"Where's the fire?"

We are naturally attracted to warmth. We gather around the fireplace, huddle around a campfire, and are cheered. We sit close to an old iron stove and enjoy the radiance of a flame we cannot see. We respond to a loving heart. We applaud a fervent speech or sermon. Applaud a sermon? Well, most of us do this inwardly. But I did literally clap my hands once, when I was six. Our family regularly attended Sunday evening vesper services in our Congregational church. The minister reached a fiery climax, and I did what I was impelled to do! He took time to thank me kindly and to say he wished he had more such members of the congregation. (My parents later taught me what was considered proper, but I have often wondered if that minister and others secretly longed for a warmer response to their preaching.)

Six years later we were living near the commuter train station in another town. Down the tracks at the next crossing was a little white building. In the summer, with the windows and doors open, a jubilant church service radiated out into the neighborhood practically uninterrupted during each two-day weekend. I was irresistibly drawn to stand at the open front door. A small sign identified the Fire Baptized Holiness Church of God. I was not then enough of a Bible student to realize the Pentecostal implications of the name, or of what was taking place inside. As I stood there, two of their congregation, returning to the service, invited me to "Go right on in, it's free." So I did, and it was "free."

The mission of business
February 27, 1995

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