The Lutheran Hour 5-7-17

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Sunday, May 7th

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For Lutheran Hour bringing Christ. To the nation's. Even longtime followers of Christ don't always follow as closely as they should. Pastor Gregory Seles looks at three ways that could happen. And tells how the good shepherd. Brings us back again. You life in mind it's full it's abundant not because you've accumulated years because you have received God's wondrous great race. Today Jesus puts himself in to your story again he's just all people both the new and the maturing face I am your door. I am your good shepherd. You remember me. Stay with us for tester sells his message. Later doctor Tim's Alaska shares a personal story about finding our place in God's plan. And a listener wonders how with god with us today. Hello I'm mark Fisher. Your gifts and prayers helped the Lutheran Hour bring Christ to donations and donations to the church thank you for your faithful support. Now here's our speaker pastor Gregory cells. So Jesus said to them. Truly truly I say to you I am the door of the sheep all who came before me are thieves and robbers. But the she did not hear them. I'm the door if anyone enters through me he will be safe and he will go in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life. And habit abundantly. Christ is risen he is risen indeed. Pollen Lumia. You know today Jesus speaks to us about sheep sheep hands and shepherds in John chapter ten. In the first six verses of this chapter in John's gospel Jesus talks about the door a shepherd goes through. Compared to the way a thief or robber would gain access to deceive fault. He discusses the ways shepherd calls is she by name and leads them to feed in the pasture. Oh sheep they won't go with a stranger Jesus said now they run from a stranger because they don't know the stranger's voice. That's how the sheep and the shepherd that's how they work together. But do you understand what Jesus is saying can you relate to the picture that Jesus was painting as he used this sheep failed figure of speech. Well affairs he's didn't affect John tells us that the pre near an educated church leaders of the day. Did not understand what Jesus was telling them. They weren't thinking about shepherds. And she then honestly dear friends I would imagine. That the majority view don't dwell on the you know what you make your way through your week as you handle stress and responsibilities. When you ponder your troubles and challenges. As you think about family and health and finances and work when you finally sit down and take a deep breath. How would imagine that your first thought is probably not. You know I could really use a shepherd. Of course when you're psalm 23. I think that figuratively. About Jesus my shepherd. I love hearing that the lord is my shepherd and that he leads me beside still waters he restores my soul I love hearing about the tender care given by god as it is expressed in the shepherd verses of the Bible is beautiful it's refreshing and I don't regularly think about life. With an actual seat. Now you might say this way I'm not living on the sheep. Wave Blake how much you. And since I'm a city boy I don't have natural instincts for such things. So while there is some excellent sheep raising going on out there and while I've seen some beautiful four H and FF a sheep specimens. Overall people often miss the power of this teaching because we're so disconnected from such things today. But to tell you the truth Jesus Golan John chapter ten was not to make UA shepherding and sheep expert. The savior was not trying to promote the Walt industry there was something more going on in this chapter in it has to do with the abundant life of Grey's. That god provides. For you. The clue to where Jesus was communicating in all of the sheep talk is that he also called himself. A dual war. That's right Jesus called himself the door of the sheet. When he spoke about sheep and shepherds he was talking about life he was talking about grace in life he was talking about his help. His leadership his faithfulness to us. His sheep in need of help in shepherding. Universe before this section of scripture. Jesus he'll demand born blind this man had grown up to be a helpless and pour outcast in society he was pushed aside he was looked down upon. Jesus approached him he restored him and he gave him new life. You see when Jesus brought up the subject of sheep he was talking about grace the un deserved love of god for your life. How can you be sure about that well because Jesus said this ready truly truly I say to you. I and the door of the sheep. Yeah he put himself. In to the story. Now this is really significant because his listeners. And that includes the Ferris sees they were leaving him out of the story. Everything was just fine the way they were doing it they're shepherding system was the way they wanted to Thabeet. But Jesus let them know that the most important thing was missing God's saving grace. So this is the problem that I wanna tackle with you today the problem of leaving God's grace behind. Mean how could it happen how could anyone ignore the abundant life god provides in his son Jesus. After all think about who the Ferris sees war at the time they were not villainous people. They were devout ode to mature followers of god yahweh the lord they studied the scriptures they were dedicated to worship and prayer. So what happened to them how did they overlook an even resist the message that Jesus was bringing. Well let me speak to you than heart to heart I think it's safe to say that a good number of you were listening to this broadcast. A fairly dedicated immature followers of Christ. I also understand give thanks to god that many if you were listening right now are knowing your faith or are exploring Jesus for the first time. I rejoice in what the holy spirit is doing in your life. And I pray that you know when received the abundant grace of god today. He see this grace will transform your life now and forever. This is a precious gift. If you do not know Jesus can hear the good knows he died for you and he brings you new and everlasting life today. But I also need to have an honest conversation with people who have walked with Jesus for a while. You see this conversation may help give you new believers a heads up on what can happen later on in your face journey. So hear me veteran Christians those of you who have a degree of spiritual maturity happening in your life. Like the Ferris sees you bed in the trenches of prayer and worship phase study and faced testing. Some of you have many years of Christ following under your belts. So that's why you need to hear this word of Jesus from John ten. It's a word to mature believers. Here's what he says watch out. Watch out for the danger. Of leaving God's grace. Behind it. How could that happen. Well let me highlight three ways you may leave the abundant grace of god behind it. The first is in your face activity. You see once you find yourself in the thick of the Christian community you can and cumbersome hazards. One is this kid very busy. You're volunteering your studying your meeting your task forcing your sink in your chaperone you'll participating. And you are pot blocking. You go full tilt because you love god and you love what he has done in the lives of his people. But busy this can become a burden. Too many demands and the inability to keep up can make you tired than bidder then feeling guilty and inadequate. Equating your faith with a full schedule can cause you to become resentful. And sometimes and you feel like your faith is burning you out. He may wonder how a tired and miserable person like yourself you know who just can't take another meeting or another phone call. Can really call herself or himself. A Christian. Your standard of participation. In the community of Jesus has become keeping up instead of being loved by god. You see what happens don't you. You're tempted to leave God's grace behind. Well there's another hazard that happens as you get busy with your faith. As a mature believer you have years even decades of contact with the word of god you've attended worship services you heard sermons you've taken classes you've caught on retreats. Some of you have outlasted several pastors that you church. He's no stranger to the kingdom of god. But as you grow in knowledge he may begin to believe that you totally understand the mind of god you have a lock on how he works. Then you see some things you can't figure out. The puzzling events are tragic turns in people's lives and suddenly when you realized that the good and solid growth you've experienced. Still doesn't tapping into the mind of god is still can't explain to control the mystery of his ways in this world. You may become frustrated and disillusioned. You may even feel like giving up on him. You may be tempted to make up answers so you and others will feel better. You see what happens. You can leave God's grace behind. He begin to believe that your knowledge is more important than your dependence on God's grace and your trust in him. So take note. Take note your faith activity. And puts you in danger. Of leaving God's grace behind. A second way you may leave God's grace behind is by forgetting. Your faith beginnings. I mean there was a time when you were helpless you were lost you you needed to be followed you may have been an infant brought to the healing waters and promises of baptism in May have been as a team or as an adult. Reached by Christ and a wonderful way. But as the years have passed. Euro lost miss and helplessness. Have become distant memories. You're more secure in your walk with god you are more knowledgeable you're not shaken by much. It seems like there was never a time when you weren't walking with the lord. But be careful. This may be a time in your life. When you have a difficult time understanding those who are fragile in their faith he may feel less pliable to meet the needs of new believers of children and adults who are just starting out. In May become difficult for you walk humbly alongside of people who don't get it yet who don't have the same background. The same history. As a mature follower of Jesus you may be in danger of forgetting that you two were lost. So for others you leave God's grace. Behind. Know these. These are tough words on Tuesday I hear these words. How many times have I overlook the tenderness. Of the newly found child of god the thrill of learning the basics of the faith would Jesus how many times have I beat myself up because. I wasn't getting enough done in my kingdom work. How many times have I cringed in discomfort because a person new to the church was doing something unexpected or different. These are hard words. Jesus wants he sheep to hear his voice. So there's one more area one highlight with you today. A third way he may leave God's grace behind. Is by neglecting. Faith. Friendships. A follower of Jesus tries a little holy life. A follower of Christ pushes immorality away and phys the fight of faith against profanity and negative thinking and gossip and promiscuity. A follower of Christ tries to grow in controlling temper. And fostering devotion to family in the integrity in life. But with that growth in Christian living. He may also developing in tolerance for people who do not seem to be living holding lives. You may find yourself becoming critical less compassionate. He may find yourself wondering how could god tolerate so much sinful behavior. May start to distance yourself from sinners. And herb how you leave grace behind. For yourself. You may become cynical as you read the papers and watch TV you hear about how awful the world as you say there is no hope nobody can make a difference anymore the generations coming after us are lost. What happens you leave grace behind as you lose hope and give Bob befriending people who don't know. Jesus. So I think you get the picture. This is a real danger along the way of faith my friend the free gift of God's grace alone through faith in Jesus. It can be pushed out of our lives spiral own volition achievements self righteousness. And exclusion can soon began. And take its place. So Jesus hear it again Jesus puts himself back into the story in John chapter ten. Jesus says this straight. I am the door. If anyone enters by me he will be saved he'll go win he'll go out he'll find pasture. In your faith activity. Jesus to makes it very clear that the only reason you do would you do. Is because of the abundant grace of god the only reason you understand anything is because of God's grace revealed in his one and only son. And in everything you can understand. God's grace will keep you strong it will bring you home. Paul gave us great words and defeatist who didn't eat for by grace you have been saved through faith and this is not a your own doing it is a gift of god. Not a result of work so that no one may boast. We are God's workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which god prepared before hand. And we should walked in them. So if you start to forget your humble beginnings. The word of god reminds you that you are aware you are by God's beautiful grace in verses twelve and thirteen in the Fijians to Paul as this remember that you were at that time separated from Christ alienated from the commonwealth of Israel strangers to the covenant. Of the promised having no hope without god in the world. But now. In Christ Jesus you who were once far off. You have been brought near by the blood of Christ. You are the one who has lost. But you are the one who is now followed and you are here to share the good news of God's grace in Jesus would those who are still. Lost. And as you see many people don't know Jesus just remember God's grace is the answer for them just like God's grace is the answer for you. Jesus said in John chapter ten. I am the good shepherd the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. Ever the sheep that are not of this fold I must bring them in also and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock. One shepherd. Jesus himself. Is the door Jesus himself is the friend of sinners he is the hope of the world and he calls view. Deformed faith friendships that will blessed people with new. Life. A frenzy Christ today Jesus puts himself in to your story again he says all people ball the new and immature and faith. I am. Your door. I am your good shepherd you remember me. Your life been mind it's full it's abundant not because you've accumulated years but because you have received God's wondrous grace. Don't let these of grace break into your life today remember that Jesus sheep story includes concept intent is your story. Because jesus' in the story. Where you. A man. You're listening to the Lutheran Hour in the says action in ministry called action in response to all that god has done for us in Jesus Christ no matter where you are god has a plan for your life a plan for your life. A plan for yourself station. And we have a resource we'd like to share with you today it's a booklet titled your place in God's plan and has a great reminder of how god can use all of the things. In our lives and joining us is doctor Tim's Alaska. On the faculty Eckerd courting a seminary since 1997. And he's currently one of the Deans to doctors so less than glad to have. You with us today I'm very happy being there that's him listen many people think that they're not gonna be happy unless they find themselves but it seems. That people never really find what they're seeking an even when they do they're not sure robot that sense of purpose why is this an what are they looking flocked. I think the whole question I find meaning in life and purpose in life has become a really big problem societies that think if you. Are of the opinion believe that. The world. Consists of nothing more than what we see if that's all material for Adams right down to our core. Then really there is no meaning or purpose in life. He's just a bunch of Adams happy accidents illness we use Fay's movement through space and a lot of people when they begin to become aware of their own mortality in the fact that they're kind of just suspect in the whole universe. They really struggle with the question meaning or purpose of that I think is where the Christian story. We have to have a sense of mystery and appreciation at the mystery of it because it's not so much so we have to find purpose or meaning it's actually been meaning or purpose as found us you know comment and that's how we kind of look at our sense of vocation a sense of calling in the world and that's how we begin to look at. What meaning do we have it's not something we go searching for something that. By grace have been given and that's mysterious incidents area and they that power what I love that will you talked about that in his speech has taken in our retard is like a personal story to this too right yeah Johnny Carson very personal story. And my oldest daughter Rebecca as though woman of extraordinary talents and abilities commitment and passion we saw that very early on realized remark and she was three years old she was born one foot out the door. Very very strong well okay and get a great compassion for people but when she was growing up Diana I didn't quite know what to make over come all of our parenting strategies kinda you know on deposition he refused to keep events are no idea strong willed person I ever anarchists just to this day in my life from her really butted heads to my wife is very strong willed his while OK you that's when Becky graduated. From college. She was a out. Public health and always interested in inner city chair so I was kind of her major Eden and so she went in to Teach for America in LA public schools and and taught math and science symphonies grazing Crenshaw and south gave. Millions funerals that are darkness and and 01 time we saw in the class who couldn't believe the control that she had over in class and Diane I would not have lasted a week in that does verbally machine had no assistant no materials it was. Unbelievable circumstances. That's when I began to see how the lord is working in her life in ways that. From a human perspective earthly perspective didn't make sense things began to click. So what unfolds it and who we see that the Bible to right I mean we see that like Peter he was right old arms but then there are times in ought to keep his mouth shut and yet. God used him in so many new ways to spread the gospel I mean it's an amazing thing Larry I don't. Think about the apostle Paul key he realizes. That intermingle nations he says this is is reflecting on it that the lord call him from the womb before I was born. Then I mean me 'cause only sense is that after the fact though after you see how. The lord's working your life and so it's really as Christians we begin to interpret things from this perspective of God's hand. As who sat in on ground level just looks like circumstances. Are happenstance or accident but. All of a sudden you can begin to see the hand of god shaping and as we look with the eyes of faith it's kind of cool again another mystery for us to rejoice and standing on I believe. Because this is love compelling all that's right. Somehow god takes all of us as broken as we might feel it at times any pizza and beautiful picture of his plans for us. And four others even through a star Chris Lusk thank you so much for joining us today I'm very happy -- great. And that's our action in ministry segment today to blessed to empowering to strengthen your life in Christ for others. And for your free copy of the booklet your place in God's plan go to Lutheran Hour dot org click on. Action in ministry you'll also find more of our conversation with doctor tinsel look Scott. Or call 1855. John 316. That's 18555646316. And a so Lutheran Hour is brought to you each week to the generous support of Lutheran Hour ministries donors and partners. To make a gift please call 1855. 5646316. Or go online. Tell H am dot or. Thank you for partnering with us in this Christ centered outreach but together we are bringing Christ to the nations and the nation's. To the church and now pastor cells leads us in praying the lord's prayer. Our father who art in heaven. Palo would be dining. Nineteen them come I will be done on earth as it is and have him. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespass is as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Levine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Oh man. The lord bless you and keep you the lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious unto you. The lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you his peace. Oh man. I. Always god with us today that'll be our question for pastor Gregory Selz I'm mark I share. Dropping all the new testaments we hear reassurance of God's presence before Jesus ascended into heaven he said that he would be with us always even to the very end of the age. But the question is how does that work how is god with us today marked a love this question because I am very passionate about proclaiming or living god. Who is present when this right now so god is not just a flawed. Our saviors not someone whom we merely remember fondly he's personally wit us and god has quite a track record of being with his people and personal way. That's very true you you know you remember in the very first book of the Bible we hear that god walked in the garden beaten in the cool of the day he spoke with the man and the woman he was present with them. Ultimately to let them know about their salvation from sin. And later god spoke with no with Abraham he wrestled with Jakob he appeared to Moses and burning bush Cheney defended the people of Israel against Egypt by appearing in pillars of cloud and fires ripped it seems god is always. Close to his chosen people. Yeah and of course God's presence filled both the tabernacle in the temple as he lived with this people. So God's presence was a source of comfort and accountability. As well as being a witness to all people that this was the living god who loved. And rescued his people that word tabernacle or camp that leads to another powerful manifestation of God's presence as one of my favorites John chapter one tells us the word became flesh. And dwelt among us and we've seen his glory to glory of the only son from the father full of grace and truth. Adverse refers to Jesus and says he made his dwelling is. Tabernacle among us that connects that weren't dwelling too the word tavern captured does God's dependable and real presence was manifested concretely than. And concretely an almost fully in Jesus so that's just the way god works. He loves us so much that he stays close to his people are but what happened after Jesus ascended did God's normal practice of being present. Change somehow had did but it even became more intimate if you think about it listen to the words of Jesus to his disciples. Just before he prepared his last days on earth he eight took the bread and couple wind during the last supper and said take heed. This is my body drinkable all of you for this is my blood of the covenant. Which is poured off for many for the forgiveness of sins. This is I tell you I'm a drink to the food to the vine until the day when I drink it new with few in my father's kingdom did you catch what Jesus did. It sounds like he's letting his disciples know that he would continue to be whisked them in their eating and drinking of their bread and wine until they saw him again personally in haven't exactly so there is never meant a time since the creation of the universe that god has not been. Personally present would dust is still true today we call it God's incarnation. O'Leary in the flesh sacramental. Actions and god uses tools that we called the means of grace. In fact that's a very important answer to our listeners question you know he asks how is god with us today. Well by being present in strategic delivery points of his grace or else would we encountered God's presence in addition to the lord's supper while again remember the Bible says that God's word is living and active we encounter our savior in the words of scripture. And remember what Peter said to the crowds and acts chapter to repent be baptized everyone a view here comes. In the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the holy spirit. So wherever guy's name is proclaimed various areas in his word his name is connected to water in baptism his presence in the supper his name. Connects to these gifts the means of grace and they deliver the presence of god in God's gifts to us. So if you're several wondering where god is and if he'll show up in your life look at your baptism say he is with me is enemy if you ever craved closeness to Jesus. Gold at the altar received his body and blood in with an under the bread wine jesus' truly present in his words the watered the bread in the wind but the power was named that'll strengthen you. That'll renew you. This has been a presentation of Lutheran Hour ministry. Error. Or. And. I. And I. I.