Life in Focus

Where following Jesus and Every Day Life Intersect

Keeping the Fire Going



It only takes a spark to get a fire going

and soon all those around can warm up in its glowing.

That’s how it is with God’s love

once you’ve experienced it;

you spread his love to everyone;

you want to pass it on.

(“Pass It On” by Kurt Kaiser, The United Methodist Hymnal, No. 572)

If you grew up in the church or attended camps in the 1970’s and 1980’s, there is a good chance you’re humming the tune to the lyrics above right now. I can still picture myself sitting among friends at youth group swaying to the song and basking in the glow of deep friendship rooted in Christ.

The image of a campfire gives a great analogy for our walk of faith. Drawing near to the warmth of a fire on a dark night comforts and soothes us. Sitting side by side with others, we feel the blessing of fellowship and the joy of sharing a mutual love and desire for God. The darkness of the world is kept at bay as we circle the fire and delight in the light of God’s love. Each log thrown on stokes the flames, much like studying God’s Word fans the flames of faith in us. When we respond to God’s love by serving others, we build community and our faith grows, just as a fire grows larger as it’s fed by oxygen.

But what happens when it’s time to call it a night and head out into the dark? As people disperse, the circle of faces lighted by the dancing flames grows smaller. The fire that burned brightly eventually becomes no more than smoldering embers. So what do we do with all of those warm feelings and deep connections we’ve made around the fire?

If you’ve been attending the Focused Living Bible study for the past year, you know that is the season we’re entering now. With our last official meeting taking place this week, the circle of people around the campfire will scatter. The promise of summer ease and fun beckons us, but the lack of consistent fellowship can dampen our spirits after a while.

Ideas for Staying Connected

Although our regular Thursday meetings are coming to an end, there is no reason to let the fire go out. Yes, it takes work to keep the embers from growing cold, but it’s worth it. Your spiritual life shouldn’t go on hiatus just because your Bible study isn’t meeting.

There are many ways to stay connected with God, to be in fellowship and to study His word during the summer months. Take some time to pray and ask God to keep the embers lit during the summer months.  Below you’ll find a few ideas to help you.

Engage this Blog Actively

An easy thing you can do is to follow this blog (Focused Living is taking a break but the blog will continue). Throughout the summer, I’ll explore new topics so you can continue learning and growing in God’s Word during our break.

If you’ve been relying on the weekly update e-mails from Focused Living to connect to the blog, you’ll need to look at the column to the right of this post and scroll down to the bottom where  you’ll find the word “Follow.” Type your e-mail address in the blank field that appears and click “submit.” Once you’re following the blog, you’ll receive a copy of it automatically in your inbox each time I post a new one.

To engage further, click on “leave a comment” at the top of a post. Once you do this,  a blank field labeled “Leave a reply” will appear at the bottom of the post.  Start typing in the field that says “Enter your comment here…” This is where you can write your thoughts about it. (Ok, that might be obvious but I’m trying to be clear here).

The comment section is a place to ask questions, share insights or extend ideas further. This is a great opportunity to dialogue with others who are reading along too. Commenting allows you to continue sharing in community and discussing the materials with others no matter where you are. It’s a way to become an active participant instead of a passive reader.

Other Ideas for Staying Connected with God’s Word and Others

-Choose a Bible study book you can do on your own

-Find a friend or group of friends you can stay connected with for encouragement and prayer regularly (either in person, or by e-mail or text)

-Join a summer Bible study

-Open your home to meet with a small group for study and prayer

-Make going to church regularly a priority

-Visit different churches while you’re away on vacation

Hear Live Teaching Thursday, April 30

If you are a regular at Focused Living, be sure to attend our end of the year celebration on Thursday, April 30. I’ll be doing a short teaching to wrap up our entire year of study. (Yes, I’ll cram 28 weeks of meetings and countless hours of individual study into a twenty-minute talk).  Check back here next week for notes on the talk.

Enjoy a Great Song

In keeping with the theme of “fire,” don’t miss this week’s inspiring song “Soul on Fire” by Third Day.

May this summer be one that your continued pursuit of God causes you to have a “soul on fire.” I can’t wait to hear about it.


Author: mmccullum

Marybeth McCullum enjoys writing and blogging about her Christian faith and how it intersects with everyday life. Her goal in every post is to encourage, challenge and inspire her readers. She is in her 10th year at CPC's Focused Living Women's Bible study and currently serves as Coordinator. She also writes a regular blog and speaks occasionally. You can find her page on Facebook at: Marybeth Mc Cullum- Author. Learn more about her other endeavors at

2 thoughts on “Keeping the Fire Going

  1. Thanks for sharing your insights with us all year. I am so glad you will continue this summer!


  2. Thanks for leaving such clear instructions for commenting and posting:) I am always a bit sad when bible studies come to a close, so this will be a great way for me to stay connected with other Christ followers.


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