July 27

Our hearts are overjoyed today with amazement and gratitude at God’s merciful and gracious provision.

Today we appoint additional elders to serve as overseers of this church family along with our five current shepherds.  The Lord has brought the congregation through this process in a healthy and efficient and productive way, and we give Him all the glory.

I know you join me in thanking Chuck Hummel and Fred Lima, who administered the congregation’s process of calling these men out to serve as shepherds and facilitating our efforts that have brought us to this joyous moment.  These men put in hours of effort in order to see us through this very critical time in a way that sought and followed the Lord’s will and respected the desires and will of the congregation.  To these two brothers of ours, our church family owes and bestows a heartfelt thank you.

As we consider this moment, I want us to go back to the One who defines what it means to be a good shepherd, what it looks like to love and care for and sacrifice for the sheep.  And so we once again consider these words of our Lord from the gospel of John 10.  I know you join me in constant prayer for our shepherds and for the life and health, ministry and growth of our South Fork church family.

“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.

Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.[a] They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

Bill Allen

Dr. Bill Allen preached at South Fork from 2005 to 2015. He received a Bachelors degree in Bible from Oklahoma Christian in 1978, a Masters in Bible from Abilene Christian (ACU) in 1988, and a Doctor of Ministry from ACU in 1992. He now preaches at the West Erwin Church of Christ in Tyler, Texas.

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