Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Shepherd

Psalm 23 says, "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want." We've heard it a million times - and if you've never heard that, find that Psalm online and read it.  The wold for "Lord" is the name for God that - back in the day - no one actually would pronounce.  The unspeakable, awesome name of God - the Lord - He is your shepherd.

And then in Matthew 10, Jesus says that our shepherd has given us authority over unclean spirits - to cast them out - and to heal every kind of disease and to heal every kind of sickness.  So our shepherd helps us (in many ways) but specifically here he EMPOWERS the disciples of Jesus.  I admit, I want to do an in-depth word analysis of both "disease" and "sickness." In the words of James Brown, "What kind of power we got?" At any rate, this power Jesus describes is stronger than the power that holds people prisoner.

And he's given that power to you and me.

Next thing I want to mention today is what he says in verse 8.  Our shepherd 1) loves us and 2) empowers us and 3) commands us to use what power we've got.  This is, essentially, commanding us to be his kids - to stand on our relationship with him, to trust that he truly is our shepherd.

He says, "Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons.  Freely you received, freely give."

Where must we be to fulfill this command?  Who must we associate with?  And what's the criteria for giving - I mean, what if the person doesn't believe or won't come along with us or won't get excited about the mission we are on?

Freely you received.  Freely give.

And we see that in his nature from ages past:  the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

We shall not want because everything he does for us is done because he loves us.

A great part of that love - a tremendous part of it - is in his weaving into you the power of his purpose.  "I give you power over all this junk - all this nastiness that destroys peoples lives.  Don't commoditize it or privatize it.  Give it away."

I'm trying to see that and live that today.  And, of course, that means I'm trying to see Jesus, who lived this out, and I'm trying to follow him out - even when all I hear is him calling me on to follow.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


We have been walking our neighborhood, praying for everyone and every home we pass.  Don't laugh - already we have seen many new opportunities to connect with and encourage people.  Encouragement is huge - not that "Hey, nice to see you," hi-and-bye stuff.  We want to know who we live near, find out where they are headed and encourage them forward - with our prayer and support and, of course, our love.

So what do I know of love?

Tonight, one of our bros spoke about a recent prayer walk during which he discovered Jasmine after Jasmine plant - first by its smell, which does seem to warm you before you realize, yep, right there in front of you is a Jasmine.  Looks like this.

So my brother asked us a question tonight:  what if we all had so much Jesus in us that when people were near us they felt they'd been near Jesus?

If this sounds too touchy fee-ly for you, trust me on one thing:  you smell like someone, and, yep, your scent lingers.  When you walk into a room, people have a sense of who you are before you ever open your mouth.  We are all influenced by innumerable people, wants and desires, fears and hurts, and they all leave a lasting scent.

Jesus promises, though, that we don't need to hate ourselves or enlist in the latest thing to find peace because, he says, he will make his home with us.  He - the source of all peace - comes to us.  Lives in us.  Religion often promises us ways that lead us to ritual which leads us to God.  But Jesus promises he can take us straight to God, because he comes straight to us!

In John 14, Jesus says, "Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them."

Jesus, make your home in me.  Influence me.  Teach me what love is and reveal to me what little I know of love.  And what little I know of God.  Be strong where I am weak so that when I cross paths with my neighbors, they sense your presence in their lives - like a fresh, delicious and lasting scent,.