The passion of Peter Griffiths and those he worked with.

The passion of Peter Griffiths and those he worked with.

Acts 18:25 “He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervour and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John.”

Apollos knew the way, he knew the facts about Jesus and he knew the need for repentance. But it wasn’t what he knew that was the key to his influence, it was what he had. He had “great fervour.” The Message says “fiery in enthusiasm.” The Amplified says, “and being spiritually impassioned …”

May God continue to give me this passion. That is my prayer this morning.

Passion opens the door for achievement – whether it be in business or in discovery, great leaders, record breakers, they all had passion. Commitment will automatically follow passion, you won’t have to try to keep going. Passion will cause you to enjoy the journey as much as the destination.

“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord.” Romans 12:11

When Jesus overturned the money tables in the temple offended that it wasn’t being used as the house of prayer that it should have been, the disciples later remembered the Psalmists words “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

We understand the word passion to mean: A powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, as love or hate.

Yet walk into churches today, speak to Bible believing Christians and you don’t have to go too far into the conversation with some of them to know that there is no powerful emotion for Jesus there is no compelling feeling for Him.

They have become “neither cold nor hot” God says in Revelation 3 “I wish you were one or the other and not lukewarm”.

But as I sit here asking for more passion I am also aware it means suffering and submission as like Jesus’ death on the cross. So it is not only about the excitement of the heart but it is about the bended knee.

Next to me is The Axe and the Tree, a compelling read by my friend, Stephen Griffiths. You can purchase this by typing the following into your browser:

http://www.elim.org.uk/Shop/Products/498661/The_Axe_and.aspx

I have read this book a few times now. It is full of passion. It is passionately written. Stephen is a son of the late Peter Griffiths, the Principal of the Elim School and a British missionary with his wife, Brenda, at the time of the murder of our Elim missionaries in what is now Zimbabwe.

Yesterday morning, the 23rd, I remembered the tragedy and the book helped me. Our missionaries carried passion in their souls and it took them to Rhodesia and it was passion that brought them to their knees in surrender.

This story even though it is 39 years later is still impacting, still stirring, it is still passionately moving.

Let me give an excerpt of what happened on this day, the day after the surrender. The Griffiths family were on furlough in the UK at the time.

Stephen writes, We got up early on Saturday 24 June 1978 to travel together as a family to Surrey. My father was going to speak at the Elim Bible College graduation, in the Surrey village of Capel.

The sunlight came flickering through the trees as we drove through the green countryside of early summer. I leaned my head back against the car window, staring up into the vault of blue overhead. It was a summer’s morning to fill the heart with a numinous joy.

As we drove up through the grounds, we expected to see the spreading lawns of the college splashed with colour; students, their families, and friends strolling on the grass anticipating a day of celebration. But the lawns were deserted. Pulling up close to the main entrance, we were curious and amazed to find that all was quiet. On graduation day we expected noise and movement and laughter. A student stepped out of the shadow of the doorway and quickly stepped forward. “I’m here to take you straight to the Principal’s office,” he said, an unexpectedly solemn look on his face.

We followed him in a small family knot, increasingly bemused. Here and there we saw one or two people as we made our way through the building but they drew back or turned away as we passed. The door to the Principal’s office was opened and we saw Wesley Gilpin, the Principal, standing behind his desk. My father advanced towards him, smiling, with his hand outstretched, and we followed him in.

Without preamble the Principal said, “Pete, I’ve got some bad news for you.”

My dad’s face changed and he said abruptly, “They’ve killed Phil.”

Very gently the Principal said, “I’m sorry, Pete. They’ve all been killed.”

With those words, my father staggered as if he had been punched, falling down backwards with the shock. My mother stood, shaking all over as if she had a fever, saying, “Why are we still alive? Why have we got life and they’re all dead?” I was traumatized both by hearing words which didn’t make sense at first and then seeing the reaction of my tough, capable father who had coped with so much. The room rocked and swayed and a strange buzzing rang in my ears.

The summer light drained from it, the day passed in a colourless blur of faces coming into view and fading away again. Broken fragments of sentences. Joy Bath’s face, normally so animated and full of fun, running with tears as she stood enfolded in my parents’ arms. Treading carefully, unsure of feet and balance in the weightless atmosphere of shock, I was intensely aware of each movement and moment.

The Bible College graduation service went ahead. Although others offered to take his place as the speaker, my father felt he should do it. He had already planned to speak from Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi: “It is my eager expectation and hope that I shall not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honoured in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”[i]

Tears ran unchecked down my father’s face as he recalled his friends and colleagues one by one and spoke of their determination to follow their Lord. A graduating student recalled, “I can see him now … his bloodshot eyes seemed to be alive with grief and hope. He paused for a long time, looked into our eyes again, and asked us if we would be faithful to the Lord Jesus whatever the cost. As we knelt to pray we were sobered but determined. His was one sermon I will never forget.”

That’s it, isn’t it?

Whatever the cost, will we be faithful?

Are we determined?

Do we have zeal?

Is there passion within?

Will this passion compel us to love and will it bring us to our knees in surrender if that is required?

Will you say YES to these questions as I ask them myself also?

 

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