Experience Pastor Barrett Berry and the Empowered Living Church anywhere
Welcome to the Empowered Living Church (The ELC). We are celebrating our first year as a church! Thank you for being a part of God's victory. Our objective is to save souls, make disciples, and build God's kingdom.
Lord, how can we live without a heart connect to yours?
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.
Ezekiel is writing from a bad situation to more than 10,000 fellow Jews in the same situation. They’re all exiled a thousand mile walk from home and living in the heart of the Babylonian Empire, in what is now Iraq.
Babylon had already invaded the Jewish nation twice. First in 605 BC. That was to introduce themselves as the new world superpower replacing Assyria, which they had just crushed. They also took the occasion to demand that the Jews send them tax money each year. The Babylonians came again eight years later, in 597 B.C. They did this to collect their taxes after the Jewish king decided to stop sending money.
It was during the second invasion that Babylon took thousands of Jews with them, Ezekiel included. Political prisoners, of courts, many were free to live as they pleased in Babylon -- as long as they didn’t try to go home. Ezekiel is a priest, which means he now has nothing to do. The work of a priest takes place in the Jerusalem temple, which for Ezekiel has a long and forbidden commute. But gives him a new job. Ezekiel becomes a prophet to the Jewish exiles.
Some people to the podiatrist because they need him to cut off a callous where their skin has gotten really hard. It’s not that they don’t still have soft skin; it’s just that it’s been covered over for so long, they can’t feel it anymore.
When you and I have gone an extended time away from God, a callous can grow, so that you don’t feel the desire to be close to God. It’s not that the desire isn’t there. A new nature exists for Christians and the new nature always is feeling God. The reason a person might not feel the desire is because they are calloused. Their heart has become hard, many times due to ungratefulness and discontent. Isaiah 29:13 and Mark 7:6
Mark 7:5-7 (NIV) 5 So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?” 6 He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 7 They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’ 8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”
GET A HEALTHY HEART OF FLESH
Many people smoke day after day, month after month, year after year and all of a sudden their ability to breathe is impacted and their lungs become hard. A lung is supposed to be soft and pliable but when a person smokes like that, their lungs become hard and the air can’t penetrate them.
You can read the Bible until you are blue in the face, but if it is being read by a hard heart, the Spirit won’t penetrate it.
Lesson One: Home Is Where God Sends Us
Ezekiel 36:24 ~ 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.
Isaiah 43:5-7 (NIV) ~ Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. 6 I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth—7 everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”
Home is where God is. We have been created for God’s glory. He formed us. He made us to expand His Kingdom; to work toward His perfecting; and to bless this land for the formation of our home away from home.
God says in versus 18 and 18 ~ “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
Today, God is doing a New Thing. Forget the Past. Look toward your promises of a brighter future. Where we see affliction (wilderness); God is showing us peace and prosperity (streams) where the world sees a wasteland.
Home is Where God Wants To Send Us
Lesson Two: God is the Real Mr. Clean
Ezekiel 36:25 ~ 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.
Mr. Clean is a brand name and mascot fully owned by Procter & Gamble, used as an all-purpose cleaner. Mr. Clean was created by Linwood Burton, a marine ship cleaning businessman with accounts throughout the east coast of the United States and a rich entrepreneur from Sri Lanka. In the past, ships were cleaned with abrasives and solvents that were dangerous to workers. Burton developed Mr. Clean in an effort to clean ships without having to pay significant premiums in disability claims for his workers. Upon selling Mr. Clean to Procter & Gamble in 1958 it only took six months before it became the best-selling household cleaner on the market. We cannot find a picture of Linwood Burton. Some speculate that he was a black man, but what we do know is that the Mr. Clean of the 1950s was not a bald headed man in a white t-shirt and a golden earring in his ear.
We need the real Mr. Clean!
Jeremiah 31:33-34 (NIV) ~ 33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
Isaiah 43:25-26 ~ 25“I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more. 26 Review the past for me, let us argue the matter together; state the case for your innocence.
God is the Real Mr. Clean
Lesson Three: Get a Heart Transplant
Ezekiel 36:26 ~ 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.
Movie John Q
John Q. is a 2002 American drama film starring Denzel Washington. The film tells the story of John Q, a father and husband whose son is diagnosed with an enlarged heart and finds out he is unable to receive a transplant because his insurance will not cover it, before he decides to hold up the hospital and force them to do it.
By the end of the movie John Q (Denzel) does any unimaginable thing to get his son a new heart. He begs the hospital for favor, he holds people hostage in the hospital, and he commits to taking his life so his son could have his heart. Denzel is able to change the heart of the hostages after they saw his commitment to save his child’s life by getting him a heart transplant. The hostages took on the love and heart of Denzel and became his advocates in court which led to his acquittal.
God changed Saul’s Heart and Made Him King
1 Samuel 10:9-10 ~ 9 As Saul turned to leave Samuel, God changed Saul’s heart, and all these signs were fulfilled that day. 10 When he and his servant arrived at Gibeah, a procession of prophets met him; the Spirit of God came powerfully upon him, and he joined in their prophesying.
The People of God refused to submit to God after being freed from bondage under the rule of the Egyptians and others. They were used to being slaves and wanted to remain in man’s enslavement. Once they asked for a new master … a new king … God instructed the prophet Samuel to appoint a man after His own heart. God anointed Saul king. And after establishing Saul as King he sent him to his home with others whose hearts were touched by God.
When God touches your heart he will surround you with people who share heart for the Lord.
Get a Heart Transplant
Lesson Four: A Changed Heart Leads to Peace and Prosperity
Ezekiel 36:27-28 ~ 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.
2 Corinthian 10:7a (NIV) ~ 10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret,
2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV) ~ 17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
God Give Us A New Heart!