As you probably heard on Sunday, my time on staff with South is coming to an end, and in the new year I will transition mentally to living full time in Johnson City, TN. It has been such a pleasure to work with leaders who value discipleship and learning, thank you for encouraging me in my writings and making my work so fun, it has truly been an honor and a privilege.
Although it is the week of Christmas and everyone is very busy I did want to leave a simple thought that you are welcome to pass along to your community and group members, reminding one another of the incredible Messiah we are blessed to know and serve.
John 10:3 says, "The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out."
In the time of Jesus's birth and life, multiple shepherds kept their sheep in one huge pen together. Walls were built as a fence to keep them in, but in the place where the walls converged, instead of a door locking the pin up tight, there was simply a gap. The "gatekeeper" stood in this space, only allowing the legitimate shepherds who owned flocks within the gate to enter. Anyone else who had to climb over the gate was bad news. When the gatekeeper needed to sleep, they would lay across the entrance, using their very body to protect the flocks from harm. The gatekeeper lay in the gap between safety and wilderness. Sound familiar? This is why Jesus refers to himself in an additional metaphor as "the door to the sheep."
Here's where it gets even better. Since multiple flocks were kept in a single pen, to get a particular flock out, all the shepherd had to do was call. The sheep, having been raised and cared for by that single person, would respond. Members of other flocks would not come in response to that voice. How well do you know His voice? Do you hear Him when He calls, or are you having trouble discerning Him from all of the other sounds in your life right now? Tune your ears to Him today, and follow where He is leading you!
Although He is our gatekeeper, with all power and authority rightfully His, He also assumed a humble position, as a spotless lamb. He lived among us, served us, taught us, and eventually died for us, laying in the gap so that we might be redeemed in Him.
What a God we serve! King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Gatekeeper, Ruler, Prince of Peace, and our Spotless Lamb.
Do you hear His voice? He's calling to you!
Thank you again for sharing your time with me throughout this season, I have learned so much through this opportunity! It brings me great joy to say that although I may be living somewhere new, South will always be home.
Together in Christ,