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A Tiny Fire.

America has long been a nuclear superpower on the world stage. Since the days of the Manhattan Project to our current time, the United States has possessed the capability for destruction on a scale incomprehensible to most people. And while such power becomes a deterrent to those who would do us harm, it also comes with great responsibility and peril to those who wield it.

For example…

titan-iiOn September 18, 1980, at approximately 6:00p.m., an Air Force PTS team (Propellant Transfer System) entered the Titan II Missile Complex 374-7 in Damascus, Arkansas. Their purpose for being there was to replace a small part on the missile. At about 6:25p.m., a two man team went into the missile silo to work on the missile.

Now, the Titan II missile was no small thing. As the name would indicate, the Titan II was enormous. In the documentary Command and Control (American Experience, PBS), Missile Combat Crew member Allan Childers described the sight…

“You couldn’t see the warhead from the bottom ’cause you were 8 stories down, and the cone of the warhead disappeared off in the distance.”

titan_ii_launchThe Titan II intercontinental ballistic missile stood approximately 7 stories high, weighed around 330,000 pounds (165 tons), and carried the most powerful and destructive weapon in the history of warfare in the United States (possibly the world); a nine-megaton thermonuclear warhead that had three-times the destructive capability of every bomb dropped by every army during World War II combined, including the two atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. This was a weapon with the capability to wipe out — not just a city — but a civilization.

As the crew began to work on the missile, the unthinkable happened. The socket they were using to remove the pressure cap disconnected from the wrench, and fell about 80 feet to the bottom of the missile silo. The eight-pound socket ricocheted off a thrust mount and struck the side of the missile, rupturing the fuel tank.

Over the next several hours, dozens of people across the military and defense department spectrum worked frantically to come up with a solution to keep the situation from turning into a nuclear disaster. During that time, over 14,000 gallons of rocket fuel continued to leak from the rocket into the silo.

In the early morning hours of September 19, tragedy struck.


While crews on site continued their work, the fuel ignited, and the missile complex exploded in a ball of fire seen for miles. About 21 personnel were seriously injured in the blast, and one PTS crew member, Senior Airman David Livingston, lost his life. Miraculously, the nuclear warhead itself did not detonate, and the destruction was confined to the immediate area of the missile silo and complex. The nuclear warhead was later located — still intact — in a nearby ditch, having been blown clear of the silo by the massive force of the explosion.

damascus-ar-2Now think about it. This catastrophe was caused because a small, eight-pound socket — something a minuscule fraction of the size of the missile — was accidentally dropped. And all it took then was for the tiniest spark to ignite the leaked fuel for the entire facility to turn into a deadly inferno.

This tragedy reminds me of the words of James…

   Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things.

See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. ~ James 3:3-6

woman in depressionA tiny bit controls a thousand-pound horse. A tiny rudder steers a massive ship on the wild sea. Thousands of acres of forest can be set ablaze by an unattended campfire or a carelessly discarded cigarette butt.

In the same respect, the tongue is among the tiniest members of the body, but has the potential of an emotional “nuke”. Wars have been started because of words. Lives have been destroyed because of the power of the tongue. Marriages and friendships have been laid waste in the wake of destructive words.

James goes on to say…

With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh. ~ James 3:9-12

King Solomon put it this way…

The mouth of the righteous is a well of life,
But violence covers the mouth of the wicked. ~ Proverbs 10:11

GirlsWhether it is how you whisper to a child, speak to a friend, orate to a large gathering, or proclaim from the mountaintop through media… words have meaning. Words have consequences. Words can be a fountain of life, or a weapon of destruction. Words are more than just mindless blathering… they are the reflection of the deepest recesses of the heart. Jesus drove this point home when He said…

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. ~ Luke 6:45

nuke-1Maybe your words have already harmed another. Maybe, because of something you said, the elements are already in motion, counting down to an inevitable explosion. It’s not too late! Just as words of anger, jealousy, and malice can set the potential disaster into motion, words of forgiveness, healing, and contrition can avert that same disaster. It just takes the putting down of pride and the willingness to be the “bigger” person; to be righteous instead of “right”. It just takes putting on the mind of Christ, and being an agent of peace and unity instead of chaos.

Don’t wait until the little “dropped sockets” of life allow circumstances to build to critical mass. Let your words be a well of Life for someone else today.


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Burning Down the House


On one of my travels, I stayed in a lovely home with a beautiful stacked-stone fireplace in the living room. The craftsmanship was wonderful, and the stones themselves were exquisite, with veins of black running through each stone, adding to the beauty of the design.

A year or so later, I was back in the same town, and we passed by the home, only to find that it had burned to the ground. It was explained to me that the beautiful stones that comprised the fireplace were actually the cause. The black veins that ran through each stone were actually veins of petroleum that would ignite when the temperature of the stone reached a certain temperature. On one cold winter’s day, the fire reached the ignition temperature, and BOOM… the fireplace exploded into flame, burning the house to the ground.

Christian, what does the house of your life look like?

Are you so intent on doing good things, you may not be doing the right things?

Are the things you are doing driven out of selfish motivation, or the motivation of the love of Christ?

Are you building a seemingly beautiful house of good works out of incendiary materials?

How has what you have done with your life impacted the world for Jesus?

In 1 Corinthians 3:13-15, Paul tells us…

… Each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

When we enter eternity, we will ALL be judged. For the believer, when our works are put through the purifying fire of His holy judgement, only what was done for Christ will last.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:10

We will all have to give an answer for what we as individuals have done. We will all have to take responsibility for our own attitudes and actions. In light of that, we should all examine ourselves, and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to us those areas that we need to surrender to Him, and pray as David did when he said…

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:
And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. ~ Psalm 139:23-24

I close with a thought from British missionary C. T. Studd…

Only one life, yes only one,
Now let me say,”Thy will be done”;
And when at last I’ll hear the call,
I know I’ll say “twas worth it all”;
Only one life,’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

— from the poem Only One Life, ‘Twill Soon Be Past
written by C. T. Studd

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The Devil, Darwin, & The Wizard of Oz

In the 1939 film classic, The Wizard of Oz, let’s recall a scene from early in the movie. Dorothy has just arrived in Oz, having unwittingly made the Wicked Witch of the East her impromptu landing pad. When her disgruntled and ill-tempered sister, the Wicked Witch of the West, inquires as to the whereabouts of the magical ruby slippers, she watches in horror as the slippers mysteriously disappear from the feet of her deceased sister, and appear on the feet of the unsuspecting Dorothy, the meek and simple farm-girl from Kansas.

Well, Toto… we’re not in Kansas anymore. Rewind thousands of years, back to before the dawn of time.

Lucifer is serving as the “anointed cherub” in the very Presence of God. He was visually stunning beyond belief. Music emanated from his very being. He is “all that”, and if you don’t think so, just ask him…

You said in your heart,
“I will ascend to the heavens;
I will raise my throne
above the stars of God;
I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly,
on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon.
 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.” ~ Isaiah 14:13-14

Because of his pride, Lucifer is cast out of the Presence of God. Because of his arrogance, he goes from being “Lucifer… Angel #1”, to “Satan… Public Enemy #1”.

To add insult to injury, God takes the dust of the ground and forms a man, stating…

“Let us make man in our image, after our likeness… ” ~ Genesis 1:26a

So man was created in the image of God. Just like the Creator, we, “the created”, are an eternal trinity…

  • With our bodies, we are “world conscious”.
  • With our souls (mind), we are self-conscious.
  • With our spirit, we have the capacity to be God-conscious.

However, there was a down side, and Adam and Eve succeeded in finding it in fairly short order. Being made in the likeness of God meant having a free-will. When Adam sinned by disobeying God, humanity was plunged into a death-spiral. Man is now a creature subject to death…

  • Immediately in spirit.
  • Progressively in soul (mind).
  • Ultimately in body.

But hold on! When Jesus, the “second Adam” came into the world, the sinless Son of God dying for the sins of all mankind, He made it possible for man to be saved…

  • Immediately in spirit.
  • Progressively in soul (mind).
  • Ultimately in body.

Furthermore, we were created, not just in the image of God, but as vessels and instruments of praise to God…

“Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endures to all generations.” ~ Psalm 100

Like the treasured ruby slippers in The Wizard of Oz, God took the very thing that Lucifer desired (God’s image), as well as what set him apart (his ability for worship), and endowed lowly man with these precious gifts.

The spirit of a man is the lamp of the Lord,
Searching all the inner depths of his heart. ~ Proverbs 20:27

I was watching The History Channel as they explored the Theory of Evolution. A contemporary and friend of Darwin opposed him on evolution between species, especially man. On this show scientists said that man, as he is now, could not have evolved as we are today. Their answer is aliens from outer space planted a DNA 6 – 10,000 years ago! Darwin’s contemporary said perhaps a spirit out of another world or realm planted man. They focused on man’s reason and his ability to speak. The human larynx could not have evolved from other hominids or apes!

They are right, but it wasn’t “a” spirit… it was “the” Holy Spirit; not “from” another world, but the Creator of this one. We aren’t the product of chance or an evolutionary “roll-of-the-dice”. We are the very image of a Divine Creator, Who spoke everything forth from nothing more than the sound of His voice. We are more than just another species of animal, driven by primal desire. We are more than just another organism, no different than any other creature crawling around in the muck and mire of a fallen world.

We are the candles that, if we choose, burn with the very fire of God. When we allow the “Consuming Fire” that is God (Heb. 12:29) to consume us, He lights within us a passion that is unquenchable, unstoppable, and unmistakable. Just as a candle is no good without fire, we must have the fire of God burning within us to ignite His passion and His power to affect this world.

Do you want to find out how embracing the fire of the Holy Spirit will give you the mind of Christ? Do you want to know how to take that “personal” passion and change the world?

Join me at Abba’s House this Sunday at 10:30a.m., or watch us online by clicking here.