What's up with that?

I am going to start this off  by asking two questions?

1 – “Did you have the perfect week?”  In other words, you never had one difficulty?  Your week was like floating through a eutopia? And I am not talking about the Bok’s win and Ireland’s loss to Japan ?

2 – “Did you encounter difficulties this week?” hands

What’s up with that?  We are all Christians.  Why is life not perfect?  After all Jesus promises us abundant life. Remember his words in the book of John, “A thief has only one thing in mind—he wants to steal, slaughter, and destroy. But I have come to give you everything in abundance, more than you expect—life in its fullness until you overflow!” John 10:10 The Passion Translation (TPT)

The thief has only one thing in mind—he wants to steal, slaughter, and destroy. The evil one seeks to destroy.  And when we are playing in this game of life there is another team on the field opposing us. But in John 19:30 we read – When he (Jesus) had sipped the sour wine, He said, “It is finished, my bride!” Then he bowed his head and surrendered his spirit to God. (TPT)  I love that paraphrase, “It is finished, my bride”, Jesus is saying this to us His church, “It is finished, my church”  He is saying it to you and to me.  It is finished and the evil one has been defeated but he rages on seeking to steal, slaughter, and destroy.  And until Jesus returns, he will continue to.

Think of it this way.

The Springboks are playing in the World Cup.  They played Namibia.  The fate of Namibia was inevitable.  There is no way they were going to defeat the Boks. They knew it and we knew it. In fact their goal in the World Cup is to beat Canada, so they rested their best players.  But the Boks still had to play the game to advance and there was a risk of some injuries while the game was being played. The Boks outpowered, out maneuvered and outplayed Namibia and in the end won the game.  However, there was still the possibility of injuries.

Life for us as Christians is very much the same. The game is won! Jesus Himself said “It is finished” The victory is assured. We have power and authority in Jesus.

However,  Until that final whistle blows, and we pass through to be with Jesus, or He returns, whichever comes first;  There could be injuries, there could be bumps and bruises, there could be weariness.  There could even be death.  These are the times we are.  This is the place we live in.  We are playing the game of life, and while we know the outcome will be victory, we are still in the game.  And the reality is that there is a very real team playing against us…

This is the THE TENSION OF THE KINGDOM.

The evil one is the thief who has only one thing in mind—he wants to steal, slaughter, and destroy. But Jesus has come to give you everything in abundance, more than you expect—life in its fullness until you overflow.  Jesus is not like the thief and doesn’t come for selfish reasons. He comes to give, not to get. He comes that people may have life in Him that is meaningful, purposeful, joyful, and eternal.

When we live our lives in the game of life, remember there is another team on the field playing against us. One who only one thing in mind—he wants to steal, slaughter, and destroy. But we have Jesus who came that we may everything in abundance, more than you expect—life in its fullness until you overflow.

Friend, look to Jesus and live your life to the full! Fix your eyes on Jesus…  Paul challenges us this way, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:2-3).  If you do that you will get through.

Who are you following?

A person said, “My kids don't have Facebook”

His friend replied, “So, how will you know when their birthdays are?”

Your parents in 1996: "Don't trust ANYBODY on the internet!"

Your parents today: Don’t say that about her she is my friend on Facebook. We are going out, Uber to your friends place and order Mr Delivery for dinner. Oh, and order a new school bag from Takealot…

My wife complained that my life revolves around Facebook and it has destroyed the way we communicate.

So, I've blocked her!

In this world and the way things are going we have become a people who like following. We follow people on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Musically, Tic Tok. We follow movie stars and sports stars through social media and the news. We follow the Kardashians, Idols, the Voice and Americas Got Talent. Sometimes we follow with more interest than we follow our own friends and family.

While I was writing this, I checked my social media I have:

 4994 Friends and 1157 Followers on Facebook

 992 Followers on Instagram

 495 Followers on Twitter

 968 Followers on LinkedIn

 2924 Views on my Word Press Blog

 The Willow Hill Website has had sermons downloads – The highest download of a sermon at writing was 1238

On Reddit there was a posting called - Facebook in real life

So, I have been trying to make friends outside of Facebook and thought I would try applying the same practices. Today I go outside my building and just start walking down the street. As I pass by people, I let them know what I had to eat, how I feel right now, what I did last night, what I will do later etc... I thought it would be interesting to hand out pictures of my family, my dog and me doing some of my favorite things. If they were talking, I would stop to listen to their conversation and then give them the good old "thumbs up" and let them know I like them.

So, it actually worked!!!! I already have four people following me: two police officers, a private investigator and a psychiatrist.

The reality is that our world is changing at a rapid rate. People unfriend someone of Facebook and it is an issue. People leave a group on Whatsapp and it becomes a whole other issue. Ok, I acknowledge the Whatsapp group thing, if you leave a group, at least give an explanation ?

We find ourselves consumed and obsessed with who is following who, who is liking who, who has unfriended or friended who. I was talking with my daughter Annah and she said that on Instagram, even where someone tags you in the photo has meaning…

The question I would like to propose is, “In your life, who are we following?”

John 10 is a passage begins the great revelation of Jesus as the Shepherd of Life. Jesus is pictured as the only true Shepherd of the sheep.

John 10:1-6 "I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. (2) The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. (3) The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. (4) When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. (5) But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's voice." (6) Jesus used this figure of speech, but they did not understand what he was telling them.

There is so much in the parable, I want to focus on the aspect of the parable which has to do with a false shepherd and the true shepherd and which one we are following.

The reality is that there is both the true Shepherd and the false Shepherd, and both go after the sheep.

The true Shepherd is Jesus; The false shepherds are the thief’s and robbers are those who opposed Him—the false teachers—who so blindly stood against His claim to be "the Light of the world" And the main false shepherd is the evil one, the thief who comes only to steal and kill and destroy.

The false shepherds voice can be the voice of...

• False Religion

• False Science

• False Psychology

• False Philosophy

• All the “isms…” Humanism, Secularism, Pluralism, Universalism, Materialism

• Worldliness

• Fame

• Self-Worship

We turn away from the false shepherds voice, repent and change our thinking. But, remember when Jesus says “repent”, it is not a threat, it’s an invitation. An invitation to the fullness of life and His purposes. It’s an invitation to follow Him. And as believers we should follow Jesus, the True Shepherd.

Friend,

You are invited to know & trust the true Shepherd's voice

You are invited to turn away from the false shepherds voice

You are invited to follow the true Shepherd

So, let me go back to the beginning when I referred to Facebook and social media followers and finish off with this question for you to consider:

There is a false shepherd and the True Shepherd.

Both are pursuing you.

The choice is yours, WHO WILL YOU FOLLOW?

To listen to this full message go to:

http://www.willowhillvcf.co.za/index.php/sermons

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