Our Shepherd Groups got off to a wonderful start this past Sunday. We had 178 total in all the groups, which is significantly more than we have on a typical Sunday evening, even without considering the number of teens and adults at the youth retreat. We had a good pot-luck luncheon, then our Shepherds announced the make-up of the groups and each group met for a little over an hour as we got to know our groups and made plans for our next meeting.
The Shepherd Groups will meet on the first and third Sundays of the month from now to the end of the year, so that means we have a quick turnaround and will meet with our groups again this Sunday (Oct. 2nd.) I hope that you will be present with your group! We are looking at the conversion stories in the book of Acts on Sunday mornings, and reviewing and discussing some of these stories for our Shepherd Group lessons. This Sunday we will look at the first time this brand new church is called into question by the authorities in Acts 3-4. It is a great passage that demonstrations the firm commitment these early Christians had and witnesses to their true conversion. Included in this passage is this observation from writer Luke:
“When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13)
Do others take note that you’ve been with Jesus? You might say, “Well, Bill, that’s kind of hard, since these disciples were around Jesus in the flesh almost 2000 years ago!” True. But let me challenge us all with a way each one of us can be with Jesus between now and the end of the year. We can read the accounts of the life and teaching of Christ in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
If you have been using The Daily Bible edited by F. LaGard Smith for your daily Bible reading this year, you will start in the gospels on October 18th. But we could start anytime, like now! There are 89 chapters in the gospels, and there are 92 days in October, November and December. That means that reading 2 or 3 chapters a day you would have read through Matthew, Mark, Luke and John two or three times between now and the end of the year! If that’s a little much, then just read one chapter a day, and even with a few “days off,” you will read through the gospels before 2012. How about it? Will each of our Shepherd Group accept the challenge? Will you encourage each other to read through the gospels between now and the end of the year? And will you put the words and actions of Jesus into your life each day as you read them? If so, then others will notice your life, and will take note that you too have been with Jesus.