Hi Friends! Have you ever heard of Christ for All Nations and its founder, Reinhard Bonnke? I first encountered his work last year. I was really kind of upset at myself because this man is like the Billy Graham of Africa and I had never heard of him. I decided to make up for my years of ignorance by basically reading anything he authored that I could get my hands on. (Thanks to my public library for helping me not go broke.)
Living a Life of Fire is Reinhard Bonnke’s autobiography, published in 2009. Honestly, this book was a game changer for me. It created such a holy dissatisfaction in my life. I would often fall under the conviction of the Holy Spirit as I read. What have I been doing with my life?!? I must have asked myself that question a hundred times during the course of the book.
It was a pretty lengthy tome- 645 pages – but it was hard to put down. I read it in about a week’s time. It would be impossible to summarize the book, but here are my biggest takeaways:
- Reading/hearing about miracles in other people’s lives strengthens my own faith. I know I need a miracle in my life and reading stories about miraculous healings just really helped me to continue to believe in God for myself.
- I need to steward the promises of God on my life. Bonnke did this really well. I learned from his example not to expect other people to do this for me but to really cooperate with God for the completion of his purposes in my life.
- Conflict is a part of life. I really appreciate how Reinhard handled disagreements with his parents while still honoring them. It just gave me a good example. I was encouraged as he tied together some of the heartaches of his childhood with what God was teaching him in order to effectively minister to others.
- I am proud to be Pentecostal! I didn’t realize it, but I’ve been carrying around a suppressed sense of inferiority for a long time. Perhaps since my college days, I’ve subconsciously believed that among Christians, Pentecostals are the uncouth savages of the bunch. Reading Reinhard’s testimony brought that shame to the surface and broke it off of me. I gained an appreciation for the history of Pentecostalism and I’m so grateful for the role of the Holy Spirit in my life. I’m free! And I won’t make any apologies for the passion or the strong bent that characterizes believers like me. I honor and respect my liturgical brothers and sisters in Christ – I have learned (and will continue to learn) so much from them. But there is power in the name of Jesus! He still heals and He still speaks – I have personally experienced it. And in these times of increasing darkness, we need more Spirit-filled believers! But I digress…
- God doesn’t despise small beginnings. The sheer impact of Reinhard Bonnke’s ministry (millions of people coming to Christ) is staggering. But to think that it all started from his obedience is a revelation. Not all of us (individually or corporately) will be called to such huge ministries, but being faithful in whatever capacity we are called is so important – to God, and to the people who will be blessed on the other side of our obedience!
- I am inspired to take some risks for the Gospel. I’m more open to being used by God in ways that are uncomfortable to me. As Reinhard says, “We are not qualified by our pitiful strengths, but by God’s omnipotence”. I have struggled with fear of man for a long time, but I’ve reached a point where I just want to be who God has called me to be, whether people like me or not. Perhaps that is why another one of my favorite quotes from the book is: “The world’s rejects are God’s elects”.
- God is always on the move. I really admire how sensitive Bonnke and his team were to the Spirit, adjusting their strategy in different circumstances and in different seasons. I know that I am definitely a creature of habit and can get stuck in a rut easily. Reinhard’s story highlighted so clearly the need to use discernment and to move as the Holy Spirit is leading. Our God is the same yesterday, today and forever, but He is always on the move! This is an important lesson for individuals as well as organizations.
Those were my biggest takeaways. I highly recommend this book! Are you interested in reading it? I hope so!