The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Familiar with his voice (readings for Sunday, April 13)

with 2 comments

Once in a while, someone tells me that people who choose to follow Jesus do so for a heaven-or-hell thing. Terror avoidance. Sky pie.

‘Tain’t so. Here’s what it’s about: he leads them and they follow because they are familiar with his voice. Mmm-mm. At its best, that’s it. Read it below.

Fourth Sunday of Easter April 13, 2008
Acts 2:42-47 Psalm 23 1 Peter 2:19-25 John 10:1-10

John 10:1-10
He Calls His Sheep by Name
Slovakia Shepherd; European Commission 1-5 “Let me set this before you as plainly as I can. If a person climbs over or through the fence of a sheep pen instead of going through the gate, you know he’s up to no good—a sheep rustler! The shepherd walks right up to the gate. The gatekeeper opens the gate to him and the sheep recognize his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he gets them all out, he leads them and they follow because they are familiar with his voice. They won’t follow a stranger’s voice but will scatter because they aren’t used to the sound of it.”

6-10Jesus told this simple story, but they had no idea what he was talking about. So he tried again. “I’ll be explicit, then. I am the Gate for the sheep. All those others are up to no good—sheep stealers, every one of them. But the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for—will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.

The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

1 Peter 2:19-25
The Kind of Life He Lived
18-20You who are servants, be good servants to your masters—not just to good masters, but also to bad ones. What counts is that you put up with it for God’s sake when you’re treated badly for no good reason. There’s no particular virtue in accepting punishment that you well deserve. But if you’re treated badly for good behavior and continue in spite of it to be a good servant, that is what counts with God.

21-25This is the kind of life you’ve been invited into, the kind of life Christ lived. He suffered everything that came his way so you would know that it could be done, and also know how to do it, step-by-step.

He never did one thing wrong,
Not once said anything amiss.
They called him every name in the book and he said nothing back. He suffered in silence, content to let God set things right. He used his servant body to carry our sins to the Cross so we could be rid of sin, free to live the right way. His wounds became your healing. You were lost sheep with no idea who you were or where you were going. Now you’re named and kept for good by the Shepherd of your souls.

The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Acts 2:42-47 They committed themselves to the teaching of the apostles, the life together, the common meal, and the prayers.

43-45Everyone around was in awe—all those wonders and signs done through the apostles! And all the believers lived in a wonderful harmony, holding everything in common. They sold whatever they owned and pooled their resources so that each person’s need was met.

46-47They followed a daily discipline of worship in the Temple followed by meals at home, every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful, as they praised God. People in general liked what they saw. Every day their number grew as God added those who were saved.

The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Psalm 23
A David Psalm
1-3 God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word,
you let me catch my breath
and send me in the right direction.

4 Even when the way goes through
Death Valley,
I’m not afraid
when you walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd’s crook
makes me feel secure.

5 You serve me a six-course dinner
right in front of my enemies.
You revive my drooping head;
my cup brims with blessing.
6 Your beauty and love chase after me
every day of my life.
I’m back home in the house of God
for the rest of my life.

The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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Written by Monte

April 7, 2008 at 11:09 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Oh my, the sweet power of the familiar voice. I still know my grandmother Faye’s voice, and ‘The Ancient Ones” as they barked and played in the back yard. I can hear my friend Mary’s voice and and even the answering machine voice of a dear and trusted counselor would bring my heart and focus closer to Grace. These are all earthly voices.
    There is the voice of The Way. It never has shame or guilt. There is always time, no rush. And yet it is persistent, and It is fearful and fascinating at the same time.
    The place I learned the most about His voice was from a poem, ‘The Hound of Heaven”. I think I want walk around inside that poem again. It has been awhile.
    Is just one life lived listening for His Voice really worth anything in the face of all the thieves? I do not know. I only live it cause that is the kind of person that feels the most natural to me.
    Thanks friend. I come to this blog because I hear His voice here; unpredictable, convicting but good.

    Monte Says: Ah, thanks, that’s a wonderful compliment! We talked about this on Sunday at the worship gathering, and I thought of your words.


    April 8, 2008 at 12:16 pm

  2. Acts 2:45 has been a helpful verse to me and I am glad to be reminded of it again.
    When Seeds of Grace (a part of our church that helps those “whose needs extend beyond their resources”) was raising money, this verse made it easy to part with possessions that I might use in another way. Today another opportunity to give happened, ON THE DAY I READ THE VERSE. I think I will be writing a check!

    Monte Says: Thank you, sweet wife. I’m so glad for your sensitivity.


    April 8, 2008 at 10:35 am

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