Just Shoot

IT WAS A COOL CLEAR MORNING. THE MORNING WAS NOT THE ONLY THING THAT WAS COOL -- EZEKIEL'S HANDS WERE COOL, COLD AND SWEATY . KIND OF LIKE YOUR FIRST DATE. REMEMBER? YOU DO REMEMBER YOUR FIRST DATE, DON'T YOU ?

YOU WERE AFRAID YOU HAD DISCOVERED SOME SORT OF GENETIC ERROR -- THAT YOUR PRIMARY SWEAT GLANDS WERE IN YOUR HANDS?

OR LIKE YOUR FIRST SCARY RIDE. HOW WERE YOUR HANDS THE FIRST TIME YOU RODE THE GRIZZLEY, OR THE SHOCK WAVE OR THE ANACONDA?

WELL, EZ. HANDS WERE COLD, SWEATY BECAUSE HE TOO WAS ON A WILD RIDE. SPIRITUAL JET ROCKETING THROUGH THE SKY. IMAGINE BEING EZ. IN WORLD NO PLANES, NO ROCKETS, NO HOT AIR BALLOONS. NO BLIMPS THAT SAY GOODYEAR ON THEM. NO TALL BUILDINGS. NOW SEE WHY EZ NERVOUS, PALMS SWEATY, HOLDING ON TIGHT --BUT LOVING IT AT THE SAME TIME.

WHAT A VIEW! EZ. NERVOUSLY LOOKING OVER THE SIDE. YOU KNOW HOW THEY SAY "ON A CLEAR DAY YOU CAN SEE FOREVER?" THIS MORNING EZEKIEL HAD THE HEIGHT. HE COULD SEE. ALL KINDS OF GREEN LUSH AREAS, FEW DESERT BROWN AREAS.

WAIT -- LOSING ALTITUDE. EZ HELD ON TIGHTER. COMING IN FOR LANDING . BUT NOT IN ONE OF THE LUSH, GREEN: AREAS. THEY WERE COMING IN FOR A LANDING IN A DESERT. A DESERT FILLED WITH STICKS OR SOMETHING -- HE COULDN'T QUITE MAKE OUT FROM THAT DISTANCE.

HOLD ON, LANDING! EZ'S SPIRITUAL JET SKIDDED TO A STOP IN THE DESERT. EZ. GOT OUT AND GAVE THESE STICKS A CLOSER LOOK.

SUDDENLY HE WISHED THINGS HE HAD SEEN WERE STICKS. THEY WEREN'T IT WAS MUCH WORSE. THEY WERE BONES. HUMAN BONES.

AT THIS POINT IF EZ. HAD BEEN WATCHING STAR TREK HE PROBABLY WOULD HAVE SAID, "BEAM ME UP SCOTTY." NO NEED TO HANG AROUND HERE. WHATEVER TURNED THESE PEOPLE INTO BONES -- MIGHT STILL BE AROUND.

OPEN BIBLES WIT ME THIS MORNING TO EZ.37 TO FIND OUR WHAT HAPPENED. INSTEAD OF LEAVING IMMEDIATELY, INSPIRED RECORD TELLS US LORD TOOK EZ. ON A GUIDED TOUR OF THE VALLEY OF THE BONES. 37:2 RECORDS, "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."

WHAT COULD BE BETTER? SEE EZ. NOW SAYING TO GOD, "SINCE WE CAN GO ANYWHERE, HOW ABOUT HAWAII? WE'LL JUST SKIP THIS BONEYARD."

BUT THE LORD HAD A PURPOSE IN THIS TRIP--A PURPOSE OTHER THAN ENJOYING THE SCENERY. LORD BROUGHT EZ HERE TO ASK HIM A QUESTION: A QUESTION THAT I WANT TO ASK EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU THIS MORNING: v. 3 "SON OF MAN CAN THESE BONES LIVE?"

EZ. SMART ANSWER. LORD, WHAT DO I KNOW? WHY DO YOU ASK ME? YOU ONLY ONE THAT KNOWS THE ANSWER.

GOD GIVES THE ANSWER. LETS READ ANSWER ONLY LORD KNOWS: v. 5. GOD SAYS THESE BONES WILL COME ALIVE. BUT ONLY ONE WAY. NEED BREATH OF THE LORD ENTER THEM. LETS CONSIDER THIS SYMBOLISM A MINUTE.

WHEN GOD SAYS HIS BREATH, WHAT TALKING ABOUT? WHAT BREATH OR WIND OR THE MOVEMENT OF AIR SYMBOLIZE? JOHN 3:8 AND ACTS 2:2 HS IS COMPARED TO THE WIND. LATER THIS CPT OF EZ. LORD MORE SPECIFIC. SAYS IN v.14 "I WILL PUT MY SPIRIT INTO YOU." THE BREATH IN THE BONES IS THE HS.

GOD DOES IT. TAKES SPIRIT AND PUTS IT IN THE BONES. AT THE END OF THIS STORY WE SEE RESULT OF MERGER OF BONES AND GOD'S SPIRIT IS THAT THEY BECOME A VAST ARMY FOR THE LORD.

LETS LOOK AT THE INGREDIENTS AGAIN: A VAST ARMY OF WORKERS FROM TWO THINGS: FIRST THE HS; AND, SECOND, THE BONES THEMSELVES.

IF LIFE GIVER IS THE HS. WHAT ARE THE BONES? GOD'S PEOPLE -- PEOPLE THAT ARE DRY AS DUST. PEOPLE WHO FOR ALL INTENTS AND PURPOSES ARE SPIRITUALLY DEAD.

LET ME ASK YOU THIS MORNING. THIS STORY ANY RELEVANCE IN MANASSAS? OR JUST SOME FUNNY STORY ABOUT ISRAEL? ARE WE BONES? EZ. RECORDS THAT SOME OF THE BONES WERE MORE DRY THAN OTHERS. BUT THEY WERE ALL, TO ONE DEGREE OR ANOTHER, DRY. NOT ALIVE. IS OUR CHURCH LIKE THIS VALLEY? AM I LOOKING AT A BONEYARD? DO WE NEED THE HS BREATHED INTO US?

NOT SOMETHING THAT WE WOULD WANT TO ASSUME. OR EVEN ADMIT UNLESS WE HAD TO, RIGHT? I CAN IMAGINE SOMEONE SAYING, "BRUCE, YOUR SABBATH SCHOOL CLASS IS DRY AS DUST." "YOUR SERMON REMINDED ME OF AN OLD DRY BONE." NOT A COMPLIMENT.

BUT LETS BE HONEST THIS MORNING. YOU HAVE HEARD OF AN "IQ TEST:" AN INTELLIGENCE QUOTIENT TEST. LETS GIVE OURSELVES AN "HSQ TEST:" HOLY SPIRIT QUOTIENT TEST.

WHAT LIKE WHEN THE HS IS PRESENT IN POWER? WHEN BONES NOT DRY?

ANSWER STARTS IN JOHN CHPTS 14-16. JESUS WARNS HIS DISCIPLES THAT HE IS LEAVING AND GOING TO HIS FATHER. WHEN HE GETS TO HIS FATHER HE IS GOING TO SEND BACK TO THEM THE HS. SO THE COMING OF THE HS WAS PROOF POSITIVE THAT JESUS WAS GOD. THAT HE WAS NOW A THE RIGHT HAND OF THE FATHER.

YOU KNOW I LIKE TALK ABOUT PROOF. WHAT DID THIS PROOF LOOK LIKE? THE PROOF CAME AS PROMISED, AND THE RECORD IS IN ACTS 2. LETS LOOK.. FIRST THING IN ACTS WE FIND: WAS THAT THE DISCIPLES WERE ABLE TO EFFECTIVELY COMMUNICATE. THEY WERE GIVEN THE GIFT OF TONGUES.

THEN HS GAVE CONVICTION TO THOSE WHO HEARD. ACTS 2:37--"SAYS THEY WERE CUT TO THE HEART."

WHAT FOLLOWED WAS CONVERSIONS--THOUSANDS OF THEM. ACTS 2:41 -- ONE DAY 3000 CONVERTED

THEN DISCIPLES PERFORMED MIRACLES ACCORDING TO ACTS 2:43 AND ACTS 3 TELLS US PEOPLE WERE HEALED--INSTANTLY. IN FACT, ACTS 5 TELLS SICK CAME/PETER'S SHADOW FALL. ALL HEALED! FINALLY ACTS 20 RECORDS A PERSON RAISED FROM THE DEAD!

PRETTY IMPRESSIVE, RIGHT? THINGS THAT IF WE HAD, WOULD HELP BUILD UP THE CHURCH.

LET ME ASK YOU AGAIN, DO WE HAVE THESE THINGS IN OUR CHURCH?
HOW DOES THIS PROOF STACK UP AGAINST OUR CHURCH?

BEING A LAWYER HAS TAUGHT ME A LOT OF THINGS. ONE OF THEM IS TO GIVE A COLD, HARD LOOK AT THE FACTS. WHEN YOU WALK INTO A COURTROOM, WHEN THE SPOTLIGHT TURNS ON YOUR CASE, YOU HAD BETTER BE RIGHT ON THE FACTS. WISHFUL THINKING ISN'T GOOD ENOUGH! BEING SINCERE ISN'T GOOD ENOUGH. OPTIMISM AND HOPE ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH!

WHAT IS "GOOD ENOUGH" IS BEING ACCURATE. MY FRIENDS, THERE IS A FAILURE OF PROOF HERE. IN MY LIFE, IN YOUR LIFE, IN OUR CHURCH. THE HS IS NOT PRESENT IN POWER.

WE DO NOT HAVE THOUSANDS CONVERTED. WE DON'T EVEN HAVE HUNDREDS CONVERTED. I HAVEN'T COUNTED, BUT I SUPPOSE WE ARE LUCKY IF WE HAVE 10 CONVERTED EVERY YEAR.

WE PRAY FOR PEOPLE, WE ASK THE LORD TO HEAL. I'M SURE THAT HE DOES. BUT IF WE ARE GOING TO BE HONEST, WHAT WE HAVE HERE DOESN'T BEGIN TO COMPARE WITH THE HEALINGS OF THE EARLY CHURCH. I HAVE NOT SEEN ANY INSTANT HEALINGS.

THE UNVARNISHED TRUTH, THE FACTS THAT CAN WITHSTAND THE COURTROOM TEST, IS THAT WE DO NOT HAVE THE HS IN ITS FULLNESS. PERIOD. ANYONE WHO SAYS OTHERWISE IS A WISHFUL THINKER OR DISHONEST.

WE NEED THE HS HERE. AND I DON'T THINK WE HAVE IT IN THE WAY THAT WE COULD HAVE IT.
SO HOW DO WE GET THE HS? AS THE LORD SAID TO EZ. "CAN THESE BONES COME ALIVE?"
WHEN I HAVE DISCUSSED THIS WITH OTHERS IN THIS CHURCH I HAVE BEEN TOLD, "BRUCE, GOD WILL SEND THE HS WHEN HE WANTS TO." "WHEN THE RIGHT TIME COMES, IT WILL COME." THE IDEA IS THAT I HAVE NO CONTROL OVER IT. UNTIL GOD ACTS, I'M JUST SPINNING MY WHEELS.
TURN WITH ME TO 2KINGS 13:14. READ. ELISHA IS AN OLD MAN. WEAK, SICK, GOING TO DIE. THE KING OF IISRAELCOMES TO SEE HIM IN HIS SICK ROOM.

CHPT. REVEALS KING NOT FOLLOW LORD. BUT HE RECOGNIZES THE SOURCE OF POWER: THE LORD WORKED THROUGH THIS PROPHET. SO EVEN THOUGH ELISHA WAS ABOUT TO DIE HE CALLED HIM THE CHARIOTS AND HORSEMEN OF IISRAEL YOU ELISHA ARE THE POWER.

THESE WORDS HAD BEEN SAID BEFORE. WHEN ELISHA WAS A YOUNG MAN, HE SAID EXACTLY THE SAME THING TO ELIJAH, AS ELIJAH WAS TAKEN UP IN A CHARIOT OF FIRE INTO HEAVEN. (2KINGS2:12)

THE KING HAD A PROBLEM, HE HAD AN ENEMY TO FIGHT AND HE WAS COMING TO THE REAL SOURCE OF POWER FOR HELP. LETS READ v. 15-19 TO FIND THE LORD'S ADVICE.

ELISHA SAID, SHOOT AN ARROW. AND HE DID. THEN HE SAID SHOOT SOME MORE ARROWS INTO THE GROUND.

LET ME ASK YOU, WHO DECIDED HOW MANY BATTLES WOULD BE WON AGAINST THE ENEMY? DID GOD?
NO. HE LET THE KING DECIDE. IT WAS COMPLETELY UP TO THE KING THE NUMBER OF ARROWS OF VICTORY THAT HE WOULD SHOOT.

THOSE WHO TELL ME HS COME WHEN LORD DECIDES ARE RIGHT: THE HS WILL COME WHEN GOD IS READY. AND IT IS GOD THAT DECIDES WHEN HE IS READY, AND NOT BRUCE CAMERON, OR FRANK GOLDENBERG, OR TERRY KEELER, OR ANYONE ELSE IN THIS CONGREGATION.

THERE ARE JUST TWO PROBLEMS: THESE PEOPLE HAVE NOT CONSIDERED THE STORY OF ELISHA'S LAST ILLNESS AND HAVE NOT WATCHED MY SON AND MY DAUGHTER EAT.
DO YOU KNOW HOW IT IS WITH KIDS? OF COURSE YOU DO! THEY DON'T WANT TO EAT WHAT THEY DON'T WANT TO EAT. AND FORCING THEM TO EAT SOMETHING JUST DOESN'T WORK VERY WELL. WHEN IT COMES TO CORN, OR BEANS OR BROCCOLI (OR ANY OF THE GOOD STUFF) THEY CLAIM THEY ARE SICK, FULL OR SOMETHING.

BUT ANY TIME OF THE DAY, MORNING OR EVENING, IF YOU WANT TO EAT DESSERT--DO YOU KNOW WHAT?--THEY ARE READY!!

WE CANNOT RECEIVE THE HS UNLESS GOD IS READY AND WILLING. BUT JUST LIKE MY KIDS AND DESSERT, HE IS READY!
ANYTIME. IN FACT HE WAS READY YESTERDAY.
JUST LIKE THE KING OF ISRAEL, YOU HOLD THE BOW AND YOU HOLD THE ARROWS. GOD IS READY AND HE IS WAITING FOR YOU TO SHOOT! JUST SHOOT!

LET ME READ TO YOU. "THE LAPSE OF TIME HAS WROUGHT NO CHANGE IN CHRISTS' PARTING PROMISE TO SEND THE HOLY SPIRIT AS HIS REPRESENTATIVE. IT IS NOT BECAUSE OF ANY RESTRICTION ON THE PART OF GOD THAT THE RICHES OF HIS GRACE DO NOT FLOW EARTHWARD TO MEN. IF THE FULFILLMENT OF THE PROMISE IS NOT SEEN AS IT MIGHT BE, IT IS BECAUSE THE PROMISE IS NOT APPRECIATED AS IT SHOULD BE. IF ALL WERE WILLING, ALL WOULD BE FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT." AA p.50.

"TO US TODAY, AS VERILY AS TO THE FIRST DISCIPLES, THE PROMISE OF THE SPIRIT BELONGS. GOD WILL TODAY ENDOW MEN AND WOMEN WITH POWER FROM ABOVE, AS HE ENDOWED THOSE WHO ON THE DAY OF PENTECOST HEARD THE WORD OF SALVATION. AT THIS VERY HOUR HIS SPIRIT AND HIS GRACE ARE FOR ALL WHO NEED THEM AND WILL TAKE HIM AT HIS WORD." 8T20

REMEMBER MY COMMENT ON CONVERSIONS? EGW TALKS ABOUT PENTECOST AND SHE SAYS, "THEN IT WAS THAT THE HOLY SPIRIT WAS POURED OUT, AND THOUSANDS WERE CONVERTED IN A DAY. SO IT MAY BE NOW. ... LET THEM ASK IN FAITH FOR THE PROMISED BLESSING, AND IT WILL COME. 8T21

JAMES 4:2 TELLS US, "YOU DO NOT HAVE, BECAUSE YOU DO NOT ASK." GOD IS READY. ANYTIME. NOW! JUST TAKE YOUR BOW AND SHOOT!

AT THIS TIME I IMAGINE THAT YOU ARE SAYING, "BRUCE, CAN YOU BE A BIT MORE SPECIFIC?" "WHAT IS THIS TAKE YOUR BOW AND SHOOT STUFF?" HOW DO I ASK FOR THE HS? BE SPECIFIC! LETS TURN BACK TO THE STORY OF ELISHA AND THE KING, FOR I THINK IT ILLUSTRATES THE BASIC STEPS.

BEFORE KING GOT TO PT. OF SHOOTING ARROWS, WHAT DO?
FIRST, HE CAME TO THE PROPHET FOR ADVICE:
DO WE HAVE ANY PROPHETS TODAY? THAT WE CAN GO VISIT?
NOT ANY FLESH AND BLOOD: BUT HAVE WRITINGS HERE.
SO GO TO BIBLE.
GOING TO PROPHET REVEALED A CERTAIN ATTITUDE IN THIS WICKED KING:
HE RECOGNIZED HIS NEED AND WAS ASKING FOR HELP; AND,
HE RECOGNIZED GREATER AUTHORITY.

AFTER YOU GO TO THE PROPHET, THE BIBLE, WHAT NEXT?
LOOK AT 13: 15-17. KING HELD BOW AND ELISHA'S HANDS ON HIS.
WHO WOULD YOU GUESS WAS BETTER WITH THE BOW? THE KING OR THE OLD SICK PROPHET?
THE NEXT STEP TO SHOOTING THE ARROW IS TO PUT AWAY FEELINGS OF SPIRITUAL SELF CONFIDENCE, PUT YOURSELF COMPLETELY IN THE HANDS OF THE PROPHET: BE WILLING TO BE GUIDED.
IN v. 17 WHEN ELISHA TOLD THE KING TO OPEN THE WINDOW AND SHOOT, HE DID. IF THE KING HAD NOT OBEYED, HE WOULD NOT HAVE SHOT AN ARROW OF VICTORY.

THE LAST STEP IS THE ONE IN WHICH THE KING FELL DOWN. HE COULD HAVE SHOT SIX ARROWS OF VICTORY, BUT HE ONLY SHOT THREE.
HE LACKED ENTHUSIASM FOR THE TASK. EGW COMMENTS ABOUT STORY OF ARROW SHOOTING IN P&K 263, AND SHE SAYS, "IN PROPORTION TO THE ENTHUSIASM AND PERSEVERANCE WITH WHICH THE WORK IS CARRIED FORWARD WILL BE THE SUCCESS GIVEN."

DO YOU WANT THE HS TO COME IN POWER? DO YOU WANT TO CHANGE FROM AN OLD DRY BONE TO A VAST ARMY FOR GOD? THEN JUST SHOOT.

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