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by David Phelps

“Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.” – Mother Teresa

February, 2014

Our church has been growing for the last couple of years and some folks who read “Person-2-Person” in print have asked, “Where do you get your ideas?” The short answer is “From God.” The longer answer is that I observe things or things happen and I get inspiration from them. Jeremiah saw a potter’s wheel (Jer. 18:1-11). Jesus saw a widow with two small copper coins (Mark 12:41-44; Luke 21:1-4). God constantly provides illustrations and learning opportunities, for me and for you. I see or hear these things and, when I’m paying attention, God speaks to me. For more about how “Person-2-Person” came to be, visit the “About this site” page.

For example, one day recently I woke up and couldn’t find my watch. I looked all over but I couldn’t find it. I looked on the night table where I normally put it, under the bed, on the edge of the sink in the bathroom, on the computer desk, on the microwave cart in the kitchen, and on the table in the living room by the couch but there was no watch. I was beginning to get frustrated. I don’t wear an expensive watch; I got it on clearance at a local department store. But, as Charlotte will tell you I’m fond of saying, “It’s the principle of the thing.” I was resigned to buying a new watch when I finally found it under my pillow, a place where I never put it. Normally, my watch is either on my wrist or on the night table by the bed. When it’s not in either of those two places, it’s on the edge of the sink in the bathroom. So I’m not sure how it got under my pillow.

The Bible is filled with stories of people and things that were lost: Lost sheep (Matt. 18:10-14; Luke 15:3-6), lost coins (Luke 15:8-9), a lost son and brother (Luke 15:11-32), and lost souls (Matt. 10:5-6; Luke 19:10). Against all reason, a shepherd abandons ninety nine sheep to search for one that is lost. A widow tears her house apart looking for a lost coin. A father waits day after day for the return of a lost son. And a loving God sends his only son into the world “‘. . . to seek and to save the lost.’” (Luke 19:10b ESV).

The psalmist wrote, “I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant, / for I do not forget your commandments.” (Psa. 119:176 ESV). He wasn’t the only one. I’ve gone astray, so have you, and so has everyone. The prophet Jeremiah wrote “[God says] My people have been lost sheep. . . . They have forgotten their fold.” (Jer. 50:6a, 6c ESV). Most people today have also forgotten the fold of God, or they never knew it at all. Jesus said, “‘I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.’” (John 10:10b-11 ESV). God has gone to incredible lengths to ensure the eternal well-being of God’s sheep, including you and me. Jesus came for all of us. He told the twelve disciples to go “‘. . . to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And proclaim as you go, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.”’” (Matt. 10:6b-7 ESV). Just as they were commissioned to go into their world to God’s “lost sheep,” we are commissioned to go to God’s “lost sheep” in the world around us and proclaim God’s kingdom.

“For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. . . . There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord God.” (Ezek. 34:11-13a; 14b-15 ESV.)

Copyright © 2014 by David Phelps