I came across Steve Furtick watching the Nines. Something about him grabbed me and he seemed, at very least, to be full of faith. I then read his book called Sun Stand Still and when I was ill in bed earlier this year I watched 'This is how we changed the world' (the extraordinary story of how he planted his church). He then appeared on the Elephant Room and held his own in the company of big men with foreheads like flint. It is unlikely he will ever be able to be too unsound with friends like these. Recently, he spoke at the Willow Leadership Summit. Not a bad CV for one who has barely turned thirty.
When I read 'Sun stand still' he has a chapter in it called 'Page 23 Vision' that quotes the book he read that set the course of his life. I underlined most of the page. It's called Fresh wind, Fresh fire and I distinctly remember at the time thinking that I really must get around to reading it. Anyway, last Sunday morning a friend, who now lives in Egypt of all places, walked into church and handed me this very book and told me I must read it. I told him the story of Page 23 and Furtick and said I would send him the passage from the book. Here it is:
"A few months after my commitment to Christ, someone slipped me a book called Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by a pastor in Brooklyn named Jim Cymbala. It was the first Christian book I ever willfully read. And it read like a highlight reel of the miracles God had performed in Cymbala's church. Addictions broken. Families restored. Souls saved. A city illuminated. I was mesmerized.
As I sat at my parents kitchen table with the book open, hands still wet from washing the dishes, I stumbled across a line that set the trajectory of my life. It was on page 23:
'I despaired of the thought that my life might slip by without seeing God show himself mightily on our behalf'
It's hard to put into words how tightly that one sentence gripped my imagination. Somehow the Holy Spirit translated that line into a tangible impression in my teenage heart, and I knew: one day I'm going to start a church in a big city to reach people who are far from God"
In the last two weekends Steve Furtick and Elevation Church have baptised 2158 people. Really, 2158. I don't know about your church but that is a few more than ours. Do watch the inspiring film and do pray for this dear, passionate, aflame man and his wife Holly and their family. The enemy must be ticked......
Oh, and I am now reading the book.