|Theme:||The shepherd cares for his sheep. (4th Sunday of Easter)|
|Object:||A shepherd's crook|
|Scripture:||"I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep." John 10:14-15 (NIV)|
Do you know what a shepherd is? Of course you do. A shepherd is one who takes care of sheep. Who can tell me what this is? (hold up the shepherd's crook) This is called a shepherd's crook. The crook is very useful to the shepherd in taking care of the sheep. If the sheep tries to go in the wrong direction, the shepherd can reach out with the crook and gently pull it back onto the right path. The shepherd also uses the crook to help protect the sheep from a wolf or some other wild animal that might try to harm them. You see, it is the shepherd's responsibility to care for and protect the sheep.
How many of you know who (name the church's pastor) is? That's right! Our pastor. Did you know that the word we use for the one who leads our church means the same thing as the word that is used for someone who takes care of sheep? So if the pastor is the one who takes care of the sheep, what do you think that makes us? Right! We are the sheep! It is our pastor's job to take care of us just as it is the job of a shepherd to care for the sheep.
Our pastor doesn't use a shepherd's crook like this one. The Bible is our pastor's crook. When we stray away and go off on the wrong path, our pastor uses the teaching of God's Word to reach out and gently pull us back and get us going in the right direction. Our pastor also uses the Bible to protect us from our enemies. When Satan attacks us and tries to get us to do things that would harm us, our pastor uses the Bible to teach us what God wants us to do.
Our pastor has a good guide to follow in knowing how to take care of the sheep. That guide is Jesus. Listen to what Jesus said about himself, "I am the good shepherd. I know my sheep and my sheep know me -- just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. I lay down my life for the sheep."
The Bible also says, "The LORD is my shepherd," but God has also called our pastor to help him in caring for his sheep. We are thankful for Jesus, "the Good Shepherd," and we are thankful for our pastor too!
Dear Father, we are thankful for Jesus. We know him and he knows us. He laid down his life for us. We also thank you for (pastor's name) that you have called to be the shepherd for our church. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
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