"I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd."John 10:14-16 NIV
Thoughts for Today
Unfortunately, Christians are often seen through caricatures. A caricature is an image rooted in reality but distorted in a way that drastically overemphasizes some features of that reality. "No Fun Nellie." "Ignorant Irving." "Willie the Wimp." Christians are often seen as close-minded, hypocritical, judgmental, or extreme.
Most of these images have to do with the practice of religion. Although Christianity is thought of as a religion, that's not what real Christianity is all about. It's about relationship. A personal relationship with a loving Father (God the Father). A relationship with someone who was willing to give his life for us - Jesus (God the Son). A relationship with the Holy Spirit (God the Holy Spirit), who guides and comforts and helps us in our day-to-day living.
Consider this …
In today's Scripture, Jesus is talking about relationship. He is our Shepherd. Because of his devotion to the Father and his love for us, he died on a cross to pay the penalty for our sin. Through that unimaginably great sacrifice, he is offering us a relationship with God. All we have to do is say yes. To choose to be a part of his flock. To receive his love, his forgiveness, and his help throughout our life on earth. Our problems may not disappear, but when we enter this relationship with Jesus and follow him as our Shepherd, we'll never have to face them alone. And we have the promise of eternity with him.
God, I believe Jesus died on the cross for my sins. Please forgive me for all the wrong I've done. I choose to follow Jesus and thank you for allowing me to have a personal relationship with you. In Jesus' name . . .
These thoughts were drawn from …
Authentic Living in an Artificial World by Dr. Mike Chapman. This 45-minute group study gives understanding about what it means to be real. The facilitator's guide includes reproducible group member study sheets and an audio CD designed to help facilitators prepare for each session. Note: This curriculum was written especially for small groups, and we encourage people to use it that way. However, it can also be used effectively as a study for individuals or couples.
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