Posted by on Monday, May 7, 2012 Under: 2012.04 /05 "Sheep Beget Sheep"
(Photo courtesy of: www.britannica.com)
In the 1970's, my young daughter and I began life on our own in a new location not far from home. We had been through quite a rough patch as the country folk call it, and needed to make a new start. After finding a cozy little house in a safe neighborhood, the next thing we needed to do was find a church. As it “so happened” a new church was being built and scheduled to open soon close by and it seemed they were having a time of it, too. First, a fire burned down part the of new construction, and then the wind blew down some of the new reconstruction! Adding to that was the fact that this was a full gospel church with a Puerto Rican pastor, both unheard of in our little corner of the world! Eventually, we all got settled into a “normal” routine in our lives and order evolved out of our individual chaos. Pastor Poggi settled in with his family and the church grew. By that time in my life, I had been to Bible school and had taught various age groups, but had not become a minister, nor even considered it, as women pastors were not that accepted in those days. However, whenever the Pastor was leading the adult class, I always felt free to raise my hand if a question was asked and I thought I knew the answer; which on this particular day I did and got a surprisingly enthusiastic response.
Pastor Poggi had been talking about soul-winning, and posed the question as to why the congregation should be concerned about it rather than it being only the job of the pastor. I don't remember how many hands went up, or the various answers. I only remember the “thundering thought” as the Holy Spirit whispered into my heart-ear (not as contradictory as it sounds). As I slipped up my hand and Pastor called on me, all I had to say was, “Because sheep beget sheep”. His response was a stunned silence, followed by a huge grin, and finally an exclamation of “YES... that's right! I LIKE that! SHEEP BEGET SHEEP”!!
Truth is an eternal thing, and if it was so in the 1970's, it is still truth today. Soul winning was a huge part of church doctrine in my day, but it seems to have lost its attraction today. It's as if the Church- goers feel that “I've got mine...you get yours the best way you can”! Gone seems to be the burden of seeing individuals burning in the flames of Hell for eternity, and the Holy passion to intervene!
I personally, will be forever grateful to a girl named Judy Jackson who invited me to her church, and to her parents who provided my transportation for a few years, (as my family never went to church then), and to the elderly evangelist who was there preaching a revival in an old community church, and led me in the prayer of faith!!! At 12 years of age, the course of my soul as well as my family's was changed eternally...not to mention the souls of others that we have led to Jesus Christ, and they have led to church, and so on, and so on, and so on, and so on, and so on, and so on, etc.! We lost touch after high school, and to this very day, Judy nor I, have any idea how many souls are in Heaven because she obeyed the leading of the Lord to invite the new girl in 7th grade English class to her church's revival meeting!! On behalf of all of us, I want to publicly thank you, dearest Judy!
That evening, I feel the preacher saw the conviction of the Lord upon me because he would not close his altar call. He kept it up, asking ''Is there anyone who does not know Jesus and would like to”? Finally he changed the invitation to “Perhaps you have known the Lord but are in a backslid state at this time...will you lift your hand if that is you”? I thought that sounded better, “...so if Judy sees me she won't think I am a total heathen...”!
Able to feel a bit more justified, I quickly raised my hand and lowered it even quicker. The old preacher closed his call and asked those who raised their hands to come forward, and so I went. It was so difficult to breathe, as I felt like my chest was filled with rocks! I hurried forward so as not to be noticed, and prayed the prayer as the preacher led when he came to me, then hurried back to my seat. I didn't really notice anything much had happened, EXCEPT...it felt like those rocks had been replaced with feathers!!! I did notice the next morning when I walked up my driveway to catch the school bus, that the sky was brighter than I had ever seen it, the birds had an unusually beautiful sound, and the air had such a clean and sweet smell! The colors seemed so vivid! And...the feathers were still there!
As you regular readers know, my brother just left to be with the Lord. Because I had met Jesus at age 12, I was able to lead Bob in the sinners prayer when he was about 9 or 10 years of age. I had a passion for souls even then, as I understood that without Christ, we had no hope of Heaven, and I still remembered the burden of rocks (conviction of the Holy Spirit dealing with me), and the sweet relief of the feathers (God's total forgiveness after I asked for it)! Our parents were out and Bob and I were “doing the dishes”. I started talking to him about the Lord. When I finished, he tossed the dish towel over his left shoulder, knelt down in front of the refrigerator and prayed the sinner's prayer with me!
Because Bob met Christ at such a tender age, I know he was spared much. God got him through our father's unexpected death, only three years later, and through the teen-aged years. Bob eventually had an honorable military career in the USAF, did 2 tours in Vietnam, survived Agent Orange, graduated from Purdue University in 2 years, married a good Christian girl, whom I introduced to him from my church, fathered three children, came out of the military and was active in his church until he went to be with our Lord. Bob had his home-call on February 26th of this year, and is now with Jesus and many of our loved ones. My sister heard him speak to her right after he left his earth-body, (“Kath...you should SEE THIS!), and her friend saw him in his young and perfect, Glorified body before he went up into Heaven (John 20:17)!
When I was in my mid-twenty’s, I was a worker in my father-in-law's church. I taught the young people's class and took them house to house with me, passing out salvation tracts, inviting folks to our church, talking to people in nursing homes about Jesus, and generally teaching the kids the fundamentals of soul-winning. That's what we did in those days...taught the Word of God to the young ones, to also memorize Scripture (Psalms 119:11), and how to lead others to Jesus.
Sheep beget sheep...the Shepherd FEEDS them! Sheep follow the Shepherd...the Shepherd LEADS them! Sheep get lost...the Shepherd SAVES them!
We are now at the start of spring, which is the season of new beginnings. This article has been written because it is time to get our hearts right with God...Jesus is coming soon. He will be meeting us in the air at anytime, now. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 tells us that the dead in Christ shall rise out of their graves first, in an instant, then in the next second, the living who have been waiting and watching for His coming shall be caught away. You may have heard the term, The Rapture of the Church. This is what that means. Will YOU be ready?!
Please pray this prayer if you are not sure. I can assure you that you do NOT want to be left behind!
“Dear Jesus, I am a sinner, but then you already know that. I have no hope of Heaven on my own merits, for I have none. I confess that I have gone my own way, done my own thing, and have given little thought to You. I now see I have no hope apart from You, Lord, so please forgive me of all my sins. I believe that you are the true Son of God, and the only mediator between God and man. Jesus, please come into my heart right now and live my life through me. I ask this in Your Holy Name...thank you Lord”. (The main point of this prayer is not the words you pray, but to confess you have sinned,
sincerely ask forgiveness, and invite Jesus into your heart and life).
If you have prayed this prayer, please write and let me know. I will put you on my prayer list and write back to you if you have any questions. May I wish you a happy and blessed “Birthday” in Jesus!
The first Word Of Wisdom I will pass on to you who are new “born-again” believers in Christ, is to read the Bible daily. You need to get an easy to understand and accurate translation of the Bible. I was 21 years of age when I first began serious Bible study, but I started with children's Bible story books. They put everything in order. I had read the Bible almost every night in my teens, went to church, and certainly heard the Word preached, but I wasn't sure if Moses was in the Old or New Testament! So if you were not raised in church either, that is a good beginning, especially if you have children to read them to, which will be a double blessing! It won't be long before you can graduate to the Bible itself.
When it comes to selecting a Bible, I would have to recommend the Amplified Version of the Bible by Zondervan Publishing House. Secondly, you must esteem the Word of God more highly than your necessary food (Job 23:12), which means you read the Word, which gives spiritual life, as often as you eat a meal, to maintain physical life.
Most ministers quote the King James Version of the Scripture, for the sake of unity, but when we want to understand the Bible we need a translation that is closest to our own language. The King James Version has a lot of of the “old English” words which we no longer use, such as thee and thou or cometh and goeth, that was not used in the original Scriptures, which were written in Hebrew and Greek. Not only must we be able to easily understand the translation, (and there are several “easy reads” out there) but it must be as accurate (closest to the original) as we can find. So far, The Amplified Version most fits both criteria, in my opinion.
If you like the background of Biblical times, and the most insightful teaching on customs and details which you usually don't get, I highly recommend the 'The Word in Life Study Bible', by Thomas Nelson Publishers. When I got mine, they only had the New Testament. They may have the Old Testament included, by now. If you like details, such as customs of the time, and interesting commentaries, you will love this translation, which in my opinion was designed for the serious Bible student.
If you want an “easy read”, The Living Bible is what you need. I bought “The Way” several years ago, which came out in 1972 by Tyndale House Publishers and it has pictures and commentaries throughout the book, geared to the youth of that day. This particular edition was developed by Campus Life Magazine, Youth for Christ International. However, the regular Living Bible can be purchased in any Christian bookstore.
Once you have purchased your “Sword” the next thing is to work out a reading schedule. Be prepared for a battle as everything will pop up to keep you from that schedule! That is why we refer to the Bible as our sword. It enables you to do battle, as Jesus gave us the example of quoting it against the devil, throughout the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) which depicts His life on Earth.
There is no rule that says you have to read the Bible straight through starting at page one. In fact if this is the first time you have cracked the cover I suggest this sequence:
1. Mark (see the table of contents for page numbers). It is the shortest, most fast-moving of the four biographies of Christ which begin the New Testament. It was written by a young man who was probably an eye-witness of what Jesus did, and had access to the vast memories of Christ's disciples. This book will give you a dramatic introduction to the events that changed the world.
2. A couple of short letters written by two leaders in the early church: “1 John” talks about how Christians show the love that our world needs so badly, and “James” hits hard on putting our faith in Christ into action.
3. “Romans” is one of the many letters written by Paul, and is the greatest statement of how selfish, arrogant, sinful humans can find acceptance with God.
4. Pick up the first-century where you left it at the end of “Mark” by reading “Acts”—the dynamic story of the first Christians and how they spread the Good News all over the Roman Empire.
“Philippians” is another short note from Paul in prison, yet full of joy which tells us something about the durability of faith in Christ. Go on to “John” which is the fourth biography of Jesus, which spends less time on miracles and more time on Christ's dialogs and statements. His relationship with His Father, God, strongly comes through. Read some of the “Psalms” which will give you a sense of what it means to worship God and pour out your inner feeling to Him.
People have often made the Bible out to be some gigantic encyclopedia that nobody ever wades through. Not so. It's a big book, but no bigger than any other best-sellers of our time. Actually, you can read the entire Bible through in less than 80 hours. The entire New Testament is only 275 standard pages of actual print.
You can read the entire Bible in a year if you want to spread it out. You can read 23 chapters a week, which most people arrange as three each day and five on Sunday, when they have a little more reading time. Many Christians split each day's reading between Old and New Testaments: two from the Old Testament (since it is longer) and one from the New Testament (such as Genesis and Matthew, etc.).
You may notice the Books of the Bible are not put together in the order of the events as they happened, which is called chronological order. The Bible is arranged with all the narrative books together, then the poetry, then the prophecy.
Whatever reading schedule works best for you, the important thing is to read the Word daily. It will be a lamp unto you feet and a light unto your path (Psalm 119:105). We need both, as this world is like a jungle. We need a light out in front of us to illuminate the path, so we can see the wild beasts ahead. We also need a lamp by our feet to see the slithery things!
The next step is to find a church where you can be fed. This, I call church-“shopping” not “hopping” which is a derogatory term that is used when people NEVER seem to get settled in a home church. If you have a friend or family member that usually attends services, you may ask them what they think of their church. Most people start out at “Grandma's Church”. Some never leave, as it is a comfortable social surrounding (NOT the best reason). You may not have any particular denomination in mind, or even a clue as to what they believe. If you do not have the opportunity to ask a person, at least go “on-line” and check out what you local denominations believe.
Keep the atmosphere in your home as calm and holy as you can by playing Christian music, and watching Christian TV. The devil and his minions are very real, and we don't want them to feel 'at home' in our house! Aside from that, the atmosphere just FEELS different, and the kids, family, visitors and even the household pets will notice a more peaceful surroundings.
Finally, don't look back over your life and grieve over the past. Paul tells us in Philippians 3:13-14, “...but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”. This is a huge revelation for Paul, a devout and highly esteemed Jewish leader, who thought he was doing God a great service by slaughtering 3,000 Jews who had turned to Christ (an estimated historical records number)!
Even more amazing, God not only forgives but He has the ability to make Himself FORGET all that we have ever done! Hebrews 8:12 says “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more”. Hebrews 10:16-17 “This is the covenant I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them: And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more”. I find this incredibly amazing, as Revelation 12:10 tells us that Satan is called the “accuser of the brethren which accuses them (God's Kids) before our God day and night”! When you have that going on 24/7, only our GOD could make Himself forget our sins. By the way, this is still going on, as these constant accusations don't cease until Satan is cast out of Heaven and the Dispensation of the Kingdom begins, when Christ returns to Earth and assumes the throne of David, and begins His 1,000 year reign (II Samuel 7:16)!
P.S. Dear Readers:
For the first time in the history of this web-site, I have combined two articles into one presentation. I could not see how I could give a salvation message, without the follow-up as to how to proceed with God after the New Birth experience. In the natural realm, we don't help a baby into life and then not feed it! Humans as well animals desire milk soon after the birthing process. And so it is in the Spiritual realm. 1 Peter 2:2 tells us “As newborn babies, desire the sincere milk of the Word”!
And to all you “newborns”, in every country who reads this, I am so grateful that God has sent you to me, that I might share His wondrous “new birth” of the soul experience with you and help you to continue on in this precious journey with our amazing Lord Jesus Christ. One morning, we will see each other face to face as we sit down by the river under the tree of life, (Revelation 22: 1-2), and enjoy our new life together! So until that blessed day...
May God Bless and Keep you all in His care. AMEN!!!