Jesus Calls the Church a Flock
As I wrote the first article on “Shephers-Schmepherds, What’s The Big Deal” I covered shepherding in general. Later I realized that there are some key verses in the New Testament that tell church leaders how to approach tending and maturing God’s flock (the church). Jesus likens the Church to a flock of sheep in the book of John, chapter 10 and spells out the roadmap of how He will tend the flock. He later challenges Peter to shepherd the flock and subsequently Peter challenges church leadership to do the same.
Sheep-pens and Shepherds
Will the Real Shepherd Please Call Your Sheep?
In John 10:1-5 the picture is of a holding pen where shepherds may keep their flock for a time. These sheep pens would have, many times, held multiple flocks. There was a gatekeeper who would know the shepherds who kept their flocks in the pen. The gatekeeper would open the gate and the shepherd would call his sheep. The sheep, knowing the shepherd’s voice, would respond by following the shepherd out of the pen.
Faith that Aim’s High
Recently, I heard about a Christian physicist that has done a great deal of work with regard to creation and the Bible. I bought his booklet on the six days of creation and as I began to read it I was startled to realize that he was an “Old Earth Creationist”. So, what is an “Old Earth Creationist”? Basically, they believe that the days of creation, yowm which means a period of time, are not literal 24 hour days. This allows for them to reconcile the science, particularly geology, with the account of creation in Genesis.
As I read the account of creation in the booklet I noticed something very interesting. The writer took the position that after several days you could now tell the difference between night and day. However, from the very first day God expressed that you could tell the difference between night and day. God had Moses write in Genesis 1:5 “…and there was evening and there was morning, one day”. This was repeated for each of the subsequent days of creation, except for the seventh, where evening is specifically called out as `ereb or “dusk” and morning is called out as boqer or “dawn”.
The facts were clear. The writer of the booklet was trying to resolve the account of creation with the theory of evolution. Now, as we all know, the theory of evolution is the religious conundrum of the atheist. All of the evidence behind the theory of evolution is rooted in the scientific analysis of flawed, sinful, godless men who’s only perspective is locked within the time-space continuum of this current age rather than the eternal perspective of God. So the question is very simple. How can someone spend so much time and effort trying to prove that God’s Word really matches the theories produced by sinners and those who hate God?
The answer is a very simple one. Only one single word! Continue reading
A Shepherd’s Heart
As a Christian I have always been enthralled by the heart of King David, a man describes as “A man after My heart” the Bible says in 1 Samuel 13:14 and Acts 13:22. So what made David “a man after God’s own heart”? I believe that the key to the heart of David lies in where God placed him to learn. David was ultimately a mighty warrior and King of Israel but he was first a lowly shepherd. The lowliest, dirtiest and most dangerous of jobs during the time.
So just what is the heart of a shepherd? Psalms 78:70-72 says “He also chose David His servant and took him from the sheepfolds; From the care of the ewes with suckling lambs He brought him to shepherd Jacob His people, and Israel His inheritance. So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, and guided them with his skillful hands.”
But perhaps we can see the most vivid example of what a shepherd’s heart should be looking at how God says He would shepherd His people. Looking at Jeremiah 23:3-4 “Then I Myself will gather the remnant of My flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and bring them back to their pasture, and they will be fruitful and multiply. I will also raise up shepherds over them and they will tend them; and they will not be afraid any longer, nor be terrified, nor will any be missing,” declares the Lord.
God clearly states that He wants His flock pastured where they can be fruitful and multiply. He also says that He will raise up shepherds to tend them so that they will not be afraid or terrified and that none will be missing.
Is it any surprise that God chose David who cared for the ewes with suckling lambs, shepherded them with the integrity of his heart and guided them with his skillful hands?
What is the Great Commission?
The Great CommissionMatt 28:18-20 “18And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
The “Great Commission” was Jesus last command to us before He ascended into heaven. It provided us as believers with a purposeful mission, a clear and focused message and an unending promise. As part of His Church we are not to keep our faith to ourselves but to share our faith in every situation. Yes “EVERY” situation. I believe that we have become so entangled in the world that we have actually bought into the secular lie that there are times which are not appropriate to share our faith. This is an evil lie straight from the father of lies. We must always be cognizant of our faith and continually look for opportunities to share the good news of the Gospel. The Truth of God’s Word and the Message of the Gospel should be in the forefront of our thinking.
No wonder the world has tended toward a God-less, secular, humanistic orientation. We have not been the “Salt of the earth” as stated in Matthew 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.”
That is exactly where we stand today as Christians, “thrown out and trampled under foot”. Why is this the case? Because we, as the “salt of the earth”, have “become tasteless”. Note the implication of influence. We as the people of Christ have lost our influence because we have not executed our commission. Continue reading
The Season of Giving
John 3:16 ”For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
Before the foundation of the world God knew that He would send His only begotten Son to be a propitiation for sin as a special gift to a world of sinners in need of a relationship with Him. The translation here is so often misunderstood or misconstrued which causes much confusion. Those who are simple believers that whatever God says they believe are truly blessed, but others are skeptical and want to interpret this in very worldly ways and thus diminish the deity of Christ Jesus. Continue reading
What is “The Passive-Aggressive Relationship Killer”?
Gossip is a relationship killer!
Well, my father always told me that gossip was when you discussed information about another person with someone who was neither part of the problem nor part of the solution. Talking about another person is one of our most divisive, and sinful, inclinations as human beings. Almost always when we engage in this kind of behavior it is never to build someone else up but to either tear someone else down or build ourselves up. We can use gossip to justify our own inappropriate, and ultimately ungodly, behavior or to create mistrust for some else by casting aspersions at their behavior. We always do this with the intent of exalting ourselves at the expense of someone else.
Why do you persecute ME? Acts 9: 4
Here is a phrase I should pay very close attention to. Saul was persecuting the church, he was having believers killed. He felt it was his duty to rid the earth of these people. This went on for some time. Saul later named Paul was very zealous about what he was doing. He felt he was doing all of this in the name of Jesus and that he was doing God a favor. He saw himself as better than these people. Little did he know.
Saul was persecuting, killing, doing his best to destroy as many believers as he could, all in the name of Jesus. He truly felt He was right about everything and that everyone else was wrong. But then one day on the road to Damascus he encountered the “True God!” It was an experience that rocked his world. As he was traveling her heard a voice say to him……”Saul, Saul why do you persecute ME?” Who are you , Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting, he replied. Continue reading
In Part 1 I talked about all of the nasty things that cookies can do and how they can be used to monitor your activity on the web as well as the fact that they can slow page response by an order of magnitude. Facebook and Google hook tracking cookies into you browser sessions without you even knowing it is happening. As mentioned in the previous article Facebook and Google, as well as many other internet providers, not only use these tracking techniques but they also bring along their friends, i.e. vendors who pay them money. These vendors, in turn, bring along their friends and as the number of trackers increase the danger of voluminous tracking becomes more likely.
What Can be Done?
There are many reasons why I believe that the GOP lost in 2008 and 2012. For one thing they have begun pushing what they call more “moderate” candidates. What that really means is that the GOP is beginning to abandon one of their greatest supports, Evangelical Christians. The Tea Party arose because of the GOP move toward secularism as the Democrats had done a couple of decades ago. When was the last time you heard a candidate for office identify with Biblical teaching? When was the last time a candidate offered up a prayer, I mean a real “In Jesus Name” prayer?
My father-in-law used to say “If it sounds to good to be true, it is too good to be true!” Another famous quote is “You get what you pay for!” So why am I mentioning these things in a post on Cookies and what does that have to do with you? Well, demographic information on Facebook helped re-elect Barak Obama in 2012. The government used Facebook to experiment with your emotions. Facebook tracks everything you do on your personal devices, computer, tablet and smart phone. This tracking can lead to privacy compromise, unreliable computers, devices and smartphones, targeting for advertisements as well as potential association with websites or organizations with whom you and/or your friends may not want to be associated at all.
So free comes at a price and that is what “How the Cookies Crumble” is all about. Basically, sites like Facebook say; “If you want to use our stuff for free you have to give up your right to privacy.” Facebook states that it is for our best interest and they are protecting and providing us with a better experience. We’ll read that a little later right from the Facebook privacy agreement and decode what it really means. For now we’ll focus on Facebook as the example but Google, Yahoo and any other “free” services use the same techniques to track everything you do. In fact practically every web site you visit uses some kind of tracking. Continue reading