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The Way Of The Shepherd VERIFIED

In the business setting, the members of some teams put their heads down to do their work and do not look up again until the day is over. As a shepherd, you must keep your eye on the horizon to see where the grass is greener. As a leader, it is imperative that you know where you are going, get out in front, and keep your flock on the move.

The Way of the Shepherd

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This is why Ihave come here: to ride through the remote Tian-Shan (Celestial Mountains) mountainrange along ancient routes and through wide high-altitude pastures, known as jailoos, where shepherds have beengrazing livestock for centuries.

On day three, afterabout 60km of riding, we crossed the 3,900m-high Tosor Pass, where a sheercliff of ice and snow gave way to a narrow corridor with the shimmering Kerege-Tash Valley below.A silver river snaked through the verdant green jailoos, which were set against thesnow-capped mountains. Horses freely roamed the grasslands and the valley wasdotted with yurts, the summer homes of the nomadic shepherds.

One of the images we see throughout the Bible is that of a shepherd. During the time of the Bible, this was a job held by numerous people. Many are familiar with the first words of the 23rd Psalm, "The Lord is my shepherd;" In John 10, Jesus calls himself the "Good Shepherd." A shepherd's job was to look after his sheep. He would make sure they had enough to eat and drink. He would make sure they were safe from animals and other things that could harm them. Shepherds would know their flocks like the back of their hands. Good shepherds would do anything to keep them safe, even if that means using their staff to correct them.

Many leadership principles can be taken from how a shepherd leads and guides his sheep. A phenomenal book was written by Dr. Kevin Leman and William Pentak, The Way of the Shepherd, teaches seven principles that can help guide all leaders. The authors encourage leaders to:

Finally, the heart of the shepherd. What separates good leaders from great leaders is often their hearts. Are they willing to pay the price to be a great leader? Are they willing to put in the long hours to serve their people and still do a good job? Great leaders have a heart for their people and want to see them succeed. Put in the hard work of giving your time, commitment, energy, and involvement of your people. Go the way of the Shepherd.

3. The staff helps the shepherd to rescue stranded sheep. No matter how hard you try to keep everyone together and headed in the right direction, some people are still going to wander off and get in trouble. It happens without fail.

What about the shepherds I see in India? Some days they are an old woman and an old man, another day a couple of men, or a woman and a teen-age girl who wander up the road with a staff and battered, black umbrella for shelter from the sun or the rain. They may chivvy along a straggle of six black cows, 25 brown and white goats, and 30 droopy-eared sheep.

I made a guess. The sheep knew their shepherd would come for them later in the morning. Until then, they need not worry or hurry. They could sit confidently. Their shepherd would care for them. I thought there was a lesson for us there, too. Do we wait secure in our Shepherd?

Let us imagine that we are with the shepherds on those hills in Palestine. We have seen and heard the angels, and we have begun to run to Bethlehem. We come bursting into the presence of Mary, Joseph, and the baby, and immediately we wonder: what are we looking at?

Since the shepherds were much like each one of us, they faced a round of old sins when they returned to life as usual. In the light of their experience of looking at the face of the baby Jesus, in the light of their understanding of that situation, can we imagine them continuing to live in sin as though it were normal, without being sorry and having real repentance? I think not. I would suggest that the shepherds, full of the reality of what they had seen in the heavens and in the manger, would have been sorry for their past sins and even more if they sinned again.

We can imagine a shepherd being jeered at by the first man to whom he told his story, but can we imagine the ridicule stopping him? The shepherd might have been brought up short; successive jeers might have worn him down; but surely, because of the objective reality through which he personally had gone, he would not have been silenced.

The way of the shepherd is a book with seven chapters. Each chapter focuses on the different ways to become a great leader or shepherd to your employees or flock. The book also tells about the story of a college student named Thodore Mcbride who is troubled about managing his team at General Technologies.

In order for followers of Jesus, representatives of his Shepherd-rule on earth today, to be like good shepherds, we must know his voice (10:4). Do I really know and listen to His voice?There are so many persistent noisy voices seeking to rule my life:

If Jesus is the ultimate model for shepherding, then the characteristics of self-giving sacrifice and incarnational presence provide a broadly prescriptive paradigm for pastoral caregiving. In consideration of operative decisions, the paradigm invites two questions in relation to the care of the flock. First, how does the pastoral caregiver self-give sacrificially in any given decision or situation? Second, how does the pastoral caregiver provide incarnational presence in any given decision or situation?

In the 10th chapter of John, Jesus assumes the role of the Shepherd of the sheep. By the way, he is not a sheepherder. I grew up in Monta-a-ana where there are lots of sheep. There, sheepherders were considered the lowest form of life and were not very highly regarded in Montana society. They were hired to take care of the sheep. Sometimes they did a good job and sometimes they did not. But I have learned there is a great deal of difference between a Western sheepherder and an Eastern shepherd in the way they care for their flocks. In this section of John we have a picture of Jesus as the Shepherd, not the sheepherder, of the sheep.

Our Lord builds his teaching around four figures that are taken from the life of a shepherd. In the first figure he is clearly setting himself apart as the True Shepherd of the sheep in contrast to the false shepherds. This passage follows immediately on the healing of the man born blind, who had been cast out of the synagogue because of his faith in Jesus. Jesus sees these leaders, these Pharisaical rulers of the Jews who had twisted and distorted the teachings of the law, as false shepherds. "Thieves and robbers," he calls them.

"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber; but he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens; the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers." (John 10:1-5 RSV)

In the East, shepherds brought their flocks into one central sheepfold every evening where half-a-dozen flocks gathered together and were guarded by a porter or gatekeeper behind locked doors. In the morning the shepherds returned and each called his own sheep. Although the flocks had been mingled together, each flock knew its own shepherd's voice, and each would follow its own shepherd and no other. This is the picture our Lord uses with regard to the encounter between the man who had been born blind and the false shepherds, the Pharisees.

In this section we learn the marks of the True Shepherd of the sheep. Through the centuries there have been many false shepherds. Even today there are many false views of Jesus. Many people are asking, "Who is the true Jesus? Who is the true Shepherd of the sheep?" There is the Jesus of the Moonies, the Jesus of the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Jesus of the Scientologists, the Jesus of the Christian Scientists, the Jesus of the Mormons, etc. Which Jesus is the true Jesus, the true Shepherd? Here Jesus tells us how to know.

There are three marks, he declares, by which we can tell the true Shepherd: First, "He who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber; but he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep." What does he mean, "the door?" He is referring, of course, to the normal, proper entrance to a sheepfold. The door is the proper entrance to this auditorium. I did not see any of you climb in through the windows or slide in under the pews this morning! You came in by the door. That is the expected way to come to church. This is what our Lord refers to here.

What does he mean by this figure, "I am the door of the sheep"? This is a picture taken from the middle of the work day of an Eastern shepherd. The shepherd leads his flock out of the sheepfold to the hillsides where they graze through the morning hours, and then in the early afternoon he provides a temporary shelter built of shrubs where they can rest. This is a corral-type structure within which the sheep can lie, protected from wild beasts, and it has an opening across which the shepherd himself lies so that the sheep cannot go in or out without crossing over him. This is what Jesus means in the words, "I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture."

These beautiful figures indicate a further ministry of the Lord. Having called the sheep to come to him, and having led them out, there follows the ministry of understanding truth. John comments that those listening to our Lord did not understand what he was saying to them, "So Jesus again said to them, 'I am the door.'" By that he means the door to understanding truth. The Pharisees, whom he had called "thieves and robbers," had stolen the truth. In the case of the man born blind they had robbed him of the true meaning of the Sabbath, the true meaning of the Law, and the meaning of the shepherd. So here Jesus is saying, "I am the way to understand truth about life." As in the case of the blind man, the sheep did not heed these false teachers. Remember in Chapter 9 that the blind man was amazed at these leaders. He said to them, "What a marvel! You know so much, but you do not know this man who has opened my eyes. There has never been a miracle like that in all the history of the world, and you don't seem to know who he is. What a strange thing," (John 9:30-33). The man pays no heed to them at all. That is what Jesus says will happen to his true sheep. They will be given an understanding so they will not follow error. 041b061a72

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