December 9, 2008

WISE - Shepherd

Partake WISE - Shepherd

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What is a Shepherd

A shepherd is somebody who leads, teaches and cares for people. Are not all Christians commanded to lead people back to God and also help others along the way? That is the role of a shepherd. Of course the prime example of a Shepherd is that of Jesus Christ - the Great Shepherd.

How God and Jesus are Shepherds

In Psalm 23, we see that God is our shepherd. The quality, characteristics and activities of God Himself, are those of a shepherd. Jesus Christ said in John 10v10, that He gives His life that all those who follow Him, will have it more abundantly. Jesus as the Great Shepherd came to earth in order to bring sheep back into the fold; that is to bring people back into a full relationship with God. Jesus here in John 10, is looking ahead to His death on the cross as a means of facilitating the way for people to come back into a living relationship with God. The focus in Hebrews 13v20-21 is on the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, working in you, to produce that which is well pleasing in His sight. All Christians are like shepherds, being moulded by the Holy Spirit.

How are you to be a shepherd?

Nurture (Psalm 78v72 & John 21v15-17). Jesus is always concerned for the welfare of the weak, the small and the young. If you love and follow Jesus, you also should be concerned to care for the weak, oppressed and poor.

Feeding & nourishing (John 21v16-17). This means to tend, manage, and govern people, feeding and nourishing them. As a shepherd, you are to be interested in the care and welfare of others, both physically and spiritually.

Protects (Acts 20v28-29). The job of a shepherd is also to be watchful (Proverb 27v23). This means to be alert, quick to respond and care for people who may well be going through physical or spiritual dangers unaware.

Cares for Needy (Ezekiel 34v4). Prominent in biblical shepherding is caring for the weak and healing the wounded. The Great Shepherd retrieves rather than abandons. He restores rather than rejects. You, and I, are to do likewise.

As you are to be Jesus to people, you are to be their shepherd. The shepherd highlights a care for God's people. The shepherd persistently obeys God, wisely using available resources to accomplish God's purposes and to carefully nurture the people God has provided. This nurturing could be by leading them into faith by evangelism. If they are already a Christian, it is leading them through a life of faith by discipling. When you give care to the poor, needy and oppressed, you are sheperding, just as God does. His concerns are to be your concerns. May it be so, for by doing this, Christianity can make a difference, in a world which is seeking to kill the Great Shepherd by making Him an irrelevance. This Christmas, be a shepherd, just as Jesus was and is a Shepherd.

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December 8, 2008

WISE - Stewardship


WISE - Stewardship

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Stewardship is defined as the exercise of responsible care over possessions or gifts entrusted to them by God! The New Testament word "steward" derives from the Greek word - oikonomos. This word meant somebody who was the manager of a household and also supervised all the resources of his master. Hebrews 3v1-6 describes the concept of stewardship. All those who would call themselves followers of Jesus, are called to be stewards and live a life of stewardship! You are God's chosen steward, if you call yourself a follower of Jesus Christ.!

A house in Scripture, in its context, denotes a family (1 Timothy 3v15; 1 Peter 2v5; 1 Peter 4v10-17). Every Christian Disciple is a member of the house of Jesus Christ. The concept of stewardship derives from this: Jesus Christ is the head of the house, and all those who follow Him, live in the house and are stewards (Ephesians 4v7-16). Two prime qualifications for stewardship are faithfulness & wisdom.

What are Christian Disciples stewards over? In the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30) Jesus intimates that those who follow Him, will be judged according to all that they have been given stewardship of! This includes things such as Spiritual Gifts (1 Corinthians 12v1-10), acts of service (Galatians 5v13) and material possessions (2 Corinthians 9v6-8)! These are used to accomplish three other items of Stewardship: mission, message and men.

Here are two prime examples of stewards.

a. Jesus Christ. He is the prime steward, and particularly a steward of a mission, a message and of people. His Mission can be seen in John 3v17; John 17v4. His message is seen in John 17v8-14. His stewardship of men can be observed in John 17v6, 9, 11, 17

b. Paul. Also was a steward of mission, message and of people. His mission can be studied in Ephesians 2v19 - 3v8. Paul's Message is observed in 1 Corinthians 9v16-17; Colossians 1v25. Finally, Paul's stewardship of people, where others are his equal is seen in 1 Timothy 1v11-18; 2 Timothy 1v6-14, Titus 1v3-5; 2 Corinthians 2 v12-13

What are the responsibilities of a Christian steward?

You need to know the mission you have received from Jesus Christ. You needs to know the message of that mission. You needs to know who God has given you. Finally, you need to know what resources have been made available to do the job.

This Christmas, remember that Jesus Christ was a steward over a mission, a message and people. Like Him and Paul, so do you. Do you know what your role as a Christian steward is? Are you showing wisdom and faithfulness as you discharge your role as steward?

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