I am troubled by how we have become so over aware of sexuality. Most every advertisement, every song, every article of clothing, every thought has been steered towards sex and sexual attraction. Sex, being a perk of life and the point of procreation is a wonderful facet of life. Despite popular opinion it is not the sole purpose and function of our lives. More specifically it is a fruit of a deep covenant relationship between a husband and a wife. It’s a mysteriously beautiful gift given to a relationship that is hidden in the secret places of love and deep connection with another person. Yet, in all it’s mystery and beauty a child can study sexual acts and look upon various naked bodies and presume to understand the mystery and beauty of sex.
In this passage Jesus depicts Himself as the Good Shepard, a term and a reference that would carry such significance that we are still unpacking it today finding great insight and beauty in it. As He reveals some of the dynamics of Himself He is challenged by His opposition, a trend that seems to be a constant in His life.
There are complexities in these passages that share great insights, these are some great passages to meditate on.
John 10 <— Link Here
There is a common trait of those that are walking with Jesus, they’re gentle. When you’re around them you feel like they listen and are aware of your heart. You may never have an opportunity to hear what’s going on in their lives as you seem to spill your guts when in their presence.
Jesus says, “Come unto me, all ye labouring and burdened ones, and I will give you rest, take up my yoke upon you, and learn from me, because I am meek and humble in heart, and ye shall find rest to your souls, for my yoke [is] easy, and my burden is light.”
The very nature of our Shepard is gentleness and tenderness. He welcomes us with open arms taking care of our wounds, keeping back the wolves.
In John chapter 10 Jesus sets in place an open invitation for everyone who would ever read or hear His words. Many heard and have humbled themselves and have drawn near.
Many others never humbled themselves and put themselves under the hand of the kind and understanding Shepard. And that is what differs many fans of Christianity from the Children of God. Will you humble yourself and let Jesus be your Shepard? That is where the peace and joy lies. That is where your rightful place is in the Kingdom of God. That is where your victory is.
Let us do what it takes today to re-invite Jesus to be our Shepard. Let us make Him the Lord over all the facets of our lives. Let’s let His gentle hand rest over us, speaking love and eternal life over us. This is His heart toward us.
Chapter 9 Tells the story of the man blind from birth whom Jesus healed. Becoming a controversy amongst the religious and those who were relatives of the formerly blind man, because it was on a Sabbath that the man was healed and the religious had made a pact that anyone who accepted Jesus as the Messiah would lose their place in the synagog.
John 9 <— Link Here
`If ye were blind, ye were not having had sin, but now ye say — We see, therefore doth your sin remain.’ John 9:41
It can be a strange journey living a life of commitment to a God who chooses to cloak Himself in mystery. Often times we are left to our memories to help us shape what our next actions will be. Other times it’s the stories in the Bible that help shape our actions. Either way for us who live surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus there was a moment in time when the supernatural took over the natural, a miracle when God healed us of our blindness and awoken us to the reality of His presence. And yet we judge others as Godless who have had no such experience.
Out of all the characters in John 9 the man who was born blind is the only one who had experienced the miracle of God first hand. As a result, he was willing to be rejected by everyone, was willing to be removed from the current religious institution, and even make Jesus Lord right in the face of His fiercest competitors.
This is what the people around us need- a real encounter with God.
So how can we do that?
We can’t, but God can.
We share our stories of what we have seen and heard, but it is not our job to save people. There is only one name under heaven that men can be saved by, Jesus Christ. It’s time for us to quit trying to be God’s salesmen- walk in proper relationship with God and our neighbor- and let God be God. We gotta quit looking for a way to evangelize and be evangelical. Taking time to talk with God about those around us. Praying for our friends and meeting them right where they are.
The best thing we can do for the world around us is to live our lives with God as authentically as we know how. To share with others as He leads and to let God be God. After all, a God initiated miracle will go much farther than a man derived one.
I set aside time alone to quarantine the most relevant enemy, my self.
Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave. 1 Cor. 9:26-27
You gotta be a lotta’ called and a lil’ crazy to help shepherd God’s flock.
“I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”
The Apostle Paul – 1st Corinthians 9:27
26 Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. -Ezekiel 36:26
18 Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, 19 and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God. -Colossians 2:18-19
I guess it all started a few weeks ago. We had an encounter with God in one of our group meetings that dislodged one of the major components of my religious engine. I’m not sure how to describe the transition as it was a divine one, but I can tell you that it came as the gospel of Christ was further revealed to my soul.
I woke up the following morning in what felt like a depression. And as I usually do, I went to my bible and began to read, and the depression-like-thing didn’t leave. Then I mustered up the faith to call on the person of Christ, and it was as if He walked in the room, and instantly I was righted. This came about 5 minutes into my allotted time with God before my day started.
Instantly as I was righted by the invited presence of God, I began to have compassion for a friend and was given some divine insights into their current circumstances.
Ever since that day I’ve noticed the absence of what use to give me great comfort, my religiousness. It’s been like losing a tooth and running my tongue over the empty spot. My religiousness use to have a position in my life that made me different than other people. It use to give me an identity that others could look up to and revere. And now it’s not there, sometimes I’m overlooked in a room, my presence is not as felt as it use to be. It’s honestly been kind of awkward. But at the same time liberating. This makes perfect since because the new testament is all about everyone having access to the fullness of God, not the religious who have earned the right, but to all who call on His name He gives the right to be sons of God.
All of a sudden I’m beginning to trust in the heart that God has given me. I’m doing what I feel God wanting to do, instead of laboring over what He has said or is saying. It’s all so new to me.
Today, I went to a prayer meeting that I have been orchestrating with a handful of friends of mine. After getting there and beginning to pray, I realized that my heart was not in it. I was not wholly there. It’s not that I didn’t want to commune with God, it was as if I was being released from being my own slave driver and making myself do this religious thing that God was not mandating.
Somehow as a result of all this I’m finding myself even further in love with God in this new found freedom. It’s as if the union He desires for me comes with a shared desire with Him. As if He knows that my ability to create my own freedom is futile. It feels like I’m being shown what’s it’s like to be friends with God. It’s as if He loves me for me…
I’ve found it to be a necessity to remove money and the plea for donations from being associated with my ministry.
For one, many ministries are in ministry for the money and have given ministry a bad name because of the association with money. I have to be honest, it gives me a bitter taste in my mouth anytime I see the two together, and I have taken the route that if I am doing what God has called me to do, then He will make sure that I am provided for. And God has proven Himself to be faithful in this to me and my family. We have not been in need of anything, often times He has provided in ways and from sources that can only be explained as a miracle. I love that about the way God works in my life. There is a freedom that comes with trusting the creator and sustainer of all things, there’s nothing like it.
As it stands the only way I have found peace with myself in doing ministry is to give freely as I have been given. I don’t charge for anything and I don’t plan on it, it’s a rarity that I even mention my need at all (some would say to my own failure, but they don’t have to live with my conscience).
As it stands I lead a couple weekly and biweekly meetings, I’m writing a book, I’m mentoring and counseling, and I’m living constantly “clocked in” to the needs of others. Study, prayer, and conversations with those that surround me is the life I find myself in. The best way to describe my life is that instead of trying to gain and achieve in life, I live to give it all away. Some call it downward mobility, others may call it insanity.
Nonetheless here I am. In the coming months I’m going to take on a part time job to help pay the bills and help pay for the expense of doing ministry. And I was wondering if you would like to help me pay for some of the expenses I need to give myself away. If you would like to donate just once or become a monthly donor I welcome that.
Until Formation receives it’s non-profit status, the best way to give is to send checks to Jason Goodnight at 157 Water Oak Drive Pineville NC 28134, you can put For Local Missions in the subject line. If you decide to become a monthly donor you will receive frequent ministry updates with details of all the excitement and a few testimonies.
Thanks for your consideration, and may the Peace of Christ guard your hearts and minds.