SSB Gathering – August 13, 2015

Spiritual Sounding Board – This is your place to gather and share in an open format.

 by Kathi

alpaca

***

Ezekiel 34

The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock. 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. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered they became food for all the wild animals. 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.

“‘Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, because my flock lacks a shepherd and so has been plundered and has become food for all the wild animals, and because my shepherds did not search for my flock but cared for themselves rather than for my flock, therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock. I will remove them from tending the flock so that the shepherds can no longer feed themselves. I will rescue my flock from their mouths, and it will no longer be food for them.

“‘For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescure them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land. I will tend them in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign Lord. I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.

“‘As for you, my flock, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will judge between one sheep and another, and between rams and goats. Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture? Must you also trample the rest of your pasture with your feet? Is it not enough for you to drink clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet? Must my flock feed on what you have trampled and drink what you have muddied with your feet?

“‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says to them: See, I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. Because you shove with flank and shoulder, butting all the weak sheep with your horns until you have driven them away, I will save my flock, and they will no longer be plundered. I will judge between one sheep and another. I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them; he will tend them and be their shepherd. I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David will be prince among them. I the Lord have spoken.

“‘I will make a covenant of peace with them and rid the land of wild beasts so that they may live in the desert and sleep in the forests in safety. I will bless them and the places surrounding my hill. I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing. The trees of the field will yield their fruit and the ground will yield its crops; the people will be secure in their land. They will know that I am the Lord, when I break the bars of their yoke and rescue them from the hands of those who enslaved them. They will no longer be plundered by the nations, nor will wild animals devour them. They will live in safety, and no one make them afraid. I will provide for them a land renowned for its crops, and they will no longer be victims of famine in the land or bear the scorn of the nations. Then they will know that I, the Lord their God, am with them and that they, the house of Israel, are my people, declares the Sovereign Lord. You my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, are people, and I am your God, declares the Sovereign Lord.'”

***



***

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you: wherever he may send you;

may he guide you through the wilderness: protect you from the storm;

may he bring you home rejoicing: at the wonders he has shown you;

may he bring you home rejoicing: once again into our doors.

***
Feel free to join the discussion.
You can share your church struggles and concerns.
Let’s also use it as a time to encourage one another spiritually.
What have you found spiritually encouraging lately?
Do you have any special Bible verses to share, any YouTube songs that you have found uplifting?

***

photo credit: Kathi – alpaca at 16,000 ft. elevation in Peru – I know today’s verse is about sheep, but when I knit, I prefer alpaca.

38 comments on “SSB Gathering – August 13, 2015

  1. Beautiful, Kathi. I love the Alpaca’s. The piano solo was truly awesome. Even on a good day, my fingers don’t tickle the ivories with such skill.

    I had the pleasure of speaking with my new sister in Christ yesterday, who also is my earthly sister. It was so awesome hearing her talk about knowing God. A pastor felt God calling him to plant a church in the woods. His last church was in Dallas. My sister couldn’t live any deeper in the woods and the new church is right next door to her. So far they are a congregation of 8. My now brother-in-law is also my brother in Christ. Prayers are being answered as I continue to pray for my family.

    God bless all of you on this Lord’s day and you may see HIM in all that you do.

    Brenda R

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Church in the woods….that sounds like something I could do! Brenda, it is good to hear about your sister and answered prayer.

    Like

  3. You are welcome, Dash! It was dear, older black Christian women who carried The Gospel to me (I’m white), loved me and my wounds, were gentle, giving, and kind to me, fed me wonderful Southern food, and invited me to their little Black churches where this was the kind of music they sang. I was like a duckling. I imprinted on Black Gospel and it’s basically the majority of the music that I own and listen to (from Mississippi).

    Like

  4. More Black Gospel. Everyn Turrentine-Agee singing “God Did It” at The Gospel Legends get together in Mississippi. (Note: I put the link to my favorite Black Gospel youtube channel on the Off-Topic Discussion at the top of the page here.)

    Like

  5. Thanks Kathi for another encouraging Sunday gathering: Scriptures (just right after the last couple of brutal weeks, or is it months now?, discussing abuse of the sheep and the lambs), photo (I love Alpacas and saw a lot of them while backpacking in Patagonia!), and music.

    Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m sorry, I’ve not read anything yet, but I have an urgent prayer request.

    Please pray for protection from my ex-husband. He’s a narcissist and abuser (not physical abuse for a long time), and he’s making legal threats. My kids refuse to see him, and because I was too exhausted and beaten down by life and dreadful legal representation, I didn’t push for him not to have legal visitation.

    There’s so much more to the story. My kids are extremely vulnerable. They’re older, but in some ways that’s making things harder right now, because they’re more self-aware.

    Please, please pray in earnest. And Kathi, if you’re available at all this week, I’d love to get together if you’re willing.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Persephone – If you’re okay with it, please ask Julie Anne to send me your email. I do have some time this week and would be happy to meet with you.

    Keeping you in prayer. Make sure you doing something kind for yourself.

    Like

  8. Thank you guys. It’s been a really bad week, capped by a dreadful weekend. I didn’t mention here (I did at TWW) that I’m also in extremely dire financial straits. Both the actions of my ex-husband this week and some other bad news had left me in worse shape than usual, money-wise. Some short-term things are going to be a problem, and I didn’t know until yesterday.

    I wish I could cry it all out from the rooftops, but I have to do what I can to keep the kids protected. I do wish God would do some smiting, though 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Persephone,
    Praying for you and your children. My prayer is that with your kids being older they will be able to make the choice to not see their dad for themselves. Physical abuse even one time no matter how long ago can not only happen again, but should be the last time. Children need stability and sound role models.

    Like

  10. “Fortunately for Wilson, several problematic members of said family left the church hastily and with gaping wounds, making it that much easier to paint them as impulsive crazies, embittered and wayward, unwilling to stay and talk it out like big kids.”
    _______________________________

    This so often happens in a destructive cult. So often the only reason some members are perceived as “problematic” is because they’re the ones being led by the Holy Spirit and simply cannot stomach what’s going on, so they speak up. In the alternative, they’re the ones dealing with the bulk of the abuse at the hands of a sociopathic or NPD leader (often behind the scenes such that the rank-and-file members are not privy to what’s occurring), so naturally they’re being driven mad from the psychological terror being inflicted upon them; a person suffering from PTSD can often be a very difficult person. The evil-doers causing it can so often assume a smooth outer persona and make outsiders assume the victim is the crazy one (and maybe they are, but often they’re made that way by an evil one).

    This is why Paul was so strident in his condemnation of the super-apostles and his anger towards those in the church who “gladly put up with fools” and “with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you or puts on airs or slaps you in the face.” We need to expose the evil, not turn the other way and become a part of it to just get along and have some fantasy of a church community.

    Like

  11. Sorry, folks, I’ve been distracted with family stuff. The biggest is the family cabin that has been in our family for 5 generations was lost in the big Valley Fire in California. The drought created the “perfect storm” conditions for a massive fire that swallowed up homes in a very short period of time.

    Like

  12. Hi Julie Anne,

    Oh I am so sorry that your family’s Lake County, California, cabin was lost in the big fire. I will be praying for everyone. (We have had a lot of smoke here in California from several big fires burning throughout the state.)

    Like

  13. Kathi,

    Thank you for posting Ezekiel 34. One of the things I have noticed in this passage is that God judges between the shepherds, the fat sheep and the lean sheep. And guess what? Nowhere does the Lord condemn the scattered sheep! You know, those of us who are whiners and bitter sheep? Those of us who have “violated” Hebrews 10:25 by not assembling with a church because of the shepherds who have ruled over us harshly and brutally and because of the fat sheep who pushed their way in and muddied our drinking water with their dirty feet.

    I think this passage applies very well to our current situation in American Christianity. Pastors are falling and sheep are leaving their churches, as the “visible” church keeps shrinking. God is taking the sheep away from them so that they can no longer shepherd.

    Like

  14. Excellent point Steve. Oh how the Psalm 23 states, “The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall not want….” It is the LORD that is my true Shepherd, worthy of all of my praise and I glory in Him alone. Then along comes man or woman, in the form of a pastor, elder, deacon or deaconess, a church board member (man or woman), or an individual who wields power and influences others with their smooth tongues, who comes along and tries to kill the power of the Holy Spirit living inside of me, telling me I need to do this or that for them because after all, they are “leadership” and they know (god) better than I/we do. These people desire followers after themselves and sit at brag and boast fests proclaiming how much more spiritual they are all the while demeaning and diminishing the rest of us for our Bible knowledge and understanding is (supposed) to come from them instead of Jesus.

    With that said, my heart goes out to Persephone and Julie Ann. Trials and tribulations to be sure and I join the saints here in praying for you both from the tractor cab. So very, very sorry for your loss and pain.

    To Julie Anne or Kathi, as part of the Body of Jesus Christ, would it be too much to ask if there is a safe public address that we can send help to Persephone and her family? I realize there is a confidentiality and safety element to her case and I respect that, so a public address, perhaps a social services center would be the appropriate venue to send help.

    There is a song on the Christian radio that makes me just fall down into the dirt and cry at times, and it goes something like this, “If we are the Body, why aren’t our hands reaching…..” I am moved in my spirit when I realize the lack of love, compassion, and empathy that parades itself as the Body of Christ, and I am torn to shreds in my own faith. Please let us know how we can help our sister in Christ, Persephone, using you, Julie Anne and Kathi, as the go between in getting the funds to her.

    Jesus loves you, Persephone, far greater than any human being, so with that said, we would like to love on you too as best as we can. God be with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Hi Amos,
    I am digging through SSB to find some stats that you gave RE: pastors, leaders. Some were 1 in 3 commit adultery with women in the church, 80%? of wives wish their husband was not a pastor. That kind of thing. I am trying to find the post that you wrote and I believe you gave a link to where you found it.

    I would like to send that to the “pastor” of the “church” I attend. I am also looking for information on None’s and Done’s. The pastor and his wife came back from a conference and would like to be able to competently counter in the discussion.

    Brenda

    Like

  16. Hi Brenda

    Here are some statistics and a site to check.

    This is info from – Into thy Word – And they say…
    “…pastors are in a dangerous occupation!
    We are perhaps the single most stressful and frustrating
    working profession, more than medical doctors, lawyers, politicians…”

    http://www.intothyword.org/articles_view.asp?articleid=36562&columnid=

    Pastors are in a dangerous occupation! Statistics on Pastors…

    80% of pastors feel unqualified and discouraged in their role as pastor.
    77% say they do “NOT” have a good marriage.
    71% stated they were burned out, and they battle depression beyond fatigue.
    70% do not have someone they consider a close friend.
    57% of pastors said they would leave
    …… if they had a better place to go-including secular work.

    Almost forty percent of pastors polled said
    they have had an extra-marital affair since beginning their ministry.

    Fifteen hundred (1,500) pastors leave the ministry each month
    ….due to moral failure, spiritual burnout, or contention in their churches.

    Like

  17. Brenda

    This is more info from a ministry working with “Hurting Pastors.”
    http://www.pastoralcareinc.com/statistics/

    # 90% of pastors feel they are inadequately trained
    …….. to cope with the ministry demands.
    # 80% of pastors and 84% of their spouses
    …….. feel unqualified and discouraged as role of pastors.
    # 80% of pastors’ spouses wish they would choose a different profession.
    # 80% believe pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families.
    …………..Many pastor’s children do not attend church now
    ……………because of what the church has done to their parents.
    # 70% of pastors constantly fight depression.
    # 50% of the ministers starting out will NOT last 5 years.
    # 33% state that being in the ministry is an outright hazard to their family.

    #1 reason pastors leave the ministry…
    Church people are not willing to go the same direction and goal of the pastor.

    Like

  18. Brenda

    Here is a pastor who left after 30 years…

    The Glass Pastor – “Casting Off The Task-Masters”
    http://theglasspastor.wordpress.com/2013/08/09/casting-off-the-task-masters/

    “Don’t get me wrong, for my part I did my best to play the role of ‘pastor’, but I always knew that I would not be able to really pull it off. First of all, I didn’t really buy it. **There aren’t any church pastors in the New Testament,** and I could never get past that.”

    Like

  19. Brenda

    Here is a young pastor who Resigned

    “I’ve Resigned from Professional Pastoring – four years later”
    http://eric-carpenter.blogspot.com/2014/08/why-i-resigned-from-professional.html

    “I wanted to find out whether or not pastors in the bible received salaries. Well, I found a lot more than I was looking for. Not only did I find no evidence for salaried pastors, **I didn’t find any evidence for modern pastors at all.** Beyond that, what I saw of the church in the New Testament was drastically different from the institutional churches of today. All these findings sent me into a bit of a crisis.”…

    “…After seeing all this, I couldn’t remain a salaried pastor. After several months of study, prayer, and struggle, I decided that I simply had to resign. I could not in good conscience continue to either receive a salary or continue to be a modern day pastor. **There just isn’t any biblical basis for either.**”

    Like

  20. But Amos, by renouncing the supposed office authority associated with being a “Pastor,” you have become the very thing you could not otherwise have become. You have become a shepherd. Not THE Shepherd, of course, but a shepherd nonetheless.

    Like

  21. Hi Gary

    Well, thanks, kinda…
    “You have become a shepherd.”
    ———-

    Hmmm? Let me think about that for a moment.
    Tried that once upon a time, in a galaxy corporation, far far “awry.”
    ———-

    Let’s see…
    Do I want to be a shepherd?

    Okay, that’s long enough… Nah!!!

    Or, do I want to be one of “His Sheepies?”

    Seem “His Sheepies,” Do NOT want for anything.
    And, get to lie down in green pastures, besides still waters…
    Get to hear His Voice, and Follow Him…
    What a deal…
    ———-

    Is it okay to remain a sheepy? Following?

    The “ONE” Shepherd

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
    them also I must bring, and they shall “hear My voice; “
    and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.
    John 10:16

    One Voice – One Fold – One Shepherd – One Leader

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    Like

  22. O.K. Amos, but there is Scriptural warrant to understand that there are small “s” shepherds, including Eph 4:11. I am not ascribing to you any office, position, authority, or title. Rather, I am saying that the word shepherd is appropriate to describe the submitted, humble, service our Lord has seen fit to entrust to you.

    And please don’t resist my use of the word humble. If I correctly understand what is indicated by the description of Moses as the most humble (or meek) man on the face of the earth, Nu 12:3, being humble just means you can be entrusted with responsibility to discharge the task to which you have been committed, and that you will not, in the process, set out to lord it over others.

    Like

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