Sermon Series: Live Again

July 09 , 2023 – “Yes, Lord!” : Part 1

Scripture – Ezekiel 36:24-28

New International Version
24 “‘For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 26 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. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. 28 Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God.

July 16, 2023 – Live Again: Part 2

We dive back into Ezekiel and his visions of restoration this Sunday. Ezekiel writes from a place of exile from his homeland. Jerusalem has been devastated by war and destruction by the Babylonian army in the 6th Century BCE. Many of Jerusalem’s leaders were taken into exile to Babylon. All appears to be lost – home, country, family, and faith. From this place of heartbreak and uncertainty, the Lord gives Ezekiel three visions of hope for the future. The message: better days are ahead of us and not behind us. This week we look at the most familiar of the three visions – the valley of dry bones. In this amazing and visually stirring dream, the Lord sends his Spirit to give life to his people again. From the dust arises a new community empowered and re-purposed for the glory of God. I will see you Sunday as we unpack this story to learn how it inspires our faith today. From the dust, we too can rise and live again! I will see you Sunday as we unpack this story to learn how it inspires our faith today.

Ezekiel 37:1-14

The Valley of Dry Bones

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. 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 to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 5 This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath[a] 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.’”

7 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.

9 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.

11 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.’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14 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 I have done it, declares the Lord.’”

July 16, 2023 – Live Again: Part 3

The Temple in Jewish culture and worship was the most sacred institution that existed. It was the true north of their moral and spiritual compass. Likewise, the church today shapes how we live our everyday lives as people who follow Jesus’ teachings and way of life.

God gives Ezekiel a glorious vision of a new Temple filled with God’s presence that becomes a source of life and blessing to the world around it. Ezekiel’s vision is of a river of water that flows out from the Temple making lush vegetation burst forth wherever the river touches. This too is a hopeful vision of what the church can be too!

This Sunday in worship we will invite students and teachers to bring their work bags and backpacks so we can pray over them before they begin a new school year. I hope you will join us for this special time of prayer and blessing.

Let me update you on what my family will be doing this fall so you can know more about us. My wife, Debbie, has joined the staff at Clinton Junior High School. She is excited to be working in our city’s public school system. Caroline will be going into the 8th grade at the junior high school. She is already making new friends and looking forward to begin her first day. Our sons, Ethan and Landon, live in Starkville and share an apartment. Ethan has been a student at MSU and works at a local deli. Landon will be a freshman at East Mississippi Community College this fall. Back to school season is always a new and exciting adventure – one we pray provides many blessings and opportunities to be a blessing to others. See you Sunday!


Ezekiel 47:1-12

The River From the Temple

47 The man brought me back to the entrance to the temple, and I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was coming down from under the south side of the temple, south of the altar. 2 He then brought me out through the north gate and led me around the outside to the outer gate facing east, and the water was trickling from the south side.

3 As the man went eastward with a measuring line in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits[a] and then led me through water that was ankle-deep. 4 He measured off another thousand cubits and led me through water that was knee-deep. He measured off another thousand and led me through water that was up to the waist. 5 He measured off another thousand, but now it was a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in—a river that no one could cross. 6 He asked me, “Son of man, do you see this?”

Then he led me back to the bank of the river. 7 When I arrived there, I saw a great number of trees on each side of the river. 8 He said to me, “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah,[b] where it enters the Dead Sea. When it empties into the sea, the salty water there becomes fresh. 9 Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live. 10 Fishermen will stand along the shore; from En Gedi to En Eglaim there will be places for spreading nets. The fish will be of many kinds—like the fish of the Mediterranean Sea. 11 But the swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they will be left for salt. 12 Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.”