prayers for those who ask me. And a brighter fire began last week, as I experienced how Jesus can do the seemingly impossible when we obey him. As I was about to mark a family off my list (missing for months), Jesus’ fire led me instead to pray a long and longing prayer for them. Three hours later they called, asking for help with a troubled family member; we met; they left with hope and a suggestion – the next day that person came to see me; now I have a persistently hot prayer request for them!

Mike Slaughter shared what ignites and fans the flames of his heart-on-fire for Jesus – The promise of Jesus in the Gospel of John that we can do “even greater things than I have done;” and Jesus’ call to show the love and power of God by being like Jesus, who does that for us.

That flame started for him when a Pastor took him under his wing to show what life with Jesus can be like, turning him from a life that was headed (actually in) the wrong direction.

His heart is on fire for doing the same for young people that Jesus puts in his path of life…fortunately, including us.

So ask Jesus to lead you out of your comfort zone for him; show the promises of Jesus to someone who needs him; and experience the fire for Jesus in your heart, blazing up, taking hold of you; blessing you…and them!