Page 220 was a Sunday which found me headed into work at 6 AM to clean bathrooms, glass doors, and take care of other building needs so everything was ready for the morning worship gathering. When the Deer Run building was ready, I came home and spent some time with God going over my sermon outline before heading up to North Wayne to share with them this morning. After lunch, I laid down for a while and took a nap then eventually got up and around for an early evening walk at Potato Creek with my family.
The photo that made today’s page is from that walk. At several places in the park, the butterflies seemed to be swarming a wide variety of blossoming plants. As these butterflies gathered to feast on the nectar that could be obtained from the flower blossoms, I thought about those who gathered this morning to feast on the nectar of God’s Word. It does my heart good to hear people who look forward to the weeks I preach — not because I am anything special, but because I present God’s Word in a way that they are able to feast on as it carries meaning and application into their life.
This morning, I shared a message from the first half of John 10 about living an abundant LIFE. Jesus says that there is a thief that seeks to steal from us, kill us, and destroy our very life but He has come to give us life that is abundant. As I considered the abundant life we are to have in Christ, I shared four things that should be present in abundance in our life. The first is we should have an abundance of Listening! Jesus says the those who are His listen and they both hear and know His voice. It is through an abundance of listening to the Word of God and His Spirit that we become so familiar with the things that God says that we are able to recognize His voice at all times. The second element that should be present in our walk with Christ is an abundant Invitation! Whenever the disciples or religious leaders would try to restrict access to Jesus, He would rebuke them and invite everyone into His presence. The invitation of Jesus us open to all who would come to Him in repentance and acceptance of His work on the cross. Our invitation to others should be just as open and abundant as His is. The third part of this abundant LIFE seems to flow out of the invitation, and that is the abundant Flock that Jesus has called His. In John 10, Jesus makes it clear that He has sheep that belong to Him that are not in the same “pen” that those He is speaking to are in. Being part of this abundant Flock has nothing to do with the group we worship with on a regular basis or what name is on the sign out front. The common characteristic of this abundant flock is that we have the same shepherd and we listen to His voice. We would do well to keep this in mind as we interact with others who may not be identical to us yet live under the Lordship of the Good Shepherd, Jesus. Finally, we looked at the need to follow the abundant Example of Jesus. In the story, Jesus gives us two examples — one bad and one good. He says there are those who look out for their own interests above all and they run at the first sign of danger when the flock is threatened. As the Good Shepherd, however, He sets the example of laying down His life in order to keep those in His flock protected and safe. This example is one that we ought to live with abundance in our life as we sacrifice for the good of others.
I pray that you and I would have the great desire to feast on the Word of God. I pray that we would know the abundant life that Christ desires for us to have as His children. I pray that we would excel in listening — both to God and to the people around us. I pray that we would freely invite everyone we meet into a relationship with the living God. I pray that we would not only value the “pen” we are in, but would recognize the part we have in the abundant flock that belongs to God. I pray that we would be diligent in following the example of Jesus and live a life that sets an abundant example for others to follow.