“I Just Wanna Be a Sheep”

The following post was written by a fellow blogger from New Zealand, Johanna. Unfortunately, Johanna was not in a place where she could access my blog to add her post, so she emailed me the text. Johanna blogs at Isaiah 41v10. Be sure to pay her a visit…she may have some more shepherding advice on hand😉


‘I just wanna be a sheep’

I come from a country that is famous for its sheep. New Zealand used to have more than 70 million sheep.  Now the number is about 29 million, according to teara.govt.nz.  August is the best time of year to see the sheep, as it is late winter, when the ewes are lambing. It is delightful to watch the lambs gambolling in the fields playfully, so different from their sedate mothers.

Thinking about sheep gets me pondering all the Biblical references to sheep. The way we farm sheep here in NZ is quite different from 1st Century Palestine or how David cared for his father’s sheep before he became king of Ancient Israel. These differences can teach us something about our relationship with God.

Shepherds in the Bible

It’s clear from reading the Bible texts that the good shepherds in those days (like David) had a small number of valued sheep, each one of which was known by the shepherd, and who knew the shepherd and followed him.

“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, “Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost. “ (Luke 15:4-6 ESV)

Jesus also talks about the shepherd’s relationship to his sheep in John 10:3-4, where he says, “The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. “

Contrast this with modern farming, where a farmer will often have hundreds, if not thousands of sheep. They live in fields fenced by barbed wire. They are seen as stupid animals, that the shepherd herds by using dogs to make them obey his will. You do not see a shepherd leading his sheep, instead driving them in front of him. They have an eartag with a number to identify them to the sheep farmer.

To me this speaks of two different ways of relating to God.

What kind of sheep are you?

One kind is motivated by fear, and kept safe by barbed wire. These fences are like the extra rules that we make for ourselves or that others make for us, to keep us safe and away from sin. But they also keep us from following the Shepherd to green pastures. Instead we are boxed in where the grass has been overgrazed, living on stale hay.

Some sheep break out, thinking that the grass looks greener elsewhere, and end up on a busy road or in a ditch. This is like those who break away from legalism to do their own thing, or those who fear the Shepherd and his voice, and shipwreck their lives as a result. Both are far from the Shepherd.

The Good Shepherd’s sheep are motivated by love for their Shepherd. They trust him to keep them safe and fed, and they follow him wherever he leads. He leads them to green pastures and restores their souls. He protects them in the darkest valleys and lays down his life for them. Jesus said,  “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever — the Spirit of truth.”

Jesus is not a factory farmer. He wants us to know his voice and follow him out of love. He doesn’t want us to be penned in by traditions or extra rules, but instead to walk with him to green pastures and fresh water.

Will you follow him?

sheep-617128

That’s Anthony on the far left. He always has to get his nose in the picture.

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Filed under animals, Bible Study, Christian Living

Equal Access Relief Room

Here I am in the terminal of the Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C. As of this writing I still have an hour or two before boarding a 777 in route to Ethiopia, then Zimbabwe. 

Please make sure to check out the guest posts which I’ve scheduled over the next week or so. 

Now, the reason I’m writing this post while sitting in the airport is because I saw something I’ve never seen before. 


I guess when men and women can use the bathroom of their choice, depending on how they identify at any given moment, I’m glad our animals now have a place to relieve themselves. 

But what if, after all this travel, I feel DOG TIRED? 

Just a thought. But how do you flush that hydrant? 

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Filed under America, animals, Culture Wars, Uncategorized

My God Is Faithful

I am going to church this morning.

I’m not going as one who wants to show off…as one who wants to be seen…as one who deserves any kind of blessing, healing, or anointing…as one who deserves anything at all.

I’m not going because it’s expected of me, even though it is – I’m the pastor, you know.

I’m not going to prove anything to anyone, especially God, because He knows my heart; He knows me better than I know myself.

I am going to church this morning because my God is faithful, despite my unfaithfulness.

I am going to church this morning because my God deserved to be praised by me in front of others, because I love Him, and I’m not ashamed.

I am going to church this morning. Are you?

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The President Is a Feminist. He Said It, Not Me

Glamour

The President of the United States wrote a lengthy and heart-felt essay for Glamour magazine. In it he…

wait…

Vintage Obama, per the Glamour essay.

Vintage Obama, per the Glamour essay.

Stop and think about what I just wrote, OK? The leader of the free world, arguably the most powerful man on Earth (arguably), just wrote a lengthy essay specifically for Glamour. Is there nothing about that very thought that turns your stomach, or am I the only one who feels that way?

Anyway, President Barack H. Obama wrote a lengthy, heart-felt essay for a women’s magazine…

wait…

I mean, handbags…holographic fingernails…makeup…”weed” tampons (I’m not joking)…outfit ideas…Kris Jenner’s closet…and not to mention dating and sex advice…and this is the one place the President choses to submit an essay? I just don’t get it.

Where have all the men of this country gone to? Where the heck are they going? What was the purpose of this lengthy, heart-felt essay?

President Obama took the time to submit a lengthy, heart-felt essay explaining how he, the President, is a feminist.

Gag.  Me.  With.  A.  Spoon.

What Women Want?

Besides earning brownie points with all his Hollywood BFF’s, Obama made it clear his feminism has set the standard for what all girls should expect out of a man…a world leader…a petty dictator…and all fathers.

“Michelle and I have raised our daughters to speak up when they see a double standard or feel unfairly judged based on their gender or race—or when they notice that happening to someone else. It’s important for them to see role models out in the world who climb to the highest levels of whatever field they choose. And yes, it’s important that their dad is a feminist, because now that’s what they expect of all men.” – President Barack Obama

God in heaven help us. Whatever happened to “where the men were men and the women were glad of it“?

A Few Points

First, however you want to define it, the most important thing for a daughter is to have a godly, consistent, faithful, wife-cherishing provider who will charge hell with a water pistol in order to protect his little girl. She doesn’t need a mom-jean-wearing pansy who’s just “one of the girls.” Daughters need a father who’s a man, a real man, and not ashamed of it.

Secondly, I certainly hope the women of the future wise up, because if a feminist is all they expect out of a man, there are going to be a whole lot of disappointed females looking for love in all the wrong places.

Third, the biblical model for manliness is one of ultimate self-sacrifice and total, unwavering faithfulness. It is one that sets the highest standard for unconditional love and respect. Mr. Obama, if you really, really cared for your daughters and all the women of the world you would point them toward God’s design for men and women, not Gloria Steinbeck’s.

Now, I think it’s time for a Clint Eastwood movie.

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Filed under America, current events, General Observations, Parenting, politics

Crunch Time Approacheth 

Well, it’s crunch time. It won’t be long before I take the longest airplane ride of my life…

even less time until I will need all potential guest posts submitted. 

So, whether you are a first-timer or a previous guest, I still need posts – between 8-10. 

Please express your interest today or tomorrow, then please get your posts submitted or uploaded as a “draft” by late Friday or early Saturday. 

Thanks again! 

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Some Choose the Thorny Path

 Wise Solomon

It never fails to amaze me how people get themselves into trouble. But if the truth be known, many of those who end up getting hurt, whether it be physically or emotionally, chose the wrong path. Wise King Solomon put it this way…

There are thorns and snares on the path of the crooked; the one who guards himself stays far from them. – Proverbs 22:5 HCSB

Below are two stories about two different paths. Both contain dogs, but only one has a happy ending.

Whose Fault?

People who drink and drive should expect problems down the road. People who use illegal drugs should expect problems, also. Why is it, then, when these people get caught, harassed, or arrested by law enforcement, they blame the whole thing on the police?

Recently a man’s dog was shot and killed. After seeing his owner arrested for mouthing off to machine gun-toting policemen who had surrounded the house of a criminal, the 80 pound Rottweiler decided to attack. What was the arresting officer supposed to do but defend himself? Yet, the community where this happened is calling for the policeman to be punished. Why? Because a fool who couldn’t keep his foolish mouth shut forgot to restrain his killer dog?

Taking a Different Path

The above story reminds me of something that happened to me years ago. One night our German Shepherd was acting like a stranger was close by. There had been some suspicious activity down the street already, so I took my shotgun (we lived out in the county) and walked with my dog through the shadows around our house over toward the street.

Just before we came out of the shadows, I saw six policemen with M-16 assault rifles walking in my direction. Little did I know they were looking for a criminal who had just shot at another policeman.

My heart nearly stopped. “Oh God…please don’t let them see me…for the love of all that’s holy, dog, pleeeeezzzzz don’t bark…”

The dog stayed silent… We both survived.

I quietly took a different path.

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Filed under animals, Life Lessons, wisdom

Going to Africa!

Thanks!

zimbabwe mapI give praise to the Lord for all of your prayers and financial support! As of last week all the needed funds for my mission trip to Zimbabwe had come in. What a blessing! What an answer to prayer!

Yes, I needed between $2,500-$2,700 in a relatively short amount of time – right during the time when I my income was greatly reduced  – and you folks stepped up to the bat and hit a home run!

I can’t wait to send out “thank you” notes to all that I can.

Stress

Now, I have to admit that all is not fun and games, however. Even though I have received all the need funds to make the trip, I am still having to pinch pennies as I purchase the necessary items to take with me – and the luggage in which to carry it.

It has been a long time since I’ve flown, and back then things weren’t so strict. Also, back then I didn’t worry about taking all the stuff I’m having to take this time. Even more stressful has been the challenge of determining what size of suitcase and carry-on to buy. Believe it or not, I had to borrow a measuring tape from a store clerk so that I could make sure what I bought was under 62 inches, and still I was so confused I didn’t even get anything.

Buying luggage is worse than shoe shopping!

And there’s more… It’s less than a week from my departure and I’ve still got to find enough clothes, change the starter on my daughter’s car, paint, clean house (and garage), try to get registered for my next round of seminary (pursuing an M.Div.), prepare for Sunday’s sermons, do some visiting, drive a bus for a field trip, schedule guest posts on this blog, and do a LOT of praying!

It’ll Be OK

You know, the Lord has brought me thus far, why should I worry? I could really use a few more dollars to finish up getting a few supplies, but God will provide. I don’t yet understand all the luggage stuff, but I’ll get it sooner or later. Somehow I’ll get a good portion of my to-do list done before I leave – I hope.

I believe God has something great in store for me. I don’t know what it is, but it will be what’s needed and what’s best. My prayer is that it will include a safe trip to Zimbabwe and back to the States, back home. I also pray it will include personal revival, along with stories of many in Chinhoyi coming to Christ.

But whatever happens, God is in control, and it’ll be OK. Just keep praying for me, would you? And prayers for my family would be appreciated, too!

Thanks!

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Filed under ministry, places, Thanksgiving