I love revival! The best thing about revival is that it gave me my spouse. Elsie and I came to Catch The Fire in the early years of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. We came separately as we journeyed on the unfolding path of our own personal lives. She was a professional artist and highly involved with young adults ministry and street evangelism at her Pentecostal church; I was a straight-laced evangelical missionary working overseas.
When we met at Catch The Fire, we discovered a significant commonality: we were both on the edge of burn out from years of Christian ministry. Thank God, we found renewed faith and excitement as Holy Spirit brought the revelation of God as a Loving Father to our hearts and began healing us from the deeply entrenched wounds of life. At the time that we met, for various reasons, we were both mistrusting of people and fearful of intimate relationships. As Holy Spirit began to love our hearts back to life, we embarked on the journey from the realm of the orphan to the Kingdom of Sonship. He restored enough basic trust in us that we allowed ourselves the freedom to risk loving and receiving love. After almost 18 years of knowing each other, it is safe to say that I am deeply loved by a woman who knows all my flaws and foibles (almost) and still loves me anyway. We are fruit of the reviving work of the Holy Spirit!
Not only has revival given me the love of my life, it has also given me the experience of the Father’s love and helped me to embrace what Henri Nouwen refers to as the ‘unadorned self’. I liken the ‘unadorned self’ to the buzzword of ‘authenticity’ of today. I am far less perfectionistic and filled with self-loathing than I used to be. I am learning to be less pretentious and to wear fewer masks. I am learning to love myself warts and all. This has been incredibly freeing! Not only is it good for me, it is also very good for the people in my life. I am less judgmental than I used to be and have far more grace for others and myself when failure occurs.
Revival has changed the way I do ministry—and thank God for that! I believe that when I first started in ministry in my early 20s, I did so with pure motives. I was so in love with Jesus and what He had done for me—I just wanted to lay my life at His feet. As time went on, however, this devotion I had at first was usurped by a desire to please the people around me—my leaders and my peers. I wanted their approval and so my motive for service became primarily about impressing my colleagues. This change of motive was rooted in father issues. I only knew my earthly father’s approval when I excelled; I felt his disapproval when I didn’t. This also happened on the mission field.
What a change of perspective when I started attending Catch The Fire and I repeatedly heard that I am loved by my Heavenly Father just as I am and not as I should be. In Christ, God accepts me for who I am and not what I do. My Father loves me because I am a human being and not a “human doing”. This revelation gradually seeped into my spirit and I began to live from that place of acceptance and affection. This has been the game changer for me. Now, I get to serve God from a place of being loved and not for love. I get to serve God because I am already approved by Him and not for His approval. Wow! There is a lot less striving now!
The church that Elsie and I lead is also, hopefully, reflective of that revelation. At least, we are on that journey. We want to be excellent and effective at loving God, each other and the lost. We are diligent to maintain a safe place for those who are beaten up by life to be revived by the transformative love of the Father and then in turn to share that love with a broken world that absolutely needs to know that they are loved by a good, good Father! Keep coming Holy Spirit!
Ramesh Naraine and his wife Elsie are the Senior Leaders of Catch The Fire Scarborough. Together Ramesh and Elsie have a passion for missions and helping to take the gospel to places where Jesus is still unknown. They also love to help Christian leaders encounter the Father’s love in life transforming ways.
In anticipation of our conference, we are starting a conversation around what revival looks like today through a series called Revival Now. Read More
We invite you to join us for our annual Catch The Fire Conference from September 27–30, 2017. Let's come together and share our revival stories!