The New Year

0b11b38e468654efe47190270a07af41As I think about the New Year and what lies ahead  I realize that life is too short to waste time on Drama, lies, selfishness & Cray Cray! Every person on the planet has to deal with craziness. I am thankful however that the Lord Jesus can work through crazy situations and even crazy people. I could spend hours filling this blog with the crazy situations that have happened in my life and I know that you could too.

  • Maybe you were abused as a child
  • Maybe you have gone through a terrible divorce
  • Maybe you were made fun of in school.
  • Maybe you were belittled and made to feel insignificant.

Whatever the situation we have all been through some crazy stuff and we have found ourselves feeling;

  • Crazy Angry
  • Crazy Shame
  • Crazy Bitter
  • Crazy Confused
  • Crazy Lonely

Some of us can relate to this not because of our past but because of our present. Yea… right now you may be dealing with:

  • Crazy Addiction
  • Crazy Relationship
  • Crazy Children
  • Crazy Life

You are looking at your life right now and you are asking, Why am I going through this?

Maybe a loved one just passed away and then you got sick. Then another family member got sick. Then someone else passed away. Then I lost my job. Then the car broke down and then the washing machine broke and you are looking at your life and it is CRAZY!!!!

Why is all of this going on in my life? It is just craziness… You know what can happen in craziness? God can show up and ask what seems to be crazy questions.

The children of Israel were in captivity to the Babylonians and God brought Ezekiel out and ask him a crazy question.

Ezekiel 37 “The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 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.

Crazy Death!!!

He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”

God ask what seems to be a crazy question. Can these dead bones live again? Ezekiel doesn’t really answer God he just simply says, “you know.”

He doesn’t want to say to God, “Come on, really, you are asking me this question!  Our city has been destroyed by the Babylonians. And you are asking me this question. Your temple has been destroyed and your people are here in exile and held captive by the Babylonians and here I am in the middle of slavery and captivity and you are asking me can the nation live again… Seriously… come on God look at this, it is horrible. Its crazy and you are asking can these bones live again.

Some of you can relate to that right now. It is crazy in your life and you are wondering can this situation live again. But I need to tell you “GOD CAN MAKE YOUR SITUATION LIVE AGAIN!”

First thing you need to know is that:

  1. The Hand of the Lord is with You.

If you want to see dead bones live again you have to understand the hand of the Lord is with you.

When things are going bad people begin to wonder where is God?

I am dealing with crazy…. Where are you God? I am dealing with crazy:

  • Crazy Death
  • Crazy Pain
  • Crazy Debt
  • Crazy Heartache
  • Crazy Chaos
  • Crazy Loneliness
  • Crazy Loss
  • Cray Confusion

Look at all the mess I am in… Where are you God? Why is this happening?

The first 8 words of Ezekiel 37 are so important.

“The hand of the Lord was on me,”

  • I know you are in the graveyard but the Hand of the Lord is with you.
  • I know you are walking amongst dead bones but the hand of the Lord is with you.
  • I know you are experience your darkest hour in life but the hand of the Lord is with you.

You have to know this…. If you are going to see dead things LIVE AGAIN in 2016 you have to understand and recognize that the Hand of the Lord is with You!!!!

Psalms 118:5-8

When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord; he brought me into a spacious place. 6 The Lord is with me;(when I am Hard pressed the Lord is with me) I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? (David was experiencing pain from mere mortals.  David was running for his life. King Saul was trying to kill David.) The Lord is with me; he is my helper. I look in triumph on my enemies. 8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans.

Second thing you need to know:

2. You have to live by faith.

2 Corinthians 5:7

For we live by faith, not by sight.

When we are walking in the valley of dry bones. Living by faith can feel a little crazy.

We are so driven by our 5 senses. People are so driven by:

  • What they can Taste
  • What they can touch
  • What they can smell
  • What they can hear
  • What they can see

And the bible says, you can’t be driven by your senses you must walk by faith. Faith in God goes against your 5 senses. Living by Faith is how you and I see dead bones come back to life. We must learn to live by faith.

Ezekiel 37:3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.” 4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy (speak the word of the Lord. Step out in faith and speak) to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!

Hear the word of the Lord!!! In other words speak to the dry bones and say, “hear the word of the Lord.” If you are going to walk by faith you will have to:

  • Stop speaking your report.
  • Stop speaking your friends report over your dead situation.
  • Stop speaking the worlds report over your dead situation.
  • Listen start speaking the Word of the Lord to your dry bones.

Speak God’s word to your dry bones.

Ezekiel 27:5 This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’” So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.

The third thing you need to know:

3. Invite the Holy Spirit to Breath on your Crazy.

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 these slain, that they may live.’” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.

Notice the 4 winds represent the fullness and the force of the Holy Spirits power.

You see the Holy Spirit can bring dead things back to life.

  • It does not matter how dead there are.
  • It does not matter how devastating the situation is.
  • It does not matter how dark it may look.

The Holy Spirit can come in and bring life to that situation. If you study the nation of Israel Ezekiel prophesied for the dead bones to come back to life and they did. And it wasn’t over night. God did it piece by piece. He brought His people out of Babylon and He brought them back into the promise land. And they began to rebuild the city (Nehemiah) they rebuilt the walls. They rebuilt the temple. God began to bless his people back in their city again and they began to be revived. God brought the dead bones back to life. It looked like a hopeless situation but the Holy Ghost rushed in and brought the dead bones back to life. We need the Holy Ghost to live again. 

Taken from sermon notes preached at Fairview Church of God January 3, 2016

Disclaimer: Sermon notes were compiled from many different sources and my personal experience.

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Psalm 32:1

“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is Covered.”

Just the other day I was working on a document in Microsoft word and all of a sudden a window popped up that said, “word unexpectedly quit and will try to recover your work but it  may be lost” and of course my work was lost. I started thinking that I wished life had a DELETE button like my computer. Wouldn’t that be great?

Poor Choices as an adolescent – DELETE. Mistakes I made as an adult – DELETE. Damaged relationships – DELETE. Poor parenting decisions – DELETE. Losing my temper – DELETE. Acts of selfishness – DELETE. Lack of patience – DELETE. Hurtful words spoken – DELETE. Missed opportunity – DELETE.

As I thought about this idea, it was as though the Holy Spirit gently spoke to my heart, My child, you do have a delete button – it’s called forgiveness.” Romans 3:25 says, “God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in His blood.”

Who do you belong to Him or them?

I began thinking about this very question and made this discovery about myself. When I started out 22 years ago as a minister I preached for Him. I did ministry for Him. I visited the hospitals for Him. I loved people for HIM!

When I went to pastor my first church in October 1997 I was 27 years old and was going to win the whole wide world to Jesus. My first church was not in the best location. It was a church of about 25 or 30 people at that time.  I walked into that church and preached for Him. I did everything for Him. That little church was the most difficult time I have ever experienced in my ministry. I remember telling God that if this is what ministry was about I quit! That little church grew from 25 to 100 in just 6 months. God was doing His work because I was doing ministry for Him, not them.

I moved to my second church September 1999 at the age of 29. This church was running 75 with $3,500 a month tithe.  I approached this assignment just like the last, for HIM. This church took off and in six months it was up to 120 in attendance and paying $7,500 a month in tithe. I spent countless hours at the hospital because there were several people that had cancer when we arrived as their pastor. I visited, prayed, preached funerals and loved people for Him. The church got up to 160 in morning worship and was paying $15,000 a month in tithe. God was doing so much that it was overwhelming but we were so busy serving Him that we never noticed how overwhelming it really was.  You see back then I did every thing for Him and I spoke for Him and refused to give into the enemy. We had been there about 6.5 months when I experienced a personal attack from someone in the church. I tried not to take it personal, but it was personal. A gentleman in the church was doing everything in his power to run me off. I had meetings with him where I would speak to him in love but with the Boldness of the Lord and more times than I care to admit with a lot of spunk and very little wisdom.

It was during this attack that things started to change and the sad part is I did not even realize that it was happening. I began pastoring for THEM instead of Him. I started preaching to correct situations in the church. I would bring my personal hurts/opinions into the pulpit. I was not preaching for Him; I was now preaching for survival! I was not going to the hospitals for Him. I was now going out of obligation to them.

I do not know where or when I resumed ministry for HIM but somehow I did. The church began to pick back up and there was excitement in the air. We were having the time of our lives. God had put people around me that were strong where I was weak. I only had one paid staff member who I believe was receiving $250 a week. I remember there being a time that I thought I would pastor this church for the rest of my life. People were coming from all over the county it seemed. I would stand and declare, “THEY ARE COMING FROM THE NORTH, THE SOUTH, THE EAST AND THE WEST. “ It was the most real ministry I have ever been a part of and it was because I belonged to HIM and I did everything in ministry for HIM.  God was doing so much and He led me to call the church to a 40 day fast (“Got Flies”) and the last 7 days we prayed 24 hours a day in the church. People signed up and there was prayer going forth and fasting. Wow! When the fast ended I felt led to have Rick Bradley come and preach a Sunday night through Tuesday night. I did not realize it then but God needed to encourage Rick and he was going to use the church to do it. From Sunday to Tuesday there was 20 or more saved and on Tuesday night alone 8 were baptized in the Holy Ghost. I had David Mays and Fyffe youth on Wednesday night and 4 more were saved. I asked the church if they would come back on Thursday night and I would preach. My brother Jeff called me after church Wednesday night to see how church went and I invited him to come be in service with us Thursday and Friday. On Thursday night I gave an altar call during worship and 3 people got saved. We took up the offering and the choir began to sing and the Holy Ghost began to move and I ran to the pulpit and gave another altar call and 4 more people got saved. Then came Friday and the enemy began working and people were getting jealous. Division started to set in. Why you might ask? Because we were doing ministry because we belonged to HIM and not them. 46 people were saved that week and 16 baptized in the Holy Ghost.

It was during this time that my wife was attacked in the almost same manner as I was and again without evening knowing it, I began to do every thing for them instead of HIM. The sad part is that I just now (almost 10 years later) realize that when a preacher says harsh things from the pulpit, it is because he has been wounded and he is NOT hearing from God– he is hearing from HURT and is preaching for them (survival).

If you have been wounded guard your heart and mind with the Word!

Take time away from the situations each week so you can hear from HIM!

Focus on Him and not them because if you see and hear from God, HE will take good care of them!