The other day I made pitas because we were having souvlaki for supper. I have to say they turned out pretty good but still need to be perfected. I love it when they puff up. The souvlaki my wife made was awesome. When I was making the dough, I went through the stages of proofing the yeast and then letting it rise for a couple of hours in the oven with the light on. Tip – If you use the oven don’t turn the oven on to warm it up as you may forget you did that and then you have to wait for it to cool down; just use the oven light. I man have done that. After the two hours I looked in and the dough had risen perfectly. When you see this process of proofing take place and see the dough rise, that is just part of the process. That’s what happens when you bake bread. You expect that when you use yeast there will be foaming when you activate it and the bread will rise. If these don’t take place then something is wrong. There are reasons why the yeast did not activate or the bread did not rise. One person said their bread was a brick because they used boiling water and basically killed the yeast. If your bread doesn’t rise there is a reason; one site listed nine potential reasons.
                So if there is a problem, there is a reason. You don’t just keep making bricks and calling it bread. Our quote yesterday said, “If your yeast is “dead” or “inactive” then you will need to get new yeast—there is no way to revive it or liven it up again once it goes bad.” You look for the reasons your bread is not working out. If you use active dry yeast, you expect it to do what it is naturally going to do and if it doesn’t you do something about it. There will be proof that the yeast working almost immediately because yeast is a living organism. That is why you proof the yeast to save yourself waiting two hours to see if your dough will rise. If the yeast doesn’t activate in the warm water, you make the necessary change and get another cup of water. Obviously we are not talking about bread–making, although it is a very interesting process, we are talking about the church. The good news is unlike the yeast, we can be revived again. Psalm 80:16 “Your vine is cut down, it is burned with fire; at your rebuke your people perish. 17 Let your hand rest on the man at your right hand, the son of man you have raised up for yourself. 18 Then we will not turn away from you; revive us, and we will call on your name. 19 Restore us, Lord God Almighty; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved.” This is why we continue to pray for revival.
                The church has turned the bread of life into a brick and then keeps going saying this brick that is supposed to have risen and given living proof, is the way the church is supposed to be. For generations this recipe for bricks has been handed down from family to family and church to church with no one every asking what is wrong with this brick; shouldn't it look different. One of my favorite stories isn’t really about bread but it does apply here. One day after school a young boy noticed that his mom was cutting off the ends of a pot roast before putting it in the oven to cook for dinner. He had seen his mom do this many times before but had never asked her why. So this time he asked and his mom replied, "I don't know why I cut the ends off, but it’s what my mom always did. Why don't you ask your Grandma?" So the young boy called his grandmother and said, "Grandma why do you cut the ends off the pot roast before cooking it?" His grandmother replied, "I don't know. That's just the way my mom always cooked it. Why don't you ask her?" Undeterred, the boy called his great grandmother, who was living in a nursing home and asked her the same question. "Why did you cut the ends off the pot roast before cooking it? And his great grandmother did not reply, “I cut off the ends of the pot roast because that's what my mother did.” And she did not say because it makes the meat juicier. She said, "When I was first married we had a very small pot, and the pot roast didn't fit in unless I cut the ends off." I am sure that those who went before felt foolish for their ignorance. The church has had more than four generations of ignorance.
                Doing something over and over when it is wrong doesn’t make sense whatsoever. You can practice all you want but it will never be right. As we talked about yesterday, Jesus gave us living proof after He rose from the dead. Now this isn’t meant to be political but here is an example. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has created all kinds of speculation as to his whereabouts. “Kim Jong-un is ‘alive and well’, South Korea security adviser says.” While this creates lots of discussion on the news, the easiest proof of life is simply to appear and make yourself known to those speculating. So while others can say He’s alive, the best proof came when Jesus came to his disciples. Luke 24:36 “While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38 He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” Now remember Jesus wasn’t missing, he was dead. It is also important to understand that even though Jesus died over two thousand years ago, dead is dead, just as dead is dead today. Here is an example. Luke 8:40 “Now when Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed him, for they were all expecting him. 41 Then a man named Jairus, a synagogue leader, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come to his house 42 because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying. 49 While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” he said. “Don’t bother the teacher anymore.” 50 Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.” 51 When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John and James, and the child’s father and mother. 52 Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her. “Stop wailing,” Jesus said. “She is not dead but asleep.” 53 They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. 54 But he took her by the hand and said, “My child, get up!” 55 Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat. 56 Her parents were astonished, but he ordered them not to tell anyone what had happened.” Even in that day people knew that when someone died, they were dead, which is why they laughed at him.
                Notice from this passage that the crowds were expecting Him but this passage points out that a few individuals were really expecting not just Jesus but the power that was available to them. They believed that Jesus could and would do what he said he would do. Mark tells us that Jairus “pleaded earnestly” with Jesus to heal his daughter. You don’t plead earnestly if you don’t believe there is power to heal. In this same passage there is another picture of the crowds and only one person reaching out to Jesus in their belief. Jesus said to the crowds later. Luke 13:24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 25 Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ “But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’ 26 “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!” Just walking with Jesus is not the same as expecting Jesus to heal you. As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. Luke 8:43 “And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. 44 She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped. 45 “Who touched me?” Jesus asked. When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.” 46 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.” 47 Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. 48 Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”
                The disciples were told that Jesus would rise in three days yet they did not believe. They should have been in great expectation as that third day approached. Luke 24:9 “When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.” Two of the disciples even left after hearing the tomb was empty. As they talked to Jesus himself they said, “21 we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23 but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus. 25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken!” This ignorance describes most of the church today. We have the word of god right before us that tells us what the church is to look like and the power available for all who believe yet we are satisfied with manmade bricks of bread instead of the bread of heaven.
                Are you eagerly expecting Jesus to prove He is alive or are you just walking along with crowds? Do the words of scripture seem like nonsense to you? Have you fallen at the feet of Jesus and pleaded with him or are you just part of the crowd who shouted hallelujah, hallelujah but then later shouted crucify Him, crucify Him. Do you believe like Jairus or the woman who reached out and touched His cloak that Jesus will do as He said? Jesus said Luke 18:8 “when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” The church sings at Easter that they serve a risen Savior. The song He Lives says, I serve a risen Savior, He's in the world today I know that He is living, whatever men may say, He lives (He lives), He lives (He lives), Christ Jesus lives today, He walks with me and talks with me. Along life's narrow way He lives (He lives), He lives (He lives), Salvation to impart, You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart” Prove it! Just going to church does not prove He lives in your heart. Scripture tells us what having God and Jesus dwelling in you means. Are you just walking with Jesus or are you expecting the power available to change the world?