Mission (Ezekiel 37:1-14)May 15, 2022 | Brandon Cooper
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morning church, you want to go ahead and open to Ezekiel chapter 37. We’ll be in Ezekiel 37 this morning as you’re turning to Ezekiel 37 I’m gonna read some words to you. And I’m hoping that if you’ve been here for a year at least they sound familiar. Watching the rich young ruler walk away dejected because he wouldn’t give up his finances to follow the Messiah. impetuous Peter reminds Jesus, we have left everything to follow you. Why did the disciples give it all up? Because they knew Jesus is worth it. Because he’s worth it. That’s the heartbeat of city New right there. Because he’s worth it, we’ll leave everything for the sake of the mission, because he’s worth it will count the cost of making disciples who magnify Christ. That’s who we are, as a church, we’re made to magnify sent to serve to treasure Christ above all and to help others do likewise.
Who said those? Robert knows, Caitlin, in a video we had about a year or so ago, we started our city new campaign with those words, but here’s the thing, they are still true today, as Kyle said, he’s still worth it. And so what we want to do at the year anniversary of the campaign, is to take this opportunity to remind ourselves what we’re doing, and more importantly, why we’re doing it. Why sacrifice? Why count the cost, because if it’s just about nicer bathrooms, and a little more natural light in the lobby, it is decidedly not worth it. So what’s the point? And we need to remind ourselves now, by the way, because the bathrooms really are nice. And so now is the time when we could start to lose focus, grow complacent, and really just sit back and enjoy the new facilities. So what is it all about city New, we talked about three strategies for the city new vision of forming community, building families, and expanding mission. And the facility as the name would suggest, simply facilitates those strategies. It’s the place where we’d have some spots to commune where our families will grow and grow up. And where of course, we can welcome guests into the life of the church. But the facility isn’t the goal. The facility is just very ordinary means to a much more extraordinary goal, much more extraordinary end, which is that we would magnify Christ as a church, we would magnify Him more as we grow to love him more delight ourselves and him more and more, and that we would magnify Him more by helping others to magnify Him more as well. So in this short series, we’re gonna remind ourselves, again, the What the Why, really we’re going to refocus on the purpose, the spirit and the means for the city New Vision, and that is as Kyle thanks, by the way for stealing my thunder you did the mug club, hence our graphic by the way, the mugs there, that’s where it’s coming from. And I don’t need to go over what that stands for. Because you already got it. Mission, unity and generosity. In a lot of ways this series is not going to be about finances. It’s not really about money. And part of that is because I do not need to twist arms here. There will be no guilt trips or anything like that. Because y’all are doing good. Okay, so this is going to be about the vision instead in a word this series is about renovation, which seems weird because I just said it’s not about the building. But no, I’ve said throughout this whole process, the heartbeat of city New is expanding mission. That’s really the focus when we talk about building families forming community that’s all aiming at the mission as a whole expanding mission. We’ve got this desperate desire to see revival in and through this church. So the renovation everything we’re doing in the building is for the sake of mission, but what exactly is the mission? Well, our mission is renovation. If you think about it, what does the word mean renewal revival, that’s what we’re about since we hit the M in mug. With look at this famous and fantastic story in his eagle. One of the ones you probably know from his Ico will look at the vision of the valley of dry bones the interpretation that God gives the Prophet and then application to our own lives. So the vision to begin with, let me read chapter 37 Verses one to 10 the hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and sent me in The middle of the valley was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley bones that were very dry. He asked me some a man can these bones live? I said, Sovereign Lord you alone? No. Then he said to me, prophesy to these bones and say to them, dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones, I will make a breath enter you and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin, open breath in you when he will come to life, then you will know that I am the Lord.
So I prophesied as I was commanded, that as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together boned bone, and looked and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, prophesy to the breath, Prophesy Son of Man and say to it, this is what the Sovereign Lord says, Come breath from the four winds and breathe into the slain that they may live. So I prophesied as He commanded me and breath entered them, they came to life and stood up on their feet, a vast army. Okay, let’s put ourselves in Ezekiel. First of all, this is the third of four visions that Ezekiel is given during His ministry, and he is prophesying during the destruction of Jerusalem at the hands of Babylon and King Nebuchadnezzar. In fact, during his ministry, he is himself deported to Babylon most likely in the second deportation, so he is part of those exiled to Babylon, which means his ministry spans this time of abject spiritual death. The sins of God’s people are so great that the Lord has allowed the land not only to be invaded, but Jerusalem to be taken and the temple destroyed. In fact, in his equal chapter 10, what do we see we see the glory of the Lord, get up out of the temple, and leave the glory of the Lord departs the land, that’s how bad the country is, the nation is God’s people are spiritually. Is there any hope, any possible salvation. I mean, perhaps for a pious remnant people like is equal here, but certainly not for the rest of Israel, right. But it’s into that moment into that crisis and that spiritual depression that God speaks, he carries the profit into this valley by His Spirit. The word for spirit in Hebrew is Lua. And that’s gonna be really important. So you don’t need to know how to spell it or even say it. But just make sure you remember word for Spirit Ruach, we’re going to come back to that. Okay, so spirit, the law of the Lord takes Ezekiel into this valley, and it’s full of bones, we know a couple things about these bones. First of all, there is a great quantity of them. Lots and lots and lots of bones. Second of all, these bones are not buried. They’re just sitting there. This is a problem. If you’re a prophet, like Ezekiel, especially if you’re a prophet who comes from priestly stock, like Ezekiel, you know how important a proper burial is, because, of course, dead bodies are unclean. So this is an issue for his eagle no doubt. It makes us wonder, of course, why they aren’t buried. Perhaps this is the scene of a battle or something like that. We don’t know that yet. So great quantity of unburied bones, and lastly, they’re dry, which means they’ve been sitting there for a long time, long and bleached by the sun. Put all those factors together again, especially that last one. And we know the answer to the question that the Lord asked ZICO. Simple answer I can these bones live? Of course not. That’s not how this works. Even for a pious Jew who had a strong belief in God’s power. Well, yeah, I mean, like, during the time of somebody like Elijah, could there be resuscitation of somebody recently dead? Sure. Absolutely. The Lord could do that. But you know like bones coming back together again closed with flesh. No, that’s not going to happen. So like I said, easy answer of course not. But Zeke are friend has learned not to assume anything. In his years of profit, he has certainly learned not to limit God’s power or goodness or mercy. This is a smart play. By the way, when an all wise all knowing God asks you a question about what exactly it is that he’s up to. I recommend you punt. First and 10 First and goal even That’s fine. It’s time to punt.
Okay, give him the ball back. Let him answer the question. That’s pretty much what is Eagle does here, right? You alone? No. Because here’s the thing for us. Of course, this is impossible, very impossible, but nothing is impossible for God. So Sovereign Lord, you alone? No. Take the floor again. This is a hard lesson for us, though, because we prefer the realm of possible as humans. Why is that we prefer the realm of possible. I don’t think it’s because we don’t believe in God’s power or goodness, it’s because we want to maintain control. And so if it’s possible, then that means we can do it. No faith is really necessary. And so the impossible those are the moments when we get stretched. Of course, like I said this early on, as we were talking about even just the city, you’ve been probably before we launched, the campaign kept saying, we want to attempt something for the kingdom so big that it is destined to fail. Unless God is in it. Like we wanted to try something that would be impossible. Unless God is in it, because we’ve got all things are possible. Why? Well, one reason, of course, is that that keeps us on our knees, because our hard work is not going to pay off here. So we know we got to be praying about it. But then the other part that I love is that there’s absolutely no confusion if it actually comes to pass that this was not us. This was not our clever schemes and hard work or anything like that, like we have seen God’s abundant provision in this process. Diane, and I have had a few conversations, in fact, because we’re both just stunned here that we haven’t taken a loan out yet. Like we’re still paying cash at this point. This is crazy. This is not what we were expecting, not by any means. Here’s the thing, and I say this, you guys know I love you, right? I’m not at all impressed with you. I’m stunned by God. Right? Because I know that it’s His provision. It’s not how awesome you are that you are awesome. But it’s him in his him alone. So in light of this, then the The Lord says, All right, you know, Sovereign Lord, you will Oh no, he says, Great. Let’s talk about this. He has this prophet prophesy. Zico supposed to say here the word of the Lord, of course, no surprise there, because the word is the transforming agent. The word is what the Lord use, as we saw this last week, right? Jesus alone has words of eternal life words that give a life. It’s the word that can cause the desert to spring into bloom. Isaiah says, Peter tells us that we were born again, through the living an enduring word of God. Jesus says we’re sanctified by the truth. This is why by the way, we are unabashedly fixated on the Word of God here at CityView. That’s why we preach long sermons. Some of us in particular, it’s why when we come together as community groups, we don’t open the latest Christian pop psychology best seller we open the Word of God together as one journey groups, we meditate on God’s word each week. It’s why in kids city, your kids are learning the Word of God and not just having fun. The word is the transforming agent. But what is it that the Prophet says exactly here the word of the Lord, what is the word of the Lord? God says, I will make breath enter you, or I’m gonna give you the Hebrew here, I will make Ruach enter you because the word for breath and spirit at the same word in Hebrew, as in Greek wind, also. So it’s a little bit ambiguous here intentionally, so I will make what exactly enter these bones, we’re not totally sure. What we do know is going to happen though is that when lock enters these bones, the process of decomposition will reverse. So first tendons, string the bones back together again, then flesh skin covers them. So it would be like a time lapse photography of what happened as they were decomposing, but played backwards. And then is equals to repeat it, I will put Ruach in you. And that whole idea of putting breath in flesh. Well, that probably takes us back to Genesis to now remember that time when God took a lump of clay and kind of fashioned a man out of it, Adam, let’s call him and then breeze into him because it’s the brass that is the animating force, what gives life so that’s what’s gonna happen to these bones. And then notice what the Lord says at the end, then you will know that I am the Lord and verse six.
And that purpose statement transforms how we read the miracle. Because what is needed here is not physical, but spiritual revival. They need to remember who the Lord is to know him to be in relationship with Him. This Bible explains the two phase miracle. Because what happens at first, all that cool like reversing decomposition stuff happens, but there’s no breath in these new bodies at this point, so is eagles, keeping our focus loads, keeping our focus on lock on spirit on breath, so prophesized bodies get put back together. I love that there’s a noise a rattling sound. Yeah, that makes sense. Like just 10s and 10s, of 1000s of bones, just all sorts of clinking together all of a sudden, yep. Okay, rattling sound, but there’s no breath in them. And so, Zico goes again, but this time he’s prophesying not for the bones, but to the breath itself, the Divine breath that is going to come from the four corners of the world. And enter by the way, did you catch this? Now we see that they’re going to enter the slain, verse nine, come breath from the four winds and breathe into these slain, so that they may live now we know that these dead people were killed. So almost certainly, we’re dealing with a battle again, that would be what makes the most sense here. Which battle? I don’t know, which battlefield are we talking about? Perhaps it was really obvious to Ezekiel and even to his readers, they were like, I know exactly what you’re talking about. It is a vision, perhaps it’s not meant to be anyone in particular. Certainly anyone reading this, at this time would be thinking of all those battlefields where Nebuchadnezzar armies left hordes dead on the field. But this still raises the question for us. And I mentioned a little bit already, why weren’t they buried? This is hugely offensive. Like you just did not do this in Jewish culture. In fact, at one point, the descendants of Saul are put to death, because of something Saul had done to the Gideon knights and so seven male descendants are put to death. And as part of it, their bodies are left exposed. And this is so awful that one of these guys sisters, just like hangs out for a period of months, shooing the birds away from the exposed bodies, because you just you could not let this happen. And yet here it has happened. Why? Well, because getting routed by Babylon was not a historical coincidence. It was the enacting of covenant curses. So why are the bodies left exposed because they are actually cursed. That’s the point. Here’s Deuteronomy, 2825, and 26. These are the curses when God is establishing His covenant with His people. He says, here’s what’s going to happen. If you rebel against me, the Lord will cause you to be defeated before your enemies, you will come at them from one direction, but flee from them in seventh and you will become a thing of horror to all the kingdoms on earth, your carcasses will be food for all the birds and the wild animals, and there will be no one to frighten them away. So that’s what was gonna happen if they ever rebelled. By the time we get the prophet Jeremiah, who’s prophesying roughly the same time a little bit earlier. He’s saying, It’s time for that. Here’s what’s coming. So here’s Jeremiah, chapter 30. For those who have violated my covenant and have not fulfilled the terms of the Covenant they made before me, you did it you broke the covenant, okay. I will deliver into the hands of their enemies who want to kill them, their dead bodies will become food for the birds and the wild animals and message Jeremiah proclaims. Oddly enough, they keep throwing him in cisterns as a result of this. It was not a popular message. But what’s the point? The point is that these bones were not just physically but spiritually dead. They violated a covenant with a gracious God. So what hope could there possibly be for them, they’ve been cursed by the God they didn’t serve. Well, what hope the only hope is the Spirit of God is equal proclaims the word of the Lord. But it is the Spirit who regenerates the bones and brings about that genuine revival. So that there is a vast army standing before Ezekiel, at the end of the vision takes us to the interpretation because like most prophetic visions really cool. Really difficult to understand. Can we get some help? Yes, the Lord is gracious to us. Let’s keep reading verses 11 to 14. Then he said to me, Son of Man,
these bones are the people of Israel. They say our bones are dried up and our hope is gone. We are cut off. Therefore prophesy and say to them, This is what the Sovereign Lord says. My people are I’m going to open your graves and bring you up from them, I will bring you back to the Land of Israel, then you My people will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them, I will put my spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land, then you will know that I the LORD have spoken and have done it declares the Lord. So the Lord explains this vision to Ezekiel. The bones are not just some random slain, but they are the house of Israel, spiritually speaking, at least, especially the house of Israel in exile, the ones who have been cut off who are dead who are cursed covenant totally, which is why they’re no longer in the land. Remember the spiritual context of this prophecy. The sin is so bad, they’re in exile, the temple, the place where they go to meet with God could dwell in their midst in their land, it’s destroyed, there is no land, somebody else has the land now, the glory has departed, there is no hope. That’s what the house of Israel is saying, at this point. Our bones are dried up, our hope is gone. In other words, they’re almost asking themselves can these bones live? And they know the answer, of course, no, no chance. That’s it, we’re done with. And again, it’s to this group and into that pessimism that the Lord speaks this message of hope. What Ezekiel did in the last 10 verses wasn’t for the sake of the bones. And it wasn’t for the sake of his Zico, it was a message for those in exile. Spiritual exile especially. Well, what’s the message? What will God do three things in rapid succession. First, he’s going to open the graves. If you’re a wealthy family, of course, that means rolling the stone away. We’re familiar with that image. If you weren’t a wealthy family, that’s gonna mean digging up a little bit of dirt. Now, right there. And I don’t know how quickly is Eagle delivered this message. But if he paused for dramatic effect, I will open your graves. Look, that’s pretty common. Actually, this wouldn’t be a shocking statement. Anytime a relative died, you’d open the grave. Why? Because you want it to be gathered to your ancestors. And so you’d be buried in that same tomb. Of course, they may also be hearing something sinister. Remember, the Lord is angry with them at this point. So maybe he’s opening the grave? Because, well, you know what people did back then. Right? They rob tombs. And so maybe that’s what’s about to happen. But no, I will open your graves, and then I will bring you up out of the grave. And so here we see, yeah, the Lord is a tomb raider. Absolutely. He’s going for the treasure. He’s seeking the greatest treasure, though, which is his people. So he’s this like true and better Tomb Raider. In fact, it’s interesting the word that’s used there, I will bring you up out of if you’re familiar with the Old Testament, and I were what I grew up playing, fill in the blank and explore our something I will bring you up out of Egypt, Egypt, that line gets used a lot. And so we’ve got this exodus language coming out. And so here we’ve got the true and better Exodus happening as well, where they’re gonna be brought up not just out of Egypt, slavery in Egypt, they’re gonna be brought up out of the grave itself. The cruelest taskmaster is not an Egyptian slave owner, but his death, and then it will bring them back to the land. And the land is important, of course, because that’s where the Lord dwells with his people. It is covenantal, and it is relational. We’re going to all dwell together again. What happens as a result of that the same purpose statement we saw in the last section, then they will know that God is the Lord. So again, we’re talking about spiritual revival. Like when we sing as we will, in just a few minutes, I ran out of that grave. We’re not speaking physically, not yet. That day is coming. And that’ll be a good day when it happens physically, also, we’re speaking spiritually, this first revival that we experienced when we’re brought from death to life, spiritually speaking, when God saves us, we’re no longer dead spirits. We no longer separated from Him who is life but reconciled, no longer cut off again, that’s the language of exile, but brought back in.
We know that’s the focus, by the way, that that’s what is being talked about here. Because his ego says, I will put my spirit in you and you will live that’s what the Lord has him say, I will put my spirit in you and you will live there’s that word rock again. But here we are clearly speaking about God’s Spirit and not just breath Because this equal 37 comes right after this is complicated trend stick with me is equal 36. What happens is equal 36 really famous passage again, you don’t need to know as eco wells to know the valley of dry bones. And then to know this quote, right, he’s gonna sprinkle us with clean water, make us clean, and then I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you, I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees Be careful to keep my laws. That’s the spiritual renovation that the Lord is working. And of course, we now know how this happens. What this looks like, really, this is not just for Israel, the New Covenant, but for all God’s people. We know that it happens in Christ, the one who did conquer the grave, where it wasn’t just a vision of somebody coming back from death, but historical fact that he walked out of that grave. And what does Jesus tell us how this happens? We’ll already read it for us Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God. Unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, the Spirit gives birth to spirit, you should not be surprised that my saying you must be born again. The wind, rock, right? The wind blows wherever it pleases you hear it sound, you cannot tell where it comes from or where it’s going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit. And what happens in the earliest church then after Jesus has said this, Acts chapter two, what comes first, a rushing wind. And then the church begins to proclaim the gospel. The church is born at that moment at Pentecost as they preach the gospel of salvation God has accomplished in and through Christ. That’s the renovation we seek spiritual revival or renovation of the heart. That’s the mission that God has given us. So what does that look like for us? With the application for us today? What do we do with this? So we’ve seen this vision of revival, and it’s kind of a crazy trippy sort of story. But we know that all scripture is God breathed. There’s that word again. By the way, know that all scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. So what is the Lord trying to teach us in this passage? How is he rebuking us because we’re going off course and correcting us to help us get back on the right course and then training us for the work that he’s called us to do? We are ministers of reconciliation, Paul says second Corinthians chapter five ministers of God’s reconciling renovating work. But what part do we play in what is so clearly the Spirit’s activity? Like we can’t save anybody? So what part do we play? Let me give three application points that I think we can take from this passage. First one, if it really is the Spirit’s work and not ours. Pray, pray. That’s the first application point the work is not ours. But God’s. Zeke is absolutely incapable of reviving corpses. In the same way, we cannot revive souls, we can’t save anyone or bring about revival. So often, our approach to the Lord’s work is like trying to do CPR on bones. It’s not a question of if we could get a little bit cleverer or work a little bit harder. Like we need somebody else to act here, somebody who’s actually got power to bring flesh and breath back to these bones. If you’re at all like me, the question Can these bones live? is actually kind of a hard question. Have you ever doubted if revival will come? Of course, we most of us do. Perhaps taken from the last series we just did. You’ve got that prodigal, and you’re wondering if they will come home, or you’ve got family or friends or neighbors you’ve been sharing the gospel with for years and decades, will they ever be saved?
We must become a people who say look with me, this is impossible. But with God, all things are possible. So let’s ask him, what’s plead with him? Let’s begin bringing this into the context of city New here for a moment. If you’ve got your automatic donation, and it’s a generous donation, going each month or each week or whatever, without prayer, you are contributing to physical renovation only, and not spiritual renovation. And that’s not good. Prayer is the surest sign claim that what we’re seeking is, in fact spiritual. Anthony Burgas, one of my favorite Puritan writers. He was looking at the spiritual decay in England in the 17th century to the hard hearts and the ineffectual preaching, he was saying, Why? Why is there no revival and he writes this, what is the matter? Is not the word of God as powerful as ever? Is not the Lord’s arm as strong as ever. Those are unchanging, right? Yes, but the zeal of people is grown cold. There are not such fervent prayers, such high esteem of the means of grace. People do not Besiege heaven, giving God no rest day or night till he come with salvation into their souls. And truly, the spirit of prayer is a sheer foreign forerunner of spiritual mercies to be bestowed. We cannot drum up zeal in the flesh. So if we’re not a praying church yet, let’s begin by praying that God would make us a praying church, that God would drive us to prayer, how I pray and how I pray that you would join me in praying that prayer would be the engine of the church, the fuel that keeps us moving toward glory, and committed to mission. So that prayer was the hallmark of our every gathering, this gathering Sunday worship service, the Thursday night gathering that we have weekly in our community groups in our journey groups and our conversations in the hallway. But what would we be praying for? Not just sniffles and surgeries and leaking foundations, although that’s okay. Nothing wrong with praying for any of those things. Right. The Lord says, Cast all your cares on me, that’s fine. But I sometimes feel like we just settle in prayer. It’s like the Lord has thrown open the store houses of glory, all the treasures the infinite riches of heaven. Therefore are taking and we like grab one of those like plastic spider rings for Halloween. Lords looking at us, like you don’t want like a crown emerald Ruby. No, no, I’m good. It’s kind of cool and kitschy I like it. But that’s so often how we pray. What if we prayed with a wholehearted devotion to revival? What if we prayed as the Lord taught us to pray? Where our first concern was? Not? The things of the physical world, but how it would be your name like would you be glorified, especially in changed lives? And then would Your kingdom come in power in revival, unless God breeds His Spirit on this work? The bones might come together. Or if we could change the analogy slightly in light of what we’re doing, the steel might get welded together. But there’ll be no life, the spiritual revival, pray. Second, though, proclaim, proclaim, speak to these bones, we had been given the message of Christ, God has called us as ambassadors on his behalf. Romans 1014, how then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them proclaiming? Can these bones live? Look, in God’s providence? The answer was no, those bones could not live until Ezekiel spoke to them.
Has anything changed? Can revival breakout can the prodigal come home can that neighbor come to know Christ to heart soften in God’s providence, not until we speak to them. That’s the means God has chosen to bring about the salvation of his people. So same sort of thing. Let’s bring this back to city New hear from him. And if you got that automatic, automatic donation, generous one going out each month or each week, but you’re not proclaiming the gospel to those God has placed in your life. And you are contributing to a nicer building for those who already believe. And that’s not worth it. That’s not worth it at all. Like I’ve said before, if we spent all this money on this building, without reaching out, like, we’re just going to let the glass out front do the talking for us. That is a colossal waste of money and time and energy. It’s like discovering a cure for cancer, and not publishing your findings, but just keeping them in a shadow box on your mantel so your family can look at it. Like that’s what that would be for us
who is in your oil costs. If you’re newer to the church, you don’t know what it costs is. It’s
yogurt, right? But it’s not just yogurt. It is the Greek word for your household. And remember Greek households at that time they were it was a wider group of people so it’s really yours. You’re of influence again, those that God has put in your life for a reason we trust. Who is in your oil costs in whose life are you investing right now? Are you listening to them when they speak? Are you asking the sorts of questions that draw their heart out? You listening to their answers? And then as the spirit moves, engaging with them and sharing the gospel, I get nervous because I know that most of us live with a low grade guilt when it comes to evangelism. But I still think this is a fair question. When was the last time you told someone about Jesus? Are we talked about a month ago, six months ago, a year ago Are you can’t remember? That’s a hard question as a question we need to ask, When was the last time you invited someone to something, maybe it’s this service, but maybe it’s something else. You’re not going on your own. That’s what keeps us from doing it so often is our fear. Prayer precedes proclamation. Even in our outline this morning, pray than proclaim, pray, then proclaim, the spirit goes before you, within you, beside you. Pray, proclaim, And then lastly, Sure, let’s do it, provide, provide, contribute to the missional work, provide service, provide encouragement, provide the gifts that God has given you for the building up of the church? And yes, provide finances to and so I want to spend the last few minutes here just talking about the the commitment card would be great if you actually pulled it out was in your bulletin, take a look at it. And as you’re looking at that, it feels a little bit like we’re soaring from the heights of heaven, the spiritual revival to like can I tell you it is okay to talk logistics. That’s okay. Spiritually speaking. The Lord raises Jairus his daughter from the dead right like heavens rent open power on display. What’s the first thing he says? She’s gonna be hungry. Like it’s okay to deal with the physical sometimes. Right? Or how about this one? How many of you read through the Bible Genesis to Revelation cover to cover in that order? Okay, good chunk of us. Genesis is awesome. Noah, you like Go Go Go Joseph. I got this right. Exodus cool. Plagues saw that movie too, right? They get to the end of Exodus, and it’s like 15 chapters and what kind of yarn they need to use. But you push through, I’m not going to talk about Leviticus. Okay? How about numbers, numbers is basically just logistics, a book of the Bible devoted to logistics, because you got 2 million people camping in the desert. They need to know how to camp, how to get up, and especially how to march into battle. It’s okay to talk logistics scripture, does it plenty. Why are we doing a recommitment, we got numbers already. We know where we are in terms of those numbers and whatnot, a couple of reasons. One, of course, is to help you respond to the Spirit’s prompting, like I find commitments are very useful. For me personally, they add that sense of accountability, which is great, but it also is going to help us the elders of the church make wise choices at the end. Because that’s right, when we come up to some of the optional sorts of things. How finished does finished mean with things like landscaping, and signs and furniture and all that kind of stuff. So be really helpful for us to know exactly what’s coming in, there will be no surplus money at the end of this project. I hope you guys know that, like we will have debt at the end will be significant debt will probably be around a million dollars. We would also love to minimize that debt. Of course, I would love to be under a million dollars. That’s my goal. I think that’d be great. So what’s gonna happen here, and this is just next week, like last time we did six weeks, you had all sorts of time to pray. You got to pray fast this time. Okay. All right, next week, but if you committed so if you made an initial city new commitment a year ago, either today or tomorrow, you’re gonna get an email or a letter from Cheryl telling you what your commitment giving to date is so that you know exactly where you are. And then next week, when? Next week, next Sunday, okay, we’re not going to finish the series. Because it’s Memorial Day, no one’s here. Right. But next week, we’re going to make a new 12 month commitment reopen. Right, so three different groups are gonna get to make commitments, and all three of them are on that commitment card. One, you’re new to the church. You’ve started coming since we had commitment Sunday. And so you’re like, This is awesome. I can’t believe I’m not a part of this. How do I sign up?
Right here. This is how you sign up. So we all committed for 24 months, you only get to sign up for 12 months. I’m sorry? You came late. Okay. 12 month commitment, new commitment, and you just want to let us know I’m in I’m in for this amount. Second group would be those who made a commitment but who are able to increase that come admit, as Kyle said, a lot of uncertainty when we made this commitment last time out, anyone remember that? Was COVID-19. Does that sound familiar? So people were like, companies aren’t giving bonuses if a no raises. I don’t know, if I’m gonna have a job. It was an awful time to make a commitment. But, hey, we’ve got all things are possible. So we’re like super time to make commitment because we know it’s not about us, right. So now maybe if you’ve got some more certainty, I didn’t lose my job companies started doing bonuses again, raise was actually better than I was expecting. Okay, you can increase your commitment. We’ll talk about how to do that moment. The third group is a group is like still in. And inflation. My initial commitment is outstanding. Thank you. I’m gonna stick right there. Okay. So what are you going to write down? If you made a new commitment, making a new commitment? 12 months, how much you’re gonna give? If you’re sticking? Just write down, you know, do the math, when Cheryl sends you the email kind of thing? Okay, I committed 50,000. I’ve given 30,000 20,000 left. Okay, so write down 20,000 If you’re going to increase that, so we’re going to get email from Cheryl says you’ve given 30,000 already. And you’re like, I think we could actually increase what we did last year, we could probably do again, so we can increase our total commitment to $60,000. What are you gonna write down? Not 60. Because then you owe us 90, okay. And we are coming for it. 30 write write down your 12 month commitment only. That’s what I’m trying to say. Some of you are online and you’re like, I’m gonna be online next week. In fact, if I don’t come next week, I don’t have to do this great news, we got a digital version. It’s on the live stream page. It’s also on our city noon page, as well. I would love to get this from all of you really why so that we can make wise decisions at the end will help us to know what our finances are going to look at. look like. We’re gonna go like just all interns. When I say we I mean Cheryl, and Diane, who we already work too hard here and we don’t pay one of them even but they’re gonna go all out next week. They’re gonna stay after the service and count we’re gonna announce the new number at the annual meeting next week. Why? I love Robert it’s the cynic in him that just in mirrors my own cynicism so the you have to show up the annual meeting. Exactly. Plus the next week is Memorial Day, and none of you come so. If I had to choose how you’re in apply the Lord’s word, this vision of the valley of dry bones, I would choose the order I gave you. If you’re gonna do one of them, pray please just pray. If you’re gonna do two of them, would you pray? And would you proclaim? Trifecta is great. I’d love all three, of course. All right, let’s trust the Lord to bring about the revival that we seek, especially as we seek his faith and prayer. Let’s turn to Him even now. Lord, we pray that you would make us into people of prayer, a church committed to prayer, knowing that it is your spirit that brings life that even our proclamation will lose its power, apart from prayer. And so God help us to pray, to pray in light of your promises, to pray in light of your character, and to pray, knowing that we are seeking your will. Lord, we know you want to see revival come to see people’s lives change to see the Kingdom Come and your name glorified as result. And so Lord, even Now we beseech heaven, and pray for that revival, in our own lives, God, and in the lives of those that you’ve placed in our lives within touching distance of this church. Would you bring revival God? And would you help us not to rest and to give you no rest? Until that revival comes? And Lord, as we pray, would you give us a great sensitivity to your spirits that we know how and when to proclaim these great and glorious truths that we remind ourselves of each week?
Because the Lord, we know that you have the words of eternal life. And there are people that we love all around us, who do not know that yet who need to hear that. And as they hear at God, would your spirit indeed bring them from death to life? Would you save money, God, we pray for the harvest. We know this building has a small part to play in that. We want to be good stewards of what we’ve been given especially at this corner in Elmhurst, and so, Lord, as we continue to renovate the building, we pray for provision as well. We know that the answer to that prayer is in this room, but we also know that ultimately it all comes from you. You have so graciously provided already in this process. And across the last 112 years this churches has Three would you provide once more and when you do Lord we will not be confused about who gets the glory it will be yours and yours alone we pray this in Christ’s name amen Amen.