Evangelist and author Priscilla Shirer said she hopes temporary church closures will empower ministers to rely more on the Holy Spirit instead of trying to manufacture the fire of God by using production "gimmicks" many modern churches have become dependent on.
Shirer was among 50 other Christian leaders, musicians, speakers, and pastors who participated in a 10-hour livestream event called “Leader Check In” hosted by PULSE and Year of the Bible founder Nick Hall on Wednesday. During her segment, she preached from 1 Kings 18:21, 23 and 24.
"I've been thinking about something this morning, just in preparation for the opportunity to share today with everybody who would be gathered in this particular week when we're heading into Easter when we are celebrating the sacrifice of our Lord. With the power of our Lord that He got up out of the grave, that He still lives, ever making intercession for us, ever the mediator that bridges the gap between us and the Father. So the thoughts that have been on my mind have been in and around Elijah, one of the premier Old Testament prophets,” Shirer said.
The daughter of Dallas megachurch pastor Tony Evans taught from Elijah’s example when he proved that His God, not Baal, was the one true God. She said Elijah understood that as believers we are to provide the sacrifice and God is who provides the fire.
"We're supposed to do our part but not step into the margin — that's supposed to be God's part,” Shirer explained. "It’s the Spirit’s part to light the fire, the anointing, the favor that will be required for every single one of our churches' streams to be effective in the lives of people. That they reach all over the globe on this coming Sunday, when for the first time, definitely in my lifetime, maybe in history, that as many people have been reached on Easter Sunday as will be reached this Easter.
She said Easter won’t just be a “good production” or “good technology,” but it will be a service that will have to “impact the souls of human beings.”
"What that means is, is that it's gonna have some fire on it. And it can't be a fire that we have manufactured in our own humanity. Emotionalism is not gonna cut it, promotion is not going to cut it,” Shirer continued. “All the gimmicks and the stories and the emotionalism, the veneer of actually having an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.
"The charisma, the talent, all that stuff that may have been able to carry us in front of a crowd, now that we've been stripped down, one of the things that I believe the Lord is inviting us back to is this reminder that we're supposed to present ourselves, a living sacrifice to Him. That we give Him our best. That we study to show ourselves approved, that we walk in integrity, and in characters as leaders in the body of Christ. That we continue to cultivate an actual real-life friendship with God that doesn't need an audience to sustain it.”
The Texas native whose mother recently died of cancer said this fire is only cultivated behind closed doors during one’s personal time with God.
Shirer emphasized that during one-on-one time with God is when everyone gets the ability to “resist the urge to do what we humans have a hard time resisting the urge to do. We refuse to manufacture our own fire. We refuse to try to set a flame for the part of our ministry that is supposed to be reserved for God and God alone.”
“Only He can make the heart of a human be penetrated by the message of the Good News. Only the Holy Spirit can open blind spiritual eyes so that they can actually come to know, this Easter, that it's not about emotionalism, and it's not about the gimmicks and it's not about the fog machines and the spotlights and the HD screens in our churches. It's not about the cappuccino maker that we might have in a cafe nearby. It's not about the kids' ministry or the great parking lot, and all the things that we can enjoy,” she added.
"There's no problem with enjoying any of those things. But unfortunately, we can become dependent upon them. Until we don't even recognize the fact that we're not even depending on God to light the fire anymore because we've gotten so used to the crutches of our conveniences.”
She stressed that God’s Holy Fire and how He offers that to His believers is what separates Christianity from every other “so-called faith on the face of the Earth.”
Shirer also celebrated the fact that Christians can talk to God and because of Jesus, He hears.
“Because of His Word, and because of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and revelation from God's Spirit, I can hear the voice of God. That means that our God is alive,” Shirer declared. “If we really believe that, if we really believe that this is not just some fairy tale that we've been spouting, but we actually for real believe that our God lives, then that means we will step back from trying to go into the margin that's supposed to be reserved for Him. We will trust Him to light the fire.
"Please know that if you see that gap that exists where you've done the best you can, and now you recognize that unless God comes through this ain't gonna go so well. Trust me that gap is supposed to exist. God allows it. He asks us to trust Him with that margin. Because as the Apostle Paul would say, come the New Testament, it is in that gap, that weakness, that His strength is made perfect.
She ended by encouraging leaders worldwide that as the “Lord has stripped all of us down” to not try and “manufacture what He is now inviting you to let Him light an ignite in your life.”
“By the way, can I just say, just in case you're wondering what that fire represents. It is the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit. Now more than ever, y'all will need a relationship with the Holy Spirit of God,” Shirer concluded.
If you have never nurtured a fervent and consistent relationship with the Spirit of God, I'm telling you now is the time.”
Leader Check-In was a joint initiative of Pulse and Year of the Bible and happened in partnership with thousands of churches and organizations worldwide. Every speaker volunteered their time to give a word from God to a hurting world.