Why do Shepherds shepherd?

Sheep need a shepherd – that’s a no brainer in marketplace terms. But Shepherds surely have lots of other choices, especially these days; brand ambassador, social media manager, youtube star – all just as soul-enhancing as shepherding, right?

So why do reasonably sane people with lots of other choices become shepherds?

Now, if you’re a pastor, forgive me, but you’re probably way off track, already.

You see, pastors don’t seem to even hear the word shepherd when you say shepherd, they hear “pastor”. They start thinking about God’s calling, commissioning, anointing.

They think about people.

But, just try for a moment, to think like a real proper shepherd. King David wasn’t pastoring people, he was shepherding sheep.

Why?

Okay, yeah, his dad probably made him. But then why did Jesse choose that?

Real life shepherds, look at you weird if you ask them that question.

They look at you the same way my niece looks at me when I ask her why she hasn’t got her PJs on and brushed her teeth ready for bed even though I’ve asked her three times already.

Like, it’s a dumb question.

Like, I should know the answer.

Profits.

VALUE – MONEY – INCOME – PROFIT – Marketplace.

Is this why Jesus chose marketplace disciples??
Because they would NOT think like pastors?

Maybe the reason Jesus and all of his disciples were the best people to grow the church were because they thought like business people not church people.

Maybe Jesus wanted His church to be… wait for it, pastors, brace yourself… profitable!

Now – you’re going to be shocked because I won’t think like you think.

You’ll probably even think I’m way off.

I’m wrong …

But ask yourself – seriously.

Am I perverting the way God made things?
or am I just saying it the way God made it?

Because if I’m perverting or twisting God’s ways then you can call me demonic…

But if I’m just pointing out God’s ways to you, you have to at least listen to what I say, right?

Even if you don’t like it.

It’s going to HELP you.

When King David wrote about God, he wrote about a Shepherd who provided ALL the needs of his flock (Psalm 23). That Shepherd needed to be pretty well resourced, right?

This Shepherd didn’t just let us hear his voice on Sundays, but he got in the kitchen and laid on a feast for us (even when our enemies were in our face), who was with us during our worst times, and who made sure our cup was overflowing.

Shepherds were the ones who got the call from the angels at the birth of Christ (Luke 2)

More than one.

OUT at night … living where the sheep lived.

24/7 shepherding.

They weren’t namby pamby “Sunday is like a work day for me” pastors.

They were doing the long hours, the midnight shift.
Why? Because sheep herds need more protection during the night than during the day.
How many night shift pastors do you know?

I don’t mean the occasional late night phone call.
I mean spending EVERY NIGHT with your flock? You know, like small business marketplace people usually do.

Most pastors I know are working way too hard and simultaneously not hard enough. They’re working too hard at shepherdy things and not nearly hard enough at helping sheep get their sheepy things done. Some are so out of touch with sheepy things they barely know what functioning like a sheep looks like anymore.

Is this why Paul continued in the marketplace?
To protect against church-think?

How do you do it?

Add value to sheep.

Forget “hear my voice” – they’ve been doing that.
And it hasn’t helped you or them that much – really, has it??
Well, has it?

Give ’em good pastures, an environment with:
– good location
– rotation

Get ’em breeding – duplicating themself – that’s the number 1 skill a profitable shepherd ensures his sheep maintain. Lambing season is the highlight – and it’s not just because lambs are cuter than most sheepy baa baas. A good shepherd will intervene in all sorts of unnatural ways to get sheep doing what should come naturally!

Take your sheep to market, let them see demand and supply in action, up close and personal.

Even if they’re not producing lambs for you, at least fleece them!

Hello, pastor? Remember, how I said to stop thinking like a pastor…

Yes, I am seriously suggesting you fleece your flock. That’s what they’re there for.

Shepherds know that when they take value from the sheep, they are actually giving value to the sheep. Did you ever hear about Shrek, the kiwi sheep that got lost for 6 years. His fleece was so heavy it could have caused chronic issues:

  • The weight was so heavy he could barely get up
  • The wool covered much of his eyes, he could barely see
  • The thick coat could’ve caused heat stress

Shrek continued growing on his own, but no-one benefited from it until his Shepherd found him. Shrek was growing, but worse off. There were no woolly jumpers for customers those 6 winters – the marketplace was worse off, and no payday either – the shepherd was worse off.

You see, when you take value from sheep, you do three things:
1. take burdens from them, and

2. bring provision to yourself, and

3. bring value to the marketplace.

All marketplace people know that customers have two choices when dealing with your business.

They can either keep their problem, or keep their money.

They can stay hungry, or buy food from you.

They can stay bored, or buy a movie ticket from you.

They can get frustrated trying to write a blog piece that sells, or get you to write for them (call me ;-).

Taking their money helps them function better. They get better results. They literally feel better about themselves. And they start to grow anew.

I’m not talking about gouging them for your own selfish benefit. I’m not talking about short-term opportunists here. I’m talking about the natural way, the way things are, and always have been, designed to work. I’m talking about a fair, mutual, exchange of value here.

 

Good shepherds help protect their value. They invest in sheep dip. They weed out the thistles in the paddock and fertilise the clover and alfalfa.

And they fence sheep in. Jesus called it a door (John 10:7).

Sheep without a shepherd, or sheep with a shepherd that is just a hireling, are like sheep with a wolf.

Scattered.

That’s the kind of future we don’t want for our flocks (yes, I’ve started talking about people, now).

Scattered – distracted. Shepherds remind us of what is important, they focus us. They intervene when we are going astray.

Scattered – disparate. Shepherds fence us off from disunity, and directionless wanderings. They unify us. They show us the quickest path to provision.

Scattered – unproductive. Shepherds make us work together, so we, well, work. We reproduce another generation. We know how to grow a fleece – on a timetable. Our milk flows (mmm goat’s cheese). Eventually, our Shepherd might even chuck us on the barbeque on Australia Day!

Sadly, many pastors are scattered, too. My hope and purpose for this blog post is that it helps us all start fleecing and focusing and stop scattering.

Marketplace shepherds need to know these skills, too.

We all need to be reminded of Jesus’ words to Peter.
Do you love me?
Feed my sheep.

Feed them real sheep food; help them focus on growing profits, regularly, so that yielding their annual profits to you is not only a natural part of life for them, it’s a real weight off their shoulders.

Otherwise, you’re just leaving them useless and helpless, like youtube stars to the slaughter.

 

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That Used To Be My Comfort Zone

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What scares you?

Do that.

Soon.

It will stretch your comfort zone way quicker than reading 100 personal development or self-help books.

I spent last night at the Comedy Lounge in Perth doing my first stand-up comedy gig.

I. Was. Terrified.

There was actually a much larger crowd than I was prepared for.

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That’s my dad right ………………………………………. *there* ^^

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And my friends Michelle, Heidi, Jodie, Mike and Simon, too. (Not shown are Emma and her dad, and Heleen).

Also, you can see quite a few people standing up at the back because despite putting out all the extra tables and chairs, there still wasn’t enough of either.

Two of those people standing at the back, on the right hand side are Big Col and Mike G, two of my favourite comedians. They were in the audience when I performed. Which felt like one too many tables had turned!

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There were all sorts of people in the audience and young and old, hipsters and dags were all having a good laugh together.

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There were people like Cam Knight who have regular television gigs on the Comedy Channel and have spent 15 years doing stand-up comedy.

I was waaaaayheyhey outside my comfort zone. My face was flushed, my throat was dry. I had spent at least forty hours writing and rewriting material, and memorisation and rehearsal time on top of that. I was trying to remind myself to breathe, and hoping that I’d get to the part where I would enjoy myself sometime soon. The bloke next to me asked me to turn my heart “boombox” down – it was thumping, visibly.

But as you can see I had friends supporting me, and I was helping others have a not too shabby Thursday night, no matter how awkward and nervous I was. It was one of the most vulnerable times I have ever experienced. And I met some of the finest people I’d met in a long time!

I talked about all kinds of things… marriage, kids, diets, selfies, business, Centrelink, comedy, church, bourbon – lots of things. But the really curious thing was that there was only one topic that everyone wanted to talk about – “the Jesus thing”.

Nearly everyone else there was using “Jesus Christ” as a curse word.

And yet, it struck me that all of us, no matter how anti-religious we seem, have an inner Jesus-detector that goes off like a metal detector finding a coin at the beach.

There can be loads of sand covering up years of successful hiding. But when you talk about Jesus in an open, sincere way, even if the context is comedy, it sets off a resonance deep inside every human heart.

And you can’t bleep that out.

No matter how outside your comfort zone He is.

So, you may as well just invite Him in.

(Pic Credits: Comedy Lounge, Charles Hotel, Perth.)

 

Environments That Cause Prophets To Thrive

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Did you know that it is dangerous for humans to enter the storage chambers of apples? It is not a harmful, toxic gas.  Rather, the atmosphere is changed and is devoid of oxygen.

There are some things, seemingly benign, that can change atmospheres in ways that make it impossible for humans to thrive.

I think a major part of the prophetic is changing atmospheres… but not in a harmful way.

‘But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.”’ (Mark 6:4).

Jesus said that a prophet can not be separated from honor. The two grow together in the same atmosphere. They are inextricably linked… well almost inextricably.

A prophet can be extricated from honor in just one environment… his own. His own country, his own relatives, his own house – his own environment is toxic to prophetic honour.

When we see a prophet as “one of us”, we sever the honor that they carry on them… even if they are the Son of God!

Just like apple seeds, the prophetic will produce radically different results in different environments.  Jesus told a story of a seed that produced nothing on stony ground and 100 fold on good ground.

A prophet can’t be one of “us”. If she is, she is not honored as a prophet. Familiarity breeds contempt.

To receive a prophet properly, you must receive a prophet differently.

So if a prophet is not one of “us” who is she one of?

Jesus made it clear that the act of receiving is the act that links us all the way up the chain – to God Himself.

“He who receives you

receives Me,

and he who receives Me

receives Him who sent Me.

He who receives a prophet

in the name of a prophet

shall receive a prophet’s reward.” (Matthew 10:40-41)

There is honor and reward when you treat a prophet as a prophet – one sent from God, not one from our backyard.

Often the first thing a prophet will do after she is introduced, is remind people that they are not here to hear from her, but from God. They shift the atmosphere and help people focus their faith in Jesus, not her.

So, if you’re a prophet and you’ve been separated from honor, what is the strategy to be restored?

There’s only one thing you can do.

Leave!

That’s what Jesus did (Mark 6:6).

Go to another place where they will receive you. It will allow you to receive honor, and function in your gifting. And allow those that receive you to receive prophetic rewards.

I don’t know any prophets who are still prophesying in the place they were born. If they were I doubt they would be honoured at all. Like apples, prophets aren’t meant to be stored up in the one place.

Go!

What do you think? Can a change of environment change results both for you and those you are sent to? Leave a comment and let me know – feedback is one of the environments I thrive in 🙂