PARACLETOS BLOG

Partnership Synonyms

Partnership Synonyms

Here are some of the words and phrases used in scripture in relation to partnership: co-worker fellow worker joint heir co-laborer partner companion yokefellow worked with working together join in strive together have the same attitude follow Take each of these and...

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The Value of Partnership

The Value of Partnership

Seventeen years ago I started a project with my son: we built a special table and began to create a model train layout on it. We had mountains and tunnels and a lake...it was really going to be cool. We bought the track and the train and all the equipment needed to...

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Relationship is the goal of Partnership

Relationship is the goal of Partnership

“This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." (John 17:3) Eternal life is not a thing; it is a relationship. The Shepherd's number one concern is that we are enabled to enter into relationship with the Trinity....

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The Partnership of Love

The Partnership of Love

We tend to define love unilaterally: it is other-oriented, self-sacrificing, giving... Our Shepherd is defined in scripture as love itself. He is certainly other-oriented, self-sacrificing, and giving. But I don't believe those qualities fully describe the nature of...

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The Case for Partnership

The Case for Partnership

Perhaps the simplest and most potent case to be made for partnership comes from the Shepherd himself. "Apart from me, [disconnected, on your own, by yourself] you can do nothing," he said. What are the limits to what we can accomplish together?  

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Partnership with the Shepherd

Partnership with the Shepherd

Partnership. It's a concept found abundantly throughout scripture. But in our culture of independent living, it is not a concept that receives the attention it deserves. God wants to partner with us. Does that surprise you? Have you given much thought to what that...

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The Shepherd’s M.O.

The Shepherd’s M.O.

With-ness. Not technically a word, but it should be. It is the foundational principle of our Shepherd's modus operandi. Biblical shepherding - the kind that satisfies the Great Shepherd's heart - requires proximity. Presence. Personal interaction. With-ness. When it...

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The Shepherd’s Motivation

The Shepherd’s Motivation

Give a shepherd's care to God's flock among you, exercising oversight not merely as a duty but willingly under God's direction, not for shameful profit but eagerly. (1 Peter 5:2) Not for shameful profit. That includes more than financial gain. Pride, position, status,...

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The Shepherd’s Ultimate Desire

The Shepherd’s Ultimate Desire

But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves. (Jesus' final prayer, as recorded in John 17.) Just what is this joy that the Son speaks about with the Father? Before ever there was a world filled with...

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No Artificial Choices

No Artificial Choices

The Shepherd sees his sheep as holistic beings. He is not simply interested in their souls, nor in their so-called afterlife. He does not separate his care into "sacred" and "secular" categories, prioritizing the "spiritual" needs over the "natural." As his sheep, we...

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Growth-Oriented Shepherding

Growth-Oriented Shepherding

Shepherds are not interested simply in the survival of their sheep; they want them to thrive. To grow to their full potential. Our Shepherd is no different. The God who began a good work in us will continue to perfect it until we are fully conformed to the image of...

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Holistic Shepherding

Holistic Shepherding

The foremost commandment, according to Jesus, is this: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. That is a holistic command; it entails total engagement of every aspect of a human being. In order to do that, each of those components - heart,...

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Synergetic Shepherding

Synergetic Shepherding

In 1 Corinthians 3:9, the apostle Paul refers to himself and his associates as "God's fellow workers." The Greek word that is used is synergos, from which we get our English word synergy: the interaction of elements that when combined produce a total effect that is...

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Perfectly Designed Shepherding

Perfectly Designed Shepherding

How do you gauge the results of your shepherding efforts? What criteria do you use to determine if your work has been efficacious? Judging by the health of your sheep, how effective do you think your shepherding efforts are? Do you find yourself consistently getting...

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Me? A Shepherd?

Me? A Shepherd?

Some people have been given to the church as shepherds - people with a combination of compassion and capacity for caring for the flock. They have not been taught to be shepherds, but they can be taught to shepherd well. They are a gift to the body of Christ. We should...

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Sheep as Shepherds

Sheep as Shepherds

Even as under-shepherds, we are still first and foremost sheep ourselves. We are every bit as much in need of the Shepherd as those we endeavor to serve. The Great Shepherd has a dual purpose in inviting us to co-labor with him. For one thing, the work he does in...

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The Shepherd’s Fingerprints

The Shepherd’s Fingerprints

The heart of the Great Shepherd is consistent. His care toward each of his sheep is the same in essence toward every one of them, though the specific details will vary. When we allow him to manifest himself through us, we should not expect our work to look like that...

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Refracted vs Reflected

Refracted vs Reflected

The Great Shepherd lives within his under-shepherds, but he does not usurp them. Too often I have heard (and even employed) the phrase, "I must decrease but he must increase" in a way that implied the gradual evaporation of the person in reference. As if one's...

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A Character of Caring

A Character of Caring

No metaphor is perfect, but God has chosen to use the concept of shepherds and sheep as a primary way of describing Jesus' relationship with us. I want to explore the application and ramifications of that metaphor in the realm of missionary care. The foundational...

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The Opposite of the Shepherd’s Heart

The Opposite of the Shepherd’s Heart

Way back in the last century, around 1991, I had breakfast with a local pastor. He had designated me the small group co-ordinator for our church of 400, and we had met to talk shop. He was excited because he had just returned from a conference for pastors where the...

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Shepherds Are Not Pastors

Shepherds Are Not Pastors

Shepherds are sheep-oriented. Their job is to care for sheep. That requires a lot of different skills, but more than all else it requires a heart orientation. Modern pastors are often bogged down with administrative duties. Even if they have a heart for people, they...

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Shepherds Are Not Pastors

Shepherds Are Not Pastors

Stick with me here; you may end up agreeing with me. The term "pastor" appears only once in the entire New Testament, while "shepherd" permeates the gospels in particular. In our modern American culture we know very little about shepherds or the work they do. Other...

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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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