Shepherding God’s Flock

Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you, not for shameful gain, but eagerly; 1 Peter 5:2 ESV

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I once was invited by a fellow chaplain to bring some music to the Veterans Home in our city. While we visited a bit after the service, he related to me the following story:

“Not long after I retired from the Methodist church a few years ago and began helping as the chaplain I met one of our congregants downtown. He greeted me pleasantly and asked how I was and what I was doing. When I explained that I was working here as a chaplain, he stopped me and asked, ‘That’s wonderful, but are you pastoring a real church somewhere?’ “To which I replied, ‘ And what would a real church look like Bob?’ “

The calling that God has given some of us to serve in long term care facilities is about shepherding a part of God’s flock, and it is as real as it gets! Here at “Walking With Lambs” we are committed to encouraging, equipping and providing resources for those who are also doing all they know to shepherd God’s lambs in the final chapters of their lives. One resource that we offer is a free weekly newsletter. “Sunshine Newsletter“, is a two-page devotional newsletter and is made available by four of us who write, format and distribute it to 8-10 facilities in New York, Florida and Ohio. If you would like to receive Sunshine Newsletter, you can contact me at Revpete51@gmail.com. You are welcome to copy or distribute this by print or by email its contents in entirety. If you would like to contribute articles, news or fun insights into long term care ministry, I will be happy to send you a copy of our guidelines. God bless and have a wonderful day!

Hi! My Name is Helen!

“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?  And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. Luke 15:4-5 NKJV

Hi! “I’m Helen*. I’m from Kaiser Valley!” she greets me every week. Helen (not her real name) is perky, funny, and she now lives in

the Alzheimer’s ward at the nursing home I visit. Helen has an amazing memory for the verses of all the hymns. For most of her life, Helen attended church,sang in the choir, gave her offerings and like so many others she never once receives a visit from her pastor. P1030465

Being a pastor isn’t an easy job. Most people don’t understand the pressures, the demands and the temptations that we face every week. But pastors are also shepherds and as shepherds we are called to help to take care of sheep. Some sheep pay their tithes faithfully, dress nicely and shake our hands to tell us they loved the message. But some sheep lose their way.  In this parable Jesus is talking about a lost sheep just like my friend Helen from Kaiser Valley. She is a sheep who has wandered off a little too far. One day she looked around and the rest of the flock was gone! There were no familiar landmarks. She cannot find anyone to help her find her way home. What all the Helens and Bobs and Alices and Marys need are shepherds who will come looking for them. Do not take this message as just another guilt trip, but rather as a gentle encouragement to remember how joyful it is when Jesus finds any one of us. Remember that the business of finding lost sheep is a great joy for both the shepherd and the sheep!