I love the story of Elijah on Mt Carmel.

By the way – i hate that word, story.   Its not a fairy tale or a make believe “story” but a real life account of something that really happened in history.

But doesn’t it just blow your mind.  It’s the greatest showdown.  God vs Baal.  Elijah, the lone ranger, vs the Baal prophets.

Fire from heaven.

Drama and humour.

But how is this relevant for us here today?

  1. Nothing is impossible for God.  No amount of water could stop God from boom showing up.  Though all the circumstances said NO WAY, God came by fire.  He proved Himself regardless.    In our life, no matter what the circumstance says God can and will and does move.
  1. It’s for His glory. There was no way that that altar could catch on fire by itself.  The odds were stacked against it.  In our lives we got to live for His glory.  We don’t create the fire, we don’t make the fire, we don’t own the fire.  Anything great that God does – GOD does.  Not us.   Live for His glory and the fire will come.

  1. God wins – in the cosmic battle of spirituality – God wins every time. All we need to do is be real about Him and lift Him up and boom, He shows up and says HERE I AM, I AM GOD.  There is still a battle today in the hearts and lives of people and the showdown is still very much that thing of is God real?  Elijah said the God that answers by fire, He is God.  You don’t ever have to worry about God not winning.  Spirituality and spiritual junk that is around at the moment may not look the baal prophets, some goat like thing that people go bow down to, but it still controls people and promises things that it can never ever deliver.   In my course we would have the most intense spiritual discussions about things I wont repeat but it sometimes felt very Mt Carmel.  My gods are better than your God….  but I went in fully confident that if I magnified God then He would prove Himself to be real.  The God that answered by fire, He is God.  God doesn’t need defending.  He is God, creator of the universe.

As you step into your life and your school and your family and your friends – you can be confident that God can and will make Himself known.  As you live confidently with that passion and sense of YES GOD IS REAL people will see and know that God is real.  God changes the world with people who are passionate about Him and who know that He will answer by fire.  Ordinary people who believe that nothing is impossible and live for the glory of God.

  1. Prayer moves the heart of God.

Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.  James 5:17-18

So how do we pray?  How do we connect with God?

It’s one thing to have our mind blown, but it’s another thing to then live out of that and have a real relationship with God.

One of the reasons we created HKC Habits is to give you simple steps to connect with God and learn to walk with God.

They are: H A B I T

Hanging out with God is prayer.  Prayer is talking to God and listening to God.  But what does that look like, for real.

However it looks like for you, be intentional in praying.  Be intentional in talking to God and listening to God.  I think we’ve tried to make prayer easy by saying it’s as easy as lying down on your bed and thinking about God.  Which sometimes it is.  But sometimes that doesn’t work.  Sometimes that leads to napping.  Sometimes that leads to a sense of meh.

Prayer doesn’t have to be difficult but it does have to be us reaching out to God and really connecting with Him.  Sometimes however, esp if we’re new at this then we don’t know what to say or do.

Perhaps it’s a really obvious place to start, but these are the words Jesus gave as a model prayer to his disciples.  They asked Him one day, Jesus, teach us how to pray. It includes praise, praying for God’s will to be done, confessing sins and asking for forgiveness, help to forgive others, asking for daily help and provision and strength to overcome temptation.

(Jesus said) Pray like this,

Our Father in heaven, Hallwed be your name.  May your name be honoured

How does it feel to be able to call God your Father? Tell him how you feel.

How can I honour God’s name today?

May your Kingdom come soon

What can I do today to help bring God’s kingdom to my community?

May your will be done here on earth, just as it is in heaven.

What can you pray for today for God’s will to be done on earth?

What is God asking me to do today?

Give us our food for today

God provides for our day to day needs and gives ways for us to take care of ourselves. Thank Him.

What do I need to do to trust God today?

and forgive us our sins

Man, don’t we all make mistakes every day.  Intentionally and unintentionally.  Yay for forgiveness and grace.

just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us

Is there anyone I need to forgive today?

And don’t let us yield to temptation but deliver us from the evil one.

God helps us recognise temptation and gives the strength to overcome it. Temptation is not a sin, its that distraction and that pull towards stuff.  Jesus was tempted.  1 Corinthians 10:13 says that God will always provide a way out of temptation.  Ask Him to help you do the right thing today?

Now, you don’t have to follow any pattern or formula.  You can just talk to God, like you would a friend.  For most people prayer is something of a practiced skill, that the more they do it, the easier and more natural it becomes.  Like riding a bike.  Or learning to drive.  Or bake fluffy cupcakes.  So don’t be worried if it doesn’t come naturally to you.  Don’t think you’re a bad Christian because you don’t know what to say or do.  If you keep at it you will get better at praying.  Most importantly, you’ll discover awesome things that God is doing and saying.  You’ll become a better friend and learn to recognise His voice.

  1. Behaviour matters but at the same time it doesn’t matter.

The dances and cutting and promises and efforts of the prophets of Baal did nothing.   But the prayer of Elijah, simple conversation with God.  Boom.  Fire.

Often though as Christians we can fool ourselves to think though that God answers prayers if we tick all the boxes and if we’re good enough and are nice Christians.

Here’s the dangerous thing about Jesus: He’s not after your behaviour; he’s after your heart. Make no mistake about it. Jesus is going to relentlessly and passionately pursue your heart. Even when your behaviour tricks everybody else, it just doesn’t trick Jesus. He’s coming after the heart.” ~ Perry Noble

God wants your heart.  He wants your heart to connect with His heart.  To be friends with God.

Jesus came and lived and died so that you could be friends with God.  He stretched His arms out on the cross, on the top of a hill, and proved that nothing is impossible for God, and that God deserves all the glory, all our lives.  Jesus died on the top of a hill and proved once and for all that God’s love is real and that God’s grace is real and that God is real.

And His death issues the same challenge as Elijah did.  If the Lord is God, follow Him.

The fire fell when Elijah prayed and fire still falls on human altars.  The fire still falls on people who love God and lay their lives down for Him.  The fire still falls on people who have faith and believe that nothing is impossible for God.  The fire still falls on people who believe that if God said it, God will do it.

What side will you choose?

*   1 Kings 18

So Obadiah went to meet Ahab and told him, and Ahab went to meet Elijah. 17 When he saw Elijah, he said to him, “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?”

18 “I have not made trouble for Israel,” Elijah replied. “But you and your father’s family have. You have abandoned the Lord’s commands and have followed the Baals. 19 Now summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.”

20 So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel.

21 Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”

But the people said nothing.

22 Then Elijah said to them, “I am the only one of the Lord’s prophets left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets. 23 Get two bulls for us. Let Baal’s prophets choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. 24 Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord.

The god who answers by fire—he is God.”

Then all the people said, “What you say is good.”

25 Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one of the bulls and prepare it first, since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your god, but do not light the fire.” 26 So they took the bull given them and prepared it.

Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. “Baal, answer us!” they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made.

27 At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.” 28 So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. 29 Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.

30 Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come here to me.” They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the Lord, which had been torn down.  Then he said to them, “Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood.”

34 “Do it again,” he said, and they did it again.

“Do it a third time,” he ordered, and they did it the third time. 35 The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench.

36 At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”

38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.

39 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!”