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Stoke the Fire

1 Thessalonians 5:19

“Dave, I’ve got about eight black pastors I meet with at Southern Bible. They’re investing a lot to increase their skill in bible and theology. One of the areas they need is a good overview of the entire plotline of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation. Would you consider meeting with them to meet this need?”

Dr. Hawkins was beginning to get settled in as president of this school founded in 1927, and we had been meeting at Starbucks regularly to encourage each other. I started meeting with the men once a week for three hours a session and the passion and excitement in the room grew each week.

Now, why take a New Yorker turned Texan who at the time had spent almost forty years of his life pastoring in a rural Texas town and then suddenly sit him down around a table with a group of seasoned black pastors? The explanation? Grace and that special movement of the Holy Spirit, and that’s why the Apostle Paul told the Thessalonians near the end of his first letter—

“Don’t stifle the Spirit!”  1 Thessalonians 5:19

Paul started his letter stressing the fact that when he began to proclaim the Gospel in their city, they didn’t just hear words. There was power, deep conviction—it was the Holy Spirit (1 Thess. 1:4-5). The power of the Spirit is compared to fire (cf. Matt. 3:11= Lk. 3:16, Acts 2:3ff, 18:25, Roman 12:11, 2 Tim. 1:16). And that same Spirit is the one who moved in each of our hearts as we studied together at Southern Bible.

From that round-table class with the pastors, I now regularly teach Old Testament Introduction, and last spring, the ABHE Association has granted our school Candidacy for Accreditation. Our students can now receive grants and scholarships and their credits are transferable. But what counts the most for me is that as I taught the Book of Job this past Thursday, it was evident that the Holy Spirit was still opening eyes to what He was saying in this incredible book where Satan bet God that there wasn’t such a thing as gracious, unmerited love.

LORD, thank you for answering our prayers for accreditation for SBIC.

For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!