Posts Tagged ‘Shepherds

08
Feb
18

The Chief Shepherd

Peter encourages elders to be shepherds over God’s flock who lead well. They are to lead like Jesus, whom Peter describes as the Chief Shepherd. This is what Peter wrote:

And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away. – 1 Peter 5:4 (NIV)

There is a reward for elders who lead well. Being an elder for a congregation is a tough job. The New Testament says that elders who teach will be judged more strictly. This is why the Scriptures say that an elder is worthy of double honor. Elders are to reflect the leadership of Jesus. He was humble. He had the heart of a servant, even though He was Lord of all. If anyone could have lorded His leadership over everyone, it was Jesus. Yet He didn’t. He served people instead of subjugating them. He sacrificed for people instead of demanding that they serve Him. The elders of a congregation need to look like the Chief Shepherd so that when He returns they will receive the reward that is due them.
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07
Feb
18

The Shepherds Of God’s Flock

In 1 Peter 5, Peter turns his attention to church leadership. He writes:

To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: 2 Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; 3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. – 1 Peter 5:1-3 (NIV)

God is looking for elders who will watch over His flock with willing, servant hearts. He wants the elders of His church to serve as examples of what it means to lead like, love like and look like Christ. If elders aren’t following Christ, then how can people follow them? If elders won’t shepherd the flock, then the flock will be in danger. If the elders only desire exalted power, God will bring them down. Being an elder is a tough job and we need elders who will do it well.
19
Dec
16

The Angels And Shepherds: A Joyful Worship

The latest talk from Griffith First Christian Church in Griffith, Indiana. This message is based on Luke 2:8-20.

19
Dec
16

Be Like The Shepherds

Luke 2:8-20

New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)

The Shepherds and the Angels

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

In Luke 2, we read of how the angels appeared to the shepherds outside of Bethlehem.  It’s fascinating to me how the angels did not appear to the governor or even Caesar.  The angels did not show up to tell the Pharisees or the teachers of the Law.  They did not appear to the priests.  They appeared to shepherds.  These shepherds weren’t very special.  They were on the lowest rungs of society’s ladder.  They were just hanging out with the sheep one night when the greatest news ever uttered from an angel’s lips was shared with them.  The shepherds accepted the angel’s news with wide-eyed wonder and faith.  Others may have not been as receptive to the news.  Skepticism or doubt might have ruled the day.  Not these shepherds!  Once the angels returned from whence they came, the shepherds headed straight to Bethlehem to find a baby in a manger.  Sure enough, they looked for Him and they found Him.  Maybe you know someone who is looking for meaning and hope this Christmas.  They need to hear some Good News of great joy.  The message of the angel to the shepherds still rings true today.  If you will seek Him, you will find Him.  The shepherds found Him and then they told everyone about Him.  We should do likewise.

PRAYER: Lord, help me to not only hear the message of Christmas.  Help me to not only believe the message of Christmas.  Help me to share the message of Christmas. Thank You for sending Jesus to be my Savior and Friend.  Amen.

10
Dec
15

Be Like The Shepherds

Luke 2:8-20

New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)

The Shepherds and the Angels

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

 

In Luke 2, we read of how the angels appeared to the shepherds outside of Bethlehem.  It’s fascinating to me how the angels did not appear to the governor or even Caesar.  The angels did not show up to tell the Pharisees or the teachers of the Law.  They did not appear to the priests.  They appeared to shepherds.  These shepherds weren’t very special.  They were on the lowest rungs of society’s ladder.  They were just hanging out with the sheep one night when the greatest news ever uttered from an angel’s lips was shared with them.  The shepherds accepted the angel’s news with wide-eyed wonder and faith.  Others may have not been as receptive to the news.  Skepticism or doubt might have ruled the day.  Not these shepherds!  Once the angels returned from whence they came, the shepherds headed straight to Bethlehem to find a baby in a manger.  Sure enough, they looked for Him and they found Him.  Maybe you know someone who is looking for meaning and hope this Christmas.  They need to hear some Good News of great joy.  The message of the angel to the shepherds still rings true today.  If you will seek Him, you will find Him.  The shepherds found Him and then they told everyone about Him.  We should do likewise.

PRAYER: Lord, help me to not only hear the message of Christmas.  Help me to not only believe the message of Christmas.  Help me to share the message of Christmas. Thank You for sending Jesus to be my Savior and Friend.  Amen.

16
Jul
15

The Pastor Is NOT The Church

In the church, we need to care for one another and carry each other’s burdens.  We must remember that we are not Lone Ranger Christians.  We need each other.  When someone is wandering away, we need to look after that person.  Too often, we get this idea that it is the pastor’s job to go chasing after everyone that is straying from the faith.  It is the pastor’s job to carry the burdens of the church members.  It is the pastor’s job to do all of the teaching and instruction.  It is the pastor’s job to do all of the shepherding of the flock.  This is a dangerous model for the church to follow.  It isn’t Biblical, either.
Paul says that it is everyone’s job to carry each other’s burdens.  The burden does not fall on one man.  We should all be looking after one another.  The pastor as sole shepherd does three things:
  • It creates a sinful attitude of pride in the pastor because he wrongly believes that he is the savior of the congregation.  “They need me!”
  • It burns the pastor out because he cannot possibly shepherd everyone in the congregation to the level that is expected. 
  • It makes the congregation dependent on the pastor for all of their needs and they never learn to develop healthy relationships with one another for the purpose of growing spiritually.

What happens when the pastor is called to another ministry?  What happens if the pastor burns out and leaves the ministry altogether?  The congregation then steps up and shepherds one another and carries the burdens of one another just as they’re supposed to!  This is when the church is being the church.  When we look after one another – including the pastor and his family – and we help each other grow in faith and knowledge.  Don’t depend on your pastor for everything.  He is one man and a very flawed one at that.  

Galatians 6:1-6 (NIV)
Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load. Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor. 
15
Jan
15

The Thing About Elders

I once heard D. A. Carson, a New Testament scholar and professor, say in a video something to the effect that the list of qualifications for overseers and deacons in the church is not describing some kind of super Christians.  Rather, these qualifications are quite “unremarkable.”  These qualifications of elders and deacons are required, in other places in the New Testament, of all Christians with the possible exception of one or two.  I think that the most overlooked qualification of the elder is the very first one:

Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. – 1 Timothy 3:1 (NIV)

The elder has to want to be a leader in Christ’s church.  He cannot be wishy-washy about wanting to serve the Lord in this way.  It is not a matter of prideful arrogance, for the elder should be humble.  He has to aspire to the position or desire it.  Those who serve well, as Paul says later in 1 Timothy, are worthy of double honor.  They have a lot of pressure weighing on them.  The decisions that an elder makes can have far-reaching and eternal consequences for the sheep in the flock.
The best thing that we can do as Christians with regard to our leaders is to respect them and obey their authority.  They have God-granted authority to lead in the church and they should be respected.  It is up to the elders to be mindful of the fact that they are servants of God and shepherds of the flock.  They need to remember that they are to follow Jesus’ example of servant leadership.  They are not to lord their position over the flock, but to gently lead, protect and, at times, correct the sheep in their care.  It is up to the sheep to follow their human shepherds as they follow Christ.
1 Timothy 3:1-7 (NIV)
Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.



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