We Are Real Life: Week Four – Chasing the Strays
We Are Real Life: Week Four – Chasing the Strays
- Vision –Mission –Process
- The 7 Essentials – values that create a discipleship culture
- Abiding, Reaching the lost – Connecting the unconnected bringing people into connection and pursuing those who separate –Colossians 2:6–7 (NIV) 6So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
#4 Essential –Chasing the strays
- Shepherding language
- The Lord uses the Shepherd -Sheep analogy all throughout scripture
- Psalm 23 –The Lord is my Shepherd
Psalm 100:3 (NIV) 3 Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Jesus identifies Himself as the Good Shepherd in the flesh –He pursues us
John 10:8–18 (NIV) 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. 11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again.
Luke 15:3–7 (NIV)
Jesus gave His church the Role of Shepherds –who pursue the lost (Becoming like Him)
- Jesus was raising up disciples (all) some were to represent Him as shepherds
Ephesians 4:11–13 (NIV) 11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
1 Peter 5:1–5 (NIV) To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: 2 Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; 3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away. 5 In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
One of the responsibilities of the Pastor/Shepherds is to chase the strays
- This implies that people can have the tendency to stray
Ezekiel 34:1–6 (NIV) The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to you shepherds of Israel who only take care of yourselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? 3 You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock. 4 You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally. 5 So they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered they became food for all the wild animals. 6 My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. They were scattered over the whole earth, and no one searched or looked for them.
As a church we have sought to create a Shepherding culture –Aspiring to have roles and a shared attitude
- As leaders we seek to create a culture of chasing the strays
- Trying to keep track of those who are missing –the attendance card or texting in
- The data base
- We want to be a model of this –an example
- We seek to create this culture within the church –mutual shepherding
- Leaders who live it out from top to bottom
- Mutual shepherding
- True friendship
- Support –accountability
Jude 17–23 (NIV) 17 But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” 19 These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. 20 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. 22 Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.
Proverbs 18:1 (ESV) Ephesians 4:2–3 (NIV)
Help us live out the biblical aspiration
- Let’s fight for relationship – drifting happens a couple of different ways – we get upset at someone and leave –lets fight for relationship
- Let’s be a community that notices who is missing
- Let’s call each other back to the family
- You may be the most important person that God has placed in their live to pursue them –you are the one that God uses to bring them back
Hebrews 3:12-13 (NIV) Hebrews 10:23–25 (NIV)
For Small Group Discussion
Opening Question: Have you ever been chased? What or who chased you?
Main Point: The heart of Jesus is that every person who has strayed from Christ will be valued, noticed and pursued. Main Scripture: Matthew 18:10-14, Ezekiel 34:4
- What did Jesus do with the lost sheep?
- Real Life’s working definition of a “stray” is below in the Tips and Resources section. How would you define “stray” in your own words?
- What are different reasons a person might stray from certain beliefs, or connection with other believers?
- What impact do you think it has when you notice someone is missing?
- Who in your personal sphere of influence has disconnected from Christ or the Church?
- Has there ever been a time in your life when you strayed? What did that look like?
- What are some practical steps you can take with someone you have noticed is straying?
- What is your part in Chasing the Strays (rather than the part of a church leader or ministry)? What is your personal motivation for chasing someone?
Additional Scripture: Hebrews 3:12-14
Tips and Resources: Definition: Stray – Those who are saved but are not currently connected to Christ’s body, the church. They are people who once attended our church (or a different body of Christ) and were connected into a relational group for a period of time and now have begun to step away.
To watch Episode 1 of The Story of Real Life go here: https://bit.ly/Thestory1
For more sermon resources, podcasts, and other tools go to: https://realliferesources.org/current-series/