Tag Archive - lent

I AM The Good Shepherd, Lenten Reader Day 36

Thanks for checking out this blog post. You have probably come here via the “I Am” Lenten Reader (day 36) at Cornerstone. If that is not how came across this post, no problem, glad you’re here.

I taught this past Sunday from John 10:11 (NIV). In this passage Jesus declares to his listeners, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

Jesus is comparing himself to a shepherd who loves his sheep and will do anything to keep them from ultimate harm (death) including dying for them. In fact, we now know that this was a statement foreshadowing what was to come for Jesus. He came to this earth for a purpose. It was His mission to get on that cross.

I think about that scene in the movie The Passion of the Christ where Jesus falls to the ground beside the cross, bloody and beaten up. Then he agonizingly drags himself over and puts himself on the cross. There were no soldiers forcing him, he willingly puts himself on the cross. I can just imagine while he was dragging himself onto that cross, in his heart he was calling out “I MUST serve people on this cross!” I MUST do this for others. I have come to serve not to be served”

Jesus’ mission was to SERVE. To serve others. I think about our life missions: to get married, to have a great career, to make money, to raise a family, to have a better body, to achieve at a higher level. These are all fine goals, but if they become our only mission and the object of our attention then we have missed the point of life. We too should live to serve.

Jesus had one focused objective – to go to Jerusalem and be sacrificed for the sake of the world. He was trying to get there as quickly as possible, not because of the cross itself, but because he was completing his mission of bearing the sins of humanity. He WANTED to get that done! He knew on the other side of that cross was FREEDOM! Freedom for you and for me.

What a good, worthy, approved, and valuable Shepherd!!

Some questions for you to ponder:
How are you handling your shepherd right now?
Does Jesus have your full attention right now?
Do you love the one who got on that cross for you? If so, how does that look in your life?

Dallas Willard in his book, The Divine Conspiracy said, “The Lord is my Shepherd’ is written on many more tombstones than lives.”

I pray this would not be true of you and me as we follow Christ. I pray those words, ‘The Lord is my Shepherd’, would be etched into our hearts as we live our lives.

I AM The Gate, Lenten Reader Day 15

Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. John 10:7-9

My family and I spend a lot of time down at “the farm” in Dale county just outside of Ozark. In order to get to certain parts of the property you have deal with a gate. The gate is actually two gates that swing together and have a chain wrapped around them with a lock on it. So in order to get into that particular part of the property you have to open the lock, take off the chain, swing open the gates and then drive through. Once on the other side you have to close the gates, put the chain back on, and close the lock. Sometimes it’s a hassle when you’re running late to get in the deer stand or setting up on a turkey! But there’s no other way to get where you want to go than by going through that gate.

In this passage in John chapter 10 Jesus is telling us something very profound about gates, sheep and sheep pens. He said that we are like sheep who need a sheep pen. We need to be in a place that is different from everything outside the sheep pen. In fact, we need to be rescued from everything outside the sheep pen. Inside the pen is security, community, hope, joy, rest, peace and salvation. Outside the pen is loneliness, fear, insecurity, hopelessness, anxiety, worry and death.

Everyone wants what’s in the pen! But, not everyone accepts the responsibility that comes with “pen Life”. In some form or fashion, I wonder if we all haven’t done this. We want to have all the benefits from having Christ in our life (grace, salvation, joy, peace, etc.) but don’t want to do the work of faith. Things like genuinely offering unconditional love to other people; forgiving people (with words AND actions) who have hurt you or undermined you; sharing your faith with others; not compromising when we are tempted to do the wrong thing; caring for others when it invades our comfort or limited time and on and on! The gate of Jesus is one that requires something of us when we walk through Him. If we only take the benefits of salvation and not the responsibility, we cheapen the precious grace that cost God His only son.

I pray that your life reflects the glory of the shepherd who has laid down His life for us. I pray that you are living the FULL life that he has for you.

And so I’ll leave with these questions I asked on Sunday at the close of my message…

  • Do you need to confess and repent of anything today?
  • How about your walk with Christ, is it all it should be right now?
  • Have you given up, compromised, settled or been listening to other voices that have led you away from Jesus?

Are you ready to make a change?? Ready to give your whole heart to the One who gave it all for you?? He is waiting for you with unmerited grace and deep love.

I AM The Bread of Life, Lenten Reader Day 8

For those of you not tracking with us in our “I Am” message series, let me clue you in. This post is related to the sermon from this past Sunday on Jesus declaration “I am the bread of life”. If you are participating in this series with us then you were directed here by our Lenten Reader on day 8.

So here are some questions for reflection:

Jesus told the crowds that followed him across the lake, “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the son of man will give you”. What was he telling the crowd with this statement? What is he telling you this statement? How might this statement change how you live?

The crowds made a reference to the manna that miraculously came down from heaven when Moses was leading the Israelites through the wilderness. What did Jesus say was the difference between the manna and the bread of life? Is there any possibility that you are still choosing manna over the bread of life?

“The bread of life is the antidote to having eaten the forbidden fruit” – with this quote in mind, how can you be a part of sharing this bread with others? Is there someone you know who needs this antidote? Write their name down in your Lenten Reader and starting praying that their heart will be open when you share Jesus with them soon.

Thanks for participating in this series together. I’m praying that God will continue to mold and shape you into the person he needs you to be.