PARACLETOS BLOG

Partnership With the Shepherd

Partnership With the Shepherd

In his book With, Skye Jethani does a masterful job of describing the various paradigms which can determine the nature of our relationship with God. After describing the four major ones employed by Christians (life over God, life under God, life from God, and life for...

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Jesus With Skin On

Jesus With Skin On

WWJD? What would Jesus do? Not the right question. While it is not wrong in the least to desire to live and to act as Jesus would, the problem with the way this mantra is applied is in thinking that we can duplicate his heart. Dallas Willard has suggested that the...

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Under-shepherds, Not Under-lords

Under-shepherds, Not Under-lords

"Jesus never outsources his authority to call his people to the work he has for them...God's sheep need shepherds, but they already have a Lord." (Skye Jethani) We are, some of us, called to be under-shepherds, not under-lords. We are, none of us, proxies or...

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Great Shepherd Recap

Great Shepherd Recap

So, let's take a quick look at how our thread has developed so far regarding the nature and work of the Great Shepherd: God's love is not utilitarian. The Shepherd does not value his sheep because of their potential for productivity. He values each one to the extent...

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Re-presenting the Shepherd

Re-presenting the Shepherd

There is a considerable difference between representing Jesus and re-presenting him. To represent him can amount to little more than our best efforts to copy him. Your mileage may vary, but my best efforts have never come all that close to the real deal. But to...

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The Shepherd Knows His Sheep

The Shepherd Knows His Sheep

“I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father." (JN 10: 14,15) How well does the Father know the Son, or the Son the Father? In what ways are they known to each other? This kind of mutual knowing is...

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The Shepherd As Beloved Son

The Shepherd As Beloved Son

The glory of God is a huge concept. It encompasses a broad range, and every aspect is worth investigating. But when it comes to the glory of God the Son, I am convinced it is encapsulated in one thing: his place in the Father's heart as the beloved Son. Jesus is the...

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The Shepherd As Life-Giver

The Shepherd As Life-Giver

What kind of Shepherd do we have? If Jesus is not a projection of our own imaginations, what is he really like? Well, for one thing, he is a life-giver. In John 10 Jesus describes himself as one who lays down his life for his sheep, and as one who came so that his...

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The Shepherd’s Heart

The Shepherd’s Heart

Jesus is not who we think he is. And he is not who we want him to be. Jesus is who he is. Period. Our ability to fully comprehend his reality is limited. It is also distorted as we peer through a glass darkly. We may have some very accurate understanding of what the...

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The Shepherd’s Perspective

The Shepherd’s Perspective

In a technical sense, our Shepherd owns us. But probably not in the way that we are accustomed to the term. He does not view us as property, to be used and disposed of according to his whims. He has indeed bought us with his blood, but not on a trial basis in which we...

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How is Value Shown?

How is Value Shown?

How much value you place on your belongings may be determined by the way you treat them. (Others will be able to tell, in spite of what you may say.) Do you protect them? Keep them in good repair? Limit their exposure to harmful elements? Coddle them? How would you...

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The Value of One

The Value of One

What is the value of one sheep? Does that value change if it is only one among one hundred? How about if it is one among a million? You may be tempted to determine the value based on who that one happens to be. If it is your best friend, you may be inclined to rate...

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The ROI of shepherding

The ROI of shepherding

It is unfortunate, in my opinion, that American church culture has substituted the word "pastor" for "shepherd." The job description of "pastors" is extra-biblical in large part. They are hired to function as CEOs, and they are expected to earn their keep. Those who...

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Fleecing the flock?

Fleecing the flock?

I am afraid that many of us have bought into the idea that the Shepherd's role is to fleece the sheep. That his primary concern is personal gain. We use words like "God's glory" in a way that would portray his love as utilitarian, selfish. I, for one, saw God as the...

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The heart of The Shepherd

The heart of The Shepherd

The Father himself has chosen to use the metaphor of shepherd to describe his heart toward his people. There is so much we can learn about what he is like by examining what God has told us in scripture about shepherds and sheep. If I do not see myself as a sheep - if...

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A whole new perspective

So, I started out believing that I was pretty special. A gift to the kingdom of God. Playing an indispensable role in the Father's story. I was only off by 180 degrees. In reality, God doesn't need me to fulfill his plans. Never has. When I thought otherwise, I gave...

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It’s hard being the one

To be desired, to be pursued, to be wanted - I don't really know anyone who does not want that. Then why do I find it so difficult? In this world, there is always a concern about why we are wanted. What's the catch? The fine print? What will it cost us to be caught?...

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Being “the one” and not “the one”

I have a friend who sports a t-shirt that reads, "God loves everyone, but I'm his favorite." Probably more true than we can fathom - for every one of us. I do not believe that God's love can be diminished or diluted. One person does not gain it at another person's...

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Being the beloved

Somewhere in the neighborhood of 67 years ago, a newly married couple began to sift through potential names for the child who would become their firstborn. David was chosen. I am reasonably sure that my earthly parents were not thinking of the biblical meaning...

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I really am the one

Scripture describes my Shepherd as one who would leave 99 safe, healthy sheep to go after one in trouble. I am that one. I am the one who needs to be rescued. Every. Single. Day. I am the one the Shepherd pursues even at his own peril. For the sake of fellowship....

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One in a million

There was a time (not so very long ago) when I saw myself as "the one." Perhaps a lot like the way Peter saw himself: The one who would remain though all others departed. The one who would die before he would deny. Big-mouthed, for sure -- but big-hearted as well....

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I am the one

There are principles at the core of every one of us. Principles that propel us. Guide us. Restrain us. For myself, all of those condense into this: I am the one. Sounds egotistic, right? Isn't that the way every baby starts out? Aware of no other who is more...

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The time has come

Many have said it, and I finally believe it: To develop as a writer, one must write every day. Tall order. One that I have been reluctant to tackle. But the time has come. Not specifically because I intend to become a great writer, but because the things I want to say...

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Casual End of an Era Friday

Casual End of an Era Friday

This week I received an email that gave me pause. (Given the fact the I typically wade through several hundred emails a day, one that stops me in my tracks is remarkable.) This organization had just complete a national survey of how churches are responding to the...

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Jumpstart: Be still my soul

Jumpstart: Be still my soul

 At a time when everything seems to be out of control,a time when nothing seems to escape change,focus on what can not and never will change.

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Casual Corona Friday

Casual Corona Friday

I am becoming more and more aware of the tidal wave of podcasts, blog posts, webinars, and live events cascading through the internet these days on the subject of coping with our current crisis. I am also becoming more and more aware of the effect it is having on me...

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Casual Shelter-in-Place Friday

Casual Shelter-in-Place Friday

Coming up on a month of “lock-down” for many of us. How are you holding up? Don’t forget that many on the mission field have been restricted as well, or have had plans radically altered. Most of our resources this week are focused on sender care (and there is SO MUCH...

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Casual Friday Missionary Care

Casual Friday Missionary Care

Seems like the only thing that comes close to keeping up with COVID-19-related news is the mass of articles, podcasts, webinars, and other suggestions about how to deal with it. (My inbox is blowing up. Yours?) I have tried to restrict my selections here to those that...

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Casual Unusual Friday

Casual Unusual Friday

A lot of you may be stuck at home. Great! Use the time to connect with global workers, many of whom are also on lock-down. Use whatever mode of communication they prefer (Skype, Zoom, Whatsapp, phone text…) and let them know you are thinking of them and praying for...

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Not So Casual Friday

Not So Casual Friday

Seems like everything is about COVID-19, and most of that is not encouraging. Nothing casual about that. I am convinced that, if we really knew the forces arrayed against us spiritually, we would take spiritual health even more seriously than we take physical health...

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Casual Friday Resources

Casual Friday Resources

I have definitive proof that Spring has arrived: ladybugs. Or Asian lady beetles, to be more accurate. Our windows are covered in them as they seek to get back outdoors from where they have been overwintering. Hopefully you don't have such distractions to deter you...

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Casual In Like a Lamb Friday

Casual In Like a Lamb Friday

March may have come in like a lamb in these parts, but my body did not get the memo. I managed to contract the flu (though not, as far as I know, the one that has everyone in a tizzy). Two days after returning from our most recent trip I was down for the count. Two...

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Casual Leap Year Friday

Casual Leap Year Friday

Leap year. Does it seem like this month is lasting forever? There’s something about turning the calendar page to March that says Spring is near. Meanwhile… There are a lot of resources this week focused on self-care. Be sure and share these with your friends on the...

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Casual Midwinter Friday

Casual Midwinter Friday

Another week, already gone. Does anyone else think this year is just evaporating? Well, at least that means there is another week’s worth of missionary care resources for you to peruse. As always, thank you for caring in such a vital way for the sent ones God has...

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Casual February Friday

Casual February Friday

We were traveling last week and decided to practice what we preach. Rather than try to cram in another activity (last week’s post) I chose to skip it. (Did you miss us?) While living in a somewhat artificial world for 10 days (visiting supporters) it was easy to lose...

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Casual Fresh Friday

Casual Fresh Friday

What a week we’ve had! Earthquakes, deadly viruses, political drama… Whether or not your friends overseas have been affected by current events, they certainly could use your ongoing encouragement. Share these resources with them, and with anyone you know who wants to...

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Casual Friday Missionary Care Resources

Casual Friday Missionary Care Resources

Well, here you go—the freshly redesigned format I promised. I trust this will help you navigate this list of resources more efficiently. The point of sharing these with you is so you can use them yourself and/or forward them to a missionary you care for. So have at...

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Casual Friday Missionary Care Resources

Casual Friday Missionary Care Resources

Already behind on your New Year’s goals? Yeah…me too. These first two weeks have evaporated! Meanwhile, there are global workers out there who need our encouragement. Here are some resources to help you provide effective care.   SELF-CARE One invaluable service you...

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Casual New Year Friday

Casual New Year Friday

Welcome to 2020! Let’s make it the best year ever in terms of missionary care. With resources like these, you can play a vital role in keeping global workers healthy and growing. Be sure and spread these around.   SELF-CARE Even if you don’t believe in New Year’s...

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Casual Friday Christmas Edition

Casual Friday Christmas Edition

I know everyone is busy this time of year (I certainly am), so I’ll keep it a little shorter this week. Then we’ll take a break until January 10, to give everyone a chance to relax and enjoy relationships. Don’t forget to pray for global workers who will be...

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Merry Casual Friday

Merry Casual Friday

It’s that time of year again – the season of gifting. Have you ever considered giving a missionary something special for Christmas (rather than money)? You could, for instance, buy a book or enroll in a class about missionary care; your gift would be the increased...

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Casual Friday

Casual Friday

Happy Thanksgiving!   We realize you have better things to do this next week or so than check the latest missionary care resources. So we'll take a brief time out. Thank you for caring, for making yourself available to be used of God as a representative of his heart...

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