Pursuing Answers to Questions of Faith & Life

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

SBC Convention & Sea World

Vicky & the Baileys at the SBC Convention in San Antonio

The Reed Family at the Convention

Moriah shouting, "the whale"

Drenching Compliments of Shamu

Shamu on stage

Caldwell Zoo

Moriah riding at the Caldwell Zoo

Gabriel Feeding Birds

Moriah looking at birds

Gabriel at the Caldwell Zoo

Texas Train Ride

Gabriel on the Train

Moriah and Vicky in Front

Grandma & Pa Reed

The Steam Engine

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Missing Greater Life in God’s Great Promise

Greater Than or Less Than

One of my favorite math and logic problems growing up were the greater than or less than problems. They were usually pretty easy to figure out.


Spurs > Cavaliers

Chicago Cubs > ? –the Bad News Bears

These are comparisons we make every day. Something is better or greater than something else.

Numbers 13

A Greater Life in a Great Promise

God made promises to the Israelites

Exodus 3, God said--“I Will be With You”—God is Greater than the god’s of the Egyptians—He proved it in the plagues—proved it in the destruction of Pharaoh’s army and the parting of the Red Sea.

God promised that their Lives would be Greater than they were Egypt—they won’t be slaves—where they had to hide their children, couldn’t worship without permission, were second class citizens subject to the whims of the Pharaoh.. God promised the Israelites would be fruitful, that they will be able to worship in spirit and in truth, they will experience the blessing of Abraham and experience victory.

There is no doubt that God had brought them to this moment.

He Promised to bring them to a Land flowing with Milk and Honey—and He was willing to make it happen—13:1-3

Notice the sending of the spies was God’s Idea—not a lack of faith on Moses’ part. What do you think God wants them to see? The Good things—the Greater Life than what they have experienced so far. He wanted them to see the vision of where God was taking them. God’ wants Israel’s Leaders to see what He has promised so they can lead the people with confidence.

They saw this Greater Future and Great Provision—13:23—they saw the provision and goodness, vs. 27—they recognized the what God was trying to show them.

This is what God wanted them to see-the mission ahead of them. Don’t you believe that God has a mission for you, for us? God has brought us to this point in time for a reason—to accomplish some task. Do you believe that God has a vision that He wants us to see as a church, as believers and people in His Kingdom? Knowing God’s pattern it’s probably a task that looks daunting and difficult. It is not for our greatness but for His greatness. God’s vision is about His glory and about His kingdom transforming the lives of those who need Him. All we need to do is be willing to Cross Over into the promise.

God said, “I AM giving to the Israelites.” The giving was ongoing, immediate and certain. It had already begun—He had led them there, prepared them to cross over and advance His kingdom. But this Great Promise had a Great Problem

A Great Problem--13:17d-29

Fearful of Where God is taking them

The Enemy is Too big for us--We Can’t Do It—We’re not Ready.

READ 31-33—for them—the threat, the daunting task ahead of them outweighed the promise of great blessing. For some reason, they trusted only what their eyes saw in the moment and not what their eyes had seen in the last few years.

Their problem was looking at the enemy, and the obstacles rather than looking to God. It’s not like the 10 Spies were wrong—this may come as a shock to you, but The 10 spies were right—the enemy was too big for them. They would not be able to do it.

The land and the inhabitants were too much for Israel to conquer on her own. But Israel was not on her own—God was with them. The daunting task, the giant people and fortified cities were no match against the Spirit of God. Luke and the other Gospels remind us that "What is impossible with men is possible with God."

Somehow, they were Forgetting that their own strength had not brought them so far—their strength did not defeat and bring them out of Egypt—their strength did not part the Red Sea, their strength did not feed and lead them to this point. They would never have made it out of Egypt on their own strength. They never would have survived Pharaoh’s chariots

Their whole experience was never dependent on them or their strength but on God. And we have the same problem they do when we look through our own eyes at the problems and fail to see God’s Provision, fail to see God’s Power and fail to see God’s Promise.

Any accomplishment we as a church have will be because of His efforts—sure we can do a lot of things, but if we are not doing so in the power of the Spirit of God—we are wasting our time—spinning our wheels. They will often be in spite of our efforts. It is when we look and depend upon our own strength that we will fail and not truly experience the blessing of God—

But the flip side must also be true—when we look and depend upon the strength and power of God to accomplish a task—nothing is impossible.

The Task is too Daunting and the Mission is Too Important for us to be relying on our own Strength and Wisdom. God has brought us to the point of the Crossover and wants to see us trust Him despite the daunting task before us.

If you’re waiting for all your financial problems to go get settled before you start tithing… you’ll never tithe and you’ll miss the blessing. If we as the church wait for financial bliss before taking on a some project—we will never do anything. If we wait for numbers to come before we make preparations to receive them, then we are seeing the problems and not trusting God.

So many times farmers plant their crops before the first rains of the season—in anticipation and faith for what God will be providing. If they wait for the rains, their fields will not be prepared to receive it, nor will they experience the harvest.

Last year, one of my first sermons to this congregation looked at Ezekiel 47 and the River that flows from the Temple of God and how He measured a distance and took Ezekiel out into the water to see how deep was. I compared to our walk of faith that at various times we are willing to go out into the deeper water, but other times we’re content with water up to our knees or even ankle deep—like trying to swim in the kiddie pool.

In moments of Decision, in Great Crossroads, you and I exercise our faith in our decisions—are we going to go forward into the Deeper Water and walk with confidence in the Promise of God or are we going to retreat back into the shallows and miss our God given opportunity?

If we retreat from what God has for us, real briefly, we experience consequences. The 10 spies convinced everyone—we can’t do it. They refused to follow the Leading of God and so

they experienced defeat instead of promise,

they experienced the desert instead of abundance.

They were capable of great things—but that whole generation—except for Joshua and Caleb, missed out on those great things.

The response of Moses to this is vital

14:5—Moses and Aaron fell on their faces in the presence of all the assembly of the congregation and the sons of Israel”—This is what we must do—fall on our faces before God and seek Him

Which is the one who believes in the power of prayer? The farmer who prays for rain and sits on his porch watching for it or the one who prays for rain and goes out and plows and sows his field. If we have no expectation of God doing anything—we don’t really believe that He will and we will not be useful when the time comes. That is a great problem for us.

God, may it never be for us. Let us not refuse your Greatness, Your Great Promise, Your Great Provision. Lord Jesus, may we live out Your call without fear.

Pray that we Will We See God’s Heart for our Church

Pray that we Will We See the Promise & Provision more than the Problems

Pray that we will Crossover instead of Retreat

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Sermon-- 6-17-07--Father's Day

This message has more outline than usual--with things that I filled in. I hope you can keep up.

Bill Cosby tells a great story in his book, Fatherhood. He writes: Now that my father is a grandfather, he just can’t wait to give money to my kids. But when I was his kid and I asked him for fifty cents, he would tell me the story of his life. How he got up at 5 A.M. when he was seven years old and walked twenty-three miles to milk ninety cows. And the farmer for whom he worked had no bucket, so he had to squirt the milk into his little hand and then walk eight miles to the nearest can. All for 5 cents a month. The result was that I never got my 50 cents.

But now he tells my children every time he comes into the house: “Well, lets see how much money old Granddad has got for his wonderful kids.” And the minute they take money out of his hands I call them over to me and I snatch it away from them. Because that is MY money.

Paul mentions the commandment concerning parents in EPH 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 "Honor your father and mother"--which is the first commandment with a promise-- 3 "that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth."

As much as this is a charge to children, it is a responsibility to parents. In order for this to be a greater blessing instead of a greater burden, parents need to be sure they are of the character themselves that makes it easier for their kids to honor. If you want to be honored... be honorable.

I found this a strange notation in the announcement of John the Baptist's ministry.

Luke 1:16-17--Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous--to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."

Why would this need to be such a part of John's ministry? Why do father's need their hearts turned to their children? Shouldn't that be happening automatically? Sadly, I believe it isn't as natural as it may seem. Too many men put other things before their families--our hearts need to be turned back to our kids. And since I also believe that John successfully fulfilled his ministry mandate--that hearts were prepared, that hearts were turned back to their children.

Society tells us to “Be the man” and “You’re the man,” but it fails to give men an accurate picture of what that is. Biblically, several things must be the priority for your life. You must be a...

Devoted Disciple--we are called to Earnestly Contend for the faith—Jude 1:3—I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints”-- agonizomai--agonize--a

to suffer extreme pain or anguish; be in agony.

to put forth great effort of any kind.

Men/Father’s you must contend for your faith—make it real and vibrant. Not just protect it from attack from the outside, but contend and strive for your own faith. You are called to be a Devoted Disciple. Because as a man and a disciple of Christ you are called to a special place of Leadership, but also of Service. There are great things that God wants to accomplish in you and great things through you. And most of them will go unnoticed by the world—most won’t be written up in the paper, most won’t get you a promotion or get you more money or more popularity. In fact, being a devoted disciple may cost you some of those things. It is God’s approval that matters most. “Good work on that project” will never compare to hearing “Well done, my good and faithful servant.

If you are not developing spiritually—if you’re more interested in sports than church, if you’re more interested in the newspaper than the Bible—then not only your faith is suffering, but so is that of your family, so is that of your church. Your family and your church need you to exercise the gifts God has given you.

a. A report by Warren Mueller revealed that where both parents attend church regularly, 72% of their children continue in the faith. Where only the father attends, that percentage drops to 55 percent, but where only the mother attends, just 15 percent of the children remain involved in the church.

your influence can be great--to fully be that influence, you must be a devoted disciple.

2. Devoted Husband--m/f’s— The number one way to leave a great legacy for your children is very simple.

Love your wife. EPH 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her

a. you must spiritually lead your family—you must serve your wife--support her, encourage her, build her up. That also means guard your relationship with her--guard your mind and thoughts, guard what you put before your eyes. Nothing should come between you.

Whoever said "blood is thicker than water" was wrong. You don't get to pick your family, but you do pick your wife. Your vow of marriage is your word and your "yes" must be "yes", in all things.

3. Devoted Dad—don’t fall for the lie that says Quality Time is enough. Quality Time cannot be manufactured and it will never be more important than Quantity Time. Your relationship with your kids gets some special attention in the New Testament. EPH 6:4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

COL 3:20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.

COL 3:21 Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

a. Son’s-- Ken Druck and James Simmons in The Secrets Men Keep discuss six major secrets men have. At the top of the list is that "men secretly yearn for their father's love and approval." This is often without their conscious knowledge that this yearning manifests itself in the drive that many males have to prove themselves. The authors say:

It may surprise us to know that the most powerful common denominator influencing men's lives today is the relationship we had with our fathers .... Of the hundreds of men I have surveyed over the years, perhaps 90 percent admitted they still had strings leading back to their fathers. In other words, they are still looking to their fathers, even though their fathers may have been dead for years, for approval, acceptance, affection, and understanding.

b. There's a Spanish story of a father and son who had become estranged. The son ran away, and the father set off to find him. He searched for months to no avail. Finally, in a last desperate effort to find him, the father put an ad in a Madrid newspaper. The ad read: Dear Paco, meet me in front of this newspaper office at noon on Saturday. All is forgiven. I love you. Your Father. On Saturday 800 Pacos showed up, looking for forgiveness and love from their fathers.

c. Daughter’s—father’s—if your daughters are not getting love and affection from you—then they will run into the arms of the first boy, the first man that will give it to them. If you really care about her purity—then you won’t just build your gun & knife collection for when the boy shows up at your house—you will surround her with love and affirmation.

d. If you want her to be attracted to a decent guy, one who doesn’t treat her like dirt—then realize that if she sees you treating your wife that way—not respecting her, not supporting her—then she’ll think that’s normal. Would you want your daughter to be treated the way you are treating your wife?

e. m/f’s you must deliberately lead and exemplify the Christian life for your children’s eyes to see.

f. if you have neglected this aspect of being the husband or father and as a result they have ignored, lost interest or walked away from faith in Christ, I don’t care how successful your child is in the world—they may have a great job, make great money, have the best education. Whatever they are that the world says, “you must be so proud”—be careful that you don’t put stock in it—you can still be a failure as a father and spiritual leader regardless of how successful they turn out to be. On the flip side—you may be one of those that made every attempt to raise you child right and they still rejected faith in Christ. This is not meant to you if you were faithful—the result was up to God, the result may indicate the hardness of hearts and the reality of sin that so easily entangles, even those we love

4. You Are a Devoted Disciple First, a Devoted Husband Second, a Devoted Dad Third—all of these things must be in a higher priority in your life than work—work serves you and your family—you do not serve it. Higher priority than leisure—if you find yourself finding ways to escape your family—leaving them to fend for themselves--then you are not being their servant, but are serving only yourself.

There is hope in that first verse talking about John the Baptist—that one of his roles in ministry is to help turn the hearts of fathers back to their children. Your heart being turned back to your children is a sign of the coming of Christ—of His power revealing itself in your life—and as certain as is the coming of Christ—so there is great blessing when your heart is turned toward your children. There is great blessing that comes from them—and you have great blessing to give to them.

LK 11:11 "Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"

Ephesians 1:4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will-- 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

Eric Ribbens has expressed on several occasions that one of the hardest parts of adopting kids was the reality that for every kid you accept, there are hundreds more that you have to say “no” to. that’s how it works in human terms—you cannot take all those precious kids home with you. But God’s economy doesn’t work that way. He can walk into the orphanage and say I want all of you to come home with me. The only kids that stay in the orphanage are those who reject God’s invitation—maybe it’s a lack of trust, maybe they’ve been hurt before, maybe they actually think they prefer the life of an orphan. But God desires to give good things to His children. He is the only perfect Father out there. I’m proud to say that I’m adopted—adopted into the Family of God. He has called me home. And He is calling you home right now.

5 Things I Dig About Jesus Meme (<--whatever that is)

Kevin Bussey tagged me here to say something about Jesus that I dig. Here are the rules.

1. Those Tagged will share 5 things they dig about Jesus.

2. Those tagged will tag 5 other bloggers.

3. Those tagged will provide a link in the comments section here of their meme so that others can read them.

Here's what I dig about Jesus

1. I dig the fact that Jesus is not ashamed to call me His brother

2. I dig the fact that He understands my struggle and temptation because He was tempted in every way, yet without sin

3. I dig the fact that though my sins are as scarlet, they will be made as white as snow

4. I dig the fact that not only is the master builder making me dwelling place in His house, He is also the master tailor making me robes to wear when all I have are filthy rags. A crib and some threads… I’m set.

5. I dig the fact that while I was still His enemy, Christ died for me.

I tag:

Sergio Arce

Uwem Ekpenyong

Brian Geddes

Patrick Bailey

Kiki Cherry

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

SBC Convention Update--Tuesday

This is my first post from the Southern Baptist Convention. Let me say that I greatly enjoy coming to the convention with my family. For the first time, we put Gabriel in the children’s activities and he seems to have greatly enjoyed it. He even made the main photo on the front page of today’s Metro section in the San Antonio paper along with his good friend Lisa Arce. I’m still trying to find a copy of that photo to post.

I greatly enjoy meeting new people and catching up with old ones. The Arce family is truly a joy to see again. James Eagan was a brief catch up opportunity. Vicky and I were even able to share a few words with our former pastor Claude Thomas.

Overall, I’ve enjoyed the convention. Though, the food situation is not very good. There are not enough faster food places in close proximity to the convention. The other restaurants have long waits and long service—so we’ve been late to every session after eating.

President Frank Page has moderated a great convention and shared his spirit of how we are to cooperate for the sake of the Kingdom of God. Morris Chapman, the Executive Committee Chair shared a great message about uniting around the Baptist Faith & Message 2000 to fulfill the Gospel Mission while not dividing or excluding over issues that we can disagree on and still be Christians and Baptists.

The spirit of cooperation and unity felt lost by the time the report from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Paige Patterson came around. The crowd was worked up and jazzed for the report. Paige definitely knows how to work a crowd. Third Tier issues were specifically discussed and used as dividing issues in what came across to me as a very superior tone. It’s one thing to be confident in one’s conviction, it’s another to dismiss the possibility of another interpretation and exclude and dismiss those who are brothers in Christ.

Then came the questions. Even I was tempted to ask one, but upon seeing every mike with at least one and often 2-3 people by it, I didn’t bother. I expected some good and challenging questions that needed to be asked. A total of 4 questions were asked. Only one could be considered a fastball—the other three were softball questions with “home run” written all over them. It’s almost like they were placed to prevent harder questions from coming up. The first question was about homemaking being offered at the seminary as a degree class. I missed whether this was at the college or as a Master's level course. Either way, I find it embarassing for a prestigious seminary and insulting to the nature of ministry our women are capable of. If the class is anything like what I've seen in the Handbook for Minister's Wives, then it will not connect nor be realistic for the vast majority of families in real churches. The first softball did let me know of a good policy that faculty are required at least every 4 years to take a mission trip to a third world country however there was no discussion about the Klouda situation, the declining masters level enrollment, accreditation concerns, or several others. This was highly disappointing and not characteristic of the larger meeting.

Dinner went long and the kids needed some sleep so we missed the evening session. I’ll hopefully find out about what happened regarding some important decisions.

Pursuing Him,


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Sermon--Palestine, TX-- Invitation to Go Deeper -- Ezekiel 47

Invitation to Go Deeper
Ezekiel 47:3-5

Back in 1993, America witnessed one of the greatest floods in the last 150 years. The Mississippi River, swollen with rain throughout the Mid-west left its banks and caused extensive damage. I spoke to a church member last week who had to move his business office 3 times during that flood. I remember it because I crossed it several times that summer, even having to go hundreds of miles out of the way, just to find an open bridge. Did anyone else have to do that? I

Most people, when the river gets big and the current gets strong try to stay away from it. But others seek it out. The White Water Rafting Industry is booming in the Grand Canyon and other rivers around the country.
But I cannot imagine anyone crazy enough to tempt the waters of the Mississippi that year. It was too big, too wide, too destructive, too powerful. And that’s the way rivers here on earth operate. The bigger they get, the more dangerous.

But that’s not the way the rivers in the Kingdom of God operate. You and I have a River of Life that is supposed to be flowing in our lives.

Jesus said in John 7:37, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him."

Our hearts are the Temple of the Holy Spirit, and it is from that Temple that the Water of Life seeks to fill every aspect of who we are with the Presence of God. The more water that flows through this stream, the better—because it is living water.

This stream of living water is not the first time God has provided a River of Life. In Genesis 2:8-10 God provided a river that gave life to the land in the Garden of Eden. All we needed was provided by the living water of God. However, something happened to change it. That life-giving river seems to have dried up with the fall; our sin dammed up the river of Life. But another river—the river of life is restored in Revelation 22. If flows from the Throne of God and heals the land.

I believe Ezekiel is given a vision of this river in Ezekiel 47 and through it, I believe we get an idea of what God desires this living water to do in our lives.

It’s an invitation for our lives to Go Deeper. The Temple, with the Ark of the Covenant inside is seen as the Throne of God, where His presence resides. And from Him comes life, life that is abundant, life that is eternal, life that can heal a dry and thirsty land.
Everything that the river does for the land, the water of life does for our hearts. And He often starts the same way.

1. God starts us Ankle-Deep—vs. 3
a. After each measurement, God’s guide led Ezekiel into the water.

b. After the first measurement, he was led through water that was ankle deep. This is a good beginning for all of us in Christ. God starts us Ankle Deep.

c. The waters of the Lord are never too deep for those who are just beginning to drink the living water. There is no danger of drowning, no danger of being swept away. God first leads you into the shallow waters so you can begin to trust Him, so you can enjoy His Presence and get used to His leadership.

d. He will not take you into a situation that you are not ready for. He will start you with the small things, with the shallow.

e. God is, in essence, giving the first swimming lesson to one of His children. He first has to get you comfortable in the water. So He’ll let you splash and kick and jump. Picture a 2 year old at the beach when the little waves come rushing in—they run away with delight. But You can’t learn to swim in the shallows or the kiddie pool. God will invite you to deeper water.

2. God takes us a little Deeper--Knee Deep—vs. 4a
a. God leads us to deeper water but thankfully, He takes it slow—where the water in Knee Deep. He doesn’t just drop us in the deep end. He allows us to be strengthened little by little.

b. When we have gained the experience with the small things, He will lead us on to greater things. In the Knee-deep water, we’re getting more and more comfortable.

c. We are beginning to experience more in our walk with Him. We’re beginning to feel the movement of the water and the growing strength & power of the current.

d. Just like you wouldn’t send a soldier to the battlefield after one day of basic training, God does not send us out without some training and growth.

e. He leads us through the water—God doesn’t abandon us or say—go do it by yourself. God is leading and holding our hand. He is there with us, allowing us to get used to the new, deeper water.

f. At each point, He looks to us and says, “I know you think this is fun and that you don’t think you’re ready for more, but I know you are ready for more. There are deeper places I can take you; there is more of Me I want to show you. ”Will you come with me or do you plan on staying here? Will you trust Me”

g. Is it be wise to stay there in the shallows? It feels safer. Can you imagine what you’d be missing out on by staying in the shallows? Probably not.

h. Because you’ve never experienced anything more than water up to your knees. But God is there, inviting you to deeper waters. He is hoping that you will trust Him for more, because there is always more.

3. Waist Deep Water Requires More Trust—vs. 4
a. Notice that God is the one leading Ezekiel into the deeper water. He knows that we are ready for more. Each time God takes us deeper, I believe we are surprised at how deep it really can be. So often, in our walk with Christ, we’re convinced we know all there is to know, we think we’re right, we believe there’s not a Bible passage that we don’t know the exact interpretation or application.

b. And yet God takes us deeper. There is more to God than we thought. When water is up to the mid-section, you are starting to feel a little lighter, you are beginning to feel more and more of the floating feeling. Our footing is less sure and the power of the current is getting a better hold of sweeping us away.

c. This becomes one of those moments when we are allowing God to reign more and more in us. More and more of our body is being brought to life by the Living water. More and more of our body is under the surface, under His control.

d. While we are beginning to be more and more accustomed to the water, at this point we’re not letting go more, we’re holding on to His hand even tighter.

e. That’s because the depth of God is showing us more and more of how small we are and how big He is.

f. You and I should not become less dependent the longer we are Christians, we should become more Dependant. That’s a good thing, because it can always get deeper. As long as you can touch the bottom and stand on your own two feet, God will still invite you to deeper and deeper faith. Look where God wants to take us in vs. 5.

4. Deep Enough to Swim—Over our heads—vs. 5
a. This is where God wants to take us. He wants us at the point in our lives when we realize We cannot cross this river w/o the Lord’s Help.

b. The deeper we go into God’s living waters, the more you and I give Him control, the more we realize how much we need Him. The farther we walk with God, the deeper He wants to take us. It is said that our God is shallow enough that a newborn baby could not drown in His waters, and deep enough that the world’s best swimmer could never touch bottom.

c. At this point we’re no longer standing on our own two feet, the water is up over our heads. The current is so strong that the river can take us anywhere.

d. The most important thing for us to do at this point is Hold On—we’re no longer under our own power, we’re not trusting in our own abilities, not standing on our own two feet.

e. The waters had risen and were continuing to rise and rather than being overwhelmed, rather than destruction or drowning, the waters bring life.

f. I can almost see a smile on Ezekiel’s face, a great sense of exhilaration and excitement because of the awesome wonder of God’s Presence, God’s Power and God’s love. This is the ultimate white water rafting—no life jacket, no paddle, no boat—just the guide—Holding on to God and letting Him take you anywhere.

g. 6b--Ezekiel didn’t notice how deep the water was, he didn’t notice how cold the water was or how long he was out in it. He stayed “in over his head” as long as God wanted him to stay.
h. After Ezekiel was brought back to shore he saw in vs. 7 a “great number of trees on each side of the river”. It’s almost like he doesn’t recognize the shoreline anymore, like he’d been floating in the river for so long that he didn’t care where he was, just as long as God was with Him.

i. This river of life that God has promised us gets deeper and deeper and has tremendous effects. Read 8-9.

j. This water flows into the dry, desert regions and brings them to life. Vs. 12 talks about Trees bearing fruit every month, just like the Tree of Life in Revelation 22:2.

k. It pours into the Dead Sea—the saltiest water on earth where very little of anything can live, and makes it fresh, a living, breathing, abundant place--the best fishing in the world.

l. I want you to realize that this is what God wants to do in your life. We call places with little to no water “deserts” and they are dangerous and deadly—very little life can live there. Left to ourselves our lives are dry and lifeless. Is there anything more dead than our hearts when they are apart from Christ.

m. Lack of water is not the only dangerous condition. We call water that is not moving but still for a long time “stagnant”. It becomes so poisonous that animals will not drink it. Is there anything more stagnant than the heart of a believer that has stayed in the shallows for the last 25 years?

n. Vs. 9—“so where the river flows everything will live”—the water of life must flow in and through every part of who we are. It cannot be stilled or dammed up. Every part of our lives can become alive when the water of life fills us and flows through us. Our life will be abundant and productive providing healing. So if you’re spirit is dry, stagnant, dead—God wants to bring it to life, to invite you to the deeper water

o. God doesn’t want us to stay in the shallow waters. He doesn’t want His churches to stay in the shallows. He wants to penetrate the whole of our lives with His Living Water. He wants to sweep us away to be carried along to His destination—where we are no longer demanding to control our own lives but giving Him control to take us wherever He would lead us.

p. God doesn’t want to lead us to the desert, where we will be dry and thirsty, where we will see very little fruit, very little water, very little healing. He wants to lead us to a place of abundance, a place of refreshment, a place of joy and excitement. A place where our faith is mature and trusting, relying on the Water of Life.

q. God is measuring out your life. He is measuring out your church. He’s not doing it in distance, feet or miles; He’s doing it with time. He’s measured you off 15 years, 35 years, 50 years, 75 years. Today Jesus is leading you out into the water. How deep is the water? When you look at your life and your walk with Christ and the maturity you have in Him, how deep is the water you are in? Is it ankle-deep, knee-deep, waist-deep, or in over your head? Are you being carried along by the current of God or are you still splashing in the kiddie pool?

r. Are you ready to accept His invitation to the deeper water.