“Can These Bones Live” Ezekiel 1-14
In 2020, the Lord is leading me to partner with Him in leading Mount Pisgah to become “A Church of I.M.P.A.C.T.: Intercession, Ministry, Proclamation, Assimilation, and Celebration and Transformation.
The word “IMPACT” is defined as having a strong effect on someone or something. When we look at the early church in the book of Acts, we see a church that had a strong effect on the community around them. These early Christians were able to affect the culture around them. They were able to IMPACT their community through fellowship, discipleship, worship, missions, stewardship, evangelism and strong leadership. It is my belief that Mount Pisgah must follow the same pattern to “IMPACT the world from Central Arkansas.”
I believe that church growth begins when the Christian community has a visible, vocal and viable fellowship with the surrounding and immediate community, but most importantly, when the Church has a clear and concise love for Jesus Christ. To effect growth in Mount Pisgah, effect positive change in our community and the greater Jacksonville community, Mount Pisgah must be able to answer the question God asked Ezekiel, “Can these bones live?” This question is relevant to the condition of the communities and the world in which we live. In the midst of a sinful world that has continuously fallen away from God and is need of restoration, both politically and spiritually; there is no finer illustration of the answer to that question than what the prophet Ezekiel saw in his vision.
Ezekiel 37, illustrates the promise of chapter 36. God had just announced that Israel would be restored to her land in blessing under the leadership of David. However, this seemed remote in light of Israel’s present condition. She was “dead” as a nation–deprived of her land, her king, and her temple. She had been divided and dispersed for so long that unification and restoration seemed impossible. So God gave two signs (37:1–14 and vv. 15–28) to Ezekiel to illustrate the fact of restoration and confirm the promises made to Israel. God promises there will be a political restoration of the Jews as well as a spiritual restoration.
Practically, we are apt to say, “How can these things be? What will bring about restoration?” Ezekiel, very wisely, puts the question back upon God– “O Lord God, you know.” In answer to this, the Lord says, “Prophesy over the bones.” So our duty as Christians, is to prophesy over these bones, and we will then see God’s purpose fulfilled, when we obey God’s precept. There are two kinds of prophesying spoken of here. First, Ezekiel prophesies to the bones–here is preaching; and next, he prophesies to the four winds–here is praying. The preaching has its share in the work, but it is the praying which achieves the result, for after he had prophesied to the four winds, and not before, the bones began to live. The preaching made a stir, and brought the bones together, but the praying did the work, then God the Holy Spirit gave them life.
As we embark upon 2020, it is the duty and the privilege of the Church, to go into all the world and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the whole creation. We have a model here. We have an obligation to preach the Gospel wherever God sends us. The gospel has the power to transform those who are dead in trespasses and sins and make them new, living creatures in Christ. God has always used the “foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe” (1 Cor 1:21).
Perhaps you cannot take part in preaching the Word, but in the second form of prophesying you can all take your share. There is an attractiveness about the gospel which will draw the people to hear it; and there is, moreover, a force about it which will excite them, but there is no life–giving power in the gospel of itself apart from the Holy Spirit. The “breath” must first blow, and then these bones will live. We must learn to go before the Lord now and from this point on in earnest, sincere prayer. This was Paul’s testimony. He was unable to live the life of a believer, faithful to the commands of God, without the enabling power of God’s Spirit (Rom 8:1–17). O, let us cry mightily unto God! We cannot expect to see great things unless we do cry to Him.
Therefore, in 2020, as a church body, we will strive to IMPACT the Central Arkansas area through Preaching and Prayer. This can be done through Christian education, revivals, evangelistic outreach, prayer teams and partnerships with like-minded organizations. It is the responsibility of every Christian and member of this church to use preaching, in a general sense, and prayer to reach the lost, revive the saints and restore the community.
To accomplish the vision of the house: every member, ministry and ministry leader must voluntarily commit themselves to the work of helping Mount Pisgah Baptist Church to become A CHURCH OF I.M.P.A.C.T. Solicit your prayers and partnership, as we make the Vision of the House a reality in 2020.
Craig B. Collier Sr., Senior Pastor