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Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire

Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire

4.5 77
by Jim Cymbala, Dean Merrill

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The Times Are UrgentGod Is on the MoveNow Is the Moment to …ask God to ignite his fire in your soul! Pastor Jim Cymbala believes that Jesus wants to renew his people—to call us back from spiritual dead ends, apathy, and lukewarm religion.Cymbala knows the difference firsthand. Thirty-five years ago his own church, the Brooklyn Tabernacle, was a struggling


The Times Are UrgentGod Is on the MoveNow Is the Moment to …ask God to ignite his fire in your soul! Pastor Jim Cymbala believes that Jesus wants to renew his people—to call us back from spiritual dead ends, apathy, and lukewarm religion.Cymbala knows the difference firsthand. Thirty-five years ago his own church, the Brooklyn Tabernacle, was a struggling congregation of twenty. Then they began to pray … God began to move … street-hardened lives by the hundreds were changed by the love of Christ … and today they are more than ten thousand strong.The story of what happened to this broken-down church in one of America’s toughest neighborhoods points the way to new spiritual vitality in the church and in your own life. Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire shows what the Holy Spirit can do when believers get serious about prayer and the gospel. As this compelling book reveals, God moves in life-changing ways when we set aside our own agendas, take him at his word, and listen for his voice.

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Zondervan Publishing
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18 Years

Read an Excerpt


The Amateurs

I WAS STRUGGLING TOWARD the climax of my none-too-polished sermon that Sunday night back in 1972 when disaster struck. It was both pathetic and laughable all at once.

The Brooklyn Tabernacle--this woeful church that my father-in-law had coaxed me into pastoring--consisted of a shabby two-story building in the middle of a downtown block on Atlantic Avenue. The sanctuary could hold fewer than two hundred people--not that we required anywhere near that much capacity. The ceiling was low, the walls needed paint, the windows were dingy, and the bare wood floor hadn't been sealed in years. But there was no money for such improvements, let alone a luxury such as air-conditioning.

Carol, my faithful wife, was doing her best at the organ to create a worshipful atmosphere as I moved into my invitation, calling the fifteen or so people before me to maybe, just possibly, respond to the point of my message. Someone shifted on a pew to my left, probably not out of conviction as much as weariness, wondering when this young preacher would finally let everybody go home.


The pew split and collapsed, dumping five people onto the floor. Gasps and a few groans filled the air. My infant daughter probably thought it was the most exciting moment of her church life so far. I stopped preaching to give the people time to pick themselves up off the floor and replace their lost dignity. All I could think to do was to nervously suggest that they move to another pew that seemed more stable as I tried to finish the meeting.

In fact, this kind of mishap perfectly portrayed my early days in ministry. I didn't know what I was doing. I had not attended Bible college or seminary. I had grown up in Brooklyn in a Ukrainian-Polish family, going to church on Sundays with my parents but never dreaming of becoming a minister.

Basketball was my love, all through high school and then at the U.S. Naval Academy, where I broke the plebe scoring record my first year. Late that year I hurt my back and had to resign from the navy. I resumed college on a full athletic scholarship at the University of Rhode Island, where I was a starter on the basketball team for three years. In my senior year I was captain of the team; we won the Yankee Conference championship and played in the NCAA tournament.

My major was sociology. By then I had begun dating Carol Hutchins, daughter of the man who was my pastor back in junior high and high school. Carol was a gifted organist and pianist even though she had never been formally trained to read or write music. We were married in January 1969 and settled down in a Brooklyn apartment, both getting jobs in the hectic business world of Manhattan. Like many newlyweds, we didn't have a lot of long-term goals; we were just paying bills and enjoying the weekends.

However, Carol's father, the Reverend Clair Hutchins, had been giving me books that piqued my desire for spiritual things. He was more than a local pastor; he made frequent trips overseas to preach evangelistic crusades and teach other pastors. In the States he was the unofficial overseer of a few small, independent churches. By early 1971 he was seriously suggesting that perhaps God wanted us in full-time Christian service.

"There's a church in Newark that needs a pastor," he commented one day. "They're precious people. Why don't you think about quitting your job and stepping out in faith to see what God will do?"

"I'm not qualified," I protested. "Me, a minister? I have no idea how to be a pastor."

He said, "When God calls someone, that's all that really matters. Don't let yourself be afraid."

And before I knew it, there I was, in my late twenties, trying to lead a tiny, all-black church in one of the most difficult mission fields in urban America. Weekdays found me spending hours in the systematic study of God's Word while on Sundays I was "learning" how to convey that Word to people. Carol's musical ability made up for some of my mistakes, and the people were kind enough to pay us a modest salary.

My parents gave us a down payment for a home, and we moved to New Jersey. Somehow we made it through that first year.


THEN ONE DAY my father-in-law called from Florida, where he lived, and asked a favor. Would I please go preach four Sunday nights over at the multiracial Brooklyn Tabernacle, another church he supervised? Things had hit an all-time low there, he said. I agreed, little suspecting that this step would forever change my life.

The minute I walked in, I could sense that this church had big problems. The young pastor was discouraged. The meeting began on a hesitant note with just a handful of people. Several more walked in late. The worship style bordered on chaotic; there was little sense of direction. The pastor noticed that a certain man was present--an occasional visitor to the church who sang and accompanied himself on the guitar--and asked him on the spot to come up and render a solo. The man sort of smiled and said no.

"Really, I'm serious," the pastor pleaded. "We'd love to have you sing for us." The man kept resisting. It was terribly awkward. Finally the pastor gave up and continued with congregational singing.

I also remember a woman in the small audience who took it upon herself to lead out with a praise chorus now and then, jumping into the middle of whatever the pastor was trying to lead.

It was certainly odd, but it wasn't my problem. After all, I was just there to help out temporarily. (The thought that I, at that stage of my development as a minister, could help anyone showed how desperate things had become.)

I preached, and then drove home.

Meet the Author

Dean Merrill, quien fuera ejecutivo de publicaciones de Enfoque en la Familia y de la Sociedad Biblica Internacional, es autor o coautor de 31 libros, entre ellos The God Who Won't Let Go y Sinners in the Hands of an Angry Church. Fue Presidente de la Asociacion de Casas Editoras Cristianas Evangelicas y miembro de la junta de Global Publishers Alliance, la division internacional de publicacion para la Asociacion. Tambien ha sido editor de revistas, entre ellas Campus Life, Leadership Journal y Christian Herald. Vive con su esposa en Colorado Springs, Colorado.

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Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 77 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm not much of a reader, my sister-in-law gave me this book. When I finally started reading, I could not put it down. Jim opens your eyes to the spiritual by sharing heart-felt experiences. This is an easy book to read and the title matches the content. It is an excellent source of encouragement for those seeking God. If you find it hard to pray, you will be driven to pray after you read this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put this book down! I have been a member of a few mainstream churches all of my life and until I actually experienced the kind of power that Pastor Cymbala speaks of in his book, I could not pinpoint what the problem was that was causing deadness in the churches. Pastor Cymbala makes this very clear and is truly a man indwelt by the Spirit.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a moving story! It should be a movie! If you are not inspired to pray and do more after reading this book, I would be amazed. Jim Cymbala, in an easy-to-read style of storytelling, describes about how God did miracle after miracle because of the power of prayer to breathe new life into a dead church and a disillusioned pastor. It will make you laugh and cry at the same time! If you don't want to get involved and see a change in yourself and your church, then don't read this book. But, if you want to see your own life and your church change and grow spiritually, read this book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a fantastic book. Not just a 'good read', but a book that comes to life, it will change your heart and your spirit if you allow it. Truly shows how God can move you and use you if you will only follow His guidance. It is deeply engaging and yet easily understood by anyone - should be recommended to all.
Ranger_Derek More than 1 year ago
A great read for those seeking more, a wonderful and inspiring story of the Brooklyn Tabernacle and how as Christians we need to behave and act to bring the Spirit down and feel the power of God. A must read and a must have for a library.
highwayman77320 More than 1 year ago
Great book about following the directive in the Bible to pray without ceasing regardless of the situation.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the best account of the power of the Holy Spirit that I have ever read aside from the book of Acts. Jim Cymbala tells his story in a very honest and matter-of-fact way; but a true account of God's Spirit working to change an entire community is the most incredible thing in the world. For those of you who are desiring to experience God in a real way, but are feeling that there truly is 'nothing new under the son' - come, strip away all cultural Christianity, and see the true power of God working in real peoples' lives. This book really lives up to its title.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly recommend acquiring and reading both Fresh Wind/Fresh Fire and Fresh Faith. In each of them Cymbala tells some of the story behind the resurrection of his congregation, The Brooklyn Tabernacle, and the birth and growth of the BT Choir as well. Jim Cymbala is protected from extremism by two main factors: Biblicism and Pragmatism. First, if the Bible doesn't talk about it, he doesn't accept it. Second, if it won't work in Brooklyn, it's probably not of God. The books are very fast-paced, with interesting narrative and straight-forward teaching. Cymbala does not attempt to be clever, just faithful.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an extremely inspirational book. It is a wonderful record of what God's spirit does when we are faithful and trust Him for everything. The central theme of pray, pray,and pray without ceasing is very powerful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is awesome.  It's full of examples of the power of prayer!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anyone who is in church leadership needs to read this book, but also the lay person. If you want to see a vital, living, breathing church do wonders and the work of God in your personal or ministry life, please purchase this book and watch what God will do when you call out to Him and draw on The Holy Spirit's power!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the books designed to teach from one's personal experience. The author, Jim Cymbala, took a small church in a seedy part of town and, through effective ministry, saw dynamic revival. This is a revitting story that will be a great blessing to you and, if you are a pastor, your church as well.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the most profound books on the possibilities of 'effectual, fervent prayer' that I have ever read. I have read ALL of the E.M. Bounds books on prayer, but FRESH WIND, FRESH FIRE takes the 'Theory' found in EM Bounds' books and proves it to be A FACT!! If you or your church is lacking in Holy Ghost power and faith, I recommend you purchase this book, read it, and pass it along quickly to others in your church body. As Pastor Cymbala illustrates in this book, we could have a COMPLETE REVIVAL in America in less than 3 years just by praying and obeying God. I give this book the HIGHEST RATING POSSIBLE.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is such an amazing book detailing God, his love, his devotion, and us. I want to head to Brooklyn to head to thier church but God is everywhere and can act for anyone with great power. God bless this congregation.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Can I be depudy? I am a mateless tom. I will advertize. Whoawhoawhoa.. i am getting ahead of myself. May I join?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hello *she said as she droped some herbs* i herd there was a battel here and i came with herbs just incase u didnt have enough
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thanks. He looks around watching the camp
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pads back in
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read my post at asf result one. It is titled "Imperator A"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He rolled and took the pain, ending up on top of "Green Eyes", "I do not fight for no reason" He spat and leapt off, padding back over to the kits
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Uhdgijngignjbvibggnijineegiiuiiigfgygdggeegigufifibehig i dunn care anehmore. I aint adicted no more. >:T